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Why is Fanfiction Considered "Bad"?

Despite their frustrating nature to many, the fact is that stereotypes almost always have a grain of truth at their center. A stereotype is a generalization, and a generalization would not exist if there wasn't some evidence supporting it. The generalizations about fanfiction is that they're typically unoriginal and poorly-written by pre-teens and teens who can't take criticism and think they're awesome. And while there are many brilliant fanfiction writers out there, the truth is the stereotype has much more evidence than they would like to be taken seriously. There are a lot of very poorly-written and unoriginal fanfics out there.

But the question is, why fanfiction? Why is it that this piece of creative expression in particular finds itself with such a massive portion of rough compared to diamond?

The first is the fact that not everyone takes to writing and creating naturally. Some people do it really well by instinct, creating stories that flow and are interesting, enough that maybe even the occasional cliche and overused concept can pass by without too much comment. Then there are others who struggle with coming up with their own ideas and struggle even more with fitting sentences together so they work well. Some may actually manage to develop their own concepts and get going on them, but suffer from many of the mistakes of amatuer writers, such as awkward syntax, spelling and grammatical errors, cliched plots and poor characterization, among other things. These things reign eternal, something that critics of fanfics often forget. Fanfiction alone does not a bad story make.

However, it does have this downside. Many times, fanfiction can be seen as an "out" to those who are struggling with their own ideas. Instead of making up their own universe for their heros and heroines to struggle through, they can use ones created by J.K. Rowling, George Lucas, The Walt Disney Company, C.S. Lewis, or any of the other sources many fanfiction authors use as inspiration for their work. Instead of working at developing their own characters, some - though not all - decide to take and work with the characters they enjoy watching or reading about. The cliches are still there, but because of their setting, the seem amplified. Poor characterization is immediately noticed by other members of the fandom who know the characters as well as the author.

Another problem that plagues fanfiction is when the universe and characters are overly manipulated to suit the author's desires. If a fan is not satisfied with something in their fandom - such as a relationship they disagree with or dislike or a plot twist that they didn't want to happen - many fans will try to write the story the way they wish it to be. Not always is much care or skill taken in such instances. The author of fanfics such as these may be in such a hurry to change what they disapproved of that they forget that there's more to a good story. Others may neglect to notice or care that the idea of a relationship between two canon characters that they're so fond of would be totally against what each character would normally do (thus the phrase "Out of Character" or "OOC"). Thus, the characterization seems poor. There's also the fact that if one fan has thought of this idea that they wish to change, there are likely several thousand who had the same idea. If just a fraction of those all write fanfiction based on the idea, then what's left is a pile of fiction based on one idea, enough to make it seem overdone.

A variation on this theme is the infamous self-insert, where the author puts either themselves or a character representing them into the story. This idea is associated with bad fanfiction in particular because the idea is so incredibly overused and so often misused to give the author the pure limelight or enact some fantasy the author has had, such as relationships with main characters or villians, or being the hero of the story in question. Oftentimes self-insert characters that are subject to their creator's fantasies will also be subject to Mary-Sueism or Gary-Stuism, given people's general inability to judge how they themselves would act realistically in a given situation. Instead, they revert to their ideal reaction, and thus attain the flat "perfection" that makes Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus so looked down upon.

The culmination of all this is that the few genuinely good fanfiction pieces out there are underappreciated and unknown. They are so outnumbered by poor and mediocre pieces that instead they are unfairly labeled and treated with contempt. What with all of the problems plaguing fanfiction, one would think that the truly great and original pieces of fanfiction are an even bigger achievement than if an author did the same with their own story. The guidelines to being great are tougher, and appreciation harder to come by.

