Uh-oh: Amazon announces Kindle Worlds

bad feelingClub Jade clued us in this morning to Amazon’s new plan to pay fanfic authors to publish their works via Kindle.  Introducing Kindle Worlds, which is getting around the fuzzy legal grey area of fanfiction by officially licensing these Worlds, and the first to sign on has been Warner Brothers’ affiliated Alloy Entertainment, who owns the license for Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, and Gossip Girl.

On the surface, this looks great.  Star Trek has been doing this for a long time–anyone who has ever submitted a story to one of the Strange New Worlds anthologies has certainly been aware of what has been, in the past, a relatively willing openness to fan work, and many fan writers have broken into professional publishing through writing for these anthologies.  It also seems like a way for fans to get generally professionally curated (?) writing for their favorite universes at a reasonable price.

But there is, I fear, a dark side to all the bright, shiny, happy togetherness Amazon is toting. Continue reading

Fanwork Done Right

In terms of explaining fandom, and especially fanworks, to outsiders, 2012 hasn’t exactly been a banner year. Gawker and Jezebel—and, briefly, io9, though they ended the feature and apologized for it—have mocked fanfiction and by extension those who write it. The self-insert One Direction one young fan is writing is going to be turned into a book.

And, of course, there was 50 Shades of Grey.

I’m not going to touch on the fact that it is a smutty novel, because one of the positives of fandom, at least in some areas, is that it provides a safe and healthy environment for learning about sex, sexuality, kinks, and so forth. There are plenty of people who read and write fanfiction, at least in part, because of the openness about sex and generally sex-positive culture that fandom often has.

However, generally speaking, I can’t think of anyone who reads fanfiction for bad writing, dangerous mispresentations of BDSM culture (link is to a not very safe for work video), and outdated and misogynistic narratives about just sticking with the bad boy because your love will make him change. Certainly, those are not reasons I would give my mother if I were attempting—again—to make her understand why I’ve been doing this for so many years.

Instead, I would talk to her about the things that transformative works can do, how they can reinterpret the original material, make it relevant (or even just more relevant) to a different audience, flesh out secondary and tertiary characters, and explore the dynamics of putting characters in different settings.

In short, I would talk to her about all the things The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is doing.

Continue reading

Fanwork Friday: Beside the Dying Fire

In Nanci’s world, Sunday is really Friday. (Or she lost track of the days and is a failure at this column.) 

It’s no secret that I dislike the Legacy of the Force series. It’s no secret that I hate that Mara died. However, I do like fanfics that use Mara’s death as a basis for wonderful character exploration and missing scenes. This story, by salanderjade, does exactly that. It is an extension of the scene at the end of Revelation, in which Ben overhears his father talking to his mother’s Force ghost. I understand why Karen Traviss wrote the scene from Ben’s POV, but I would have loved to know exactly what Mara said to Luke. I’m glad that writers like salanderjade attempt to answer that very tough question.

Beside the Dying Fire

Rogue and Wraith Squadron Fanfic-A-Thon

There hasn’t been an X-Wing novel in thirteen years.

That’s an awful long time for fans of the Rogues and Wraiths who have been wondering what shenanigans they’ve been getting up to while the Jedi have been dealing with the weekly galactic apocalypse of certain doom and terror. While, thankfully, we’re finally getting a new book this August, there’s another way fans have managed to fill the void over the last decade and change: fanfiction.

Over at the Rogue and Wraith Livejournal comm, members have put together a starfighter jockey-themed fanfiction marathon. If you’d like to read some great stories about Wedge, Tycho, Wes, Hobbie, the Rogues, and the Wraiths, head on over and read the entries.