Much loved misfits

THE HANS INDIA |   Jul 02,2017 , 01:35 AM IST

There so many fanfics regarding 'Why Kattappa killed Baahubali'
There so many fanfics regarding 'Why Kattappa killed Baahubali'

Stories have an impact on us beyond what we imagine. Now arises the question, what happens to these characters after the book or a series ends? Most people think that the way the author chooses to end the tale is satisfactory but alas! There are always misfits. Here come the writers of fan fiction, the people who continue the saga of characters whose owners have long parted ways with them.

It is an easy task for writers to be fan fiction writers as there is no need to start from the ground up, people just borrow established characters and stories and add their own take and thoughts to it. The word limit of these stories is not fixed as well. Some of these stories may be as long as a short novel while others might just be musings of a few scant words.

Fan fiction is not a new concept that was founded in recent times but has been existing since writing has existed. Take your pick of favourite characters, Harry Potter? Twilight? Hunger Games? All the pop culture icons have fan fictions based on them where people from around the world contribute their ideas and add depth to the character’s lore and personality.  

Portals like WattPad, Wordpress among others have become holy grails for fan fiction and though sometimes things get a little weird; for example, there are romantic stories featuring Harry and Draco; Betty and Veronica; and even Bruce Banner and Tony Stark!

However, in India, fan fiction writers are now coming out of the shadows and revealing themselves. This exodus has shown the community the sheer number of “fan fic” writers that exist within our community.
Vivian Peter Jason, a huge fan of 007 and a fan fiction writer says, “People are not unaware of the concept of fan fiction in India. I personally know so many writers that are into diverse pop cultures and love to give their own spin on their character.”

Many a person finds their calling through fan fiction. It is not strange to see India becoming a hotbed for fan fiction writers considering the fact there has been a huge surge in the number of Indian writers present in the market today.

The unique trait of these writers lies in their ability to give deeper meaning to Indian made characters as well. ‘Baahubali’ for instance, has been one of the biggest hits of South India, which has gone on to break several world records as well. 

The sequel too was on par with its peer. But, the director, SS Rajamouli has said that there will be no more stories of the kingdom Mahishmati and here enter the writers! Already there exist so many stories of Devasena and Amendra Baahubali adding more softness and added lore to their stories and going beyond what the movies have shown.

Many fan fiction writers have their own set of followers and people look forward to their take on popular characters and what new tales they will get entangled in. Need, for instance, is one of the most famous pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction that is out there and talks about a what if scenario expanding more on the “Harry-Ginny” relationship than the author J K Rowling had done.

Vyshnavi Gopalakrishnan, an ardent reader of fan fiction said, “I like how the writers are not bound by any rules. Most writers of fan fiction are considered unprofessional because of the stupefying nature of their subjects but so many talented writers get spotted as well. Take the tale of ‘50 Shades of Gray’, it started off as a “fanfic” and now has a series of books and movies made on it.”

Where does fan fiction come from is perhaps the most pertinent question to ask and the answer is that it comes from fan theories! Fan theories are the seeds from which these saplings arise. Right now, the new hot topic on everyone’s message boards is, of course, the upcoming season of ‘Game of Thrones’, the series that has managed to grab the entire world by storm. 

As the series enters its seventh season and is nearing its end, people are frantic about the fate of their characters. The series is infamous for killing off pivotal characters and yet manages to make the tale more interesting and gripping with each passing season. Such a series was bound to attract the attention of fan fiction writers and as theories emerged whether Jon Snow is a Targaryen or not and if Jamie would end up killing Cersei.

Strife and complex characters have always been key traits to attract the attention of these misfit writers. Delara, a student at Christ University, said, “Complex characters offer various paths for the character to walk on, fan fiction writers love to pull apart each thread and give their own spin to it thus giving an entirely new persona to a character that did not exist before.”

It is just not books, but even movies and comics have found their fair share of fan fiction writers as well. ‘Batman’, one of the most popular characters ever written, also has fan fiction writers albeit some of it caters to the tastes of the audience who aren’t afraid to see or read Batman and Robin do the deed.

If you think that’s where the oddity stops, you’d be surprised to know how many Indian soaps have hundreds of fan fiction writers cheering their favourite characters. ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, a  popular Indian soap opera, which is due for another season soon has its own niche of writers, who have filled in the gaps that the original writers had left and also came up with various new twists and turns to the story.

Fan fiction has become an art unto itself. People now conduct workshops on how to write fan fictions because it promotes creativity and helps discover upcoming writers. Symbolism too plays a huge role in fan fiction. People have written against oppression, tyranny, dictatorship and more disguised under fables and published as fan fiction to attract the right kind of attention.

Most importantly, a large number of writers of fan fiction are women. These women find their voice and express themselves through their writings and some of their works are true marvels to behold because of the sheer rawness present in the writing. 

Everything, however, is not roses when it comes to writing fan fiction because of the materials it chooses to tackle with. People have written about real life celebrities (Sorry Shah Rukh Khan, but you have some creepy fans out there as well) and even borrowed from characters who have copyrights on them thus infringing certain laws as well. Websites which host these writings come under fire and then the whole community of fan fiction writers and their need comes into question. 

Things are looking up for fan fiction writers, however, as companies have started recognising them as a legitimate form of writing and have started a system of ensuring that people get an opportunity to read fan fictions as well without the writers having to worry about their personal safety or risking prison.

In spite of all the risks and virtually no benefits, this community sees new members each day dealing with numerous topics, some heart-warming, others hair-raising yet this has helped create an environment where writers and authors can talk to each other and further the story than previously conceived.

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