The Ordover Files

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Title: The Ordover Files
Creator: The Woodwards
Date(s): December 18, 1998
Medium: online
Fandom: multifandom, posted on an X-Files site
Topic:
External Links: page one; Archive for page one
page two; Archive for page two
page three; Archive for page three
page four; Archive for page four
page five; Archive for page five
page six; Archive for page six
page seven; Archive for page seven
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Ordover Files is a post by "The Woodwards" made in December 1998 on alt.tv.x-files.creative. While there was an X-Files focus, the post, and comments, addressed many fandoms.

Topics Discussed

The Post

First off, and this is PURELY my opinion, Mr. Ordover seems to be kind of a jerk. Rude, arrogant and generally unpleasant, insofar as his posts to this newsgroup are concerned. Now, I'm kind of a jerk, myself, but I try not to go around deliberately antagonizing people, which is what appears to be happening here. Irrespective of Mr. Ordover's accomplishments in legitimate literary circles, he definitely has a great deal to learn about Netiquette. Namely, don't make an ass out of yourself, even if others are doing so. And when you start stomping around in a newsgroup acting like the big fish in the little pond, it's called being a troll and it's akin to farting during a photo op with the President; you aren't going to impress anyone and the negative effect on your reputation is fairly significant. Secondly, I think both Mr. Ordover and his detractors are forgetting what fanfiction IS and what it is NOT. Folks, fanfic is FANFIC. It has about as much bearing on legitimate literature as JUGGS does to TIME on the magazine racks. Fanfic is written by fans for the pleasure of oneself and other fans. And that's IT. There's no great imperative attached to it, nor greater significance due to its intimate connection to those who love the source material.

This does NOT mean that it's a complete waste of time and effort, however. Writing is writing and the only way to learn HOW to write is to WRITE. Those with the "gift" will wear their training wheels, shuttling Mulder and Scully (or whomever) around a hand-crafted plotline and then move on to whatever else. The practice is worth it, the positive feedback from readers, whether professional or not, feeds the spark of will and helps it grow. And that spark needs a LOT of help. Even a kind word from Grandma is a boon. Those without the "gift" will linger in the fanfic circle forever and, frankly, if that's where they're happy, then that's where they belong. Is the majority of fanfic trash? Yes, it is. Cliched to the extreme, grammatically incorrect and, sometimes, simply and generically ROTTEN. Many stories smack of wish-fulfillment, personal hurts and insecurities related to life, work or sex. Some appear to have been compiled merely to provide a textbook example for the heading: STORIES WRITTEN BY THE UTTERLY CLUELESS. But is it without merit? No, because once again, writing is writing and to learn, one must DO.

It's like building muscles. If someone wants to get stronger, they exercise. Maybe they lift weights or practice Tai Chi. Or maybe they do good, old-fashioned calisthenics for a half-hour a day. Whatever the technique used to achieve the goal, that's fine. It's the end result that's important.

Mr. Ordover seems to believe that one should hit the legit market and try, try and try again until one ultimately succeeds or fails. That's one way to do it and if you feel that's for you, then for God's sake, GO DO IT! The world needs more (talented) writers, even if only 5% of the population is reading books, or whatever the statistic was. I have to point out, though, that this is only ONE WAY to learn the craft and I also have to point out that only the cosmetic nature of the practice is changed. The bottom line is still the same: write and write and WRITE. To take the attitude that it is somehow "nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" than to do what's right for YOU... that's the sign of someone who doesn't want to understand that everyone comes to the craft in their own way.

This attitude continues. In one post, Mr. Ordover said that feedback from non-professional authors won't teach a writer how to become a pro. Of course, he said it in a very prickly and unpleasant way, but that's basically what he said. Simply put, he's WRONG.

A person doesn't have to know how to write in order to be grabbed by a great story. Prose has a way of connecting with ANYONE if it's crafted with skill. So bounce your writing off anybody you can get to sit still long enough to read it. Start with relatives and friends, work your way up to (gasp) a more-or-less stranger. Quiz them until they're ready to beat you senseless with your manuscript. Find out what works and what doesn't. Chip and shape and hone until you MAKE THAT CONNECTION. There's nothing "professional" about that response at all. And if you're not making that connection, regardless of who's reading it, you're not ready. When you DO, though, then you have something special. You have the "gift."

