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Senior Moments

Category: Arts & Entertainment / Topics: Books Writing

Fan Fiction

by Dan Seagren

Posted: October 2, 2011

One of the beauties of being a senior citizen is that there is still room for surprises.…

One of the beauties of being a senior citizen is that there is still room for surprises. One came recently by the way of Time magazine. It started out rather innocuously about :The Boy Who Lived Forever: Inside the alternate universe of fan fiction, where Harry Potter's story never ends....

Lev Grossman then talked about the pros and cons of fan fiction: 'stories and novels (and poetry) that make use of characters and settings from other people's work.' Some authors encourage it; others do not. Understandably. Fan fiction affects contemporary as well as ancient writing where fan fiction even emerges from characters and settings as far back as Plato and Moses.

A few pages later another piece caught my eye. Kid Lit Unbound: Who's to say which books are good for children? A decent enough question. Its converse would also be worth questioning: Who's to say which books are bad for children.

This article, written by Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, braced for the inevitable backlash. Sure enough, a nationally televised news program ran a segment titled Wimpy Kid with a Foul Mouth. Kinney then went on to say that he didn't write the book for kids but aimed for an audience of adults feeling nostalgic for their middle school days.

When he pitched his book to a publisher, he was politely informed that he had, in fact, written a book for kids. He decided to let the kids figure it out which they did. So now even I know a little more about the Wimpy Kid that I read to my grandson. If not mistaken, I think we both caught on.

Kids and adults do have differing concepts of what should and should not be read, and no doubt both have erred in the process. That Harry Potter will go down in history, either by name or a pseudonym, should be no surprise. Just where copyrights, plagiarism and patents enter the inkwells of life remain a question.

Ah yes. Do I worry about any fan fiction from Senior Moments? Hardly. But would I feel badly if someone younger than a senior read these lines, or even a grandchild or collegian? They just might discover something worth discovering.


Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: October 2, 2011

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