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Ice And Sugar Dust

January 27, 2014

Well I know that getting you alone isn’t easy to do
But with the exception of you I dislike everyone in the room
And I don’t wanna lie but I don’t wanna tell you the truth
Get the sense that you’re on the move and you’ll probably be leaving soon

I think about the quality of fan fiction sometimes. I saw a post on tumblr by someone working in publishing, who said that 80% of the fan fiction she reads is better than 90% of the scripts she reads for her job. Okay, so maybe I don’t remember the numbers exactly, but the point is still that she said that most fan fiction writers are way above the rate of many other so-called “writers”. This is both very good and very sad.

The good part is, of course, that we can establish that fan fiction writers are writing real quality literature. They use their spare time to write high-quality literature, and how often have I been up until 3 am to read a 100,000 word fic? Lately, more often than I sit with a proper physical book. (This doesn’t mean that I think the literature that is actually published is bad, my point is the opposite, really.) This means that these writers (which I will call them from now, because that’s what they are) lead their ordinary lives all day, and come home and serve us amazing pieces of literature that often have huge audiences impatiently waiting for the next chapter. How amazing is that? So for all of these writers to get some acknowledgement is way overdue, because fan fiction is truly a genre in itself.

The sad part, then, is that there is still no real recognition for fan fiction. This being of course because it’s based on pre-existing literary universes (here throwing in movies, tv series, theatres and whatnot). Yet, some of our greatest literary works – Virgil, Dante – are basically versions of fan fiction. Dante even writes self-insert fan fiction, generally shamed in all circles of fan fiction. So my point here is that people feel that fan fiction is a sort of shameful hobby, where you leech on the works created by others. But the most important thing is that this is completely wrong! How many fan fictions aren’t completely different alternate universes, with completely different settings? Often it demands huge amounts of real research into a time period, for instance, which is real work. Every fan fiction writer does a very difficult thing – having respect both for your own writing as an autonomous writer, and for the original, canon piece of fiction. This is a difficult balance, so in effect this should demand even more respect.

I guess my point here is that fan fiction should get the attention and respect it deserves – and if you look at several big recent works (Fifty Shades of Gray being an example of original Twilight fan fiction…) it is not impossible to get published with something that was originally fan fiction. But it is still tinged with shame, because you borrowed the ground frame from someone else’s work. Then again, isn’t all of literature in effect a cause of all that has past before it? Just a thought.

[Song: Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You | Artist: Arctic Monkeys]

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