Fanfiction’s Restrictions

Welcome to Poppy Seeds Pop-Culture!  I’ll keep it brief, but I just want to welcome any new comers and say thanks to any returning readers.  Now, let’s get right into it!

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Chances are that if you enjoy any pop-culture medium, even if the title that you enjoy is a bit more, shall we say, “underground,” you have most likely stumbled on or written… or thought of writing… a certain type of literature based upon the specific medium and group/title that you enjoy.  That’s right.  I’m referring to the dreaded (as most would never admit they enjoy them) fanfiction.  (That’s part of pop-culture, right?)

fanfic

Ah, fanfiction.  The outlet that every fangirl or fanboy might look to when they want to express how much they love the newest album from Sleeping With Sirens (or Kelin Quinn).  Maybe they want to fantasize about a relationship that they can have with a person.  They could also want to read about someone else’s relationship with said person.  Maybe a fan just wants an insider’s viewpoint of a certain event.  I mean, what’s the fun in reading tabloids when you can use your imagination and share with other people who enjoy something just as much as you do?

Well, these pieces of “brilliant” fiction have drawn quite a bit of attention over the last several years both the Fifty Shades of Gray and After series, both of which were originally fanfictions turned into multimillion copy sellers.  It can’t be ignored that there is something special in the writing of these fictional works, but there are also some negatives that readers of professionally published fanfictions (such as the aforementioned series, which I will get into more in a minute) and works posted on sites such as Wattpad (www.wattpad.com) or Archive of Our Own (www.archiveofourown.org).

Sites like Wattpad and AO3 (Archive of Our Own) have enabled authors of all levels to post their works for free without the constraints of publishing services or more selective sites such as TeenInk (www.teenink.com).  They allow any and every one to post their literary works from any genre and get feedback from readers around the globe through their online communities, but both of these sites are most well known for their selection of fanfictions and their writers.

Fanfictions, although often written with the passion of an avid fan, are also often written with the mediocrity of a beginner and are criticized by fans and outsiders alike for poor grammar, spelling, and structure altogether.  Any fanfiction writer might tell you that their writing is a labor of love, but might also say that they would never show it to anyone who mattered or knew them because they would, and I quote from experience, “die of literal embarrassment.”  (I must thank my friend as I just asked them what would happen if I found their Harry Styles fanfiction…)  This is usually due to lack of experience in writing, whether from lack of interest while in school or just needing practice (nothing wrong with that), but the fact is, this makes these otherwise amazing works a bit less… palatable to most readers as it is hard to read.

That is not to say that these sites have never produced any good fanfictions or hold any good fanfiction writers.  Anna Todd, a One Direction fan, wrote a series of fanfictions about Harry Styles, the bad boy who falls for the goodie two shoes (each about 100 chapters long) under the working titles After, After 2, and After 3.  Now Anna Todd has a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster, each book with a new name, with additional books and translations.  She also has a spinoff series going!  Anna Todd was a simple stay at home mother who had picked up writing because she loved a boyband (one member, specifically).  As of 4:30 a.m. July 11, 2017, she has 1.2 million followers on Wattpad (where she started, and continues to post, under the name @imaginator1D), 296 thousand Twitter followers, and 405 thousand Instagram followers.  Talk about success!

anna todd

Now, there are some unpublished gems that range in categories from horror to LGBTQ fanfictions about bands, movie, book, and TV characters, and even video and board games if you can believe it!  Fanfictions are an interesting and broad topic.  Whether someone will like them or not… depends on several factors.

There are pros to fanfictions, such as the expression and communication of a passion between fans, especially if they are posted on sites such as those I mentioned in this post.  But I have to acknowledge that there are also cons to them as well.

The spelling and grammar can be a major turn off, and some people don’t like the way authors change their favorite characters, people, or plots around.  Every writer has the right to write their story their way, but when their writing a Harry Potter fanfiction based on the first and second books… they better get those events right of their comment sections on community sites will be filled with spam comments that will, in the end, most likely end up hurting the author (who will be discouraged) and commenters (who will get reported for harassment).  But these aren’t the only issues facing writers of fanfictions.

There’s also the everblooming issues of copyrights!  The names of bands, books, book characters, movie and TV show titles, movie and TV characters… they’re all protected as the work of the writers who created them under INTERNATIONAL LAW!  Now, that doesn’t mean that any average writer who writes a The AnimeMan fanfiction will be arrested for stealing the work and name of Joey, The AnimeMan (YouTuber), but they run the risk, if they start to make money using Joey’s name, of getting into some trouble.

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For this reason, Anna Todd, author of the After series, changed the names of all of the famous characters in her books when she was working on publishing.  The names of the One Direction band members are protected, by law, so that nobody but One Direction and those they have given express permission to can gain from the use of their name and merchandise.  So, she set to changing the names of her characters: Harry to “Hardin”, Zayn to “Zed”, Liam to “Landon”, etc.

The world of fanfiction is so much more than sitting down, saying, “I like BBC’s Sherlock, so I’m going to write the newest Johnlock fanfiction,” and then doing it.  A writer has to be somewhat prepared for any harsh feedback they might get, or if they are looking to make money at some point, the work and time to make the changes to it (and the little bit of emotion behind having to change it).

Anyways, those were my thoughts and all of the facts that I have to say, most of which can be found on any credible site if you are interested in finding out more.  I am curious as to what you think of fanfictions?  Pro?  Con?  Why?  Have you ever read, written, or thought about writing one?  For what?  Let me know down in the comments below, and I will see you all again next time!

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P.S.  If you have any ideas about what you want me to post about next, something about this post, or just want to say hello, pop over to the “CONTACT POPPY SEEDS” page and drop me a line!  I’d be thrilled to hear from you!