The Ordover Files

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The Woodwards

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
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Hola, everyone.

Admittedly, I've followed the Battle of Ordover without catching every
post, response and counter-response, but I've picked up enough, I believe,
to make a few observations. Now, these are bound to snark some folks off,
but... oh, well!

First off, and this is PURELY my opinion, Mr. Ordover seems to be kind
of a jerk. Rude, arrogant and generally unpleasant, insofar as his posts to
this newsgroup are concerned. Now, I'm kind of a jerk, myself, but I try
not to go around deliberately antagonizing people, which is what appears to
be happening here. Irrespective of Mr. Ordover's accomplishments in
legitimate literary circles, he definitely has a great deal to learn about
Netiquette. Namely, don't make an ass out of yourself, even if others are
doing so. And when you start stomping around in a newsgroup acting like the
big fish in the little pond, it's called being a troll and it's akin to
farting during a photo op with the President; you aren't going to impress
anyone and the negative effect on your reputation is fairly significant.
Secondly, I think both Mr. Ordover and his detractors are forgetting
what fanfiction IS and what it is NOT. Folks, fanfic is FANFIC. It has
about as much bearing on legitimate literature as JUGGS does to TIME on the
magazine racks. Fanfic is written by fans for the pleasure of oneself and
other fans. And that's IT. There's no great imperative attached to it, nor
greater significance due to its intimate connection to those who love the
source material.
This does NOT mean that it's a complete waste of time and effort,
however. Writing is writing and the only way to learn HOW to write is to
WRITE. Those with the "gift" will wear their training wheels, shuttling
Mulder and Scully (or whomever) around a hand-crafted plotline and then move
on to whatever else. The practice is worth it, the positive feedback from
readers, whether professional or not, feeds the spark of will and helps it
grow. And that spark needs a LOT of help. Even a kind word from Grandma is
a boon. Those without the "gift" will linger in the fanfic circle forever
and, frankly, if that's where they're happy, then that's where they belong.
Is the majority of fanfic trash? Yes, it is. Cliched to the extreme,
grammatically incorrect and, sometimes, simply and generically ROTTEN. Many
stories smack of wish-fulfillment, personal hurts and insecurities related
to life, work or sex. Some appear to have been compiled merely to provide a
textbook example for the heading: STORIES WRITTEN BY THE UTTERLY CLUELESS.
But is it without merit? No, because once again, writing is writing and to
learn, one must DO.
It's like building muscles. If someone wants to get stronger, they
exercise. Maybe they lift weights or practice Tai Chi. Or maybe they do
good, old-fashioned calisthenics for a half-hour a day. Whatever the
technique used to achieve the goal, that's fine. It's the end result that's
important.
Mr. Ordover seems to believe that one should hit the legit market and
try, try and try again until one ultimately succeeds or fails. That's one
way to do it and if you feel that's for you, then for God's sake, GO DO IT!
The world needs more (talented) writers, even if only 5% of the population
is reading books, or whatever the statistic was. I have to point out,
though, that this is only ONE WAY to learn the craft and I also have to
point out that only the cosmetic nature of the practice is changed. The
bottom line is still the same: write and write and WRITE. To take the
attitude that it is somehow "nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and
arrows of outrageous fortune" than to do what's right for YOU... that's the
sign of someone who doesn't want to understand that everyone comes to the
craft in their own way.
This attitude continues. In one post, Mr. Ordover said that feedback
from non-professional authors won't teach a writer how to become a pro. Of
course, he said it in a very prickly and unpleasant way, but that's
basically what he said. Simply put, he's WRONG.
A person doesn't have to know how to write in order to be grabbed by a
great story. Prose has a way of connecting with ANYONE if it's crafted with
skill. So bounce your writing off anybody you can get to sit still long
enough to read it. Start with relatives and friends, work your way up to
(gasp) a more-or-less stranger. Quiz them until they're ready to beat you
senseless with your manuscript. Find out what works and what doesn't. Chip
and shape and hone until you MAKE THAT CONNECTION. There's nothing
"professional" about that response at all. And if you're not making that
connection, regardless of who's reading it, you're not ready. When you DO,
though, then you have something special. You have the "gift."
You'll notice that I always put quotes around the word "gift." That's
because I believe that good writing really IS a skill that can be learned.
Perfection of that skill can be worked toward in any arena, with any
audience, using ANY tools (including fanfic) and the ultimate reward is the
knowledge that "hot damn, they really LIKED that baby!" Money's nice, too,
but I don't think any but the most callow of authors really writes just for
the money. Writers write because they must write and they write to be read.
Read and ENJOYED.
I would urge anyone who's getting a head of steam built up over Mr.
Ordover's provocations to calm down. He's an editor and his job is to put
the weed-whacker to the authors, so it's within his province to be as
annoying as a set of nails on a chalkboard. Right now, as I pointed out
before, he's playing big fish in the little pond and if that's fun for him,
then fine. For God's sake, don't start a holy war over FANFIC! At best,
fanfic is a harmless and sometimes useful diversion. At worst, it's a
productivity-sucking nightmare of sixteen-part relationshipper
soap-operatics like "Mr. and Mrs. Mulder Do Their Laundry."
If Mr. Ordover offends you, there are a couple of options. You can
complain, first off. I did. You've been reading it all this time.
However, the SECOND option is probably the most effective: don't buy Pocket
Books. Get your friends not to buy Pocket Books. Stop your family members
from buying Pocket Books. Talk to total strangers in the bookstore and
convince THEM not to buy Pocket Books.
You see, these lousy "novels" that get published are like word-popcorn.
They are weightless, substance-free and are useful to publishing entities
only as long as they are profitable. They are, perhaps, even worse than
fanfictions in that they are oftentimes written by authors who probably
COULD write far more interesting prose of their own design if they weren't
wasting their time (and collecting a paycheck) to provide the further
adventures of Ace Schmidlap, Intergalactic Cool Guy as seen on CBS.
Mr. Ordover and those like him are EMPLOYED because people like you and
I buy the books. I've picked up my share of junk novels. Sure, I have.
And right now everyone at Big Publishing Central(tm) is probably enjoying a
big laugh at this newsgroup's expense due to all the silly posturing and
indefensible poetics surrounding the inviolable Art of Fanfic. They know
that the majority of the posts are worthless, much like the majority of the
very tie-in books THEY PUBLISH. Only THEY figured out how to play the
inside game and make money doing it, while you poor dopes fritter away your
energies.
So stick it to them in such a way that they can begin to understand your
frustration.

But, whatever you do, don't stop writing. The craft of prose is the
craft of immortality. You won't get there with your scintillating novella
of "Mulder and Scully vs. the Oogie-Boogie Monster," but the familiar faces
and voices of well-loved characters might very well provide the impetus to
create those that are new, but still possessed of greatness.
Or maybe your writing will always suck. It could happen.

