Saturday, 17 March 2012

Discussion: Published Fanfics

This is a pretty long post, if you don't feel like reading it all, the first few paragraphs will give you the general idea of what is being discussed and you could skip down to the discussion questions at the bottom.

So I wanted to discuss this but wasn't sure if I should...but I really want to know other peoples thoughts on it, so I'm going to.

Fanfiction kind of has a rep for being badly written, riddled with cliches and Mary Sues and author inserts and all that stuff...but in amongst all the bad stuff, there's a lot of raw talent and some genuienly good writers who create brilliant stories and write them well.

Some of those good fanfics become really popular. Some of those really popular fanfics are then removed, edited so the character names are changed then published as original fiction. And I can't decide whether I think that's okay or not and I'd like to know you're thoughts on this.

One of the former-Twilight fanfics, Fifty Shades of Gray, was apparently self published with the name changes then picked up by one of the big publishers (maybe?) and has had movie interest and all that (even making the NYT best seller list).

Most of the other fic-turned-novels I've seen have started out as Twilight fanfics (actually, I've not stumbled across any that didn't start out as Twilight-related fanfiction) and they're usually very AU (alternate universe) and often AH (all human characters) - there's no denying that the writers have talent and that the stories are usually really original, especially in comparison to most of the fanfics floating around out there. But at the same time, the roots of the stories that inspired them are still there.

Some are definitely so AU that they pass as entirely original with name changes, but even some of the most original ones still have things in them that would not have been written had they not been fanfics first. For example: Poughkeepsie.

I read that when it was a fanfic and it was awesome, really brilliant, moving, great characters, great writing - but in the plot it had Edward be a piano playing homeless dude who was afraid to go out in the sun in case his skin sparkled (reasoning is different from Twilight, of course, but it's still obviously a reference to Twilight), Carlisle is still the doctor father figure, Rosalie has still become this broken girl because of something in her past that has left her unable to have the thing she wants most: a family, the pairings are the same. 

Those things weren't created by the author entirely, they were things from Twilight and switched up a little to make the Twilight references and character types fit the new story...and that's fine, but is it wrong to just switch up the names then sell it (usually not even acknowledging the fanfic roots of the story)?

There was an author who pulled her story, claimed she was editing it to get it published but she posted a section on fanfic to go with her announcement that she was publishing it - she made a mistake though, all of the fanfic character names were still there only they'd changed to things like "BellaHannah" and stuff like that, revealing that the only editing the writer had done was hit find + replace to change the names (and hadn't even done that quite right), she didn't remove the Twilight references or anything.

It's legal...at least I think it is, so long as they remove any obvious copyrighted stuff. But something about it doesn't sit well with me. 

That's what bothers me, I think - I do think these writers are talented enough to be published and deserve to cash in on that talent, but the way they're going about it...just seems kind of like a moral gray area. They usually self publish or do it through a site like Omnific Publishing (whose writers are all former fanfic writers and most of the books were former Twifics) or The Writers Coffee Shop - would a traditional publisher even accept a former fanfic and publish it? I don't know, so far 50 Shades of Gray is the only one I know of. 

Another of the fanfics-turned-novels was actually a former Robert Pattinson fic, as far as I know - where the love interest in the story was Robert Pattinson and I think the girl was either an original character or an author insert and sexytime happens...or something, possibly...something about THAT then getting some name changes to become original fiction just seems kind of - well, I have no words (I keep imagining Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart finding this book, reading it and being all, "Oh my god, this is about Rob. This is someones fantasies about Rob. Ewww.").

The thing about fanfiction is, fanfic has been kind of a gray area in the past - most people claim it's fair use as far as copyright goes but some authors are not okay with it and say it's illegal although because of how much of a gray area it is, it's unlikely an author would really take things further if they were against it (beyond sending a C&D letter to the fanfic site or whatever). 

One of the big things in the pro-fanfic argument is that these people who write it are doing it for fun, out of love of the original stories, and they do not profit from it. But taking fanfic and changing names and selling it...well, that's profiting from it, isn't it?

There are examples of published fanfics out there that are legit - they don't claim to be anything other than fanfic, they don't pass themselves off as original and they're done with permission of the copyright holders (like published books of TV shows - I own some of those for Dark Angel, Dawsons Creek and Supernatural).

I've written fanfiction in the past (a lot of which has now been pulled and hidden deep in some cringe-worthy file on my laptop) and yeah, it feels good when you finish it and feels like an accomplishment...but I'd never want to take it and try and pretend it was entirely orginal. Instead, I started from scratch with stories that were brand new and I kind of wish these other fanfic authors had done that too - they definitely have the talent for it, they have more than one story in them. 

Maybe it's because for me personally, I know that the way my fanfic ideas start and my original ideas start are different. Fanfics (for me, at least), start as, "Well, what if this happened instead of what happened in the book?" or "What if this character fell in love with this character?" or "What if all the supernatural characters were human and then this happened...?" - all of those are sparked by the book or show or movie they're a fanfic of and it's just changing things that are already there or taking what is already there and making it happen in a different way, but original fiction is different.

For me it's original from the start, it's more: "Well, what if there was a character who...?" or "What if there was a world like this...?" and I start from scratch with the characters and their world and relationships to each other. And that's different to me, I couldn't just change the names in fanfics and pretend it wasn't inspired by something else.

Last time I checked, Omnific Publishing doesn't even acknowledge on their site that their books are former fanfics, not sure if TWCS does either (haven't checked).

And the readers - are people really buying and liking these stories because they're genuinely good? Or is it because they still view the characters as the characters from the fanfic they read? Or because they already loved the fanfic? (From comments I've read about Fifty Shades of Gray, the majority I've seen mentioning the movie interest are saying Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart should play the characters - the characters that were fanfic characters of a story they already starred in, so clearly a lot of the fans of FSoG haven't cut all the ties between that book and it's TwiFic roots.)

That's one of the reasons I've been reluctant to buy any of the published versions of the fanfics - I don't know if I would judge them as books in their own right, or if I'll still be viewing them as the fanfics I read and loved over the years (because the ones that I haven't read the fanfics for? Genuinely no interest in reading the books after reading the summaries).

That's another one of the issues I have... it almost seems like some of these writers are using popular books like Twilight to launch their own stories. They post fanfiction, then once they gain a following, they pull the stories from the fanfic sites and publish it as original fiction after changing the names - if they had just published it as original fiction from the start, finding readers wouldn't have been quite so easy.

Seriously, I've written bloody awful fanfiction in the past and ended up on the favourite author/author alert list of like a thousand people and got thousands of reviews and all that, but my original fiction that is genuinely better writing... I'm lucky if those stories get 5 reviews outside of a writing community I'm a member of, and that's because with fanfiction, a large part of the reason people read and like the story is because they're projecting characters they already love onto it.

Basically, these writers are either taking something they viewed as fanfiction and intended to be fanfiction then deciding to pass it off as purely original, or they're taking their original fiction and passing it off as fanfiction to gain an audience... neither of which sits well with me.

I think maybe I'd feel be less reluctant to read these books if they had undergone serious editing and rewrites before being published instead of name changes.

Before I get to the discussion questions, I just want to be clear: I'm not judging the people that do this (except for maybe the "publishers" because I've read a lot of shady stuff about them, including stuff about their contracts being unfair) and I understand why they would do it and I think these authors have real talent and do deserve to be published...I'm just on the fence about whether or not I think it's right to publish fanfics as original fiction.

So what are your thoughts?

Discussion questions:
1. Do you think it's right for fanfics to be published as original fiction? Why?
2. Would you ever buy any of these books that used to be fanfics?
3. What do you think of the possibility of them being optioned as movies?
4. Do you think it's worse when the fanfics are based on real people (like the Rob Pattinson one)?
5. What are your thoughts on publishers like Omnific Publishing, who only seem to search out successful fanfics and then publish them?
6. How would you feel about these books being reviewed on the blog? And do you have any other thoughts on this whole topic?
Feel free to disagree with any of the stuff I've said in this post, I'm unsure of my thoughts on the situation which is why I wanted to discuss it so I'd like to hear from people who are pro-fanfics-turned-novels too.

Later.

64 comments:

  1. I don't think fanfic-turned-novels are okay in any circumstance. There's a difference between adapted classics - modern day Pride and Prejudices, etc., which still have to be done EXCEPTIONALLY WELL to be published - but nobody should just take the characters from now, write about them, and just change the names. It doesn't seem fair and, a good chunk of the time, it just doesn't end up being as well written.

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    1. Mhmm, with modern adaptions of classics, they never really pretend to be anything but what they are - the author doesn't hide where the inspiration came from, it's usually said right from the start that it's a modernization or retelling and it's really different from fanfiction.

      Some fanfic writers are genuinely good, but then... my standard for fanfics is much lower than it is for published novels so even the best of fanfics might need to go through a lot of editing and rewrites to bring it up to the standard I judge regular novels by, but these writers don't seem to be doing rewrites or editing.

      Most of the people I've seen defending these fics-turned-novels are people who are like... extreme Twilight fans and loved the fanfic version (and they accuse anyone who says anything negative about it of being jealous - I would not be jealous of any of these writers, if I was jealous of any writers it'd be the J K Rowlings or Melina Marchetta's or John Greens of the world).

      I want to hear rational, non-fangirl arguments for fanfics being published as original fiction but I've yet to find any of those.

      And I'm rambling again. =/

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    2. If they aren't rabid fans of the original series then they tend to be writers who are still learning what quality work is.

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  2. I don't have a problem with fanfics being published, but I'm saying this as someone who doesn't read or write fanfic. Do I think it should be up for the Pulitzer? No. But available to purchase on Amazon? Why not? I mean, it is still the fanfic writer's own work and most stories are inspired by other stories.

