Is writing fan fiction harder than writing original fiction?

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BrandonSP
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20 Feb 2012, 2:28 am

Crossposted from the DeviantArt literature forum:

Some people have accused fanfic writers of leaning on a crutch to avoid the alleged challenge of original fiction, but I have found that it's fan fiction that's harder to write for me. With original fiction, you can create your own characters and settings and establish your own rules, whereas the fanfic author is bound to the rules of their subject franchise. There's far less creative room in the fanfic genre unless writers are willing to risk taking liberties with canon. For example, you can't write a fanfic about Batman fighting a bad guy who's really his long-lost father, because every Batman fan knows Bruce Wayne saw his parents die before his very eyes when he was a kid. I don't understand why some writers feel comfortable with the limitations imposed on them by using an existing franchise.


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Caprice
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20 Feb 2012, 4:40 am

I find the "What if?" aspect of fanfiction quite interesting. What if this character were in love with this one instead of their canon romantic partner? How would such a thing come about? How would it be expressed?

What if this aspect or this moment of the character's history were changed? What if this "gap" in the timeline contained a moment of thought or character development not seen in the canon story? They never elaborated on a character's feelings about this subject, what did they think about it? How does this background character precieve themselves... others?

In a way I guess it's rooted in the same place as my love of writing itself - I like picking apart what makes them tick and putting them back together. Shifting the patterns in the narrative to change the whole face of the tale with only a few minor tweaks, much like shifting the flow of a river with a correctly placed pebble.

It really is hard in some ways, since you can't simply resolve plot holes that the original writer left by changing the material - you've got to get creative. It's the limitations that make it fun, almost like a jigsaw puzzle for writers. That's how I look at it anyway. ^^;



IdahoRose
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20 Feb 2012, 4:45 am

My imaginary world is basically one big fanfiction universe. But I don't let things like canon hinder my creativity. I play fast and loose with the characters' backstories, changing them in order to fit with the stories I want to come up with. A lot of times the characters' personalities get altered too. I don't do this intentionally though; I think it's just that the line between how the character behaves in the original source material and how I think they ought to behave gets blurred over time until it practically disappears. For example, in the current state of my imaginary world, Sweeney Todd is not a serial killer driven to insanity by grief and anger; he is an edgy anti-hero who is a barber by day who utilizes his hair-styling tools as ninja weapons by night (I'm totally serious.) Mrs. Lovett from the same movie is no longer romantically obsessed with Sweeney Todd, but instead has realized that he will never love her back and has decided to experiment with other women (who are usually a lot younger than she is - she's in her 40s and she typically goes after women in their 20s).

I guess the reason why I choose to make up stories about pre-existing characters is because I hate coming up with my own characters. I never feel any emotional attachment to my own characters the way I feel attachments to those who I meet in my favorite TV shows and movies.



lostonearth35
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20 Feb 2012, 10:47 am

I have been creating, drawing, and writing about my own creations since I was a toddler. When I started school for the first time I was puzzled that other kids were always drawing whatever cartoon characters were popular at the time. Not that I never draw licensed characters myself, and I once made a couple of handmade comic books about Super Mario Bros., but that was mainly for my own amusement. I want the world to see MY characters and read MY stories. But the world really doesn't care about the time, effort, and creativity I put into them over the last three decades and would rather read yet another story about Anime or Hobbits or whatever. Bitter? You bet! :evil:



pakled
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20 Feb 2012, 10:30 pm

I've only done one, so I'm hardly an expert. But, for the must part, your settings, backgrounds, characters, etc., already come pre-made, so what you mainly have to discover is the story.

It's a good way to practice writing, for the times you eventually get to your own voice and story.


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Bun
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21 Feb 2012, 4:18 pm

I actually think so. With original fiction, you can just be yourself and write whatever you like. With fanfiction, there are a lot of 'rules', because you need to do the characters justice and make it feel as close as you can to the source, or at least, to the aspects which attract you about the source. That been said, all of my fanfiction is seriously slacking off, and reads nowhere close to being real. But I've given up respect and earning accolades before I even started writing it.


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Prism
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21 Feb 2012, 9:35 pm

Hmmm, I guess your right. I just like being original for it's freedom. :D


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Fnord
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21 Feb 2012, 9:42 pm

Fanfic is easier in the sense that the characters are already developed. The hard parts involve not violating canon and not turning the story into a Mary Sue fantasy.



RosieLea
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23 Feb 2012, 12:11 am

I love the challenge of writing fanfic. I like changing my writing style to affect the original writers' style, and I get warm fuzzies when a reader complements me on how well I've captured a character. Also, I like to write about my favorite characters getting it on. :twisted:

That being said, I think writing fanfic is a great exercise in writing and it's a lot of fun, but it should not be a writers only focus. Very few people make money writing fanfic, after all.



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23 Feb 2012, 7:10 am

In principal, I would love to write sex, but I don't think I'm that good. :lol: The theme of the majority of my stories is still slashy, though.


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Stuffedwithempty
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24 Feb 2012, 5:19 pm

I see the pros and cons in writing both fanfiction and your own.

with fanfiction, you already have everything planned out: the characters, setting, personalities etc. So you really only have to pay attention to the plot.

But on the other hand, it can restrict you and be extra careful how you handle these characters. Although, that is for writers who want to keep the characters untouched in a sense. Nothing wrong with switching them around =3

For writing your own stories, it's easy in a sense it's your own world. Like a child's building blocks. It's their own design, creativity, and for their own amusement that they don't have to worry half the time if a character should act this way(unless it's an author selling a book).

The problem here, too, though, is there may be a lot of planning involved, depending what kind of story you do. Sometimes you may feel stuck, or frustrated that the characters are flat.

These don't apply for everyone though. Some find one side easier than the other. For me, I wrote a few stories of my own ideas in the past, but I mostly write fanfiction because I enjoy writing about characters I have looked up to since I was a kid. Like an artist that draws superhero comics, but in literature ^^



TeaEarlGreyHot
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24 Feb 2012, 5:27 pm

Quote:
Is writing fan fiction harder than writing original fiction?


Yes and no. It all depends on how you go about it. I prefer when fanfic uses new characters rather than those of the original story. Mostly, this is because I've found fanfic tends to cheapen the characters. Creating all new ones gives you room to put depth in it without screwing with someone else's work.

The same can be said for the plot. And I certainly don't like "alternative endings" fanfic.


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