News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Fanficcers for Hire

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 29 March 2015 - 4:51pm
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    • Westword featured a story on another app targeted to fandom for content aggregation. It allows users to create separate collections, or 'nests', for different fandom content. Its creator "examined how many people watch certain shows, what percentage are female, the number of fan fictions posted online, and how many hits those fictions garner. As a result, she can now confidently estimate that there are about 10 million fangirls" in the US.
    • The Verge was among several sites discussing the new Wattpad app which promises to curate content for users. "The app is curated, breaking its mature-rated stories up by content-specific channels such as 'southern romance,' 'urban,' and 'panty droppers.' As on Wattpad itself, users can comment and vote through the app, which for now, is only available on the App Store. The app will also feature regular romance stories alongside its fan fiction, but Melissa Shapiro, Wattpad's head of marketing, says it's the celeb-focused stories that drove the app's creation. 'On the heels of the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, interest in mature stories has spiked,' Shapiro said."
    • Apparently erotica is in such demand that some are hiring fanficcers to write it. Seven Days interviewed a Vermont-based ghostwriter. "After she left her corporate job because of childcare issues, Croteau relates, she searched for freelance writing work on the networking platform oDesk. She "found that there were a number of people looking to have someone write an erotica story or a romance story for them. I thought, 'I used to write it for fanfic [fan fiction]; might as well,' she recalls, "and found that there's something really fun about writing about sex.'"
    • While nothing's stopping fanficcers from finding a platform to sell from, The Globe and Mail looked at the After Dark app as part of Wattpad's reader battle with Amazon. "Instead of major publishing houses deciding who gets printed, it’s readers themselves who choose, McIlroy said. 'The most radical thing is the passionate interaction between the writer and reader that’s not intermediated by a bunch of pompous fools who say, ‘We know better than any of you.’' Other players are sure to appear. "[D]igital authors are attracting crowdfunding, online readers have become editors and stories are being turned into games by companies such as Google Inc.’s Niantic Labs."

    Where have you seen fanficcers hired to write for pay? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish Legacies

    By Janita Burgess on Thursday, 26 March 2015 - 4:50pm
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    OTW Fannews banner by caitie~ with the text Fannish Legacies and art of Spock holding his hand in the Live Long and Prosper gesture

    • The Conversation featured a discussion of Leonard Nimoy's impact on fandom. "[I]t’s no surprise that for many fans, the loss of Leonard Nimoy felt like the loss of a family member. Nimoy was happy to be known as the 'geek grandpa,' and embraced his key role in history and development of fandom. Those early fans – who, so many years ago, fell in love with Kirk and Spock – proved that their passion could make a difference, that fan communities could be a force for good. They took a page out of Star Trek and refused to apologize for being different. Just like Mr. Spock."
    • A less positive overview at The Guardian did not see it as a good thing that Trekker culture now rules the world. "The subculture around Star Trek has been famously productive for a long time. There are fan-produced shows, lexicons of Klingon, detailed technical diagrams of the show’s fictional technologies, voluminous Wikipedia entries, and terabytes of fan fiction. Conventions have been running for 40 years; fan-musicians write 'filk music' based on themes and events in the show. This productivity made Trekker a centrepiece of an intellectual effort, starting in the 1990s, to redeem fan culture, one which fed directly into contemporary orthodoxies about the nature of social media and digital culture."
    • One fan was influenced by other fandoms, but found in them equally important life lessons. "I grew up quite poor, and lived in shoddy (to put it politely) conditions until I was nine years old. I split my time between my father and stepmother, and my biological mother and stepfather. This was the way it was for four years. I used to get really jealous over the other students around me, and would cry when I saw happy families joking and laughing together...When I was in first grade, I discovered Batman. This made all the difference in my outlook on things. It didn’t matter that I stuttered, had crooked teeth, or came from a broken home. What mattered the most was what I did with the opportunities presented to me. I sought to excel academically, as well as help others do the same."
    • Fan site The One Ring is looking at its future as the Tolkien films end. "It’s important to remember that while the movies brought many of us to the writing of JRR Tolkien, and we are glad they did, millions of fans supported and loved Tolkien’s writing and the lifestyles and ethics described in them, for decades before the films came around. It was the pre-existing love of Tolkien that brought the founders and early staff together in the first place, before the first movie was released back in 2001. This popular support of Tolkien will continue to exist going forward, we believe for decades to come."

