December 06, 2019, 06:05:21 AM

Author Topic: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?  (Read 1625 times)

Offline shadowkat678

What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« on: June 25, 2019, 07:17:19 PM »
This used to be a more controversial topic than it is today, I'm told, but I still know there's a good handful of writers, even some that are very popular, who don't like the thought of people writing in their worlds or with their characters. Personally, Fanfic is one of the things that got me into writing spaces. I think it's a great way to learn, and even after learning a great way to meet other people and grow further. If someone were to ever write a fic off a story I wrote myself I think I'd be incredibly flattered. It stumps me a bit how people can be adverse to fics when we have hundreds of examples of fics that have been professionally published. Anything that is written based off previous lore or mythology is a fic, for example. Every Robin Hood movie, every King Arthur spinoff, and every new Sherlock TV show is a published fanfiction, but they don't get near the amount of disdain.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline Alex Hormann

  • Writing Contest Regular
  • Valheru
  • **
  • Posts: 892
  • Total likes: 479
  • Gender: Male
  • Bookworm first, human second.
    • View Profile
Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 07:53:00 PM »
As a general rule I am strongly anti-fanfiction. I'd rather have one official story than hundreds of branching, contradictory ones. I suppose a fanfiction sequel wouldn't annoy me as much as an alternative vision. That being said there is a fanfiction book I'm looking forward to. (Redemption of Time, based on Three Body Problem). But that's published and translated by the same team as the original books, and fully approved by the author, so in a way that's as good as official for me. What I really don't like about a lot of fanfiction is that it twists characters to suit itself or its author's ideas, rather than staying true to what the original creator wanted.

I hadn't considered adaptations and the like as fanfiction before, but you raise an interesting point. I think the change of media makes it easier for me to accept. But modern Arthurian stories, for example, aren't really fanfiction, in my opinion, because they're building on the existing real-world mythos of Arthur.  The same way that Paradise Lost isn't fanfiction of the Bible.

I should say that I don't generally encounter much fanfiction, since I do my reading in physical books for 99.9% of the time, and my bias is not based on any quality judgement. It's just not for me.
Blog: https://atboundarysedge.com

Twitter: @HormannAlex

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2019, 08:31:34 PM »
I hadn't considered adaptations and the like as fanfiction before, but you raise an interesting point. I think the change of media makes it easier for me to accept. But modern Arthurian stories, for example, aren't really fanfiction, in my opinion, because they're building on the existing real-world mythos of Arthur.  The same way that Paradise Lost isn't fanfiction of the Bible.
That's actually something a lot of fics do, and something I personally like myself. I'm writing a Harry Potter fanfiction now, for instance, that deals with the Founders era. It's a time period that was never written in the books, so I'm having to develop characters we have nothing but names and a few traits of. It would be considered original fiction in all ways except it exists an an already established universe with already written history to certain events taking place. I've also done it with missing moment expansions. For example Sirius Black's stay in Azkaban is something I've written about, which let me practice flashing out aspects of the character he wouldn't have shown to Harry as the books only Pov character.

Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline Bender

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 09:02:30 PM »
Is Fan-Fic same as non cannon?

For example, the Thrawn Trilogy set in Star Wars universe is the best out there and even better than the movie books, but still non Cannon. I somehow don't see this as Fan-Fic.

I think fanfiction is too broad a category to classify. I'm very selective on which I read.
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline Peat

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2019, 09:36:15 PM »
I think it's the writer's choice. It's their invention. If they don't like people playing with it, that's their right. Not a choice I'd agree with myself - or necessarily even respect if I did want to write fan-fic in it - but they're allowed to dislike it.

More to the point, I definitely respect not wanting to see it in case it mirrors an idea they've already got under development and don't want to hear calls of "PLAGIARISM!"
This is the blog of Peat - http://peatlong.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 12:13:09 AM »
Is Fan-Fic same as non cannon?

For example, the Thrawn Trilogy set in Star Wars universe is the best out there and even better than the movie books, but still non Cannon. I somehow don't see this as Fan-Fic.

I think fanfiction is too broad a category to classify. I'm very selective on which I read.

No, fanfiction can be canon compliant. For example, a story moment rewritten in another pov that wasn't in the books but still containing all canon events.

 
I think it's the writer's choice. It's their invention. If they don't like people playing with it, that's their right. Not a choice I'd agree with myself - or necessarily even respect if I did want to write fan-fic in it - but they're allowed to dislike it.

More to the point, I definitely respect not wanting to see it in case it mirrors an idea they've already got under development and don't want to hear calls of "PLAGIARISM!"