    However, I know that within these communities there are codes and stuff, so as someone completely outside that world, I'm aware that it's a complex issue that I might not fully understand.

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    1. By law, fanfiction is considered derivitive work (making the whole copyright thing kind of complicated - fanfic writers can't own the copyright to their stories because it is based on copyrighted work... at least, they can't without the permission of the original copyright holder).

      Without the name changes, they definitely wouldn't be allowed to publish it (the name changes kind of make it more of a moral gray area than a legal one) - I think that's the part that doesn't sit well with me; selling fanfiction without the copyright holders permission is against the law, so why does simply changing the character names make it okay (and the fact that they try to hide their fanfic roots)...

      Authors can have fanfiction removed from sites by saying they don't allow it (Anne Rice, Terry Goodkind, Laurell K. Hamilton, for example). The thing about fanfiction that makes it okay in the eyes of most people and authors and publishers is that it is fans writing for fans and they're not making money off of it...publishing it changes that.

      Fanfiction is different than just being inspired by other stories, but this comment is getting too long so I won't get into that. =P

      But anyway, I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'd want to buy these books - there's a few that I enjoyed the fanfiction of, but I think if I bought the books then I wouldn't be able to view it as anything other than published fanfiction with character name changes (the fact that the books are usually ridiculously over priced, which often happens with books that are self published or published the way these are, doesn't help matters).

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    2. The reason these writers are able to get away with retooling their stories is because the stories weren't really fanfic in the first place. It was original fiction disguised as fanfiction, where the characters aren't only put into an AU setting, they're also just OC's given the characters names and looks.

      I'm not on the fence simply because I believe that the writers who do write good fanfiction in the first place will be able to write their own books and we won't know they were such and such a writer unless they dig own into the highly analytic aspect of comparing writing styles.

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    3. I've written both AU fanfiction and original fiction, and writing them (at least for me) was different. With the original fiction, everything is from scratch but with the fanfiction, you already have a template to work with (e.g. with the Twilight fanfics, all of the characters are there and the relationships and the basic personalities and that's a lot to work with and it's easier to make changes to those or say, "Well, what if this character was X instead of Y?" than it is to create and build and entire fictional world all on your own. Even the most original AU fanfics have the same obvious character parallels and the pairings are obvious to spot too).

      I genuinely do believe that a lot of these writers could be great authors in their own right, I just think that publishing their fanfics is a bad start and the wrong way to go about it (unless they really, really thoroughly rewrite them, but none seem to do that, they just do name changes and remove any of the blatant references to the original work).

      And the biggest part is, I just don't think it's morally right to leech off of someone elses fanbase (and then actually have the nerve to try to deny those roots).

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  3. Very insightful and interesting post.

    I've been watching this fanfic debate from afar and find it fascinating.

    As a writer, I used to think that fanfic would be an amazing compliment. It would mean that people loved my stories and wanted more of them. But the more I hear about how fanfic is being used, the more I become hesitant about it.

    I think very long and hard about the characters I create and the setting, plot and message behind my stories. Seeing other people bend those things would be difficult. For example, in Collision, Kei is the dauther of missionaries. She lives her life to a certain moral code and although she struggles, as all people do, she does stick to what she believes. If someone took that character and told "more story" through fanfic, and made her rebel or go wild all over Europe or sleep around (I notice fanfic tends to be more edgy, more role play type stuff), I would feel like the character I created had almost been defiled. If someone wants to create a missionary girl gone bad, just do it but don't use my characters, setting, plot,etc, to do it.
    (Not saying people want to, I'm just using that as an example)

    If I were S. Meyer and I created Edward to be the noble, upstanding, yet torturned character he is only to have others turn him into something totally different, that would bother me. And quite honestly, how is this true fan fiction? I would think true fans of characters would love the characters the way they were created - they became fans because of the way the characters revealed themselves on the pages. Why completely change them?

    I appreciate people falling in love with the characters I write, but I would hope that part of that love would mean that people wouldn't want to see them change. If they wanted to tell "more story" they would keep it in the spirit in which I told the original.

    It's funny that you mention people writing fanfic about Robert Pattinson. To a small degree, Rob inspired my character, "Cabot". Not him personally, I know nothing about him, but the idea of going from someone nobody knew to someone everyone wants to know. That was part of my jumping off point. I took an aspect of a person's life, said "what if" and went from there. Maybe some would consider that "fanfic", but, my character is not Rob. Cabot has none of Rob's personal characteristics -only the similarity of fame and attention.

    I appreciate anyone who writes, honestly I do, but I would hope that part of being a "fan" is being someone who loves the story as it is and doesn't want to see the characters become something totally different. Otherwise, isn't just a new work altogether?

    So maybe there should be a different name for stories that take the original and completely change character traits, plots, etc. Adaptations, perhaps? I don't know.

    When I blog, or create a pin for Pinterest, I use a piece of art from a website, add words to it and then make sure to tag the artists name in the picture (give him credit for the original). If I don't do this, I can be sued. Why is writing stories any different? Fanfic - even retold and edited should be considered changing a piece of art. If you're going to do it, give credit where credit is due (through the entire life of the story).

    Thanks for letting me give my two-cents!

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    1. The fanfic writers doing this are definitely in the minority of fanfic writers, but it could end up ruining the whole fanfiction thing for other fans if one of the authors takes an issue with it and decides to stop allowing fanfic of their work to be published (authors like Anne Rice don't allow fanfic of their work and it's not allowed to be published on fanfic websites).

      Some authors are pro-fanfic, some allow it but prefer not to really know about it or what people are doing with the characters and world they've created, while I've seen some authors who seem to loathe the very idea of it. If the author makes their thoughts on fanfic known then the majority of fans tend to respect their wishes.

      "I would think true fans of characters would love the characters the way they were created(...)Why completely change them?"

      I do get where you're coming from about how it'd feel to have people change something you worked hard to create, but I do understand the fanfics that change aspects of characters or books.

      The original story that they love remains as it is, it really is just playing with "what if?" scenarios - like, what if one moment happened differently, or what if these characters met at a different time or what if the setting was different... It's difficult to explain.

      I love Harry Potter and I adore the Ron/Hermione pairing and J K Rowling wrote that perfectly to me, so when fanfic writers write that pairing, they can't beat what is already written...so I like to read something different. Draco/Hermione is my favourite pairing in ff.

      I like seeing how fanfic writers can make it work while still feeling like I'm in the Harry Potter world (I've found it works best when it's fanfiction written about a character who isn't the main ones).

      "Maybe some would consider that "fanfic", but, my character is not Rob."

      I definitely wouldn't consider that fanfiction. That's the difference between being inspired by something, and fanfiction. The published fanfic based on Rob, as far as I know, was actually about Rob (his looks, his story, his career, his personality - all of it).

      "So maybe there should be a different name for stories that take the original and completely change character traits, plots, etc. Adaptations, perhaps? I don't know."

      I'd still consider them fanfiction, because it's still using the world or characters or plot or back stories - it's still people writing fiction based on something they're a fan of. The changes don't always mean that the person doesn't like what was written by the original author (cross over fanfiction is a good example: if someone loves two different books, they may wonder what would happen if the two worlds, well, collide - and then they imagine what the outcome of that would be and write it down. Like "What would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in the Twilight universe?" or "These two characters seem like they'd be good together, but they exist in different worlds, maybe this is what would happen if they met...").

      "Fanfic - even retold and edited should be considered changing a piece of art. If you're going to do it, give credit where credit is due (through the entire life of the story)."

      I concur. That's one of my main issues. With that book Fifty Shades of Gray, on the articles I've read about it, I haven't seen any mention of it being a former fanfic with name changes and yet a lot of its success is probably down to the fact that the author gained a following as a TwiFic writer (probably having hundreds or thousands of readers) and then changed the names of the characters and started selling it as original.

      Sorry, my comment replies end up being almost as long as my post. =P

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    2. I actually have seen it mention it's Twilight background, but I think that bugs me even more, because some of the comments that follow say stuff like, "She could easily be Bella and he could easily be Edward." If the book was good enough to get published, major character changes and developments should have been made where people couldn't connect the two.

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    3. I've yet to see an article or a site that publishes these stories mention the Twilight background. The only mentions of it that I've seen have been more...dismissive.

      Like with 50 Shades of Gray, on one of the articles about the movie rights being sold that I read yesterday, the only part of the article that mentioned it was a comment from the publisher that basically said that it's gone through extensive edits and is nothing like the fanfic version - which is a load of crap basically, they're practically exactly the same aside from name changes and a few reworded sentences (someone put them through a plagiarism checker and I think the fanfic and the published version came out at close to 90% the same, and when you factor in the name changes, it proves very little editing was done).

      But yeah, I agree, I'd have way less of an issue with it if it had undergone serious edits.

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    4. Retooling... it's actually frowned upon unless...

      1. It was a minor fanfic in the first place with very few fans and hits in the first place.

      2. You can't tell that it is a retooled piece. That means the writer doesn't use their fanfic fanbase to bolster sales, but it also means you don't have a work that is just the Harry Potter characters with name changes.

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    5. Exactly, you pretty much summed up my two main issues.

      1. If it didn't have much of a following then that eliminates the whole gaining success by leeching off of an existing fanbase issue.

      But that is almost never the case with these pulled-to-publish fics. It's normally someone who starts out as a fan (mostly Twilight fans, from what I've seen) and they decide to write a fanfic...but then their story gets popular, so they decide to milk it for all it's worth by trying to sell it as original fiction while still using the Twilight fans as their audience. Omnific Publishing specifically searches out fanfics that are popular.

