Why not be a leader?

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ORDOVER

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -

Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
people starting newsgroups called
"alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"

Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
something YOU can own?

Anyway, just wondering.

John

John Ordover
Executive Editor
Star Trek Fiction
Pocket Books

For more Trek Book Info:
www.startrekbooks.com

BJCochran

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Well, John, you finally sucked me in. Anybody who knows me, knows I can't be
quiet for long...

<Snip alert>

>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
>author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever?
>Why,

>if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what

>unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of and have

>people starting newsgroups called
>"alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"

Well, John, frankly I get tired of the rejection slips from analog and asimov,
et al. Frustrating and disheartening. So, as solace, I write fanfic. I post
fanfic. I get feedback. I make lovely friends. Smart, witty, like minded
individuals who have made my life fuller. Weird, huh?

After weeks of outlining, developing and polishing complete figments of my
imagination, I send a story off knowing full well it wil be additional weeks
(or months) before I get it back (or less likely, get an acceptance letter).
Fanfic, you borrow that which went before, pick up a pencil and go. Whatever
turns out is serendippity. That serendippity gets posted or it langusihes here
in my hard drive.

And I am ready to go write 'profic' again. So, I guess the only one I'm
leading is myself, and I follow me anywhere.

Bridget
"listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go."
--e.e. cummings

DangerMom

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Well, John, if any of us who write fanfic could REALLY answer your question, we
would...

I've seen a heck of a lot of reasons given over the past 20+ years...

Satisfaction.

Solace.

Fun.

Exercice in Creativity (yes, I've seen some damn creative stuff done with
previously-established characters--Maggie Nowakaska's (Star Wars)
ThousandWorlds Chronicles comes to mind.)

Practice. Yes, there are fanfic writers who have turned pro and certainly must
have honed SOME skills writing fanfic.

Camraderie.

And, just because.

I recommend that anyone who's interested in further whys and wherefores of
fanfic read Henry Jenkins' excellent book "Textual Poachers."

One other point; I've no doubt you've seen some pretty awful writing,
John...but I will say there are an incredible number of works of fan fiction
that are far better written than most of the pro Trek novels I've tried to read
these past few years.

DangerMom


Voyager Fiction, Links, and more at:
http://members.aol.com/DangerMom/home.html

Vsion Ary

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Doesn't this assume that those who write fanfic write ONLY fanfic? I write
for a living, but am just finishing my first fanfic. It may not be any good
by the exacting standards of other fans, but I enjoy writing it. The trek
characters are like old friends to my imagination - now that I'm all grown
up I can't play with action figures any more, so I play with writing
fiction.
Erm - strictly a novice's viewpoint. I can't speak for the accomplished
fanficcers.
DangerMom wrote in message <19981204145151...@ng-fu1.aol.com>...

T'Rhys

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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On 4 Dec 1998 18:38:50 GMT, ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER) wrote:

>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower?

No. If everybody is a leader, just who will they lead? A follower is
more important than a leader because without followers, a leader is
nobody, a dunsel.

>Wouldn't you rather be the
>author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
>if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what

>unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have


>people starting newsgroups called
>"alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"

Because they wouldn't be doing that. By your own logic, they would be
off being leaders themselves and not following me.

If being a follower is good enough for Spock, it is plenty good enough
for me.

LL&P
T'Rhys

Aleph Press

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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ORDOVER (ord...@aol.com) wrote:
: See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -

: Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the


: author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
: if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
: unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
: people starting newsgroups called
: "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"

: Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
: something YOU can own?

Well, sure. But first off, most of us here are writers. We don't plan to
go into television or comic book production-- and I can count on the
fingers of one hand the number of prose novels that get the kind of fan
following TV shows do.

Secondly, the quest for a work of your own in TV or comics involves whoring
your talent until you finally get to the point where you're big enough to
go for the brass ring. Read some of J. Michael Straczynski's notes on
making B5 a reality. I get physically ill when I try to prostitute my
talent. I suspect prostituting my *body* would be easier for me. (and
yes, I've been in situations where I've tried to go for the brass ring...
that's how I found out I can't prostitute my work.)

Thirdly, sometimes that's just not what you want to do. I like to write
professional fiction, but no one reads it except for my friends. It would
take years for me to build up a universe as intricate and detailed as the
ones I already have to work with in fanfic... and what I'm interested in
is not telling the "getting to know the characters" stories, but the "now
that you're totally in their heads" stories. I'm skipping over the part
that bores me silly. Couldn't do that, if it was my own universe.

Someday that is what I want to do. In fact, I'd love to try to break into
independent comics, but I can't draw, which leaves me reliant on the
kindness of artists. And that brings me to the final point: creative control.

The fanfic writer has *total* creative control. Pro writers don't get
that kind of control until they make it to the major, major leagues. And
few get there. How many people on this NG do you think could *ever*
command the power over their own work that they have now? Unless they
self-published, and hell, if you're gonna self-publish it might as well
be fanfic. *No* one reads self-published work unless it's fanfic.

It's a tradeoff. Me, I like creative control. No one can reject my fanfic
on the grounds that it violates the laws of magic (??) or that there are
homosexual themes in it. Writing for the corporations involves some
degree of compromise. Sometimes I'm willing to compromise, and sometimes
I'm not.

--
Be good, servile little citizen-employee, and pay your taxes so the rich
don't have to.
--Zepp Weasel

Alara Rogers, Aleph Press
al...@netcom.com

All Aleph Press stories are at http://alara.dreamhost.com .


as...@pnx.com

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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A lot of people simply enjoy writing in an established universe (all
the authors you deal with, John, as the Star Trek editor for
Pocketbooks, are doing that for you). Many writers have no desire to
do anything but write fan fiction. Others enjoy writing fan fiction
for a while, hone their skills and then move on to writing
professionally in their own universe. And then there are those who
never get into fan fiction but start creating their own stuff right
away. There's as many bad writers of original fiction as there is of
fan fiction and probably about the same number of good writers.

But it's quite true that if you want to make significant money as a
fiction writer, you've not only got to be good, you've got to come up
with an original idea and original characters that readers can get
into. Even then it can be roll of the dice.

As a journalist, I consider myself a professional writer, but NOT of
fiction (although when we catch politicians doing something wrong
they're quick to say it IS fiction). I don't write much fiction these
days because of the creative energy I put into my professional work,
but when I do, I enjoy writing fan fiction.

On 4 Dec 1998 18:38:50 GMT, ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER) wrote:

>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
>author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
>if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
>unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
>people starting newsgroups called
>"alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>
>Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
>something YOU can own?
>

>Anyway, just wondering.
>
>John
>
>
>
>John Ordover
>Executive Editor
>Star Trek Fiction
>Pocket Books
>
>For more Trek Book Info:
>www.startrekbooks.com

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Unzadi

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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And what makes one think that we *don't* write other things besides fanfic?
Hmm? <G>

There have been many, many times over the years, when I've been writing a
fanfic and the characters --for whatever reason-- decide to go off in another
direction. Now, that direction might be absolutely impossible for Jean-Luc
Picard, but if we take a few steps back, squint a little give the guy some
hair, maybe make him a few years younger, switch that older brother to umm,
let's see, three sisters, and change it from the 24th century to, oh, say, the
fourteenth, ixnay on the starship, but rustle up a crumbling old castle. Shift
that alien into maybe a Moor or a Mongol, and what do we have here?

Nope, not in Kansas --or Q'onos-- anymore, are we? I'm currently working on
two novels (non SF) which had their genesis in fanfic, but morphed into things
of their own. Somehow, I don't think that I'm the only one who does this.

No, I'm not professionally published yet (but I'm at the *nice* rejection
stage) although I know that if I keep at it, someday...

