ann_r_starr: (easy going)
Here are my thoughts on fanfic.

Since you guys all know me, it would be pretty pointless of me to say I fully support fanfiction. So bare with me while I be utterly pointless.

I support fan fiction.

What is less pointless is why I support fanfiction and the people who write it. So, my friends, let me take you down memory lane.

To start with, I strongly object to a 'no child left behind' policy in schools. Simply because if my many, many schools hadn't simply shuffled me forward when I was young, someone might have caught on to my rather large issue rather then berating me for it.

I have always loved to read and to tell stories. But I learnt to read by memorising whole words, in the young adult level books, skipping completely that stage of learning to read by sounding out words. That lead to my being a fantastic reader with a huge vocaburary... that I had little to no idea how to spell.

Here's a fact. The phrase "Sound out the word" has very, very little meaning to a child who isn't even aware letters make sounds on their own.

Here's another fact. A child who can't spell anything with more then four letters but who loves to write stories gets very little support and a great deal of mockery. So it wasn't school that taught me to overcome my spelling issues. Nor was it my parents, who didn't realise the cause of my problems until I was fifteen or so.

The people who helped me get past my issues with spelling and grammar were the supportive and friendly fans of my Pokemon fanfiction - and in particular the friends I made through those fanfiction works. I'm still not the greatest speller in the world, but the support of my fans and friends lent me the strength I needed to follow my dream and over come my shortcomings.

Without my start in fanfiction, my dream of writing an original novel would have been lost. And I know I'm not the only person like myself in the world, so, that is why I support fanfiction. Because somewhere out there is another child who needs a safe space to learn to walk before they can chase their dreams.

Do I consider fanfiction to be uncreative or a mockery of the original author?

Not at all.

I can understand why some authors are touchy about fanfiction, but I think dismissing it as uncreative or a mockery is out of line on the parts of published authors. Firstly because very few people write fanfiction out of hatred for the original work. That would be an amazing waste of time - which is why, even if Katherine Kerr were to allow fanfiction, you wouldn't find me writing it.

Secondly, and I admit to bias here, I don't consider fanfiction to lack creativity. When I wrote Pokemon fanfic, Ash, Brock and Misty were rarely seen in my writing. My interest was in the Pokemon themselves, in particular Mew, Mewtwo and what might have been involved in that cloning process to make Mewtwo so different from Mew.

My fanfics were certainly ill thought out, badly ploted and full of Mary Sues, but they also were nothing like the original games or cartoons. Nor were most of the other fanfics I read over the years. Most fanfiction writers take the original setting and add a 'what if' to it.

That, in my opinion, is creativity. After all, isn't the truth of so called 'original fiction' that we authors simply take reality and add a 'what if' to it?

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Ann Rosa Starr

May 2012

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