by Amanda Smera
Few things make me angrier than when people read something I’ve written and point out my talent. The intentions, of course, always come from a good place and they mean no harm. And yet the bitter taste in my mouth never fails to feel discrediting. I want to scream from the top of my lungs: “I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR A MONTH STRAIGHT, FOR YOU TO DARE AND ASSUME IT WAS JUST ‘MY TALENT’?!”
It feels like an outdated myth that talent is a bigger force, that either you’ve got it, or you don’t. I have hundreds of thousands of school essays, Harry Potter fan fictions, and journal entries that prove that I was no Jane Austen at the age of five or fifteen.
By Mikaela Langdon
Before the internet, fans of books, movies, and television shows had to keep their opinions and ideas about characters and storylines largely to themselves. At most, they might have shared them with friends or relatives. Now we’re in an age where people can share ideas at the push of a button. This has opened up the doors for something known as “fanfiction”: original stories with characters, settings, and sometimes other characteristics borrowed from popular culture. This concept originated, surprisingly, prior to the internet age in Star Trek fanzines such as Spockanalia (1967). This zine contained fanfiction written about the popular science-fiction show and was mailed to super-fans for their enjoyment. With the invention and advancement of the internet, fanfiction has practically become its own industry, allowing fans to become co-creators with the writers they so admire. These works are not intended for publication, at least not in their initial format, and give full credit to the original authors or creators. Fanfiction is not meant to overshadow the original content but rather to celebrate it. But what happens when a fanfiction author takes characters we all know and love and makes them her own, complete with a new backstory and personality? At what point does fanfiction go far enough from the source and just become regular fiction?