      2. It's actually only really Twilight related fanfics I've seen do this--I've never seen any HP ones or anything. With those, it is always easy to figure out who each character is in relation to the originals.

      Even really AU ones, like Poughkeepsie still have details that wouldn't be there if it hadn't started out as Twilight fanfic.

      tl;dr version: I agree that those points would make me have less of an issue with this, but I've yet to see a pulled-to-publish fanfic where those two things are true..

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  4. Thank you for better helping me to understand the other side of the coin - from the fanfic writers POV. It makes more sense and gives a great explanation to the heart behind the stories fans create!

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  5. Fanfiction is that and unless it went through major beyond-belief changes, it should stay as fanfiction. I believe, like you, the changes need to be much, much more than just name changes. I've been reading articles about Fifty Shades of Grey's publication and fame, and it's honestly aggravating me. She's getting her fame from someone else's characters. The whole story should have been changed so much that people wouldn't realize where it came from. I have a higher standard for published work than I do for fanfiction, for obvious reasons, and it doesn't seem that that book met those standards.

    Have you read Fifty Shades as fanfiction? Are you going to read the book? I've been reading comments galore and they are all negative.

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    1. I have a PDF of the fanfiction, I want to read that before reading the book, so I can actually compare the two. Don't know if I want to read either though - the story doesn't appeal to me, I've heard that it's awful (the people I've seen fangirling it are mostly people who either love Twilight too or liked the fanfic version) and the criticisms I've heard about it are things that would annoy me (plus, I've read that it isn't even original either, that it basically rips off the story of a few movies with similar subject matter, right down to a specific scene about tea or something).

      The annoying thing about Fifty Shades of Gray is people calling it the next Twilight or Twilight for adults or things like that when, yes, obviously it can be considered that seeing as it was actually a TwiFic.

      I doubt the book would have this kind of success had it not been a Twilight fanfic; she built up her audience and used the Twilight fans to gain a readership and spread the word. If she had just published it as original in the first place, gone about it the traditional way, then I really, really doubt it would have the same level of success it has had (from the sounds of it, it would have just been another mass produced paperback smutty romance with a generic cover of a shirtless guy with heavily photoshopped abs).

      It just... it feels dishonest, the way she went about the whole publishing thing and it's annoying because there are a lot of genuinely amazing authors out there whose books aren't very well known - they deserve to be and the authors worked their asses off to do it the right way... and yet books like this get attention and the author gets rich and it feels almost undeserved. If she had just published it normally and gotten this success then it'd be fine (or if she'd decided to start from scratch with an entirely new story to be published) - with Twilight, I don't think it's the best book out there, I think the writing is pretty bad... but Stephenie Meyer did earn what she's got, she didn't cheat her way into it.

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    2. Dishonest! Perfect word. I actually liked the fanfic, but reading all the articles and comments that I have already...I have no desire to support her success when it's so clearly a ripoff. And, yes, even though Twilight's no masterpiece, it doesn't give her the right to just take the way she is.

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    3. It honestly depends on how AU the writer went in the first place as well as how OoC they went. It also depends on how big the fan base is as well, because the bigger the fanbase the bigger chance people will know it was originally fanfic in the first place. Because even under the circumstances I've mentioned, they're still using another person's fame to get rich.

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    4. Yup--it's kind of like the writing version of those people that get "famous" by selling kiss-and-tell/tell all stories about famous people to trashy gossip magazines; the experiences may be theirs (mostly/partly), but the success, money, and fame they get from it? Only exists because of the other person.

      Just like the fanfics; yes the fanfics were written by the authors (but still not 100% their own work because, well, fanfiction), but they only gained a readership because of a fanbase wanting to read about characters from an already published book series.

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  6. I'm a bit conflicted on this topic. When I think of published works that were once fanfics of wildly popular series like Twilight I am automatically against ever reading them because I think it's cheating. The story, some of the characters, and probably even the world of the novel (if it’s an AU) may be original creations of the author but the platform they launched their story from isn't and that platform is someone else's work that took months, even years to build and perfect.

    Now here is the conflicted part. What about book series like Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa that use characters and relationships from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream? Or the upcoming Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter and Fathomless by Jackson Pearce which are twists and retellings of Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventure in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson respectively. Aren't these books considered fanfiction as well and if they are is it different because these stories are based off classics that were printed hundreds of year ago and not contemporary works?

    For me if a fanfic someone has written inspired them to write their own original work from scratch and their novel isn't just them piggybacking on someone else's creations with a few tweaks (i.e. name changes) to make it their own then I am OK with it. Or if an author's novel was greatly inspired by another author's previously published novel or series then I am OK with that too.

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    1. Those works are in public domain and the characters are free for anyone to use. The writers also pretty much admit it is fanfiction of public domain work.

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  7. Let's start out with a disclaimer. I write fanfiction. I enjoy writing fanfiction. I am not a shipper writer, so in that way I don't think my stories would embarrass anyone involved with the shows I write about. I am also friendly with some of the people involved with the show I write about. I'm sure they know I write fanfiction, but it is never mentioned for obvious reasons.

    Discussion questions:
    1. Do you think it's right for fanfics to be published as original fiction? Why?

    No. Not unless it is extensively rewritten. You can change the names, but if I can still recognize the characters (or actors, which is just *ewww*), you haven't broken away from the mothership.

    2. Would you ever buy any of these books that used to be fanfics?

    Ahh, that's tougher. If it is a writer whose work I liked in the past, I might buy one or two. I actually was friends with a professional writer who converted her fanfiction to published fiction. No one but some of her fandom readers knew where her inspiration came from. She even won an Edgar for her first book. She did expand the stories, but I could still recognize the roots as well as the characters.

    3. What do you think of the possibility of them being optioned as movies?

    Wouldn't that be ridiculous? A neverending cycle that needs to be squashed immediately!

    4. Do you think it's worse when the fanfics are based on real people (like the Rob Pattinson one)?

    Yes, I do. I've never liked the idea of real person fandom, there's just something creepy about it.

    5. What are your thoughts on publishers like Omnific Publishing, who only seem to search out successful fanfics and then publish them?

    They are treading a slippery slope that may soon put them in court. And they would have no excuse. Plus the ramifications for non-profit, just for fun, fanfiction writers could be horrendous.

    6. How would you feel about these books being reviewed on the blog? And do you have any other thoughts on this whole topic?

    Again, tough call. I think it might be okay, even a good idea if they are terribly bad or terrifically good, but I would want that fanfiction background clearly mentioned.

    I would rather the fanfic writer and/or publisher approach the shows/films and officially publish the stories as fanfiction. It was ultimately done with Star Trek after a long time of fighting fanfiction writers and fanzine publishers.

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  8. What if the characters truly are in recognizable from the original story? Perhaps if el James had reversed her characters, making the male lead shy, clumsy and submissive and the female lead strong and controlling? The characters would then only be connected to Twilight by those who knew of and read the fanfiction, but they would have never been recognized as the original twilight characters.
    Personally, I feel a good story is a good story. And every good story deserves robe read.

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    1. That's basically just a subverted version of the story. Actual fanfics exist like that (e.g. for Twilight, "what if Bella was the strong vampire with stalker tendencies while Edward was the clumsy human").

      The issue isn't the similarities, it's the very idea of writing something as fanfiction, using the fanfic to build up a fan base and then publishing the fanfic with name changes (just like E. L. James did - if it wasn't a former TwiFic with a built in fanbase that she got using Twilight fans, it probably wouldn't have turned out so popular).

      Every good story does deserve to be read. And it WAS being read, as a fanfic. It just comes across as kind of shady to make millions off of someone elses fame.

      It'd be like - someone writing a Harry Potter fanfic and the Harry Potter fans read it and love it, and a part of the reason they love it and the reason they read it in the first place is because they wanted to read more stories about those characters or that world. And then, once the author has gained a following, she pulls the story and publishes it as if it were original fiction and makes millions from it. And the only reason it would've gotten the fame it did was because it got a head start by using the fame of Harry Potter.

      That's basically what E. L. James did, only with Twilight. Her book may never have even been published (or written) if it weren't for Twilight. And even if it had been published, she'd have had to start out as an unknown, just like every other new author out there.

      And then, in interviews, I've only ever seen it mentioned that she was "inspired by" Twilight - that's different than saying it was a TwiFic. I've read books that have inspired me to write, but they inspired me to write original stories with my own characters - I've also been inspired by books and written fanfiction before, and they're very different (fanfiction is basically playing in someone elses sandbox, where the characters, the world and the relationships are already there for you to play with and change as you want to. Original fiction is starting from scratch).

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  9. I think it's fine for an author to turn their fan fiction into an original work. It's their story, after all, even if they initially used someone else's characters to tell it. Inspiration can spring from any number of sources. If the plot's compelling enough, go for it -- and good luck, because the act of crossing over into original from derivative fiction is much harder than it sounds and involves a great deal more than just changing character names (creating believable characters, detailed histories, and compelling backstory, for example). In fan fiction, unless you're creating an AU piece, two of those three things listed above have already been done for you. In many ways, turning a fanfic into an original -- especially one that won't be easily recognized as so-and-so's ramped up fanfic -- is "restarting from scratch."

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    1. That's the thing, if they were inspired by someone elses story then that's fair enough... but why not have it as original fiction to begin with?

      It's not being inspired by someone elses work that's the issue, it's the idea of publishing it as fanfiction to build a fanbase then taking it down to publish as original fiction (with the only editing being that it removes the parts that would definitely get them sued). It's like - using someone elses fanbase as a springboard to get a headstart into publishing.

      The only differences between the published version and the fanfic version was character name changes. Really, hitting find + replace on a document isn't difficult. If she had seriously edited it and had a proper editor go through it then it would've been different. Instead, she realised she could make money off of the Twilight fans who just wanted to read some smutty Edward/Bella AU.

