Thoughts on Fanfiction?
I’ve volunteered to do a talk about Fanfiction at the UK Meet. I don’t think anyone can be in any doubt that I love fanfiction and write it myself. Sometimes you just want Captain America and Loki to have adorable evil babies together, so much so that you have to make it happen. And if I want a comfort read where I can pretty much tell beforehand that I will like the characters, and the story will obey no rules of romance, but will be either comforting, or whimsical crack, or make me cry, or all three together, I go to fanfic.
What I didn’t know was how much controversy there was about it in the m/m genre, both its plain existence and the existence of original fiction which was initially written as fanfic. It seems to me that an author’s story is their own. Offering it for free first doesn’t take away their ability to alter it so that they can legally offer it for a price later. The existence of 50 Shades of Grey and other books bears me out here, I think. But I look at the mass of indignant comments here
and think “OK, I’m missing something. I don’t understand where this outrage is coming from. I just don’t get it.”
Given that that’s the case, perhaps I’m not the right person to have volunteered to talk about fanfic at the UK Meet. As I clearly have a blind spot here, can I put it out to you – what are the points that you think ought to be covered in a talk about fanfic? What questions ought I to think about answering?
To me, the energy, inventiveness and sheer right-outside-the-box-ness of fanfic is a well of invention that I think benefits m/m fiction immensely. I understand that one cannot use someone else’s copyright protected characters or invented universes and legally profit from them – that these things have to be altered or replaced in a way that makes them the author’s own – but if that’s done sufficiently well, what is the problem?