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Fanfiction is the term applied to non-canon, fictional stories or poems written by fans using the characters and events from existing literature or films, or, occasionally, real-life (a character, usually the author, comes in contact with a celebrity or famous personality). When referring to works of fiction, fanfiction is often used for speculation, or to suggest possible deviations from the canonical storyline, showing what might have happened.
The legality of fanfiction is often questioned, because writers of fanfiction freely use copyrighted characters and places without permission. Many authors dislike their works being used as the basis for fanfiction, although Christopher Paolini has encouraged fanfiction for his works. Writers of fanfiction argue that their work is considered fair use, reasons including that a profit is not made out of the work and that the work serves as promotion for the original material.
The Inheritance cycle offers a great opportunity for fanfiction writers, due to the lack of expanded detail in certain areas of the books, such as the past, and locations outside Alagaesia.