Author Topic: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil  (Read 14952 times)

Azhev

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Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« on: January 07, 2008, 05:46:23 AM »
I saw this kind of discussion on another board, so I thought I'd bring it here.  There are many out in this great Intarweb of ours that are diehard fanfiction...er...fans.  I know people who read the Harry Potter fanfiction as avidly as they do the actual books.  I know that there are authors at there who hate having fanfiction about their works, while some seem to encourage it.  I didn't see a thread about it, and I was curious as to what you people thought on the subject.  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 03:19:28 PM »
to quote the Hitchhiker's Guide, it's mostly harmless.

However, erotic furry star trek fanfiction that puts the author in as an ocelot or something as the captain of the Enterprise is quite evil.

Sigyn

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 07:10:39 PM »
My sister writes fanfiction.  I don't like to talk about it. 

In general, I think fanfiction can be a good way for people to start writing, where they can use others' characters and worlds in order to figure out parts of the writing craft.  But I worry about people who never move on to doing their own thing.  It seems that they feel a level of safety in writing in someone else's world.  I personally think they need to move on, but that's their choice.

As for reading fanfiction. . . .  I read what my sister writes because I love her, but I couldn't care less about reading fanfiction in general.

What I want to know is why it is socially acceptable to write fanfiction with classics (such as that book from the pov of the March sisters' father).  If a book is old, how is it suddenly more appropriate to write with those characters?  Just because there is no one to sue you over it doesn't mean that fanfiction is suddenly a better idea.  Blah.
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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008, 06:03:41 AM »
I tend to agree about the fanfiction, I have never really gotten into it. However there is one set that I have thought were pretty good. There is a website www.stillflying.net where they have  basically continued to write episodes of Firefly. They have currently finished season one and also done a  season two. However I guess you have to be a fan of Firefly in the first place to enjoy it. I have only read a few, but the ones I read were not too bad.

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Jhaeli

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 01:08:48 PM »
Hm. Okay, I've read fanfiction in the past, but it's been a few years and I don't make a habit of it. That said, I generally don't mind it.

I agree with Sigyn. I think fanfiction is alright as a stepping board; it can be easier to practice the mechanics of writing without worrying about developing characters and settings. Also, you could consider that some places write their fanfiction of a particular series as online (usually forum, sometimes MUDs) roleplay. Where they may use the world, but create their own characters. I don't mind that either. [For example, I'm pretty sure Dragonmount.com has made a world based on an alternative reality of WoT, where people make new characters.]

However, people that go overboard or who just can't let go of a series... really, I don't even want to know about the existance of some of the disgusting erotica fanfiction that gets written. Bleh.

EDIT: By the way, I'm generally more in support of fanfiction writing being something you write on your own or use to get feedback on your writing skills, rather than something you deliberately write and showoff like a lot of people do on websites. It's a delicate line between respecting the author and trying to move in on their territory.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 01:11:14 PM by Jhaeli »
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 04:40:02 PM »
well, the reason I say mostly harmless is this

the overwhelming majority of it, at least in my experience, is fantasy fulfillment and experiencing the world again/more. It's not about the writing, it's about being in a place you love.  So if you're talking purely from the standpoint of a person wanting to become a professional writer, then yeah, it's best a starting point in most cases (more on that later).

But most people write Harry Potter fan fiction because they love Hogwarts and all the other hoo ha. They want more to it than the 7 books out there. So they make their own. How is this *any* different than roleplaying in Middle Earth or any other of a hundred other popular settings? Other than it's generally a solo activity and roleplaying is most often a group activity, I can't really find any other important difference.

The same goes for reading it. People read books about Rogue Squadron and the Jedi Academy because they want more Star Wars. Not because it's fantastic writing. Is this a bad thing? I don't really want to do it, but I read for interesting new stories and characters or perhaps some skillful turn of phrase or a thoughtful approach to something. Not everyone reads for that.

Now, I wonder where you consider the line between fanfiction and other literature is. Is Bride of Frankenstein fanfiction? Is Grendel (the story of Beowulf told from the monster's point of view)? What about Mists of Avalon? Are you saying I can't write a Robin Hood story without it being fanfiction? If so, does that mean it's bad just because it's fanfiction? Or is some fanfiction "ok" and other fanfiction not? If so, what distinguishes good from bad.

I don't think that, necessarily, one need ever stop writing fanfiction. Kevin J. Anderson told me over snacks once that he found writing Star Wars books just as rewarding as writing original fiction. Does doing it professionally make it no longer fan fiction? If so, wouldn't writing fanfiction prepare you for writing series like that professionally? If you enjoy it, and can get paid for it, I don't see what's wrong with it. Certainly it doesn't challenge you in *starting* a new set of characters. But every Star Wars book I've read (admittedly, only one other than the old Daly ones) had new characters in new places not previously explored in the Star Wars universe. That right there is doing what any writer does, just starting at another place.  And they have the additional challenge of continuity, and being intimate with the setting. If something comes up, they can't just change it, they have to write around it. That requires its own kind of skill and talent.

