Stargate Monuments

marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
reading
marthawells

(no subject)

Got the car back, which is a big relief.


* Hair For Oil Spills Something I did not know and you probably didn't either: human hair and shed animal fur can be used to clean up oil spills, and this site tells how to collect it and where to send it. Quick, start brushing your cats! Seriously, the Gulf needs this now.

* Do the Write Thing For Nashville This is a writing-related auction for flood relief for the Nashville area. From the descriptions, critiques from editors and agents will be up for auction.

* Machette Whatever your feelings about Arizona's recently passed immigration law, one filmmaker has a clear position: Predators producer Robert Rodriguez, who has posted a special R-rated Cinco de Mayo trailer for his upcoming Machete This is Machete from the faux-trailer in Grindhouse: Planet Terror!


On the issue of fanfic, which I don't actually consider an issue, I'm just going to copy what I said in a comment yesterday: I read and wrote movie and TV show fanfic for twenty years, since The Empire Strikes Back came out when I was in high school. I had a huge fanzine collection, went to Mediawest (a big media fanzine convention), and later ran online archives for fanfic. It was always for play, for the sense of fun and community. Like Janni said, for most people it's not writing practice, it's writing for fun, writing for its own sake.

I've never been big on reading fanfic for books, though, because for me that's always been something where only the original could satisfy. But I think it's awesome when people have written fanfic for my books, because I know how hard it is to get it right, and it's pure joy to me that somebody would go to that much trouble because they liked my work so much. I know some writers really dislike fanfic, but it's not an attitude that I have any understanding of at all.

  • 1
I remain ambivalent on fanfic -- yes, it boosts the old ego, and god knows I need any publicity I can get. But the only story I've run across that ties into one of my novels, not only was the writing bad, but it got the character rather wrong . . .

That wouldn't bother me at all, and I don't quite know how to explain why. The act of reading fiction is already completely subjective, and readers are already free to interpret my characters however they want in their heads during the reading experience. It doesn't matter to me if they put that interpretation down on paper.

I've had one of my novels used as a text in an SF as Literature class, and some of the students wrote papers on it and had their own interpretations of the book that didn't match mine, and that didn't bug me either.

I hope that sort of makes sense. I'm finding it weirdly hard for me to explain why I don't care about something that I don't care about.

I've never managed to write any fanfic, but I've certainly read plenty for tv shows; I've never felt the need with books--it's tv shows and movies, sometimes, that don't satisfy in terms of character relationships/dynamics--which is what always leads me to read fanfic. So I am thankful to the decent writers out there who write it and share it.

I do feel like there's some distinction between books and tv/movies, because tv and movies are already collective narrative projects, whereas books are written by a single (or collaborative, but still unified) authorial voice.

On the other hand, if no money is being made, I don't see the harm. When work goes out into the world and is consumed in some way, that experience of it belongs to the person who consumes it.

Anyway, my two cents.

Yep. Though I have read some very good Harry Potter fanfic, and the fact that the authorial voice was different didn't bother me, since they got the character voices right.

I am definitely signal-boosting the Hair for Oil Spills thing, including to local schools/salons.

I've never been big on reading fanfic for books, though, because for me that's always been something where only the original could satisfy.

I started to agree with you, but realized I really can't...because I love all the tales from the Cthulhu mythos, no matter who wrote them....and they're all basically Lovecraft fanfic. :)

Oh that's right! All the new Cthulhu mythos, Sherlock Holmes, Conan and other Robert E. Howard stories are all basically fanfic. For some reason I don't think of those as book fandoms, probably because it was the TV/movie/modern book versions that I saw first, before I went back and read the originals.

(Deleted comment)
Pondering... pondering... I think I tend to read fanfic when the originals don't satisfy me in some way. My theories are all vague, as I've really never been widely involved in it, though I think I was fairly deeply involved (in the sense of it being only one fandom) back in the 90s, pre LJ. :-D And it was anime, which seems like it was kind of a different world, a slightly different set of rules and expectations, and definitely less condemnation (doujinshi, for example, while not strictly legal in Japan, are still popular and unofficially accepted and fairly well-received. They're not looked down on, at any rate, and Western fans took their cues from that).

