thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2010-05-09 05:25 pm
Entry tags:

[Rant]: Professional Writers vs. The People Who Love Their Work, Round Umpty-Snout

(I realize right now fandom is rightly and deeply upset about a whole other issue. I live in the past, okay? But I know for a fact that this particular one is comin' around again, so. Also, warning: possible triggers.)

Okay. I am really, really tired of professional writers - or maybe I should say published writers, since professional behavior is not these people's long suit, generally speaking - posting rants about how they don't like fan fiction and here are their random reasons why. (If they would just say, "It feels wrong. I don't have a reason - it just feels wrong," I still wouldn't agree, but at least I wouldn't have to question their maturity. It's when they try to justify their feeling that they start to sound like a seven-year-old explaining why his cousin shouldn't be allowed to come near his toys.)

So, I'm going to help you out, oh hater of fan fiction! No more do you have to embarrass yourself (and piss off rape survivors everywhere) with the inevitable reference to rape! (Please, someone, make a new internet law that reads: Here is what is just like being raped: being raped. Describing something that is not rape as rape indicates either a) the kind of irrationality where the flecks of foam are visible through the monitor or b) a total failure to understand what rape is. In either case, everyone should politely look away until you calm down. And buy a fucking dictionary.) No more do you have to issue legal proclamations that make it very clear that you don't understand what copyright is and, in fact, think of copyright as Captain Copyright, Defender of Whatever Rights You Feel You Should Have! (Note: Captain Copyright is totally fictional. Feel free to write stories about him defeating evil writers of fan fiction. Um, warning, though: that will be fan fiction.)

Sadly, this won't address my least favorite rant elements:
  1. Rants in which a published author makes it clear that she believes millions of people are writing fan fiction about her characters, when in fact there are four stories total in her universe, which makes me all hot with vicarious embarrassment, because she's just exposed her own screaming It's All About Me neurosis and made it clear she has no idea what she's talking about. It's a horrible two-for-one special in the embarrassment aisle.
  2. Rants in which a published fan fiction writer - someone who writes primarily tie-in novels in someone else's universe - announces that fan fiction is evil, because doing it for love is wrong, but doing it for money is right. This makes me make a frowny face, because that isn't what they said in Sex Ed.
But, well. One thing at a time.

Good Reasons for a Professional Fiction Writer to Fear Fan Fiction
  1. Fan fiction folks might not like you anymore. People who are into fan fiction read a lot, and I do mean a lot, of stories at all levels of quality, from Holy Shit Pulitzer to Holy Fuck My Eyes My Eyes I See the Reaper Coming for Meeeeeee. Many of us also write. And when you do that, when you read and write a lot, you learn things. (Unless there's a baseline competence issue, and some of us do have those, but yay! Mostly not.)

    So we've all gotten better at reading, and reading critically, and at interacting with the story. And, yes, that means we might not like you anymore. We might now be painfully aware of how you suck or how you fail, in ways that we wouldn't have been before our time in fandom. And that's scary - readers who are now judging your work and maybe finding it wanting. If you want to rant about that, I will have sympathy.

  2. Fan fiction folks don't need you anymore. I mean, we still might like you, but the fact is, we can probably get better than you for free. Because, okay, yes, most fan fiction is crap, but so is most published fiction. (Anyone who wants to refute that has to read ten books selected by me first.) And the ten percent of fan fiction that is worth dying for is not just good, and in fact not just great: it's great and it's for us. It's written for our community, with our community standards in mind, by someone who shares at least some interests and probably some beliefs with us. So it's not just that we can get stories for free; it's that those stories are written to appeal directly to us. You can't write for us and you almost certainly don't want to.

    That's readers - a lot of readers, depending on what you write - who may not be shelling out for your next book, or who may be waiting for a library copy or the paperback. That sucks for you, and if you rant about that, seriously, I will have sympathy. (And I will try to refrain from pointing out that if you're good to your fans, we're your paycheck. We'll buy your hardcovers forever just because twenty years ago you created one character we love. We'll buy your merchandise. We'll go to cons to see you. We'll buy more hardcovers for you to sign. And so on.)

  3. Fan fiction folks took your power away. It used to be that the Anointed Few stood at the front of the room - sometimes a tiny classroom, sometimes a giant lecture hall with video cameras catching each golden word for those not lucky enough to hear it in person - and spoke. And everyone else was just audience: the listeners, the readers, the passively entertained. Fandom has turned your lectures into seminars. We keep speaking up. We keep having our own ideas. We don't even have the courtesy to raise our hands and ask to speak. And sometimes we lock you out of the room altogether.

    That isn't what you signed up for. I understand that. You want the podium back, you want the breathless admiration back, you want the silent, receptive audience back. You want the exchange to be: I entertain, and you applaud, and that's it. I can understand why you'd want that, and if you want to complain about it, I will sympathize. (I won't promise to fix it or anything, because it's better for me this way, but I understand that loss of power can be painful, and I swear if you want to complain about it I will feel sorry for you.)

