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Fan Fiction Writers as Poachers

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Pallas-Athena, Apr 17, 2002.

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  1. Pallas-Athena

    Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 4 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 29, 2000
    Hello all!

    Well, I was in my television class today and, lo and behold, we were studying fan culture, esp. fan fiction. I, of course, had to stick up for it - not the most pleasant of times, mind you.

    One of the readings got me fairly interested, and I'd like to share some parts with you guys.

    From Jenkins, Henry III. "Star Trek Return, Reread, Rewritten." Television: The Critical View. Ed. Horace Newcomb. New York: Oxford,1999.

    "poaching" - "an impertinent raid on the literary preserve that takes away only those things that seem useful or pleasurable to the reader" (p. 471) "Respecting literary property even as they seek to appropriate it for their own uses, these fans become reluctant poachers, hesitant about their relationship to the program text, uneasy about the degree of manipulation they can legitimately perform on its materials, and policing each other for abuses of their interpretive license" (p.473).


    "Many fans characterize their entry into fandom in terms of a movement from social and cultural isolation, doubly imposed upon them as women within a patriarchal society and as seekers after alternative pleasures within dominant media representations, toward more and more active participation in a community receptive to their cultural productions, a community where they may feel a sense of belonging" (p.473).

    "Fan writing is almost exclusively feminine response to mass media texts. Men actively participate in a wide range of fan-related activities, notably interactive games and conference planning committees, roles consistent with patriarchal norms that typically relegate combat - even combat fantasies - and organizational authority to the masculine sphere" (476)... "to fully enjoy the text, women are often forced to perform a type of intellectual transvesticism, identifying with male characters in oppostion to their own cultural experiences ... to explore their own narrative concerns" (477).

    "The ready-made characters of popular culture provide these women with a set of common references for discussing their similar experiences and feelings with others with whom they may never have enjoyed face to face contact" (478).


    "Women, confronting a traditionally masculine space opera, choose to read it instead as a type of women's fiction. In constructing their own stories about the series characters, they turn frequently to the more familiar and comfortable formulas of the soap, the romance, and the feminist coming-of-age novel for models of storytelling technique" (482).

    Oh, no you're not sexist ... shesh!

    "... fans ... generate their own norms that work to insure a reasonable degree of conformity between readings of the primary text ... Fans try to write stories to please other fans; lines of development that do not find popular support usually cannot achieve financial viability. Moreover, the strange mixture of fascination and frustration characteristic of fan response means that fans continue to respect the creators of the original series, even as they wish to rework some program materials to better satisfy their personal interests" (486).

    He goes into many other details includig AUs and slash, but it's nothing that we wouldn't say "duh!" to.

    So, what do you guys think? :confused: Healthy discussion, anyone?

    (Remember that these aren't necessarily my views, so DON'T SHOOT THE MESSAGER!)
     
  2. Jedi Girl of Corellia

    Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2000
    LOL! intellectual transvesticism?

    Hah! I think that many of the points this guy makes is very true. However I do not agree with the whole intellectual transvesticism statement. Women do not need to 'connect' with their masculine side. They write fanfiction to have power over something they like. And to incorporate more femine attributes into the story, something that does make the story more entertaining for women (so we turn SW into a chickflick). Women are not trying to compensate for not having violent tendancies and participate in imaginary battles.

    However, that could explain much of the Obi torture. But that, I think is from the natural motherly instincts instilled in women. The 'nurture' instinct, and you can't nurture anybody who doesn't need it. So we create a situation where Obi or any other chatacter needs it.

    Good topic tho Pallas!
     
  3. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    I've read Jenkins ("Textual Poachers") -- I find him a bit sexist and a little too obsessed with the sexual fiction. There's plenty of fiction that isn't slash or smut, and isn't even romance. However, his point is simply factually true about the prevalence of women in this particular part of fandom, and the kind of uneasiness we sometimes encounter in the fan world.

    "Literary transvestitism... " Uh-huh. Yeah.