    What fannish legacies do you want to see preserved? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: For the Fun of It

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 - 5:00pm
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    OTW Fannews banner by Robyn with the text that reads for the fun of it in rainbow tie-dye colours

    • Orangeville.com featured a 12 year old boy who has published Minecraft fanfiction. "The book is presently available in Kindle format...Scott said he hadn’t set out to pen a novel. Rather, he merely doodled the story for fun, something for he and his friends to look over...It wasn’t until his mother encouraged him to continue it that he began to seriously entertain the possibility of a book." While his success has so far been small, it's still been important. "'It’s an awesome experience to know somebody other than my parents liked the book,' he said."
    • Apparently the Cosmo girl is now a fanfic writer. For those yet unpublished fanfiction writers, Cosmopolitan pointed the way to success in fanfiction writing. Included in their 8 steps were "Don't spend too much time coming up with Most Original Story Ever. Just start writing" and "Prove you're a true fan by incorporating Easter eggs."
    • Some have noticed the thin line between gossip and fanfiction, but Tablet Mag offered a look at religion in fanfiction. "[T]hough I am generally dismayed by fanfic about real people (our intern Gabi pointed me to a clueless and shudder-inducing fantasy in which Harry and Louis of the boy band One Direction are a Jew and a Nazi getting hot-n-heavy in a concentration camp), who could object to a wee tale about Jon Stewart inviting Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, and Keith Olbermann to his Seder? Meanwhile, in Hanukkah ficdom, I was utterly tickled by “Chag Sammy-ach,”...that gives us Sam and Dean Winchester, the demon fighters of Supernatural, battling the titular monsters of the award-winning children’s book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins."
    • The Guardian interviewed author Susie Day about her short story centered on Sherlock fandom and LGBT protagonists. "It’s fair to say, not a lot of research was required for the Sherlock side of the story. And it’s true, Shirin and Candy could’ve been brought together by their mutual love of a cricketing Time Lord and his favourite ginger schoolboy, or quiffy John Smith and his Mister Master… or Sunnydale witches… muppets in space… Spooky and Dana… Dean Winchester and his car…I’m fascinated by reception history: the way that when and how we watch impacts on how we ‘do’ fandom. The Reichenbach Fall was a unique TV event, the agonising wait that followed even more so. For 717 days, continuing that story (how Sherlock did it, what happens when John finds out he’s alive) belonged to fandom."

    Which fandom worlds do you know the most about? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Shark & Ranger Takedowns

    By Pip Janssen on Friday, 20 March 2015 - 4:36pm
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    • Bloomberg BNA was one of many sites to write about a dispute over a Power Rangers fan film created by professional director Joseph Kahn. It was taken down from Vimeo in response to a takedown notice under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the owner of the Power Rangers franchise. Although it was later permitted to be rehosted, the case raised a number of interesting questions about fair use and who would have prevailed in court. A post on Entertainment Geekly also questioned the 'fan film' label and the intentions for the film.
    • Legal Professor Paul Heald speculated over 3-D shark designs being sold online after their appearance in Katy Perry's Superbowl performance. "The generally accepted position is that clothing is not protected by copyright. The copyright act contains a long list of what’s protected: literary works; musical works; plays; choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; movies; sound recordings; and architectural works. Where would clothes fit? Well, the best you can do is sculptural works—they are sort of thin 3D sculpture. However, within that category, costume designers run into a problem called the “useful article” doctrine which disqualifies utilitarian sculptural works...It is generally accepted that clothing is unprotected [because] [i]ts design is intrinsic to its function."
    • Kimberly Anne Tan interviewed a bookseller on Urban Wire about fanfiction. Asked whether fan fiction should be recognised as literature, Anthony Koh Waugh replied, "Literature, to me, means written works of quality and artistic merit. There are fan fiction inspired by classic works and popular fiction and among them, some are better written than the others. I see fan fiction as a creative innovation and whether or not the genre should be recognised as literature will depend on the acceptance by the literary circle." However asked if he would sell fan fiction, he said "Of course! Fan fiction is a form of creative writing. Having said that, it also depends on how a particular book fits within our curation criteria."
    • Certainly it's increasingly easy to find, even in published form. Zaire's Books Alive featured discussion of a short story by Kiru Taye, a Nigerian-born novelist residing in the United Kingdom, noting that she had written an erotic fan fiction short story inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.