  4. Fan fiction folks are better at the internet then you are. Oh, not all of you (or, for that matter, all of us), but, um. I don't know how to put this gently. A lot of professional writers (and editors, and others associated with the publishing industry) appear to lose their brains and their ability to write (and to understand what they've written) when they're online. It's sad, and it's pathetic, and it's hideously painful for those of us with an embarrassment squick. Meanwhile, fandom is organized, fandom knows the rules (fandom even codified many of the rules), and fandom is - well. If you're making an ass of yourself on the internet ("You're interrogating the text from the wrong perspective!" "You're RAPING ME by writing fan fiction about my characters!"), fandom is mocking you. If you're proving that you're an ass in real life ("There's no racism! It's all classism!" "But there aren't any female writers of SF. I mean, I don't know any, so..."), we're probably pointing that out to you fairly loudly. (And we are not watching our tone.)

    And I do see that that sucks, that you think the internet is your playground and it turns out there are actual real people watching you and calling you on your bullshit. I think you could probably solve this problem (either have less bullshit or limit your audience, your choice), but I will still understand if you just want to complain about it.
But if you're going to tell me, yet again, that fan fiction is illegal! Immoral! Dirty! Wrong! EVIL! ASSAULT! RAAAAAAAAAAPE!, well, I cannot promise to have sympathy. I can't promise to care. I can't even promise to read your rant, or indeed anything you write.

I'll just read some fan fiction instead.
lunarwolfik: (DW - Silly Martha)

[personal profile] lunarwolfik 2010-05-12 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
*EPIC HIGH FIVE*

This is more awesome than one can shake a stick at. :D

[identity profile] eefster.livejournal.com 2010-05-12 04:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for writing this. I have to admit that I don't necessarily agree with all of the opinion part, but that's what makes opinions great. It's a fantastic post, though, so I'm glad I came across it.

On the other hand, Captain Copyright is AWESOME, and even if that were all I'd read, it'd be so worth it. :) The fact that it's not even the basic part of the post is a bonus, and part of what makes me glad I was led here. (I'd thank whoever it was as well as thanking you, but it's been a long day at work and sadly, I don't remember.)

[identity profile] coonassblondie.livejournal.com 2010-05-12 07:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Recced at my LJ. I think all of fandom, and all so-called Professional writers, should read this.
baranduin: (Default)

[personal profile] baranduin 2010-05-12 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Recced on my LJ.

Now I'm just going to frolic around happily in your post :-)
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (Default)

[personal profile] dreamflower 2010-05-12 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
*grin*

And applause!
claudia603: (Default)

[personal profile] claudia603 2010-05-12 11:22 pm (UTC)(link)
*applauds long and loud*
waywren: (Default)

[personal profile] waywren 2010-05-13 12:12 am (UTC)(link)
You are just completely unfair, y'know. XD This! Hard on the heels of CHIBI-YODA! And then just the most minor of scans reveals Conscious Lives and Gender Blender's horribility!

There's nothing for it, I'm just going to have to circle you. XD
wanted_a_pony: Spock and Kirk from original Star Trek make silly faces. Text: "putting the IDIC in ridiculous since 1965" (putting the IDIC in ridiculous)

[personal profile] wanted_a_pony 2010-05-13 01:41 pm (UTC)(link)
P.S. -- Would you object to my trying to entice someone to make an icon of "fan fiction is evil, because doing it for love is wrong, but doing it for money is right. This makes me make a frowny face, because that isn't what they said in Sex Ed"?

If successful I would, of course, make every effort to make sure you're credited as the author by anyone who may snerch it. (Or, if you like, I'll try to convince the icon-maker to give you the icon & send anyone who wants it to you.) I simply think this idea & your phrasing are such a perfect combination that it needs to be spread around, like honey & peanut butter, to stick in everybody's memory....
too_rational: (Default)

[personal profile] too_rational 2010-05-13 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
You mean like this:


?

(Of course, if [personal profile] thefourthvine allows it. =D)


PS. The copyright bit is ironic. If you want a version without it--



Hope you like it! (Both of you. And sorry for butting in; I'm incorrigible. *shuffles feet*)

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(Anonymous) 2010-05-13 04:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Hot Damn...you nailed it. LOVE this.
too_rational: (Ingenious)

[personal profile] too_rational 2010-05-13 05:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I have no idea who you are (a friend linked me to this post), but I love you right now. *draws hearts everywhere*

New fanfic public license needed?

[personal profile] hendrikboom 2010-05-13 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
The issue of a fanfic author suing the original author because the original author wrote something superficially resembling the fanfic is a real one.

There needs to be a standard fanfic license, as well written and vetted by lawyers as the Creative Commons licenses and the FSF's licenses.

* It should allow fanfic.

* It should not grant permission for all derivative works: translations are derivative works, but far to close to the original to be considered fanfic.

* I should allow the original author to use any aspects of the fanfic in his own writings without fee, let, or hindrance, whiether he has seen the fanfic or not.

