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View Full Version : Anyone else invigorated by fanfic writing?


RemusShepherd
01-23-2012, 09:14 PM
I tried an interesting experiment lately, and I think it's paying off.

My novel Chipper has been a long, slow slog. I wanted to get back to it in a big way after New Years, but I haven't felt the desire to complete it. I've been writing this novel and nothing else for over a year and I'm just sick of it.

As a lark, I decided to write a fanfic. I wanted to remind myself how much fun I used to have writing, and I wanted to write something that I didn't need to worry about sending to agents or publishers.

But while writing some fanfic, I also allocated some time to grind on Chipper. That gave me a surprise when I added up wordcounts one day last week. I had written almost 3,000 words in one day -- about 2k on the fanfic and 1k on Chipper, which is a lot compared to my recent output.

Writing fanfic is making me enthusiastic about writing again, and is thus also improving the output of my 'professional' writing.

That's an interesting side effect. I was wondering if anyone else had experienced it. When a WIP gets too onerous and you can't stand the sight of the manuscript any more, maybe it's time to write something silly on the side. Just to remind yourself how much fun writing can be.

Cyia
01-23-2012, 09:27 PM
Yep. All the time. Fanfic takes the pressure off because the world-building, et al, is already done.

Jamesaritchie
01-23-2012, 09:57 PM
If you aren't having as much fun writing your own novel as you have writing fanfic, you're doing something wrong.

Anyway, no, I'd rather write soup can labels than fanfic. I'd also rather read soup can labels, for that matter.

RemusShepherd
01-23-2012, 10:47 PM
If you aren't having as much fun writing your own novel as you have writing fanfic, you're doing something wrong.

And if I could figure out what that is, I'd fix it. :)

Actually I know what it is. I'm restraining myself in this novel, trying to force myself toward the mainstream, because my usual bizarro-weird novels were not selling. It might turn out to be the best novel I've ever written, but it's boring and tedious to write it. I won't restrain myself like this again.

Meanwhile, fanfic is fun and meaningless. Whatever keeps an author writing is a good thing.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 11:01 PM
And if I could figure out what that is, I'd fix it. :)

Actually I know what it is. I'm restraining myself in this novel, trying to force myself toward the mainstream, because my usual bizarro-weird novels were not selling. It might turn out to be the best novel I've ever written, but it's boring and tedious to write it. I won't restrain myself like this again.

Meanwhile, fanfic is fun and meaningless. Whatever keeps an author writing is a good thing.


Fan fiction is great practice and also "easier" than writing original fiction. But yeah, your real problem seems to be that you're writing a book you don't like.

Misa Buckley
01-23-2012, 11:04 PM
Fanfic is the warm, fuzzy blanket I grab when I'm feeling ill, down or just too damn tired to engage my brain. Sometimes it's nice to snuggle down, grab a prompt and then just let my fingers wander the keyboard.

crunchyblanket
01-24-2012, 12:07 AM
I love writing fanfic. It keeps my mind whirring. Sometimes, I find myself cannibalising the bets bits of my fanfic for my original work.

bickazer
01-24-2012, 12:10 AM
The first long stories I ever wrote and finished were fanfic. Gave me endurance training for writing novels.

I don't do much fanfic writing anymore, but yeah, when I am burned out on a major project, I usually start working on some cracky, idficcy side project. Reminds me why I find writing so fun in the first place.

job
01-24-2012, 12:16 AM
Not saying other folks shouldn't do this. Not saying that informally 'authorized' fanfic isn't useful and fun and a good training ground. SF&F in particular has a long-established, warm, and lively community of fanfic.

But if we're looking at my own reaction --

I can't imagine writing fanfic. To purposefully copy another writer's universe and characters . . . it just feels icky to me.

If I had a story, I'd want to worldbuild and create my own characters. Using somebody else's would be like wearing somebody else's underpants.

gothicangel
01-24-2012, 12:42 AM
After I finished my dissertation, I was sick of English and never wanted to see another book again. I then decided to do a fan-fic of The Eagle of the Ninth. After about several chapters my Marcus had taken on a life of his own.

So I wrote his story, and I have an almost completed WIP one year later.

To purposefully copy another writer's universe and characters . . . it just feels icky to me.

If I had a story, I'd want to worldbuild and create my own characters. Using somebody else's would be like wearing somebody else's underpants.

I have to agree, I never felt comfortable using Sutcliff's characters. But once I created my own characters and their story it was brilliant.

elindsen
01-24-2012, 12:45 AM
I have always wanted to write fanfic, but I'm not sure where to begin. It seems like fun...doing a sort of side story from one that already exists.

QuantumIguana
01-24-2012, 02:55 AM
People have been writing using characters that others have created since humans started writing. Of course, we don't call it fan fiction if the copyright has expired or if it is authorized. If someone writes a Wizard of Oz book, we don't call it fan fiction, and if someone writes an authorized Star Trek novel, we don't call that fan fiction either.

I used to read fan fiction, but it is hard to find stories that aren't about the character's love lives. I like the stories that are more like a fan-created episode, rather than a romance story. One of the important things in a fan fiction is to really understand the characters. Some people just don't understand the characters, so they speak and act in ways that are not true to who they are.

Celia Cyanide
01-24-2012, 03:53 AM
It is fun. There is no pressure, since you don't have to worry about publication, and can just write for yourself.

scarletpeaches
01-24-2012, 03:57 AM
I can't imagine writing fanfic. To purposefully copy another writer's universe and characters . . . it just feels icky to me.

If I had a story, I'd want to worldbuild and create my own characters. Using somebody else's would be like wearing somebody else's underpants.This. I rate fanfic as highly as I do self-publishing.

Whether or not the original author minds, I think fanfic is theft of intellectual property and immoral, even if it is perfectly legal.

I'd rather spend my time writing something from which I stand a chance of making money.

thothguard51
01-24-2012, 04:35 AM
Nope...

Never felt the desire to read Fan Fict or write in someone else's world. If I am going to put in the time, (Ass in chair), I would rather create my own worlds, have my own storyline, characters and imagination working for me...

But that is just me and to each their own.

dpaterso
01-24-2012, 04:44 AM
I started writing with Trek fanfic (I regret nothing!) but eventually branched out into my own universes with my own characters. I regarded it as good writing practice if nothing else.

Hey, if I'd kept it up, maybe I could've been one of authors who wrote Trek spin-off novels! They didn't seem to have a problem writing in someone else's universe. Of course the money probably helped. :)

-Derek

Amadan
01-24-2012, 05:19 AM
Whether or not the original author minds, I think fanfic is theft of intellectual property and immoral, even if it is perfectly legal.


Pfft. Even dumber than the "piracy = theft" arguments. :P

defcon6000
01-24-2012, 05:25 AM
Nope...

Never felt the desire to read Fan Fict or write in someone else's world. If I am going to put in the time, (Ass in chair), I would rather create my own worlds, have my own storyline, characters and imagination working for me...

But that is just me and to each their own.
I'm in the same boat. I've never had that urge to play in another author's sandbox, or even to read fanfic. It's just so much more fun and fulfilling to create your own stuff -- and I actually consider worldbuilding to be part of the fun, not a chore.

But for people starting out, yeah it's fine practice.

Mharvey
01-24-2012, 05:37 AM
I wrote a few Harry Potter fanfics when I was young and stupid. They're fun just in the same way local bands get together and play Aerosmith songs. You put your own spin on something you love and a limited audience cheers.

I couldn't see myself ever going back to it though. It's just too much fun writing a "fanfic" for about 20 different inspirations at the same and calling it "my original novel." :)

adarkfox
01-24-2012, 05:52 AM
When I get burned out I write my own fanfic. Take some of my characters and throw them into completely different situations than the actual WIP. I ask myself "what if...." and run with it.

It's fun.

jjdebenedictis
01-24-2012, 06:03 AM
I'm only a writer because of fanfiction. I got obsessed with another author's world for a few years, and wound up writing a 50,000 word fanfic.

And then I thought, "Hey. I just wrote a novella. If I can write a novella, I can write a novel. Why don't I?"

And I've been writing original stuff since then.

I'm proud to say I wore J. K. Rowling's underpants. It was a great learning experience.

thothguard51
01-24-2012, 06:04 AM
When I get burned out I write my own fanfic. Take some of my characters and throw them into completely different situations than the actual WIP. I ask myself "what if...." and run with it.

It's fun.

Exploring the characters by writing shorts is very useful.

Dreity
01-24-2012, 06:33 AM
Yeah, if anything I would probably write the equivalent of deleted scenes or bonus material for my WIP -- something I know has no place in the real book because it doesn't move the plot forward and can't exactly qualify as character development either, but would still be fun to write.

I've been tempted to do that recently, but I have a feeling it would end up being thinly veiled procrastination rather than a genuine attempt to get back in the groove.

DreamGuardian
01-24-2012, 07:02 AM
I also started writing fan fiction (occasion still do), and then branched out into my own creative stories. If fan fiction can get you writing when you aren't, it's better than writing nothing at all, at least that my opinion.

KSandoval
01-24-2012, 09:53 AM
Sure, fanfic is no pressure. I have no expectations of my writing when I write it, and often experiment with POVs and such that I wouldn't generally use in my own work. I still struggle with not taking my 'actual writing' too seriously, so having a playground to escape to is nice. I write it very rarely, even so. And because I don't feel particularly obligated to it (that's the fun) I tend not to finish what I start.

Victoria
01-24-2012, 10:20 AM
I've written episodes of my favorite shows in short story form, and it's so much fun. I get to puppet them around and make them do the shit I want to see them do but that they never will. It's never actually out of character for them, just going in a direction I know the writers won't feel comfortable taking them in. As for it helping me with my WIP, it does sometimes loosen the fingers a bit.

crunchyblanket
01-24-2012, 01:58 PM
If I had a story, I'd want to worldbuild and create my own characters. Using somebody else's would be like wearing somebody else's underpants.


See, I see it more like borrowing someone's slinky dress for a night out and having a good time before returning it ;)

seun
01-24-2012, 03:04 PM
Count me out of fanfic. I can see the appeal in as much as it could get a new writer's brain moving into a writing mood, but it's not going to develop my talents in writing or story-telling. I want to tell my stories, not someone else's.

And count me out of wearing someone else's underpants, as well.

firedrake
01-24-2012, 03:09 PM
I can't imagine writing fanfic. To purposefully copy another writer's universe and characters . . . it just feels icky to me.

If I had a story, I'd want to worldbuild and create my own characters. Using somebody else's would be like wearing somebody else's underpants.

This.
The thing I love most about writing is creating my own characters and places. I can't imagine why I'd want to borrow/use someone else's characters, etc when I can have fun writing my own.

K. Taylor
01-24-2012, 04:53 PM
Be a fan of a particular work where you love the characters and the guy in charge of them keeps driving you mad with his choices, and you'll start writing. Because it's either that, or quit watching, and you can't bear to quit watching. It's not the characters' fault their creator is an asshat.

Katrina S. Forest
01-24-2012, 05:40 PM
Fanfiction is my stress reliever. When I'm at the final stages of editing something and I'm getting frustrated with my slow progress, I write fanfics. Usually I only do a page or two before I'm focused again, so none of my fanfics ever actually get finished.

But I write them for the same reason I play video games. Every once in a while, I need to do something silly that doesn't have any lofty end goals.

crunchyblanket
01-24-2012, 05:50 PM
But I write them for the same reason I play video games. Every once in a while, I need to do something silly that doesn't have any lofty end goals.


^ this.

bearilou
01-24-2012, 05:55 PM
Fanfiction is my stress reliever. When I'm at the final stages of editing something and I'm getting frustrated with my slow progress, I write fanfics. Usually I only do a page or two before I'm focused again, so none of my fanfics ever actually get finished.

But I write them for the same reason I play video games. Every once in a while, I need to do something silly that doesn't have any lofty end goals.

Another this chiming in.

Misa Buckley
01-24-2012, 10:03 PM
I'm only a writer because of fanfiction.

This, which is why I'm always so defensive of it - if I hadn't found fanfic, I [probably] would never have dared to write a story. I wouldn't have found something that really helps me maintain stable mental health (not going into that here, if you don't mind).

I also wouldn't be published - it was while doing research for fanfic that I happened across some words of advice that prompted me to finally submit a novella.

I will be forever thankful to fanfic, and to the actors who unknowingly inspired me.

Celia Cyanide
01-24-2012, 10:25 PM
I started writing with Trek fanfic (I regret nothing!) but eventually branched out into my own universes with my own characters. I regarded it as good writing practice if nothing else.

Hey, if I'd kept it up, maybe I could've been one of authors who wrote Trek spin-off novels! They didn't seem to have a problem writing in someone else's universe. Of course the money probably helped. :)

-Derek

That's the thing...anyone who writes Batman is working in someone else's world. Some people do it professionally.

heza
01-24-2012, 10:26 PM
Fanfiction is my stress reliever. When I'm at the final stages of editing something and I'm getting frustrated with my slow progress, I write fanfics. Usually I only do a page or two before I'm focused again, so none of my fanfics ever actually get finished.

But I write them for the same reason I play video games. Every once in a while, I need to do something silly that doesn't have any lofty end goals.


Fanfic can have a darkside, too, though. I started in fanfic, updated with new chapters on a regular basis, gained an audience... but then, ideas for my original work got a hold of me, and I wanted to shift gears and be career-productive.

But after you have a fanfic audience, it's really hard to get out of the lifestyle. If you don't update weekly, they start leaving reviews about how you have to update ("or else"). They PM to guilt you about "abandoning" the story.

On the one hand, you're supposed to "Finish what you start," and I think you do have an obligation to your consumers to put out a quality product (which would include finishing it). But then I start thinking about how these people are getting free entertainment, so it's really not fair of them to thrash me for not writing on their schedule, I have a day job, and I have original stuff it'd be far more logical for me to be working on.... then I start hating on my fic, even though it's not my fic's fault.

Fanfic can be addictive, and sometimes, it's a little like the mob. I can safely say that I still enjoy writing it... I'm not so sure I can say I enjoy posting it for others these days.

However, I can also say that second in joy only to the day my book gets picked up by a publisher, will be the day I discover there's a fic community for it.

Celia Cyanide
01-24-2012, 10:33 PM
That's interesting. I have never posted my fanfic on that website. I've only shared it with other Batman fans.

heza
01-24-2012, 10:58 PM
That's interesting. I have never posted my fanfic on that website. I've only shared it with other Batman fans.

Is that at me? I'm going to assume it is. (If not, ignore my ramble.)

I think that posting your fanfic can be a lot of fun and that getting reviews can be both encouraging and help you learn to deal with criticism (which we all know is essential for a writer). But it can also be a lot of undue pressure to be prolific. Write more of this. When you're done, write something similar but different. Write more of that. In some ways, it's the same pressure I imagine in actually publishing and needing to keep a constant, relevant shelf presence... except, you know, without the being-published benefits.

crunchyblanket
01-25-2012, 12:21 AM
However, I can also say that second in joy only to the day my book gets picked up by a publisher, will be the day I discover there's a fic community for it.

Yeah, I think I'd be overjoyed to find that people love my world enough to want to muck about in it. It'd be fun to see where they take the characters.

I think that posting your fanfic can be a lot of fun and that getting reviews can be both encouraging and help you learn to deal with criticism (which we all know is essential for a writer). But it can also be a lot of undue pressure to be prolific. Write more of this. When you're done, write something similar but different. Write more of that. In some ways, it's the same pressure I imagine in actually publishing and needing to keep a constant, relevant shelf presence... except, you know, without the being-published benefits.

I see what you mean. But since I'm not getting paid, I tend to ignore the pressure to write more. Fanfic is good fun but my original work always comes first.

dpaterso
01-25-2012, 12:44 AM
See, I see it more like borrowing someone's slinky dress for a night out and having a good time before returning it ;)
Hey! I only did that once! Once, I tell you!

-Derek

crunchyblanket
01-25-2012, 12:52 AM
Hey! I only did that once! Once, I tell you!

-Derek

It's never been the right shape since ;)

heza
01-25-2012, 01:08 AM
I see what you mean. But since I'm not getting paid, I tend to ignore the pressure to write more. Fanfic is good fun but my original work always comes first.


I think my tendency toward guilt might be because I'm a fairly new novelist and haven't quite sufficiently distanced myself from my fanfic roots. Right now, I lean toward feeling more like a fanfic writer who is starting to write original work, rather than a fiction writer who occassionally dabbles in fanfic... and that shades my loyalties I suppose. I imagine that after I've written more original stuff and especially after I've been published, I'll quit giving fanfic any importance in my priorities.

scarletpeaches
01-25-2012, 01:31 AM
I'd hate to see any of my work being fanficced. Ficked? Fic'd?

Hell, I can't even spell it, which shows it's against nature!

roseangel
01-25-2012, 01:42 AM
If I hadn't started writing and submitting my fanfic to archives, I never would have gotten around to finishing my original fiction.
Fanfiction and the reviews I gained gave me the kick I needed to start on my own worlds.

Stijn Hommes
01-25-2012, 02:04 AM
Neil Gaiman considers his Doctor Who episode to be a piece of fanfiction so even succesful authors do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO22dx4Z-MU

crunchyblanket
01-25-2012, 02:09 AM
I'd hate to see any of my work being fanficced. Ficked? Fic'd?

Hell, I can't even spell it, which shows it's against nature!

Bugger it, now what am I supposed to make you for your birthday?

Corinne Duyvis
01-25-2012, 02:18 AM
Count me out of fanfic. I can see the appeal in as much as it could get a new writer's brain moving into a writing mood, but it's not going to develop my talents in writing or story-telling. I want to tell my stories, not someone else's.

Why do you think it won't develop your writing skills? It'll develop a different set of skills than writing your own stuff does, but I learned a LOT of things writing in fandom that would've taken me much longer to figure out just writing original fiction. Characterization is a big one here.

I'm also one of those people who wouldn't be writing books now if it weren't for fandom, so I'm a big fan. In fact, after several years of only writing original fiction, I recently started a tiny one-on-one X-Men RP with a friend via e-mail. It's slow-going, because my novels take priority, but a very fun way to waste some time here and there.

And yes, if people ever fanfic my work, I can die happy. :D

Misa Buckley
01-25-2012, 02:46 AM
Incidentally, how many are aware of Angry Robot's Worldbuilder (http://worldbuilderonline.com/)? Now we have a publisher actively asking for fan fiction and other derivative works. And yes, you get paid.

ether
01-25-2012, 02:47 AM
I love writing fanfic. When I need something mindless to do, but just want to write, I'll pick a fandom and write for it. I don't post it anywhere. It's just for my own entertainment. (And no, I don't think writing fanfic is stealing any more than drawing fanart is stealing. Unless you're trying to make money off it, of course.)

