Fan Fiction

Fan Fiction, Fan Fiction!  It seems that’s all we hear about lately. But what is it exactly and why is it so popular? With the popularity of the latest “fan fiction phenomenon” FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, it seems people are more and more confused as to the genre and what it means to readers and writers. I went on a bit of a search to find out why it’s becoming so popular.

So, what IS fan fiction? In today’s world, it’s the ultimate mash up–something which fuses together ideas that are already popular with an original creation.  Let’s use FIFTY SHADES as an example.  This book came out of the popularity of the TWILIGHT series by Stephenie Meyer.  The books about Edward and Bella and their vampire/human interaction brought about a whole league of fans, both teen and adult. The internet makes for easy dissemination of information, so a huge number of fan pages popped up. Some people decided they loved the books so much, they didn’t want them to end, and wrote their own continuations.  Some took the characters and wrote new stories. And some just used the idea of vampires to write new stories. These stories became a part of what is known as “fan fiction”—fiction written by fans. (It can also be simply a book written and self-published that has found an enormous fan base because the story is so compelling.)

Most of these books never saw the light of day, while some probably went on to be self-published as ebooks.  This is exactly what happened with FIFTY SHADES.  The story E.L. James wrote took on such a fan base that the ebooks sold unprecedented numbers of copies.  Eventually, James sold the rights to a traditional publisher and now you can find them in pretty much any bookstore you walk into.  These are the ultimate Fan Fiction novels, because this author (and fan) is actually earning money from her adoration.

How is this legal? Should fan-fiction authors be able to profit from using something that wasn’t their “original” idea?  The lines are really unclear right now.  It seems obvious that if someone were to use characters in a new series of books without the original author’s permission, they would run into some legal troubles.  But using an idea based on another….well, half of the stories ever written would be in trouble.  James used the idea of vampires, but with a completely different spin than Meyer. And it worked. 

Why is Fan Fiction suddenly so popular then? One possibility is that there’s a whole generation of kids who have grown up using computers, and access to information has always been unlimited to them. Why wouldn’t creativity be part of that access? The development of eBooks and self-publishing has made this all possible. In the past, one of the only ways fan fiction could be dispersed was through small self-published newsletters, for example. Now, a book can reach millions of people all over the world within minutes.

One thing to note, traditional publishing continues to produce superior works because of the process–works go through a myriad of editing before they go into print. Many self-published books (either in eBook or traditional format) do not have the luxury of that power editing (although authors can pay for the service), and therefore, we tend to hear that the books are poorly written or have many typos or grammatical errors. This isn’t to say ALL self-published books or fan fiction for that matter are of lesser quality than traditionally published books (I could name a few “regular”  books that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of day, but went on to become best-sellers). It’s all about the story, in the end.

I haven’t read a lot of fan fiction, myself, and really can’t say if I love it or not, but it certainly is a new idea that is worth some exploration. Have you read any fan fiction and if so, did you enjoy it?

Need more Stephenie Meyer?

Reuters Photo courtesy of this webpage

If you haven’t had enough of the Twilight Saga, your prayers have been answered.  Author Stephenie Meyer has penned a novella that picks up a character from the third book in the series, Eclipse.  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the tale of a secondary character featured in the third book upon her transition to becoming a vampire.  Meyer says she originally started this novella as a short story, to find some back story to the character, but it became too large to include in The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, so she is releasing it as a novella.

The really interesting thing about this is that you can read the English language version online between June 7 – July 5 at I’m sure after that point it will be published in paperback format (or something of the sort) so that you’ll be able to own your own copy if you absolutely must have it to complete your collection. You can also read a special message on Stephenie Meyer’s website regarding the book.

Makes you wonder why J. K. Rowling didn’t do something like this with Harry Potter. It seems that the Twilight fascination is endless.

Confused about Twilight or New Moon?

Yes, I’ve read the Twilight series.  Did I love it?  Not exactly.  Did I hate it?  Not exactly.  The first two books (Twilight and New Moon) by Stephenie Meyer were far better than the last two, in my opinion.  But I understand the draw of the series for young readers.  The books have everything they’re looking for : adventure, romance, beautiful people, you name it, they’ve got it.  And without any bad language and very little sexual content (until the last book, which only uses flowery references), the series is appropriate for a wide variety of ages.

Now, if you’re over 40, you probably haven’t caught on to the excitement of it, but with the release of the second movie this past weekend, you’re bound to be seeing lots of Bella, Edward and Jacob everywhere.  So, I came across a fabulous blog by Dan Bergstein of SparkNotes, who was challenged to read the books and blog about the content as he sees it, chapter by chapter.  He is hilarious in his descriptions and not that far off the truth for the most part, so even if you’ve read the books, you’ll enjoy reading his take on them. If you haven’t, yes, there are spoilers, but if you haven’t read them by now, you probably have no plans to do so and will like this blog regardless.  He has completed the first two books and is well into the third, and you can find his blog posts chapter by chapter here.

