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But is it fattening?

As is being discussed hither and yon, Diana Gabaldon's "position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf."

Cue Round Umpty-Seven of the same old talking points on all sides (this puppy so doesn't just have two sides) of the issue. And, y'know, I started this whole long thing that I'm not going to post, at least not right now, because I don't feel like getting into it. When I have the time and making-thoughts-into-English wherewithal, I'd rather post about Doctor Who, which has chosen a rather inconvenient time (from my perspective) to make everyone's brains work overtime.

Instead I shall content myself with two questions. The first will probably sound snarky, but it's not intended to be. I actually strongly suspect the answer is "yes," and that we just don't hear about it because it doesn't make good copy. To wit: Are there any authors who have stated a position against fanfic in a manner that does not employ hyperbole, invoke one or more unambiguous felonies, or (as in this case) involve bodily fluids? (Corollary: Do they facepalm every time someone states it in a manner that does? I don't particularly blame the people who do -- it's an emotional thing, and heaven knows they get mocked aplenty for it -- but it's gotta suck for someone who's like, "Not that I disagree, but did you really have to bring vomit into it?")

Question the second: What damn fools (plural, apparently) brought this fic auction to her attention, and what the hairy heck did they think would be gained by it? Seriously, people, assuming she's using the word in good faith -- and I see no reason to think otherwise -- the only way for her to inadvertently encounter fic with her characters is for someone to shove it in her face. Which is, ever has been, and ever will be an exceptionally damn-fool thing to do.

One useful thing I've learned in the midst of the usual hue and cry: Jim Butcher has gone Creative Commons. It shouldn't surprise me that he'd be an early adopter (gaming companies have been using it pretty extensively for several years, and Butcher is a gamer himself in addition to having been closely involved with the development of the upcoming Dresden Files RPG), but at this stage it still surprises me to see anyone going that route. In the good way, or mostly -- CC is still largely untested territory for this purpose. Once it's better established, though, it will be a far more stable policy than the "don't ask don't tell" principle. Whether it's a better option now is kind of a coin toss, so I'm not holding my breath that it will be embraced in droves by the folks who currently operate on a DADT policy. But it's a very interesting development. (Much more so than the same old dance of ideological posturing, frankly.)


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Dude. *FACEDESK* Yeah. I have thoughts, but they're mostly "CAN WE SMACK THE PEOPLE WHO TALKED?"
May. 4th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
THIS. I am unreasonably curious as to whether they are fans/friends of hers who ran across it (on a Google hit or something) and genuinely felt it was their duty to point it out to her so she could take appropriate action; or someone looking to score points with her; or someone with a vendetta against the person offering the fic and/or auction organizer; or WHAT.

The first of those I would totally condone, however inconvenient it might be for fandom-at-large. Anything else? DAMN. FOOLS.
May. 4th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
Seriously, the first rule of fanfic is "You don't share fanfic with the author" and the second rules of fanfic is "YOU DO NOT SHARE FANFIC WITH THE AUTHOR." Even if the author is 100% cool with it, their agent and publisher might not be. Plus, any smart author knows that they can't read fanfic, because they may risk being accused of stealing ideas later on.

That said, I think that fandom helped propel Harry Potter to permanent bestseller status and kept the interest alive during the periods where JKR was angsting over the last four books.
May. 4th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
And that's exactly it -- there's almost nothing that's cut-and-dried in this discussion, no matter how many times people make statements indicating that something is.

"You do not share fanfic with the author" is the one thing that totally is. Everyone gets one lesson of "This person, whom you have indicated you like, cannot afford to go there in any way shape or form, at very real peril of her/his livelihood. PERIOD."

Because sure, most people never thought of it that way before. But if it takes more than one lesson, then, well, argl.
May. 4th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
And yet, people persist in sharing fanfic with the author. In the exact same venue where they've said, "Don't!" Occasionally the same comment thread.
May. 4th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
At which point the "argl" comes in. And, as mtgat has been known to say, "It is to headdesk. With rum."

People and instructions, not so much with the going together sometimes. Much sympathy. :-/
May. 4th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
In truth, I am at the point where I can't even read feedback. I get too many people saying that they either expect X to happen or want Y to happen or can't wait to see if Z happens that it inevitably derails the original idea... especially if they're accurately deducing the direction the plot is headed. Suddenly, I feel like the original idea is no longer original. *sigh*

May. 4th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yeep. I never post WIPs because I know damn well how unreliable I am, and I don't ever want to leave people hanging because my brain decided to run off and play with something else. This just gives me another reason.
May. 4th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I'd feel about fanfic with my characters, assuming the Clans series ever reaches that level of notoriety. I would be hugely flattered. I might even go the Creative Commons route, myself. I think that getting hyperbolic and vitriolic at your fanbase for emulating you and for writing in an homage to a world you created is one of the stupidest things you can do. Fans make book sales. Book sales help writers eat. Ipso facto, fans = survival.

I understand some writers are very protective of their characters and works, and I can certainly understand protecting your business interests in terms of professional profits. Fanfic is not a money-maker, though, and therefore no threat to a writer's legitimate livelihood. It also feeds word-of-mouth about your work, and I see no reason not to encourage it.

I hope someday someone does write Tobyn fanfic. I hope I get to see it, even with the above concerns about "idea stealing". It helps that I have this story mapped out up to 11 books (plus, possibly), so I'm not concerned about this.

Edited at 2010-05-04 06:08 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
This is where you're at an advantage with your business model. You don't have to answer to any publishing house, or worry about its legal department having the vapors.

