Saturday, July 1, 2006

Need Writerly Help!

And you don't have to be a fanfic writer, but it helps.

I'm about to do a half-hour presentation/Q&A about what I termed "Fanfiction Ethics". Basically, I wanted it to be an informative panel that would allow me to reach out to other fanfic authors and demonstrate how I approach the source material, skirting legal issues that arise in the fanfic universe, and why we should respect the original authors'/owners' wishes. I have some points outlined, but I wondered what you all thought.

If you were able to tell a captive audience just one thing about how to approach fanfic, what would it be? I'm not talking about the writing process itself, since that's the panel I teach immediately after this one. For me, the main point is to remember this is a privilege and not a right; the owner of the source material has final say on whether or not they allow fanfic, both legally and ethically. What would you tell your fellow ficcers?

To the non-fic writers, I'd like to hear from you, too. If your book hit the shelves tomorrow and there was a good chance your characters were going to be ficced, what would you hope the ficwriters would do or not do? In this case, what comes to mind is JK Rowling's oft-ignored request that fanfics not portray her characters in sexual situations. In Anne Rice's case, she has demanded that no one write about her characters at ALL, meaning she could conceivably legally shut down any site or archive that allows fic of her work. What do you think? What would you want your ficwriters to think of or do before they put pen to paper?

Other points I plan to make are:

  • consider the repercussions of what you write (will this make my beloved fic community look like a bunch of pedophiles?)

  • not everything you write needs to be posted (basically, prevent badfic, exalt goodfic)

  • accept constructive crit with grace (and learn the difference between cc and flames)

  • rate your fics appropriately (meaning, no rating your fic R when it's really X but you want to sneak in under a lower rating so your fic won't be rejected by an archive)

...and more.

I really mean it, guys. I could honestly use your help if you have five minutes to tell me what would drive you crazy, what would make you love your fans, what you wish your fellow ficcers would do or not do to make the fanfic world a better place. I lead this panel on Friday night, and won't be able to look at responses after Thursday night, so please comment or call me before then.

And if you DON'T have a response, then comment or call me anyway. XD I miss all of you so much, in real life and online.

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