On Fanfiction (Fan Fiction)

Between anime and fiction novels of other authors and artists, I’ve started writing about four fan fictions. I like D. Gay-Man by Katsura Hoshino and the anime is the basis for my current longest fanfiction. I’ve had a lot of fun.

But I’m not sure how I feel about the genre.

Taking too much license with someone else’s work makes feel uncomfortable. Some authors and artists don’t approve of fanfiction based off their stuff. I know if I had a huge following where people wrote fanfiction based on my novels, there are things I’d draw the line at whether I had a say in what fanfic writers do or not. And if an artist asked me not to write fanfic based on their work, I would respect their wishes.

Spending a lot of time in my life trying to find value and meaning in what the mainstream publishing industry shoves under my nose has given me a taste for what I refer to as critfic: Fiction that is not necessarily fanfiction. Fiction that is written in order to talk back to another author’s work critically. (Of course for me to go out of my way to write a critfic on your book, there has to be something of value in it for me to get that worked up in first place.)

Maybe its just anime and Twilight, but I’ve seen some fans do some crazy and sometimes downright offensive stuff even with my limited exposure to the fanfic community. Sexualizing characters and situations that really shouldn’t be is at the top of my list.

And why write fanfiction based on somebody else’s work when you should be finishing your books? At least that’s what I ask myself often, especially when I start going down the critfic path over some novel and author that was ultimately offensively and infuriatingly disappointing. Yet another dilemma of the-writer-who-is-a-reader or the-reader-who-is-a-writer.

Just turning over some of my thoughts here. Personally, in fanfiction, I don’t like assuming too much about another writer’s work, like what their characters would or wouldn’t say. It feels too much like guessing the original author’s or artist’s intentions. I find ways to write around doing that as much as possible. I also tend to use my own original characters crafted for that author’s universe (and my own work) and write more about what I appreciate about that author’s work. Or what want to comment on from the other author’s work. Which reminds me how cool it would be to, maybe, co-author a book with another writer someday. That’s definitely a dream of mine. Its cool in my head at least.

Myth: “It’s just fiction”

No, its not just fiction. The art is NOT separate from the artist. Every writer, everywhere, is responsible for what they put out into the world. As a reader, you should imagine what the author who wrote this book is like and why they wrote it.

I decided to take a chance and be a good community member on JukePop and read from my fellow authors. One of the JukePop 30 authors, B.B. Edmunds, has a serial there called Deathless. Within the first 500 words of this story, the main character is pilfering corpses and standing over a dead, raped woman while essentially saying, “I would’ve raped her, too, but been nicer about it”. The first chapter is over 8000 words long. Why would I want to read this? To add to this already mountainous-in-quality bullshit, Edmunds responds to my comment by saying he defends this character. I was really shaken and admittedly annoyed by Edmunds’ defensiveness and his desire to have the last word until I stated my point and opted not to respond to him anymore. Then he gets his feelings hurts and continues to argue with me about my position on Deathless. B.B. Edmunds didn’t get the takeaway, which is

  1. You are responsible for what you justify and what you write
  2. Readers will drop your book because your main character sucks
  3. Everything you write says something about you
  4. Yes, your book will be judged by the first 500 words, that’s all it takes sometimes.
  5. In getting criticized, don’t keep arguing with your reader.

I learned about JukePop through National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always found JukePop’s use of “reader analytics” and votes to be suspicious at best. Which is why I had hesitated to publish anything there since The Taker a few years ago. Its not my style, I just find parts of the platform to be helpful. But if this is what it means to be a JukePop 30 author, I can live without it.

I really feel that I need to be honest: What I’ve found in my quest for good serials on this website is that a lot of authors have great ideas but not enough skill, experience, or style to carry the great ideas. I’ve come across typos and perspective issues, for example; I’m not an editor or a proofreader and even I can see them.

Writers like Edmunds have skill and style but are writing stories I don’t want to read (because of their unnecessarily violent, trendy, or pretentiously gritty elements). I really hope this is not all there is to JukePop. More reading investigation is required.

It would be nice to surrounded by writers and readers who are aware of what they’re doing and supporting.