May 12, 2015

Fan Fiction

What happens when a hero becomes bigger than what was intended by the creator? People worship hero’s in our world. We not only idolize these people but also dream about their world creating a dream world of our own.  This world is unreal but offers a magnitude of possibilities. We like to imagine the different possibilities of a certain event and twist the facts in a way we enjoy them.

Many-a-times, we don’t like the way a favourite TV sitcom ends after loyally watching all the seasons over the years. How important is it for a writer or a scriptwriter to keep in mind the audiences’ perspective in mind before penning down a story? These days with increasing commercialism lot of writers narrate their stories according to the audiences’ taste. There is more to this. People change certain angles and the perspectives according to their taste in the stories they love and present it in their own way. This is called the fan fiction.

While this keeps the story alive over the years, the essence of the original story might be lost. The copyrights of the novels are valid only for a certain period of time, after which the writer isn't really in a position to stop anyone from rewriting his or her story (according to the laws of the pertaining country). One can argue that when a writer pens down a story, it is meant for the people. Hence, it can be argued that it is a public property. However, for some this doesn't go down very well.

Interestingly, while fan fiction is actually necessary in certain kind of literature, it is criticized by some in the mainstream writing community. An example where fan fiction is applauded and loved is comics. A comic writer needs to understand the original characters and interpret them according to the modern times while keeping the character intact. Superman, Batman, Flash and Spider man have evolved over the years while having the same characteristics.

There are a lot of fan fiction writers who also publish their original work. Some famous fan fiction writers are Lois McMaster Bujold (Star Trek fanfic), Meg Cabot and Cassandra Clare (Lord of the Rings parody). E.L. James, the author of the erotic mega-bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey was a fan fiction writer too. (Bella/Edward Twilight fanfic called ‘Master of the Universe’).

Closer home, author Amish wrote the very famous ‘Shiva Trilogy’, wherein he illustrates his version of the escapades of Lord Shiva. He recently launched the first book of ‘The Ram Chandra series’, retelling the great Indian epic ‘Ramayana’. The great Gujarati novel ‘Saraswatichandra’ by ‘Govardhanram Tripathi’ has also been given a fan fiction twist through a TV series.

So is fan fiction good or bad? The debate continues. Nevertheless if you trace back, historical evidence indicates that ‘fan fiction’ has always been prevalent. Sage Valmiki wrote the original ‘Ramayan’, which was retold by Tulasidas, called the ‘Ramacharitamanasa’. Tulasidas retold the Ramayana in Hindi even though he faced criticism as Sanskrit was the literary language those days. His version reached more number of people as it was written in Hindi. I am sure every Indian knows the story of the Ramayana. But are we sure whose version the story we fondly remember comes from? Well, that's the impact of fan fiction over the years. (Though I guess with the advent of Internet, stories would be remembered as told by the original author; but now the issue is- how to direct the internet traffic to the most authentic source, as there are so many loose contents and websites)

Ultimately, it all gets churned into one. We use the ‘Copyright symbol’ for safeguarding our work, but isn't it strange that writing original content work for a firm is also called ‘Copy writing’? 

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