What if George Lucas Hates Fanfiction?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by patjohnson999, Nov 11, 2005.

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  1. patjohnson999

    patjohnson999 Jedi Youngling

    Nov 10, 2005
    Hi, everyone, long-time lurker, but first time poster. Some recent discussions I saw had me wanting to post here so that I can get some opinions from you guys.

    This is fantasy author Robin Hobb's [link=]rant against fanfiction[/link]. And this is [link=]someone's rebuttal against her article[/link]. I have been thinking quite a lot about the two articles above. And I was wondering what would have happened if George Lucas actually hates fanfiction like Robin Hobb above. Do you think her points are valid? (the second rebuttal article features both her original rant and the arguments against it, so you can click the second URL instead for an easier read)

    Will anyone still write SW fanfics if Lucas says that he hates them?
  2. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    What if George Lucas Hates Fanfiction?

    Frag 'im. He lost the plot with the Prequel Trilogy. Granted, he found another one...but its poodoo.
  3. emimar

    emimar Jedi Youngling star 3

    Apr 3, 2003
    It depends. Even as a writer and reader of fan fiction, there are times when I hate it. I love the well written stories like The Legend of the Blacksaber by the Wandering Shadow, but I hate ones that are poorly written or go against what happens in the offical novels and films etc (but if anyone can come up with a better plot for Revenge of the Sith without Grevious would be welcomed by me). I don't like ones that have no originality and I look upon fan fiction as a way to start out writing and improve it before you embark on something of your own. It also gives you a chance to find out if people like your writing style before taking the risk with sending it into a publisher. I can understand why writers like Robin Hobb may hate fan fiction, as they haven't hadother people writing in their "universe" or even using their characters. With Star Wars it's a little different as there have been many authors that have written in the Star Wars universe, sometimes using their original characters or the ones George Lucas created himself (I'm taking about the novels, comics, etc here, not fan fiction) and I think that reason alone encourages people to write fan fiction.
  4. DarkMan77

    DarkMan77 Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 23, 2005
    Fan Fiction is a bliss, it connects likeminded people, even if they do not agree, or do not share a point of view.
    Writing Fanfic is an outlet for most of us and whether people read your fic or not is irrelevant.

    My point is, "Here on TFN ,we all love star Wars" and want everyone to know it.

    If GL were to hate fan fiction, that is his problem, not mine, and i would not stop writing and posting, and i think that goes for the majority of fanfic writers on TFN.

    Greetings from the Dark Side,

  5. -Darksaber-

    -Darksaber- Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 22, 2005
    I only began loving Star Wars and became a fan through fanfiction. Since then I've spent hundreds of pounds on SW stuff, and all of the money has gone to Lucas...Without it, those bills would still be in my piggy bank. Not that I think he needs it, mind you. I'm just making a point :)

    Fanfiction means more fans, and more money for authors. I'm not sure GL would particularly enjoy fanfiction, but he probably recognises its need to exist.

    As a fanfic author myself (admittedly, not a very good one) I would say that sure, I'd still be writing and reading fanfic. Lucas's POV may be important, but I don't think he owns SW any more. The fans do.

    Forgive me for this meaningless ramble.

    -Padawan Jodie-wan
  6. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I think that fanfiction would continue even if Lucas hated it. It would just go underground like it did whenever an author threatened to sue people for copyright violations.

    However, Robin does have a point. It is a copyright violation of the original author's work. That Lucas doesn't try and stop expansions of his universe, either in fanfic or films or any other medium is wonderful. Keep in mind, too, that Lucasfilm did go after prop builders that were not in his franchise but that was a money issue. However, copyright is not about money but about unauthorized use.

    I've met several authors who absolutely despise fanfiction and rant about it at conventions. I've met others who look on it with resignation and others who encourage it. It really does depend on your POV.

    I've also met people who made fanfilms and didn't get any money from them and then others made DVDs of the first person's fanfilms and made money. And the first person wasn't sure what they could do about it since they didn't want to get Lucasfilm involved but it was a violation of their copyright as well.