    Every writer of every genre -- fanfic or original -- eventually needs to become a multiracial androgyne at the keyboard. That's not exclusive to women writing in "men's worlds." If you're going to be believable, you have to be able to crawl inside a lot of different skins. Obviously, you don't literally stop being who you are, because you need to keep control over your characters and your scenarios, and those characters and scenarios will be impacted by who a writer is, but I think "transvestitism" is a bad way to think about it. It implies too much subterfuge. The writer who is doing a POV story can't make a distinction between writing a man, writing a woman, and writing an orange frog. It's the individual character that matters. I do not approach writing Anakin differently than I approach writing Leia in any qualitative way based on their gender or my own. I don't make special preparations to write Anakin. I don't think, "Well, how would a man see this?" I think, "How would Anakin see this, and would there be a difference in how he would see it through Vader's eyes?" (Oddly, I got a comment specifically from an early reader of "Father's Heart" that said, "Ah, yes... here, you show how a man would see this scene differently than a woman would and how he would have totally different priorities... ")

    Now, I'm not saying that I always get it right, but I don't think I mess up my men any more or less often than I mess up my women. (My male friends haven't gone into mad gales of laughter at my fictional guys for a few years anyway.) It's an individual character slip-up. I've had a few of those lately (mainly being taken to task for writing kids older than they are, which is what I get for reading Card and Potok).
     
  4. Pallas-Athena

    Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 4 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 29, 2000
    I agree with both of you.

    I think he makes really great and accurate points about fanfic authors in general, but he goes down a slippery slope when he addresses the subject of women writers. True, most on the boards are female and true, most do add a more romantic side to SW (I myself am quite gulity of this [face_love] ), but I think that this is only the case in a small majority. What would Jenkins say about Juile (a women that writes action) or starwarsfan1000 (a guy that writes romance)? Where do they fit into his ideal? We could name drozens of others. Yes, I have mush in my fanfics, but there's also people fighting with lightsabers, it wouldn't be SW without it.

    And there are fanfics on soap operas, so his thoughts that "feminine texts do not need as much reworking as science fiction ... in order to accommodate the social experience of women" (478) isn't exactly held up.

    One thing that stuck me as odd when reading this article is that he never mentions the internet. It was written in 1998, so maybe the internet wasn't as popular then, but still ... the TPM fan base would have been building. Makes me wonder if his argument matched the internet fanfics of the time. Maybe he mentioned it in his book later *shrug.*

    I too write Anakin fics (my newest is actually in the 1st person on him) and I always think how would Ani (as seen in TPM, Vader in the OT, in the AotC trailers, and, to a lesser exent, the EU books) react to this situation? I don't think I'm trying to do an "intellectual transvesticism," I'm just writing the thoughts of one specfic person.

     
  5. Lordban

    Lordban Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2000
    He'll dismiss Julie and starwarsfan1000 as exceptions, in which he would be relatively objective...

    Now don't worry, Pallas, some of what follows is rather offensive, but I'm not shooting the messager ;)

    "Respecting literary property even as they seek to appropriate it for their own uses, these fans become reluctant poachers, hesitant about their relationship to the program text, uneasy about the degree of manipulation they can legitimately perform on its materials"
    -> Well, that's the whole point of FanFics, Mr Genius, drawing on materials you do not own to provide entertainment to yourself and others. There's no money in it and no need to sell something competitive (need to get a high number of reviews perhaps ? :p and still it does not hurt anyone). There's just imagination, and sometimes even talent.

    "Many fans characterize their entry into fandom in terms of a movement from social and cultural isolation, doubly imposed upon them as women within a patriarchal society and as seekers after alternative pleasures within dominant media representations, toward more and more active participation in a community receptive to their cultural productions, a community where they may feel a sense of belonging"
    -> When is it since fandom is a sign of social isolation ? The point of fandom is to share, but those who join fan groups may well be entirely integrated in life. Just because you like something enough to share your experience with other people is no sign of social inferiority. The mass of fans are no different from the lambda individual.

    "The ready-made characters of popular culture provide these women with a set of common references for discussing their similar experiences and feelings with others"
    -> Ah. Yes, I've sometimes felt a little frustrated when amidst a group of girls "worshipping Hayden/Anakin", but male fans also did a pretty good job at frustrating me with their "worship of Natalie" - there's no major difference. References do are useful to share experiences, but so long as there's no abuse of them (sorry girls :p ) there's nothing depreciating in their use.

