By Ananya Banerjee
Fan fictions are works of fiction which are derived from an original work of fiction. It is created by the fans of that fiction where the characters and the settings are usually borrowed. It is a considered controversial since fan fictions are not authorised by the original author or their publishing team. It can be an infringement of the copyright law.
However, it does not stop people from writing fan fictions. Copyright owners rarely respond with legal action. In fact some of the authors encourage fan fictions. J.K. Rowling is one of the authors who wanted fans to continue with their work. Stephenie Meyer has put up a link to all the fanfiction based on her characters on her website. In fact, the fifty shades trilogy was a fan fiction of Twilight titled ‘Master of the Universe’. After by Anna Todd was developed from a One Direction fan fiction.
There are some authors who are against fan fictions such as Anne Rice, Raymond E. Feist and George R.R. Martin who have asked to remove any fan fictions of their work from all the websites which publish fan fictions. Fan fictions are considered unoriginal and unprofessional by some people. There are several arguments put forth by these people. Fan fictions kill creativity. It is stealing someone else’s work.
The truth is, however, that fan fictions are very creative pieces of work. Sure it borrows some elements from the original work, but it allows the readers to think creatively and write the story in their own way. It is an excellent way for an amateur writer to begin his streak. Also, it gives him total freedom to write a story in a certain way.
There are many types of fan fictions. It can be a continuation of the original text. It takes the original canon and continues it by extending the work. What happens after Harry Potter defeats Voldemort? What happens in his life and in the wizarding world? What happens after District Twelve is destroyed? It requires one to be fully acquainted with the original text.
One can also take an existing story and ask ‘what if?’ this happened. The writer has the freedom to change the plot of the story and take it in a different direction altogether. What if Katherine was in the tomb all along? What if Harry was a female? What if Bella chose Jacob instead of Edward? What if Hermione was a pureblood?
Characters of a certain work of fiction can be placed in an entire different universe. This type of fan fiction is called alternate universe (AU). Voldemort and the death eaters won the war. Where would it place the golden trio? What if Damon and Stefan were figure skaters? It completely discards the main plot and hence it is very controversial.
One is free to write crossovers where one work or fiction is crossed with another work of fiction. Vampire Diaries may be crossed with Supernatural and Harry Potter may be crossed with Twilight. It can be a versus fiction where Harry Potter may be pitted against Edward Cullen, or they might help each other to achieve a goal.
The writer is free to write in a darker and edgier manner or a fluffier and light manner. He/she can go out of character (OOC). Snape can be written as a funny character. The writer can focus on a secondary character and write the story in his/her point of view. He/she is free to write in the antagonist’s point of view and can make them be seen as the protagonist.
The writer can write his/her own original character (OC) in the story. He is free to create Harry’s sister and make her the main protagonist. Fans can include a new superhero in the Avengers fandom. Canon rules apply just as strongly to the original character as it does to the canon characters. If a new vampire is introduced in Vampire Diaries, he should not shine in the sunlight because that goes against the canon rules. One is even free to go against the canon rules by giving a proper explanation. Introducing an original character has become a popular type of fan fiction.
Fans are also free to ship any OTPs (one true pairing) they like. Harry can be paired with Draco or Astoria. Dramione (Draco and Hermione) is the most shipped pair in the Harry Potter fandom. Isolation is the most popular dramione fan fiction ever written. Different pairings can be fun and even the most uncommon pairing will have a few fans. Voldemort can be paired with Harry, Bellatrix can be paired with Hermione, Damon can be paired Katherine or with Bonnie.
Fan fictions have gained immense popularity in the last few years. Even though it may not be completely legal, fan fiction websites like fanfiction.net and archivesofourown.com are flooded with fan fiction of various fandoms. It can make one a good storyteller by giving him/her immense freedom. It gives the writers freedom from all the market expectations. They can write what they want; they don’t have to make it appeal to the masses. Fan fictions require one to think in a different way. The fan fiction communities are the most helpful and encouraging communities of them all. It also increases the writer’s confidence.
Fan fictions, even though controversial, are a very creative medium to express oneself. Thus, freedom of fan fiction writers is unlimited. If not faced with legal issues, it can be a good way for a writer to express himself. Reading and writing fan fictions is one way to approach critical thinking and it can increase one’s creativity.
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