    As for Robin's rant about how real authors wouldn't write fanfiction or only bad writers write such drivel, well, obviously she's wrong by just looking at the quality of work on tf.n. <shrugs> her loss.
  7. PonyTricks

    PonyTricks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2003
    only bad writers write such drivel- Drivel? As in 'talking planets' and 'Leia falls in love with Prince Fabio after just one kiss that's so great she forgets all about Han' kind of drivel? I've read some MIGHTY bad 'profic' books, (SW and other types). I guess it just depends on what you consider 'drivel'.
  8. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    I was going to say, what a load of self important garbage - interesting to note there are no links to any other page, a place to refute. It's just 'there'.

    This author tells a story and expects it to remain stagnent, unchanging. I guess she had snark fits when her editor said "change this", or "This doesn't work".


    For the record, George had said as much that he doesn't really like fan fic (Oddly enough he embraces fan films which are visual fan fiction) but he knows that a) trying to stop it is imposible and b) it is only a free ride, some people get introduced to SW via fan fic....

    PS, I posted at the rebutall.
  9. Layren

    Layren Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 28, 2003
    Breezy, I read that entire article and all the rebuttal -- and I must say I loved what you posted over there. =D= Very well said.
  10. LadyPadme

    LadyPadme Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 26, 2002

    Kudos, Breezy, I like what you said, too =D=

    That Robin whats-her-face seems to me to be a joyless sourpuss with a hugely fragile ego. It's always the middling talentless ones who seem worried that their 'creations/profit' will be stolen. As if.

    I think Lucas and people like Rowling have a smarter attitude. Allowing fanfiction just makes people more likely to be into the original creation. Even if you have the weirdo who once in a while wants to write a perverted version of the original, the balance overall is generally truly devoted fans who just enjoy the work and want to share their enthusiasm. This Robin person misses out on that kind of fan base, which is her loss--penny wise and pound foolish [face_shame_on_you]
  11. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Oct 10, 2002
    Go, Breezy! Well said. =D=

    If anyone is interested in a different author's perspective on fanfic try Karen Traviss' blog.

    George Lucas isn't really a writer; he's a filmmaker. So I can understand his preference for fanfilms. The fact that he sanctions fanfilms in my mind means he isn't out and out opposed to fanfic. Then again that doesn't mean he likes it.

    For those who argue that fanfic steals from the profic pot-o-gold I'd argue differently. Fanfic story threads have some of the hottest discussions on profic stories. People buy the book so they can participate in those, and also to see how close their favorite stories came to the real deal.
  12. EmilieDarklighter

    EmilieDarklighter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 19, 2002
    I don't think personal opinion really makes a difference. Even if he does hate it, he knows that he would lose a lot of credit in the eyes of many fans if he banned it. Fan activities keep interest up, which keeps people buying Star Wars merchandise, which puts money in ol' George's pocket.
  13. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2005
    What if George doesn't like spaghetti?
    What if I don't find his plaid proclivities all that fashionable?

    It makes no difference.

    I look at fanfiction as a more grown up way of playing with action figures. We're just writing our stories down and sharing them with the class. The only person losing money or face in the endeavor is the fanfic writer. Think about it, if we all picked up a minimum wage job and worked the same hours that we do writing our fics we'd all be able to go to George's casa and take him a cake and some balloons.

    George built us a universe and invited us over to play. He can't send us home and now that Saga is o-vah he would be crazy to do so.

    The other rant...
    I'm not a profic writer. I am a proNONfic writer, however, and fanfic is what I do to unwind and keep my creative edge.
    I read the little diatribe by a writer whose work I don't hold in any esteem and quite frankly like everyone else was insulted. Granted, there are multiple levels of fanfic ability and unfortunately this author has not read enough to see that or what she has read has threatened her. She's lashing out against the adolescent core of fanfic--the writers who are still finding their voice. I don't think she's brave enough to challenge those whose skill is on par or above her own. It was a ridiculous self important spiel written by someone who essentially writes the kind of quest plots that are nothing more than JRR TOLKIEN fanfics with all the names changed. I think George is above this kind of asinine ranting and according to Robin Hobb's logic George's archetypal plots and characterizations are essentially fanfic as well.

