I guess it’s because of Divergent coming out this month, but I’ve found a lot of movie adaptation discussions on YouTube recently. (Because where else would I hear anyone talking.) I completely understand people reading the book first, but I probably won’t be reading Divergent before the movie comes out. (It is on my list, don’t kill me.) For me, there’s always been a conflict between, “Do I read the book first and spend the entire movie criticizing how the studio deviated?” or “Do I watch the movie first and ruin the ending of the book?”
When I was younger, my dad told me not to expect a movie to be like its book. Result: AU Mentality. Movie adaptations are in an alternate reality to their bookish original. (Think new Star Trek films.) If the book is the original, anything that is not the book is consequently fanfiction.
As I have mentioned before (sort of), I love fanfiction. I used to write it more than I do now, but it’s still a kind of leisure writing that I snap back to when I get stuck on my novel. I’ve been telling people that the book I’m currently writing is my first novel, and I realized recently that I’ve been lying. My first novel was an 80,000-word Harry Potter fanfiction. (In case you’re curious, I condensed it into an original short story here.) But taking someone else’s characters or setting and writing a quick story gets the creativity flowing again. (Yay, Tumblr and Wattpad.)
Fanfiction is a beautiful thing. It brings together complete strangers who love the same things. And I’ve never had a problem with it. I like to think maybe someday, middle schoolers will be writing fanfiction about my characters. Loads of people read fanfiction and enjoy it, but a lot of them seem to think movie adaptations that aren’t twelve-hour miniseries for each book are complete failures. Think about it this way: every movie based on a book ever is a movie studio’s fanfiction.