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Is fanfiction a waste of time?

Fyri

Inkling
I'd imagine most fanfic authors would be overjoyed to have elements of their work show up in canon. Though it's probably a good idea to ask for permission first, just to avoid the possibility of starting shit with people.
I would hope that if an author knew about a fanfic and had canon content coming up that was similar for whatever reason, that they would at least nod to the fanfic artist—acknowledge the fan that accurately guessed a spoiler. Or if they actually used a fanfic to inspire a piece of the same canon, yeah! Be involved with that writer! Get their permission and acknowledge their co-authorship for that bit! I just like to imagine authors and fans having fun together and supporting each other. XD It's my happy place. XD
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
I would be amazed if any published Author ever read any fan-fic based on their work.
Let alone acknowledge, or worse use, an idea.
It would leave them open to so many plagiarism lawsuits.

That said I do write fan-fic that I will never share with anyone! [It's really good Therapy!]
 
I would be amazed if any published Author ever read any fan-fic based on their work.
Let alone acknowledge, or worse use, an idea.
It would leave them open to so many plagiarism lawsuits.

That said I do write my own fan-fic that I will never share with anyone! [It's really good Therapy!]
I can understand why it would cause issues if an author were to use a fanfic idea for their own profit, but help me understand why it’d be wrong to read it?
 
I would be amazed if any published Author ever read any fan-fic based on their work.
Let alone acknowledge, or worse use, an idea.
It would leave them open to so many plagiarism lawsuits.

That said I do write fan-fic that I will never share with anyone! [It's really good Therapy!]
My counterpoint is that as long as there's communication beforehand, would most people want to sue an author for incorporating something they created out of passion for the very thing it's being used in? It's like if you idolized Jeff Bezos, baked him a cake, and he asked you for the cake recipe so he could bake it for all of his businessman friends. Would you be mad at him?

Everyone's different, though. My view on the matter might be very slanted.
 

pmmg

Myth Weaver
I would hope that if an author knew about a fanfic and had canon content coming up that was similar for whatever reason, that they would at least nod to the fanfic artist—acknowledge the fan that accurately guessed a spoiler. Or if they actually used a fanfic to inspire a piece of the same canon, yeah! Be involved with that writer! Get their permission and acknowledge their co-authorship for that bit! I just like to imagine authors and fans having fun together and supporting each other. XD It's my happy place. XD

Oh man...I don't even want to think about that can of worms. The Story I am writing has been in my head for 20 years or more. A fanfic type may write something similar, and I might say lucky guess, but.... Dont kid yourself. This ship has already sailed. Fortunately, I am five books an done. I dont think I will revisit the tale after. So, it would have a short window to come up if it did.

But if Fanfic leaves me open to accusations of plagiarism, I will just skip it till I am finished writing it. Or there would have to be some understanding that stuff you post as fanfic may or may not show up in a story, and its ownership is not shared.
 

Fyri

Inkling
Yeah, XD I stopped counting my years after 10. The whole series has been finished (handwritten) since 2013. And my musings about reading fanfics about my own work may change when I actually find that bridge to cross.
 

Aldarion

Archmage
There's nothing wrong with writing fanfic, many writers start like that. One example would be Harry Turtledove, who originally wrote what became the Videssos Cycle as a Lord of the Rings fanfic. Then he want to university, studied Byzantine history, and then re-wrote what had been a fanfic to be something quite different and a lot more original.
My own world began as a Lord of the Rings fanfiction... unfortunately, I personally share a lot of problems with Tolkien too!
I used to write fanfiction a LOT back in high school (including a novelized version of Ocarina of Time) but these days I don't get the itch to write it.
Sometimes I have a fanfiction idea that I can file off the 'serials' and make it an original work. which is fine, and works most of the time.
Other times, not so much, those times that particular story idea only works in that fanfiction setting (whatever world it is) and I'm not entirely sure when or if I should bother writing them.
If it makes you happy, write. But if you have to choose between the original world and fanfiction, choose the former.
 
My own world began as a Lord of the Rings fanfiction... unfortunately, I personally share a lot of problems with Tolkien too!

If it makes you happy, write. But if you have to choose between the original world and fanfiction, choose the former.
I typically tend to choose original fiction for an idea, IF it can work in that form.
Very rarely anymore do I choose fanfiction over original fiction, but some ideas are too ingrained in x or y universe for story purposes.
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
The general rule of thumb with fanfiction or fan art is that you can't charge money for it or to access the site where it is published. In some countries you need to acknowledge who owns the characters etc the fanfiction is based on.
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
I can understand why it would cause issues if an author were to use a fanfic idea for their own profit, but help me understand why it’d be wrong to read it?
You can't unknow something. You would be leaving yourself open to being sued, especially if there was money involved.
It is probably more of an issue in Music, where issues over similar lyrics , themes etc. often end up in the courts.
I have a vague memory of an Author [Piers Anthony and the Xanthe series?] having to stop going to conventions because people would come up to them with ideas they could use in their books
 
I have a vague memory of an Author [Piers Anthony and the Xanthe series?] having to stop going to conventions because people would come up to them with ideas they could use in their books
Again, since my point is seemingly being ignored- why would you sue someone for using an idea you offered to them?
I'm not saying this as if my viewpoint is the be-all end-all and what doesn't make sense to me is therefore impossible, I'm genuinely asking in an attempt to get a more complete awareness of the problem.
 

