Fanon in fan-fiction

Post any fanfiction related polls here

Your thoughts?

Poll ended at Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:52 am

That's the way! Uh-huh, uh-huh! I like it!
2
8%
That's the way! Uh-huh, uh-huh! I like it!
2
8%
It's good, but I do have enough principles to not give just any idea any credence.
0
No votes
It's good, but I do have enough principles to not give just any idea any credence.
0
No votes
It's okay. Some ideas hit, while others miss.
5
19%
It's okay. Some ideas hit, while others miss.
5
19%
Uh, well... I'll only bother with the few ideas that are interesting and credible. So, yeah.
4
15%
Uh, well... I'll only bother with the few ideas that are interesting and credible. So, yeah.
4
15%
Like, blind me with a "Ranma should get fed up and leave" story, and put me out of my misery!
1
4%
Like, blind me with a "Ranma should get fed up and leave" story, and put me out of my misery!
1
4%
My thoughts somehow don't fall into this category of thoughts. I'm just special like that!
1
4%
My thoughts somehow don't fall into this category of thoughts. I'm just special like that!
1
4%
 
Total votes : 26

Fanon in fan-fiction

Postby Crescent Pulsar » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:52 am

Ah, fanon... What catgirl have you not killed?

Personally, fanon was a part of the reason for why I got tired of reading fan-fiction, five or so years ago. The overall quality of the stories was another part, but that's not important right now.

At one time I didn't really mind fanon, since it offered more for a universe (at the time) than the actual series (since the ones that I was interested in were still in their infancy, as far as being translated into English was concerned). However, as I got to know the characters better, in the canon, fanon began to annoy me. Either something didn't make any sense, the information was wrong, or the characters were blatantly OOC. And, as far as I'm concerned, if you're not even trying to keep them as IC as possible, you might as well be writing fiction, not fan-fiction. And, after reading fan-fiction for many years, I found myself at a loss. I couldn't find many good stories, since they tended to stick closely to the canon. And since so few were being made, and I was left to sift through a bunch of rubbish, I got tired of it altogether.

I haven't been able to reconcile with fanon ever since. So much of it is shallow and stereotypical, and I don't want to read the large number of fics that were simply an expression of another's fantasy. And such fantasies seldom bother with much of the canon. Too much fanon just made it hard for me to find a story credible, which is a big thing for me. So, yeah... I don't like fanon. So, once I started to write fan-fiction myself, I stopped reading it. It was time for payback, with my own horrific writing. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa! :twisted:
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:12 am

It depends on the series. I'm relatively okay with canon for Sailor Moon, and figure there are two canons (Ryo-oh-ki! and Universe) for Tenchi. As long as I can mix them, I'm fine.

But I much prefer fanon when writing Ranma. As you yourself mention, it's a bigger universe. Even with canon completely available, fanon is bigger.

But canon or fanon, if an author doesn't use it well, the fanfic isn't worth reading.
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Postby lwf58 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:20 am

Having fallen into the fanon trap at various times myself, I can't say too much without being hypocritical. My only defense was that I was writing it back in the early days of anime fan fiction on the internet, and at the time it hadn't become the cliche that it is now.

That said, I don't favor the use of fanon elements in stories because it tends to channelize the writing. In Ranma fiction, for one, the "Ranma is a misunderstood victim and Akane is a psychotic bitch" card is played so often there is nothing new in it at all.

A different issue, but one that is even more annoying to me, is the tendency of fan authors to retell the beginning of a series over and over and over again, ad nauseum. I've gotten to the point where I hate stories that repeat the canon opening of a series almost word for word. That shows no originality or imagination at all, and is a waste of the reader's time. It's better to just jump into the place where the story becomes original, IMHO.
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Postby Siden » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:22 am

Ellen Kuhfeld wrote:But canon or fanon, if an author doesn't use it well, the fanfic isn't worth reading.

I agree. While I am not a fan of a lot of fanon, there are some for every series that enhance the canon, or at least make things more interesting.
That said, having been reading fanfiction since the days long before FanFiction.net I find myself annyoed at sifting through the garbage to find the gems and don't even bother anymore. When I want a new story to read, I search through the profiles of authors I like and see what they have bookmarked.
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Postby TerraEpon » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:13 pm

Siden wrote:I agree. While I am not a fan of a lot of fanon, there are some for every series that enhance the canon, or at least make things more interesting.


Exactly. The fanon that is used to plug holes isn't a big deal, like say the Tendo mother being named Kimiko.

I think the main problem with fanon isn't so much its existence as it is how many people will actually believe it's true.
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:02 pm

lwf58 wrote:In Ranma fiction, for one, the "Ranma is a misunderstood victim and Akane is a psychotic bitch" card is played so often there is nothing new in it at all.

It's canon, sorta, that she's just a violent maniac.

lwf58 wrote:A different issue, but one that is even more annoying to me, is the tendency of fan authors to retell the beginning of a series over and over and over again, ad nauseum.

It's a quick turkey indicator, nu? Saves us all from reading repetitive stories.
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Postby Makoto » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:54 pm

lwf58 wrote:A different issue, but one that is even more annoying to me, is the tendency of fan authors to retell the beginning of a series over and over and over again, ad nauseum. I've gotten to the point where I hate stories that repeat the canon opening of a series almost word for word. That shows no originality or imagination at all, and is a waste of the reader's time. It's better to just jump into the place where the story becomes original, IMHO.