Writing fanfics was how I got into writing novels. I did it for years. Then I started getting tired of always playing in other peoples' sandboxes and wanting to write my own stuff and...voila.

theelfchild
01-25-2012, 03:54 AM
I don't tend to write fanfic, though I could see myself doing it if I got really stuck. I used to, and that's how I got into writing, really.

I have written fic for my own world when I needed a boost. It lets me play with my characters and do silly things I would never let myself do otherwise.

I agree that having a fanfic community surrounding my world would be awesome and very flattering. Don't think I'd read any of it, though. I'm very picky about what fanfic I will read, and I get bothered when I see writing that doesn't use characters how I picture them acting. It would probably be worse for my own world.

jjdebenedictis
01-25-2012, 04:51 AM
Count me out of fanfic. I can see the appeal in as much as it could get a new writer's brain moving into a writing mood, but it's not going to develop my talents in writing or story-telling.How do you know until you've tried it? Come to the dark side; we have cookies. Mwahahaha!

More seriously, however, in Robert McKee's screenwriting book Story, he notes that creativity doesn't come from letting your imagination run amok but rather from constraining it within a set of rules.

The premise of the story is essentially a set of rules the writer has to follow. For example, the question, "What realistically happens if scientists clone dinosaurs?" constrains Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. The question, "How does it impact Romeo and Juliet's predestined love if Romeo dies in the womb and has to reincarnate to meet her?" constrains A Bed of Earth by Tanith Lee.

Fanfiction is just a set of rules that frame the story. It requires less imagination to begin with, but it exercises your creativity very nicely. So fanfiction shouldn't be dismissed as something that doesn't help a writer learn to write; anything that works the writer's brain in the appropriate ways benefits him or her.

thothguard51
01-25-2012, 04:59 AM
Neil Gaiman considers his Doctor Who episode to be a piece of fanfiction so even succesful authors do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO22dx4Z-MU

Neil Gaiman was contracted to write that piece. Lots of published authors are contracted to write TV and Movie follow ups. They get paid to play in the originators world. Much different than your standard Fan Fiction...

Amadan
01-25-2012, 05:46 AM
Neil Gaiman was contracted to write that piece. Lots of published authors are contracted to write TV and Movie follow ups. They get paid to play in the originators world. Much different than your standard Fan Fiction...


Being paid magically makes it "real" writing?

CharacterInWhite
01-25-2012, 06:12 AM
Sometimes, I find myself cannibalising the bets bits of my fanfic for my original work.Bam.

This always feels like a tangible outcome of fan fiction writing. Particularly in the context of screenplays, where a fan fic screenplay can essentially become a spec script with a little TLC from its author.

thothguard51 - isn't what you said ("play in the originators world") the exact definition of fan fiction? Using somebody else's characters, setting, etcetera?

Victoria
01-25-2012, 06:18 AM
Be a fan of a particular work where you love the characters and the guy in charge of them keeps driving you mad with his choices, and you'll start writing. Because it's either that, or quit watching, and you can't bear to quit watching. It's not the characters' fault their creator is an asshat.

You've seen into my soul. This is why I love to write stories about my favorite shows. What I wouldn't give to be one of the writers...

scarletpeaches
01-25-2012, 06:26 AM
Be a fan of a particular work where you love the characters and the guy in charge of them keeps driving you mad with his choices, and you'll start writing. Because it's either that, or quit watching, and you can't bear to quit watching. It's not the characters' fault their creator is an asshat.Or, and I know this is a crazy idea, someone could write their own story, set in their own universe.

I'm going to assume the asshat comment was a joke, because calling an author an asshat because they didn't write their book or TV show in exactly the way you would have is...well, kinda asshatty.

jjdebenedictis
01-25-2012, 07:19 AM
Or, and I know this is a crazy idea, someone could write their own story, set in their own universe.Or not. There's a thought--they could do whatever they please with their own time. They could write whatever they feel like writing.

And here's another thought--I could never write erotica; it just embarrasses me.

But I would never presume to suggest you shouldn't, just because I find it icky. I wouldn't imply writing erotica is somehow too ignoble a pursuit for a real writer to engage in, just because it's not something I would personally do.

Why must people sneer at fanfiction writers? We're not hurting a soul.

In fact, we arguably generate more word-of-mouth sales for the source material we're so enthused about because we stay enthused about it for years longer than the average fan.

Amadan
01-25-2012, 07:55 AM
Or, and I know this is a crazy idea, someone could write their own story, set in their own universe.

I'm going to assume the asshat comment was a joke, because calling an author an asshat because they didn't write their book or TV show in exactly the way you would have is...well, kinda asshatty.


I thought it was more directed at authors who rant about how fan fiction is bad and evil.

There's a list of authors who have forbidden fan fiction of their work. I've never read a single one of their diatribes on the subject that didn't make them sound ridiculous and kind of dumb.

K. Taylor
01-25-2012, 07:55 AM
Or, and I know this is a crazy idea, someone could write their own story, set in their own universe.

I'm going to assume the asshat comment was a joke, because calling an author an asshat because they didn't write their book or TV show in exactly the way you would have is...well, kinda asshatty.

It isn't that the writer "didn't do it my way" - it's that they took lead characters in a direction that basically destroyed them. Made them do things grossly out of character with no reasonable explanation why, ignored previous continuity they set up, etc. This wasn't about a difference of opinion - this is about the particular writer turning their creation into work that an entire fandom was disgusted by. It was like the characters were still those characters in name only. So that writer now has no respect from their fandom.

So the fandom has continued on with the characters they fell in love with in stories that are still faithful to what they used to be.

Cyia
01-25-2012, 07:58 AM
It isn't that the writer "didn't do it my way" - it's that they took lead characters in a direction that basically destroyed them. Made them do things grossly out of character with no reasonable explanation why, ignored previous continuity they set up, etc. This wasn't about a difference of opinion - this is about the particular writer turning their creation into work that an entire fandom was disgusted by. It was like the characters were still those characters in name only. So that writer now has no respect from their fandom.

So the fandom has continued on with the characters they fell in love with in stories that are still faithful to what they used to be.

Or there's an ending to a series of books/TV/movies that's so horrible, so against the fans' wishes that they'd rather read a different version (or 20 different versions).

Fanfic's just a giant game of "what if".

When shows go on hiatus or get cancelled, then it's fun to fill in the gap with stories from people who wanted more. "Virtual seasons" can be great writing exercises.

seun
01-25-2012, 02:29 PM
Count me out of fanfic. I can see the appeal in as much as it could get a new writer's brain moving into a writing mood, but it's not going to develop my talents in writing or story-telling. I want to tell my stories, not someone else's.


Why do you think it won't develop your writing skills? It'll develop a different set of skills than writing your own stuff does, but I learned a LOT of things writing in fandom that would've taken me much longer to figure out just writing original fiction. Characterization is a big one here.


How do you know until you've tried it?

It won't develop my talents because part of writing is creating and developing your own worlds and characters. If that's already done for you, then there's nothing for you to develop.

I look at it this way: I want to be a professional writer. I want to do it for a living. That's not going to happen unless I create my own stories. I can also look at it this way: if I was an artist and all I worked on was redrawing the Mona Lisa, how is that going to help me develop? How is that going to help me become a professional artist?

crunchyblanket
01-25-2012, 03:16 PM
I look at it this way: I want to be a professional writer. I want to do it for a living. That's not going to happen unless I create my own stories. I can also look at it this way: if I was an artist and all I worked on was redrawing the Mona Lisa, how is that going to help me develop? How is that going to help me become a professional artist?


Well, it depends on how you approach fanfiction. Using your Mona Lisa analogy, you could be recreating the painting with Mona as a man, or painting it underwater, or making her frown instead of smile. Or, painting a completely different person in her place. Some might choose just to recreate the painting in its entirety, but personally, I think anyone who does that is sort of missing the point of fanfiction, which is the 'what if'? element.

I can't speak for anyone else, but fanfiction definitely helped me develop my writing, certainly on a technical level. A lot of it depends on your source material. If you're writing for a show/film/book/game series that has a solid, definite canon, it's difficult to be creative with that (although it doesn't stop people trying) If you're writing for, say, Metal Gear Solid, in which the canon is so all over the place and bonkers that pretty much anything goes, it's much easier. That's where it's possible to develop as a writer, if you so choose: you can use the existing world as a jumping-off point rather than being a slave to it.

90% of all fanfic sucks. I think that's a verifiable fact ;) but the remaining 10% is often so good that yes, you do sit there and wonder 'why isn't this person writing their own stuff?' And most of the time, you find out that they are. There are loads of reasons people write fanfic, from dissatisfaction with the canon and character development in the source text, to plain old writing for writing's sake. For me, it's a useful way to overcome blocks in my own writing. Go play in someone else's sandbox for a little while, and I find myself that much more interested in my own when I return.

But hey. It's not for everyone, and that's cool.

J.S.F.
01-25-2012, 03:31 PM
My first attempt at a novel--which got published (yay me!)--could be considered fan(boy) fiction but I wrote it from the viewpoint of the character bonding with the superheroes in the novel and from his viewpoint. Honestly, I don't know if it had ever been done before, but I found it a fun take-off on the usual fanfic stuff.

After that, I found it much easier to write original works. W.K. Kinsella once wrote he always imagined "what if" and I took his advice to heart. Now, everything I have done so far has been "original" and I owe it all to my first novel. True, the world-building was already (sort of) done for me, but what I had was an interesting riff on the tried-and-true formula and it paid off.

scarletpeaches
01-25-2012, 03:52 PM
And here's another thought--I could never write erotica; it just embarrasses me.

But I would never presume to suggest you shouldn't, just because I find it icky.Good for you.I wouldn't imply writing erotica is somehow too ignoble a pursuit for a real writer to engage in, just because it's not something I would personally do.Wouldn't you?Why must people sneer at fanfiction writers? We're not hurting a soul.The comparison doesn't work -- anything I write, even if it is 'ignoble', is original material, therefore, I can make money from it.I thought it was more directed at authors who rant about how fan fiction is bad and evil.

There's a list of authors who have forbidden fan fiction of their work. I've never read a single one of their diatribes on the subject that didn't make them sound ridiculous and kind of dumb.And I've never read an argument pro-fanfic that was strong enough to convince me it would be anything other than a waste of my time.It isn't that the writer "didn't do it my way" - it's that they took their lead characters in a direction that basically destroyed them. Made them do things grossly out of character with no reasonable explanation why, ignored previous continuity they set up, etc. This wasn't about a difference of opinion - this is about the particular writer turning their creation into work that an entire fandom was disgusted by. It was like the characters were still those characters in name only. So that writer now has no respect from their fandom.

So the fandom has continued on with the characters they fell in love with in stories that are still faithful to what they used to be.Fixed it for ya.

Newsflash: GRRM is not your bitch.

I agree with seun -- I'd rather learn to write by creating, than piggybacking off someone else's universe.

seun
01-25-2012, 04:02 PM
Well, it depends on how you approach fanfiction. Using your Mona Lisa analogy, you could be recreating the painting with Mona as a man, or painting it underwater, or making her frown instead of smile. Or, painting a completely different person in her place. Some might choose just to recreate the painting in its entirety, but personally, I think anyone who does that is sort of missing the point of fanfiction, which is the 'what if'? element.


For a new writer, I can see the appeal of taking someone else's work and running with it - or a new painter taking the Mona Lisa as a jumping off point but for the writer who wants to be a professional or be taken seriously, I don't think fanfic is going to do them many favours for long. That isn't to say I think fanfic is automatically worthless for the writer. It's to say I think a writer's original work is much more beneficial for that writer.

Cyia
01-25-2012, 04:02 PM
I can't speak for anyone else, but fanfiction definitely helped me develop my writing, certainly on a technical level. A lot of it depends on your source material. If you're writing for a show/film/book/game series that has a solid, definite canon, it's difficult to be creative with that (although it doesn't stop people trying)


Not really. But it IS great for practicing characterization and voice. Unless you're writing crack!fic, then keeping the characters sounding and acting like themselves is part of the challenge.

dpaterso
01-25-2012, 04:07 PM
That isn't to say I think fanfic is automatically worthless for the writer. It's to say I think a writer's original work is much more beneficial for that writer.
In an alternative world, author you could be enjoying JK Rowling level sales and telling interviewers he puts his tremendous worldwide success down to his early fanfic writing.

One of those "we'll never know..." things. :)

-Derek

Stijn Hommes
01-25-2012, 04:15 PM
Neil Gaiman was contracted to write that piece. Lots of published authors are contracted to write TV and Movie follow ups. They get paid to play in the originators world. Much different than your standard Fan Fiction... He is a fan who gets to play in someone else's world. That is the basic definition of fanfic. The only difference is that he was paid, but I don't see how that changes anything.

crunchyblanket
01-25-2012, 04:20 PM
For a new writer, I can see the appeal of taking someone else's work and running with it - or a new painter taking the Mona Lisa as a jumping off point but for the writer who wants to be a professional or be taken seriously, I don't think fanfic is going to do them many favours for long. That isn't to say I think fanfic is automatically worthless for the writer. It's to say I think a writer's original work is much more beneficial for that writer.

Oh, I agree, in terms of developing there's nothing better than actually creating your own world and populating it with characters. It's just that I don't agree, as some writers might, that fanfiction is worthless - it just depends on how you're approaching it.


But it IS great for practicing characterization and voice. Unless you're writing crack!fic, then keeping the characters sounding and acting like themselves is part of the challenge.


Yeah, that's true. It's not hard to write fanfic, but it is hard to write fanfic well - that is, keeping the characters in character while exploring outside of the boundaries of canon, and retaining a proper sense of the universe you're working in. There aren't many fanfic writers who do this successfully, I don't think, but I have seen it done brilliantly.

Pyekett
01-25-2012, 04:28 PM
Neil Gaiman considers his Doctor Who episode to be a piece of fanfiction so even succesful authors do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO22dx4Z-MU

Well, he's just a hack.

Don't even get me started on the underpants thing.

Amadan
01-25-2012, 05:09 PM
Good for you.Wouldn't you?The comparison doesn't work -- anything I write, even if it is 'ignoble', is original material, therefore, I can make money from it.And I've never read an argument pro-fanfic that was strong enough to convince me it would be anything other than a waste of my time.


No one is suggesting you should write fan fic if you're not interested. But sneering at those who do and calling it "immoral" puts you in some ignoble company.

Also, I get that you write nothing that won't potentially pay. That's fine, too. For some writers (published and unpublished) writing isn't just a job, but a hobby too. I do a lot of computer programming in my real job. I actually like computer programming, and believe it or not, sometimes I will come home from work and work on more programming projects for which I am not paid. Likewise, writers who write for money can also write side projects just for fun.

If that seems like a waste of time to you, fine and dandy. But it's not the Official Authors' Professional Code of Conduct.

Celia Cyanide
01-25-2012, 07:05 PM
Fixed it for ya.

Except, in the case of comic books, several movie series', and TV shows, the people writing them are NOT the same people who created them.

ChaosTitan
01-25-2012, 07:38 PM
Mod Note: We've had threads that have debated the pros and cons of writing fanfiction, and this thread will NOT become another one. Why? It's old. And it's off topic. Some people love fanfiction, and some people loathe it, and there are all manner of people in between. No one is going to change anyone's mind, nor should they really try--not in this thread.

The thread is about how writing fanfiction helps keep your original writing invigorated.

As you were....

heza
01-25-2012, 07:47 PM
One thing I do get from fanfic that helps with my original writing is that I'll start doubting my abilities in a specific area--dialog, scene setting, what have you--and that will really bog me down and not make me want to move forward in my draft because I feel like I'm writing crap. I hate writing crap. (Given that most of what I write is probably crap, if I can actually identify it as such, I know it's bad.)

Sometimes, the solution for me is take whatever issue I'm having and practice with it.... except, I don't necessarily want to practice inside my WIP. If the chapter I'm working on isn't supposed to be dialog heavy, then it really doesn't make sense to stuff in a bunch of dialog just so I can practice with it. I can, however, write some fanfiction that's set up to focus heavily on dialog.

The bonus is that I get to work on dialog in a little practice piece I wouldn't have tried to sell anyway, but if it's something I can post to a fanfic community, I get some feedback and lots of people still get to enjoy it. I derive some writerly pleasure from that. Working on a specific issue also boosts my confidence and makes me want to apply that honed skill to my WIP again.

Thump
01-25-2012, 08:24 PM
I love writing fanfiction! I find it really takes the pressure off and I can really enjoy writing and trying new things. I find that fanfiction makes my writing better because having the world and characters already established means I can focus on plot and pace and atmosphere.

I am of that school of fanfic writing that tries very hard to keep the same tone as the original and keep the characters behaving in ways they might behave in the original as much as possible. I think it's a great writing exercise and not as easy as people think when they hear "fanfiction".

It is very refreshing when I'm stuck on my original stuff and start hating it to switch to fanfiction and do that for a while. When I get back to my own stuff, I feel like I CAN write, even if I don't believe I'm any good because if I can do fanfiction, I can do original. It's a bit more work but it's really just the world-building that's hard, I can do everything else just fine :)

CallyW
01-25-2012, 08:25 PM
The closest I came to fanfic was many many years ago. There was a fantasy film out at the cinema and in those days you used to get free stuff in packets of cereal. I collected a whole set of the figures from this fantasy film (I can't remember which one it was, late 70's/early 80's, possibly a cartoon. It had a pig in it). I decided to rewrite the film using the figures and wrote the whole story. Then I thought this is stupid, don't rewrite someone else's stuff, go write your own stuff. So I did.

I still haven't seen the film.

jjdebenedictis
01-25-2012, 09:03 PM
I think it's a great writing exercise and not as easy as people think when they hear "fanfiction". This is exactly the point I wanted to make.

Fanfiction is simply a writing exercise.

And like all writing exercises, some people will find it helpful, some won't, and some won't buy into the idea that it could be enough to try it.

And I guess I can admit that all of those choices are valid. So yeah; I'll stop fighting about it now. :)

randi.lee
01-25-2012, 09:20 PM
I agree that fan fiction is an exercise. An extremely helpful exercise, IMO. There is no audience more difficult to please than a canonical fanfic group.

Celia Cyanide
01-26-2012, 04:24 AM
Stephen King saw the movie "The Pit & The Pendulum," when he was in high school. He did not know it was based on a book. And so, he took it upon himself to write the novelization. He self-published it and sold it at his school.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2012, 04:29 AM
There is no audience more difficult to please than a canonical fanfic group.

Ain't that the truth? The only fanfic I read is pretty much H doujinshi, with a few exceptions here and there, and it pisses me off when the art is off or the characters act out-of-character in my porn. (Seriously.)

