Fanfiction Vs. Original Fiction
Original fiction and fanfiction; two out of the three categories present both here on Mibba, and most of the rest of the online literary world.
The most obvious difference between original fiction and fanfiction is that one is fan fiction; based around celebrities or popular fictional characters, and one is original fiction; based around characters and plots that are unique to the writer. This difference creates not only a difference in the characters and plot, but also a difference in the style of writing, and the process of writing itself.
When writing fanfiction, there are two main paths you can choose to go down; stories with celebrity/popular fictional characters, but a plot that has nothing to do with them in real life/story life, or stories that are based on real life or story life events.
The first way is different from original fiction in that the characters come ready made; everyone knows their name and appearance. Oftentimes, they also know which characters are generally paired together. However, the plot is totally unique to the writer, and can end any number of ways. An example of that (in a Harry Potter fandom) would be: Hermione is a mermaid. Ron is a fisherman who accidentally catches her one day. Will he let her go, expose her to world…or fall in love with her?
The second way is different from original fiction in the fact that both the characters, and to some extent the plot, come ready made. You take a few celebrities, you take the situation, and you insert what happens between the public appearances in interviews. A large number of stories written in this way focus on celebrity breakups, and tend to end with those celebrities getting back together…because that’s generally what both the readers and writer want to happen. A popular example of this right now focuses on the fairly recently broken up celebrity couple ‘Jemi’(Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato). A typical story for that would be: Joe and Demi. Best friends forever, but everything thought they were meant to be something more. Joe and Demi thought that too…until they actually started dating. Until everything fell apart.
Original fiction can be written any number of ways. It can have any number of genres too, from horror to adventure to tragedy to romance. While fanfiction can theoretically be of any genre too, it tends to be of the romantic genre, or a variation of it. For instance, a horror romance: Two (insert celebrity couple here) are trapped in a haunted house. Can they escape, and still manage to find love?
Original fiction gives the author the choice to explore whatever they want, not necessarily connected to romance or celebrity/fictional couples or real life/story life situations. For example, you can write an original fiction about a soldier serving in WW2, and how that affects him. To write a fanfiction about that same idea, you’d have to make the soldier a celebrity/fictional character. Since this is a character that’s already heavily defined and most likely paired with another celebrity/fictional character, it changes the story completely.
While fanfiction does limit the author in the aforementioned way, it also gives them structure; they don’t have to completely make up characters or situations. Instead, they can take a real life/story life situation, and write about what they think happened, and generally, how they wish it would have ended. Or, they can take their own unique plot, and use celebrity/fictional characters. This way, the audience already knows who they are, and who they’re romantically linked too; the author isn’t forced to make that up, or spend a long time introducing it. The reader already knows that character x is supposed to go with character z. The writer has the luxury of not having to explain that. Nor do they have to invent a backstory for the situation, because it’s already played out in real life, and the reader already knows all about it.
The difference between these two genres even causes a change in commenting and viewing. When reading an original fiction, a reviewer will most likely review about the actual story. When reading a fanfiction, especially if it’s based off a real life or story life event, there’s a pretty large chance the reviewer will share their opinion on that event, instead of the story. However, those who write fanfiction will probably get more comments overall, because the fan base of the celebrity/fictional character tends to at least partially translate over to the stories.
As well, a fairly large number of the people who read fanfic read it for the satisfaction of seeing two people get together, especially if it doesn’t happen in real life. The author is providing an alternate reality for the celebrity/fictional characters, and that’s gratifying for fans to read. Therefore, the story doesn’t necessarily have to be good in the traditional sense of the story…it just has to be a believable fantasy. On the other hand, original fiction doesn’t have that lure, or a fan base that automatically wants to read it once they see their favorite celebrity/fictional character in the title. The hook of the story has to be the story itself, and original fiction does generally have to adhere to the values of a good story. It’s not an alternate reality; it’s a completely different place that exists in the author’s mind, instead of an alteration or reworking to what exists in the everyday world or the pages of a popular book.