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Discussions "Fanfiction" and the Written Word

Discussion in 'EU Community' started by Darth_Zandalor, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. Darth_Zandalor

    Darth_Zandalor Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 2, 2009
    Since this sort of discussion is usually frowned upon in Lit, and there's no way in hell I'm going to get a rational discussion out of the people in the Episode 7 Expanded Universe Thread, I thought I'd post this here.

    Why is it that "fanfiction" as a derogatory term is so often attributed to only written works? When I see EU detractors spout off the usual "Fanfiction garbage" "amateur tie-in" complaints, they always seem to target books or comics specifically. I've never seen a person declare something like Knights of the Old Republic or The Force Unleashed non canon, but it always comes back to the books.

    The main argument is that they are not written by George Lucas, and therefore not legitimate. However, a series such as the Clone Wars, or a game like Force Unleashed are given a pass because the big man Okay'ed them in the first place. I'm left wondering why the books then get such a bad rap. Is it because they take different approaches to the Star Wars universe, sometimes in ways that don't align with the original vision? In that case, Knights of the Old Republic 2 is the furthest away from what Star Wars is about (given that it challenges the views of the Force and shatters the universe's perception of reality). But, KOTOR2 is not a book, hence it is given a free pass.

    If we were to compare this line of thinking to Star Trek, then any episode written after Gene Roddenberry's death would be "fanfiction", since most of the writers by that time had grown up watching his show, and in some cases, challenged the ideals of his future Utopia. (See Deep Space Nine). But the episodes are always given a pass. Meanwhile the books are declared non-canon, even when the Relaunch series that follow up on events after the shows ended keep a continuity with the episodes.

    So I keep coming back to the question: what is it about writing words down on a page that separates the legitimacy of a work from a game/movie/tv show? Why are books the ones being targeted as useless tie-in garbage? The double standard perplexes me, and the more I look at it, the more I see the detractors arguing from a stance of ignorance. Most people have never read the New Jedi Order series, and the premise seems to be enough for them to attack it vehemently for not being the Star Wars they are used to. But at the same time, Knights of the Old Republic also isn't the Star Wars they are used to, but since they've experienced it, they are more willing to accept it as part of the franchise.
    BultarSwan likes this.
  2. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    I think that it makes people feel powerful, in their own way, to use "fanfic" as an insult towards Star Wars work in general. Some people I don't think mean fanfic in a bad way either when making it a critcism of pro authors. For instance using ones favorite characters and having them always come out on top is a staple of fan fiction that pro authors often fall into as well.

    A lot of fanfic is excellent, one just needs to sort through what they don't like to get to the good stuff of course.

    Also, in general, I think that as time passes by less and less people are actully interested in reading, much less writing. A lot of people seem to get their story fix by reading a wookieepedia article. I think they in general lack an understanding of how very difficult it is to write a full length novel, the months and endless hours that go into such a project.

    I mean someone can spend hundreds of hours, and truly years, crafting their story only to have someone dismiss it as garbage in an instant. As you mention ignorance seems to be a key factor, and it is ignorance on a lot of different levels.
  3. Bale

    Bale Jedi Master star 4

    May 9, 2005
    Zandalor, you bring up a good point. I also wonder if things would have been different if Lucas had started with more of a writing background, instead of a visual, film-making background.
  4. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 2, 2012
    I call the post-NJO, TCW, and TFU fanfiction, so it makes to difference to me whether it is written or visual.
  5. Prodigy_Knight

    Prodigy_Knight Jedi Youngling star 1

    Mar 10, 2013
    They're intently misusing the word, when you write fanfiction you have to be clear that "I am not the owner of X" or else you get sued, the authors of the EU are clearly working for Lucas, now Disney, that's why they're not sued that's why it's official, that's why it's not fanfiction.

    What they're trying to get across is that the product in question is not up to their standards they're deliberately equating "fanfiction" with "shawdy quality", what makes it baffling is that the standards they're comparing with is just their fanfiction which they didn't publish.
    Darth_Zandalor likes this.
  6. BultarSwan

    BultarSwan Founder: Grand Rapids, MI FF star 10

    Jul 5, 2003
    Haters are going to hate.
  7. General Immodet

    General Immodet Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 5, 2012
    Joiners are going to join.
  8. MRCynical

    MRCynical Jedi Knight star 1

    Oct 7, 2008
    They're illiterate or semi-literate and can't stand the thought that to fully understand the backstory of their beloved movies they might have to actually read something. So they stamp their little bootees in the hope that doing so will make the big bad books go away.
  9. VanishingReality

    VanishingReality Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 21, 2013
    I have read fanfics on par/better than the series (Which is pretty impressive considering Star Wars is amazing to begin with). It's not fair to say a quality of writing is any less powerful because it's not published. I do not use fanfic as an insult.

    Movies and TV shows are just considered more legitimate because they are the hardest medium to execute successfully and the most costly whereas fanfiction is the easiest because the only overhead required to make a fanfic is a keyboard and internet access.
  10. Ewok_Slayer

    Ewok_Slayer Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 24, 2004
    I enjoy fanfiction much better. The writing may not be up to par to professional novelists, but the writers are not constrained and therefore can just about write anything they want. This makes it easier for readers to find something up their alley. Fanfiction is a fantasy world of 'what-ifs'. If people don't like it they don't have to read it. People shouldn't call the EU or TCW or the video games fanfiction garbage, because they are licensed SW products. Fanfiction is something written by a fan. You also have fan art, fan films and Cosplay. They are all fan driven. I usually don't hear much hate against fanfiction as much as the EU. And I can sort of understand the EU hate. There are a lot of things out there that should never been considered canon in the SW universe. The SW comics are considered canon...which is ridiculous. The comics were written for little kids and have outlandish plots and situations. The same goes for some of the young reader novels. What really irritated me is after the writers get the young readers hooked on the YJK books and their characters they proceed to slaughter a great number of those characters in the NJO and they continue the slaughter in LOTF and FOTJ. It is hard to get behind the EU when so many of your favorite characters are brutalized. I know it is war...but sometimes enough is enough.
    VanishingReality and leiamoody like this.
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