Yesterday’s News – Fan Fiction

We interrupt this scheduled reading of “A Dance with Dragons” by George R.R. Martin for… this blog post… which will be short… then more DwD. More. MOOOOORRRRREEEE!!!!

So I had an interesting thought at my local board game night tonight, when the subject of fan fiction came up.

I have nothing against fan fiction at all. I’ve read some, and like any type of amateur (or professional) fiction, some of it is bad, some of it is good, some of it is REALLY good. I have friends who are actively involved in fan fiction communities.

But it has never really been something I’ve found myself inspired to write. Though I have no rational objections to it in principle, the idea of slipping into someone else’s setting or especially, someone else’s characters, has always felt a bit like sneaking into their house and trying on their clothes. You may go to great lengths to take good care of their clothes, and take care to put everything back where you found it, but it’s still weird.

Note: I don’t mean to imply any moral judgement there, just a personal ooky feeling. Even that is not really all that severe. I have no doubt that I could get over it if motivated to do so. However, I’ve not so far had the motivation, because usually the stories I write just come to me without me having to pursue them. (Getting them on paper is a separate question.) And so far, no fan fiction stories have come to me.

The closest I’ve come are things like parodies  or shared universe-type sketches, and those were frequently not full-fledged stories anyway. Then, there is my story: “Death Traps”, which features Dr. Mercury, a character created by JR Blackwell. I wouldn’t call that story “Fan Fiction” exactly, though there is no question that the line is a little blurry there.

But the discussion tonight just got me thinking about writing exercises and challenges and such, wherein you actively set out to do something different from your normal routine. In that context, perhaps I ought to, just for fun, try my hand at a little bit of fan fiction. Who knows, it might even help my original projects. After all, the addition of Dr. Mercury took a bare-bones story idea I had and turned it into one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.

How to start though? What fandom do I choose from? I could easily rattle off a dozen different universes that I feel like I know well enough to get started.

And do I want to write something faithful to the original? Something subversive? Cross-over?

Any of you write both original and fan fiction? Any pointers?