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Yikes

Yesterday, I sent my website designer the content for my new website. It contains a lot of things about me, my published novel, my current writing projects, my past projects. One of the things it contains is a blurb about and link to my fan fiction story, The Destroyer. I figured, why not, I worked hard on that story and readers liked it. It is an example of my SFF writing and series writing skills.

I think I forgot how few people out in the webosphere really understand what fan fiction is and why it can be a legitimate art form--an engagement with and reinterpretation of a text, yada yada. Too many of them still think it's sixth graders with no imagination wishing themselves into someone else's story, or something those with no talent and imagination of their own write which is therefore d00med to show all the elements of bad fiction.

http://www. thepassivevoice. com/08/2012/ewan-morrision-strikes-fan-fiction-down/

(link broken so I don't create a pingback).

I don't engage when I see these types of battles. So I won't bring in Gregory McGuire, or the Mists of Avalon (to name a couple examples I see immediately on my own bookcase), or a thousand other stories that are fan fiction.

ETA: I realize the issue in the linked article, and in the discussion on the blog, was how a novel (50 Shades of Grey) started out as fan fiction and now she's making money off it (in essence, making money off "fan fiction" which=bad), but what bugged was how quickly that argument devolved into "all fan fiction is bad writing, therefore, fan fiction (not bad writing) is the enemy that threatens the future of good commercial story-telling." No one seems to grasp that (1) most fan fiction is not-for-profit and frankly, done for the FUN of it, and (2) not all fan fiction is bad writing by amateurs who "can't come up with stories of their own," and (3) commercialized fan fiction has been around forever.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
masqthephlsphr
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the examples of published, classic fan-fic. I want to put a version of this on my writer's blog, but I needed a little more ammunition than G. McGuire and MZ Bradley.

In trying to decide whether to pull the link to my fan fic in case a culture-vulture agent turns their nose up at it, or defend my choice to write fan fiction and crow about it on my website, I'd like to try the latter first.
(Deleted comment)
masqthephlsphr
Aug. 15th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
Awesomecakes!
sculpturelle
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Grumble. I wish people would judge the quality of writing based on the writing, regardless of the label it's been given.

There are a gazillion Jane Austen prequels and sequels out there in all genres. Even P.D. James has gone there! Moreover, what about all those 'derivative' books (Navy Seals, werewolf/vampire/dragon 'brotherhoods'; ALL Regency romances; SF sagas). How many fantasy books declare a new author to be Tolkien's heir? What about all the über-serious postmodern novels that insert characters from history and from literature?
masqthephlsphr
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Do you have specific examples of any of these? I'm working on a post for my writer's blog to defend my choice of linking to my fan fiction.
sculpturelle
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
Here are a few:

- Fictional/historical characters dropping in: Jasper Fforde books; Timothy Findley's Famous Last Words; Star Trek episodes
- Son of fanfic: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (saw it at the bookstore today - LOL)

- Stephanie Barron has written about a dozen Jane Austen mysteries
- The Laurie R. King Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell books (also Holmes books by Michael Didbin and others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-canonical_Sherlock_Holmes_works)

All Regency romances have balls, gowns, spies and are limited to a very small time period. Also, they are originate in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Good luck!
masqthephlsphr
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
I would like to limit my definition of "fan fic" to clearly writing in someone else's story universe, rather than merely being derivative with story tropes or genre. I have to accept the definition of the arguments made against ff.
sculpturelle
Aug. 15th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
I see. Hmm. Then, this may be a safe/good example (Amazon description): "In a marvellous, thrilling re-creation of the world of Pride and Prejudice, P.D. James fuses her lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen with her own great talent for writing crime fiction.

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome, healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth's happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual autumn ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered.

Death Comes to Pemberley is a powerful work of fiction, as rich in its compelling story, in its evocation of place, and its gripping psychological and emotional insight, as the very best of P. D. James. She brings us back masterfully and with delight to much-loved characters, illuminating the happy but threatened marriage of the Darcys with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted mystery."
tygermine
Aug. 15th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC)
and there comes that argument again. do you have any idea how i've had to defend fanfiction from my friends who read 50 shades and realised how bad it was?
I've had to explain fanon vs canon etc etc. It makes you wonder - the only way they could market the story was because it came from fanfiction??? ergh.

ANYWAY - my mate has a bunch of kids stories she's planning to publish and she asked me who the best e-publishers are. I have no idea, and was wondering if you might know...
masqthephlsphr
Aug. 15th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I self-published my eBook. I have a forthcoming post on the technical complications of that, but you can use existing self-publishing services like Lulu to skip over the hard parts. Such services will also help you get the book distributed to prominent on-line sellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What Lulu didn't do: get me on the other on-line sellers. I had to do some special formatting to use Smashwords and Kobo, but those will really get your eBook out there on a lot of other eBook sellers.

What self-publishing can't do: market your book. That's what your friend would want a publisher for. I have to do it myself, and it's a bore for a creative soul.

Googling eBook publishers who specialize in children's books is a danger zone, though: many of them are fly-by-night operations. The best way to judge that is if they charge you any money for submitting or formatting your book.

My suggestion is for her to research traditional publishers who publish children's books. They should all have an eBook option by now, it's the digital age.

Edited at 2012-08-15 08:21 pm (UTC)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )