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    Latest Topics


    Value of Fan Fiction: conversation or wish fulfillment?

    This topic was inspired from multiple conversations I have had with people pertaining to my own writing. The first full-length fiction piece I wrote was a fan fiction based off of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. While I expect most people to react with a wrinkled nose or an amused chuckle, several have been enthused by the concept, articulating that fan fiction is a valuable part of the dialogue between author and reader.
    My question then surrounds the purpose of, and thereby value of, fan fiction literature. Is it supposed to be a semi-rational approach to an author’s work, exploring underdeveloped facets of their created world, in a kind of creative dialogue? If so, much fan fiction seems to fall short, as the characters developed or plots imagined do not coincide with the author’s original content at all (The character arcs found in the Dramione ship from the Harry Potter fandom is a key example). In that case, then, is the purpose of fan fiction really a sort of wish fulfillment for the fan base, a resource through which they can create – as all fiction writer’s do – their own version of reality? Each approach comes with its own set of artistic constraints and merits, and I’m curious as to whether or not one approach can be “valued” over the other.

    • Interesting topic! One I don't know a whole lot about... as I haven't read/written fanfic in the last 10 years or possibly more years. Things I'm curious about include: Is this a genre for all ages? Or do only certain groups enjoy fanfic? Also, how much can we value works that are basically spinoffs of someone else's idea? But on the other hand, how many people have made revisions of some of the older classics? Like Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland for example. What makes something fanfic instead of a retelling? If someone published fanfic many many years after a story was first created would it still be fanfic? – Tatijana 9 years ago
    • Well, whenever something goes wrong in a series (a character dies, something anti-climactic happens) I always hear people say "Well, there's always fanfiction." In that case, it is wish-fulfillment. You may notice too that the fanfiction version of a character is very different from the actual character, doing things that would otherwise be uncharacteristic of them. The writer is forcing them to do what they want, and that too is wish fulfillment. (Shipping is a good example of this.) I don't know about dialogue between author and reader ( how many authors actually read fanfiction) but I see it more as a dialogue between fans. – Candice Evenson 9 years ago
    • Lawrence and Jewett have an interesting idea about fan fiction in their book The Myth of the American Superhero. They argue that fandoms are religious in nature and that fan fic is "strikingly similar to the growth of apocryphal literature in the biblical tradition" (256). Thus, fan fic is not only wish-fullfilment or creative dialogue, but a way for members of a fandom to interact with their "religion." Not saying that they are correct, but it is a different view of the issue. – C8linZimmer 9 years ago
    • Note to the author of the article, be sure to read the other articles on this site about fan fiction! – MichelleAjodah 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Ah! Of course! That probably should have been apparent to me, given the context and framing of the article as a whole.

    Masculinity and the Disney Princess

    I largely appreciate the arguments you lay out in this article and the discussion you’re generating. The examples you use are all effective, and of course it was rational not to analyze every princess because that would take forever.
    However, I protest your reference to a “man’s courage” and a “woman’s courage.” I believe there are many movies, including Disney ones, which depict men displaying a bravery that involves preserving the interest of others, rather than himself. Tarzan would be a prime example. He is negotiating the meeting of two worlds, just as Pocahontas does. To claim that selfish courage is “masculine bravery” seems equally unfair, as you point out that many females like Merida (and Ariel, Jasmine, and arguably even Tiana) demonstrate a self-motivated courage that disregards consequence to others.

    Masculinity and the Disney Princess

    This is an interesting article, and it addresses a topic I hadn’t really considered before. I had noticed a dramatic difference in the way British film and television tended to cast characters versus the way Americans do. British people tend to universally appear much more real. (Consider the difference between The Office U.S. and The Office U.K.) The discussion about their living spaces, though, is a new one for me, and very interesting!

    Housing in UK and US Sitcoms: The Modest and the Magnificent

    That would be such an interesting topic to explore!! And it’s one that I’m very interested in, as Disney was my first love and parenting is something that (I hope) will be relevant in my life in the rapidly approaching future.

    Should Children's Films be Dark or Light?

    I think what I appreciate most about your examination about this question is that you do not get caught up in musings over whether electronic books will replace printed ones – as that really is an entirely separate question all-together, but one that I have found gets dragged into this conversation.
    Your arguments concerning the necessity for shifts within novels’ formatting for its survival rings so true! We have seen that with all forms of art, and there is no reason it shouldn’t stretch to this realm of literature. Thanks for writing such an articulate, succinct article on this topic!

    Is the Novel Dead?

    I must say that I agree with you whole-heartedly. I grew up watching Pinnochio, The Lion King, and other rich Disney films. As a child, I saw them very much as just stories being told. All stories had to have a villain, right? To my childlike mind, there was good and there was evil, and it was because the evil existed that good could win – ya know? Now that I’m in college, I can rewatch the films and appreciate the depth of them.
    I think this author does a very good job of highlighting the necessity and benefit of emotional and thematic depth in children’s films, and the need for parents to recall their own experience with cinema growing up. It’s too easy to forget what it was like to be a child, and really, that memory is such a central part of deciding how to raise your own kids.

    Should Children's Films be Dark or Light?

    You make interesting arguments concerning the contrasts between the two shows. Having watched up through Season 5 of Supernatural so far, I am familiar with all the elements you mention. I also watched the first 4 seasons of VD, and am relatively familiar with Buffy.
    That being said, those who have not seen the respective shows – particularly Supernatural, might fail to see what it is you feel the show brings to the table. Some more specific examples of the shows uniqueness might bring a skeptical audience around better.
    As a whole though, this article reflects articulately on a popular sub-genre of teen-oriented television. Nicely done!

    Supernatural: Just Another Shapeshifter of Shows?