You'll notice that I always put quotes around the word "gift." That's because I believe that good writing really IS a skill that can be learned. Perfection of that skill can be worked toward in any arena, with any audience, using ANY tools (including fanfic) and the ultimate reward is the knowledge that "hot damn, they really LIKED that baby!" Money's nice, too, but I don't think any but the most callow of authors really writes just for the money. Writers write because they must write and they write to be read. Read and ENJOYED.

I would urge anyone who's getting a head of steam built up over Mr. Ordover's provocations to calm down. He's an editor and his job is to put the weed-whacker to the authors, so it's within his province to be as annoying as a set of nails on a chalkboard. Right now, as I pointed out before, he's playing big fish in the little pond and if that's fun for him, then fine. For God's sake, don't start a holy war over FANFIC! At best, fanfic is a harmless and sometimes useful diversion. At worst, it's a productivity-sucking nightmare of sixteen-part relationshipper soap-operatics like "Mr. and Mrs. Mulder Do Their Laundry."

If Mr. Ordover offends you, there are a couple of options. You can complain, first off. I did. You've been reading it all this time. However, the SECOND option is probably the most effective: don't buy Pocket Books. Get your friends not to buy Pocket Books. Stop your family members from buying Pocket Books. Talk to total strangers in the bookstore and convince THEM not to buy Pocket Books.

You see, these lousy "novels" that get published are like word-popcorn. They are weightless, substance-free and are useful to publishing entities only as long as they are profitable. They are, perhaps, even worse than fanfictions in that they are oftentimes written by authors who probably COULD write far more interesting prose of their own design if they weren't wasting their time (and collecting a paycheck) to provide the further adventures of Ace Schmidlap, Intergalactic Cool Guy as seen on CBS.

Mr. Ordover and those like him are EMPLOYED because people like you and I buy the books. I've picked up my share of junk novels. Sure, I have. And right now everyone at Big Publishing Central(tm) is probably enjoying a big laugh at this newsgroup's expense due to all the silly posturing and indefensible poetics surrounding the inviolable Art of Fanfic. They know that the majority of the posts are worthless, much like the majority of the very tie-in books THEY PUBLISH. Only THEY figured out how to play the inside game and make money doing it, while you poor dopes fritter away your energies.

So stick it to them in such a way that they can begin to understand your frustration. But, whatever you do, don't stop writing. The craft of prose is the craft of immortality. You won't get there with your scintillating novella of "Mulder and Scully vs. the Oogie-Boogie Monster," but the familiar faces and voices of well-loved characters might very well provide the impetus to create those that are new, but still possessed of greatness.

Or maybe your writing will always suck. It could happen.

A Post So Inspiring, It Generated a Filk

(ttto Leslie Fish's "Toast to Unknown Heroes") by Maureen O'Brien

"One newcomer posts a challenge, and he hears a trumpet call:
"Come share your work with all the world, oh, come and join us all!"
But others hear derision that could make their visions stall:
"The best that you have done, and do, is just a belly-crawl!"
Honeyed words will catch more flies -- no surprise -- just be wise.
Honey taste makes learning sweet -- dug-in feet cause defeat.
Honey makes the medicine go down more pleasantly;
Sour's killfiled presently -- Filter Thread -- Mark Thread Read.
Some young and fledgling writer pokes her head out, posting loud:
"My life and work's not worthless! This is my art, and I'm proud!"
The newcomer hears stubbornness, and the mob act of a crowd.
With equal stubbornness he posts...the rest, I'll kindly cloud.
Honeyed words will catch more flies -- no surprise -- just be wise.
Honey taste makes learning sweet -- dug-in feet cause defeat.
Honey makes the medicine go down more pleasantly;
Sour's killfiled presently -- Filter Thread -- Mark Thread Read.
Oh, the real point is a point with which no one would disagree --
That noone will turn pro merely by posts in this ng.
All the rest is mess and haughtiness, off-topic as can be...
Just let us write. What goal we cite's _our_ business, seems to me.
Now this thread is at an end. No more. Send no more, friend.
Now the New Year comes around. Joy abounds -- futures found --
Now it's time to party like it is 1999!
('Cause it almost is....)
Leave threads for champagne and wine -- Auld lang syne! Auld lang syne!"

