Re: what is fanfiction?

#1
This sounds like the world's stupidest question to post on a writing site, but hear me out.

I was talking about my idea for my story on one of Reddit's writing subreddits (can't remember if it was r/selfpublish or something else). I have a story that takes place in the universe of the tabletop RPG "Masks" that I want to publish and monetize (Patreon). Now I got full written permission from the game's creators to go ahead and do it, so I'm not worried about copyright infringement or anything like that, but one person on Reddit told me that I'd be "crazy" to think that anyone wants to read my "D&D fanfiction". The only thing I'm actually lifting from the universe of the game is the main setting (Halcyon City), the main superhero organization (AEGIS), and some other basic concepts, but every single character, plotline, and story arc are created be me and me alone. I had created my protagonist for a Masks campaign that a friend of mine ran, sure, but that campaign has literally zero to do with my story.

But it got me thinking about where exactly the line between fanfiction and original work is. Would my story be considered fanfiction just because it takes place in an established setting? Does simply taking place in an existing universe make a story fanfiction, or does the complete reliance on an all-original cast and plotline unconnected to anything prior make the story an original work? Or is there some middle classification that exists out there? It really got me thinking where the line is between original and fanfiction.

What do you guys think about it? I'm approaching this from a philosophical POV (I'll probably ask about the rules in another thread since my story seems to sort of stand on that line, if one even exists) and am wondering what other writers think about this? Is there a gray area between original fiction and fanfiction? Is such a story something different? Or is it just flat out fanfiction the moment you include something from an official work in your story, even if it's just a location. Just curious about your thoughts. 

Re: what is fanfiction?

#2
From my understanding, if you have to get permission to use any element from something someone else wrote, no matter if it’s a single thing, and everything else is your own creation, it’s considered “fanfiction”, technically. You’re using a notable element that you didn’t create in your work.

People get around this a lot by using the “premise” of an idea they like over the “literal” idea, and giving it their own twist. The premise is basically the tropes, which nobody can really copyright. 

So, technically? Someone can call your story a fanfiction and be right. Now, depending on how much you use from this work, though, decides if you’re doing a major fanfiction, or barely a fanfiction, if that makes sense. But, it’s still a fanfiction, if those jackasses want to be technical.

Re: what is fanfiction?

#3
To me, fanfiction is any story where you have taken at least one recognisable thing from a fandom and written a story involving it. It could be a character, a place or a piece of equipment (eg tesseract from MCU), or many other things.

However, if a fandom sparked a concept, but you set it in your own world, with your own lore & characters then it's an original work.

I get the feeling there's a lingering sense of fanfic automatically being inferior than an original work, or just the label "fanfiction", maybe, (it's a sentiment I've seen around before) which isn't necessarily true. TV Shows, games, etc frequently issue licences for books because a) it generates money and b) people will read them.

Re: what is fanfiction?

#6
If you include any part of another original work that you did not create yourself, its fanfiction. Borrowing even just the "location" (especially if that location isn't a common place and is unique to that work) means you're borrowing the "setting" for the story, which is arguably more important then the characters themselves depending on the original work.

This would be like saying if an author borrowed "Diagon Alley" from the Harry Potter series and nothing else. It would still be a fanfiction.

Fanfiction can still be a fun read though. I've read some fanfiction that can easily rival the original work it was based off of.

Re: what is fanfiction?

#7

O_Weaver Wrote: If you include any part of another original work that you did not create yourself, its fanfiction. Borrowing even just the "location" (especially if that location isn't a common place and is unique to that work) means you're borrowing the "setting" for the story, which is arguably more important then the characters themselves depending on the original work.

This would be like saying if an author borrowed "Diagon Alley" from the Harry Potter series and nothing else. It would still be a fanfiction.

Fanfiction can still be a fun read though. I've read some fanfiction that can easily rival the original work it was based off of.

Arguably, the fans can often make something better than the original almost 100% of the time.

Mods, bug fixes, unofficial patches in games, etc. I mean, hell. The sonic team hired some of the fans because of their skill and dedication. You might know of sonic mania, arguably one of the best sonic games in recent years.(the dropdash is fun as hell) 
The taxman and stealth were a few of the main people in charge of the project. They were originally extremely active members of the sonic community before they were hired to work on sonic mania. You could even say that, to some extent, sonic mania is now an official fan game that is official and a fan game. Sega made the right choice hiring them to work on the project.
Though, currently, I'm more invested in sonic generations. Trying to get WR on chemical plant. Not succeeding, but trying nonetheless. I think I'm around 8ish seconds behind. I don't use the right routing, though. I've gotten so used to farming chemical plant for extra lives that I usually take the wrong path accidentally. It's a miracle I've gotten that close to WR....
Also, speaking of fans...Screw Ken Penders, man. Sonichu or whatever isn't what made the fanbase toxic. It was this shit:
https://board.sonicstadium.org/topic/18097-the-lara-su-chronicles-and-ken-penders-topic-read-page-164-post-4096/
Dear god. It's like a nightmare. The dude sued sega and won, literally making a shit ton of characters legally his own. or something like that. Archie comics had to literally make a universe destroying event to get rid of all of them, because they no longer had rights to use them.
While fans can make things better, sometimes the work or actions from someone who made/worked on the original can be horrifying.
Ugh. Gives me the creeps.
Oh, right. My point.
Well, penders can legally use these characters, but god forbid he ever touch another one he doesn't own. Or even reference them. The sonic fanbase and sega would take up arms and pitchforks for a chance to make the dude suffer. 
If he makes it fanfiction by including the characters who aren't his own, he gets uberfucked.
That's kinda a good example of how you can tell the difference between fanfiction and official and original.
Basically, Kenders characters=not fanfiction. They're technically his. And he currently is still writing about them as far as I've bothered to look up. The dude sexualized sonic characters horribly. Again, I repeat. Sonichu is barely anything compared to the toxicity penders brought to the fanbase.
Sonic, its fanbase, and it's legal issues(one other person was inspired by penders and did something similar. But he was a minor fuckwad as far as I know :/) are in my opinion a prime example of the legality of usage rights. Or however you phrase it.