Filigree
01-26-2012, 04:49 AM
To keep to the spirit of the OP, I used fanfic in very specific ways to explore certain plot twists and emotional riffs. I took advantage of pre-made characters, with no need for the strenuous worldbuilding that I adore in my original work. I don't write much fanfic now. I've never taken it seriously, even when other people have. A decade later, folks are still emailing me to finish one story or another, and I have to explain the original stuff comes first.

However, in my tiny little corner of that weird universe, I'm somewhat notorious. And the insanely wonderful people who like my fanfiction work are now following my original fiction, as well.

Bogna
01-26-2012, 11:19 AM
I'm only a writer because of fanfiction. I got obsessed with another author's world for a few years, and wound up writing a 50,000 word fanfic.

And then I thought, "Hey. I just wrote a novella. If I can write a novella, I can write a novel. Why don't I?"

And I've been writing original stuff since then.

I'm proud to say I wore J. K. Rowling's underpants. It was a great learning experience.

Are you me? O____O

Ervin
01-26-2012, 11:44 AM
This. I rate fanfic as highly as I do self-publishing.

Whether or not the original author minds, I think fanfic is theft of intellectual property and immoral, even if it is perfectly legal.

I'd rather spend my time writing something from which I stand a chance of making money.Why is this thread filled with stupid posts like this?

crunchyblanket
01-26-2012, 03:50 PM
Why is this thread filled with stupid posts like this?

:popcorn:

firedrake
01-26-2012, 03:57 PM
:popcorn:

+ 1

seun
01-26-2012, 03:58 PM
:popcorn:

+ 1

+2

DoomBunny
01-26-2012, 04:01 PM
I don't even like tie-in novels, but that's just a personal preference. I like the concept of communal story-building and interactive plot, but if you've not been invited to join in it seems presumptuous to me. Again, just personal preference.

Unless it's Transformers slash. That's just wrong for so many reasons.

:popcorn:

Schadenfreude is a terrible habit m'dear. Pass the popcorn?

crunchyblanket
01-26-2012, 04:02 PM
Schadenfreude is a terrible habit m'dear. Pass the popcorn?

There's plenty for everyone. Make yourself comfortable.

scarletpeaches
01-26-2012, 05:02 PM
Why is this thread filled with stupid posts like this?Kettle? Hi, I'm the pot. You're black.:popcorn:+ 1+2Sorry to disappoint you guys, but there's no point in a battle of wits here, when I have such a clear advantage.

jjdebenedictis
01-26-2012, 05:54 PM
Are you me? O____OI assume not, but kindred souls are always a delight to find. :D

Thump
01-26-2012, 06:07 PM
Kettle? Hi, I'm the pot. You're black.Sorry to disappoint you guys, but there's no point in a battle of wits here, when I have such a clear advantage.

Aw... I was expecting fireworks and then an explosion.

Back on topic:

My sister only writes fanfic so I think we can use her as a control group of sorts.

I've read her early work and her current work and I have to say the quality of her writing has increased hugely. Her plots are very elaborate, her characterization is excellent and the writing itself is very, very good. Granted, she didn't invent the original characters and the world but she does develop them and her original characters fit in quite seamlessly into the pre-existing world so I think this is a pretty clear indicator that fanfiction is beneficial to the writer.

It is her choice to do only fanfiction but it's not hard to imagine that if she started writing original fiction, there's no reason why she shouldn't be at least as good as she is at writing fanfiction. The only thing she'll have to work really hard at is the world-building itself.

If we compare fanfiction with tracing a drawing or coloring inside the lines then she already has a certain level of experience with world-building from the world-enhancing done in fanfiction. It's not that huge a leap to build her own world from scratch as a child might start doing their own drawings...

Ol' Fashioned Girl
01-26-2012, 06:45 PM
Cool down, folks. Let's remember RYFW.

Dr.Gonzo
01-26-2012, 07:22 PM
When I got into writing I tried it. Once. A short story. Protagonist: Oni-Wan Kenobi. I sent him to the Cantina and made him use the Jedi mind trick on some barmaid. I still like to go back and read it sometimes. It's quite funny. Otherwise, I stay away from fanfic.

QuantumIguana
01-26-2012, 10:13 PM
If the author has no objection to fan fiction, then it is impossible to call writing fan fiction "theft". That would be claiming my car is stolen if I loan it to someone. Even if it isn't authorized, it is a legal gray area.

If I ever wrote anything popular enough for people to make fan fiction based on it, I'd be extremely pleased. People who read and write fan fiction tend to be the biggest purchasers of the original work. I've heard people claim that they have to fight against fan fiction, or risk losing their rights to it. That is confusing trademark with copyright. A trademark and become generic if you don't protect rights to it, copyright cannot. I've heard people claim that people who read fan fiction will read the fan fiction instead of the original. This is false, they read it in addition. You just can't produce enough to satisfy their demands for your work. If there are action figures based on our work, these people probably have all of them.

If I write an episode for a TV show, I am using other people's characters. But who would think someone uncreative for having written a TV episode? The setting and the character place certain constraints on what you can do, but it doesn't mean that you can't do quality writing. It is no less creative than fan fiction.

Aggy B.
01-27-2012, 03:00 AM
If I write an episode for a TV show, I am using other people's characters. But who would think someone uncreative for having written a TV episode? The setting and the character place certain constraints on what you can do, but it doesn't mean that you can't do quality writing. It is no less creative than fan fiction.

They aren't comparable. Writers for TV shows are not autonomous, they can't just write whatever the hell they want and they frequently are working in supervised groups to develop the show the way the producer/director/people-with-money want it developed. It is neither more or less creative than fan-fiction, but it's not the same skill-set either. Writing on-spec is much different than writing a "missing" episode of Tri-gun. Or Supernatural incest-slash.

As far as fan-fic goes. I wrote some in high school (a Dr. Who/Beatles crossover). And I wrote with original characters in a Cowboy Bebop universe RPG for a while in college. Did I get some of the million words of crap out of my system? Yes. Did I put myself in the mindset that it was okay to write for free? Yes. And that is a bad place for a writer to be. We have skills. We deserve compensation for the work we put into our writing. Since fan-fic is illegal, we can't be paid for it and that's where I think it fails - in the long run - to be productive.

I also find the idea that someone else thinks they have a better idea of what to do with my characters and my story, ridiculous. Especially slash. Trust me, if my characters are gay or need to be fucking they are and do.

Fan-fic writers always whine about how they don't get any respect. It's not because we don't think you can write, it's because you obviously think we (those producing original work) can't write. Otherwise you wouldn't be trying to write it better/fill in the missing pieces/further develop subplots.

So, no. I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling at the thought of writing fan-fic. I just get irritable.

Filigree
01-27-2012, 03:09 AM
Okay, though I like some of it, I have to explain why writers need to stay away from reading fanfic in their own universe. Naomi Novik gets away with encouraging fanfic, but she's extremely savvy about it.

If a writer reads a fanfic, likes it, God help them *comments* on it, and then turns up with a similar plot later, that opens a whole messy situation in which only the lawyers benefit. It happened, AFAIK, to Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Those authors heavily restricted tie-in writing, to avoid the problems.

While it may be a fun way to learn, fanfic has its negatives. So much of it is crap. So many people writing it will never get out of it - it can be the literary equivalent of meth. And no matter how hot you are as a fanfic writer, that doesn't translate to tons of sales as an original writer.

At best, it's a training exercise. To call it anything more is dangerous.

Cyia
01-27-2012, 03:15 AM
They aren't comparable. Writers for TV shows are not autonomous, they can't just write whatever the hell they want

Unless you're writing spec scripts, and then you DO write whatever you want based on the current plotlines of a given show.

It's not because we don't think you can write, it's because you obviously think we (those producing original work) can't write. Otherwise you wouldn't be trying to write it better/fill in the missing pieces/further develop subplots.


The problem with assigning motive to people you don't know is that you don't actually know what their motivation is. I don't know a single fanfic writer across any of the fandoms I've written in who EVER thought the original author "couldn't write". It's the connection with the show, story or characters that made the fanficcer want to fic something in the first place.

Fanficcers have respect for the source material, and will - quickly - shut down anyone who doesn't.

Fanfic can also be the jumping off point for original fiction, and there are quite a few published authors who have started off that way.

Velma deSelby Bowen
01-27-2012, 03:25 AM
I'm in the "writing fanfic can be a useful exercise/relaxation device/twiddle" category, myself -- but my fanfic stays in my notebooks, frequently with editorial comments made by me a year later in the margins. ("What did you do with that other arm?" and "Nobody could say that with a straight face, in this or any universe," being the most common ones.)

One of these days, I plan to reread all my fanfic, culling it for useful ideas and passages -- and then, if I haven't died from embarrassment, I'll type the valuable stuff into the computer, and shred the rest.

Aggy B.
01-27-2012, 03:48 AM
The problem with assigning motive to people you don't know is that you don't actually know what their motivation is. I don't know a single fanfic writer across any of the fandoms I've written in who EVER thought the original author "couldn't write". It's the connection with the show, story or characters that made the fanficcer want to fic something in the first place.

Fanficcers have respect for the source material, and will - quickly - shut down anyone who doesn't.

Fanfic can also be the jumping off point for original fiction, and there are quite a few published authors who have started off that way.

I still don't see a lot of respect in changing the sexual orientation of any character to suit a ficcer's whim fantasy. That could just be me.

And I thought that the scripts one writes to GET a job with a show were always different than the scripts one writes to KEEP a job with a show. Writing a speculative script for Gilmore Girls doesn't mean that they will keep your idea intact if they buy it. (Just like selling a script to Speilberg doesn't necessarily mean he won't rewrite it.) Since script sales are not like (book) manuscript sales and the rights usually DON'T remain with the author. (Unless you're famous/established enough to negotiate for it.) And if one is a writer on Gilmore Girls the scripts written still have to be approved.

But I'm getting off point.

The problem with fan-fic is it lowers the mental value writers place on the effort they put into writing and they tend to fall into a "as long as I have fans it's worth it" attitude. (Which is lovely if you feel that way, but I have bills to pay so pardon me if I DON'T want to be a starving artist with a loyal following who don't think my work is actually worth something other than "You're my favoritist writer evar!!11!".) It also, as Filigree pointed out, puts the original author at risk for lawsuit. (J.K. Rowling was another who was accused of stealing a fan's work. I think for Goblet of Fire.) Last time I engaged in this debate someone said "You could always have someone else screen the fan-fic to keep the plaguarism accusations at bay." I could also wear a hat and dark glasses to keep my identity secret. I don't have to look at ANY fan-fic EVER and if I write something that even remotely resembles something someone else wrote ripped off from me in the first place, they can still sue.

Fan-fic is at best a writing excercise. At worst it's a self-destructive habit. For every former fan-ficcer who has now moved on to a successful original career there are thousands who haven't. Because they still think it's okay to steal someone else's world/characters/plotlines (respectfully, of course), change anything they didn't like and then give it away for free.

bearilou
01-27-2012, 03:50 AM
Fanfic can also be the jumping off point for original fiction, and there are quite a few published authors who have started off that way.

I would not be trying my hand at writing original stuff now if someone hadn't encouraged me after having read some of my fanfiction. I certainly didn't have the confidence that I could before writing fanfiction.

Most of my stuff has gone away. I wasn't prolific but I had fun and I learned a great deal about certain mechanics of writing. The most basic and fundamental parts. My 'learning' period wouldn't have produced anything worth selling so the argument about not being able to sell fanfiction doesn't work. I wouldn't have been able to sell my first efforts at all due to the extremely bad writing.

I certainly don't see the value in painting myself half green and half white and heading to a Jets game, but having fun in a hobby shouldn't be policed like that.

Shadow_Ferret
01-27-2012, 03:53 AM
I've never written fanfic. Why would I want to use someone else's characters and worlds when I can create my own?

Amadan
01-27-2012, 04:12 AM
Since fan-fic is illegal, we can't be paid for it and that's where I think it fails - in the long run - to be productive.

Fan fiction is not illegal, or at least, its legal status has not been settled since there has yet to be a case in which both parties wanted to take it that far. It's illegal to profit from fan fiction, but it's not at all certain that the courts will determine that fan fiction is inherently a violation of copyright, if they are ever called upon to make a ruling.

I also find the idea that someone else thinks they have a better idea of what to do with my characters and my story, ridiculous. Especially slash. Trust me, if my characters are gay or need to be fucking they are and do.

Fan-fic writers always whine about how they don't get any respect. It's not because we don't think you can write, it's because you obviously think we (those producing original work) can't write. Otherwise you wouldn't be trying to write it better/fill in the missing pieces/further develop subplots.

Wow, projection much? Most fan fiction writers don't think they can write better than the original creator. They write fan fiction because they enjoy it. It's that simple.

Also, most writers don't deserve to be paid for their work, because most writers (especially unpublished ones) suck. Moreover, not every fan fiction writer has aspirations to go pro. Many just do it as a hobby. So the idea that writing for free is somehow cheapening the noble art of writing is kind of absurd. That's like saying that people who cook for fun and to please themselves and their friends are devaluing the work of professional chefs.

If a writer reads a fanfic, likes it, God help them *comments* on it, and then turns up with a similar plot later, that opens a whole messy situation in which only the lawyers benefit. It happened, AFAIK, to Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Those authors heavily restricted tie-in writing, to avoid the problems.

I know Lackey and McCaffrey have forbidden fan fiction of their works, but I don't think it was because of legal problems resulting from fan fiction. The infamous MZB case is actually a little more complicated than it's usually presented. (Here's one summary (http://jimhines.livejournal.com/507999.html), with links.) It wasn't just a case of "Marion Zimmer Bradly read a fan fiction story and then got sued by a fan claiming she stole her ideas."

Aggy B.
01-27-2012, 04:24 AM
Also, most writers don't deserve to be paid for their work, because most writers (especially unpublished ones) suck. Moreover, not every fan fiction writer has aspirations to go pro. Many just do it as a hobby. So the idea that writing for free is somehow cheapening the noble art of writing is kind of absurd. That's like saying that people who cook for fun and to please themselves and their friends are devaluing the work of professional chefs.

Chefs don't have to deal with someone setting up outside their resturant and offering food for free.

This is, by the way, one of AW's most classic pointless debates. Comes up, what, every three months or so? Nobody ever benefits because those who write fan-fic get their feelings hurt because they've put a lot of work into that 500k word NCIS novel and it's not fair that someone thinks it's not the same as writing an original novel where they had to come up with the characters and the world-building on their own. And those who dislike fan-fic can't understand why no one seems to get that stories are intellectual property and they can't just be borrowed because someone else feels there should have been three more sequels.

I think the only debate that cycles through here that is even more pointless is "pantsing vs outlines."

Aggy, been there, done that one too

Amadan
01-27-2012, 04:35 AM
Chefs don't have to deal with someone setting up outside their resturant and offering food for free.

Really, you're actually arguing that fan fiction hurts book sales? That fan fiction is depriving authors of income? Really? Really really?

This is, by the way, one of AW's most classic pointless debates. Comes up, what, every three months or so? Nobody ever benefits because those who write fan-fic get their feelings hurt because they've put a lot of work into that 500k word NCIS novel and it's not fair that someone thinks it's not the same as writing an original novel where they had to come up with the characters and the world-building on their own. And those who dislike fan-fic can't understand why no one seems to get that stories are intellectual property and they can't just be borrowed because someone else feels there should have been three more sequels.

Yet you seem more than willing to go another round. :)

I'm not arguing that fan fiction is generally good writing. The vast majority of it is crap. It's just silly to say that it is hurting anyone, though, and it's factually incorrect to say that it's an illegal activity.

Celia Cyanide
01-27-2012, 06:48 AM
Chefs don't have to deal with someone setting up outside their resturant and offering food for free.

No, they don't. Because people generally don't become chefs to give away food for free to people they don't know.

The fact is, people write, act, direct, draw, paint, take pictures, and otherwise create art for all different reasons. Making money is only one reason, and not everyone creates with the intention of making money. Some people do it to as a hobby, some do it for catharsis, some do it to make themselves feel better when they're in a bad mood.

If you want to make money writing, or being any kind of artist, you have to be able to do it better than someone who does it as a hobby. People are not going to stop making art for fun.

Cyia
01-27-2012, 07:38 AM
I still don't see a lot of respect in changing the sexual orientation of any character to suit a ficcer's whim fantasy. That could just be me.

And you'll find ficcers who will tell you their slash-fics don't change anything. They work on the subtleties of the relationships as presented in cannon.

And I thought that the scripts one writes to GET a job with a show were always different than the scripts one writes to KEEP a job with a show. Writing a speculative script for Gilmore Girls doesn't mean that they will keep your idea intact if they buy it. (Just like selling a script to Speilberg doesn't necessarily mean he won't rewrite it.) Since script sales are not like (book) manuscript sales and the rights usually DON'T remain with the author. (Unless you're famous/established enough to negotiate for it.) And if one is a writer on Gilmore Girls the scripts written still have to be approved. But the fact is, you're still writing what amounts to fanfic in order to get the job.

But I'm getting off point.

The problem with fan-fic is it lowers the mental value writers place on the effort they put into writing and they tend to fall into a "as long as I have fans it's worth it" attitude. No it doesn't. It doesn't lower the value of anything, and there are plenty of published authors who take the "as long as" attitude in regards to books that are universally panned.

It also, as Filigree pointed out, puts the original author at risk for lawsuit. (J.K. Rowling was another who was accused of stealing a fan's work. I think for Goblet of Fire.) Which had nothing to do with fanfiction at all. The lawsuit was put out by the estate of a man who had written a short children's book (maybe coloring book?) about a wizard on a train and self-published it.

The other issue was with the word "Muggle", in another - not fanfiction - lawsuit.

Last time I engaged in this debate someone said "You could always have someone else screen the fan-fic to keep the plaguarism accusations at bay." I could also wear a hat and dark glasses to keep my identity secret. I don't have to look at ANY fan-fic EVER and if I write something that even remotely resembles something someone else wrote ripped off from me in the first place, they can still sue. Anyone can sue you for anything.

There's a self-published author suing Stephen King for plagiarism based on an April Fool's joke where King said he plagiarized himself. The self-pubbed author says that gives proof of prior acts.

A teenage girl sued Stephenie Meyer for supposed similarities in Breaking Dawn and her online novel. The similarities were laughable, but she still tried.

Writers get sued over ideas all the time.

Fan-fic is at best a writing excercise. At worst it's a self-destructive habit. Actually, at best, fanfic is a way to not only practice writing, but it can be the building blocks for original fiction. There are commercial novels in existence today that began as fanfiction works, but you wouldn't know it unless told.

At worst, it's a writing exercise.

