Ethically and effectively unleashing our imagination Imagine if Anakin had never become Darth Vader and, instead, had fought chancellor Palpatine, end his plans of building a galactic empire, and then disappear for ever after the battle, remaining as a legendary hero of the Galactic Republic… or if Edward Cullen was a normal and mortal human being, and not a sparkling yet dangerous vampire anymore. Of course, this is not what happens in the original stories.
However, do you imagine if a person could have the chance to create a whole new story about the universe and characters he or she loves, according to his or her preferences and innovative ideas, and then share it with other people all over the world? Although it may sound a bit surreal, today, it is completely possible, thanks to fanfiction. Fanfiction is a term that generally designates fan labor regarding stories about characters, settings and universes written not by the original creator, but by fans of the original work, and that is usually read by other fans.
In these stories, fanficcers (term commonly referred to fan authors) have the chance to extend the original plotline of the story, develop relationships between characters from the original work, and even create new, original characters that will appear in their own version of the story (Black, “Language, Culture and Identity” 172).
Of course, after the creation of Internet, fanfiction has spread and become more popular all over the world, especially after the site FanFiction. Net came online in 1998. Since then, there have been many debates about its legality, ethics and originality.
The elements of story telling and character design are central to the worldwide sensation that is Max Payne by Remedy Entertainment, gaining thousands of players made available for various gaming consoles, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and consequentially to a film adaptation of the game that has currently been released in theaters. Other elements of Max Payne, most especially the gameplay ...
However, I strongly believe that fanfiction ethically and effectively encourages creativity. One of the most popular arguments used by people who oppose to fanfiction, is that it is disrespectful with the original authors. They state that by practicing fanfiction, fanficcers are unethically “stealing” the original authors’ ideas, because they are using their creations, characters, stories and settings to produce non-original work. Nevertheless, it is mostly considered by the whole fanfiction community – and even some original authors – that this is not true at all.
Therein lays my first argument: fanfiction is an ethical way to practice a creative activity without being disrespectful with original authors. First of all, many original authors and creators feel flattered by fanfiction, and even encourage it. Wouldn’t it feel really complementary that people love your creations so much, that they even start writing about them? Wouldn’t it feel fulfilling that your work has encouraged so many people to start writing and being involved in creative literary work just like you did?
Original creators like Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and J. K Rowling (Harry Potter series) find flattering that fans love their plots and characters so much. Whedon even says “I wish I had grown up in the era of fan fiction, because I was living those shows and those movies that I loved and I would put on the score to Superman and just relive the movie over and over”. It is most likely that creative people – as Whedon or J. K Rowling – are going to enjoy creativity, even if this implies that other people create non-original stories based on theirs stories.
This happens simply for a reason: as Whedon said, they would have loved to have that opportunity of enjoy fanfiction themselves. The second point is that, as long as fanficcers put a disclaimer in their creations or “fanfics”, they are clarifying that the entire universe they are writing about is not their creation and doesn’t belong to them, so they don’t infringe the author’s right properties, and therefore they are not “stealing”. Besides, fanfiction writers don’t have financial profit as an objective when making their creations.
Suspension of Disbelief An author can encourage us to suspend our disbelief or purposely discourage us to do so. A good example would be the way an author describes something to us. For example, if an author vividly describes an event, a setting, or a character this would be effective in suspending the reader s disbelief. I thought Edgar Allan Poe did a very good job in the Tel-Tale Heart, of ...
They just write for the sake of writing, in order to share their work, and not for money or any other kind of material profit. The third point is that fanfiction additionally acts as a marketing strategy to promote the original work, and that benefits the original author. If a reader finds a fanfic about a movie, series or book that he or she didn’t know before, and really enjoys it, then he or she will probably be very interested in knowing about the original story, which was the inspiration of the read fanfic. Therefore, there is a mutual benefit, a symbiosis, between the original author and the fan author.
The second argument why fanfiction ethically encourages creativity is that fanfiction authors write principally for pleasure and the passion they have for the original creations, with no hidden interests. Fanfiction gives the fans the opportunity to fill in the gaps in the original story, to complete and resolve the doubts and questions they had about a certain event that wasn’t fully explained by the original author. Or maybe it allows them to present another perspective of a certain event or character from the original story that they were all intrigued or interested about.