For the last part, that's most of the reason writers tend to ask fans not to send them fics even if they'll accept fan art. If it can't be proven that they read it, even if something has been publicly published online, then cries of plagiarism hold very little weight. I'm mostly thinking of authors who don't want it written at all, even if they'll never come across it. I can definitely understand some concerns. Certain cases of smut, for instance.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline Bender

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 02:34:03 AM »
Perhaps the author wants to explore the themes later. He may get annoyed if some fanfic on same themes even a inferior version appears earlier. Author may even be accused of stealing themes from fanfic. It's quite understandable why authors may hate this.
Not all those who wander are lost

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2019, 02:49:06 AM »
Fanfics will rarely get enough reads to,put a dent in any book sales, and like I said if it's not sent to the writer there's no weight to a plagiarism accusation because writers typically don't read fics of their own material. It's a fairly baseless fear to have.
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline cupiscent

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2019, 06:11:29 AM »
I've written, my AO3 account tells me, some 490k words of fanfiction, so I suppose my viewpoint on this is fairly obvious.

Authors, like anyone, are allowed to dislike whatever they want. Just like I'm allowed to dislike their original work and write a fix-it version if I feel like it. ;) (I jest, because mostly, fanfic is about a deep abiding love of a thing. I mean, why else are you going to spend your time and energy and words on something?)

At base, there is nothing authors can do to stop me saying to my friends, "Well, I like to pretend that in the Lord of the Rings, everything after the hobbits get all excited about the mushrooms is actually a psychedelic hallucination and actually it's just a story about Aragorn trying to get Frodo to go to rehab." And what's the different between that and actually writing a version that's slightly changed so that's what it IS about? As long as my story is marked clearly with what it is and isn't (i.e. my own theory on events, not official or endorsed or making money) then what's the harm?

If I were writing in an ongoing medium--comic books, for instance--I'd probably be careful about consuming fan work. But when it comes to bigger projects, even a series, there is just so much work in the execution that the idea of "stealing" an idea is laughable. There are no new stories, right? (And honestly, if Cassie Claire can publish her thinly veiled Draco/Ginny fanfic as original fiction and not get a cease & desist from the most trigger-happy legal team in fanfic history, I think everything's probably safe on that now.)

Offline Magnus Hedén

  • High Lord of commas and Grand Master of semicolons
  • Godling
  • **
  • Posts: 265
  • Total likes: 218
  • Gender: Male
  • My name is Magnus. I make stuff up.
    • View Profile
    • My Patreon
Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2019, 07:01:46 AM »
I used to think fanfiction was a lower form of writing. But I used to have a lot of stupid-ass, entitled, elitist opinions. I've spent the last decade unwinding that knot and realising that being angry at pointless shit I can't affect is a waste of time. I guess it's a human thing, though, because that's how a lot of people seem to spend their days.

As a writer, I'd be fucking honoured if people liked my work enough to want to re-write it and re-imagine it. As to whether I'd actually read it, that's a different story, partly for reasons mentioned above (I might get accused of stealing ideas).

I've written fanfiction for BATTLETECH and The Banner Saga (both based on open calls for stories from the creators). It's a great way to flex your writing muscle because it provides you with a setting, but also because it forces you to approach the story in a different way.

Anyway, let me finish up with a quote from Sam Sykes: "Seriously, though, fanart has been, like, 80% of art. It’s just that for a long time Jesus was the only fandom."

You can find stories on my Patreon
I'm also on Twitter and the Book of Faces

Offline Alex Hormann

  • Writing Contest Regular
  • Valheru
  • **
  • Posts: 892
  • Total likes: 479
  • Gender: Male
  • Bookworm first, human second.
    • View Profile
Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2019, 11:30:13 AM »
Is Fan-Fic same as non cannon?

For example, the Thrawn Trilogy set in Star Wars universe is the best out there and even better than the movie books, but still non Cannon. I somehow don't see this as Fan-Fic.

I think fanfiction is too broad a category to classify. I'm very selective on which I read.

The old Star Wars EU is not and never was fanfiction. LucasArts actively recruited authors to write new canon stories. Even though it's now non-canon, it is still fully authorised.

I think the best definition of fanfiction would be 'stories written about (x) without any input from (x creator) or seeking (x creator's) permission). To my mind it's a legal issue, like fair use of copyright etc.

Even though most fanfiction is a well-intentioned labour of love, as a creator I am against it. Nobody can write my characters/worlds as well as I can, on account of the fact that I am literally in control of everything they do. It may come of as elitist, but I wouldn't want my readers to first encounter my characters/worlds through inferior incorrect versions.

