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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Friday Five: Fandom!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Friday Five: Fandom!

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can of worms
This is the first Friday Five that's been interesting in a while, at least in my humble and hard-to-please opinion. Alas, it is not Friday, but since Friday found me without communication of any kind at work and an evening full of activities at home, then we shall consider it the Belated Friday Five.

The questions:
1.) What fandom do you center on most?
2.) Do you contribute to it much (write fanfiction, draw fanart, participate in online communities and discussions)?
3.) Do you think that such things are good or harmful to the fandom and why?
4.) Do you think its good or harmful for the original creator?
5.) Why do you like this fandom in particular?


1.) What fandom do you center on most?
It's really not an issue of "most" so much as "exclusively" for me! I focus on the Tolkien fandom broadly; more specifically, on The Silmarillion. I have been known to dabble in LotR, especially when writing stories for friends, but I'm pretty much a First Ager all around.

Some of my friends write in other fandoms, but what I like about Tolkien--and what I like about The Silmarillion, more specifically--is the idea that the stories are really just a blueprint, leaving the fanfic author a lot of liberty. I have realized since entering this fandom that--despite my attempts to believe the opposite--my heart will always lie with original fiction. Even my fanfic strays into the realm of AU, I cannot force myself to care much for canon details when they lie in the way of telling a good story, and I'd sooner write about the moments that exist between the lines in the story than the scenes where we are given a very clear picture of what happens. This is why I like The Silmarillion over LotR, I believe. LotR is a beautiful and wonderful story, but there aren't the sorts of blanks that are left in The Silmarillion. Everything is more fleshed out, from characters to storylines.

One additional aspect that has always attracted me to writing stories based on Tolkien's work is the idea that he considered his stories to be histories rather than the unbiased account of an omniscient narrator. So we are limited by the PoV of the person observing--and telling--the story, and every detail must be examined for historical bias. A lot of the canon details that I "break" are done for reasons of historical bias or simply because I doubt that the "writer" could have known the full truth. The possibility and flexibility that this offers--and the ability to discuss interpretations with other readers and writers--has quite thoroughly addicted me to playing in Tolkien's sandbox!

2.) Do you contribute to it much (write fanfiction, draw fanart, participate in online communities and discussions)?
Erm...a bit. ;) I have (to date) written one novel, one novella, over thirty short stories, and OMG-I-don't-even-want-to-imagine number of drabbles and other "fixed-length ficlets" based on Tolkien's work. I run the <i>Silmarillion</i> Writers' Guild and belong to pretty much every major archive on the 'net, even if I have little time to do anything there but lurk. (See aforementioned story-count and SWG obligations!) So yes, I am very active in the fandom; I have met many friends and grown tremendously as a writer, so while I know that some look down their noses at my activity in this fandom and probably believe it to be a waste of my talents, I know otherwise: That I probably would not even be writing now if not for the encouragement and help of people in this fandom.

3.) Do you think that such things are good or harmful to the fandom and why?
Really, what is fandom if we don't discuss, evaluate, and interpret things until outsiders begin looking at us askance and we start doubting our own sanity?

The alternative, as I see it, is lots of meaningless fangirl/fanboy squeeing. Not that there's anything wrong with fangirl/fanboy squeeing...but if we are not bracketing that with discussion and re-interpretation, then it becomes empty, imho, and rather boring. Perhaps if we were fans of boy-bands, that would be okay. We could ogle Nick Carter's new haircut or shirtless pictures of Nick Lachey and be happy. But Tolkien's works are a veritable trove of inspiration, and many would argue that The Lord of the Rings is the best or most important novel of the 20th century. Given this, it is hard to get together with other like-minded folks and not find yourself discussing whether Fëanor was evil or just misunderstood or what might have happened if Boromir had lived or whether Sam and Frodo (or Maedhros and Fingon!) were really lovers or if our fandom is just an aggregate of pervy old women. ;) And for me, admiration is followed closely by inspiration, and it is hard not to be sucked into writing a story when an idea intrigues me. I've been that way since I could hold a pencil.

