She Really, Really Cared

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. 

9 thoughts on “She Really, Really Cared”

  1. What’s wrong with taking a year off to masturbate?
    Anyway, I agree. It reminds me of the documentary Trekkies. There’s a segment with a talented young man, full of creativity, but all he can put it to use on is Trek fandom. All I can think is, what a waste! I simply don’t understand the impulse to play in someone else’s world with no hopes of a decent audience or ever getting paid for it.
    (And aren’t the Animorph books written for pre-teens anyway?)

  2. Hi Lee–
    I have five granddaughters. The prospect of seeing even one of them taking a year off for any reason other than health…Wow.

  3. I must admit I am torn about this.
    I’m thrilled to know someone else thought the ending to the Animorphs was horrid. I actually read the final book when only half way through the series. I never have bothered to finish.
    However, taking a year off life to write fan fic? I don’t have the same hatred of it you do, but I don’t get that at all.

  4. Re: The geeky CGI guy from Trekkies, the story had a happy ending: He did indeed go on to a legit CGI job. I noted that he had wayyy too much talent to waste it on ST fanfic. I think he also serves somewhat as a positive model for “learn your craft with fanfic and then go get a real job”. More exception than rule, I’m sure.

  5. “Isn’t 18 a little too old to be reading Animorphs?”
    If this doesn’t establish that I’m odd, I don’t know what will, but when they were really big and still being written, I was around 25, and I was hooked. And they also gave me nightmares if I wasn’t careful what parts I read before I went to bed.
    Of course, I was also reading adult novels and only read about one a month, but I was still reading them.

  6. My youngest daughter won’t even take off a summer. By taking summer classes, and testing out of classes she’s a junior after one year.
    Of course, she would also never be a writer. Growing up in a writing family has shown her the underbelly of the business. It’s a shame because she has natural talent.


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