Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Whole New Fan-fictional World

Fan Fiction. Ever heard of it? I had heard of it before, but had no idea how big the phenomenon really was until I looked it up out of curiosity.

Fan Fiction is when a fan of a movie, story, or some other medium of entertainment, decides to write a story using someone else’s characters. Usually they write about what they would like to see happen, even if it doesn’t match up with what really happens in the “official storyline”. For example: a fan might write about Harry Potter falling in love with Hermoine, rather than Ginny in J. K. Rowling’s series. This story can then be posted for free on the internet where anyone might enjoy reading it. Because no money is involved, this practice is perfectly legal. There are some fan fiction writers who become so well known, they are almost as popular as the real author.

As an author myself, I found this rewriting of fiction an interesting idea. A fan fiction writer reveals what they really wanted to happen in a book rather than what the author wanted. They can be two very different things. You would not believe what I found while doing research on this subject. Almost any book will have fan fiction written about it somewhere. Just try putting your favorite title and the words “fan fiction” and see what comes up. (Warning: not all fan fiction is created equal. Some are well written—others not so much. And there are always weirdoes out there so be careful of content when you do try reading anything.) I loved Trixie Belden series when I was young, so I once tried reading some fan fiction about her. Some of it was just bizarre, but others were so charmingly written they were better than the real thing.

On one website alone I found the following numbers of fan fiction for each of the books listed below:

Sammy Keyes – 70 fan fictions
Inkheart – 334 fan fictions
Ella Enchanted – 448 fan fictions
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 782 fan fictions
Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew - 807
Percy Jackson Series – 1,143 fan fictions
Sherlock Holmes – 1,242 fan fictions
Series of Unfortunate Events – 1,315 fan fictions
Redwall – 1,591 fan fictions
Warriors Series – 4,536 fan fictions
Phantom of the Opera – 8,764 fan fictions
Lord of the Rings – 41,419 fan fictions

And the Winner is . . .
A certain boy wizard we all know and love with 376,144 fan fictions and growing.

I guess a lot of people feel they can do a better job than most authors can. So, if YOU were going to rewrite a story what would it be?


Jamie said...

The only one on that list I feel good about is the Redwall books. Brian Jacques jumps around so much, time-wise, his books are practically FanFic themselves.

I don't really support or believe in FanFic. I'm somewhat ok with fairy tale retellings, although a lot of those aren't worth my time, either.

Another one that's probably got a lot is Pride and Prejudice. I see those all the time.

Jamie said...

ps. Daphne, I beat you. HAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

I know you asked us what story we would rewrite, but let me start by expressing concern. I was surprised to see that there were so many fan fiction stories for Ella Enchanted. How could anyone think they could make it better. As far as I can tell, it is perfect. I have never read a better story than Ella Enchanted.
I'm not sure I would rewrite a story. If I don't like it, I wouldn't bother. If I like it a lot, I wouldn't want to defile the story. The author spent a long time developing the story, who am I to say I can tell it better? Sometimes, I'm disappointed because the idea behind the story is good, but poorly executed. However, if I chose to use the idea, I wouldn't use the same characters. So, no, I am not a fan fiction writer.

Raspberry said...

The recent A Posse of Princesses - especially since I will swear to having a similar idea sooner than her.
The last 3 Harry Potters. Especially the last one.
The House of the Scorpion. I would only change ONE thing. I would have him die. I know, I know, I am so morbid. But I just felt like the irony would be worth it. You know?
Meanwhile I am shocked at the presumptiveness of people rewriting the Lord of the Rings and other really really good books that they have no right to rewrite.
Of course, I feel an odd sense of motivation to go write more of my own stories as I have been neglectful lately...:)

Hirsche Family said...

I would have to agree with everything Daphne said. And I disagree with Jenny's comment about House of the Scorpion. I understand what she is saying, but I love the book as it is.

Joella said...

I totally understand the idea of fan fiction. Sometimes when I read something that is so good...I want the story to continue on (and on and on). So with stories that just make you want to re-live the story again, or specific parts of the story...it can be very fun.

If I were to write something today...I would do something with Crown Duel/Court Duel by Sherwood Smith. (Just because I just finished that and would love to live in that story for a while longer.) Other than that, Jane Austen would always be at the top of my list. (I know, I am one of those people...) :)

Karlene said...

I used to dream Star Trek TNG fan fiction episodes.

Pinky said...

Hey! cool! You are getting better than me at figuring out the background. A-N-D I can't wait for you to read to me the new Samie Keyes book. ... the book I would re-write would be "Ketura and Lord Death" ... I'm sure you could guess who she would end up with, right?

Sylwia Lipinska Hardman said...

never heard of fan fiction. thanks for educating me about it.



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