After years of hearing and reading complaints about E.L. James’s BDSM-erotica bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey – after having previously convinced myself I’d never read it – that the kinky subject matter didn’t interest me; that I didn’t want to join the global sales bandwagon; that I was too good for so-called “mommy porn” – I came to have a change of heart.
By now, most people have heard about the plan to reboot the movie Ghostbusters with an all-female cast.
Some people are really excited about it.
Others are really upset.
Like really upset, to the point of borderline self-righteousness, with words like “gimmick” and “pandering” receiving a thorough workout.
Maybe I’m just splitting hairs over semantics, but in and of itself, I don’t consider a gimmick to be a negative thing.
All marketing and media uses gimmicks or “hooks” to attract a target audience, in this case the hook being the casting women where previously there’d only been men, ostensibly to attract – at least in part – a target audience of female viewers.
We all know that feeling (and, no, the Enterprise smells just fine).
I began this examination of fan fiction in response to two online articles I stumbled across on the subject on the same day: one from Time and the other found here at Flavorwire.com. I felt inclined to throw in a bit of support for fan fiction given that I started out in my youth as a fanfic writer – something I believe has helped me develop into the writer of original fiction that I am today.
In my first two posts, I reminisced about fun times spent writing in fandoms with friends, and also looked more closely at why writing fanfic can be educational for developing writers, yet why one shouldn’t assume that all fanfic writers are developing writers.
My goal for this series of posts, however, in the same vein as both of the aforementioned online articles, is to be balanced. So, having already covered the good of fan fiction, we now come to the bad.
I was in grade 11 when I took my first, much-loved, creative writing class. Except, I don’t actually believe that was my first class. I think writing fan fiction gave me a far earlier education in writing craft.
I truly do believe this, for writing fanfic offered me ready-made access to what is often the most difficult part of a story to devise from scratch.
There is a saying I’ve heard, generally among those much more believing in grand Universal plans than me, that if you cross paths with the same stranger three times in a single day than you were meant to meet that person.
I haven’t met any dashing strangers of late. But one day last week, I did three times come across a topic I don’t generally have much to do with: that of fan fiction (fanfic for short), that is, fan-written stories that star the characters and settings of copyrighted creative works.