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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Really, before copyright laws were invented, waaaay back when, almost all fiction was fan fiction. Myths and legends of almost all types were carried down in the oral tradition, and each successive generation would embelish the stories or generate new ones. Dante's Inferno is sort of a Mary Sue, wherein Dante meets his literary hero, Virgil. However, history has a natural evolutionary bias towards good stories, so one can only imagine how many hacky, poorly worded scribblings about King Arthur and Hercules we DON'T know about today. -Bluetooth The Pirate

Red Shoe: It probably didn't hurt that only the smartest people around knew how to read at all. Or that you needed the church's permission to publish.

Looney Toons: I've often described Fan Fic as commedia dell'arte in print.

Ununnilium: Wow, the whole Ranma-fanon thing happened to me. @-@ Perfect example.

One can easily imagine Homer telling many versions of the Iliad over the years, speaking before audiences, and always refining, always keeping the bits that made the audience cheer, and discarding the parts they didn't like.

Red Shoe: Or, perhaps more apropos, whenever he happened upon another wandering poet, sitting down, having a few drinks, and trading notes about which bits had worked and which hadn't.

Morgan Wick: "random passer-by", we don't branch out discussions by indenting them here. We should; we don't. Deal with it.

  • I'm glad we don't have that rule anymore. —Document N

Looney Toons: Osh and Ununnilium, I don't agree with your recent changes. For one thing, they seem to pose an entirely artificial standard; for another, they completely ignore the phenomenon of megacrossover fanfiction, such as Dance of Shiva or the incredibly epic works of Eyrie Productions; the latter for instance blends dozens if not hundreds of individual sources into a single syncretic space opera-style fanfic "world". Also, strictly reading Ununnilium's most recent revision, it would mean that Tenchi Muyo — or any other show with at least one Alternate Continuity — cannot spawn "true" fan fiction, as there is no single "official" version of the show and its characters.

Ununnilium: Well, really, there *is* a bit of an artificial standard, based on copyrights and public domain. However, I don't think it's explained quite right, so I'll fiddle.

Ununnilium: How's that?

Looney Toons: It still rubs me wrong, but not as wrong as before. I'll deal. <grin>

Croaker: Speaking of such delightful bits of prose, Looney... added mention of crossover, and not all self-insertions are awful. Looney Toons: Saw it, seems okay to me. <grin>

Osh: I get the sinking feeling Ranma One Half is going to be Fanfic's Buffy The Vampire Slayer in terms of references.. :)

Looney Toons: Well, that is my fault... it was my "gateway" anime and my lead-in to fanfic, and as such, the one whose fanfiction I have the most immediate in-head knowledge about. But I'll try to find fiction from other fandoms wherever possible.

osh: No worries. Wasn't a dig at you, because honestly I can't think of any series that has a bigger canon-to-fanfic ratio than it. It's bound to pop up a lot.

Looney Toons: SF Author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow has a really good column about fanfic up on the Locus Magazine site. Check it out.
(random passer-by) uh, hi. When I originally added the bit in the main article about horrid malapropisms, I didn't have show-specific jargon or technobabble specifically in mind. I was actually thinking of a passage in a fanfic I saw some time back. It was a, well, rather explicit story, and there was a scene the author obviously intended to be exciting. I won't name the story, nor copy and paste what would be very inappropriate material here, but I will say that I think the author meant to use the word "ministrations" in that particular spot in the sentence. What he typed was, instead, the word "menstruations." I don't know whether this indicates something Freudian going on, or just a poor vocabulary, but it's illustrative of the sort of thing I see in a lot of fanfic. Someone pass me the spork.
Sci Vo: I fixed the broken Fanfic Tropes sub-index. Now its members all know that they belong to it, and now fanfic-specific tropes can just be added to that one page instead of to multiple pages. I also pulled Fanfic Tropes and the see-alsos up to the top, and turned Fanart into a "compare" since it's really a peer (belonging to all three of the same indexes for example). //Later: I also put Fanfic Tropes under the same three indexes as Fanfic, so that its members are still the same number of clicks away from (for example) Fan-Speak.
Etrangere: I know this isn't the Other Wiki but does anyone has source about George RR Martin threatening legal actions against people posting fanfics? I've been in that fandom for a long time and it's the first time I hear about this.

Andrew: Nah, I just made it up.

In all seriousness, I got it from the A Song Of Ice And Fire Forums, which isn't really "official" but seems to be about as close as you can get without pulling something from Martin's website. A poster took notes at a Q&A held during one of Martin's stop on his Spanish tour. Someone asked him about Slash Fic and the poster said his response was as follows:

Then the same person asked George about slash fan fiction saying that there are many sites in the internet with this kind of stories and that this person was in favour of them. George got more serious here and said: "I'm opposed to fan fiction". He explained that if he was aware of fan fiction based on his books he should inform his attorney to have a "cease and desist" letter send if he didn't want to lose his copyright on his work. George continued saying "You should create your own characters, it's part of the process of writing.

When that person continued insisting in slash fan fiction and what it meant, George ended the discussion with: "I'm aware of what fan fiction is. Another question

I suspect the cease and desist letter is more hyperbole than binding legal threat, but it's there.

Tabby: This is not uncommon. If you hold a copyright, you're legally bound to protect it wherever you personally witness it being violated or you risk losing it by precedent. This is why many authors who don't mind fanfic have a strong "Don't tell me about it" policy: As long as you cna maintain plausible deniability, you don't have to take action.

Andrew: Interesting. I'm a writer, I should have remembered that. (It was covered in a law of mass communications class I took in college) Anyway, the legal issues notwithstanding, the greater point remains: Martin doesn't like fan fiction.

Looney Toons: Tabby, you're confusing trademark and copyright. Trademarks must be defended, or the owner risks losing them — as happened to "Aspirin", for instance. Copyright cannot be "lost" until it expires or you voluntarily cede it, such as by putting the material in the public domain.

rsm109: Has Martin softened his position lately? His name is gone from Fanfiction Dot Net's forbidden list.

lamorevincera: Added to the paragraph on fanfic bans... remembered that Anne Rice is very vocal in her dislike of fanfiction, which is funny, considering it's pretty much what she's writing now. Unfortunately, God has not yet posted His official thoughts on it. ;)

mikkeneko: I don't know that this page is the right page for it, but there's a trope/phenomenon I'd like to see documented if it hasn't already been: the Inverse Rule of Fanfiction. The phenomenon where a show that is light and comedic in tone gets a lot of super serious, dark fanfiction, whereas darker and more angsty series tend to generate a legion of high-school-AU or fluff fics.

Janitor: Try that question in YKTTW. Seems like a trope to me.