==========

"Great editors do not discover nor produce great authors;
great authors create and produce great publishers."
-- John Farrar
"What Happens in Book Publishing"


Sheare Bliss

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
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The Woodwards <thewoo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
<a lot of good stuff>

Amen, and thank you.


bliss

ImXFScully

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
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This basically sums up my attitude towards the entire thing. Ordover's point
may have some validity, but he's applying it to the wrong argument (which he
incidentally insists upon starting and restarting himself.)

Thanks for saying it and saying it well --


Amy

Maureen O'Brien

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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But why are we saying it? I mean, wasn't the whole Ordover thing gone,
done, and vanished from the slushpile of history a week ago?

Maureen, not sure

ImXFScully

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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>>But why are we saying it? I mean, wasn't the whole Ordover thing gone,
done, and vanished from the slushpile of history a week ago? <<


As he posted another snotty rebuke of fanfiction today, I guess not -- though
hopefully, his character's well-understood enough by now around here to prevent
people from worrying too much about him in future.

Amy

John Ordover

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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No, I haven't posted a single rebuke of fan fiction. What I've done
is repeatedly say the following, which for unknown reasons people are
taking as a rebuke of fan fiction:

>>Th
e only valid definition of "professional is getting paid for what
you do.

This is not a quality issue. Im certain you'll agree with me that the
vast majority of books, movies, television shows tend to be average or
below average. Yet the people who write them are professionals
-because they get paid.- What I am discussing is -only- the path
you'll have to take if you want to become a regularly paid
professional writer.

Would you hire a lawyer whose professional training came from posting
lots of "fan fiction" legal briefs to a newsgroup containing no
professional lawyers, and who had been guided by
those non-lawyers in structuring their briefs?

If you don't want to be a pro writer, more power to you in whatever
career goal you chose. If you do, stop writing fan fiction and find
out what the real path to a pro writing career is.<<


R. Scott Carr

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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John Ordover wrote:

> No, I haven't posted a single rebuke of fan fiction. What I've done
> is repeatedly say the following, which for unknown reasons people are
> taking as a rebuke of fan fiction:

This guy reminds me of the story about the woman watching a military parade. As her
son's squad passed by, she said, "Oh, look, they're all out of step except for my
Johnny."

Mr. Ordover, get a clue. You make outrageous (and erroneous) statements, you give
bad advice, and you insult people. On top of all that, you act as though you're
making some contribution to the world at large. If 95 percent of the reactions you
get are negative, think about why that might be.

And after you've done so, please don't tell us about your ruminations.
--
Scott Carr
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/7503


The Woodwards

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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>>>>I mean, wasn't the whole Ordover thing gone,
>>done, and vanished from the slushpile of history a week ago? <<

>
>>As he posted another snotty rebuke of fanfiction today, I guess not.

>
>No, I haven't posted a single rebuke of fan fiction. What I've done
>is repeatedly say the following, which for unknown reasons people are
>taking as a rebuke of fan fiction:

>


>This is not a quality issue. Im certain you'll agree with me that the
>vast majority of books, movies, television shows tend to be average or
>below average.

And what, exactly, is your point? I notice that you've chosen to pick
some vaguely-related portion of the thread to respond to rather than to
strike at the heart of the matter: the craft of writing and how it is
learned. Whether 5% of Americans don't read books or whether the vast
majority of creative media is substandard or yadda-yadda-yadda, it STILL
doesn't approach anything resembling a SUBJECT.
I notice, while perusing your posts in detail via DejaNews, that you
mutate your approach to the subject until you've discovered the most
contrary position possible. First it's "why not be a leader and write REAL
fiction for a professional line of books like we publish here at Pocket" and
then it's "you know, the vast majority of stuff sucks, but AT LEAST the
writers are being paid for it!" Are you saying that professional writers
are no good at what they do or that no one cares if they're any good, or
what?
It seems to me, that if the so-called "professional" fiction is garbage,
then what difference does it make if a fanfiction author never hones their
craft to an acceptable degree? And if no one in the reading public gives a
damn about quality writing, then what's the point of trying to get any
better in the first place? You've contradicted yourself repeatedly, saying
that there's some ephemeral "professional standard" to be achieved that
simply doing learning the old-fashioned way (i.e. WRITING) won't bring you.
Then, in almost the same breath/post, you say that the publishing world is
filled with junk.
Please, please, PLEASE make up your mind.

As a side note, I'd like to indicate to anyone else reading out there
that the above quotations attributed to Mr Ordover are not direct quotes,
but are sufficiently dense enough to actually HAVE been said by Mr. Ordover.

>...the people who write them are professionals
>-because they get paid...
Being a writer is not about being PAID. Being a writer is about being
READ, perhaps even read only by oneself. Defining an art form -- which is,
in fact, what literature IS -- in purely financial terms is almost
criminally philistine. A paycheck does not equal skill as a literary artist
or true success as a writer. A paycheck is a paycheck. WRITING is writing.
When these things coincide, that's good, but the essential part of this
equation, the writing, is still at the heart of the matter.

>Would you hire a lawyer whose professional training came from posting
>lots of "fan fiction" legal briefs to a newsgroup containing no
>professional lawyers, and who had been guided by
>those non-lawyers in structuring their briefs?

Would you consider a person who studied law in a prison and successfully
completed the bar to be somehow less qualified than a person who attended
law school? The answer, of course, would be "no." Successful sales come to
writers who produce top-quality work, regardless of where they received
their training. This subject was broached in my original post, which you
seemed to have overlooked.
Whether the craft is honed in a classroom, at an editor's side or behind
a keyboard posting fanfiction, writing is writing and skill is skill. Those
able to forge a connection with a reader, who have an active and engaging
fictive voice and who choose to pursue publication will succeed as
"professionals," making money for what they do. Any editor who turned down
someone's well-written and eminently salable manuscript because the author
once wrote fanfiction would be pounding the bricks two days after that
author made a splashy sale to another publisher.

>If you don't want to be a pro writer, more power to you in whatever
>career goal you chose. If you do, stop writing fan fiction and find
>out what the real path to a pro writing career is.<<

As discussed in the original note that began "The Ordover Files" thread,
there is no REAL way to become a "pro writer" beyond writing, writing and
then sitting down to write some more. It takes practice, it takes
dedication and it takes time. Any writer, professional or otherwise, who
takes their craft seriously knows that. How and where an author learns
their craft is immaterial.


Lisby

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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>
> >...the people who write them are professionals
> >-because they get paid...
> Being a writer is not about being PAID. Being a writer is about being
> READ, perhaps even read only by oneself. Defining an art form -- which is,
> in fact, what literature IS -- in purely financial terms is almost
> criminally philistine. A paycheck does not equal skill as a literary artist
> or true success as a writer. A paycheck is a paycheck. WRITING is writing.
> When these things coincide, that's good, but the essential part of this
> equation, the writing, is still at the heart of the matter.
>
> As discussed in the original note that began "The Ordover Files" thread,
> there is no REAL way to become a "pro writer" beyond writing, writing and
> then sitting down to write some more. It takes practice, it takes
> dedication and it takes time. Any writer, professional or otherwise, who
> takes their craft seriously knows that. How and where an author learns
> their craft is immaterial.