Still, why do I fanfic? For fun. That's it. Do I hope to write professional
Trek novels someday? No. I don't. My professional goals lie in historical
novels, not SF. Even so, it's fun to take a character and whittle and shape,
add on angst, subtract a few career or relationship choices, take a look down
the road not taken, etc. Creative people do that.

Not just with Trek or other media characters. We do it with the guy in front
of us at the bagel shop. We do it with the neighbour lady walking her
daschund. We do it with the person who rides their bike around town while
smoking a cigarette (this is a true example; I've been trying to figure out why
this gal combines those two activities for years!)

The hamster in my idea wheel just doesn't stop running when the word "Trek" is
mentioned.

Well, maybe it's more like one of those clear plastic balls, since it doesn't
always stay in place, and fanfic grows into other things.

JMHO

Anna
Friends don't let friends write bad fanfic!

Chamber of the Warrior Queen
http://members.aol.com/unzadi


ImXFScully

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Like many other people here, I do write original fiction. I wrote original
fiction before my first fanfic, and plan to devote myself even more to it in
future.

I write fanfic (1) because it's fun, for pete's sake -- nobody who's a fan can
stop themselves from wondering "what if," and a lot of us like to share our
ideas with other fans. Obviously a lot of other fans enjoy it too. (2) As
practice; I've worked out a lot of my bad habits as a writer on fanfic. It's
improved me as a writer overall.


Incidentally, there are lots of newsgroups/mailing lists/etc. that are devoted
to original creative fiction. I belong to a few, and I'm sure others do too.

Could you ask a less condescending question next time, John?

Amy

Ann Zewen

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Unzadi wrote in message:

>And what makes one think that we *don't* write other things besides
fanfic?
>Hmm? <G>
>
>There have been many, many times over the years, when I've been writing a
>fanfic and the characters --for whatever reason-- decide to go off in
another
>direction. Now, that direction might be absolutely impossible for Jean-Luc
>Picard, but if we take a few steps back, squint a little give the guy some
>hair, maybe make him a few years younger, switch that older brother to umm,
>let's see, three sisters, and change it from the 24th century to, oh, say,
the
>fourteenth, ixnay on the starship, but rustle up a crumbling old castle.
Shift
>that alien into maybe a Moor or a Mongol, and what do we have here?
>


Which reminds me: John wanted to know about professional writers who started
with fan fiction. Gayle Feyrer, a long time fanfic K/S writer/artist is now
writing medieval historical romances. They're not quite *my* cup of tea,
but, from what I can tell, are pretty well done if you like that kind of
thing.

--
Ann
"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." _ Dennis Miller


Ann Zewen

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Ann Zewen wrote in message <749kjv$dc2$1...@camel29.mindspring.com>...
And to follow up on my own message above, a very good friend of mine, Linda
P. Baker, started out writing Trek fan fiction and now has had two novels
and one short story published in the Dragonlance series. Again, I have no
interest in that particular genre, but the techniques of fan fiction
certainly are helpful for breaking into that kind of pro writing.

DragonGrrl

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to ord...@aol.com
ORDOVER wrote:

> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather
> be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or
> whatever? Why,
> if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the
> world what
> unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of,
> and have
> people starting newsgroups called
> "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>
> Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up
> with
> something YOU can own?

That is a damned good question. I'm still trying to figure that one out
myself. Why do I feel the draw to write about Spock, for example, and
not make up my own characters? Why do other people sit down and watch a
television show or a movie rather than writing a story of their own, the
kind of story they wish they could see on T.V.? Why, when a fan can
deeply identify with a character on a T.V. show, does said fan feel the
need to write more stories about that character rather than writing
inventing her/his own character that she/he would *really* be able to
identify with? The mind boggles.

Every time I try to answer a question, I just end up asking another one.
Input, please.

--DragonGrrl


Randy Landers

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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Vsion Ary says

<<Doesn't this assume that those who write fanfic write ONLY fanfic? I
write
for a living, but am just finishing my first fanfic. It may not be any
good
by the exacting standards of other fans, but I enjoy writing it. The
trek
characters are like old friends to my imagination - now that I'm all
grown
up I can't play with action figures any more, so I play with writing
fiction.>>

In fact, there are quite a few professional writers amongst our
contributors, including some who've written Star Trek novels for
PocketBooks.

--
Randy Landers
ORION PRESS
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Randy Landers

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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John asks

<<Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come
up with something YOU can own?>>

Well, John, why can't _you_?

Personally, I've always loved Star Trek. The other sf series that
interest me are David Brin's UPLIFT series, James White's SECTOR
GENERAL series, Larry Niven's KNOWN SPACE series.

Interestingly enough, I've never heard Larry criticize folks for
wanting to write in his universe. Heck, he's even published a few
Man-Kzin War books written by folks who wanted to write in HIS
universe.

I find it odd that the editor of the Star Trek series wants all the
a.s.c. people to go out and write our own stuff while he sits at a
desk having his hacks churn out drek. Why not encourage them to go out
and write other stuff?

And again, I want EVERYONE to read Paula Block's afterword in SNW. At
least _she_ knows why we write Trek. Maybe it's time PocketBooks
finds someone else who understands why we do and make them editor?
Maybe then the fans will have an editor who understands _their_
wishes?

AMB Ricardo

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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On Fri, 04 Dec 1998 17:12:52 -0500, DragonGrrl
<ik0...@kingston.net> wrote:

>That is a damned good question. I'm still trying to figure that one out
>myself. Why do I feel the draw to write about Spock, for example, and
>not make up my own characters? Why do other people sit down and watch a
>television show or a movie rather than writing a story of their own, the
>kind of story they wish they could see on T.V.? Why, when a fan can
>deeply identify with a character on a T.V. show, does said fan feel the
>need to write more stories about that character rather than writing
>inventing her/his own character that she/he would *really* be able to
>identify with? The mind boggles.

AMB> For me, it's because it's the little things that we see and
hear and read that make a profound difference in our outlook on a
particular character, scene, environment, or situation. It may
be bad form to quote from a TV show, but the line in the Outer
Limits intro, "...expand a single point" (or something to that
effect) is I think fundamental to fanfic.

AMB> And for me, the issue is I'm not intent on being a
professional fiction writer in the near future. But
nevertheless, I have a passion for writing. I've had it since I
was in grade 4, and it's never disappeared. But reality for me
is, it doesn't serve well as an occupation for me, nor do I have
the refined talent as of yet to even try. While a writer may say
that s/he is limited only by the bounds of his/her imagination,
s/he may not be focusing much on the bank balance. The key for
me is, it serves me well, but in ways that don't fit well in a
financial view of things.

Later,

AMB.


TOS Lover

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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On Fri, 04 Dec 1998 17:12:52 -0500, DragonGrrl <ik0...@kingston.net>
wrote:
>That is a damned good question. I'm still trying to figure that one out
>myself. Why do I feel the draw to write about Spock, for example, and
>not make up my own characters? Why do other people sit down and watch a
>television show or a movie rather than writing a story of their own, the
>kind of story they wish they could see on T.V.? Why, when a fan can
>deeply identify with a character on a T.V. show, does said fan feel the
>need to write more stories about that character rather than writing
>inventing her/his own character that she/he would *really* be able to
>identify with? The mind boggles.
>
>Every time I try to answer a question, I just end up asking another one.
>Input, please.
>
>--DragonGrrl
>

Loneliness.
Karen the TOS Lover
"Just tell me one thing. Are you English?"
"Why yes, as a matter of fact I am - Why,
don't you like the English?"

Randy Landers

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to
The question is also rather odd. In fact, why do we watch, say,
football instead of playing it? Or perhaps more accurate an analogy,
why do we have football fantasy leagues? Are they encroaching on the
original's rights? Absolutely?