An example of this is the great percentage of Harry Potter fanfiction that has Draco Malfoy as the main character – 84,836 out of 560,869 stories in FanFiction. Net – in comparison with his secondary and conflicting role in the original series. This situation illustrates the different and varied alternatives of perspectives and approaches that fanficcers have from the original sources while doing their creative processes. Moreover, it permits them to share and express their interest and passion for the source material with people who are also fans of it.
Most importantly, it allows them to share their work with others, creating an interaction and sharing of creative material and different, diverse and rich ideas from fanficcers from different parts of the world, which will satisfy the fans interests and love for the original stories. Author Becca Schaffner compares fanfiction to folklore: “(Referring to fanfiction) it is a practice of shifting and filling the boundaries of a certain world to fit the person who is telling it, and of sharing those interpretations with others.
I. Basic Situation The Brethren is an entertaining book with a suspenseful plot and intentionally misleading details that add to its overall feeling of tense excitement and engaging uncertainty. It has captivating details that keep the reader continually predicting what will happen next. Furthermore, The Brethren is a compelling book because of its overall story line, which involves three felons ...
As in folklore, the base of the story remains, but every telling reflects the teller. The urges behind both are the same: to respond, to express and to give. ” (“In Defense of fanfiction” 616).
We must consider that what makes fanfiction so powerful is the large community that forms it: readers unconstrained by time, distance, age or talent, that allows every of its member to add to the collective enthusiasm, analysis and creativity. As Schaffner states, there are three urges behind fanfiction. First, to respond to the original story by creating new plots, characters and situations based on it.
Then, to express new opinions and ideas about the original story, creatively criticizing it and expanding the perspectives of it. Finally, to give, transmit and share these new stories and ideas with other people, creating a fandom culture that will integrate fans around the world and help the fanficcers’ community to grow and develop progressively. Another argument that people who oppose to fanfiction say is that you can’t produce a truly creative work by writing about something that is not originally yours. Yes, it is true that fanfiction is not original, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be creative or effectively encourage creativity.
Of course it is more difficult to create a whole new character or universe that belongs completely to you, than to write about something someone else created, but I believe – and this is my third argument – that fanfiction is an efficient way to start learning how to write, in the sense that it helps you to gain experience, build your personal style of writing and developing your writing skills through practice, cultural awareness and feedback. All successful and famous artists, including painters, actors, musicians and writers, have one thing in common: they practiced their art until they became masters.
The narrative writing prompts that I have completed were composed for practice to improve my writing. First, I had to write on the topics that I was given. Then, by completing the prompts, I received scores to find out where my problem areas were. Now I am going to analyze these areas and find methods I can use to improve my skills in them. Subsequently, I am enhancing my writing. I have chosen to ...
Cassandra Clare, for example, started her writing activities by producing Harry Potter fanfiction. She started posting her most popular fanfic, The Draco Trilogy in FanFiction. Net in 2000, more than ten years ago, under the pen name of Cassandra Claire. Today, she is the author of the successful urban fantasy novel for young adults, The Mortal Instruments series. So, fanfiction, even if it is not entirely original, gives you the opportunity to start creating your own writing style, or developing plots and aspects of some characters that may be not seen in the original work.
They can also challenge the fanficcer to produce a written work about a source material that is not in a written format, like a videogame – like Legend of Zelda – or a movie – like Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars. Furthermore, fanfiction encourages investigation about cultural symbols and practices that appear on the film, book or series that the author is writing about, and these are often included in their fanfics to make the story more realistic. This phenomenon is particularly seen in anime-based fanfiction that, as a Japanese production, incorporates several elements of the Japanese and Asian language and culture.
Examples of this are the different Japanese expressions present in those stories, such as Arigato (thank you), Konichiwa (good afternoon), Baka (silly), among others, which contribute to the creation of a cultural and linguistic hybridity. (Black, “Access and affiliation” 125).
