Diagnosis Murder Fanfic

I know there are people writing Diagnosis Murder Fanfic out there, and I thought I’d heard every possible permutation (Hurt/Comfort, Slash, etc.), but this… well, this one is the champ. An anonymous poster alerted me to "Nesting", a Diagnosis Murder story by Sarah Saint Ives, at this fanfic site

"He’s a brilliant doctor." Dr. Mark Sloan was saying as Steve entered the office. "His work with invitro fertilization is incredible. He’s helped a lot of childless couples conceive and deliver normal, healthy babies."

"So, what do you think? Should I go through with it? Dr. Jesse Travis asked. The younger doctor looked up to Mark as a mentor, even as a father figure.

"That’s up to you, Jesse. It’s your body."

Steve glanced curiously at his father, then his best friend. "What’s up?" he asked. "What about his body? You thinking about giving someone a kidney, Jess?"

Jesse looked down, then met his eyes a little shyly. Steve mused that it was an engaging flaw in his character to be occasionally reticent. Although Jesse Travis was gifted with an impressive IQ and an insatiable curiosity, he was laden with personal insecurities, which, to Steve, made him even more adorable. "Dr. Homer Penrose. He asked me to be a guinea pig for an experiment."

"Well, tell me about it." Steve said. "Judging by the looks on both your faces, if you asked me right now, I’d say the answer is not just ‘no’, but *hell*, no! What does he want to do to you?"

There was a long pause, then Jesse said, "Make me pregnant."

Hey, it could happen. All Jesse needs, the story goes on to say, is a proper "birthing orifice," and everything will be fine. Steve is all too happy to start looking for the orifice because, ladies and gentleman, this is also slash fanfic.

Once the "birthing orifice" issue is resolved, there’s just one hitch.

"Very minor ones."

"He would like an answer to the question, Penrose." Steve said, not so nicely.

Penrose was irked by the policeman’s presence. "He will be unable to perform sexually with a woman during the pregnancy." he directed the statement at Steve. "It’s necessary for the sake of the baby."

Hey, the doc didn’t say anything about sex with a man, so no problem! Everything works out and Jesse gets knocked up, though Jesse has some jitters…

She’s going to be perfect in every way, Jesse.” Placing his hands on either side of his friend’s face, Steve forced calming eye contact. “She’s going to be beautiful and smart just like you. She’ll have your big blue eyes, your cute little nose, your sweet personality and your radiant smile. It doesn’t matter who the biological parents are, Jess. She’s yours, and she’ll be the way you raise her.”

Jesse laid a hand on his chest. “I’m so glad you’re here with me, Steve. What would I do without you?”

“You’ll never know because I’ll be here forever, my love.” After placing a soft kiss on the younger man’s button nose, Steve started the car and drove toward Jesse’s apartment. Conversationally, he asked, “Would you feel safer if your own sperm cells had been used to fertilize the egg?”

“Nothing makes me feel very safe except being this close to you.” Jesse was still attached to his arm.

Excuse me, I have to wipe the tears from my eyes… and the vomit off my keyboard.

36 thoughts on “Diagnosis Murder Fanfic”

  1. How dare you lump hurt/comfort stories in with slash fic! There is nothing sexual about hurt/comfort.
    The reason you hate fan-written stories is because they are so much better than your books. You are only in it for the $$$$$$ or you would understand hurt/comfort for what it is and what it means to true fans of DM.

  2. I think Lee objects to fanfic because 90% of it is monumentally insipid, and it’s based on something someone else created.
    Trust me. Speaking as one who has been there, it really is a creative waste of time and energy. Yeah, you find a gem once in awhile, but I can guarantee you that the people who wrote said gems would do better writing their own material.
    Besides, even when I did write fanfic, all I could do was roll my eyes whenever disputes flared up over slashfic or what constituted what category or how dare the writers (You know. The freaking CREATORS of the beloved series?) do something that contradicted fanfic.
    Fanfic is like writing a novel on a chalk board. You’re at the mercy of someone with an eraser, and the honest truth is he has more right to use that eraser than you ever will to use the chalk.

  3. Here are some of the JAG stories from the same website:
    “A most precious gift” by Red Falcon…After being betrayed when he was younger, Harm finally trusts another man with his secrete and dares to let another man touch him one more time. {pairing not listed}
    “Family” by Nancy…AJ and Harm are marooned on a tropical island and get the chance to explore possibilities never before afforded them…then the unexpected happens. (Admiral AJ Chegwidden/Commander Harmon Rabb)
    “Unity” by AthenLuna & PantherMate…It’s the evening of Mac and Harm’s Anniversary and Mac has saved a special surprise just for tonight. {pairing not listed}

  4. Jim,
    Joking aside, I find fanfic like this offensive…and I’m sure Donald Belisario would feel the same way about the swill “Anonymous” listed in the previous post.
    Although I didn’t create DIAGNOSIS MURDER, I feel very protective of the characters and the series, especially since they’ve been entrusted to my care (first on television, now in the books).
    This is the first DM story I’ve read… but even when I hear about some of the other fanfic people are writing, it makes my skin crawl.
    You are partially right…I do lump the hurt/comfort stuff in with the rest of it. The stories may not be explicitly sexual… but c’mon, its a creepy obsession nonetheless…no different than someone who enjoys stories in which the characters are unconscious and helpless…or spend lots of time grooming.
    And yes, I do write DM for money… I’m a professional writer. But it’s not about the money for me — I make a lot more in television. The reason I write the books is because I have such a great time doing it…and I care about these characters as if I’d created them myself.

