Stories Guaranteed To Give You A Headache - Why Your Fan Fiction Ainít Good

"This is pure fan fiction. This is simply the sad story of Kathy. She is the person that LucasArts threw in the trash, but I have brought her back to life. She is a woman of sorrow and strength. Plus this is simply creativity and not something to offend. So if something in my story offends you I apologize in advance.Ē

From Final Act, a Ďparallel novelí to the Monkey Island games (I have no idea either)

Hey, it's fanfic Ė thanks for the apology.

Itís a simple truth; fan fiction and fan games exist on a joint plane of miserable faux entertainment. Fanfic, as everyone seems to call it, is usually spawned by someone with far too much time on their hands (a bit like me) who feels the need to write their own, imagined follow-up to a popular movie, television show or computer game. And LucasArtsí (LEC) catalogue of games, being more original and story-driven than many others, are ripe for the fanfic writerís picking. Fan games are not only illegal, theyíre just as bad. Theyíre live action fanfic Ė it looks livelier, but itís just as pointless.

PC Gamer was not impressed by Monkey Island fanfic
I donít believe in mouthing off about something you know very little about. Sadly, a great percentage of the people who will read this donít follow that philosophy. But I adhere to it, and I read a lot of LucasArts fanfic before coming to the simple conclusion that it is bad. There are no exceptions. It is all bad, and itís not getting better. Itís as if a light-bulb (because thatís how it happens in the movies) goes off above somebodyís head and they think, ďHey, I know! Iíll take a series based on humour and remove all of it!Ē A recent article in PC Gamer made a particularly negative trait of fanfic prominent; that the results either turn a comedy series (such as Monkey Island) into a mind-numbing, joke-free attempt at Ďseriousí literature or the jokes are so bad theyíd be booed off the stage at a Carrot Top show.

I wonít patronise any potential readers of this article by repeating what I wrote about the legality of fan games. Suffice to say that fanfic, whilst less of a direct concern to LEC, is still technically copyright infringing material. Pleading that fanfic should be welcomed and, frighteningly, encouraged, is wrong. Very wrong. Fanfic shouldnít exist. Creativity and originality should. The whole ethos of fanfic is bewildering; taking a game you love and writing something that could never (and has never, judging by what is out there) match up the original. The arguments for fanfic seem to be that (a) itís a way for a fan to express their love of a game and (b) itís not harming anyone, so let them be creative. In response to the first argument, the fan seems to lose the sense of what theyíre writing about and turns in something that is unfunny, unoriginal, pointless or more commonly all three at once. As regards the second argument, itís not a harmless activity.

The reason why itís not harmless is part of the explanation why I truly detest the ďitís all for funĒ excuse that was offered as a defence to fan games and other fan output. Donít worry; Iíll be sure to inflict an article on fan art on you soon. Without exception, the fanfics spawned by Monkey Island enthusiasts are pointless and painful. A Monkey Island serial set 300 years in the future (as in 2300), a Monkey Island and Dragonball Z crossover (I successfully concluded that would be bad before reading it), a joke-free trilogy revolving around Guybrushís sister (I must have missed that plot line in the four official games)Öso much, and for so little point. To prepare for this article, I read a great deal of LucasArtsí canon inspired fanfic. Not because I wanted to, but because I needed proof of what I am stating in this article. Fanfic generally is a terrible thing; Monkey Island fanfic is even worse.

Fanfic writers always miss the point. First of all, no one has asked them to turn out an epic disaster. Add to the mix the fact that the people writing are usually aspiring authors with a serious deficiency in creativity. For evidence of that, just look at any fanfic that stars a character with the same name as the author. The jokes fall flat; there are very few amusing scenes. Apart from the unique Ė but bizarre Ė Monkey Island in space fanfic, the others either rehash stories from the Monkey Island games (and the third and fourth releases from LEC did that sufficiently enough themselves) or come up with tiresome stories and mindless plotlines. Anyone with the most minimal of literary dignity in their body would be well advised to leave fanfics well alone. Iím not writing this simply to state how much I detest fanfics; Iím writing it to warn those of you who may never have read one. My advice is simple: donít.

I have an aim, and thatís to obliterate the ďitís all for funĒ defence. Itís a lifeline used by those who, through ego, or boredom, or maybe a mix of both, want to inflict their interpretation of someone elseís work on a less than enthralled audience. The Internet is the new breeding ground of the hack writer Ė just look at this article Ė and as such a serious cull has to take place. You can disagree with me or say that Iím simply over-stating the fact that I hate fanfics. Fine, thatís your right. But Iím sticking by the principle that fanfic is not a tribute to LECís games. Itís an insult. If someone you knew had devised, written and made a successful game, perhaps fleshing out the story with sequels - to have their own universe of characters with which to be creative Ė to then have someone with too much time on their hands barge in with their own version of events is both obnoxious and without point. LECís stories should stay within the confines of their offices in San Rafael. They certainly shouldnít be continued by people who feel like inflicting their mediocre works whenever Ďinspirationí strikes. Hey, you want a great idea, Mr. (or Mrs.) Fanfic Writer? How about a Quantum Leap/Grim Fandango/Afterlife/Yoda Stories four-part crossover? Now thatís going to be worth reading! Oh boy.