Thank you for making an incredible amount of sense.

And Mr. Ordover, if you're listening, I *am* a professional writer. I get paid
a full-time living for my words. If I had not started off writing fanfic as a
teenager 20 years ago, I would never be a professional writer. The constant
practice of writing stories for others to read garnered positive feedback and
helped me hone my skills as much as my later journalistic education. And I'm
here now because I *want* to be--because I love to experiment with new styles
and to learn things from others. You'd be surprised what these folk can teach
you. They've made me a stronger fiction writer and allowed me to write for the
unadulterated joy of it without reference to deadline or assigned topic.

In short, we're here to learn and have fun. Join in or stop trying to make
people feel bad for practicing something they love.

Lisby

Alli

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
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ophel...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> Mr. Ordover --
>
> It's terribly kind of you to try and correct our skewed priorities, but we
> seem to be perversely resisting your attempts to save us from our dreadful
> judgement. Obviously we don't deserve the time and care you've lavished on
> us.
>
> Have you given other fan fiction-based newsgroups the benefit of your wisdom?
> If not, what has ATXC done to deserve your especial attention? While I am
> not a person who makes a living from selling fiction, I am acquainted with
> the publishing world, even with editors. I understand how unique your
> interest in us is. What a generous thing it is to sacrifice time that could
> be spent searching for marketable talent in order to minister to the
> perennially unprofitable.
>
> However, I think your work here is done. You have cast your seeds upon the
> unyeilding clay, and now must leave with a heavy heart.
>
> Some of us will remember the great-souled altruism of your acts! Thank you,
> Mr. Ordover, New York Editor from Pocket Books. Thank you. Thank you.
>
> --Ophelia,

I don't think ANYBODY has said it better. I don't
think there's even anything I can add. Applause,
applause.
Alli

bliss

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
I wish. He's still popping in now and again to jab at people. Evidently this
guy has less of a life than you would imagine a 'professional' living in New
York having.

bliss

Maureen O'Brien <mob...@dnaco.net> wrote:

>But why are we saying it? I mean, wasn't the whole Ordover thing gone,


>done, and vanished from the slushpile of history a week ago?
>

>Maureen, not sure

"I am not an angry girl/but it seems like I've got
everyone fooled/everytime I say something they find
hard to hear/they chalk it up to my anger/and never
to their own fear- Ani DiFranco

"'snuff ed"

"but how often is too often?"

ophel...@my-dejanews.com

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
Mr. Ordover --

It's terribly kind of you to try and correct our skewed priorities, but we
seem to be perversely resisting your attempts to save us from our dreadful
judgement. Obviously we don't deserve the time and care you've lavished on
us.

Have you given other fan fiction-based newsgroups the benefit of your wisdom?
If not, what has ATXC done to deserve your especial attention? While I am
not a person who makes a living from selling fiction, I am acquainted with
the publishing world, even with editors. I understand how unique your
interest in us is. What a generous thing it is to sacrifice time that could
be spent searching for marketable talent in order to minister to the
perennially unprofitable.

However, I think your work here is done. You have cast your seeds upon the
unyeilding clay, and now must leave with a heavy heart.

Some of us will remember the great-souled altruism of your acts! Thank you,
Mr. Ordover, New York Editor from Pocket Books. Thank you. Thank you.

--Ophelia,
Who has never had an editor from a publishing company seek her work out for
review before.


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

JourneyToX

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
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As I said in another thread about the O person, and as I'll repeat here because
it was fairly apt:

Listening to Ordover talk about writing is like listening to a whore talk about
sex.

Sure, lots of technical knowledge, but the passion for the subject is
completely lost in the financial exchange.

A whore can teach you to fuck, but only you and your lover(s) can teach you to
make love.

What do you want to do?


*~*~*~*~*~*
Journ...@aol.com, BYFP, not BOFQ
MORE Skinner, Save Spender, Can Kersh, Flush Fowley.
"God Bless America! Now get your asses out of here!" 1939!Skinner, Triangle
"Oh yeahhhh!" Mitch Pileggi, Season 3 Gag Reels. :-)
~*~*~*~*~


Daybreaq

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
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><HTML><PRE>Subject: Re: The Ordover Files
>From: Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover)
>Date: Sun, Dec 20, 1998 13:50 EST
>Message-id: <367d4651...@news.mindspring.com>
>
>

First he says:


>This is not a quality issue.

Then IN THE SAME POST:

>Would you hire a lawyer whose professional training came from posting
>lots of "fan fiction" legal briefs to a newsgroup containing no
>professional lawyers, and who had been guided by
>those non-lawyers in structuring their briefs?

This has got to be one of the most idiotic analogies I've ever seen. When I
need a lawyer, I need someone who knows the law and therefore her training is
an issue for me. I need to know that her briefs are structured properly, the
way lawyers are supposed to structure briefs; because I don't know the first
thing about how a brief looks let alone how it should be specifically
structured. Otherwise, I may lose a lot of money ... or end up in prison.:o
Her training is a direct factor in her overall *quality* as a lawyer.
I do know a good story when I read it though. I don't care whether other
writers think it's good. I don't need assurances by any state licensing boards
that the writer has been properly trained. When I read a story, all I care
about is that I've been entertained or in the very best cases, I've learned
something and my life has been enriched. I don't really give a flying fig
about the writer's training or how she came to write that story. That's why
they don't have resumes on book jackets.
Now you may turn around and say * you* care about that writer's resume
because you are an editor. Wonderful!!! Go find a Ng for editors or for writers
wanting to know what an editor is looking for if you want to volunteer that
advice. Try to understand this Mr. Ordover: people (even those who may write
for a living as well) come to this Ng for the leisure activity of writing and
reading fanfiction. That's it. No one wants career advice here. No one here
wants to be berated that the leisure activity they happen to enjoy is a waste
of time. No one here wants to be told they lack initiative, creativity, and
leadership qualities because of the leisure activity they practice. You say
you will never "get" why people like to read and write fanfiction. Fine, then
go somewhere else; because this Ng happens to be for people who do "get" it!

Teddi

Shanna...@pnx.com

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
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On 21 Dec 1998 04:35:33 GMT, dayb...@aol.com (Daybreaq) wrote:

>><HTML><PRE>Subject: Re: The Ordover Files

Now, I agree with everything you've said, Teddi, and it's much the
same as I and others have said. But for the record, this whole thing
started when someone posted part of an interview that Ordover gave in
Entertainment Weekly. He didn't post those comments here himself, but
he has most certainly posted comments trying to defend his belief that
if you want to be a paid professional writer, you shouldn't waste your
time with fanfic.

