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25 March 2006 @ 07:12 pm
Poll: Separation of Canon People and FF People  
(Note: I'd like to get responses on this from as many different fan writers as possible. Anyone who pimps it will have my eternal gratitude. And if you leave a comment letting me know where you pimped it, you will get my eternal gratitude and an imaginary cookie.)

This poll is for anyone who has ever written fan fiction and in some way shared it - internet, zine, carrier pigeon, coded broadcast to Alpha Centauri, whatever.

So. If someone connected with the canon found and read your fan fiction, how would you react? For the purposes of this poll, I would like you all to imagine that we live in a world where there are no possible legal consequences. In other words, your weird new readers can hate you, but they can't take you to court or send a C&D.

Please check this so I know how many people have taken this poll:

I've written fan fiction. There, I said it.

You write fan fiction for a book, and you learn that the canon author may be reading your stories. Please rank your reaction. 1 = Dismay so severe you will need to find not only a new hobby but also powerful psychoactive drugs. 10 = Joy so intense that you might as well already be on psychoactive drugs. (Remember: NO LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.)

Mean: 5.75 Median: 6 Std. Dev 2.28

Same question, except this time it's FF for a TV show or movie. 1 = "Now I must leave the country with bag over my head." 10 = "Yes! At last they will see how it should be done!"

Mean: 6.44 Median: 7 Std. Dev 2.26

Again with the TV show or movie, but this time it's the actors who might be reading it. 1 = "Oh my god someone please take the internets away from the pretty people before I die." 10 = "Oh my god YES. And they will send me letters of comment, and they will love me, and it will end in friendship and/or marriage, and also I will get a pony."

Mean: 4.98 Median: 5 Std. Dev 2.48

You write RPF. The real people in question may be reading your stuff. 1 = "I knew I was going to the special hell, but I didn't realize I'd end up in it while I was still alive." 10 = "This must be what heaven feels like!"

Mean: 2.57 Median: 2 Std. Dev 2.01

You'd feel worse about it if the canon-connected folks were reading your:

Slash (m/m, f/f).
Total kinkfest.
Totally self-indulgent porn (NC-17 PWP).
Totally self-indulgent hurt/comfort.
Stuff riddled with grammatical, spelling, or other usage errors.
Nothing could make me feel worse than I would just knowing canon folks were reading anything I wrote.
Something else, which I will detail in the comments.

You'd feel better about it if the canon folk were reading your:

Slash (m/m, f/f).
Very best stuff.
Very cleanest (in the sense of sex) stuff.
Very cleanest (in the sense of writing errors) stuff.
Most recent stuff.
Nothing could make me feel better about it, either.
Something else. Go commentwards, angel.

Is there anything about the canon folks themselves that might influence your reaction?

There are certain writers/actors/whatevers I'd feel better having read my stuff, or ones that would make me feel worse.
I'd be okay with it if I knew the canon person was perfectly fine with FF.
I'd be okay with it if I knew the canon person in question wrote FF.
No. Nothing.
Yes, but not any of those things. I'll tell you what you missed in the comments.
Tags: [poll]
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball: Internet junkierokeon on March 25th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC)
If having someone read a kinkfest I'd written would make me consider seppuku, but I've never actually written one, should I still check it?
tried to eat the safe banana: Fan servicethefourthvine on March 25th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
Guess I should've put a call on this in the poll intro, huh? Whoops.

My basic take is: if you'd be okay with, for example, me reading it, but you'd reach for the long and short swords if canon-associated people did, then check it. Otherwise, don't, 'cause you're reacting to the idea of writing a kinkfest, not the idea of Certain Types of Persons reading it.
(no subject) - rokeon on March 25th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
aliquid stat pro aliquo: Yay! Truckmaygra on March 25th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's really interesting. I think most of objections concerns come from writers/actors/directors who vocally object to it (although most of them do so for legal reasons) and it's not so much that I think I owe them a greater degree of regard or the ability to dictate what I do, but that I don't like to give offense if I can help it.

