Recently I read the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. In this book the main character is a heavy fanfiction writer for her favorite book series. This got me thinking to the days when I used to read (yes I will admit it) even write fanfiction. When I started I didn't think anything of it as being wrong. I gave credit to the original creator, made no money, etc.
Some authors love the idea and/or at least accepting of fanfiction, Authors include: Neil Gaiman, Meg Cabot, Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey, Melissa Marr, Stephanie Meyer, J.K Rowling and many others. They are accpeting of the idea. Some say it can be inspiring for future writers, others are flattered that their world lives on.
Then some authors are very against the very concept of Fanfiction. Authors include Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, Robin Hobb, George RR Martin, among others. Their reasons are the opposite. They feel it stunts creativity, are worried about copyright laws, or feel it is just plain theft.
When I first read fanficsI fully respected the opinions of those against it. I would never write or even read fanfiction if I knew the author was against it. But I still enjoyed it for what it was. For me, it was a chance for alternate endings, future epilogues and adventures, and so forth.
One of my all time favorites was actually from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith basing. In the scene where Anakin Skywalker-turned Darth Vader is on Mustafar and we get a brief glimpse of him crying in the movie. It was a 1 page fanfic about that moment regarding the thoughts and emotions he was going through. It was beautiful and tragic. It takes nothing from the movies or books and, to me, adds so much more depth.
My biggest rules of fanfiction was keeping true to the world and characters. Nothing is more disturbing than a giggling, girly Professor Snape! And my biggest thing was crossovers. I could not stand the idea of Harry Potter meeting Edward Cullen or some such story. First off, the world gets muddled and how to fairly give credit and due to the author here?!
What I do not like is seeing fanfiction stories on sites like goodreads. I am not even referring to authors like Cassandra Clare or Tara Sue Me who have openly admitted to their works being based of former fanfiction of theirs. At least they changed the world and characters enough to make them their own. Maybe in a round-about way but at least the effort was their. No. What I hate is seeing links for the "books" and "authors" taking you straight to sites like fanfiction.net. That is when things go too far.
So those are my thoughts. Be true to the characters/world. Take no credit or money, honor the author/creator, and do not write fanfiction based off an author's works after the have expressed a problem with it. Otherwise, whatever floats your boat.
What are your opinions on fanfiction?