Probably the majority of us, or half anyway, I'd say, don't have any
particular burning desire to be paid writers (some of us are, anyway,
though), we just want to be writers whose work is READ. And we have a
much better chance of accomplishing that by posting fanfic on the Net
or having it published in a fanzine, than trying to churn out
hackneyed, formulaic prose, dumbed-down for a particular market.
There's only a handful of really good, paid writers and they make very
good money at it.

In fanfic, we write what we want. We may take input from readers, or
we may not. The only ones we truly must please are ourselves, but it's
pretty damn nice if others like our work, too. And the feedback is our
pay.

> Now you may turn around and say * you* care about that writer's resume
>because you are an editor. Wonderful!!! Go find a Ng for editors or for writers
>wanting to know what an editor is looking for if you want to volunteer that
>advice. Try to understand this Mr. Ordover: people (even those who may write
>for a living as well) come to this Ng for the leisure activity of writing and
>reading fanfiction. That's it. No one wants career advice here. No one here
>wants to be berated that the leisure activity they happen to enjoy is a waste
>of time. No one here wants to be told they lack initiative, creativity, and
>leadership qualities because of the leisure activity they practice. You say
>you will never "get" why people like to read and write fanfiction. Fine, then
>go somewhere else; because this Ng happens to be for people who do "get" it!
>
> Teddi
>

---------------------------------------------------
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Shanna...@pnx.com

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
Heh, the fans over on alt.startrek.creative have also been engaged in
debate with him.


On Mon, 21 Dec 1998 04:52:43 GMT, ophel...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>Mr. Ordover --
>

>Have you given other fan fiction-based newsgroups the benefit of your wisdom?


>If not, what has ATXC done to deserve your especial attention? While I am
>not a person who makes a living from selling fiction, I am acquainted with
>the publishing world, even with editors. I understand how unique your
>interest in us is. What a generous thing it is to sacrifice time that could
>be spent searching for marketable talent in order to minister to the
>perennially unprofitable.
>

>--Ophelia,


>Who has never had an editor from a publishing company seek her work out for
>review before.
>

---------------------------------------------------

John Ordover

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Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
First off, if you don't want to be a professional writer, there is no
need to read any farther. If you write fan ficiton as a hobby, have
fun. This post isn't aimed at you.


On Sun, 20 Dec 1998 18:47:50 -0500, "The Woodwards"
<thewoo...@yahoo.com> wrote:

Being a writer is not about being PAID. Being a writer is about
being
READ, perhaps even read only by oneself. Defining an art form --
which is,
in fact, what literature IS -- in purely financial terms is almost
criminally philistine. A paycheck does not equal skill as a literary
artist
or true success as a writer. A paycheck is a paycheck. WRITING is
writing.
When these things coincide, that's good, but the essential part of
this
equation, the writing, is still at the heart of the matter.<<


Being a

=
professional writer
=

is -of course- about being paid. That' the definition of the
difference between amateur and professional -- at least according to
the old-style rules of the olympic committee -- that's why Jim
Thorpe's medals were taken away - he wasn't an amateur =becuase he'd
gotten paid=

It is certainly better to write than not to write, if you want to be a
pro writer. But
If you want to be -any kind- of pro writer, then it is important to
practice -exactly the kind of writing- that you'll want to be doing in
your profession. Crudest example, poetry won't teach you prose, and
prose won't teach you poetry. Scriptwriting won't teach you novel
writing and vice-versa. Writing detective stories won't teach you how
to write romances, writing science fiction won't teach you writing
mainstream thrillers (which is why Michael Crichton has been able to
sell trillions of books using cliche science fiction themes, because
he knows how to structure them as mainstream thrillers)

, and so on and so on.

Similarly, writing fan fiction won't teach you what you need to know
to write professionally, not even in media-tie-ins, since one of the
things you'll have to learn is how to write within strict guidelines.
And for original fiction, the most important skill to pick up is how
to introduce brand new charcters in a brand new world while
simultaeneously getting good story started. And fan fiction will
never teach you that.

I continue this posting of mine because I have met far, far too many
people who thought fan fiction would be their stepping stone to
original or media-tie-in publication, and have been crushed to find
out the reality. Again, if you only write fan fiction for fun, have
at it. But if you want to be pro writer, spend your time writing
exactly what you intend to write professionally.


Sheare Bliss

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
Thanks JourneytoX, nicely said.

bliss


--


MERRICAT K

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
Quoting Mr. Ordover:

>First off, if you don't want to be a professional writer, there is no
>need to read any farther. If you write fan ficiton as a hobby, have
>fun. This post isn't aimed at you.

A nice disclaimer. If someone barged into your home & started off by saying,
"If you're not interested in buying aluminium siding, there's no need for you
to listen to what I'm going to say. But I'm damned well going to say it, even
though you didn't ask me, and have made it quite clear you aren't interested,"
that would be ok too, wouldn't it?


Merricat, who is hanging onto her amateur standing so she can write for the US
Olympic Writing Team in 2000

The Woodwards

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
First off, apologies concerning the lengthy nature of some of the quotations
in this post.

> Being a writer is not about being PAID. Being a writer is about
>being
>READ, perhaps even read only by oneself. Defining an art form --
>which is,
>in fact, what literature IS -- in purely financial terms is almost
>criminally philistine. A paycheck does not equal skill as a literary
>artist
>or true success as a writer. A paycheck is a paycheck. WRITING is
>writing.
>When these things coincide, that's good, but the essential part of
>this
>equation, the writing, is still at the heart of the matter.<<
>
>
>Being a
>
>=
>professional writer
>=
>
>is -of course- about being paid.

So you continue to say, though you also equate -- in the same post to
which I am responding -- professionalism to indicate the ability to write
within carefully-defined guidelines, essentially defining professionalism as
the ability to distinguish between writing what's GOOD and writing what is
required. As I've said before (and what you've, once again, completely
ignored), writing is writing and pay is pay. Skill as an author has nothing
to do with money. And, I'd venture to say, professionalism also has little
or nothing to do with a bank deposit.
You may place great emphasis on the paycheck as the prime indicator of
literary success, but you've also acknowledged elsewhere that the vast
majority of "professional" writing is substandard. So why would anyone
serious about their craft want to exchange their desire to become an
excellent writer in order to follow your ill-defined advice on the outside
chance that some OTHER editor would overlook their deficiencies? I doubt
that saying, "Well, John Ordover told me that being any good wasn't the
point. May I have a check, please? I want to be a 'professional' writer."

>That' the definition of the
>difference between amateur and professional -- at least according to
>the old-style rules of the olympic committee -- that's why Jim
>Thorpe's medals were taken away - he wasn't an amateur =becuase he'd
>gotten paid=

I'm becoming very amused by your inexplicable analogies. The removal of
Jim Thorpe's medals is an event shrouded in controversy and is widely
considered to be a black mark on the history of the Olympic Committee. Poor
decisionmaking on their part led to the 1982 decision to RETURN those
medals, so I'd suggest taking a continuing-education course at a local
community college to get you up to speed with current events. Using that
incident as some sort of definition is flawed, precisely because the
judgment of history has been passed in this case.
At any rate, our digression into professional/athletic sports aside (and
I'd like to point out that the so-called "amateur" athletes of the Eastern
Bloc were all paid professionals), you're now twisting your own words. On
one hand you insist on connecting the professional to the ideals of solid
prose but now, pinned down on THAT issue, you intend to weasel out under the
"paycheck" clause. Since neither of these arguments have any validity, as
we've seen amply demonstrated over the last few days, what gives?

