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…just really, ridiculously busy. I never thought I’d be too busy to write fan fic, but there you go. Life has a way of surprising you.

I’m still writing, just writing other stuff for right now. I’m sure a plot bunny will bounce on me one of these days and something Housey will pop out, but it’s just not my priority at the moment. I do want to write something though, coz I kind of miss Greg and the gang (who in my stories are mostly imaginary – but then House is imaginary too – so I miss all my imaginary friends, including House – oh, stop me now…)

Found some great writing advice from John Scalzi. It’s modestly called John Scalzi’s Utterly Useless Writing Advice, but it’s one of the most useful useless pieces of advice I’ve read in a while.

I still have other things I want to say about fan fiction, even if I don’t write a fic myself for a while, so if anyone’s still reading, hang in there…

I’m sorry, I can’t quite leave this subject alone yet. There is so much passion about it out there and I truly believe that fan fiction is now starting to come to the attention of even more writers and readers than ever before as a result. (If you haven’t read read the originating post of all this fuss go here, because it no longer exists on the original site.)

I subscribe to a wide range of writing (esp romance writing) blogs, author websites and review sites. And the past two weeks, fan fiction and this debate has been popping up all over the place. So many people have been saying things and making me wish I’d said them first. Like this:

“Okay. I am really, really tired of professional writers – or maybe I should say published writers, since professional behavior is not these people’s long suit, generally speaking – posting rants about how they don’t like fan fiction and here are their random reasons why. (If they would just say, “It feels wrong. I don’t have a reason – it just feels wrong,” I still wouldn’t agree, but at least I wouldn’t have to question their maturity. It’s when they try to justify their feeling that they start to sound like a seven-year-old explaining why his cousin shouldn’t be allowed to come near his toys.)” From The Fourth Vine

This is a great comment from someone called “Jamie” (pun intended I’m sure) on the Chris Meadows blog post I referred to in an earlier post:

“It seems to me that there are two kinds of writers: those who believe that it’s only “real” writing if you get paid for it, and those who understand the concept of writing for love. I honestly pity the first lot, because best-sellers go out of print, and royalty checks go away, and if that’s the only sense of worth they get from their works, they’re in real trouble once their popularity wanes. More so if they help it along by spewing hatred at the very people who buy their stuff in the first place. Meanwhile, those nasty plagiarizing fanfic writers are taking their joy from the act of writing itself, from taking the what-ifs in their minds and spinning them into stories, and happily uncaring whether there’s a paycheck or even positive feedback from their peers.”

And from Aja Romano at bookshop on LiveJournal: “Dear AotW. Fanfic is not about you. I know you hate to hear it, dear AotW, but the story is not defined by the barriers you place around it. The moment you gave it to us, those walls broke. You may hate the fact people are imagining more to your story than what you put there. But if I were you, I’d be grateful that I got the chance to create a story that has a culture around it, a story that people want to keep talking about, reworking, remixing, living in, fantasizing about, thinking about, writing about. To quote Originalaudience on the post in question, “Nobody is forgetting that you created the characters. The existence of fanfiction really means that nobody is forgetting the characters you created.” ”

She also goes on to say: “We get that you think fanfic is a stepping stone to being published. You’re wrong. Fanfiction is not a set of training wheels, not some shameful awkward thing you do before you grow up and learn the ~true meaning~ of being a ~real writer.~ Fanfic is … written by some of the most incredibly talented people on the internet. Fanfic writers are bestselling and acclaimed professional authors. They are agents and editors. They are network television executive producers. They are New York Times journalists. They are Supreme Court clerks. They are PHDs and experts in their fields.”

Fan fic authors I know? Business owners. Lawyers. Pharmacists. Office managers. College students. Factory workers. PR guns. Sales managers. And so much more. From all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds all doing it for the love of the writing, of sharing their interests and passion with others, and giving freely of their time and talent.

I’m giving the last word to The Fourth Vine again – because it made me laugh and I think it’s a wonderful summary of all this:

“…fan fiction is evil, because doing it for love is wrong, but doing it for money is right. This makes me make a frowny face, because that isn’t what they said in Sex Ed.”

