Monday, July 9, 2007

Slash Fanfiction - not as gory as it sounds

By Erastes

I came into writing erotica from slash fanfiction. If you don't know the term, don't worry. In 2003, neither did I.

I had just attended the latest Harry Potter film and, having read all the books to date as well, was suffering from a bit of a crush on Severus Snape. I was idly surfing around looking for information on him, and for Alan Rickman, when I hit a site called The Severus Snape Fuh-Q-Fest. I clicked on it before I'd even worked out what Fuh-Q-Fest might mean.

It was an archive of stories about Severus Snape. How peculiar, I thought, Why would anyone write about SS when he was already being written about? So I clicked on one of the stories…. I sat there with my jaw on the desk. Severus Snape was having a torrid affair with Lucius Malfoy. That was something I didn't expect. I clicked on another story. Severus was having sex with Remus Lupin in this one, with Harry Potter in another and so on…

I had no idea what I'd just discovered. I thought it was a website for perverts. (Although as I read on I gleefully counted myself among them)

What I'd discovered was slash. It took me a while to find out what it was called, the history behind it, the terminology, the idea of fandom. Most of all, I had no idea that an enormous number of people--invisible people, out there in the ether--were reading slash, writing it and loving it.

The term "Slash" refers to the / that you put between the two characters you are "slashing" e.g. Lucius/Severus, Kirk/Spock, Papa Smurf/Hefty Smurf (yes, really).

Depending on your point of view--and people will argue, or "wank," in slash fandom, over the slightest thing, including slash's definition--slash is the pairing of two characters, usually males (f/f pairings generally being put in the subcategory of femslash), who are not a couple in the book(s), film(s), TV show(s), series, etc.

So, according to purists, fanfiction about Kirk and Spock as a couple can be termed slash, but fanfiction about Brian and Justin from Queer as Folk should not be.

However, your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does. I tend to avoid the wankier side of Slashdom and call things whatever I bloody well like.

Being inspired to write a story is called "getting a plot bunny" or "being bunnied":

Plot Bunny = An idea for a story (usually used to refer to fanfic) that gnaws at the brain until written.

"I was up until 3 am last night, writing. I was just attacked by this Harry/Draco bunny that wouldn't leave me alone."

If there is a lacuna in the plot of a book or a film, or there's any doubt, however small, as to what the characters do when they aren't on the page, then it's a classic opportunity for the slash writer to add the missing scenes.

For example: In Harry Potter - Lucius Malfoy is canonically good friends with Severus Snape. Although they are never once seen together in the books, JK Rowling has referred more than a couple of times to their close friendship. Severus is called "Lucius' Lapdog" at one point – and that was the term that bunnied me to write about them, and the pairing is pretty big, having dozens of newsletters, writers groups and discussion forums dedicated to them alone.

The biggest fandom is still the Potter franchise, but if you name any TV show, book or franchise, from The Borrowers to Buffy to Spongebob, you can bet that someone is writing porn about it.

As I have explained in previous postings I wrote a couple of fanfic stories and from there immediately started to write original fiction.

Some people, like me, have gravitated to original fiction via fandom, I am pleased to say. Lee Rowan, Jules Jones, Renee Manley, RW Day, T J Pennington (just to name very few names) have all broken away and are publishing their own ideas.

It saddens me that more writers haven't made the break--although I have to say, there's a lot of dreadful fic out there too, so I'm glad that many of THOSE particular writers haven't!

Some people are happy to stay in fanfiction forever. I know writers who have been writing it for over 30 years – before the net they would get their fanfiction fix by snail mail, writing stories and posting them around to each other and they are happy to stay in and that's good too. Whatever makes them happy, it's a harmless, enjoyable and *cough* stimulating hobby.

I am thrilled to now be writing and selling my original fiction, but I will never deny my fanfiction roots. It's the best "nursery slope" a fledgling author can have, in my opinion. There's a never ending supply of readers, people are happy at a moment's notice to read, critique, feedback on your stories. I learned more about writing in 3 years of fanfiction than I ever did in the real world. I thought I could write in 2003, but I soon learned I was hardly capable of making lines on paper. I'll always be grateful to Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black as I wouldn't be where I am today without them.