The thing that we as artists must applaud is their determination to take their work so seriously, and to do things that they enjoy despite the negative stigma. They are part of a form of self-expression that is subject to such an unfortunate combination of situations that it is hard to shine. But they do it anyway. And after all, isn't the joy of creating what self-expression is all about?
Add a Comment:
fefe46 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
1. There's no such thing as an "original" fanfiction. 2. It infinges the original author's copyright. 3. There's too many stories following the same bland fomula. Have a nice day.
Rolllover9 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015
I agree with you. I've read many a GREAT fanfiction, after searching through many shitty ones of course. but too many people hate on fanfiction when they know little about it
Winter-and-Tintin Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student General Artist
What about crossovers?
See, I'm more a fan of the crossover part of Fan-fiction and Fan-art rather than some of the other parts of said genres. I used to make such huge crossovers the characters would get away from me sometimes, and I'd have to find them somewhere in the story. But the reason I ask about crossovers is because 1) It's never mention whether or not it contributes to the stereotype, and 2) It does show some creativity in a genre that is not considered greatly creative. Like I said, I love crossovers, and I can come up with a few that may or may not be written already that would have great potential.
I also ask about the OOC because (as someone who writes fan fiction) I do love to twist characters. However, I do it in a way where there's either more backstory or it fits the situation or personality needed. I don't do it to fit my desires as an author- rather, I do it to fit the story. Hell, I'd twist myself to fit the story in such a way where I'd be nothing like a Mary-Sue. I actually have an example. If I were to be placed in-say-a Creepypasta fan fic, I would not want myself to act too unrealistically. I would scream and run, be nervous at any sound depicting danger, and may even get out the first chance I get. It wouldn't be anything heroic, and if it was, It'd be sarcastic and insincere.
I'll also take the time to say that the *insert author here* stories are actually defendant on the author themselves. I admit I'm a fan of inserting myself into stories I make, but it's usually my alter ego Winter or my counterpart Lillianne. They have flaws, and most of the time the limelight isn't always a good one, usually showing their insanity or their flaws more clearly than the perfections. But that's me. I'm not every author of Fan-fiction. The people who DO use it as a means of limelight and attention are more likely than not looking for escape. I had a friend who indulged in putting herself in fan fiction, and she described her life as something a little more hellish than I believed at the time. It's something like RPG's, only you're writing it. I'm not saying it's all good and dandy, but it's more a matter of who has the controller and what intentions they have.
With this I say good bye, and I'm sorry for wasting your time explaining my thoughts on this
Emosaspeen Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
Its not really bad, per say, unless it really is bad. All it really is, is a mythical story about your favorite people, such as friends, people you ship, YouTubers, etc.
GhostNinjaART Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Student General Artist
I know right
WhIppIng-b0y Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
Interesting read ya got there. I right write fanfiction as well, but never gave thought as to why. Hm.
Aliswonderland101 Featured By Owner May 18, 2014
Only bad fanfiction is considered bad.
ulathorne201 Featured By Owner May 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been writing fanfiction for ten years. I recently took a creative writing class and though they didn't say fanfiction was was wrong, I noticed that I had difficulty with some of the projects I had to work on. I was so petrified of delving into a world I created through writing because I spent more time on the worlds other authors created. I met a real author, who actually advised me to try to work on some original fiction because fanfiction can hinder your imagination. Instead of feeling that I could express myself, I was constantly questioning my every move on a level my peers in class found confusing. I don't have anything against fan fiction, but I decided to quit for some time. I think that it is a good way to start, but I believe that there may be a time where you have to start exploring original fiction. 
Reeeeeeeeeee Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
I've found that fanfiction has let me explore genres and different ideas and characters without having to worry about plot and those characters collapsing around me.  I went into fanfiction unable to write humour or romance, and while I still need work with writing those genres for original stories, I found that fanfiction is a great starting point.  

Add in the large community of unique readers?
It's great.  I've had hundreds of people review my stories, and other 100,000 read them. Fanfiction is amazing for continuing to expand my ability for writing.
Miistical Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Student Writer
I myself am a FanFiction write, and have been for almost a year now. I have to say, maybe it's just in my own fandom (I belong to many, but I usually stay in the Hetalia: Axis Powers fandom) or I just don't take notice of these things, but there is almost no negative feedback. No one flames another. I go to, and so maybe it's the website you use. All the stories that people come up with have different styles and different ways of capturing your attention, using certain plot lines or characters you especially like to read about. It all boils down to your own preference, because while, yes, there will be some worse off fics, you can easily find one that suits your fancy.
Haku-chii Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013
Say what you want, but writing and reading it can be as fun as heck! :)
Wisprsinthedrk Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I was reluctant to try my hand at fanfiction for many of the reasons listed above. The idea just seemed like it would make me more pathetic, that it would hinder my writing. After finally committing to starting one, however, I found that it was a great outlet and helped me structure plots (a thing I've always had trouble with). I still mostly avoid checking out most of the fanfiction I see, because I feel the bad writers far outnumber the good ones, but at least I realize the good ones are out there.
Stitchpunk89 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Please read my journal entry if you may. :(
Nbbren Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I myself write crossover fanfiction but I feel as if it I'm pathetic for it. I want to believe fanfiction can be art like what Alan Moore does with LOEG and Lost Girls but I don't really know for myself at the moment.
Callian31 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015
It's not pathetic. I think fanfiction is like any other story. Except you're just taking a preexisting fictional world and putting your own spin on it.
CMNProductions Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've also seen people who fit the stereotype try to tell people that the stereotype is a good solid fact. For example, one of the stereotypes is that most fanfiction is erotica and I've seen people who write and read primarily in the erotica genre say that most of the fanfiction out there is in fact erotica. Most of it isn't.
FMAWhovian23 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is true. There are very badly written horrible fanfics out there, but there are also good ones. It just gets on my nerves that some people think its just sooooo horrible just because they heard a rumor or read just one fanfic that wasn't good. I myself am a fanfiction writer, and I am a pre-teen, but I have gotten 100 positive reviews on my fics. So apparently, I'm a good writer.
Rememberbeforeforget Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist
This is actually a very touchy subject. But I agree with you, Fanfiction alone does not a bad story make. FanFiction does in fact require some research before writing/editing, and most of them are just for fun. This is probably what critics usually miss. Some writings are just for fun, and are not really made to be (professionally) taken seriously. It's not the fact that they want to steal the plot and characters, but it's more like exploring the possibilities of 'What If?'.

