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Fanfic: At The End of the Day

The Internet seems to be having one of its periodic cycles of wank about fanfic -- or maybe it's always there and I only notice it periodically -- so this would probably be a good time to mention that I used to be anti-fanfic (and personally squicked by the idea of people writing about my characters), but no longer am. I've seen people pointing out that my original feelings on the matter were rendered pretty hypocritical by the publication of Plastic Jesus, and they are right. I wrote Plastic Jesus during a spell of creative bankruptcy and am not proud of the book (except for the illustration of Amsterdam -- I wish I had the original of that). If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't publish it. (Not to take anything away from readers who enjoyed it; I've learned that one should always appreciate enjoyment of one's work. Took me a while, but I think I've got it now.)

It's not so much about Plastic Jesus, though; it's just about getting older and encountering real troubles and realizing that, as theferrett eloquently pointed out today, people being inspired by your characters and wanting to play in your world is a pretty goddamn luxurious "problem" to have. It doesn't matter, it doesn't do harm, and the loss-of-copyright bugaboos that scared a bunch of authors (including me) some years back appear to have been inaccurately reported and (probably) wildly exaggerated. So I hereby apologize to everyone I've ever been a douchenozzle to about fanfic. I hope I wasn't too much of one; I know I've expressed some very cranky general opinions, but I don't think I've ever actually been mean to anyone who wrote/wanted to write about my characters. (I imagine the volume of PZB fanfic is minuscule compared to most fandoms anyway.) I still don't want to actually read it, but obviously the world has moved on in regards to this issue and my attitude needs to catch up or else I will only needlessly insult readers or would-be readers. The FAQ on my website does not reflect this change in attitude because I'm a lazy bum who never updates my website, but the next time I do, it will.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
May. 8th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
May. 8th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, but how do you feel about fanfic in which Nothing goes to Hogwarts and has sex with Harry Potter?

Because I'm on my tenth volume of stories...

Edited at 2010-05-08 11:13 pm (UTC)
May. 8th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
I approve of that ship.
(Deleted comment)
May. 8th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can see how lawyers and agents would hate that. It's pretty much their job to hate anything that doesn't directly make $ for their client, let alone things that could potentially take it away. She sounds awfully sweet about it, though.
(no subject) - chris_walsh - May. 9th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - docbrite - May. 9th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chris_walsh - May. 9th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morbid_curious - May. 9th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - morbid_curious - May. 9th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - witchouse - May. 9th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - indilwen - May. 9th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
May. 9th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
What surprised me at the time was when you mentioned the idea that allowing fanfic could lead to loss-of-copyright, which surprised me. I thought how if that was the case, then you were being reasonable in saying how you'd have to take legal action. I'm glad that possibility of losing copyright is apparently not true or not likely or whatever.

I recently read an interview with the author of Brokeback Mountain in which she related all the awful fanfic she received and how horrified she was by people telling her they thought they were 'fixing' her story by writing different endings. I can see why that would irritate the creator, although I found it funny people thought she'd react positively towards somebody else fixing her fiction.
May. 9th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
I wonder how she'd have felt if someone had hit on an ending that she recognized as actually superior to hers!
(no subject) - tamago23 - May. 9th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theferrett - May. 10th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chris_walsh - May. 9th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - glasshouses - May. 9th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 9th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Being around the fandom for like...I dunno, 10 years or something, I don't remember you being too dickfaced about it except that you didn't want to see it or read it. Compared to the ashfall that was Anne Rice's C&C fest back in the day, it was a tame reaction I think. I think we pretty much kept to ourselves though, at the most there was a dozen of us back in the day, I think now maybe there's 2 or 3 left, I can't say I've been active in it for like 5 years tho, so I can't say for sure what anyone else thinks, just what I experienced at the time when you did it.
May. 9th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
I still write fanfic on very occasional basis, usually on request from friends, and I confess I did have some fic-ish ideas about Drawing Blood - mostly in trying to replicate the descriptions of Birdland in comic-style art.

I never did do it, but if I do I wonder if you'd like to have a look at it.

- Mel
May. 9th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
As a sporadic fic writer, thank you :)

I've seen all different types of reactions to fanfiction, from Naoko Takeuchi ("Send me some!") to Anne Rice (OMGWTFNO), and I always thought that your original stance on fanfiction, while it stung a little, was classy and well thought out. I think this one is, too. Thanks again!
May. 9th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
I write fanfic sometimes... In fact if you go to my journal, it's all it is because this is my slash fic account... (Even the name is a reference to it) but I only write about real people... which some could say is even worse than basing it off fiction, and some would say is better... I dunno.

All I know, I used to be anti-fanfic too, until my friend sent me an incredibly amazing chapter fanfiction about Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn, bwahahaha.

Anywhat, I just thought I'd comment. I kinda keep my fanfic love secret because a lot of people don't understand it, and I don't even totally understand it... But I love writing about people I'm sure are actually bumpin' uglies in reality.
May. 10th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
Out of curiousity, what do you think about people 'borrowing' a character of yours and having them make a cameo appearance in a short story or novel? Naturally, if it was done without consent that would basically amount to theft, but I wonder about it given that at the beginning of Lost Souls you mention that you borrowed Ashley and Arkady Raventon from a friend. I know that borrowing a friend's character is a lot different to 'borrowing' a character from a novel you like/author you admire, but I'm just curious as to your take on this.
May. 10th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Well, I did get permission from my friend to use those names, and they weren't characters she had written a great deal about. So it's something of a different situation, but as long as Nothing's (or whoever's) appearance was obviously an homage rather than a rip, I'd be cool with it. However, if the author's agent or editor caught the reference, they'd very likely ask that it be removed just in case I was some kind of litigious freak.
(no subject) - witchouse - May. 11th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 10th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I like that.
Oct. 13th, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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