The Storyteller’s Inkpot has been hopping with the energy of new bloggers. I have been composting ideas for a post and will go with my cool one this morning. When I returned from residency, exhausted and stimulated with ideas, I picked up the July 18th issue of Time magazine, mostly to read the article on Fan Fiction: How Harry Potter Will Live Forever. Likely you already know about the alternate universe of fan fiction and after reading the article I realized I did, too. But I had no idea how widespread this phenomena had become. Thousands of internet postings of stories not only extending the lives of favorite literary characters like Harry, but video game, movie and TV characters, too. It’s not great writing by any stretch. But it’s full of passion for these characters. Wouldn’t we all like to write a story that readers can’t let go of?

Recently I presented at the Pacific Northwest Library Conference and during our presentation on “How to Turn on Reluctant Readers,” a fellow author mentioned that his son would not write a word until he and his internet gaming friends began a magazine blog featuring articles on their favorite game characters. His reluctant writer son had become an avid writer with an audience. It reminded me of the time I led a writing workshop and a student read a story that was a retelling of a TV show he’d watched the night before.

The book Your Creative Brain (recommended by Andy Cochran in this blog) suggests that one way to solve a problem in your life is to pick a favorite character and write about how they would solve it. Maybe I’ll try it with Coach’s smart and amazing wife on Friday Night Lights or perhaps my beloved Anne of Green Gables. A form of fan fiction, wouldn’t you say? Like retellings of fairy tales and modern takes on Jane Austen novels.

What do you all think? Is fan fiction a rip-off of a writer’s creativity or the ultimate compliment?