So, there’s this girl who wants to get paid for writing fan-fiction.
Right. I found this via John Scalzi’s blog, and then spent far too much time following all the varied links and discussions, trying to get a handle on what this girl was/is thinking. And I believe I finally understand, though I am still astonished.
The fantasy of all writers – fiction, non-fiction, etc. – is to be paid enough for your work that you can do nothing but write all day long, everyday, for the rest of your life. That’s understandable, and believe me, I know how it feels and I am counting my blessings big time. So don’t get me wrong – I feel a teeny bit of compassion for this girl and her desire to do just that (assuming, of course, that she is truly heartfelt). Indeed, if she had asked people to subsidize her life so she could take off a year to do nothing but write her original work, I doubt there would have been much of a ripple in the fannish community. Sure, she’d be called shameless, a sufferer of entitled-itis, but that’s where it would end. She might even get some actual money – though I can think of better charities to send my $25 dollars to, because this screams scam—or at the very least, a massive case of arrogance.
The real problem, however, is that she quite clearly asks people to subsidize all her writing—original and fanfic—with money.
Dude. Dumb move. I think the reasons why are self-explanatory. But that’s not where I’m going to end this. As she later says (in response to the outcry one would expect from this sort of request):
Am I holding my WIPs hostage and asking you to pay me to write fic? No. I’m asking that my supporters who are willing and able to do so help make it possible for me to finish my original novels and launch my professional career. Finishing the WIPs in the meantime is simply the least I can do to compensate them. I’m trying to think of other ways, too, but for now this is the best I’ve got.
I haven’t read her fiction, but I’d like to say that if her writing is so good that it is adequate compensation for hard-earned cash (which apparently will guarantee she finish a publishable novel that will then circumvent all the various pitfalls that face hopeful authors), then she doesn’t need to be asking for money to get her professional career off the ground. It will happen on its own, as long as she follows the tried and true road of all professional writers: Sit down. Write the best book you can. Mail it out. Keep your fingers crossed. Yes, if you’re working at a job, as most people do, it will take extra time. The point is, you must love your craft enough to make all the required sacrifices. Is it easy? No. It never gets easier. That’s not the point. You do this—writing—because of love. Because you can’t imagine doing anything else, and nothing—not money, not naysayers, not anything—will get in your way. Writing takes backbone and stubborn resolve. A lot of it.
Based on what I’ve read of this young lady’s posts, she seems to think all her problems will disappear once she turns pro. That like magic – poof! – her life will be perfect. No, no, no. The sacrifices continue, the money may not be all that good, the stresses just change and get more complex, and God help her if she continues to ask for charity from her professional peers. I can think of plenty of professionals who would love to quit their jobs to write full time, but if they asked their colleagues—in all seriousness—for the cash to do that? Whoa. I hear the death-bell ringing, baby. I’m extremely lucky that I was able to quit the law to write full time, but I had to make some big sacrifices to do that. Which is fine—good, even—because I am doing what I love.
Oh, well. I do wish her the best. And, as those who know me will understand, this is not a diatribe against fan-fiction. I have written quite a bit of it, and only to my benefit (as Meljean Brook can also attest to, as she was discovered through her wonderful Batman/WW stories). And yes, some might say that I am getting paid for writing fan-fiction, what with my X-Men novel, but the difference is that I was hired to do so with the full approval (and editorial control) of Marvel comics.
::sigh:: This is just plain silly.