    "Women, confronting a traditionally masculine space opera, choose to read it instead as a type of women's fiction. In constructing their own stories about the series characters, they turn frequently to the more familiar and comfortable formulas of the soap, the romance, and the feminist coming-of-age novel for models of storytelling technique"
    -> This is not a statement applying to all fics, but it does apply objectively in the cases of many fics, especially the cases of those written by younger teens, though it's nowhere as strong as is suggested by Jenkins (then again, sorry girls, but there is objectively a higher dose of romance in fanfics than there is in the original material, though it's often a pleasure to read some passages of romance that would never have existed in the original material owing to commercial reasons, not the least of which not to alienate teenage-boys who generally prefer action and don't give a damn about feelings and character exploration/exploitation).

    "... fans ... generate their own norms that work to insure a reasonable degree of conformity between readings of the primary text ... Fans try to write stories to please other fans; lines of development that do not find popular support usually cannot achieve financial viability. Moreover, the strange mixture of fascination and frustration characteristic of fan response means that fans continue to respect the creators of the original series, even as they wish to rework some program materials to better satisfy their personal interests"
    -> That's exactly it. And that's the reason why there's nothing new under the sun, and the reason why he can't understand the whole point of fanfics. The mere process of creation, be it or be it not with financial concerns, does involve a lot of personal involvment if you wish to create something that's worth spending time to read and reply to/buy.

    **

    "Every writer of every genre -- fanfic or original -- eventually needs
     
  6. Jedi_Anakin_Solo

    Jedi_Anakin_Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2001
    "Fan writing is almost exclusively feminine response to mass media texts."

    Wha WHA! Wait a minute! Ima GUY and I write FanFics!!!
     
  7. Jedi_Anakin_Solo

    Jedi_Anakin_Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2001
    "Men actively participate in a wide range of fan-related activities, notably interactive games and conference planning committees, roles consistent with patriarchal norms that typically relegate combat - even combat fantasies - and organizational authority to the masculine sphere"

    Okay.... I already disagree with this statement at the "Men actively participate" part. *COUGH*STEREOTYPE*COUGH*.
     
  8. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2002
    I agree with Jedi Anakin Solo. I'm a woman now, because I write FF?

    Uh oh!

    -Tim
     
  9. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    Yeah, that's another thing that hacks me off about Jenkins. Yes, there are fewer male fanfic writers than female ones, but they're not such an oddity that a person would stand and gawk. Or maybe that's just in SW -- is anyone into Trek-fic? Maybe the demographic is different, and that seems to be more Jenkins' focus. And Trek in its original form is a bit more of the stereotypical sexist sf... women as secretaries and telephone operators, wearing short skirts and fawning over the captain. SW doesn't have a lot of women, but the ones it has tend to be interesting in their own right. Some (Beru, Mon Mothma, Shmi) aren't even particularly beautiful in external ways.
     
  10. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2001
    "Women, confronting a traditionally masculine space opera, choose to read it instead as a type of women's fiction. In constructing their own stories about the series characters, they turn frequently to the more familiar and comfortable formulas of the soap, the romance, and the feminist coming-of-age novel for models of storytelling technique" (482).

    I found this part particularly offensive to women. How condecending can you get? We all sit around watching soaps, reading romance and feminist novels, and merely copy their style.
    Where is a rolls eyes icon when I need one?

    Pallas-Athena- Well, I was in my television class today and, lo and behold, we were studying fan culture, esp. fan fiction. I, of course, had to stick up for it - not the most pleasant of times, mind you.

    I'm just curious here what the other class members had to say. How many were aware of Fan fic, and what were their impressions of it. What did you say to defend the fic writers? It really irritates me. Why does this kind of writing need to be defended...that should be the real question.