There's just something about most Humans that says, "Hey, I can do
that, too. And maybe even better."

Jane Harmon

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
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ORDOVER wrote:

> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
> if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
> unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
> people starting newsgroups called
> "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>

> Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
> something YOU can own?
>

> Anyway, just wondering.

I've got to jump in here, even tho' I don't write fanfic, to hazard a guess...

In addition to all the other reasons people have posted here in response to this,
I would *have* to assume that a lot of the reason people write in established
universes is that it comes with its own 'audience'.

*Someone* will read it.

If I developed my own universe, drew up my own timeline, wrote a set up story and
posted a Story Bible on my universe's website and invited people to jump in, I'd
get a dozen of my close personal friends, max. Most of which would drift away over
time. Might get a few 'players' who would dive in and obsess in my universe if I
advertised far and wide.

OTOH - You write a trektale (or any other established genre-tale), you can post it
hundreds of different places where hundreds of thousands of people will drop in
and maybe read it.

Anyway, that's my theory. Guaranteed audience. -- Jane


Laura Jacquez Valentine

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to

> From: ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER)
> Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
> Date: 4 Dec 1998 18:38:50 GMT
> Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com

>
> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
> if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
> unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
> people starting newsgroups called
> "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>
> Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
> something YOU can own?
>
> Anyway, just wondering.
>

Believe me, hon, I'm trying.

I'm trying.

I make my living writing, and I love it. But I've yet to sell any of my
short fiction. I started writing fanfic to get around writer's block;
I've been writing original fiction since I was very young.

I'll send you a personal note if I succeed, what say you?

--laura

laura jacquez valentine -+- http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~jacquez
"I'd give you a cherry if I knew someone around here who had one." --ME Curtin
Jesus is a meme. -+- http://www.memepool.com/

Ann Zewen

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to

Mary Rottler wrote:

>I find the question "Why be a leader?" presumptious. John is assuming that
>we're not leaders. I do try to remind myself that he must deal with an
large
>number of people who are maybe not leaders but are desparate to get their
>poorly written work published.
>I am a leader in my chosen field of work. I write fanfic because,
>a. I like it
>b. It's fun
>c. It's pure escapism for me from a job that can be overwhelmingly
depressing
>at times. (I care for Oncology patients)
>d. And in the past few years it has brought me friends from all over the
US.
>
>I don't write fanfic because I'm a wannabe. I also enjoy the joys of
creative
>control, I don't have any desire to be published. I am published.
>Non-fiction but published nonetheless. It is an insult to me and the many
>other high quality people on this ng to assume that because we are not
>published authors that we are not leaders in society.
>

Mary, you're a leader in my book anytime. <g> You and Lynn are among the
leading lights of fan fiction, IMHO, and I've found you to be as inspiring a
person as you are a writer. Let John live in his ivory tower. Those of us in
the real world know the difference between real leaders and followers.

J.Jon Kramer

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to ORDOVER
Hello, John,

A question. If a certain professional someone can be
successful writing general science fiction, why
would they want to turn to writing Star Trek? If you
can swim in the ocean, why lock yourself in a
swimming pool? Is it money? How easy is it to get
out of that pool and back into the ocean?

My turn to not get it yet, hope you can clarify ;-)

cheers

jonk


J.Jon Kramer

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Dec 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/4/98
to ORDOVER
Hello, John,

ORDOVER wrote:

> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>

> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? <snipped>

A very interesting question. Here's one answer.

Why would anyone want to play the piano if they have no intention of being a
composer or concert pianist?

Might it be because it's fun?

I *do* write stories that are entirely my own creation. Even the fan fic I have
written usually borrows very lightly from Star Trek and creates a whole new world
and a brand new community of characters. I do not publish the non-fan fic I write
because once the stuff is on the web, it's out there and gone.

I have a career I love and enjoy. Much as I love and need to write, I have no
interest in writing science fiction or Trek for a living. Let me ask you this. How
much money does the average sf writer make? How much does the average Pocket Books
Star Trek writer make? If it's under six figures, I have no motivation to change
careers. If even five Pocket Book Trek writers are making that much or more, those
odds aren't good enough for me. Five out of how many reaching for the brass ring?
As to fame, it ain't all it's been cracked up to be.

What got me personally interested in fan fiction is its wider social implications.
What is happening here, as near as I can tell, is the creation of a modern
mythology. People are taking a commercial product and turning it into a folk
lexicon. It's being transformed into a type of cultural shorthand, much as the
Greek myths were in their time and place.

That's what I find exciting about this genre. It is bringing out the storyteller in
all of us, without someone controlling who gets to speak and who doesn't based on
whether a story does or does not fit through a certain narrow channel of
definitions. People who would never consider submitting a story for publication are
writing and expressing themselves, and often doing so quite well, I'd say. How many
of these stories would languish in your slush pile and never see the light of day?
All of the slash stories, that's for sure, regardless of how well written they
were. It's clear from the feedback that whether you or I feel the stories are well
written or not, there are plenty of other people who enjoy reading them.

Maybe some of these writers will later turn pro; some people have left here to do
just that (which would prove that people do turn pro after starting out in fan
fic). But by and large, people write fan fic not because they are pro wannabe's,
not because they are or aren't good enough to go pro, but because they love what
they're doing right here, right now.

Hope this helps

Cheers

jonk

Robin Lawrie

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to

ORDOVER wrote

<snippy snip snip>


>Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
>something YOU can own?
>
>Anyway, just wondering.
>

One reason for me is that I can ask a question or refer to a scene from
trek, and I'll have a heap of people reply who know *exactly* what I'm
getting at. It's having that shared background, knowing that when I mention
Janeway or Seven in a story there's a bloody good chance whoever is reading
it has *seen* what they look like and bring to the story their own ideas and
perceptions of their characters.

There's a few other reasons that I share with the other people who have
posted to this thread.

Creating your own characters and universes may well be terrifically
rewarding, but it doesn't provide the instant gratification of fanfic.
They'll be far more fanfic written about TV shows and movies than being
written from literary sources. I know there's some Kilgore Trout fiction
around, and some Discworld stuff too, but compared to TV fanfic? Its a drop
in the ocean. So not only do you have to get your novel accepted, but then
try and get it onto the big or small screen. Not everyone has access to
Hollywood. Not everyone has an agent. But a hell of a lot of people have
access to the TV and to the net.

Robin


Robin Lawrie

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to

Vsion Ary wrote

>The trek
>characters are like old friends to my imagination - now that I'm all grown
>up I can't play with action figures any more, so I play with writing
>fiction.

Well, about those action figures... <g>

You can still play with them you know.

Robin


BubuBORG

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
If I may also add my two cents, the reason, that I have writen fan fiction, is
that I want to explore other stories within the same universe. There's lots of
people out there who love Star Trek, but want something else, and therefore
write about it. It's not just Star Trek, Mind you, but any television series
or movie or book or whatever, which inspires others to want to play in someone
elses' sandbox.
For the most part, We've been indulged, so long as we disclaim.


Nice kids share.


BubuBORG

Techno-Organic Man

You cannot stop a naive Poster whose Time has come!!

MELIR2

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
I find the question "Why be a leader?" presumptious. John is assuming that
we're not leaders. I do try to remind myself that he must deal with an large
number of people who are maybe not leaders but are desparate to get their
poorly written work published.
I am a leader in my chosen field of work. I write fanfic because,
a. I like it
b. It's fun
c. It's pure escapism for me from a job that can be overwhelmingly depressing
at times. (I care for Oncology patients)
d. And in the past few years it has brought me friends from all over the US.

I don't write fanfic because I'm a wannabe. I also enjoy the joys of creative
control, I don't have any desire to be published. I am published.
Non-fiction but published nonetheless. It is an insult to me and the many
other high quality people on this ng to assume that because we are not
published authors that we are not leaders in society.

