Sunday, May 4, 2014

RavenCon Panel 4 - FanFic

One might expect that, having covered my first panel as #1, my second panel as #2, and my fifth panel as #3, I'd go ahead with the natural order of things and cover my third panel as #4.

Yep, g'head.  Expect that bit of normalcy.

Hey, this is me we're talking about, right?  You don't truly expect to find order within the space-time continuum in my blog, do you?

Nope.  My fourth panel, It is Rewritten (FanFic), will now be covered as #4, thus leaving the third panel, henceforth to be known as My Favorite, to be covered last.

I kind of expected this panel, my fourth, to be my next-to-least-favorite, and that only because I sat there prior to the event wondering why I'd signed up for the Princess Culture panel (that did, in fact, ring in as the most incredibly interesting and wonderful panel of all).  More on that panel later, though--which is, as I'm sure you've guessed, why it's going last.

So, FanFic.  Right.  I agreed to be on the panel because I've written some.  I wrote it not because I was particularly riddled with a giddiness associated with fandom, but rather because I had a story in my head that needed letting out.  After reading and watching all the Twilight series, I had an idea, albeit quirky, for how my characters might interact with those.  I mean, who wouldn't want to juxtapose the vampires of Forks, WA, with Ares, the God of War, and Crystal, the Goddess of, Um, Something?

Anyway, this panel ended up being me sitting between an author who got her start long ago writing FanFic for--well, stories that came out long ago--and the moderator, an attorney by day.  We ended up discussing all the ways FanFic is good to have around, and then the ways it's bad, and then the discussion went over my head and into Intellectual Property--um, stuff.

How's it good?  Well, to me, it gives budding authors an opportunity to practice.  People are always talking about the apprenticeship requirements of the craft; why not do it writing in someone else's world?  Also, it gives some ability to flesh out that existing world a little with stories about those who wouldn't have merited their own novel.

How's it bad?  Well, it does trample upon an author's Intellectual Property rights.  As an author, myself, I can say that I don't care much unless the trampling breaks my ability to use those rights, myself, in the future.  For example, if--and hey, I'm dreaming here about being known enough to have my own FanFic following--someone were to write a story about Crystal in the future, and then I were to write a story that contradicted that, who would win?  Sure, I would win as the owner of the IP, but within the world of storytelling, the winner isn't necessarily as clear cut.

That's why there are so many different approaches to it, I think.  Some authors allow, and even encourage, FanFic, because it helps give people a greater sense of belonging.  Many authors set specific boundaries--the "sandbox" as described by a panelist.  The 1632 series was brought up as an example of successfully (and profitably) "sharing" IP realms among authors. 

And that's where the discussion went kind of two-person, and I ended up sitting back and listening to the author and the IP attorney discuss.  The chief takeaway of the discussion between the two of them?  Don't do FanFic.  IP law doesn't, after all, give any "unless the person doesn't prosecute the first time" ground, nor does it give any single-life-time time frame for the duration of the author's right to blast FanFic out of the water.  Thus, "just don't do it" seems to be the order of the day.

And with all that said, please FanFic my work.  I could sure use the publicity!


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