Infatuated by Fan Fiction

Kurt Vonnegut's Kindle World
Kurt Vonnegut’s Kindle World

If you haven’t thought seriously about writing in a Kindle World perhaps you should. Fan fiction is not just for freaky people who dress in costume and wait on line for twelve hours to enter Hogsmeade at Disney World. It’s for everyone, including our own Indie superhero, Hugh Howey. But we’ll get back to Hugh in a moment.

My son and I play a texting game in which we rewrite Harry Potter and send the revisions to each other.

To me: Harry’s parents are alive and he remembers stopping Voldemort.

Me: Harry’s dad is a jerk and Lily falls for a less morbid and stylish Snape.

To me: Tonks and Harry have a love affair.

Me: Ron becomes hideously obese and flatulent. Hermione leaves him.

To me: Dudley and Harry become best friends. Harry takes him for a ride on his broom.

Me: Snape is nominated for the Sexiest Man Alive.

To me: Mr. Weasley dies and Molly Weasley marries Sirius Black.

Me: Snape tames the basilisk and it assists Harry in battling the death eaters.

I could go on, but I’m sure you see that in our Potter world no one has died and Severus Snape is elevated to godlike status. Part of my infatuation with Severus Snape is the flawed yet heroic character created by J.K. Rowling. Truthfully, I am a huge fan of Alan Rickman’s work. Years before he immortalized Snape I caught the film Truly, Madly, Deeply on TV and I was smitten by his voice and his unique look. Casting him as Snape was brilliant.

Sadly, Rowling has not yet granted license to Kindle Worlds to satisfy my obsession. If you don’t know about Kindle Worlds check out a past post of mine here.

Who is writing these stories for Kindle Worlds? Hugh Howey has taken on The World of Kurt Vonnegut with his story Peace in Amber. In doing research for this piece I came across an article Hugh wrote in Slate Magazine.

Lovers of the new and immutable novel may fear the end times, but ironically the end times themselves were a work of fan fiction. The four Gospels were written well after the times they describe, and each has its own take on similar events. (It used to bother me that the Gospels disagreed on so much. But then I discovered Batman comics and saw how often the Caped Crusader’s origins and backstory also changed over time.) Shakespeare made a career out of fan fiction. Wealthy patrons would request a new stab at a familiar story.

In the video link below Hugh explains more as to why he took the plunge into Kurt Vonnegut’s World. Communal stories have been around forever. In certain cultures the job of storyteller is a respected position in the community. The ability of storytellers to add their own enhancements and introduce new characters into an existing storyline, à la Kindle Worlds, is in keeping with this tradition.

Why should you, as a published or aspiring author, care about Kindle Worlds? The answer is simple. What is the biggest challenge faced by Indie writers? It is visibility, discoverability, or whatever word you want to use. I believe many books written by independent authors are as good as or superior to what is being promoted by big publishing. I am surrounded by authors who write great books. How can they crack the code that gets their work to the readers they deserve?

The answer is complicated and nebulous. It is foolish to fight against a giant like Amazon. The Amazon platform and its ever-expanding programs are the reason we can publish our books. Furthermore, there is no shame in building upon the story of another writer and adding a personal touch or two. Composers have been doing this for centuries. The ability to provide variation shows flexibility and creativity. It is a savvy move. Readers who discover a writer through Kindle Worlds will seek out other works by this author. After you have enjoyed a book, don’t you look to see what else the author has available? I do.

In a fan fiction world I would unite Severus and Lily.

“James is gone,” Lily whispers. “He cares more for Quidditch than for me and Harry. I’ve always known that if he had a chance to be a seeker he would leave me.”

“He’s a fool.” Severus places the beaker of polyjuice potion on the table. Could this be his moment? Could the angel he has worshipped since childhood need him again?

“Severus…” She brushes a stray lock of black hair from his cheek. Her hand traces the line of buttons on the tunic he uses as protection from the insults of his youth, from the world that has never been kind. She places her head on his chest. He will let her hear his heart beat, the rapid pounding confirming that she is his one true love. Always.

Hugh Howie talks about Kindle Worlds:

Author: L. A. Lewandowski

Lois Lewandowski graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Political Science and French Literature. A passion for life lived well is reflected in her novels, Born to Die-The Montauk Murders, A Gourmet Demise, and My Gentleman Vampire, giving readers a glimpse into the world of the beau monde. Lois lives in Tampa, Florida. Learn more at her lifestyle blog, and her Amazon author page.

11 thoughts on “Infatuated by Fan Fiction”

  1. Lois, I love that you and your son play that texting game. Sounds like great fun, plus so much more engaging than text exchanges between most parents and children. I’ve never gotten into fan fiction, but for the people who love the characters too much to let them go, it’s a great outlet. Anything that encourages writing is good!

    1. Thanks Melissa,
      I might start a new thread with my son today. He hasn’t called me from college for a few days and I miss him.
      Fan fiction isn’t for everyone. I’m waiting for Kindle Worlds to get a few more authors like Vonnegut to give it their blessing. Then I may give it a whirl.

  2. Lois, my daughter writes a ton of fanfiction — but like you, the properties she writes about haven’t been released to Kindle Worlds.

    Fanfiction hasn’t been in my wheelhouse up to now. But if Vonnegut’s world is there, maybe I should take another look. 😀

    1. Lynn,
      I agree that if esteemed authors like Vonnegut, or his estate, can be encouraged to allow fan fiction—who am I to question the decision?
      Let me know where your daughter writes, I’d love to read her stories.
      Thanks for your comment.

    1. I agree that it is preferable to create your own world when you can. But if you have already done so, and your books are going unnoticed, Kindle Worlds may be an opportunity to get some exposure. The biggest problem for most indie authors is visibility. There are many ways to get it, and you never know what will work until you try it.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. You are spot on about the story telling in various cultures, Lois; the Celts were one of the leaders in that tradition and the Seanachaidh (roughly Shan-ah-kie) was one of the most respected positions in the clan system. The Seanachaidh was the official story teller, but oh so much more. I must say I had never thought of fan fiction quite in that light but now I do remember, when I was a child, taking the stories I was told or read myself and doing something completely different with them.

    Thank you for shining a light on this subject, Lois.

    1. You’re welcome. 🙂
      I like the idea of an important position, within a specific culture, whose responsibility is preserving stories for future generations. So much history, captured in these tales, is lost through the ages when we don’t take the time to record them.
      Thanks for your comment, T.D.

  4. You make a good point, Lois – if fan fics are where the readers are then that’s where we should be as well. Only… I can’t think of a world in which I’d rather write. Unless maybe it was Dune…. -exits stage right, thinking-

  5. Hi A.C.,
    When I can’t sleep at night I create a little fantasy for myself. I’m a teacher in the Lonely Mountain. Thoran Oakenshield secretly loves me, but I’m not a dwarf so I am not suitable as his Queen. The story becomes quite involved, and it distracts my brain and I eventually fall asleep.
    Seriously, we need to do whatever it takes to find our readers. I may be trying my hand at fan fiction in the near future. I just need to find a dwarf king who is looking for his queen. 🙂

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