     
  11. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Yeah, that's another thing that hacks me off about Jenkins. Yes, there are fewer male fanfic writers than female ones, but they're not such an oddity that a person would stand and gawk. Or maybe that's just in SW -- is anyone into Trek-fic? Maybe the demographic is different, and that seems to be more Jenkins' focus. And Trek in its original form is a bit more of the stereotypical sexist sf... women as secretaries and telephone operators, wearing short skirts and fawning over the captain. SW doesn't have a lot of women, but the ones it has tend to be interesting in their own right. Some (Beru, Mon Mothma, Shmi) aren't even particularly beautiful in external ways. >>

    And then you have the strong (and gorgeous)female characters: Leia, and especially Padme.

    I really don't know why many more women than men write FF-maybe it's because of the machismo factor-men think writing FF makes you a geek or something? I have no idea.

    -Tim
     
  12. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    I really don't know why many more women than men write FF-maybe it's because of the machismo factor-men think writing FF makes you a geek or something? I have no idea.

    It could be. Social play among girls tends to be more highly verbal than it is among boys, though the verbal gap does close eventually. That might contribute to the image of word-based play as feminine, and therefore shun-worthy, in later life. Or maybe its just the same as it is with names... once something becomes a "women's domain," men stay away from it. Not many American men are now named Hilary or Ashley, even though those were both perfectly good masculine names once; I think Jordan and Cameron are starting to go the same way. (Hooray to Lucas for calling Anakin "Ani" without apology -- it's about time the tables got turned!) Well, that's a digression, but essentially, I agree. I remember that being true in drama club in high school -- I knew guys who would have been good at it, but they thought it was just for girls and gay guys, so they stayed away, making sure that it was always populated by only girls and gay guys, which reinforced the image, so... (Not that there's anything wrong with either of those groups being in drama club, but it's a shame that other people stay away from it for such a silly reason.)
     
  13. Jacinta_Kenobi

    Jacinta_Kenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 23, 2001
    I find all the sexistism of it offensive. I will admit that males are fewer, but I know some....several, in fact. Enough that I feel that this is not quite fair to them!

    My mom laughed when I read this to her, especially at my tone of voice. She could tell I was just a bit angry. Her words, and I quote, "Wow...Wait'll I get my hands on you, huh, Brooke?"

    I laughed, because it was so true!
     
  14. Neon Star

    Neon Star Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 30, 2000
    Only a fanfiction writer knows how another writer feels. This man sounds like he doesn't have a clue! Yes, ff is written generally by women, but there are still a lot of men around writing as well. And so yet, I am speaking of woman writers here, we blow things apart, brutlize everything in site at times, kill off many main characters, and do not involve romance in any faction, we are still trying to revert it to a 'female' or soap writing! How offensive! I for one, no offense to others, can't stand soaps, and its hard for me to write romance, yet I am female. I agree, when you write, you don't look at it from a gender POV, you look at it from the character's POV. Heck, if I looked at Obi's POV like if he was just a man, he would really be screwed up by now. Someone needs to write this idiot and give him a clue! :mad:
     
  15. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    You want to know the scariest thing? He's considered an expert in the field, and people go to him for quotes.
     
  16. starwarsfan1000

    starwarsfan1000 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2000
    He'd probably say I have a screw loose in the head and recomend therapy, like my family would say, then use the reasoning that he is an *expert* and knows what he is talking about and since he is an expert, he has to be right. (rollyeyes) Experts aren't all they are cracked up to be, as this guy proves.

    Eric
    starwarsfan1000
     
  17. Pallas-Athena

    Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 4 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 29, 2000
    Yay! People are responding!

    I'm just curious here what the other class members had to say. How many were aware of Fan fic, and what were their impressions of it. What did you say to defend the fic writers? It really irritates me. Why does this kind of writing need to be defended...that should be the real question.

    Well, MariahJade, it didn't go exactly as I expected. I knew it was going to happen, so I made the decision before hand that I was going to speak up (I'm kind of a quiet person in class).

    The teacher asked if anyone was a fan, 3 people raised their hands. One was a Simpsons fan, but never was actually part of a community. Another worked at a convention thingy for pop culture stuff (don't ask me, I didn't quite get what he was saying). And then there was me, the only "true" fan by Jenkins' standards.

    The first question I got was:

    "Why do you do it?"