Further Reading:
McTabby Summary Executions.
These are author's own summaries of their own fics. And they are very very bad. Don't be drinking anything when reading.
Wikipedia's Slash FanFiction Entry
In Defence of Slash
What is Slash? An article with many good links within it

44 comments:

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Erastes, thanks for dropping by on a Monday morning!

And thanks for a glimpse into slash.

There's something about the idea that makes me feel a bit like I'm going crazy - characters morphing into other stories and begetting other stories and spilling out of the books into all the corners of cyberspace in a possibly infinite never-ending plot that lives in six dimensions.

But that's just because I'm a control freak.

I have lots of questions...

I guess it's in a similar tradition to pastiche or the way that people write stories 'after' another author - just with a focus on the sex bits? Is there non-sex slash? Is that a really stupid question?

I'm also curious to know what authors of the original works think of people slashing (is 'slashing' a verb?) their stories? Is there ever a fuss? Lawsuits?

Cheers m'dear!

Janine Ashbless said...

Spongebob porn! LOL! That's made my day, Erastes!

I've written some pastische in my time (MR James, Lovecraft, Machen, William Hope Hodgeson - in fact I have a whole string of black comedy/horror stories about a psychic detective) but I'm not sure I'd write about someone else's characters. I'd feel sort of as if I was borrowing their car without asking (but with the intention of bringing it back unscathed, naturally).

So my big question is - do you ever get feedback from the original authors? I don't suppose JK Rowling can afford to be found hanging out on a naughty website, but I'd love to know what she thinks of 'her' slash. She MUST know it exists.

I adore the Plot Bunny motif: I've been looking for a good metaphor* for that particular experience so I may just adopt the Bunny.

*better than "my head is pregnant with a story" which is how I word it to myself at the moment.

Erastes said...

Hi Nikki!

There's something about the idea that makes me feel a bit like I'm going crazy - characters morphing into other stories and begetting other stories and spilling out of the books into all the corners of cyberspace in a possibly infinite never-ending plot that lives in six dimensions.

That’s what I like about it, actually – although I AM a canon whore – whilst I can cope with Lucius (as I’ve written him) meeting up and shagging Captain Hook senseless (couldn’t RESIST that, as Isaacs was playing both parts) it still has to make sense within the canon – and Lucius using Hook to achieve his evil ends seemed to me to make sense! Plus both Voldemort and Hook are rather over obsessed with young men!

However there are a lot of people who take complete liberties with the canon, change the characteristics of canon characters, introduce their own original characters (Usually referred to as Mary Sues or Gary Stus as they are usually self-insert characters – characters which are glamorised versions of the writer’s own persona) have concepts such as Male Pregnancy etc etc. Whilst I don’t really like breaks in Canon, the sky is the limit and people are only restrained by their own imaginations.

The thing is-that it’s EASIER to write in someone else’s world. If you have to get a character from A to B – then JKR has already invented Floo Powder, or Apparition. If you need to find an occupation for Harry after school (but I’m hoping the little git dies horribly) then there are lots of jobs already in existence.

I have lots of questions...

*Rubs hands together in glee.*

I guess it's in a similar tradition to pastiche or the way that people write stories 'after' another author - just with a focus on the sex bits? Is there non-sex slash? Is that a really stupid question?

Yes, there is non-sex. It’s known as GEN and it has become more popular over the last few years. There are some stellar stories in these communities too, specially omnicular.livejournal.com which do themes, like “non fiction” prompts which stood out, where people were encouraged to write things like Ministry of Magic’s induction speech, a treatise on treating Goblins, that sort of thing.

Gehayi however is probably the person known for inventing “Gen-slash” which is relationship/friendship based, without sex

I'm also curious to know what authors of the original works think of people slashing (is 'slashing' a verb?) their stories? Is there ever a fuss? Lawsuits?