Fan art is a different matter for me. I have zero artistic ability, with the failed GCSE to prove it. If a fan wants to create a prettier version of my characters than I can, then I am all for it and that would be an absolute honour.
Blog: https://atboundarysedge.com

Twitter: @HormannAlex

Offline Skip

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 05:08:40 AM »
If there were fans of Altearth who wanted to write their own stories set in that world, I'd be both thrilled and honored. The key in that word fanfiction is that there are *fans*. That means there are people who love your work. Who could possibly object?

That's me speaking as an author. As a reader, I don't think I've ever picked up such a work, even though I'm old enough to know that fanfic goes at least as far back as the 1970s and represents a genuine cultural phenomenon. It's just not something that has appealed to me. But all props and respect to the fans, whether they're writing stories or painting pictures or making movies.

Offline Matthew

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 09:36:51 PM »
It could come down to medium as others have mentioned, however a TV spinoff still requires the original authors consent assuming it's still in copyright.

I'd say I was against it, partly because I think an author has the right to not want the characters they've often spent years building up portrayed a certain way. Look at it from a different perspective, if you had/have children etc, and you find out that someone is making stuff up about them, you'd be upset. People can bond with anything, including characters on a page (often the reason the fanfic exists in the first place). It's their creation, and they have the right to it.

When it comes to just writing in their world, it's the same thing but on a lesser level (I think I'd be more tolerant of that, but still has issues with creating lore that the author may not want - many do prequels or sequels or spinoffs of their own after all.

I think the biggest thing for me would be the lack of imagination. If you're going to write, use some. Everything is recycled, that's obvious to any reader, but to straight up hijack characters just feels lazy. When I read I often think fanfic things, ways the characters could have acted, things that could/should exist in the world (usually the technical stuff surrounding the magic systems), but I wouldn't then write that down and pass it off as my own.

Edit: I'll also add that over time, fanfic can become synonymous with the original work. The takeaway from the Harry Potter years of fanfic is often portrayed in popular culture as Harry and Ron get it on, which was written so much that it became a running joke (also it's super creepy when you remember they're children).
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 09:41:00 PM by Matthew »

Offline shadowkat678

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 07:53:20 PM »
It could come down to medium as others have mentioned, however a TV spinoff still requires the original authors consent assuming it's still in copyright.

I'd say I was against it, partly because I think an author has the right to not want the characters they've often spent years building up portrayed a certain way. Look at it from a different perspective, if you had/have children etc, and you find out that someone is making stuff up about them, you'd be upset. People can bond with anything, including characters on a page (often the reason the fanfic exists in the first place). It's their creation, and they have the right to it.

When it comes to just writing in their world, it's the same thing but on a lesser level (I think I'd be more tolerant of that, but still has issues with creating lore that the author may not want - many do prequels or sequels or spinoffs of their own after all.

I think the biggest thing for me would be the lack of imagination. If you're going to write, use some. Everything is recycled, that's obvious to any reader, but to straight up hijack characters just feels lazy. When I read I often think fanfic things, ways the characters could have acted, things that could/should exist in the world (usually the technical stuff surrounding the magic systems), but I wouldn't then write that down and pass it off as my own.

Edit: I'll also add that over time, fanfic can become synonymous with the original work. The takeaway from the Harry Potter years of fanfic is often portrayed in popular culture as Harry and Ron get it on, which was written so much that it became a running joke (also it's super creepy when you remember they're children).

I think you bring up some interesting points but a few of them I would like to discuss on the opposite side of the argument.

I've heard people mention their writing in terms of fanfiction with the children analogy before, but if we're going to treat our stories and characters like children, don't we also have to come to terms with those children growing up? Like a book being published, children move out further than just their parents. Parents aren't the owners of their children, but the nurturers, and once those children become exposed to the world they take on a bigger role in it outside of home. They get hurt and they fall in love and they make friends and they change interests and make choices their parents may not always approve of. If you're not ready for that to happen to your child, which it will regardless if you want it to or not, are you ready to be a parent?

Art is not something that exists in a bubble, and writing is an art form. Once it comes into contact with an audience their perceptions will change it in ways you don't always intend. They will make memories with it and it will become a piece of their lives as well as in the life of its creator. That's one of the beautiful parts about art, I think. How it grows and touches other people. If someone doesn't want that they shouldn't expose it to the outside world in the first place, because as soon as that exposure happens it is no longer just a personal piece.