Mary Rottler

DangerMom

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Randy Ladsers wrote:

>>And again, I want EVERYONE to read Paula Block's afterword in SNW. At
least _she_ knows why we write Trek. Maybe it's time PocketBooks
finds someone else who understands why we do and make them editor?
Maybe then the fans will have an editor who understands _their_
wishes?<<

And there's a darn good reason that Paula Block knows why we write Trek--she
was one of the best writers of fanfic back in the heady days of zines like
Menagerie and Warped Space, and published one of the first and best
"multimedia" zines, Syndizine.

When you've been there, and done that, you don't need to ask " why?"--because
you just KNOW.

DangerMom (fanfic reader and writer for over 20 years. Reader of quality
"pro" SF and Fantasy for over 30. Yes, there are fans who appreciate both!)

Gabrielle Lawson

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to

ORDOVER wrote:

> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>

> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
> if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
> unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
> people starting newsgroups called
> "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>

> Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
> something YOU can own?
>
> Anyway, just wondering.

Thanks for asking. I like the thread. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, I
do
want to be a published pro writer someday. I'd love it if it were tomorrow. I
used
to write nothing but historical fiction, believe it or not. Which, I suppose, has
its similarities to fanfic, and definitely has similarities to why I wrote either
one.

It's what's on my mind. When I was deeply interested in the Holocaust (still am,
actually, but these things do go in phases for me), I wrote stories set in the
Holocaust. Original characters in familiar settings and circumstances. When I
was into the Civil War, I wrote a Civil War related story.

Right now, I've got Star Trek on the brain. It started when DS9 started. It was
just an itch then. Then I went to Europe where I missed the third year of
DS9. Absence makes the obsession grow fonder. ;-) I've got it bad now.
I've had story after story hit me in the head, and they all involve Doctor Bashir.
I've even done the Holocaust (what's on my mind, remember) with Doctor
Bashir. (And done it well, I've been told.)

I still expect I'll go back to historical fiction (probably not science fiction)
someday.
If and when the story hits me. I've never been one for making up my own stories.
They make themselves up. They come to me. I write them, for lack of any other
story hitting me in the head.

I have to write. I actually go into withdrawal when I don't have a story to write
or
when school has kept me away from writing (one semester I could only write
15 pages of "Oswiecim"--I was depressed, to say the least.) Writing is my
drug. It keeps me sane, makes me happy. I'll write what story there is to
write. For now, it's Trek. I assume I'll write my next obsession when DS9
ends. <sniff>. Thought I'll probably keep writing some Julian Bashir until
the next obsession fully takes over, and maybe even after. That next
obsession will probably be historical again rather than a TV show. History
is my first love. Star Trek came later. I'm glad it came though.

--
--Gabrielle
I'd much rather be writing!
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shire/2460

PSTI...@postoffice.uri.edu

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever? Why,
> if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
> unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and have
> people starting newsgroups called
> "alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>
> Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
> something YOU can own?


I wouldn't call screwing my way to the top in Hollywood being a leader.
Sorry.

You know, it's funny but I don't think anybody ever criticized
Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides for rehashing Homer's stories. And
what about all those Arthurian Grail sagas from the Middle Ages? Nobody
ever said to Thomas Mallory, "Hey! You stole all that from Eschenbach
and Troyes!" Nobody got into a big huff when Jean de Meung decided to
finish The Romance of the Rose--even though it wasn't his own work--or
when Chaucer filched stories for his Canterbury Tales, or when
Shakespeare ripped off Marlowe to write The Merchant of Venice.

The truth is, people have been writing in other people's universes for a
lot longer than Star Trek has been around, and some of those stories are
now considered to be among the greatest tales in world literature.

Paula
http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Andes/3071/

Jiz McQueen

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
ORDOVER <ord...@aol.com> wrote:
: See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -

: Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
: something YOU can own?

Not as if there hasn't been a haypile of answers to the question already,
of course, but in that case it can't hurt to add my reaction to the stack:

The very way you've _framed_ the question, John, is slightly
astonishing and really somewhat frightening to me.

You set it up as if material gain and the cultish fame status that often
comes with being an SF writer are the _only_, or indeed the major, reasons
why _anybody_ would write.

Not everybody does it for the money. Not everybody even does it for the
fame. With all due respect -- even professional editors _do_ still have
that tiny little bit of artistic idealism burning somewhere at the back of
the brain, right? :)

"Owning"... Look: what's this idea that you need to _own_ everything you
touch? There's more to the creative universe than that. (We could get
all anti-capitalist and death-of-culture about this if we wanted to, which
might be interesting, but I think that'd move us into unnecessary spheres.
Right? Right. Should we?...)

There still genuinely are some people in the world who create texts
because they _want_ to and because they feel the stories are crying out to
be told. My God, how many professional SF writers today with their
automatic-trilogy, identically-plotted novels -- or indeed SF publishers,
with their serialized novels and quite unashamed concern with the bottom
line as the ultimate priority (not that it doesn't make _sense_ in the
industry, of course, but we're not talking about that kind of sense
here...) -- can claim anything of the sort?

I think we're looking at different value systems here, to be honest.

There *have* been times and cultural milieux when people didn't create
texts for the sake of personal fame -- when, in fact, they knew their
names wouldn't become known, and the text was its own thing. *It isn't
all about ownership.*
And, indeed, if you believe all that death-of-the-author stuff...
we're coming up on that kind of epoch again. ;)

An incidental question: Who "owns" Star Trek, at present?
Does the current "owner" also take responsibility for
having created it? Who "created" it in the first place? How long did
that originary status last?
Does the current owner take pride in developing the stories around
it? Is the owner invested in shaping the future of this creation (and I'm
speaking in terms of story, not of economics and publishing ventures)?
Who "creates" it, and keeps on creating it, now?
Now: how can we say that some of that creation and development is
valid, and some isn't? How would we want to judge that? Are we sure that
what the law says is the right way to pass aesthetic judgements? Do we
suspend all our critical and intuitive faculties in favor of letting the
question be determined by a system completely outside of literature?

... Just value system conflicts, I think. (Alert! Our platforms
are incompatible! ;)

: Anyway, just wondering.

Please let us know your response to the plethora of answers everyone's
been doing you the kindness of providing. I think we'd all be quite
interested.

--
cheers,
--;-;--@ susannah };&)
========================================================================
The Devil, having nothing else to do,
Went off to tempt My Lady Poltagrue.
My Lady, tempted by a private whim,
To his extreme annoyance, tempted him.
-- Hilaire Belloc: 'On Lady Poltagrue, a Public Peril.'
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Susannah R Mandel * sma...@fas.harvard.edu *
************************************************************************

Red Valerian

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Further to your excellent comments, I thought I'd post this
definition of fanfiction. I found it as the sig at the end of a
wonderfully crafted Doctor Who story called "The Best of Enemies" by
Anne Ellis.

"Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a
system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations, instead of
owned by the folk." ---Henry Jenkins, director of media studies, MIT

Nice huh? So from now on we can all be 'contemporary myth makers'
and not sad individuals letting the world read our erotic fantasies
about television characters!

Red Valerian

(By the way, I run the Sisters-in-Smut Skinnerotica Archive but I'm
thinking of writing some J/C which is why I'm here exploring!)

http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/parade/hg83/skinner.htm

Mariel

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Randy Landers wrote:

> And again, I want EVERYONE to read Paula Block's afterword in SNW. At
> least _she_ knows why we write Trek. Maybe it's time PocketBooks
> finds someone else who understands why we do and make them editor?
> Maybe then the fans will have an editor who understands _their_
> wishes?

