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Fanfiction at its Best



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  #1  
Old September 13th, 2005, 4:42 pm
buygraphpaper  Female.gif buygraphpaper is offline
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Fanfiction at its Best

Discussion for Fanfiction at its Best by Jenna.


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  #2  
Old September 13th, 2005, 5:55 pm
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Desraelda  Female.gif Desraelda is offline
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There's a lot fanfiction can teach you without pulling away from original work. Writing is more than just a good grasp of grammar and the ability to give nice description. I'm finding that I'm challenging myself in different genres, working on new concepts and more abstract methods, and even testing out plot lines that I plan to modify with new characters in original stories (I know of at least two other writers who are doing/have done the same thing).
If that's where fanfic has brought you, Jenna, then I congratulate you and wish you success.

Personally, I just don't like people writing about characters that someone else has created so beautifully. I don't think it's right and the few fanfics I have read have taken away some of my enjoyment of the HP series. I'm over that now, but I don't want to get sucked back into it.

Thanks for writing the view from the other side.


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  #3  
Old September 13th, 2005, 5:55 pm
littlesandy  Undisclosed.gif littlesandy is offline
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[i]It is amazing the wonderful stories that I have read on a few fan fiction sites, Some are good and some are bad,none the less some of the writers are as interesting as Jo herself. As long as one realizes in Jo's book it is Jo's story,and in another the plot is that of someone else. If one dosen't like the way someone writes it is not for them to criticise another's idea, Maybe they should write their own fanfics and get it out of their system. Jenna I agree with the fact that it is all good, People have to be tolerant with other people's ideas,Or be prepared to rebuttal in their own writings. Thanks sandy


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  #4  
Old September 13th, 2005, 6:23 pm
sayre  Female.gif sayre is offline
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Good for you. I'm glad someone felt the same way I did when I read that first editorial. It's one thing not to like something, it's entirely something else to bash it.

FanFic is harmless, and the first author should look elsewhere if she needs constructive criticism.

Also -- for great fanfic stories, visit Checkmated.com.


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  #5  
Old September 13th, 2005, 6:49 pm
Jared  Male.gif Jared is offline
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Fan fiction is fiction written by a ‘fan’ or reader, without the consent of the original author, yet using that author’s characters and world. I find this to be strange, I do not like it.

What is the harm in it? Fan fiction is like any other form of identity theft. It injures the name of the party whose identity is stolen. When it’s financial identity theft, the thief can ruin your credit rating. When it’s creative identity theft, fan fiction can sully an authior's credit with their readers.

Every fan fiction I’ve read to date, based on any writer’s world, had focused on changing the writer’s careful work to suit the foible of the fan writer. Romances are invented, gender identities changed, fetishes indulged and endings are altered. It’s not flattery. To me, it is the fan fiction writer saying, “Look, the original author really screwed up the story, so I’m going to fix it. Here is how it should have gone.”

When writers write, they want to tell their story directly to you. They want you to read it exactly as they wrote it. They labor long and hard to pick the exact words they want to use, and to present their story from the angles they choose. They want it to speak to you as an individual. It must be horribly frustrating to see all that work ignored and undone by someone else ‘fixing’ it. If you don’t like the stories as they stand, I can accept that. But changing them?

For those who say: “Fan fiction is a good way for people to learn to be writers,” I say: No. It isn’t. If this is true, then karaoke is the path to become a singer, coloring books produce great artists, and all great chefs have a shelf of cake mixes. Fan fiction is a good way to avoid learning how to be a writer. Fan fiction allows the writer to pretend to be creating a story, while using someone else’s world, characters, and plot. Coloring Barbie’s hair green in a coloring book is not a great act of creativity. Neither is putting lipstick on Ken. Fan fiction does exactly those kinds of things.
The first step to becoming a writer is to have your own idea. Not to take someone else’s idea, put a dent in it, and claim it as your own. You will learn more from writing one story of your own, no matter how bad it is, than the most polished fan fiction that you write.

Just my thoughts on it. I don't claim to be an expert, nor do I wish to stop anyone from doing anything.


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  #6  
Old September 13th, 2005, 7:07 pm
sayre  Female.gif sayre is offline
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Originally Posted by Jared
Fan fiction is fiction written by a ‘fan’ or reader, without the consent of the original author, yet using that author’s characters and world.
JKRowling could stop fanfic if she wanted to. Besides, fanfic authors give credit to Jo in each and every story.