Comments to the Post

[bliss:] Amen, and thank you.
[Amy:] This basically sums up my attitude towards the entire thing. Ordover's point may have some validity, but he's applying it to the wrong argument (which he incidentally insists upon starting and restarting himself.) Thanks for saying it and saying it well --
[John Ordover:] The only valid definition of "professional is getting paid for what you do. This is not a quality issue. Im certain you'll agree with me that the vast majority of books, movies, television shows tend to be average or below average. Yet the people who write them are professionals -because they get paid.- What I am discussing is -only- the path you'll have to take if you want to become a regularly paid professional writer. Would you hire a lawyer whose professional training came from posting lots of "fan fiction" legal briefs to a newsgroup containing no professional lawyers, and who had been guided by those non-lawyers in structuring their briefs? If you don't want to be a pro writer, more power to you in whatever career goal you chose. If you do, stop writing fan fiction and find out what the real path to a pro writing career is.
[Scott Carr:] This guy reminds me of the story about the woman watching a military parade. As her son's squad passed by, she said, "Oh, look, they're all out of step except for my Johnny." Mr. Ordover, get a clue. You make outrageous (and erroneous) statements, you give bad advice, and you insult people. On top of all that, you act as though you're making some contribution to the world at large. If 95 percent of the reactions you get are negative, think about why that might be. And after you've done so, please don't tell us about your ruminations.
[The Woodwards:] This is not a quality issue. Im certain you'll agree with me that the vast majority of books, movies, television shows tend to be average or below average. And what, exactly, is your point? I notice that you've chosen to pick some vaguely-related portion of the thread to respond to rather than to strike at the heart of the matter: the craft of writing and how it is learned. Whether 5% of Americans don't read books or whether the vast majority of creative media is substandard or yadda-yadda-yadda, it STILL doesn't approach anything resembling a SUBJECT. I notice, while perusing your posts in detail via DejaNews, that you mutate your approach to the subject until you've discovered the most contrary position possible. First it's "why not be a leader and write REAL fiction for a professional line of books like we publish here at Pocket" and then it's "you know, the vast majority of stuff sucks, but AT LEAST the writers are being paid for it!" Are you saying that professional writers are no good at what they do or that no one cares if they're any good, or what? It seems to me, that if the so-called "professional" fiction is garbage, then what difference does it make if a fanfiction author never hones their craft to an acceptable degree? And if no one in the reading public gives a damn about quality writing, then what's the point of trying to get any better in the first place? You've contradicted yourself repeatedly, saying that there's some ephemeral "professional standard" to be achieved that simply doing learning the old-fashioned way (i.e. WRITING) won't bring you. Then, in almost the same breath/post, you say that the publishing world is filled with junk. Please, please, PLEASE make up your mind... Being a writer is not about being PAID. Being a writer is about being READ, perhaps even read only by oneself. Defining an art form -- which is, in fact, what literature IS -- in purely financial terms is almost criminally philistine. A paycheck does not equal skill as a literary artist or true success as a writer. A paycheck is a paycheck. WRITING is writing. When these things coincide, that's good, but the essential part of this equation, the writing, is still at the heart of the matter.
[Lisby:] Mr. Ordover, if you're listening, I *am* a professional writer. I get paid a full-time living for my words. If I had not started off writing fanfic as a teenager 20 years ago, I would never be a professional writer. The constant practice of writing stories for others to read garnered positive feedback and helped me hone my skills as much as my later journalistic education. And I'm here now because I *want* to be--because I love to experiment with new styles and to learn things from others. You'd be surprised what these folk can teach you. They've made me a stronger fiction writer and allowed me to write for the unadulterated joy of it without reference to deadline or assigned topic. In short, we're here to learn and have fun. Join in or stop trying to make people feel bad for practicing something they love.
