Tag Archives: fan fiction

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


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

The fandom minute: Bad fashion, Kanye, audio, and lists

Oh, Kristen Wiig. No. Will it blend? Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig wore a Darth Vader meets Kiss of the Spider Woman dress to the Emmys. Sorry, Bonnie: I’m pretty sure she full deserves that D. But at least we get blog content out of it.

IMMA LET YOU FINISH. Congratulations, it’s a week-old meme in Star Wars form!

Talkies. If you’re in the mood for some old school audio drama, Star Wars en Direct’s Dany Pépin is starting some aural fan fiction, ‘In the Shadows,’ next month.

Lists of dubious (and not-so-dubious) honors. Luke is #1 on Spike’s list of the top ten white trash heroes of cinema, while Lando is one of io9’s ten most corrupt mayors in science fiction. Uh, thanks? I guess. On an entirely different note, A New Hope tops Paste’s ten most iconic opening scenes. (via)

The catchup: Links from the Twitter

A few things I’ve been micro-blogging @clubjade lately. (300 followers and counting…)

The Star Wars room of Cho WoongWowza. Danny Choo discovered Cho Woong’s incredible Star Wars room. I’m not normally a fan of collector chic, but for this guy I’m willing to make an exception.

Lists. Empire Strikes Back comes in at #6 on Empire’s list of the top 50 movie sequels, while Return of the Jedi clocks in at #21. Meanwhile, Star Wars is one of Geek Tyrant’s five films that changed the way people look at sci-fi movies. And Cracked checks out the five strangest post-Star Wars careers.

Tee. The environmentally-correct way to handle those lightsabered droid remains. Also: Hans Solo! (via)

Protip. It’s highly unlikely that Dark Horse was inspired by your fanfic, and saying so is your one-way ticket to a mass mocking.

‘Fan fiction’ makes it to the dictionary!

The term ‘fan fiction’ is one of the new additions to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Here’s their definition, according to the Associated Press:

Fan fiction (1944): stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet.

Other new words and phrases making the cut this year are ‘flash mob,’ ‘frenemy,’ ‘sock puppet,’ ‘vlog,’ and ‘webisode.’

Does Stephenie Meyer have to cut a bitch?

THIS IS NOT OKAY. (And the photoshoping is bad, too.)Twilight fans, I’m sorry, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is a deep vein of crazy running through your fandom. Hot on the heels of LadySybilla and her unending spiral of batshit, you now have a second person trying to sell their Twilight fan fiction – and this one is on Amazon.

Seriously guys, when your creator has a history of pitching fits in the style of a 16-year-old BNF who’s not getting enough reviews? It’s probably not wise to gleefully infringe on her copyright. One can be written off as just a random nutter, but two? That’s stupid crazy. Meyer has money, she has lawyers, and I don’t doubt that they will cut you – and maybe everyone else who’s doing their Twilight fan fiction without asking money for it as well.