As you all probably have noticed, the trend #Wattpadbooksarerealbookstoo circulated in the writing community of Twitter not so long ago. Even I wrote a quick blog post about the tweet that started it all, a viner who suggested that books of the fanfiction genre are no actually books.
This started a small outrage among the Wattpad community, especially those who call the fanfiction world their literary home. It started not only the trend of promoting the amazing work that Wattpad features, but showing that fanfictions are just as equally worthy of attention and recognition as traditional fiction.
So, Ive decided that this weeks blog post is going to focus on the preconceptions of fan fiction, and the challenges faced by those who write it.
One thing I found surprising while working on a separate blog post topic was that E.L. James fantastically popular work 50 Shades of Grey was criticized by a writer at The Atlantic Wire, solely based on its fanfiction beginnings. To me, this is ludicrous. If you wish to criticize a work, focus on the quality of writing, the messages promoted, or the overall worth. A stories initial beginnings towards popularity, however, seems rather petty to me. The fact that 50 Shades was originally a Twilight fanfiction, with Edward and Bella the original Christian and Anna, makes no difference. The story is the story, regardless of the names or descriptions of the characters. And really, isn’t that all fan fiction really is? The use of names, physical attributes, or some settings, taken to create a new work?
Now, in the fanfiction world, there are the literal fictions, and the AU, or alternate universe works. Literal, are just that; the actual celebrity taken and a story created around them. They are themselves, they are famous, they are popular for their music, acting, etc. However, in AU fiction, while the names and the characteristics of a celeb are used, they are not actually themselves. They are merely the inspiration for the author to work from.
It is suggested by some fanfiction haters that it is merely derivative and not true fiction at all. That fanfiction is an infringement of the original work, or person, and should be considered insulting. Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author, stated “Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker.” How lovely of him, huh? But at the same time, he changes his tune with the quote “I adore the way fan fiction writers engage with and critique source texts, by manipulating them and breaking their rules.”
However, not everyone would agree.
Joss Wheton, director of Avengers, has said ““I adore the way fan fiction writers engage with and critique source texts, by manipulating them and breaking their rules.”
Some people realize that fan fiction has the potential to be the next great untapped resource for writing and great new literature. 50 Shades of Grey was a fanfiction on Twilight. Anna Todd’s spectacularly popular After was a One Direction fanfic. Both of which ended up New York Times bestsellers, and being turned in to major motion pictures.
Fanfiction allows ‘ordinary’ people to try their hand at not only writing, but creativity. The outlet inspires a new generation to read, to write, and to think outside the box. Look at fanfiction.net and Wattpad, and you will see the popularity of fanfiction, and the fanatical response of readers. Some fictions have hundreds of millions of reads…but, to some, they aren’t real books…
Right, Tom Harlock?
Goodreads. (2016). Quotes about Fan Fiction. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/fanfiction
Random thoughts from me on books, writing, news and more!