Fan Fiction – Art or Garbage?

I’ve been writing all my life. Nothing professional until recently though, and the first thing I really started doing was Skyrim fan fiction.

That being said, I have learned quite a deal from my ambitions from then to now. Recently, I had just picked up a Star Trek novel entitled “Ship of the Line.” I was so thrilled to buy this book after reading the synopsis because it involved Kelsey Grammar from his minor role in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and expanding on it .

That was a mistake.

I don’t mind it when people create fan fiction for a series or universe that is extremely diverse and dynamic. Hell, such series practically beg for it! However, if an author does not do their research very well (or at all), then they can ruin the established epic and turn it into crap. Thus is the way of “Ship of the Line,” bringing in rich well-written characters for a cameo and turning them into people you thought you knew very well, but then all of sudden developed multiple personalities syndrome.

I read about forty pages of this book. Yes, it’s not enough to truly judge it, but thanks to the modern age of the internet, I decided to read the “good” reviews and the bad reviews.

Good review: Summing up the entire story and not really judging the content, character development or plot and just saying it’s good (or bad.)


Bad review: Telling us in detail about the bastardization of characters and giving them a whole new mood, mannerisms and motivation, completely destroying the established canon for aforementioned characters that we have come to know and love.

Folks, I have determined it can be a sin for taking too many creative liberties. My Skyrim fan fiction could be, no, IS guilty of this. But there is a way to make it work, and it involves a statute of limitations that CAN be broken by events and plot dynamics/tropes that you introduce into the story itself, just so long it does not break the established canon.

Example: Spock is a Vulcan. Vulcans do not “feel” emotion.
Ergo: A Quote – “I am honored” being said by Spock would be an EMOTION, which in established canon, does not work.

I don’t mean to discourage, but I do mean to make you think. The author of this book was mentioned in the poor reviews that this was their weakest piece of work yet. Maybe they tried too hard to make a minor plot device/ cameo into something more. Perhaps they were offered a set amount book deal and was running low on steam and had to make something to meet a deadline.

Personally, I don’t know what is more depressing, as it is published and now considered “literature.”

Yet, I journey on.


One thought on “Fan Fiction – Art or Garbage?

  1. Interesting points. I feel that remaining loyal to the characters and/or world is an essential duty of a good fanfic, much in the same way that if a new writer takes over an ongoing series, they must do their research to be loyal to what has come before. The results when one fails to do this can be anywhere from hilarious to almost offensive.

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