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Writer's Block: Sheldon and Penny 4ever!

Fanfiction: Do you love it or hate it, or are you totally indifferent? Why?

Well, as someone who has written a lot of fanfiction, I'd sure be a flaming hypocrite if I didn't say I love it. Part of it is because I feel that fanfiction really taught me how to write (see this entry here, if you please); it acted as "training wheels" that enabled me to learn the skills necessary to make my own original work interesting enough that I could stomach, you know, actually writing it. I also have read quite a bit of fanfiction that I enjoyed more than the original works it was based off of - for example, there's a hell of a lot of Gundam Wing fanfic that I think is superior to the original series, mostly because there was a lot of very questionable scripting involved. But that's a topic for another time.

Fanfic: When it's good, it's very very good, and when it's bad (*coughcoughmpregcoughcough*) it deserves to be infested with rabid, flesh-eating weasels. ON FIRE. But similar things can be said about a lot of original fiction.

I'm guessing this question was prompted by the recent Diana Gabaldon blow-up, which is really the redux of blow-ups that have been going on since fanfic got posted on the internet. And probably before, when fanfic was something that just occasionally showed up in zines, but at least then it was much quieter.

Frankly, I don't agree with Ms. Gabaldon, but hey, they're her books. It also makes me sad that Anne Bishop, for example, would rather people didn't write fanfiction of her works or use her characters for RP. That said, she's well within her rights to say as much, and such requests really ought to be respected. Fanfiction is supposed to be a love thing, and disrespecting the originator's request (or worse, attacking him or her for it) is a very NOT-lovey thing to do***.

Some day I hope to wear the professional author big-girl pants, and I think if I do, I'll belong to the John Scalzi school of dealing with fanfic since it seems like a nice, laid back attitude to have. And really, I think what he has to say really characterize how good ficcers ought to behave anyway, namely (1) don't steal by making money off of someone else's ideas, and (2) don't try to get the original author to read your fic because then there's room for things to get exceedingly ugly.

Also, as always, Wheaton's Law.

*** - and also plays in to the "scifi/fantasy fans are entitled brats" meme that wouldn't get nearly so much play if scifi/fantasy fans didn't occasionally (and LOUDLY) act like totally whiny, entitled brats.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
I am of a similar opinion on fan fiction, I was writing long before I wrote fan fiction *cough*ten*cough*, but I do have to say writing fan fiction helped me make my writing a lot better and one of these days when I can say "Hey look, I'm published!" I am completely in agreement with the guy you linked to, I had already determined that when/if I make it as an author, I'm not going to throw fits about people writing fan fiction (I just probably won't want to see most of it *laughs*)
May. 12th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm with you, i was writing before fanfiction, and one of these days I'll take the step out of it properly rather than lurking in the fringes
but I learned so many bad habits in fanfic, seriously
but I'm going with the "your wish is my command" argument
if they don't want you to write fic in their universe, sure, just say, if they don't mind, stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalala

last year in the spn fandom Misha Collins made a comment about fanfic at a con and someone went on the DeanCastiel fiction site and asked for writers to submit to an anthology to give to him, of Dean/castiel porn

now the spn girls aren't particularly known for their sanity but this poor girl was sent packing, she had a sweet idea of giving something back, just something hideously wrong and bizarre, and even them, the tinhats, were going, you can't do that, you'll break him

eventually they compiled art and things to give to him, non porny stuff i understand, and a few original fics about angels
but it struck me, that for every diana galbaldon whining about it, there is someone who is happy to ignore it, or even on one level embrace it, but at the same time there are those asshats who want to use it for their own agendas, and nitwits who don't realise it can be offensive.
and they're the ones who spoil it for the rest of us
May. 13th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
I hope when I'm a successful writer I can be calm about fanfiction, but i won't want to see it...the pairings would be terrifying. I'm not sure how I would feel about someone using my characters, which i know is really hypocritical given all my FF fanfic, but I guess that's something I'll worry about when it actually happens.
May. 13th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Haha, there is that. I don't think any author wants to see their characters involved in bestiality porn or something. Though I know the big concern with not reading fanfic of your own work is to avoid being accused of "stealing" someone's amazing fanfic plot, etc.
May. 13th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
I've of the personal opinion that if they steal my characters I should get to steal their plots, but... :)
May. 13th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
It all comes down to the money...

(Which is to say, we need more of it...)
May. 13th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
There is that.

I'm hoping that once I've been successfully published that I'll have no time to be reading fanfic or reviews of my own work.
May. 13th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
I hope that for both of us. Fanfic and reviews seem to make otherwise reasonable and calm people go embarrassingly off the deep end...
May. 13th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
I feel the opposite way. I'd love to see the ideas people had that were different from my own, the alternate pairings they explored, the villains daughters they created, etc. The very idea of it fills me with glee.

Of course, I'd deny up and down ever having read a word of any of it!
May. 13th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
I guess you've seen Charlie Stross's fan-fic policy ]WIP]? It's also pretty sane, I'd say.
May. 13th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC)
I would definitely agree.
May. 13th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
I so <3 Anne Bishop books. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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