For every former fan-ficcer who has now moved on to a successful original career there are thousands who haven't.For every man/woman/child who became a professional writer/ballerina/space cowboy, there are thousands who haven't.

Because they still think it's okay to steal someone else's world/characters/plotlines (respectfully, of course), change anything they didn't like and then give it away for free.Fanfic's no more stealing than the kid on the playground who puts on a cape and decides to play Superman.

The fact is, people write, act, direct, draw, paint, take pictures, and otherwise create art for all different reasons. Making money is only one reason, and not everyone creates with the intention of making money. Some people do it to as a hobby, some do it for catharsis, some do it to make themselves feel better when they're in a bad mood. ^^^ Also, this.

I wrote tons (over a million and a half words in multiple fandoms) of fanfic in under three years. A good bit of that was by request or to cheer someone up.

Mr. Anonymous
01-27-2012, 07:48 AM
I don't write fan-fic, but I write a lot of things on the side while working on a novel. Mostly shorts. In theory I could see myself writing some kind of star wars short just for myself/for fun, but in practice, if it has absolutely zero chance of publication, I kind of feel like, what's the point? I need to feel like my stuff at least has a *chance* to go somewhere/get somewhere.

I don't have a problem with other people doing it though. If it makes you/others happy, go for it. Just don't make a profit on someone else's characters/universe (unless authorized.) Long as you're not doing that, knock yourself out. Life's too short to worry about who may or may not approve.

crunchyblanket
01-27-2012, 03:16 PM
Just sticking my oar in here.


Did I put myself in the mindset that it was okay to write for free? Yes. And that is a bad place for a writer to be. We have skills. We deserve compensation for the work we put into our writing. Since fan-fic is illegal, we can't be paid for it and that's where I think it fails - in the long run - to be productive.



It depends on your definition of 'productive'. No, we don't get paid for it, or get any real recognition for it, and if that's what you're aiming for then yes, it's a pointless endeavour.

But not every fanfic writer is aiming for that. Hell, not every writer is aiming for that, whether or not you think they should be.


It's not because we don't think you can write, it's because you obviously think we (those producing original work) can't write. Otherwise you wouldn't be trying to write it better/fill in the missing pieces/further develop subplots.


I'm sure there are fanfic writers out there who think they know better, but you're assuming a blanket motivation here which just doesn't ring true for most people who write fanfic. For many, it's not about doing it better. It's about taking the world and it's occupants and exploring outside of the limitations of the source text.

If we didn't think the writer could write, we wouldn't be interested in the source material to begin with, let alone become so invested in it that we want to explore.


The problem with fan-fic is it lowers the mental value writers place on the effort they put into writing and they tend to fall into a "as long as I have fans it's worth it" attitude. (Which is lovely if you feel that way, but I have bills to pay so pardon me if I DON'T want to be a starving artist with a loyal following who don't think my work is actually worth something other than "You're my favoritist writer evar!!11!".)


It's only a problem if the writer shares your opinion on what is a worthy motivation and what isn't. And it's a perfectly valid opinion - it's just that not everybody feels that way, and why should it be considered a 'lesser' attitude?


Fan-fic is at best a writing excercise. At worst it's a self-destructive habit. For every former fan-ficcer who has now moved on to a successful original career there are thousands who haven't.


Having read a ton of fanfic, I can suggest that the ones who haven't moved on are probably better off not moving on. Just because someone does write doesn't mean they're good at it.

Is it a self destructive habit? Well, again, it depends. If I'm writing an original piece and keep getting sidetracked by fanfic, then yes, it is absolutely self destructive. It's keeping me from my goals. But the same can apply to watching TV, playing videogames or even browsing AW. The problem is the individual's sense of motivation, not their distraction of choice.


Chefs don't have to deal with someone setting up outside their resturant and offering food for free.


Interestingly, if it hadn't been for fanfic, I might not have gotten into many of the books/TV series that I now love. It's free advertising.

K. Taylor
01-27-2012, 03:57 PM
Interestingly, if it hadn't been for fanfic, I might not have gotten into many of the books/TV series that I now love. It's free advertising.

I've seen that happen a lot - a writer a fandom loves branches out into other fandoms and at minimum a few fans go pick up the show it's based on. Fandoms that have fanfic communities are very loyal and often close-knit, and fandom frequently gives people a 'home' where they otherwise have none.

Most of the fanfic I've seen is for TV series, and of that, most of it is being written for series that are long dead and off the air even in reruns. You can measure the vitality of a fandom by how much fanfic is still being written, because without the fanfic keeping interest going, those series are long forgotten. I don't know a single person that writes fic based on books.

I've also seen a lot of fanfics that were written as therapy. The writer saw characters they related to and got out some intense things they needed to in an anonymous and still-safe way. And the community is supportive, because there's always someone else that's been through that thing, too.

crunchyblanket
01-27-2012, 04:13 PM
Most of the fanfic I've seen is for TV series, and of that, most of it is being written for series that are long dead and off the air even in reruns. You can measure the vitality of a fandom by how much fanfic is still being written, because without the fanfic keeping interest going, those series are long forgotten.


This is true. The most enduring fandom I've seen is for X-Files, which was one of the earliest gatherings of fans and fanfic writers - a lot of the terms fanfic writers use (shipping, for example) were coined in the early days of that show.


The makers of X-Files were very receptive to fanfic, and actively encouraged fandom, even including the names of prolific fanfic writers in episodes (one character, Leyla Harrison, was named after a fanfic writer who passed away)

Cyia
01-27-2012, 07:55 PM
Star Trek's got a thriving fic community that started WAY back when it was mainly guys mailing each other stories and putting together "fanmags". That's also where you get some of the earliest "slash-fic" (Kirk and Spock). And, I know of at least one major sci-fi writer who started out as a Trek-ficcer, then turned their fanfic into an original novel by scrubbing it.

There was a very shortlived vampire series a few years back where the show's writers made no secret that they frequented fan boards. When the last episode aired, they'd worked in elements from some of the more popular stories as a sort of shout-out.

Supernatural had an episode which featured fanfic.

But, the ultimate nod has to be Stargate SG-1's "200", which was basically fanfic on crack.

Amadan
01-27-2012, 08:00 PM
Star Trek's got a thriving fic community that started WAY back when it was mainly guys mailing each other stories and putting together "fanmags". That's also where you get some of the earliest "slash-fic" (Kirk and Spock). And, I know of at least one major sci-fi writer who started out as a Trek-ficcer, then turned their fanfic into an original novel by scrubbing it.

That would be Lois McMaster Bujold.

Thump
01-27-2012, 08:07 PM
That would be Lois McMaster Bujold.

Really? Would you know which one of her books that would be?

I <3 Bujold :)

Amadan
01-27-2012, 08:26 PM
Really? Would you know which one of her books that would be?

I <3 Bujold :)


The whole Vorkosigan series started out as retooled Star Trek fan fic.

Filigree
01-27-2012, 08:39 PM
Sources? She certainly doesn't mention it in the forewards to the new omnibus editions.

Amadan
01-27-2012, 08:46 PM
Sources? She certainly doesn't mention it in the forewards to the new omnibus editions.


I wouldn't expect her to. I believe it's well known in the SF community, and it certainly doesn't detract from her stories (and in fact, it pretty thoroughy repudiates some of the anti-fan fiction arguments that have been presented in this thread), but I think it was her first Vorkosigan novel which began as Star Trek fan fic. Obviously everything since then has been her original creation, so it's not like the whole series is Star Trek stories with the names changed.

Cyia
01-27-2012, 08:47 PM
Shards of Honor started out as an outline for a Star Trek fanfic about a shipwrecked Klingon and Starfleet officer. She "filed the serial numbers off" and used the outline to create her own series. It's not something she'd mention in the forwards, as a printed confirmation of the origin could mean admission of copyright violation.


ETA: Another one worth mentioning is Cassie Claire/Clare. City of Bones has several passages lifted from her Draco trilogy when she wrote HP-fic. The characters in Mortal Intstruments line up with the ones used in her HP-stories, too.

Erik M
01-27-2012, 09:37 PM
Ten+ years back I wrote a novel length Xena/ST Next Generation crossover, 'The Stones of Time.' It was a lot of fun, but basically a wank.

QuantumIguana
01-27-2012, 10:22 PM
Shards of Honor started out as an outline for a Star Trek fanfic about a shipwrecked Klingon and Starfleet officer. She "filed the serial numbers off" and used the outline to create her own series. It's not something she'd mention in the forwards, as a printed confirmation of the origin could mean admission of copyright violation.

There is no violation of copyright laws in that case. You may be thinking Star Trek while writing it, but what matters is what is on the page. Just look at how many fantasy novels there are that look a lot like Middle Earth. Few of these authors would say "Well, it's just Middle Earth with the serial numbers filed off", not because it would put them in legal trouble, but because some people would think less of their work. And when you're filing the serial numbers off, you can change the characters so they aren't just Klingons with a different name.

Amadan
01-27-2012, 10:28 PM
There is no violation of copyright laws in that case. You may be thinking Star Trek while writing it, but what matters is what is on the page. Just look at how many fantasy novels there are that look a lot like Middle Earth. Few of these authors would say "Well, it's just Middle Earth with the serial numbers filed off", not because it would put them in legal trouble, but because some people would think less of their work. And when you're filing the serial numbers off, you can change the characters so they aren't just Klingons with a different name.

Yes, but if she actually said "This started out as Star Trek fan fic," it's not inconceivable that some Paramount lawyer would decide it's an adequate basis to file a lawsuit.

QuantumIguana
01-27-2012, 10:36 PM
Yes, but if she actually said "This started out as Star Trek fan fic," it's not inconceivable that some Paramount lawyer would decide it's an adequate basis to file a lawsuit.

They might sue, but they wouldn't win.

Amadan
01-27-2012, 10:41 PM
They might sue, but they wouldn't win.



Corporations like Paramount don't have to win to make you spend more money in court than you can afford.

QuantumIguana
01-27-2012, 10:54 PM
Corporations like Paramount don't have to win to make you spend more money in court than you can afford.

They could sue you for eating a peanut butter sandwich, I suppose. But they aren't going to. They would have about as good a case.

ladyleeona
01-27-2012, 11:01 PM
Corporations like Paramount don't have to win to make you spend more money in court than you can afford.

Not only that, but lawsuits, for the most part, are not the sort of publicity you want. (Although, sometimes they can cause increases in sales, simply out of consumer curiosity. But it's not a feasible risk, as it can definitely go the other way, too.)

QuantumIguana
01-27-2012, 11:08 PM
Not only that, but lawsuits, for the most part, are not the sort of publicity you want. (Although, sometimes they can cause increases in sales, simply out of consumer curiosity. But it's not a feasible risk, as it can definitely go the other way, too.)

That's the real risk, not that you will be sued for copyright violation, but people will call you a hack. Of course, true originality is a pretty rare thing. Roddenberry sold Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and "Horatio Hornblower in Space". Both of these were under copyright at the time.

Cyia
01-27-2012, 11:15 PM
Roddenberry sold Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and "Horatio Hornblower in Space". Both of these were under copyright at the time.


A sales pitch is a comparison, not a copyright violation. Had he taken the characters' names and used them for the bridge crew, and copied the names of the ships instead of calling it The Enterprise, then there would have been a problem.

Kriven
01-27-2012, 11:24 PM
But that's how the entertainment industry works. You have to compare your idea to ones that are already winning over millions of fans to make it sound more appealing to execs. Nobody wants to risk the production values on a totally original, untested program.

Edit: Ninjaed by Cyia.

Ctairo
01-27-2012, 11:31 PM
If we're talking about Star Trek, given the age of the fandom, isn't there the real possibility Bujold did not want to advertise writing fanfic? Once upon a time, the streams (professional writers and fanfic writers) did not cross.

At least, not publicly. Fans were treated differently then. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x930vt_william-shatner-snl-skit-get-a-life_fun

I'm not sure of the time frame, though, so I could be wrong. I do know current fanfic writers moving from fanfic to profic like Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (Demon's Lexicon) is largely a product of the Internet Age.

Which actually speaks to why someone might write fanfic now. If you're well received (aka a BNF - Big Name Fan), you (theoretically) bring your readership with you if you go pro.

As for the OP's query, I hadn't thought about writing fanfic to reinvigorate my original projects. Since you've planted the seed, if I can ever find something compelling fannishly, I might try it as an exercise.

job
01-28-2012, 12:20 AM
Fan fiction is not illegal, or at least, its legal status has not been settled since there has yet to be a case in which both parties wanted to take it that far. It's illegal to profit from fan fiction, but it's not at all certain that the courts will determine that fan fiction is inherently a violation of copyright, if they are ever called upon to make a ruling.

Words, characters, character names and the fictional world are protected by copyright. When they are used in derivative works -- see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_with_fan_fiction) and here (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Fanfiction) for comment.

That fanfiction is not a commercial use of the original work may somewhat mitigate in court determination of whether a particular case is copyright infringement. That does not mean that noncommercial use thereby become legal.

Some discussion here (http://fanlore.org/wiki/Legal_Analysis) and maybe here (http://www.tushnet.com/law/fanficarticle.html).

kuwisdelu
01-28-2012, 12:41 AM
I can't help but wonder what anti-fanficcers would think of Comiket.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 01:14 AM
Which actually speaks to why someone might write fanfic now. If you're well received (aka a BNF - Big Name Fan), you (theoretically) bring your readership with you if you go pro.

That really doesn't matter. Lots of BNFs have found out that the number of your fan fiction fans who translate into paying customers when you sell original fiction is commercially insignificant. Cassandra Clare and Sarah Reese Brennan got a bit of a word of mouth boost from their fans, but it wasn't fandom that launched their careers.

Words, characters, character names and the fictional world are protected by copyright. When they are used in derivative works -- see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_with_fan_fiction) and here (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Fanfiction) for comment.

That fanfiction is not a commercial use of the original work may somewhat mitigate in court determination of whether a particular case is copyright infringement. That does not mean that noncommercial use thereby become legal.

Some discussion here (http://fanlore.org/wiki/Legal_Analysis) and maybe here (http://www.tushnet.com/law/fanficarticle.html).

No, it hasn't been established that fan fiction is legal. I know that non-commercial use is not necessarily legal. But it also hasn't been established that fan fiction is illegal.

When publishers or authors send take-down notices, sites generally comply because it's not worth fighting an expensive legal battle over fan fiction. When and if someone actually says "No" and decides to fight it out in court, though, it will be interesting.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 01:20 AM
A sales pitch is a comparison, not a copyright violation. Had he taken the characters' names and used them for the bridge crew, and copied the names of the ships instead of calling it The Enterprise, then there would have been a problem.

There's no real difference. If I simply took a Star Trek story and changed the names, people could look at the two stories side by side and say there is a copyright violation. But if I am thinking about Star Trek, but write my own story, it is no different than being inspired by Wagon Train or Horatio Hornblower. Paramount doesn't own the idea of a space ship gallivanting about the galaxy saving the day. The other story, before the serial numbers were filed off would be a copyright violation, but not afterwards.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 01:39 AM
There's no real difference. If I simply took a Star Trek story and changed the names, people could look at the two stories side by side and say there is a copyright violation. But if I am thinking about Star Trek, but write my own story, it is no different than being inspired by Wagon Train or Horatio Hornblower. Paramount doesn't own the idea of a space ship gallivanting about the galaxy saving the day. The other story, before the serial numbers were filed off would be a copyright violation, but not afterwards.


It really depends how much "filing" is done. If you just do a search & replace on trademarked names, you're still going to be in trouble. And media corporations have been known to assume very (unreasonably) broad definitions of "infringement." You can say your story was "inspired" by Star Trek, but if you say "I originally wrote this as Star Trek fan fiction, then decided to take out the Klingons and the tribbles and put it in an original universe," Paramount probably won't do anything, but they conceivably could, especially if you have ever, at any point, been involved in even the smallest way with actual film production.

RemusShepherd
01-28-2012, 01:42 AM
Someday, I'd like to post a new thread that doesn't turn into an argument. Someday. Sigh.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 01:44 AM
We're not arguing, we're discussing. :D

Cyia
01-28-2012, 01:57 AM
There's no real difference. If I simply took a Star Trek story and changed the names, people could look at the two stories side by side and say there is a copyright violation. But if I am thinking about Star Trek, but write my own story, it is no different than being inspired by Wagon Train or Horatio Hornblower. Paramount doesn't own the idea of a space ship gallivanting about the galaxy saving the day. The other story, before the serial numbers were filed off would be a copyright violation, but not afterwards.


You're arguing two points.

1 - Roddenberry's pitch is not a copyright violation and never would be. That's simply how pitches are done - "This is X meets Y." It doesn't mean that either X or Y were used as source material; it's simply in a similar vein. "Inspired by" isn't copyright violation, either, unless you're using the material itself.

2 - When you scrub a fanfic, you usually scrub it beyond recognition to its former self. So long as the version you're selling doesn't use the trademarked characters, you're not in violation (usually).

I could, if I wanted, write a story about a girl in Forks, Washington who meets a vampire and has a werewolf for a friend - that doesn't make it a violation of Twilight's copyright or trademarks.

I could, if I wanted, write a story about a girl in Phoenix, named Bella, who falls madly in love with a boy named Edward - still not in violation.

And then you've got things like the Thursday Next books, which are full of other writer's plots and characters, yet still original works.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 02:07 AM
I agree, you can't simply change the names. But you can make a story very much like tribbles, as Star Trek didn't invent such stories. The tribbles are suspiciously like the "flat cats" in Heinlein's story "The Rolling Stones". Going back even further, there's the story from 1905 "Pigs is Pigs", which Heinlein said may have been the inspiration for "The Rolling Stones", and still further yet, there is "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

Celia Cyanide
01-28-2012, 02:22 AM
There's no real difference. If I simply took a Star Trek story and changed the names, people could look at the two stories side by side and say there is a copyright violation. But if I am thinking about Star Trek, but write my own story, it is no different than being inspired by Wagon Train or Horatio Hornblower. Paramount doesn't own the idea of a space ship gallivanting about the galaxy saving the day. The other story, before the serial numbers were filed off would be a copyright violation, but not afterwards.

You are comparing two different things here. Scrubbing Fan fiction isn't taking an existing Star Trek story and changing the names. It's writing a new story with Star Trek characters, and then changing the names until it is unrecognizable as Star Trek. Both the story and the names are different.

A sales pitch, to say, "This story is X successful story meets Y successful story," is never a copyright violation.

job
01-28-2012, 02:36 AM
it also hasn't been established that fan fiction is illegal.

Fanfic isn't some special situation that needs its own body of law. Fanfic is simply Derivative Use, for which there is extensive case law. The legality or illegality of a particular fanfic would depend on how the copyright material is used in that one story.

