In a manner of speaking, many of the paintings and literary masterpieces we consider classics are fan works.
Shakespeare is well known for taking the work of other writers and improving upon it when crafting his plays. When you get right down to it, what are Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno but fan fiction written about the Bible? Many of the earlier novelists took inspiration from each other’s work, often borrowing heavily from one another.
Aside from portraits, what are the subjects of most of the famous Renaissance paintings we learned about in school? They either featured Bible scenes or scenes from Greek or Roman mythology.
There are a lot of people today who look down on fan works as a new phenomenon driven by attention seeking, but this is far from true. Yes, it is easier to share and more accessible today than it has been in the past, but fan art and fan fictions have always been a part of human society since we first began sharing stories and ideas.
It’s just we have intellectual property laws today regulating the difference between original works and derivatives in a way we didn’t have until the early to mid 1700s. That makes it much more profitable to discount, vilify, and ridicule fan works as “less than” when compared to “original” works. Yet, even with all of this, fan art and fan fiction and other forms of fan produced content continue to thrive. Why?
What is driving these people to spend precious time creating content they can never profit from by its nature as a fan work? Why do other fans seek out these fan works, for that matter? Shouldn’t they be content with the original works themselves and find themselves satisfied with that alone?
The answers to all of these questions are interconnected. Fan creators create for the same or similar reasons other fans seek out fan created content. Here are a few of the most common reasons fan works exist.
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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