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interrobang studios
November 3rd, 2010 08:14 pm - Vanyel and FictionAlley
I just had a dream that there exists an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series in which certain department heads on the U.S.S. Enterprise (headed by Captain Kirk) had taken to buying antique hardcovers of classic novels and leaving them lying around the Engineering break rooms in an attempt to wean Scotty off his technical manuals by giving him books that are beautiful hardware in their own right, with the result that Scotty and Cupcake and several other Engineering redshirts have started an enthusiastic book club that is reading the Valdemar novels.

And this animated episode I was watching even included a fairly long segment of what was actually happening in the novel they were discussing, in which Vanyel was drawn to quite closely resemble Spock in a glittery lavender version of Vulcan robes, and spent most of his time crying. In the rain. (As basically all I know about Valdemar is that Vanyel is gay and tragic, there are soulbonded horses, and the covers of my copies are pink and purple and sparkle, I'm kind of impressed with my brain for coming up with that. And traumatized.)

I'm not sure if I want to write that story more or less than I now want the Hot Fuzz story where Danny lends Nick the Valdemar books.


Anyway, I've been kind of vaguely following the FictionAlley vs. Pepsi controversy, and while it would probably be smarter of me not to, I feel compelled to add my $.02 American. (Look, me reading up on the intersection of neoliberal capitalism and self-enforced gift economies totally counts as research for my NaNo, okay? And sadly, that's actually true, and I only just now realized that part of what the economics in my novel is commenting on is fandom.)

This whole meta section here is just so I don't feel like I made a post just to talk about Scotty and Vanyel, because my subconscious thinks you guys expect more than that of me. If Scotty and Vanyel is a sufficient post for you, please do skip this section. )

(26 comments | Reply)

April 10th, 2010 02:49 pm - On original fic and fanfic
There are currently a couple of debates going around - about the problem of Sue-shaming and about mixing original fic and fanfic in communities and archives - that have combined with other stuff to make me want to write about original writing.

So, re: the debate going around about whether AO3 should allow original stuff in with the fanworks:

There are some people who want to keep a wall between original and fan fiction, and want to keep AO3 limited to fan writers. And I can see their point - I, too, am far less likely to read something if it's original: it's harder work to read, less likely to be id-tastic, when I'm in the mood for fanwork I don't want original, and either the average quality of original fic is less, or I simply don't have good enough filters for finding the good stuff with original as compared to fan work. Plus, many original writing communities are not only very different in culture to fanwriting communities, some of them are openly hostile to fanwriting, or to some of the values that my particular fanwriting community espouses.

The problem I have with that viewpoint is that the separation between original and fan work *isn't* a wall. It is, at best, a long sloping gradient with something on it that might be an attempt at a wall that has fallen over in places and wasn't very straight to begin with (and has only been there for a paltry few decades anyway.) The boundary between original and fan work is not a hard boundary. People have brought up historical RPF several times already, but as far as I'm concerned, it's only the tip of the iceberg.

I write stuff that is definitely fanfiction. I write stuff that is definitely original fiction. And I write stuff that, um, I have no bloody idea if it's one or the other.

And the thing that attracted me, as an author, to AO3, is that it's one archive where I don't have to worry if my fanwork is "enough" for it. Is it slashy enough, or too slashy? Shippy enough, or too shippy? Too porny or not porny enough? Too long or too short, not canonical enough, not finished enough, too crossovery, too script-y or meta-y or poem-y to be a proper story, not angsty enough, too much or not enough... on AO3 I can just put everything up, as a proper archive, without having to stress over categories.

I would love if "not fan-fic-y enough" was one of those categories I didn't have to worry about on AO3. And since - *for me* - the most important role of AO3 is to be an archive for fanwriters to universally preserve and organize their work, I want all the edge cases to be allowed; if that means blanket allowing original fiction (and I suspect it does), then so be it. I would, however, support a restriction that every author account must have at least one definite fanwork uploaded, to preserve the archive as primarily fannish and to filter out people who are hostile to fanfic culture. And a rule that any original work hosted on AO3 must allow derivative work.

And, sheerly out of curiosity (and not intended to be anyone's opinion on what should or shouldn't get posted at AO3): Here is a poll about some of those "edge" cases. What do you think, fandom-at-large? Original or fanwork? (And no, you don't get tickyboxes or third options. You must make a judgement! Like archives always make me do!)

V. important poll under cut )

(I will stop there before poll gets even longer, but for the record, none of these are hypothetical cases - they are all either things I personally have written, or things other people who identify as fanwriters have done that I could point you to.)

(259 comments | Reply)

February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)

...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!

(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(30 comments | Reply)

April 7th, 2009 06:23 pm - *dies dead*
I think ... I think I may have just got the first Dreamwidth post to get linked on [community profile] metafandom.

(And there is a DW metafandom now! Yay! This place is waking up *so fast*, omg, I blink and another whole segment of fandom is here, it seems like.)

Anyway, with encouragement (in the form of "I wish our users would stop being so damn chicken", though possibly with more profanity) at the stitch'n'bitch Sunday, I finally sent some beta-y-notes to [personal profile] domtheknight; hopefully I will send the ones that go to [staff profile] denise today. (This seems like small news, but omg, I am so bad at interacting at any sort of official level about anything, it's really really sad.)

I'm actually sort-of doing site beta stuff on three different places now: closed beta at http://dreamwidth.org ; http://librarything.com which has been in beta for five years now, is still in beta, and will always be in beta; and http://interrobangstudios.com, the artists' collective/independent comic studio I work in with some RL people, that is in the middle of yet another redesign. And the process is so very different!

For interrobang, which consists of five people and one site and spare time, it consists of messing with stuff and then yelling at das Flughafen over Skype when I see something that looks off, and then having formal meetings where we talk about design and vision and all sorts of deep stuff.

For librarything, it consists of going on the site talk, bug collectors, and recommend site improvements boards and whining about whatever's wrong, and if the developers notice and feel like it, they'll fix it, and if they don't you keep whining until they do. (It's only been four years of whining for some features!) Meanwhile we write haiku back and forth with the people in charge. LT is a hobby site that got out of hand, and the guy in charge is the sort who in principle likes open source, but in practice is too ashamed of his coding practices to let the public see what he's perpetrated.

And then there's DW, which is all about teamwork and openness and joy! And once you've figure out who you need to talk to and where you need to go and what documentation you need to look at, things just get done!

Current Mood:: [mood icon] blank
Current Music:: Fairport Convention - The Lady Is A Tramp


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