“Fifty shades of Writer Frustration”

In another of my LinkedIn Writer Groups, Rebecca Byfield led a discussion (titled “50 Shades of Writer Frustration”) about fan fiction, with reference to Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. It actually got me thinking about fan fiction, because I’d never really delved into that subject before.  I hadn’t realized the 50 shades series was “spawn” from the Twilight series which explains a lot. I just saw these books come out of nowhere to be wildly popular and wondered why.

Without endorsing (AT ALL) either series, or fan fiction, I did have some thoughts I’d like to share. Rebecca’s questions were

“I was wondering what you, as authors and writers yourself, think of the concept of fan fiction being tweaked and re-released as original works? Do you think it is smart business or lazy writing? Have you ever borrowed from popular fiction to by-pass the creativity stage of your plot lines?”

My answer:

I think I said something in earlier comments […] but I did want to give my opinion on your last 2 questions at the end.

–Yes, it’s smart business and it’s lazy writing (to an extent). But if you think of it in very general terms, as many have said here and everywhere else, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

It’s smart business, because you’re putting your spin on what works. You’ve already got something that’s selling, why not keep the established audience “fed” with what they hunger?
It’s lazy writing to me, because you already have character development, and some generic plot lines covered. Part of the fun for me is imagining how the character will react in a certain situation: is she right or left-handed? what’s her favorite color? And yes, that’s mind work. [But also fun work]

I’ve never borrowed “to bypass the creativity stage”. But you cannot help as a good writer (because you are a good reader), to realize that something you might have read will actually work for your story. Again, there’s nothing new. Just a different perspective–yours.

What do you think about fan fiction?

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