Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Diana Gabaldon really doesn't like fan-fiction

No I mean she really doesn't.

"...it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf..."

Overall she makes some good points and is certain entitled to a strong opinion on the matter, which affects her directly. But one eyebrow inched up when I saw:

"...Ergo, including sex is by far the easiest way to get someone to look at something. I assume that that’s one of the reasons fan-fic authors so frequently write sex scenes or slash stories."

Okay, benefit of the doubt here. I will assume she specifies gay sex stories because they are more common in fanfiction.

"I wouldn’t like people writing sex fantasies for public consumption about me or members of my family—why would I be all right with them doing it to the intimate creations of my imagination and personality?"

But the dividing line between reality and fiction is feeling a little thin here. However her closing point is the most problematic even for authors who are not that bothered by fan-fic interfering with the lives of their fictional "family".

"If I learn about fan-fic and _don’t_ make any protest, I might at some point lose all control of what’s done with and to my characters. Practitioners could point to the fact that I knew about this stuff and didn’t object over a long period of time, ergo, I must think it’s OK...."

Her blog post has 502 comments. That's too many to even consider reading IMHO. No doubt I am just repeating what is in there....


Kassa said...

I read a bunch of the comments. No clue how many since they're not numbered but at least a quarter, maybe even skimming to a half.

There are 2 types of posters:

Those that support her comments due to their loving her work. These posters largely are unfamiliar with fan fiction, ie. they don't read it and have no interest in it.

The second type are those that write fanfiction and thus find her post rude and insulting. These posters profess the only reason they write fanfiction is out of pure LOVE for the material. All of them claim it's not illegal and perfectly legitimate form of creative writing. (Oh and several will never ever buy DG's books now since they cant fan fiction them).

Rinse and repeat with some back and forth between the two groups in between.

On the whole pretty well written but really the fan fiction writers never address that the author, creator of the characters feels possessive of them and doesn't want people messing with them, which is the whole point. Everything else is just details everyone is arguing over.

Anonymous said...

Gabaldon's opinion might not be popular in the fanfic world, but the law is indeed on her side. Fan fiction written without permission of the original creator of a copywritten universe and/or characters, is indeed in violation of international copyright law, since it counts as a "derivative work." Multiple authors have successfully sued fanfic writers for copyright infringement.

I agree with Gabaldon. If you want to write, write your own original stuff with original characters and settings. Don't do fanfic, unless you're prepared to get sued.

veinglory said...

I don't think it is any great secret that I have written fanfiction, and I have yet to be sued. It does not happen very often and it is easy to work out which fandoms are being tolerated or are out of copyright.

I would not say it is a black and white issue. I have mixed feelings about it especially when it comes to real person fic or fiction in fandoms against the original creators will.

Anonymous said...

She has posted a follow-up and has promised at least one more post on the topic.

Erastes said...

there are ways and ways to ask people not to write fanfic - this was an example of "how not to do it."

I think the part that shocked me most was saying that fanfic (or indeed pro fic, as she does exactly what she advises) is ok as long as you take other people's characters but CHANGE THE NAMES. *boggled*

Anonymous said...


Just because you haven't been sued doesn't mean you haven't broken the law. That's like saying it's perfectly OK to steal if you don't get caught.

It's a perfectly black and white issue as far as I'm concerned. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. Anyone with a shred of professional ethics knows better than to do that. That's why fanfic is and always shall be a denizen for amateurs.

veinglory said...

Just because I have written fan-fiction doesn't mean I have broken the law either--that assumption goes both ways (the truth, I suspect, being somewhere in the middle).