Fan Fiction, or “Look what I did, Ma!”

There is, apparently, an entire universe full of people who like to take the worlds, characters, and settings of popular novels and write their own stories. It’s called fan fiction, or fan fic for short. I can’t think of a more asinine waste of time, but apparently it’s a big thing with some people.

image courtesy of marriedtothesea.com

What some of these people don’t seem to understand is that this is in fact copyright infringement. That’s putting it mildly; it’s tantamount to plagiarism in my book. The writers of this fan fic say it’s a tribute to stories and worlds they love. I say it’s theft; what’s worse, it’s a waste of what sometimes appears to be real talent. I’ve read a few pieces of this work, and while most of it is absolutely atrocious, some of it shows some solid writing skill. My question is this: why not take a shot at your own work?

Do you do this? Are you one of the people who take the worlds of Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer, or others and tell the stories you wanted to read but they haven’t written? Shame on you. Stop it immediately. Instead of piggy-backing on the hard work of your favorite authors, why not tell your own story, in your own words? Read your favorite authors, and new ones; hell, read everything you can. Enjoy it. See how your favorites craft their plots. Look at their characters, particularly the ones you like. What is it you like about them? What DON’T you like about them? All of these are learning tools.

And keep writing; just stop with the lame fan-fic, okay? It’s really beneath most of you. And the ones that were really bad? Give it a shot anyway; chances are you’ll still come up with something better than the word-vomit you’ve been putting on the Web.

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