      She could have just published it as original fiction to begin with. But then, do you think she would've been so successful? Twilight has a huge fan base and they're the ones who read it and spread the word back when it was a story about Edward and Bella (and they initially read it because they were searching out stories about Edward and Bella).

      I've written fanfiction in the past. I also write original fiction, so I am aware of the differences.

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    2. sep.25,2012 7:42 p.m.
      I agree. though I've never read fifty shades or any other fanfic-inspired book, I do think it's a bad idea to take someone else's work (that's been turned into a fanfiction,) and try to turn it into your own piece of work. I wouldn't mind it as long as the plot and charactors of the published book are COMPLETELY different and unrecognizable from being a fanfic.

      This is for many different reasons. One, if the author of the original piece of work happened to read it and recognized the plot they would immediately know their work was peglarized and the other author could get sued if not thrown into jail.

      Two, it may not gain the fandom you want because readers could recognize it and go, 'Oh, this was taken from twilight, Harry Potter, ect. This has been done before. I don't want to read this!' and the author could lose his or her chance of gaining readership and possibly popularity which is what EVERY AUTHOR WANTS!

      In my opinion the best and most HONEST way to be successful in the publishing world is to write your own, original ideas. Because that's what publishers, editors and readers want! Something original!

      It's especially immprtant to give original work to publishers and editors because they're the first and toughest crowed you need to get through in order to get your work published. If an author or publisher says 'This work has been done before, I've seen it ten million times,' it goes straight to the trash bin of the publisher's work office and will never get its chance to shine in the publishing world, therefore niether dose the heart-broken author who submitted it.

      People want knew and original work and sending in a fanfic that is not rewritten to the point it won't EVER be recognized as an original fanfiction is not a good start for a new author.

      Get what I'm saying?



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    3. While the writing is there own, it can be argued that the characters and places belong to the original writer. Even if the characters and settings were different enough for them to hold the copyright completely with just name changes, there is another problem. They've pretty much relinquished their right to make money and distribute it by posting it online for free in the first place. Why buy a work that was for a long time free to read just because a writer decides to take it back. It's published, you can't just take it back like that.

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  10. I see your point but a lot of fanfic writers are people who have an interest in the publishing industry. A lot of them just use fanfics to practice and also quite a bit of writers also post their stories on some other site with different names in the fanfic.

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    1. Oh, I know. I've written fanfiction in the past too. My issue is absolutely not with people writing fanfics, I think that's awesome.

      I'm just against people writing fanfiction, then getting the same fanfics published. I just don't think it's right, especially not building up an audience using someone elses fanbase (I doubt books like Fifty Shades of Gray would've gotten published if it didn't have a built-in Twilight fanbase).

      If they're interested in getting published, then they should write a brand new original story to try and get published instead of switching the names and publishing the fics.

      And if they want feedback on their stories before trying to get it published, there are loads of places online to post original stories (deviantart, fictionpress, livejournal communities, wattpad, etc.) - at least that way, if they get an audience who will buy the published versions, at least the audience is entirely their own and not just people in search of new stories about Bella and Edward (or whichever characters it's a fanfic for).

      If I go onto a fanfic site, it's because I'm looking for stories about specific characters, in a specific world (like Twilight or Harry Potter or The Vampire Diaries or whatever), which is different from reading an original story where the writer has to win me over with their own world and characters and writing, fanfics have a head start.

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  11. I totally agree with you.
    I think those storys should stay online as fanfiction.
    I especially feel bad for those who really loved those storys and asked the author for permission to translate and publish it, only for the original auther to change their opinion and decide to publish it as a book, so all the work of those fans was for nothing.
    I can't speak for those this happend to, but I know that I would find it to be really frustrating should that happen to me.
    I now for a fact that this happend with fifty shades of grey, because I read parts of the german translation on fanfiktion.de.
    An other thing I noticed is, that most published fics are pornographic and things I would have never noticed if it were not for their fanfiction background.
    I know, that I wont by any book that once was a fanfiction, as long as I am aware of the fact that it once was fanfiction.
    When I read something that once was fanfiction (i read an excerpt from fifty shades of grey online) I cant help but imagine the originall characters in place of their replacement and because of that I cant see them played by an other actor in the movie, than the one who played the original character.
    I just cant see this happening.
    A

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  12. 1. I think that the fanfics that are being retooled for publication should have been published as original fiction in the first place. I have a major problem with these works being completely free and then getting a few tweaks only to have to be paid for. Unless it was on a private blog the writer's given up their right to redistribute the work. Now, if the work isn't popular and people haven't noticed the work... not so against it being retooled. Particularly when its one of the writers I catch early on critique wise and tell them it would be better off as published work.
    2. No. The real reason they are retooling their work isn't because they have a good story. They're retooling them because they have an established fanbase that they can make money off of and they know they can make money off of because their fanbase will pretty much buy anything no matter what the quality is.
    3. I honestly don't care. Well, I don't think the writer deserves a movie deal anymore then they deserved a book deal, but hey.
    4. No. I still hold the same beliefs that the writer should have published it as original fiction in the first place and shouldn't be retooling their work. RPF does though have a greater squick factor because the wish fulfilment in one was directed at an imaginary character, while the ones in the original were directed to a real person. That's got nothing to do with the topic I think though.
    5. If I remember who they are and see that a book is from them I won't buy the book. Seriously... they're not looking for quality work, they're looking for stuff that sells.
    6. I'm fine with this. If the blog is into giving a fair review that isn't just about the entertainment value but how well the writer but the story together then I don't mind. Very few if any of these books that are being retooled are actually good works in the first place and if a book is good, while I don't agree with making money off the fans they honestly do deserve a good review. However, most won't be good. The stuff that's easy to retool are the stories where the characters are OoC and serious Aus. They tend to be poorly crafted in the first place, and the ones who are good writers that choose to retool a story... well, I have the feeling we wouldn't know they were retooled in the first place.

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    1. "should have been published as original fiction in the first place."

      I concur.

      "if the work isn't popular and people haven't noticed the work... not so against it"

      Yeah, that would eliminate one of my two main issues with pulled to publish fanfiction. But while they're not making money off of someone elses fan base, they'd still to an extent be making money off of someone elses work (the exception being work in the public domain).

      "They're retooling them because they have an established fanbase that they can make money off of"

      THIS! I read this absolutely terrible Twilight fanfic a while ago, and it got a decent sized readership because it was one of those trashy guilty pleasure fics (like the fanfic version of watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Teen Mom).

      And it's fine having people read that crap for free when they're bored, giving you feedback so you can maybe work on fixing those issues, but instead the author kind of got an over-inflated ego and decided that lots of subscribers meant it was good enough to publish, so she went down the pulled-to-publish road and just...*facepalm* Even ignoring all my other issues with pulled-to-publish fanfics, that story was not good enough quality to expect people to actually pay to read.

      "I don't think the writer deserves a movie deal anymore then they deserved a book deal, but hey."

      It was mostly just the 50 Shades nonsense that had me include that. E L James literally became a multi-millionaire with a book and movie deal because of Twilight fanfiction (had it not had so much buzz surrounding it thanks to the Twilight fans then it would've just been another mass market paperback erotic fiction book--assuming it got published at all--not one that made her millions and got her a movie deal).

      "I'm fine with this.[...] Very few if any of these books that are being retooled are actually good works in the first place"

      Yeah...I think it just seems feels kind of hypocritical to review the books when I'm pretty much against them being published at all (at least the way they went about it) and I don't like the idea of advertising them. If I ever review any pulled-to-publish stuff, then my review does mention that it is a former fanfic and I will judge it on that (like, my review will include whether or not I feel it's different enough from the source material to truly feel original while reading it).

      I read two fanfics that I actually really loved (Poughkeepsie and Wallbanger--formerly Edward Wallbanger), and they got published. I'm kind of curious about whether I'd still think they were as good now as I did in their fanfic forms.

      I know they've barely changed anything at all, but when I read them as a fanfiction, they were being judged by fanfic standards but reading them now, as published books, they'll be measured against the books on my favourites shelves.

      "the ones who are good writers that choose to retool a story... well, I have the feeling we wouldn't know they were retooled in the first place."

      That's another thing that bugs me. Again, using Poughkeepsie as an example:

      I've seen reviews of it from people who aren't aware of the fanfic roots but if someone points it out then it's easy to see why certain things/characters were written the way they were, and you can tell then that the author wouldn't have even thought to write the story that way had she not used Twilight as her starting point. Because of that, it seems kind of wrong to see them publish it without giving credit where credit is due.

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  13. "I've written bloody awful fanfiction in the past and ended up on the favourite author/author alert list of like a thousand people and got thousands of reviews and all that"

    Uh huh. You might have better convinced me of your arguments had you not included this bit, but honestly now I wonder if your real issue is that you never experienced the level of success of say...EL James. It's easy to cast stones and point fingers at the haves when you're a have not.

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    1. This is a discussion post...meaning I discuss something, and people in the comments can agree with me or disagree if they want to. We discuss the topic, I don't need to convince you to agree with me.

      Still, it amuses me when people who can't come up with a decent argument to defend their opinion have to fall back on the "you're just jealous!" response. Don't you have anything to say beyond a childish assumption in defence of published fanfics, seeing as you don't see an issue with them?

      But, for the record, you took what I wrote out of context because the important part of that paragraph, and the whole reason it was mentioned, was this:

      "that's because with fanfiction, a large part of the reason people read and like the story is because they're projecting characters they already love onto it."

      I mentioned that I had some fanfics that a decent amount of people had read, because the point I was trying to make is that you can write crappy fanfiction and still have people read it (seriously, I put very little effort into mine and they were genuinely pretty bad).

