Are there rules to fanfiction ?

Books, movies, TV series, musicals, sometimes even real people, nothing an no one is safe from the fanfiction phenomenon. Long or short stories, romance or angst, drama or mystery, it can be literally anything, and about anything. But is there a limit to it ? Are there rules to follow ? Is anything allowed, such as writing romantic scenes about real people who may have nothing to do in common, or find it offensive ? Write about pregnant men ? Fantastic creatures ? Vampires that sparkle in the sunlight ?
Are we really free to express ourselves the way we want to or are there rules ? And if so, what are they ?

  • If it were easy to set rules they would have been in place a long time ago. I personally wish there were some boundaries, but alas... If I were to contribute an answer, I'd say the rules come into play when a) the fanfic takes significant revenue from the original owners and b) in irl fanfic where the the content resembles slander and aims to damage a reputation on lies. – Slaidey 5 years ago
  • Oooh, nice topic! I would say there aren't *rules*, but there is a certain level of respect you have to have for the original work and medium. For example, if the original medium allows for sparkly vampires, that's fine. It's even fine if they didn't exist originally, but would make sense in that context. However, I personally think certain things don't work. For instance, don't insert yourself or a real person into fanfiction, unless you are excellent at disguising them as fictional people. If the original story/medium was pretty clean, don't turn it into a raunch-fest. Don't drop Medieval English knights into modern-day New York just because you can. Stuff like that. – Stephanie M. 5 years ago
  • You may want to check out Hannah McGregor's Podcast "Secret Feminist Agenda" Episode 1.14. She has an interesting discussion with the week's guests on the gendered dynamics of the creation of fan fiction. In it, she references this piece by Constance Grady (https://www.vox.com/2016/6/2/11531406/why-were-terrified-fanfiction-teen-girls) that really illuminates this topic. – oddiem 5 years ago
  • I think it'd also be fruitful to examine "fanon" versus "canon" and how at times, fanon is much more largely accepted than canon. Some other theoretical material you could use to strengthen this is the death of the author concept as well as anything by Henry Jenkins from convergence culture to transmedia -- he specializes in fan fiction discourse – Pamela Maria 4 years ago

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