xparrot: (wormholes suck)
Happened to see on a few different places on my flist that old classic conflict between squee-fans and "hate"-fans - fans who love something and focus their fanning on what they love (whether or not they acknowledge its flaws) vs fans who are annoyed/frustrated/outraged by something but keep watching and discussing it anyway. While no one really questions squee-fans, "hate"-fandom can be baffling for those who prefer to simply ignore the things they don't like.

Having been down the hate-fandom road before, I think the reason hate-fans stick with it is very similar to the reasons anyone sticks with squee-fanning: because it's an enjoyable, creative, social activity. Hate-fans fan together, share their outrage, write the stories they want to read, in general bond over their irritation.

more ramblings... )

This rant brought to you by Linkara and his hilarious, insightful screeds against bad comics - I love me some delicious comicbook fanboy rage (especially when it comes with a good dose of feminism and highly amusing narration)!
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
Stumbled across this post by meinterrupted (originally on Tumblr) on OTW, AO3, and creator rights and after hesitating about reading it (there has been a lot of OTW hate around lately, I've been having to limit my reading because sometimes it feels like being kicked repeatedly in the gut, even though I don't think most of it is meant that way; I think most of the folks who wank on the OTW don't ever bother considering that the Org is made up of actual human beings with feelings, who are working hard to make the Org work, and try to make it better.) - anyway, I went ahead and read the post and found, not wank, but a nicely succinct summary of my own feelings on transformative works. So I made a comment that I'm putting up here and expanding on a bit.

(I admit, I feel somewhat awkward making grand proclamations as to the worth of fanfic. Fic has been one of my major hobbies for years, it's given me great pleasure and I've made a lot of friends through it. But the vast majority of fanfic (mine most definitely included!) is extremely lightweight entertainment. It's not culturally insignificant; but it's neither humanity's greatest achievement. So while I can and will defend its artistic merit, for the most part that's not what I look to it for. That being said...)

As a writer, I personally feel that censorship, that the attempt to prohibit or control the sharing of ideas, is dangerous to the production of art, to the creators of art, and to society as a whole. Regardless of whether it's government censorship banning books, or an original creator's censorship of an interpretation of their work that makes them "uncomfortable".

If you respect a creator and want to honor their wishes by not writing fic of their work, that's awesome, good for you. But there is absolutely no rule that says that because you have read something by an author means you have to respect that author. There are quite a lot of authors I've read the works of who I do not respect, either because of the work itself, or because of what I know about the author otherwise (yes, Orson Scott Card, you homophobic asshole, I'm talking about you.) So to say that I should be required to respect a creator's wishes, that a creator has the right to stop me from expressing my opinions of their work - whether they're expressed by writing a critical essay or smutty fanfic - makes me wonder what's the point of art, of experiencing other's ideas, if I'm only allowed to engage with them in "approved" ways and aren't permitted to have thoughts of my own?

I will admit this is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; any author who opposes fanfic etc. based on their work I automatically lose respect for (and therefore don't feel obliged to listen to their wishes about making fanworks). To me, any attempt by an artist to try to limit others' creative expression feels like they're trying to keep the "art" to themselves, that they feel that they should be allowed to create what work they like, but "other people" aren't worthy of that right. Because there is no artist who has never been influenced by, inspired by, other art, others' creations - whether or not the original creators of those works meant to inspire anybody.

If you don't want to inspire anybody else, if you want to keep your characters and your worlds all to yourself and not let anyone play with them, there is a very simple solution - don't publish. If you make art of them, don't share it with anyone else; or else only share with trusted friends who respect you personally enough to not do anything with your creations that you don't want them to do. As soon as you give a stranger access to your art, then you are giving them the right to have any and all thoughts about that work, and to express those thoughts publicly, and they should be legally protected to do so, in any fair, just, and healthy society.
xparrot: (WALL-E)
So AO3 now has a button so you can give "Kudos" to a story. I like it - I like getting comments more, but just knowing someone not only clicked the link to one of my stories but read it and enjoyed it is a nice ego boost.