As an example, the following is an excerpt from a Naruto fanfic. Naruto is – after Harry Potter – the second most popular category in FanFiction. Net, and the most popular category from the Anime/Manga section of the site’s fanfiction archive. The story’s title is Fangirling, written by fanfiction author Laura-chan. Chapter 4’s excerpt I said nothing but took a kunai from my pouch; quickly I slid it from my left wrist to my shoulder, slashing the skin without a wince – I heard my classmates hiss and Naruto exclaim a low “Sakura-chan! ” as blood fell from my arm to the desk. I knew I was exaggerating, but the old witch had got me irritated and I wanted to teach her a lesson. Soon green chakra appeared under my right hand and I passed it over the injure, leaving the skin unblemished. I knew Chiyo-sensei was surprised: she shook herself out of it and then asked in a low voice. “
Comparison: 'The Jade Peony', 'Horses of the Night', Masque of the Red Death'I noticed that i enjoyed most of the story's not only for the obvious reasons such as good characters, mood, and imagery but also because of writing style and fluency. I noticed some story's I enjoyed reading even thought nothing in it really interested me too much, while other story's that were about topics us ally enjoy ...
Very good: who taught you? ” I smirked slyly. “Tsunade-sama. ” (“Fangirling Chapter 4”, FanFiction. Net).
The fanfiction was written by a 23-years-old Italian girl who describes herself as a Japan-lover on her FanFiction. Net profile. As seen in the extract, she uses several Japanese elements on her composition, such as kunai, which is a special ninja weapon similar to a knife, and chakra, a Hindu-originated concept adapted by the Naruto Japanese manga that represent the energy that each individual carries inside. Another very important element that we appreciate in the text is the use of different suffixes after the names of people, a common and especial characteristic of Japanese language.
The suffix –chan, implies affection for the person you are referring to. The suffix –sensei, by the other way, means ‘teacher’ or ‘master’, and the suffix –sama implies respect. Besides the motivating to investigate about cultural symbols and practices from the category the author is writing about, there is another important element that contributes to the development of creativity. The feedback or reviews that fanficcers get when they publish their work on different fanfiction sites will also help them in two main aspects: evaluation and encouragement.
This feedback acts as a peer review, constructive criticism and collaboration between the whole fan communities to improve the creative work of its members. A particularly specific way to achieve this evaluation is beta-reading. Beta-reading is the activity done by a beta-reader or proof reader, a fan or fanficcer who reads the drafts of fanficcers’ stories before they post them online to comment and evaluate different elements of the story, such as characterization, plot, grammar, spelling, narrative style, etc. Black, “Access and affiliation” 125).
Of course, common reviewers can also comment on that. However, one of the most important characteristics of the common reviews is the request for more chapters and positive feedback, which encourages the authors to keep writing and updating their stories, as well as the rejection of hostile feedback (Black, “Access and affiliation” 126) and the continuous support for writers to also improve their narrative techniques and style.
How The Use Of The Diary Form Narrative Is Beneficial To The Novel Dracula. Bram Stoker, being the creative and intellectual writer himself, wrote the novel Dracula in the diary form of narrative. This was a good choice of how to write the novel since it was very beneficial to the plot of Dracula. Examples of how the diary form is beneficial to Dracula is seen in his writing and book. One of the ...
Finally, the last and probably the most practical reason why fanfiction efficiently encourages creativity, is that with the spread of internet connections, fanfiction is more accessible to anyone around the whole planet, going directly to the readers and giving them what they really enjoy, without having to find or pay for editors, publishers, etc. It is more accessible both to readers and writers. Fanfiction gives its users the privilege of having the opportunity to connect with different people from different continents and to share their love and interest for their favorite book, movie or TV show, because of the digital format it has.
This is an additional benefit that buying a book or watching TV does not give to fans, and that fanfiction not only permits, but also promotes and encourages. I, personally, enjoy fanfiction. I often read fanfics and used to write them in the past, and I can assure that they helped me to develop my writing skills and style. It even gave me the chance to make a friend who lives literally in the other side of the globe, because we shared something in common. It was because of fanfiction that I learned not only to improve my writing by all the practice I had, but also to enjoy it.
Fanfiction is a way of dialogue between writers, readers and the common source. It gives fanficcers the opportunity to express their passion for the original creations they love, to reinterpret these works, to creatively criticize the original stories by writing, or the non-original stories by reviewing. But most important, as utopian as it may sound, it brings people from all over the world together and gives them the opportunity to share something they love, freely express their ideas, and build loyalties and bonds with others (Schaffner 617), ethically and efficiently helping them to develop their creativity and imagination.