      People weren't reading what I wrote because I was a good writer or because the stories were good, it was mostly because they already loved the stories they were based on.

      Any success a fanfic writer has with fanfiction isn't entirely because of their own talent, it's mostly because of the story it's a fanfic of (and I was using myself as an example of that).

      "honestly now I wonder if your real issue is that you never experienced the level of success of say...EL James."

      I would never want to publish fanfiction I had written and I wouldn't want to be known as an author of pulled-to-publish fanfiction. Even if I wrote a fantastic fanfic that I was really proud of and was ridiculously successful, I still wouldn't want it published. I think the whole thing is a moral gray area and I just don't like it, so why in the world would I be jealous?

      Being successful for writing fanfiction then trying to pass it off as original is not the kind of success I'd ever want. There are plenty of authors I will happily admit to being jealous of but E L James will probably never be one of them.

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  14. I think it's okay, if there's enough difference. Let them publish, there's only so many original plots one can use, right?
    The only fanfiction-turned-published work I've read is the 'I Bring the Fire' by C Gockel. It was Avengers fanfiction, but with theNorse Mythos and changes, I wouldn't have connected it to the fandom.
    So yeah, as long as it's not a blatant rip-off, I'm fine withthem being published.

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    1. Mhmm, I guess my issue is that it's not to do with originality (as you said, there's only so many original plots), it's more about how it's a bit shady to leech off of someone elses fanbase instead of building up their own success.

      Most authors have to build a name for themselves from scratch, and it just doesn't seem right for less talented authors to completely skip that stage by writing fanfiction then once they've got an audience, deciding to just switch the names of the characters and pretend it was original fiction to begin with.

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  15. I do agree with the idea that simply changing the names in a fanfic and publishing them as original fiction after gaining a large following is underhanded and wrong, I do think it is okay for a fanfiction to be rewritten as original fiction if they have characters with their own personalities and histories, in different settings with more complex and expanded plots. What people fail to notice, I think, is that there is so little originality left. Every topic you can possibly think to write about has ALREADY BEEN DONE. Love, hate, war, crime, magic, supernatural forces, school, history, heroes, more love, sex, sex, more sex, apocalyptic future societies/dystopia, space... the list could go on and on. The point is, it has already been done by someone else. But that doesn't mean it can't be done again. It just means it is up to the writer to do it xir own way. In fact, that is how literature began in the first place. Ever heard of oral tradition? Before writing was invented, people sat around the fire and told stories. Then they would tell other people, but they would change things, and then those people would tell more people a slightly different version, and so on and so forth, until it was written down. That's why there are so many different versions of things like folk tale, Greek mythology, and the King Arthur legends, and stuff like that. People changed things as time passed. And that is still what story telling is. Changing things we already know, are already familiar with to create different plots with different characters to tell different stories.

    I am an aspiring writer, and I attended a writing workshop over the summer. There, I learned a lot of things. I will never forget the quote we were told several times, however. This quote, which has been quoted by several people - writers, artists, and musicians alike. It goes along the lines "Amateurs imitate; professionals steal." Anyone can copy something, anyone can imitate someone else. But not just anyone can take something from someone else and MAKE it their own. So the question about published fanfiction isn't if the author copied another and cashed in on their fame, but if they took what the author they were writing from wrote and turned it into their own creation. And, trust me on this, there IS a difference, no matter how subtle it can be.

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    1. I'm a writer too (I used to write fanfiction years ago, along with original stuff, but now I just work on original stories...and by original, I simply mean not fanfiction, it's not about the originality of the stories).

      But anyway...I do agree with what you're saying, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't think it's a very honest or right way to go about getting published.

      My issue has little to do with the originality of the stories themselves, it's more about the fact that the only reason these stories even got published in the first place was because the author wrote them as fanfic, built up an audience, then tried to pass it off as a brand new story once they'd already used the fandom to generate publicity. And worst of all is, it's rare for them to acknowledge that it was ever fanfiction at all (and they seem to try and hide that fact considering I've seen lists of pulled-to-publish fanfic lists on Goodreads reported and removed).

      "But not just anyone can take something from someone else and MAKE it their own. So the question about published fanfiction isn't if the author copied another and cashed in on their fame, but if they took what the author they were writing from wrote and turned it into their own creation. And, trust me on this, there IS a difference, no matter how subtle it can be."

      I'm well aware of that. And the thing is, I've seen people write fanfiction that really is fantastic and you wouldn't have even been able to guess it was fanfiction with how little it has in common with the story it's based on--but then why publish it as fanfiction at all? They could've posted it on Fictionpress or any other writing site, or even waited until it was finished and tried to get it published in a more traditional way. The only thing they had to gain by passing it off as fanfiction is to build up an audience using fans of an already famous and established book.

      Also, the thing about fanfiction is it's kind of a gray area. Some authors encourage it, some refuse to acknowledge it, while others hate it with a passion and fanfiction sites have been told not to allow stories based on their works to be published (Anne Rice, for example). One of the biggest things in the pro-fanfic argument is that it's just about the love of a book/movie/show, it's just fans sharing stories with other fans, and it's not supposed to be for profit. But this kind of thing sort of messes with that, because these authors are profiting from their fanfiction, they're just changing the character names first so they don't get sued.

      A lot of people have issues with Cassandra Clare, but ignoring all that, she used to write Harry Potter fanfiction. Then, instead of just changing the things in the fanfic she could get sued over and pass it off as original, she started her own series and got published. It's clear from her own series that she was inspired by Harry Potter and other stories, but at least it was a somewhat new story--and while she did still have the attention attached to her name from her fanfic days, she at least put in the extra work and sort of started over instead of saying, "Well, I've already written this fanfic that people seem to like, may as well just publish that and make some money!"

      Anyway, this post was written quite a while ago now. I'm still not fond of the idea of fanfiction being pulled to publish but it doesn't piss me off as much as it used to.

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  16. Hi, I wrote the "I Bring the Fire" series mentioned above.

    As you might expect, I reject the idea that I'm "leaching" off the fandoms I've written for. I know I'm feeding the franchises by keeping the characters sharp in the fans minds.

    Also, I've *earned* my fan base. Just as I would have had I written for a profit for these franchises (like Pocket Books for Star Trek). I've written stories in the Thor, Star Trek, Narnia, and Star Wars Fandoms. Over about 3 years I've given people more than 50 stories to read for FREE. I've had people who are dying write to me to tell me how I distracted them from their upcoming demise, people who were out of work tell me how I helped them keep their positive attitude, people who were getting divorced or lost a loved one tell me how I distracted them from their troubles…and just ordinary people say they love my work. Why shouldn't I tell people who love my work that I have original work too? And why should the franchises or original authors care--I've been advertising their work for them for YEARS.

    As to why not publish to FictionPress...Because the audience is smaller and you get less feedback, and feedback is important to becoming a better writer. Also, in my case, you never start out with the intention of writing original fiction, but after a while the fandom you're writing for is too confining. (Also, your husband nags at you a lot about giving away free advertising to said fandoms.)

    I did pull my story when I turned it into original fiction. For a lot of reasons, one being that the original fiction is better, and also, yes, I admit it, I want to make money as an author. I've got a mortgage and kids to feed and I want to be able to afford to write more, not less! But I self-publish, offer the first in my series free, and the sequels at a very fair price--so I still feel like I give a great value to my readers.

    Anyone who wants to write fanfic for I Bring the Fire…be my guest! Someone is bound to see it and be curious about your inspiration and read my books. Besides that, I'd just be tickled pink and feel like I've really "made it." ;-)

    Cheers!
    C. Gockel

    http://www.amazon.com/C.-Gockel/e/B009WVEFEU/

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    1. "Why shouldn't I tell people who love my work that I have original work too?"

      That's the thing though, this post wasn't about fanfic writers telling their readers about their original work (that is completely fine).

      This post was more about a specific type of pulled to publish fanfiction (usually from the Twilight fandom) where the authors would write fanfics and then take them down as soon as they got popular and simply change the names of the characters and sell it as original fiction (and they tend to continue to use the fandom to publicise their book while denying that it was fanfiction in the first place). Plus, there's a site that publishes these stories and they just seem kind of shady (from what I've heard, their contracts with the fanfic authors aren't really fair to the authors).

      I haven't read any of your work, so I can't comment on that, but from what you said about the original fiction being better than the fanfiction, it sounds like you at least edited it (unlike the ones I talked about who just did a find + replace job with the names and anything they'd get sued over). And, on your Amazon page, you don't deny being a fanfic author (these other authors usually do).

      There is plenty of stuff published that is technically fanfiction (retellings of Shakespeare or Austen stories, authorised fanfiction for TV shows like Doctor Who, etc.), and that's totally fine because it's not denying what it is and the writers at least put effort into making sure it's edited well and is worthy of publishing (your stories seem to fall into this latter category, not the one I put those TwiFic authors in).

      I love fanfiction, but I don't think it's right for someone to use a fanfic community then act ashamed of that community once they've got what they want from it by denying where the stories really came from (and the lack of editing/rewrites bothers me too but this reply is getting a bit long so I won't go more into that).

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  17. I think it depends a great deal on the fanfic that is being put up for consideration.

    I have read Harry Potter fics that have changed names, looks, family history, personality, setting, plot to such a drastic extent in the beginning of the story that it no longer has any relation to the Potter universe and may as well be an original work. At that point, there seems to be little difference in selling it as original except for taking out the first chapter or 2 with the really weak explanation for original characters in an original setting being listed in a Potter fanfic archive. it ends up being original fiction from early on and I can see treating it like that.

