Is it a good idea to turn fanfic into Original Character novels?

Further to my blog post, I was wondering what people thought of turning a fanfic novel into an original character novel and selling it as an ebook? A fanfic author recently did this and was very successful.


  1. Fenchurch

    Hi Xanthe!

    The main question is, of course, what do we get out of fanfic itself as opposed to OC and published novels. Part of the fun of fanfic is making characters we all know do things that will never/have never appeared in the show! Another thing is finishing off scenes or applying motives and thoughts to our characters – on the TV we can’t see their thoughts, even when they are portrayed by the best actors, but it’s a lot of fun interpreting a blink of an eye or a glance at someone else. I kind of think that I would run away screaming if Tony and Gibbs really did snog or they showed Rodney waking up in John’s bed… even though we all know that happens off camera!

    OC novels don’t have the advantage of characters that are already known and recognized. How will you write Atlantis without it being Atlantis? And ancient gadgets – that chastity device that Rodney made for John to use for example – you can’t possibly miss that out!! I would LOVE to read an OC novel written by you in your own BDSM universe – which was your own idea in the first place, and let’s face it – everyone would love more from that universe from the source!

    I can’t wait to see what everyone else says about this! I’m probably in a minority of one!

    Love (can’t wait to read more Xanthe) Fenchurch

  2. Xanthe

    Thanks Fenchurch! I’m really interested in people’s replies – I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other – I was mainly really fascinated by the debate so it’s interesting hearing all sides of the topic.

    I agree with you that I don’t want my stories for example played out onscreen – eep! But then most sexy stuff reads better – it can be shocking SEEING it *g*. And if I DID turn fanfic into OC, I would be sure to make it able to exist independently of the source material – I’d put some work into it.

    I did wonder with the BDSM universe romcom I had in mind – I love the idea of it because it plays with our notions of what a dom in particular should BE. The dom I have in mind is a complete screw up and naughty and always getting into trouble – but he still identifies as dom in the bedroom. I liked the idea of playing with that but it wouldn’t be as dark or gritty as some of my other BDSM universe novels so I wasn’t sure how that would go down. Still, I intend to write it one day as it’s so much fun! LOL!

  3. freak_in_corner

    Do I think it’s a good idea to turn fanfic into original character novels?
    Well that depends on the fandom your writing in and the story your thinking of making into an original novel.
    Firstly if you’re writing in a fandom that isn’t really recognised outside of its characters then I think that’s fine. You change your characters into original ones, that may have some of the same traits to keep the story the same, and maybe the actual setting but you’re not actually ‘stealing’ anything because the story you wrote is yours and you’ve changed the characters into your own. For example Suits; suits is about the relationship between a mentor and an apprentice, the story in itself could change character, location or even time and the basics would still be there. You may have to rewrite certain scenes if you change the profession but the basic story could still remain. Examples are Possession, Birth-Day and Two Wolves.
    However if your writing in other fandoms then it can be a problem. Take Stargate: Atlantis for example; it is a (mostly) original idea. They live in an ancient city, use the stargate to travel to different worlds and use ancient technology. Now you can rewrite this to make it your own but it would take a lot of work and even then people might be able to see that it is just a rehash of stargate.
    Other fandoms would be fantasy ones like twilight or buffy where their vampires are unique (again mostly), you could rewrite the story to make it your own but you would have to create an entire new story with new creatures just to make it your own. Now you do have your own vampires and backstory so that would be awesome but I noticed you have written a piece in the sentinel fandom which would create the same sort of problem.
    The only way that I’ve seen people get around that is when they’re work was human AUs of the fandoms, for example Sexymermaid has published some of her fanfiction works with original characters but the only ones I’ve seen so far are human AUs. Which are basically her works with some characters we kinda know anyway.
    I think the best way for you to turn your fanfic into orginal novels is take the pieces that you’re most proud of and put the most effort into and rewrite them or create new stories around them. For example your BDSM universe is amazing and I always look forward to any work that comes out of that however it is so integrated into the Stargate and NCIS fandoms you can’t really take that away from the story without some major rewrites. So why not take your universe and write some original stories into it? That way you are using something you’ve created for fandom but making it completely original. I think that that would be an amazing series, especially if you don’t have to read all the books to know what is going on even if they are all interconnected.
    So basically sorry for the ranting but yes use your stories to fuel your original work but try and make it a completely original story not just one with different names in fandoms we would recognise.