I've always felt that posting a story online is a bit like going up on stage and doing a one-person performance in front of a completely dark and silence audience - you might have some idea of how big the playhall is, but you have no idea how many seats are actually filled, and until you're done you don't know if people were breathlessly hanging on every moment, or whether they got up and left halfway through. I've been posting fic online for over a decade and I still find it intimidating - will anyone like it? Am I making a total fool of myself? Is my piece (worst of all) boring?

Getting comments is always amazing and encouraging to me, knowing that someone out there in the dark was moved enough by what I did to respond. It's like getting a rose thrown on stage (or occasionally a rotten tomato, or a dictionary - but at least I know the seat wasn't empty!) Getting kudos, now, is more like someone offering a standing ovation - it's not as marvelous and personal a gesture as a flower, but it's still awesome.

So, since there's no easy way to respond directly to kudos, consider this my bow - a huge thank you to everyone who takes the time to read & kudos my stories!

(That being said, if you don't care for Kudos yourself, I strongly suggest writing feedback to AO3 on your feelings - we're a user-designed archive, but it's easier to know what users want if everyone tells us!)

on fanfic

May. 13th, 2010 11:24 pm
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
So as you might have heard, various pro fantasy authors (Diana Gabaldon, GRR Martin, and Katherine Kerr among them) have been speaking out about how fanfic is disrespectful to actual money-making authors (because you're not a real artist unless you're making a buck with your art), is illegal (because apparently copyright law is what they say it is, as opposed to what's actually on the books), immoral (and akin to rape and/or white slavery, because one's original characters are like one's children, and for someone else to dare write their names feels just like having your kids abducted and sexually abused), gross, and inherently inferior to original fiction.

Obviously I have a few mild opinions on the matter. But it's the last point that I keep getting stuck on. Putting aside [livejournal.com profile] bookshop's straightforward rebuttal that there is an enormous amount of derivative/transformative literature out there by distinguished professional authors (Bill Shakespeare was such an immoral hack, you know), the fact is, fanfic is not the same as original fiction. A lot - the majority, perhaps - of fanfiction would not work as original fiction.

And it's not because fanfic is inherently bad fiction, or that fanfic writers are talentless wannabe authors who lack the creativity to write their own original characters/worlds. There are a lot of stories that, by their very nature, require that the reader already be familiar with the characters or the world.

Read more... )
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
(Most of this post came up in a friends-locked comments dialogue with [livejournal.com profile] horridporrid, who very patiently explained her views until I finally got where she was coming from. I've been lax in keeping up with the rest of the debate, so it's likely this has already been stated elsewhere in this debate. But anyway.) Putting aside issues of writing standards and mocking other fen, it seems the big problem with the term "Mary Sue" is with its imprecision and its gendered nature. The basic concepts, I feel, are sound - but we need another word for it.

As I see it, there are 3 differing but related definitions for 'Mary Sue': )

The thing is, all three of these definitions are valid critical concepts - even the last, while quite subjective, can explain why a story may be unsuccessful for much of the audience. This is not to say that they're justifiable reasons to trash a young writer's confidence, but they are extant and common tropes in fiction (fan and otherwise), so it makes sense to have a label for them.

The problem with the current label is that while such chars can be male as easily as they can be female (Rodney McKay could certainly be considered one!) defining them with the gendered term "Mary Sue" means that female chars are much more likely to be described as such; it became an easy go-to criticism of female chars, while rarely applied to male chars, a very unfortunate double standard, especially if it means that writers become hesitant to write female chars (afraid that they'll be labeled "Mary Sue"s) while not giving the same consideration to male chars.

So it seems to me we need a new, gender-neutral term for this concept. Any thoughts?

ETA: Apparently ElfQuest had "Wottaguy/Wottagirl" for the original Mary Sue - much less gendered, maybe I'll start using that!
xparrot: Chopper reading (dw donna snow)
Just read a comment on my flist by [livejournal.com profile] copracat in which she made a fascinating point about character bashing in fanfic, which I wanted to expound upon.

