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January 04 2004

Fanfic: is it right to write? Another one of those articles about fanfics based on TV shows like Buffy and movies etc. There's also a look at why there is feminine command of the slash sub-genre.

And there was quite an amusing article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph about fanfic as well.

Fanfic has been around for a looooong time - the only difference now is that the Net makes it possible to share that smoldering piece of trash you scribbled out with others who actually seem to enjoy reading it. It is an exchange of Time between consenting individuals, and has no cash value, not even 1/20 of a cent. Most of it is done as a labor of love, and serves as free advertising for the characters represented, especially during the lulls between new episodes or book releases.

Does it devalue the copyrighted materials? In a word, no. Folks who read fanfic BUY the DVDs, the books, the memorabilia. Folks who read fanfic attend the conventions, and follow their favorite actors into new series and films.

Their money does fall into the hands of the right people.

I don't read fanfic...stumbled on some that several ways...but I have no problem with it, so long as it is presented as such.
Most fanfic does serve as an almost gruesome reminder of why the entire world does not consist of professional writers. Occasionally, there are instances of excellent writing. The Cyberscripts folk wrote about one-third of a Season Seven for Buffy that was, in many ways, as good as the one we saw on the screen. Great fanfic can remind readers of why they like a particular series/show. That site, plus a few others, have given me nostalgic echoes to voices of characters I had thought lost.
The article's author seems to be looking for an angle that isn't there.

It's sad that most mainstream "news" outlets can't talk about creative work without mentioning box office, contractual wrangling and law suits.
Gulp! I must confess I once wrote an essay that might have been taken for fanfic. Actually it was:

Normal Again and the Threat to the Buffyverse. The Conspirator's Guide to the Buffyverse: Did Joss Whedon Create BtVS?

It probably still exists somewhere on the Net (Google Cache?). I meant it as a parody of the thinking on "Normal Again", but by the time I got to the end I found I was writing a parody of fanfic also. Someone actually Emailed me to ask to translate it into Hebrew. I don't know who was crazier, me for writing it, or the guy who wanted to translate it.

The trouble with fanfic is in separating the wheat from the chaff. What I have found also is that many of my friends' recommendations are not to my taste (they seem to have rather slashy tastes tending to the pornographic). Eh... I'd rather read an original work anyway....
Lijdrec, I found your essay.
It sounds very interesting so I'm going to read it right now.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2004-01-05 00:38 ]
I am an avid fan and sometimes writer of fanfiction. I think it's a fun hobby and great outlet for canon frustrations. The problem with the fanfiction communities is that they are almost always unconditionally positive. If someone writes crap, people will rave. I realize that some people are trying to be supportive and don't want to dash anyone's dreams in what is, in essence, an amateur hobby. And that's fine to a point, but when casual readers want to know what's good, you can't really go by reviews. So I guess that is my warning to anyone thinking about reading fanfiction. Beware. If it has great reviews, but you read some and it sucks, most likely all of it will suck. A lot of people just want to coddle the writers by patting them on the back over total dredge. I say, if it's not great, say so. But be constructive. How does anyone get better in anything in life without constructive criticism? Ok, stepping off my nerdy fanfiction soapbox now.....
Rogue Slayer, I agree. I LOVE slash, but I am often afraid to tell some writers that their stories are horrible, for fear of being labelled anti-slash. I even write some slash myself, so I am clearly in favor of it. I just think there are good ways and bad ways to write it. A sex scene it fine as long as it is emotionally true, does the voices well, and doesn't sound trite; I just hate trite ones that over-use hackneyed words like "ministrations" and "whelp". If I see those words one more time, I may die.

On the other hand, there are some genuinely good stories out there, just not very many of them, and they can be very difficult to find, especially for some pairings.
Huh. I never have problems finding good fic. Of course, that is because I run away in fear from - but now I'm curious, where do you guys go for fanfic?

I mean, maybe it's because I tend to not only associate with amazing writers, but because I read such niche things, but I mean, I really read everything as well. And sure, for every good fic, I'm sure there's a bunch more bad ones... but still.

I'm now intrigued.
I like this site, Death-Marked Love, especially the non-Spuffy fiction. My favorite is Becoming, the story of Cecily, William's love interest in Fool For Love. It explains why Spike and Halfrek seemed to know each other.
The weirdest thing in that article is that it doesn't end. It just stops with a parapraph that could have been the first.
I know site pimping is bad form, but since this is relevant to the discussion, the rules say it's ok. Instead of me putting a whole list of good fanfic links, you can go to Bitemarks.

Then there is a links page in the mainframe that has a whole gaggle of good fic links. Yes, is in there, cuz we think it's not ALL that bad. But yeah, it's one of those sites where there is really no weeding process.
I mostly go for Spuffy myself, but there are some really great other pairing/no pairing fics out there. To be honest, most of the really good ones have their own sites dedicated to their fiction. Ours isn't anywhere near their level, but we do have some fics on the above site if anyone's wildly curious.

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