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Diamond-Raven
01-10-2009, 05:54 PM
Greetings! First off, I apologize if I put this in the wrong forum.

I wrote a fanfic a few years ago that was completely AU. The only part of the universe which I kept was the main characters names, their personalities and a relative of one of the MCs. Everything else was my own making.

I've heard of people turning a fanfic into a novel if the fanfic was very AU. They just changed the characters names, tweaked their personalities and then published the story as an original. My question is: If the fanfic was available online but I take it down and tweak the characters slightly, can it still be published if most of the story is exactly like the fanfic was? It has been online for a few years now.

Lastly, the story has graphic male/male sex scenes in it. Does anybody know of books which have been published with such content? Gay characters in books are becoming more common but is gay sex actually publishable?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Momento Mori
01-10-2009, 06:13 PM
Diamond-Raven:
My question is: If the fanfic was available online but I take it down and tweak the characters slightly, can it still be published if most of the story is exactly like the fanfic was?

It depends on what you mean by trying to get it published. If you're intending to submit it to commercial publishers, then the fact that you've had it up on the internet for years will probably be taken to mean that it's been previously published and they will be less willing to take it. If you're planning to self-publish it, then you're treading a hazardous path because if someone recognises it as a fanfic they've read on line and reports it to the original rights owner, they could decide to C&D you for infringement on the basis that you're selling an acknowledged fan-based work for profit.

I do know a few people who took AU fanfics and substantially rejigged them before querying agents and publishers. By "substantially rejigged" I mean that they literally reworked the entire thing from the ground up so that although certain plot elements remained, the characters and dialogue etc were completely different to what had been on-line.

None of those people managed to get agents for the work and I've often wondered why they didn't just start afresh with a completely new project because they could have completed it in the same amount of time. The fanfic writers I know who have been published all did so with completely original work.

Personally, I think you should forget the story and do something new. At least that way you won't be worrying about whether it's too close to your fanfic.

MM

alleycat
01-10-2009, 06:16 PM
I'm no expert on the legal implications, but here's my thoughts.

With most successful franchises, the owner is very protective of their rights (as they have every right to be); and often they have lawyers on retainer. If you do what you say, and IF it were to become successful, and the creators of the original happen to take a dim view of this use of their work, then they could easily trace the connection (their work . . . your fanfic piece . . . your novel . . . their lawsuit).

Why not just start with a clean sheet of paper. Create a whole new set of characters, a whole new setting, a whole new storyline. In the end, you might be prouder of your work doing it that way.

Just my thoughts.

I have no idea on the gay sex thing; I would guess it would dim your chances of getting published somewhat, but that doesn't mean if you write something terrific it won't get published.

ETA: I was typing while Momento was posting above. We have said much the same thing; and with the same suggestion. Start fresh.

Fenika
01-10-2009, 06:29 PM
Well, I can tell you that my WIP started out as fanfic. But I wrote it in my head for years before deciding I had to write it down. Then I sat down and threw out everything closely related to the original work. Next, I tossed all the plot lines that were entertaining to me but not gonna work. In the end I had an opening, a vague idea of characters and theme. I completely rebuilt from there. No one has called my work fanfic. It's not. I've made it my own, through years of 'evolving' it and through conscious effort when I sat down to write.

I suggest:
1) Read your old fic
2) Trunk it for at least 5 years. Don't peak at it, don't show it to friends
3) Before you write, evaluate your work. Do you want to follow the same plot? What ideas can you add? What needs to go. Take a few weeks or months to run things through in your head. Take notes if you must.
4) Start writing your totally original but inspired by another novel. Just don't open that trunk novel. Seriously. The compulsion to cling to old ideas can be crippling and will not do you any favors.

Hope that helps

Parametric
01-10-2009, 06:30 PM
Cassandra Clare, NYT bestselling City of Bones. Some scenes lifted word for word from the author's fanfiction. Not that I noticed. :tongue

edit: Er ... I forgot to mention I'm currently turning a fanfic into a novel. I guess I didn't think it was relevant?

Anyway, I was using only original characters in the first place, so I just stripped out the setting, tinkered with the social structures, added zombies and ran with it. Really wasn't that complicated. I doubt someone could read it and recognise the underlying inspiration unless they already knew. (The feel is a lot darker and grittier, so you wouldn't read it and think of the original series.)

Conversely, I've read original fiction which (unintentionally) read like fanfiction of another author, due to borrowed themes, terms etc.

If in doubt, get a beta. No, get two betas: one who knows it's a fanfic and can help spot similarities with the original fandom, and one who doesn't know so you can ask them afterward.

Parametric
01-10-2009, 06:43 PM
And because I'm on a roll:

Lastly, the story has graphic male/male sex scenes in it. Does anybody know of books which have been published with such content? Gay characters in books are becoming more common but is gay sex actually publishable?

