Fan Fiction is an important staple in the writing community. There are three different people in the world.
- Fan Fiction Haters: The people obviously hate, that people are using other people’s characters and worlds and not coming up with their own.
- Fan Fiction Writers(Obsess-ers): The people who think about their fan fiction throughout the day, in bed and of course when writing it. THIS IS THEIR LIFE!
- In-Between: These people don’t love it or hate it. They may even dabble in it. But they (like the FFWriters) probably think that using other people’s characters is somewhat flattering to the original author (Of course, flattering within reason we will talk about that)
The FFHaters are right about one thing. You should write about your own characters. But should we rule out FF as a major writing exercise? Yes, I say exercise. FF is a great way to build your strengths in writing. Figuring out the finer points of grammar and punctuation. And writing about a character you didn’t come up with? That is extremely hard!! If you don’t do it right, you make them sound emo, way too happy or make them all sound the same. And that last one – You are probably going to make those characters sound like you. Writing FF in someone else’s world will give you the inspiration to come up with your own.
In Harry Potter, if you have read book 3 and beyond you will know the prevalence of Dementors. Long black capes with hoods. Rattling breath, scabby skin. Never seeing their body but just their face and hands. Bringing coldness and fear while sucking the happiness right out of you.
Sound familiar in another series? The Ring Wraiths, Nazgul, or the Nine, as many people like to call them in the same sentence. Let us list off the parallels, shall we?
Long black cloaks. Hunting people down. You never see their body, but only the armor and cloak resting on their ghostly limbs. And honestly who wouldn’t feel dread, terror, and cold in the pit of your stomach if you heard their piercing shriek, and they both shriek.
If you are still unconvinced maybe some images would help
Need any more proof? I’m not saying for definite sure that J.K. Rowling based her Dementors on J.R.R Tolkien’s Nazgul but the evidence is pretty strong.
Also, I was once told by the author of 100 Cupboards, N.D. Wilson, that his first original story that he was pretty proud of, was total garbage. But he took his villain from that story and morphed her a little bit into the villain of 100 Cupboards, Nimiane.
This means, that even if your stories are junk when you write them, don’t worry. Eventually, you will probably find a premise that will take you all the way. And when you are writing that story, you will also probably take the best parts of your previous stories and place them into your story, and potentially make millions.
Again back to my original question: Should we rule out FF as a major writing exercise? Based on the evidence that I have shown you, I would vote no. But remember, while other people’s characters are AWESOME!! TRY to come up with your own. Personally, I think dreaming up an original character is one of the best parts of writing. For more information on how to write an awesome original character check out a post by the Artful Author 55 Questions for Plotting Your Characters