I probably wouldn't even start writing if it weren't for Fanfiction. And I've come quite a way since the time I started to write when I was eleven. There hasn't been much improvement, but it's a start.
MaySins Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
I totally agreed w/ the self insert fan fiction. It's quite common to see that. Often times, I see people accidentally writing about themselves instead of the character, like projecting themselves onto the characters. It's quite disturbing to say at least. I have to say this though: If you see bad writing, be constructive by giving them the criticism they need. Don't just say "You SUCKKKKK!" That doesn't help at all by crushing someone's dignity. Be helpful by pointing out the mistakes.

For example, when you read fan fiction from Avengers fandom and Superfamily AU, some of fanfics remind you of how it would be like to read 50 Shades of Gray 2.0. Most of the time, the writers don't put said, and they just put muttered, grumbled, sighed. I mean, this is not good writing. How can you talk when you are sighing? I also notice that people loves to explain than show in the fan fictions. They keep putting exposition sentences, but not showing the audience how the characters are acting. One major problem about the fan fiction writers is that they are trying to sound smart by writing long clause when one word is good enough. I never get that.
SwimProductionsArt Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for posting such a great inside regarding fanfiction.

I love to write FanFiction. It allows me to write a story involving my favorite characters in ways that normally never happened in the canon as a whole. As an outlet for my writing, I spend a good amount of effort and time when I actively write these stories.

In my opinion, the dreaded Self-Insert Fan-Fiction is actually more or less one of the most fun things to write.

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, it is possible to write a good Self-Insert story. Writing a story with yourself interacting with characters in a fantasy world allows the writer to get a feel of what it would actually feel like to be in the adventure. It is no longer a story that you are observing through an external point of view, but instead it is a chance to become a part of that world and convey a tale out of that experience which you crafted.

I have read some very good Self-Insertion FanFictions. There was one that inspired me to write the stories that I do today.

It was a Kingdom Hearts Fan-Fiction called "The Interference" by a user named Newbie-Spud.

The main problem that I see with people and writing these kinds of stories is that, they don't take the time to plan out and develop character that is believable. Their character is perfect and unbeatable. Any kind of wrong course of action said character makes is justifiable to the means of the original character the author created.

Every time I see a story on with this kind of writing I just say to myself Bull F****** Shit.
Now I don't like to brag or boast about my characters in my stories, but I know by an easy comparison that my self-insertion character is more believable.

I'm currently writing a Spyro Fan-Fiction following the last game of the The Legend of Spyro Series. My character who is a human of the same name (Surprise! Surprise!) that ends up tossed into the mix of some gigantic plot involving weird creatures never before seen and new hidden enemy which is the main driving antagonist behind it all. The story focuses on 'myself' character for a good chunk of the plot while still equally playing out the story with the main heroes of the game.

I'm wanting to make a point in finishing this story that self-insertions (and of course FanFiction as a whole) actually contains good quality stories by young writers. It's easy to tell when somebody puts effort into a story as compared to somebody who just puked up vomit and slapped onto Microsoft Word labeling that as quality writing.
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The other main cause of fail fanfic is that unlike, say, television or novels, the bad stuff doesn't get filtered out. If you write a bad TV show, nobody will air it. If you write a bad novel, nobody will publish it. Bad fanfic doesn't have any barriers.
AuroraBluewolf Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
I just wanted to thank you for writing this. It set me back on my path after i was seriously thinking of basically vanishing from the internet. I just wish that people would try to read the entire work, instead of skimming through and getting the gist of what the artist was trying to convey. I've had that issue with some criticism, which I tried to take in the best respect until the blog that mentioned it decided to belt out personal remarks towards me that had nothing to do with the story.

