Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 YA Lit Symposium - YA Literature & Fan-Created Works

YA Literature & Fan-Created Work
YALSA's Young Adult Literature Symposium

The very first program I attended at the YALSA Young Adult Literature symposium was the YA Literature and Fan-Created Work presentation.

Presented by Robin Brenner, Elizabeth Burns, Leslee Friedman from the Organization of Transformative Works, and Aja Romano, fandom journalist at The Daily Dot and Shipping News columnist at

I'm going to be completely honest and admit that I went to this program purely out of curiosity. I don't know anything about fandom or why it appeals to people. I had heard of the website Fanfiction and knew Fifty Shades of Grey supposedly had originally been a fanfiction piece about Twilight...but beyond that I was clueless. 

The presentation began with the following quote -

“Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were 
reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of 
brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They 
don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers 
write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re 
fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. 
The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in 
its own language.”
— “The Boy Who Lived Forever”, Lev Grossman

Fandom is so much more than I ever thought it was. The term actually can mean anything from writing stories, creating art, making fan videos and even producing music about a certain book, movie, almost anything really. 

There are fandoms for everything from Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pride and Prejudice and even TV shows like Bones or Castle

The panel discussed how different fandoms have formed and the power they collectively have to influence their chosen genres. Questions of legality were answered and pretty much the consensus was, under fair use most of what fans are creating IS legal. Once the author creates the characters, they are out in the public. Very few cases of fandom have been prosecuted and its incredibly hard to prove these cases are truly illegal.

Something I didn't know - fanfiction has been around for thousands of years. Here are just a few of the books they mentioned that can really be called fanfiction. Some are pretty surprising!

Wizard of Oz
Pride and Prejudice
King Lear

A few of the websites the panelists shared
Archive of Our Own - -
Authors: Fans turned Pro -
Organization of Transformative Works -

They also shared some of the most gorgeous artwork I have ever seen. 

I guess the main thing I came away with was that everyone has a passion. People turn to fandom to share their passions with other people and they can do this in quite a variety of ways. 
Find your passion and release your art!

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