Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative.
So one of the authors I like decided to go on an anti-fanfiction rant. I guess they have a right to their opinion, but you know, I really wish authors that don't like fanfiction would just keep their damn mouths shut.
Fanfiction is an important part of fan communities. It's one of the many ways readers interact with what they read. Most fanfiction writers are not E.L. James. Most of them are people who love the work and want it to continue, or who want to view it through a different lens. They're passionate. Yes, sometimes they're disappointed with the direction you chose, but they wouldn't feel that way if it didn't matter to them in the first place.
I don't get it with authors sometimes. Fine, you don't want someone playing in "your" sandbox but FFS, do you have to open your mouth and say it? Do you care so little about the people who pay your bills? Who keep a roof over your head? Whose very passion is what allows you to continue doing what you do? Does it really do you any harm to ignore the fact that it exists? Because plenty of authors do just that without problems.
I'm a writer who got her start doing fanfiction. What's more, I'm an autistic writer, and if it weren't for those early stories that launched me into writing my own works, I might never have discovered the thing I love doing most in the world. Writing was also the first way in which I found myself truly able to connect with other people. I can't always express myself in ways other people understand--but when I write, they understand me. The differences between my brain and a neurotypical brain are no longer an obstacle when I'm writing. I can't begin to express what that means to me, how important it is to me and how much it's transformed me life. And without fanfiction, I would have never known.
True, most fanfiction writers do it solely as a hobby. The vast majority of fandom reacts to P2P fanfic with distaste because it goes against the rules of fanfic. Despite writing derivative works, you'll find that most fanficcers believe that fanfiction needs to be kept away from the author, that it's wrong to try to force fanfiction on authors. There is a great deal of respect among most of the community for the feelings of authors, yet a lot of authors don't care to return that respect.
Once a work goes beyond your word processor, the definition of "yours" changes. No matter what you do, readers are going to interpret your work, your characters, and your world in their own way. Fanfiction is just one expression of this. Writers, you can't control this phenomenon. Hell, you shouldn't want to. It's what means you're going to have a career in the first place. You didn't do it perfectly. Your interpretations are not the only ones, or even the only right ones. If you wanted it to be only about you, then you should've kept it to yourself. But you released it to the public, and now it's about everyone who loves what you do.
That's just how it goes. In many ways, stories are transformative. They change lives and perspectives. Sometimes the most they do is give a person a few hours of entertainment, but even that is something. You've affected the world, and now you want to go "No, no, you're not interacting with this the way I want you to, so it's wrong!"
Don't you know that saying? Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. From here, you're looking pretty foolish.