Some authors are very anti-slash – George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire) has specifically requested that people do not write fanfic on his world, and in the main people adhere to that, there is very little ASOIAF fanfic (although there is SOME). JKR accepts it and enjoys the fact that it exists, because it encourages a lot of people to write, but she can get snippy about it and “C&D” notices (Cease and Desist Notices) have often been issued to webmasters to take down certain stories. She objects to Chan (underage sex) and other illegal and subversive stories using her characters.

I think possibly the most famous smack down was by George Lucas who sued a ficcer for self-publishing a fan novel on the Star Wars universe and selling it on Amazon. Fandom laughed its socks off. That sort of thing doesn’t go down well with the fans because they exist only by the authors good graces and idiocy like that brings fanfic into disrepute.

Nikki H said...

Once read a really bad slash story involving Capt Jean-Luc Picard and Commander Ryker. Put me off reading any other types of stories.

I know there must be some good stuff out there, but haven't bothered with it.

Nikki H said...

Oh, and not slash FICTION, but for those Whose Line Is It Anyway? fans out there, a slash fan video of all the guys in the show getting it on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1iFee-Fnxg

Hope that link works... The song inspired my flash fiction INSIDE

Erastes said...

Hi Janine! Good Morning and thanks for letting me play again.

I'd feel sort of as if I was borrowing their car without asking (but with the intention of bringing it back unscathed, naturally).

Nod Nod. Every ficcer worth his salt uses a disclaimer such as “these characters belong to [author] and no profit is being made” or variations thereof."

I personally, would be thrilled to get fanfic – I’ve had several pieces for Standish actually, which is a nice feeling, but there's no "fandom" yet, that I know. I live in hope! *G* I would hate it though if people went around making Ambrose straight - but it would be bound to happen...

I can see the problems with sagas such as ASOIAF and Potter – is that it’s the infinite Monkey and infinite Typewriter problem. With so many people writing it, and so many eager little imaginations, eventually someone is going to (or has already) got the ending spot on, and could (possibly) sue for “JKR stole that ending from me) which is why she admits to not reading any of it for that single reason.

Then of course, there are the plagiarists, which give ficcers a bad name. The infamous scandals of Cassandra Clare and others. Nasty pieces of fanfic history by people who should know better – and although they said “it was just an homage” what they actually did was insert large sections of published books into their fanfics without changing more than a comma here and there. Not Good. Big Uproar.
http://www.fanhistory.com/index.php?title=Cassandra_Claire

So my big question is - do you ever get feedback from the original authors? I don't suppose JK Rowling can afford to be found hanging out on a naughty website, but I'd love to know what she thinks of 'her' slash. She MUST know it exists.

Yes, she does, and she encourages it to a certain degree, she particularly loves some of the art, and she’s often found on The Leaky Cauldron and works with them side by side. But she doesn’t approve of some sections of the writing, for obvious reasons – she’s a kid’s author after all!!

Yes, adopt the Bunny! The Bunny is insidious!

Erastes said...

Hi Nikki H

That pairing would squick me so much I couldn't even click it to open it. You need to find sexy men first, not bald and hairy ones!! *G*

And yes, fanart, fan icons, fan videos, filks (fan songs to the existing tunes of another) it goes on and on and on....

Portia Da Costa said...

The first story I ever wrote was fan fiction... but not slash. I've never written slash, although I once nearly did.

There just never seems to be the time to write everything I fancy writing... :(

Janine Ashbless said...

Harry Potter fans try this on YouTube:

It's OK to be Gay

I had to wipe away tears.

Erastes said...

Hi Portia!

I sort of regret spending so long in fandom at the expense of original writing - I did manage to write and publish a few short stories while I was in, but it certainly made "Transgressions" take a long long to get finished, about 3 years, when Standish only took about four months. But when I went to edit Transgressions I could - thanks to the nursery slopes of fandom - see the hideous punctation, the grammatical errors and the overblown purple prose.