I hesitate to enter the fray defending someone I don't really know or
have an understanding of (I just picked up the thread a short time ago)
But, even if you got your wish, there are still things they'd not be
able to do - no matter how much they 'understood' why people write trek.
THEN you'd be suggesting THEY be replaced by an editor who...

I think the problem lays in the ability to pick out a well written,
gripping story that does justice to the characters and the reader's
intelligence. I get the impression you're not happy with his choices.
You might not be happy with choices made by someone who 'understands'
why people write trek either...

I'm sorry if that sounds sharp, RL, (blame it on the hour) but
confrontational attitudes that accomplish little/nothing seem pointless.
I agree that comment of JO's you quote seems harsh, and
rather...well...stupid, but I don't have the whole article to put it in
context.

What, precisely, is the problem? (And if you've answered this 30
thousand times, ignore me and I'll go away... :)

Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the process...

Mariel

Jiz McQueen

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Red Valerian <hg...@dial.pipex.com> wrote:

: "Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a


: system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations, instead of
: owned by the folk." ---Henry Jenkins, director of media studies, MIT

_Textual Poachers_, an excellent study of the anthropology of media fandom
(and popular wisdom around here as _the_ book to read when you start
having your first media-fandom ontological crisis. ;)
I recommend the book to all and sundry. Including, perhaps, to Mr
Ordover; who has expressed a desire to better understand fan motivations.

(Note that some more traditional folk-&-myth people will have a
bad knee-jerk reaction to his use of terminology here, but my suspicion is
that this is more a matter of not having settled on a common vocabulary at
this point than anything else.)

Jenkins's stuff is great; and he's actually published several
books on media fandom (one more specifically studying Star Trek and Dr Who
fans, IIRC, though I haven't read that one) and other subjects, including
-- what else? -- video games. I definitely recommend looking up his stuff
in your local library. (The great thing about cultural crit is that it
_can_ so easily lend itself to being intensely fun and readable instead of
inaccessible; and his does that.)

: Nice huh? So from now on we can all be 'contemporary myth makers'


: and not sad individuals letting the world read our erotic fantasies
: about television characters!

Heh.

It's _all_ true. We signify more than one meaning. (Because we're
perceived by more than one audience?)

Randy Landers

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Jon has a great analogy here:

<<Why would anyone want to play the piano if they have no intention of
being a composer or concert pianist? Might it be because it's fun?>>

I love playing the piano; I'm not very good and not very bad at it,
but I like doing it. I've never written a single composition. Perhaps
fan fic is the same sort of thing.

--

Randy Landers

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Mariel says

<<I think the problem lays in the ability to pick out a well written,
gripping story that does justice to the characters and the reader's
intelligence. I get the impression you're not happy with his choices.
You might not be happy with choices made by someone who 'understands'
why people write trek either...>>

Are you happy with Trek pro-fic, Mariel? Would you have published the
dreadful Starfleet Academy?

<<I'm sorry if that sounds sharp, RL, (blame it on the hour) but
confrontational attitudes that accomplish little/nothing seem
pointless.
I agree that comment of JO's you quote seems harsh, and
rather...well...stupid, but I don't have the whole article to put it
in
context. >>

Yes, it's unnecessarily harsh and stupid.

<<What, precisely, is the problem? (And if you've answered this 30
thousand times, ignore me and I'll go away... :)>>

The problem here, imo, is that we have here an editor who cannot
understand why we write fan fic yet he himself publishes it. We have
here an editor who keeps telling us to go play elsewhere when he
should be concentrating on maintain good relations with the fans. And,
honestly, I think that his comments in this newsgroup are, as you put
it, all too often "harsh and stupid."

In an earlier post on another thread (and man, he keeps switching
threads like my niece does boyfriends), he stated that _all_
pro-writers discourage fan fiction writers from wasting their time
(excuse me for paraphrasing, but Mindspring is acting up). This is
patently FALSE. We called him on it. There's been no reply.

I've been around long enough to remember when he said on GEnie that
Roddenberry HATED fan fiction. Faced with Gene's foreword from New
Voyages (GR loved it and encouraged it, BTW), he's now trying to
assert that the fan writers who've become pros HATE fan fiction, and
it's no more true than his other statements.

<,Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the process...>>

Perhaps if JO had a better understanding of what it means to be a fan.
..

And I realize my posts have been harsh, too. But frankly, I'm tired of
his BS, and I've decided I'm not going to let him get away with it
anymore.

Randy Landers

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Red quotes

<<"Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a
system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations, instead of
owned by the folk." ---Henry Jenkins, director of media studies, MIT>>

Beautiful quote. In fact, KEEPER OF THE KATRA is an answer to the
problems created by Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Half of fan
fiction is involved in repairing "damage" to our cultural myths and
icons... The other half is erotica... :)

ImXFScully

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
I don't know if half is "repair" -- certainly there's a lot of interpretation.
But I've written many stories, Trek and XF and SW, that dealt with the
characters and events as presented -- I mean, if I was NEVER happy with the way
the characters were handled onscreen, I'd never be interested in writing them.
Sometimes it's just fun to play in somebody else's sandbox.
But yes, there's an element of protecting/repairing in fanfic. I plan to do
some Trek fic that would show Worf on DS9 acting like the intelligent character
he was on TNG. Right now, though, I'm twisting around with an SW story, trying
to explain why, as the profic has it, Leia would ever name her last son Anakin
--


Amy, who once bought EVERY Trek book released and hasn't bought a single one in
at least a year

Dilesj

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to

In article <19981204133850...@ng-ch1.aol.com>, ord...@aol.com
(ORDOVER) writes:

>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>

>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
>author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever?
>Why,
>if you're not being paid either way, wouldn't you want to show the world what
>unique vision you have, something -no one else- could have thought of, and
>have
>people starting newsgroups called
>"alt.stuff-you-came-up-with. creative?"
>

>Why work with characters owned by major corporations? Why not come up with
>something YOU can own?
>

>Anyway, just wondering.

Mr Ordover,

I must say, I do admire you for reading and responding to these posts,
but I find some of your responses puzzling to say the least.

I've seen a lot of replies to your question from writers. Well, I'm not a
writer, I'm a reader. Of the type normally classified as "voracious". I
read many authors in many genres, including SF and fantasy. Until
quite recently I was buying ST novels because they were the only
written works I knew of set in that universe. But even before I
discovered all the works of fanfiction on the net, my buying habits had
changed. It had become unusual for me to buy the latest ST novel,
rather than unusual for me not to.

The reason for this is simple. I had begun to get the impression that
most (not all, but far too many) of the novels were being churned out
by people who neither knew nor cared about the characters involved.
In the case of some DS9 books in particular (I won't mention names,
but I'm willing to bet most of the people reading this could fill in the
blanks) it seemed as though the author had read a script from the
first season and assumed that the characters hadn't changed since.
Perhaps these professional authors resented having to work within
someone else's universe. Perhaps they, too, felt they would be better
employed writing their own characters in their own settings. Since
they weren't I think they should have shown their professionalism
by making themselves familiar with the universe in which they were
working.

Most of the responses from writers of fanfic cite the joy of writing as
their main incentive. This probably explains why the best fanfic can
be a joy to read. Sadly, that joy is lacking in too many of the
published ST novels I have read. I have a feeling that your attitude
may go some way towards explaining this. If writing about ST appears
to you to be a second best option, then why on Earth publish the books
in the first place? If your writers feel the same way, no wonder their
efforts can be so lacklustre. If I can read work on the net or in fanzines
that shows more attention to characterisation and more familiarity with
the general 'feel' of ST than I can find in professionally published work
then why should I go out and buy a novel? I haven't stopped buying ST
novels altogether (yet), but each disappointment makes me less likely
to buy the next one. I won't pretend that all the fan fic I have read has
been good (or that all the professional fiction has been bad), but a
significant proportion of it has been better than many of the published
ST books I have read.