  5. Lee,
    You ought to have a warning to those of us who didn’t want our minds poluted by this nonesense!
    Hopefully I’ll be able to look at Steve and Jesse normally when your next book comes out. 🙂

  6. Lee, I don’t see myself reading anything you’ve written because it’s obvious you are one of those pseudo-‘writers’ who has to condemn the writing of others to exalt your own. In my world, it doesn’t happen that way. I read Sarah Saint Ives’ ‘Nesting’ and enjoyed it. The lady has an imagination and a way with words. I found no fault in her story, only in the reviewer. Your jeers have shown you up for what you are — an idiot.

  7. Speaking as a fanfiction writer who specializes in stories set in the universes of “A.I. : Artificial Intelligence” and the “Matrix” series, I’d be the first to admit that there’s a lot of junky fanfiction out there; but there are also a lot of very good fanfictions written by thoughtful, mature writers who put a lot of effort into their story, taking the time to examine the characters and setting thoroughly and creating believable original plots using these characters and setting(s). To brand fanfic in general as being trite is an insult to the good fanfiction writers. It’s really a form of profiling; it’s like saying all Latinos or African-Americans are criminals just because a few of them are.
    For that matter, writing fanfiction is not a form of stealing, either. It would be if fanfiction writers were printing their stories in some kind of book form and selling the books. Most, if not all, well-written fanfictions carry some kind of disclaimer: “I do not own (Insert title), its characters, concepts or other indicia, which are the property of (Insert copyright holder).” I put that on all my fanfictions.
    For that matter, I remember reading in some article Ray Bradbury wrote about how he got started as a writer, that the first thing he ever wrote was an original script based on one of his favorite radio dramas. Fanfiction is a good way for truly dedicated young writers to develop their craft, and it is a fun hobby for adult writers as well.
    Thank you for your time,
    (Ms.) R.C.H. Mulhare

  8. Ms. Mulhare,
    I disagree. “Fanfic” is widely disseminated on the Internet… in essense, its published. Whether it’s sold or not, it’s still infringing on the rights of the authors over his or her own work. Making money off the theft of intellectual property is not the standard for copyright infringement…(remember Naptster?)

  9. I agree with Cana. This Charles Ellis character that has been created to be an ally isn’t selling. Very good try, Lee. Now, go find someone else to dis a while. Ms Saint Ives has been deceased since Oct 31, 2002, and ‘Nesting’ was her very last work. Even ill, her work was brilliant. Her fan fiction was dedicated to lovers of the fandom. She also had several successful and wonderful books that sold under another name, which I won’t reveal to any undeserving asshole who would make unfounded assumptions on this board.
    It’s obvious that you didn’t read the entire story, and to make matters even more ridulous, it’s clearly labeled for what it is, so any criticism concerning the slash or male pregnancy genre is simply stupid.
    She was the kindest, most creative author I ever contacted. Flaming her is nothing more than a blatant display of your low to nonexistent IQ level.

  10. You think “Nesting” is brilliant?? A “male birthing” story??
    I rest my case about the “quality” of fanfic…and the discerning tastes of “fandom.”
    And if the story was “labeled for what it is,” it would have been labeled as “Horrific Crap” that’s offensive to anyone connected to the TV show… particularly those who created the characters that were appropriated for this swill. Speaking for the writers/producers of the show, I’m disgusted and offended. Do you really think Dick Van Dyke (who plays Mark Sloan) or Barry Van Dyke (who played Steve) or Charlie Schlatter (who played Jess) would approve?

  11. “This Charles Ellis character that has been created to be an ally isn’t selling. Very good try, Lee.”
    EXCUSE ME? What was that, Missy? Well, that’s nice right there, saying I don’t exist.
    I came over here from GAFF where I was _disagreeing_ with Lee Goldberg over overall fanfiction, and then you tell me I was “created to be an ally”? When I had to frigging _put down an E-mail address_ to even post on the blog?
    I call smeg on that.
    Side note:
    “it’s clearly labeled for what it is, so any criticism concerning the slash or male pregnancy genre is simply stupid.”
    Yes, it is labelled as mpreg. Big whoop. That doesn’t stop the entire genre being a sinkhole of crap that makes Biology teachers go homocidal.

