FanFiction is a Gift (A Writer’s Perspective on FanFiction)

This is the last planned post of my weekly series of guest posts on FanFiction. Every Friday for the past few months, an eclectic mix of writers will guest-post on FanFiction (please go here for a controversial definition). You will be hearing from Computer Science majors and published authors and FanFic writers and Drama geeks and articulate fans. FanFiction is fascinating to me because it brings up issues of technology and copyright, originality and creative derivation, gender-norms and digital communities.

This week we are hearing from Sinead Toolis Byrd. Sinead is tje creator of Little Dead Girls, an innovative comic about the daily struggles and triumphs of a millennial and her friends. Sinead is completing her bachelors at Berkeley a year early, and will be starting her Masters work at the Savanna College of Art and Design in 2010. In her free time, Sinead watches anime, designs doll-costumes, and, of course, draws. She plans to run Disney one day.

As a writer and a future novelist hopeful I have often been asked about my opinion on the institution (or chaotic lack thereof) of fanfiction and fan created substance. Fanfiction, if you are unaware, is when fans take the characters, events, and story of another author and writes material using these pre-fabricated conditions as the base of their story. This can be done to explore relationships that the new author wishes were present, or sent the characters on wild new adventures, in short, a fantasy world with a fan’s favorite Stars orbitting brightly.

Some authors have such a negative reaction to fanfiction that they ask major fanfiction websites to ban fanfiction of their stories. But personally, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, and if my own work was to become a hotspot for such work I would gladly welcome it. I am not naive enough to not realize that my beloved characters are going out into the world to be maimed and brutalized; that many ways in which others treat them will be disturbing or perverse, however I feel that the fans mere expression and time is a gift unto the author. To have fans that think enough of your work to throw themselves into your world and try to understand it, is truly a gift.

As a writer, and as a fanfiction writer, I believe that fanfiction is a perfect medium for a fan to express their gratitude to the original author.

Inspirational Quote:

“If we believe in the freedom of individuals, we must necessarily be interested in whether the functioning of the media contributes to that freedom or not. The ways in which freedom may be helped or hindered by the media are far from simple and far from clear. We tend to frame the questions in terms of our own underlying assumptions about history and the way the world works.”–Judith L. Tabron

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