So for those of you who have no idea what Fanfiction is, be grateful. It means that you experienced a far less geeky, socially-neglected teenage-hood. For those of you who HAVE heard of it...you still probably had a far less geeky, socially-neglected teenage-hood. Don't worry.
But I supposed I owe a few explanations about what Fanfiction is and how it even correlates with Shakespeare. First and foremost, Fanfiction, or a fanfic, is an unpublished work (short story, drabble, novel, poem, or whatever piece of literature floats your boat) that uses characters and/or settings and/or plot ideas BORROWED from someone else. Think... someone writing a story based upon Harry Potter characters. It's obviously unpublished because attempting to have it sold is illegal via copyright laws. Fanfiction can also include any 'genre'. It can be based off of a movie (Inception is a popular one), an anime or manga (Sailor Moon or Inuyasha), a cartoon (Teen Titans), a comic (these can include anything from a Sunday newspaper comic like Garfield or a DC comic like Batman, although serialized comics like DC are usually covered under non-comic categories because of their likelihood of being turned into a cartoon or movie), a game (Mario Brothers), a play or musical (Seussical), a television series (Glee or Law and Order: SVU), or even something totally random. It can get (and generally does) get more complex than that, but I think I've loaded you down with too much information already. If you are interested in seeing a work of Fanfiction, I recommend going here:www.fanfiction.net. It is quite possibly the biggest retainer of Fanfiction open for others to read. Or, of course, you could always ask me for good details. If you so wanted, you could even tell me a category/tv show etc. that you'd be interested in, and I could ferret out a GOOD story for you to read. Because it's open to anyone, there are quite a few thrown-together, elementary students posting stories.
So how about Fanfiction and Shakespeare? Dr. Burton actually got me thinking about it way in the beginning of the school year--I don't remember how he found out I read it/wrote it/editted it, but he mentioned one of his previous students had done an entry in their eBook on Fanfiction--and it's definitely stuck with me. So, for fun, I decided to see if I could find anything that would be Shakespeare-y on fanfiction.net. What do you know, under 'Plays' it has an entire category just for the Bard! I went and scoped it out, and it's a lot of what I expected: rewrites of Romeo and Juliet, seperate musings from Hamlet meant to be a 'missed' moment from the play, modernized versions of Much Ado About Nothing. It took a bit of digging to find ones of actual quality (maybe one day I'll explain how I do so, but it's a bit to complex for an introductory session for Fanfiction at the moment), but I DID find some. Also, it's not hard to find stories under other categories (Glee especially) that borrow heavily from Shakespeare on ideas like star-crossed lovers and the like.
I don't know, my snooping around the different possibilities to be found within Fanfiction made me open my eyes. I've always known that Fanfiction is pretty much the ultimate form of adaptation, but I guess I didn't see it as a legitimate revenue to follow because it's done by amateur writers. It's certainly been an interesting project to consider.