This post I was going to do, not last week but the week before but because I have been waiting for replies on Google Plus (got nothing back) and due to life getting in the way, I have had to delay writing this. But since it is now obvious that I am not about to get anything from Google, I figured I might as well get on with writing it.
Warning: I may ramble!
I write fan fiction. I like to write it. It’s fun and sometimes, when I have writer’s block or I am just generally a bit stuck on another piece of work to get on with it, I turn to fan fiction just to chill out and work on something that doesn’t necessarily require me to think.
Personally, out of all the shows and games and books I read watch and play, I tend to always fall back to Digimon fan fiction, based on the two original Digimon Adventure series’ and the movie. I have written copious amounts of Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children fiction (looking back on that, it is horrible! And my OC is a dreadful Mary-Sue!), my first few stories include an unfinished Flint The Time Detective story over on FanFiction.Net (that is even worse than the Advent Children stuff!) and I have written the odd Doctor Who flash fictions (they were written more recently and are not too bad) but I always seem to return to Digimon.
Why though? Why Digimon? And why write fan fiction at all?
I recently got thinking about these questions when, once again, I found myself writing a bit of Digimon fan fiction during a period of writers block.
For the Digimon question, my brain quickly decided that it was because the world of Digimon is enormous, with just the first two series (and the movie) alone. It is wide open and that there must be many more digi-destined and digital stories still to tell. There are so many possibilities that the world almost leaves itself open for fans to come up with their own stories and imagine themselves in that world. Who would be my Digimon partner? And what could the world teach me and my partner?
I believe that other shows and books (mostly!) also offer these opportunities, like Pokémon, Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series and even maybe Miss Cackle‘s Academy for Young Witches from Jill Murphy‘s Worst Witch series. (Doctor Who and Flint probably doesn’t fit in with this but hey! These shows are about time travel and Time is a big ball of wibbley, wobbley, time-y whimey…STUFF!)
These worlds are large, the locations lend themselves to these sorts of ideas and allow fans of the shows to insert themselves or an OC (Original Character) of their making into the world and create their own stories.
For a new writer, this sort of set up, a set world, set characters, etc. is excellent and allows the writer to get right into story without having to worry about explaining much. Friends of mine who I spoke to whilst researching this noted that there is a lot of bad writing out there, set characters going out of character (sometimes simply because the writer is unable to write that type of character and some terrible abuses of the original owners work. This is always going to happen unfortunately.
I have seen others discuss this and I know others say that fan fiction is not good, it’s cheating, it’s not respecting the owners, etc. but I feel these reasons are complete utter rubbish. So long as there is respect and attempts at least keeping characters intact then I don’t think there is an issue. For new writers, who are just starting to learn their craft, I think fan fiction is great. Because it is new writers, there can be allowance for bad writing and some justification for the characters going awry from their original intent.
I also agree with something a friend said about writers bringing their own ideas to fan fiction. The friend said that writers often write the stuff the show/book/game writers never thought of and writing the things that they think should or should have happened. The example the friend gave was of the show Supernatural. I do not watch this show so I am just going on what the friend said and what I have seen on Tumblr. Apparently, fans just want Sam and Castiel (is that right?) to hug. This is the subject of a few fan fictions.
Despite not watching Supernatural, I do agree, as I said, with the friend’s point. I know in the Digimon fandom, there are some fan fictions of what happened to Wizardmon after his death, particularly as they did not like the idea that his data was not sent back to the digital world and he did not reconfigure there.
So why write fan fiction?
I believe people write it to express their love of the show, give their own opinions what should (or should not!) have happened and to give new writers a platform to begin, learn and develop their skills. One other friend of mine also noted that new writers might not feel confident enough initially to begin writing their own new, original material and need some where safe to begin.
I agree with all of this. I started writing fan fiction when I started writing. I had only just had it pointed out to me that I had a skill for writing, I had no idea how to develop my skills, where to start, how to come up with ideas or anything. I had not been taught any of that. I was completely and totally new.
Writing fan fiction gave me solid boundaries, set characters, rules, locations, etc. and allowed me to start writing and learning. I was terrible at the start. I rarely completed any stories, mostly because I didn’t understand about at least having an end point and some form of idea of what was going to happen in the middle. As I got older, I learned more, started completing stories, began dipping my toe into the realms of original work (inspired by games and films) and exploring new genres. I also started exploring older themes, with my fan work starting to burgeoning on into young adult audiences, including relationships, sex and infidelity. It is only more recently have I started getting into the middle and deeper end of swimming pool as it were and working on my own completely original work but even now, I still go back and I still write fan fiction.
Because it is FUN!
I write Digimon because it was the second or third anime series I really got into (the others being Pokémon and Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura) and I still love the idea of being a digidestined with a Wizardmon as my partner. Yes, it sounds ridiculous. Yes, it sounds childish. But you know what? I don’t care.
I love fan fiction. It is a great starting point. An excellent platform for new writers to begin and develop their craft and, for older writers like me, it is nice just to go back and write stories about the shows, films and games I love, especially when it is combating the effects of writers block or being stuck on an original story.
*I would just like to say thank you to everyone who responded when I requested their views about fan fiction and why people write it. Some of their views are included in this article and I am very grateful for them.