*hides*

And yes, I always have too many bunnies for the time I have!!

Erastes said...

These are highly amusing too.

Naked Time!

www.potterpuppetpals.com

Alison Tyler said...

I had an author turn in "real person slash" fiction (I found the definition on wikipedia), but I didn't know it was slash, because I wasn't familiar with the celeb. (It was a Back Street Boy.) A copy editor caught the name reference and we had the author change the name. I wonder if the celeb would have been flattered or bothered by the fantasy.

I also had a writer turn in a story written about me, which ooged me out to no end.

Erastes said...

Hi Alison!

I really dislike real person slash (RPS) *shudder*

and that's awful! about you!

Ick!

Tammy Lee said...

What I especially like about Slash fiction is writing to fit an established set of details. It really forces you (if you care at all about canon) to use your brain to justify character actions; useful for writing original works later on.

I also found it useful for teaching me to research, keep track of character traits, and in some cases even analyse and mimic authorial voices.

Erastes said...

Absolutey, Tammy - it helps you to write because you already have a good idea of the person - and his actions - but you can get into his head and explain why he is like he is.

Take Fenrir Greyback the werewolf for example - Shown in Potterdom as a ravening beast with a penchant for children. He's the 2nd almost pedo character in the last book (the other one being Slughorn) and he's shown as turning children into werewolves - "catch 'em young, train them away from the wizards, train them to hate wizards"

Now, that part is canon.

What I've done is to explain WHY he does this.

He was (in my backstory, which is fair game so far as JKR hasn't told us much about him other than he was friends with Remus' Father and they had a falling out) turned very early - about 9 or 10 and killed his parents one full moon because they hadn't noticed his bite. He went feral for a while until the Ministry caught him and placed him in the Ministry's Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit (that's a canon organisation)

Registry sounds like a concentration camp, doesn't it? Werewolve's categorization has fluctuated between Beast and Being for years, so he wasn't treated like a sentient being.

So he had good reasons to hate wizards. I also don't write him as a wizard as tehre's no canonical proof that he is one.

Anyway, this was rambly and far too much information but hey - I'm having fun.

Portia Da Costa said...

Having had a think...

I suppose I do *still* write fan fiction, in a way. I simply change the name, and the personality, to protect the innocent... although my fellow fans seem to recognise him easily enough. ;)

Ally said...

Well that was a fun wake me up.

All the Youtube slash videos got me laughing and blowing coffee out my nostrils, I loved the Harry Potter "Its ok to be gay" video. I watched a few others for fun.

One video that I've had in my favorites since I first discovered youtube a while back is a slash video with the song Closer by NIN in which it depicts Kirk and Spock as secret lovers... Hilarious.

I've never read fanfic, but I plan on checking it out now that you've piqued my interest.

Thank you Erastes

Mathilde Madden said...

I love fanfiction. I started off writing fanfiction. It's a great way to learn to write because people give you feedback in a way that they just wouldn't do if you were posting original fiction as an unknown.

I met the wonderful woman who designs my website through fanfic, I went to New Orleans and met Henry Jenkins because of fanfic. I met the wonderful people at Reflection's Edge because of fanfic. I wrote Peep Show because of fanfic. Hell, I met Erastes because of fanfic.

I still read a lot of fanfiction. One of the best novels and *the* best novella I read last year were fanfiction by the same author and we have since become good friends.

I really, really love fanfiction.

Alison Tyler said...

Tilly, don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

XXX,
Alison

Madeline Moore said...

Another fascinating and informative post from Erastes. Thank you. Now I know what the hell people are talking about when slash fiction comes up, which will annoy my stepdaughter to no end (she likes to be the one who explains the world to us) but makes me happy. I've never seen the point, at all, to this sort of stuff...until now...now I GET IT.
Thank you.

Kate Pearce said...

