Last Sunday night, instead of dutifully studying for my math exam, I decided to cave and finally watch Fifty Shades of Grey. Shout out to the kind soul who illegally uploaded a copy of it with Japanese subtitles for my viewing pleasure, you da real MVP. I never actually read the books, but I love a solid “billionaire-falls-in-love-with-sassy-poor-girl” story line so I had been curious for a while. The movie was…something else. I couldn’t decide whether Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were terrible actors, or amazing ones who portrayed terribly written characters really well. The horrendous dialogue and so-called “chemistry” caused me physical pain, and I moaned, groaned, and cringed my way to the very end. I will not deny, however, that the some of the scenes were…hot…in fact, even tastefully done.
I promise this post is not just to bore you with an already overly hyped franchise. But watching Fifty Shades got me thinking about all the incredible stories that have been created on the Internet. I mean, the author of Fifty Shades was simply writing Twilight fanfiction online, before it exploded into a multi-million dollar sensation.
Fanficition.net holds some very passionate fans, extremely disturbing fantasies, and raw, undiscovered talent. Although, I do not read too much fanfiction, there have been times when I am suffering from Harry Potter withdrawal and turned to my fellow fangirls for their writing. There is a lot of comfort in the knowing that someone felt similar emotions and thoughts as you on something, and took the time to write them down. With fanfiction, the story does not have to end if you don’t want it to; it can take on a life of its own.
Story worlds also collide, and people have been known to write fanfic for impossible scenarios and the most random of things. Once, I came across a fanfic where Lord of the Ring’s Frodo was impregnated by Aragorn. I wish my eyes could unseen what I had just read…
The boundaries become a little murky in the realm of fanfiction. Plagiarism is a very real concern since fanfic writers take other people’s characters and stories, but are also simultaneously writing their own work. For those who went through a clichéd young adult novel phase during your middle school years, you may be familiar with Cassandra Clare and her charges of plagiarism with the Mortal Instruments series. She used certain passages in her novels that were from the Harry Potter fanfiction she had been writing. While the words were Clare’s own work, in that instance of time, her character’s motivations and emotions belong to J.K. Rowling.
In a similar vein, many established writers take great offense to fanfiction. Some find it to be creatively lazy, while others find it to an exploitation of their work. The question arises whether E.L. James owes Stephanie Meyer money because she essentially made millions off giving Edward Cullen some bondage and a whip?
Personally, I am an advocate for certain forms of fanfiction. If the material is not too lecherous and there is no blatant creative theft, the world of fanfiction is pretty innocuous. Society has been given some excellent entertainment by the world of fanfiction and that’s why I say, let the fangirls continue to fangirl.