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fanfiction for bad writing, dangerous mispresentations of BDSM culture (link is to a not very safe for work video), and outdated and misogynistic narratives about just sticking with the bad boy because your love will make him change.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

R.A. Salvatore on Fan Fiction

Over on Reddit today, former Expanded Universe author R.A. Salvatore is conducting an Ask Me Anything. One intrepid redditor asked the author his thoughts on fan fiction in light of the hardline stance other authors have taken against it (*cough*GRRM*cough*). His response? Rather positive.

I am supposed to tell you that it’s evil and wretched and destroys anything and everything I’ve ever tried to accomplish.

Truth is, this is supposed to be fun and entertaining, and when I hear about fan fiction using my characters, or when I see variations of my characters running around in an MMO, I think it’s the coolest thing ever. Truly flattering. Now, I can’t read the fan fiction, for obvious reasons, nor can I consider it “canon,” but I’m still flattered.

What a remarkably positive and honest answer! To read his answers to other questions (and perhaps to ask your own), head over to his AMA thread.

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.

An Academic’s Defense of Fanfic

Hi!  No, I’m not Brian.  Or Nanci.  Or Shane.

My name’s Emily, and I’m Shane’s other half, among many other things.  Among those many other things, I’m a graduate student close to finishing my Ph.D. in English at a university which has a very open department that is well known for studying popular culture. I’m also a huge nerd, which one would have to be if one is to marry Shane.  I’m also a fan of fanfiction.

Let me preface this discussion with the following: I despise Twilight for many reasons, I’ve not really been keeping up too much with the E.L. James and Fifty Shades of Gray hullabaloo, as I’ve been studying for exams lately, but I’m still plugged in enough to hear about all of the incredible flak that’s been going around and aimed at the fanfiction community, primarily by the mainstream media.  I’m not going to get into the intellectual property issues here—I’m most assuredly not a lawyer.  I don’t even play one on TV.  What I want to talk about is the flak that’s attacking the fanfiction community as a group of deviants who are solely concerned with the erotic possibilities fanfiction offers.

But like so many other things, the mainstream media once again has it all wrong.  They’re only telling one side of the fanfiction story.  It’s time to shatter some of the preconceptions about fanfiction and start dealing in facts.  So, I present to you an academic’s defense of fanfiction in layman’s terms. Continue reading

Check Out Nanci’s Guest Post on Fan Fiction at Club Jade

Our own Nanci has a post up at Club Jade examining the media perception of fan fiction since the release of 50 Shades of Grey.

Until now, I’d couldn’t believe that the mainstream media hadn’t yet made the erroneous connection that fanfic = porn.  So an article on CNN entitled Fifty Shades of Grey shines light on erotic fan fiction”, I wasn’t that surprised.  But I still facepalmed; especially when I saw the accompanying photograph of Kirk and Spock.  The third sentence of the article states, “Welcome to the world of fan fiction, where fans tweak or add to existing series, novels and characters —oftentimes with a steamy twist” (emphasis mine).

It is the word “oftentimes” that bothers me about that statement.  Yes, I know there is erotic fanfic on the internet (refer back to Rule 34).  I’ve read it; heck, I’ve written it.  I don’t think “smut” (as it’s called) is anything to ridicule or look down upon, and I’m not ashamed to read or write it.  But that does not mean that the majority of fanfic is porn, and I hate that people will see novels like “50 Shades” and believe that is the case.

As a fanfic writer myself, the implication that all I’m doing is writing badly written porn really ticks me off. I’ve read some tremendous fan fiction that deserves praise for being well written fiction. So yes, I’m annoyed with 50 Shades and how the media is portraying fanfic.

Hop on over to Club Jade to read the rest of the article.