Today, as the title suggest, I will be talking about this very controversial thing most people ignore or try to avoid: Fan fiction. Some of us, me included, have found themselves at a point in their life where you've just been so engrossed in a fandom, for a movie, TV show or book, that you started to dream up your own stories involving their characters or world. Some did it with Star Wars, others with Twilight, One Direction or Teen Wolf. Then there are others who just think fan fiction is awful and should be shunned.
Today, we, and by that I mean me, will discuss both those points. Let's go!
First up, what is fan fiction? Fan fictions are stories, be it one-shots that count not even 100 words or full on novel length stories written by the fans of a certain thing. There are many different types of fan fictions, romantic ones, tragic, smutty or even full on disturbing ones, whatever you might want to read, I'm pretty sure someone wrote it.
Personally, in the past I've actually read an interesting amount of fan fictions. I started out thinking that it was the worst idea ever, but soon I discovered that some of the people writing those fan fictions are mad talented at what they are doing. I'm pretty sure you could take some, change the names, and you'd have perfectly working novels that could potentially be best sellers, in a good way, not the Fifty Shades of Grey way. During my obsessive music phase, or the peak of my fan fiction reading time, I found myself reading fan fictions about people like Ville Valo, the singer of HIM, Jared Leto, the singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, or Harry Potter, more specifically Dramione (Draco x Hermione) type fan fictions. I know Draco and Hermione have never been a thing yet they will always be my dream OTP, sorry Ron.
|Ville Valo (HIM)|
Then also, just so the person won't get mad at me, I have to mention a story someone I know is currently posting on Wattpad that's also crazy good called Confide in Me which is a danisnotonfire fan fiction. For those who don't know danisnotonfire aka Dan Howell is a YouTuber from the UK whom I like so that was already a good enough reason for me to give it a try. So, here you go, I mentioned your story, hope ya happy now. Check it out guys.
But, now, let's have a look at the other side of the argument being that fan fiction is awful and everyone who reads and writes it should be shunned from society, basically every parents standpoint on the topic when they realize that their kid is reading Johnlock (Sherlock x Watson) fan fiction on tumblr.
I can understand people who think this way, especially after reading some of the more disturbing fan fictions that you hear about in certain fandoms. Whatever you do, don't look them up and don't read them, you will never be able to get those images out of your brain so I won't mention any titles but if you read them you know what I mean. But, besides overly disturbing and cringeworthy smut there are also those "fun" fan fictions that are clearly written by 12 year old that look a little something like this:
OMG Harry Styles walkd into the rum & kissed me @ the mouth and omg said he luvs me & we married the nxt day.
|Harry Styles |
I know other parents also say that they discourage their children from writing fan fiction because they believe it's pointless, seeing as those stories are not novels that could get published nor are they really getting them anywhere in life, they are just fan stories about things that would never happen in such a way in real life. I can kind of understand where you're coming from with that argument.
But, looking at both arguments I'm sure you can find a million more for each side, argue for or against them, and we will never find the ultimate answer. Some people tried to discuss the question if fan fiction is literature, mostly concluding that no, it's not.
According to dictionary.com these are the definitions for literature:
1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.
2. the entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc.: the literature of England.
3. the writings dealing with a particular subject: the literature of ornithology.
4. the profession of a writer or author.
5. literary work or production.
Just looking at that definition, fan fiction could actually be considered literature since those stories are bodies of writings in specific languages, periods or about people, and contain the expression of permanent and universal ideas as essential features. Some of those stories deal with more then just the writer's love for Harry Styles, some deal with depression, existential and identity related crisis or self harm, many in a way that could help the reader through their own depression by showing them a way through it. It's incredible what some of those fan fiction writers manage to create.
At the end of the day, my question is, does it matter if fan fiction is valuable literature or not? I don't think so. Most of these writers don't seek recognition for their bold ideas or discussions on world moving topics, but rather praise from those who are in the same fandom.
Personally I think parents should encourage their kids to write these stories, except for the disturbing ones, because, essentially, fan fictions are just another type of creative writing. Would you rather have your daughter party and drink her brain out at sixteen or sit in her room writing smutty fan fiction and sharing it with her friends or fandom members? I think the latter is more desirable, especially when you look at how well Fifty Shades of Grey or the After series did. Both of them used to be fan fictions but are now best selling stories with millions of fans and readers. Who knows, maybe that silly story your daughter is writing could be like that one day too?
To end this endlessly long post, I can only say that while I get both sides of the argument, one saying that fan fiction is amazing and the other saying it's awful, I think everyone should have the freedom to decide for themselves if they want to get involved, either by writing or reading it, and if your daughter/son is writing these stories, let them do it. Of course, if they happen to write disturbing stories involving really damaging ideas and acts, stop them immediately! I mean the good stories, the silly or funny ones, those should be encouraged.
And that's it, that's my discussion of fan fiction. Tell me your opinion down in the comments down below (no need to sign up), share your experiences with fan fiction, or tweet them at me, @Alice_Reeds. I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you guys tomorrow!