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Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006, 04:50 pm
losyark: Fanfiction Author = Tie-is Author?

Hey, all!

Just a thought, brought on by all the comments on the last two posts I did...

It seems a lot of Tie-In novel authors were at one point, fanficcers: P.N.Elrod, Anne Hathaway-Nayne, Susan Sizemore, Melissa Good...

So that begs the question - do you think it's the networks and copyright holders that seek out the authors? Or do you think it's the authors that seek out the copyright holders?

I find it very interesting that what appears to be the majority of writers for tie-in novels are fans of the original text. Obviously, these are people who have invested a lot of time and care into this realm, so who else is better to write the tie-in?

I suppose that's the penultimate measure of sucess for a fanficcer: to have one's work become canon. (More or less as there are always debates in the fan community about whether tie-ins are or are not canon. I suppose that depends on if the original/primary text utlizes the tie-in as canon. If something that happens in a tie-in is refered to in the canon, then I guess the book is canon!)

My question is, do these tie-in authors ever go on to become writers for the original text? It'd be very interesting to see if any fan-author every became a can-author. Obviously they can't for canons like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. But what about Marvel or DC? A currently running television program, like Lost or House, or a future one, like a new instalment of Star Trek?

Also a question: as a fanfic author seeking to be a published author, would you take down your fanfiction once you've become 'legit'? Would you pretend you never wrote fanfic in your life? Or would you keep it up but keep your lives seperate? Or keep it up and not seperate RL and OLL at all?

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 08:13 am (UTC)

I understand that after Grant Morrison left Doom Patrol (an amazingly cool comic book that was put out by DC under the Vertigo imprint), Rachel Pollack was brought in as the writer largely because of the intensity of her fandom for the series and her many, many letters to the editor during Morrison's run.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 08:28 am (UTC)

Also for DC, I think Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, the Atom) used to write fanfiction too, at least, that's the impression I got from her post here.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC)

I do know of at least one case where a fan fic author took down her fic when she became legit. I got the impression it was on the orders of her publishers. And that wasn't a case were it was fic with the serial numbers filed off. I can see if you were doing converted!fanfic it might be sensible not to have the fan!version still around and giving the game away.

I don't really have any ambitions to become a pro!author and I like to think that I could keep writing fic if I did but I could also see how that might lead to legal difficulties and my publishers not being happy bunnies.

At the risk of causing an arguement, I can see how some people might think it was an advantage if certain authors went pro and had to take down all the stories they had posted ;-)


(Deleted comment)

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)

In order to write a Star Wars tie-in, the author has to already have two books published. (I think I remember reading that the number was two, anyway) Either way, they have to already be established as professional writers before Lucasfilm will approach them about writing a tie-in.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)

Also at the SW writers panel at Dragoncon, Allston and Stackpole were very careful to point out that they stay very far away from fanfic and this is partly on orders from Lucasfilm.

My impression was that it was highly unlikely that any SW fanficcer would ever be professionally published (which is too bad -- I know older writers who could write rings around the SW mil-fic that's being put out.)

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC)

A.C. Crispin started out as a fanfic writer. She moved on to write novelizations and eventually collaborated with Andre Norton.

I know of one fanfic writer in The Sentinel fandom who took her fic down when her original writing took off.

Sat, Sep. 23rd, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
klangley56: What fan fiction did A.C Crispin write?

I'm curious about your statement that Ann Crispin started out as a fanfic writer--mostly because I remember her declaring quite stoutly, decades ago in the pages of INTERSTAT (the primary ST letterzine of its day) that she didn't do so. (Nor do I ever remember seeing any fan fiction by her, unless she was writing under a pseud . . . ) The only fan-related writing of hers I know are the pro ST and SW novels she wrote. Can you elaborate, please?

Thank you.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)

This tie-in book is by a fanfic author and her fan work is still up, though not all under the same name.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)

The author of one of the official Stargate: Atlantis tie in novels is a fanfic author and also active in the fandom. She's careful to keep her fanfic identity separate from her real life one outside of fandom, but much less so within fandom.

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)

I believe Melissa Good wrote two Xena episodes, Legacy and Coming Home. (Comments on the process.)

Mon, Sep. 18th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)

So that begs the question - do you think it's the networks and copyright holders that seek out the authors? Or do you think it's the authors that seek out the copyright holders?

I know sometimes the copyright holders seek out the authors. I believe this was the case for a friend of mine who was approached about writing Wiseguy tie-ins, on the basis of her Internet fic. And afaik, it was the same for someone I know on LJ (not sure she'd want her username released here) who was approached about writing Quantum Leap tie-ins.

Also a question: as a fanfic author seeking to be a published author, would you take down your fanfiction once you've become 'legit'? Would you pretend you never wrote fanfic in your life? Or would you keep it up but keep your lives seperate?

I'm rather proud of some of my fic; no, I wouldn't take it down. I would, however, try to keep my "lives" seperate. Shouldn't be too hard: online I am izhilzha, and very few of my online friends know my full RL name, which I would use if I should ever be published. And only my fellow fans in RL know my online handle.