I confess have some serious problems with fanfic, but they are all extremely personal and involve my own growth as a writer and ability (or lack) to be productive and compartmentalize tasks.

I do know, however, that if it ever came to a point where I'd written something original and people were ficcing it, I'd probably get down on my knees and praise Non-Specific-Deity with upraised hands, even if said fanfiction was awful. This is a sign of 1. serious devotion; and 2. ongoing publicity! It means you've connected, made someone care, made someone want more.


I was never a big anime fan. I watched some series that ended up on afternoon kid TV back in the early 80s, and never really got into them that much. Except recently, I loved the Avatar: the Last Airbender series.

I'd probably get down on my knees and praise Non-Specific-Deity with upraised hands, even if said fanfiction was awful. This is a sign of 1. serious devotion; and 2. ongoing publicity! It means you've connected, made someone care, made someone want more.

Yes, exactly!

I got hooked at the tender age of 11, because Robotech, the show that started it all for me, let a main character die. I stood there with jaw dropped and thought, They respect my intelligence!!

And we were hardcore little fangirls, my god: My buddies and I did things like watch grainy, unsubtitled, incomplete, insanely-priced bootlegs from Chinatown on VHS. This was no joke. Did I mentioned hideously overpriced??? eBay was a scary place. (Possibly some of that non-completion and non-comprehension was what sparked the fanfic.)

I've fallen away from it in recent years, but I also loved "Avatar" -- as a U.S. show, though anime-influenced, they do a lot of things that are departures from what an actual Japanese show would do (which I enjoyed and found fascinating on their own merits).

Zuko, for example, would never have made it through an anime alive. :-D There would be a requisite Redemptive Heroic Sacrifice moment. Likely with a speech. And a wan smile. And huge amounts of stoic tears from the remaining heros. AtlA followed the tropes so hard that there were were anime fans laying bets on it, despite the fact that it was a U.S. show marketed to 7-year-olds.

But it was satisfying for the most part -- likely why I never felt much pull to read fanfic of it.

I have mixed feelings about the whole fan fiction phenomenon. Back when it was more about people just wanting more of the story, and continuing it their own way, or exploring various "what if" possibilities - basically, the sort of stuff that got published in fanzines or occasionally anthologies like the "Friends of Darkover" one that Marion Zimmer Bradley used to edit - I thought it was great. I love the idea of a shared setting inspiring many different people, and it was always interesting to read new and different takes on familiar stories, settings and characters.

But somewhere along the way - it seems to have been mainly when fan fiction moved onto the internet, for some reason - it seems to have been reduced to a single dimension, or at least a pair of closely linked ones: sex and/or romance. Now virtually all of it seems to be able to be reduced to the following formula:
  1. OMG, character A is so hot!
  2. OMG, character B is so hot!
  3. Decide that they are secretly in love, and/or contrive some wildly unlikely excuse for them to have sex.
I can't remember when the last time was that I saw any fan fiction that wasn't basically that, but it's probably been at least a decade. Every fan fiction site I've ever seen categorizes all the stories by what "pairing" they involve, what combination of genders, how sexually explicit the story is, and what particular fetishes it caters to. Occasionally some writers may opt to include some kind of actual plot or character development, but it always seems like that's regarded as window dressing, and the sex and/or relationship is still supposed to be the meat of the story.

And I just find it all kind of sad... Something that used to be a venue for genuine creative expression and exploration seems to have been reduced to the equivalent of an endless collection of totally formulaic Penthouse Forum letters and Harlequin romances (with the former outnumbering the latter about 5:1 at least).

It's not that I don't think sex or relationships are valid subject matter for fiction - of course they are. It's the fact that fanfic nowadays seems to have been reduced to being always and only about those things that I find disappointing.