But anyways, thank you for politely pointing out where improvements need to be made in basic writing. We all have to start somewhere.
Mindslashed Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
I've found that the percentage of diamond to rough is the same in original fiction and fan fiction. I've read plenty of terrible stories that were regular fiction, and had the same problems with the authors (couldn't take criticism, convinced of their own awesomeness etc).

My biggest personal issue with fan fiction, is knowing first hand how much work goes into writing original fiction, and that truly great pieces take a piece of their author with them... that fan fiction feels like an outright slap in the face. It says to me, the author, that my ideas, my story, my characters, weren't good enough. And that someone else thinks they know them better, and feels entitled to re-write and play with them.
It almost feels like having your art stolen from you.
5aq Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You just made me write a character sheet to reference to when writing my fanfiction. So now hopefully I won't forget what makes characters, well, characters.
EmissaryofFire Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012
Because slash fiction is EVIL.
EmissaryofFire Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012
but also because your average fanfic is usually the work of a "budding" writer (using that loosely), who doesn't have enough experience to know about advanced techniques like "proper spelling", "good grammar", and "decent characterization".
EmoWaffles12 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Student General Artist
I know!

I get sick of the negative stigma attached to fan fiction.

Especially when tweens and thirteen-year-olds are automatically stereotyped as nerds who have no social life, have an unhealthy obsession, and suck at grammar and spelling (or are just too lazy to look over it).

I'm a fanfic writer around that age myself. I write Invader Zim fan fiction, but it's probably Sueish, because there's CanonxOC in it (it's been scorned since the whole idea of fan fiction started). Oh, well. I'll just kill my OC off at some point without a funeral scene afterwards. And she will STAY dead, too.
TimeToBeMe Featured By Owner May 13, 2012
I write fanfiction myself (check me out: AngelGirl569) and I have experienced some negative attitudes towards fanfiction in general. I consider fanfiction to be a bit like creative writing in English class. It's an interesting and fun way to show your love for a story while practicing your story skills. Fanfiction is also a good way, I think, to keep your imagination working when you just don't have time to sit down and try to think of a good story from scratch. You make some interesting points here, I'm glad someone is finally addressing this.
Imaginatik Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Nice article, I'm writing a fan comic myself, mostly just to test what I can do and for fun :) It think this will help a lot!
fille-de-druide Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
I enjoyed your article, and found it to be highly accurate in many respects. I would like to point out another use for fanfiction that I haven't really seen talked about in all of these comments, and that would be what I generally use it for (not that you'll find any of my fanfic's here). To test my characters. To run them through situations that they may or may not happen to them to see how they respond. I like to see how far I can push my characters and what I can get out of them when I do.

Ultimately, they will be used in their own original stories. In their own little world. A few of the fics that I've worked on have been to use others characters to see how they responded, and to see what to expect from my world when seen through the eyes of a stranger to whom the place is not natural. I realize that this isn't necessarily a common usage, and I can understand why. But I seriously doubt that I'm the only one.
medreaming Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2010 interesting point of view on thing. Fanfics are not inherently bad, just a lot of them are. I've read a few pretty decent ones myself, though I've never written one.
DinoM6 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009
Hmm... writing fanfiction is a total waiste of your time.
It will not generate revenue!
redconvoy Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
If I continued to "waste" my time writing my fanzine for the Transformer fandom, I could have been picked up as a writer for the Transformers comics for IDW. Where do you think those artists and writers came from?
Kitsufox Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009  Professional General Artist
But what if you write for pleasure, not revenue? Money dosen't drive all things.
DinoM6 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2009
Well... if you are writing a fanfiction, then you are actually using their plots, ideas and pretty much everything. So, to get creative, you will need to write your own story / book. That way, your mind can think a little more and your writing skills will improve!
Curious-Insanity Featured By Owner May 11, 2010  Hobbyist
a lot of stories are AU with their own plot etc, just the characters are the same
others, like what i write, keep the characters in character, have my own original characters and a compmletely original plot
fanfics are fun to read and fun to write
what you don't understand is that a lot of fanfics are very original minus the obvious facts
so next time you insult someone, make sure you've got you're facts right
also, what Kitsufox said
DinoM6 Featured By Owner May 13, 2010
You never read the Copyright acts do you? If you don't understand this copyright world. Why not write a short story about pokemon and let the pokemon company see it.

