Monday, September 14, 2015

[Discussion]The Problem with Fan Fiction

Fanfiction causes such a divide in the bookish world. Authors like Rainbow Rowell and Neil Gaiman support fanfiction writers, and some even read it. On the other hand, JK Rowling feels a personal attachment to her beloved characters and doesn't approve of any of the mature adaptations. 

I support writers who feel so passionately about a TV show or book. Hell, back in the day I wrote a plethora of fanfiction and had binders of Sailor Moon fanfiction that I would read every night. I was addicted. 

Ever since 50 Shades of Gray, it seems that the publishing world has been taking a closer look at the fanfiction world and for good reason. 50 Shades of Grey is currently number 8 in The Top Ten Bestselling Books and spawned a spin-off novel told from Grey's POV. If you were a publisher, would you ignore something that has a billion views? 

The problem with 50 Shades of Grey is that it is clearly Twilight Fanfiction. This is Twilight AU (alternate universe for you non-fanfic savvy kids out there). Christian Grey is your same douchey sullen Edward, except this time he won't sparkle (or maybe he will, I didn't have it in me to finish the series). Anastasia is, in my own humble opinion, a carbon copy of Bella Swan, just older and with bangs. While reading 50 Shades of Grey, I could only see the source material which really ruined my reading experience.

Fanfiction is being published, but it's not being cleaned up enough to no longer resemble the original material. 

Another book that suffers from being nothing more than "published fanfiction" is After by Anna Todd. I picked this one up as a whim because I had seen the wattpad following it had. Over a billion views, clearly these readers were on to something!

If I hadn't known that this was a 1 Direction fanfiction, I may have enjoyed it more, but alas. After is basically a mary sue novel with Harry Styles as our leading man. For obvious copyright reasons, Todd had to make some major changes like swapping Harry's name for Hardin, and Zayne's name for Zed (those are the only two 1 Direction members I know). Even with the ~extreme~ name change, I felt like I was reading 1 Direction fanfiction and it made me feel extremely awkward (those kids are still 15 in my eyes, I don't care what Wikipedia says).

Luckily, not all Pulled to Published novels are like this. Cassandra Clare has gotten a lot of criticism and backlash for her Draco Trilogy series which became The Mortal Instruments Trilogy. Controversary aside, I did not get a Harry Potter feel while reading The City of Bones which I think all fanfiction should strive to be. Upon reading a new book that caught my eye, my first thought shouldn't be "hey this sounds a lot like X...." rather, it should be "oh this book was inspired by X? That's pretty cool, I can kind of see the similarities!"

It's fine if there are elements of Twilight or Harry Potter or Divergent or whatever in the newly published work, but this era of "published fanfiction" needs to end.

What do you think about Pulled to Published novels? 


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