One fanfic might be copyright infringement; the next, a mere usage of themes and ideas not subject to copyright. One might violate trademark protection. Another could be parody and protected.

There is no 'legal' or 'illegal' to fanfic qua fanfic. It's subject to the same rules as any other fiction.

That said -- the law is pretty much an ass and everybody does illegal stuff.
I do.
But I don't try to convince myself it's legal to park in that yellow-lined spot behind the elementary school just because I don't get ticketed there.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 02:38 AM
You are comparing two different things here. Scrubbing Fan fiction isn't taking an existing Star Trek story and changing the names. It's writing a new story with Star Trek characters, and then changing the names until it is unrecognizable as Star Trek. Both the story and the names are different.

A sales pitch, to say, "This story is X successful story meets Y successful story," is never a copyright violation.

I never said that scrubbing fan fiction was taking an existing Star Trek story and changing the names. I did say that if someone did that, it would be a copyright violation.

I agree that a sales pitch isn't a copyright violation, I never said that it was. I said that for a story to begin its existence as a fan fiction is no more of a copyright violation than is pitching a show as "Wagon Train to the Stars."

dawinsor
01-28-2012, 02:44 AM
When Bujold was Guest of Honor at WorldCon, she spoke some about fanfic. She compared writers reacting badly to fanfic about their work to some strange autoimmune disease whereby writers ostracized their most ardent fans.

KalenO
01-28-2012, 02:44 AM
Unless you're writing spec scripts, and then you DO write whatever you want based on the current plotlines of a given show.

Bingo. Novels aren't the only form of writing, and as far as screenwriting goes, fanfic's the best possible practical experience I ever could have gotten, far more than even my original fiction writing.

Let's take the average television staff writer. Not screenwriters, not the creators of a show....because typically you need to have staff writing experience on at least a couple different shows before networks will even LOOK at an original pilot from you. TV's different from being a novelist....the product's only have the battle there. Experience matters with TV.

For a new writer trying to get his/her foot in the door, typically to even get a show or a film/TV agent to take a look at your work, they're going to want to see you have an original screenplay, an original pilot AND a spec episode of a show currently on the air. You ALWAYS have to have a spec episode in your portfolio, usually two is preferred, specifically for reasons that have everything to do with the strengths that come from writing fanfiction. They want to see how you handle someone else's character, if you can stay true to their voices and characterizations, they want to see how you insert your own storylines amidst someone else's plots, how seamlessly you integrate your writing into the already established mood and tone of the show, etc. These are all skills you can't really get from writing your own original material. You're NOT the creator in a writing room on the show. You don't get to make the characters sound like your own or run amok with your own storylines.

Also, you don't write a spec episode for the show you're trying to get staffed on. It's always encouraged that you pick the show that you're most familiar and comfortable with to write your spec episode, which means that in almost every sense of the word, a spec episode IS fanfic. Especially given that 99% of spec episodes never make it to air. Quite simply that's not their purpose. They're never intended to be bought or sold to fill a slot in a 22 episode lineup, when you already have eight to twelve staffed writers on each show each vying for the right to have their name attributed to two or three of those 22 slots. Spec episodes are simply writing samples. You don't make money off them, but you need them all the same.

So yes, fanfic has its place IMO and it definitely has practical purposes and helps with certain writing skills. And this is without me even getting started on comic book writing and their shared universes.

As for the argument that any writing that doesn't make you money in some way is a waste of time, I'd argue that's a debate that has nothing to do with fanfic in specific, and its doubtful people on opposite sides of that fence are ever going to meet in the middle anyway, so....c'est la vie.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 02:58 AM
As for the argument that any writing that doesn't make you money in some way is a waste of time, I'd argue that's a debate that has nothing to do with fanfic in specific, and its doubtful people on opposite sides of that fence are ever going to meet in the middle anyway, so....c'est la vie.

I've always found that argument baffling. We don't apply that standard to art, for example. If people only painted for a living, 99% of art supply stores could close their doors. Millions of people make paintings that will never hang in any art gallery, but who thinks that is a waste of time?

I suppose some would say that writing fan fic is like paint by numbers, but that analogy doesn't hold up at all. Paint by numbers requires virtually zero creativity, but just because the characters are already created doesn't mean that there is no creativity involved. Using preexisting characters narrows what you can do with them, but writing a story with them in a fanfic isn't inherently any less creative than writing an episode for a TV show.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 02:58 AM
Fanfic isn't some special situation that needs its own body of law. Fanfic is simply Derivative Use, for which there is extensive case law. The legality or illegality of a particular fanfic would depend on how the copyright material is used in that one story.

One fanfic might be copyright infringement; the next, a mere usage of themes and ideas not subject to copyright. One might violate trademark protection. Another could be parody and protected.

There is no special 'legal' or 'illegal' to fanfic in general. It's subject to the same rules as any other fiction.


People in this thread have stated (incorrectly) that fan fiction is illegal. To my knowledge, no court has ruled on whether fan fiction falls under "fair use" in a way that would apply broadly to fan fiction in general.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 03:01 AM
People in this thread have stated (incorrectly) that fan fiction is illegal. To my knowledge, no court has ruled on whether fan fiction falls under "fair use" in a way that would apply broadly to fan fiction in general.

It does lie in a gray area. In any case, a blanket statement saying "fan fiction is illegal" forgets that many copyright holders are fine with fan fiction.

Ctairo
01-28-2012, 04:02 AM
That really doesn't matter. Lots of BNFs have found out that the number of your fan fiction fans who translate into paying customers when you sell original fiction is commercially insignificant. Cassandra Clare and Sarah Reese Brennan got a bit of a word of mouth boost from their fans, but it wasn't fandom that launched their careers.

Why yes, yes it does matter. BTW, I didn't say it launched their careers. Although, wouldn't it depend on your definition of "launching their careers"? In any event, to dismiss the impact of an existing fanbase is ill-considered. It's called a platform, and agents do take note. If you aren't familiar with the story of how Brennan came to sell her series, it's online.

Also note the use of the word "theoretically" if you would.

Naomi Novik is another former fanfic writer who's gone pro: http://www.temeraire.org/

And, for clarity, I'm not positing every BNF has what it takes to go pro:

Which actually speaks to why someone might write fanfic now. If you're well received (aka a BNF - Big Name Fan), you (theoretically) bring your readership with you if you go pro.I'm suggesting being a BNF is another arrow in the quiver. To succeed, of course authors need a wider audience than fandom can offer.

K. Taylor
01-28-2012, 04:13 AM
Kalen mentions a good point that fanfic isn't solely in novel form.

I've seen:
poetry
musicals
stories with images
comics
scripts
100-word drabbles
1000-word shorts
novellas
and novels and epics

I've even seen a college poetry class written into a fanfic story, so it was not only entertainment but a learning experience.

Aggy B.
01-28-2012, 04:29 AM
It does lie in a gray area. In any case, a blanket statement saying "fan fiction is illegal" forgets that many copyright holders are fine with fan fiction.

Or they aren't okay with it but are afraid to say so because they think they might lose readers. Or be perceived as an ass. Because it seems to be a common opinion* that not liking fan-fic makes you a dick.

*As demonstrated in this thread

Kriven
01-28-2012, 05:21 AM
Or they aren't okay with it but are afraid to say so because they think they might lose readers. Or be perceived as an ass. Because it seems to be a common opinion* that not liking fan-fic makes you a dick.

*As demonstrated in this thread


No, you can totally dislike whatever you want. But telling an entire subculture that they're wasting their time and energy is just a little bit dickish.

ladyleeona
01-28-2012, 05:36 AM
No, you can totally dislike whatever you want. But telling an entire subculture that they're wasting their time and energy is just a little bit dickish.

QFT.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 06:20 AM
Or they aren't okay with it but are afraid to say so because they think they might lose readers. Or be perceived as an ass. Because it seems to be a common opinion* that not liking fan-fic makes you a dick.

*As demonstrated in this thread

I don't think anyone said that not liking fan fiction makes you an ass. Just that many of the arguments against it don't hold up. If you want to go against someone writing fan fiction based on your work, that's your right, but you are risking alienating your most loyal readers, and readers have a lot of other authors to choose from.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 07:22 AM
Why yes, yes it does matter. BTW, I didn't say it launched their careers. Although, wouldn't it depend on your definition of "launching their careers"? In any event, to dismiss the impact of an existing fanbase is ill-considered. It's called a platform, and agents do take note. If you aren't familiar with the story of how Brennan came to sell her series, it's online.

I am familiar with Brennan's story. She submitted to an agent like everyone else. She did not say "And oh, by the way, I'm a very popular author of Harry Potter fan fiction and all my fans will totally buy my books."

A fan fiction fanbase really isn't much of a platform. At best, it lets you say you have a popular blog (but then you have to remove all traces of fan fiction from your "official" web presence).


Or they aren't okay with it but are afraid to say so because they think they might lose readers. Or be perceived as an ass. Because it seems to be a common opinion* that not liking fan-fic makes you a dick.

No, it's fine not to like fan fiction. But saying that anyone who does like fan fiction is lazy, too stupid to understand or respect intellectual property, thinks they write better than the original author, or is taking money from authors, is pretty dickish.

Also, plenty of authors have come out against fan fiction, and while they tend to get mocked on fandom_wank, I doubt it's actually hurt any of their sales. Authors say stupid shit all the time that pisses off fans and elicits cries of "I'll never buy your books again!" If Orson Scott Card and Anne Rice still sell, I don't think you need to worry about alienating fan fiction writers. So go on with your bad self.

But yeah, you'll be mocked.

Silver-Midnight
01-28-2012, 07:23 AM
I write fan fiction. I started off writing fa fiction. So, I do go back to on occasion. I agree. To a certain extent, it is easier,at least for me. It makes great practice for my work. So, I do have to be thankful that I stumbled upon fan fic writing because I don't know if I'd be writing now like I am.

Ctairo
01-28-2012, 08:16 AM
I am familiar with Brennan's story. She submitted to an agent like everyone else.

Easy there, Sparky. Where is it written she did not query? You are leaping like a grand and swift leaping thing.

She did not say "And oh, by the way, I'm a very popular author of Harry Potter fan fiction and all my fans will totally buy my books."Hmm. More leaping. Less seeing where that was said.

A fan fiction fanbase really isn't much of a platform.As with most endeavors, it depends utterly on the writer.
At best, it lets you say you have a popular blog .Strange. That's precisely what she said. In her query. Wait, let me quote it:

"I have a popular online blog,"

(but then you have to remove all traces of fan fiction from your "official" web presence)And that's precisely what she did. As a matter of fact, I remember the moment she told online readers she planned to pull her fic. Is this a hardship? If so, I don't see it.

Again, because you seem to be discounting it: another arrow in the quiver, ergo, why some might seek status as a Big Name Fan. It may not be the best route, but that's not for either of us to decide. Writer's journey and all.

Summarizing, we're on opposite sides of regarding the nature of the impact of fandom success on pro-writing. Not sure why you feel the need to be contentious about it though.

Aggy B.
01-28-2012, 08:32 AM
No, it's fine not to like fan fiction. But saying that anyone who does like fan fiction is lazy, too stupid to understand or respect intellectual property, thinks they write better than the original author, or is taking money from authors, is pretty dickish.
<snip>
But yeah, you'll be mocked.

I don't think I said "anyone". I don't think I said "everyone".

I'm sorry if thinking that authors have a right to want to protect the work they have put time and effort into is "dickish" and means I should be "mocked".

I'm also sorry if encouraging writers to pursue their own careers and put their time and effort into work they can be compensated for is "dickish".

I have always felt that imitation may be a sincere form of flattery but it is never the most creative. As a writer I want to create, not just mimic what someone else - even someone I respect a lot - has done.

That is not bad-ass or dickish. That's just common sense.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 08:40 AM
Easy there, Sparky. Where is it written she did not query? You are leaping like a grand and swift leaping thing.

No leap. You're arguing that Brennan's HP fanbase helped her career. I am saying it did not; she went through an identical process to every other author.

I'm sorry if thinking that authors have a right to want to protect the work they have put time and effort into is "dickish" and means I should be "mocked".

Your statement assumes that disliking fan fiction = "protecting your work" and that liking fan fiction = believing that authors don't have a right to do that.

I'm also sorry if encouraging writers to pursue their own careers and put their time and effort into work they can be compensated for is "dickish".

It's only dickish when you assume that (a) that is every writer's goal (b) any writer who does not pursue that goal is wasting their time; (c) that writing fan fiction and pursuing professional goals are mutually exclusive.

I have always felt that imitation may be a sincere form of flattery but it is never the most creative. As a writer I want to create, not just mimic what someone else - even someone I respect a lot - has done.

Good for you. I wish you many unicorns and bunnies.

QuantumIguana
01-28-2012, 08:49 AM
I've never met a fan fiction reader or writer who thinks that fan fiction is as creative as as writing an original work. Perhaps such people exist, but I've never met one, nor do I expect to. However, it's not uncreative either.

Ctairo
01-28-2012, 09:00 AM
No leap. You're arguing that Brennan's HP fanbase helped her career. I am saying it did not; she went through an identical process to every other author.

Yes, leap. The process and the lagniappe are not mutually exclusive. Neither of us knows precisely why she was signed or how much her readership factored into the agent's decision to take her on or the publisher's willingness to publish her book. Had I said she was signed simply because she was a BNF, you could argue the I said she bypassed the process. Nowhere did I say she bypassed the process.

BTW, I thought we were discussing, not arguing.

Katrina S. Forest
01-28-2012, 09:07 AM
Why do you say "just mimic" someone else? Why can't people who happen to write fanfiction once in a while also create? It's up to the writer how much time fanfiction takes up. As I said, for me, it's a once-in-a-while thing, because I do have a lot of work to on my original stuff.

For others, fanfiction is their writing focus. And if someone's not interested enough in getting paid for original writing to make it a priority, then they're just not. And that's okay. Some people like writing but don't want to be professional authors. I don't want to be a professional artist. I still like drawing, original stuff and fanart alike.

Amadan
01-28-2012, 09:09 AM
Yes, leap. The process and the lagniappe are not mutually exclusive. Neither of us knows precisely why she was signed or how much her readership factored into the agent's decision to sign her or the publisher's willingness to publish her book. Had I said she was signed simply because she was a BNF, you could argue the I said she bypassed the process. Nowhere did I say she bypassed the process.

I know you're not saying she bypassed the process. You're saying her fan fiction readership gave her an advantage. I say there's no evidence of that.

I've seen two cases where BNFs go pro, or try to. The first is when the BNF gets signed on to a trade publisher. The second is when the BNF self-publishes. The latter never works -- BNF finds out that no matter how may thousands of adoring reviews s/he gets for her fan fiction, that only translates to a handful of sales.

The former case, to my knowledge, has never been impacted by the existence of the previous fanbase. Sure, many fans of Brennan and Clare's fan fiction end up buying their books, but I don't think there's any evidence that an agent or publisher has ever been swayed even a little by "I have lots of readers for my fan fic" - for good reason. And if every single one of their fan fiction fans bought their books, it wouldn't be enough to make it profitable. So being a BNF might give them a little bit of extra buzz when they're doing self-promotion, but it amounts to exactly nothing in terms of getting published in the first place.

Nissie
01-28-2012, 09:18 AM
My two cents.

I started out writing fanfiction when I was ten - not because I already had the intention back then of becoming an author when I got older, but because I knew I wanted to write, but did not have the patience or the confidence to dream up my own settings and characters and plots. My fandom was my failsafe. It was easier to write about characters that were already fully fleshed out, in a world I have already explored to my heart's content from constant re-readings and re-watchings.

I was only a year into it, but got out quickly enough. I wasn't satisfied with writing other characters. I knew mine were going to be hopelessly two-dimensional and boring and not as good as the ones in my fandom, but I found I was happier writing about them and exploring who they were developing into. Other friends I made who wrote fanfics did not share this view. They really just wanted to write because they love the fandom, in the same way people would draw fanart.

Writing someone else's characters and settings into your own story is easy-peasy. You know how the worldbuilding works, you know the characters. Coming up with something original is considerably harder. The one thing usually held against previous fanfic writers - turned - novelists is that they're accused of similarities between their fanfiction and their recent works, with the implication the latter might be a pastiche of the fandom work they've written. I'm not familiar enough with Sarah Rees' or Naomi Novik's fanfic work, but I do like Novik's Temeraire series and that she deserves to be published whether she wrote fanfics or not.

I'm not as happy regarding Cassandra Clare's works. Her Draco Trilogy fanfic was plagiarized from different fandoms outside of HP (passages lifted directly from the source material without citing references) and her fanfic was kicked out of fanfiction.net because of it, not because she had it removed. Her current series shows the same kind of writing attitude she had when writing fanfiction - thinly veiled references to pop culture and fandoms where she can't be legally sued because you can't hold a copyright on an idea, even if it's delivered in a similar way as the source.

(I apologize for all the Cassandra Clare fans out there, but this is just my opinion, and it's why a lot of her critics don't like her series. I was there when the whole Livejournal / fanfiction.net scandal came out, and.... she wasn't exactly what you'd call nice. I mention her here because she's the writer most people I know would cite when explaining why fanfic writers would make for horrible authors.)

As for the fanfic debate, I'd think:

If the original authors say they don't mind fanfictions, then respect their wishes.

If the original authors say they hate fanfictions, then respect their wishes, too.

If YOU are lucky enough to be an author one day with a great big fanbase but don't like fanfiction, then make sure to let your fans know this.

Ditto with being an author that encourages fanfiction.

I don't think anyone has the right to claim that fanfiction is bad on behalf of all the other authors out there if it has nothing to do with your own work.

I don't think anyone has the right to say all other authors should allow fanfiction on behalf of everyone else just because you would, either.

George R. R. Martin hates fanfiction, but he is still ridiculously popular so his views didn't hurt his work. H.P. Lovecraft willingly let other authors publish derivatives of his work for free, so it did help his reputation as an author. No one would have known about Cthulthu otherwise.

Some agents consider fanfiction a blogging platform. Some don't. Some fans buy an author's books because they've read their fanfics. Others don't.

To each author his own, yes? I'm just a little boggled right now that the current debate here is that the question of fanfiction should only be decided as a general basis for all, rather than allow for the specificity of each author's tastes.

Sirion
01-28-2012, 10:22 AM
When it's good, it's great.

When it's bad, it's terrible.

I've read some Fanfict that was so awful it almost made me hate the original.

Celia Cyanide
01-28-2012, 10:31 AM
I'm sorry if thinking that authors have a right to want to protect the work they have put time and effort into is "dickish" and means I should be "mocked".

No, I also think that authors have the right to say they don't want people writing fan fiction of their characters. You were the one saying that some of these authors who say that don't mind fan fiction probably do mind, but were worried that they would lose sales. The truth is, they probably won't lose any sales, but people they usually do get mocked. That's really the worst that's going to happen to them.