    What makes a profic writer better than a good fanfic writer? Simple: a good agent and a contract. Are profic writers more intelligent? More worldly? More creative? No, they're just lucky and writers like Robin Hobb fail to realize the role that luck plays into their "success". I've found a lot of the fanfic to be of a higher quality than some of the profic that's seeped out into the commercial market. Just because you can find someone to publish your work doesn't make it golden. There are lot of poor quality books published. You can use music as an analogous case: Are all musicians with a record contract brilliant? And subsequently anyone who performs a cover song automatically pathetic?

    What a silly woman--I must find her convention schedule if she has such a thing.

  14. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Wrangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Jul 7, 2000

    Here, here! And luck. I've read better here than in some books and wouldn't stop writing or more importanly to me, searching for fanfic to read, because it satisfies a need I have to see the sagas continue.
  15. correllian_ale

    correllian_ale Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 20, 2005
    from what I've seen or read, Lucas doesn't seem to dislike fanfiction per say, but seems more to be rather anoyed with AU fanfiction.

    "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" mentality. I would think, (this is only speculation), to Lucas it comes off as AU ficers being un-wanted editors.
    You were doing great until THIS POINT, then I decided to change it...
    That's how I would view it anyway. I personally have the "what happens next" mentality, where the story never ends, which is the kind of fiction he, I think, doesn't mind. As long as we aren't tampering with what he created, which was in esscence a labor of love, then I think Lucas is o.k. with it.

    That being said, his potential hatred would more likely sour me to him and the series as a whole (the six films), but I would never stop reading, or writing fanfic; or the profic for that matter.

    If anything I think his opinion could stem from frustration that most of us writes better dialouge than him.;)
    But that's just me. as far as this Hobb's rant, she just used fanfic to try and promote herself...
  16. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    As I heard Timothy Zahn put it once, we've been invited to play in Lucas' sandbox. We just can't get angry when he runs over our toys.

    I'm such a huge fan of open-source projects that the idea of not sharing a universe is a little strange to me. I mean, let's face it- I'm using an open source web browser on an open source operating system, with open source graphics programs and word processors and whatever else pleases you. It doesn't cost me anything to use it, and if I say, "Hey, I think this feature would be nifty to script in," I can just go straight into the source code and change it. The original ISOs on the intraweb remain exactly the same, but now you can do something spiffy. Tres fantastic. Many, many cool programs have resulted from such thinking. Many crap programs have, too, but that's life. You can't expect to only have good stuff.

    And we all know about the stability and reliability of oh, say, Microsoft... :rolleyes: Even Apple isn't immune- many people were uber-excited about Spotlight, which has been touted as being wonderful and awesome (which I'm not trying to argue, mind you). What not as many people know is that the very same thing has been a feature in Linux system for years... and it goes one better on the indexing. I won't bore you with the technical details, but what it amounts to is that when people can just mess around with the source code at will, good products come out much more quickly than if it gets stuck in the red tape of bureaucracy.

    The point of this lengthy metaphor is simply this: fanfiction is a lot like open source projects. It allows novice writers to practice their craft within someone's larger project, rather than having to build a story from the ground up. Tweaking code is easier than entirely rewriting it, and the same applies to the writing of stories. Writing a bad program isn't a poor reflection on the original coders of Linux, it's a bad reflection on the person who coded it. If I download a bonus package for the GIMP that causes it to crash, I'm not going to think that the GIMP is awful because of it. I'm going to think that the person who made the extra package doesn't know what the heck s/he's doing. Reading a bad fanfic doesn't sully my image of Star Wars. This particular author just seems to have a control complex.

    For an example of open source at its best: [link=]NetHack.[/link] I love their philosophy- You can modify it and distribute it however you please, so long as you acknowledge that it started from NetHack, and that you allow those you distribute it to to change it at their will. And it has to remain free of charge. This has not been detrimental to the game in any way, shape, or form. It's one of the oldest games that's still widely played, and is firmly embedded in geek culture.

