melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2010-04-15 04:08 pm

Original & Fandom Fic poll follow-up

Wow, that entry is almost tied for "most comments I have ever gotten." Clearly people care about this issue! Now, if only I could write some fic that got that much response! ...if only I could write some fic, period. :P

There is a lot of good discussion going on in the comments, too, some of them along tangents I really want to follow up on (I didn't reply to all of them that I meant to, either - somewhere around the point where comments on an entry collapse I completely lose track of what's going on and am mostly lost except for reading the email notifications.) There's good stuff in OTW's follow-up post, too.

Some people asked me to post the specific examples I was thinking of for each poll question, so here they are under the cut, at leas the ones I can link to, along with a teeny-tiny bit of analysis.

1. Historical RPF about dead people: very very large genre, but the one I was thinking of in particular (because it is dear to my heart) is No Rest for the Wicked by [personal profile] naraht.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 72%

2. Non-historical RPF about living people: also very very large genre, but here, have the British Comedy anon fic meme I've posted on recently, [ profile] notdancers.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 88%

3. Historical fic set in a specific place and time but with mostly-original characters (because the people I'm writing about went unrecorded by history:) Okay, the best examples I can think of for this are stories I have not yet written - talking with [personal profile] stellar_dust, the ideal case would be something like "the story of Slave Woman #3 who lived in structure C at Monticello from 1768-1794, got a ration of one pound of pork and three pounds of cornmeal a week, had two kids living with her for part of that period but is never given a name in the surviving records." Sort of the historical RPF equivalent of the fpf stories that are about "third Gryffindor girl". The example I can link you to (that I was sort of thinking of) is Life at Keatley Creek, which is a short bit I wrote in reaction to an anthropology case study I read in college.
Survey says: Original, by 90%

4. Fic set in the present with original characters, but all about their relationships with real celebrities, places, and/or current events: This I was thinking of unfinished/unpublished stories of mine; they are hard to find in fan sources, but in published fic *all the time* (and I wish they showed up more in fan sources, as I adore outsider POV and setting-focused fic.)
Survey says: Original, by 65% (I'm kind of surprised this one is closer than 5 - maybe it's because I elaborated on it in comments? Or stated it badly?)

5. A story set in fandom with characters who are all recognizeable fangirl archetypes: Mina de Malfois is the obvious example. (Mina herself does not appear to be on AO3; Mina fic is. This seems to me like a clear example of "original fic that belongs on a fannish archive", but I guess fandom itself is a fandom now.)
Survey says: Fanfic, by 75%

6-9: I wrote these before I turned twenty. Having been smart enough at the time not to post them on the internets, I will not make the mistake now. :P

6. A story based on a story my great-grandma wrote that was only ever published in a tiny edition: This was for a school assignment about an immigrant story in your family; since I have no "immigrant stories" remembered in my family, I took some of Great-grandma's semi-autobiographical stuff & remixed them with real history into an AU where she was an immigrant (and then didn't tell the teacher it was nearly all fictional.)
Survey says: Fanfic, by 70%

7. A story based on something in my high school literary magazine: Short version: I was editor. There was some stuff we were obliged to publish that was *really terrible*. Privately, in the dark of night, I fixed it.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 70%

8. Fic based on a friend's unpublished and unfinished original novel:...nope, *really* not going in to this.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 80%
(The previous three are basically the same question: is it still fanfic if there's not chance at all any of your readers know the canon? It's interesting that even as the proportions worked out about the same, individual people's answers are often different for the three.)