4.) Do you think its good or harmful for the original creator?
We Tolkienites are unique in that we have something of approval from the original creator: Tolkien acknowledged that his mythology is in no way complete and that he was merely creating a base for other hands to add to what he has already done. We are, in a sense, those other hands. There's a lot of argument in our fandom about whether slash or "Mary Sue" violate this--being as neither are something that Tolkien would want--but like the people who claim to know God's will, I find it "blasphemous" to even suggest that any of us possess the wisdom or right to say what Tolkien would or would not have liked.

For example, it is often heard that because Tolkien was a devout Catholic, then clearly he would have opposed any sort of homosexuality in his universe. First of all, would the Catholics and Christians on my flist who do not oppose homosexuality raise your hands? There's quite a few of you, yes. It is a bit narrow to take a broad definition like "Catholic" or "Christian" and assume, then, that you know the full extent of a person's opinions. For example, one hundred years from now, if someone unearths one of my stories and decides to write a fanfic about it, it might be said that because I am identified as a "liberal" and a "Democrat," then I would oppose a story that uses guns. Do I like guns? No. But do I support the Second Amendment? Actually...yes, I do. Not that everyone deserves to carry an Uzi, but I agree that a limited right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution. Yet, this is in opposition to what most people carrying the labels of "liberal" and "Democrat" would think.

The argument is always made against fanfic in general that we are a bunch of non-creative louts who can't contrive our own stories and so will dilute the original. Would the number of fanfic writers on my flist who also write original fic please raise your hands? Yes, there's a lot of us. I was an original fiction writer--a published original fiction writer--before I even discovered that fanfic existed. I still write original fiction. I have an entire fictional universe of my own creation. So does my fanfic "habit" mean that I'm not creative or capable of devising my own stories? Nothing could be further from the truth!

As for the dilution argument...fiction is not vinegar and fanfic is not water. The absence of the latter does not strengthen the former or vice versa. I know of few people, for one, who are willing to read in a fandom in which they have not read the original work. Bobby on occasion tries to read one of my fanfics, and though he is the only person on the planet to have read each of my original stories, he cannot follow the fanfic and finds that it does not interest him. Beyond that, there are a lot of reasons that people write fanfic. Do some of us wish to live vicariously through the characters and enter the author's world through them? Of course! But the same accusation can be made of any female author whose female protagonist winds up in bed with a handsome suitor. Fantasy is human nature, and these urges were not invented by fanfic. But that is not the only reason that we write. We write also for understanding. In The Silmarillion, the characters are sketched in such skeletal form that it becomes easy to seek to dichotomize--he's good; she's evil--rather than understand them. Fëanor baffled me at first, so I wrote about him, and now his motivations and interactions with his universe are clearer to me. Through stories, we communicate ideas about characters that otherwise would be difficult--and I dare say impossible--to put into non-fiction. What I have communicated about the characters in AMC I do not think that I could do in an essay of any length or extravagance. There's something magic about stories that they can do that.

I think that each of us has probably at one time wondered: If I were to become an immensely popular author, how would I feel about fanfic about my own work? I've thought of it, certainly...and I can't bring myself to be bothered. There are always things that I cannot say in a story; there are tangents and plots and characters that must remain unexplored in the interest of length and practicality. But because I cannot devote ten pages to the interesting backstory of a character who appears once does not mean that I can then shut off the imaginations of my readers. If someone wants to speculate as to why Character A behaves as he does, let him or her. In my fictional universe--like Tolkien--I recognize that even a lifetime of work will not be enough to fully develop the world. If people are inspired by my world and wish to carry on my work, I would not protest.

