Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fan Fiction, Not Just For Trekkies by Debra Glass

It’s never been a secret that author E.L. James originally penned the Fifty Shades Trilogy as fan fiction based on the Twilight Saga.

But what is fan fiction?

The term fan fiction refers to stories written using characters from a book, series, or movie, by fans instead of the original author.

Some are just now hearing about fan fiction, but the genre has been around for a long time. There are several fan fiction versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the current television hit, Elementary to name one.

Fan fiction gained widespread acclaim in the Sci-Fi genre with the advent of the 1960s Star Trek fanzines – magazines featuring stories submitted by fans about the original series characters. The world wide web saw an explosion of fan fiction sites. is one of the more popular sites which allows anyone to upload content in any fandom.

Several noted authors have praised fan fiction. J.K. Rowling states she is "flattered" that people want to write their own stories based on her fictional characters. (I can think of a few stories about James and Lily Potter I’d like to write myself!) Stephenie Meyer’s website includes links to fan fiction sites about her characters from the Twilight Saga.

Anne Rice, however, is one of many authors who does not condone fan fiction based on her characters and feels it is copyright infringement.

As writers, we are all inspired by things we read, see, or experience. My Slave to Fashion could loosely be termed as fan fiction. I take a break for lunch every day during the time What Not to Wear airs on TLC. Stacy and Clinton’s witty exchanges with their fashion-challenged makeoverees inspired the character of Georgiana Talbot, a modiste who dresses England’s ton. The fan fiction part stops at the banter, however. The characters are purely fictional.


A taste of the forbidden…

Georgiana Talbot intends to remain a spinster in order to ensure her younger sisters debut and find husbands. But when she encounters a devilish Scot who ignites a searing fire within her, Georgiana realizes just how much she has denied herself regarding the pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she concocts a daring scheme.

A touch of the taboo…

Seducing the haute ton’s premier modiste into buying linen from his mills is foremost on Blane MacLaren’s mind. Until his need to bend the brash beauty to his will drives him to enter into a scandalous agreement—Georgiana will purchase his linens if he will tutor her in an array of dark delights and forbidden pleasures. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the effect his very willing student will have on him—or how far a harmless lesson in lust can go.

Digital Edition

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** What do you think of fan fiction? Love it? Leave it? Do you enjoy reading a book that is obviously inspired by a favorite literary or movie character?

Leave me a comment and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a free download of Slave to Fashion in your favorite ereader format.

About Debra Glass

DSC04453aDEBRA GLASS is the author of over thirty-five books of historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, and folklore. The recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters Alabama Screenwriter Award, she went on to win the NSAL Empire State Award for excellence in screenwriting. Debra is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Professional Authors’ Network. She is also a member of RWA's Heart of Dixie Chapter and RWA's Southern Magic Chapter. She lives in Alabama with her real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.


Paula said...

Since I wrote fanfiction for a handful of years in the 1990s, I can't really say I'm against it, can I? However, I do think there are rules to abide by, and one of them is that you don't profit off fanfiction, even if most of what you do is change the names and a few tweaks of storyline. If it's a fanfiction story you originally wrote with other people's characters in mind, you don't profit from it.

That's not to say you can't be inspired by fictional characters and write your own story with original characters who share some of the traits of the characters you like or find interesting. A lot of the characters I write in my original fiction have archetypal similarities to existing fictional characters, and that's okay. That's the function of archetypes, isn't it? They're the chunk of clay from which you mold and shape original characters.

Unfortunately, my fanfic career and my original fic career were separated by enough years that I don't have a lot of crossover between my fanbases. Guess I should have timed that better, huh?

Suzanne Johnson said...

This is an interesting topic, Debra (and the book sounds terrific!). I'm squarely in the copyright-infringement group. Sure, if people are writing fan fiction about your world and characters, just for entertainment, it's a form of flattery. But your world and characters are still being stolen, increasingly often for financial gain. On the other hand, my books will never be popular enough to inspire fan fiction, so I don't really have to worry about it!

M.V.Freeman said...

I like fan fiction...