    What fanworks have you seen affected by takedown notices? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: This Is Your Life

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 15 March 2015 - 4:27pm
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    • At xojane, Emily Ansara Baines claimed I Learned Everything I Know About Sex From Reading X-Files Fan Fiction in High School. "Thanks to fan fiction, I didn’t mind some dirty talk. I also finally started to understand how oral sex was supposed to work and maybe even be enjoyable. While anal didn’t intrigue me, thanks to X-Files fan fiction I saw how it could be romantic and not, as my girlfriends told me, demeaning. So, when it came to me actually having sex, I felt prepared. At 16, I was the youngest of my friends to embark on that experience."
    • Rosemarie Alejandrino wrote about her anger at the idea that fanfiction should be hidden. "A friend of mine told me that her parents had lectured her about not reading enough books and wasting all her time on the computer. Then she said to me in confidence, 'I read thousands of words a day, and I can’t tell anybody because … all I read is ‘Glee’ lesbian fanfiction.' And suddenly I was angry. As someone who found solace and comfort in reading, who looked up to the Matildas and the Belles and the Rory Gilmores of the world, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be ashamed of reading and to keep such an impactful part of your life hidden from the world."
    • While some students are winning cash prizes for their fanfiction, others decided to teach about it. The Daily Californian featured a story on a pair of undergraduates at UC Berkeley exploring erotic fanfiction. "At a weekly DeCal class called “The Theory of Fanfiction,” students share and explore the forms and themes of fan fiction. Students meet each Monday to discuss the genre’s role in the literary world as well as in society as a whole. Through the class, started this semester by UC Berkeley senior Isadora Lamego and junior Katrina Hall, students explore the history of fandom, the role of social media in developing the genre and fan fiction’s importance in providing a vehicle for alternative sexuality and kink expression."
    • Ten Eighty looked at the line between hearing your audience and turning their interests or identities into an ongoing joke. “There is a possibility of a Queer kid seeing that thumbnail, clicking on it with the hope of their favourite YouTuber coming out as part of their Queer/LGBTQ+ community,” says Jazza. “For the YouTuber to use that click-bait and to then shoot down the possibility of them being Queer as being weird and gross, that’s what made me angry.”

    How have fanworks been part of your life? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Commercial Weirdness

    By Kiri Van Santen on Thursday, 12 March 2015 - 4:29pm
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    • A post at Wired featured images from a new book on science fiction zines of the 1940s through 1960s. "Despite being produced with a limited tool set, and existing in a vastly different milieu, these hacked-together pamphlets laid the groundwork for modern day fandoms. 'The most surprising thing I noticed about the zines was how closely the format—editorials, letters, essays, reviews—paralleled the format of blogs,' says co-author Jack Womack. 'All this stuff is proto-blog, proto-Instagram, proto-snark, proto-troll, and naturally, also an active exchange of ideas that motivated some very weird people to do great things in their life,' adds co-author Johan Kugelberg."
    • The word "weird" seems to be perpetually attached to fanworks, as an article in Yahoo! Movies UK made apparent. The word seems to go missing though when discussing commercial contests, even when they are pitched at underage fans and propose improbable sources. "Mondelez will pick 10 finalists for Wattpad's community to vote on. The company will then turn the winner's story into an animated digital film and promote it on Sour Patch Kids' social platforms. 'We're really just continuing to further build out our relationship with influencers...We know that these are the new celebrities for teens, and they have a much more authentic voice, so we're really putting our brand in their hands and allowing them to create on our behalf.'"
    • Efforts to enroll fans as company pitchmen seem to be booming. A post at Good E Reader spoke uncritically about Skrawl's business model, also directed at kids. It "is already in place in more than 20,000 schools in 60 countries and has been responsible for more than 2 million writing contests, allows story collaboration based on engagement and a points system. One user will post a story, then others will add their own sections to it." Skrawl's CEO stated "[A]s publishers hunger for popular content while cutting promotional budgets, such ready-formed, literate and eBook submissions are likely to become a great place to find talent."
    • Perhaps some of the term's use comes from anxiety. In discussing romance fandom, The Washington Post said, "Fan relations are enormous in the romance world, and romance readers come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds. But they’re almost never male. 'The last thing popular romance needs is a man in a suit ‘mansplaining’ what belongs in the canon,' said DePaul University professor Eric Selinger, the rare man at the conference who actually adores romance fiction...'There are not a lot of us who read these books,' he admitted. 'There’s this thinking that men are not interested in love, which doesn’t make a lot of sense when you look at popular music. For many of the men, they find the books tremendously intimidating.'"

