As Claudia goes, so goes my nation. It’s a terrific compliment. I used to write fanfiction, and more importantly I always, always, since I learned to read, used to wonder what-if-this-or-what-if-that, about the stories I loved. I was seven and thinking up mysteries (and Tangled Romances) for Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers And Dog. Other people’s stories are a way of learning you’re a storyteller.
I still super understand the impulse. I read books and wonder what-if, still, even though I love my own books best, so am happiest writing them. I just watched the first episode of the second season of Once Upon A Time, and am tormented because the couple I want to be together will never ever get together. (Like, ever.)
Once the Demon’s Lexicon series was finished, I totally went and read a bunch of fanfiction about it. Some of it was really good. Well done, you guys, and thank you for wanting to write it—writing it says I inspired you, that you loved my characters and my world enough to want to keep them around. Even if you hated what I did with them, or who they got together with, you *cared*, and that’s amazing.
The community’s not perfect—I was talking about the internet being scary just today. But the impulse to write, because you love a story, because you love writing, because you care? I mean, not to sound like a kindergarten teacher, but sharing IS caring. I think it’s awesome.
I truly understand not wanting to/being able to read fanfic about your own original stories; sometimes you just need to keep your own vision clear, and that’s that. But I honestly don’t get authors who object to fan fiction even existing. One author, whom I won’t name here, said fanfic writers were “stealing a readership another author built,” which makes total sense, because obviously once you have read fanfic for a book you don’t like the book any longer and have been stolen away, right? Hmmph.
IMHO, authors who hate the idea of fanfic of their work don’t want readers. They want buyers. They want passive consumers, not people with their own reactions/emotions/curiosity about the characters and story.
Me, I say go for it. ‘Ship the “wrong” people. Root for the villain. Write AUs where they’re all professional jockeys. If you love my characters enough to wonder what else could happen in their lives, I’m honored. that’s just about the biggest compliment imaginable.
I can’t even understand how an author wouldn’t understand the urge to write fanfic, create fanart. How do you even want to be an author without seeing characters and stories you like and wanting to create your own? Fanfiction is just a matter of degree.
Have you never imagined yourself into a favorite world? Have you never imagined yourself meeting a favorite character? If you have, you’ve committed fanfiction in your head. Didn’t you used to play pretend? What is the difference between thinking it and telling it to a friend? Between telling it to a friend and writing it down?
If you’re an author and you are against fanfiction, you are lying to yourself about why you even started writing fiction in the first place. None of us did this alone, all of us stand on the shoulders of giants. And sometimes we write fic about those giants.
This is lovely generally, but let me tell you, I see the CS Lewis quote and my reaction is CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, MR LEWIS, I WILL ABSOLUTELY WRITE THAT FIC ABOUT THE GOLDEN AGE OF NARNIA IN WHICH EDMUND HAS LOTS OF QUEER ADVENTURES, YOU JUST TOLD ME I COULD.