I suppose I've always written fan/slash fiction in my head but never penned any-its kind of my own secret dirty movie (g)
One of the things I think that is really interesting is that fan fiction quite often leads trends into the wider world of publishing-for example the whole m/m thing and that some women are totally into it/fascinated by it, came from slash fiction and is now being warily embraced by some of the more traditional NY publishers

Alana said...

Hi Erastes,

Sorry, I'm late to the party. Today kind of sucks.

Nevermind that. Thank you for postingyour thoughts and experiences regarding Slash Fiction. Enjoyed the post.

Are you familiar with a book called Warrior Lovers? It's a pretty heavy academic analysis of slash in regards to female sexuality. Very Darwin. A friend of mine, now an Episcopalian Chaplain, gave it to me as a gift while we were in grad school together.

Before receiving the book, I hadn't heard of slash. But I was intriqued, primarily from a cultural perspective, but also in regards it's erotic appeal to women. I've read very little, and what I've read was poorly written, over-the-top, and silly.

Obviously, I haven't read any of yours.

As for writing any slash, I tried it on for a size, fairly recently, couple of times, mainly to entertain Sommer, who's not here today, and while I felt cheesy at the onset I did enjoy the experience. Seriously.

In fact, I could probably drop the slash aspect of what I did and end up with a decent piece of gay erotica. Me hopes anyway.

Erastes said...

Hi Ally!

I sadly couldn't see the you tube vids, but I have seen a couple - I even have a Lucius/Severus one that someone made for me, and it's just brilliant - she asked me "What music do you want with it, and there was no question - Poison by Alice Cooper - and I cannot find it. *cries*

Well I guess I should fess up to where my fanfiction is:

www.underlucius.erastes.com

Erastes said...

Hi Tilly,

I'm quite looking forward to the last POtter book to see just how wrong I got it.

I guess that Lucius ISN'T going to take over the world?

*wibbles*

xxx

Erastes said...

Hi Madeline!

Thank you! I always enjoy being on LB's everyone's so nice.

Glad I could be informative, I could go on and on and on and on but I won't.

Promise!

*G*

Erastes said...

Hi Kate,

Yes - you've hit the nail on the head - there are so many thousand of people writing it, and they all read it, and even more who don't write it are reading it, I think eventually some NY publisher is going to do her homework and realise what a captive market they've got and market this stuff AT the people who are readingit - the way it's done in Japan for example.

I just hope - that for once - I'm in the right place at the right time

xxx

Erastes said...

Hi Alana,

No - I haven't heard of that book it sounds very intersting, and I guess I wish I had had a Fanfiction 101 before I'd got started, because there are lot of things to learn and you can step on a lot of toes and insult a lot of people (as I did) because I didn't know what I was doing.

There is a terrible amount of terrible stuff, that's very true - I was lucky, so lucky. I may have never started to write if I'd found ff.net to start with!

I hope you have a squizz at some of my fan stuff - I don't advertise it now, most people who know me as erastes don't know I used to be underlucius, although I am still pretty proud of about half of my work

Ally said...

Thanx Erastes for the link... very interesting and stimulating! Hmm Malfoy and Harry, I'll never watch the movie in the same light again, now that was hot.

Jules Jones said...

You may get this twice, Blogger is being its usual annoying self...

G and PG-rated slash focusing on the relationship rather than the sex has been around for years, dating back to at least early K/S (and I'm told also in the underground Holmes/Watson material that nowadays we'd call slash, though I've never personally read examples of early H/W).

Slash is quite specifically about a same-sex emotional relationship with sexual attraction on at least one side, though it need not be requited (*lots* of unrequited love stories in my fandom), it need not be consummated (ditto), and it need not be friendship or love (ditto). The key is that there must be sex involved, even if it's UST, and that there be emotional involvement between the two characters.

If there's no sexual tension between any of the characters, then it's gen fanfic. And there's a lot of fanfic out there that's all about the action adventure, etc, and nothing to do with relationships. Some of it is even gen but not G or PG-rated, because of the violence. I published an "all ratings" anthology zine series, and over its ten issues the story I thought least suitable for children had no sexual content whatsoever, not even implied.

