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Foxx's avatar

What is the point of fan fiction?

Asked by Foxx (59points) April 5th, 2010

Fanfic. What’s the point? Why write what has already been done? Why leech off of another author’s work? How is not a copyright violation? What is the point behind fanfiction and why do people write it?

(And why is so much of it crappy?)

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18 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s people living out their fantasies. I don’t see a problem with it.
I wouldn’t want to discourage people’s creativity even if it isn’t exactly Hugo award winning material.

Draconess25's avatar

To experiment with alternate scenarios.

Trillian's avatar

I love the submissions to the Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

wundayatta's avatar

My daughter used to write it when she first got on the internet and before she got on facebook. I think it’s about community more than anything else. It’s a way for people to play together. And play nicely (for the most part), too!

Grisaille's avatar

To expand a universe beyond what was written by an author.

Yeah, 99.5% of it is complete insipid drivel. But hey – let them have their fun. Doesn’t bother you, right? Just take it easy.

filmfann's avatar

It’s the only way were gonna see Hermoinie getting low with Draco.

j0ey's avatar

You know how sometimes when you finish a book, or a film ends, you have that sadness and disappointment because that is all and there isn’t any more?

Well, fan fiction fixes this feeling…..

mrentropy's avatar

“I don’t know if you recall my advice to starting writers—to copy the form of a favourite novel. After writing several unconventional stories, including The Final Programme, which got a lot of negative response from publishers, I began to wonder if I knew enough about writing conventional narrative so I went back to writing a pretty straightforward sf novel. Following my own advice (based on the logic that the best way to learn is by imitation—the way art students are encouraged to copy old masters) I took a fairly minor Conrad novel as my model. The Rescue. The Ice Schooner follows the basic plot of The Rescue (a ‘triangle’ story). Having proven to myself that I could do it, I went on to write things like A Cure for Cancer.”—Michael Moorcock

Writing fan fiction can be a good way to practice and find your own writing style, once you play around with it a bit. The good thing about writing it is that the “universe” is already set, you just need to follow the rules. I don’t think it would be a good way to make a living, obviously, but if you want to practice…

squidcake's avatar

The point of writing it:
Testing out the waters of writing and already having a platform to go off of. Using your favorite characters and stories in new, exciting ways.

The point of reading it:
You love a certain movie/series. You can’t get enough of it. It’s another way to see more of your favorite story in a different light.
You hated the way the movie/series ended, but you loved the rest of it. Read someone else’s alternative ending and be happy.

The reason 99% of it is crappy is because it’s written by 13-year-old girls.
But that remaining 1% is really, really good stuff. Like, actually novel-quality writing. I used to be addicted.

YARNLADY's avatar

When they read a book, it makes them think of something that could have been done or said if they had written it, so they do.

MacBean's avatar

@mrentropy really nailed what it’s about for me. It can be a good exercise in creativity. The characters and worlds are already established, so there are rules you have to follow, whereas when you write your own original fiction, if something isn’t working, you can just change things. Fanfic forces you to either be creative within boundaries set by someone else, or suck.

absalom's avatar


Fanfic forces you to either be creative within boundaries set by someone else, or suck.

And I think we know which of those usually happens.

Ria777's avatar

(And why is so much of it crappy?)

Google Sturgeon’s Law.

Fenris's avatar

Writers don’t just make stories – they make worlds, people we connect with, events that stay with us even though they never happened in the real world. Fan fiction is a continuation and exploration of these worlds by the people that love them.

And most fan fiction is low-grade, because the relationship between quality and quantity is always a bell curve, no matter the area being measured.

Nullo's avatar

Fan fiction is the literary equivalent of the game mod. It’s user-created content.

Fan fiction lets you play in somebody else’s sandbox. It’s also a good way to practice your writing, since the characters have already been made.

For some (a very small some), it’s a test of skill: how close can I get to the writer’s style?
Some people think that the story would have been better with a few changes. And I’m sure we’ve all read a book or watched a movie and didn’t like the way that it ended.

For some, it’s a way to connect with the story.

Most authors don’t mind fan fiction (free publicity, ya know?), and some actually encourage it. C. S. Lewis went on record as suggesting that the millennia that his Chronicles of Narnia did not chronicle could be supplemented by fans.

Some fanfic (and we’re talking about a very small percentage) actually eclipses the original author’s work, through raw skill, not having to worry about appealing to the public, or what have you.

Crossover fanfiction lets you do amusing things like staff the bridge of the Enterprise with the Gilligan’s Island cast.

Nullo's avatar

Most fanfiction is crappy because it’s written by our millions of nigh-illiterate students, and those who do not know how to write but remain undaunted by that fact, and in all cases, they fail to get some perspective on the story before uploading.

Berserker's avatar

I think the word itself, fan fiction answers that…but yeah, rule 34, lulz.

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