Use Fan Fiction with Elementary Students
You are trying to get your stu- dents to write a ;ctional story, but they resist. Instead of ;nding
joy in the activity, they struggle to create characters, a setting, and a plot that
would be interesting and exciting for
them. You want to sca;old their learning and ;nd a way to make it easier for
them. Have you considered fan ;ction?
Fan ;ction is the creation of stories
and novels that make use of characters and settings from other people’s
creative works. It involves taking
characters already developed by
someone else and placing them into a
new adventure. Instead of creating the
entire story from scratch, students use
prede;ned characters and settings and
focus on the action and dialogue.
Fan ;ction is a tool teachers have
used for a long time. Perhaps you’ve
unwittingly used it yourself. Every
time your students have written an alternative ending to a story, composed
a tale from another character’s point
of view, or predicted what would happen next, they have created fan ;ction.
By Debra Sprague
Benefits to Using Fan Fiction
For many students, creating fan ;ction
eliminates the drudgery of writing. Students choose stories they are familiar
with and characters they love. ;is gives
the story personal meaning for them.
Also, to write good fan ;ction, students
need to read the literary work they are
basing their stories on, and they need to
become familiar with the rules of that
literary universe, known as the canon.
Fan ;ction may seem to make writ-
ing easier, but it still has rules writers
need to follow, and the biggest rule
is following the canon. ;is means
students can write about Harry Potter
attending Hogwarts, but they cannot
place Hogwarts on the moon. Attending
Hogwarts is part of the canon of the
Harry Potter books, but Hogwarts is
in England, not on the moon. Staying
within the boundaries of the canon
can be challenging for students, but it
is a necessity, especially if they share
their stories with other fans. ;ese
fans will notice discrepancies and will
point them out to the author of the
Fan ;ction is the creation of stories and novels that make use of characters and settings from other people’s creative works.
Horn Book Magazine, Becca Scha;-ner wrote, “In many ways, online
fandom ful;lls the librarian’s or
teacher’s deepest desire: It’s an entire
community of people who can’t stop
talking and thinking and sharing
Concerns about Using Fan Fiction
Teachers who are concerned about
copyright violation should keep in
mind that fan ;ction falls under fair
use guidelines as long as writers are not
pro;ting from the revised work. In other words, you can post their stories on
the internet, but you cannot sell them.
Some authors frown on fan ;ction
and do not want their characters used
in other people’s stories. For example,
Orson Scott Card, who writes the
popular Ender series, has publicly
stated he does not approve of anyone
writing stories based on his characters. If the author objects, then remove
the story from the internet. ;e idea
is to become part of a community and
to write stories, not o;end the author
whose work you admire.
Fan ;ction is a tool teachers
have used for a long time.
Perhaps you’ve unwittingly
used it yourself.