[Ophelia:] Mr. Ordover -- It's terribly kind of you to try and correct our skewed priorities, but we seem to be perversely resisting your attempts to save us from our dreadful judgement. Obviously we don't deserve the time and care you've lavished on us. Have you given other fan fiction-based newsgroups the benefit of your wisdom? If not, what has ATXC done to deserve your especial attention? While I am not a person who makes a living from selling fiction, I am acquainted with the publishing world, even with editors. I understand how unique your interest in us is. What a generous thing it is to sacrifice time that could be spent searching for marketable talent in order to minister to the perennially unprofitable. However, I think your work here is done. You have cast your seeds upon the unyeilding clay, and now must leave with a heavy heart. Some of us will remember the great-souled altruism of your acts! Thank you, Mr. Ordover, New York Editor from Pocket Books. Thank you. Thank you.
[JourneyToX:] Listening to Ordover talk about writing is like listening to a whore talk about sex. Sure, lots of technical knowledge, but the passion for the subject is completely lost in the financial exchange. A whore can teach you to fuck, but only you and your lover(s) can teach you to make love.
[Teddi Littman:] Mr. Ordover, Go find a Ng for editors or for writers wanting to know what an editor is looking for if you want to volunteer that advice. Try to understand this Mr. Ordover: people (even those who may write for a living as well) come to this Ng for the leisure activity of writing and reading fanfiction. That's it. No one wants career advice here. No one here wants to be berated that the leisure activity they happen to enjoy is a waste of time. No one here wants to be told they lack initiative, creativity, and leadership qualities because of the leisure activity they practice. You say you will never "get" why people like to read and write fanfiction. Fine, then go somewhere else; because this Ng happens to be for people who do "get" it!
[Shannara:] Probably the majority of us, or half anyway, I'd say, don't have any particular burning desire to be paid writers (some of us are, anyway, though), we just want to be writers whose work is READ. And we have a much better chance of accomplishing that by posting fanfic on the Net or having it published in a fanzine, than trying to churn out hackneyed, formulaic prose, dumbed-down for a particular market. There's only a handful of really good, paid writers and they make very good money at it. In fanfic, we write what we want. We may take input from readers, or we may not. The only ones we truly must please are ourselves, but it's pretty damn nice if others like our work, too. And the feedback is our pay.
[John Ordover:] Being a professional writer is -of course- about being paid. That' the definition of the difference between amateur and professional -- at least according to the old-style rules of the olympic committee -- that's why Jim Thorpe's medals were taken away - he wasn't an amateur becuase he'd gotten paid It is certainly better to write than not to write, if you want to be a pro writer. But If you want to be -any kind- of pro writer, then it is important to practice -exactly the kind of writing- that you'll want to be doing in your profession. Crudest example, poetry won't teach you prose, and prose won't teach you poetry. Scriptwriting won't teach you novel writing and vice-versa. Writing detective stories won't teach you how to write romances, writing science fiction won't teach you writing mainstream thrillers (which is why Michael Crichton has been able to sell trillions of books using cliche science fiction themes, because he knows how to structure them as mainstream thrillers), and so on and so on. Similarly, writing fan fiction won't teach you what you need to know to write professionally, not even in media-tie-ins, since one of the things you'll have to learn is how to write within strict guidelines. And for original fiction, the most important skill to pick up is how to introduce brand new charcters in a brand new world while simultaeneously getting good story started. And fan fiction will never teach you that. I continue this posting of mine because I have met far, far too many people who thought fan fiction would be their stepping stone to original or media-tie-in publication, and have been crushed to find out the reality. Again, if you only write fan fiction for fun, have at it. But if you want to be pro writer, spend your time writing exactly what you intend to write professionally.
[The Woodwards:] As I've said before (and what you've, once again, completely ignored), writing is writing and pay is pay. Skill as an author has nothing to do with money. And, I'd venture to say, professionalism also has little or nothing to do with a bank deposit. You may place great emphasis on the paycheck as the prime indicator of literary success, but you've also acknowledged elsewhere that the vast majority of "professional" writing is substandard. So why would anyone serious about their craft want to exchange their desire to become an excellent writer in order to follow your ill-defined advice on the outside chance that some OTHER editor would overlook their deficiencies? I doubt that saying, "Well, John Ordover told me that being any good wasn't the point. May I have a check, please? I want to be a 'professional' writer."