So, yeah. I don't really like fanfiction myself, but mostly because almost every bit of it I've ever read has been written by amateurs who don't care about skill. I personally don't care to explore more of the Harry Potter world, so that alone isn't enough for me. It is for other people. Is that any less nerdy than arguing whether Logan's claws could pierce Steve Roger's shield? Is it any less productive than playing a 4 hour board game? Is it any more mind damaging than clicking on goobers for night after night while playing WoW? or watching hour upon hour of your favorite TV series? I find that premise hard to accept.

So no, fanfiction is not Evil. It's not inherently bad. Be careful to distinguish your opinion and why you read from an objective assessment of the virtues of fanfiction, because the last three opinions seem to me to be entirely focussed on evaluating it for the poster's own purposes, but pronounce judgement as if it were objective. I don't think there's a problem with posting why you don't find fanfiction worthy of your attention, but that doesn't mean fanfiction isn't worthy of *anyone's* attention.

Sigyn

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 10:07:44 PM »
I apologize if I sounded like I was trying to be objective.  When it comes to fanfiction, I know I can't be objective, and that goes back to my sister again.  My sister is an amazing writer.  I love reading her writing, but I hate that she rarely comes out of fanfiction to write her own world and then never finishes anything (I have my own problems with finishing works, but I have managed it on occasion).  And she does crossovers.  I understand that she enjoys it, and if I were a nicer sister I'd be more supportive, but I hate it that because she focuses on fanfiction, she will never get anything of her own finished so that she could try to get it published.  Rant finished.
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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 01:01:08 AM »
but maybe she isn't looking to get published. You should be happy because she's doing what makes her happy.

or maybe someone will notice her fanfiction and ask her to write in that series.

Phaz

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 04:52:36 AM »
I don't understand author's who don't allow fan fiction (not just that they are against it, but they enforce their viewpoint with legal means).

Such as GRRM.  He's pretty famous (I believe) for standing against fan fiction of his works.  I don't understand that viewpoint.  Doesn't it just mean that people love your series even more and (as has been said above) want to experience it more?

What does the author lose by allowing or (daresay) supporting it?  I know JKR has read a lot of the fan fiction of her work.

GRRM was discussing it somewhere and said that he thinks it hinders an authors development by letting them use characters and worlds that already exist, rather than going through lengths to develop their own.

Now, that may seem like a sound argument, but I find it utter BS.  If someone is new to writing, let them have a start.  People learn better doing baby steps.  Maybe they aren't interested in being published, and just want to do it as a hobby, what harm does it do letting them save some time by writing about your world?  My guess is that if a study was done they would find that writing fan fiction helps people instead of hindering them.  First, it's easier to write since a lot of the ground work is done, but it still leaves plenty of room for creativity.  You can still develop characters and plot lines.  In addition, most fan fiction is read by other people.  IMO a starting writer will have much better motivation to finish something if they know it will be read by someone.  I'm sure they also get a lot more feedback about fan fiction than they would about something else they wrote.

I know there are some authors here, would any of you be against fan fiction?

Also, speaking of BS, how does Brandon feel?   ;D

I should end by saying take this all with a large grain of salt, since my experience with writing is zero.  The only things I've written since I've left school are forum posts, emails, checks and code.  Though, I have thought about trying out some MB fan fiction just to see what the whole 'creative writing' thing is all about.

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 05:33:24 AM »
The main reason many authors are against, though more just refuse to read it or allow it on official sites/forums, is for their legal protection.

They're worried that if you write some fan fiction then they write another book and there are similarities and all the sudden the fan is suing because of those similarities and the authors could loose a decent chunk of change (even if they win, lawyer fees are expensive).  It has happened before so most feel it's better to be safe then sorry.

As for Brandon's views:

Quote
I also provide an exemption for fanfics, provided that--again--you do not attach them to this work or imply they are my work at all. In addition, by writing a fanfic with these characters, using this magic, or that is related to this work in any way, you waive all rights to that work. (In other words, you can't write a WARBREAKER fanfic, then sue me for compensation if I happen to write something similar in the world in a sequel to the book. I'm not going to steal your ideas, but I've got to write something like this just in case. It's every author's nightmare to get sued for writing in their own worlds, and is one of the reasons so many of them are so afraid of fanfiction.)

