"Fan fiction can be defined as any piece of writing inspired by the original work of another."
I am a fan fiction fan. I"m also a fan fiction writer.
And yes I can hear the cries of shock, horror and outage from here. Because admitting that you like fan fiction (much less saying that you write it) is a bit like admitting that you like porn (which some...okay a lot... of fan fiction is).
Fan fiction never has an easy time. Those that hate it see it at best as lazy writing and at worst as plagiarism, stealing and akin to selling your soul to the devil. And don't even mention Fifty Shades of Grey.
And yet despite all this I love fan fiction with a passion... and I'm not the only one. FanFiction.Net a website devoted to fan fiction works has more than 2 million users.
That in itself should tell you the popularity of fan fiction. Of course just because something is popular doesn't necessarily mean that it's a) good or b) legal.
From my own personal perspective fan fiction is just as legitimate and worth while as any other creative endeavour.
Is is lazy writing? Well yes there is a lot of bad fan fiction but there is also some really great fan fiction. You just have to dig a little deeper for it. But trust me it's there.
Plagiarism and stealing? Perhaps. Though most (about 99.9 %) make no money from what they create and have no desire to do so. They do it for love of a show/book/movie, to share their love with others, as a way of improving their own writing skill and a great many other reasons. People with a love of art or music copy and adapt famous works all the time and no-one cries out. So why is writing any different?
Of course fan fiction fans don't always help themselves. Some in the fan fiction community can be pretty brutal in their defence. It's enough to make a fangirl like me hang her head in shame at the antics of others. Luckily there are plenty of others that make up for this and help make fan fiction a warm and entertaining community where you can share your love of whatever it is that makes you *flail*.
And at the end of the day that's what fan fiction is all about.
It's about exploring possibilities that the original author never thought of. To celebrate a TV show/movie/book/character that another created in a way that is original to you and to share that love with others. And that is a pretty great thing.
By the way check out Auckland Libraries latest events. There's a discussion about Fifty Shades of Grey on next Thursday. http://www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/EN/Events/Events/Pages/darknight.aspx