Journal Entry Type #41: Fan Fiction and Their Adaptations

I browsed through the Netflix genre of romance movies. I tend to watch movies here and there that pertains to the current story I’m writing.  Sometimes a bad idea because there are times I watch movies with content I’d rather not include in my own story.  The idea of fan fiction and what I call teeny bopper stories (what they call YA today) perplexes and intrigues me for various reasons.  Oh, those Stephenie Meyers books I will never read and yet I saw a few of the movie adaptations.  Were you on Team Edward or Team Jacob?  How about neither?

It boggled my mind why thousands of middle-aged adult women flocked to the theaters to watch the whole Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I’ve never read one of the books but did flip through a few pages and read a few paragraphs at a bookstore. This is what I’d call writing where it falls way to the left side of literary fiction.  I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for this kind of writing because there is, but it’s not in my nature to write this type of book.

When I’m ready to publish my love story, I will anticipate the reactions of “my God, this old recycled story” and yet I hope it has more substance than Fifty Shades of Grey.  I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t watched the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy because I have.  I watched them all and kept thinking it’s missing vital things that could’ve made it so much better and glad that Charlie Hunnam passed on being Christian Grey.  To go from Jax Teller to suit wearing Christian Grey.  I suppose if you want to capitalize on sexual fantasies, this is the book you should be writing.

This is what I felt like when I settled on this YA adaptation movie over the weekend.  I had no idea After was a based from a book, let alone being a series, and who the hell was Hero Fiennes-Tiffin?  Way back when I entertained having kids and naming them weird names much like Frank Zappa did with his children, I too had short lived motherly instincts. I don’t care what anyone says, you rocked it in Pretty in Pink, Dweezil.  I did research after the movie was done. Now it makes more sense.  He’s Ralph and Joseph Fiennes’ nephew and he is tall like both his parents. He played the young Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter series.  He’s part of the tail end of Generation Y and beginning zone of Generation Z.  He’s one of those “damn millennials” as they are unjustly referred to. 

He’s the new Edward minus the sparkles and drinking blood. The high school halls have been replaced with college dorm rooms.  Teenage girls eventually blossom into young women and try to find their way in life around all the enticing surroundings.  More or less, the actress who played Tessa, Josephine Langford, is a nerd.  I can’t fault her for that.  I get it.  Been there and done parts of it.  What’s the premise of this story?  It’s about a good girl meets bad guy who doesn’t drink and they find each other irresistible. 

I’m not going to poke holes in the story and make it a pin cushion or on a darker note, a voodoo doll, but this Hardin character sure likes his romance novels. Okay? Not saying young brooding men can’t like them but? The movie got a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a nice green splat.  It got me to thinking why adaptations from fan fiction books are rated so poorly when adapted onto the screen?  I’m not completely sure but sort of sure. The second question I had was about the actors and actresses who star in these types of films.  Can they ever get out of the shadows of Edward, Jacob, Bella, Christian, Anastasia, and now Hardin and Tessa?  I think Robert Pattinson did and I’m not going to discuss Kristen Stewart. I’m not sure if Hero Fiennes-Tiffin will be seen as someone other than Hardin Scott, but I hope over time he will.  I’m sure Hollywood will be adapting all four books so there will be two more movies to film after After We Collided is released.

There are movies made within the last thirty years that wouldn’t see the light of day now in this heightened awareness society, but there are others that will never go away.  Movies about survival and perseverance will never die.  Movies about love and hate will never die.  Movies about fantasy will never die.  Sure, the United States has its fair share of sexual exploration via movies and art, but many of its citizens are repressed due to religion and upbringing.  We do not belong in the handful of European countries that are more open about sexuality.  With this being said, as I watched Hardin and Tessa look at each other at the end of the movie, I thought to myself this is why I’m rewriting my story.  It isn’t that it initially read like a fan fiction story, but let’s face it, I had too much repetition in certain places and not enough content in other ways.

Will I watch After We Collided?  Time will tell but even a person like myself who usually prefers serious reading material, while not having any ambition to read fan fiction, is willing to give two hours of her life up to a movie without much nuance.  Don’t ask me why because I don’t know.  It’s the same reason I used to watch the pageants on TV during high school.  The major difference between fan fiction writers discussed and myself is this: they have more money than they know what to do with while I wish I had more money period.  Life is not all about money and as I will work to support myself until retirement, I’m very grateful for the free time I have to write. Without the freedom to create, I definitely would suffer. Do what you want within reason, work on not justifying so much, and live your life.

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