Shannon Stacey

Fanfiction stuff

Meljean and Lee Goldberg don’t really see eye-to-eye on the whole fanfic thing, eh?

Fanfiction is something I’ve always wondered about–why do people read OR write it? (This is in no way related to the other conversations–they just made me think about it again, and now that I have this blog, I get to think out loud. Unfortunately.)

As a reader, I don’t get it. Writing about the stuff you don’t get to see—maybe Wonder Woman’s got a dirty old lady thing for the Boy Wonder?—is not my cup of tea. Why? Because that has nothing to do with the writer’s story. The actual writer who created those characters has/had a vision for them, and that fanfic story ain’t it. For example—the Star Wars movies. I’d have nothing to do with the three prequels if they weren’t from George Lucas. I’m sure it’s entertaining for many, it’s just not my cup of tea.

As a writer, I really don’t get it. It’s copyright violation. If you’re a writer, how is that not of huge importance to you? If you write fanfic, and then get published with an original work, how ironic would it be if you had to defend your original work against copyright infringement?

Let’s say Jane Doe has great fun publishing her Gilligan’s Island fanfic on the internet. Then Jane Doe gets a publishing contract for her prehistoric romance. Jane Doe is going to be perfectly okay with me making a name for myself publishing fanfic starring Ugg and Uma on my website, which also features my original works, right?

Anyway. Fanfic. I just don’t get it.

13 comments to “Fanfiction stuff”

  1. Jorie
      · April 12th, 2005 at 2:08 pm · Link

    I find it easy to get because, as I said at HelenKay’s, I daydream fanfic when I’m really taken by a book, tv show, or movie. So for me it’s not that large a step to go from that to writing. I don’t because writing changes everything but presumably it doesn’t for other people.

    As for copyright violation, if the creators/authors don’t have a problem with fanfic, neither do I. If they do, I’m definitely uncomfortable. But the people who write Star Trek or Buffy fanfic, say, probably buy the most dvds and books.

  2. Shannon
      · April 12th, 2005 at 2:57 pm · Link

    That’s true. I hadn’t really considered that, but fanfic probably helps keep the interest high.

    So, do people actually know how the author feels? I guess Joss Whedon or whatever his name is must know there’s Buffy fanfic up the gazoo.


    (And for the record, I’m actually curious about the legalities of fanfic. I’m not just trying to be bitchy. )

  3. Mel
      · April 12th, 2005 at 3:35 pm · Link

    hmmmmm :censor:
    I’ve read some. A friend of mine had written some and asked me to look at it for her. So I did.
    In her case (and the case of the site she frequented) it was all M/M slash written by women. Not my cuppa tea.

    I guess it’s popular. I couldn’t see spending time writing it, or reading it, but I think there’s a loyalty there that enhances the original work rather than takes away from it. (IMO, anyway) :)

    C’mon Shan, you wouldn’t be flattered if I took your characters and wrote a diddy about life after Roadtrip?:rofl:

  4. Diana
      · April 12th, 2005 at 3:53 pm · Link

    I like it. It taught me to write. I already had the characters and the conflicts handed to me, so writing it taught be how to express them, how to get the nuts and bolts down. It’s kind of like training wheels. You learn how to move a bike while getting help with the balance. And when I realized my stories only had the most tangential relationship to the actual shows, I knew it had run its course and it was time to take those training wheels off and try a big hill.

    In addition, I never felt the slightest inclination to write fanfic for any hsow that actually told its story, where the characters and plotlines developed. Buffy had it all there onscreen — every harrowing emotion, every love story, every character arc. I knew there was Buffy fanfic out there, but I didn’t write it, didn’t read it… I didn’t need to. I know some people who write fanfic for shows whose run was cut short, and that makes sense, too.

    Regarding copyright. It doesn’t bother me as long as a) they aren’t making money off it, and b) they don’t get it anywhere near me. A friend of mine writes books that foster a thriving fanfic and RPG community, and she steers way clear. The legal issues are just too messy. I think it does create more rabid fandom, which ends up being a good thing for the author. Maybe I say it doesn’t bother me becuase I don’t want to be hypocritical, but I really think it wouldn’t. I wouldn’t look forward to the day someone writes fanfic about my characters, but I wouldn’t attack it, either, I’d just keep away and let my fans have their fun.

  5. Shannon
      · April 12th, 2005 at 4:39 pm · Link

    Go for it, Mel. And when you’re done you can finish off these vampires for me, too. :kiss:

    Interesting points, Diana. And keeping that fandom thriving and fresh is never a bad thing.

    I’d worry about usage, though, especially if you wrote a series. Kind of like aspirin losing it’s right to the name because they allowed people to use it indiscriminately. Or, when you ignore your neighbor’s fence being two feet into your yard for a certain number of years, and that land becomes his. (In this age of googling one’s self, you certainly couldn’t claim you weren’t aware of it.)

