Okay, maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe not. Essentially, fan fiction is just that: fiction written by fans, generally about movie or television show characters. A person who just loves, say, Stargate: SG-1, thinks a lot about the characters and usually has an idea for something that might happen that may or may not contradict what actually happened in the series and he/she sits down and writes a story.
Now, because writers are like this, we want other people to read our work and comment. We hope the comments will be positive, but regardless, our desire is just to share our work, or can I say, our vision? with others who love what we love.
Science fiction and fantasy shows and movies tend to generate more fan fiction than say something like ER or Law and Order: SVU. I think that’s because those “real” shows need less imagination and more research to make them “real.” It’s easier to figure out something that Harry Potter could be involved in, at least for me, than to come up with a situation that the cast of Bones or House could deal with.
Fan fiction stories abound on the internet. Just a search on Google for “fan fiction” will show you what I mean. It’s a good bet that whatever show you like, especially if it’s in the “paranormal” realm.
Now, legal savvy readers will say, “Doesn’t writing stories about characters created by someone else without their express permission constitute copyright violation?”
In a word: Yes.
However, in every case that I know of (and I am not, by any means, an expert), no one is making any money off their fan fiction stories. They’re done out of the love of the characters and the universe. There are a few copyright holders who will send “cease and desist” letters if they find anyone using their characters in an unauthorized story. Anne Rice is the most well-known one, I think, and J. K. Rowlings will send such a letter if her characters are used in a NC-17 way. AND a vast majority of fan fiction is that – Very Adult, Very Porn.
I love to read good fan fiction for the universes I adore. I have a couple of “new” Harry Potter “books” saved on my computer that I downloaded from Fiction Alley, a great place if you’re looking for more Harry Potter to read. Time is the issue here. I just don’t have enough of it.
I’ve tried my hand at some fan fiction and there are still some ideas in my head I’d love to write, if I had time. I do think that crossover between Quantum Leap and Cheers could be cool. Sam Beckett leaps into Norm’s body…hmmm.
Writing fan fiction can be a good way of starting to write fiction of your own. If you’re interested in writing by intimidated by the whole process, fan fiction gives you a head start. Much of the work has been done for you already.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Get out there and write your story. The world’s waiting!