Fanfiction…Do you write it? Do you read it?

What are your thoughts and experiences with writing and reading fanfiction?

Writing

I write fanfiction (mostly short stories) whenever I’m inspired with an idea–either a parody or an interesting scenario. Most of my recent stories have been inspired by a jewelry piece. And I don’t plan most of those stories–they appear suddenly and demand that I wait to post the jewelry until I’ve finished writing the story.

    

The Loki staff necklace was a birthday present for my sister, so I was inspired to write a story where Loki steals the flying aircraft carrier as a birthday present for himself. For the evil snitch necklace, I wrote a few paragraphs about Draco Malfoy learning of a deadly change to the rules of Quidditch. The last one was mostly for myself. I was miffed at how the Star Wars Old Republic franchise took the storyline from the last game to the MMORPG. So I fixed it.

 Reading

I occasionally read fanfiction if I have an idea it will be good–either from a recommendation or a well-written pitch from the author.

Two I’m enjoying right now:

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Aunt Petunia married a math professor instead of Uncle Vernon, and Harry Potter is raised as a scientist by a loving family. When he gets to Hogwarts, he brilliantly combines magic and science while lamenting the lack of rational thinking among wizards…and that’s not nearly half the reason this is one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

Ensign Sue Must Die
The origin of the term “Mary Sue” was a character in a Star Trek fanfiction. So this fancomic starts with Old Spock warning Reboot Spock about Reboot Mary Sue. Once she shows up, the exasperated crew tries to figure out how to get rid of her. (As an added bonus, the sequel features the Tenth Doctor and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.)

 

Speaking of Mary Sues, what are your thoughts? (I can hardly blog about fanfiction without mentioning them, right?)

I think an overpowered character with an overdramatic past/origin can be redeemed if they’re given flaws, an interesting personality, and if they’re challenged properly. If the average superhero appeared in a novel, he/she would probably be classified as a Mary Sue if , but what makes comic books balance out is the addition of the supervillain.

4 thoughts on “Fanfiction…Do you write it? Do you read it?

  1. Lizardhound says:

    I read and write fanfiction, both in a considerable amount. Most of my stories aren’t posted, though, and only about half are written down in the first place.
    I dislike Mary Sues and Gary Stus. Mostly. Characters like Ayla (Earth’s Children series) and Katniss Everdeen are Mary Sues but work fine, Katniss more than Ayla. Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect video game trilogy is a Mary Sue/Gary Stu regardless of gender, background and reputation, but she (I play femshep only) works well anyways, especially with headcanon.
    Eilir Shepard (my canon Shep) has flaws and issues both and I think she’s a very well-rounded character all-in-all. But not being a Mary Sue when you almost singlehandedly save the galaxy is hard.
    That being said, I’ve learned to stay away from the LotR fandom on FF.net. Blatant disregard of lore, Mary Sues, slash and general shallowmindedness (Legolas is 3000+ years old, you idiots! He might not look it, but seriously! And whyever would he fall for a young human girl who does not in any way belong in Middle-Earth, let alone in the Fellowship?) such as replying to not-quite-flamers who inform you exactly what you do wrong by pressing Caps and telling tem to bugger off…
    /endRant
    Ahem. Anyways.
    I write fanfiction about anything and everything and I do my very best to stay true to canon lore. I put lots of work into my headcanon. I will also read most fanfiction if it’s well-written (and contains no obvious lore-ignoring unless it’s explained) and I do not flame.

    • Colleen says:

      The only reason I think Ayla works fine is because she’s not annoying. Otherwise she’s very much a Sue. I think the only thing that isn’t flawless about her is she can’t sing. (Ooh, someone else who’s read Earth’s Children! Is the last book any good?)

      I think you can save the world without being a Sue. What about a character with flaws, who doesn’t always get their way, and doesn’t have irrelevant talents added just for the “cool” factor? Someone who’s awkward at flirting. Someone who has cruel rivals who never get their comeuppance.

      What are some of your favorite fanfics?

  2. Kristina says:

    This topic always fascinated me (I posted another comment but I don’t think it went through so my apologies if you received both). Personally I could never get into fanfiction at all; mainly because when I channel my creativity I make my own characters and universes rather than working with something that already exists. Most of my characters I created around 2004; so they have these extreme in depth back stories and have been developed over the years. Not to mention I also draw and illustrate them; so to me I find it more rewarding when working on my own original works. I think one of my big problems as to why I cannot get into many fanfictions or writing styles in general is because I am a very detailed and descriptive person; I don’t like “letting the mind imagine”; I like heavy descriptions in reading to allow me to best see the world and surroundings; it’s kind of the curse of being an artist/ designer. Unfortunately not many writers use such heavy descriptions in their work which is why I often just cannot get into alternative stories and worlds. I write in my own way, with my own heavy descriptions. Some people like it; others might not. I turned the partial story into a comic as well to showcase my visions for the story.

    I have plenty of friends who write fanfictions; True Blood, Twilight, My Little Pony. At one point I tried to write a Pokemon story; but I felt my time would be better put to use if I focused on my own original creations. I have tried to proof and edit friends fanfictions and what not- but I could just never get into them. I tried to support them the best that I could; but I enjoy drawing out my characters then giving them in depth background stories. My novel has been in the works for 9 years + so I have a lot of personality for each one. Some of them are inspired by dreams too; like my recent character who is roughly about a year old, Agent 96, already has such an in depth background story it is kind of crazy (for the most part- based off a series of dreams I had as well). My imagination is always at a go.

    But everybody imagines things differently and puts their inspiration down in different ways. Fanfiction led one of my friends to create her own original universe so it is kind of interesting to see how writing can also evolve and how people have such different tastes. It is also kind of hard to edit fanfictions when you know nothing about the actual universes or characters the story is pulled from. At least that was one struggle I faced when trying to help edit friends work.

    I apologize for not knowing much about the topic and terminology; but I do enjoy writing and I also enjoy hearing why people enjoy what they enjoy. Why would somebody rather write a fanfiction over an original story; is it because they enjoy the universe as is? Do they enjoy the characters? Do they want to share their own “what ifs” in the universe with other fans? Perhaps they made a character which they feel fits into a particular universe/ world? What about universe crossovers? I could go on and on with questions.

    Interesting topic. Thanks for letting me think!

  3. Colleen says:

    It sounds like your detail-oriented approach would work very well for comics/graphic novels. Then people who like descriptive worlds can linger over enjoying your artwork as much as they want, while others can glance over the big picture and still appreciate it more than a sparsely-drawn comic.

    I don’t have an artistic preference for writing either fanfiction or original work, even though most of my stories are original. I see the two as different mediums, almost. I use fanfiction to easily twist a familiar world into an interesting shape, and I use original fiction to tell an interesting story, usually building the characters and setting around the idea. Though I suppose that if you’ve created a detailed world that you’re already familiar with, it’s just as easy to write about it as it is with fanfiction.

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