Once again, my brother Tod takes on the fanfic universe. First he did it with his column, now he’s doing it with Letters to The Editor. He wrote to Writers Digest this month, criticizing them for an idiotic article (then again, aren’t most of the articles in that magazine pretty lame?) that suggested that writing fanfic might be a good way to learn how to write. As a successful novelist and acclaimed teacher of creative writing, Tod thinks otherswise. In part, he said:
Being handed a character…isn’t equal to the organic process you must
go through to create real, living characters. Writing fiction isn’t
about getting a shorthand lesson in creativity via someone else’s
established characters; rather, it’s the process of learning how to
create vivid characters and story lines from your own minds. Writing
fanfiction to learn how to write a novel is like filling in a crossword
puzzle with the belief that someone will hand you a doctorate
Naturally, this has pissed off a lot of fanficcers, including some folks who are writing their own Harry Potter novels. Like this woman, for instance…
Well, Tod Goldberg, I majorly disagree. To begin with, I think
fanfiction gives people the courage to write. One, because you can put
up your work in a welcoming atmosphere and not have to go through the
self-esteem destruction of trying to get published. Two, you can get
your work read by someone other than your mother. Even if you
write something and set up a web site for people to read, you’re not
likely to get the draw that you would putting up a story at a fanfic
site. Three, you don’t have to go through the very hard work of making
up a background, allowing a writer to jump write in and write!
She has, of course, just proven Tod’s point…but I doubt she noticed. But far be it from me to dive back into that debate again. I’ll leave that to Tod over on his blog.
3 thoughts on “Tod vs The Fanficcers”
Uh, thanks Lee. Just what I always wanted.
Hey, I didn’t write the letter to Writer’s Digest. By the way, I flipped through the issue at the newsstand today. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it…even though there’s lots of helpful advice in the issue like stories should have plots, characters should be well-rounded, and it’s a good idea to describe people and places so readers can picture them in their minds.
Nice essay by imadra_blue on why she thinks it worthwhile writing HP fanfic here: