Mara writes some of the best DC fanfiction on the internet, and she’s done it again (while having a baby, too) with Everybody Has A Birthday. This is really delightful.
Which makes me wonder what all the fuss is about when it comes to writing fanfiction. Some authors just hate the stuff – one mention is enough to cause major frothing at the mouth. Which is fine. I can understand someone not wanting their characters to be played with by others. And, of course, there is the potential legal liability of someone suing the author for plagarizing their fanfiction idea, should the author ever produce something similar.
But see, here’s the thing: fanfic doesn’t reduce the income which original authors can extract from their material. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? No money is lost. Certainly, I don’t know a single fanfic writer who has ever claimed to make money from something they’ve written.
Fanfic writers don’t make one red cent from their stories. Nada, nothing. In fact, I would classify writing fanfiction as a labor of the truest love, a product of inspired joy. I think that’s why so many works of fanfiction – the good ones, anyway – are sometimes better than the “official” material, the canon. Because they come straight from the gut, where there are no boundaries and no bottom lines, no restraints except for the imagination. Batman can have a puppy or live happily ever after with Wonder Woman; Superman can be best friends with Lex Luthor; characters that are treated as small fries can suddenly erupt into a universe as the hero. It’s wonderful. Fantastic.
Now, see – I’m a lawyer. I shouldn’t be saying this, because fanfic is technically illegal. I shouldn’t even write the stuff. But I’ve been doing it for awhile now, and I sincerely believe it helped me, honing my skills to the point where I could become a professional. All those stories I wrote – long, short, bad, awful – they were exercises – and I had a great time writing them.
Anyway, Meljean Brook (another former fanficcer, who wrote the glorious Batman/Wonder Woman epic, The Darkest Light – I can’t find the link at the moment) has a great essay up at her blog on this very topic. Sara Donati, who writes one of my favorite Historical series ever (seriously, Into the Wilderness ranks as one of the top ten books of my life) also has addressed this topic. She’s a rabid Farscape fan, which is just way too cool.
On the writing front, I hit 10,000+ words yesterday. I didn’t go to bed until 5 am this morning. It was worth it. Book proposal out, short story from Clarion on its way to being revised, and good chunk of the novel done. I’m a happy camper. It’s snowing, too!
EDIT: CW kindly gave me the link to Meljean’s story. You can find it here: http://mysite.verizon.net/res6xtbw/idl.htm