OTW Fannews: Fanfic paint by numbers

  • Some entertainment creators like Dan Harmon have fanfiction writers in mind when it comes to their work. Discussing his departure from the beloved show Community, he said ““So, in the immediate wake of it, I was sitting on a linoleum, fluorescent-lit floor outside a dirty little lost-luggage office, with my head between my knees…It probably looked like I was sad, but I think you would have assumed it was because I lost my luggage.” But “I just kept thinking, ‘This is going to be a bummer for the people who get tattoos of the characters, the people who write poems about them, who write fan fiction — they’re the ones that are going to suffer’. ”
  • Other entertainers are thinking of what fanfiction can do for them — albeit for a good cause. An article on Wetpaint discussed how Vampire Diaries actor Matt Davis wrote fanfic to defend rhinos. “The Cult star was recently inspired to spread the word about the endangered and vulnerable rhinos through his fanfiction, starring Stefan (Paul Wesley), Elena (Nina Dobrev), and Damon (Ian Somerhalder).”
  • In Neil Gaiman’s case there was some collaborative work being done with fans, though he took over the writing part. As reported by The Mary Sue, Gaiman wrote stories based on fan tweets as part of a marketing collaboration with Blackberry. His “collaboration is back to the public again, as folks are invited to make art (and eventually videos) of all kinds in response to his twelve little fictions. Some of the artwork will be featured especially in a limited edition book.”
  • Other entities, however, are in full-on profit mode. There were various articles over a month’s time that promoted search-and-replace fanfic novels by a company marketing “personalized erotic and romance novels.” One featured vampires in “a modern retelling of The Odyssey” while another was trumpeted by the National Review as an erotic novel about Barack and Michelle Obama. Surprisingly, the articles tended to focus more on who could be featured in the books than the business model itself.

What ways have you seen fanfic used in or out of the marketplace? Post 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.