>If you want to be -any kind- of pro writer, then it is important to
>practice -exactly the kind of writing- that you'll want to be doing in
>your profession.

You are incorrect. Please move to the rear of the classroom. Please
review my previous posts on this subject. In the interests of newcomers to
this thread, I'll recap:
Writing is writing is writing. Good writers can write anything.
Writers BECOME good writers by writing. Writing is writing is writing.
Thank you.

>...which is why Michael Crichton has been able to


>sell trillions of books using cliche science fiction themes, because

>he knows how to structure them as mainstream thrillers.
Which is EXACTLY why Crichton can do what he does. Crichton WRITES. He
understands the universal concepts of plot structure and has developed an
active and dynamic voice with which to communicate with his reading
audience. You've hit upon the perfect illustration of what I've been saying
all along: writing is writing is writing and good writers, regardless, can
write anything.
Michael Crichton did not cut his teeth under the wing of a kindly editor
from Pocket Books. I might remind you that he was a MEDICAL STUDENT, which
is far and away from the arts. He developed his craft through the method I
have described at least three times in preceding days: he wrote. Literary
skills can be applied on any level, in any genre, so long as the author has
the practice and the confidence to use them.

>And for original fiction, the most important skill to pick up is how
>to introduce brand new charcters in a brand new world while
>simultaeneously getting good story started. And fan fiction will
>never teach you that.

As I wrote in the original post of this thread, fanfiction is not meant
to teach the skill of new-character introduction. Fanfiction, while
primarily being a diversion, can also be a valuable training-wheels tool,
teaching its authors how to engage a reading audience, construct a
well-paced and effective plot and how to best develop a distinctive voice.
These are the first and best elements of the writing craft and can be
applied anywhere, to any kind of fiction. Any effective editor will quickly
acknowledge that or, as stated previously, be out of a job later on for
lacking the perception to select top-notch authors.

>...if you want to be pro writer, spend your time writing


>exactly what you intend to write professionally.

I agree. Writers should go out and write prose immediately. In
whatever form, shape and subject they desire, they should write prose.
Your interest in cultivating future paid writers is obvious, but your
approach is decidedly twisted. Discouraging writers from writing is no way
to go about it, regardless of what you may think of their means of practice.
I'll echo the thoughts of another respondee to this thread and urge you
to take some constructive action in this newsgroup beyond floating spurious
and poorly-spelled analogies. Why not post the bible for the Trek and XF
fiction lines, either here or on the Pocket web site? Why not place the
strictures directly before those who'd make the best use of it? It would
more than likely save a great deal of time for you, having authors who
willingly self-train in the manner of writing you desire.
Bringing up, time and again, the idea that professional writers in the
ST and XF lines must follow the strictures laid down by
Paramount/Fox/whomever, and then failing to follow through with SPECIFICS is
more of a disservice than a help, even if you are "being cruel to be kind."
Show you're serious about building an effective set of new authors and put
those suckers where everyone can see them.
And in the meantime, do ME a favor and spell-check those posts before
they go out. :)


Teddi Litman

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In article <19981221111906...@ng-ft1.aol.com>,
merr...@aol.com (MERRICAT K) wrote:

>
>Merricat, who is hanging onto her amateur standing so she can write for the
US
>Olympic Writing Team in 2000

ROTFLMAO!!!!

Teddi Litman

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In article <367de2dc...@enews.newsguy.com>,
Shanna...@pnx.com wrote:

>On 21 Dec 1998 04:35:33 GMT, dayb...@aol.com (Daybreaq) wrote:
>
>>><HTML><PRE>Subject: Re: The Ordover Files
>Now, I agree with everything you've said, Teddi, and it's much the
>same as I and others have said. But for the record, this whole thing
>started when someone posted part of an interview that Ordover gave in
>Entertainment Weekly. He didn't post those comments here himself, but
>he has most certainly posted comments trying to defend his belief that
>if you want to be a paid professional writer, you shouldn't waste your
>time with fanfic.


I'm well aware of this; and certainly I'm not questioning his desire to come
in here and try to explain statements of his that were posted here. My main
problem with him is what he did afterwards. He *started* a brand new thread
with a very condescending post "asking" (Though he later admitted that he
would never "get" it, proving he really wasn't interested in an answer.) why
fanfic writers choose to be followers instead of leaders. I saw this post as
really only a slightly more carefully worded "lament" of the typical troll
who wanders in here every once in a while. (i.e. Get a life losers! You're
all just plagairizing anyway!) In his latest, he compared fanfic writers
with criminals who are posing as lawyers. At every turn, he claims to have
nothing against fanfic or fanfic writers yet he always ends up slamming them
in the very next breath. I love the fanfic writers here; they bring me a
little light at the end of the day. So I'm damn sure going to defend them
against some swelled-headed "pro" who seems to want to make them feel their
highly appreciated efforts here are worthless.

Teddi

Alli

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
John Ordover wrote:
>
> The Trek guidelines are availible at www.startrekbooks.com, under
> "editor's logs" and then "Guidelines" in the nav bar. Don't know
> where or how the X-Files rules are posted -- all I've known about the
> X-files rules I've learned by chatting with the authors who write the
> books.
>
> But in both cases, the rules come down to this:
>
> 1) don't flesh out the backgrounds of the characters
>
> 2) don't make permanent or radical changes to the characters or the
> universe in the course of the book
>
> 3) don't go into the book with the intention of correcting any errors
> you perceive in the way the character are presented on the show, or
> with the intention of "un-doing" some plot-happening you didn't like.
>
> Now, anyone reading the Trek novels knows we push these guidelines as
> hard as we can, and can sometimes get special permission (for
> instance, Spock will be getting married in VULCAN'S HEART next
> summer). But when we do those things, it's always with experiencedpro
> authors and/or people who've been working with us a while.
>
> Further, when you're coming in off the street to the Trek novels
> program, it's better not to bring back a guest star or pick up a
> continuity hook, for two reasons:
>
> 1) We may well already be doing that character/that hook already. I
> got three "Harry Mudd comes back in an Android Body" proposals from
> three of my regulars in the same week.:)
>
> 2) What we really want to see is what -you- can think of that we
> couldn't have. We can always bring back Vash/Trelane/Rasmussen --
> returning to an old storyline is easy. Show me what -you- can come up
> with for the gang to deal with that no one but you could have thought
> of, and I'll be impressed.:)
>
> Will that do for starters?
Yes.
See, *this* we can deal with. I see we finally
got through to you, Mr. Ordover. Now maybe we can
discuss these PROFESSIONAL guidelines instead of
having a nasty little discussion about fanfic.
This is where you, a pro, can come in handy.
Alli

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to

JourneyToX

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to
Explain why Kevin J Anderson stays within the X-Files guidelines and can't come
up with something better than boring stories? What was he thinking of when he
wrote Antibodies? It read like he was thinking of what brand of toothpaste to
pick up at Walgreen's.