    "Because it's fun." There wasn't much into detail after that. Either the rest of the students in the class didn't care or really couldn't comprehend what I talking about.

    The whole thing was tossed around for a while until somebody said the joys upon joys:

    "Fan fiction writers do it because they think they could do it better than the orignal author."

    WHAT! I was getting all the more upset ...

    "No, that's not true, most people write their stories to commpliment the orginal text. Like for example somebody will write a story about Qui-Gon living, it doesn't mean that they wanted him to live in the orignal. They just wanted to develop a new idea and answer the question of what if. They're called alternate universes."

    Blank Stares. I continue:

    "After all, there's only 4 movies to watch. People want to many new stories in the universe. Some people will even write stories about what people were thinking during the movies. We don't want to change it."

    Somebody says something about screwing with the characters. About how we "mess them up."

    "We try to hold true to the characters. And some people write peices with their own characters. You know, the Mary Sue."

    More blank stares. Me again:

    "Some people will write 1,000s of years before the trilogy or a 1,000 years after. Whatever, anything goes."

    Then the conversation took a wild turn to Shakespeare and how he never had fan fiction writen about him. One person argued that Shakespeare in Love is a fan text. (Well, there is fanfic on [link=http://www.fanfiction.net/list.php?categoryid=765]Shakespeare[/link]).

    The hell! I raised my hand, but the conversation never got around to me again. I was going to add that mythology was a form of ancient fanfics - people used to create stories about Gods, Apostles and the like visting their town back in the day. Too bad I wasn't able to say that.

    My general impression? Most people either didn't know what it was or knew very little and were confused by the whole concept. Those who did know about it, knew very little and their thoughts were full of misconceptions.

    I have no idea what they thought of me after that class was over (not that I really care), but I get the vague feeling that they thought I was a loser or whatever.

    Overall, it was really upsetting, because fanfic is something that I respect and care about and I really wanted to be able to explian our world clearly and articulatly. I didn't get that opportunity. (I'll never know if it was my fault in not being clear enough or if the class just couldn't get it.)

    Fanfic is a complicated idea, anyway, and I could have blabbled on for that whole hour without charging any of their sterotypes.
    (btw: I hate soap operas too.)


    When is it since fandom is a sign of social isolation ? The point of fandom is to share, but those who join fan groups may well be entirely integrated in life.

    Exactly, Lordban. I do have a life with friends and everything. I don't think my class got that, though.

    This is not a statement applying to all fics, but it does apply objectively in the cases of many fics, especial
     
  18. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    Then the conversation took a wild turn to Shakespeare and how he never had fan fiction writen about him. One person argued that Shakespeare in Love is a fan text.

    That's a good point. A better one is that a lot of Shakespeare plays are riffs on poems and histories... they are, themselves, a form of fanfic. It's really only in this century that we started having this hang-up about not taking an interest in stories that already exist. Which is sad, because this is also the century in which we've been asked not to believe the old religious stories; we also can't believe in the new fictional stories in the sense of using them to explore ideas without being thought of as "kooks" -- the scenario basically leaves it in such a state that anyone who is able to find Truth in any story is considered suspect, and non-story facts are always shown in the worst possible light. Is it any wonder that mundane society tends toward nihilism?
     
  19. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2002
    "poaching" - "an impertinent raid on the literary preserve that takes away only those things that seem useful or pleasurable to the reader" (p. 471) "Respecting literary property even as they seek to appropriate it for their own uses, these fans become reluctant poachers,>>

    You mean like how GL borrowed things from mythology that he liked? From books, movies, TV shows, etc? So you mean if he used Wagner's Ring Saga as inspiration, he had to include EVERYTHING (I guess we'd see Luke and LEia marry and have a kid, then?) or else it was "poaching" because he only used the parts that he liked?

    I write music, and I only pick the notes and chords that I find pleasurable. Are musicians "poachers" too?

    <<and policing each other for abuses of their interpretive license" (p.473). >>

    Is that an overly verbose of saying "readers criticize fanfic just like everything else?"

    "Many fans characterize their entry into fandom in terms of a movement from social and cultural isolation, >>

    Well, yes. It must be obvious I live with a commune of other SW ff writers. WE live alone on a remote mountain, do nothing but write, beta each other's stories, and read, totally cut off from society- yet we have internet access...