    What terms are you tired of seeing connected to fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Texts

    By Pip Janssen on Sunday, 8 March 2015 - 4:48pm
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    • At The Conversation, Hannah McCann discussed studying fans of popular culture. "Researchers in the field of romance studies have argued that criticism of the genre often involves patronising female readers. Similar levels of critical concern are rarely turned on texts marketed to male audiences, or those seen as part of high culture. Studying romance fans themselves has been a way to recover the agency of female readers, in part by seeing female fans as active meaning-makers."
    • Media scholar Henry Jenkins and Patrick Galbraith held a conversation on Jenkins' blog In Defense of Moe. "These are people who actively seek alternatives to expectations of men, which is to say assigned sex/gender roles, in relationships with fictional characters. This can take the form of 'marriage' to a fictional character, belonging to a community of shared interest around a character, and so on. Manga, anime and games do not necessarily get us out of hegemonic sex/gender roles, as we have seen from Gamer Gate, but some certainly see that potential. Again, there is Honda Tōru, who argues for a 'moe masculinity' that embraces both the masculine and feminine sides of one’s self, which can be nurtured and accessed in interactions with fictional characters outside of the expectations of society."
    • Syracuse.com wrote about a class on Dr. Who. "More than 200 people (about half SU students, half non-students) enrolled in the live class on the SU campus. About 3,000 people registered for the online class, meaning they can follow the lectures at home, watch the screenings and participate in the class discussions via Twitter and Google+. Rotolo said about 900-1,000 of those online students participate actively."
    • At Edge, Mary Sheehan argued for the significance of One Direction fandom for queer culture. "When both partners are the same gender, both partners have equal power. Young people seeking portrayals of open, equal relationships in media can identify with Larry Stylinson and these kinds of LGBTQIA ships. '[Larry Shippers’] actions are laden with the complexities of our current social climate. They formed a community and collective identity to solve their fears alongside those for the world around them.'"

    What are some of your favorite articles or studies about fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Sharing Fandom

    By Janita Burgess on Thursday, 5 March 2015 - 6:35pm
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    Banner with text that reads OTW Fannews Sharing Fandom

    • Writer Shawna Benson examined patterns of fandom growth and activity that she'd observed while moderating social media for The 100's Writers’ Room, as well as social media lessons learned. "Yes, we sell the US shows to other countries, but what do we do to accommodate those fanbases which spring up in other countries? Suddenly, the 'official' accounts feel less useful. They don’t get the CW in the UK, Australia, Brazil, France or Spain, or even Canada — the main countries which outside of the U.S. watch The 100. How do we accommodate those fans? The official accounts are restricted in this. Guess what? Writers’ rooms are not."
    • As part of International Fanworks Day, LiveJournal community Mari di Challenge interviewed OTW Translation Committee chairs Hele Braunstein and Priscilla del Cima about the committee's work (article in Italian). Both spoke about their fannish backgrounds, how AO3 fits together with the OTW and its other projects, how the organization sustains those projects financially and personnel-wise, what the OTW's vision of fandom is, and what changes might happen in the next five years.
    • Book review blogger Traci began a series of posts about the OTW. "I was recently reading an article and it was mentioned that media seems to 'see bronies as far more newsworthy that Organization for Transformative Works or the Vlogbrothers' Nerdfighter movement.' Now, I see a lot of things about Nerfighters, and the Green brothers in particular, but have not seen much on OTW outside of those in the know. So I decided to fangirl all over one of my favorite organizations for a post. Then I realized that I would need at least a couple posts to fully share my love and appreciation."
    • The Verge's Entertainment Editor Emily Yoshida discussed her discovery of fanfiction on the StarWarsChicks.com posting board. "One of the first things I was drawn to besides the message board was...The Library, it was a fanfic archive of the stories everyone in the community had written." She was asked to speculate about why fanfic writers seemed to be mostly by female writers. She suggested that the medium of writing was better suited to women. "It's non-visual, it takes a long time to read somebody's whole novel...and that's the payoff is this expectation and this waiting and this buildup...but it gets that same kind of following and addictive aspect to it." (No transcript available).