  12. While I have to agree the genre of mpreg fanfiction completely unrealistic and I think trying to say that the *actors* would have a problem with Sarah Saint Ives story, “Nesting” is stretching it. They are ACTORS! These are characters on a TV show, these are not real people! The writers/producers can have a problem with it all they want, I tend to think the actors would have a more tolerate viewpoint. After all, their characters aren’t their real life personas.
    Now, if someone was using Charlie Schlatter and getting him pregnant in a fan fiction story, now that would be different. That I would have a problem with and I would imagine, so would Charlie.
    But this is *fiction.* You don’t hear William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy belly-aching like a bunch of five-year olds about slash and mpreg in Star Trek fandom where this trend started 30 years ago, do you?
    I suggest you grow up gentlemen, broaden your horizons and realize that this is a tv show, not real life.

  13. //I suggest you grow up gentlemen, broaden your horizons and realize that this is a tv show, not real life. //
    Hey, Lee’s not the sicko nut-job so obssessed with a TV show and its characters that he’s writing birthing fanfiction!
    The people who need to fucking grow up are the dimwits writing their masturbatory fanfiction and leaving 1000 word emails here to some TV hack trying to justify it!

  14. I decline to comment on the ridiculous nature of this Lee person because I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. As was stated, it’s obvious no one read the story, nor do they even bother to read entire posts, so I will not be visiting this site again, and neither will anyone else I know. Truly, truly stupid. The fan fiction, ‘Nesting’ was great!

  15. // The reason I write the books is because I have such a great time doing it…and I care about these characters as if I’d created them myself. //
    I find it interesting that in your vehement attack on fanfiction, you sum up perfectly the reason we write it. Fanfiction is written out of a love for and fascination with the characters of the tv show / book / movie it is based on.
    Not all of us are blessed with the opportunity to write for a show we love. Most of us are not even blessed with the opportunity to write professionally at all. Certainly, in some cases, that is due to lack of talent but in others it is due only to a lack of luck or a lack of time or a decision to pursue a career in another field. Fanfiction gives us the chance to write, to be read, and most importantly, the chance to play with characters and worlds which have captured our hearts and our imaginations.

  16. I stumbled across this thread by accident and feel compelled to leave a couple of comments of my own. First of all, and most importantly, I do feel that is was disrespectful and cowardly to choose this particular story to hold up for public scrutiny when the author is deceased and obviously has no way to reply to your review. I’m feel fairly certain — in fact I am positive — that there are many living authors of mpreg fics on the net that would be only to happy to defend their work to you if you should wish to expand on this topic. Y’know, pick on people that can fight back for instance.
    Secondly, I’m a fanfic author and I am proud to be labelled as such. And not only because I was offered a publishing deal for original works because someone stumbled across my fanfics and saw something in them worth pursuing. When my original works are published I have no intention of giving up on my fan stuff just because I have now ‘made it’in mainstream terms.
    I started writing fanfic relatively recently when I stumbled across it as part of my BA Hons in Creative Writing. I can honestly say that writing fanfic has helped me just as much, if not more, than the very in-depth and involved teaching on my course. Fanfic is not just a way to worship or pay hommage to your particular fandom — it is a way to expand on ideas and characters in the fandom that the original creators have let slip or just plain ignored as they focus on other plot arcs and developments.
    My particular problem in my writing is expanding on setting and narrative as I find it easiest to concentrate on dialogue. In fanfic I have the advantage of writing characters that are already established and thus allow me to concentrate and improve on my problem areas. I also think that fanfic is vastly overlooked as a medium that allows today’s children to enjoy creativity and reading for it’s own sake.
    As part of my degree I was required to teach poetry and creative writing in a senior school to a class of 13/14 year olds. Three children out of thirty seven admitted to reading for pleasure, the rest watched televison and played vidoeo games in their free time. They had little to no grasp of how to plot a story or how to use the English language and even less interest in learning how to do so. I wasted six weeks trying to introduce them to the delights of JK Rowling, LM Alcott, JM Barry before I finally threw aside my university approved teaching plan and brought them in a copy of one of my own fics for a lesson. Wisely I chose a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story and the rest is history. They were fascinated with the idea of writing their own stories about characters that they knew and loved from their beloved TV shows and the enthusiasm only increased when they realised that they weren’t just limited to one or two shows or books but ANYTHING they had an interest in was fair game. Five boys got together and rewrote one of their favourite video games as a make-your-own-adventure (much to my relief as they were previously only interested in chatting up the girls on the next table and making a really loud noise)whilst others were happily getting the hang on moving their chosen character out of their own fandom and putting them down in another so they could combine their favourite interests. Yes a lot of it was utter dross, but a lot of it wasn’t. The important thing to those kids was that they FINALLY had found something to allow them an in to the mysteries of using their imaginations, albeit that they were using someone else’s characters to do so.
    Personally I don’t read mpreg as I find it implausible and the characters annoyingly feminised, but I also respect the imagination and care that is given to these stories by their authors and I would never presume to write such an offensive review in a public forum because I didn’t like their stories. If I don’t like it, I delete it and move on like any mature and responsible person, not hold the person concerned up for public condemnation and ridicule because they don’t conform to my own particular views and preferences.
    I am also quite frankly surprised that you would be quite so offensive in your remarks as you are basically a fanfiction author yourself — the only difference being that you get paid for it. And for the record, the actors themselves generally have no problem with the many and varied form of fanfictions available as long as it is made clear that we are writing about the characters and NOT them. If you require proof of this then I suggest you or any interested parties Google the name Moonridge Auction and see Garrett Maggart and Richard Burgi from ‘The Sentinel’ meeting and greeting their fans as they all came together to support a wild life park and the two actors happily auctioned off memorabilia from the show and accepted donations that had been raised from the on-line auction of fan art and fanfic that was both gen and slash. Or perhaps look up Callum Keith Rennie or Paul Gross and the many interviews they have given for the ‘Due South’ fandom where they referr affectionately to the slash fic that has sprung up around their characters — that Paul in particular actively encourages. Or Michael Shanks regarding his role on Stargate and the tension between O’Neill and Jackson. Would you like me to go on?
    Next time I suggest you think more carefully before you post any ill-judged remarks and try and remember that not all fanfic authors are young, inexperienced would-be writers or naive, no-life computer geeks. The vast majority of us are experienced, successful intelligent people who can see through moronic claptrap when it’s posted and are not the least bit interested in currying favour like some of your more unimaginative minions.

