Posted December 10, 2012 under Extras

Fanfiction and Revisionist Bonanza

I learned the term fanfiction the other day when I heard a clip on CBC radio.  Apparently this is a contemporary pop culture phenomenon – the act of writing fiction rooted in someone else’s fictional characters and stories.  But I was a fanfiction writer many years ago (not bragging, just saying.)  When I was 13 years old, I wrote my first novel based on the Bonanza television series.  When I read it now, I can see what I couldn’t articulate then: that as much as I loved Bonanza and Little Joe Cartwright, I wanted a feisty female character in the show who had adventures to rival those of Pa Cartwright and his three sons.  After Pernell Roberts left the show, they came up with another male character in the form of a hired man named Candy, so I took matters into my own hands and wrote Joanne Cartwright into the series as a sister of the Cartwright boys.  She wore boots and pants, and knew how to ride a horse and shoot a gun.  I don’t remember ever showing my Bonanza novel to anyone.  I do remember talking about it at school and sensing from the response that I would be laughed out of town by my peers if they ever saw what I had written.  Now, thanks to CBC radio, I know what I was doing: writing adolescent revisionist fanfiction.  I feel kind of smug.