I would also like to argue that fanfiction can be just as creative as original works. Sometimes, it requires even more work. When I write original fiction I can do whatever I please. With fanfiction, when I write another persons character I have to take into account a lot of context that I can't just make up on my own. I have to study and contemplate and analyze. If I take a character who hasn't been fleshed out much in canon I have to create much of their background just like I would an original character.

I'd also like to compare this process to fanartists who do drawings and paintings since they were brought up earlier in this thread by Alex. Does anyone call them uncreative when they have references for poses? I'd also like to bring back a point about some people not having as big an issue with fanart as fanfiction. Don't people draw different representations that don't always match up as well? People draw characters in parings they weren't in originally. People race-bend and gender swap in drawings. I've seen a lot of Indian Harry and Black Hermione to make the caste feel more diverse even before Cursed Child. People make Alternate Universe comics. Which is also another point. What about comics? They're basically a hybrid of writing and drawing. Where would they fall?

The comic artists, like fanfiction writers, are telling a story that may not fit inside canon, but I've rarely if ever heard them brought into the discussion.

Edit: Also, I don't think I've ever heard about RonxHarry being a popular thing? Where did you see that around? I could see it happening, because there's always someone who will ship anything, but I wouldn't say I've noticed it having a big impact. The biggest noncanon Harry ships I've heard of are HarryxHermione and HarryxDraco, the later of which I'm really not a fan of but eh. I'm also not sure why you would assume that that ship would have to happen when they're children. There's a lot of stories for after Hogwarts and with NextGen when characters are already fully grown. I'm also not sure why it would be creepier than the canon ships that also happened when they were minors. Actual sex scenes would be a different story, but that's not really what a requirement to have a ship. I myself don't like reading sex scenes period and I never write a ship with one.

I also was thinking about the lack of imagination thing some more. Where would real writing stand on that? Elves in the modern day got a lot from Tolkien, as did many other fantasy races. Should we all come up with our own races whenever we write a new book? That could get really tedious when you have other aspects of world-building you want to explore. :p
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 08:14:21 PM by shadowkat678 »
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline Matthew

Re: What do you think about writers who don't like Fanfiction?
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 10:12:27 PM »
Some good points made there.

As to the children growing up, that's a solid argument. I'd respond that books are timeless. The very nature of the characters remaining 'as intended' is what makes them special. There was always space at the end of the book to write a (and going back to Harry Potter here) epilogue that jumps them forward in time for that happily ever after moment (or whatever they want). The point is, a world exists within the cover of a book, and it's the authors choice whether or not to continue their story.

I can't say that people shouldn't be allowed to write fanfic, but whenever I've read it it's been fairly terrible and is then stuck in my head alongside words I love. I'm not discounting the existence of many good ones, but why should the author have to blindly accept what others have written in their world.

As to creativity, that's a valid point when it's about world building. Like I said, it's easier to read something set in the same world but with different characters or a different time period. When it comes to characters though, it's already there, there's no agency required to 'fill in the blanks'. A massive part of any creative writing is developing personalities, the 'voice' of your characters.

I do still think that the author retains the rights to that universe and everything in it, so it comes down to if they've got an issue with it.

I don't have any real issue with fan art, I think because of the medium shift and it's hardly rewording the work. If anything, fan art is more of a homage to the original. I'd say comics fall under fanfic in my opinion, but it's too big a topic to cover everything here.

As to imagination, yea, tropes exist, stereotypes, etc and do get heavily recycled. It's not however, the same thing as writing a book titled "Legolas goes to Legoland". In your example, you would want to spend your time building the world, not reinventing the wheel... the same applies to fanfic in that they have these tropes etc at their disposal, so they don't need to write about other peoples characters.

I forgot Harry and Draco... but yea, that's my point right there, for you that one has become interlinked with the source, something I doubt JK had in mind when it was written.

I understand that most fanfic is written with a deep love for the source material (even the ones that contradict it only do so because it has it's hooks in them so badly they can't just let it go), and maybe that's an issue as well. Why do people feel the need to obsess on something so much that they are driven to write stories set in that make believe world?

All in all, I'm anti-fanfic but there's nothing that I would do to stop others from writing or enjoying it. I do think that the authors have the right to be pissed at people for doing it though, especially (or even only when) they then make it public.

In many ways it'd be like a company having the right to complain if someone took their exact product, switched one part out for a cheaper knockoff, changed the colour, then released it as their own. It's not common, but some fanficcers (no idea of the term there...) leverage 'their' work into profit, often indirectly through merchandise or Patreon type things.