Then again, if an actor objects to being portrayed as a homosexual, I have to wonder just how much actual regard I would have for their feelings as long as no one is accusing him/her of being something they aren't. But that's true of anything. (i.e. people who play drug addicts aren't instantly asaumed to be drug addicts so...)

hmm. Actually, I take it back. In that case, I'm not the one having a problem separating fact from fiction.

Still, I wouldn't willfully cause someone distress for my own selfish gain, so all in all, I'm perfectly happy for them all to continue to ignore me and pretend I don't exist. (you know, unless they want to actually offer me MONEY to write scripts for them [g]).

tried to eat the safe banana: Dinosaurs and sodomythefourthvine on March 25th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
No kidding; the results of this are fascinating. I am trying to suppress the urge to write a paper on this, but, I mean - what it says about perceptions of ownership alone...

*manages not to write 3,000 words of (premature) analysis through sheer force of will*

Still, I wouldn't willfully cause someone distress for my own selfish gain, so all in all, I'm perfectly happy for them all to continue to ignore me and pretend I don't exist.

For me, it's not so much about the distress I might be causing (except maybe in the case of books, when it all feels a little too personal) as it is just a visceral OH GOD NO reaction. Or, as I put it when I first decided to do this poll: if I'm going to borrow toys without permission, I only want to do it behind the owner's back. It isn't even remotely rational; it's just this instinctive flinch reflex.

But the distress is an interesting point, too. I generally prefer not to upset people, but in this particular case - I don't know. I kind of have a, "If this can upset you, you deserve to be upset" response. (Not, you know, in extreme cases - I think most people would be at least a little upset reading RPF in which they were explicitly tortured, raped, and killed, for example - but just the basic ones. I mean, if someone is disturbed by the mere concept of, say, a character he played giving a blowjob, maybe it's time for him to ramp down the homophobia and learn to separate who he plays from who he is.)
Isisisiscolo on March 25th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
I've stuck it in the metafandom memories for pimpage purposes. Gimme cookie!
tried to eat the safe banana: Ivythefourthvine on March 25th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

*additional cookie, just because*
Red for Pleasure Live: liminashusu on March 25th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
For the rest, I feel more comfortable creating fan-work for anything that is a collaboration. Movies, theater, television, and animation hardly freak me out at all. But RPF and books? One person did it. One person that I might have to meet one day. It feels too much like hijacking someone's head, rather than playing with a universe.

You'd feel worse about it if the canon-connected folks were reading your:
Fanfiction that covers events following existing canon. Because that would be emotionally and in some cases legally very very awkward when canon proceeds to the next installment. Not everyone is Joss, and can play with that.

There is nothing worse than the mere thought that canon might not progress naturally because of something you did.
Mara: Brainy and Kokomarag on March 25th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
::nods:: I'm also more comfortable creating fanstuff for collaborative works. This is one reason I've written almost no book-related fic, and pretty much the only story I have written was in the universe created by an author who is fanfic-positive.
(no subject) - shusu on March 25th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on March 26th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mzcalypso on March 26th, 2006 07:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shusu on March 26th, 2006 09:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dossier on March 26th, 2006 10:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shusu on March 26th, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
eveningblueeveningblue on March 25th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)

I think there'd be nothing cooler than getting an email from some actor saying, "Wow, I love what you've done with my character!"

On the other hand, I don't care at all what the writers think.

Also, I want that pony.

tried to eat the safe banana: Huh - Mutant Blue Thingthefourthvine on March 26th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
Interesting. So, to you, do the actors have more to do with the characters they play than the writers do - more ownership, if that isn't a word that's been beaten into the ground already? Or is it that the actors just seem like cooler people in general?

Also, I want that pony.

Don't we all.