If there's a heterosexual relationship, it gets more complicated, and there is a lot of fannish politics tied up in this. Some people class gen as everything not slash (even if it's actually pretty steamy het material), others divide between gen (which usually includes non-explicit het), het (which is usually specifically the steamy het material) and slash (which is everything with same sex). Het was also known as adult, but that was open to misinterpretation as being anything with X-rated content.

Some of us did not like the message that anything with same sex in it must be X-rated by definition, and took to using descriptions like "gen-style slash" to make a point about the stories that were about a slash relationship but not about the sex. It's actually terminology that's been around since well before Harry Potter brought slash to the unsuspecting millions, although it's a lot more common now.

There is debate as to whether anything with the slightest slash content should be labelled slash, or whether an otherwise gen-as-in-not-focused-on-relationshipss that mentions a slash relationship in passing can be labelled gen. This is because some people do not want to read the slightest hint of slash, even if they would consider the same degree of mention of het relationship to be gen.

It's much more complicated than that, but that's confusing enough already. Have you all fallen asleep yet? :-)

My fanfic was primarily dead tree published, but for some reason what little of my work has been reprinted on the web has been mostly the gen slash -- probably because I was explicitly supporting the gen slash archive so made some effort to give them stories. Must give them some more -- it's so long since I switched entirely to original fic that I think all the relevant zines must have had a good run by now, and I won't be hurting their sales by webbing stuff.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how I came across slash. I had actually been creating slash stories in my head and was so pleased when I found that there were more people like me. I've moved from fandom to fandom, and though I do write more original fiction now, fan fiction holds a special place in my heart, and I still write a little bit here and there.

I know a lot of authors/actors/people don't like fan fiction. But I only hope that one day I can create soemthing that would inspire people so much that they would want to play in my sandbox (as said when others write in your canon).

The world of fan fiction and particularly slash, is a fun one indeed and one that I will continue to visit, as long as fandoms interest me.

Cyn S. said...

Sorry, I posted the last comment but clicked the wrong option.

Signed- Cyn S.

Helen said...

Great article! I've been in fandom for years, and can remember going to cons seeing tables upon tables of fan fic up for sale. I didn't know what it was the first time I saw it, and I recall pointing out a cover to my best friend and saying, "Um, why is Spock french-kissing Kirk?"

Yaoi, slash, and m/m erotica/romance are all over the place these days. Makes me happy to be a woman. A perverted woman, that is ;)

Janine Ashbless said...

Fascinating. Are *more* women interested in writing about m/m relationships between favourite characters than about m/f ones?

I have a friend who wrote m/f sex about, er, I think it was CSI characters. Is there a lot of het stuff out there? Because when I first heard about fanfic erotica it was always Kirk/Spock etc, never featuring female characters at all.

Erastes said...

Hi Jules!

Heh - yes, it can all get very complicated can't it!

Thanks for the comment, hun

xxx

Erastes said...

Hi Cyn, thanks for popping by!

Yes, Fanfiction will - like you - always hold a nice place in my heart, and Lucius, particularly will never leave me - and costs me a fortune in Sunsilk...

I may have a small dabble back in fandom after having read the last book - but I fear that I may have to wear black for the rest of my life. *sniff*

Erastes said...

Hi Helen, thank you!

For sale!? I didn't know people sold it, bad ficcers!

But yes, it has liberated women in many different ways I think, and it's becoming much more mainstream to read and write smut.

Happily!

Erastes said...

Janine,

Well, statistically I think that it's been stated that its 95 women to men in fandom, possibly even higher - and the big communities are still very m/m orientated but the m/f communities are catching up, although they aren't my bag, they are getting bigger all the time.

Anne Tourney said...

I love the idea of stepping into another author's fictional world and weaving your own threads through its tapestry (or leaving graffiti on its walls, depending on your mood :-)). It proves that nothing is permanently set in stone -- or print, or film -- in the created world. Creativity is always in flux.

