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The Ultimate Fans or the Ultimate Thieves?

Fan fiction. It’s quite the controversy to bring up in conversation with creative writers. And that’s because just about every creative writer has an opinion on it.

If they write fan fiction themselves, they’re almost certainly in favor of the complimentary custom.

If they don’t write fan fiction themselves, they’re almost certainly not in favor of the plagiarizing practice.

And yes, it’s that intensely polarized.

To understand why all of that’s not only true, but also worth discussing, here’s the writing Definition for you to consider first:

Fan Fiction

When writers take someone else’s already-established characters and write out whole new stories for them, that’s known as fan fiction.

This is a hotly debated practice, since it requires taking someone else’s copyrighted content, typically without that author’s knowledge, much less permission.

Yet many fans keep writing it anyway. To them, it’s typically a compliment: a sign of how very much they’re invested in certain character creations.

See how that could be problematic?

I once did a search for fan fiction. Or maybe I just stumbled upon one of those dedicated sites or something. I don’t quite remember, to be honest, since it was a decent decade ago. One way or the other though, I came up with some stories spun from Lord of the Rings.

As a result, I’ll never quite be able to think of Frodo and Samwise Gamgee the same way. Let’s just say I’m really happy I’m not a huge Lord of the Rings fangirl. Otherwise, I would probably be emotionally scarred for life.

Poor Frodo. If Samwise was really that upset with him, he really should have just said so.

There are no real rules to fan fiction other than that you start out by using someone else’s characters and/or setting. Then you take it from there.

Want to change one of those character’s relationships around? By its very definition, fan fiction allows that. So go ahead and have Moaning Myrtle and Cedric Diggory be in an “it’s complicated” relationship, even though J.K. Rowling probably never once thought of any such thing, much less wrote it, much less published it.

Feel the urge to mess with someone’s well-recognized personality? Fan fiction won’t stop you there either. Feel free to make Superman a complete and total letch.

Have this burning desire to alter some series’ setting significantly? Fan fiction just called and told you to be as creative as you’d like, even if that entails taking Jurassic Park dinosaurs and putting them on the moon, lunacy though that might be.

(Pun totally intended.)

With fan fiction, there’s always an app for that.

Yet whatever the storyline and switch-ups, as the previously stated Definition explained, fan fiction typically doesn’t have ulterior motives. It’s mostly hardcore fanboys and fangirls trying to step into their favorite authors' shoes and have some good old-fashioned creative fun with it.

Except for that Lord of the Rings example.

Poor Frodo. Samwise Gamgee really needs some serious therapy. And jail time.

Regardless, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to fan fiction. Things we’ll be covering on Thursday and Friday… including what two fan-fiction friendly franchises you might be able to more legitimately get away with writing.

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