eumelia: (bullshit)
[personal profile] eumelia
It feels like these things write themselves, honestly.

I read on twitter that the Livejournal com [livejournal.com profile] ontd posted a link to an article about what Famous Authors Have to Say About Fanfiction.

On the subject matter I can only go, oy; on which I will expand.

But the way I got to this article is interesting in it's own right. Fandom uses social media to interact with itself and with creators has made the audience, more than ever before, an active participant in the culture.

I don't think we've ever been passive consumers in any way; the whole "water cooler" concept that has been around for decades is proof of that. However, the fact that we have the option of really communicating with artists on a basic conversational level, thereby eliminating the class distinction between those who have access to creators of culture and those who do not (up to a point, just using a computer and the internet is class indicative) is something new.

Not to mention, the audience being creative and transformative in its own right.

We, as the audience, interact with art. It's a basic part of being human. Having, creating and interpreting culture.

Without an audience, the artists have no one to be bitches at.

When I read quotes from the likes of authors whom feel a kind of ownership over their characters because fanfic authors "steal them" and only the "original" authors have the "right" to abuse their characters (as JRR Martin put it) all I can do is sigh, regroup and remember that without me, as a reader, there would be no point to what they created. In an original fashion of course, because every author is never derivative.

I get that this is part of the whole "50 Shades of Grey" issue that seems to be plaguing the mainstream media.

The mainstream media doesn't know how to talk about active audience participation, transformative art (be if fic, art or vid) and it doesn't know how to talk about the fact that no work exists in a vacuum.

If there's something I've learnt in reading about "50 Shades of Grey", is that fandom is a culture and that being fannish is a way to participate in the world that not everyone gets, even if they are big geek or nerd or a reader of derivative fiction like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" or a watcher of shows like "Sherlock".

To read a book and want more than what the author wrote down is not a sign that we do not respect the author. The author, really, is irrelevant, because what we want is to interact with the words on the page. And it's not "the author is dead". They're not dead, but they are outside the work just like the audience.

What they meant and their intent is as optional as our own fannish head-canon.

Word of God is not canon. It exists outside the text, outside the show, behind the scenes.

As such, when articles like the one above writes:
While some authors support, or at least tolerate, the practice, others vehemently oppose it, citing monetary issues as well as feelings of personal violation and another sentiment that roughly translates to “if you were really creative, you’d make up your own characters.”


All I can say is, you do not own a work of art. You deserve to get paid for the work that you've done and I buy books and dvd's because I whole heartedly believe that creative work deserves to be recognised in a way that both credits and supports the creator, you do not have a say in the way I, my fellow fans or anyone else interprets your work, interacts with it or creates through it.

We are equal to you in our importance to the culture.

We also outnumber you.

[Entry #002]

Date: 2012-04-20 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] amethystfirefly
My opinion is that the author/creator of a canon has the right to say "You don't get to play with my stuff", for whatever reason.

And I have the right to refuse to read or watch their stuff. -shrug-

And if you're going to say things like "you're ~~hurting my family~~" or "it makes me want to barf" or "it's immoral" or "you're sullying the purity of my canon"... whatever else stupid thing authors and creators use because they can't emotionally step back and go "Hey, people are playing in my sandbox. As long as they're not making money off it, what do I care?", I will actively avoid your stuff.

I understand protesting for legal reasons, but emotional? That's just annoying as fuck to us because it reeks of emotional manipulation. "I LOVE MY SANDBOX SO MUCH. And you love me, right? SO DON'T TOUCH MY SANDBOX."

And I may not buy many books or watch much TV, but my library does buy books and Netflix does buy shows to stream. (And I can't imagine that Netflix buys streaming rights that go on until forever, so the contracts would conceivably need to be renewed.) I can make sure I'm not encouraging them to buy a new copy of your book when the old one gets dog eared and duct taped together or renew the streaming rights to your shows.

Although, if your stuff actually sounds interesting -- and, admittedly, most of the people on that list write things that don't particularly ring our bell -- I may pirate it. But that would require like... a "The Walking Dead" or Dr. Who level of interest from us and, uh... Those are the only 2 shows that we're actually interested in. XD So, at least from us, it's highly unlikely that we'd be pirating someone if they're gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair over fanfic.

But, admittedly, we are very much not into pirating. (We don't pirate books at all, forex.) Mainly because we are creatures of habit and already have what we want. And if we don't have what we want, we have a library branch just across from where one of our roommates work, and our library was the #1 in the nation a couple years ago. So, we're incredibly privileged and don't need to pirate.

But I can guaran-fucking-tee you that there are people out there who believe the same thing I believe re: "creators bitching about fanfic" and have dissimilar tastes and more interest in pirating. And those are the people that the authors/creators aren't thinking about.

Really, at this point, it's in creator's best interests go "I don't have any particular stance on fanfic. But, to protect my own ass from people claiming I stole an idea from fanfic, I can not read or see any fanfic about my worlds. And if you try to make money off of something based in my world, I will sue your ass."

Obviously, I do agree that authors/creators have the right so sue if someone tries to make money off of their world. But that's because that really is their livelihood and they need to protect it, imho. To me, there's quite a big difference between fanfic and trying to make money off of something you built based on someone else's creation.