I'm also sorry if encouraging writers to pursue their own careers and put their time and effort into work they can be compensated for is "dickish".

We don't all have "careers." Not all of us can, not all of us want to.

KalenO
01-28-2012, 10:44 AM
I'm also sorry if encouraging writers to pursue their own careers and put their time and effort into work they can be compensated for is "dickish".

You can encourage all you want. What you can't do is look down your nose at writers who choose a different path than you.

Hiroko
01-28-2012, 10:57 AM
I used to write fanfiction when I was a lot younger, but a sort of progression happened: I stopped fanfiction and started writing novels. I guess the 'fics were "practice."

DancingMaenid
01-28-2012, 11:05 AM
I'm also sorry if encouraging writers to pursue their own careers and put their time and effort into work they can be compensated for is "dickish".

And I'm perfectly happy with my own writing goals. I don't need encouragement to do something that I don't care to do.

And I do receive compensation for my fanfic -- people read and enjoy it. That, to me, is great compensation.

I love fanfic. Sometimes my perfectionism can get in the way with writing, and fanfic is definitely invigorating at times to write something low-pressure. I've also learned a ton from it, and the best beta I've ever had was someone I met through fanfic.

But it's also a lot of fun for its own sake. I love my original stories and characters so much, and I get things from writing them that I can't get from fanfic or anything else, but there's also enjoyment in fanfic that I can't get elsewhere.

Though, ironically, lately writing my original fiction has been a bit more freeing in some ways. I've gotten to worrying about what people will think of my fanfic far too much at times, and I find that when you're actually involved in a fandom, what people think of your fanfic can impact your social standing more than the quality of your original fiction can affect how people treat you in a community such as this one, for example.

crunchyblanket
01-28-2012, 02:18 PM
You can encourage all you want. What you can't do is look down your nose at writers who choose a different path than you.

QFT.

Ctairo
01-28-2012, 09:16 PM
I know you're not saying she bypassed the process.

Glad we've cleared that up.
You're saying her fan fiction readership gave her an advantageI'm saying it MAY HAVE given her an advantage.

I say there's no evidence of that.Yes, you keep saying it. Repeating it doesn't make it true. But because we're playing I said so: I say there's no evidence it didn't.

I've seen two cases where BNFs go pro, or try to. The first is when the BNF gets signed on to a trade publisher. The second is when the BNF self-publishes. The latter never works -- BNF finds out that no matter how may thousands of adoring reviews s/he gets for her fan fiction, that only translates to a handful of sales.Not fiction, and not the examples I cited: Clare, Brennan, Novik. Also, note I didn't say it's an easy way, a sure way, a guarantee, a major plus plus. You're the one speaking in absolutes here. Remember that. See, this is what happens when you argue. You lose track of the actual words in favor of making the argument.

to my knowledge, has never been impacted by the existence of the previous fanbase. Sure, many fans of Brennan and Clare's fan fiction end up buying their books, but I don't think there's any evidence that an agent or publisher has ever been swayed even a little "I don't think" and "to [your] knowledge." By your own admission, because you are lacking information, you can't say with any amount of certainty, I am incorrect. Also, I'm unclear: why do you insist on casting my position as a place of absolute when I have taken pains to say it "may" or "another arrow"?

Oh, because you are ARGUING.

So being a BNF might give them a little bit of extra buzz when they're doing self-promotionYes, the media has proven love of late. Like it does for anything it can latch onto *coughMormonwhowritesvampirestoriescough*

but it amounts to exactly nothing in terms of getting published in the first place.Ah. Now, here I see you stating an absolute when you've already said you (paraphrasing) you "think" and "you don't know." If you are lacking information, how can you say--absolutely--it amounts to nothing in terms of getting published?

Again, we're on opposite sides of the fence; however, the judges gave me the extra point because they agree with the assertion some people may think being a BNF will benefit them. Thank you for citing examples, BTW.

And if you feel compelled to quote me to continue the argument (Discussion? I think not.), know a blanket, "Yah, sure, whatevs" with an eyeroll applies.

To the OP, apologies for hijacking your thread for foolishness.

kuwisdelu
01-28-2012, 11:12 PM
I don't think I said "anyone". I don't think I said "everyone".

I'm sorry if thinking that authors have a right to want to protect the work they have put time and effort into is "dickish" and means I should be "mocked".

"Protect" from what exactly? Who is fan fiction hurting?

*shrug*

I don't even write or even really read fanfic, but I still come away with a bad opinion of authors raving and ranting and angry about it. Now that is what strikes me as an uncreative waste of time.

jjdebenedictis
01-28-2012, 11:15 PM
Yes, you keep saying it. Repeating it doesn't make it true. But because we're playing I said so: I say there's no evidence it didn't.If you make a claim, the burden of proof is on you. Saying, "You can't prove it isn't true!" doesn't convince anyone of anything. It's a waste of your breath and your opponent's time.

Amadan supplied anecdotal evidence to support his claim. Because it's anecdotal, it's not wildly convincing, but if you want to change anyone's mind here, you need to supply evidence to support your own claim.

crunchyblanket
01-28-2012, 11:23 PM
"Protect" from what exactly? Who is fan fiction hurting?

Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Aggy B.
01-28-2012, 11:28 PM
You can encourage all you want. What you can't do is look down your nose at writers who choose a different path than you.

I'm not looking down my nose at any one. But writers who DO want careers are making poor choices if they think writing fan-fic is the best use of their time. Actually, no. I think I probably do look at writers who have no interest in a writing career differently than those who put time and effort into writing to make money. Just like the gardeners at the Biltmore house would look at me and my hobby-gardening skills differently than if I were maintaining a multi-million dollar historical estate. Because this isn't like amatuer and pro sports. This is a difference between people who do something they love but are not bound by any specific deadlines, standards of quality/length/content, or have any need to seek improvement of their skills, and those who must improve or starve, who must learn how to write on demand and within a set timeframe whether they feel like it or not, and who must compete with every other professional for the same slots in the same publications.

So, yes. If you aren't trying to write with the intention of publishing your work I do look at you differently whether you're writing fan-fic or original material. It doesn't mean I'm looking down my nose at you though. (If I were I would have used language like hack or moron. But I didn't, did I? Because I do believe you are writers. Even you choose a path I disagree with.)

And I didn't say authors who say they don't mind fan-fic probably do. I said that writers who don't say anything about fan-fic probably do but are afraid of the oh-so-potent mockery demonstrated in this thread.

To sum up, if you write for fun THAT'S AWESOME! I wish you all the fun you can handle. Seriously.

But if you don't have any intention of trying to publish what you write then don't try and compare what you do to what I do (which is write for fun AND profit) because it's not the same.

kuwisdelu
01-28-2012, 11:33 PM
Actually, no. I think I probably do look at writers who have no interest in a writing career differently than those who put time and effort into writing to make money. Just like the gardeners at the Biltmore house would look at me and my hobby-gardening skills differently than if I were maintaining a multi-million dollar historical estate. Because this isn't like amatuer and pro sports. This is a difference between people who do something they love but are not bound by any specific deadlines, standards of quality/length/content, or have any need to seek improvement of their skills, and those who must improve or starve, who must learn how to write on demand and within a set timeframe whether they feel like it or not, and who must compete with every other professional for the same slots in the same publications.

I'm curious now. What about those of us who write with the goal of publication but don't much care about profit?

Aggy B.
01-28-2012, 11:43 PM
I'm curious now. What about those of us who write with the goal of publication but don't much care about profit?

Well, profit is sort of the icing on the cake of publication. Regardless of the specifics of payment, getting published does mean you have to meet certain standards. (Unless, you know, you find that one particular mag that accepts poorly composed prose scribbled in green crayon on cocktail napkins.)

I should maybe have said compensation for the work produced. Because for some, just being published is compensation. (I like getting paid, too, but that's me. I have a kid to feed so I'm working with what I've got.)

crunchyblanket
01-28-2012, 11:53 PM
I'm curious now. What about those of us who write with the goal of publication but don't much care about profit?

There're also those of us who like to do both. Write with the goal of publication (but profit is just a bonus, not a prerequisite) and write fanfiction for the sheer hell of it. To use your gardening analogy, it's like aiming to landscape garden for a living, but maintaining a cute hobby garden at home on the side.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 12:26 AM
There're also those of us who like to do both. Write with the goal of publication (but profit is just a bonus, not a prerequisite) and write fanfiction for the sheer hell of it. To use your gardening analogy, it's like aiming to landscape garden for a living, but maintaining a cute hobby garden at home on the side.

Not important, but I didn't make the gardening analogy.

Celia Cyanide
01-29-2012, 12:36 AM
This is a difference between people who do something they love but are not bound by any specific deadlines, standards of quality/length/content, or have any need to seek improvement of their skills, and those who must improve or starve, who must learn how to write on demand and within a set timeframe whether they feel like it or not, and who must compete with every other professional for the same slots in the same publications.

Nobody "must improve or starve." If you can't make a living writing, you can always get another job.

Also, I disagree that anyone who writes simply because they love it does not "have any need to seek improvement of their skills." Ask anyone with any kind of hobby if they care if it's done well or not. Most do.

crunchyblanket
01-29-2012, 12:39 AM
Not important, but I didn't make the gardening analogy.

Apologies, you're quite right.

Aggy B.
01-29-2012, 12:42 AM
"Protect" from what exactly? Who is fan fiction hurting?


Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Someone earlier suggested that fan-fic is only illegal if you try and profit from it. So, let's talk about a few hypothetical situations.

A) Aspiring author writes Star Wars fan-fic and posts it on a personal blog. She builds up a following. Eventually she writes her own original novel and when she queries she mentions that she has a large following on her blog. This is a deciding factor in her receiving an offer of publication. (Remember, this is hypothetical for the sake of example and discussion. It is NOT anecdotal. I'm not pointing to any existing individuals.) Has she received money for her fan-fic? No. Has she profited from her fan-fic? Yes.

B) Aspiring author writes Person of Interest fan-fic and posts it on a blog. His following is small, but he gets steady hits on his blog. He puts up a "Donate Now" button on the blog to help cover the costs to maintain his internet/blog service. He only ever gets about $10 a month. Has he received money for his fan-fic? Yes. Has he profited from his fan-fic? No.

So, who's breaking the law? Are either of them? Maybe both? I will admit it is a grey area, but the potential for abuse (plaguarism with the identifying marks filed off, shall we say) is still there.

That's why books, screenplays, songs, paintings, etc are considered an "intellectual property". And there should be some discussion (at the very least) about why borrowing against someone else's property with the potential (if maybe not the intention) to profit from it is unethical.

That's what I mean by "protect" and why I do think it's necessary. Or recommended.

crunchyblanket
01-29-2012, 12:54 AM
That's why books, screenplays, songs, paintings, etc are considered an "intellectual property". And there should be some discussion (at the very least) about why borrowing against someone else's property with the potential (if maybe not the intention) to profit from it is unethical.

But the vast, vast majority of fanfic writers will never profit from it, either financially or by using it to help become a published author. They simply do it for fun. For those writers, who/what is their fanfiction hurting?

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 12:57 AM
Someone earlier suggested that fan-fic is only illegal if you try and profit from it. So, let's talk about a few hypothetical situations.

A) Aspiring author writes Star Wars fan-fic and posts it on a personal blog. She builds up a following. Eventually she writes her own original novel and when she queries she mentions that she has a large following on her blog. This is a deciding factor in her receiving an offer of publication. (Remember, this is hypothetical for the sake of example and discussion. It is NOT anecdotal. I'm not pointing to any existing individuals.) Has she received money for her fan-fic? No. Has she profited from her fan-fic? Yes.

B) Aspiring author writes Person of Interest fan-fic and posts it on a blog. His following is small, but he gets steady hits on his blog. He puts up a "Donate Now" button on the blog to help cover the costs to maintain his internet/blog service. He only ever gets about $10 a month. Has he received money for his fan-fic? Yes. Has he profited from his fan-fic? No.

So, who's breaking the law? Are either of them? Maybe both? I will admit it is a grey area, but the potential for abuse (plaguarism with the identifying marks filed off, shall we say) is still there.

That's why books, screenplays, songs, paintings, etc are considered an "intellectual property". And there should be some discussion (at the very least) about why borrowing against someone else's property with the potential (if maybe not the intention) to profit from it is unethical.

That's what I mean by "protect" and why I do think it's necessary. Or recommended.

Frankly, I don't see how either of those situations hurt the original author or why it should bother them so much.

Personally, I don't think it's unethical to make revenue or benefit from fanfic anyway.

It's how tons of mangaka got started.

ETA: But then, I'm also a big believer in the Death of the Author, so I don't quite buy the "intellectual property" argument. When it comes to creative endeavors, I'm not convinced that the original creator should have absolute control over what other artists do with their characters, settings, worlds, etc. From my point of view, just because you were the first person to write about a character doesn't make that character "yours."

KalenO
01-29-2012, 01:03 AM
Not to mention, I can't help but notice that Aggy completely ignored my point of how not all PROFESSIONAL writing is limited to novels, and how fanfic is actually excellent practice for writing spec episodes on one's journey to being a staffed, paid TV writer.

bearilou
01-29-2012, 01:05 AM
And there should be some discussion (at the very least) about why borrowing against someone else's property with the potential (if maybe not the intention) to profit from it is unethical.

Agreed. And here's something that's important.

Fanfic writers already know this. They discuss this all the time. It's not something that all fanfic writers everywhere are blithely ignoring. It's a big deal in fandoms. It's an interesting phenomenon to watch fanfic writers pile on the rare, errant fanfic writer who stupidly tries to profit from their fanfiction. The pile on can get ugly but it is swift. Not from the actual authors of the source...but from the fandom itself - the fanfic writers who know not to try to profit from it.

Are there those who will continue to try? Sure. But it's not the entirety of fanfic writers. Just like there are authors who plagiarize, authors who have meltdowns at reviewers, authors who act like warblenozzles, just like there are bad/clueless/stubborn people everywhere.

All fanfic writers everywhere don't write with happy abandon in the hopes they will some day make it big off their fanfiction. The reasons they write fanfiction are just as varied as the reasons why any writer writes original fiction.

At least that's how it was when I was involved in fandoms.

Celia Cyanide
01-29-2012, 01:12 AM
A) Aspiring author writes Star Wars fan-fic and posts it on a personal blog. She builds up a following. Eventually she writes her own original novel and when she queries she mentions that she has a large following on her blog. This is a deciding factor in her receiving an offer of publication. (Remember, this is hypothetical for the sake of example and discussion. It is NOT anecdotal. I'm not pointing to any existing individuals.) Has she received money for her fan-fic? No. Has she profited from her fan-fic? Yes.

But you don't seem to think this is going to happen, do you? Wasn't that why you said you were opposed to fanfic in the first place? Because it will not benefit a writer's career?

Amadan
01-29-2012, 01:28 AM
yes, you keep saying it. Repeating it doesn't make it true. But because we're playing I said so: I say there's no evidence it didn't.

The way it works is, a proposition requires evidence, not for everyone who doubts it to provide evidence that it's not true.

Celia Cyanide
01-29-2012, 01:35 AM
Just a few more things to add...The fanfic I read/write is in comic book fandom, which is constantly being rewritten and retconned, by various people, none of whom are the creator. Sometimes, they make it better, sometimes, they make it worse. Just to piggyback off of this post:

It isn't that the writer "didn't do it my way" - it's that they took lead characters in a direction that basically destroyed them. Made them do things grossly out of character with no reasonable explanation why, ignored previous continuity they set up, etc. This wasn't about a difference of opinion - this is about the particular writer turning their creation into work that an entire fandom was disgusted by. It was like the characters were still those characters in name only. So that writer now has no respect from their fandom.

So the fandom has continued on with the characters they fell in love with in stories that are still faithful to what they used to be.

Consider this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_star_batman_and_robin_the_boy_wonder


In the series to date, Batman is consistently violent and cruel, excited by his own sadism towards criminals, musing over the injuries he has inflicted. His abuse extends even towards innocents: he verbally and physically abuses Dick Grayson in an attempt to prevent him from grieving over his parents' deaths, even slapping the boy in the face...At the Batcave, he withholds food from Grayson and suggests that the boy catch rats and eat them if he is hungry.

[snip]

Comics journalist Cliff Biggers (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Cliff_Biggers), in Comic Shop News (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Comic_Shop_News) #1064 (November 7, 2007), called the series "one of the biggest train wrecks in comics history", expressing amazement at how he feels Frank Miller disregarded every aspect of Batman's character in order to tell "a Sin City (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Sin_City) story in bat-garb."

[snip]

Iann Robinson (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Iann_Robinson), writing for Crave Online, wrote an essay critical of All Star Batman and Robin, calling it "a comic series that just spirals deeper and deeper into the abyss of unreadable. I understand Miller's need to re-invent, but this is just badly done and in poor taste." Robinson commented that "the art by Jim Lee is first rate [and] really wonderful to look at, [but] Frank Miller has stripped Batman of all of his dignity, class, and honor. This isn't the Dark Knight; this is Dirty Harry (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Dirty_Harry) in a cowl. The worst part is that this is exactly what Batman isn't about."


Imagine, someone writing this about a character you love and respect, since childhood, even. And this had been published as an official story.

Also, I wanted to link to my old thread on fanfic, because many good points were made there:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=185456

Amadan
01-29-2012, 01:44 AM
But if you don't have any intention of trying to publish what you write then don't try and compare what you do to what I do (which is write for fun AND profit) because it's not the same.

And what about those of us who do both?

Lots of professional artists work on "fun" pieces in their spare time that they know will never sell.

Professional musicians play and sing in private, sometimes using music they would never perform professionally.

There is no bright shining line between being a Serious Writer with Serious Career Goals and being a writer who also likes to indulge in non-publishable funstuff.

A) Aspiring author writes Star Wars fan-fic and posts it on a personal blog. She builds up a following. Eventually she writes her own original novel and when she queries she mentions that she has a large following on her blog. This is a deciding factor in her receiving an offer of publication. (Remember, this is hypothetical for the sake of example and discussion. It is NOT anecdotal. I'm not pointing to any existing individuals.) Has she received money for her fan-fic? No. Has she profited from her fan-fic? Yes.

Let's say that's true -- so what? That's not the sort of "damage" or infringement or profit that IP law protects against.

B) Aspiring author writes Person of Interest fan-fic and posts it on a blog. His following is small, but he gets steady hits on his blog. He puts up a "Donate Now" button on the blog to help cover the costs to maintain his internet/blog service. He only ever gets about $10 a month. Has he received money for his fan-fic? Yes. Has he profited from his fan-fic? No.