Amen.

Singapore, actually, and it’s hot and sauna-humid! Do they have House here? Yep – season 6, Thursdays at 10pm. Might even get to catch it while I’m here. (Although I hasten to add that watching TV isn’t usually a priority when I’ m in another country!)

I haven’t been around for a while. I have still been writing though, just not House fiction. I’ve got two stories being considered by publishers right now – a short story and a novel. I’ve been busy doing revisions and getting them submitted. I’m also working on a new story (also not House) although it is coming slowly because work is keeping me busy.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for news on anything, if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past couple of years of finding my way in the publishing world, it’s that everything happens very, very s-l-o-w-l-y.

But that wasn’t what prompted me to jump on and blog – it was reading this blog post that prompted me to write. Many of you would know of Diana Gabaldon – she wrote the series of time-travel books featuring the hot Scots warrior, Jamie. (Called “Outlander” in the US and “Cross Stitch” in other parts of the world.)

Well, it appears Ms Gabaldon really, really, really HATES fan fiction.

I had very strong reactions when I read her post. (I have not read all of the 500+ comments, but I imagine my own reactions are mirrored in there somewhere.) On the one hand, I must admit, I wondered if there was a difference between writing fan fic about a TV character as compared to a character from a novel. The character of a novel is the creation of one person only, as compared to a TV character who is an amalgam of the writing, the actor, the director, etc. Does that make novel characters somehow more ‘private’? More ‘copyrighted’?

I have never been tempted to write fan fiction for any character other than House and for reasons I can’t explain, the idea of writing fan fiction about a character in a book somehow seems ‘different’. But is it really? Once a character is out in the public domain, be it in a book, on a TV program, in a film, isn’t it ‘out there’ regardless of its original format?

On the other hand, I was really angered on behalf of myself and the many other very talented writers I know who write fan fiction. She made some broad, sweeping generalisations that people who write fan fic do so because they are unable to do ‘proper’ writing of their own. That is so absolutely not true. I know at least FOUR other fan fic writers who are actively pursuing published author status. And that’s just the four people I know.

Ms Gabaldon has obviously been a published writer for a long time, and has clearly forgotten the rocky, disheartening and downright soul-destroying journey that it takes for an unpublished author to finally see their name in print. What real harm is done if, along the way, you write some fun stories using someone else’s characters, for no financial gain, but for the encouragement and reinforcement of your writing abilities?

I can’t refute her point that some people who have very poor writing skills will find themselves an audience if they shove in enough sex scenes or if they write the romance or storyline that fans want to see. (In the House fandom, witness some of the extraordinarily bad Hameron or Huddy stories – I’m NOT saying that they are all bad, but some have huge numbers of reviews not for the quality of the writing but for the adherence to the ‘ship’.)

But fan fic exists in a world in which anyone, anywhere, can be ‘published’, in the sense that your work can be made available to a global audience. Back when unpublished Diana was trying to work on her writing, the best she could hope was that her friends and family might have a read and give her some encouragement. Maybe she could enter a competition or two, or join a writers group. Those options are all still open to  an unpublished writer today (and, indeed are all things I’ve made use of). But what that young Diana couldn’t do, that I – and many like me – have been able to do, is put my writing up on a global stage, to get the feedback and encouragement from people in the US, Poland, Brazil, India, Sweden, Chile, Russia and more (and that’s just the fan fic stats for May so far). I’ve had tens of thousands of people read my work.

Welcome to Web 2.o and the twenty-first century, Ms Gabaldon.

Exactly what harm is it doing to you that people want to write about Jamie Fraser and Sassenach Claire? It’s certainly not hurting your hip pocket.

All I can say is that if I ever get my books published, I totally give you all permission to write as much fan fiction about them as you can. Go for it. Wild, sexy, implausible, pornographic, OOC, ridiculous, comedic, slash, crossover, even badly written. In my mind all it would do is honour my work, demonstrate affection for the characters of my invention, and let others learn from my experience.

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The great and wise Gertrude Stein