What everyone has been linking to (and what doesn't necessarily deserve a signal-boost, but I am nevertheless enjoying the discussion it's generating): Diana Gabaldon's anti-fanfic blogpost
I'm pretty sure that ye olde fandom circles have already covered all the ways that she is Wrong On The Internet -- everything from the flawed analogy of the creepy neighbor to her misinformed understanding of copyright law to the heinous tone of having the moral high ground for being Published For Reals and not writing any filthy, aesthetically displeasing
fanwork -- but the point that made me tremble with rage was the assumption that fanfic is practice, that being Published For Monies is the only way to be a Legit Writer, and that if we're writing other people's characters we're just too lazy/uncreative/what-have-you to make up our own.
So let's break this down for a moment. In part this particular point got to me because, growing up, my parents were always supportive of my writing but also always at me to stop fucking around with fic and get some Legitimate Writing done. Eventually my rote defense became "It's practice! I'm getting feedback so that when I write my own stuff I'll already have the craft down." And for a while I even bought into this response myself, but ... One is not better than the other, and putting fanfic down on questions of morality or legitimacy or aesthetics is spectacularly missing every point. I only speak for myself here, obviously, but I write fanfic because I love interacting and having dialogue with the creative works that are close to my heart, and because being in a community of people who want to do the same thing is awesome beyond words.
Not entirely separately, I do
want to be Published For Monies. Not all the stories in my head are dialogues with already-existing work, and while the fic-writing and the original-writing compulsion are related, I derive slightly different joys from each. I figure, if someone will pay me to do something that I love, that's excellent. (I also figure, if the universe turns out to be made of puppies and rainbows, I might end up having a tiny Yuletide fandom for my books or something. And that would be amazing
.) But being Published For Monies doesn't make me a more Legit Writer, it just means I get money instead of comment threads. And even if I do manage to get published, I'm absolutely going to do what a handful of awesome fannish people do already, and keep writing fanfic.
So, with all due respect, fuck your legitimacy and moral policing, Ms. Gabaldon.
...And if that was too srs biznes, a couple of links!
1. A list of derivative works
, like, y'know, Shakespeare and a bunch of musicals. Obviously new copyright law shifts the paradigm a bit, so I don't know how well it technically stands as a defense of transformative works, but it does get the damn point across.
2. Anti-fanfic bingo card
. There's a bingo card for EVERYTHING, isn't there? It's sort of amazing how many of these Diana Gabaldon managed to go through.