What do you think about writing fan-fiction?
Posted 5/29/12 , edited 5/29/12
I've read a lot of forum posts that expresses the opinion that most fan-fiction is poorly written. While I don't write fan-fiction and don't wholly agree with that opinion, it did get me thinking:

In your opinion, is it harder or easier to write fan-fiction than original creative writing?

When writing fan-fiction, you're continuing on a pre-existing piece of original fiction and therefore the world, rules and characters have already been created. Frankly, I think it must be a tough job to successfully imitate the voice of the characters and the original author's style of writing but what other things are involved when writing fan-fiction?

I often write original stories and depending on the length, it can take a lot of planning before I'm even happy with the world and characters I've created. Unlike fan-fiction, original writing is about having to start from scratch and having the freedom to build up a story set in a world you want to write about.

Feel free to give your honest opinion! Those who give a detailed answer with their opinion and reasoning will gain more brownie points than those who give a simple answer.
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Posted 5/29/12 , edited 5/29/12
It is much harder, in my opinion. Everyone has their own opinions about how certain characters are portrayed and you just can't seem to please everyone, which is probably why fanfiction is so widely hated.

Original stories can be more time-consuming, but I find them easier to write. You have no limits set, and you can do whatever you want with the characters, the plot, whatever. It can be badly written too, though. People (IMO) hate on fanfiction more when it's badly written because it ruins the characters they loved. If you're ruining your own characters, it's not nearly as offensive.

While a lot fanfiction can be horrible, it doesn't mean that all of them, or even most of them, are like that. It's like sorting through low-budget horror films for a good one. It takes a long time and you have to watch a lot of idiotic films, but on occasion you find one that blows you away. In my opinion, some fanfictions are better than the story that inspired them.

I think the thing that makes fanfiction bad so often is the fact that everyone has the ability to do it. This means that you get a wide range of ages, intellects, and writing abilities. Since it draws on already made characters, younger people are drawn to writing it more than they are to writing original fiction. I've seen fanfictions written by people as young as ten years old. It seems easy to write fanfiction. You already have a platform set up for you. Because of all these preteens, early teenagers, and even children, you have to expect that some of them are going to be terribly written. And then there's the trolls who write awful stories just for the fun of it.

Personally, I write both original stories and fanfictions, and I thoroughly enjoy writing both. I thoroughly enjoy reading both. It's just a matter of sorting through them to find the good ones.
Posted 5/31/12 , edited 5/31/12
Thanks for giving your opinion!

You've picked up on some interesting points. I've noticed that readers can often be very critical (i.e torches and pitchforks) when reviewing fan-fiction but tend to be more respectful and, at times, are hesitant to offer in depth criticism on original writing.
As you pointed out, readers like the characters and are not shy in being vocal if they dislike how the characters are being portrayed, but I find that somewhat unfair.

You are quite right about people having to dig around to find a diamond in the rough but I would assume that only passionate readers would have the patience and drive to do that. I'm sure some people rely on word of mouth on what's good or not rather than dig for themselves so it's possible that's one of the reasons why there is a certain stigma around fan-fiction.

Funnily enough, I didn't think about the age thing. I know that with most US websites, you have to be 13+ to sign up but people often don't care about this and lie about their age so it's hard to know how to talk to someone.
A while back there was a girl who wanted feedback on her Twilight fan-fiction story. I didn't read her story but her reaction to the comments was appalling. She was being very childish and insulting to other people. When I challenged her behaviour, she then told us that she was only 11 years old. Now that everyone knew that, her fan-fiction was pretty good considering she was only 11. But as she was underage, she wasn't allowed to sign up to the website so she got removed from the site.
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