Guidelines should inspire a good writer to work within them and yet still soar,
making the guidelines invisible to the reader because the reader is caught up
in a good story well told.

EVEN GIVEN the guidelines, some of the best fanfic writers could do much
better. Anderson's living off his reputation while some here on the Net are
making one, charging nothing, and doing better.

Who has integrity in that situation? Who is the better writer?

The answer to both questions is the same individual. Not the one getting paid,
unfortunately.

I would've paid money to read anything by Liz Ann and Elise, Lisby's Vestigy,
anything by jordan or Kronos, Dasha's Red V, anything by Annie
Sewell-Jennings. We're privileged to have them for free. The only coin I can
repay them in is praise for their work. I know these people, if they so choose,
will have a professional writing life beyond fanfic. Ordover grossly
underestimates their capabilities.

The folks who publish the X-Files "professional" media tie ins are going to
have to work much harder to get my next dollar. I'm not buying anything blindly
(OK, I admit, I'll buy the audiobooks if narrated by Pileggi).

Now that we've discussed the failings of what has been professionally produced
as far as X-Files media tie-in novels, can we talk about the conflict of
interest between those promoting pro fic and fanfic? Can we FINALLY get to that
point? Huh, John?

Shanna...@pnx.com

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to
"Antibodies" was a very good X-File story. No, there were none of the
character interrelationships that we love so well in fanfic, but it
was wonderfully imaginative and a well-plotted adventure. I reviewed
this for the paper and gave it good marks.


On 23 Dec 1998 05:10:42 GMT, journ...@aol.com (JourneyToX) wrote:

>Explain why Kevin J Anderson stays within the X-Files guidelines and can't come
>up with something better than boring stories? What was he thinking of when he
>wrote Antibodies? It read like he was thinking of what brand of toothpaste to
>pick up at Walgreen's.

---------------------------------------------------

Pyrephox18

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to
>"Antibodies" was a very good X-File story. No, there were none of the
>character interrelationships that we love so well in fanfic, but it
>was wonderfully imaginative and a well-plotted adventure. I reviewed
>this for the paper and gave it good marks.

Wow, and I thought I was the only one who liked it. It was an interesting
X-File, I thought, and I liked the characterization. It wasn't as good as some
fanfic, but considering the guidelines authors must be under, it was a darn
good effort.

Pyrephox- who also liked "Ground Zero" for the glimpse into Activist!Scully.

Filk-lover, Fanficker, Gamer, Happy Little Pagan (tm), X-Phile, Pezhead, ect.
-
Blue Moon Madness: PbEM Fantasy RPG
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/2623/BMB.html

Houng Te

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to

(Shanna...@pnx.com) writes:
> "Antibodies" was a very good X-File story. No, there were none of the
> character interrelationships that we love so well in fanfic, but it
> was wonderfully imaginative and a well-plotted adventure. I reviewed
> this for the paper and gave it good marks.
I enjoyed "Ground Zero" and "Ruins" as well. The characterization bugged
me a bit in the beginning, but other than that, it was a good story, both
were neat cases. My sister and my friends like it as well. They can't
read fanfic for some reason though. They're more of a case focused crowd,
and I would be one too if that didn't mean missing out on so much stories
that featured Krycek, Skinner, Pendrell, and company. :)

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to

>
>And Mr. Ordover, if you're listening, I *am* a professional writer. I get paid
>a full-time living for my words.

Professional -fiction writer?- Published where?

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to
On 21 Dec 1998 16:19:06 GMT, merr...@aol.com (MERRICAT K) wrote:

>Quoting Mr. Ordover:
>
>>First off, if you don't want to be a professional writer, there is no
>>need to read any farther. If you write fan ficiton as a hobby, have
>>fun. This post isn't aimed at you.
>
>A nice disclaimer. If someone barged into your home & started off by saying,
>"If you're not interested in buying aluminium siding, there's no need for you
>to listen to what I'm going to say. But I'm damned well going to say it, even
>though you didn't ask me, and have made it quite clear you aren't interested,"
>that would be ok too, wouldn't it?
>
>

>Merricat, who is hanging onto her amateur standing so she can write for the US
>Olympic Writing Team in 2000

Silly analogy, when the next post/thread is just a click away.

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to
On 23 Dec 1998 05:10:42 GMT, journ...@aol.com (JourneyToX) wrote:

>Explain why Kevin J Anderson stays within the X-Files guidelines and can't come
>up with something better than boring stories? What was he thinking of when he
>wrote Antibodies? It read like he was thinking of what brand of toothpaste to
>pick up at Walgreen's.
>

The answer is, because you found something boring didn't mean that it
was a bad boo (are there any X-Files episodes that you didn't like but
others did, and vice versa? You may just not be the target audience
for an X-Files media book, or may be looking for something that the
books can't give. As you can see from the following posts, a lot of
people -did- like Kevin Anderson's work. That you didn't doesn't mean
you have better taste, but only that the book didn't work for you.

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to
First of all, something werid is going on, post-wise. The following
post to this topic comes up when I search using DejaNews, but doesn't
on Free Agent or AOL's sucky newsreader. DejaNews then seems to have
failed to post my reply. Just in case this is happening to others,
I'm posting this via free agent, which always seems to work; I will
reply to it in my next post.



Author:

The Woodwards
Email:
thewoo...@yahoo.com
Date:
1998/12/18
Forums:
alt.tv.x-files.creative
more headers

author profile

view thread

Hola, everyone.

Admittedly, I've followed the Battle of Ordover without catching
every
post, response and counter-response, but I've picked up enough, I
believe,
to make a few observations. Now, these are bound to snark some folks
off,
but... oh, well!