    Yeah. OOOkaaaay.

    <<...toward more and more active participation in a community receptive to their cultural productions, a community where they may feel a sense of belonging" (p.473). >>

    So SW FF writers write their stories and share them with -GASP- other Star Wars fans?


    <<"Fan writing is almost exclusively feminine response to mass media texts. Men actively participate in a wide range of fan-related activities, notably interactive games and conference planning committees, roles consistent with patriarchal norms that typically relegate combat - even combat fantasies - and organizational authority to the masculine sphere" (476)>>

    Well, they do call it star WARS...

    ... "to fully enjoy the text, women are often forced to perform a type of intellectual transvesticism,>>

    Kids, the word for today is....

    "intellectual transvesticism."

    Wow. I feel dirty now. Hehehe.

    << identifying with male characters in oppostion to their own cultural experiences ... to explore their own narrative concerns" (477). >>

    So women don't write fics about/centered around female characters? Uhhh...ooookkkayyy.

    <<"The ready-made characters of popular culture provide these women with a set of common references for discussing their similar experiences and feelings with others with whom they may never have enjoyed face to face contact" (478). >>

    Well, I haven't had face to face contact with Shakespeare, Poe, Clancy, Twain, and a lot of non ff writers I enjoy.

    You mean pro writers do it because they always have face to face contact with every single one of their readers?

    <<"Women, confronting a traditionally masculine space opera, choose to read it instead as a type of women's fiction. In constructing their own stories about the series characters, they turn frequently to the more familiar and comfortable formulas of the soap, the romance, and the feminist coming-of-age novel for models of storytelling technique" (482). >>

    Well, okay, I guess we can ignore the strong SW female characters like Padme, Leia, Mothma, Mara Jade, Isard, Daala...


    "... fans ... generate their own norms that work to insure a reasonable degree of conformity between readings of the primary text ... >>

    You mean...GASP...ff writers are interested in continuity?

    <<Fans try to write stories to please other fans; lines of development that do not find popular support usually cannot achieve financial viability.>>

    And this doesn't happen in non-ff? I believe "supply and demand" is a law of capitalism, too.

    << Moreover, the strange mixture of fascination and frustration characteristic of fan response means that fans continue to respect the creators of the original series, even as they wish to rework some program materials to better satisfy their personal interests" (486). >>

    Gotta problem wit' 'dat?
     
  20. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    "poaching" - "an impertinent raid on the literary preserve that takes away only those things that seem useful or pleasurable to the reader" (p. 471) "Respecting literary property even as they seek to appropriate it for their own uses, these fans become reluctant poachers,>>

    Ooooh, so King Arthur (Mallory, Wagner, T.H. White), Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes don't count because they're "lit'ry," and are rewritten and appropriated by men?

    Puh-leez. The point is, writing fanfic is fun. It doesn't hurt anyone, if anything, it generates continued interest in the franchise. It doesn't cost much, and it can be done in the spare moments of a busy life. It requires a lot more creativity than sitting on the couch watching TV.

    And, best of all, it may help people hone their skills in plot & characterization to the point where they do start creating their own original works & worlds.


    Sheesh.

    --Renata
    (hates academics with "lit'ry" pretensions who look down on *shudder* GENRE fiction...)
     
  21. Casper_Knightshade

    Casper_Knightshade Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Once again political correctness/intellgence arrogance rears its sexist and racist head.

    I find the guy's remarks just as that. One again some doda with a degree puts men in this catagory and women in this catagory; mainly and unfortunately the women.

    Girls, women, and moms come here not to give up their 'identities'. They come here for many reasons but not to become men. If that were so there would be less female authors and more male authors. However it is the opposite: last I checked I think the F gender rules over the M gender by a 8 to 1 ratio. :eek:

    What takes the cake for me is this knuckleheads sincerity: that is he truly believes that every female here is trying to become a man, or dwells in the role of the typical 'marketed woman' (i.e. soaps and such). That males come here to write only advanture or only sex or some other Only. That all males do this, and all females do this. All, not some, but all.

