OTW Fannews: Developing a Clue

graphic by Sidhrat of a road swooping into the sky

  • Gamasutra featured a post by James Cox that discussed his struggle to define fanfiction. “Even bad Mary Sue fan fiction has its place. Have you ever read My Immortal?… I read the whole thing once as an endurance test. It’s atrocious, but enjoyably so. Almost like a masochistic fun. After all of this, my new definition of fan fiction is as follows: Fan fiction is a thing that some people do; it usually involves being inspired by another’s work. Some fan fiction is good. Some is bad. That’s about as in depth as I can go right now with my definition. Fan fiction became such a blanket term: how some fan fiction became so successful, how creative people can write it, how it’s hard to tell if a work is a fan fiction or if it just draws on the lore of another work. Is Tolkien just fan fiction of Anglo-Saxon and Norse mythology?”
  • While a lot of people seem to struggle with the definition of fanfiction, other sites seem to be particularly clueless when it comes to fandom activities. For example, in an article on Lost Remote the author discusses the site Moviepilot which gives some contributors to its writing platform extra perks for particular content. The author concludes “Not only is it worth knowing who your fans are, the platform works because it’s authentic: fans talking to fans without any pretense. Where else can one be really, really, sad about “The Walking Dead” winter finale or gush over “Doctor Who” donuts?”
  • Moviepilot’s hardly alone in wanting to monetize fan activities. In a Guardian blogpost, Victoria James suggested Amazon wants to take on Wattpad as the premiere site for amateur writers. “The internet shopping site has just launched its own social reading and writing platform, Kindle WriteOn, a move characterised by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian as ‘trying to eat [Wattpad’s] lunch’.” There is already a space for fanfic but “[s]o far the fan fiction category appears unloved – “0 reads 0 likes 0 follows 0 comments” is the pitiless tally of a bowtie-themed “crossover” between Dr Who and the Thor movieverse. Perhaps the invitations haven’t yet reached fan fiction fans, or maybe the problem is the space Amazon built for fanfic writers last year: Kindle Worlds.”
  • Even people in fandom can use tips sometimes, highlighted by a post in Podfic Tips offering ways to comment about podfic. “One of the topics that caught my attention through this year’s pod-aware was feedback, and having tools to leave feedback. Sometimes, especially if we’re more used to leaving comments on other types of fanworks or if like me the Fandom Language (often: English) isn’t the language we’re most comfortable with, we’re at a loss for words. As such, when leaving comments on podfics, or when reccing podfics, I like to build myself a little vocabulary list. Here’s my lists of what I often comment on and what words I choose from, in case it might help others.”

What fandom definitions and practices do you know 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.

News of Note
  1. Licorice Allsorts commented:

    Why would we need Amazon to provide us with a venue in which to share out fanfic when we already have AO3 and FF.net? Amazon just wants to trap the wild, shy fanfictioneer so they can think of some way to make money out of us. I want nothing to do with Amazon. I don’t even buy my books from them any more.