First off, and this is PURELY my opinion, Mr. Ordover seems to be
kind
of a jerk. Rude, arrogant and generally unpleasant, insofar as his
posts to
this newsgroup are concerned. Now, I'm kind of a jerk, myself, but I
try
not to go around deliberately antagonizing people, which is what
appears to
be happening here. Irrespective of Mr. Ordover's accomplishments in
legitimate literary circles, he definitely has a great deal to learn
about
Netiquette. Namely, don't make an ass out of yourself, even if others
are
doing so. And when you start stomping around in a newsgroup acting
like the
big fish in the little pond, it's called being a troll and it's akin
to
farting during a photo op with the President; you aren't going to
impress
anyone and the negative effect on your reputation is fairly
significant.
Secondly, I think both Mr. Ordover and his detractors are
forgetting
what fanfiction IS and what it is NOT. Folks, fanfic is FANFIC. It
has
about as much bearing on legitimate literature as JUGGS does to TIME
on the
magazine racks. Fanfic is written by fans for the pleasure of oneself
and
other fans. And that's IT. There's no great imperative attached to
it, nor
greater significance due to its intimate connection to those who love
the
source material.
This does NOT mean that it's a complete waste of time and effort,
however. Writing is writing and the only way to learn HOW to write is
to
WRITE. Those with the "gift" will wear their training wheels,
shuttling
Mulder and Scully (or whomever) around a hand-crafted plotline and
then move
on to whatever else. The practice is worth it, the positive feedback
from
readers, whether professional or not, feeds the spark of will and
helps it
grow. And that spark needs a LOT of help. Even a kind word from
Grandma is
a boon. Those without the "gift" will linger in the fanfic circle
forever
and, frankly, if that's where they're happy, then that's where they
belong.
Is the majority of fanfic trash? Yes, it is. Cliched to the
extreme,
grammatically incorrect and, sometimes, simply and generically ROTTEN.
Many
stories smack of wish-fulfillment, personal hurts and insecurities
related
to life, work or sex. Some appear to have been compiled merely to
provide a
textbook example for the heading: STORIES WRITTEN BY THE UTTERLY
CLUELESS.
But is it without merit? No, because once again, writing is writing
and to
learn, one must DO.
It's like building muscles. If someone wants to get stronger,
they
exercise. Maybe they lift weights or practice Tai Chi. Or maybe they
do
good, old-fashioned calisthenics for a half-hour a day. Whatever the
technique used to achieve the goal, that's fine. It's the end result
that's
important.
Mr. Ordover seems to believe that one should hit the legit market
and
try, try and try again until one ultimately succeeds or fails. That's
one
way to do it and if you feel that's for you, then for God's sake, GO
DO IT!
The world needs more (talented) writers, even if only 5% of the
population
is reading books, or whatever the statistic was. I have to point out,
though, that this is only ONE WAY to learn the craft and I also have
to
point out that only the cosmetic nature of the practice is changed.
The
bottom line is still the same: write and write and WRITE. To take the
attitude that it is somehow "nobler in the mind to suffer the slings
and
arrows of outrageous fortune" than to do what's right for YOU...
that's the
sign of someone who doesn't want to understand that everyone comes to
the
craft in their own way.
This attitude continues. In one post, Mr. Ordover said that
feedback
from non-professional authors won't teach a writer how to become a
pro. Of
course, he said it in a very prickly and unpleasant way, but that's
basically what he said. Simply put, he's WRONG.
A person doesn't have to know how to write in order to be grabbed
by a
great story. Prose has a way of connecting with ANYONE if it's
crafted with
skill. So bounce your writing off anybody you can get to sit still
long
enough to read it. Start with relatives and friends, work your way up
to
(gasp) a more-or-less stranger. Quiz them until they're ready to beat
you
senseless with your manuscript. Find out what works and what doesn't.
Chip
and shape and hone until you MAKE THAT CONNECTION. There's nothing
"professional" about that response at all. And if you're not making
that
connection, regardless of who's reading it, you're not ready. When
you DO,
though, then you have something special. You have the "gift."
You'll notice that I always put quotes around the word "gift."
That's
because I believe that good writing really IS a skill that can be
learned.
Perfection of that skill can be worked toward in any arena, with any
audience, using ANY tools (including fanfic) and the ultimate reward
is the
knowledge that "hot damn, they really LIKED that baby!" Money's nice,
too,
but I don't think any but the most callow of authors really writes
just for
the money. Writers write because they must write and they write to be
read.
Read and ENJOYED.
I would urge anyone who's getting a head of steam built up over
Mr.
Ordover's provocations to calm down. He's an editor and his job is to
put
the weed-whacker to the authors, so it's within his province to be as
annoying as a set of nails on a chalkboard. Right now, as I pointed
out
before, he's playing big fish in the little pond and if that's fun for
him,
then fine. For God's sake, don't start a holy war over FANFIC! At
best,
fanfic is a harmless and sometimes useful diversion. At worst, it's a
productivity-sucking nightmare of sixteen-part relationshipper
soap-operatics like "Mr. and Mrs. Mulder Do Their Laundry."
If Mr. Ordover offends you, there are a couple of options. You
can
complain, first off. I did. You've been reading it all this time.
However, the SECOND option is probably the most effective: don't buy
Pocket
Books. Get your friends not to buy Pocket Books. Stop your family
members
from buying Pocket Books. Talk to total strangers in the bookstore
and
convince THEM not to buy Pocket Books.
You see, these lousy "novels" that get published are like
word-popcorn.
They are weightless, substance-free and are useful to publishing
entities
only as long as they are profitable. They are, perhaps, even worse
than
fanfictions in that they are oftentimes written by authors who
probably
COULD write far more interesting prose of their own design if they
weren't
wasting their time (and collecting a paycheck) to provide the further
adventures of Ace Schmidlap, Intergalactic Cool Guy as seen on CBS.
Mr. Ordover and those like him are EMPLOYED because people like
you and
I buy the books. I've picked up my share of junk novels. Sure, I
have.
And right now everyone at Big Publishing Central(tm) is probably
enjoying a
big laugh at this newsgroup's expense due to all the silly posturing
and
indefensible poetics surrounding the inviolable Art of Fanfic. They
know
that the majority of the posts are worthless, much like the majority
of the
very tie-in books THEY PUBLISH. Only THEY figured out how to play the
inside game and make money doing it, while you poor dopes fritter away
your
energies.
So stick it to them in such a way that they can begin to
understand your
frustration.

But, whatever you do, don't stop writing. The craft of prose is
the
craft of immortality. You won't get there with your scintillating
novella
of "Mulder and Scully vs. the Oogie-Boogie Monster," but the familiar
faces
and voices of well-loved characters might very well provide the
impetus to
create those that are new, but still possessed of greatness.
Or maybe your writing will always suck. It could happen.

John Ordover

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to
Okay, the woodwards said:

"But, whatever you do, don't stop writing. The craft of prose is
the
craft of immortality. You won't get there with your scintillating
novella
of "Mulder and Scully vs. the Oogie-Boogie Monster," but the familiar
faces
and voices of well-loved characters might very well provide the
impetus to
create those that are new, but still possessed of greatness."

Okay, after telling me that I was wrong to tell people to stop writing
fan fiction,k the woodswards said, as I've quoted above:

"
The craft of prose is the
craft of immortality. You won't get there with your scintillating
novella
of "Mulder and Scully vs. the Oogie-Boogie Monster,"

Which is exaclty what I've been saying, and also that

" the familiar faces
and voices of well-loved characters might very well provide the
impetus to
create those that are new, but still possessed of greatness."

...and what I've been saying is, "Go do that." Go create charcters
that "...are new, but still possessed of greatness." If you want to
be a pro writer, that's the way to go, and the sooner the better.

