Ah I’ve heard this arguement. Mind if I send out a retort? It has worked well in the past.
That’s not necessary.
In one of Gail Simone’s latest blog posts, “fan fiction” vs “pro fiction” discussion has come around again. She says that her opinion on the matter is not about the quality of the works in question. It’s about the nature of the industry (especially if one has aspirations of writing for a major comic book company:
When you talk to an editor, you are saying not only that you can write, that you have talent. That’s only a part of it.
You are also saying that you can be on time, you can handle editing, you can handle criticism, you can keep an NDA, you can deal with notes you might not agree with, you can represent the project and your book with professionalism, you can work with an artist, you can provide descriptions an artist can understand, that you understand formatting, that you know what a layout is and how it works, AND how to convey it to an artist, that you understand the word per panel and panel per page dynamic, and a hundred other things that FANFIC DOES NOT TEACH YOU.
I don’t know how to be any clearer.
It is NOT a question of quality. It is a question of are you road-ready, or does the editor have to walk you through these dozens of small steps that you do not learn from writing fanfic.
Honestly, when I read all that she said, I really have to wonder why any truly creative soul would even want to subject themselves to the obvious editorial hell that is writing for a major comic book company, save for the bonus of a paycheck (which isn’t very reliable considering how companies like DC Comics frequently treat their freelance writers) and the ability to put on a resume “I wrote for so-and-so comic book company on these so-and-so serials.”
At this point, with the state of the comic book industry in the big two (especially DC Comics) and the quality of “canon” works coming out of it, I’d much rather read the works of my favorite fanfiction writers and enjoy the creations of my favorite fan artists rather than anything that comes directly from the “official” company itself.
At this point, I simply prefer the end results of the purely inspired, completely unrestrained works of people who are creating purely for the love of their favorite characters/genre/fandoms/fictional universes.
I’m looking at that list she’s given that fanfic doesn’t teach, and I’m confused. Because most of that is precisely what fanfic has taught me. How to keep my mouth shut about future plans for a story, how to provide clear descriptions that readily translate to art, how to accept criticism gracefully, how to edit, and how to make use of other people editing my work. How to meet deadlines and collaborate on a project with someone else, and more generally how to behave in setting of other like and not so like minded peers.
The page layout, words per panel and panels per page, that stuff, I haven’t learned, but that’s a function of writing short stories and flash-fiction, not comic book scripts. That’s something that can probably only learned by reading and writing comic books, and I’d imagine fan-comics would teach as well as anything else.
But the rest of it? Sure, if you don’t want to learn it, fandom won’t make you. But fandom is not totally structureless. Big Bangs, fic exchanges-both anonymous and not, challenges, prompt lists, fic bingo, they all demand an ability to meet deadlines, and many demand an ability to collaborate graciously, to accept criticism and judgements, to work with an artist, and hold back on showing or discussing your work.
fanfic might not teach you everything, and it probably won’t prepare you to set into the professional world without a hitch. But it’ll teach you the basic skills, if you’re willing to learn.
You know. A realization strikes me.
While I enjoy reading some of Gail’s works, she really ought to just stay out of these fan fiction/pro fiction debates.
She’s not a fan fic writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s never done any sort of fan fiction writing in the past. So how can she possibly be in a position to offer an unbiased opinion/advice to other writers of fanfiction?
She’s never experienced writing Big Bangs, fic exchanges, prompt lists, role plays, challenges, and other such exercises purely for the fun of it and sharing her results with a close-knit community of fans. By contract (I think) she can’t even read any fanfiction for fear of “stealing someone else’s ideas”.
In that regard, I almost feel sorry for her. She’s missing out on a lot wonderful stories.Reblogged from afewnovelideas