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Hey guys--

I'm writing a paper for one of my media classes looking at the various ideas/forms of ownership in media characters/plots and looking closely at ideas of ownership within fandom as part of it.

So, I just have a few questions I would really appreciate people giving me their thoughts on (with the right to quote you--anonymously/by handle not name) in my paper. If you could help me out, I'd greatly appreciate it

Please only answer these if you actively participate in fandom in some way--I don't want to start a "fanfiction is bad omg" war. You don't need to be a writer, but at least read fanfic and enjoy it. If you only have answers for one or two of the questions, that's cool, too--you don't have to answer all of them to participate!

Questions:

1) Why is taking characters/plots from writers/TV shows/movies/etc and writing fanfiction okay, to you? Beyond the disclaimers of "don't own these characters" is there a moral sense that it's okay, because you aren't hurting the owners of characters, or is there something else? Some deeper reason you feel this is a valid practice?

2) Are disclaimers such as "don't own anything, all owned by X" necessary? Appropriate? Why/why not?

3) Is it okay to take someone's fanfic that you loved, and write your own set within the world they created (i.e. someone taking my Post-apocalypse Heroes fic and continuing it (does Peter forgive Adam? Do Mohinder and Sylar work things out? Is Angela pissed Adam had Arthur killed?) or writing something spin-offy from it--what does the time traveler do once he's banished from Hawaii?)? Why? Why not?

4) For RPers: Is it appropriate/okay to RP someone else's OC somewhere they don't play them? Why? Why not? When does it become okay (i.e. when someone publishes them)? For instance--would it be okay if someone else RPed Melissa or Keelia somewhere I don't?

5) If you do not think #3 is okay--how is it different than #1? Why is it okay to write with professional author's characters and plots, but not other fanfic writers?

6) Same question for #4--why is it okay to RP/write fanfic about someone else's OC in a published work, but not a character created for RP or written in fic?

Thank you so so much!

Date: 2011-12-11 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thewatchmaker.livejournal.com
1) Why is taking characters/plots from writers/TV shows/movies/etc and writing fanfiction okay, to you? Beyond the disclaimers of "don't own these characters" is there a moral sense that it's okay, because you aren't hurting the owners of characters, or is there something else? Some deeper reason you feel this is a valid practice?

For me, writing fanfic is paying tribute to the creators of the character and the worlds they live in. I’m not making any profit from working in their sandbox, and I’d like to think that my work is spreading the word about their worlds. I do my best to make sure that I honor their work in mine by keeping my characterization accurate and working within canon as much as I can. Even my AU verses tend to be canon driven.

As an author, I am looking forward to the day my characters end up in someone else’s fanfic, because that will mean that I’ve made it.

Fanfic is also a great medium to practice the craft of writing without getting caught up in world creation. You can focus on characters and story while leaving the background to the creator of the world.

2) Are disclaimers such as "don't own anything, all owned by X" necessary? Appropriate? Why/why not?

I am horrible about putting up disclaimers on my fic. I do have disclaimers on my journals where I post though where I state quite clearly that I do not own the characters and worlds…

3) Is it okay to take someone's fanfic that you loved, and write your own set within the world they created (i.e. someone taking my Post-apocalypse Heroes fic and continuing it (does Peter forgive Adam? Do Mohinder and Sylar work things out? Is Angela pissed Adam had Arthur killed?) or writing something spin-offy from it--what does the time traveler do once he's banished from Hawaii?)? Why? Why not?

I do not read many other writers’ fanfic. I’m afraid of being influenced or copying someone else’s plot line. I would never use someone else’s fic as a basis for mine on purpose, but I’m sure it’s happened over the years by accident. Great minds do think alike after all.

There have been many times when one of my fics or a friend’s has inspired an RP set in the confines of the fic’s AU however, and that’s just good fun.

4) For RPers: Is it appropriate/okay to RP someone else's OC somewhere they don't play them? Why? Why not? When does it become okay (i.e. when someone publishes them)? For instance--would it be okay if someone else RPed Melissa or Keelia somewhere I don't?

I don’t like OCs in fic or RP. Most of them are Mary Sues or extremely poorly developed tweaks on a canon character. I can’t tell you how much I cringe every time I see another Petrelli sibling pop up. Angela and Arthur had two sons. They did not have a secret daughter who had telepathy and empathy, so that everyone loved them more than chocolate, yet Angela and Arthur had her locked up in the attic.

My perspective on this might be skewed because I started out RP in paper and dice world where all of our characters were built from the stats up, and they were all OCs. You had to be creative as hell to make a living breathing person out of those numbers, and I think a lot of OCs in fanfic are lazy self-avatars looking for porn.

Just like with plots – OCs aren’t all that original – but for courtesy’s sake use a different face and name.

5) If you do not think #3 is okay--how is it different than #1? Why is it okay to write with professional author's characters and plots, but not other fanfic writers?

I think it stems from not believing anyone else could write that OC better than the creator. I really don’t know why fanfic of canon is OK when fanfic of an OC isn’t. We’ll see how I feel about it when my novel’s characters get the fanfic treatment.

6) Same question for #4--why is it okay to RP/write fanfic about someone else's OC in a published work, but not a character created for RP or written in fic?

I think I covered this in #1 when I said why I write fanfic. It’s to honor the characters not to steal them.

Date: 2011-12-12 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spongetastic.livejournal.com
Long time no see :) This sounds like an interesting paper topic!

1. I always thought that since I don't make any money from it, it's okay. Like the previous commenter said, fanfic is a fan's way of expressing their love for the movie/TV show/whatever. And I also would consider it a great compliment if anyone ever wrote fanfic about my characters :)

Plus, with the internet I think writers are more aware of their fan-base. I've heard of some openly acknowledging that fanfic is out there and even knowing slang terms for popular pairings. That to me suggests that they're okay with it, even if the pairings baffle them.

2. I don't know if they're necessary or not, but I always try to put them in to my RP accounts and fanfics. It just seems like manners to me to acknowledging the great work I'm basing the story/character from.

3. I think that if you ask permission first, I don't see why not. It just seems polite to me.

4. Again, I think you'd have to ask permission first. Even if the work eventually became published, if I knew them I would feel like I had to ask just because I'd be extra self-conscious about it.

5 & 6: I can't explain the difference, except I think because the internet is so connected it's a lot easier for us to communicate with each other about this stuff. If a person did take an idea from another author and use it as their own but didn't ask the original author, that author would eventually find out anyway.

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Adam Monroe

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