    Of course, my law knowledge comes wholly from Law & Order repeats. :wink:

    While I’d never get into writing it—I can’t even keep up with my own characters nattering away in my head—I might have to take a peek at some.

  6. Anna Lucia
      · April 12th, 2005 at 5:05 pm · Link

    I don’t think I could write fanfic – it’s a very critical audience, and boy, do you have some boots to fill! :baby:

    But a good friend of mine has written some :type: – the early years of Snape before the HP books are set. Lots of subtle emotional development and angst, and beautifully dark.:cool:

    I can understand the urge – if you’re immersed in that stuff, you day dream it, just like Jorie said. Since writing romance is, for me, expanding on my daydreams, I can get that. :cheer:

    On the legal side? I have no idea! :crazy:

  7. Jorie
      · April 12th, 2005 at 5:30 pm · Link

    So, do people actually know how the author feels?

    I assume in some cases. Some authors are thrilled if they get fanfic. Obviously others aren’t.

  8. Shelly
      · April 12th, 2005 at 10:00 pm · Link

    I know for me that I enjoy plotting out fanfic, but just for myself (especially while commuting). I’ve tried to read some fanfic for Dark Angel and Buffy and I just couldn’t get into them. And I agree with Diana that it’s sort of like training wheels…the characters are established, it’s just the plot you are basically focusing on. I’m not sure that scribbling down fanfic has helped me develop as a writer, but it has made me sit down and write. I know one of the writers for Dark Angel was flattered that people liked her character Alec enough to continue his ‘stories’ after the series ended but on the flip side, Laurell K. Hamilton gets really peeved about fanfic. I understand both sides and that’s why I would never put it out there…it’s just for my entertainment. :dance:

  9. Shannon
      · April 12th, 2005 at 11:53 pm · Link

    It seems strange to me that I never tried fanfic (even without knowing that’s what it was called), even for warming up the writing muscles. And there have been a lot of shows I’d probably have written it for.

    Maybe I knew, even then, there’s not much of a market for Little House on the Prairie fanfic. :cry:

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. Like I said, it’s something I knew nothing about, but had been curious about. I guess if those who write it are good with it, and the authors who created the characters are good with it—even passively—then it’s all good. :cheesy:

  10. Anna Lucia
      · April 13th, 2005 at 5:59 am · Link

    OMG, when I was at Uni, all my house mates used to stack our bedding onto one bed (including the mattresses – four mattresses, four duvets, 8 pillows…..) climb on board, drag in the TV and hand round bog roll for the LHOTP shows…. we never failed to Blub our hearts out….


  11. Larissa
      · April 13th, 2005 at 11:02 am · Link

    I’ve never read it, never written it. I think one of the reasons I don’t read it is that it doesn’t seem…real. I want the stories about the characters to come from the creator, because then I can file the story in the “it happened” file. If some Jane Doe writes a story, it’s still not a “real” part of that universe.

    But I understand why people write it. There has been a lot of Angel fanfic since it ended, and a lot of it are stories that resolve the ending. People NEED to have that horrid ending resolved. I guess just like people who love certain TV shows or books need to explore ideas that the authors never did.

    And yeah, some fanfic keeps things popular and fresh. Keeps the interest up. Others aren’t so thrilled. I think that if an author/creator states that they don’t want fanfic about their stories, people should respect that. If not…well, I don’t really have a problem with it!

  12. The Perfessor
      · April 29th, 2005 at 5:18 pm · Link

    Humm, I remember penning some fan fiction waaaaay back when I was but a mite, involved in an APA (Armature Publishing Alliance). We’d write stuff, then copy off a limited number of copies (30) and mail them to one guy, who would collate it and then mail the final version out to everyone in the group.

    The one piece I wrote was a round robin story, and I did one chapter (which was promptly undone by the writer who followed me, and invalidated everything I had written, probably why I never did any more of it, left a bad taste in my mouth).

    I don’t know that I’d involve in fanfic these days, as I am a real writer, and I think that I’d have issues with others “borrowing” my work (Hey, I’ve never even downloaded a song from napster, as I thought it was wrong).

    Still, while I do understand that fanfic serves has some value (I’ve some really great fan-mad short films on the Internet about Star Wars, Comicbook, and other SF characters), I do have to say that most of the fanfic I’ve seen (not so much read, mind you) revolves around various and sundry characters having sex with each other (What if, Superman did it with Wonder Woman, then she went off with Batman, and Superman and Green Lantern got together… ewwww).

    Like you ladies said, Not my cuppa joe

    The Perfessor

  13. josh
      · June 4th, 2005 at 1:01 am · Link



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