    Embrace the open source, embrace the fanfic. :D
  17. AlisonC

    AlisonC Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 27, 2005
    I'm going to add my two cents here:

    Fan fiction is free advertising, first of all. Someone else is putting their own sweat and tears into creating art, then sharing it for free. Sure, quality varies, but I don't think anybody is going to read a really bad fanfic over at and think that it's a flaw in Star Wars (or any other fandom). Almost everyone will realize it's the fic writer's problem. (Hobb's analogy of photos being altered doesn't work, because while posting altered pictures of a person might defame hir, the reason is that there is a good chance people will believe the fakes to be real. If I see a short story posted to or these boards or the other fanfic boards I look at from time to time, I know it wasn't authorized by George Lucas or anybody else, and a bad fic will not make Star Wars look bad. We know what the real thing is.)

    Second, it can actually create sales. I ended up buying one of the three-in-a-paperback YJK books at B&N a couple of weeks ago, because I wanted some extra characterization info for a fic I'm writing. I wouldn't have done that if it wasn't for fan fiction.

    Third, there's only so much canon material available. Yes, Star Wars has a lot, but many fandoms don't, and even within Star Wars many people have favorite eras/characters/groups/etc. and there is a limited amount of licensed work to enjoy. Fan fiction (and fan films, and fan art, and all the other good stuff) keep fans excited and involved.

    Last, fan fiction isn't uncreative. It CAN be, but so can writing original fic that is formulaic and badly done. The process for writing fanfic is very similar to writing historical fiction, and sometimes the line between the two isn't clear. I spent several years working on novel-length "Biblical fan fiction," which could be counted as historical fiction or fanfic. It stays true to canon but adds a lot. The only difference between this and a Star Wars piece is that one is public domain content (not specific translations) and one is not.

    Fanfic is excellent for practice. The characters and places are already known, so that allows a writer to sharpen hir other writing skills without worrying about it. It's easier to practice new types of fiction (angst, adult, action, humor, etc.) when some of the pieces are already in place. And, like I said, it's even better practice for historical stories.

    All right, that was more than two cents.

    And if GL said he didn't like fanfic, I'd still write it. And I'd keep posting unless it was specifically prohibited; then I'd write a little and just keep it on my hard drive.
  18. Lovely-in-Orange

    Lovely-in-Orange Jedi Youngling star 3

    Apr 21, 2005
    You all have made some wonderful points. One thing I have trouble understanding is the perspective that AU writers must wish the movie or book had gone differently or think they can do better. While that maybe be true for some, it doesn't describe everyone. There's nothing in the main plot of the movies I truly wish were different. It's simply a way to gain a new perspective, explore an issue differently, or challenge myself. Perhaps it says something about Ms. Hobbs that she thinks we're all arrogant, know-it-alls who think we can do better than anyone else. Transference anyone? :)

    Even though I've published a little non-fiction, I find that writing here continues to help me work on some of the problems I have there such as writing slow and stressing too much over minor details. It's a confidence builder that helps me in my job, whereas if I wrote original fiction I wouldn't get the feedback or encouragement that helps me. At least that's my rationalization for writing. The real reason is that it's fun.

    The cake mix analogy amuses me. My mom, a home economics major/cooking store manager, can turn a box of cake mix into something tasty that doesn't really resemble the picture on the front of the box. It's all about seasoning and creative ingredient substitution. Of course, it can also turn into something that tastes bizzare, but then we all learn from the experience. What great cook hasn't started from altering someone else's recipe?

    Those blogs of Karen Traviss's were cool, btw. I'd much rather read her work now. :)
  19. Indra

    Indra Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 31, 2003
    Very well said, all of you. What surprised me most about the article is that the author doesn't seem to have the slightest idea of why people are writing fanfiction. Throughout the whole article I felt being accused by her of just writing out of spite to sully the original work. As if the only reason for my spending time writing is to enrage the author. I found the whole thing rather arrogant and always had the impression that she was missing the point of fanfic. It's sad to see that someone can judge a form of creative expression that harshly, obviously without really trying to get a picture of what it is.
  20. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    I'd just like to say that I probably wouldn't spend a whole lot of time in the SW fandom if it wasn't for fanfic.
  21. AnakinGirl05

    AnakinGirl05 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 1, 2005
    How can he hate fan fiction? It generates sales of his product...the SW universe. I agree in that I would probably not be as into now if not for the fan fiction. There are some amazing writers out there doing nothing but fan fic. I personally do not see anything wrong with someone putting their spin on the goings on of the GFFA...what harm will come of it? We, as a whole, do not make any money off of it and we do it because of our love for all things SW.

