My take on the "Pro Authors Who Don't Like Fanfic" rants...

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Title: My take on the "Pro Authors Who Don't Like Fanfic" rants...
Creator: rap541
Date(s): May 26, 2010
Medium: online
Fandom:
Topic:
External Links: My take on the "Pro Authors Who Don't Like Fanfic" rants...; archive link
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My take on the "Pro Authors Who Don't Like Fanfic" rants... is a 2010 essay by rap541.

It is a response to Professional Writers vs. The People Who Love Their Work, Round Umpty-Snout, which in turn was a response to Someone Is Angry On the Internet and Fan-Fiction and Moral Conundrums.

Some Topics Discussed

The Essay

I recently read someone else's rant on this topic. I'm not saying who, because frankly, I don't feel like engaging in a flame war on the topic but the opinions I saw expressed really surprised me. Oh, and read at your own risk.

Let's remove the legality issue.

Let's just say that a professional author doesn't like his or her work co-opted by fanfic authors.

Why is that offensive? How is this in any way different than how fanfic authors act?

I mean, honestly folks, I've written fanfic for decades. Let me tell you how petty and ugly and unpleasant people are over their "creations". I've seen fanfic authors throw raging fits over other fanfiction authors daring to use "their origanal characters". Yes, sometimes its plagiarism, and sometimes its homage and/or another author being so taken and impressed that they want to build from what the first author created... which is the same arguement fanfic writers make to the pro author.

By rights, fellow fanfic authors, I can rewrite your entire story, use your origanal characters however I like... and you have no right to say boo. Let alone pitch a fit. You put your work out there, I'm not profiting on it, and if I do it better, thereby depriving you of internetz adoration, fame, and BNF status... well, I did it better, so suck it. Sure you originated "x doing y in universe a" but if you didn't have to ask Pro Author for permission to play in their playground, why am I the heinous thieving bastard for not begging your permission to expand on your *fan fiction*. I mean.... I have to be honest, I am not that invested in this arguement, but I do tire of the fanfic writers flouncing about how horrified they are when someone *steals* from them, and causes them severe mental trauma because they weren't asked permission to allow an unofficial sequal that is completely not what they wanted!

I consider it a courtesy to ask and usually won't go ahead with a project if a fellow fanfic author doesn't allow me permission to use their work... but considering that pro authors are expected to bend over and smile when their work is touched... I really hope at the very least fanfic writers can see that the big bad pro authors aren't the only ones who act like immature arrogant greedyguts with their toys.

Because really, I have seen too many rants on *theft in fanfic* to find it credible that pro authors are unreasonable, but fanfic authors own their ideas and must be granted the courtesy of permission lest the offender risk a major flame war.

Excerpts from Comments

[ingridmatthews]:

No one is saying that an author requesting that no fanfic be posted of their work is offensive.

However, the comparisons of fanfic writers to thieves, murderers, child molesters, rapists and serial killers is kinda, you know, annoying, especially when they come out of nowhere, even worse, when there is no fanfiction of that particular author's work to begin with. Also, a lot of these writers have published fanfiction - Shakespeare and Dr. Who pastiches, not to mention those writers who got their start writing Star Trek or Star Wars novels. Hello, pot/kettle much?

As for fanfic writers who are possessive of their OOCs? Well, that kind of lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy is laughable, I don't think you'll find to many right-minded ficcers who'll disagree with that one.
[rap541]:

No one is saying that an author requesting that no fanfic be posted of their work is offensive.

I can point you to a rant that pretty much calls a unprofessional and a crybaby who misses the adoration, and that fanfic writers have done tons better etc etc etc. Thats pretty much calling it offensive in my book.

I don't particularly care for the "my book was raped" allusions either - but I know my opinion on this sort of hysteria isn't popular. It's clearly not meant literally and the pure vitriol being flung at pro authors seems excessive.

I've seen fanfic authors be possessive over nicknames they've created for characters they didn't create. I've had too many people very very carfefully ask me to give the ok on star trek/bsg crossovers to think that its occuring simply because *I* am a bitch. In fact I am not, and I always say yes to suchg requests.... but if the author is a jerk and nasty douche (hey RDM hee hee hee) to expect such courtesy... I really don't see why I have to ask ANY fanfic author any permission for anything. If I want to sequel someone's work... they quite literally have no right and are wrong to be offended.
[geekbynight]:

I've actually been waiting to hear your take on this whole debacle. Me myself, I only get offended when it's stated that fanfic authors aren't real writers because they aren't published or using their own originally created characters.

Other than that, it's pretty easy to look at both sides of the issues. Especially when you point out here that some fanfic writers make the very same complaints as professional writers.

