Thursday, 25 October 2012

Plagiarism vs fanfic

I write a lot and I get very little time to read fanfiction these days. I keep up with my favourite writers and stories that aren't finished yet, but I just don’t have time to read everything. I have some great fans and readers who let me know when they hit a fic that sounds very like one of mine.

In all honesty, there is not a lot I can do about it, but I do appreciate them notifying me and keeping watch on my behalf. I have heard of fanfic being copied word for word; even the summary and posted under another name on another site. That is clearly plagiarism and a campaign from the original writer’s supporters got that one removed. But in a fanfic world where only the real author holds the rights, none of us have much defense.

It would be true irony for me to get upset about it, so I don’t. But if I don’t respond, then people assume that I don’t know about it and they keep messaging me, to tell me about it.

I'm not well today and maybe I handled something badly, but I am not sure what else I could have done. I heard from a few sources about a fic that was very similar to one of mine. So, I read it.

Clearly some people must have spoken to the writer as well. If you are accused of copying someone’s work, it’s probably a bad idea to put up a message telling people to shove it up their ass. She did say that she had ‘hardly read my story’. I'm not sure what that means. In any case, I replied to her message. Maybe I should have done so privately? But she had posted a public comment and that effectively called me out. She also mentioned me by name.

I was polite. Maybe too polite? She said she didn't know how it was like my work, so I listed it for her. Lol. That might have been a touch provocative, but a few of the items were very specific and quite rare. To see them all in one story did sound familiar. At least I avoided all discussions about asses and shoving.

And then I said that it was now a different story. I suggested that it was more like a fanfic and I clearly have no issues with fanfic. 

I encouraged her to finish it and I made it very clear that I wasn't upset about it. I reminded her that she had fans who supported her and who wanted to read the end of her story. I assumed that if she got any further comments from people saying it was like my story, that she could just point at my response and say, ‘MTR isn't worried about it’. And that would be the end of that.

What I didn't expect was a rampage.

She didn't respond to me. She deleted the story. She deleted all her stories. And then she deleted her account on that site. Then she went to another site where I am not a member and (I hear) raged about me, the people who told me about her fic, the organisers of the site etc. Picture me confused as Buffy would say.

I am not sure what I could have done differently. Maybe if I was completely well I would have handled it differently? I don’t know. I suspect probably not.

I am very sad about the whole thing.

Sad that people who told me about it have been trashed, sad that the writer had such a knee jerk reaction, sad that her readers have been punished for all this and sad that the site and probably me, might be painted as the bad guys in this by the writer. As I said, I am not sure what else I could have done. I could have ignored it, I suppose, but why should I have to?

In fanfic we pay lip service; it’s all we pay. Sometimes I have got an idea from someone’s story and I will say that in mine and provide a link to their story. We say this really belongs to X and I am just borrowing it. So if you want to write an alternate universe or ending for one of my fanfic stories, go right ahead, but it would be polite to say it was mine and whoever really owns it, of course.

Maybe I shouldn't even be posting this, but … yeah… sad.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Words have power

As writers we can influence people’s emotions. We can make them laugh or cry or feel good or hate a character. I know I have sobbed over books. People tell me that my stories have made them cry. Heck, they make me cry when I write them.
We can also influence people’s opinions. I blogged a while ago about how one person told me, that after reading my fanfic ‘Best friend share Everything’ that they were not as anti-gay as they had been; that my story had given them a better understanding of issues for heteroflexible boys.

I was honoured by that comment.

So, any words we put on paper or computer screen are our responsibility.
We hold ourselves and our viewpoints out there. And we should be especially careful that if we are writing something that could be negatively viewed, that we couch it in the right words.

Words hurt. Far more than the stick or stones of the old saying, I reckon.

So if you write a scene that is any way controversial and that upsets people, then you have to expect that some of them are going to say something. If you write that scene without putting an author’s note to say that you do not condone what is happening. Then people will assume that you do condone it. After all, you wrote it. And if you seem to be condoning something that you actually hate, then you should be prepared for your readers to feel betrayed when they work that out.

Lately fanfic has veered towards an exploration of bondage and more extreme sex. I know my own stories have gone a little further from the norm, and all I seem to write are threesomes, now. I just got bored writing plain vanilla sex. I blame ‘50 shades of Grey’ for the bondage fad and most, like that story, get it wrong. They don’t do their research and they don’t obey the rules. I’ve read a bit of that type of work in real fiction recently. Just finished ‘The Siren’ by Tiffany Reisz. Gah! Damn that writer. She made me feel sympathy for a character I wanted to hate. I soooo wanted to hate Søren and couldn’t.

See? Words.

As I understand it, the big thing in bondage is the rules and the safe word. The submissive has the ultimate power because if they say their safe word, it must all stop. And the essential word there is ‘must’.  If it doesn't stop, then it becomes non-consensual and is now just plain abuse. It’s all about trust. Readers trust writers too, and it hurts when they betray their readers.

[edit: March 16th 2013- I would also add that if you are writing what your readers believe is a BDsM fic and you have been quoted as saying that 'spanking is sick and wrong' then the whole thing is as valid as a homophobe writing a slash fic.]

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Well, that didn't take them long.

The trio passed the three quarter million mark, too. Best Friends share everything is on fanfiction and at JBNP to read.

The banner was made by goldengirl of Printing Paws for me. It’s a page from Embry’s scrapbook.