Tue, Sep. 19th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)

I was doing searches on LJ keywords recently, and what struck me as interesting was that two LJ communities have been started by fans of a fanfic author who turned pro this year, whereas some pro authors who have been writing for years have no such fan communities. I have no doubt that many of the readers from those LJ communities were members of the fanfic community who were already familiar with the author's fan fiction. It seems incredibly ungrateful for pro publishers to hide the fact that some of the money they're receiving from sales of authors' books derives from the very community that the publishers are trying to pretend their authors never belonged to.

To me, the most beautiful example of a fanfic author who bucked the trend of hiding one's fanfic past is Lori L. Lake. Not only did she not hide her fanfic past, but she didn't hide the fact that her novels Gun Shy and Under the Gun were uber Xena novels (i.e. AU novels that were different enough from the original to be considered original fiction).

And the stories are still up in the fanfic archive where they were first posted. When I learned that, I felt like buying all her books. And taking her publisher out to dinner.


By contrast, when I hear that a publisher has forced an author to deny her fanfic past, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to buy the publisher's other books. (Of course, I don't penalize the fanfic author by refusing to buy hers.)

At the time I came into the fanfic community, I was a pro nonfiction writer who was aspiring to be a pro fiction writer. As it happened, it turned out my Muse didn't much like working with other people's characters, so I never had to face the problem of whether to take fan fiction of copyrighted works off my site. (I do have Arthurian and Divine Comedy stories there.) But I had to deal with the issue of whether to reveal I posted original m/m fiction in the slash community, a problem doubled by the fact that I was also posting my stories in the gayfic community and didn't want to be boxed in by labels.

It's only during the past year that I've begun to feel comfortable enough to say openly that I write for both slash readers and gay fiction readers. Interestingly, I've gotten nothing but positive responses from my gay readers. Many of them have never heard of slash and immediately rush over to the slash sites to see what the sites have to offer.

That, to me, highlights the real tragedy of the great cover-up of fanfic-turned-pro authors: that outsiders don't get a chance to be exposed to a positive perspective on fan fiction.

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)

That has, I think, been a luck of the fandom thing, a lot of the uber-xena fanfic authors have been able to keep their stories online after print publication - Melissa Good (as mentioned above), Blayne Cooper, T. Novan, Susan Meagher, LJ Maas, Kim Pritekel, BL Miller, Mavis Applewater, Anna Azel, Linda Crist, Lois Cloarec Hart, and many more have kept their stories online and often their web pages URL are included in the book.

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)

Good lord. Not being in the Xena fandom (I stumbled across Lori Lake's site by accident), I had no idea that so much of this was going on. Thanks for telling me! I'll have to track down these authors' Websites.

Sat, Sep. 30th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)

A belated WOOHOO! Thanks so much for going to the trouble to supply that list.

Tue, Sep. 19th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)

Way back in the dawn of Marvel time Jim Shooter was a fanwriter. He was hired as a teenaer to write for them after he approached other writers at a con and went on to be president of the company for a while.

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)

Amused to see Missy Good in that list, since she was a fanfic writer, a writer for the show (Robert Tappert was specifically looking for a fan to try writing an episode, it didn't have to be a fanfic writer) and only then asked to write a story for an official Xena story collection after that.

Apparently people had been suggesting that she should be asked to write a story for the collection and the person organising it was not interested. After she'd written the episodes it was put to them again that this person who had written for the show might do a story, and they were all for it. At least that's how I remember hearing it.

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)

Black Libary publishes books for the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K universe, which is based on a RPG/tabletop universe. Don't ask me about them, because the only contact I have with them are the books (particlarly the Gaunts Ghosts series by Dan Abnett) and the comics (particularly Daemonifuge). Basically they are a publishing house who bring out several books, a monthly magazine, comics, merchandise. You might have heard of the Warhammer computer games, Dawn of War (Strategy a la Command & Conquer) and Fire Warrior (First Person Shooter).

They encourage fanfiction writers (you are allowed to post it at their official forum) and offer a potential opening into real publishing (usually that you might first get your short stories published in their short story magazine, then their anthologies and maybe then potentially a novel, they also offer short story contests and the winner will get their story published in one of their anthologies).

It should be noted that naturally the fanfiction stories can't get submitted directly (since publishers as a whole are only looking for stories that haven't been made public elsewhere before), but I'd certainly consider this a positive environment toward fanfiction and amateur writers. One other difference is that (I'm guessing) they only allow you to use their universe (political situation, races), but you are still expected to create your own original characters rather than continuing the stories of the characters from other book series. I don't know if that is even theoretically possible on their forums, it seems that most people are more interested in writing original characters anyway. It should also be noted that this type of fanfiction is probably written mostly by male fans and usually not shippy in nature (they are mainly looking for action short stories for their anthologies and magazines).

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)

Almost all of the current Doctor Who writers (including Russell T Davies, who resurrected the show) started out as writers of the tie-in novel series, and before that they wrote for fanzines.

Mon, Sep. 25th, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)

I'm told a fanfic author became a writer for Angel the series -- Mere Smith. Unfortunately she's not my favorite canon writer by a long chalk, but she's there nonetheless, and notable for having written fanfic in the same universe that she subsequently wrote canon for -- as opposed to writing fanfic in one universe and later becoming a canon writer for another.