You know, if I'd written a story like Pet Cemetary (and I use this random one because Stephen King has stated how painful it was to write that book as it was inspired by the death of a family member) which I considered a really intimate book I'm not sure I'd like people writing fanfic based off it. I'd understand why people would and it's nice to know your work still has such an influence over people but I don't see why I'd have to be obligated to be overjoyed by the concept :/
[blue crow]:

Honest, I love it when people use my creations. I get excited when someone takes, say, my ideas on Gaius Baltar and uses them- especially with a credit. I'd love it if someone used my original character, if they credited me with him. And fic always has implied credit- Thanks, Ron, for creating these awesome people that I am about to write porn about!

I guess I sort of feel that fanfic should abide by the following Creative Commons license:

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
[rap541]:

I agree! I love people who want to play in my 'verses. I just don't see, if the pro author doesn't have the right to not like others using their work, why should a fanfic author expect any permission asking or credits?

There IS a complex "you must ask" system of courtesy in fandom regarding other people's work. If we don't have to ask the author of the origanal work.... then why should I give that courtesy to the fanfic author and why are they offended?

[snipped]

...personally I don't really *care* if an author does or doesn't want me to write fanfic in their 'verse. I don't think there's many book writers who really have a *problem* with too many fanfic writers spoiling the stew, so to speak... it seems like tv and movies get the lionshare of the fanfic these days.

That said - I have seen enough horrid and potentially offense fanfic that yes, if I was the origanal creater, I'd be offended by it, and lets not kid ourselves - yes there's a top strata of fanfic where people should be considering pro careers and are writing fantastic stuff.

And then there's the pit of voles. And so much rapefic/sexfic/diaperfetish/feeders/inse​rt gross sex act fic. So its not always *flattering* and its not fair to hold up one or two nicely done fics and ignore the five zillion of Oskar Schindler humping the Nazi (yes, yes there's Shindler's List fanfic)

I don't think anyone wants out right plagiarism, but here's a scenario that happened to me (and that I didn't pitch a fit over although I easily could have). I wrote a BSG fic that some read and gave nice feedback over... and about four or five months later wrote an almost identical fic. As in with one character change and a very slight change of scenario, its essentuially the same story. Do I have the right to be pissed off? According to the "bad authors for not allowing it" folks, no.

Or take your example of not liking when plots are swiped. Or OCs. You don't like it... but if I swipe your ocs and write them better (which of course as an arrogant writer, of course I would do it better ;)) under the current rules, you don't have a right to be pissed off and I as the fan have every right to take what I want, without your permission.

I don't feel strongly on this as I just don't consider it that big a deal... but I really don't think some of the people protesting these authors understand the point they are making. If I can take without asking and deride the professional author I took from for not being a good sport... I can do it to a fanfic writer as well
[blue crow]:

and I imagine people righting Tom/Aman, who are best friends, or Richard/Sabrina, who are BFF but have no interest in each other, and forget that people are likely to write Felicia/Jesse (brother/sister) or really graphic stuff with my beloved main character raping his children or something

Its sort of interesting to put it in this perspective. I mean in a way- how can you know what's offensive to someone? I know a lot of the shows on the CW right now (SPN, TVD) have very strong brotherslash plotlines that I believe are intentional sexual tension from the writers (to allow the characters to get super close and titillate the fangirls without them having to deal with them being gay because OMG they're brothers!). I think if they saw brotherslash, they'd be pretty much okay with it because they're practically pointing there. There's probably a source author out there who would be offended by someone writing gen between two characters that they thought could only have sex in each others presence, or someone being super-bothered by a kink that someone else considers really normal.

I honestly think that people who write source content should just turn a blind eye to fanfic. They should let it happen and totally ignore it. Because any attempt to say, "I want fandom but I'd like to control it" kind of sounds offputting.
[lls mutant]:

"I want fandom but I'd like to control it" kind of sounds offputting."

You know, it's interesting, because my first fandom was just that. Anne McCaffery laid down some very specific rules for her fandoms. You weren't really allowed to write fic about her characters and a few key places, but you're allowed to write in her world with original characters. She's got some fairly strict (but mostly reasonable) rules about how she sees her world, and the funny thing is, it's worked out well. It's an anomaly, but it's an interesting one.

In the end, I agree about the blind eye. It feels large to us, but the number of fans that actually write fanfic is so small compared to the number of people who read/watch the source material, very little harm will be done. I don't have an issue with authors asking that people not write fanfic, or asking that the hardcore stuff be kept on a site that at least pretends to have some way of keeping out underaged readers. (Especially for something like Harry Potter, where that's an issue.)
[mediumrawr]: I just think it's important to recognize the distinction between "I'm uncomfortable" and "I have a right to go after you."

References