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[icon] Paul Gadzikowski - People unclear on the concept
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Subject:People unclear on the concept
Time:10:51 pm

Lots of blogs I read are linking to lots of other blogs linking to this Amazon product (now no longer available) that was an unlicensed Star Wars novel which the writer brainlessly published for sale with her own publishing house. The Amazon page lasted, I gather, less than twenty-four hours. There is much discussion in these blog entries and in the comments on these blog entries how this boneheaded act could have, or possibly has, queered the institution of fanfiction with Lucasfilm or even other copyright owners of properties which inspire netfanfiction. Owners' reactions to fanfiction of their properties vary, depending on the owner's perception of danger to his/her ownership or which characters are slashed. But it's my passively, anecdotally researched observation that (at least, till now) screen properties' owners send cease-and-desist orders to fansite operators only in cases of transcripts or photos (i.e., actual property-owner owned property); and not in cases of original derivative works by the fan(s) (such as, for instance, you find on my own fanfiction site). Now, you can harp all you want - because it's true - that the law doesn't recognize any difference whether your unlicensed derivative work is distributed for free or for profit, but that was the difference in this case, and in this case the work was removed from availability.

But that's not what I want to talk about.

In these blog entries' comments sections there is never only one commenter who says of fanfiction writers, "Why can't they write their own original stories?"

Jesus Christ. I honestly expected better of people on the internet, though in retrospect I don't know why.

Would they say that to Homer or Shakespeare, I wonder? Would they say that to Nicholas Meyer, who made his career on Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek? Would they say that to Geraldine Brooks who just won a Pulitzer for a novel set in Alcott's Little Women universe?

"Why can't they write their own original stories?" Who are you to say we can't, just because we don't? In fact, how do you know we don't? Does the name Jacqueline Lichtenburg mean anything to you? How about Marion Zimmer Bradley? Frakking snobs.

The characters inspire the stories. When inspiration calls, you answer. I hope it isn't other writers making this comment, who ought to know better.

I'm so mad I can barely articulate it.

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antiwesley
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-23 05:10 am (UTC)
I agree somewhat.
Being a big fanfic writer myself, very few 'original' concepts have lasted very long without becoming pastiches of other things.
That's me personally.

I personally have no problem with fanficcers. People like us keep shows and genres alive when no one else will.

The one thing I do have a problem with?
That "Star Trek: New Horizons" thing.

I comment how it's a waste of talent. They produce top notch stories and material, but they can't be bothered to create new characters with which to tell the story. Sorry kids, but you know what? William Shatner is Captain James T. Kirk.

When you 'recreate' the Original Series and insist on being the TOS crew, that's pure fanwank to me, no matter how 'original' and 'groundbreaking' it is.

Now granted, coming from one who has acted in DW fanfilms, that seems almost to be the pot calling the kettle black.
To be honest, yes, it is.
I'm guilty as charged when it comes to that sort of thing.
But working within DW isn't as open or the allowance of freedom to create new Time Lords/Companions.. that runs into fanwank as well.

But yeah.
I expect we'll argue about this at some point, as we'll disagree on this one particular subject, but we do agree on the basis and the creativity that can be found working in someone else's universe.
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scarfman
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-23 01:44 pm (UTC)

Star Trek: New Frontiers isn't my cup of tea either, and I'd love to see Peter David write regular Star Trek novels again. But I assume he writes New Frontiers because it inspires him and I will not quarrel with that.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


jrittenhouse
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-23 06:28 am (UTC)
The Amazon page is still there. See my LJ for the link.
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kail_panille
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-23 08:44 pm (UTC)
I was wondering how long before somebody noted that the Pulitzer went to fanfic this year.
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scarfman
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-23 09:08 pm (UTC)

It was brought to my attention by indefatigable42. A discussion of the definition of fanfiction ensued.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


cargill
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-27 12:04 am (UTC)
Hey. Visiting from a link.

You make an interesting argument in defense of fanfic, but your examples really don't work. Would they say that to Homer or Shakespeare, I wonder? Of course they wouldn't. Homer was translating oral stories into the written form. People aren't compelled to read him because of his style (I mean honestly, if I read the phrase 'rosey fingered dawn' one more time...) and Shakespeare was adapting similar stories to the stage. What these guys did was adapt into different mediums - and just as no one calls Peter Jackson a hack for simply adapting LotR into a new medium, no one assails them. As to the little women book, I haven't read it, as I have zero interest in something set in that universe.