It's a well-known phenomenon in fandom, that any character who comes between a pairing will be hated by some fans of that pairing. While it's not the only source of character hate, hatred of the interloper is perhaps the number one reason for char bashing. Sometimes the hated characters will simply be absent from fanfic, or otherwise ignored. But sometimes the chars will be bashed - portrayed in extremely negative, often wildly OOC ways, as scheming, selfish shrews out to ruin love affairs. When it comes to m/m pairings, such romantic interlopers are nearly always female characters (since almost all slashed male chars are canonically heterosexual, so their only canonical romantic partners are female. The reverse can be true with femme-slash pairings; Joxer was hated by some fans for being a potential threat to Xena/Gabrielle.)

[livejournal.com profile] copracat points out that such interlopers are a standard trope in romance fiction. How this carries over into fandom... )
xparrot: (wormholes suck)
OTW announced the preliminary stages of an archived zine collection: The Fan Culture Preservation Project. To me this sounds incredibly awesome - it's not a zine lending library (which I'd really love) but it's a chance for older zines to survive for future fans. Considering my current beloved MUNCLE has some 40 years of fic, but the vast majority of it is only available in zines, and the earliest of that has pretty much vanished without a trace...yeah, awesome!

Reading the comments on the posts, however, it seems like a few ziners (er, if that's the term?) are really distressed by the project's existence. trying (and failing) to get a handle on this )

fan types

Oct. 6th, 2008 04:25 am
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
I've had a theory for a while that there are two fundamental types of fans - the intellectual/analytical kind, and the emotional kind, and major fan conflict and wank can arise when these two types interact, because they approach fanning differently, and therefore have a difficult time understanding where a fan of the other type is coming from.

in which I go on for entirely too long about intellectual vs emotional fanning )
xparrot: Chopper reading (sga atlantis)
I've been in a very meta mood lately. And thinking about character love and character hate and the like/dislike in between has illuminated a general writing/storytelling principle for me, one that I think TV shows might ignore or mistake at times, and one that needs close attention paid, because I think writers (professionals as much as amateurs) sometimes confuse it:

"Everybody likes a character" is not a way to make that character be liked by the audience.

The key is - it's not a way to make that character be disliked, either. It's actually an emphasizing storytelling device, reinforcing the feelings the audience already has, but it's often mistaken for a positive or a negative one.

I actually like this device myself, but... )
xparrot: Chopper reading (sga mcshep pier)
How can you like a pairing when you hate one character in the pairing? Do any of you do this? I often have my favorite characters in a pairing (sometimes to the point that I'll stray from my OTP to see my favorite with others - for all I am obsessively McSheppist, I will on occasion indulge in Rodney/various-others, because it's fun to see Rodney getting love.) But even when I have a favorite, I'll still like the other character, else I wouldn't be able to understand what they see in each other. I don't think I've ever had a preferred pairing (not just romantic, friendship, either) that I actively disliked one member. How do you manage it, if you do? How do you explain your favorite char's tastes, if you can't see the appeal yourself? I'm genuinely curious; I can't figure out how it would satisfy me to read or write something like that (break-up fics aside. And I only like writing break-up fics, I don't like reading them...)

(...Brought on by a discussion with another SGA fan who detests Rodney but apparently reads McShep.)

(...while I'm at it, regarding The Scene in Miller's Crossing )
xparrot: Chopper reading (sga rodney angst)
I keep telling myself I'm not going to get any more involved in the concrit/review debate, that old saw that's currently making the rounds in SGA fandom. Especially because I straddle the fence on most of the issue, and get uncomfortable with the rhetoric and ideals that both sides throw around. ([livejournal.com profile] synecdochic eloquently expresses my general beliefs here.) But in discussion on [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper's post, a couple points came up that illuminated part of the situation for me, and why people get all crazy about it.

Cut because I am longwinded. No surprises there! )
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
Was just having a discussion on [livejournal.com profile] yma2's journal, concerning something I've often seen debated before: the issue of character hating and character bashing. And the question was posed of why fans do it at all.

