Tag Archives: fan fiction

Star Wars makes an appearance at Yuletide

KarrdeputerYuletide, the annual rare-fandoms fanfic gift exchange, had a rule change this year that suddenly made it relevant to our interests – they allowed requests from lesser-ficed parts of large fandoms like Star Wars. So, for the first time, we’re seeing Star Wars fanfics among the offerings. 32 of them, in fact, including a whooping 13 X-Wing fics. Other requests included the Thrawn trilogy and The Old Republic.

EU-based fanfic has never been exactly rare, but it does tend to focus on the big ‘ships (ahem) so if you’ve been looking for something a little different, check out the listings. The authors are all currently anonymous, but will be revealed on January 1st, per Yuletide tradition.

Amazon wants to pay folks to write fanfic

Sorry, no threesome fic.
Sorry, no threesome fic.

There’s a long history of fans monetizing their fanfic – but generally they do it by filing off the serial numbers, changing the names, and repurposing it as ‘original’ work. Fifty Shades of Grey may be the most infamous example, but it’s hardly the first.

Now Amazon wants to cut out all that work to get your fanfic published: They’ve launched Kindle Worlds, “the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so.”

How are they not getting their asses sued? Well, they’re actually licensing the stuff. First up is Alloy Entertainment, the Warner-Bros. owned book packager responsible for such book-series-turned-TV as Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. Not your bag of blood? They plan “to announce more licenses soon.” (For what it’s worth, I really doubt that Lucasfilm or Disney would sign on to something like this – at least not this early on.)

Naturally, they’re not allowing porn or crossovers, which disincludes plenty of fandom right from the start, but it’s still pretty troubling – and something that could end up very disturbing precedent.

The first and only rule of fanfic fandom is you don’t sell your stuff. I firmly believe that the line between fanfic and profic is something that should only be crossed very carefully and with great caution. And, let’s face it – most fanfic is awful, porn or no porn.

The idea of actually monetizing fanfic is no real surprise – it’s been tried, and failed, a dozen times over, and the runaway success of 50 Shades made this nigh-inevitable. To have the Powers-That-Be actively involved in fanfic has a real potential to change this very specific fandom activity – and not for the better. Part of the point of fanfic, to my mind, is the complete lack of tether. It rarely pays off, but when it does, those are the moments that make the whole enterprise worth it.

This alone is no great shakes – Alloy and a couple of writers making a couple bucks off some PG smolderfests is not going to change the whole landscape of fandom. But it’s a very dangerous first step that could lead to more corporate policing in the fanfic realm, the making such a thing mundane – and that’s something I am not in the least comfortable with.

UPDATE: Scalzi looks at the fine print… He raises a few good questions, but for our purposes: What does it mean for the ‘official’ tie-ins?

What has 50 Shades wrought? 16-year-old gets book deal for boy band fan fiction.

Sure, we winced when ex-Twilight story 50 Shades of Grey became the giant bestseller of 2012. But for the world of fanfic, what’s worse than watching badly-written BDSM shoot up the bestseller lists?

Could it be… Boy band fan fiction? Penguin has picked up a story called Loving the Band, written by a 16-year-old “One Direction super-fan”. Maybe the cash will help take the sting out of the embarrassment she’ll feel about the thing in 5 to 10 years – assuming it proves even a fraction as sucessful as 50 Shades, anyway.

SDCC: Ashley shows off new Her Universe gear, Random House’s fanfic contest and more

James sent in several videos from San Diego, including this tour of Her Universe’s new offerings from Ashley Eckstein, including our first look at the new Her Universe logo tee! And Ashley mentions that they have lanyards, which have been pretty thin on the ground at cons lately… I hope they bring them to Celebration!

James also talked to Katie Fleming about the Random House Audio Fan Fiction contest. He also confirmed for us that they will be bringing the fan fiction recording to Celebration VI.

Other videos: The ‘As You Wish’ Boba Fett helmet art project, artist Jeff Carlisle, and the Well of Souls. James also took a ton more pictures – they start here, if you’ve already seen Wednesday’s.

Random House wants to read your fanfic (out loud)

Random House Audio is looking for fans to record a five-minute audio sample of their fan fiction stories on the convention floor at SDCC. Only stories from five fandoms – which include Star Wars – are eligible. The winner “be professionally recorded and mixed by Random House Audio for streaming at www.randomhouseaudio.com.”

I am not making this up. (Can we blame Fifty Shades of Grey?)

The other fandoms are Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, Percy Jackson, Hitchhiker’s Guide and Artemis Fowl. Plus, Sunday is “open mic.” Registration is open now.

If they announce a Laurel K. Hamilton book at the Star Wars panel, I’m applying to become the new divination teacher at Hogwarts. (via)

UPDATE: Bryan Young talked a bit more in depth with the PR people about the contest, and the fan fiction thing “is not the primary goal.” Nonetheless, the whole concept makes me very nervous, something which I’ll explore further later.

Guest post: Fan fiction is more than smut

The internet is for porn.