    What a cart load of bantha poodoo.

    I can tell you that is not the case. That is males do this and females do that. I would like to know if this jackrabbit has ever read our stuff. Answer: no. Scientist like this guy, and I know, really one data sorted through some machine based on a test given to probably 20 people at random who answered an ad in a paper about fiction on the internet. He doesn't have the time to read our stuff, and if he did he wouldn't be making this critique.

    Then again the shallowness of this guy's thought processes truly amaze me.
     
  22. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    I've read his full book ("Textual Poachers"), and he does have experiences with fic writers, but it seems to me that his entire experience is with slash and smut writers, and mainly in "Star Trek" and "Sentinal" fandoms. He looks at this as the whole of fanfic. All the while I was reading it, I just kept wanting to hop the red line over to MIT and have a long conversation with the gentleman.
     
  23. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    No, no, JG. Hop the line to MIT to see what the latest "hacks" the kids have dreamed up, or to the Square to tell me if my fave Mex restaraunt is still there... but I'm sure if he even took the time to take you as an appointment, he'd only beam paternally and talk about how someday you might have a REAL writing career...

    (have had sooo many creative writing classes with folks like this... can you tell I don't bother anymore? Genre fiction gets no respect whatsoever in literary academia.)
     
  24. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2001
    A few days ago I was boiling off excess anger and was about to start a thread similar to this. Thank you, Pallas. I could believe it -- the other day one of my friends (who is aware of my obsession) actually accused me of plagiarism. Boy, I think I flew off the handle. Of course we're not copying anything or trying to write better than GL or the other original authors.

    It's preposterous!

    Am [face_love]

     
  25. HaiGan

    HaiGan Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2000
    Hmm. Wonder if the guy realises that many of his comments seem to be evoking spadefuls of that supposedly non-existant feminine tendency towards violence? ;)

    I would have to say that if he based his conclusions on a representative sample then he could be forgiven for some of his views. There is far too much soft porn crap out there. The writers here are an above-average group with a genuine interest in improving and telling interesting stories. Ergo, we are not a representative sample.

    Not that I agree with him, but I can sort of see where he's coming from.

    One mistake he made was to categorise people- regardless of gender- into 'fan-fiction writers' and 'non-fan-fiction-writers'. I suspect that everyone is, to a greater or lesser extent, a fan fiction writer. I have the feeling that everyone has, at some point wondered 'what if'. What if the hero hadn't done X, what if so-and-so had done Y. Just because most people don't bother writing it down doesn't mean they aren't a potential fan fiction writer.

    The next error, in my opinion anyway, is labelling fan fiction as different (with an implied 'inferior') to other fiction. Humans are natural story-tellers. It is no surprise if they tell stories about things they know and elements they understand and enjoy, and place topics and concepts that they are uneasy with into a familiar framework as a way of coping with them. Whether a story is set in the real world or a fictional world makes no difference to the relevance or quality of the story- the real world isn't something that the author invented either, does that make real world settings 'inferior' to fictional settings?

    Another mistake lies then in assuming that the choice of subject matter is ridgidly gender-dependent. Gender can determine life experience and- to some extent- personality, and it is those that affect choice of subject matter. Gender does not set anything in permacrete.

    It may be correct to say that across the population as a whole there are traits often categorised as 'male' because more men seem to display them than women, and vice versa. It is inaccurate and misleading to assume that all men display only male traits, all women display only female traits, and anyone who doesn't fit that pattern is 'transvestite'!

    'Poaching'? Hmm. Methinks he's implying that the original stuff is perfect in its entirety and included everything that the creator would have desired. Space opera shouldn't have any more character development than it already has, for example. Regardless of the fact that the creator almost always ends up having to take bits out due to the constraints of time, budget, and storytelling flow? I'd say not. Yes, I'd agree that people tend to write in more of the elemnts that interests them personally. I'd disagree that people ignore everything else, at least those writers that are genuine writers rather than porn merchants.

    Conclusion? As always, I'm bad at those. I think this guy has a rather extreme point of view, but some of his comments, if toned down and stripped of the overtones of misogyny, might be valid.
     
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