  17. I haven’t had such an enjoyable time reading a thread in AGES! Thank you!
    For what it’s worth, Lee, I agree with you. I have written fanfic from time to time, and shared it with friends. I can see why someone would want to write it; it’s easier than developing your own characters and you have a ready made audience for your work, but until I got into it and watched the dynamics of ‘fanficcers’ for a while, I didn’t really have a grasp on what kind of complete wackos this hobby attracts.
    On the surface, it seems pretty harmless (copyright issues aside), but if you spend any time reading or writing it, you find that anyone with a grasp on reality is winnowed out fairly quickly leaving only the most maladjusted, socially dysfunctional ‘fanficcers’ in complete control. The further one gets into the ‘inner circle’, the weirder people get, too. I have seen people virtually ‘attacked’ – hacked and slandered – for admitting that they *gasp* didn’t like slash! Or that they found mpreg fanfics silly. I’ve seen a concerted effort made to shun people who didn’t write what the ‘inner circle’ wanted and recruitment campaigns aimed at CHILDREN to get them introduced to slash.
    These people can’t have much contact with the outside world because, quite frankly, some of the things they say on Live Journal forums and on chatgroups has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Their groupies reinforce their aberrant notions and they get further and further off of center. I am not surprised or shocked by the stuff you’ve seen written in the fandoms you’ve examined – these people really believe that stuff and think what they are writing is real and meaningful and that anyone who doesn’t think so is in the wrong.
    I am not sure if fanfic itself is the problem, but most of the influential people in it ought to be locked up. Mentally, they are not residing on this planet.

  18. I admire Goldberg’s guts, he’s got more than I do. Fanficcers are, by and large, social outcasts who live in their fanfic world because they can’t cope with the real one. Come, let’s be honest here, people. It’s not gays who read and write that slash mpregger shit, it’s mostly grossly overweight science fiction geek-women fingering themselves through their blubber while they write.

  19. Good grief, how on earth do you make it through the day with such a blinkered and ignorant mindset? I don’t write mpreg stuff, but I do write slash — and for your information I am neither overweight nor a sci-fi geek. I stand five foot, seven inches tall with a fairly respectable 36-24-36 body, I have been in a very strong and satisfying marriage for the last ten years and I have a very well-adjusted nine year old son who excels in both his academic studies and his varied sporting interests. Does that sound like the life of someone who cannot live outside of fannon? No, I didn’t think so.
    You, on the other hand, are obviously a complete muppet and I suspect a very ugly and bitter virgin. Grow up and don’t go tossing insults around until you are sure of your facts and that there isn’t someone out there more than capable of handing them back to you tenfold.

  20. I just think this is a nasty thread. The author has been dead for two years due to a an illness, and cannot defend herself anymore. I’m not saying the fic is great by any means, but leave it alone.
    You don’t have to worry about her writing any more.

  21. “Does that sound like the life of someone who cannot live outside of fannon?”
    Fannon? FANNON!??
    Oh spare me. Does you nine-year-old know he’s more mature than his mother? How’s your unicorn collection coming? Do you speak Klingon around the house?

