Fanfiction: Devotional or Uninspired?

Yesterday’s post had to do with the strange phenomenon of “shipping” when it comes to fictional characters and worlds. Today, I follow that up with a post about fanfiction, which is basically fans writing “episodes” of TV shows, movies, comics, etc.

My first question is this: Why fanfiction? Sure, some are just little short stories depicting something the fan wishes had happened on the show/in the comic/whatever. But some are epic, novel-length works about their favorite characters and worlds. It boggles my mind, because if you have enough imagination to write a novel, why not create your own world and characters? Why piggy back off of someone else’s characters? Is it really just to show your devotion to the show? Is it to make real the things you wish the show writers had put in there?

I admit, I’ve only written one novel, but I can say without a doubt that it’s my own novel. I didn’t base any of the characters or situations on something I had seen in someone else’s work. I took a character of my own making and created a cast that revolved around her.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m “better” than a fanfic author. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m trying to say is, if you have that much creativity inside you, why not use it to create your own world? Maybe even write a novel that gets turned into one of your favorite TV shows or into a movie. You could have fanfic written about your original idea. Wouldn’t that be even more awesome? To be the origin of fanfic, not a perpetuator?

I don’t know. I could certainly write fanfic if I wanted to. I’m a terrible worldbuilder, so theoretically if I just snatch up someone else’s world and fiddle around with it it should be easier. Then again, I’m also selfish and narcissistic. I want something that I made. Something that wrote from my imagination. I want to be able to say, “I did that. I created those characters. I wrote the plot. Me.”

Sure, my plots might not be the most original. How does the saying go? Something about how no idea is truly unique anymore. Every story has already been written, and it’s only a matter of the spin you put on it. In that case, isn’t every story fanfiction? Every vampire story a fanfic of Brahm Stoker’s Dracula? Every tragic love story a fanfic of Romeo and Juliet?

Who knows. What I do know is that fanfiction is yet another area of fandom that I don’t fully understand. Why ship things that don’t exist? Why write from other peoples’ ideas instead of creating your own?

I may never know.

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