One of my biggest fears is one day having a series of successful books. Or even just one successful book. Or, like, a TV show or something. It’s one of my greatest fears.
You’re confused. You’re thinking, “But Miriam, isn’t that what you WANT?”
Yes, that’s what I want, yes that’s what I want to do, but there’s one reason why the prospect absolutely terrifies me: the internet. More specifically, Tumblr and deviantART and fanfiction.net.
Now, I have nothing against fan fiction as a general rule. I know people who do, but I don’t. I think it’s a great way to learn to write and to learn to structure stories and it’s also a good way of getting inside the head of a character you can’t quite understand, which is something I’ve had to learn to do even though I write original fiction and not fan fic.
You can quote me on that, if I’m ever famous and you want to write fan fic of my work. I don’t have a problem with it.
Likewise fan art. Some of it is very beautiful. I have seen some beautiful art work for Sherlock, Doctor Who, the Avengers, etc, and also more imaginative drawings of characters from books that haven’t been made into films. And that is wonderful. I would be truly honoured if one day somebody were to turn around to me and say, “I painted a scene from your book.”
Great! You’re my new favourite person!
But I have seen the darker side of fan fiction and the darker side of fan art. Slash fiction. You know, I don’t have a problem with you shipping my characters. Fine. I will ship nearly any pairing in my books (there are, like, two that I would never ship, just because WEIRD. They’re mainly related). Ship them all!
However, there are lines. Okay, there is a line right here. Look, let me draw it for you. This line, in the sand, that is the line you are not, under any circumstances, allowed to cross.
If an author never includes sex scenes in their work, don’t write sex scenes in fan fic.
If they haven’t included them it’s for one of several reasons. One: there is no sexual relationship in the work, at all. Two: the author isn’t comfortable with writing it (and therefore probably not reading it). Three: the book is aimed at a younger audience. Four: the characters are too young.
I write YA. My characters are mainly under twenty. Okay, that never stopped George RR Martin, but seriously? They’re teenagers who don’t know what they want or where they’re going with their life. Don’t complicate it further.
If the author doesn’t use tons of profanity etc, don’t use tons of profanity.
Because the author is the person who wrote that work and the author is the one who’s going to be most affected by any fan fic they come across. If they read it and they’re not comfortable with it, that’s not very nice, is it?
If the author doesn’t include gratuitous violence, don’t include gratuitous violence.
It’s like the others. They drew a line there for a reason so who are you to cross it?
Also, real people in fan fics? Not normal.
I don’t understand people who ship real people. The actors and stuff. You don’t know them, you don’t know what goes on in their head, and seriously – it is not normal to write stories about their love life for your own entertainment. Real people in fan fic is just something I will never be able to deal with. I can’t… I can’t … I just can’t.
It’s pretty simple. Authors, when they write, choose where to draw the line. You’re creating something based in their universe, so for goodness’ sake, stick to the boundaries they’ve laid down.
And if there are no lines, then do whatever.
Game of Thrones, what the hell. Do what you like.
So if I’m ever famous – and that’s me as a person, or my books and characters, or whatever – keep the fan fic classy. Please.