9. My original story that my friend published fic about before my story was finished:It's possible the first chapter of this story is still around on the Forward Motion message boards somewhere, but it is not worth digging it out to share it. And the story around the first piece of fic I ever got is kind of creepy in a stalkery way but I still treasure the fact that it happened.
Survey says: Original, 95%
(This is, clearly, original. And yet, depending on how the posting rolled out, it could end up looking like fic. Also, something I would strongly support allowing on AO3 even if original fic in general isn't: if a work has derivatives up on AO3, and the original copyright owners are willing to let the canon be hosted right alongside it, how would that not be *awesome*? Says the person who shares ebooks for most of the small fandoms she writes it. :p)

10. A non-canon AU I wrote in my own original universe that uses fannish tropes like AMTDI or "five things that never happened": there was some confusion about my wording on this; basically I meant when you decide screw plot and contiunity and being a real author, you're just going to write fanfic for your own work. This bit of futurefic from nano a few years ago is probably the closest to this category that I have online; there is a great deal more that isn't: Much, much later
Survey says: original, by 56%
(Which I guess means that authors who join their own fandoms under pseudonyms aren't really writing fic.)

11. So, I was thinking something along the lines of the story where my old OC Prince Senning of Appenall gets to hang out with BBC Merlin, but I deliberately wrote the question so that it could mean basically, every OC fic ever. I suspect the answers might have come out less one-sided if I'd made it clear they were pre-existing OCs. Anyway as an example, here's part of one of my old Mary-Sue Pride stories: To Touch Pitch, in which Peggy has a thing with Snape.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 99%

12. A story where my original characters meet historical characters or celebrities: 90% of Time Travel novels plus a significant fraction of all historical novels. If you want one by a Certified Fan (c), read Temeraire and just try to not ship Laurence/Napoleon (No? Just me?)
Survey says: Original, 55%

13. A fusion where my original characters are put into a fandom-canon universe but no canon characters appear: Actually, this is one I have been deeply tempted to do, but never dared, because I assumed there was no audience. (I could tell you the plots of some of them though. At length.) Also, there are some fandoms where this sort of story is really, really common. Pern, say.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 95%

14. A crossover where my original characters meet me and my friends: Last done in high school. Staying drawerfic. (Also, a fairly common exercise given to young creative writing students.)
Survey says: Original, by 75%

15: A crossover where my original characters meet my friend's original characters: this, of course, gets into the sticky question of when it stops being fanfic and starts being co-writing. And this is again something from teenagerhood that I'm not sharing. :P
Survey says: Tie, 50%
(This is where I should have had a question about original characters from one of your own stories meeting original characters from another of your stories. But I forgot.)

16. A story about recognizable living real people where all the names have been elided or changed: Specific example, Drabbling in Archeology, which was one of my sister's yuletide gifts this year. On the published side, "Primary Colors" seems to come up a lot.
Survey says: Original, by 55%

17. A story about anthropomorphized objects or concepts: Again, an entire genre, but here, have Hot Stuff, since it was mentioned in the comments already.
Survey says: Original, by 69%

18. A story about anthropomorphized *fannish* objects or concepts: See all of the stories I got for yuletide 2009. (I am not sure how clear this question was - I meant stories like Angst/Meta, not stories where John and Rodney are dirty socks; that might have been why there was such a swing in numbers. Or not. It could be "fandom itself is a fandom" again, although if so, I don't see why Cookies/Milk can't be.)
Survey says: Fanfic, by 75%

19. A retelling of a myth or fairy tale where all of the names, the setting, most of the details and the ending are different: Salad-Head, by [profile] rubynye, which is widely recced in fandom and only resembles the fairy tale it was based on in broad strokes.
Survey says: Original, by 66%

20. A retelling of a myth or fairy tale to make it work in the framework of my original universe or with my original characters: The Tales of Beedle the Bard it's the most blatant case, but it's far from the only one. I do this a lot but most of them wouldn't make sense unless you're me; the closest thing I have published is a creation story.
Survey says: Original, by 72%

21. An obvious parody/pastiche of a published author's style and subject matter that doesn't reference any of their characters or settings: Also by me in high school, but since it's still up, Ballad of the Hairy Man, in the style of Robert Service (with bonus inspiration from the folk song "The Black Fox", but that's also the sort of thing Service would do.)
Survey says: Original, by 55%