Yes, this is publishable. Pick up Richard Morgan's fantasy novel The Steel Remains - I suspect the m/m sex scenes are more graphic than yours. (Morgan has a tendency to turn all his dials to 11 when writing sex and/or violence.)

KikiteNeko
01-10-2009, 06:43 PM
Don't do it. Write something else. Publishing a yaoi fanfic that's been on the internet for years can not be a good idea.

The Lonely One
01-10-2009, 08:37 PM
Well, I can tell you that my WIP started out as fanfic. But I wrote it in my head for years before deciding I had to write it down. Then I sat down and threw out everything closely related to the original work. Next, I tossed all the plot lines that were entertaining to me but not gonna work. In the end I had an opening, a vague idea of characters and theme. I completely rebuilt from there. No one has called my work fanfic. It's not. I've made it my own, through years of 'evolving' it and through conscious effort when I sat down to write.

I suggest:
1) Read your old fic
2) Trunk it for at least 5 years. Don't peak at it, don't show it to friends
3) Before you write, evaluate your work. Do you want to follow the same plot? What ideas can you add? What needs to go. Take a few weeks or months to run things through in your head. Take notes if you must.
4) Start writing your totally original but inspired by another novel. Just don't open that trunk novel. Seriously. The compulsion to cling to old ideas can be crippling and will not do you any favors.

Hope that helps

Bahamutchild: though you didn't intend to, you actually gave both the OP and myself some good advice here. All of what you've said applies to the work I posted previously in SYW, and based on my inability to stray from the original structurally during rewrites, I find your suggestions to be very helpful.

That being said, to the OP: I have a similar dilemma as yourself, though it is a backburner project for sure. I don't have the online issues except that it's in SYW, but I certainly don't want to steal ideas from my fanfic (I don't think you want to either). I would suggest keeping your character and putting him/her somewhere else. There is a lot of good advice on this thread already so I will put my learning cap on and pay close attention now...

HConn
01-10-2009, 10:59 PM
Go ahead and tweak the characters, etc, until the serial numbers are filed off. Then pull it down from the web and submit it. There's no harm in it.

Diamond-Raven
01-11-2009, 11:48 AM
Yes, this is publishable. Pick up Richard Morgan's fantasy novel The Steel Remains - I suspect the m/m sex scenes are more graphic than yours. (Morgan has a tendency to turn all his dials to 11 when writing sex and/or violence.)

Oh, this is good to know! I must go look this guy up. I have long ago surrendered to the fact that I can't write very graphic sex scenes very well so they're really borderline between a hard R and NC-17, but it's good to know that somebody out there goes the whole way and can still get published.

Diamond-Raven
01-11-2009, 12:00 PM
Hmm...from the responses here it seems that some people think it's a good idea to turn a fanfic into an original fic and others think it's the worst idea ever. When I put the fanfic online, many people said that I should take it down and try to get it published as an original, since nothing in the story comes from the actual fandom universe except for the main character names and parts of their personalities. If I took a pair of scissors to the story, it would no longer be the story I wanted to tell. The story needs those characters in order to work. In a way, the story belongs to those characters.

This idea is a secondary project I've been toying with so I can put it on the back burner for a while, but I may try tweaking the story a bit later and seeing if it can go somewhere. I'm more concerned about the legalities of doing this - if the inspiration and 'first draft' of an original fic was fanfic, am I stepping on copyright laws?

TnD
01-11-2009, 01:49 PM
Fanfic => Reworked, the worst thing that can happen is that you get rejected. Take out the obvious parts that can be associated with the universe you speak of and give it a shot.

M/M scene => There's a whole sub-forum on erotica. Check it out at http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=43

No worries about getting that published. Remember, there's a market for everything.

Nakhlasmoke
01-11-2009, 02:52 PM
I think your biggest problem is that it has been available online.

you can change names and file off the serial numbers, but you can't change the past.

Why not write a new book? Or the same one but from scratch.

Momento Mori
01-11-2009, 05:29 PM
Parametric:
Cassandra Clare, NYT bestselling City of Bones. Some scenes lifted word for word from the author's fanfiction. Not that I noticed.

I read about that, but didn't that amount to a few sentences and a paragraph rather than the actual plot and story being the same as her fanfic? The book didn't do it for me - ironically, I found it too reminiscent of Buffy and Star Wars, but it wasn't the same as actually offering for sale one of her fanfic works.

Diamond-Raven:
I'm more concerned about the legalities of doing this - if the inspiration and 'first draft' of an original fic was fanfic, am I stepping on copyright laws?

Basically, what Nakhlasmoke said. Your biggest problem is that it would probably be regarded as having been previously published, which would make it a very difficult sell. If it's only a secondary project and you don't yet have an agent, then I'd work on whatever your primary original project is first and when you get an agent, raise it with them in conversation as a possible second book. There's no point in spending time trying to tweak your fanfic for sale as an original work at this stage IMO.

MM