Writing familiar faces: A discussion about YA fan fiction
Do you ever write fan fiction featuring characters from your favorite YA novels? As a devote follower of quite a few YA series, I can claim guilty on that score. Though they were posted under pseudonyms on various sites, I definitely dabbled in fan fictions featuring a number of popular characters from various series. I wrote a few “chapters” of a fan fiction imagining Hermione Granger’s life after Hogwarts as a prominent wizard diplomat who strengthened relations between muggles and magic users through medical breakthroughs in muggle science (it’s a long story). I wrote about short stories about some of my favorite characters in Twilight and the Narnia series. Heck, I’ve even written a few pages of a Hunger Gamesfanfic set at the beginning of the series.
I personally think that there’s no harm to writing a little bit of fan fiction now and then, but you might be surprised at how many popular YA writers are against it. J.K. Rowling, the mastermind of the Harry Potter series beloved by hundreds of millions of people, has famously stated that she opposes the writing of fan fiction. Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame has adopted a similarly strong stance against fan fiction. To me, it seems like they oppose fan fiction because it alters the original path that the authors had intended for their characters. An author who writes a fanfic where Ron and Hermione never fall in love would be in effect rewriting the Harry Potter series that we all know and love.
There’s a big difference between fan fiction that reimagines the original story and that which continues it. The example I described above with Ron and Hermione would be an example of reimagination, and I can certainly understand how that would make authors upset. In that sense, fan fiction could almost be considered a form of literature piracy.
While I don’t promote fan fiction that tries to rewritea particular YA novel, I don’t see the harm in imagining what happened to characters before or after the main story. Nor do I see the harm in writing about characters that exist in the same universe. If anything, those fan fiction authors would be enriching the world brought forth by the author who wrote the YA novel, not destroying it. What’s to say there’s anything wrong with writing a Harry Potterfanfic that discusses, say, wizards healing people in muggle hospitals as an act of kindness?
The problem is that few people outside of the world of fan fiction realize that most fanfic writers fiction continues the story set forth by the original author. Most fan fiction authors are rabid fans about their source material, and they’ll put great effort into offering new and exciting chapters to the stories of our favorite characters or further exploring worlds that we came to love in original story.
Fan fiction is everywhere and it does a fantastic job of building a community of followers around a movie story. Unless they’re profiting at the original author’s expense, I see no reason why people shouldn’t be allowed to continue to write fanfics. But it will remain controversial as long as there are authors who oppose the style.
What’s your take on fan fiction? Let me know!