A while back, I posted a survey on Twitter. In the poll, I asked the people on my timeline (maybe you are included among them) what they thought about fanfictions, fanfics, fics or whatever you want to call them.
Today I share the analysis of all the results, the conclusions, the reflections (both mine and those of the people who responded to the poll and the mentions that were made about it) and some real cases about the relationship between fanfics and the original authors of the stories.
Shall we begin?
The results of the survey
High school science class taught me that before getting some results you have to say what has been analyzed and how (what in a scientific article come to be the materials and methods).
In total, the opinion of 122 people who voted for or against the fanfics in the Twitter survey was analyzed. Of the 122, 90 voted for and 32 against.
Analysis of the results obtained
The first problem I’ve had is that I think some people didn’t understand the question (I say this because of the comments they left me). When I speak of “good” or “bad” I don’t mean the quality of the texts, but whether they should be able to be done. That is, whether they were for or against their writing regardless of the reason why they were written.
But the truth is that the comments making reference to this were the minority and therefore I believe that the results of the survey are still valid (although the population taken as reference -122- is not very large, so I do not know how significant it is, but given the huge difference in votes, I’d say it’s pretty conclusive).
Having clarified this detail, we take it for granted that 74% of people are in favor and, evidently, there is a relationship between being in favor and writing fanfics. Of those who commented, 66% of those in favor have ever written a fanfic (33% have not).
This is logical. It’s easier to find people who are in favor among fanfic writers and it’s more logical to have written some fanfic if you’re in favor of them, isn’t it?
However, that a third of the people who are in favor don’t write fanfic is also an important fact. It means that there are a lot of people who are in favor even if it doesn’t influence them at all.
Why are you in favor of writing fanfiction?
Here I am very grateful for some very long comments in which they were explaining why they were in favor of fanfiction being written (even if they didn’t write them). And since we’re on graphics today, I also put this with a cool image.
Fanfics are a fantastic tool to practice with, so that our writing ability doesn’t atrophy. If this is your goal, you should think carefully about prepping your story as you would a normal novel. Think about outlining your story and strategizing how you want to approach it. While it is a great exercise, you want to take it seriously if it’s being used as practice. You don’t need to create characters or a world or relationships between them if you want. Someone has already done it for you! All you have to do is put them in a situation and write. It’s much easier to write something when everything else has been created, it’s like writing a scene in the middle of a novel. What I find most difficult are the beginnings (and endings), but an intermediate scene is easy.
Why? Because we don’t have to stop to present anything, we don’t need to describe the appearance or the place. Worldbuilding is already done in the original story, so the fanfic focuses on action. Everybody reading already knows the characters and worlds giving the write a head start. Pair that with some writing prompts (maybe this list is helpful) and you have yourself a fun, great writing exercise.
On the other hand, fanfics are usually published on platforms like fanfiction.net, where you register and have a username, an alias. That alias is your shield against the world: you don’t have to give personal data if you don’t want to and therefore you can publish without fear of criticism. It is much easier to hide behind a pseudonym than to show your face directly.
Different sites are good for different fandoms and have different benefits from the community and more. There are great lists online for that so I won’t go into much detail, but I will point out a few fandoms that caught my eye and where I found them. There are many great site for Klance from Commaful.com to Wattpad, but for more specific fandoms, some live on very specific sites. Like Pixelfance on Fanfiction.Net or B Monkey on AO3.
Why are you against it?
There were very few people here who ventured against fanfiction publicly. I suppose it is easier to defend something than to criticize it. Basically, those who are against it think that writing fanfics is taking advantage of someone else’s work and that it’s much more productive to write your own original stories.
It’s something like Diana P. Morales’ final conclusion about writing stories based on real facts. Why write based on something when we can create something new and original?
It’s true that it’s more productive (and profitable) to write a short story or a novel if it’s original rather than a fanfic. In the case of stories, you can send them to contests; novels can be edited and corrected and try to publish/self-publish them. A fanfic, on the other hand, can only be published on platforms of this style, unless you modify it so much that you turn it into a totally original story.
However, I think that writing fanfics is a bit devalued. Last week I was talking about how the publishing world had begun to notice these fan focused websites. Following the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, which started out as a Twilight fanfic. Examples like these have caused people to think that fanfics are of worse quality than novels.
The problem with websites where fanfics are published is that there is no filter at all: everything is published, the good and the bad. And of course it’s easier to find bad texts than good ones. But today, with self-publishing, Amazon is also full of low quality texts that have not gone through a correction (let’s not say by a professional proofreader), so the fact that it is a novel does not ensure that its quality is higher.
In fact, today many publishers publish books even though they know their quality is low. And is that we must not forget that a publisher is a company and therefore looks for its economic benefit. So if a famous Youtuber signs a book that lacks quality (or even history and are only his phrases placed in a corner of the page wasting a whole page of paper), they publish it. Why? Because if you have 3 million followers, you will most likely sell quite a few copies.
But just as many of these things are published, good stories are also published. And they also write good fics that have a lot of planning behind them. On whether or not it is easy to write, I refer to the words of Dalila Cabrera
Is it easy to write fanfiction?
Important this last detail because it was something that was also mentioned to me in the comments. The fanfics (at least in which you don’t invent half a universe and completely change the personality of the characters) serve as training to know how to maintain the personality of someone when you write, that doesn’t fluctuate, that looks natural and coherent with the one that appeared in the book. And this is complicated.
So, are fanfiction good or bad?
Well, the answer, as always, depends. In my opinion, as long as the author agrees, fanfics can be a very good tool to start writing, create a habit and even as practice over time.
I also see as a positive point the fact that they increase and expand the world/universe on which a story is based. This for fantasy or science fiction novels is fantastic. Can you imagine J.K. Rowling sifting through stories based on the Harry Potter universe and expanding the story in the Star Wars Expanded Universe style? We would have stories from magic schools in other parts of the world, from before the appearance of Voldemort, the creation of Hogwarts… Of course, everything would pass through her first, so that she could approve or reject it.
I have nothing more to add. The truth is that creating a survey and seeing the results and comments has been very interesting. Would you like it to be repeated? Did you vote and comment on this one?
You can leave me your opinion in a comment or by means of a message in Twitter (that you see that I have them very much in account as much as others).
Now go and get a pencil and a piece of paper. Or a keyboard and a screen.
Write original things, write fanfics.
It doesn’t matter, but write and marvel us all.