... Your interest in cultivating future paid writers is obvious, but your approach is decidedly twisted. Discouraging writers from writing is no way to go about it, regardless of what you may think of their means of practice. I'll echo the thoughts of another respondee to this thread and urge you to take some constructive action in this newsgroup beyond floating spurious and poorly-spelled analogies. Why not post the bible for the Trek and XF fiction lines, either here or on the Pocket web site? Why not place the strictures directly before those who'd make the best use of it? It would more than likely save a great deal of time for you, having authors who willingly self-train in the manner of writing you desire. Bringing up, time and again, the idea that professional writers in the ST and XF lines must follow the strictures laid down by Paramount/Fox/whomever, and then failing to follow through with SPECIFICS is more of a disservice than a help, even if you are "being cruel to be kind." Show you're serious about building an effective set of new authors and put those suckers where everyone can see them. And in the meantime, do ME a favor and spell-check those posts before they go out.  :)
[JourneyToX:] Explain why Kevin J. Anderson stays within the X-Files guidelines and can't come up with something better than boring stories? What was he thinking of when he wrote Antibodies? It read like he was thinking of what brand of toothpaste to pick up at Walgreen's. Guidelines should inspire a good writer to work within them and yet still soar, making the guidelines invisible to the reader because the reader is caught up in a good story well told. EVEN GIVEN the guidelines, some of the best fanfic writers could do much better. Anderson's living off his reputation while some here on the Net are making one, charging nothing, and doing better. Who has integrity in that situation? Who is the better writer? The answer to both questions is the same individual. Not the one getting paid, unfortunately. I would've paid money to read anything by Liz Ann and Elise, Lisby's Vestigy, anything by jordan or Kronos, Dasha's Red V, anything by Annie Sewell-Jennings. We're privileged to have them for free. The only coin I can repay them in is praise for their work. I know these people, if they so choose, will have a professional writing life beyond fanfic. Ordover grossly underestimates their capabilities. The folks who publish the X-Files "professional" media tie ins are going to have to work much harder to get my next dollar. I'm not buying anything blindly (OK, I admit, I'll buy the audiobooks if narrated by Pileggi).
[Cpunk0:] YAY!! Thank you Mr. Ordover. Welcome to one of the most arrogant newsgroups in town. The way some of these folks behave you would think they were Pulitzer prize authors. HAHAHAHAHA Fan-fiction is an outlet for the frustration one feels towards the direction of your favorite show. Nothing more, nothing less. I have read both abysmal and good on this group. The Star Trek group, in my not so humble opinion, usually attracts the better writers. The drooling duchovny kids seem to prevail over here. Need I remind anyone of the hideous "kill Leoni" fiction that came out a couple years ago? Flaming Ordover for telling you the truth (that many of you don't seem to want to hear) is your right of course. Actually, you are all acting in character for this newsgroup. The ignorant know-it alls,lead by my best friend Mo O'Brien, who likes to pretend that she knows everything about the 'net because she read a few newbie guides, rule the roost. I see she has resisted growth quite well. Good for you girl-friend. RESIST THAT EVIL FRUIT OF KNOWLEDGE. Pretend I am male, pretend that Ordover is a meanie who is WRONG. No matter what.,KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED TO THE TRUTH. After all, it is a vast conspiracy. The truth that YOU want to hear is still out there...somewhere. Keep on writing your FILK. Keep on writing your stories. Keep on speculating on Duchovny's shoe size. Just try and understand that fan-fiction isn't your ticket into the big time. Rather a fun, albeit odd, little hobby that binds y'all together.
[John Ordover:] ...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional fiction riter and a professional fiction editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters- what audience you have responding to your work?... Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to get you the right answer? So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing. There are lots of places to get that -- you can pick up important tips just buy going to a "so you want to be an author" panels at SF conventions. You can attend workshops taught by pro writers and editors. Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful, I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was published.
