Rant #4: Fanfiction Hurts

Erik talks to the kiddos about the dangers of fanfiction.

One thought on “Rant #4: Fanfiction Hurts

  1. I have bones to pick with this rant, b utI think I can narrow them to two points. Besides that, I want to start this comment by agreeing to something you said, in a backwards, half-assed sort of way.

    I *do* think fanfiction is somewhat of dirty secret, not to the extent that you’d have to go to the priest about it in confessional (and consequently get arrested for), but it’s basically your porn: Don’t talk about it to your family, coworkers, or friends not into it. And even on that last one, take caution.

    And especially don’t put your name on it (but I’d assume that most people reading this wouldn’t be online attaching their name to every fucking thing).

    Now as to my… disagreements with this rant, they’re a bit broad and I’d have to go into detail with it all so I’ll sum it up fast so you can ignore the rest of it if you want to.

    1. You’re writing about fanfiction from your viewpoint *outside* a fandom (or fandom in general), which is a huge HUGE difference, in my opinion.
    2. The idea of originality trumping working with preconceived universes and characters is such a way that they are instantly limitations and/or shortcuts is baffling to me.

    Ok, so that was still wordy, but if you got all that, I guess you can stop reading now.

    I have to establish one thing here before I go too far: fanfiction is targeted towards the fans- It’s what it says on the tin.
    It’s for the people who have enjoyed a work and want to connect with other who also enjoy it and play with it some more. I’ll admit, this expression of the attitude does make it niche and hard to access for the person not interested in fanfiction, but it is by no means above critique.

    For example: Your mom and your friends may think and tell that picture you drew 2 years ago was really great, but just go to an art critique forum or a studio class on drawing in college- there’ll always be a few glad souls willing to tell you that Susie has animu eyes that make her look like a grotesque bug and that horse looks like the love child of a beagle and a pig. But you have to look for it and not be afraid of the response you’ll get.

    Sturgeon’s Law, as always, will rule supreme, and that extends to critique. Good critique won’t just fall into your hand: You need to hunt it down, go to the appropriate channels for your fanfiction. And they are out there.

    And if anything, I think working with premade characters and universes and general plots are limitations that test your creativity, if done correctly.

    The established characters/universe/ should be paired with the right plot to ensure the resulting conflicts are something the audience will be engaged in. Established rules and boundaries don’t equal shortcuts., no more than originality guarantees hard work and deep thought.

    Think of it like chess. Yes, the pieces, and boundaries are established but that doesn’t mean there’s no point in playing it twice. The general rules need to be maintained so that the player still knows what game they’re playing, but that still leaves room for the look and the moves of the game to be changed.

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