Fanfic Fool

From my brother Tod’s blog today:

The other day, my friend Alex told me that in a creative writing
class he teaches at UC-Riverside, someone turned in Willy Wonka fan
fiction and wasn’t totally clear why that wasn’t allowed in a college
creative writing class.

The student would be much more at home in a creative writing class at Texas State University taught by Dr. Robin Reid, champion of "Real Person Slash Fanfic." Not only would she accept that assignment, but probably one about Gene Wilder getting his Willy Wonked by Johnny Depp, too.

6 thoughts on “Fanfic Fool”

  1. Was it a story starring Willy Wonka and other Dahl characters, or was it a script? I assume it was the former, or that the assignment wasn’t to write a script — or something based on someone else’s characters.
    I had a similar experience at NYU’s Dramatic Writing program. Actually, it was while I was at NYU, but in a different school than Tisch, and was able to take a “Screenwriting 101” class — Tisch is notorious for making it difficult, as it should, I suppose, for non-Tischies to gain entrance to classes.
    Our first real assignment was to write the opening scenes of the screenplay we planned on writing that semester — and I came in with opening scenes of a “Buffy” spec.
    I pointed out that this class was taken while I was not yet in Tisch because it’s important to realize that the whole class was made up of non-Dramatic Writing students, just students who had electives and wanted to write.
    The teacher had not said that we couldn’t write a TV spec (he probably thought that was obvious), and he had no experience writing for television — but I had not experience writing either.
    It was traumatizing at the time — he made a big deal about how TV writing isn’t the same (i.e., as good, or difficult) as film writing, blah blah blah, and cemented my inclination to pursue television writing rather than film.
    I ended up writing the “Buffy” spec on my own, and used that as part of my application portfolio to Tisch, which accepted me.
    Once in the Department of Dramatic Writing , of course, I learned the difference between television and screenwriting, and had the privilege to work with writers far more successful that that one-semester adjuct will (hopefully) ever be.
    I assume Tod’s student was just as naive as I was; what both of us should have done was approach our teachers before hand to discuss our assignments.

  2. I hope it was Wonka real people mpreg slash. Perhaps the two actors meet at Wonkacon 2010! There they encounter one another in the Green Room and Wilder Wonka declares that he actually was pregnant once and gave birth to Depp Wonka, and now he must impregnate Depp Wonka for another generation of Wonka to be born. Their issue, of course, will be Kevin Covais From American Idol, with a Wonka hat.

  3. “someone turned in Willy Wonka fan fiction and wasn’t totally clear why that wasn’t allowed in a college creative writing class”
    It perhaps isn’t totally clear for a reason.
    After all, writing spec TV scripts to show skill in writing particular styles is accepted – even though the writer doesn’t own the rights for those characters. It isn’t clear to many people how that is different from ‘fanfic’.
    Is it acceptable to write ‘Sherlock Holmes’ “fanfic” but not ‘Willy Wonka’ ? Is it OK to write ‘Peter Pan’ fan-fic? What if you want to send it to the UK?
    Did Mark Twain err by writing Sherlock Holmes into one of his own stories? (‘A double-barrelled detective story’)
    What if I write a story set in the world of a popular radio series from 55 years ago?
    On the balance, Fan-Fic may do more harm than good, but is it that surprising that the boundaries of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ aren’t as black and white as we’d like ?

  4. For your general interest, in English in our final year of high school, we had to read several books in the last month. One of our peices of assessment was to pick one and add another “chapter” to the end (word limit of course). The purpose was to learn how to imitate another author’s style of writing so that we could tell when we were imitating and when we were in fact using our own style and to focus on character development using characters already created(or so we were told).
    That was considered creative writing (in highschool, Australia the year 2000). Just out of interest.

  5. Teresa,
    It’s one thing to imitate an author’s writing style for an English class assignment — it’s another to distribute it on the Internet or use it as a sample of your writing to get into a creative writing class.


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