  4. tejas

    I’d steer clear of filing the serial numbers off, in general. Which isn’t to say there aren’t possibilities there. It all depends on how deeply seated a fic is in the fic universe. That said, taking an alternate universe you established in fic and using *that* for original novels, now that’s another story all together. For example, my Worthy ‘verse may well end up being used with original characters at some point. Much of the world building has absolutely no connection with NCIS and as such, I could easily explore that universe with other characters of my own making. Your BDSM ‘verse is the same way.

  5. taylorgibbs

    Is t a good idea? Generally, no. There’s a school of thought from some in fandom that if authors repub their fanfic as original, some of these people will boycott and/or leave bad reviews. Sour grapes at being “made” to pay for work that was previously free. Not cool, not fair, but it exists.

    If you’re traditionally publishing, the publisher will want no evidence of the story being online, in any form or formal. So even if you pulled down…say HIPS, if it was cached anywhere, at any time, that could invalidate a contract.

    If you’re self publishing, it is a matter of what your audience wants. You have a huge readership,and I’m sure lots of folks will buy anything you write–completely new or redone (*waves credit card around hopefully*), but the thing is, will everyone? Will folks who read HIPS want to read an original fic version of it. And will the fact that we (your audience) “know” these characters as John and Rodney, Gibbs and Tony, change how we feel about the fic.

    It is a lot to think about…

    It can be done well and you definitely have the chops and talent to do it! But should it be…

    That is a stickier issue.

    Speaking strictly from a personal POV, I’d rather the fanfic stays fanfic and is used as an inspiration for new work rather than a template. That way the reader gets it all, so to speak.

    And speaking as a writer, I find it much much harder to revise anything and make it conform to a new concept than I do writing an original fic.

    I agree with what tejas said.

  6. Xanthe

    Thanks so much for your reply, freak. That’s a really good point about Suits. I think I COULD make SGA work but it’d take a lot of effort.

    The Sentinel though? My only piece in that fandom was a tiny crack fic crossover with XF! Ditto my one venture into Buffy territory! LOL!

    I think my vampires are original enough to write about – they bear no relation to any thing I’ve seen or read – they’re my creation. I’d be quite interested in developing them further.

    I’ve definitely got ideas for new stories with OCs set in the BDSM verse – that’s one of the ones I’m toying with at the moment. I think my main problem is deciding what to write next!

  7. Xanthe

    Thanks TG and Tejas :-) .
    I know I’d rather be writing OC novels than filing the serial numbers off existing fanfics – certainly for now. I really welcome all sides of the discussion because it’s by no means something I feel clear cut about.
    I don’t begrudge writers changing their fics to OC to sell them – I know how hard writers work on their stories and don’t begrudge them some recompense that they couldn’t get when the fics were fanfic. Having said that, I hate that something as bad as 50 Shades got SO big purely on the back of it being a Twilight fanfic and bringing all those Twi fans over.
    But I think the main drawback for me is that:
    a) I don’t think I’d enjoy the process of altering my fics, and I am ALL about enjoying the process *g*.
    b) It would get in the way of me moving on and writing something new.
    c) I think I’d be letting my fanbase down by not producing something new for them to read. And they’ve followed my work for years and been so generous with their support so I would absolutely hate to do that.
    I won’t rule out doing it, but I think what the discussion is firming up for me (and this is why it’s so useful!) is that it’s not what I want to do NEXT. Maybe some way down the line when I’ve produced some OC fics and I’m tired and jaded and want to go back and play with the fanfics – maybe then I’d do it. But right now, I don’t think it’s the way to go.

  8. CathyN

    My first thought was yes. It would be great to see your work in ‘proper book form’ (instead of having them saved on my iPod or printed out on hundreds of A4 sheets in several folders). However, I don’t think you should , as you wrote your fanfic novels as ‘Fanfic’. It would take a lot of work/time and effort to make the necessary changes, which I am sure you could do. Your novels would loose their soul as they were written for specific characters.

    Also as you already know fandom is a very fickle place and I think that you would upset a lot of people. Look at the backlash that 50 shades caused. ( though I have not read it, I am probably the only person around who can’t stand Twilight). Fanfic should stay as fanfic and be printed in Fanzines or shared on the internet etc for the fans.

    But the main reason I think you should not do it, is because you are a highly talented and creative writer, you could right your own OC. Use the BDSM Universe you created in your SGA and NCIS verse or create another verse. Your novel ideas sound great and I think you should peruse them.

    Whatever decision you make, I look forward to hearing/reading all about it.


    Cathy N/dopeydora_67

  9. Xanthe

    Thanks Cathy! I agree with you – which is why I’m glad I started the discussion! It’s really helped me make a few decisions!

    Thank you so much for joining in!

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