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.”