Sunday, May 31, 2009

A FanGirl Goes Wild

This isn't new news, but others like me who aren't into fanfic may not have caught wind of it. I'm writing about it now for your education and because it's popped into my mind every once in a while since I read about it, always coupled with the thought: "Dude, seriously?"

A fan of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series wrote a fanfic. But Russet Noon isn't the run of the mill slash fiction that I imagine (since I haven't looked) keeps the series alive in certain corners of the interwebs. The author of this novel length story didn't just post it for other fans to enjoy; she tried to sell it. Copyright infringement, you scream. Ah, but it's not because:

Writers and readers all over the net have opened their eyes to the truth: authors sell their fanfiction and get away with it. Sure, published authors play a safe game around copyright laws and change the names and circumstances of their characters around just enough to claim they've created a new character. Yet, in the end, every single author out there weaves their stories around archetypes that have existed since humans started telling stories in caves and around fires.

Ask anyone in Hollywood. Every story you see in movies and books is a recycled formula where authors merely plug in characters with different identities and histories. No author truly creates characters. The characters already exist in the archetypal world that Jung, Freud and Joseph Campbell have described in their books. The author is a medium who channels these characters. The origin of all characters is the Shared Mind, the only mind that truly exists. Our minds are all one single ocean of shared memories, fantasies, dreams, nightmares and visions.

She's not a thief because we're all thieves. Silly me. All this time I've been toiling away trying to bring my own characters to life and tell my own stories when I could have stolen borrowed Kelley Armstrong's or Patricia Briggs', changed a few minor details, and gotten paid.

But is there any merit to the "author's" metaphysical claims? Maybe. While it seems more likely that people writing in the same genre will have similarities due to drawing on the same source material, maybe each time we read something and think "oh, that's just like what so-and-so put in her book" it's because both writers dipped into the same spring in the universal unconscious.

Yet, I can't help but note that she didn't create her own characters and offer to share them with folks of like mind...


azteclady said...

Her um... "logic" boggles the mind, does it not?

The interesting thing to me is that there are those who consider her a victim--you know, she worked HARD at this, the poor thing!


An Again said...

I *almost* get it. On the one hand, as a teen, I wouldn't even read the licensed/authorized Dragonlance books written by people other than Weis & Hickman. I wanted the characters I loved written by their originators or nothing. So I've never been a big fan of fanfic.

But it is hard work. I guess that's the other reason that I don't dig fanfic. It's missing what, to me, is the most fun--creating characters that practically breathe on their own. And yet, coming up with any beginning-middle-end in a story that really moves is hard.

All that work for something that isn't really yours...

azteclady said...

But see, I understand writing fanfiction--I see it as an extension of those pseudo dreams I would have as a young teen where I would pull a complete Mary Sue and insert myself into that world.

What I don't get is thinking that *that* makes the characters or the universe yours to profit from. Hello, someone else CREATED those characters, you are just appropriating them.

An Again said...

See, if I hadn't already thought you were cool from showing up and keepin' me company, those childhood dreams would have sold me. Granted, mine didn't end with childhood, but I'd like to be paid for my work, so I've only been tempted to write one such story. And even then, it would have been legal under fair use.

I think that either she didn't get that metaphysical law doesn't hold sway in the physical world (if the controversy hasn't convinced her, she'll get it if she tries to jump off the roof to fly through the astral plane) or she knew better but hoped she could snow enough other people with her argument.

azteclady said...

I hope it was the first... but fear there was a bit of the second, along with some self-deception.

azteclady said...

oh and hey, you think I'm cool! :grin: Yay!

(thank you)

An Again said...

LOL. Like I said, you keep me company, plus you admit to a childhood quirk that I pretend I never did. Fierce!