Oh dear, why am I waxing all philosophical this morning? Heck, I just love to see those familiar characters shed their clothes and get down n' dirty!

Erastes said...

Hi Anne

Yes - the nice thing is that NOTHING is permenant in fanfic land.

Sirius Black has had a more healthy sex life (spoiler alert)



since he died than before hand, writers have used a 1000 devices to bring him back. Being aggressively straight is no obstacle to ficcers either, and any redneck hetero male will soon succumb to a little male lovin' before you can say "where's the chainsaw"

FINALLY - I'd like to thank Tilly for asking me to do the article and to the Lusty Biters for putting up with my ramble, yet again! It's one of my favourite places on the net, and long may it be out there, Biting Lustily.

Till next time (I hope...) *G*

Erastes

Jules Jones said...

Can tell Erastes was late to slash, and missed out on the era of dead tree zines....

Yes, they sold fic back in the Dark Ages, for a price that covered the production costs of the zines. It was very much frowned upon to make more than a token profit from selling zines, but zines were actually quite expensive because of the cost of producing them.

This is one of the main ways that fic circulated in the days before widespread net access, and zines continue even to this day in a few fandoms. Some mad fool would put out a call for submissions, and would put together an anthology of stories. If they were any good as a publisher, they would edit those stories, which would involve printing and postage and phone costs. They would then get it proofread (more printing and posting and phone costs), print out a final master, take it to their local copy shop, and pay to get as many copies printed as they thought they had a reasonable chance of selling, plus trib copies. Each contributor to the zine would get a free copy of the zine in payment for their story (more postage costs). The zine would then be sold through the post, and at cons (you can see where this going, I think).

There are variations on this theme, but that's a lot of money whichever way you dice it. Yes, they sold the fic -- at a price that would cover those costs. It was also a thoroughly underground activity, rather than something being flogged to the public art large.

This is a very different thing to some twit publishing her alternative Star Wars novel through Lulu, and buying distribution through Amazon to sell it for a profit. The old school zine fans were deeply unimpressed by that, because it went completely against the ethos of by fans, for fans, for fun.

Erastes said...

Well, I don't want the really nice day I have to descend into wank - as do so many fandom conversations, and I appreciate that most fandomers have been around for a lot longer than I have - Jules is understandly very angry with me, as her private email to me showed.

I'm sorry if I was flippant, or upset or insulted anyone - I was simply surprised that people sold fanfic. I have seen the quantities of wank that have gone on when anyone tried to do that in Potterdom, or even selling fanart - which seems to be less copyright problematic.

As I said, I apologise for any offence I caused, however unwittingly, and I will retire gracefully

Mathilde Madden said...

Hi Jules

Thanks for dropping by. I am a huge fan of the slash pioneers. I only started in fandom in 2001, but one of my best friends tells me stories of riding her bike to her friends house to swap Blake's 7 'zines and I listen with awe.

I truly have so much respect for the women who started these things.

The question of earning money form fanworks is an interesting one. I certainly don't think the 'zine structure you describe can be faulted. But I would personally argue that there is nothing wrong with people making money from any kind of creative work. There are many examples of published novels which are based on other (usually out of copyright) books.

And of course, these authors score royalties.

In the case of most fanworks it's thought to be illegal (although there has never been a test case), but I wouldn't find it to be unethical to do so.

MM xxx

Janine Ashbless said...

I can't get over the use of the word "wank" for "to argue".

Messy! But, you know, better than poking each other with pointy sticks.

Cyn S. said...

I know how that feels. Whenever I think I'm out of a fandom they release something new and I just HAVE to write about it.

But just think, after the last book you'll have all the fan fiction on what happens next.

As for the statistics of men in fan fiction. Yes it's very low, at least that we know of. Though in one fandom I knew at lest 3 guys writing in it. Yes it's pretty small compared to the overall size, but I think it also depends on how well you know the authors, because guys don't really announce they're guys. Probably because women seem to dominate the scene.