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.
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)

[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2010-05-10 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
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.)

I am so requesting this for this year's Yuletide.
mara: (Banter sucks)

[personal profile] mara 2010-05-10 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
Me too! Now we just have to find someone to write it!
iambickilometer: (it's never just an idea)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-10 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
If this becomes a Yuletide fandom I will offer to write it. Just saying.
pandarus: (Default)

[personal profile] pandarus 2010-05-10 03:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Me too. And I don't do Challenges, but Captain Copyright Versus The Fanfictioneers...oh yeah, baby., I can just see him, standing atop a tall building with his cape fluttering in the wind and his stomach sucked in, dreaming fondly of his sweetheart, Inviolate Text, while somewhere out in the city, The Slash is busy luring hot persons of various genders into compromising positions with their best friends/archenemies/next-door neighbours. Captain Copyright knows that The Slash wants to sidle up to his darling Vi and introduce her to some other hot chicks, but Captain Copyright will keep her safe from getting all Katie Perry in her spare time.

And elsewhere, unbeknownst to the Captain, wide-eyed, cardigan-wearing, prim little girl-next-door Gen hides a secret - when she takes of her glasses and lets down her hair she's actually the spitting image of sweet Vi! She may, in fact, be Inviolate's long-lost (evil?) twin; and what's more, despite her staid appeareance she's actually action-packed, dynamic, kick-ass and has an awesome stock of one-liners.

And what of Kink, who struts through the dark alleys of Captain Copyright's city wearing nothing but thigh-high leather stilettos and a glistening layer of honey, leading a large dog on a leash? Or the chameleon-like Ayoo, never the same shape twice, equally likely to appear dressed as a pirate or a lawyer? How will poor Captain Copyright ever see through his/her/its myriad disguises? How can poor Inviolate remain safe?

Tune in next week, kids, for the further adventures of CAPTAIN....COPYRIGHT!
minoanmiss: (Default)

[personal profile] minoanmiss 2010-05-10 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
If you write more of that, well, I don't know what I'll do besides worship you forever, but I definetely will find something.
iambickilometer: (Default)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-10 04:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Screw Yuletide; let's start a fandom for this now. You've inspired me hard. I want to write about the adventures of the insidious Ayoo.
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2010-05-11 02:31 am (UTC)(link)
We totally need a Captain Copyright comm.
iambickilometer: (Default)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-11 05:15 am (UTC)(link)
If there are no objections, I'll start one.

(People? thefourthvine? Are there objections?)
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2010-05-11 05:17 am (UTC)(link)
I think it is extremely important that you start one. Now is better than later. *nods*
iambickilometer: (Default)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-11 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
[community profile] captaincopyright now exists! I hope people follow through on their threats to write about this.
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2010-05-11 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
Woo-hoo! I am a member. We need icons and fanart as well. :D
iambickilometer: (Default)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-11 05:45 am (UTC)(link)
Yes. Yes we do. Man, I wish my Photoshop-enabled computer were still working.

Now to let everyone else interested know, I guess.
glymr: (Default)

[personal profile] glymr 2010-05-10 04:52 pm (UTC)(link)
This made me laugh *so* hard this morning. Thank you!
turlough: Gabe Saporta doing thumbs-up ((cs) gabe approves)

[personal profile] turlough 2010-05-10 07:19 pm (UTC)(link)
dessieoctavia: (Meta)

[personal profile] dessieoctavia 2010-05-10 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
You win the Internet. *hands it over*

Also, my icon has another possible character for this fandom....
wyldbutterflies: (Reno - srsly)

[personal profile] wyldbutterflies 2010-05-10 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
This totally needs fan art! Someone needs to illustrates this now!
ciaan: (fictive arrogance)

[personal profile] ciaan 2010-05-11 03:39 am (UTC)(link)
And then Vi tells Captain Copyright that he is being a patronizing jerk and she can associate with whomever she wants and do whatever she wants, and she kicks him out.
iambickilometer: (it's never just an idea)

[personal profile] iambickilometer 2010-05-11 06:16 am (UTC)(link)
Hey, if you, uh, want to keep being awesome in this regard, I was persuaded to start a community: [community profile] captaincopyright. We'd love to have you. And everyone. But especially you.
dagas_isa: Kanzaki Nao from Liar Game (Default)

[personal profile] dagas_isa 2010-05-10 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
Captain Copyright/GRRM/Diana Galbadon OT3 fic (with guest appearances by Robin Hobb and Anne Rice). Complete with tragic and bittersweet ending. Also, dinosaurs. Because dinosaurs make everything better.
rivkat: Fandom is my fandom (fandom is my fandom)

[personal profile] rivkat 2010-05-10 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
I will totally sign up to write this.
par_avion: collage of intl air mail stickers (Default)

[personal profile] par_avion 2010-05-10 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
I'm imagining Cpt. Copyright fighting Dr. Horrible and Cpt. Hammer.

Possibly some Bad Horse action on the side.
helens78: A man in a leather jacket, seated on the ground, looks up hopefully. (drh: horrible/hammer)

[personal profile] helens78 2010-05-10 04:33 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, God, Captain Hammer as the replacement for the old Captain Copyright (see my comment here) would be so brilliant.
elf: Is copyright working? (Is Copyright Working?)

[personal profile] elf 2010-05-10 06:49 am (UTC)(link)
She fights for Fair Use!

The Duke Center for the Public Domain has a free comic book about copyright law: Bound By Law: "By day a filmmaker… by night she fought for FAIR USE!"