Much as I dislike revisiting those Ranma scenes, myself (both in reading and writing), I have to (respectfully, I hope :) ) disagree to an extent.

I was taught as a writer never to assume that the reader knows anything about the source material(s) covered in the text. Yes, it's fanfiction, but I've received a few emails over the years from people who have claimed they had never looked into the Ranma or Sailor Moon manga/anime (for example), yet were still reading my stories. So, I personally try (operative word, that ^_^; ) not to leave those readers out of the loop.

I guess I'm technically for the option of leaving scenes like that in and letting the more jaded Ranma fanfic readers skim over them, if they prefer. (But really, ONLY if they do set things up and aren't just throwing them in there to, say, increase space/their word count. <runs> )

Edit: I should've clarified a bit, I guess. I meant the above within reason, of course. Naturally, if you're going to set a story long after the beginning of the Ranma series, it wouldn't usually be advisable to revisit all the events that happen at the beginning (Ranma gets cursed, meets the Tendos, etc.). But if you're going to set a story around the beginning of the series...
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Postby lwf58 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:13 pm

Mike Koos wrote:I was taught as a writer never to assume that the reader knows anything about the source material(s) covered in the text. Yes, it's fanfiction, but I've received a few emails over the years from people who have claimed they had never looked into the Ranma or Sailor Moon manga/anime (for example), yet were still reading my stories. So, I personally try (operative word, that ^_^; ) not to leave those readers out of the loop.


The thing about that is... There is no law set in stone that you have to introduce the characters and setting in exactly the same way the series creator did, which is my point.

To write Ranma fanfiction, you need to establish a few things to get the reader on board: that the protagonist is a martial artist with a dysfunctional family, that he and his father are staying at the home of a family friend who wants him to marry one of his daughters, that the world around him is filled with wacky, improbable martial artists, and that he's not ready to tie the knot.

HOW you introduce those facts is entirely up to you, and the room for creativity in doing so is endless. By using the canon opening, you're a) locking yourself into a sequence of events that the average fan fiction reader has seen so many times they can practically quote line and verse, and b) limiting yourself in what can be done with the characters.

As a quick example of what might be done instead, take my little shock short, Dinner at the Tendos'. It's an exercise in introducing Ranma to the Tendo home in a way that is very, very rarely used: a diary entry by a character.
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:34 pm

When I feel up to it, sometimes I divide stories up into types. This one would probably end up in "loose canons".
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Postby Crescent Pulsar » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:21 pm

Since it was mentioned, one of the few exceptions that I make for fanon are the ideas borne from a suggestion within the canon, or from a hole within canon that could do with being filled. But only if they make enough sense, and has at least some remote chance of happening within the context (between both the canon and the fan-fiction story itself).

Also, another reason I don't like fanon, is because it tends to breed a lot of the same. I like fresh and new situations to explore, rather than something off of the assembly line. Fanon is a double-edged sword in that, while it gives you the freedom to add more ideas to a universe (than the canon can offer), those same ideas can take root and make stories rather boring and predictable.

Which is why, when I write stories, I prefer the challenge of writing something new using the old and established ideas of canon. My preference for innovation over invention includes what I read, too. (Or whatever word I'm looking for, where old things are used in ways different than convention. Basically, the idea remains the same, but the application does not.)
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Postby Makoto » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:11 pm

lwf58 wrote:The thing about that is... There is no law set in stone that you have to introduce the characters and setting in exactly the same way the series creator did, which is my point.


Oh, I agree. I didn't mean to imply that. But it's still not always a good idea to skim over the original setup (largely intact or not) just because we've all read it countless, mind-numbing times. :)

To write Ranma fanfiction, you need to establish a few things to get the reader on board: that the protagonist is a martial artist with a dysfunctional family, that he and his father are staying at the home of a family friend who wants him to marry one of his daughters, that the world around him is filled with wacky, improbable martial artists, and that he's not ready to tie the knot.


You forgot the wacky curses. :)

HOW you introduce those facts is entirely up to you, and the room for creativity in doing so is endless. By using the canon opening, you're a) locking yourself into a sequence of events that the average fan fiction reader has seen so many times they can practically quote line and verse, and b) limiting yourself in what can be done with the characters.


I don't think so, especially if the divergence point comes during or after those scenes. If it comes considerably after those scenes, you certainly shouldn't be including them, anyway.

It also may depend on how strictly you're adhering to the original characters, too. But I don't think that just because you cover the original scenes, you suddenly can't expand the characters or do all that much with them beyond their established canon roles/behavior. (If I'm reading the wrong thing into your statement, I apologize.)

I've only really used the Ranma Meets The Tendos scenes once, but that was mostly because the story began at the beginning of the Ranma series, and because it was actually an exploration of how things might be different with a 'small,' simple change. (Now, whether or not it actually worked...)
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Postby Yarrow » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:14 am

I'm generally against fanon. It seems like it's either lack of research (if the writer thinks it really is canon) or lack of effort by not even bothering to think up your own ideas for fanfiction.

Of course, it is fun to subvert fanon. :)
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Postby Makoto » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:05 am

Heck, I still see stories on occasion where the author claims he or she hasn't read/watched the Ranma manga/episodes, but is basing a story upon what s/he's read in other fanfics (usually the characterization, etc.)
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