People have tied up our legal system with some astonishing boneheaded things, and worse, gotten cabals of misguided fellow fans behind them. It's never, ever pretty. Even with stuff mapped out, you have the hassle of proving it, blahblahblah.

I'm just as glad to never expect to be in the position of having to decide on a policy, but if I did, it'd have to be to be happy to know things exist that I can't afford to know too much about.

If everyone were stable and trustworthy, it'd be different, but, well. :-/

Edited at 2010-05-04 06:12 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
This is my opportunity to be catty and say that Diana Gabaldon's actual writing makes me want to barf...
May. 4th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Hey, if you can't be catty here... I've never read her, so I have only *shrug*.
May. 4th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
Her stance on rape is upsetting. Not going to lie.

Though beyond that ickiness, I did enjoy the first three Outlander books in a guilty pleasure sort of fashion.

Which is probably why I don't understand why she's so upset that she inspires other people's guilty pleasures.
May. 4th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
Is it me or is her internet writing style annoying as hell to read?

Then again, I'm the lone bear in my knitting group that got squicked out by rape being touted as perfectly healthy sex in Outlander, so I'm heading into this against her.
May. 4th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
Also, she WRITES masturbatory fantasy. I understand not wanting others to use her characters to do it, but the condescension of that phrase seems a little unwarranted.

I enjoyed the Outlander series (or the three books I read), but I have some serious issues with it.
May. 4th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice anything in particular about her blog style, but I skimmed a bit. *shrug*

I've never read her books, but from comments I've seen, you may be alone in your knitting group, but you're far from alone in general.
May. 4th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
It's just annoying that she ruins perfectly good adventure novels with squicky depictions of rape. I read them expecting a certain amount of tropes -- like a heroine that constantly needs rescuing, but the rape as healthy sex is bothersome.

I think my problem with the blog post is that it comes across a bit as the lady who doth protest too much. She writes action adventure romance novels. It's perfectly acceptable to not want others to write fanfiction. But to be so condescending about sex in fanfiction is just odd considering she writes action adventure ROMANCE novels.
(Deleted comment)
May. 4th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Well, she also seems to advocate "just enough to cover your legal ass" filing of serial numbers, so I can't really call her inconsistent on that point, ironic as it may seem.

The fact that I generally consider the superficial degree of serial-number-filing she seems to advocate to be poor craftsmanship is another issue entirely. :-)

Edited at 2010-05-05 12:18 am (UTC)
May. 4th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
I believe Melanie Rawn said something to the effect of:

"Don't write fanfic for my characters. Please don't. Write stories for your own characters, not mine. I know you want to read more stories about my characters, but I want to read your stories."

Incidentally, she also got her start in fanfiction.
May. 4th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
She did indeed. I own some of it. (And if I hadn't already known who she was, I would have pegged her voice by about three chapters into Dragon Prince. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I heard later and then said, "Well, that makes sense.")

And what a classy way of putting it. I knew there had to be somebody out there who'd done so. Alas, it's not designed to ripple through fandom at the speed of snark. :-/

Edited at 2010-05-04 09:04 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
May. 4th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
SG-1 is where my area of weirdness is. My fic is my fic, under my fannish identity. Then there's the 14,600-word story that isn't part of my fic, even though I wrote it with mostly the same skillset and based on the same knowledge, because it belongs to the company that did the RPG under license from MGM. Which was not renewed by Sony after the merger, so the story was never properly published on the website.

Ironically, barring a couple brief scenes with Hammond, it's populated entirely by original characters. But hubby and I developed those characters under contract, and ditto for my writing the story. So even though it's by far the most "original" of everything I've written in that universe, I can't -- by my own ethical lights -- post it with my fic. So nobody but my personal friends, and the people who read the sneak preview on the AEG board when they still had the license, will ever read it.

The likelihood that anyone would ever know or care is remote, but I find myself feeling bound by the contract anyway. It was bought and paid for; it's not mine, and I can't treat it as if it were.

With ordinary fic, my only obligation is to keep it where it won't cause anyone trouble.

Edited at 2010-05-04 11:14 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Er, at least one of the people in the thread who is a 'friend' of hers claimed to have TOLD HER about fanfiction and the like. So I don't think anyone in fandom actually sent it to her. That said, given the description of her work, fans who write of it might not be too bright anyway.
May. 4th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
So I don't think anyone in fandom actually sent it to her.

We can live in hope. If it was a personal friend who sincerely feels it their duty to ferret it out for her so she can take appropriate action... Well, I still think it's kinda silly to go looking for trouble, but I have to respect it as a valid opinion. I'd rather think it was that than someone just playing teacher's pet or something.

fans who write of it might not be too bright anyway.

*snerk* I don't get why people write probably 90% of the fic that's out there. Whatever rips your jeans, as long as I can stay safely clear of it...
May. 5th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
aha. I have to take part of that back. It sounds like someone associated with the charity auction contacted Gabaldon as regards her standing on the subject. Her opinion on fanfic has apparently been noted and the person is no longer writing it.

But there definitely was someone earlier in the comments who said she'd liked G. to some of the fic, as she felt she had a 'duty' to, or something.
May. 5th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
You have more intestinal fortitude than I. I skimmed just enough of the comments to determine that, yes, the entire spectrum of FAIL is in fact adequately represented, and I was done.

There seems to be some intelligent life struggling valiantly in there too, but I don't have a lot of faith that it will get very far. *sigh*
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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