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(I know I'm preaching to the choir, here. But I just thought... maybe someone who hates fanfiction will browse through the answers to the Writer's Block thing. And maybe they'll read this?)

Fan fiction is the modern version of sitting around the campfire, telling old folktales, myths and legends, and letting them live--retelling them, changing them, responding to them.

It's a natural and beautiful thing. Lately I've been coming across all these people who are pissed off or disgusted by it and I just want to shake them and shout, "WHY DO YOU HATE FUN?!" Or maybe "Why do you find this so threatening??"

Sure, not all individual examples of fan fiction are all that remarkable. And some are just bad. (Although, really, a lot of those are from very young writers, many of whom have a lot of growing to do as writers (and fanfic communities will likely help them)). But this is not a reason to condemn the entire practice. Would you condemn the entire world of academic literary criticism just because you'd found a lot of bad essays written by kids? -- or essays you didn't personally agree with, or maybe you thought they were too derivative... No, I hope not.

I really do think that they're very related activities (literary analysis papers and fanfic). They are both the result of engaging critically and creatively with a text, responding to it in a form that others will recognize and respond to as well. They are both part of ongoing, open conversations based around literature (and other media -- STORIES) and people's responses to it. People's responses are based on their own experiences, and other texts, and other "counter-texts" (essays, reviews and fanfic).

And fanfiction in particular is such a wonderful brand of that kind of active reading -- it provides such a great form and forum to do it in. The communities formed around it can be so supportive and generative of growth, thought and discussion, and it connects you with people from all over the world, and people with different experiences and perspectives, different ideas about the texts. It's like the fucking best English class ever.

LONG LIVE FAN FICTION!


Also, the fucking Aeniad is a fanfic of The Illiad.

Shakespeare's plays were pretty much all fanfiction!
And there are endless examples of modern fanfics of Shakespeare.

[livejournal.com profile] bookshop has an awesome list of recognized and lauded derivative works here.

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