Original Fiction

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Synonyms: orig fic, origfic, orific, ofic
See also: Fan Fiction, Profic, Filing Off The Serial Numbers, Original Slash
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The term original fiction is often used in fanfiction-writing fandom as an antonym of fanfiction. Some people use it to mean any professional fiction, but some fans feel that the term original does not suit professional fairytale retellings, media tie-ins, and other similar profic.

Whether fiction about real historical figures counts as RPF, "original fiction", plain old historical fiction, or something else is a matter of debate. The Archive of Our Own considers the latter examples to belong to RPF fandom.

Many fans consider original fiction to be, by definition, not a fanwork. However, for many other fans and entire sectors of fandom original fiction is just one type of fanwork that exists alongside fanfiction. This is especially true in Spanish[1][2], German-speaking[3], and Japanese-speaking fandom communities, and in Original Slash and Original Yaoi communities. Jane Austen Fandom[4][5] is another community where original fiction is treated similarly to fanfiction.

Gray Areas of "Original" Fiction

Very few stories qualify as "original" fiction, in the sense that the author created every setting, concept, or story trope that appears in her story. For instance, almost all realistic fiction is set in a real city, often in a very particular timeframe. Yet, although an author did not invent Moscow's Red Square before having her characters walk through it, this does not mean her story will not be considered original fiction.

Similarly, concepts such as elves, vampires or wizards are used by many fantasy authors, and are not "original" inventions; however, the usage of such concepts does not disqualify a story from being "original fiction."

Original Fic vs. Profic vs Fanfiction

Some fans feel that original fiction is an inapt term for fanfic's opposite—fanfiction can be incredibly original. Profic, short for Professional Fiction, is an alternate term, since one possible defining trait of fanfic is its amateur status. The two terms are not perfect synonyms though. Treating them as such discounts all the original fiction that is available for free on the internet or stashed in a drawer without the writers selling the stories to a professional publisher. The term profic also includes media tie-ins.

Many fans consider some AUs in FPF or RPF fandoms to be very little different from Original Fiction. See Filing Off The Serial Numbers for a discussion of how these three types of fiction can intersect.

Original fiction is often not considered a fandom, although a piece (or related pieces) of original fiction may serve as canon for fan activity. The exception to the 'not a fandom' understanding may be original slash. Original slash is homoerotic fiction which is written in the style of slash. In journal-based fandom circles, the walls between slash original fiction and original fiction in general are coming down. There are challenges like Origfic Bingo and Original Fiction Big Bang that are formatted exactly like their fannish cousins, and draw participants from the ranks of fanfiction writers and fan artists. It might be fair to say that in 2010, now that there is even a kink meme[6], Original Fiction is its own fandom, although this way of thinking is still very controversial, as evidenced by the discussion sparked by the AO3 asking for opinions on hosting original works at the archive.[7] [8] [9]

What's this vs stuff?

In fan communities where "original" is just one flavor of fan activity, there is little controversy over its inclusion. Original fic often has its own section on fanfic archives. Sometimes this will be an entire sector of the archive; other times, one of the "fandoms" included is original fiction. Often, fans will transition from writing fanfic to writing original fic of the same variety and back again. For example, the participants in Shousetsu Bang*Bang are usually yaoi fanfic writers.

Examples for original fiction in zines

A number of original fiction zines have been produced within fanworks-producing fandom. These have been created and distributed in the same manner as zines containing fanfiction--by the same publishers and writers at the same cons and through the same mailing lists and adzines. (Other types of zine such as SF fandom zines and Riot Grrrl zines may also contain original fiction, but without a link to this type of fandom.) Some zines contain a mixture of original and fanfiction.

Further Reading

See Also

  • Filk is another area of fandom with a lot of fanworks on original topics mixed in with ones based directly on commercial media properties.
  • Gamer Fic generally features not only entirely original characters but may also have little or no connection to commercially produced game settings.

References

  1. The livejournal community léeme despacio mixes fanfic with original fic (rules say "Ya no sólo hablamos de fan-fics, hablamos de cualquier género literario que querais tocar.", which means "We're not talking about only fanfic, but any literary genre you want to use.").
  2. The livejournal community recs_ftw accepts recs on any fandom and original fiction, as it says in the rules ("Fanfic y RPF, RPS, y los queridos originales. ¡Todo es bueno a la hora de recomendar!" or "Fanfic, RPF, RPS, and beloved originals. When you're rec'ing, it's all good!").
  3. The Freie Arbeiten category in fanfiktion.de, which includes subcategories for prose and poetry.
  4. A Novel Idea, Derbyshire Writers' Guild parallel forum.
  5. The Original Stories subforum at the A Happy Assembly fanfiction board.
  6. original_kink profile accessed October 30, 2010
  7. on original fic and fanfic accessed October 26, 2010
  8. is grumpy old fic queen accessed October 26, 2010
  9. on that origfic discussion accessed October 26, 2010
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