[PD:] No, I am not a professional. But I will be. Yes, I write fanfiction. Why? Because I enjoy it. Because it keeps me writing. As nearly everyone else has said, everything you do every single day makes you a better writer. I love being critiqued. I also love being told "your story... can't remember what it's called, but yeah. It rocked." This does not make me a professional, but it makes me feel good about sitting down at the keyboard and adding another single word or a particularly wonderful sentence to what I can call My Writing. Yes, fanfiction may be an outlet for frustration for some. For some, perhaps most, it's something else entirely. It may sound cheesy, but we write because we have to. If I didn't write, my head would explode. And then, that's just plain messy. Unless I missed a crucial piece of this thread, I don't think anyone is claiming "I write fanfiction and here, my little friends, I will be discovered. Then I'll get paid." And here is where I take the Ordover prong of the fork and agree with him. To a point. Creating your own characters and breathing life into them is essential to honing the old crafteroonie, as well. But has anyone said that they ONLY write fanfiction? Has anyone said that they don't create their own characters in some form or another? Unless I'm wrong - yes, it's happened before - X Files (or what have you) fic is probably but one outlet for many writers here. At least for those that are embarking on a career as a writer. I write screenplays and create characters from the murky recesses of my own mind. And often, fic writers DO create their own characters. Fleshed out, breathing characters. When I think of spectacular fic, Iolokus always jumps to mind. MustangSally and RivkaT write a Mulder and Scully that is beyond compare IMO. They also created their own astounding characters. Have you ever met a baby in fanfiction with more personality than Miranda? The bottom line, Mr. Ordover, is that when a writer is ready for an "audience that matters" (a real slap in the face to the reading community, BTW), they will seek them out. Until then, the "audience that matters" is the community that appreciates and acknowledges the effort and love and talent that goes into CREATING STORIES around characters we love. There is nothing inconsequential about that.
[Merricat:] Let me see if I get this straight. You publish what a lot of people on here say they think are very badly written books. And you think those people should come to you asking how they can get published? My first guess would be, write badly, in the same way, as the dreck that's being published now. But...maybe they don't want to do that. Which could be the answer to your first paragraph question--you publish things that a number of people here don't respect, but you expect them to respect your opinion. Um, why would they?
[stillwater16:] ...is it logical that we should be able to convince mr. ordover of anything? we don't pay his salary. publishers do. and if you read high-quality fanfic, logic says you probably won't buy the low-quality profic his company produces. if he encourages us, he lessens the potential profits of his company and possibly jeopardizes his job. let the poor guy alone. we're right, he's wrong, and what have you done when you've bested a fool? stillwater16, who has seen this guy's tired argument on ng after ng, and is weary of all this.
[JourneyToX:] (1) Why do you publish books that are perceived, by your target audience, as inferior? I don't want to know how or why an inferior book is published. I'm not going to buy it. It's a waste of trees. (2) Why would anyone want to be known for writing an inferior media tie-in book? We all have other ways to pay the rent on our humble flat, or help us at the Automat. If the only way I can be pro is to write shit, no thanks. (3). I'm sure your colleagues in the industry already know why sales of Star Trek books are down since you have taken over. It's not hard to figure out.
[Amy:] Let's see -- writing fanfic will never, ever, ever, in a billion years, get you published, according to Mr. Ordover. Of course, Mr. Ordover also runs the "Strange New Worlds" contest, which finds -- you guessed it -- Star Trek fanfic. From fanfic writers. Takes this fanfic, PAYS for it and PUBLISHES it. Maybe not a ticket to the big time -- but $$ and exposure on paper. So -- does anyone ELSE find this a little schizophrenic? Either he believes that fanfic is a pile of junk, in which case Mr. Ordover is being incredibly hypocritical by holding it up for greater exposure for his own personal profit, or he secretly understands that it's not so different from the stories with which he makes his living, and just enjoys trolling around --
[John Ordover:] It's not odd at all. Writing and posting fan ficiton will not help your pro writing career. Submitting to a professional theme anthology, if you sell, truly will. By providing a pro market for Star Trek stories, I'm making availible a stepping stone to pro publication, because as a fan, that's what I would have wanted. That's also why you can't qualify for SNW more than three times -- at some point, you get kicked out of the nest.:) Also, the stories in SNW don't really qualify as fan-fiction, because they are written to strict professional guidelines. Further, as I've said before, of the 35 winners to date, only seven had -ever- written a Trek story before....If you want to sell to pro editors, you have to understand what criteria pro editors are looking for. -You- may think they are badly written books, but yet somehow they sells hundreds of thousands of copies to people who quite like them. So what is it about them they like that you don't? Because that's what editor's are looking for -- something their readership will like. If your tastes differ from the masses, if what you want to write is different from what the masses want to read, that's fine. As I've said a thousands times now, this is a qualify issue, its a "focus" issue. What is it that you don't know that is getting other people published?