We all know the song (from the Broadway musical Avenue Q), and it’s funny because, in a way, it is true.  And hose of us who have been around the internet for a while are familiar with the infamous Rule 34: if it exists, there’s porn of it.  It’s nothing incredibly shocking but, if you listen to the media hubbub surrounding the bestselling novel 50 Shades of Grey, you would think otherwise.

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Fifty Shades of WHAT? Bestselling ex-Twilight BDSM novel takes publishing world by storm

If you follow publishing news at all – or picked up last week’s Game of Thrones issue of Entertainment Weekly – you’ve probably heard about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s a vanity-published erotic novel that’s sold more than 250,000 copies,and got author E L James a seven-figure book deal with Vintage, a division of Random House. It just became a a New York Times bestseller. So, yes, it’s incredibly popular.

It also started life as a Twilight alternate universe fanfic, something even major media have been picking up on.

Taking a fanfic and reworking it as an original piece is nothing new – I’m fairly sure one of my favorite space opera sagas started out as a Star Wars story way back in the day, for instance. Cassandra Clare and Naomi Novak may be the best known these days, but they were far from the first to cross over and go pro. It happens, and it’s been happening for a long time.

But it can strike an uncomfortable chord, particularly in cases such as this. Not because of the porn, per say, but because it skirts violating the most sacred – perhaps only – rule of fan fiction: Thou shall not make money off it. (Remember Lori Jareo?) And to boot, the incredible yet completely unsurprising success (yes, ladies do sometimes like porn, deal with it) of this particular case is shining a big, mainstream light on fan fiction in general… One I’m not sure the community wants or needs.

Given the deeply AU nature of her original fanfic, I think it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing James in court. But if the attention continues to spread to fan fiction and the community, if this just is the beginning of a trend, who knows what else will come to light? But only time will tell.

Time targets the wild world of fan fiction

Time has a lengthy article on fan fiction by Lev Grossman. The hook is Harry Potter, but it’s actually a pretty good overview of the phenomenon as a whole, from Muncle and Trek. I particularly like this bit:

Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.

I particularly love Grossman’s explanation of fanfic as a conversation, because it captures all the aspects. There’s doing it for the sheer love of the original work, but there’s also a great deal that comes from disappointment with what’s being offered by the creators (or, in our case, some of their hirelings.) Much of the fic in our own archive – they’re pretty much antiques at this point – came not only from love of Star Wars, but also frustration with what was being offered by the official sources – one author in particular, but if there’s one thing I won’t deny, it’s that the quality of the Expanded Universe, as it pertains to certain favorite characters, has always been a mixed bag. (And hell, I’d rather see someone put all their fannish angst into a fanfic than endlessly complaining about it on blogs and forums. At least it’s actually productive.)

Anyway, the article: Grossman even references sex pollen. Now that’s research.

Another round of pearl-clutching over fanfic

It’s getting kind of hard for me to get worked up over authors making sweeping ignorant statements about fanfic, but it’s also impossible to ignore. The latest culprits are big names: Time-travel romance author Diana Gabaldon and epic fantasy MVP George R.R. Martin.

And luckily, there are plenty of folks stepping up to the plate this round: I particularly appreciate Catherynne M. Valente’s take:

So much ire spent over something that ultimately helps books, keeps the conversation going past the long tail of marketing, keeps them alive and loved—I’ve never understood it. Quashing fan activity is not only self-sabotaging, but unkind. I have always been delighted when told there was a piece of fanfic inspired by a book of mine floating about. I don’t read it for legal reasons, but I’m thrilled to know it’s there. Someone cared. Someone loved it enough to spend their free time writing about it for free.

And with a more bare-bones look at things, Kate Nepveu:

People gossip about their favorite characters; become fascinated by unexplored characters, locations, histories, themes, implications; imagine what would happen next, or if, or instead; and critique every aspect of a work. Sometimes this takes the form of passing in-person conversations, sometimes of blog discussions, sometimes of scholarly works, and sometimes of stories. (Sometimes, even, of critically-acclaimed, award-winning, professionally-distributed stories.) I would be astonished to hear that your own writing never was influenced by this impulse—I say this not to suggest that you’ve been writing fanfic all along, but to point out the strength and universality of this impulse.

(What fan activity isn’t born of that impulse?)

Granted, for the most part, my personal experience with fanfic has been within Star Wars, and Lucasfilm has, for the last, oh, 20 years or so, pretty much turned a blind eye. (No, this wasn’t always the case.) But I’ve been in a few smaller author-based fandoms over the years where it was politely asked that fans not engage in fanfic of the books at hand, and people complied. (And not only that, they self-policed.) It’s not perfect, and may be hard to enforce with a larger fandom, but treating your fans with respect is never a bad move. Doing otherwise just makes one look like a bully – and a particularly petty one at that.

Dunc’s top ten Star Wars events of 2009

Classic.

It’s getting to be that time again… StarWars.com posted their own mammoth Best of 2009 this morning. Below is my personal list. Since it is personal, it’s clearly missing some things. (As always, I don’t speak for all of Club Jade. I just post a lot.) So let’s get to it: Continue reading