  22. LOL, babe, I’m NO virgin. Haven’t seen a unicorn in years. ::snorts:: Klingon?! THAT’S the best you can come up with? Oh dear. I don’t actually spend that much time around the house to be fair…I tend to spend more time at the university where I’m tenured or on the lecture circuit, but if that’s what floats your particular boat then, hey, each to their own. Go nuts. Wait…I think you’re already there! LOL, Klingon indeed! Is that the sound of yet another sweeping and ignorant statement? Why, yes, I believe it is! Who the hell speaks Klingon these days? Everyone knows all the best blubbery, geeky, social outcasts these days speak Cardassian. DO try and keep up with the times, dear.

  23. I write fanfic. I read (some) slash. I may even write some non-graphic slash someday. I tend to ignore sex scenes because I find most of them about as exciting as reading tax code; that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in reading a story about two people of the same gender forming a relationship if it’s plausible. Key words here- if it’s plausible. I wouldn’t read DM slash because it isn’t plausible. It was probably one of the most heterosexual shows on TV (without being homophobic, too- nice touch, that).
    Fanfiction exists because people want to read stories that never got done in the original setting. Granted, sometimes there’s a good reason for this, but sometimes it’s just because nobody got around to doing it. I’ll be the first to admit that there really is a lot of crap out there- but have you seen some of the stuff that actually gets published? If I couldn’t write any better than Janet Dailey, for example, I’d chop off my writing hand. Oops, bad example- after all, if fanfiction is plagiarism, then she wrote Nora Roberts fanfiction and got paid for it.
    And Lee- I’d be a bit more sympathetic toward your views if it wasn’t for the fact that the Diagnosis Murder characters aren’t yours to begin with. You did not create this show. I enjoyed how you turned the show around and made it one of the few network shows worth watching, but quite frankly, your patronising attitude is very off-putting.
    One final note- I have to agree that male pregnancy is probably one of the most damnfool ideas I’ve ever come across. I can deal with the angstbunnies, the slashers, the deathficcers… not all of these suck, although by and large they tend to be annoying. (Especially deathfic: “Hey, I love this character! I think I’ll kill him off in a story!”) But unless you’re writing in an SF/fantasy milieu where male pregnancy is an established fact, there is absolutely no way to make this work. Spider Robinson did, but only once and only as a punchline.

  24. There are people like Chris Carter who encourage fanfics. He even based a character on an X-Phile (X-File fan) and on his very last season put fans’ names on the folder in the opening credits.
    Then there are people like Anne Rice who ask that fanfics of her work not be put up. I don’t think it has anything to do with copyright infringement. It’s up to the people who own the character if they want fanfics on the internet.

  25. Reworking of old material is one of the oldest traditions that the human race has as a part of it’s artistic and intellectual histroy. Using a well established field like music, we can look back to things like “Variations on a Theme of Paganini” or any classical music based off of folksongs and realize that something that might have been a minor flourish or a short song when it began becomes something gigantic and unforeseen in the hand of another. And again, like the music, the authors are not trying to insult the original creators or disgust the rest of humanity by their work. What they are doing is exploring an idea inspired by the work of others (and acknowledged as such). This is true of all areas of human expression/ creativity: philosophy (Kant never came up with an original idea/starting point in his entire life)history/ biography (Shakespeare stole so much from Plutarch it is funny)the list goes on and on. These ideas could range from the story didn’t go this way because it truly wouldn’t appeal to anyone but a truly obsessed person to the ending that the populace really wanted. And sometimes these variations do affect the original (case in point witchblade. Hello, the entire first season we showed you? Didn’t happen. Was smoke and fairy dust. We realized nobody liked it and we’re trying again while pretending that we’re not). But a main point in fanfiction’s favor is that it is not forcing anyone to any particular view. Yeah there are rabid nuts out there, but like any other kind of nut, the proper response is to tune them out or in serious cases provide help. Lord knows, there are much much much worse fanatics in sports and they have never been as stigmatized as those who are exercising the written characters in unique or different outcomes. I myself have written fanfiction, as a previous point mentioned, for the sake of improving my writing skills. Having a character that I know the instinctive responses/ trademark move for makes it easier for me work out kinks in a scenario/plot and to attempt to gain insight into what makes a character compelling with fewer words. And while I do not think it is the duty of successful writers to pave the way for newcomers, it is a noblisse oblige when they do.
    Next, a legal thought on copyright. Seeing as this will soon be my profession, I’ve gone through a lot of the legal backdrop on the issue, and while it is true that monetary rewards are not the measure of success, the author/ copyright holder has to prove some form of damage. And while some creators may find it annoying/ humiliating that their works have been taken this way, the level that they need to show is that what is being done damages their interest by showing that they are not or cannot make proper use of their copyright due to the action of the third party. This would be for example someone publishing another’s book on the internet, which would interfere with the author/ copyright holder’s right to publish it themselves (and earn profit thereby). That was the holding of the napster case. The works were in their entirety and were prohibitive of the owner’s rights to sell the works. Fanfiction itself is not an identical or even close copy of the original (almost by definition). Another interesting fact is that fanfiction has been shown to increase/ improve the sales of the original copyright owner’s works. This is especially true after a show/ work has completed it’s run. I know for a fact that I never would have been interested in The Sentinel if I had not read some of the more thoughtful introspections on character or certain episodes that came as a part of fanfiction. The Sentinel, Star Trek Original Series, Starsky and Hutch, and Dukes of Hazard are all examples of shows which have had a huge increase in sales that are pinpointable to creation of fanfiction communities (best friend who’s a sales analyst). Shows and popular ideas naturally collect fans and followers, in fact producers and directors pray for this, because these loyal people are the ones that truly make them money.
    I doubt this has changed many people’s minds. This seems to be an issue where people make a judgment and stick to it regardless of the positive aspects of the other side. However, those who ignorantly or abusively enter into this issue, a thought for you as well. When your message reeks of ignorance, abusive, prejudice, poor spelling/grammar, insults, and incoherant thoughts, you make little impression and are written off as the nincompoops that you are. Any attempt at civility is a much better hope of persuading another to your point of view.

