Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Fan Fiction Fallacy

I've been sitting on this a while now and it's been really pissing me off so no more. Here I go...

Since I discovered the romance community through DA and Smart Bitches and Karen, there have been interesting discussions about fan fiction and the okays and not okays with it. Now with 50 Shades becoming an international best seller and other fanfics hitting the market, there's been more discussions and comments. And I want to add my 2 cents.

Beginning with the one comment someone will always make in any discussion of fanfic is that it's an unwritten rule that no one should ever ever, upon the threat of death or dismemberment, publish their fanfic.

Oh yawn. Oh bullshit. Oh stick it in your trumpet and blow it out your ass.

Where is this rule written and who said we've all agreed to it? And beyond that: who is deciding exactly what is following the canon of fanfic? And while we're at it, is this in the same rule book that says you need an agent to get published and there's no such thing as a well published indie title?

Fuck your rules.

The rule, as far as I can understand, is that if you decided to write Buffy fanfic and you put Buffy in a threesome with Angel and Spike, that's not something you can publish because there's nothing there that's really yours. It's a total fanfic moment. The characters, world and everything are living in the Joss Whedon verse.

But if you think Willow is the coolest character that ever lived (like I think she is) and you write a story about a red head, lesbian witch with awesome power who is just so adorable as to be painful.... and you name her Carolyn and throw her into an adventure.... is that publishable?

The thing is that I say it is. Just as I say that being inspired by the characters in Twilight and writing a story where you have an innocent girl and a much more experienced, troubled guy isn't stealing canon. For Christ's sake, inspiration is. It can happen on a fan fic board.

It also annoys me that in many cases, people have no freaking idea that something is fanfic unless they're told. Because a story about a woman who was kidnapped and becomes a sex slave is truly a retelling of the Edward/Bella story. Not.

The many retellings of Beauty and the Beast are fanfic.

The space operas that were inspired by Firefly are fanfic.

All vampire stories are fanfic (ask Bram Stoker).

Okay, what's pissed me off so much? Over on DA there was a review of a book and it was entioned that it was a rewritten fanfic and people suggested that DA readership were too good for such stories. Uh, excuse me? Eloisa James wrote her Beauty and the Beast story as House fanfic. It was brilliant. And original.

It's called inspiration.

And over on Goodreads I follow Katiebabs because her book recommendations are often golden to e. We seem to have very similar reading tastes. But she's giving one star to any story that might have begun as Twilight fanfic without reading it while she wrote and published a book called Sleeping with the Frenemy that was clearly using the plot of Sleeping with the Enemy as the plot of her story.

Where's the fucking difference? Oh yeah, the Twilight fanfic had an original plot and borrowed the canon of innocent girl and more experienced guy. Yup. One star.

Here's what I say: bullshit. Judge the fucking books by themselves. Stop looking for the origins of the story because inspiration comes from anywhere. Don't throw stones when your house is made of glass.

And those fucking rules that eveybody is so determined to shove down our throats? Yeah Those are the same people that said ereaders will never catch on the Big 6 of publishing are right to try and take down big, bad Amazon.


  1. I know! I've seen very respectable looking "literary fiction" that is so obviously Austen fanfic and nobody turns a hair.

  2. Let's face it, since Adam and Eve frolicked and ate apples - or the Big Bang created monkeys and dinosaurs - new ideas started dying out quicker than you can sneeze.

    You only have to look around to see that what you're looking at isn't new. Sure, it's got a shinier coat of paint or goes by a diff name but in essence it's started out as something else done by someone different.

    Movies, books, and songs all had to start somewhere. I like to think of it as everyone being given the same ingredients, how we use them is up to us.

    Speaking of ingredients, isn't that how some of the best known and loved recipes came about? Someone found a recipe, tweaked this, left out that, added more and voila! something new.

    I'm with you Lori - judge a book for what it is, not where it might have 'originated' from. I've read books and fanfic and quite frankly, sometimes the fanfic leaves the more 'original' stuff for dead.

    Oh, and to prove that one idea/thing can be taken and used by many and still seen as new and fresh, I give you...

  3. It's just a new way for some to look down and feel superior to others, as far as I'm concerned.

    Mind you, if you are not interested int he trope, don't read it--but "we are above that"? Bitch, please.

  4. Oh AZ, that comment fucking killed me. Especially considering how many people are above reading romance.

    Too many stone throwers in glass houses.

  5. Exactly!!!

    And the best part is how this is the same person who flies into a rage about how people discriminate/look down on her because (fill in the blank).

    Someone needs a clean mirror.

  6. Thanks Willa :)

    It was sent to me a while ago and I saved it. Who knew it would come in handy lol.