[John Ordover:] Sigh. I am saying anything at all about fan fiction as a community, or as a hobby, or anything of the like. Star Trek fan ficiton has been around for DECADES. It hasn't hurt the popularity of the books at all, and even with the nets, it won't. -All- I have been saying, over and over and over, is that fan fiction isn't the route into pro publication. If you're not interested in become a pro author, have at it. If you are, stop writing fan fiction and work on your own stuff.
[Teddi Litman:] Both Mr. Ordover and Cyberpunk have mentioned people in other Ngs expressing some belief that they can be "discovered" from writing fanfiction as justification for their attacks on people in *this* Ng. I don't know if this is true or not. Frankly, I don't care enough to verify this via DejaNews. All I know, is no one *here* expressed this belief; so I see no point in their trying to refute this delusion in *this* Ng. So they are a pair these two. Wonderful! We're arrogant idiots who will never get it. So why don't they just give up on us? Maybe there's a Ng for amateur fishermen. They can inform them they are fishing in the wrong streams and take out their frustrations that people can now easily use the Internet without really knowing how it works or appreciating the history behind it.
[JourneyToX, addressed to punkie]: Go die of King Herod's Disease, you little troll.
[Maureen O'Brien:] Now that we have finally reached a stopping point in this long, long, incredibly off-topic, bandwidth-wasting, and not-even-fun thread...I think it's time for the summing-up filk. Let the fat lady sing, and let's all go back to our separate writing. (Btw, Punkie (not to be confused with the recently returned Punk M/Punk Maneuverability) is my personal troll, last seen on this ng in August and returned again to chastise us for our sins. Reply to her not, for she is mine and mine alone.)... [SNIPPED: a filk to the tune of Leslie Fish's "Toast to Unknown Heroes" -- see this page for the lyrics]... Maureen, who will most certainly keep on writing filk and fanfic, translating medieval Irish poetry, singing, reading, and hanging out on newsgroups and mailing lists...because it's fun, and because she serves God and the world that way. But she will do all of it, as well as the work she is paid for, as well as she can -- because to do otherwise is dishonest and an insult to her God, who makes all things well.
[stillwater16:] forgive me, maureen, for i have sinned. i failed to recognize punkie's latest incarnation. i did the one thing i never never never do: i openly participated in a war. not only that, i responded to a troll, and one that was already taken! <knocking head on floor> i sentence myself to one less piece of mince pie and a half-hour of 'judge judy'.
[John Ordover:] Fan fiction =is= being a follower, not a leader. You =are= riding on other's coat-tails. That has nothing to do with whether you should be writing fan fiction for fun.
[punkie (a sock) addressing herself:] Oh. I have been sooo misguided. Here I thought we were having an informative, albeit frustrating conversation about fan-fiction. Thank you for setting me right yet again. You know soooo much. How I wish I were as smart as you and knew everything about everything....Oh babe. Share. Remember kindergarden? It's not nice to be soo selfish. There is plenty of me to go around. Look up troll in your guidebook. My previous comments on this thread, while unwelcome and annoying to many don't qualify. This is not an easy admission for me to make. I have fallen in my mission and actually got sucked into a discussion. You see? You have almost gotten your wish. Turning me into a contributing member. Although you don't care for my message. Sigh. I hope to one day EARN your love. <sniff>
[d.LiNeAtE:] What the hell is going on here? We're not in a damn workshop on creative writing here, ok ! This is a NG where we post XF-fanfiction. This in no way reflects our other writing capabilities as we have to limit ourselves to a certain pre-defined universe and a certain way of character development. Just thought I'd mention this ... Everyone has a home here, provided they actually write fanfiction. Nothing else matters but that. Did we ever claim to have higher aspirations? No, we don't need to do that ... Does Mr. O write fanfiction ? Oh, I really really wonder! Listen pal ... It doesn't matter how we do it or if we're good or bad, whether we really want to "become professional writers" (amateurs often screwed over by publishers) or not. That is not and should not be the issue here. Whether we're just walking in our keyboards because the damn keys are just too rigid or whether we have side-projects in writing ... it doesn't matter here ... We are united because we all write (who cares for what purpose) and we love the show. No need for anyone to know or to demand to know more.

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