Thursday, December 14, 2017

Someone on Quora May have Looked Up Fan Fiction in an Outdated Dictionary : he was Unsure whether Fan Fiction is a Real Word

Is fanfiction a real word?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Self Employed at Writer and Composer
Answered just now
It is obviously a real word, since it has a real meaning and that real meaning is understood by that word.

Fan fiction is novelistic or short story fiction written by fans of an already existing story and filling in the blanks of that story or adding to it.

Whether the original story is fiction, docufiction or documentary is not very relevant.

Troilus and Criseide by Boccacio, Chaucer and Shakespear, is a fan fic story in the general context of the Trojan War.

Those who say (with some linguistic evidence on their side) that Dares the Phrygian and Dictys of Crete are not genuine contemporaries of the Trojan War, would need to argue they are fan fic to Homer’s works. Or if you like foe fic : writing the story from the other side.

In Nennius, Arthur is basically history, or possibly fake history. In Malory, Arthur is still nearly as much history as he was in Nennius, but arguably all which is not in Nennius is fan fic.

And same thing is going on today, since Internet has brought back some of the liberties in writing.

There are fan fictions that are bad, like A Trekkie’s Tale, featuring the original Mary Sue, where very arguably the author has put herself into the story, and used the occasion to paint a very flattering picture of herself.

There are fan fictions that are good enough to be accorded approval by original franchise, like The Giant Surprise, by Hiawyn Oram:

The Giant Surprise: A Narnia Story: Books

At least part time approved by Douglas Gresham, now out of print.

And there are fan fics somewhere in between, if I may present my own Susan fiction (a very prolific genre of fan fiction in Narnia, since “only possible” actual sequel after The Last Battle, all other fan fics would be prequels or interquels, I started mine after hearing about Neil Gaiman’s attempt at a Susan fic):

Chronicle of Susan Pevensie

As long as I am not trying to monetise it, I think I can have it online even without explicit approval by Douglas Gresham (for Susan/Aslan/Narnia), Tolkien Estate (for Audoin Errol), or estate of Enid Blyton (for George/Georgina - yes, she gets to like her original name in my story, at the end, but marries a guy named George).*

However, “fan fic” is not a real word, it is slang for “fan fiction”, precisely as “foe fic” is slang for “foe fiction”.

What are legal consequences if I wrote a sequel to the Tolkien Hobbit book?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Fan of Tolkien as well as of his novels.
Answered just now
If you publish it for free on internet and label it fan fiction, none.

If you try to publish it on paper and earn money of it, you had either best ask the Tolkien estate if they think it is good enough, or you must try to do so in Mongolia or on “non-commercial” (like fanzines printed in 100 examples) scale.

Btw, not sure if Mongolia is the best country to escape British copyright, just took it as an example so you get the idea. US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, European Union … no no …

* The copyrights of Arthur Conan Doyle for Doctor Watson (and offstage for Sherlock Holmes, who dies before this story) and for Gilbert Keith Chesterton for Father Brown are already expired. That said, I'd like an approval from heir there too, if possible. Especially when and if I ever get the novel finished, about half the chapters are still missing.

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