I've had a few instances in fanfic where aspects of my stories that are of my invention have intrigued a writer enough that she has wanted to expand on them. Fanfic on a fanfic, I guess it would be. When these writers have written me, asking for permission, I wonder who they think I am to deny them? I do not have a monopoly on ideas. One of the subplots of AMC that people found the most intriguing--the mutilation of Rúmil--I found out later had been explored also, unknown to me, by the author tyellas. And characters like Rúmil have appeared in fiction since the advent of fiction.

Not that I mean to insult those who have asked permission to use "Felak!verse" in their own stories; I found it a polite and--admittedly--flattering thing to do. I would do the same, in their shoes. But I cannot find the audacity to claim that because I have written something first, it must be barred from the imaginations of every writer to come after me. Because, really, our stories are built on centuries of stories and history before ours; everything, in a way, is based somehow on something preceding us. When do we end it? I disallow fanfic stories based on my own fanfic notions of Rúmil. If a fanfic author wants to write about a mutilated and unnamed loremaster, am I to deny that? Am I to deny original stories or stories in other fandoms about the same? And then deny stories about mutilation and loremasters in general? Really, I invented none of my ideas; I just put them into my own words.

The words are mine. The ideas are not. They cannot be.

So, in short, I don't see how fanfic can be harmful to the original, and I can't help but feel that authors who claim otherwise are a bit audacious and paranoid to claim otherwise. Maybe they are not so afraid of dilution as they are that one of the non-creative louts will outdo their talent? ;)

5.) Why do you like this fandom in particular?
Since I think this was adequately answered in #1, I will cease rambling...for now. ;)

  • Sure, I'll bite. This time.

    1.) What fandom do you center on most?

    That would be Tolkien. Certain unnamed others for reading, but primarily Tolkien.

    2.) Do you contribute to it much (write fanfiction, draw fanart, participate in online communities and discussions)?

    I write stories and talk about it, primarily with online friends, although one or two others in the flesh.

    3.) Do you think that such things are good or harmful to the fandom and why?

    Well, considering that such things pretty much are "the fandom," they can only help it. I once looked in on a meeting of the University's Tolkien Society, since we were dancing in the room next door that night. Now, this was not our normal dance room, and we hates that room, precious, with a passion, because it has a floor of carpeted concrete. If you dance on carpeted concrete for more than fifteen minutes, you do nasty things to your feet and legs. But still, we laughed and danced and gossiped, and generally had ourselves a ball (ba-dum-bum!). When we left, I peeked in at the Tolkien Society.

    It apparently consisted of about seven grizzly aging hippies sitting around looking grim and serious and glaring at each other. Not a smile on that stony-faced lot. And this was in their regular room, too. They hadn't been tearing up their feet and legs dancing on concrete. Yet, the dancers could laugh and find a little humor in the situation where the Tolkien Society could not muster a smile between them.

    If such is the alternative to this slighty hyper, often irreverent online aspect of fandom, then hell yeah, online activity is good for fandom.

    4.) Do you think its good or harmful for the original creator?

    The original creator has been dead and buried since before I was born. I highly doubt that our activity matters much to him.

    5.) Why do you like this fandom in particular?

    Probably because I love the source material and all that it's led to in my life. There's such a wide range of activities and aspects of life and writing to explore that you don't have to stay in a rut, unlike, say Batman, or deal with an entire real-life industry like with Star Trek. And, for that matter, anyone who wants to whine about what Chris Tolkien did to his father's work is cordially invited to go look at what Rick Berman did to Star Trek after Gene Roddenberry died and then get back to me.
    • You bit! Mwah!

      That's interesting about the Tolkien Society. Interestingly, I've heard that complaint made about certain online groups: that they lack a sense of humor and tend toward the "canatic" persuasion and enjoy looking down their noses at genres like AU, slash, and "Mary Sue" because they don't meet their ideals of canon and writing quality. HASA/Henneth-Annun gets accused of that a lot. (As someone who's been on the Henneth-Annun Yahoo list for a year now and endured lived through about three squeeing hyperactive conversations about underwear, each involving about 100 emails fired back and forth, I can say that while some of the members can be a bit pompous and intimidating, it's hardly true of everyone!)

