I guess I’m just picky?

I’ve read a lot of Jane Austen Fan Fiction and I “try” to read as much of the Jane Austen continuation literature that comes out, and I must say (and excuse me if you don’t agree) but most of the continuation literature stuff is Crap! (with a capital “C”)

I’ve said it once and I will say it again until EVERYONE agrees with me: JA fan fiction authors are just better writers!!! I’ve been beat up several times now due to this opinion, but JA fan-fic fans all know it’s true.

I’m currently reading Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange, and although I would not put it in the crap category, I would definitely put it in the “no spirit or passion” category.  Compare this book to a fan fic like, oh, I don’t know, say, The Birthright and see what I mean:  it has passion, intrigue, spirit, wit… I could go on and on.

I would love to know where this fan-fiction / literary fiction disconnect comes from. Do literary authors feels encumbered with the need to please hard-core Janeites? Do fan-fiction authors relax due to their comparative freedom of expression. Are literary authors afraid of something that fan fiction are not afraid of.

I really want to know how others see this. I know there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me. Can someone back me up? Come stand beside me and we can take the pummeling with rocks together.

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5 thoughts on “I guess I’m just picky?

  1. I agree with you to the extent that some of the published ‘continuation’ fiction is much less intriguing than say PLENTY of the stories listed on popular JAFF sites.

    Some of the work that started out as fanfiction and is now published is on par with the so-called literary fiction (hello, Abigail Reynolds anyone?) and plenty of the stories currently being posted are certainly worthy of a wider audience. Nothing against Ms. Grange, Pamela Aidan, Linda Berdoll or any of the other authors who seem to have found success in mainstream publishing, but we have equally talented authors who are unpublished (current blog owner included). Is it just luck or does the publishing world think that only certain works fit into a genre and we, the Jane-addicted, might only consider purchasing certain works? Who knows?

    So, I’ll stand by you as the rocks fall. Gladly.

  2. Of the published JA continution fiction, I’ve only tended to enjoy reading those works that started out as JA fan-fiction. Further, I don’t find myself wanting to purchase any of the published continutations. I use the library for them. But, if I find a pretty or unique edition of the Jane Austen, I’m all over it!

    Though I must point out that Pamela Aidan’s series (At An Assembly Such as This, etc) did start out being posted on JAFF sites, then on her own website. I read it from the very beginning–distracted me from studying for exams, multiple times!

  3. Yes, I agree with you both. I also like the stuff that started out as fan fic and prefer supporting (monetarily) “our own.” I have no qualms paying for that which was free beforehand and encourage other authors to set up a website for just such a purpose. There are several authors who “give their work away” who could be very successful going to self published or publisher route.

  4. I’m currently reading “The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a literary context,” and blogging on it over at Reading, Writing, Working, Playing–thanks for the link, btw!.

    What has struck me most about reading about Austen fan fic alongside other notable fandoms is how good Austen fic is and how good fan fic in general is.

    I coming to think that having a strong relationship with readers–knowing you’re going to get comments–and reading as well as writing within a fandom changes the writing process and does make it stronger. Profic writers are much more remote from their audience, and while the comment-whore phenomenon does happen in fanfic, I think having a participative audience makes you work harder and makes you humbler. Profic writers have a smaller set of people to make happy, and they are happy by formula (i.e., what’s going to sell).

    I’m really looking forward to reading ch 10 in The Democratic Genre, “A Good Reader Also Creates.”

  5. I had cruised by your blog after I wrote this post and I left, what I thought, was a reply but it didn’t take somehow. But basically I was saying that I want to read that book. Fan Fic truly fascinates me.

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