BUT, on the other hand... (Oh, this discussion has so many shades of grey -snirk-) I assume that 50 Shades of Grey was scrubbed well enough that there's no legal standing if Meyer decides to sue. (I have no interest in reading it, so have just been going by the bits I've been hearing and common fucking sense.) And there's a difference between publishing fanfic that hasn't been scrubbed to hide the fact that it's fanfic and publishing 50 Shades of Grey style "fanfic".

Date: 2012-04-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] amethystfirefly
-laughs- Sorry! It's a thing we have ~~feelings~~ about. XDDD

And yeah, really, the line "there's no such thing as a new story" is very, very true at this point. It's fucking dumb to believe you can create some sort of media and not become of that long tradition. It's just that, nowadays, people can actually see the derivative works in a relatively short time.

Date: 2012-04-21 07:43 pm (UTC)
green_knight: (Watching You)
From: [personal profile] green_knight
I totally get the emotional part. Characters aren't just a collection of electrons, they"re _people_ - people who have been in my head for years on end, and I've met them in many diferent situations, and I know them better than I know most real life follks (because in real life, few people share their innermost thoughts with me and none let me read them in real time)... and suddenly someone who only met that character briefly on the page for a couple of hours dares to say how this person thinks and feels and twists them to their own imagination? Harry never was in love with Cho, or Hermione, or Ginny, all he wanted was fuck Fred-and-George's brains out?
Characters who'd get a standing invitation to my house ('Here's the key, you know where everything is') turn out to be horrible people and do horrible things that are hard to unsee?
No, I *totally* get the emotional aspect of this.

I also get the 'go and write your own'. Because I feel that the art of characterisation and the art of clueing the reader into the world are worthwhile skills for all writers, and someone who only writes fanfic is likely to not acquire them because the moment you say 'Harry Potter' (or 'Lizzie Bennet') reader will bring at least a book's worth of knowledge to the table, and you only need to show where your character deviates from that.
If I say 'Oreshan-nu' on the other hand, there isn't a reader on the planet who will have any associations with that name, and it's up to me to get the personality and all the cultural connotations across. So when writers - particularly people who teach writing - say that other writers should write their own, they have a point.

On the other hand, can there be a greater compliment to writing than people saying 'wow, I love this world/these characters so much that I want to read more and more about them' and 'I wonder what would happen if [ known character] was in [situation]'? Because that, to me, says that the writer has done something right.

Date: 2012-04-21 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] amethystfirefly
Oh, I know that characters are people. Some of our former headmates were soulbonds we snagged from our own work. And, yes, we would be upset to see them being played with by other people. (In fact, the idea *does* make us a bit sick to our stomach, which I know is hypocritical in the face of us going "Ugh, can we not use the emotional aspect of this?" -laughs-)

But, the thing is... When whatever you create is published, you're releasing them into the world. People are going to interact with the characters and, yes, write fic. If you can't handle people playing with your world or characters, then you need to either not have your stuff published or put your fingers in your ears and go "lalala can't hear you".

It rubs us the wrong way, especially when there are perfectly logical reasons to say "Please don't write fic".

That said, we may see emotional manipulation where there isn't any because it's something we've experienced as part of our abuse. So, y'know. I'm aware that I'm probably just kneejerking when I'm like "Oh, yeah, we're avoiding your work now" to the likes of GRRM and Anne Rice.

I understand the feeling behind "go and write your own". But that, of me, reeks of privilege. That assumes that the people who write fic are capable of handling all aspects of writing. Fanfic writers may not be capable of writing a certain aspect of a story for some reason. There are a lot of aspects that go into books and movie -- characterization, plot, conflict, story arc, setting, and so on and so forth. Maybe they don't know how to handle one or more of those aspects.

To draw a possible parallel, I see writing and cooking both as arts. We sure as hell don't know everything about cooking there is. If I want to try something new, I will follow someone's recipe. Then, I will tweak things next time I try it and the next time and... Eventually, I may end up with something entirely unique that works. (Though I may end up making some disasters on the way to "workable".)

I see fanfic in the same way. It lets you use a recipe and tweak things and figure out how to make something work. I don't think that the authors who are going "make your own" see that fanfic can be a learning tool.

Another aspect of "write your own story" that bothers us is that it completely ignores the fact that there are people who aren't capable of fully creating their own world due to disabilities. We rarely write because we can't work around our cognitive issues to piece together an entire story. It's a juggling act that we're not capable of, no matter how many notes we take and diagrams we draw. Hell, half the time nowadays, we spend most of our time writing catching words we've accidentally replaced due to the aphasia, sentence fragments we've left because we lost our train of thought and move onto another idea, or having to look up the spelling for words that we can only remember how to spell phonetically. A comment like the first one we made and this one take... -checks the time- Going on an hour here.

Writing fanfic isn't what we want to do, but settling into a familar fandom with pre-made characters lets us at least do some sort of writing. For authors to say "MAKE YOUR OWN WORLD", they're basically saying that the huge amount of work I may put into a very short story set in (for example) the Buffyverse is worthless because it's not "original". But, to me, that stuff is really freaking important because of my cognitive problems. I treasure my little snippets of fanfic because it's proof that, at some point, I still was capable of stringing a sentence together.

If we were to magically get published, our official stance would be "Feel free to play in our universe, but we can't see it for emotional and legal reasons."
Edited Date: 2012-04-21 08:43 pm (UTC)

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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