None of this is meant as a personal attack on you or your authors,
it's just that I wanted to give the views of a reader of Star Trek fiction.

Diane J.


--

Live fats, die yo gnu!

Unzadi

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
>Well, about those action figures... <g>
>
>You can still play with them you know.

*I* know. Mine have a house to live in. Matter of fact, it's getting crowded,
so either the NG figures or DS9 figures are going to be moving to a brand
spanking new house soon


Anna
who now greatly regrets the use of the word "spanking" in above message!

Friends don't let friends write bad fanfic!

Chamber of the Warrior Queen
http://members.aol.com/unzadi


Unzadi

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Amen, amen, amen! Everything you said, Gabrielle! <G>

I, too, prefer to write historical fiction,and what is Trek but a possible
future history? The same disciplines are involved, working in a world we did
not create, whether past or future.

Right now, I'm working on a novel set at the end of the Wars of the Roses, and
yes, the hero and heroine of that novel started out at the same time as the
hero and heroine of a fanfic. I'm still writing that fanfic saga, and the
historical is going its own way.

When that one is finished, I am also researching a Revolutionary War
novel...which will be told from the British point of view. Not an easy task,
but I love it. I think my Anglophilia passes my Trekaphilia at this
point...and yes, Gabrielle, I love Bashir, too. (Riker's my NG guy, Bashir my
DS9 darling)

May the thread continue, and so may fanfic! There's some darn good writers out
there!

Anna

Laura Jacquez Valentine

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to

Just to make a point: someone said that *most* pro sf/fantasy writeres
started out in fanfic. I think that's what John was challenging, not
that no one has made the jump.

Most professional sf/fantasy authors I know or know of didn't start out
in fanfic.

--laura


Mariel

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Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Randy Landers wrote:
> Are you happy with Trek pro-fic, Mariel? Would you have published the
> dreadful Starfleet Academy?

No, I can't say that I've been impressed with trek books lately. I can't
comment on Starfleet Academy because I didn't read it. BUT I don't see
that someone who 'understands' why people write trek is necessarily
going to change anything. I may not, after all, like what *they* think
is great stuff either.

> The problem here, imo, is that we have here an editor who cannot
> understand why we write fan fic yet he himself publishes it.

Ummm...I think I need to know your thoughts on why we write fan fic...
Are they as interesting as Ondover's on why we shouldn't? :)

We have
> here an editor who keeps telling us to go play elsewhere when he
> should be concentrating on maintain good relations with the fans.

I've missed this part of things. Why should we play elsewhere? What
difference does it make to him?

And shouldn't his only concern be to put out good trek books? Why do you
think he should be concentrating on maintaining good relations with us?
I don't need relations with the guy, just a good read.

> honestly, I think that his comments in this newsgroup are, as you put
> it, all too often "harsh and stupid."

I said 'seemed' harsh and stupid. I still don't know the context he
wrote that in. Perhaps it's the nature of this medium. Discussion can be
difficult - the threads can be lengthy, repetitive, long, pick up new
points before old ones are settled - lord it's WORSE than being on a
large committee!

Ondover amazes me in the respect that he participates the way he does in
these little discussions. You gotta admit the man tries hard to get his
point across. Just as you do.

<sigh> Enough playing mother...I still gotta figure out what the root of
the problem is...perhaps I need to go back to reading the @#$%^&* thread
to figure out what ORDOVER's problem is...

Or do you know?

Thanks for trying to clear this up to the uninitiated...

Mariel

Laura Taylor

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
Unzadi wrote:
>
> And what makes one think that we *don't* write other things besides fanfic?
> Hmm? <G>
>
> There have been many, many times over the years, when I've been writing a
> fanfic and the characters --for whatever reason-- decide to go off in another
> direction. Now, that direction might be absolutely impossible for Jean-Luc
> Picard, but if we take a few steps back, squint a little give the guy some
> hair, maybe make him a few years younger, switch that older brother to umm,
> let's see, three sisters, and change it from the 24th century to, oh, say, the
> fourteenth, ixnay on the starship, but rustle up a crumbling old castle. Shift
> that alien into maybe a Moor or a Mongol, and what do we have here?
>
> Nope, not in Kansas --or Q'onos-- anymore, are we? I'm currently working on
> two novels (non SF) which had their genesis in fanfic, but morphed into things
> of their own. Somehow, I don't think that I'm the only one who does this.

No, Anna, you're not! I'm in the process of polishing my first play -
see, folks, *not* everybody who writes fanfic in hopes of going pro also
writes SF/F, or even straight prose - which, were it not for the fact
that the characters' names are Michael, Sarah, Anna and John, might have
been a fanfic about Dukat, Naprem, Ziyal and Kira. Does this mean the
characters I've created aren't original? Not in the least.

I've also got a partially-written fanfic that could, should I decide to
do so, transform into a historical romance *or* a SF romance. The
characters will change and grow and mutate and evolve, but stories are
timeless and universal.

Laura

Randy Landers

unread,
Dec 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/5/98
to
We write fan fic, Mariel, because we like playing in the next door
neighbor's yard or the playground down the street instead of our own
yard. There's lots of neat toys and all sorts of people are already
there. :) Given this outlandish analogy, John reminds me of the
grouchy ol' man. "Get out of my yard, you good for-nothin'
ne'er-do-wells!"

As for why we write, there's a whole slew of material, including Star
Trek Lives! by Joan Winston, Jacqueline Lichtenberg & Sondra Marshak
or was it Culbreath? What got me into writing Trek was the
aforementioned book and reading Shirley Maiewski's "Mindsifter" in
Marshak & Culbreath's New Voyages.

At least Bantam had the sense NOT to discourage fans.

CmdGerina

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
>Most professional sf/fantasy authors I know or know of didn't start out
>in fanfic.

>--laura

Christie Golden did.

Gerina

mecu...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
In article <3668CBDC...@best.com>,
"J.Jon Kramer" <jo...@best.com> wrote:
> Hello, John,

>
> ORDOVER wrote:
>
> > See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
> >
> > Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? <snipped>
>
> A very interesting question. Here's one answer.
>
> Why would anyone want to play the piano if they have no intention of being a
> composer or concert pianist?
>
> Might it be because it's fun?
<snip good stuff>

> What is happening here, as near as I can tell, is the creation of a modern
> mythology. People are taking a commercial product and turning it into a folk
> lexicon. It's being transformed into a type of cultural shorthand, much as the
> Greek myths were in their time and place.
>
> That's what I find exciting about this genre. It is bringing out the
storyteller in
> all of us, without someone controlling who gets to speak and who doesn't

jonk m'dear, you have hit the nail absolutely directly
on the head, with an accuracy exceeding that of Henry
Jenkins himself.

That is to say, I agree with you! I write it because it's
fun, and because it's mythology, and because it's worth
doing even if you don't get paid for it.

Why are we doing it with TV shows, mostly? Because TV, for
good or ill, defines our collective experience in a way books
don't. And fanfic is also a communal activity: the creation
and exploration of a consensus reality, a secondary world that
no one person controls (proving, BTW, that corporations are *not*
persons).

You go, entity!

Mary Ellen
Doctor Science, MA
real addy: mecurtinATalumniDOTprincetonDOTedu
Good Book of the Day:
"Whistle for Willie," by Ezra Jack Keats

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

Jon Andersen

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
"Randy Landers" <randyl...@mindspring.com> writes:
>Red quotes
><<"Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a
>system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations, instead of
>owned by the folk." ---Henry Jenkins, director of media studies, MIT>>

>Beautiful quote. In fact, KEEPER OF THE KATRA is an answer to the
>problems created by Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Half of fan
>fiction is involved in repairing "damage" to our cultural myths and
>icons... The other half is erotica... :)

Let us not neglect those of us who like playing in a particular sandbox,
but instead of using the toys one finds in it, they like to bring their
own along to play with.