      Although I wonder what your Tolkien Society even thought of fanfiction....

      I like "serious" discussions, but then, I've probably been involved in an equal number--or more--chats that go "OMG Maedhros is hott!!11!1!" and the like. Well, maybe not quite that bad! But I've certainly written my share of stupid stories to contribute to the hilarity.

      There's such a wide range of activities and aspects of life and writing to explore that you don't have to stay in a rut, unlike, say Batman, or deal with an entire real-life industry like with Star Trek.

      Yes, I've always been challenged by the idea of a "living" fandom, like Harry Potter for example, when readers/writers don't have the full story yet and so must work within those confines or invent and acknowledge that they'll probably be very wrong and "AU" when all's said and done. I suppose that doesn't bother some people, but I do like that we have pretty much all of the information (unless more notes are published than we currently have) and know how the story ends.

      And, for that matter, anyone who wants to whine about what Chris Tolkien did to his father's work is cordially invited to go look at what Rick Berman did to Star Trek after Gene Roddenberry died and then get back to me.

      Heh. I'm not much of a Star Trek fan (mostly because I've never taken the time to get involved in it more so than any aversion to it), so I can't really comment on that! But I do know that poor Chris does get a lion's share of hatred among certain Tolkienites. But he was damned the moment that he began the project because--no matter what he did--he probably would have ticked someone off. If he misread a single word of JRR's scrawl, he would have ticked someone off.

      He's rather like Peter Jackson in that way. But I look at the alternative: Because of his (Chris Tolkien's) work, we have resources that otherwise would not be readily available. I think he got much more stuff right than he got wrong; we know his "errors" and are welcome to interpret them as they will. That's what matters, to me anyway.
      • I don't know what the Tolkien Society actually thought about anything. I didn't go in and watch them; we just kind of peeked into their room as we were leaving. But they really did impress us with how grim and unhappy they looked. I'm sure they would have hated the very first Tolkien fanfiction I ever wrote. It was very much a parody, and to this day, it's the only one of my stories that's set outside the Pony!verse.

        Frankly, I think the thing that pisses people off most about Chris is his personality. He is known for being unpleasantly possessive of his father's estate, and most unhappy with the fact that dear ol' Dad had the unmitigated gall to sell movie rights to his own work during his lifetime so that Chris can't forbid any adaptations. My personal theory is that he's spent so much time guarding his position as Son Of Tolkien, Heir Apparent, that he hasn't really developed a life of his own, or written anything of his own. That makes him mad, and being mad makes him unpleasant, and being unpleasant makes Tolkien's fans blow him off. Which makes him mad. . .

        Basically, the thing with Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry boiled down to the range of their vision. Roddenberry was an old-school science-fiction writer at heart. He wrote dreams of fabulous, semi-socialist future utopias where people were forever discovering new and fascinating wrinkles to the universe, testing themselves and their perceptions against new challenges. His original concept of Star Trek was as a space western, "Wagon Train to the stars," as he described it.

        Berman was much more a California television executive. He wanted to do sex and angst and dysfunction and political intrigue and soap opera, and all the little problems that fit nicely inside a television instead of expanding through the universe. Once Roddenberry died and wasn't able to remind Berman that Star Trek was science fiction above all else, the franchise quickly turned into "90210 to the stars." The sense of humor and adventure completely vanished, and the stories became more and more thinly veiled allegory. Not that Star Trek had never had thinly veiled allegory, but the ratio of allegory to exploration and adventure got worse and worse.

        Eventually, I heard that Enterprise, Berman's new series set before the original Star Trek, would premiere on UPN instead of NBC. And that was when I knew it was all over.

