Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

28 Apr

Fan fiction. It’s a phrase that strikes terror into the hearts of many. And yet – is it all bad? And where does “adaptation” become fan fiction? What about satire? Where do we draw the line?

Money Spinners

There was of course the recent rush of Harry Potter fan fiction – books written using JK Rowlings’ characters and set at Hogwarts. Mostly published in China, these were unashamedly trading on the Harry Potter name to make money.

Whatever happened to?

Sometimes, people are compelled to write the bits of the story they consider “missing”. Sally Beauman’s masterful “Rebecca’s Tale” fits into this category. Well-written and highly succesful, it is also officially approved by the Du Maurier estate.

I am a sad and twisted person

I thought of the idea for this blog whilst trying to complete a collection of school girl novels, the Chalet School series. An innocent collection of books about young girls at boarding school, it obviously caused severe issues for the author of Chalet Girls Grow Up. Just a quick glance at this summary, which shows the characters in abusive relationships, with drug issues, and generally being miserable is evidence I think of a very sad existence.

Satire

Ask anyone in my 18th Century literature course which they prefer: Pamela or Fielding’s spoof,  Shamela(last few pages of text). The answer will be a loud and unanimous Shamela! Two pages of each will tell you all you need to know.

Adaptations

West Side Story anyone? Or My Fair Lady? How about Clueless?

My conclusion? As long as we have writers, we will be inspired by them in som form or another. This is good. This leads to “fan fiction”, whether it is good or…terrible. Embrace it. Love it. It’s all part of the great web of culture.

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