I mean, lets face it: the action figures available these days are on the
whole, not all they could be. But swap accessories, dress them up a little
differently, and you have something similar yet different to what's gone
before.

That quote of Jenkins was one I was trying to remember when this thread
started, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the wording of it.


The fact is, just about everyone has seen something in their lives and
thought "I could do sooo much better" and even attempted to do so. It's
an unfortunate fact that some people have visions that exceed their
abilities, but these people exists in both the amateur and professional
spheres. But it's conversely true that there are those with the talent
to back up their vision, and they exist in the same spheres and may
well have ambitions to move from one to the other.

to do so, they need to hone their talent. And those who don't, they just
enjoy themselves.

So yes, Randy is correct in saying that a good deal of fanfic is part of the
ongoing 'repair' work to the mythic threads of our society. We want a hand
in shaping the myth - I point out Susan Garret (I think that's her name),
an author on the Forever Knight fiction list who was so good that when
the decision was made to test publish three original novels, she was chosen
by the editor to be one of the three writers. While that is unfortunately
unlikely to happen to very many of us (no matter how much we dream), just
doing it with garden variety fanfic can be enough, enough for us to
say "I was /right/ I could do it my way, and have it turn out good"

And if we're lucky, others will agree with us

Build High For Happiness

Jon

Vsion Ary

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
Go over the process of watching any favourite show and you will notice that
in situations conjectures and alternatives, ideas and questions are sparked
off constantly as you watch. I think the fanfic writers are just the folks
with the interest and the staying-power to follow through on those ideas.

The more pertinent question has to be why do we read fanfic. Because it
supplies a need that commercial writers are not fulfilling - the need to
approach stories with real respect and a loving, craftsman's eye. Some
commercial trek fiction does this, but often the most accurate depiction of
the characters is the cover art. Because I'm not as restrained as some
folks above, I will make one specific observation - I have not found one
single decent depiction of Kira Nerys in the Trek novels in the last two
years.
mecu...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<74cufa$hb2$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

DangerMom

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
Jon Andersen wrote:

>>So yes, Randy is correct in saying that a good deal of fanfic is part of the
ongoing 'repair' work to the mythic threads of our society. We want a hand in
shaping the myth - I point out Susan Garret (I think that's her name), an
author on the Forever Knight fiction list who was so good that when the
decision was made to test publish three original novels, she was chosen by the
editor to be one of the three writers. While that is unfortunately unlikely to
happen to very many of us (no matter how much we dream), just doing it with
garden variety fanfic can be enough, enough for us to say "I was /right/ I
could do it my way, and have it turn out good"

And if we're lucky, others will agree with us.<<

Susan Garrett honed her writing skills for years before becoming a premier
writer of Forever Knight fanfic, mostly with Doctor Who and her own
original/multi-crossover series, the Karenina Continuity Chronicles. She went
through months and months of rewrites and edits on her FK pro-novel, because of
the many restrictions and changes the FK PTB insisted on. And in my opinion,
most of Susan's previous works were far superior to the book that was finally
published.

Susan is a long-time friend of mine, and I'll always be pleased that she's a
"fan writer made good" by being able to go pro. But I'll treasure her zines
and fan-published work a lot more than one paperback novel.

DangerMom

.

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
In article <3668409...@nntp.ix.netcom.com>, T'Rhys
<tkn...@ix.netcom.com> writes

>On 4 Dec 1998 18:38:50 GMT, ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER) wrote:
>
>>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>>
>>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower?
>
>No. If everybody is a leader, just who will they lead? A follower is
>more important than a leader because without followers, a leader is
>nobody, a dunsel.
>

I agree completely. Also, if you become a "leader" it is not only a
matter of skill but most of all also a matter of luck if the person who
gets your novel/story in order to make a decision likes it or not and is
willing to accept the works of a newcomer anyway.

Looking at professional work, a lot of it is a matter of opinion. It
already starts with Star Trek episodes: Sometimes I really wonder how
this or that story could have been selected at all (like Threshold,
Favorite Son or Profit and Lace) and sometimes I read about rejected
ideas I would have loved to see on TV.

Also looking at professional books, a lot of it is a matter of opinion.
I certainly would not have accepted the Invasion! series or Ship of the
Line - but others love it.

One of my penfriends in Germany who is an excellent fanfiction writer
got to know a woman who managed to sell a fantasy novel professionally
after trying for 10 years. About 10 years ago, I tried to sell my SF
novel but only got refusals. I gave up after I ran out of addresses I
could send my novel to and am still wondering if it is really worth it
to rewrite my about 400 pages long novel and try all over again. My
friend already got two refusals but she has still some addresses left
she can try. But she is not hopeful either.

As a fanfiction writer she is well known and people love her writing.
She has quite a reputation in Germany. She gets feedback, gets to know
people (like me) and has fun.

I am not good at writing short stories but I discovered my love for
writing articles about topics I find interesting. I am writing fanzines
as well, although of a different kind, and I got some interesting
feedback and contacts as well. Being an article writer, I see one of my
tasks now also to support authors and series I like and that are
important to me. This is first of all Peter David`s New Frontier series
I keep promoting not only on the Internet but first of all also in
German fan publications. It makes me happy when people tell me
afterwards that they like my articles and that they got interested in
these novels.

This is also the motivation of fanfiction writers I know: To promote the
series they love and the characters that are their favourites.

Yes, being a dedicated follower is more wonderful and satisfying than
collecting refusals from professional publishers.

>LL&P
>T'Rhys

Baerbel Haddrell


cvic...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
In article <19981204133850...@ng-ch1.aol.com>,

ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER) wrote:
> See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>
> Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower? Wouldn't you rather be the
> author who created the -next- X-File, Star Trek, Star Wars, or whatever?

John, John, John....

I do it because it's fun, because there's no pressure to perform, because I
get to skip the tedious part where I introduce the characters to the reader,
because I get feedback, because it's fun, because I can do it even with my
cognitive disabilities, because I can do anything I want with the characters,
because it's fun....

And because the characters are so damn interesting but so damn underused!

John Ordover

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
On Sun, 6 Dec 1998 15:54:01 +0000, "." <Em...@trekdata.demon.co.uk>
wrote:

>>On 4 Dec 1998 18:38:50 GMT, ord...@aol.com (ORDOVER) wrote:
>>
>>>See, here's what I've never gotten when it comes to fan fiction -
>>>
>>>Wouldn't you rather be a leader than a follower?
>>

>>No. If everybody is a leader, just who will they lead? A follower is
>>more important than a leader because without followers, a leader is
>>nobody, a dunsel.
>>
>
>I agree completely. Also, if you become a "leader" it is not only a
>matter of skill but most of all also a matter of luck if the person who
>gets your novel/story in order to make a decision likes it or not and is
>willing to accept the works of a newcomer anyway.

No, it isn't luck at all. If you write your own, non-media stuff, you
have dozens of editors who might like your work, and 1,500 slots that
have to be filled with SOMETHING. Plus, you can make a name for
yourself selling short stories to the mags, which don't need an agent
and live off of new young writers (since they pay little, and
estalbished writers go off to write novels all the time).


>
>Looking at professional work, a lot of it is a matter of opinion. It
>already starts with Star Trek episodes: Sometimes I really wonder how
>this or that story could have been selected at all (like Threshold,
>Favorite Son or Profit and Lace) and sometimes I read about rejected
>ideas I would have loved to see on TV.
>
>Also looking at professional books, a lot of it is a matter of opinion.
>I certainly would not have accepted the Invasion! series or Ship of the
>Line - but others love it.