  26. I have read a couple of your “Diagnosis Murder” books, Lee Goldberg, and I read them hoping to dislike them, so that whatever negative remarks I might have would have some foundation to them. Still, whilst I do have some negatives remarks, I can’t seem to dislike your books as a whole. I honestly don’t think they are worthy of a Pulitzer Prize nomination, but they did entertain me; despite showing only a smidgen more depth than what a script would.
    I despaired a little at the similarity of plot in “The Waking Nightmare” to an episode of “Monk” (Mr Monk Goes To Mexico – which you co-wrote with William Rabkin) – The mysterious death of a parachutist (and having read a couple of other synopsis’ to a couple of other books that you have written, I despaired at a similarity of plot there too). Still, the most disappointing thing I read concerning “The Waking Nightmare” was the “Twenty One Gun Salute” you gave to two possible resolutions to the crime. They were so glaring that I was not only disappointed once, but twice, when you revealed them both to the reader.
    As I read, I also got the feeling that perhaps it was a good thing that I had seen “Diagnosis Murder”, because, in my opinion, your speech relied heavily on the reader knowing instinctively how something would be said by each character; it was often clinical and without expression.
    Also, whilst I am making comments, there are two offensive things you do that has rankled me to the bone when discussing Fan-fiction stories and the writers of them. I think the most offensive thing you do when you make such disparaging remarks, is that you try to strengthen your arguments by name-dropping, without, I would presume, you actually being aware of those persons thoughts on such things.
    You also appear to be unable to separate the character from the person with your name-dropping. I would assume that Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Charlie Schlatter were fond of their *characters*, having played them for so long, however, I would not presume to state as you have that they would be offended by what other writers have done with their *characters*. Or have you actually discussed with the three actors what they thought about what some writers had done with Mark Sloan, Jesse Travis and Steve Sloan?
    The second most offensive thing you do is to make a sweeping judgement on *all* Fan-fiction writers based on *one* story you were sent to read. Whilst I think it is agreed that there are some truly awful Fan-fiction writing out there, I would not be so judgemental as to condemn *all* Fan-fiction writers solely on those. Considering that your remarks are so condemning I would suggest you read more fan-fiction attributed to “Diagnosis Murder” because, in my honest opinion, there are some wonderful writers out there that actually capture the characters of the show far better than you have done so far with your books; and that includes originality of plot too.
    You have already said that the motivation behind you writing the DM books is because you have a blast with writing and that you are fond of the characters as if you had created them yourself, well, would it surprise you to realise that that is why there is Fan-fiction out there in the first place? Would it surprise you to realise that there are those Fan-fiction writers out there on the internet whom get as much of a blast out of writing a story as you do, and are as fond of the characters as you are? Considering your remarks on *one* story, I would imagine that it would be a bit of a surprise to you.
    On that, Lee Goldberg, as far as I am concerned, you can make as many disparaging, sweeping remarks, full of legalities and some such things, as you like concerning Fan-fiction stories and the writers of such stories, but, in my opinion, the line between them and you is not as wide as you *wish* it could be.
    Take care

  27. From an interview with Lee on the MONK FUN PAGE:
    MFP: Actually, “Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico” episode reminds me of Waking Nightmare.
    Lee: Yeah. Well, you know why?
    MFP: Because of the parachute thing.
    Lee: Yes, and the original way I pitched it to Andy was, and I don’t want to give the ending away to Nightmare, but that was the way I pitched it. He said, “You know, it would be better if he drowned in mid-air.” So I took the idea that we originally pitched and used it for The Waking Nightmare and we went a different direction in the Monk episode. In “Mexico” a guy jumps out of an airplane and he drowns in mid-air. How’d he do it? In the Diagnosis: Murder book a famous publisher and his entire board of directors jump out of an airplane with six guys and a videographer and all that and when he lands on the ground he’s been stabbed in the chest. So how the hell did he get stabbed in the chest, which person in the air did it? That was the original way we pitched it to Andy. Andy had a different idea, but it was too good of an idea not to use so I went with it. Also in Waking Nightmare Dr. Mark Sloan witnesses someone jump off a ledge and commit suicide and becomes obsessed with finding out why. I wrote a Spenser: for Hire where Spenser looks out the window sees a woman jump off a ledge and becomes obsessed with finding out why, which had a completely different plot. This was the original plot and those producers had a different idea, so I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind. A good writer never throws away a good idea. You just stick it in a drawer to use another time.

