Movies, TV shows, and novels have become one of the largest, if not the largest, form of entertainment in the world today. Millions of people enjoy the Harry Potter franchise, the Star Wars franchise, the Game of Thrones franchise, and the Twilight saga, just to name a few of the more popular ones. Most of them are so popular that they are still going strong even after 20 or 30 years. One of the biggest contributors to their continued popularity is the creation of fanfiction.
Fanfictions, for those of you who do not know, are stories that use characters, settings, and backgrounds that already exist. The vast majority of fanfiction is published online and is available for free. The writers (i.e. the fans) can change any part of a character, story, or background, for almost any reason. They can do so if they simply like a character one way over another or if they want to add a trait that’s necessary for telling their story. Fans do this because they enjoy writing, because they wish to see more of their favorite characters, because they are interested in seeing what may happen if they changed a crucial plot point, and so on; the reasons are countless.
Some of these fanfiction stories are of a very professional quality and are novels in and of themselves. On the other hand, some of them can be rather subpar; it all varies between writers. However, there is some controversy over the creation of fanfiction, regardless of its quality. Some consider it a breach of copyright and critique the writers for being unoriginal. Some believe others shouldn’t borrow the hard work of professional writers, directors, and screenwriters. But the situation isn’t as simple as that.
Fanfiction writers don’t claim to own any of the characters or stories that they base their work on nor do they enjoy any financial gain from it. Many make a point of letting their readers know that they do not own the characters they are writing about. They aren’t mooching off the professional story tellers’ financial gain or reputation; they gain nothing but the satisfaction of writing and having people read and enjoy their work. There is no breach of copyright because there is no claim of ownership.
As for criticisms of unoriginality and lack of talent, those are nothing but a blatant ignorance of all of the hard work, effort, and skill that goes into the creation of any creative work. There is no denying that some fanfiction is just bad; it’s poorly conceptualized and poorly written. Those stories are typically the works of inexperienced writers who are working to improve their writing abilities. Then there are also the writers who simply don’t put much effort in. But there is just as much, if not more, fanfiction out there that is well thought-out and well written, with original plots and ideas. Even the way a person writes can be well-executed; they can give great details and create vivid descriptions. Fanfiction writers can develop new and interesting storylines that can really make you think about and feel for a character.
To suggest fanfiction is merely unoriginal and poorly written is simply ignorant of the skills and creativity needed to make great stories; these are the same skills and creativity that the original creators themselves use.