* There are probably other useful, and perhaps less crusial requirements, such as proper attribution of sources, fanfiction based on other fanfiction, and so forth.

I don't care in the slightest whether fanfic authors make money from their fanfic or not, as long as it doesn't derogate from the original author's income.

An author would have to explicitly allow fanfic to be written based on specific writings under this license. Otherwise, no permission is granted.
rosabelle: canon error... apply fanfic? (canon error; apply fanfic)

[personal profile] rosabelle 2010-05-14 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
Here from metafandom. This is brilliant. ♥
ext_3980: (Default)

[identity profile] carlinjona.livejournal.com 2010-05-14 11:59 am (UTC)(link)
What a wonderful post. I guess there will always be those who appreciate what a compliment it is to have others be inspired by their creations, and also there will be those who decry the same thing - while happily selling the rights to shonky foreign companies to mass produce plastic rubbish bearing the faces of their precious characters.

I so agree that being exposed to the wealth of fic available in my fandom of choice has made me much more critical of the fiction that I purchase. I don't know how many books I've purchased in the last few years that I have barely read or given up on halfway through due to basically being crap and/or boring. The most impressive book I've read in the last twelve months is a midlist title that will never recieve the publicity it deserves. (Carol Berg's The Spirit Lens). The most impressive fic I've read in ages makes most of the novels published by the big publishers seem like the doodlings of toddlers. (Home by Lanaea, Trek Reboot)
obsession_inc: (Default)

[personal profile] obsession_inc 2010-05-15 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Holy crap, if I'd known this existed, I would have just posted a link to it and pointed everyone there instead of writing anything because HOLY GOD, THIS IS EVERYTHING I MEANT TO SAY AND COULDN'T. Your Good Reasons for a Professional Writer to Fear Fanfiction? FUCKING BRILLIANT. Just. Oh my God. Perfect. I want to frame this and hang it on my wall. WIN.
crowdaughter: Wolves with Crow (Default)

[personal profile] crowdaughter 2010-05-15 04:53 pm (UTC)(link)
*Wild applause* This, and wonderfully put. The loss of power, the loss of the controlled sender-audience-communication, the loss of an uncritical audience - this is probably what is behind all of that shit storm.

Thank you for this post!
soc_puppet: Words "Endless Love" in red (Endless Love)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2010-05-15 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
This is brilliant. The next time I wonder why I never finished any book assigned to be read in school after To Kill A Mockingbird, I will remind myself that fanfiction has made my expectations higher than most so-called "classic literature" has been able to meet.

Subscribing now ♥
springwoof: A cartoon rendition of a Woof (Leader Sam)

[personal profile] springwoof 2010-05-16 04:49 am (UTC)(link)
damn! you write a great essay! not only cogent, but deliciously ironic and quotable too!

(Anonymous) 2010-05-18 03:34 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for this beautifully expressed post. You echoed so many of my own thoughts when I read *that* blog that I simply couldn't express through my stuttering outrage.

Gertrude2034
leroux: Four hockey players from the Vancouver Canucks in a line, staring up in awe or concentration (Default)

[personal profile] leroux 2010-05-18 09:33 am (UTC)(link)
Every time I read the words "You're interrogating the text from the wrong perspective!" my mind chimes in with, "I interrogated your mom from the wrong perspective!"

And then I feel bad for disrespecting whoever's mom, because I'm sure she's very nice, and also it felt so right to us at the time.
vofpracticality: Spike looking at Xander "Bitch PLEASE" (Bitch please)

[personal profile] vofpracticality 2010-05-19 04:16 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you. You said that so well. My "real" book reading took a total nosedive when I got an internet connected smart phone. I love my smart phone.
sherron0: (Default)

[personal profile] sherron0 2010-05-19 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Daring to be completely redundant and unnecessary, YES! Much Applause!
moonflower75: black-and-white picture of the back of a boy with a collar and dark feather wings (Default)

[personal profile] moonflower75 2010-05-19 05:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I got here through a link posted by princessofg and I love your writing voice: the wit and the precision with which you deflate their load of bull (pardon my French) are just few of its good qualities.
I never heard of the author who claimed fanfiction writers were raping him/her by using his/her characters (and BTW I don't ever want to now) but since I know of other published authors who had 'issues' with fanfiction, this doesn't sound too new, just....incredibly insensitive, not to mention insulting to rape victims, and I wanted to thank you for addressing that the way you have.
I want to friend you, both to try out the recs you write and to follow your posts, but if you don't like this, please let me know and I'll undo it.
cheers
Moon
cream_fudge: (Default)

[personal profile] cream_fudge 2010-05-26 05:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Amen.
Thank you for posting this! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
weaverbird: (Word)

[personal profile] weaverbird 2010-05-26 06:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes. This.

Thank you!

[identity profile] canadiangoddess.livejournal.com 2010-05-26 09:57 pm (UTC)(link)
YES! This is EXACTLY what I needed someone to say!!

Bravo!

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