    Fanlore is a place for all fans to share their knowledge about fans and fandoms. Add details to an existing entry or start a new one!

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Interacting with Canon

    By algonquin on Tuesday, 3 March 2015 - 5:12pm
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    • The it-getters at PBS' Idea Channel released an episode focusing on fanfiction & LGBT representation. "Official writers are...gesturing at alternate universes, at relationships that could exist between characters -- were the world of the show...not what it actually is. I see this as the sacred charge of so much fanfiction, to express the love left unexpressed in so much popular culture." (No transcript available.)
    • Wired's Angry Nerd spoke about why the existence of Fifty Shades of Grey is vital to fanfic. "The key component is fans' passionately engaging with the work and digging more deeply into fictional worlds than their creators ever did." He goes on to discuss how much of what Hollywood is producing is no different than what fans are doing in the way they re-imagine old franchises. (No transcript available.)
    • An article in Vice attempted to identify the reasons behind political fanfiction. "Franke-Ruta discusses the ways that we project our own imaginations and beliefs onto serious considerations of political figures and issues. We do the same with our coverage of sports, culture, and viral news as well—we're constantly granting individuals and events symbology, emotional impact, and an imaginary, packaged takeaway. There are many ways to do this—especially online, where we can create an identity more in line with others' than our own more easily than we can in real life. But fan fiction might be the most extreme example: You are, literally, taking control of reality."
    • While the stories above featured fan art and fanfiction, The Mary Sue tipped fans to a Imgur gif tool. "All you have to do is find the video you want online, plug the URL into Imgur’s new tool, and tell it the start and end points that you want to memorialize forever in a glorious, infinitely looped animation. If the created GIF would be larger than 10MB, Imgur also automatically converts it to a much more efficient GIFV, which is a standard from improved video clips that they’ve been pushing since last year."

    What fanworks have you seen that have had an impact outside fan communities? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Being In the Know

    By Janita Burgess on Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 7:51pm
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    • A post at Movie Pilot pointed out how early fanwork passions can begin. "I was on Wattpad and came across a profile and her name was Alexandria1019. She has a couple of stories she wrote, which are amazing in my point of view...And the coolest thing, she's a 7th grader." Her dreams are short-term but her reasons are universal. "'When I get older, and go to high school, I want to join a writing club. I want to be a writer because whenever I write, it's like I'm in a totally different universe. Like I'm not in reality...I know they aren't my characters and my story that I wrote myself, but it gives me a chance too express what I think. Because, I can't really express what I think to people.'"
    • These early lessons can have a big impact though. An article at Neon Tommy discussed why people respond to fanfiction. "I found myself reading multiple stories like Red’s, about kids who used fanfiction as a means to improve their English, and with fantastic results. Users told me about how fanfiction helped expand their vocabulary, as well as experiences such as an anonymous user who 'learned about the culture…ideas and feelings of the writers. When reading I stopped more than once, to learn about a new tradition, a word, a poem, an author, a new kind of music…It’s a window to new knowledge…' So, with fanfiction, it wasn’t just me who was improving my writing skills."
    • The New York Post was one of many sites trying to find stories related to Fifty Shades of Grey to coincide with the movie's release. In their case they found a fanfic writer to discuss pulling to publish and the merits of the fic as originally written. "But many in the fanficton.net community are confused and concerned by James’ success. 'The prose style, the dialogue — it was very juvenile. It was very simplistic,' says Karen, a 50-year-old administrator from Phoenix who uses the name piewacket on the site and recalls reading James’ original posts."
    • A different look at fanfic was provided by the OTW's Kristina Busse in a post at How We Get to Next. There she argued against separating fanfiction from communities. "Star Trek also became 'trans-fannish' very quickly, Busse explained, intermingling with followers of other series. 'In the 1970s conventions started to include Doctor Who, and by the 1980s you have entire zines that are nothing but crossovers. It moved beyond the specific show; people would become fannish butterflies where they would go from one fandom to another.' In doing so, they brought with them characters, plots and settings — and also tropes."

    How do you define fanfiction and what has it brought to your life? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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