I am greatly looking forward to teaching the Fan Fiction class at Brave Writer this month. This will be the third summer I've taught this class, one that I proposed to Julie, the founder and owner of Brave Writer, after I started writing fan fiction novels and stories myself in late 2010.
I started writing Fan Fiction when I read a few stories and thought, "I can do that!" After only writing one work of fiction since my college creative writing class more than twenty years earlier, Fan Fiction opened new horizons for me as I have never considered myself a writer of fiction. Yes, a writer of nonfiction...definitely. And perhaps a poet from time to time. But writing fiction? Really?
I have completed two Fan Fiction novels and several short stories. I have revised one Fan Fiction story into an original novella that I entered into a contest on one of the sites where I post my writings serial-style (chapter by chapter). And my third Fan Fiction novel (now in progress at 70,000 words) will also be revised into an original novel when I complete it. Many Fan Fic authors have revised their works into original fiction, several of which have climbed (and even topped!) The New York Times Bestseller List.
Currently my Fan Fiction novels and stories have garnered nearly 3.3 million reads/views between the two sites on which I post my work. I hope to someday turn my Fan Fiction writing into true novel writing, perhaps gaining an agent and/or publisher based of the extensive platform and readership I have built through Fan Fiction.
The Fan Fiction class has been a nice size of 8-12 students in past summers; this month I have eight students thus far, but I always get a few more joining in the fun as the date for the beginning of class approaches.
Some of you may be asking, what is Fan Fiction? Simply, it's using other creators' characters and settings to create new stories based on the original authors' work. Some authors have requested that fan fiction not be written from their works, and the main website for such novels and stories, FanFiction.net, has a list of these authors and will not allow the posting of fan fics based on their work.
But the vast majority of authors are flattered by the continuation of their work by fans, and some of the Fan Fics (in my not-so-humble opinion) eclipse the quality of the original writings.
But Fan Fiction is not only about books; movies, television shows, video games, anime and comics, and just about anything with a storyline is available for continuation by fans.
We see Fan Fiction everywhere--in the many books based on Austen's novels (I just finished reading Carrie Bebris' "Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries" series, based on the characters in each of Austen's novels with Mr. and Mrs. Darcy solving the mysteries that arise), the continuation of the Star Wars saga in books, in the many spin-offs of Star Trek in television shows and movies, etc.
But isn't Fan Fiction plagiarism? Not if the original works are not under copyright. And if the works on which the Fan Fictions are based are still under copyright, Fan Fiction works may be written (unless the author is one who has requested that no Fan Fics be based on their work), but they cannot be sold for profit.
But all that aside, Fan Fiction is a wonderful way to encourage young writers in their first attempts to write stories. They already know (and love) the characters and the world(s) these characters inhabit, so it's not difficult to come up with the plot alone.
As Julie wrote in today's Brave Writer Daily Writing Tip:
Writing tip of the day:
Dabble in fan fiction.
Pick a favorite novel or series you've read and create a fan fiction story for it. Fan fiction is a good way to start writing stories because you already know the characters and the setting; all you need to create is the plot. Also, if you choose a well-known story such as the Harry Potter series or Jane Austen novels, an eager multitude of fans is waiting to devour your story and give you helpful critique.
Don't get caught in the trap of always writing fan fiction, though! Fan fiction is a good starting point for learning to write an action-packed story or witty dialogue, but it's not a final destination. After all, making up your own characters and setting stretches your imagination and builds your confidence. Once you've given fan fiction a try, write your own story using the skills you've learned.
Join us for the fun and excitement of writing our own stories based on our favorite characters from books, movies, TV, video games, etc.!! Hurry--the class begins Monday, July 7!!
Fan Fiction class at Brave Writer
Have a terrific summer, and I'll see you in the fall with new Brave Writer classes, my courses in Expository Essay and Shakespeare at Heritage's ECII Class Days, or here as I grade essays for you!!