Mad Swede

Auror
Again, since my point is seemingly being ignored- why would you sue someone for using an idea you offered to them?
I'm not saying this as if my viewpoint is the be-all end-all and what doesn't make sense to me is therefore impossible, I'm genuinely asking in an attempt to get a more complete awareness of the problem.
Because you want a share of the income. It has happened too.
 

pmmg

Myth Weaver
Again, since my point is seemingly being ignored- why would you sue someone for using an idea you offered to them?
I'm not saying this as if my viewpoint is the be-all end-all and what doesn't make sense to me is therefore impossible, I'm genuinely asking in an attempt to get a more complete awareness of the problem.

I was not thinking your post needed a direct reply. It contains enough hedging words to appear that you must already know the answer. Some people suck, and money is a strong motivator. What else is there to know? If you have something, you can be a target. How many phishing emails do you get? and they don't even know if you have something successful.
 
I was not thinking your post needed a direct reply. It contains enough hedging words to appear that you must already know the answer. Some people suck, and money is a strong motivator. What else is there to know? If you have something, you can be a target. How many phishing emails do you get? and they don't even know if you have something successful.
I have a bad habit of overusing hedging words. :sorry:

Pretty much because my parents tried to correct me when I went in the other extreme- talking too much in absolutes... can't win 'em all, huh?
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
I can understand why it would cause issues if an author were to use a fanfic idea for their own profit, but help me understand why it’d be wrong to read it?

Not an expert on this, but I think this is the line of reasoning.

So have you ever read a book and realize certain things are exactly or very close to what you're currently writing? I have, and more than once or even twice. Now, imagine that happening with a published author reading a piece of fanfic based on their series of books. This is probably even more likely to happen in a series because a foundation has been laid out and all one has to do is extrapolate. And with hundreds or thousands of fanfic writers extrapolating, sooner or later, someone is going to come close.

Now here are the facts. The fanfic existed before the author's current work. The author has read said work.

Now, the author can truthfully claim that they came up with the ideas on their own, but can they claim they weren't influenced even a little afterwards, maybe maybe not. You can't unsee something. And then, if the court doesn't believe the author, they're screwed. So to better protect themselves, they simply never read fanfic. Now they can truthfully say there's no way they were influenced even a little.

In general, I think fanfic writers would be cool with things, but all it takes is one person, either legitimately thinking they've been stolen from or one unscrupulous opportunists who sees a chance to pull that lever on the slot machine, to make the author's life a lot more complicated and expensive as lawyers get involved. So why risk it?
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
In general, I think fanfic writers would be cool with things, but all it takes is one person, either legitimately thinking they've been stolen from or one unscrupulous opportunists who sees a chance to pull that lever on the slot machine, to make the author's life a lot more complicated and expensive as lawyers get involved. So why risk it?
And, by and large, this sort of situation would be a career ender. Authors aren't exactly rolling in dough, and lawyers are very expensive, indeed. An indie can simply be drubbed out of the game because now it's their career or their savings. All just to defend against the suit, valid or not. A trad author can find their publishers distant, because it's bad business to promote a plagerist, true or not. Reputation is everything in this industry. Everyone knows everyone else, and we are a gossipy bunch. So why court disaster when it's so much easier - and safer - to just not go there? Especially since not reading fanfic is a very well-known and accepted practice.
 
Okay, so it’s just an accepted practice? I had no idea. Or is it an accepted practice to making sure you only read it in secret? Because I suppose it’s about not openly saying you’ve read your fanfic, because from a legal POV openly saying you’ve read it is the part that is going to get you in bother.
 
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CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
Again, since my point is seemingly being ignored- why would you sue someone for using an idea you offered to them?
I'm not saying this as if my viewpoint is the be-all end-all and what doesn't make sense to me is therefore impossible, I'm genuinely asking in an attempt to get a more complete awareness of the problem.
You might not. And I believe that most people wouldn't. But the author of the original work, doesn't know you won't and they don't know that no-one will. They can't take the chance.
 
Money and feeling of ownership are 2 very strong motivators. Say you write fan-fic in the universe of an author. You write a lovely fan-fic novel, which takes 2 years to complete, and you put your heart and soul into it. The story is liked by the fan community of said universe. Now that universe blows up and becomes the next Marvel. The next movie comes out, and the story is the exact same one you wrote. The author earns $100 million.

How do you now feel? Most people would feel ripped off and cheated and like they are entitled to at least some of that $100 million. Even just 1% of that kind of money is life changing. Now imagine if you know that the author has read your story before work on said movie started?

And it can happen on a smaller scale as well, simply because most people have no idea how little an author actually earns. I mean, they see someone wrote a bestseller. That can simply mean you sold 10k copies which made you $2 each. Hardly stellar. But they don't know that. They only see bestseller and assume you're making millions. And they want some of that.
 
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