Of fanfic and a shame on English degrees

Since reading the recaps of the 50 Shades trilogy, I’ve been pondering my own ideas about fanfic.

I tried to read Twilight and gave it the ol’ rage quit three quarters of the way through. For someone who claims to have a degree in English, the writing was high school level at best. That’s also doing a disservice to high school students who didn’t sleep through class. Her editor also has a lot to answer for. I’ve heard the excuse that Ms. Meyer was trying to capture the voice of a high school student. I strongly disagree with this point as well. I’ve seen very well written stories (Beautiful Creatures leaps to mind) which successfully captured the voice of a teenager. The idea had the potential to be a lot more than the final product was. The execution fell short of the idea. She was unsuccessful as a writer because of the mechanics and her editor either didn’t catch the mistakes or glossed over them. The fact it became a runaway success makes me shake my head on behalf of all English majors who don’t suck as authors.

When 50 Shades of Grey first came across my radar, I thought “anything that started out life as a Twilight fanfic can’t possibly be good”. In that instance, I was correct. I gave the book itself a rage quit by chapter 9 before switching to the recaps. I question the morals in both stories, but that’s another blog post for another time. However, I do think I was unfair to paint all Twilight fanfic with the same brush. I’m sure there’s a lot of Twilight fanfic floating around online that is either on par with the original or elevates it. I understand Twilight isn’t high art. It’s the literary equivalent of candy corn. The source material is just a jumping off point. Fanfic is a great way for budding writers to get some experience. The characters and setting are ready made. As had been exhaustively pointed out, it’s one thing to borrow from an existing work. It’s entirely another to take another writer’s work wholesale and just change the names. I hated Twilight, but it wasn’t fair of E.L. James to pluck Edward and Bella and plop them in a room with pleather and riding crops. I’m sure the erotica writers are also shaking their heads right now.

I’m not a published writer (obviously). I have a lot of ideas that I’ve put into writing, but they never get past 20 or 30 pages because I get distracted by something shiny. I, personally, chose the original work route. I’m awesome at creating characters who are interesting and real, but I can’t make them do a goddamn thing. Pesky, pesky plots.

For those keeping score at home, my dad is doing much better. The surgery went well and he was even up and walking around yesterday. He’ll be on IV antibiotics for a few weeks, but they’ll send him home tomorrow. It’s very, very likely he caught the original infection from the hospital the first time around. His hip that’s sans lymph nodes was prime real estate for the infection. It took 8 days, but it’s good to have it all behind us.

XOXO!

One thought on “Of fanfic and a shame on English degrees

  1. I didn’t hate Twilight, I found it entertaining enough, even if I did find myself constantly annoyed with the characters. That being said every part of the english major in me DESPISES 50 Shades of Grey, it doesn’t help that I was also working as a bookseller when the books became the hottest thing under the sun. The plot was there, but it was so bogged down with idiot characters, pointless scenes and grammar mistakes that it was only through bribery and will power I managed to even finish the series (my manager at the time liked us all to be familiar with books on the bestseller list and promised me a week of free beverages from the cafe if I finished the series). I’ve always respected people who write fanfic and even dabbled in it myself as a teenager, but it’s hard to find good fanfiction that makes you almost forget it’s fanfic. The only one I’ve come across is Norman G. Libbert’s (Harry potter fanfic and if you enjoy HP I suggest you try it- goodreads has the first 3 and the 4 is on his site).

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