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What is the harm in it? Fan fiction is like any other form of identity theft.
You. Have. To. Be. Kidding. That could quite possibly be the most far-fetched, ridiculous thing I've ever read -- and that includes the many awful fanfic stories. Identity theft? Could you stretch the principle any farther?

Quote:
If this is true, then karaoke is the path to become a singer, coloring books produce great artists, and all great chefs have a shelf of cake mixes. Fan fiction is a good way to avoid learning how to be a writer. Fan fiction allows the writer to pretend to be creating a story, while using someone else’s world, characters, and plot. Coloring Barbie’s hair green in a coloring book is not a great act of creativity. Neither is putting lipstick on Ken. Fan fiction does exactly those kinds of things.
Who are you? This is so untrue, my mind is literally reeling. Are you seriously suggesting that we stop trying to foster our own creativity? Stop, all you children, from coloring the sky a different color. And, you awful yuppies who sing along with your radio -- how dare you. And -- using a recipe to cook dinner? Well, you might as well be stealing the chef's financial statements for all the wrong you are doing.

And then--you criticize putting lipstick on Ken? That's a nice little gay-bashing you threw in for good measure.

I couldn't possibly be more disgusted.



Last edited by sayre; September 13th, 2005 at 7:12 pm.
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  #7  
Old September 13th, 2005, 7:10 pm
Leuconoe  Female.gif Leuconoe is offline
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When will you stop taking yourselves so seriously ? When will you stop establishing stupid rules ? The sole purpose of fanfiction is to have fun. When will you understand it ? When will you stop slandering the works of the other authors ? Harry Potter belongs to JKR, not to you.
Long live fanfiction.net ! Long live the best site of fanfictions in the world ?


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  #8  
Old September 13th, 2005, 7:23 pm
Ben24  Male.gif Ben24 is offline
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Wow that was a wonderful editorial. I agree with every aspect. Very good.


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  #9  
Old September 13th, 2005, 7:24 pm
Jared  Male.gif Jared is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayre
JKRowling could stop fanfic if she wanted to. Besides, fanfic authors give credit to Jo in each and every story.



You. Have. To. Be. Kidding. That could quite possibly be the most far-fetched, ridiculous thing I've ever read -- and that includes the many awful fanfic stories. Identity theft? Could you stretch the principle any farther?



Who are you? This is so untrue, my mind is literally reeling. Are you seriously suggesting that we stop trying to foster our own creativity? Stop, all you children, from coloring the sky a different color. And, you awful yuppies who sing along with your radio -- how dare you. And -- using a recipe to cook dinner? Well, you might as well be stealing the chef's financial statements for all the wrong you are doing.

And then--you criticize putting lipstick on Ken? That's a nice little gay-bashing you threw in for good measure.

I couldn't possibly be more disgusted.

??
Gay bashing? My gay cousin would find that to be absurd. I volunteered at the Gay & Lesbian festival in San Diego last year. I support my state's referendum on allowing gay marriage. I have 2 good friends that are openly gay men, and my wife and I enjoy their company. They are great people. Not great gay people. Just great people. Period. Please do not subjectively insert your own interpretation into my words.

As I said, its MY opinion. And yes, using someone else's copyrighted works, whether for profit or not, seems odd to me. How am I stretching the principle?

I never said people shouldn't color or do karaoke. I only said that doing that well is not the same as being an artist or a professional singer and that the former actiities will not help you to become one of the latter professions. Please criticize my actual analogy. Putting words in my mouth (gay bashing, using recipies, and children coloring were never things I said, mentioned, or implied), to hold up your argument is not logical. Nor does it foster the civil exchange of ideas.


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  #10  
Old September 13th, 2005, 8:15 pm
lunatonks  Female.gif lunatonks is offline
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Fanfiction has really improved by ability as a writer and though I haven't posted on any sites being able to create your own story with out having to develop a world is great because you can elaborate on it and be extremeley creative. At the same time I have only read a few Fanfics all supporting my shippings but have heard of a few like Snape-Hermione. While I'm glad that that person has enjoyed the books enough to write their own fanfic I think a few are just not even really a fanfic any more because they have nothing to do with the canon story.
So basically Fanfic's great but some people do get a bit carried away and taint others views this is where I agree with "Fanfiction at it's worst".


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  #11  
Old September 13th, 2005, 8:39 pm
UNH_09  Undisclosed.gif UNH_09 is offline
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Originally Posted by lunatonks
While I'm glad that that person has enjoyed the books enough to write their own fanfic I think a few are just not even really a fanfic any more because they have nothing to do with the canon story.
EXACTLY. That says it right there. Thank you! This is not a fact, it's a personal opinion, and to me (and obviously you), fanfiction isn't real fanfiction unless the fanfic stays true to the canon story. I think I'd feel guilty for changing things so drastically.