Maybe Stephenie Meyer should read his blog before writing the next book.  It might be enlightening!

Twilighters descend upon the library!

It was an afternoon filled with books, trivia, crafts and all things Twilight!  Kelsey and I decorated the program room complete with hanging apples bearing the names of all the characters from Stephenie Meyer’s first book, Twilight, our version of the town of Forks and lots of glitter!

twilight1Kids from 9 – 12 who have read the books or enjoyed the movie poured into the library and chose glittering letters bearing their own initials and glittered up, sparkling just like Edward in the sun.  They had a fun time listening to the soundtrack from the movie while they made mini paper versions of the books.  You can download your own versions here.

twilight2After games of Twilight trivia, Twilight Bingo and teamwork, everyone went home tired and Twilight-ed out!  Stay tuned for more Carleton Place Library fun!

Twilight Graphic Novel

For those Twilight fans out there, Entertainment Weekly is just about to reveal that a graphic novel version of the first book in the series is being created.  If you are a fan of graphic novels, this will not disappoint and author Stephenie Meyer is said to be heavily involved in the process.

Artist Young Kim is working on the story and has chosen to illustrate the characters closer to the description in the book, so if you are looking for an exact copy of Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson, you’ll be disappointed.  However, a quick peek at one of the panels shows that it is very well done.


So, we’ll wait to see how well this novel does, but if the past dictates any sort of pattern, this should be a new and fantastic way for fans to immerse themselves into another part of Forks.  Enjoy!

What are we reading?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Those of us who work at the front desk of the library know that the books being requested most over the last few months are the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. We seem to have requests at least 3 – 4 times each day for one of the books, and although we have several copies of each, there is usually a waiting list.  And even though we are aware of the excitement over these young adult books, it is interesting to note that they have been the top 4 books requested over the past three months, according to the stats on our library catalog website.





It seems that the teen vampire series has struck a chord with our readers and they can’t get enough.  Of course, these books are aimed at Young Adults, but many adults have been reading them as well.  Meyer decided to try her hand at an adult novel after this series, and The Host has become almost as popular.


Many people have written about the success of this series and the author, who has successfully become the “next J. K. Rowling”, and it makes me wonder if someone shouldn’t be starting an adult series right now.  The kids who read Harry Potter are the same ones who are now reading Twilight, so maybe they are a generation of series readers?  What’s next for these teen readers?  I think they’ll need a fresh voice, a new series to charm them and a breakout author.  Who will it be???

Children are taking over the world!


It all seemed to start about 10 years ago with Harry Potter. Children everywhere began reading the book and the world changed.  Suddenly, children were setting the demand for books.  J. K. Rowling became instantly wealthy and the Harry Potter series spawned games, movies and much more, all from a “simple” little book.  Authors were now scrambling to get their youth-aimed books published for the generation who could make or break their careers.  Tweens were no longer the only ones who had money to spend and ideas on where they wanted to spend it.  Children were trend-setters.

Over the past few years, children’s literature has seen many new series, some which have done well (Eragon by Christopher Paolini) and others which have faltered, trying to be what every child wanted (there are too many books about wizards, dragons and magic to name.)  Recently, the craze has shifted again with the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

books-eragon twilightcover

The Twilight craze is something we are dealing with at our library right now, and although this is aimed more at the young adult generation, these are the same readers that began with Harry Potter.  We can’t keep the books on our shelves and I’m sure it’s the same in most libraries, especially since the movie was released.  Vampires are the theme this time, another fantasy, but at least it gets kids reading.

I started thinking about children being the driving force of the economy lately after reading a ridiculous article in Forbes Magazine about Hollywood children.  The article was announcing the Most Influential Child under the age of 5.  (Suri Cruise won, by the way.)293cruisesurilc110708

I just found it ridiculous that someone could assume a child who isn’t even three years old yet will be the future of the entertainment industry, just because her parents are famous.  No one ever assumes, for example, that a child born to the head salesman at an insurance company will one day be the head of all insurance companies everywhere.  It is almost as though “regular” children don’t have the same potential.  But I guess that is another argument for another day.

So if children are the ones who are choosing what they want to read, watch, wear and listen to, and some of the most powerful industries are predicting the rise of children to the top, what is happening to the rest of us?  Are we just blindly following what our children are asking for or do we have a say in how the world moves as well?  What do you think?