OTW Fannews for 7 October 2012

Here’s a roundup of fanfiction stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • Two writers recently were concerned about our interests in imaginary (or at least imaginary to us) relationships. In The Guardian columnist Eva Wiseman noted the thin line between fanfic and gossip reporting and asked “As fan fiction goes mainstream, isn’t it time to recognise how important daydreaming about the stars has become in our day-to-day lives?” Meanwhile at xo jane Kate Conway is concerned that being addicted to relationships as depicted in fanfic is causing her real-life problems. “A lot of this is my age, too. I’m still pretty young and I recognize that I’m definitely still pretty immature. That sort of long-lasting, across-the-universe, sci-fi-style love is the stuff of legends, and in your late teens and early twenties, isn’t that what everyone believes they’ll be? The mortal trappings of ordinary relationship problems can seem so dull by comparison.”
  • Media scholar Henry Jenkins hosted a four-part interview with the authors of the new book Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships which included a discussion of hurt/comfort fanfic. Explaining why their approach included observations at fan conventions, author Kathy Larsen stated “One of the things that’s missed goes back to the idea of fan shame. You see it enacted at fan conventions where the actors are present – fans policing other fans, voicing their disapproval when certain fan practices are mentioned to actors. The fan fiction questions, for instance, are almost always booed. At one convention we attended someone had posted rules of behavior in the women’s room on all the stall doors. Fans want to get close, but they also want that gaze to work in only one direction for the most part. This isn’t something you’ll necessarily see if you’re only looking at fan interactions with other fans – or even fan reaction to fan/producer encounters posted online.”
  • Certainly any shame about writing fanfiction is diminishing as one author after another is quite publicly drawn from the fan ranks to get big publishing contracts. Teen writer Abigail Gibbs felt it was the way to go. “Writing via the website meant her work was shaped by her fans and Abigail says there are huge advantages to writing in this way. ‘It allows you to build a fan base and to prove that your book is marketable and that it will sell and for me it’s sped things up massively,’ she said. ‘It went from the deal to publication in two months, so yes, it’s definitely changed publishing for the better.'” Something she didn’t mention arose in both an interview with NPR’s three-minute fiction winner and an interview with E.L. James. “James talks about what happens when a hobby becomes a juggernaut and there’s no way to get back to what was personal and fun, writing freely. ‘It’s really upsetting,’ she says. ‘I miss it enormously, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it again.'” Contest winner Carrie MacKillop, gave this advice to new contest participants: “I knew that there were already over 6,000 people that had entered. And I didn’t think anyone would actually read my story. And I really wrote it from the heart with the idea that no one would read it. And that was a really effective thing for me to just go for it.”

If you write from the heart, whether or not anyone reads your work, why not write something for 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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