Posts Tagged ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’

Here comes the bride: fan art of Edward and Bella
Picture source: twitarded

Lately, Fan Fiction is in the spotlight because EL James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, admitted that she learned her writing chops writing Twilight fan fiction before she converted the names Bella and Edward to Anastasia and Christian Grey. What happened next is a publishing phenomenon which has taken trade publishers and Twilight fans by surprise. Judging from the number of fan fiction authors who have been published recently, for example, Tara Sue Me who is the latest example, publishers appear to believe they have found in fan fiction a new route to increasing their profit margins and are now no doubt scouring the slush piles in sites such as fanfiction.net for the next big thing.

But we should not forget that fan fiction is a craze that’s almost as old as writing itself. Just think The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, for instance.

One does wonder how those readers who still read books regard fan fiction. Are they sneery about these sites?

However, it is undoubted that  fan fiction – particularly its erotic-heavy along with its slash fiction strands – is a self-publishing phenomenon where amateur and aspiring authors write stories about the characters they are obsessed with. Just looking at the numbers of Twilight fan fics that are and have been published and the plethora of slash fan fiction that are written, for example, in homage of Spock/Captain Picard, it’s a phenomenon. If trade publishing is the tip of the iceberg, then fan fiction must be the vast unexplored world of a self-publishing phenomenon.

Desert Heat – Spock and Kirk by Gayle Feyrer Picture source: guardian.co.uk

It is a dark genre where Eric Northman and Sookie is depicted in bdsm Southern Vampire Fiction fics  and where Spock and Draco are ‘shipped’ in Alternate Universe slash fics.

Despite the successes of EL James and others who are following in her footsteps, a misconception remains that fan fiction is just silly girls’ fantasies scrawled on the underbelly of the internet. I suspect Fifty Shades of Grey has done little to rescue the reputation of the genre.

But here’s the counter-argument: most fan fiction is a rejection of the normative version of sexuality. Fan fiction offers a more honest way, if sometimes radical and wayward platforms to engage with and negotiate relationships, sex and gendered power relations.

Perhaps, another way of viewing fan fiction is that it offers a test bed to cut one’s teeth in writing. It offers anonymity and help aspiring writers to become better writers, and allowing them to explore sexuality in a ways which depart from the norms dictated by the Hollywood industrial complex, light entertainment industry and dominant forms of popular culture.

What do you think of fan fiction? Let me hear your thoughts!

Picture source for Twilight fan art : twitarded 

Picture source for Spock/Picard fan art: guardian.co.uk

 

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