"I've read writers that move me to tears in only one hundred words, because that's all it takes for them to mold words into a message. And it's not so easy to do with 'original fiction', where you have to create nameless faces. In fan-fiction, there is a world your readers are familiar with, and you can simply draw on that for a moment to write something amazing."

Do you mean in some cases it's better to take the easy way out? I know that fanfiction is easier because you already have characters and scenes established. But isn't there more of a feeling of satisfaction when creating your own? It might be more difficult, but once you get past that difficulty, it's something wonderful, and something YOURS.


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  #12  
Old September 13th, 2005, 8:40 pm
socks2  Undisclosed.gif socks2 is offline
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I guess if it's your thing, it's your thing; but I don't really like it. But I do know that it may not be such a bad way to hone your talent. Everyone, at first, imitates who they think is the best, (regardless of what they are imitating; could be writing, singing, painting, dancing, etc...), and eventually grows from there to develop their own style. It's just something that's there. You don't have to read it if you really don't want to...

I personally don't really like it, because reading other people's interpretations of the world that someone else created just doesn't leave the same flavor. It leaves sort of a weird after taste. I know I couldn't write like some of them can, and I'm sure a lot of fan fiction writers are REALLY good, and if they were to write something original, it would be really interesting, but, when it comes to reading something that has been written by JKR already, and you're used to JKR's style of writing...it's just not the same thing..


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  #13  
Old September 13th, 2005, 8:46 pm
libbypotter  Female.gif libbypotter is offline
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For me fanfiction passes the time until the next HP book, nothing more and nothing less!


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  #14  
Old September 13th, 2005, 8:57 pm
Mudblood428  Female.gif Mudblood428 is offline
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Fanfiction is not only something HP fans do for fun, it is a phenomenon now being recognized by the academic world. By publishing fanfiction on the web, writers are bypassing the publishing process, undermining it, subverting it, which has led to the implimentation of guidelines for web publication on many sites (such as dear old MNFF) that mirror those of actual publishing. This is actually a tremendous development in fiction writing overall and will be a topic of discussion at the 2006 Harry Potter Academic Conference in Las Vegas. Anyone who puts fanfiction down has to recognize that must be a formidable presence in the fiction world now for it to be worthy of analysis and study by the academy. It's a literary institution to be reckoned with and I stand by it whole-heartedly . (I also write a bit myself, so there!)


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  #15  
Old September 13th, 2005, 9:01 pm
LaceyCrane  Female.gif LaceyCrane is offline
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I agree with both this essay and the other one. I use fanfic (along with my own writing) to try to improve my skills but like with all things there is a lot of bad that comes with the good. Not every fanfic is good and not every reviewer is more then a yes-man.

I'm really interested in that group you mentioned in the essay. Can I join?


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  #16  
Old September 13th, 2005, 9:44 pm
Nackledirk  Female.gif Nackledirk is offline
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I'm glad the essayist pointed out the difference between FFN and many other fanfic sites. FFN hit its prime a couple of years ago, and then the lack of betas, moderators, organization, and, in many cases, intelligence, dragged it down into the pit of fanfiction. While there are certainly some good authors and stories still there, it's near impossible to find them. However, sites that require quality work are a much different world than FFN. Fiction Alley, SIYE, Sugarquill, Checkmated, and MNFF are all good sites that uphold certain standards.

Quote:
Fan fiction is fiction written by a ‘fan’ or reader, without the consent of the original author, yet using that author’s characters and world. I find this to be strange, I do not like it.
And authors can pursue copyright infringements if they so choose, but most do not do so due to the time and effort required, as well as the sillyness of it in most cases. Fanfic makes no profit (which is about the only reason most authors don't go after it), so it's not like you're taking bread from the author's mouth.

And JKR has seemingly given her blessing to HP fanfics several times.

Quote:
What is the harm in it? Fan fiction is like any other form of identity theft. It injures the name of the party whose identity is stolen. When it’s financial identity theft, the thief can ruin your credit rating. When it’s creative identity theft, fan fiction can sully an authior's credit with their readers.
Yet the authors allow it. And there is a certain point to 'disclaimers.'

Quote:
For those who say: “Fan fiction is a good way for people to learn to be writers,” I say: No. It isn’t. If this is true, then karaoke is the path to become a singer, coloring books produce great artists, and all great chefs have a shelf of cake mixes.
Are you actually trying to say that there was never a great singer who did karaoke, never a great artist who started out with coloring books, never a great chef who has used a cake mix? Or at least benefited, at one point in time, from doing so? You have made three unsupportable blanket generalizations. Skills must be honed. Anyway, most artists start off imitating (conciously or not) those of their profession they most admire. Particularly writers.