So proud of them. I’ve been getting a few reviews from people who say they don’t usually read wolf fanfic and are die-hard vamp girls, but read Best Friends because it was recommended to them. I think it got listed on a poly community on fanfic somewhere. And they loved it and say they are going on to read more wolf fic.

Yay! Come to the pack side; it’s warm and you get big wolfy rib crusher hugs.

PS; good lord that background is orange! Is it too much? I am a bit tech challenged and I found that bookish shot appropriate, but I can’t change the background colour. Let me know if it is too much. Hey, nothing like standing out, eh?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Worlds colliding

I have noticed the strangest thing lately, my worlds keep colliding.

It’s not that they haven’t collided before; obviously… it’s just that I am noticing it and it’s all in the last month.

I love the books of Neil Gaiman, and I love the music of Amanda Palmer. And they are married to each other! But I never expected one of my favourite humorous blog writers The blogess, to love her music, and to write about going to one of her concerts alone. She had a panic attack about it and Amanda, being awesome, sent her a tweet telling her that she had set aside an area for her so that she wouldn’t have to be in the crowd. Interesting how the really funny people often hide the darkest sides, eh?

Then the Blogess talked about how one of her favourite musicians is an Australian called Tim Minchin… wait... what? How could she know about him? He is like the Australian Robert Smith (lead singer of the Cure) with wild, spiky hair and eyeliner - if Robert Smith sang incredibly funny songs and accompanied himself on a grand piano.  Another fanfic friend tweeted a vid of his about hating bad reviews and how well he got over it… NOT. She had got it from the Blogess.


Then someone asked Neil about Lemony Snicket who wrote the Series of Unfortunate events novels. My kids loved those books and we have them all. Neil said this: “I am ridiculously fond of Daniel Handler, Mr Snicket’s representative. He played the accordion at my wedding.”

Wait… what? The accordion?

I am currently reading the Game of Thrones books. Well… chewing my way through the most recent one… gah. I force myself to read a couple of character point of views each night. Like eating an elephant except it is stomping me back… should have killed that sucker before I started chomping on him… in any case, I saw an article about how George RR Martin worked as a book editor for the Wild Cards series, which takes place in a shared universe post-World War II where humanity gains superpowers after the release of an alien-engineered virus. Whoa… I knew he had worked on television scripts for twilight Zone and stuff like that, but I didn’t know he had written comic books. (I think the correct term is super hero prose)… and then I see a tumblr post about how Neil Gaiman proposed a character idea to him back in 1987… he didn’t like it.

They know each other?


I went to see the Irish band Snow Patrol in concert with a friend. Before I went, I checked their Facebook page and the lead singer, Gary has a photo of himself in costume to play a minor role on Game of Thrones, the TV series… wait… what? I am willing to bet he is playing a bard or singer; don’t you reckon?

I also watch Doctor who, the BBC television series that started a very long time ago in black and white TV land. Laurel K Hamilton, who writes the Anita Blake books, mentioned that she cosplays characters from the 4th Doctor series. Wait? What? And of course, Neil wrote an episode called the ‘Doctor’s wife’ that just won a Hugo award. Then ensued a twitter convo between her and Neil about how she would love to write an episode but that they would need to give her a list of rules not to be broken, just to be safe.

Circles, again.

I think I like it. Anyone you have been surprised to find are friends? 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Google reader

I know I am often technologically challenged, but I actually showed my teenager something the other day. Lol. Believe me it doesn't happen often. I always laugh that teens are digital natives and we are digital immigrants.

In any case, I taught my son the wonder of Google Reader.

I read a lot of blogs, publishing pages, author sites, writing hints, blogger hints, tumblr pages and image sites. I don’t even have a tumblr page and it lets me read posts this way.

Phew. I feel tired just listing all of that. If I was to bookmark each site address, then I would have to find the time to check them all. Or to register on all of them and remember another dozen passwords.

I am never going to remember to do all of that.

So I use the wonderful invention of the RSS feed. For those who don’t know what an RSS is, according to Wikipedia, it stands for Rich Site Summary. And it looks like this:

I had to explain this to a few people when I wanted to add one to my JBNP story page. I think I worked it out there, but it’s hard to know unless I subscribed to it myself to check. Didn’t think of that, then, did I?

So far, I have 78 sites that I follow in this way. It has become my morning habit to sit, with my first cups of coffee, and to check them all. Google reader puts them all in one place and lets me sort them into folders. It looks a lot like an email reader. I can scan through; see which to read in more detail, skip the ones that don’t interest me, open items fully on their own site, star items as favourites, and copy urls to email or tweet the page link to others.

I can even load a Reader app from the chrome web store that sits on the top corner of my  browser pane and tells me how many I have unread. So I will never miss an update.

To subscribe is easy. I just click that curved line symbol and Reader tells me how many updates the site releases a week, and gives me the option to subscribe. If it is too many, I will skip it.

My son uses it for deviant art, fanfiction and some other sites of his. And yes, every fanfic author has an RSS button on their author page. 

Bet you didn't know that!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Three quarter million

Oops. I posted on my Facebook page and forgot to tell you guys.

Silly me. I have been watching with interest, the race between two of my fanfic stories to hit the next milestone.

Apologies crossed the line first. Three quarters of a million hits on! How excited am I?

Paul for the win!  Apologies did start ahead, with Best Friends chasing it down. The trio almost did it, too - it's 720k. I have a feeling they may cross the next milestone first. If only because it is a much longer story. And again, assuming my whole account doesn't get ganked.

Oh, and the banner above was made for me by the awesome goldengirl from Printing paws