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AngelofSnow's Journal - Everything is prettier from the outside
Fan Fiction, Fandom, Reviews, and a Healthy Dose of Squee
When you cease to be a fan... 
9th-Jan-2011 02:09 pm
Buffy Synergy
 So my significant other (okay my boyfriend whom I live with), plays a lot of video games. Lately he's played a lot of Starcraft II. Although he's not a huge fan of the storyline part of the game, he is active in forums and watches lots of fan videos. He enjoys playing the game and learning more about it immensely. I'd call him a Starcraft fan, though he interacts differently with it than say I do with X-Men or fans of Supernatural do with their show. 

However, in RL (real life), he's also a screenwriter. And he's been contacted to write a script for a StarCraft movie. (As an honest disclosure, it's a direct-to-DVD, animated cartoon movie that may or may not ever get made) .

He's been working on researching StarCraft storyline, learning more and more about the universe and the lore and the characters in it. He's also written up some treatments on scripts and talked  about ways the story might unfold. 

In some ways, what he's writing is fanfic. He's not one of the original creators working for Blizzard game studios and so he's trying to fit his story's vision into the established world of Starcraft. He's careful to get his facts right, stay true to main character characterization, write something that fits in with the universe and pacing of the game story (while being a short action cartoon). 

But at the same point, as I keep reminding him, he's no longer a fan and the script he's writing isn't fanfic -- it's canon. He's one of "the powers that be" -- the creators. 

If he writes this movie and it gets made, he acquires of the most coveted positions in the fan world, a creator of canon who isn't one of the original creators but works on the canon afterward. Not only is this opportunity immensely cool for him professionally, but also personally. He's like an author of those tie-in novels about a TV show. They're never done by the original show writers, but they're not fanfiction.

But it made me wonder, technically, can you continue to call yourself a fan if you're now one of the creators? Do you cease to be a fan if you become an official, licensed creator? Are fanfic writers, especially popular ones who inspire universes of their own, creators but without official license?

Thoughts & Comments 
(Deleted comment)
10th-Jan-2011 10:20 pm (UTC) - Fans as creators
I completely agree with you.

I've read some amazing fanfic where the fan/author totally understand the show, characters, and how to write a good story and produced something that I wish was part of the real canon.

And then the creators will license these tie-in novels or tie-in media, like cartoons, novels, and games and they'll be nothing like the show. Some of them will be truly abysmal.

I've never read the tie-in novels for Star Trek, but I've read a lot of the tie-novels for the original Star Wars trilogy and they were sad reading. There was one or two good ones and tons of truly terrible writing. The restrictions creators put on what can happen to their characters or world often makes those novels uneventful and thus, bland.

You definitely need a group. That's why TV shows never have one writer, they always have a group. So they benefit from a bunch of people to give ideas and a bunch of people to find mistakes and weak points in a story.

I think they should leave some of those tie-in novels for fans to write.
(Deleted comment)
11th-Jan-2011 09:59 pm (UTC) - Re: Fans as creators
Although I've only read the plots of a few Star Trek novels, I know what you're talking about. Whole universe is never a good idea. Marvel does that with their comics, once a year, trying to get you to buy issues of all sorts of comics to read the end of the story.

The idea of a publisher choosing to write stories as Whole Universe just seems so greedy and it annoys fan and makes us less likely to buy the novels in the first place. It forces fans to follow shows or characters they were less interested in. That's never a good idea.

And the rules publishers require tie-in novelists to follow stifle creativity and seem downright backwards. These days, saying "no slash", is equivalent to saying GLBT don't exist and everyone is straight in our happy, little universe. It just seems so homophobic, how do they even get away with it? I understand some fans wouldn't want to read about certain characters if they were written as gay, lesbian, or straight. Each fan is entitled to their own perspective and should be allowed to choose what we like to read.

Although the "no character deaths" rule can work, the publishers always seem to mean "no major character developments or life-changes" and so characters and the events in the stories never seem dynamic. And often everything gets written off in the next book.

In one of the Star Wars novels, Luke Skywalker falls in love with a woman's personality trapped in a computer program and she eventually takes over the mind of a coma victim and they date for several years before she cheats on him and commits suicide... and this doesn't affect him at all in the future and is never mentioned again by any future novels.

(Now perhaps rightly so, this novel blew chunks it was so horrible...) But, why read stories where the events never have consequences for the characters? If the stakes are nothing, the payoff seems like nothing too.

I'd rather have each novel stand on it's own as a unique universe. Each novel's jumping off point would be the original media. This way fans can just jump in and read whatever novel interests them, the way I jump in and read fan fiction. If anything is markedly different than the canon, authors explain that in an authors note.

Fans would do such a better job writing tie-in novels. We would explore more interesting themes, write and use characters better... the really good fan fiction stories I've read have always been worlds better than any of the officially licensed stuff.
(Deleted comment)
12th-Jan-2011 09:23 pm (UTC) - Re: Fans as creators
That makes absolutely no sense that they would publish novels with Picard/Crusher as a relationship and then reject them from a contest for fans.

Each novel should stand on it's own. Each author writes characters differently and that makes for very messy characterization over a longer story arc. I'm sure it results in lots of OOC plot lines at some points. And it has to make writing harder for future authors carrying all the previous authors story baggage (arcs, new characters, locales, conjecture, characterization).

I feel like if fans were in charge of at least the alternative media department, it could only make things better. Then the customers (fans) would be running the business for other fans. We could put out books featuring different pairings and each author's universe would stand on it's own. If fans wanted a sequel the original author would have to write it, which would help sequels stink a lot less.

I don't know of any fandoms where the powers at be use fan writers anymore. Way back in the early 90s, Forever Knight choose a few fan wrtiers and the tie-in books were much better for that reason.
(Deleted comment)
13th-Jan-2011 10:50 pm (UTC) - Re: Fans as creators
I feel like the original creators or at least the people who license Star Trek merchandise and use rights, just don't care about the quality of the products people produce with those rights.

Fans would probably be best served complaining to the folks who do the licensing about how lousy the books have been and how they'd make more money if they let someone else try, like several fans, writing the books.

Cause those books just look and sound horrible.

But guess everyone's focused on the Star Trek: original series reboot now.

(Deleted comment)
14th-Jan-2011 09:54 pm (UTC) - Re: Fans as creators
I've seen some of those covers you talk about and they're horrible. The characters look so off. Jean-Luc's head will look too big for his body and Deanna will look spaced out or high. They're so strange looking, that if you study the picture for too long, it's unnerving.

I can't believe that the authors of licensed non-canon Star Trek novels could be so pretentious.

I understand what you mean about knowing Patrick Stewart's body shape well. Those uniforms don't leave a lot to the imagination and we've seen him from every angle thousands of times. Do they really think they can get away with poor photoshops?

I'd much rather see the artwork. It would give fans who produce fanart the opportunity to showcase their work. And it's endlessly more classy.

I'm embarrassed to be seen with a Star Trek novel because of the covers. They look like sci-fi versions of romance novel covers.
(Deleted comment)
17th-Jan-2011 06:58 pm (UTC) - Re: Fans as creators
I'm not sure writers get to veto the artwork for their covers unless they're really big name writers. I always thought that marketing handles that they don't have much of a say.

Or so I learned from an episode of Sex in the City... :)

(Deleted comment)
10th-Jan-2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
I love your icon by the way.
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