    On the other hand, how do you prove that you wrote the original story if you take it off of a fan fiction web site? For that matter, whats stopping me from stealing a good plot with weak descriptive writing, cleaning up the wording and self publishing? If I wanted to publish a work and make sure nobody could beat me to it, the last thing I would do was share my baby with the faceless masses of the internet before I got a copyright.

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    1. I sort of agree, but then my issue isn't with the originality of fanfiction--I've read some really fantastic AU/OOC fanfics in the past (a few ended up being pulled to publish)--it's more about the morality of it, I guess.

      The whole using the fandom of another series to gain an audience thing. Especially the ones that then deny the fact that it ever was fanfiction.

      Plus, as someone who has written fanfiction in the past and read it for even longer, it just...it bugs me. Fanfiction, is people who love a book or a movie or a show so much that they're inspired to write about it and share what they write about it and they're not doing it for profit, they're doing it because they love it (the fact that it's non-profit is the reason it isn't considering copyright infringement). What these people do, it kind of taints that a bit in a way I'm not okay with.

      There's a lot of other things about it that bother me, but, this post is a few years old now so I've kind of accepted that pulled to publish fanfics are a thing now even if I don't like the idea of it (I even caved and bought a few of the published versions that I'd read in their fanfic forms).

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  18. My concern would be the copyright. When you buy pulled-to-published, how can you really be sure it was the original writer who published it and not a lurker who happened to save the fic and published as soon as the original version got pulled for adjustments?

    I write fanfic too. Since I make an effort to stay IC there is little chance of mine getting published, but they have no right to a copyright because it is fanfic. It is already in the public domain, so if someone stole from one of them, I can badmouth the theft, but I have no legal rights to sue. If I share with a beta reader, anything can happen to my original version and I have no right to sue.

    So how sure are you that the talent of the original poster of the fanfic is even credited in the pulled-to-published work? I will now be extra careful if I buy a book rather then rent from a library.

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    1. I don't think that's much of an issue.

      The fanfics already have an audience, all it takes is the original author to find out and the plagiarist ends up having to remove the story. If the site that publishes the plagiarised work doesn't remove it (although they usually do without much fuss), the readers of the original fanfiction usually flame the hell out of the plagiarised work until the "author" is forced to remove it because no one will buy it when one look at the review section on amazon or goodreads will show hundreds of people saying it's plagiarised.

      I've only ever seen it happen with someone self publishing fanfics as original fiction while the original fanfic is still up, I don't think it's ever happened with one of the fics that was pulled first (and I don't think it would happen, because normally the authors don't remove the story entirely until it's published, they keep up a few chapters and post authors notes saying that it's being published so that they can get readers of the fanfic to buy the published version).

      Plus, while fanfic authors don't necessarily own the copyright of their work meaning they can't sell it (without making changes to it first, like names and things), they could sue if someone tried to sell the plagiarized work (that's why most authors won't read fanfiction of their books, so they can't be accused of, or sued for, using storylines or anything that a fanfic writer came up with).

      "So how sure are you that the talent of the original poster of the fanfic is even credited in the pulled-to-published work?"

      Like I said, all it takes is for the original author to find out (which is pretty easy if you have google alerts set up to catch plagiarists and if they have a large readership because any one of those readers could find it and contact the original author). It's easy to find out who the actual author is and which is the fake (and the actual author has all their fanfic readers to back up the fact that they wrote it first).

      I've been plagiarised before, both fanfiction and original fiction (although they didn't try to sell it, that I know of, just reposted it elsewhere and tried to pass it off as their own), and it's pretty easy getting the stories taken down and it's taken way more seriously if the plagiarist is selling the stolen work.

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  19. http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com/2012/03/discussion-published-fanfics.html

    1. All that matters is what the reader wants. Therefore, I am all in favor of adding to the selection of novels in the world. I just think it is a dick move to remove fanfiction. I would rather the fanfic stay up when the modified version is published.

    2. I have read several fanfics that I think would make excellent novels with the serial numbers filed off. I would gladly buy them.

    3. There are some fanfics that I desperately want to see as movies, even if they are changed up.

    4. The thought of a story about a currently living person, especially a perverted erotic story, makes me uncomfortable. But discomfort is not a sufficient reason to make a moral judgment or take action. If someone wants to read a steamy novel about a living person and someone writes that novel and sells it, then good for them.

    5. It is good that there are niche interests. A publisher that seeks out fanfiction is one such niche interest. I could not care less about their moral character. What I care about is that their actions might result in the existence of good novels for sale. Good for them if they choose to focus on a very specific type of material. But if they result in fanfiction being taken down, then I resent that.

    6. I think P2P fiction should be reviewed and discussed just like any other fiction. Nothing should determine how a novel is perceived other than how good it is.

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    1. "1. All that matters is what the reader wants. Therefore, I am all in favor of adding to the selection of novels in the world. I just think it is a dick move to remove fanfiction. I would rather the fanfic stay up when the modified version is published."

      That was part of my issue though, the stories were already out there and available for people to read. The have to pull the fanfic down for legal reasons (also, because the modifications between the fanfic and published versions are usually only name changes, not extensive editing).

      "2. I have read several fanfics that I think would make excellent novels with the serial numbers filed off. I would gladly buy them."

      As have I. Since writing this post, I have actually bought two of them... but those ones, they were good in their own right and weren't the ones that were clinging to the coat tails of another successful book series.

      "4. The thought of a story about a currently living person, especially a perverted erotic story, makes me uncomfortable."

      I concur. Also, there's a girl who wrote a story about one of those One Direction guys and the movie rights have been sold...she's literally making money off of writing creepy fantasies about an actual living human being (the name changes are not subtle at all, it's still obvious who each character is supposed to be).

      I guess, my main issue was that these early P2P fanfics were very shady about it, and the "publishers" they did it through were even more shady.

      I love fanfiction, I think it's awesome...but it's different than novels, it's part of the fandom experience and this trend just kind of - cheapened it? (Because it went from fans sharing things inspired by characters and stories they loved with other fans to people using those fans and the fandom and the success of the original stories to sell their own product).

      Also, I didn't like that so many tried to pass off their stories as anything but what they were. Like the Fifty Shades woman, she seems to try and hide the fact that it was originally EdwardxBella fanfiction posted online for free...I'd have less issue, if she was open about it instead of acting ashamed of that.

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  20. What does everyone think of this scenario:

    Mary writes a fanfic from the perspective of an original character who interacts with main characters from the original work.

    Sue likes the story but thinks the writing could be much better and the story could be written just as easily in the form of a novel (not fanfic). The story has the potential to become excellent literature that wins the praise of critics and of millions of readers. It does not reach that potential because it is fanfiction (therefore, it limits itself to a niche readership) and it is not written very well (therefore, it does not win praise from critics). Sue wants it to reach that potential. She is willing to work for free, and for no recognition, to benefit readers' lives by making a good novel available to them.

    In order to help the story reach its potential, she reworks the story significantly to turn it into a good stand-alone novel, maintaining the basic premise, story arc, and conclusion, but changing all the characters' backstories and relationships with each other, merging some characters together, choosing a different setting, changing plot details, etc. This is done for the sake of improving the story and making it work without the context of the original source material, not just for the sake of making it different from the fanfic.

    Sue posts the novel free to read on the web. She does not put her name on it, leaving it as an anonymous work. On the first page, she states that the novel is derived from Mary's fanfic and she provides a link to the fanfic. She gets the word out by creating a Goodreads page for it and by recommending the novel to people, first on forums dedicated to the fandom (in order to reach fans of the fanfic and to create buzz), then on forums around the web (in order to reach the general public).

    Personally, I would commend Sue for that. If I, as a reader, have one more great novel available to read, then I am happy. (And my happiness is Sue's only motive for writing the novel.) And she avoids all the reasons why P2P fanfiction has been criticized. She has nothing to gain, so she cannot be accused of greed, theft of the author of the source material (or the author of the fanfic), or exploitation of the fandom. She is honest about the source of the novel, and she does not even attach her name to it, so she cannot be accused of plagiarism (which is, by definition, claiming credit for someone else's work) or turning her back on the fandom. She writes the novel because the premise is genuinely good and it needs to be shared with the world in the form of higher quality literature than what Mary has to offer, not because she wants to avoid doing her own work of developing a story from scratch, so she cannot be accused of laziness or unoriginality. For Sue, this is neither a way to entertain herself by asking hypothetical questions about characters from a story she likes, nor a way to practice writing with "training wheels". This is a serious effort to give something good to the world.

    What do you think?

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    1. I think that, unless Sue got Mary's permission, then that's not much better than plagiarism.

      I write, and I've been plagiarised before, but I've also had someone just take things that I wrote and repost them elsewhere without my permission and yes, they gave credit but it didn't make it feel much better.

      I've also had someone ask to write a story based on two characters in a short story I posted online and while I was flattered, I couldn't say yes because that meant that I couldn't ever write about those characters. What if I said yes, and her story was similar to what I intended to write about them? People would think I plagiarised her, even though it was my characters and my idea.

      So...yeah, I don't like that scenario you posted. A lot of young writers use fanfiction as practice, and maybe Mary intended to rewrite that story herself one day but Sue robbed her of the opertunity before she got the chance.

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    2. How does Sue's novel prevent Mary from writing a similar novel? Sue's novel is anonymous and in the public domain. What is the consequence if Mary writes a novel similar to an anonymous novel in the public domain? As trite as it may sound, that is approximately what Shakespeare did.

