Fanfiction! This little word has been marvellously important to me in my writing and in my life. I started out by writing fanfiction when I was younger (oh boy, those old fics…) and I still (occasionally) write it now. But this post is all about this: should we write fanfiction?
I started thinking about this after reading this article about George RR Martin saying he doesn’t want people to write fanfiction about his series A Song of Fire and Ice (or Game of Thrones I think? I don’t know: I haven’t read it yet and the entire thing confuses me). Which, to be perfectly honest, I think is fair enough.
There’s a difference between writing fanfiction and writing and posting fanfiction online. If GRRM says he doesn’t want people to write fanfiction, I think that’s a bit unfair, although I understand his idea of not wanting other people to write about his ‘babies’ (come on, this is how every writer thinks about their characters), but their not harming anyone in writing fanfiction for themselves. I can understand the whole posting thing, though. I don’t think fanfiction should be written to try and make a profit from, as Kindle World lets you do. If I didn’t believe it were plagiarism, I would think it cool and let’s be honest we all know I’d love to live on publishing Harry Potter or Doctor Who fanfiction. But, obviously, I do think it’s plagiarism, and that’s why I don’t’agree with paying people for fanfiction.
I can understand why GRRM and other authors may feel protective over the world they have created too. If I were a published author and people wanted to write about my characters, wow, that’d be freakin’ awesome. BUT. Now, here’s the but – and, warning, it’s a little bit selfish.
I wouldn’t want them to publish their works, except in online forums like Archive of Our Own or Fanfiction.net where no profit is made and people do it for sheer fun and enjoyment. I don’t think that fanfiction writers should be able to profit, except obviously metaphorically through love of what they’re writing. I just don’t: you didn’t create the world, did you? You didn’t create the characters! So yes, it sounds harsh, but it is essentially plagiarism! And I don’t think you should be able to make money from something someone else may have poured years of work in to.
Of course, I’m not saying that fanfiction shouldn’t be written – I write it myself! But I don’t profit except for the buzz I get when I feel the words flowing and my love of the characters growing even stronger. That’s it.
I love fanfiction – it ‘got me’ into writing again, and now I’m looking forward to creating worlds of my own that maybe people will like to read about in the future. It holds a place in my heart, and I feel like all of the characters I wrote about I know a little bit better – in my own way. We all experience books in a different way, so why shouldn’t we experience the characters?
I think if you write your own you shouldn’t try to make money from it. Isn’t doing something that you love good enough? If you want to profit from writing, write your own, original content! Don’t use someone else’s work that they’ve poured years of hardship into.
What do you think about fanfiction? What do you think about the monetisation of fanfiction? Do you write fanfiction!? Have I used the word “fanfiction” way too much? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!