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Essay: What is Fan Fiction?

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Articledrive This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline, it simply reflects some opinions of its authors. Discuss this essay on the talk page or in the comments below.


Do you own fan fiction? Do you want to write fan fiction? Not sure where to start or how to begin? Wondering what this phenomenon is about? What is the canon?

This page is created with the hopes of answering these questions.

Where do I begin?

There is a variety of ways to begin fan fiction. There is space in times between novels, prior to the series, and following the series. Explore the various gaps that could use a good story; place a well-known character of the series in a different perspective; or even, create a new character and bring new, hidden characteristics out of present characters. Fans have the option of writing original fan fiction or bending the rules. Rule-bending will be discussed shortly.

Some are pure fans while others are dissidents. The degree of dissidents a fan exhibits may correlate to the type of fan fiction they may create. However, the correlation feels rather spurious and such an observation may be moot.

When writing fanfiction, one must keep the canon in mind. In order to keep it in mind one must be familiar with it. Without having guidelines to either define or break, one is left to create original works of fiction.

Canon & Canonicity

Canon is a word that means "measuring stick". It is the standard that defines the series or story. Only the author has the rights to modify the canon. When it comes down to it, the author is the final authority on the canon. The author makes the decision whether an element - a character, location, or whole entire story - is included or is not included in the canon. Within the Redwall Canon, it is customary for fan fiction to generally remain within the canon. This is pure fan fiction. At times, cross-over fan fiction occurs when one genre or canon is blended with another genre or canon.

A canon system is a story and all the elements contained therein. A story includes characters, environment, settings, laws that govern the universe, and etc.

Types of Fan Fiction

Pure fan fiction is fan fiction in the purest sense of the term. It adheres rigidly to the canon and does not incorporate new elements. Pure fan fiction, as mentioned, remains in the canon. It might explore stories outside of the canon, but these are extensions of what is in the canon. This could be poetry, for instance.

Genre-bending is when the rules of the canon are bent, disregarded, ignored, or broken. This is the converse or opposite of pure fan fiction. Genre-bending is atypical fan fiction; that is to say, it doesn't occur that often. A type of genre-bending is called crossover fan fiction.

Cross-over fan fiction occurs when one canon system merges or is blended with another canon system. The degree to which canon systems merge is called continuity. Some new fan fiction may have a high degree of continuity. Other may have a low degree of continuity.

Putting it All Together

Now, the Redwall series canon system is composed of the twenty-three books written by Brian Jacques. Brian Jacques was the author. Concurrently, he was the canon system creator. The twenty-three books are authoritative works of canon. They define the canon system and thusly the fan fiction. Without the canon system that Brian Jacques has created, there would be no fan fiction and you would get original fiction.

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