>
>One of my penfriends in Germany who is an excellent fanfiction writer
>got to know a woman who managed to sell a fantasy novel professionally
>after trying for 10 years. About 10 years ago, I tried to sell my SF
>novel but only got refusals. I gave up after I ran out of addresses I
>could send my novel to and am still wondering if it is really worth it
>to rewrite my about 400 pages long novel and try all over again. My
>friend already got two refusals but she has still some addresses left
>she can try. But she is not hopeful either.

So rather than write 400 pages, either 1) as above, write stories for
the mags or 2) write three chapters and an outline and send -that-
out. Thats' what most SF publishing houses want to see from new
writers anyway. Trust me, if you knock their socks off with those
three chapters, they'll either sign you up or ask to see more.

The market is actually very, very good for new writers right now --
it's easier to sell a first novel than it has been in about ten years.
Thing is, if your sales don't grow over two or three novels, it's very
hard to sell your fourth novel. Everyone's looking for the new
megastar right now.

ALSO: be smart in how you submit: Go to the bookstore shelves, find
a recent book that's at least superficiallly similar to what you
wrote. Call the publisher and find out the name of the editor who
edited -that- book. Submit it directly to them.

Luck has nothing to do with it.

Randy Landers

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
John says

<<The market is actually very, very good for new writers right now --
it's easier to sell a first novel than it has been in about ten years.
Thing is, if your sales don't grow over two or three novels, it's very
hard to sell your fourth novel. Everyone's looking for the new
megastar right now.>>

Unless you're wanting to write Star Trek.


Unzadi

unread,
Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
>I've also got a partially-written fanfic that could, should I decide to
>do so, transform into a historical romance *or* a SF romance. The
>characters will change and grow and mutate and evolve, but stories are
>timeless and universal.

Dang! There has got to be a whole community of us who do this. It's good to
know I'm not alone. I have a piece I started writing in a writer's group as a
timed exercise (has nothing to do with Star Trek) which will someday be a
novel. Just have to figure out if it's the start of a historical romance or an
SF one.

I have adapted many characters and situations that started in fanfic, did a
little time-travelling to plop them down in other centuries, and the ideas flow
naturally from there. They are now sitting in my idea file, outlines of novels
yet to be as I work on my current projects.

Fanfic may be the birth parent of some darn good professional work, both inside
and outside of SF/F. As an adoptee myself, I know that my genetics are from my
birthparents, but it's my real parents who raised me, who taught me to love
books, to use my brain, to be creative. I'm a product of all four parents. So
is my writing the product of all that has gone into my mind before.

In short, Trek may be a part of my creative primordial ooze, but it ain't now,
never was, and never will be the whole thing.

Best wishes, Laura, and I'll see you in a Romantic Times spread someday! <G>

DangerMom

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
>>I do it because it's fun, because there's no pressure to perform, because I
get to skip the tedious part where I introduce the characters to the reader,
because I get feedback, because it's fun, because I can do it even with my
cognitive disabilities, because I can do anything I want with the characters,
because it's fun....

And because the characters are so damn interesting but so damn underused!
<<

*Clap, clap, clap*

Well said, Charlene! I think John Ordover is STILL missing the point...we LIKE
writing fanfic. It's fun. We shouldn't stop doing it just because it's not as
" productive" or "creative" as he or anyone else in the the pro world thinks.

Laura Jacquez Valentine

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to

> From: hg...@dial.pipex.com (Red Valerian)
> Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
> Date: Sat, 05 Dec 1998 10:59:18 GMT


>
> Further to your excellent comments, I thought I'd post this
> definition of fanfiction. I found it as the sig at the end of a
> wonderfully crafted Doctor Who story called "The Best of Enemies" by
> Anne Ellis.
>

> "Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a
> system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations, instead of
> owned by the folk." ---Henry Jenkins, director of media studies, MIT
>

> Nice huh? So from now on we can all be 'contemporary myth makers'
> and not sad individuals letting the world read our erotic fantasies
> about television characters!

I have that quote on my website:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~jacquez/writing/fanfic.html
If you follow the link to my trek site, you'll see the following:

There is no such thing as fan fiction. If I thought there was,
I might have to take some kind of action. Good thing there isn't.
--John Ordover, Senior Editor of Pocket Books' Star Trek
division, on alt.startrek.creative

Speculative works of fiction produced at no profit for public
consumption as a free, unsupervised means of promotion for one of
Viacom's largest franchises.
--JWinter

John was obviously being facetious. Er, I meant, "maintaining plausible
deniability."

>
> (By the way, I run the Sisters-in-Smut Skinnerotica Archive but I'm
> thinking of writing some J/C which is why I'm here exploring!)

Mmm...skinnerotica...

I think my Mitch fetish is showing.

--laura
laura jacquez valentine -+- http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~jacquez
"I'd give you a cherry if I knew someone around here who had one." --ME Curtin
Jesus is a meme. -+- http://www.memepool.com/


John Ordover

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
Subj: Re: Why not be a leader?
Date: 12/6/98 5:46:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: mjl...@cgocable.net (Mariel)
Reply-to: mjl...@cgocable.net
To: Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover)

I got the following in email but the author said it was intended for
public display so I'm posting it here:
"
Mr Ordover:

Gotta clear this once and for all so that I can stop reading this
crazy hread - and the other two or three that have sprung from it...

Am I corret in the following:

1)You believe that anyone writing fan fic who thinks it's helping them
learn to write pro fic is incorrect in their thinking.

2) You beleive that if people want to write fan fic just for the fun
of
it, let them....everyone needs a hobby.

3)You believe that it is best, for those who are serious about writing
science fiction professionally, to devote their time to creating their
own original stories using their own original characters. Writing fan
fic takes time and effort away from these important endeavours.

4)You are willing to suggest ways for them to 'get into' the business
-
hard work, writing right, getting an agent, etc. If they don't want to
accept what you've learned from being in the business, fine.

5) There is an exception to every rule. (It's important to remember
this, 'cause they'll get you every time if you don't ;> )

Well? What did I leave out? So far, I can't see the problem with what
you're saying and don't completely understand why there's such a fuss.
Who are you insulting? I don't get it.


<snip>

Mariel
I pushed the wrong button - this should have been public. Sorry. I'm
sure there's a way of changing it without having to type it all over
again, but there's no time to figure it out...my apologies"


Mariel has it exactly right in all particulars. The above is what
I've been saying, and I don't know who I've been insulting, either.:)

Laura Jacquez Valentine

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to

> From: cmdg...@aol.com (CmdGerina)
> Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
> Date: 6 Dec 1998 04:31:09 GMT
> Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com

Will you yahoos quit that? I try to make a clarifying post about a
point that seems to have been lost, and people like the luscious Gerina
misunderstand.

neither I nor Ordover (and how did I end up on his side of the argument,
anyway?) said that "no sf/f pro authors started out in fanfic". Someone said
(incorrectly) that MOST sf/f pro authors started out in fanfic.

Whoever said that is wrong.

Some pro sf/f writers did start out in fanfic. We've seen lists of them
on this group.

Most of them bloody well did not start out in fanfic.

Nyah.

PSTI...@postoffice.uri.edu

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98
to
> As for why we write, there's a whole slew of material, including Star
> Trek Lives! by Joan Winston, Jacqueline Lichtenberg & Sondra Marshak
> or was it Culbreath? What got me into writing Trek was the
> aforementioned book and reading Shirley Maiewski's "Mindsifter" in
> Marshak & Culbreath's New Voyages.


I remember that one, Randy. That was an *intense* story. Anybody who
wants to see Kirk put through a ringer should get a copy.

The Face on the Barroom Floor was probably my favorite story from that
particular anthology.


Paula
http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Andes/3071/

Michelle and Paul

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Dec 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/6/98