Welcome back to my discussion feature, Freadom Speaks!
I’ve shared this on my blog before but I am a huge fan of fanfiction (hee hee). I’ve been reading fanfiction for a really long time, I’ve written one (no, I am not sharing) and I’ve been really involved in that side of fandom life. I’ve also been working on reading some of the fanfictions that have been published as original novels and I wanted to talk about why and some of the examples that I’ve come across of good and bad interpretations of fanfictions.
Quick disclaimer: I am not an expert and I have not read every single fanfiction ever published. I’m just sharing my opinion on something that I’ve been a part of a really long time.
SO let’s get started
I’ve been reading fanfiction since 2009, maybe even earlier than that, and while I’m definitely not an expert, I feel like I’ve come to know what I like to read in my fanfictions and what I like to read in books. I’ve learned that the transition between one to the other isn’t easy and there are some books that don’t meet the high standards of original literature.
Before I talk about the books in detail, let’s explain fanfiction. Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic, or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. It is a popular form of fan labor, particularly since the advent of the Internet. Most people think that fanfiction keeps the majority of the original story they are adapting and only adjusts some details and that’s not always the case. I’ve read mostly Twilight fanfiction because 1. I was dissatisfied with the ending in Breaking Dawn and 2. it’s the second largest archive on Fanfiction.net only behind Harry Potter. I’ve read everything from Walking Dead style zombies to Bonnie and Clyde criminals to mafias to, if you can believe it, a sassy, badass Bella. The possibilities are endless and the writers take advantage of their plot bunnies and ideas to transform a super popular story into something completely different. The talent you find is amazing, some of the most beautiful writing I’ve come across is from fanfiction. There are so many wonderful writers that I’ve come across in the Twilight fandom that it encouraged me to seek out their original works.
Most of the fanfictions that end up being adjusted and then published as original novels are the most popular ones, the ones that receive over thousands of views and comments in the span of their publication and completion. But just because they are popular within the community does not necessarily mean it’s good writing.
I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to seek out as many of my favorite pulled to published fanfictions (meaning they’ve been pulled from the internet and reworked to be traditionally published) to see how they compare to each other and how they’ve hopefully improved from the original version. I’ve read a few already and some I’ve heard a lot about so I thought I’d share and enlighten you all on some of them and on which I feel are a good representation of the writing talent I talked about before and which are the ones I feel are sort of a disappointment.
Animate Me by Ruth Clampett
Previously Known As – Animate Me by abstract way
I’ve talked about this one the least of all the ones I’ll talk about in this section because I read it a long time ago. It’s a really cute Adult Contemporary Romance and while it’s really cheesy, I feel like the premise is really interesting and unique. This book takes place in an animation studio and animation artists are part of the cast. I’ve never found another book that has the same premise and I really enjoyed it. The fic and the novel are similar but different enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading the same thing over again
Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton
Previously Known As – Edward Wallbanger by feathersmmmm
This is one of the more popular books that has been published. I’ve had a lot of blogger friends who’ve read it or are reading this series and the majority are surprised that this was a Twilight fanfiction. I think that’s because the characters in this book’s personalities are so different from Bella and Edward are which is what I meant when I said that the possibilities are endless. I see fanfiction as a way to hone in your writing craft, let your imagination run wild and get some free constructive criticism before delving into the harsh world of publishing and professional reviewers because it’s a lot tougher out there in them streets than what you think. Check out my review for the series here.
Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet (Starcrossed #1 and #2) by Leisa Rayven
Previously Known As – The Diva Diaries by KiyaRaven
These are two of my favorite books ever. I love the story so much, from the original to the reworked version. There is so much passion and emotion in Leisa’s writing that it’s mind blowing. These books are full of angst and they will definitely frustrate the hell out of you but it is such an amazing ride and well worth it in the end. I’ve recommended this book to a few people and I’ve had blogger friends love it as well so if you want, you can check out my reviews here and here.
Boycotts and Barflies by Victoria Michaels
Previously Known As – Boycotts and Barflies by vjgm
This is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever had regarding a published fanfiction. When you want to do something like this, you have to consider the format. In a fanfiction website, you post by chapters. Every week, twice a week or every day, that is up to you but most of the time it is never all at once. In a book, you get everything in one fell swoop and if you don’t adjust your format to fit it, the book does nothing. There was no excitement, no anticipating and it was so boring that it made me so sad to see one of the funnest fanfictions I’d ever read be destroyed so to speak. I let out all my frustrations in my review here.
Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L James
Previously Known As – Master of the Universe by Snowqueens Icedragon
Now I am a firm believer in not judging a book unless I have read it, but I have read the fanfiction. While I enjoyed it for the most part, the thing that bothered me the most is that the characters had no real personality beyond their inspirations. Yes, that tends to happen in fanfiction but generally when a writer is trying their hand at a different ending to the series which a lot have and I greatly appreciate it. This was a totally different story about something completely different from the Twilight Saga but the characters didn’t change in any way. From the reviews I’ve read and people I’ve talked to, the same can be said about the published novel which is really disappointing. Because of that I made the personal decision not to read this series ever and I am quite happy with that choice.
So that’s it for this discussion! Let me know if you’ve read any fanfiction and what kind. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books I mentioned above and if you knew they were fanfictions before their publication. If you’d like to know more about the published Twilight fanfictions, here is a long list of books that have been published by fanfiction writers, some of them might surprise you. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!