        I'd be interested to see what you think of the original Star Trek, though. In some ways, it's a terrible show. It's got William Shatner, its lack of budget shows (all alien planets look like Southern California), and the costumes, hair, and ethnic/gender relations are so 1968 it hurts. But it's also got Leonard Nimoy, and some pretty nifty (for 1968) special effects, and some fabulous storylines by great science fiction writers. This was the series that dared to show why someone might admire the Nazis, even while acknowledging just what a bad idea this is. Berman wouldn't dare do that.
        • Frankly, I think the thing that pisses people off most about Chris is his personality. He is known for being unpleasantly possessive of his father's estate

          I would certainly agree with that! I remember in my days as a rampant miniatures painter, I worked with the Games Workshop line of miniatures, largely because they had a line of models based on the LotR movies and that was how I got involved. The big competition for miniatures painting is Golden Demon; it is held at several sites around the world, including (for some strange reason) Baltimore. (I've yet to compete in Golden Demon, not because I don't think my work is that caliber but mostly because I'm too cheap to spring for a $45 dollar convention ticket unless I have a model to enter into every category for which I am eligible. But I digress....) Anyway, the issue of the hobby's magazine that features the Golden Demon winners is always a big deal because many of the models are simply extraordinary. I remember one model, though, that they could not print in the magazine. Why? Because its builder/painter had used pieces from a model from the LotR line on a non-LotR piece, and the Tolkien Estate would not grant permission to display anything so heinous as a space alien with an orc arm...or whatever LotR bit it was that the artist used.

          That's interesting about Star Trek too. Not being in the "fandom," I knew that there was some recent hullabaloo when the shows came off television, but I didn't know the story behind it. I would certainly watch the early stuff--and probably like it!--but the question is finding time to watch the early stuff...but I'll keep an eye out for it.
  • Ooh, I love your rambles. They're always so interesting. :D

    The argument is always made against fanfic in general that we are a bunch of non-creative louts who can't contrive our own stories and so will dilute the original.

    That argument usually strikes me as non-creative itself, honestly. Or at least it rather misunderstands what "creativity" is--you don't have to be 100% "original" (as if even the canon story is just that) to be creative. I'm speaking as an original writer--or someone who sort of used to write original stuff--who finds fanfiction to be insanely hard to write, myself.

    (What did my psychology professor say about what "creativity" was? I think it was something like, "If you present a problem to a creative person, they'll immediately think of a zillion different ways of solving it." Does that honestly sound like it doesn't apply to the very idea of fanfiction? "Show some people some characters in a story, and they'll think of a zillion more stories to put the characters through.")
    • Ooh, I love your rambles. They're always so interesting. :D

      Why do I get the feeling that some much of my flist is looking in your direction and fiercely going, "Shhhh! Don't encourage her!" :^D

      That argument usually strikes me as non-creative itself, honestly.

      Good point. :) Especially since they all wave this around like a big banner no matter how many published writers of original fiction admit to their fanfic habit, making that "argument" so obviously false...but they continue with their (non-creative) persistent use of it.

      I've always been of the camp that says that anything that gets writers writing is a good thing. Part of the reason that I ramble in my LJ and in comments is that I recognize that one of the reasons that I have grown so much as a writer in the last year is because I've grown accustomed to putting my thoughts in order quickly for journaling.

      I don't even know that I advocate that jumping into full stories with a cast of original characters is necessarily the only way to learn to write...or the best. Jenni (digdigil) and I are currently working on the writers' workshop for SWG, and we are keeping exercises very small and focused. Because if a person wants to work on characterization, why force him/her to also contrive a complex plot, paint a setting, write dialogue, et cetera? Fanfic is rather like a writers' workshop in that way: It is a prompt that writers interpret as they choose. Reading stories for Antithesis Common sometimes, I get the feeling that certain writers are overwhelmed by all that they have to do in a story to make it work. I'll read stories that are beautifully described...but little else. Or stories with a neat plot written so blandly that it's hard to get exited about it. I can't help but wonder if taking things one step at a time might help these writers.