And whatever happened to "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery"?

Quote:
And then--you criticize putting lipstick on Ken? That's a nice little gay-bashing you threw in for good measure.
That's a nice little straw man you threw in for good measure. Agree with the fellow or not, that was quite obviously not what he was saying.


But I must say, both essays certainly present valid points.


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  #17  
Old September 13th, 2005, 9:45 pm
gooch_95  Undisclosed.gif gooch_95 is offline
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I was glad that there was a rebuttal editorial regarding FanFiction. I myself have stumbled upon the world of FF and am currently writing my own fanfiction.

For me, it's a way to be 'involved' within the HP community. I'm an adult, who loves the story Ms. Rowling has created and by my own tiny bubble of the world, I feel detached from the rest of the HP fans. (Closet Potter-holic) For example, I finished book six and didn't have a soul to discuss all the excitement, theories, etc. Now I'm sure that sounds really pathetic... I assure you I do get out, have a full busy life with kiddos to taxi, mountains of laundry, PTO meetings to attend and the like. It's just that my friends (yes, I do have them) have other interests not including HP.

I'm not big on boards, as you can see from my single digit posting history. It's hard to carry on a decent conversation when 50 other people keep popping in. So, one day out of sheer boredom (I happend to have the laundry done... it's a miracle) I discovered MNFF. I was lucky enough to come across two wonderful stories when the idea hit me. I realized that it was a way for me to 'get out' all my theories and excitement I had for the boy wizard and his world. I have never thought of it as 'stealing' or anything else unlawful. I have kept to Ms. Rowlings own rules on FF and keep in character and cannon. Granted, with the release of six, I've sadly left a cannon based story, to which I had serious doubts of continuing. I've been surprised to see that some of my 'theories' have been brought to light, an odd sort of validation, not that my purpose was to take away from the books or proclaim myself to be 'smarter' than the author, that would be putting the cart before the horse. I consider a 'good' cannon based fanfiction to be an extended editorial. Right or wrong, that's how I see it.

I really felt the need to say something on this topic. Like in anything in life, too much can be destructive, and what started out good, can become a creature all it own, leaving nothing of it's origional humble beginnings.

To me, it's strictly for entertainment and a form of communication within the HP world, always remembering, and respecting, Ms. Rowling and the story she's shared with us.


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  #18  
Old September 13th, 2005, 9:57 pm
UNH_09  Undisclosed.gif UNH_09 is offline
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You know what's interesting, is that both these editorials were written from one far side of the situation, and yet many people are taking them, and saying the author meant what they said for the general public. The editorial I wrote is from the side of a person who has encountered only the worst, and other is from the side that has encountered the best. That's it.


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  #19  
Old September 13th, 2005, 10:07 pm
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I think gooch_95 put a lot of my sentiments across already, but I just wanted to add -

I discovered Betas on hpana.com, and have since become part of the beta community on several different sites, including MNFF itself. It's true there are many fanfics and instances out there which make you wonder why people bother at all to read or write or even comment on fanfiction, but there are so many other situations exisiting, where writers are definitely being helped to improve, and providing a LOT of entertainment for fans on the way. There may be problems, but good writers try to get round them, and fanfiction shouldn't be just dismissed in one fell swoop.


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  #20  
Old September 13th, 2005, 10:22 pm
Hinoema  Female.gif Hinoema is offline
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Thank you, Jenna!

This is one of the areas that really can set me off. The bottom line isn't even about fanfiction- it's about validating one person's point of view on it.

We have, on one side, a person stating that fanfic can be a useful tool for developing skills. Good advice which the reader can use or not.

On the other hand, we have another person saying that writing fanfic is not only a waste of time, but wrong (and implicitly immoral and illegal). They claim that, in fact, unless a person uses only approved means of involvement in any creative trade that they are wasting their time. A dancer may not improve their skills by going to the club. A singer may not practice their vocals and get used to stagefright by doing karaoke. A chef may not use cake mix (which means the chef I work for is in big trouble).

Bullsh*t. Practice is practice. How dare anyone say, 'you shouldn't use this method to learn because I don't like it'? If you don't like it, fine, don't do it. Don't read fanfic, don't write it, and don't have anything to do with the people who do. Just don't feel compelled to dump on everyone who doesn't share your negative views on the way out.


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