I'm not sure what his policy is on you posting fanfic here, but my policy is don't--even if it's not for one of Brandon's stories.  TWG is a separate entity from Brandon and frankly we don't want to get pulled into anything legal.  I'll delete any links or stories and lock any thread talking about one they wrote.  Even with safe harbor possibly protecting us we don't want to deal with it.
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Azhev

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 05:40:07 AM »
Like I said, I really have no opinion of fanfiction one way or another.  But I can definately see an author's viewpoint on the whole thing.  I sure for one would not want to get sued, whether or not I am in the right.   Besides, if I have ideas, I would at least like to get credit for them and make them original.
"The ending of a book is, in my experience, both the best and the worst part to read.  For the ending will often decide whethet you love or hate the book."

-Alcatraz Smedry, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, p262

Phaz

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 06:19:27 AM »
The main reason many authors are against, though more just refuse to read it or allow it on official sites/forums, is for their legal protection.

They're worried that if you write some fan fiction then they write another book and there are similarities and all the sudden the fan is suing because of those similarities and the authors could loose a decent chunk of change (even if they win, lawyer fees are expensive).  It has happened before so most feel it's better to be safe then sorry.

As for Brandon's views:

Quote
I also provide an exemption for fanfics, provided that--again--you do not attach them to this work or imply they are my work at all. In addition, by writing a fanfic with these characters, using this magic, or that is related to this work in any way, you waive all rights to that work. (In other words, you can't write a WARBREAKER fanfic, then sue me for compensation if I happen to write something similar in the world in a sequel to the book. I'm not going to steal your ideas, but I've got to write something like this just in case. It's every author's nightmare to get sued for writing in their own worlds, and is one of the reasons so many of them are so afraid of fanfiction.)

I'm not sure what his policy is on you posting fanfic here, but my policy is don't--even if it's not for one of Brandon's stories.  TWG is a separate entity from Brandon and frankly we don't want to get pulled into anything legal.  I'll delete any links or stories and lock any thread talking about one they wrote.  Even with safe harbor possibly protecting us we don't want to deal with it.

Thanks for the insight.  I tend to always ignore the legal side of things, I guess because I think it shouldn't be such an issue (Side note:  Did you know that American companies spent more fighting legal battles last year than they did on R&D?).

I was pretty sure Brandon's stance would be something along those lines (he did release Warbreaker after all) but wasn't sure on the details.  I really do enjoy Brandon's work to the point where I feel like I need some way to express it and give him something in return.  I just don't have talent for much in terms of art or writing.   It's too bad I can't write some fan fiction in C# or Java.

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 02:07:21 PM »
hrm. I have a very different stance than Sprig. I don't think this forum is the place to post fanfic, but links to it I don't have a problem with. Sounds like we need a staff meeting to decide the issue.

Actually, does it matter? Does anyone here write fanfic? (no links until this is decided, but a simple yes or no would be helpful)

Loud_G

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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2008, 08:25:47 PM »
I dislike fanfiction very much, but I do admit that it can sometimes be a good starting point for a writer. I dabbled in WoT Roleplaying/Fanfics back in High School (gave that up a long time ago as it ceased to do anything for me) so I know a bit about the kind of community that can grow up around fanfic and certain worlds. I think fanfic in an online roleplaying manner is less annoying to me than the other kind because you have to create a character in the world from scratch, in fact we never used ANY of the actual book characters just the world. I eventually started creating my own worlds and stories and now I'm working on my own novels. 

The biggest problem I have with fanfiction (ok there are several) is that it becomes (more often than not) a vehicle for disturbing wish fulfilment. It tends to focus on romantic interludes, and (as had been mentioned) erotic and furry, etc. I know, I know.... Not all fanfics do that, but there is a LARGE quantity that do.

Another major problem is that of the legal ramifications for the author himself.

The final issue I have seen is the wild obsession that some people have with these fanfic stories.  People just get sucked in to writing (usually sub par) (usually romantic) fanfics of a certain story and then ....they ...just ....never... move ....on.

It is a great springboard for budding authors when it is tackled in a literary manner and not for wishfulfillment, when grammar and composition matter more than who is snogging whom.

Happily as much drivvel that gets written this way, there are a very few gems that come out.

So while I dispise 99% of fanfiction, I don't see a need to ban it, just treat it like Brandon has done. You may write it but the characters still belong to the author and the fanfic person may not sue said author. Let the teens write their drivvel I say. I just won't read it. :)
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Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2008, 09:05:51 PM »
Oh, I hate fanfiction.

The authors butcher the stories and characters so much. It sickens me.

Blegh.

I had this person who I knew who did nothing but write fanfiction about gay anime characters.

She had a bunch of comp books filled with the stupid stories and they were horrible.

And she did nothing but go on and on about how great she was and how she was going to be a great author!

She didn't have enough creativity to even branch out from the personalities and storylines of the animes she was copying, just changing the names of everything/one

Not to mention that I also hate any type of anime or manga.

Don't even get me started on the fact that the manga section is right next to the sci-fi/fantasy section at ANY bookstore you go to.
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