  28. You’re in the minority regarding the quality of Lee’s books. Here are some of the media reviews of DIAGNOSIS MURDER: THE PAST TENSE.
    Books spun off from television series are often scorned by critics despite their popularity. One author out to change their reputation is Lee Goldberg, a screenwriter who has produced at least a dozen novels as well as scores of TV shows.
    With his fifth book in the “Diagnosis Murder” series, The Past Tense (Signet, $6.99), Goldberg has proven that excellent writing can be found anywhere, even in a TV tie-in novel.
    When the body of a woman dressed as a mermaid washes up on the beach, everyone is perplexed except for Dr. Mark Sloan (the character played on television by Dick Van Dyke). Sloan recognizes the clues that tie the body to a series of murders nearly four decades before, a case that haunts him still.
    The Past Tense contains all the elements of a fine mystery novel: good characters, interesting plot, surprising twists and, above all, crisp and enjoyable writing. With books this good, who needs TV?
    In LEE GOLDBERG’s new DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel The Past Tense, I learned an agreeable amount about forensics and an even more agreeable amount about medicine and medical protocol as defined by a large hospital. And I got a whole bunch of fun glimpses of present-day Los Angeles.Most of all, I was entertained. A murdered young woman washed ashore in a mermaid’s outfit? And an autopsy that reveals she had a digital camera memory card in her stomach? And all this rendered in tart, taut prose that never forgets that dramas are best played out in well-defined social circumstances, which, in this case, means LA experiencing the kinds of rains and flooding that gave Noah such a bad time.
    Goldberg’s sardonic voice informs every scene and that’s what makes his people work. Nurses sometimes pull rank on doctors. Grown men steal sandwiches from poor little tots. And a character named Drake Arnold gives all humanity a bad name. He has “a bag of Cheetos in his lap and a six-pack of beer on the nightstand beside him. He wore two days worth of stubble, a loud Wal-Mart Hawaiian shirt, and a wrinkled pair of ten dollar cargo pants. His eyes were on an X-rated movie that played silently on the TV.” He later modestly admits, “The babes can’t get enough of me.” What parent wouldn’t want him for a son-in-law?
    This is Lee Goldberg’s best DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel yet. He can plot and write with the best of them.
    Diagnosis Murder: The Past Tense (Signet, $6.99), by Lee Goldberg, is the latest–and arguably the best–original mystery based on the popular Dick Van Dyke TV series, which Goldberg wrote and produced. What makes it more than just another spinoff is the way Goldberg takes the reader–and his hero, Dr. Mark Sloan–through 40 years of Los Angeles history, a journey that captures the unique flavor of the city so many of us used to call home.

  29. Considering that your remarks are so condemning I would suggest you read more fan-fiction attributed to “Diagnosis Murder” because, in my honest opinion, there are some wonderful writers out there that actually capture the characters of the show far better than you have done so far with your books; and that includes originality of plot too.

    To Della,
    For obvious legal reasons, I can’t read DM fanfic. I felt fairly safe reading the mpreg crap that someone sent me since there is no way I will ever do anything like that in my books.

    I would assume that Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Charlie Schlatter were fond of their *characters*, having played them for so long, however, I would not presume to state as you have that they would be offended by what other writers have done with their *characters*.

    Since I know, and worked with, Dick, Barry, Charlie and Victoria, I feel pretty safe saying they wouldn’t like slash and mpreg stories about their characters.

    You have already said that the motivation behind you writing the DM books is because you have a blast with writing and that you are fond of the characters as if you had created them yourself, well, would it surprise you to realise that that is why there is Fan-fiction out there in the first place?

    I would never have written a DM book, or even thought about it, if I wasn’t approached by the rights-holder to do so. The same goes for MONK. Why? Because the characters don’t belong to me. Yes, I love what I do…but I didn’t wake up one morning and declare “I’m going to write a DM story.” I enjoy lots of TV shows and movies but I wouldn’t write about them unless the people who own those properties asked me to.
    To Someone,
    You really don’t need to defend me, though I appreciate the thought. Della is certainly allowed her opinion and it’s just as valid as those from critics.

  30. I worked on the show over a four-year period and I’m offended. If it was my work I’d sue for defamation, which it clearly is, then infringement kicks in. Say goodnight Dick because it would be over for this pack of jackals.