*wistful sigh*
(no subject) - eveningblue on March 26th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
Bojiboji on March 25th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)

The only piece of fanfic I've written I'm embarrassed about is the one piece of RPS that I wrote once upon a time. But it represents who I was when I wrote it and I like the first 2/3rds of it (pre-sex) so it stays up in my LJ along with the other fics. I'm a multi-fandom writer and think that primarily I write character pieces. I'm not embarrassed that I write fic but I wouldn't give up my moniker either.
tried to eat the safe banana: Harriet Vane at typewriterthefourthvine on March 26th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
So, for you there's no real distinction between a canon-associated person finding your stuff and just anyone (non-fannish, I mean) finding it? That's an interesting point of view that's been emerging entirely in the comments section, as I didn't even think of it when I was assembling the poll.
(no subject) - boji on March 26th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
dancinguniverse: spirk marriagedancinguniverse on March 25th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
I think your last question is one of the most pertinent. If one of the writers/directors (Joss comes to mind) who didn't mind so much, who seemed to realize that his most rabid, ff-writing fans are his most devoted, and that we mean no harm, it's just something we do, I'd be thrilled. Absolutely thrilled.

If it was one of the writers/directors who doesn't understand so much, I'd feel bad, not so much out of shame, but because I think they'd pull the wrong thing from it, like I don't appreciate the work already done by him/her, or I'm just in it for the porn or something. So I think it depends, a lot, on which fandom I'm talking about at the time.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dinosaurs and sodomythefourthvine on March 26th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
I think your last question is one of the most pertinent.

For me, it's the least pertinent, but I think more people agree with you - which is, basically, that someone who understands fans and fan works and who is positively disposed to them would be much better than someone who wasn't. And I like the point that someone who doesn't understand fans wouldn't understand the love inherent in any fan work; that's something I hadn't considered before.

Very interesting. Thank you for commenting on this.
(no subject) - tayloz9 on November 10th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on March 25th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
author-sending-feedback-for-stories-I-wrote-in-his-canon has in fact happened to me. (There are some areas on the fringes where the lawyers have not scared them away yet.) My reaction was 1 and 10 at the same time and in equal amounts, and that was not an option, so I didn't answer that question. And yes, the 1 was for 'oh my god, my story *sucks*! Oh my god, he noticed me!' and the 10 was for 'Oh my god, he noticed me! Oh my god, he liked it!'

I've written RPF (with shipping) as comment fic for people on my flist and been very happy that they were reading it, but I don't suppose that counts? But generally, I never write RPF about people (living people. Historical fandoms are wide open) unless I already know that they approve, or unless I feel like they deserve it, so my reaction to finding out they were reading it would be more like, bwahaha, the evil plan has come full circle. (The only thing I've *published* where I really worry about RPF is that I've written XF characters who are based on real-life persons (without prior permission), right down to having the same names, and said RL persons were delighted at being written into the canon, but I'm not entirely sure they'd feel the same way about showing up in fic/RP.)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on March 25th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
And to expand, by 'deserve it' I mean - writing Bush/Cheney they deserve it because, well, they're Bush and Cheney; explicit slash is not the *worst* thing I'd like to see happen to them. Writing Kerry/Edwards they deserve it because that entire presidential campaign *was* an extended, conscious exercise in the creation of slashy subtext; same thing with Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert. I could generally care less about actors, but for certain RPS I'd feel no shame the same way, because they are clearly playing up the subtext on purpose in their public personae; for the actors that actually have some shame, though - yeah, I'd feel kind of bad.

That's regardless of their stated positions on fanfic or homosexuality.
(no subject) - sheron on March 25th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on March 25th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vulgarweed on March 25th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on March 26th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - alpheratz on March 26th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on March 26th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on March 26th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on March 26th, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
captain heteroknowledgeable: wingfic is canonnotpoetry on March 25th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
I've actually had a canon creator find out about my fanfiction; it was a weird situation, though, because I met said creator because he's an alumn of my boarding school and I totally just happened to be a huge fan of his comic book. But we wound up talking about writing and he asked me how I got started writing, and I mumbled, "fanfiction," and he said, "Oh, seriously? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT." And I just gave up and told him my lj name. And three days later, when I was back in New York, I got an e-mail full of feedback ... on my fanfiction. (None of it was for his comic, though, which maybe made it better. Or worse.)