The thing is, I don't character bash often myself, but there's been a few chars I've hated enough to appreciate the feeling. And I'm in defense of any fan activity that doesn't hurt people. Char bashing in fanfic is usually OOC, and can ruin my enjoyment of an otherwise fine story, but hey, if it's what you enjoy doing, knock yourself out. The characters are fictional; they can take it! But even beyond this, I think that character bashing is a perfectly reasonable, understandable form of fanning.

in defense of hating characters )
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
In the last couple years I've started to suffer the same syndrome that plagues many authors of multi-part fanfic. Namely, the dreaded "to be continued" that hasn't been. It's something I swore I would never do when I first started writing fic, because I so hated starting to read a good story and never being able to finish it. But now I have a couple incomplete fics that are going on two years old without yet a final chapter. And believe it or not, this is even more frustrating for me, the writer, than it is for the reader.

In which I do not quite apologize, but rhapsodize at great length about the joy of writing, and go into gory detail about my obsessive fangirl tendencies. )

What it finally comes down to is what I've been saying all along--keep the faith, dear readers, the end is coming! I swear, the end is coming! There will just be a couple detours along the way...
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
The thing is, I love the rivalry relationship in fiction. But for the most part I don't go for slashing rivals. And I'm trying to figure out why.

Another long 'un here. My love-hate relationship with love-hate relationships. )
xparrot: Chopper reading (sigh)
Just a few recent musings.

Whenever the issue of the protective, proprietary attitude Japanese fanartists and doujinshi creators have toward their works comes up--specifically, that they get very offended/upset by Western fen posting their art or doujinshi scans--one of the popular defending arguments is that the J fen are stealing other peoples' characters to begin with, and therefore have no right to get so huffy about us stealing their work in return. Which seems to point to a fundamental problem with our understanding of intellectual property that I blame in part on our currently insane copyright laws. In which I go on about intellectual property theft, doujinshi, and Japanese creators. )
xparrot: Chopper reading (angry)
So I just read a Broadcasting & Cable article about the industry's sudden abject fear of downloading, e.g. the recent Bittorrent suits. The main reason the TV and film industry is panicking is because of the impact of downloads and filesharing on the music industry. The article fairly pointed out that the comparison may not be that valid. Even if it is, however--the RIAA's not the model they want to be following. They've been battling the 'Net for years now. And they're losing. And it's their own damn fault for picking the fight to begin with.

Uneducated, outraged rant to follow )
xparrot: Chopper reading (luffy - kaizoku oo ni naru otoko)
So the One Piece fandom is making a bid for fanwank of the month, over the new dub, the first ep of which aired on Fox last Saturday morning. The majority of the arguments go thusly: someone cries that it's the end of the world as we know it and 4Kids deserves seven plagues for the travesty they have wreaked upon anime, and why couldn't OP at least be shown on CN's Adult Swim, since it's not for kids. Someone else counters, but it is for kids, and don't you want OP to be popular, and we always have the fansubs, after all? And then everyone says, "oh, you're right" and goes to listen to the new rap opening, either sobbing or shrieking with hysterical laughter, because the OP fandom is not really into protracted flamewars.

The problem is that neither side quite has it right. And frankly, though I'm one of those who can and does laugh at the horror of the dub, and enjoys how much more it makes me appreciate the original, and I'm getting annoyed at the repetitive "4Kids must DIE!" - all the same, we have reason to be pissed.

And then there was ranting )
xparrot: Chopper reading (usopp rocks. no really)
So a while back I ranted about my issues with yaoi, and promised a OP rant another day. And since today was lousy for entirely other reasons, I figured that day has come - nice relaxing retreat into my favorite series, maybe see if I can get all of fandom turned against me...

My favorite One Piece pairings... )
xparrot: Chopper reading (hisoka's broken toy)
* to be honest, I'm still not entirely clear on what fanwank is. but if it's anything to do with excessive whining, oh yeah. it's here.

So the One Piece anime has been licensed. For real, this time.

One Piece has a lot of heart. Can 4Kids really excise all of it? Let's watch them try! )

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