Guess what? They will tell you to put it down due to copyright on their characters and plots.

Curious-Insanity Featured By Owner May 14, 2010  Hobbyist
pft, read copyright crap? as if!
but seriously i'm not all that in to pokemon
if you don't like fanfiction then leave the people who do alone, its our choice, its not our fault we're more into the series or whatever than you are
Kitsufox Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2009  Professional General Artist
There are times when people write and it's not about improving your skills. Sometimes people write to simply /enjoy themselves/. Nothing more.

Some people write fanfiction to revisit worlds they love in a new way. Some people write fanfiction to test thier abilities at characterization. There are writing careers in which the ability to pick up characters developed by others and be able to stay accurate to them while developing them in a boon (Those book series written by multiple authors, movie and television series).

I've seen incredibly creative fanfiction out there. Maybe they used someone else's seeds, but many fanfiction authors are perfectly creative people.

Many writers begin writing fanfiction, and it serves as a springboard as they explore the idea of writing, and begin to learn story construction. Just because it's not the epitome of high art, or done simply because the author feels like revisiting a world, dosen't diminish the value of the piece.

Dismissing it as a waste of time demeans whatever pleasure the author, and those people who enjoyed it, got from the work. Do you dismiss the re-imaginings of classics like Romeo and Juliet or the Matter of Britain legends out of hand as Fanfic and less creative because they have source material?

In the same vein you must have to dismiss anything "based on a true story" as less creative because they had source material and characters, too.
Stargide Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2009
I would like only to say this i have ritin a fan fic this is the only time in my entire life i espirde to enything no i cant spell good i dont no the proper gramers and the sentinses go but i put onist woerk in what i did i now iv made mistaks more than can be counted but at least i tride and didint just fade out like evryone els and i intend to ceep going even if pepole don't like it becus i enjoy it
Jeysie Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
My personal experience with fanfic writing: I'm a super-short story writer who rarely writes anything more than 1000 words long. I've tried coming up with completely original ideas before, but... when trying to come up with something "real world" based, it seems like I never come up with anything that hasn't been done before by writers much better than I am. And inventing my own universe just for the sake of a 1000-word story seems like overkill. (I do have a universe I've been slowly inventing, but for the fun of it, not because I think I'll ever be able to write in it.) And if I'm going to just use some generic scifi or fantasy universe with no real backstory behind it... well, it kind of feels like change just for the sake of being different. Using generic "original" characters instead of already existing ones doesn't really add anything to the story.

Basically, ironically, writing fanfic makes me *more* unique and creative with my ideas, because there's a lot of ideas within that universe that haven't been done yet. I have a better chance of thinking up an idea that hasn't already been done by the pros.

If I was a novel-writer, then I'd concentrate more on trying to develop wholly-original ideas, because it'd be worth it then, but since that's not the case, it's just not a high priority for me. I'll gladly write any original idea I ever come up with, but I'm just as happy if I end up only writing fanfic ideas.

Plus, my roleplaying group makes up their own universe and characters all the time. And once you step outside that initial design aspect, any writing done ends up being no different in technique than fanfic would be.

My thoughts on writing in general: I agree with you that all of the problems you've listed are problems that occur in writing in general, not solely in fanfiction.

Unoriginal ideas, bad characterization, Mary Sues, poor plotting... these happen just as much in original writing. And the reason why there's so much bad fanfic is because there's a lot of bad writing in general. People think that because the technical act of writing sentences on a screen or on paper is easy, writing itself is easy and anyone can do it. So everyone *does* try to do it, and you get, well, a lot of drek.

Heck, even the pros are guilty of this. =P (*points at the many movies and games out there with horrible writing, and the fact that scriptwriters rarely ever get as much credit as the directors and actors... assuming the director or progammer didn't just try to write the story themself to begin with because "Anyone can write a story".*).

So in short (too late?) I agree that the fact that fanfiction gets dumped on frequently is unfair.
Kuwaizair Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
because it dosen't help in ones own world buuilding?

I guess.

I mean if someone wants to be published it is harder to publish fan-fiction.
EarthPhantomTS Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009   Writer
One other thing: it's always been kinda odd that fanfiction has this rep in the wake of fanart in general (I mean, you do hear people hating on tracing, and sadly, even lumping it in with legitimate fanart, but not to the degree that fanfiction is being "stoned", so to speak). Maybe part of the reason for that has to do with the fact that a picture can be looked at and judged as "good" or "bad" almost instantly, but a work of writing has to be read in its entirety before such a judgment can be made, so people feel like a bad fanfic makes them waste more time than any other type of bad fanwork does?

