Tari Akpodiete pointed me to this posting on BoingBoing:
SF writer Lynda Williams sez, "My daughter (18) cared SO much about the ending of the Animorph series ‘selling out’ the readers that loved it with a nasty ending, that she has taken a whole year off school (sigh! be careful what you model!) to write an alternative ending as good as the books ever were! And she did it despite knowing it had to be considered fan fic and couldn’t be a way to start a writing career — just because she really, really
She took a year off school to write fanfic? Good God, how stupid.
I’m sure some of you will say that I’m being a jerk, that the girl took a year off to hone her writing skills and complete a novel.
And to you, I say, it’s fanfic. I can see how you might write a short piece of fanfic for yourself (ie not posted on the Internet or distributed to others) as a writing exercise. That could be useful and instructive. But spending a year toiling on a fanfic novel? That’s just pathetic. It’s one step removed from becoming a Jareo.
It’s shame her mother, a professional writer, couldn’t have given her daughter better guidance instead of encouraging her in this masturbatory and pointless pursuit (and, worse, being proud of it).
Williams could have taught her daughter something about intellectual property, copyright and the importance of respecting the creative rights of other authors. It doesn’t say whether the work was posted on the Internet…but I hope it wasn’t. But if it was, I hope that Williams didn’t congratulate her daughter on that, too.
Williams could have encouraged her daughter to channel her passion for "Animorphs," and the way she felt the story should be told, by creating an entirely original work of her own that perhaps embodied the same ideals and explored the same themes. That would have been a worthwhile, enriching, constructive use of her time, effort and passion.
Wouldn’t it have been great if Williams’ daughter took a year off and ended up with a finished novel of her own? Now that would be something to be proud of.
But an 18-year-old spending a year on fanfic?
I wouldn’t be proud of that. I’d be embarrassed.