Re: what is fanfiction?

#8

Lime_Lover Wrote:
O_Weaver Wrote: If you include any part of another original work that you did not create yourself, its fanfiction. Borrowing even just the "location" (especially if that location isn't a common place and is unique to that work) means you're borrowing the "setting" for the story, which is arguably more important then the characters themselves depending on the original work.

This would be like saying if an author borrowed "Diagon Alley" from the Harry Potter series and nothing else. It would still be a fanfiction.

Fanfiction can still be a fun read though. I've read some fanfiction that can easily rival the original work it was based off of.

Arguably, the fans can often make something better than the original almost 100% of the time.

Mods, bug fixes, unofficial patches in games, etc. I mean, hell. The sonic team hired some of the fans because of their skill and dedication. You might know of sonic mania, arguably one of the best sonic games in recent years.(the dropdash is fun as hell) 
The taxman and stealth were a few of the main people in charge of the project. They were originally extremely active members of the sonic community before they were hired to work on sonic mania. You could even say that, to some extent, sonic mania is now an official fan game that is official and a fan game. Sega made the right choice hiring them to work on the project...



Not much of a Sonic fan, but I get what you're saying. A lot of fan games/developers do amazing work that ultimately contributes to improving that brand/media in the long run with their added talent. There's a game called Ark Survival Evolved, where half the officially supported maps on the official servers were made by fans of the community who had their work nominated, and then turned into official free dlc for the rest of the player base (these fan-devs were then hired to be part of the dev team). One of the most loved maps in the game is called Ragnarok, and it was originally fan made.

I feel like fanfiction is often a missed opportunity for most major authors, companies, or producers. With how many talented writers put their efforts towards writing fanfiction for free on the internet, there would be a huge chance for those authors or companies to cash in by supporting those authors instead, and letting the fans "expand" their universes for them. Fanfiction exists because fans want more of that content and so they set out to make it for themselves and for others. The entire fanfiction, fan-games, fan everything made section of the internet is a huge generator of untapped content, with only the games industry really making use of it so far.

Re: what is fanfiction?

#9

O_Weaver Wrote:
Lime_Lover Wrote:
O_Weaver Wrote: If you include any part of another original work that you did not create yourself, its fanfiction. Borrowing even just the "location" (especially if that location isn't a common place and is unique to that work) means you're borrowing the "setting" for the story, which is arguably more important then the characters themselves depending on the original work.

This would be like saying if an author borrowed "Diagon Alley" from the Harry Potter series and nothing else. It would still be a fanfiction.

Fanfiction can still be a fun read though. I've read some fanfiction that can easily rival the original work it was based off of.

Arguably, the fans can often make something better than the original almost 100% of the time.

Mods, bug fixes, unofficial patches in games, etc. I mean, hell. The sonic team hired some of the fans because of their skill and dedication. You might know of sonic mania, arguably one of the best sonic games in recent years.(the dropdash is fun as hell) 
The taxman and stealth were a few of the main people in charge of the project. They were originally extremely active members of the sonic community before they were hired to work on sonic mania. You could even say that, to some extent, sonic mania is now an official fan game that is official and a fan game. Sega made the right choice hiring them to work on the project...



Not much of a Sonic fan, but I get what you're saying. A lot of fan games/developers do amazing work that ultimately contributes to improving that brand/media in the long run with their added talent. There's a game called Ark Survival Evolved, where half the officially supported maps on the official servers were made by fans of the community who had their work nominated, and then turned into official free dlc for the rest of the player base (these fan-devs were then hired to be part of the dev team). One of the most loved maps in the game is called Ragnarok, and it was originally fan made.

I feel like fanfiction is often a missed opportunity for most major authors, companies, or producers. With how many talented writers put their efforts towards writing fanfiction for free on the internet, there would be a huge chance for those authors or companies to cash in by supporting those authors instead, and letting the fans "expand" their universes for them. Fanfiction exists because fans want more of that content and so they set out to make it for themselves and for others. The entire fanfiction, fan-games, fan everything made section of the internet is a huge generator of untapped content, with only the games industry really making use of it so far.

Yeah, it's quite a pity that it isn't used well. Sometimes it's even discouraged. Which sucks.

But the guys who made ark must be pretty chill. That sounds awesome.