Ein kleiner Bücherwurm, painting by Eduard Swoboda, 1902. Creative Commons.

Secondhand Ideas: Embracing the Unoriginal

While fan fiction swarms the internet, its forays into traditional publication have been met with tempered resistance.

There is a presumed war in which fan fiction is the unmentionable, sex-crazed intruder taking resources away from the more civil conventional written work.

Like all aspects of fanfic, this has people divided. It is undeniable that fan fiction draws in millions of readers, and publishers have picked up on that and eagerly moved to monetise it. Authors of the most popular fics have been approached with book deals that were wildly successful. There are those who fear that this is bringing on a literary apocalypse, where fan fiction will take over ‘original’ creation. Herein lies the first uncertainty — just because a piece of work did not start on a fan fiction website does not necessarily mean it is strictly ‘original.’

“It’s a cheap thrill, not a rich, thought-provoking piece of text. I actually read it when I don’t want to think.”

To explain her disinclination to publish Lost Faith, Fatima mentions After, another Harry Styles Wattpad fan fiction by Anna Todd. In order for the book to be published, Harry Styles had to be refashioned into Hardin. Fatima expressed that the reason she read the book in the first place was because it was a Harry Styles fan faction, meaning it was no longer the same when it became about somebody else.