This week a topic that has struck me as interesting is the concept of borrowing and/or being inspired by other authors. In Edith Nesbit’s Five Children and It we see lots of references to other stories as well as general plot lines that she borrows from other authors. The Last of the Mohicans is used to inspire the children to wish for Indians to exist. Even though Nesbit’s works are filled with borrowed ideas and she is referred to as “the great borrower” does that make her work any less original. Nesbit herself is said to have been a source of inspiration for many authors, including C.S. Lewis. J.K. Rowling herself has been quoted as saying that she pulled inspiration for others authors and Greek mythology. Most fantasy authors will say that J.R.R Tolkien was there primary source of inspiration and that without his land of Middle Earth they would not have been able to do what they do. Having seen all these examples I think it is pretty acceptable to say that it is all right for authors to borrow or look towards these pioneers in their fields since without these precursors in their particular genre they would not have written their own works.
Having said this though I would like to examine the world of Fanfiction. Fanfic is when writers… aspiring writers? … use others movies, books, video games, etc. to further the story that has been created. For this blog I explored some Fanfiction sites and there is an enormous amount of stories ranging from topics about an alternate ending to The Hunger Games to stories about the children of the Golden Trio in Harry Potter. Some of the stories are lackluster continuations or alterations while others seem to have nothing to do with the original text except for the character names and world. Since I am not a Fanfiction reader I can only assume the spectrum that truly exists on these sites. However, I do feel I can make an opinion about how I feel towards the idea of Fanfiction, which would be to let them do it. These sites are huge and have such a large fan base that perhaps it is not a bad thing to let these people continue on a little longer in these fictional worlds they love. On the other hand though I do think that it is important to consider how the author’s feel about Fanfiction. George R.R. Martin the author of the series A Song of Fire and Ice has said how much he detests Fanfic and how he feels it is plagiarism to an extent. I would normally think he is overreacting but with recent events that have gone on I think perhaps he may have a point. Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight Saga was the inspiration for one Fanfic writer’s stories. E.L. James’ has recently gained the spotlight for her trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a novel version of a Fanfic story she has based off of Meyer’s Twilight series. This seems to be a little to close to copying someone else’s works for me. Which raises the question, where is the line between inspiration and direct imitation?