So, it finally happened. Someone on WattPad really liked one of my stories, and asked if they could write a fanfiction of it. I'm torn between feeling flattered that they liked the story enough to want to write fanfiction about it, and terrified of what they might write. Has this ever happened to you? How did you react to it?

Not to me, but I know Wildbow's Worm has hundreds of fanfics written about it.

I get that from time to time. I tell people I'd rather they take the basic concept of my setting and run with it, rather than directly try to fit it. I do not like people using my characters, however. It's different I'm sure for most who have a dedicated series. I wouldn't like it, but ultimately, some people are just going to do it so at least this person asked. As long as they credit you, it could be one way to get more traffic.

My policy is that I'm totally happy with someone writing a fanfic set in my fiction world/game, but I don't really want people using my characters.

I've had a couple of people ask me about writing, but to my knowledge, no one has actually published a fanfiction of my work online.

I have never had someone ask me about fanfiction for my web serial, but I would tell them to go for it. Fanfiction is how I got started writing, and I always encourage people to write it, not only for fun, but to learn how to write as well. Writing fanfiction also helped build up my confidence to start writing my own original works as well, though it has taken me 10+ years to start being completely serious about writing.

I've gotten fan art before (none for my serial yet), and I loved it. My reaction would be the same for fanfiction. I welcome and encourage fan works. The closest thing to a fanfic I've received was someone writing a short gag fanfic of one of my visual novels within their visual novel...sadly they never released their game so I'm the only one AFAIK who's read said fic, but I liked it.

I would love to see some fanfiction about my stuff (maybe when I've got more content). Sure, use my characters! You can play with anything in this sandbox. :D

The highest form of flattery isn't mimicry, but elaboration. Like my idea enough to run with them on your own.

I've had a couple... well, not *fanfic* so much as expanding on and using concepts I pioneered in their own original works (notably, both Pairbonding and Prices themselves- someone's even done a bit on the Mark of Cain stuff), which I find far more flattering than pure fanfiction. Taking ideas and creating their own ore or less original characters and world to explore the idea... a couple, I'm actually talking to about cleaning up their works and adding them as part of the setting's anthology.

... But it turns out fanfic writers don't often have the courage to take that final step into (sorta-kinda) "professional" writing.

Honestly? I think I'd feel a bit insulted by true fanfiction of the "let's rewrite canon" variety. Alt-Universe stories are pretty much saying "this is fun, but I think I can do better".

As has been said by many a wise person, and people imitating others who are wiser than they are: Mediocrity Inspires. If it's too good, then there's nothing left for people to add to it, or to change and improve upon. It told the story it needed to tell, and it told it *well*. No one attempts to create fanfiction because it's too good to need fanfiction. Compare the original Star Wars to the Prequels- while there's plenty of "after the end" fanfic for the former, there's almost no "alt u" fanfic. As opposed to the prequels, which get all kinds of fan remakes.

Also explains why Harry Potter, despite all its flaws, is so popular for fanfiction... while all of JK Rowling's other works, which are vastly superior on pretty much every level, are barely mentioned by anyone.

That's the funny thing about popularity... sometimes, being good is detrimental to success... take this lovely analysis of Lady Gaga (and other pop singers circa Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera done by the Nostalgia Chick.

Start around the 4:40 mark, that's where it starts getting deep.

I would think the deluge of HP fanfic (and its overall popularity compared to Rowling's other works) has more to do with its escapist potential. I can't imagine as many people want to live in Pagford as want to attend Wizard Boarding School.

Perhaps. But it still looks to follow the same trend as everything else I mentioned. After all, HP was one of thousands of "secret magic school" books the young adult section had to offer even when it was new. I expect they're far more common now that the HP clones came out.

Well, she worked on it for a whole day and then decided it wasn't fun anymore :P

@kaleidofish, Fanart! Yes! I love fanart! I have a whole section of my website dedicated to it. Lately I've had to resort to asking for it ("I'll put it on the website and in the print book!"), but at first there was nothing cooler than some amazing artist contacting me on Deviantart to say they liked my story enough that they drew me a picture just because they felt like it.

I admit I tend to really not like the stuff people write based on my concepts. Nonetheless, I still would encourage more creativity.

Be careful about granting permission for fanfic. As the copyright holder, you automatically own all derivative works, meaning nobody can legally make money off your work, and you can demand services destroy such derivatives your work made without your permission. However, if you grant permission without terms, you may be out of luck if they sell or otherwise publish their story.

If you are open to them doing it, protect yourself with some terms. Look at some of the Creative Commons licenses, or explicitly refuse them the right to publish the story for commercial purposes.

Hey, good points, Chris! I'll keep that in mind.