Monday, July 5, 2010

Fan Fiction

Yes, fan fiction. Ever heard of it? Anyone else find this subgenre as enjoyable as I do? ;)
Before I go on, I guess I should define the term itself, because there can be confusion on occasion. An author inspired by a particular book who consequently writes something similar is NOT a fan fiction writer. Fan fiction occurs when an author takes a classic novel and expands on the original story and characters.
It can come in the form of sequels to a famous novel, like Stephanie Coles The Phantom Returns, modernizations, like Debra White-Smith’s Romance and Reason (originally Sense and Sensibility), remixes that suggest the story was told wrong, like many of the stories suggesting the “wicked witch” was misunderstood, or retellings of the original story from a different character’s point of view, like Janet Alymer’s Darcy’s Story.
I have become a great fan of fan fiction, particularly the Jane Austen version. Why? Because I want more! Jane only wrote six novels…that’s it! But through the world of fan fiction I can experience Austen again in whole new ways. :)
The genre actually started in 1914 when Sybil Brinton wrote Old Friends and New Fancies. She basically took all the characters left unmarried at the end of Austen’s novels and twisted them into existing Austen plots. So, for instance, Georgiana Darcy finds herself in the position originally occupied by Emma, as she tries to set up a romance for a friend, only to end up the object of affection. The Fitzwilliam Darcy; Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aidan is considered by many in the fan fiction world to be the pinnacle of the genre. It is another retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's point of view, but adds a unique layer by weaving in the historical context of the time area. England, it seems, was a much more volatile place than the originals portray. ;) This is not to say that all fan fiction is good. Authors who turn Austen’s stories into erotic novels still boggle my mind. :P
Fan fiction is of course not limited to the Austenphiles. ;) As of yet I have not tried out Phantom of the Opera fan fiction, but I am tempted, partly just because I love that they call it “Phan Fiction.” Oh, come on, you know that’s cute. :)
I’ve also discovered that there is a great deal of fun in writing fan fiction. Yes, I’ve given it a shot. I picked out a small character in a famous novel whose ending I did not find satisfactory. It was both fun and challenging to look at the world from her eyes.
So, have you read or heard of any good fan fiction lately? Or, more importantly, have you ever read a book and found yourself thinking, “I would have done that differently.”

12 comments:

Diane said...

I've often had that sense of sadness over a character not ending in the way I had hoped. Interesting genre to pursue. :O)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I have only recently become intrigued by the fan fiction genre. I want to read Pride and Prejudice so I can read the new zombie version. I've been surprised by its rave reviews. :-)

Brianna said...

Nope, I've never read any fan fiction...ever. I'm glad you defined it, because otherwise I wouldn't have known what you were talking about! LOL!

Every time I read a book I almost always think to myself, "I would have done such and such differently." It might be something as small as how a sentence was structured, to the layout of a scene, or even the book's entire plot! Nevertheless, I always find something to criticize. LOL! That habit probably spawned from the way I treat my own writing. I've always told myself I'd probably make a good editor... ;-) Slaying typos and making paragraphs run as smooth as silk (I hope) are what I do best!

Karen said...

Oh, sure, I want things to conclude the way I see it, but that's why there's so many books, right?

Jules said...

Like you, I'm sorry that Jane Austen didn't live long enough to write more books. I've read one of hers that she left incompleted and another author finished (can't remember the name) and the first one in the Fitzwilliam series. I enjoyed both. However the 'sequel' to 'Gone With the Wind' (again can't remember the name) was a huge disappointment and not sympathetic to the original in my opinion.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Diane: I just don't understand some writers and why they can't be nice to their characters! LOL

Shannon: I highly recommend reading P&P. In fact, a lot of fan fiction is best after reading the orginal first (though I think the best of the best ought to be able to stand alone.;) As to Zombies..I just don't know... ;)

Brianna: Well, I know you don't read a lot of classical Euorpean fiction, which is mainly what fan fiction tends to center around, so that might be why you haven't heard of it. ;)
I like the phrase "slaying typos." Yes, you might make just as good and editor as you do writer. :)

Karen: Yes, yes! I guess most of us always think things ought to be done a little diferently. ;)

Jules: I had not heard that someone finished Jane's unfished novel. I shall have to look into that! I have not read the Gone with the Wind sequel, but I must agree, if if the new author changes things, they should remain true to some things in the original. :) Hope you are doing well!

Karen Lange said...

I don't recall reading any fan fiction but I am not opposed to it if it is done well:) I have read a book or two or three that I thought I would have written differently.
Blessings,
Karen :)

Alexandra said...

If you're talking fanfiction, the biggest example would be the Phantom musical "Love Never Dies", which was based on the fanfiction sequel "Phantom of Manhattan". It opened...uh, in April, I think. Now, personally I think it was a terrible, horrible, very bad, cliched, just "UGH" plot and I like to pretend it never existed (don't get me started on it), buuuuut you know...it's amazing where fan fiction can go.

Seeing as how I am just fine with how POTO ended (I like to think he died of a broken heart ala the book), sequels aren't that big a deal for me. BUT I do love Jane Austen fan fiction.

I guess the Little House series (the ones about her mother and grandmother and whatever) would kinda be that...maybe.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

OKAY, to start with Blogger is only letting me see Alexandra's comment! :( No clue where the rest of you went!

Alexandra: I had heard of POM, but upon the ground of your word I shall have nothing to do with it! LOL Though, personally, I feel so bad for the Phantom and I would like to see him happy...Yeah, I'm an incurable romantic. ;)
Considering there is even such at thing as P&P and Zombies proves there are no bounds to fan fiction! ;)

Cara said...

Oh wow, I have never heard of such a thing. It sounds interesting though - and I really, really like the idea. :)

(LOL I got a big kick out of 'Phan Fiction'. :D That is too funny!)

There are a couple books I just love, love, love. Love everything about them EXCEPT FOR... right. ;) And quite a few I've read that I felt something I read could have been awesome, 'if only... '

When you mentioned a "small character in a famous novel whose ending I did not find satisfactory" I immediately thought of that poor
(I don't even remember her name - she was a VERY small character lol)
beggar girl in Les Miserables who fell in love with Marius...
I love the book, but I am really feel for her. She has nothing, no hope,,. and I think he (Victor Hugo, not Marius) ;) ended up starving her? I'm always like, hey, just because she's a 'gamin' or whatever it is he calls them... she's still a person for goodness sake!! I guess he was trying to accurately portray the times... but still! :P :/

(I haven't read that book recently so if I'm not remembering everything quite exactly right... please forgive me. I know that is a terrible sin in the writer's world.) ;)

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Whew! I can see my commenters again! :)

Karren L: It can be a double edged sword because people can change books you love as well. ;)

Cara: LOL, fear not. We all forget the details here and there. But as far as I can tell you've got a good fan fiction potential there...I recommend you find out her name first, though. LOL

Allie said...

I love writing fan fictions! There is actually a website full of them where people write them and post them online. One of my favorite fan fictions is Wicked (but I've only seen the play :P ).