Intro Music by Fretts!

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Fifty Shades of Fan Fiction!


What We’re Drinking:

Fireball Whiskey! Tastes like sci-fi conventions.

What We’re Saying:

Tiger Gray came back! They weren’t scared away by the first episode! And they’re here to talk to us about Fan Fiction, one of the most reviled corners of the literary world.

I admit it, I’ve hate-read fan fiction. I’ve never been a huge fan, but I tried to come into this episode with an open mind.

Cassandra Claire started out writing the Fellowship of the Ring Diaries, which was a work of parody based on (you guessed it) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. She went on to write some Harry Potter fan fiction, which served as a jumping off point for her original series.

E. L. James started out the Fifty Shades of Grey series as Twilight fan fiction, and regardless of what any of us might think about that, she is successful, and people enjoyed the book.

I found out from Tiger that there is a Band of Brothers fandom, a fact of which I was previously unaware.

Tiger started writing fan fiction at age twelve, and finds that sometimes when they’re stalled out on writing original fiction, they can turn to writing fan fiction in order to have a creative outlet, and to be inspired.

There’s potentially a marketing edge to fan fiction, as members of the fandom are already invested in the world and some of the characters, and it’s easier to get buy-in on an original piece of fiction. After all, how to you make someone care about a character that they’ve never read before.

Selling fiction, particularly novel-length fiction, is kind of a difficult endeavor. It’s not a situation like visual art where you can get an impression of the piece almost immediately. It’s an investment of time and effort to read a book.

There are also subjects that you wouldn’t find in published fiction that sometimes crop up in fan fiction. It can be an opportunity to work out issues of gender and sexuality and taboo emotion in a kind of a safe way. Things that would be considered too risky or strange for mainstream publishing.

And there are quality pieces of fan fiction out there, it turns out. The same concepts and situations and conversations that you see in original fiction can just as easily be worked out in fan fiction. Maybe more easily, since the author doesn’t have to worry as much about building the world.

So give fan fiction another chance!

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