22. A side story to my fanfic epic, about two original characters from the epic, which based only on internal evidence could be set in a non-fannish world: Not the best example in existence, but try some of [personal profile] daegaer's Schwarz!Kinder, all grown up. (The example I was thinking of turned out to have more canon in it than I thought, due to me being unfamiliar with one of the fandoms. Which tells you how much I care about whether something's in a familiar fandom. Also, this gets much stickier with fanart - how can one tell the difference been fanart of your Highlander OC and fanart of your non-fannish OC?)
Survey says: Fanfic, by 72%

23. A novel set in [fandom A] that's all about original characters who live around the world from canon events so the only explicit reference to canon is passing allusions to distant events: The specific series I was thinking of here (HP fandom) has been taken off-line to have the serial numbers scrubbed, but there are some fandoms where this is a large proportion of the output.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 90%

24. An AU story based around minor OCs from an AU of an AU of an AU that has since been thoroughly jossed: Okay, the specific story I was thinking of here is locked (which, underage/dubcon/threesome/incest, probably good reason) but just go to [community profile] clan_mitchell and you will find some stories that fit this description.
Survey says: Fanfic, 75%

25. A novel about characters that started out as fanfic OCs or AUs of canon characters but I have deliberately moved outside the fandom context" This is the classic "file off the serial numbers" scenario; Amy Webb's Devil Series is the first example I actually followed, and a non-commercial series along these lines is [personal profile] laylah's [ profile] precious_stones.
Survey says: Original, 80%

26. A shared world written by many authors with no "primary" text or "series bible: [community profile] steampunk_nusantara is the one I am (and everyone should be) following at the moment, but there are others. (Also, a fair number of text-RPGs could fall into this category.)
Survey says: Original, 77%

27. Biblefic: Again, a genre of its own, both within fandom and in published fic. I am most familiar with fic actually based around bible stories, but there is a usage of this term that refers to fic generally set in a Christian milieu, with guardian angels and things. Random rec: The Syro-Phonecian Woman by [personal profile] tree_and_leaf.
Survey says: Fanfic, 85%

28. A slashy story about an angel that draws heavily on traditional Western angelology and eschatology, including [list of canon texts in original sense of canon texts], but is not based on specific text: This is specifically a story I am working on about the angel Presbyopael who couldn't see God as anything but a headachey blur until he fell to Earth and got a little distance. But the genre of stories set in paracanonical Western Christian mythology is not exactly *small*.
Survey says: Original, by 75%
(This is really the same question as 26, where bible!fic is derivative of the Bible, and 27 is derivative of bible-fic, so the swap in survey numbers is intriguing.)

29.A Lovecraftian horror story that mentions the Necronomicon but is otherwise completely original: Specific example was another high school ouvre of mine, but such things as this are not rare in pro genre circles or certain fan circles.
Survey says: Original, 62%

30. A story that is direct commentary or critique of tropes, plots and characterizations specific to a very small subgenre but with all made-up proper names: I was thinking here of Alexei Panshin's "Rite of Passage" specifically, because I am kind of over-fond of Panshin and his wanky fanboying, but really, whole subsets of SF publishing are this.
Survey says: Original, 66%

31. A novel that is mostly an original work but in which the Doctor makes a cameo (because he can: This is Diane Duane's "High Wizardry".
Survey says: Original, 53%

32: A professionally published story using other authors' characters and settings that the pro author loudly insists is not fanfic: heh, pick your favorite pro-author whipping boy.
Survey says: Fanfic, by 85%

% of examples currently published as fic that y'all declared original: 3/9, 33%
% of pro-published (non-tie-in) examples y'all declared fanfic: 1/5 as of now, but both "High Wizardry" and the Lovecraft example have been fluctuating right around the 50% mark.
% of examples that are within 20% of a tie: 11/32, 33%

Also, the con-txt panel survey is live!

No prizes for people who manage to guess one of the panels I submitted, because, umm, your odds just for picking one at complete random would actually be pretty good, plus a couple of them are re-posts from previous years. But feel free to guess anyway, and I will confirm yes or no :D

Post a comment in response:

Identity URL: 
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


If you are unable to use this captcha for any reason, please contact us by email at

Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of people who comment anonymously.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.