Legally, this would be more likely to possibly get the author in trouble. Several fan fiction sites allow members to donate, buy through Amazon affiliate links, etc. This is probably of dubious legality as well.

Aggy B.
01-29-2012, 01:47 AM
Not to mention, I can't help but notice that Aggy completely ignored my point of how not all PROFESSIONAL writing is limited to novels, and how fanfic is actually excellent practice for writing spec episodes on one's journey to being a staffed, paid TV writer.

Just overlooked. You were in the midst of a big jumble of long posts. Since I write scripts too I'd have to say I don't think spec scripts are much like fan fic. But that's my opinion. You know, unless I missed that fan-fic memo that said "All fic for Harry Potter must be X number of pages long, contain three commercial breaks and five acts the first of which is three pages, the second of which is seven pages, the third of which is five pages..."

The biggest challenge to writing ANY moving image script (feature, TV, short) is fitting the story to the structure. (Writing fiction is easier in that respect. If an idea gets too long you just write a novel instead of a novella. If the idea dies after the first chapter, you can probably turn it into a short story.)

Maybe people write actual fan-scripts, I haven't read any. That might be applicable. But fan-fic and spec-scripts are different beasts.

Aggy B.
01-29-2012, 01:51 AM
But you don't seem to think this is going to happen, do you? Wasn't that why you said you were opposed to fanfic in the first place? Because it will not benefit a writer's career?

No. I said I think it is less beneficial than writing original fiction. Because it tends to let writers stall in their skills and puts them in a mindset that their work should be given away.

I recognize the argument that any writing is better than no writing when it comes to developing skills. But I think some writing has a very narrow benefit window.

I brought up the point about fan following eventually translating into original book sales because other's seemed to think it was a valid reason to write fan-fic. And I think that's part of the "infringement" issue.

KalenO
01-29-2012, 02:01 AM
Just overlooked. You were in the midst of a big jumble of long posts. Since I write scripts too I'd have to say I don't think spec scripts are much like fan fic. But that's my opinion. You know, unless I missed that fan-fic memo that said "All fic for Harry Potter must be X number of pages long, contain three commercial breaks and five acts the first of which is three pages, the second of which is seven pages, the third of which is five pages..."

Nope, you didn't miss that memo. But apparently you missed the one that not all fanfic is required to be in the same form, ie prose. Fanfiction simply means fiction by a fan. The fact that prose fanfic is what first comes to mind doesn't make it the sole form of it anymore than novels and short stories are the sole form of fiction. Comicbooks, screenplays, plays, all fiction.

Not to mention its not a 1 to 1 comparison anyway. The skills I attributed as being necessary to develop to write spec scripts can be learned via prose fanfic or script format fanfic, especially if you're used to writing in both formats anyway for original work. Again, its about characterizing other peoples' characters, staying true to their voices, etc. If I write a spec script in order to get staffed, and its of a show that I'm a fan of, and its never bought off me, that is quite literally fan fiction.

My point is you're talking a lot of hypothetical yourself, as well as a lot of absolutes. And it just doesn't work like that. There will always be situations where fanfic is helpful to a writer. That you don't see that personally is fine, and not applicable. Writing is not one size fits all. Please stop trying to make the rest of us fit into your pants. Kthx.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-29-2012, 02:08 AM
Aggy B: I don't really see "not that beneficial" as a particularly strong argument against fanfiction writing. And although it can be beneficial--and has been, hugely, for me, although I don't write it anymore--you seem to be missing the point of why people read/write this stuff to begin with. It is fun. The motivation behind it is more akin to playing Dungeons & Dragons, or having weekend-long movie marathons, or dressing up like a Storm Trooper at some convention.

When writers want to improve their skills in such a way as to actually build a career, I'm pretty sure we all know fanfic-writing is not the place to turn to make that happen. It's a respite from the parts of writing that are hard work.

Ctairo
01-29-2012, 02:12 AM
If you make a claim, the burden of proof is on you. Saying, "You can't prove it isn't true!" doesn't convince anyone of anything. It's a waste of your breath and your opponent's time.

Amadan supplied anecdotal evidence to support his claim. Because it's anecdotal, it's not wildly convincing, but if you want to change anyone's mind here, you need to supply evidence to support your own claim.
JJ, in terms of (formal) debate, yes. In the world, not so much. I see no podiums here. And I didn't realize I had an opponent.

Also, because I'm feeling generous... HOW HARRY POTTER FANFIC MAY HAVE CREATED THE NEXT HARRY POTTER:

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2007/09/how-harry-potter-fanfic-may-have.html

I believe Colleen Lindsay was an agent at the time. Note the mention of fanfic and the use of the phrase "Holy Shit." The post also has a link to a Washington Post article on fanfic. Brennan figures prominently.

From agent's submission letter to editors:

"The author, Sarah Rees Brennan... has developed a wide audience through her popular blog, http://mistful.livejournal.com/, where she writes movie parodies, book reviews and some stories, and has around four thousand registered readers (she was also recently interviewed about her blog in The Washington Post)."

From The Washington Post piece linked in Lindsay's blog post:

"Several Big Name Fans have used their Potter popularity to secure book deals for their own fiction."

Given we're talking five years ago, and since fanfiction was once a dirty little secret, I'm surprised these are still online. But there you are. And now, I'm guilty of wasting my own time.

Aggy B.
01-29-2012, 03:03 AM
I can't say I've ever written a story with the thought "This will make me rich and famous." I write because I enjoy it and it is fun.

But after I have a finished story I figure "Why not try and sell this?" Not everything makes me money. I've had a dozen or so Twitter stories published but only three made money for me. But I always start with the markets that pay. Because I value my work.

When the novel gets tedious, I write a short story. When editing gets mind-numbing, I write something else. It's been years since I've even considered writing in someone elses pants in order to do something "fun". But everyone is different.

I hardly expect people to turn around and say "Oh, my. She's right. I'll never write fan-fic again." That would be stupid. I don't expect you to write like I do. I don't expect you to go after publication (or whatever writing goals you have) like I do.

You aren't me.

I do find it interesting that when I say "I don't like fan-fic and here's why." the response is "You can't make me the same kind of writer you are." There are a lot of things I don't like. Peas. Reality TV. Gross out comedies. Jocks. Spiders. But some people do. Just because I think dating a spider is a waste of time, doesn't mean you can't. Unless, it is illegal.

Right now, fan-fic isn't illegal. So you can write it to your hearts content. But I don't have to like it or applaud your efforts. (Just like you don't have to like what I do or applaud me for my work.)

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 03:05 AM
I do find it interesting that when I say "I don't like fan-fic and here's why." the response is "You can't make me the same kind of writer you are." There are a lot of things I don't like. Peas. Reality TV. Gross out comedies. Jocks. Spiders. But some people do. Just because I think dating a spider is a waste of time, doesn't mean you can't. Unless, it is illegal.

Right now, fan-fic isn't illegal. So you can write it to your hearts content. But I don't have to like it or applaud your efforts. (Just like you don't have to like what I do or applaud me for my work.)

I don't think anyone took exception to anyone else not liking fanfic.

They took exception to being told it was wrong or bad or unethical.

KalenO
01-29-2012, 03:07 AM
I don't think anyone took exception to anyone else not liking fanfic.

They took exception to being told it was wrong or bad or unethical.

Actually I think most of us took exception to being told it was essentially a waste of time. Which is a back-handed way of saying everyone should be the same kind of writer as me, and prioritize accordingly.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 03:08 AM
Actually I think most of us took exception to being told it was essentially a waste of time. Which is a back-handed way of saying everyone should be the same kind of writer as me, and prioritize accordingly.

I took that to fall under the "bad" umbrella, the implication being that it's "bad" for you because you are "wasting your time."

Aggy B.
01-29-2012, 03:09 AM
I don't think anyone took exception to anyone else not liking fanfic.

They took exception to being told it was wrong or bad or unethical.

I can see that. But it's kind of hard to say "I feel that writing with someone else's characters and world is stealing" without implying "wrong/bad/unethical". And I've never been in the "I just won't say anything" camp.

I offered an opinion based on personal experience. Much like the opinions supporting fan-fic were offered. That's all.

bearilou
01-29-2012, 03:10 AM
I do find it interesting that when I say "I don't like fan-fic and here's why." the response is "You can't make me the same kind of writer you are." There are a lot of things I don't like. Peas. Reality TV. Gross out comedies. Jocks. Spiders. But some people do. Just because I think dating a spider is a waste of time, doesn't mean you can't. Unless, it is illegal.

Also, to piggy back on kuwisdelu, the implication that all fanfic writers write for the same nefarious reasons is a bit tiresome as well.

Like it, don't like it. But like all writers are not the same, not all fanfic writers are motivated by the same reasoning for why they do what they do.

randi.lee
01-29-2012, 03:11 AM
Fan fic writing is my reprieve whenever my WIP becomes too frustrating to continue on with. From Harry Potter to Bleach to Inuyasha, I've dabbled in a lot. I'm definitely addicted to it... purely for the fun/pleasure it brings.

Dr.Gonzo
01-29-2012, 03:14 AM
I don't think any writing is a waste of time. I think everything we write sharpens some--not all--of our tools.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 03:14 AM
I can see that. But it's kind of hard to say "I feel that writing with someone else's characters and world is stealing" without implying "wrong/bad/unethical". And I've never been in the "I just won't say anything" camp.

I offered an opinion based on personal experience. Much like the opinions supporting fan-fic were offered. That's all.

I was just pointing out that people were debating based on that opinion, not based on your just not liking it.

Fanfic isn't my cup of tea either, but I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

Amadan
01-29-2012, 03:43 AM
I can see that. But it's kind of hard to say "I feel that writing with someone else's characters and world is stealing" without implying "wrong/bad/unethical". And I've never been in the "I just won't say anything" camp.

I offered an opinion based on personal experience. Much like the opinions supporting fan-fic were offered. That's all.

Well, you are entitled to that opinion (though how "personal experience" would convince you that fan fiction is stealing, I don't know), but since you've admitted that you are telling people who write fan fiction that they are wrong/bad/unethical, you really shouldn't be surprised or indignant that they don't respond positively. Or that telling your own fans that they are wrong/bad/unethical if they write fan fiction might not reflect well on you.

Dr.Gonzo
01-29-2012, 03:50 AM
I'm wondering where the line is. People write James Bond novels still. Screenwriters--say like James Cameron, writing sequels like Aliens and Rambo II... he even wrote a Spider-Man script. I'm just thinking aloud, but I wouldn't say Cameron writes fanfic. Do we class Christopher Nolan as a man who writes fanfic because of the Batman films? Or are screenplays not included? I'm not pointing a finger here, just wondering if there's a line you cross where fanfic isn't what you're doing.

bearilou
01-29-2012, 04:04 AM
I'm wondering where the line is. People write James Bond novels still. Screenwriters--say like James Cameron, writing sequels like Aliens and Rambo II... he even wrote a Spider-Man script. I'm just thinking aloud, but I wouldn't say Cameron writes fanfic. Do we class Christopher Nolan as a man who writes fanfic because of the Batman films? Or are screenplays not included? I'm not pointing a finger here, just wondering if there's a line you cross where fanfic isn't what you're doing.

Media tie ins? I think a license and some sort of monetary agreement between the two parties for work done is a key thing.

Not as current on this as I'd like to be.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 04:05 AM
It stops being fanfic when it becomes canon.

Dr.Gonzo
01-29-2012, 04:06 AM
Media tie ins? I think a license and some sort of monetary agreement between the two parties for work done is a key thing.

Not as current on this as I'd like to be.

I'm wondering if it's always in that order. But I see your point.

Ctairo
01-29-2012, 04:27 AM
I'm wondering where the line is. People write James Bond novels still. Screenwriters--say like James Cameron, writing sequels like Aliens and Rambo II... he even wrote a Spider-Man script. I'm just thinking aloud, but I wouldn't say Cameron writes fanfic. Do we class Christopher Nolan as a man who writes fanfic because of the Batman films? Or are screenplays not included? I'm not pointing a finger here, just wondering if there's a line you cross where fanfic isn't what you're doing.
If the rights' owner sanctions work for pay, it's not fanfic. Not in this context.

It stops being fanfic when it becomes canon.

Agree.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 04:28 AM
Are we talking, like, legally, or philosophically?

Because it seems to me it's as simple as whether its canonical or not.

Sheryl Nantus
01-29-2012, 04:31 AM
Okay, here's my take.

I started writing X-Files fanfiction years ago. I wrote more than 200 stories and novels in the XF universe until I got married (to a man who wrote me a fan letter) and went to my original fiction.

I have *no* regrets about the hours spent on fanfiction. I learnt how to write and wrote thousands of words developing my skills. I now look back on those stories and wince - but have no qualms about saying I did and sometimes still do write fanfiction.

For me it helped develop my writing muscles to the point that I can say I'm a professional writer. For others, YMMV.

But I'll never say a bad word against fanfic writers. Ever.

;)

DancingMaenid
01-29-2012, 04:39 AM
This is a difference between people who do something they love but are not bound by any specific deadlines, standards of quality/length/content, or have any need to seek improvement of their skills, and those who must improve or starve, who must learn how to write on demand and within a set timeframe whether they feel like it or not, and who must compete with every other professional for the same slots in the same publications.

I don't blame you for seeing a difference between professional and "hobby" writers, especially since you're not looking down on those of us who don't consider ourselves professionals.

But I do kind of question your criteria here. I don't write fiction for money, and I don't submit stuff for publication much, but I'm often bound by deadlines (I love contests and things like writing prompt challenges) and I feel a huge need to improve my skills. I don't need to write professionally to want to be a great writer. If anything, I feel a greater need to perfect the writing I do just for fun than the little writing I've done for money.

Writing is a craft where there are a lot of paths leading to the same goal. Maybe for you, writing professionally motivates you to improve as a writer. But I also want to improve as a writer, perhaps for different reasons, perhaps for reasons that you also share. These goals and efforts aren't exclusive to one "class" of writer.

Celia Cyanide
01-29-2012, 07:19 AM
I do find it interesting that when I say "I don't like fan-fic and here's why." the response is "You can't make me the same kind of writer you are."

Personally, what I was responding to was your idea of what other writers should and should not be doing, and what you "encourage" them to do.

Celia Cyanide
01-29-2012, 07:23 AM
It stops being fanfic when it becomes canon.

Hmmm....There are certain Batman and DC comics stories called "Elseworlds." For example, there is a graphic novel called Gotham By Gaslight, in which Batman chases down Jack The Ripper, which he obviously never did. These stories are not canon, but I wouldn't call them fanfic, either.

There is so much grey area when you get into fandoms that are that big and run for that long.

kuwisdelu
01-29-2012, 07:56 AM
Hmmm....There are certain Batman and DC comics stories called "Elseworlds." For example, there is a graphic novel called Gotham By Gaslight, in which Batman chases down Jack The Ripper, which he obviously never did. These stories are not canon, but I wouldn't call them fanfic, either.

There is so much grey area when you get into fandoms that are that big and run for that long.

Good point. I'm not sure what I'd call AU stuff. Kinda parallel canonical?

Hmm...

Actually, I think I'd still call stuff that's non-canon "fan fiction" even if it's "blessed" or written by the original author.

Who says the official or original writers can't write fan fiction?

Kriven
01-29-2012, 08:34 AM
I would say that AU material is still canon, as it would be canon in regards to the multiverse. (In this specific case, DC.)

jjdebenedictis
01-29-2012, 09:37 AM
JJ, in terms of (formal) debate, yes. In the world, not so much. I see no podiums here. And I didn't realize I had an opponent.But haven't you tweaked Amadan for "arguing" instead of "discussing"? That implies you think that he's acting like an opponent.

And yes, this applies to the real world. You are not convincing me of anything because your argument isn't very strong. This is a real effect.

Ctairo
01-29-2012, 09:55 AM
But haven't you tweaked Amadan for "arguing" instead of "discussing"? That implies you think that he's acting like an opponent.

Or implies I found his approach confusing and unnecessary, and I didn't read the situation in the same way.

And yes, this applies to the real world. You are not convincing me of anything because your argument isn't very strong. This is a real effect.This is not the real world. In daily life, debate rules do not carry over. People believe what they wish to, regardless of the evidence or sources. But thank you for the information. You've no doubt noticed I've bolstered my position via the links, but understand I won't take the time to do that going forward. Life is too short.

K. Taylor
01-29-2012, 04:11 PM
Sheryl, awwww. One of my best friends met her hubby through fanfic. They lived in different countries!



Part of the "fanfic writer might affect the original author or profit somehow off the work" thing seems to be off an assumption fanfic is generally posted on a person's blog where they might use ads or such.

In my experience, it's not, at least not on a site like Wordpress or Blogger. Some post on Livejournal, but more fanfic goes into Livejournal communities than personal LJs, and no one's profiting off LJ but LJ itself.

There's also an assumption fanfic writers tell the fandom their real names. That hardly ever happens publicly, in my experience. Many people don't even have the same fanfic author name as their online fandom handle!

If other fandoms are like my fandoms, fanfic is hosted on archive sites that everyone mutually participates on. These are maintained either at the entire expense of one fan, or the owner asking for once-a-year donations - and those that need donations tell people to stop when the hosting fee is reached. The owners of archive sites are very careful about being above board because they love and care about the fandom and don't want to be shut down because someone stepped on someone's toes.

Only multi-fandom archive I know is FF.net and its sister sites. They list the authors who have specific clauses about fanfic being not allowed (for whatever the reason) and they remove it if they see those worlds/characters used.

Like someone else mentioned, the majority of fandom does not want one bad egg to screw it up for the rest of us.

K. Taylor
01-29-2012, 04:14 PM
Consider this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_star_batman_and_robin_the_boy_wonder

Imagine, someone writing this about a character you love and respect, since childhood, even. And this had been published as an official story.

I now need brain bleach. Long live '90s-cartoon-Batman!

jjdebenedictis
01-29-2012, 08:56 PM
Or implies I found his approach confusing and unnecessary, and I didn't read the situation in the same way.

This is not the real world. In daily life, debate rules do not carry over. People believe what they wish to, regardless of the evidence or sources. But thank you for the information. You've no doubt noticed I've bolstered my position via the links, but understand I won't take the time to do that going forward. Life is too short.Your reflexive defensiveness doesn't convince me either.

And when I say the burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, this is not a matter of debate rules. It's how scientists judge new hypotheses, and it carries over just fine to the "real world" as a criteria for critical thinking.

And yes, this is the real world. The fact you're on the other side a computer screen does not mean that either you or me is imaginary.

If you're claiming this is not the real world, then please supply some evidence to convince me of that.

KalenO
01-30-2012, 12:20 AM
Silly jjdebenedictis. Didn't you know?