It's an old and true adage "sex sells" and this is true of fanfiction as well. If you write very explicit sex you will have hundreds of comments, if you write long, plotty stories that may or may not have relationships as part of the background you will get half a dozen. This does not mean that the really great stuff isn't out there, it just has to compete with the other for eyeballs. There are gen communities and that is where you will find a lot of it. I don't know what your fandom is but I bet there's a community out there with great writing in it.

It's an old and true adage "sex sells" and this is true of fanfiction as well. If you write very explicit sex you will have hundreds of comments, if you write long, plotty stories that may or may not have relationships as part of the background you will get half a dozen.

And that's kind of a sad thing in itself. :-(

I think what confuses me about that is that the people writing and reading all this stuff are fans of the original books/movies/shows/whatever to start with, even though those are generally focused on plot/character and not sex - but they don't have any interest in reading fan fiction that tries to follow in the same vein?

This does not mean that the really great stuff isn't out there, it just has to compete with the other for eyeballs.

I'm sure there are still some people writing genuinely interesting fan fiction - it's just kind of like searching for a needle in a haystack.

There are gen communities and that is where you will find a lot of it.

I'm not very up on fanfic jargon, but I thought "gen" in that context just meant straight porn rather than gay porn?

I don't know what your fandom is but I bet there's a community out there with great writing in it.

I don't really have a specific "fandom" - there are a lot of different books, movies, etc. I'd be happy to read good writing based on. I'm more concerned with whether something's interesting and well-written than with what particular fictional world it's set in.

I've actually occasionally had thoughts of trying to start a site or community for non-sexually-oriented, genuinely plot/character-focussed fan fiction, just so that there would be someplace to find it. But I have too many other commitments, and also a depressing near-certainty that no one would ever submit anything to it if I did. :-/

Edited at 2010-05-06 07:55 pm (UTC)

The definitions change, but "Gen" usually means no explicit sex, or no mention of sexual relationships that aren't included in the canon. Stories also usually have ratings -- PG13, R, NC17, or "explicit" or "adult" etc to tell you if they have sex scenes and how explicit they are. There's actually quite a lot of fanfic that isn't porn. :)

And there you would be wrong because there are many gen ficcers out there looking for good places to gather. In fanfic jargon gen means that, while there may be sexual relationships in the background, they are not the focus of the story. I know a ton of great gen ficcers in the Buffy and Stargate Atlantis fandoms and I can find ones in Harry Potter although I don't read that fandom.

I'm not trying to convince you to start reading fanfic but if this is your preference there are many writers out there who would love to have you reading their stuff.

As I said on the same post, you and Janni said it better than I ever could.

Are they using the hair? Because I have a seriously shedding cat I could contribute hair from. Heading for the link now. I aske because I know that just because something is a good solution doesn't mean it's being implemented.

Yes, the hair collection thing looks like it's been going quite a while, for oil spills in general. It's just that now it's all being used for the Gulf.

Thank you for the hair for oil spills link; I will also be boosting signal.

I know some writers really dislike fanfic, but it's not an attitude that I have any understanding of at all.

Yes! It's something that, on a gut level, I just can't understand. For me it's that the fanfic impulse is so fundamental to my engagement with any type of fiction, and it can't be separated from the critical impulse at all. So it's like ... these authors don't want people to engage with what they wrote? don't want us to have thoughts or feelings about it? But then why would we read it?

And damn, if anyone ever writes fanfic about any of my stuff I'm going to be dancing around in glee for weeks, no matter if it's horribly bad. If there's fanfic, that means I did something right. If there's fanfic, I managed to spark something in a reader. What could be more happy-making?

(Er. Sorry for going off here in your journal! Seems it just needed out. *g*)

No prob. :) And yeah, it means that the reader didn't just finish your book and set it aside and go on to the next one, they liked it so much that they wanted more of that world. That's awesome.

Edited at 2010-05-06 11:11 pm (UTC)

OMG, you mean I can actually put the rafts of hair being floated by our cats and dogs to good use?! Hallelujah! I'll be using the pet rake every day!

YAY for getting your car back!!

I appreciate your views on fanfic. :)

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account