See? What Did I Tell You? – Article on “Fifty Shade of Gray” and the Future of Publishing

I realize I’ve said this before, and even so, the proof that I would agree with this regardless of the success of Fifty Shades of Gray landing it a film deal or anything else is in the very fact that I do in fact have a couple different links to my fan fiction online (I leave it to you to read it, since it is for fans lol). Nevertheless, I couldn’t help giving a dry chuckle and muttering, “I could have told you that,” when I came across this article on “The Roundup” in my daily Publisher’s Weekly e-mail alert the other day.

The Daily Beast posted this article on their site:

Why Fan Fiction Is the Future of Publishing

I read it for myself, just to see what it had to say, and also because I think it’s kind of hilarious that an erotic novel is the first fruits to appear on this new branch of the publishing vine. Or something like that.

For yourself, I’d say take it as you will. Honestly, I can understand the stance of some authors like Anne Rice and George R. R. Martin, considering it “lazy”, that you’re just borrowing from an already established literary universe. In a minor capacity akin to swatting at a fly, I only take umbrage at this because, while the concept itself might be lazy, the execution isn’t so much if you want to do it right, if you want to write these already-created characters in a style that does them justice, but still in a way that shows signs of your own effort put into the craft. A mixture of an homage and a character and story study.

Thank you Ms. J. K. Rowling and Ms. Stephanie Meyer, respectively.

Still, I understand Rice’s and Martin’s points of view.

For me personally, I’ve recommended it mostly as a way for a person to test the waters of their writing style. Of course, fanfiction.net (where Fifty Shades was born) has a sister site called fictionpress.net, which I’ve also posted in my links page. But the nice thing about fan fiction is, because it’s based in a literary universe that already has a following, you’re guaranteed to at least get a glance. Putting your own fiction out there is harder, because let’s face, the literary world is built on what a person is aware is out there. There would be no such community of readers of anything without libraries, bookstores, and of course networking through websites, media, etc. It’s always been the best system for finding out what to read, what’s out there to read, and what the reader might be in the mood to read. It can be an excellent vindicator, to say the least. Something that tells you as an author, “Okay, yeah, I guess I really can write! And people really do respond to my writing style!” And I’m speaking from experience here. I’ve gotten several reviews for my works that have mentioned something about liking the way I write. That in and of itself is an achievement, because style can be really hard to pin down initially.

If it were me, and my books were published and popular, I’d love it if fans took it into their own hands and created their own stories. I often build my worlds with this possibility in mind. I figure, if my world is engaging enough that it can inspire stories from other people, it’s a pretty solid world, as solid as the real world is.

On the other hand though, I didn’t start writing fan fiction so much for my writing career. That might have occurred to me, that it would be cool to put something out there written by me, even if it wasn’t from a universe of my own making, but at the time, as I may or may not have mentioned before, I was going through severe Post-Potter Depression (PPD), especially concerning the sub-plot of the relationship between werewolf Remus Lupin and metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (oh, nostalgia). So I decided to start writing a story where their son Teddy comes across a way to read the biography of his father’s life (a collection of journals). It’s still a work-in-progress, and I’ve branched off to other projects since so it’s harder and harder to update of late, but for the most part it’s done really well, and I’ve come a long way from writing a fanfic that’s now nearly 200 chapters in length (of course, this is taking place over the span of the seven Harry Potter books, and then some).

Huh. I should go back to that.

Anyways, for me in my heart of hearts, it was a closure thing. And I think that that too is what it is for a lot of fan fiction authors. Closure. So if anything, it’s a good way to pound out some of those desperate “fan feels” you shouldn’t keep bottled up inside.

Yes, there are some that are…for lack of a better term…ridiculous…but it’s all in good fun. And clearly E. L. James was having loads of fun with what started out as just as another Twilight fan fic, that, unbeknownst to her, would explode into–

Okay, I dunno if I want to use the word “explode” to describe Fifty Shades of Gray. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Harry Potter fan fiction on hiatus that I need to be dusting off here. 😀

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