And, yes, here's another who agrees with you! Although, at the same time, I feel like, if you're going to put it up where anyone can see it, put the time into it to make it so you won't be embarrassed with it, you know? And, generally, a self-insert can be cathartic, but you don't really want people going through your medical records, do you? And, deep down, netizens don't want to do that, either. Same deal with self-insert Sues; putting a Mary Sue (yes, it's genderless, believe it or not =P!) into your story and posting that is kinda like putting your medical records online, the way I see it.
NintendoGal55 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
You definitely pose some good arguments here! :nod: This was well written and very true.

I myself am a fanfiction writer, I have fun with it and I find myself pretty decent with it. My friends and my family support me and I've done it since I was about 12 now. It's a lot of fun, I really enjoy it. =D

At the same time, I do have original ideas. :nod: I plan to soon publish a novel, and even write up some original short stories.
MalteseLizzieMcGee Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2009   Traditional Artist
I've tried writing fanfic, but I wanted to do it properly (being a bit of a perfectionist and having read too many fan fictions that bored me to death) so I actually went and researched the darn thing. This particular fanfiction is challenging because o the ammount of original charatcers it contains: original characters can very quickly turn into the dreaded Mary Sue.
The best fanfictions I've ever read are probably 'Slaves' (Wolf's rain fanfic, some spelling mistakes, but very well written) and 'Tales of the House of the Moon' (Inuyasha)
I do absolutely despise fanfictions where a new wizard/pokemon trainer/ half demon/vampire walks on to the scene.
TALPHASETA Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
A fanfic is a way of paying respect to a certain tv show, book etc, with some origiality. A MINORTITY of fanfics are written by people who have nothing else to write about!! I can write fanfics and come up with millions of original ideas and I am sure this is the same for many people!! Everybody has the right to pay tribute to something without being made to think they have a low level of imagination!!
Gorsecloud Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2009  Student Filmographer
You're right in saying that there can be some really original fanfic ideas out there, and that many people can come up with many great ideas for orignal stories and fanfiction. I'm not claiming that fanfiction makes you unoriginal. Heck, I'm a fanfic author myself, if you haven't noticed, and I've had a heck of a lot more success in my fanfics of late than anything original I've tried to write myself. Which I guess you could say makes me guilty of the above, of using a world created by someone else as an out when my own creativity fails.

However, I disagree that a minority of the fanfics are bad, unoriginal ones. Because for every idea there is probably at least someone else who has thought of it, or will think of it. For some ideas its a lot more than that. I suppose it could depend on the fandom, but when you go to the Harry Potter or Pokemon sections of, how many "new witch/wizard at Hogwarts" or "New Pokemon trainer starting off their journey" fics (respsectively) would you see? The answer is a heck of a lot. And when an idea is used that many times, it's just not really as original anymore. You may have an interesting and original way of presenting it, but the concept itself is not new or unusual.

And yes, the stereotype sucks and it's not fair to the people who deserve to shine. Fanfiction is a particularly bad for having a negative stereotype that makes people dismiss it, despite the fact that there are a lot of diamonds hidden in the rough.

That's what this article was supposed to be about actually, to prove to critics that being a good (and I mean really good, not just "My friends all like it") fanfic author is a lot harder than being a good orignal story author.
TALPHASETA Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah. I see now O.o.
Forcestar Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2009
Fanfic has its problems, yes, but it's a great way for younger authors to get a start in writing. Having a pre-built world and characters lets them focus on description, dialogue, and plot without all the added headaches involved in creating an original world.

That said, fanfic is often good in its own right. What fanfic does is allow people to explore canon in new and cool ways. What if Darth Maul killed Obi-Wan Kenobi instead of Qui-Gon Jinn? Or what if Murtagh and Thorn captured Eragon and Saphira at the Battle of the Burning Plains?

Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to mess up fanfiction in many ways, as you've said.

Bad fanfiction gives life to the genre's stereotype. Good fanfiction enrichens the universe by giving us new ways to see it.
paintedbluerose Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2009  Student Writer
I gotta say, this applies to me. I've started in fanfic. I just wanted to try something for a bit. But now, I've also included my own writing as well. It's a nice diversion from what I used to write; it's still me as well. And well, I've seen and done some OOC stuff with the characters.
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January 26, 2009


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