Writing fanfiction, yes or no?

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

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Have you ever written fanfiction or a story that was part of some else’s ‘world’? How does it differ from writing a story entirely on your own?

I haven’t written anything based on anyone else’s world, but I have taken parts of my worlds and spun them off in another direction, with characters and situations based on one series having their own, separate adventures in the same universe.

Very often, these ideas have come to me while I’m in the middle of the original story.

For example, the adventures of Dave Travise featured a minor character, an explorer called Ballantyne Alysom. Because I could see a bit of his potential, he now has his own series, which started with The Tale of Ballantyne Alysom and continues with Alysom’s Revenge (in progress).

My Steampunk stories also have a next-generation follow on. The Orphan Detectives keep Norlandia safe, years after Horis Strongman made his own mark on that countries story.

 I’ve also had an idea for a descendant of Andorra Pett to carry on the mantle; when I run out of things for her to do.

There’s a great advantage in spinning off (or producing fanfiction) as a writer, but, if you base it on someone else’s work, there’s also a trap.

The good bit, you have a lot of backstory to work from, and character development is negligible. The hard work has already been done (by you or someone else), as long as you have a good idea, that fits in with the overall style and canon of the original, you can concentrate on that.

The bad bit, if you base your story on another author’s work, you are tied into a world that is the product of their imagination. This doesn’t give you much room to manoeuvre from their canon. If you do, you could alienate the fans of the original, especially if you head off in a completely different direction, when of course it might stop being true fanfiction.

Piggy-backing on someone else’s success also means that there is always a potential for copyright issues and accusations of plagiarism. Or attracting the attention of those on social media who can’t write but can criticise. Then you need to consider the possibility of beating the original author to the publication of a new idea that occurred to both of you. And having to prove that you thought of it first.

Personally, I’ll stick to fanfiction of my own work. There’s more than enough potential there to keep me amused. And I’m less likely to run into problems.

Until next week.

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3 Responses

  1. Daryl Devore

    Yes, I agree – piggy-backing on someone’s imagination and success does have a lot of dangerous traps. I, also, would rather work from my imagination.

  2. P.J. MacLayne

    The problem with writing your own fan fiction is that you can get stagnant. I’m about ready to tackle another urban fantasy.

    • Richard Dee

      That’s right. You have to know (and accept) when a series or setting has been wrung dry.

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