Concerning Fanfiction

As you know, I have been trying to write a certain number of words of fiction each day. As you may also recall, I will be embarking, tomorrow evening, upon a rather lengthy flight to Strasbourg. It has been my experience that there is absolutely nothing which allows time to pass faster on a plane than becoming thoroughly-engaged in writing a story.

I was therefore grieved to find that I could think of nothing to write about. But thankfully, in this media-saturated world of ours, this is never as much of a problem as it first appears. Because there are literally thousands of perfectly developed characters and narrative universes just lying around waiting to be used at your leisure*. I am speaking, of course, about fan-fiction.

Now fanfic is a format which is much-maligned, although I don’t really understand precisely why. It is true that a lot of fan-fiction is virtually unreadable, but this is only a result of it being a medium with no barriers to entry. You might also complain that fanfiction is inherently derivative (and I do admit, I would prefer to work with all of my own creations) but so what? Virtually all fiction is derivative of other works; this is why there are identifiable styles of narrative associated with different time periods and cultures–precisely because they are borrowing from one another. I mean, I suppose that you could argue that you’re more limited in writing fanfiction than you are in writing purely original fiction in that the characters and narrative universe are already established, but I would argue that (1) creativity is not always a measure of quality**, and (2) there’s not actually anyone looking over your shoulder demanding that you abide by the conventions of the canonical source material.

More to the point, if you happen to be suffering writers’ block, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with leaning on the ‘crutch’ of extrapolating from a pre-existing work of fiction. So hooray for fanfic!
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*So long as you don’t try to profit from them.

**Also, are you telling me that Milton’s Paradise Lost is a piece of garbage? It is, after all, in essence nothing more than an elaborate work of Biblical fanfiction.

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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4 Responses to Concerning Fanfiction

  1. ChrisCQC says:

    Also, most of what Shakespeare wrote was fanfiction–often classical mythology fanfiction. Taming of the Shrew? Fanfic (ripped off a contemporary author). Midsummer? Fanfic (the Metamorphoses). The Rape of Lucrece? Fanfic (Roman legend). Venus and Adonis? Fanfic (classical myth), and pretty awful at that. You can hardly do worse than Venus and Adonis.

    And then the immortal Aeneid was a fanfic off of Homer. Yup.

  2. n8chz says:

    There is no original music. There are a finite number of notes in the scale, and therefore a finite number of tunes to be “discovered.”

    Also:

    Artist Turns Internet Memes Into Oil Paintings

    • “There are a finite number of notes in the scale, and therefore a finite number of tunes to be “discovered.””

      Yes, except there’s no upward limit on how long a tune can be, so in fact there are infinite number of possible tunes, it’s just that most of them are unpleasantly long.

  3. n8chz says:

    Intellectual property is a game whose rules are entirely arbitrary:

    Schwartz uses the “Unlimited” theme as the second major motif running through the score. Although not included as a titled song, the theme appears as an interlude in several of the musical numbers. In a tribute to Harold Arlen, who wrote the score for the 1939 film adaptation, the “Unlimited” melody incorporates the first seven notes of the song “Over the Rainbow.” Schwartz included it as an inside joke as, “according to copyright law, when you get to the eighth note, then people can come and say, ‘Oh you stole our tune.’ And of course obviously it’s also disguised in that it’s completely different rhythmically. And it’s also harmonized completely differently…. It’s over a different chord and so on, but still it’s the first seven notes of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow'”.[21] Schwartz further obscured the motif’s origin by setting it in a minor key in most instances. This also creates contrast in the songs in which it forms a part, for example in “Defying Gravity”, which is written primarily in the key of D-flat major.[22] In the song “The Wicked Witch of the East”, however, when Elphaba finally uses her powers to let her sister walk, the “Unlimited” theme is played in a major key.[21]

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