Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To fanfic or not to fanfic...that is the question by Cathy Ace

What do you think about fan fiction?
Have you ever written any yourself?

PROCESS: I’ve heard the term, believe I know what it is, I know I haven’t written any but suspect I have read some – then I decide I should find out if my suppositions are correct. As with all authorial research, I find Wiki- sources a useful starting point; not the only place to go, but often I take direction from there. Always eager to learn, this is my research path:

Wikipedia says: “Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic, or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. It is a popular form of fan labor, particularly since the advent of the Internet.”

I never trust Wiki-anything as a single source of “fact”, so, for more insight, I dig further.

Here’s what Merriam Webster has to say about it: 

Definition of fan fiction  :  stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet —called also fanfic, \-ˈfik\

Wanting more insight into the true nature of fan fiction, I unearth an excellent piece from The Literary Review of Canada, no less. It tells me about how the early days of Star Trek saw fans of that show creating their own storylines for the characters within the Roddenberry universe (yes, I’m a Star Trek fan, but not a Star Wars Fan), and – introducing me to a good deal of terminology I’ve never encountered before it also tackles the knotty issue of copyright – something all creators must be concerned about.

It turns out I have read fan fiction, after all: PD James’ “Death Comes To Pemberley” was a thoroughly enjoyable read, continuing the lives we’d seen being lived in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice (PS: I absolutely LOVED the movie of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”; Val McDermid’s “Northhanger Abbey” is a masterful re-telling of the original with a modern setting which I adored; Lindsay Faye’s “Jane Steele” stands as well as it does because of previous readings of “Jane Eyre’, though it is not, itself, a retelling of that tale. 

Are you a fan fiction writer? Reader? If you were to become one, upon which string of your life of fandom would you choose to play an air to create fan fiction? (For me…that which I love, I wouldn’t mess with; that which I don’t love, I wouldn’t know enough about to try it!)

Cathy Ace writes the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (book #2 THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER will be available in trade paperback on August 31st in the UK, and in November in the US/Canada, and the Cait Morgan Mysteries (book #7 THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE was published in paperback in April). Find out more about Cathy and her work, and sign up for her newsletter at   


Paul D. Marks said...

It's interesting to see what might be called fan fiction that we might not have thought of that way before. Thanks, Cathy.

Art Taylor said...

Terrific explanation here, Cathy--and great choices too! I've had several people suggest Lyndsay Faye's book my way (it's getting such great press everywhere) and I need to check it out before she comes to Mason next month for our Fall for the Book festival. Good point here too: Does fan fiction stand on its own, or need knowledge of the original sources to be enjoyed? Thanks for the fun post!

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Paul - I am assuming PD James, Val McDermid and Lyndsay Faye (and even Seth Grahame-Smith, who wrote the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) must be fans of the original works ;-)

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Art - Lyndsay Faye's book really does stand on its own; the atmosphere created is wonderful (if that's your cup of tea!) Enjoy the Mason Meeting :-)

Susan C Shea said...

But I understand the fans aren't professional writers.

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Susan - the Fanfic that proliferates online is usually by non-professional writers, but I don't see why the definition can't allow for professional authors to do it too ;-)

Alan Orloff said...

Very nice post! There's also a "sanctioned" fanfic experience at Amazon's Kindle Worlds, where writers can write stories in "worlds" created by other professional writers. Publishing is changing daily!

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Alan....good info! I had no idea it existed...this is an interesting topic :-)