With my talk on H.P. Lovecraft, I brushed on the subject of fan fiction. Why to some authors or writers choose this path rather than something unique and totally their own?
MY OWN BRUSH WITH FAN FICTION
My very first attempt to write something on my own was fan fiction. Back in the day, in the barracks in Spain, with that old manual typewriter, I got through three quarters of a page of a Star Trek satire.
About ten years ago, I wrote a short fantasy story called Bog Roll Blues, based on a song by The Groundhogs. My interpretation of what bog roll was, and what I found out the term meant are an embarrassment for the ages, but at the time, the inspiration was pure and I thought the story was cool. Apparently the band got a kick out if it also, but maybe for the wrong reasons!
That, folks, was the sum of my fan fiction forays. That’s not to say I didn’t contemplate it from time to time, but I had too many of my own ideas to piggyback off other people’s inspiration.
WHY DO IT?
For some people, it’s a matter of being a super fan. If you’re inspired by something and have the urge to write, hey…follow your muse. Why not?
On the other hand, if it may present you with an avenue to break into a franchise, there you go.
How many of you remember the D&D craze back in the 80’s when there were dozens of books inspired by the Forgotten Realms series, for instance? If I remember right, they were basically fan fiction stories written by different authors and incorporated into that world, following a set of rules and all under the D&D umbrella so the creators would get their cut. I’m sure it broke some writers into the market. I have no idea which of those writers are still around from that craze. For all I know, they’re prominent in the fantasy world today. Do you know who they are?
NEEDING THAT SPARK
Here’s another situation for you. You want to write…learn to write, but don’t have your muse yet. However, you’re a huge fan of say…Twilight. You live and breathe Stephanie Meyer…or maybe Anne Rice. You eat up every vampire book that comes out. You don’t have your own story lined up, but you see maybe a continuation of the Twilight universe or some LeStat whatever. You can handle that.
Boom, there you go. A fan fiction piece.
Now comes the big problem for any fan fiction writer.
OKAY, YOU’VE WRITTEN YOUR GREAT FAN FICTION NOVEL, NOW WHAT?
Fan fiction can be a sticky deal. Since the only thing that’s yours is the story itself, but you don’t own the rights to the characters or whatever, you can’t do a thing with it until you get hold of the owners.
Maybe you should’ve done your homework before you started.
Sometimes the “owners” don’t appreciate others infringing on their worlds.
If it’s an individual author, you’re more than likely to have trouble. If it’s a syndicate, there’s a chance you might be able to “join the team.” Sometimes, certain franchises are even set up for fan fiction.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU START!
Unless you’re just doing a writing exercise to hone your chops, I strongly suggest you investigate before you dive in and start writing fan fiction! You could put out a lot of effort to create a masterpiece novel, short story or whatever, only to have a team of lawyers descend on you with cease and desist orders!
Don’t waste your time.
If you don’t have your own ideas, or you’re just a super fan and want to pay tribute, do your research before you begin. Make sure that you can follow your muse without getting your hopes dashed. It’ll save a lot of effort and disappointment.