This is a continuation of a camping exercise I am using to better understand how published authors think about fanfiction. My camps are:
The first two camps’ names come from Charlie Stross, author of “Down on the Farm” and “Trunk and Disorderly”:
“I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon’s gold, the dragon will leave you alone.”
I mean “Glittery and Avaricious Dragons” in the most positive sense possible–I really, really like how supportive these authors are of their fans. I think I’ve found a few new favorites.
To keep this interesting, I’ve included quotes from each author on fanfiction. Here they are:
Glittery and Avaricious Dragons:
Charlie Stross, author and Cory Doctorow collaborator, and author of my favorite author quote on fanfiction. Quote above.
Mercedes Lackey, author of the Bardic universe and co-author to many:
As you folks already know, my agent, Russel Galen, has in the past been opposed to fanfiction. However, he is also Cory Doctorow’s agent now, and Cory is a persuasive little gnome.
As a result of this, I am happy to announce that we are officially permitting fanfiction to be licensed as derivative fiction under the Creative Commons umbrella.
Jim Butcher, author of the The Dresden Files:
We are pleased to announce that Jim is altering his stance on fanfiction, much like Mercedes Lackey did last October. Rather than upholding the awkward “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy towards fanfiction he used in the past, Jim is embracing the Creative Commons. Now, fanfiction is to be licensed as derivative, noncommercial fiction under the Creative Commons umbrella.
W. A. Hoffman, author of the Raised by Wolves books:
So, I am saying this to those of you so inclined: by all means, run with the ball if you feel the need. Play in the playground I have created. Write fanfic. Do fan art. Let my work serve as inspiration for your own original works. Go Team Go!
Catherynne M. Valente, author of Palimpsest:
I have always been delighted when told there was a piece of fanfic inspired by a book of mine floating about. I don’t read it for legal reasons, but I’m thrilled to know it’s there. Someone cared. Someone loved it enough to spend their free time writing about it for free. My rule has always been: don’t make money off it and we’re cool.
Cecilia Tan, author of The 50 Greatest Yankee Games and Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords:
I, Cecilia Tan, tell stories and publish my works because I want to spur the imaginations of my readers. I view non-commercial fanworks as a natural extension of that inspiration. The only thing I can’t support is anything that would damage my livelihood or reputation, hence keep the stuff non-commercial and label it as non-commercial fanfiction when disseminating/posting it. […] I support the creation of non-commercial fanworks and fanfiction as a valid fannish activity, right up there with costuming, filking, and text-based play-by-post role playing.
Chuck Wendig, author of a clutch of short-stories and screen-plays:
So, my thought is, fan-fiction? Hey, fuck it, great. Do it. You love my work that much? Enjoy it. Roll around with it. I may not like it or read it, but who cares? Fan-fiction is a truly most excellent problem to have; it’s like being out of caviar. It’s like, “I can’t afford to buy that horse made of gold because I just bought this horse made of gold.” Uhh. Boo-hoo? Here. Dry your eyes on some starlet’s panties.
You heard it here first:
I ever get that popular, you can fan-fic the shit out of my work as long as you don’t make a dime.
Overall, these authors are more likely to see fanfiction as the natural response of an active reader engaging with a world they enjoy, a good way to encourage interest in their work, and or flattery. Most of them believe they are not legally allowed to read the fanfiction others write in their worlds, that most fanfiction is poorly written with some shining exceptions, and to find the idea of someone writing pornography with their characters distasteful but not banning offense.
That’s it for purely For category–if you know of a particularly passion, articulate, or popular author who has a strong position on fanfiction, let me know in the comments section.
I collected these authors’ names by reading everything I could find (mostly news articles and blogs, all online) on authors and fanfiction, clicking through every reference I could find (praying they wouldn’t involve Hogwarts and the squid thing, or Luke Skywalker and a velociraptor but clicking anyway), and then slogging back to original sources for good quotes.
Basically, I did the research in the only way I know how to do research, on anything.
(In Shakespearean England, tracking down witches)
Martha: “It’s all a bit…Harry Potter, isn’t it?”
Doctor: “Wait until you read book seven…oh, I cried.”
Wow! I feel like I am in some pretty good company there! 🙂
I wish I could have quoted you more–I enjoyed how you dealt with the nuances of published and just-for-fun writing. I am pointing my friends to your post with the quotes on whether authors can read fanfic in their fandoms. It’s a fascinating world of greys. Thanks for commenting!
Yr welcome! A lot of writers are still leery of reading their own fanfic, but YMMV. So far, I’ve enjoyed seeing my world & characters through others’ eyes.
Bit of a tangent here; I wonder if these count as fan-fic — letterswithcharacter dot blogspot dot com? Mostly I just wanted to send you that link as I think you’d enjoy the concept of that blog! — Lisa from karate