Tags: fan fiction

Goth marquise

Cops and Warriors

So, I've been re-reading Pierre Pevel's Cardinal's Blades series, which is a homage to Dumas, and this has rather set my mind on the subject of fan fictions of various kinds. In a way, fan fic is a child of modern copyright law. In Dumas' day, once his work was published, his rights over the characters ended, and anyone could use them. The first work using his musketeers appeared before The Three Musketeers had finished running as a newspaper serial. (It was a play, entitled Porthos a la recherche d'un equipement.) In many ways, much of the Arthurian canon might be considered a kind of fan fiction: rewritings, reinventions, embroideries and new characters woven into the legend by successive writers. It still goes on, this kind of homage and echo -- witness Pevel, who I recommend, and Stephen Brust's Phoenix Guard books and so on. (There are many many Dumas homages -- you can read about them in French here: http://www.pastichesdumas.com/index.html)
I suspect most of us have, at some point or other in our lives, amused ourselves by making up stories in our heads about favourite characters, or speculated about what happened to them after the book or film ended. I know I did. I acted out new adventures of The Famous Five with my stuffed toys, and played at being best friends with Jane Eyre at Lowood School. In my early teens, I made up and wrote new adventures for the crew of the USS Enterprise (complete with self-insertion Mary-Sue. It's allowed at 13).
I'd starting writing long before: I didn't start out in fan fic. (Though my early pony stories owed a lot to my favourite books of the time.) But I found my first audience in fanfic as a teenage Trek fan. They were very kind to me, and I'm grateful. Trek fandom introduced me to a whole slew of new writers, too, whose books weren't in my local library -- Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Zenna Henderson, Katherine Kurtz. I owe that community a lot. I stopped writing Trek stories when I was 18 or 19: by then I was writing my own original fiction, for one thing (including my unfinished masterpiece [hah!], Illuris, the distant ancestor of Living With Ghosts). But I still dabbled from time to time in fanfic, mainly on request and almost never for fanzine publication -- my stories tended to circulate around a small circle of friends.
I had rules: no fics based on in-copyright, single author works. I know other writers do this, but somehow it wasn't for me. Trek, and The Professionals were multi-writer things, created by teams, not individuals. I felt that my read-by-three people stories were less offensive in that context. (I did write two Musketeer fics. That book is out of copyright and the characters turn up everywhere, and I may yet write a novel about Aramis.) But I wasn't very good at it: original characters would get in and take over -- not Mary Sue any more, thankfully. A set of characters very loosely based on the musketeers got into my Profs stuff. And so on. My head would never go in the approved way. And then there were the Warrior Cops -- or were they Cop Warriors? -- which on some level remains one of my favourite things. It had an audience of two: me and my co-writer, A. It started as a couple of 'what happened next' stories based on two favourite films and written to amuse each other. But it soon got out of hand. The cast grew and grew, as the characters we started with moved further and further away from their filmic originals, developed friends, colleagues, families... I don't know how many thousand words it runs to: I do know it takes up half a filing cabinet drawer and contains some of the writing I'm most proud of. We worked really hard on our 'soap' (which is what we called it). We both did huge amounts of research and held endless story conferences. It provided me with an outlet for my need to write fiction through all the years in which I worked for universities and wrote non-fiction and had my confidence and sense of any talent drained from me, drop by drop. I wouldn't have survived as long as I did without it.
They're part of me, all those stories set in other people's worlds. They taught me pace and plotting, characterisation and structure. They taught me that I love to create my own imaginary people and my own backgrounds. For me, it was writing training 101.
But I still make up those 'what next' stories in my head, though I don't write them down. ( Because there are always questions, always problems, and, being me, I just have to think them through.
New words today: 1100.
Skirt of the day: tweed. It's cold.
Living With Ghosts

Fan fiction

I'd be very surprised if anyone wrote Living With Ghosts fanfic, but as far as I'm concerned, if you wish to, that's fine. The book is out there. But, as others have said, I probably won't read it, mainly for legal reasons.
I've written fanfic myself, back in the day. As it happens, I never wrote in any background created by a single writer. It didn't appeal, but accept that other people do want to do this. It doesn't squick me.

However, what I do object to is mobbing, cyber-bullying and outright abuse directed as people with whom one disagrees. Here's the thing: people are allowed to have different opinions. They are allowed to think something is dull or even pointless. Me? I do not see the point of soccer or cricket. I find obsession with either kind of silly. But I accept that other people love them.
I firmly believe that my friends are all sane, reasonable, decent and honourable and that they are as horrified by bullying in all its forms as I am.
Disagreement is fine. Sending aggressive and abusive messages is not. Finding ways to send these personally if a thread or entry is closed is right out.
Please, please, do disagree with me. I like to discuss stuff. If it's matters Celtic and historical, I may get very technical but I will still engage. But I can't condone bullying.