      Then there are fandoms like Tolkien where fanfic practically is original fic in some cases. For example, I call AMC a story that occurs between the lines of The Silmarillion because it really doesn't involve any events from the story aside from family tensions and certain character traits, like Feanor's pride; even the setting--Aman--is a place that we don't know much about. satismagic, who does a lot of AU and 4th Age, went so far as to take the Tolkien from one of her fanfics--it had become so removed from canon--and wrote an original novel based off of it.

      "Show some people some characters in a story, and they'll think of a zillion more stories to put the characters through."

      How true! :) I wonder sometimes if I'll ever run out of ideas for stories. Then I think of all I still have to write, make a face like this o.O, and decide that I'll probably be 70 years old and still enjoying Posting Friday in this same LJ! :^P
  • ... or if our fandom is just an aggregate of pervy old women.

    Funny enough, sometimes I think that's what it must look like for outsiders. ;-P

    Other than that, I only can agree to the things you said. Though, hell, I still keep wishing I could be as productive as you!
    • Funny enough, sometimes I think that's what it must look like for outsiders. ;-P

      Well, I just did a little experiment to test your point. Granted, it's a single-subject design, but the subject (my husband) is outside but certainly familiar with our fandom. So I asked him, "Do you think my fandom is sometimes just an aggregate of pervy old women?" and he didn't hesitate to answer, "Yes." :^P

      Though, hell, I still keep wishing I could be as productive as you!

      My secret is that I have a guv'ment job that literally allows me five times more time to do my work than I need because it's guv'ment and they actually factor incompetence into the equation when figuring job descriptions and the amount of time to allow for certain tasks.

      I also type very fast, which makes things easier and allows my thoughts to be put on paper the moment they appear in my head.

      Also, I am admittedly a sick person. Yesterday, I started on a short story at 12:30. By 3:30, it was finished. All 4500 words of it. Granted, it was "written" in my head before beginning...but I'm still a sick person for managing 1500 words per hour, I think.
      • My secret is that I have a guv'ment job that literally allows me five times more time to do my work than I need because it's guv'ment and they actually factor incompetence into the equation when figuring job descriptions and the amount of time to allow for certain tasks.

        Well, I'm a lazy student, so - theoretically - I should have a lot time for writing as well. Unfortunately I tend to get really, really worked up on the stuff I have to do for my classes. So why I actually would have time to finally complete my modern-day Silm story or write that fic about the Haladin in Brethil (all stuff that's been ghosting around in my head for months now), my mind still thinks along the lines of "Destruction of art in 16th century anabaptism and the motivations thereof". And when I'm finished with my papers, exams, etc. I'm usually so burned out that I cannot bear any remotely intellectual thinking and am usually pretty useless for at least a weak. Meh. :-/

        And a definite LOL at your husband's answer. I guess he's not the only one who'd react just like that. :-D
        • I barely wrote at all when I was in university, so I feel your pain in that. After slogging through essays and constantly reading--and never what I wanted to be reading--I simply didn't possess the energy.

          In uni, aside from what I did for creative writing assignments, I finished a novel that I'd started in high school, one short story, and started something that thought it might want to be a novel but ended around 30 pages. That was it. So while you might think that your own progress in terms of wordcount is inferior, you've far outdone what I managed in all four years of uni!

          (And, considering high school as well, I did two short stories and started the novel that was finished in uni. Nowadays, I can do that in three months...and this was eight years! :^P)
  • Interesting. :o)
    I might nick this later, if that´s ok.
  • Fëanor baffled me at first, so I wrote about him, and now his motivations and interactions with his universe are clearer to me.

    Awesome rant, Dawn! I picked this particular comment out of all the others because I am fascinated by this particular phenomenon. It is true that by writing about certain characters, we begin to 'understand' them better. Why is this? It is not as if we 'know' them, but in a way we are 'creating' them. And doing this with some of Tolkien's 'sketched' characters is such fun! Sure, we could do it with original characters and we do that too, but I think it is so much more intriguing to give characters that we have fallen in love with such things as family lives, rich backgrounds, love partners and new friends! Isn't it? And writing in fandoms certainly helps us to hone our skills as original authors too.
    • It is true that by writing about certain characters, we begin to 'understand' them better. Why is this?

