Authors who won’t ‘tolerate’ fanfiction

This is a rant that’s been brewing in me for a long time, but I’ve held my piece. Well, today I had another go at trying to read ‘Blood Canticle’ and I just can’t hold back any longer.

I find authors who refuse to allow fanfiction to be written, frankly, offensive. It is an insult to your fanbase, it is an insult to the history of narrative, and it is an insult to the authors own skill.

‘But,’ people say, ‘an author has the right to defend their intellectual property’.

Yes, they certainly do. But here’s the thing; fanfiction has not ever, and will never result in a loss of revenue for that writer. Fans of the series, especially since its mostly hard-core fans who write, willalways buy whatever new book their chosen author has written,. In fact, they are probably on the internet panting for it, and will preorder it and buy it *hardcover*. People read fanfiction to supplement their enjoyment of canon, not *instead* of canon.

If authors want to complain about something causing damage to their income, they should look to used bookstore owners. Used book sales give no money back to the author, enriching only the dealer. Fanfiction doesn’t make anyone any money (more on that later) except possibly the author, in the form of free advertising.

And then there’s the argument that somehow fanfiction equals ‘defamation of character’ or will cause people to confuse fanfiction with the canon writings of the author, thus influencing potential buyers negatively.

Um. No. Just no. Not only are most fan authors courteous enough to leave a nice disclaimer at the top, usually on every chapter. Even if a fic doesn’t
have an explicit disclaimer, even if the fic is high quality, anyone who thinks that JK Rowling is going to be posting her next book on under the name Moonygrl4evah666 is severely brain damaged.

Placing restrictions on an art form that that doesn’t take money away from you, and doesn’t enrich anyone else’s pocked *and* idolizes you is more than stupid, its ridiculous. Its pompous, its nuts.

For another thing, fanfiction has been going on since man had language, since long before man could write. Do you really think that story-tellers and bards didn’t embellish the popular stories? That they didn’t make up new stories about the popular characters of the time? Where would King Arthur be if they had copyright laws in the middle ages? Where would Jesus Davidson be if they had copyright laws 2000 years ago?

Yes, I think that fanfiction authors are the bards of our time, wandering between the colonies of the internet, telling their stories paid only in coins of praise tossed into their hats. I think that people have the right (not the privilege) to write whatever they like about whatever characters. I think that embellishing, changing and adding to stories is a natural occurrence, and that disruption the flow of that narrative’s life is the real crime. And I think fanfiction authors would be allowed to receive payment for their efforts. But that’s just a pipe dream.

How anyone can think that they own a story or a character is completely beyond me. There are only so many different types of people, with so many different pasts, and only so many situations you can put them in. All stories are fanfiction, permutations of the natural narrative forces that flow within our souls. Archetypal characters and never ending stories. Truly these have a life beyond the page, and the pen of their author, a life force that anyone can tap into, with greater or lesser levels of success.

In my mind there is only one honest reason an author can give for disallowing fanfiction involving their characters,

They’re afraid. Afraid that their fans can write better stories than they can, that their fans know the characters better than their canon authors do, can bring them to life in prose in ways that would turn the author green with envy.

Considering the popular authors who restrict their fandom, in particular, Anne Rice, it’s no surprise that they are scared their fans can do it better. After she has raped her characters, writing them more out of character than any devoted fan ever would, and having more typos than a fourteen year old, I can understand that fear. I think we’re lucky she doesn’t write in script format.

So she jealously guards her copyright, sitting on it like the horde of some mad and dying dragon. I will drink a toast to her passing, when it happens, and personally aid in the restoration of the once beautiful characters whose images she has systematically sullied.

(x-posted to fanficrants

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