I dabbled in it briefly, but decided I'd rather create my own characters--but enjoy seeing other peoples take on someone's characters.

As for copyright infringement---I'm ambivalant about it--I see both sides.

Awesome post.

Mannouchka said...

Dear Debra,
I always enjoy reading thanks for this excerpt and like the cover.
I want to wish an Happy Holiday with lots of joy

shellbelle said...

Here are my thoughts as a reader.... I do not care much for fan fiction. I know it is a compliment to the authors that their world and characters have inspired people to do so is their creation that is being altered. It can further put a black mark on that author's creation. It can discourage new readers if the new reader reads the fan fiction before the actual book. I know that on facebook J R Ward has had several problems with fan fiction and people creating facebook pages in her Black Dagger characters names. They have been beligerent to those who do not agree with their opinions. J R has had to post several disclaimers because of it. So no...I think fan fiction is wrong. I feel like it destroys the authors work and degrades their world. It is not their right to add to it...because it may destroy the authors future intentions for their characters and future books. Why can't readers just enjoy the gift the authors have so generously created for us!

Meda White said...

I didn't even know what fan fiction was until I joined SM. Thanks for explaining it so well. I think I lean toward the infringement side of the debate. I'm not even published yet and I feel possessive of my characters so I don't think I'd like it if fans wrote about them.

Louisa Cornell said...

About ten or so years ago I happened on a fan fiction site based on my favorite character in the soap opera One Life to Live. I had no idea people even did stuff like that! However, after I read it a while I decided to try my hand at writing it. I still have the hard copies of the stories I wrote and posted on the fan fiction board. I mean I filled NOTEBOOKS full of this stuff. I look at it now and realize I have come a long way technically as a writer. But I do credit those stories and the comments from the readers with making me believe I should try my hand at what I wanted to do when I was about nine years old. I wanted to be a writer. My music career took over for many years, but now I am back where I started and I have to give writing fan fiction the credit for getting me started.

Cari Hislop said...

I've never written fan fiction, but a good friend of mine was into it for some years. Like Louisa, she got a lot of encouragement and feed back, but I personally think fanfic writing is dangerous for a writer.

My friend ended up spending SO much time on the fanfic writing that she had no time or energy for her own fictional characters. In the end she had to make a clean break from the fanfic writing because it was so demanding (at least that was her experience). I think if she hadn't had a stronger character she'd still be there caught in its web, writing what the other readers wanted to read. That's not healthy for a story teller! It's very addictive hearing people say more more more (it's the crack cocaine of story telling!).

I can understand the temptation to take someone else's character and spin their yarn how one thinks it should go (it's human nature). When I heard that Rowling had killed off Snape I was mad. How could she kill my favorite? But characters do die and stories are like ghosts...they have a set story.

Naima Simone said...

I was introduced to fan fiction about five years ago when I met a writer who belonged to a fan fiction site for Pride and Prejudice. She enjoyed it--well, until people turned catty because they didn't like the direction she took the characters in--and ended up writing a book featuring these characters. It was awesome for her but I never truly understood the fascination with fan fiction. I enjoyed--enjoy--creating my own characters with their own issues and their own world.

I didn't consider the copyright infringement issue until reading your post. While I can understand feeling flattered--and I'm not going to lie, I probably would be--I believe I would also feel extremely possessive over characters I view as mine. And it's not just about money, though that is an issue. But after spending so much time pouring over them, shaping them, putting them through traumatic conflict only to see them victorious and finally happy, these men and women are mine. And it's personal. And I think I would feel that way even if no one was making money off of the stories.

I didn't know Georgiana Talbot was influenced by What Not to Wear! LOL! That's one of my favorite shows! I love Slave to Fashion! I love Georgiana's wit and Blane is a sexy and funny hero! One of my favorite Debra Glass books!

bn100 said...

Haven't read any fan fiction.


flchen1 said...

I tend not to follow fan fiction, and generally prefer fresh creations :) I know it's generally done as a compliment to the original author, but since it isn't actual writing by that author, the stories and characters can take directions never intended by the creator. Guess it's a great way for some people to find a creative outlet, but it isn't much for me :)