This is the Matrix.

jjdebenedictis
01-30-2012, 12:32 AM
Silly jjdebenedictis. Didn't you know?

This is the Matrix.I'll believe it when you zipper my mouth shut with your mind. ;)

KalenO
01-30-2012, 01:02 AM
I'll believe it when you zipper my mouth shut with your mind. ;)

*focuses mental powers*

the_Unknown
01-30-2012, 02:02 AM
Mythology and history is all one big fanfic and everyone uses and abuses it.

The reason you don't do fanfics is because of copyright law. Without modern copyright revisions we would be free to fanfic Mickey Mouse and Star Wars already.

If copyright law continues to get out of control we won't be able to write about historical things like Thor thanks to Disney owning Marvel and claiming they have regional ownership (ridiculous but true).

Aggy B.
01-30-2012, 02:52 AM
Mythology and history is all one big fanfic and everyone uses and abuses it.

The reason you don't do fanfics is because of copyright law. Without modern copyright revisions we would be free to fanfic Mickey Mouse and Star Wars already.

If copyright law continues to get out of control we won't be able to write about historical things like Thor thanks to Disney owning Marvel and claiming they have regional ownership (ridiculous but true).

The whole point of copyright law is to protect an author's work during their lifetime. Once one is dead it's hard to care whether someone is using one's characters and world.

I won't argue with the fact that copyright law needs to be updated and something like the creative commons license should be implemented for written work (screenplays, books, etc) so that those who want to encourage duplication and alteration of their work can. Or perhaps there just needs to a literary version of BMI so that people can buy the right to use a character or a world but they pay a fee for every time they do. (Someone mentioned cover bands earlier. They pay for the right to play someone elses songs.)

But until copyright law is changed (whether it goes better or worse for all of us) fan-fic is copyright infringement. (Which is why one can't post fan-fic in AW's SYW boards.)

Ralyks
01-30-2012, 02:58 AM
Well, two of my novels could qualify as "fanfic"; it just so happens that the story on which they are based is in the public domain, and therefore they can be (and have been) published. Both of these novels are sequels to the same pre-existent work, but in both I also create one new character who becomes a central character in the sequel. Both have earned me publication and money (advances and royalties). So as a writer, fanfiction has profited me. But as for how fanfiction invigorates my own wholly original writing, well, it does so in two ways. (1) I find it to be good practice. The more I write (in terms of sheer quantity), the better I become at writing. Fanfic is fun to write, and so it's easy to be prolific; by being prolific, I get a lot of practice, and I become a better writer in general. (2) Writing fanfic gives me lines, and sometimes entire passages, I can use in my original works.

Amadan
01-30-2012, 03:11 AM
But until copyright law is changed (whether it goes better or worse for all of us) fan-fic is copyright infringement. (Which is why one can't post fan-fic in AW's SYW boards.)


Actually, you can't post fan fiction on AW because it's against AW's policy (which I have no problem with). There are, however, numerous other writing boards where fan fiction is allowed. So your assertion that it can't be posted because it's inherently illegal remains unattested to in the real world. That AW doesn't want to delve into those murky gray legal waters is perfectly reasonable, but not legal evidence to support your case.

Aggy B.
01-30-2012, 03:11 AM
Personally, what I was responding to was your idea of what other writers should and should not be doing, and what you "encourage" them to do.

Uh-huh. Because no one on this board ever encourages any one else to try a certain thing over another thing in order to improve their skills.

Original fiction is more difficult. I encourage people to write their own stories, just because the skills you develop writing original fiction will benefit you more. (World-building is an essential skill as a writer. If one isn't good at it ones stories will suck. Period. Even if you're writing contempary/main-stream.)

I did just realize I had forgotten to mention that "shared world" stuff doesn't bother me. Because in that case the characters are original and permission from the original creator has been given to play in their world. Which is where a big chunk of fan-fic takes place. And most of the shared worlds are franchises that don't care (like Star Wars) because they've already made billions of dollars from their work.

Amadan
01-30-2012, 03:18 AM
Original fiction is more difficult. I encourage people to write their own stories, just because the skills you develop writing original fiction will benefit you more. (World-building is an essential skill as a writer. If one isn't good at it ones stories will suck. Period. Even if you're writing contempary/main-stream.)

I did just realize I had forgotten to mention that "shared world" stuff doesn't bother me. Because in that case the characters are original and permission from the original creator has been given to play in their world. Which is where a big chunk of fan-fic takes place. And most of the shared worlds are franchises that don't care (like Star Wars) because they've already made billions of dollars from their work.

So which is it? Fan fiction is bad because it doesn't teach you writing skills like original fiction does, or fan fiction is bad because the copyright holders haven't given their permission? It seems to me you're saying shared world/licensed fiction is okay because it's legal, but any argument regarding the inherently inferior nature of writing in someone else's world would still apply.

Aggy B.
01-30-2012, 03:30 AM
So which is it? Fan fiction is bad because it doesn't teach you writing skills like original fiction does, or fan fiction is bad because the copyright holders haven't given their permission? It seems to me you're saying shared world/licensed fiction is okay because it's legal, but any argument regarding the inherently inferior nature of writing in someone else's world would still apply.

Yes. It would. But not everyone has the same goals as I do so they may or may not care about sharpening their writing skills. And I don't have any problem with that. I wouldn't recommend it to someone if they asked me my advice, but I don't care if they want to write stories set in the Star Wars universe 'til the day they die.

And just because fan-fic/copyright infrigement is a grey area doesn't mean you can just assume what you're doing ISN'T illegal. It just means no one's been able to figure out where the "this is mine and that is yours" line lies in the creative world.

I still find the whole "you'll be perceived badly" attitude confusing. If a dozen authors encourage fans to steal their books (actually stealing them from the store, not "stealing" via fan-fic) and I don't that shouldn't put me in a bad light. Objecting to fan-fic shouldn't either.

Amadan
01-30-2012, 03:37 AM
And just because fan-fic/copyright infrigement is a grey area doesn't mean you can just assume what you're doing ISN'T illegal. It just means no one's been able to figure out where the "this is mine and that is yours" line lies in the creative world.

I don't assume it's illegal, I don't assume it's legal. I assume it's harmless and there's no reason not to do it if one feels like it.

I still find the whole "you'll be perceived badly" attitude confusing. If a dozen authors encourage fans to steal their books (actually stealing them from the store, not "stealing" via fan-fic) and I don't that shouldn't put me in a bad light. Objecting to fan-fic shouldn't either.If a dozen authors encourage fans to kill and eat their own children and I don't, then that shouldn't put me in a bad light. Therefore, if I object to fans wearing green shirts while reading my books, that shouldn't either.

the_Unknown
01-30-2012, 03:44 AM
The whole point of copyright law is to protect an author's work during their lifetime. Once one is dead it's hard to care whether someone is using one's characters and world.

I won't argue with the fact that copyright law needs to be updated and something like the creative commons license should be implemented for written work (screenplays, books, etc) so that those who want to encourage duplication and alteration of their work can. Or perhaps there just needs to a literary version of BMI so that people can buy the right to use a character or a world but they pay a fee for every time they do. (Someone mentioned cover bands earlier. They pay for the right to play someone elses songs.)

But until copyright law is changed (whether it goes better or worse for all of us) fan-fic is copyright infringement. (Which is why one can't post fan-fic in AW's SYW boards.)

Most of what you're saying is common-sense mixed with copyright rhetoric, which varies from region to region. I never said anything about posting or trying to sell fanfic.

The whole point of copyright protection is to enhance corporate ownership and control. Corporations are an amorphous and seemingly eternal entity that does nothing but act as a shell organization for investors to project regional power.

Theoretically individuals have rights but in most cases they are only significantly enforceable through sizable funds, social standing, and the ability to acquire skilled law professionals.

As writers we are all basically retelling the same stories over and over with minor changes. The difference lies solely in the execution--or the painter's brushstrokes so to say. Still significant and much work, yes. But copyrightable? Well you have automatic 'protection' and applied for 'protections' but is it really 'protected'? It's not difficult to find characters in the same situation but with different names (sometimes very close).

We produce, corporations acquire, but at the end of the day the markets decide. DRM--the closest thing to physical 'protection' for copyright law--does not create best-selling authors.

The goal in writing fiction is to become 'Big Name' because 'Big Name' sells. Hell if you become 'Bigger Name' people will pay you just to hear you speak or be in your presence.

The point is if fanfic gets you to write then write it. Then when you're done just go in and change ALL (most if not every) of the names and descriptions, flip some genders, etc.

Bingo you have something 'fresh' and 'new'.

I personally don't do this and wouldn't encourage someone who can't write, but you can do whatever you want with your rough drafts. Professional artists work with copyright photos and art all the time (though this is discouraged some). What matters is if you have the skill to make the final product stand on its own.

kuwisdelu
01-30-2012, 04:09 AM
I don't assume it's illegal, I don't assume it's legal. I assume it's harmless and there's no reason not to do it if one feels like it.

Yeah, basically. I'm still not convinced its illegal, but even if it is, that doesn't make it wrong or unethical. I just don't see how fan fiction harms anyone.

the_Unknown
01-30-2012, 04:20 AM
Yeah, basically. I'm still not convinced its illegal, but even if it is, that doesn't make it wrong or unethical. I just don't see how fan fiction harms anyone.

Authors claim it harms them because people are going to buy/read fanfics instead of their books.

I think if that's the case the author is not bringing enough to the table. There really is a danger if the author slacks off and just puts out pagefillers and if it were legal to sell fanfics.

Other professional authors would then 'fanfic' their work and steal their readers because they could do a better job with the world or produce them more timely instead of taking years off or dying before the series is finished.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-30-2012, 04:25 AM
Authors claim it harms them because people are going to buy/read fanfics instead of their books.

I think if that's the case the author is not bringing enough to the table. There really is a danger if the author slacks off and just puts out pagefillers and if it were legal to sell fanfics.

Other professional authors would then 'fanfic' their work and steal their readers because they could do a better job with the world or produce them more timely instead of taking years off or dying before the series is finished.

Which authors? I know some are out there who vigorously oppose fanfiction, but most of the ones I've spoken to personally--both here and elsewhere in the blogosphere--see it as perfectly innocuous. And even if they did believe that it stole readers from them, that's complete hogwash. Who's going to seek out fanworks if they aren't already in the fandom, supporting and enjoying the original work?

jjdebenedictis
01-30-2012, 04:32 AM
Authors claim it harms them because people are going to buy/read fanfics instead of their books.Except you can't buy fanfic because it's not for sale.

And every single person I know (well) who reads fanfiction does so because they've already read the source material and loved it.

The author isn't losing a dime. No one reads fanfiction instead of the source material; they read it in addition to the source material.

I think if that's the case the author is not bringing enough to the table. There really is a danger if the author slacks off and just puts out pagefillers and if it were legal to sell fanfics ... [o]ther professional authors would then 'fanfic' their work and steal their readers because they could do a better job with the world or produce them more timely instead of taking years off or dying before the series is finished.Except, again, it's not legal to sell fanfiction. So there's no way another author can poach sales from the creator. They cannot bring such a product to market.

Fanfiction is given away for free. And the only audience for it are people who already bought the original work of the author.

So fanfiction does no harm to the author.

Celia Cyanide
01-30-2012, 05:01 AM
Uh-huh. Because no one on this board ever encourages any one else to try a certain thing over another thing in order to improve their skills.

Yes, they do. And when I disagree with any of them, I say so.

DancingMaenid
01-30-2012, 05:54 AM
I still find the whole "you'll be perceived badly" attitude confusing. If a dozen authors encourage fans to steal their books (actually stealing them from the store, not "stealing" via fan-fic) and I don't that shouldn't put me in a bad light. Objecting to fan-fic shouldn't either.

I don't necessarily mind it if an author doesn't want people to write fanfic of their work, though I may not personally agree with their reasoning. The only time I hold it against an author is when they're jerks about it.

In my experience, most fans are the same way. I've never seen anyone judge authors for not allowing fanfic, only for expressing that in way that's really rude toward fanfic writers. There's a difference between saying that you don't want people to write fanfic of your work, and making judgmental comments about fanfic and fanfic writers. I can respect authors who do the former, but authors who do the latter will lose me as a (potential) fan.

Authors claim it harms them because people are going to buy/read fanfics instead of their books.

If authors do worry about this, I don't think it's a well-founded or logical fear. People usually write fanfic because they love the source material, and it can be hard for a fandom to last long without canon to keep people interested.

QuantumIguana
01-30-2012, 05:56 AM
I have heard it claimed that people will read fanfic instead of buying the original materials. But I have never heard of such a thing actually happening. Every person I've ever known who reads fanfic has been a big purchaser of the original products. They are reading fanfic because their demand that author's work greatly exceeds the supply.

bearilou
01-30-2012, 05:11 PM
I have heard it claimed that people will read fanfic instead of buying the original materials. But I have never heard of such a thing actually happening. Every person I've ever known who reads fanfic has been a big purchaser of the original products. They are reading fanfic because their demand that author's work greatly exceeds the supply.

Fanfiction is given away for free. And the only audience for it are people who already bought the original work of the author.

So fanfiction does no harm to the author.

And while some authors do not like the fact that fanfiction exists and go on record about how it's like stealing their children so I know this doesn't give them comfort but...

...there are some fans that got into the author's original work by way of fanfiction. I've followed fanfic authors for fandoms I love into fandoms I had no exposure. As a result of reading, ended up getting into the fandom and buying the original works.

IOW converted fans through fanworks. Word of mouth.

I have heard it claimed that people will read fanfic instead of buying the original materials. But I have never heard of such a thing actually happening. Every person I've ever known who reads fanfic has been a big purchaser of the original products.

I usually see that claim as well and figure it's younger writers speaking in hyperbole as they are wont to do at times, talking about their favorite fanfic author and how so much beeeetter their fanfic author is than the original author. I don't know how much is true happening but honestly I really don't think the percentage of fanfic readers who do that are all that high.

They are reading fanfic because their demand that author's work greatly exceeds the supply.

Yeah. Gotta agree there.

crunchyblanket
01-30-2012, 07:35 PM
Authors claim it harms them because people are going to buy/read fanfics instead of their books.



Really? That's nonsensical. In order to understand most fanfiction, you'd have to have read/seen/played the source material to start with. On the rare occasion that I've read and enjoyed a fanfic without being familiar with the source material, I've then gone and sought it out.


I still find the whole "you'll be perceived badly" attitude confusing. If a dozen authors encourage fans to steal their books (actually stealing them from the store, not "stealing" via fan-fic) and I don't that shouldn't put me in a bad light. Objecting to fan-fic shouldn't either.


It's not objecting to fanfic that people don't like - you're entitled to your opinion, as are all authors. The problem comes when someone tries to tell us we shouldn't write it.

Alitriona
01-30-2012, 07:51 PM
Really? That's nonsensical. In order to understand most fanfiction, you'd have to have read/seen/played the source material to start with. On the rare occasion that I've read and enjoyed a fanfic without being familiar with the source material, I've then gone and sought it out.


I've seen a number of people active in the Twilight fandom state they've never read the books and a few who haven't even seen the movies but were introduced to fanfiction through friends.

I believe Twi fanfic is unique in the way there is more fanfiction that has no relation to the original stories what so ever except for character names than there is fiction based on the source material. The vast majority don't require the reader to have any knowledge of the source material.

The Seanchai
01-30-2012, 07:52 PM
I used to write fanfiction. It was actually kind of fun, because, like someone else said, I could make the characters do whatever I wanted, even if the original writers weren't comfortable with the direction I wanted them to go.

Writing fanfiction is actually what made me take notice that I love writing as much as I do, which in turn made me start writing works of my own. :D

Ctairo
01-30-2012, 08:03 PM
I usually see that claim as well and figure it's younger writers speaking in hyperbole as they are wont to do at times, talking about their favorite fanfic author and how so much beeeetter their fanfic author is than the original author. I don't know how much is true happening but honestly I really don't think the percentage of fanfic readers who do that are all that high.

Agree. And I've seen "better" = you write my favorite pair/why didn't the original author see they're mint2b!!1!

Amadan
01-30-2012, 08:27 PM
I've seen a number of people active in the Twilight fandom state they've never read the books and a few who haven't even seen the movies but were introduced to fanfiction through friends.

I believe Twi fanfic is unique in the way there is more fanfiction that has no relation to the original stories what so ever except for character names than there is fiction based on the source material. The vast majority don't require the reader to have any knowledge of the source material.

Lots of fandoms have a lot of OC/AU fan fiction which bears little or no resemblance to the source material. While you occasionally find people who've only read the fan fiction and not the source material, they're a very, very small percentage, and it's not as if fan fiction is preventing them from buying the books -- if they entered the fandom by way of fan fiction, then they obviously hadn't encountered the books previously, and are more likely to read them sooner or later.

Alitriona
01-30-2012, 08:45 PM
Lots of fandoms have a lot of OC/AU fan fiction which bears little or no resemblance to the source material. While you occasionally find people who've only read the fan fiction and not the source material, they're a very, very small percentage, and it's not as if fan fiction is preventing them from buying the books -- if they entered the fandom by way of fan fiction, then they obviously hadn't encountered the books previously, and are more likely to read them sooner or later.

I'll take your word for it about OC/AU in other fandoms. The disproportionately high ratio of all human fiction to paranormal fiction in twi is a comment I've seen a number of times in the community.

I agree, the number of people unfamiliar with the books is low over all and there is nothing to stop anyone buying the books at a later date, although I've read people say they have no interest in the source books. I don't entirely understand the logic of no interest in the source but each to their own and all that.

I still don't think it actually means the fanfic is keeping anyone from buying the books. If they weren't interested in it in the first place, it's not going to affect sales.

skylark
01-31-2012, 12:53 AM
Going back several pages...

The thing which invigorates me when it comes to fanfic writing is that I'm not the only person in the sandbox. There are a bunch of other writers in there too, many of whom are happy to beta-read, discuss plots, critique. They're genuinely interested in what I write and where it's going. And their opinions on plot and characterisation are a) well-informed (since they are fellow fans) and b) pretty darn useful (since in my fandom, I'm unusual in that I'm not a commercially published author).

When I write original fiction, I can come somewhere like this and get critiques. But there isn't anyone who reads my stories because they like my writing. There won't be unless/until I get published. I like that sense of being part of a community, all of whom care about the characters I write about.

And then, when I want rid of the safety net, when I want to know whether I'm getting across the characters and the locations with my writing or whether it's just that people know what they're like already, I can go enter a cross-fandom contest or similar. The fandoms I write for are obscure enough that almost nobody who isn't into them will know the first thing about the characters or backstory. Safety net gone. It's not original fic, and I'd never pretend it was, but for that readership it might as well be. Exact same skills required.