      For me, when I take on a character's voice, I have to hop into his/her head for a moment. I think that's one reason why I tend to be averse to omniscient third PoVs (as a writer) because it does not allow me the focus that I need.

      I know while thinking through things before beginning AMC, I looked for explanations as to why certain characters behaved the way that they did. I started with Tyelkormo because he was the most baffling to me, but once I managed to find his voice and his PoV, I realized that his complicated relationship with Feanaro (as sort of the outsider in his family in terms of skills and allegiance) probably explained a lot of his behavior. For me, anyway. And then the story had to be written, and AMC was underway! :)

      And writing in fandoms certainly helps us to hone our skills as original authors too.

      I agree with this totally. I drew the comparison in an earlier comment to fanfic being almost like writer's workshop prompts that allow us to focus more narrowly on single aspects of writing rather than taking on the whole thing. Sometimes, when reading stories for AC, I get the feeling that writers are overwhelmed by everything that they must do to make a story work and so fall back on that one thing that they do really well. For example, I've gotten a few stories with the most beautiful images and metaphors you'll read...but the plot and characters were so weak that I couldn't recommend accepting the story. I know that for me, working on fanfic and having to create personalities for skeletal characters (like the Feanorians) has helped immensely in characterizing for the Midhavens. I use a different thought process now that's hard to explain, but it seems to take my characters beyond generic "Mary Sue" almost to being more like real people. Or I hope. :) And it's easier to find a balance now between the various elements that make a story work. (I'll stop rambling on this now because I'm planning a writing post about this very topic! :^D)

      But the people who claim that fanfic doesn't help writers...I wonder about them. To me, it seems that writing helps writers, writing anything! When I used to write training programs, that helped me as a writer. LJ helps me as a writer. And fanfic stories--even if I can't lay a claim to every detail in them--helps too.
  • My brain is absolutely fried right now, so all I can do is nod sagely at everything you've said, because I do agree. The bit where you speak about other fanficcers exploring and exploiting ideas belonging to you made me blush, 'cause I have stolen ideas from you on more than one occasion and I only asked permission afterwards. :)
    • You don't need to ask permission. :) If an idea of mine intrigues you, take it. And even as far as "crediting" goes, you've promoted and squeed over my work enough that I wouldn't even ask that of you! :)

      It wouldn't bother me in the least, though, to find my ideas becoming a sort of fanon. I'd find it amusing, I think, and flattering too. I mean, someone had to first contrive the idea that Maedhros and Fingon were lovers. Or Glorfindel and Ecthelion. Or Erestor and Feanor. ;)
  • Ooh, I think I will have to do this one myself!!

    4.) Do you think its good or harmful for the original creator?

    Well, case-in-point, I would NEVER have bought the Silmarillion if I had not gotten into LotR fanfiction first. Reading the in-betweens of LotR made me want more M-E stories, and then I found the Sil and it was love at...second...third...sight! ;P
    • Good point. :) As an author myself, anything that increases enthusiasm for my work is okay by me. One day, if my original stories find themselves published, I wouldn't mind if someone wanted to get more deeply involved in my work because s/he was so intrigued by some of the ideas in fanfiction. This is wishful thinking, probably, but I truly believe that this is how I'd feel! :)

      I discovered fanfic because of The Silmarillion, though I became much more enthusiastic about it because of the ideas I saw being put forth in...you guessed it! Fanfiction! And my subsequent enthusiasm for all things First Age has put money in the Tolkien Estate coffers from the purchase of countless HoMe books and *ahem* three copies of The Silmarillion....
      • I discovered fanfic because a friend discovered ffn first! Then I read her HP fic, switched to LotR, and now am married to The Sil. :P

        And true, HoME would never have sold so many copies if it weren't for us research geek fanfic authors! ;)
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