Comics are weird, though, because it's one of those mediums where fan writers can (and have) become canon writers. (Prime example: Devin Grayson. Slash fanfic writer who now writes DC Comics canon.) So they know we're out here. They've practically condoned what we do. Ditto a lot of sci-fi television shows. These people know how to vanity-Google. They know we're here, they're probably reading our stuff. (They just won't admit it because of legalities. You know?)
Jbloodsin on March 25th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
About RPS: I wouldn't like someone I was writing RPS about to read it, because it would probably freak them out, even if I'm not really writing about them. Their image, yeah, and using their name, but I don't know them personally, and there's no way you can get to know a person through interviews and stuff. So...I'd feel better about them reading my RPS if I could explain to that to them. And it, um, made sense.
Domenika Marzionemiss_porcupine on March 25th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
In my limited experience, I've found canon creators to be a little... traumatized by the amount of related material on the internet. Usually a little thin-skinned after having first waded through tons of criticism, which sometimes makes them a little giddy when someone is actually happy with their stuff.

In terms of fanfic, for which I've never encountered a canon provider... Is this where I sigh a bit of relief about writing mostly genfic? :)
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball: Wheee!rokeon on March 25th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
*g* Definitely there with you on writing gen.
out_there on March 25th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised how deeply ingrained the C&D response is in my mind. I had to consciously stop and try to place myself somewhere where writing sexually explicit stories about the main characters being gay wouldn't automatically lead to either personal legal problems or general show-writer reactions (you know what I mean. Two slashy characters go from being best friends in one season to never appearing on the same shot in the next season?). I'm still not sure I managed it.

But, yeah, some actors/writers are very cool people and take fanfiction in the right light: proof that we adore what they do, that we invest a lot of our time and energy into loving what they've created and we show this by claiming part of it, by contributing our own ideas of the characters and possible stories.

Others are not.

And the problem is that if you get noticed, you can never be sure of the reaction. You can't tell if it'll be "huh, odd, but kinda flattering" or "Cease and desist now, young lady" (or even "OMG, you people are going to hell"). The strong likelihood that it'll be one of the latter two reactions makes me too nervous to be completely thrilled with the idea of TPTB finding my stories.
"Smokin' hot."without_me on March 25th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
Many years ago, I wrote a fanfic specifically to give to an actor. It was a short backstory for the character he played, and contained no hint of sex. I'd be lying if I didn't say I nearly died of joy when he talked (appreciatively) about that story at subsequent public appearances. On the other hand, the last thing I want is for any actor, author, etc. to read graphic fanfic and be hurt or offended by it. Why would I want to hurt or offend the people who create the personas I love?
grime and livestockcofax7 on March 25th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've had a producer/creator read some of my stuff. Once he even read (and commented on!) slash I wrote for another show. That was... weird. But he's very fannish himself, and friendly, and it was mostly cool. Certainly not enough to scare me away, even though he's admitted to some ambivalence about fanfiction.

However as I've written more slash, and even some outright porn, I'm getting more uncomfortable with the thought of the actors reading anything I produce. I'd really rather they didn't.
Jonquil Serpyllumjonquil on March 25th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Actors are a whole new quantum of bad for me. I think it's because writers *know* we swap bits back and forth. Actually, I can't rationalize it. I'm just way more freaked about any of the actors reading my stuff than the writers. And no, I don't RPF.
(no subject) - samdonne on March 26th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Drew: bookbabyofthegroup on March 25th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
I actually don't care one way or the other -- and I wonder if that has to do with me starting in RPS. I marked the middle for both (I used 6 for writers and 5 for actors arbitrarily), but I really couldn't care less what they think. At the same time, I couldn't care less about a C&D letter, either -- getting C&D'ed is not going to stop me from writing about what I write about. I'll certainly eyeroll a bit, and my attitude toward the person might get a bit strained, but stopping? Not gonna happen.

I know some people freak out at even the *mention* of C&D, and I just don't get that. It probably helps that this isn't my real name.