I recently had a conversation with a New York Times bestselling author (it was the highlight of my year so far) who told me many wonderful things and offered me quite a lot of great advice. One of the things that we discussed was the existence of fan fiction, which she herself has been a victim of? Honored with?
See, I don’t get the fan fiction thing. I didn’t realize it even existed until a few months ago and when I was having this conversation with this author (did I mention it was the best day ever?) it really struck me as bizarre. Why would someone want to write stories based on someone else’s characters? And then why would they turn around and put it on line for everyone to read? I truly do not understand and would love it if someone could enlighten me.
I would feel immensely weird if I took someone else’s ideas and used them in any way. I like to come up with my own characters in my own plots. I think that writing fan fiction is a total waste of time (for me anyway, as it is my goal to get published...well, further published). I mean, I guess I can see how there’s an argument for practicing or something but still, wouldn’t it be better to just make it up on your own?
I’m not sure how other authors feel. The one I was talking to didn’t seem too put out by it. I mean, other than the fact that we laughed about the absurdity and all, but this person wasn’t angry or offended. I have read blogs written by other authors who threaten lawsuits and whatnot. I can’t really say how I would feel about it if it happened to me or my characters.
I do feel icky though at the thought of doing it myself. It would never have occurred to me as an option to write based on someone else’s ideas.
On the other hand, I can see how tempting it could be take someone else's characters and do whatever you want with them...tee, hee.
So, what do you all think? What’s the point of fan fiction? Is it purely for entertainment? Some kind of strange homage to the author? Or is it so strange that authors have a right to get offended and take legal action? I’m just not sure what the right answer is. Although I do think it is awfully bizarre,I’m trying to keep an open mind.