But the fanfic distaste goes well beyond internet writers making up their own Star Wars or Harry Potter stories. Many people look down on the writers who try to continue Lovecraft's mythos or Howard's Conan stories. For those, most of us simply return to the source.

I certainly understand your argument that the character's inspire, but that's not what most people look for in fiction. They don't read it for familiarity of characters - they read it for new ideas, new stories, new concepts - something new to think about or even, perhaps, to dream about. Hell, people even often grow bored or develop all out hate of the liscenced continuations of certain series. Star Wars, Star Trek, Highlander...hell, the Lethal Weapon series. I LOVE Lethal Weapon. I really enjoyed the 2nd. The tird was really pushing it and after the fourth, man, I NEVER want to see another LW movie again. We're done with those characters.

The thing is, it doesn't matter where the inspiration comes from. You say the characters inspire you. Well Flash Gordon, saturday morning serials and Lord of the Rings inspired George Lucas. In fact, Lucas tried for years to get the rights or chance to direct Flash Gordon, but couldn't. So he made his own Flash Gordon. Hell, Flash Gordon was entirely inspired by John Carter of Mars. In both cases, hardcore fans of the material drew inspiration and rather than just telling new John Carter stories, invented something entirely new. They created new worlds and new characters (that in truth were entirely inspired by old ones - things that become known as Archetypes.)

There's absolutely nothing wrong with drawing inspirations from characters or universes - but as writers, as creators, we owe it to the people who inspired us, and more importantly to ourselves, to strike out and break new ground. If a fanfic story is good, really good, it can stand on its own without the characters or universes created by another to tell it. If you remove those characters, remove certain ideas drawn directly from other sources, and it doesn't work - then it's really not that good a story. It's just filler riding on the creativity of another.

To make another analogy - there are many, many talented artists out there who can recreate Salvador Dali's artwork right down to the brushstrokes. There are those among them that can paint new paintings that are exactly like Dali himself painted them himself. But are these people great artists, true creators? Or are they just imitators?

Fanfic is a neat hobby and I've never really had too big a problem with it, but its certainly not what I would call respectable. If you're not introducing us to something new, giving us new characters to care about or telling us a story we've never heard before, then a lot of us simply don't care. There's mounds and mounds of good original writing out there. Why read something that isn't?
(Reply) (Thread)


scarfman
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-27 02:06 am (UTC)
If you're not introducing us to something new, giving us new characters to care about or telling us a story we've never heard before, then a lot of us simply don't care.

The taste of those who don't care for fanfiction isn't my issue. The ignorance and/or lack of empathy of some of those who don't care for fanfiction is my issue. You're not required to understand, but you might want to realize that there is something there to be understood.

(Also, there is fanfiction that does as many as all three of those things, just as there is of any other genre. Just as there is fiction in all genres that fails to deliver any of them.)

There's mounds and mounds of good original writing out there. Why read something that isn't?

Why did you enjoy Lethal Weapon II? That's why.

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bookslibretti
Subject:(linked here by a friend)
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-29 03:00 am (UTC)
March is not actually set in the universe of Little Women. Have you read it?
(Reply) (Thread)


scarfman
Subject:Re: (linked here by a friend)
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-29 04:27 am (UTC)

I haven't read it; I'm going on reports. If it's not, why might people think it is?

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


bookslibretti
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-04-29 04:28 pm (UTC)
It's kind of an updated version of Little Women -- Meg goes to Yale, and so on. There are some very big differences; for example, there's no Beth. The characters are fairly different from the originals, too (they'd have to be, because of the change in our culture). The main similarity is the rough outline of the plot, and some specific instances (Amy and the pickled limes is changed to Amy and the sushi, for example). It certainly depends on Little Women, but it's exactly the opposite from being set in the same universe.
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[icon] Paul Gadzikowski - People unclear on the concept
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (The Hero of Three Faces - fanfiction cartoons ).
View:this journal's fanfiction masterlist. Arthur, King of Time and Space. journal webcomic. my Twitter. my Tumblr (reprinting selected fanfiction cartoons). my deviantArt. qtrhorserider friendslist. snarkoleptics friendslist. drwhochat friendslist. my tags.