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    3. "As trite as it may sound, that is approximately what Shakespeare did." And anytime after that, any story with star crossed lovers or a plot resembling a Shakespeare play gets compared to his works. Just like Mary's would be compared to Sue's. Yes, she could still write it but any fans of Sue's work would claim she copied it even though the story was hers in the first place (it's the same reason a lot of published authors choose not to read fanfiction, because if they ever write a story that is similar to fanfiction of their work, they could be sued...even if the ideas were not actually copied, they could still be accused of it).

      Are you a writer too? If not, maybe that's why our opinions differ on this matter. Also, do you have any examples of your scenario happening? Because I've never seen it--people don't put that much work into something without wanting something in return, even praise (like people who plagiarised stuff I wrote, they were literally responding to reviews thanking people for liking their story and that sort of thing).

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    4. (1/2) If all that is at stake is that fans of Sue's work (not fans of Sue, just fans of an anonymous work she happened to write) might accuse Mary of copying it, then I do not see the big issue. And let's adjust the scenario a bit: let's assume that on the first page, in addition to a statement that the novel is derived from Mary's fanfic, there is a note stating that the novel is a gift to the public domain and that people are encouraged to derive from it in any way. Maybe it even says that any ideas in the novel (plot, characters, you name it) may or may not be Mary's own ideas.

      1. Accusing someone of copying a known author is different from accusing someone of copying an anonymous work. If the author is known, then I think you and I picture the same scenario: author A writes a book and puts her name on it and develops a loyal fandom. Author B writes a similar book. Author A's fans jump on author B, accusing her of standing on author A's shoulders and calling herself tall. They jump to author A's defense. Author B's reputation is damaged. However: (a) this only happens when the fans have someone to defend in the first place, but Sue does not make herself known; (b) it only happens when the fans think authors compete with each other in a zero-sum game, but the note in Sue's novel states very clearly that there is no competition intended. I think these facts would prevent a flame war from beginning. At worst, people think Mary read Sue's novel and then decided to write and sell her own derivative (following the advice in Sue's preface) rather than coming up with new ideas on her own. To that, I say, "So what?" And this question leads into the next point:

      2. If Mary recycles her own ideas, then there is no accusation to make. She can only be accused of copying ideas that were not originally in the fanfic. (Which would be a false accusation, according to your scenario.) If Mary really has the same ideas before Sue implements them, then this is a classic case of two authors coincidentally getting the same idea at the same time. Why does one author have the exclusive right to be the first to execute that idea, and thus to be perceived as the person who came up with it? That seems arbitrary to me. Furthermore, if Mary and Sue both come up with the idea independently, then it cannot possibly be some brilliant once-in-a-lifetime idea that could skyrocket Mary to fame. So why is it so important to Mary's reputation that everyone thinks she came up with the idea on her own? Why should that point determine her reputation, rather than her actual skill at putting ideas into words? I mean, if both authors came up with the idea on their own, and if the public must think that only one of them truly originally came up with it, then it makes the most sense to me that the author who is best at putting the idea into words deserves the credit. (But remember, if Sue's anonymous novel comes first, then *no one* receives exclusive credit for coming up with the idea.) And that leads into the next point:

      3. Your ethical reasoning falls apart when the tables are turned. What if Sue starts working on her novel, then Mary pulls her fanfic, then Mary publishes a P2P version of her fanfic, then Sue posts her novel freely and anonymously, and both novels happen to expand on Mary's fanfic in the same direction? Then Sue's novel would fall into exactly the same grey area as fanfiction of Mary's P2P novel.

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    5. (2/2) Of course, those three points merely refute the idea that there is anything wrong with Sue's action. Let's not forget what is *right* about her action. She works for the benefit of readers. Because of her, many people find a novel that they greatly enjoy, and maybe it even changes their lives. Some of these people would never have even heard of Mary's work. (A beneficial side-effect is that the note in Sue's novel introduces them to Mary, which makes them likelier to learn about Mary's work, and thus likelier to buy her P2P novel.) I think these benefits overwhelmingly outweigh whatever harm might come from... what exactly? The public no longer gives Mary credit for coming up with certain ideas on her own? (Again, I ask, "So what?")

      Your comment that some authors do not read fanfiction of their works because they do not want it to influence their own sequels (for fear of a lawsuit) is a misapplication of a principle from an unrelated scenario. Think about my scenario on its own. There is no possibility of a lawsuit in my scenario.

      In response to your question, I do write. I am both Mary and Sue. I would welcome someone to improve upon fanfiction that I wrote. Currently, I am doing exactly what Sue does. I am working on an adaptation of a fanfic someone else wrote. I have made up my mind that I will post it freely and anonymously and that I will state that it is derived from the fanfic. With or without the permission of the author of the fanfic. The reason why I ask the questions I ask, and why I engage in this debate, is because I know there will be opposition to my effort. I want to know what exactly the opposition will be, how to preempt as many accusations as I can, and how to respond to the ones I cannot preempt. This is new territory, which is both exciting and intimidating. It is intimidating to do a good deed when you know some people will throw the good deed back in your face because they falsely lump you together with plagiarists and profiteers. (I am especially thinking of some of the vicious attitudes I have seen on Goodreads toward books that do not deserve such backlash.) I feel like I cannot be prepared enough for when that happens.

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    6. We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this, because no matter which way you spin that scenario, the fact that you/"Sue" intend to do this without the original authors permission will never be something I consider okay.

      If you got permission first, that would change things. Perhaps the original author would be the sort of writer that wouldn't mind and would give permission, but if s/he said no and you did it anyway, that's not cool.

      It may be legal to do so, because you're not selling it for profit, but that doesn't make it right (the fact that you're posting it anonymously makes it seem even more questionable, even if that wasn't your intention). It's a really crappy feeling to be a writer and have someone take your ideas without permission.

      You can argue that you're just trying to do a good deed... but you could quite easily do the same good deed using your own story idea (assuming you didn't get permission from the other author).

      So...yeah, let's just agree to disagree. This is just my opinion (it's kind of like with fanfiction, there are authors who welcome it and authors who are fine with it happening but don't want to see it/hear about it...but then there are some authors--like Anne Rice, for example--who are against fanfiction of their work being posted, and fanfiction websites usually respect that because it's not right to play in someone elses sandbox when they don't want you to).

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  21. Seems like this disagreement comes down to an irreconcilable difference in priority. (And even if it is irreconcilable, debating it still helps me hone my logic and rhetoric, which is always helpful.)

    Evidently, we agree that the worst that can come of Sue's novel is that Mary's feelings are hurt, and that the best that can come of it is a positive influence on the lives of many readers and a valuable contribution to the literary arts.

    In my mind, the best overwhelmingly outweighs the worst, and in your mind, it is the other way around. Hard as I try, I cannot fathom why anyone would think that way. It is alien and nonsensical to me. Maybe the fact that people think that way is not just an obstacle to their ability to appreciate a good thing, but also an opportunity for Sue's novel to change the world by dispelling intolerance. Often, people are intolerant of something simply because they have not been exposed to it.

    And "write your own story" is a red herring. I never said Sue does not intend to write a novel based on an idea that she came up with. But no matter how many novels she writes from scratch, that does not reduce the potential of an adaptation of Mary's fanfic to benefit readers and advance the craft. Two good novels are better than one good novel just as one good novel is better than none.

    And to clarify, the reason it is anonymous is to emphasize that it is a selfless gift to the public and that seeing readers happy is enough of a reward even without thankful recognition. It is the same reasoning behind anonymous gifts and donations.

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    1. I think it's more that I think you're understating the negatives and overstating the positives.

      If it were a published novel you were rewriting, you could be sued. If it were a story you saw on fictionpress or wattpad or deviantart, you could be sued. Using the fact it's a fanfic as a loophole doesn't really change the majority of the things wrong with what you're doing.

      I have been exposed to people stealing other peoples story ideas plenty of times (whichever way you try and phrase it, that is basically what this is as you've made it very clear that you will do it with or without permission). The justifications you keep giving are the same ones I've seen countless plagiarists use, maybe that's one of the big reasons it doesn't sit well with me.

      You're expecting the original author to take it on faith that you're a good person who won't suddenly decide they want to make a profit off of the story someday, but why would she trust that of someone who would happily take her ideas whether she gave permission or not? It means she won't be able to use elements of her own story in any future original works of her own for publication, because she'll have to keep the fanfiction up as proof that she wrote it first.

      "that does not reduce the potential of an adaptation of Mary's fanfic to benefit readers and advance the craft."

      But the thing is, it should not be your place to decide that. It should be Mary's, whether by granting you or someone else permission to write it or one day writing it herself.

      About the anonymous thing: Perhaps that is your genuine reason, but it probably won't come across that way. People who plagiarise* for example, usually do it anonymously/using a pseudonym, that way when people discover what they did it isn't their own name attached to it.

      Do you intend to even inform the author of what you're going to do?

      *I'm not calling you a plagiarist (although I do maintain that what you're doing is toeing the line a bit), but like I said, a lot of the things you've said are things I've heard from plagiarists too.

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  22. "understating the negatives":

    Lawsuit:
    1. There will be no name to sue.
    2. As I already said: rewriting a novel (with major alterations to setting, characters, and plot) and posting it noncommercially is in the same legal grey area as fanfiction. We are already comfortable in that grey area.

    Intellectual property: you keep referring to "stealing" ideas. That is misleading because one is being deprived of anything. You do not get to use a term that carries the connotation of loss (especially lost revenue) to refer to something with no consequence other than hurt feelings.

    Plagiarism: as with "stealing", this term is so obviously unrelated to what we are talking about that you have no reason even to draw comparisons to it. Plagiarism is taking credit for someone else's work, not giving someone else credit for their work and then building on it. An anonymous derivative novel that gives credit to its source on the first page does not even resemble plagiarism in any way.

