April 11, 2007

A Critical Fan Fiction Medley

I'm a bit of an abstract figure that people can project their fantasies on; it's pretty much what we all are, otherwise we wouldn't be stars, and people wouldn't be interested. But people project things on you that have nothing to do with what you really are, or they see a little something and then exaggerate it. And you can't really control that.
Salma Hayek

As I see it, Salma Hayek is talking about the relationship between a subject and audience. (Okay, okay, she is having a mildly ego stroking celebrity moment.) However that is merely a reflection on her statement, not its contents. Back to my point: the audience: fan fiction authors; and the subject: the original media. It just so happens that the audience went a little overboard on the zealous side and is now the subject to a class of literary critics (in training).

My original questions on the subject of fan fiction were relatively understated, or so I thought. I asked if fan fiction was an advanced form of reader-response criticism and, regardless of whether it is or not, what the authorial intent of fan fiction authors is. Let's see what our literary critics had to say:

Jason Pugh: Fan Fiction: A Diana Geleskie Carnival Event

Jason took fan fiction into account by doing what the pros do; consulted the experts:

Wolfgang Iser writes that "...the reader is situated in such a position that he can assemble the meaning toward which the perspectives of the text have guided him" (Keesey 147). So basically, from the reader's perspective, he cannot rewrite, or even respond to a piece of literature, without already having some guidance.
Fan fiction accepts its own unoriginality - because it is done in honor of the original work. Making for not only a new take on the work, but an intertextual reading as well.

Vanessa Kolberg: Blog Carnival: a Ferris Wheel of Fun

Vanessa took Jason's intertextual reading of fan fiction to heart and added her own spin on it.

Fan fiction draws off of one work of literature (or another form of media like a movie or tv show), models it with the same characters and similar plot structure of the original, and mirrors the style. That screams intertextuality. One work drawing off of another, or being influenced by another, to create something new.
The originality of the authors of fan fiction is a debatable point, as Karissa contrasted in her own entry, "I think, however, that fanfic falls short of the ORIGINAL authorial intent--not insofar that it is deriving something the author didn't intend, but that it deviates from the author's style and becomes a kind of Frankenstein of the original writing." Monster of the original or not, the intertextual context of fan fiction is clearly examined.

Karissa Kilgore: EL312: Fanfic Carnival: slip 'n slide of style

Karissa looked at fan fiction from an extreme intellectual approach.

[Fan fiction] lacks some of the necessary parallel truth to be part of the original text. It can't be considered a continuation or alternative to the text since the text is complete as the author wrote and published it.
In terms of the cannon of literature, fan fiction truly can't be included within the authors works, nor can it be looked at as another version of the same. The cannon is unchanged by fan fiction, but it isn't unaffected.

Mitchell Steele: Blog Carnival Topic: Fan Fiction.

These new authors are bringing in aspects that they, as an audience, wanted to see. The audience is taking over. This is their way of either continuing a story, or recreating an old one. The hero and villain can switch roles, or they could face new opposition. There are no rules. They are making them.
Like in Karissa's entry, Mitchell showed just how rule-bending fan fiction is. The original author isn't there, only their text is present. From that text fan fiction authors find their muse and run with it - without bothering to stop and ask for directions so to speak.

Tiffany Brattina: Fan Fiction Fun

So what exactly are the authors of fan fiction getting out of all this? A valid question, one that Tiffany investigated fully.

From what I understand some authors have lashed out at the fans for taking their work and turning it into something new. Others have looked at it as the greatest form of flattery that is out there. I would think that when a fan sits down to write a fanfiction this is what they have going through their minds. Responding to what they have read and taking it a step further to their enjoyment and to the enjoyment of other fans as well.

There you have it. Fan fiction and literary criticism - not just a random idea thrown together by pulling words out of a hat.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at April 11, 2007 12:07 PM
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