    I think I would continue to write fan fics even if he did come out and say he hated it, I enjoy it too much to not do it. I would probably write them at least for myself to read. I write in a way AU style...not everyone is for that, which is fine, but really I am just doing it for my own enjoyment and causing nobody harm in doing so.
  22. Sionnach-Airgid

    Sionnach-Airgid Jedi Youngling

    Jul 20, 2005
    Hi! Sorry to barge in. I usually only lurk, but the topic was intrguing, so . . .

    Personally, I think fanfiction is one of the highest honors a writer can receive, provided that it's done tastefully, of course. I love reading fanfiction because it keeps the story alive well past the boundaries of the book or movie, particulary when the series is over.

    As for the AU fanfics, I absolutely love 'em! If you think about real life there's always more than one choice to make and that choice can lead to many possible outcomes. Before I found out about fanfiction, I used to make up all different stories for my favorite characters. Sometimes the stories would take place during a time not written or shown and sometimes they would involve alternate paths.

    And fanfiction is really difficult to write! I have a great admiration for several fanfic authors and the way they're able to capture the characters and the worlds they live in so well. I always start writing one and then never finish because I'm not sure if I captured the characters' personalities correctly. Maybe one day . . .

    Anyway, as I said above, I think authors should be honored that fans love their characters and the worlds they created so much that they want to write about it. I am currently working on my own Fantasy saga and, if it ever manages to get published, I would be awed if someone actually wanted to write a fanfic about it as long as they put in the proper disclaimers.

    Of course, that's just my personal opinion. Sorry so long! [face_blush]
  23. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Sep 16, 2004
    I too read that nifty little author rant, and I just had to laugh. Way to whitewash fanfic with the "stupid waste of time and energy" label. Her books must just be flying off the shelves if she's so threatened by what her fans write about her world. (/sarcasm) I've worked in a bookstore for over a year, and if her books have ever crossed my counter to be purchased, it's happened far too rarely for me to remember. Personally, I had never heard of her before I read this thread. Guess you learn something new every day. :)

    Honestly? Fanfics aren't hurting anyone, and they may actually help people learn about books they wouldn't have otherwise touched on their own. I write primarily KotOR fics, and I've had a few readers who have never played the games, yet they are intrigued by my stories and want to learn more about the era.

    You learn very quickly that you can't become overly attached to your stories, lest you become less receptive to constructive criticism regarding them. It sounds like this individual conveniently forgot that lesson. Sad, really.
  24. kotorchick

    kotorchick Jedi Knight star 4

    Aug 11, 2005
    I'm going to say this right here, and right now.

    First, I've never heard of the author of the rant. I'm not a huge fantasy buff, but I know my Tolkin (I read those books back in sixth grade). I've heard of some fantasy writers, and if she's so high and mighty, I might ask why more of us don't know her name.

    Second: I'm a fan fiction writer. The main reason I came to these boards was for fan fiction. I write Wicked fics (based off of the work of Gregory Maguire, Stephen Schwartz, Winnie Holzman, and all those other creative minds) but I've NEVER written an AU, though I've come close. In fact, my primary fic is set twenty years after the musical. My writing partner and I created the plot, created the characters, and those characters that everyone knows and loves are in the background. If I don't flex creative muscle while I'm working on that stuff, I don't know what I'm doing. I have no intrest in becoming a professional writer, never have. But this is an activity I find fun, and it uses the creative energy I've been given. Not all fan fics are AU and change your plot, or change your chracters. They may stay EXACTLY THE SAME! Though, granted, that can be boring, it can be quite interesting. They explore the land you didn't. Don't you find it gratifying that someone would WANT to see more of what you had created?
  25. Fate

    Fate Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 22, 2003
    What if George hates fanfiction? I couldn't care less.

    Short and sweet. ;)

    Edit: Oh, and the article? Hogwash. She was obviously bought off. It's a shame she chose to devote so much time to such stupidity.


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