Harry Potter Fanfiction / Pride and Prejudice Mash Ups
Harry Potter, now a man and quite wealthy, goes to visit his friend and fellow Hogwarts alumnus Charles Bingley, who has recently taken residence at the manor Netherfield Park. A neighboring family of witches by the name of Bennet is invited to a party at the mansion at which point Elizabeth, one of the Bennet daughters and a witch with extraordinary powers, is introduced to Harry Potter, a wizard of great renown. A misunderstanding first occurs, but eventually a romantic relationship develops and together they must battle the forces that are out to destroy them.
It's a derivative story for sure. And this particular derivative is not even original with me. When I Googled the concept that I thought would be mine, I found that others had already come up with the idea. As they say, there's nothing new under the sun. Oh sure, there might be slightly new approaches and ideas that seem uniquely original, but there is nothing that is completely new and original. If there were, we probably wouldn't even understand it. By necessity one thing leads to another and all things are derived from or related to previously existing ideas.
To be derivative is not a bad thing, but in deriving one thing from another one needs to paint a bit of oneself into the newly derived creation or at least add some touch that will add some hint of originality. Personally I don't understand the lure of fan fiction, but I do believe that to make a work of this nature more interesting, a writer needs to tell a different story than the source material or tell the old story in a very different way. Imitation may come in the form of flattery or even satire, but absolute imitation may be something akin to plagiarism.
We've all done something on our blogs that we've seen on other blogs. The natural tendency is to copy what works, what is successful, or what looks fun or interesting. There are even basic rules or suggestions for blogging that we have found cited on many blogs, perhaps even our own. We usually set up our blogs using templates and common formats. I've been to a few blogs that don't and I usually don't stay long or go back because they are chaotic and that is not for me.
Bloggers repeat topics, share themes, and participate in blogfests and memes. The secret is to add something new and different to what is basically the same as what others have done. How many times have we read blog posts about publishing, querying, or getting an agent? We keep reading them because each story is told from a different perspective with some new twists thrown in. If those blog posts were just cut and pastes from previous posts we'd stop reading them pretty quickly and start searching for the bloggers with unique voices. Hopefully with each new post comes prospects of learning something we didn't know before, reviewing what we need to remember, or being entertained by good writing.
Many people do round-up posts where they link to interesting posts of the previous week. One blog that I follow has begun to do this and I was impressed by some of the excellent blog posts she linked to from last week. If you like this sort of thing, check out Atsiko's Chimney. She says that her round-up will become a regular feature on her blog for a while at least. It's a derivative idea, but Atsiko is doing her research and doing the legwork to make finding these posts easier on us.
Another Twist on an Existing Concept
Most of you probably remember Marcus of Writing Investigated. If not, Marcus was the creative force behind the navigation buttons that many of you used for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The concept of the buttons was an existing idea that Marcus adapted to be used for the Challenge. The buttons made it easier to navigate sequentially through the list of participants and fun to randomly find blogs with the "Surprise Me!" button. This was a derivative concept that was given a unique application.
Now Marcus has come up with another brainstorm. Marcus will be my special guest on Wednesday to tell you about an idea that will be of special interest to any of you who have either published a book or plan to in the future. To make his explanation easier to understand he is preparing a demonstration video to be debuted here on Tossing It Out this Wednesday July 27. I'm looking forward to seeing what he's come up with. I hope you will join us.
Are you a fan of Fanfiction? Do you have any favorite fiction derivatives? Can you think of something you've read that was absolutely original? Do you think it's possible to create anything absolutely, uniquely new and original? Do you adapt well to new technology or do you have Luddite tendencies like I do?