  31. Hello Lee Goldberg,
    Please accept my apologies for the length of time that has passed since your response and my reply, but certain real-life issues made it a little impossible. Still, that time did give me a chance to catch up on some of your other Diagnosis Murder books. My favourite being “The Past Tense” though the ending I found almost as shocking as your thoughts on Fanfiction and Fanfiction writers.
    Anyhow, here is my reply…
    Lee Goldberg wrote:
    For obvious legal reasons, I can’t read DM fanfic. I felt fairly safe reading the mpreg crap that someone sent me since there is no way I will ever do anything like that in my books.
    ~ ~
    This indicates to me that you had a preconceived idea of what you were going to feel about the storyline before you had even started reading, which does beg the question of why did you decide to read it in the first place? Was it for the same reasons I found a need to read at least one of your DM books, only you feel justified in making your sweeping judgements because your preconceived idea was endorsed by the mpreg story? The difference between you and me, in this case, Lee Goldberg, is that I did not read a book of yours and condemn *all* writers solely based on the quality of *your* work.
    It is true that all should be allowed their opinion, and thank you for letting me have mine, but it really sticks in my craw when such condemning remarks are made without so much as a foundation to base those opinions on. I know about the legalities behind you being unable to read DM Fanfic, my point was to illustrate just how flimsy-a-foundation your remarks stand upon, which appears to be *One* story from *One* writer and from an angle that is rarely written.
    Lee Goldberg wrote:
    Since I know, and worked with, Dick, Barry, Charlie and Victoria, I feel pretty safe saying they wouldn’t like slash and mpreg stories about their characters.
    ~ ~
    I know you know Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Charlie Schlatter and Victoria Rowell; any fan of Diagnosis Murder and also any viewer of your wonderful interview with Dick Van Dyke would know this; and I would hope you would know that I am aware you have also worked with them, however, this, in my opinion, does not excuse you from putting words into their mouths without having actually discussed *your* views with them.
    In my opinion, no one truly knows another’s thoughts on anything unless those thoughts are/have been aired; no matter how well you know that/those person/s. You felt “pretty safe” but you were not exactly sure; you could not say for certain; because I would assume by your admission of feeling “pretty safe” you have not actually discussed this with them, which is what I mean by name dropping to strengthen your argument.
    Right or wrong in your assumption, it is, after all, just an assumption and it makes me wonder how you would feel if someone did the very same thing to you; especially if they were wrong in their assumption, though being right still wouldn’t excuse it, would it?
    If Fanfiction writing is *so* wrong, then why have the legal departments not been as busy as they could be on taking the Fanfiction writers to court? My opinion concerning why the legal departments and lawyers have not stamped down on Fanfiction and the writers of such stories is because it is mostly just an affectionate nod towards a program and the characters that reside within that program; and a nod that has no monetary profit for said writer.
    Lee Goldberg wrote:
    I would never have written a DM book, or even thought about it, if I wasn’t approached by the rights-holder to do so. The same goes for MONK. Why? Because the characters don’t belong to me. Yes, I love what I do…but I didn’t wake up one morning and declare “I’m going to write a DM story.” I enjoy lots of TV shows and movies but I wouldn’t write about them unless the people who own those properties asked me to.
    ~ ~
    It does not surprise me one iota that you would not think of writing a DM book if you were not approached by the rights-holder to do so, because writing a book, as you know, takes time; a lot of time and also a lot of effort too. Yet, there are Fanfiction writers out there that *are* prepared to give those characters that amount of time and effort; putting them into situations they would love to see acted out; knowing that the only payment they get out of it is the pleasure of writing, placing their favourite characters into certain situations and the feedback that they *might* receive.
    If there were people out there who are aware of the legalities concerning making *money* from uncomissioned Fanfiction, then my stance would be right alongside of you, Lee Goldberg, however, I’ve yet to encounter such things, and no matter how much I might dislike a story; the construct, context, grammar and what not; if it is written with a love for the characters and the program they reside in then I am not opposed to any of it.
    I can’t think of a better advert; other than commissioned work that also portrays a love for the characters and the program; than Fanfiction.
    Take care
    PS :Someone:
    Someone Wrote:
    A good writer never throws away a good idea. You just stick it in a drawer to use another time.
    ~ ~
    I agree with you that a good writer never throws away a good idea. A good writer will have the good idea, use it and then move on to the next good idea, he would *not*, have a good idea, use it once and then use it again with the minutest of details changed.
    Just because the re-use of an idea was sanctioned by Andy Breckman does not, in my opinion, excuse the fact that Lee Goldberg re-used the idea. If it does, then how does it?
    It is true that there are several similarity of plots out there. In my opinion, I think it is extremely hard to find an idea without someone saying, “Hmm, that reminds me of such ‘n’such”, however, although I think I understand why a good idea would want to be used again, it just makes me a little irate when it is so blatant; *especially* when I have spent money to read it.
    Take care


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