    Trust: fair enough that Mary might fear that I might suddenly change my mind, try to remove my novel from the public domain, try to profit from it, and try to sue her if she tries to P2P her own fanfic. But there is an easy solution. There are ways to post information to the internet with the guarantee that it is never removed. I would post the novel in that way. Therefore, she could comfortably remove her fanfic and publish her own P2P novel without fear of a lawsuit -- she could always point to the preface of my novel (public domain; commercial derivatives encouraged) as an alibi.

    So yeah, there truly are no negatives other than potentially hurt feelings.

    "overstating the positives":

    I am not even sure what you are trying to say about this point. You evidently agree with *what* the positives are (benifiting many readers and advancing the arts). All you claim is that it is "not my place" to decide that. Huh? How does that change anything? I did not "decide" what the positives are; I made a simple statement of fact: *if* the novel is written, *then* good things will happen.

    So we are back to what I said earlier: the positives outweigh the negatives (and that is an understatement). It would be extremely selfish for an author to prevent those positives from happening for no reason other than her pride in her ability to come up with ideas. But selfishness is evidently celebrated.

    A while ago, I actually contacted the author, told her what I was doing, and asked if she was interested in collaborating, but I never got a response. (And I know she got the message.)

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    1. When I said understating the negatives, I meant you were trivialising what you intend to do as simply "hurting the authors feelings" (and at the same time, being very grandiose about what you consider to be the positives). I consider encouraging people to take other peoples intellectual property with or without permission so long as it's in a legal gray area to be a pretty big negative.

      I never claimed there would be a lawsuit, I simply mentioned that if it were not fanfiction (either original work posted online or an actual published novel) then you would get sued. My point was that just because it is fanfiction, that may change the legality issue but it doesn't really alter the ethics of it.

      I stand by my use of the word "stealing" - intentionally taking something that doesn't belong to you without permission is stealing, whether it's physical property or intellectual (and, it could be argued that if she ever decided to do her own rewrite or write an original story using elements from her fanfiction, that you doing this could damage sales of her book or her chances at publication).

      Plagiarism: Like I said, I'm not saying what you're doing is plagiarism but it does come pretty close therefore the comparisons stand (you're getting very hung up on the "taking credit" part of plagiarism but unauthorized use is also a part of it so you tick one of two boxes - there's also different types of plagiarism and a few, taking credit aside, are close to what you're going to do).

      I actually don't agree on what the positives are. Honestly, for all I know the story could be terrible and your writing could be terrible too (I'm not saying it is, but I don't know that), the story could have loads of problematic subject matter for all I know that could arguably do more harm than good (like Fifty Shades of Gray).

      The positives you list are your opinion (just as this is mine), not fact. You speculate that good things will happen, but you don't know that for certain (e.g. you don't know that "many" readers will even read it nevermind benefit from it).

      It is not selfish for an author to not want someone else to mess with their characters/story when they may not be done with them or might intend to use them again sometime, and it's a horribly entitled attitude to think that you have a right to decide what should be done with her story and that if a rewrite is going to happen that you--not the person whose story it is--should be the one to write it.

      Anyway, like I said, we will just have to agree to disagree because neither of us is going to sway the other and I'm sure there is plenty of people that agree with both sides of this argument. :)

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    2. One sentence in that post shows that you still misunderstand the scenario, and it reveals the flaw in your moral opinion: "it's a horribly entitled attitude to think that you have a right to decide what should be done with her story and that if a rewrite is going to happen that you--not the person whose story it is--should be the one to write it."

      The key phrase -- "not the person whose story it is" -- implies that if I write a novel derived from her fanfic, then that prevents her from writing a novel derived from her fanfic. That is baldly false -- not a matter of opinion, but a simple matter of repeatedly denying the facts -- so there is no "agree to disagree" on that matter. And as I already explained why, it is false that it reduces her chance of publication or her sales.

      And it is interesting that you use (misuse) the term "entitlement". I have used that term to refer to the attitude that a person can "own" an idea. Know what I think I *am* entitled to? Free speech. You think Mary is entitled to limit my freedom to speak about her ideas by writing a novel that expresses my ideas about her ideas. The fact that you are unwilling to give up that sense of entitlement is what you really mean by "we agree to disagree". I guess we will agree that I have made my decision based on the tangible effects that it will have (which you cannot deny because you do not know what the novel is about), and you disagree with my decision based on an attitude of entitlement that has no basis in philosophy, nor in pragmatism.

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    3. It's not that I misunderstand the scenario, I simply disagree with what you're saying.

      "entitlement
      noun \-ˈtī-təl-mənt\

      : the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something

      : the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)"


      I did not misuse the term entitlement. Again, we just seem to disagree as you don't think it applies to you while I maintain that it does. The first may apply to Mary, because she does have a right to decide what is done with something she created, but the second definition describes you perfectly (and it's the second that is generally used to describe a negative attitude).

      You seem to misunderstand what free speech is though. Freedom of speech means that you're free to say what you want without the government arresting you for it. It does not mean you get to do whatever you want to do without people being able to disagree with you or call you out on something they think is wrong (you're not the only one with freedom of speech).

      Even the government limits freedom of speech (there's lawsuits against libel, slander, copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, NDA's, etc.) because some people seem to misunderstand what it is and think it means being able to say or do whatever they want to even if it means they're hurting someone else in the process.

      "I guess we will agree that I have made my decision based on the tangible effects that it will have (which you cannot deny because you do not know what the novel is about)"

      I've never denied the effects it could have for that very reason. I have, however, said that you're speculating about the effect it will have, because you have no guarantee anyone will even read it or like it (I've been doing the book blogging thing for more than 5 years now, and reading stories online for longer than that, and I've seen incredible stories that barely anyone has even read and I've seen terrible stories with loads of readers, and I've seen authors who think what they've created is amazing only to have no one but their mother agree with that).

      I also don't know to what extent the fanfiction borrows from the work it's based on. I don't know how original it is...for all I know, you could be ripping off not only her ideas but the ideas of the author whose work the fanfiction was based.

      I'm being realistic, while you're being overly optimistic because you want to justify what you're doing as okay.

      I disagree with your decision because I think it's morally wrong and I don't think the fact that you found a legal loophole changes that. I disagree because I firmly believe people have the right to decide what is done with their own intellectual property* (and the law, in general, agrees, the only reason it doesn't in this case is because it's fanfiction which is considered derivative work).

      Perhaps both of us formed our opinion based on an attitude of entitlement, but the difference is I think that people have the right to own something they created while you think you have a right to take something someone else created and do whatever you want with it, even if it goes against their wishes (which puts the context of your attitude of entitlement firmly in the negative column).

      I think we should end is here though, as the only thing we really seem to agree on is the fact that we don't - and probably never will - agree. It has been an interesting debate, and I do admire your stubborness (it's rare that I find someone as stubborn as I am).

      *there are exceptions, like people creating parodies which genuinely are commentaries on the authors work, or fan art which is a completely different medium (so long as it's not sold without the authors consent).

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  23. Huh. This is interesting. Something you've got to remember though is that a novel will change A LOT from when it's a fan-fiction to when it's a published novel. Revisions, rewrites, further edits, etc. Just something to consider.

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    1. That was actually part of the point though -- the published fanfics that prompted this post did not change. The authors literally did a find + replace job with the names (characters, places, etc.) and removed any blatant copyright violations and then published them.

      Most weren't rewritten, most didn't get properly edited, most didn't change much at all. Take Fifty Shades of Gray for example, the fanfic version of that is still floating around online and people have compared it to the published version (using a plagiarism checker) and the % similarity was so high that it proved the majority of the changes were just the character names.

      I'd have less of an issue if thorough editing and rewrites had been made because that's half of the problem. Traditionally published books go through a lot of editing to bring them up to the quality worth paying for, while most pulled-to-publish fanfics don't and have skipped that step.

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  24. It was interesting to read all this. I wanted to ask - what if the author with no fan base turned their completely AU fanfic into original story while not pulling the said fanfic from the site it is published on? I wonder if it's legal.

    Also, many people write fanfiction for very different reasons. I write both fics and originals, and when I write fanfics, I basically start from scratch, the only thing I take from the fandom is names and physical appearance of characters. If I choose to then publish this story for money, I tell no one from the fandom I did it, so I do not use the fan base for promotion (if eight or nine people who left comments can be called that). Would you still consider it wrong?

    I guess that brings the question why write it as fanfic in the first place. Well, characters I use initially inspire me CRAZILY. I see them in absolutely every book I read and in every movie I watch - well, physically, that is, so I imagine only them when I write. Other than that, no one could ever tell my original story was inspired by them, and I do change names and appearance. So I want people like me, who love those characters, to enjoy the story, and that's all.

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    1. This post is a few years old now, I wrote it back when the whole P2P fanfic thing was starting to happen a lot more frequently, so I'm more used to the idea of it now.

      I don't know if that's legal or not, fanfiction is such a legal grey area as it is. I think it would also depend on whether you were putting out a self-published version or if you had a contract with a traditional publisher (the latter would probably insist on the fanfic being removed).

      With the scenario you mentioned, I'd consider that less morally wrong than the Fifty Shades of Gray's of the world but it's not ever something that will 100% sit well with me. I am more okay with the P2P thing so long as the book does go through rounds of thorough editing before being put out there as original, that just seems to rarely be the case.

      "So I want people like me, who love those characters, to enjoy the story, and that's all." - The point remains the same though, why write it as fanfic at all? If you changed so much and it really was impossible to tell it was fanfic aside from the names then why wouldn't those same people enjoy the story posted as original fiction to begin with?

      With fanfic, it'll always be different for me than original fiction (and I adore and respect both of them), because even if it's totally AU I still had the original story to work off of (even if it was just deciding which parts I was going to discard or change).

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