MERRICAT K

unread,
Dec 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/24/98
to
>>Merricat, who is hanging onto her amateur standing so she can write for the
US
>>Olympic Writing Team in 2000

>Silly analogy, when the next post/thread is just a click away.

I thought it was a silly analogy too, but you're the one who came up with it.


Merricat

"Quick, act like a cat!"
--Tidy Cat commercial

Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/26/98
to
>Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover) wrote:

>The answer is, because you found something boring didn't mean that it
>was a bad boo (are there any X-Files episodes that you didn't like but
>others did, and vice versa? You may just not be the target audience
>for an X-Files media book, or may be looking for something that the
>books can't give. As you can see from the following posts, a lot of
>people -did- like Kevin Anderson's work. That you didn't doesn't mean
>you have better taste, but only that the book didn't work for you.

YAY!! Thank you Mr. Ordover.

Welcome to one of the most arrogant newsgroups in town.

The way some of these folks behave you would think they were Pulitzer prize
authors.

HAHAHAHAHA

Fan-fiction is an outlet for the frustration one feels towards the direction of
your favorite show. Nothing more, nothing less. I have read both abysmal and
good on this group. The Star Trek group, in my not so humble opinion, usually
attracts the better writers. The drooling duchovny kids seem to prevail over
here. Need I remind anyone of the hideous "kill Leoni" fiction that came out a
couple years ago?

Flaming Ordover for telling you the truth (that many of you don't seem to want
to hear) is your right of course. Actually, you are all acting in character
for this newsgroup.

The ignorant know-it alls,lead by my best friend Mo O'Brien, who likes to
pretend that she knows everything about the 'net because she read a few newbie
guides, rule the roost. I see she has resisted growth quite well. Good for
you girl-friend. RESIST THAT EVIL FRUIT OF KNOWLEDGE.

Pretend I am male, pretend that Ordover is a meanie who is WRONG. No matter
what.,KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED TO THE TRUTH.

After all, it is a vast conspiracy. The truth that YOU want to hear is still
out there...somewhere.

Keep on writing your FILK. Keep on writing your stories. Keep on speculating
on Duchovny's shoe size. Just try and understand that fan-fiction isn't your
ticket into the big time. Rather a fun, albeit odd, little hobby that binds
y'all together.

Punkie, who has still masked her email address to protect herself from spam.
No matter how much this annoys the riff-raff.


CiCi Lean2

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
>Just try and understand that fan-fiction isn't your
>ticket into the big time.>>

But I have yet to see anyone here who would *truly* believe that.

Look, I don't think too many writers would argue that good writing takes
practice. Lots and lots and *lots* of practice. Which means -writing- every
chance you get, morning, noon and night.

The disagreement here is the sort of practice that would serve a would-be
professional best. (Of course, the argument could also be made that would-be
professionals don't necessarily have to be good, just relentless, but...)

Some writers would say that writing fanfiction is just as useful a practice
tool as any other, and you should write what you are inspired to write, because
it's better than writing nothing at all.

Ordover says that creating original characters and practicing with them is more
productive in the long run, _assuming_ that becoming a professional novelist
is your primary objective.

While I can see the logic in both of these statements, it sounds like a very
personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
about that.

And, the amount of time it takes them to get the amount of confidence and
encouragement needed to take that step into a world of their own creation, and
then into the frustrating, and misery-inducing world of professional
publishing, should be up to them.

Publishing houses ain't going anywhere anytime soon. (Unless everyone starts
getting novels off of the 'net for free. Hmmm, makes ya think that perhaps
Pocket Books doesn't like that idea too much, eh? And perhaps would like to
discourage it, just a *wee* bit, non?)

As for me, I'm happy with my non-fiction newsletters and freelance articles
-and- will continue writing fanfic because I enjoy writing it and getting
feedback for it. (Yes, I've been published *professionally*, fanfic
notwithstanding. It's not as insane an idea as one might think.)

Hell, I may get money for "Your Thyroid Gland and You" but no amount of money
is anywhere near as sweet as a letter saying "That was great! I just *loved*
it!"

CiCi


John Ordover

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to

>
>Look, I don't think too many writers would argue that good writing takes
>practice. Lots and lots and *lots* of practice. Which means -writing- every
>chance you get, morning, noon and night.
>
> The disagreement here is the sort of practice that would serve a would-be
>professional best. (Of course, the argument could also be made that would-be
>professionals don't necessarily have to be good, just relentless, but...)
>
>Some writers would say that writing fanfiction is just as useful a practice
>tool as any other, and you should write what you are inspired to write, because
>it's better than writing nothing at all.
>
>Ordover says that creating original characters and practicing with them is more
>productive in the long run, _assuming_ that becoming a professional novelist
>is your primary objective.
>
>While I can see the logic in both of these statements, it sounds like a very
>personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>about that.
>

...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you
think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
fiction riter and a professional fiction
editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
what audience you have responding to your work?

Quick "audience matters" parable:

Once there were two men, both of whom wanted to learn the length of
the nose of the Emperor of China, who was hidden from view in the
Secret City. The first man went to everyone in the chinese
countryside, and asked them how long they thought the Emperor's nose
was; then he put all the people's answers together and averaged the
lengh.

The second man learned that the Emperor's Butler, who
washed the Emperor's face every day, left the Secret City every
evening at 7 to buy soap. Waiting by the gates, when the butler
stepped out the second man asked him "How long is the Emperor's Nose?"
and since this was not an imperial secret the butler answered.

Which man do you think was most likely to have the correct answer
about the length of the Emperor's nose?

Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate
the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't
know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to
get you the right answer?

So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.
There are lots of places to get that -- you can pick up important
tips just buy going to a "so you want
to be an author" panels at SF conventions. You can attend workshops
taught by pro writers and editors.

Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,
I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
published.

Enough for now.

Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
>From: Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover)

>.and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you
>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>fiction riter and a professional fiction
> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
>writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
>practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
>what audience you have responding to your work?
>

You would think so, wouldn't you?

Experience DOES matter.


Except on the wacky world of UseNet!

X-Files newsgroups in particular have little regard for reality. You are part
of the grand conspiracy. How dare you rain on their parade in such a manner?

A previous poster sez:

>>personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
>>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>>about that.
>>


That is very supportive of you. However reality and what you wish (opine,
think) are two different things.

>So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
>to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.

YES!! YES!! YES!!!. You ask the experienced for advice not the unwashed masses
on UseNet.

>Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,
>I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
>writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
>published.
>
>


Precisely. Just because you don't like the message folks doesn't make it less
TRUE.

Punkie, who thinks that Mr. Ordover while providing a useful public service,
is speaking to a deaf audience who perfers to wallow in their ignorance.

Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
>: cici...@aol.com (CiCi Lean2)

>But I have yet to see anyone here who would *truly* believe that.


I have been reading the angry responses to Ordover both here and on the trek
newsgroup. I beg to differ with your conclusion. Go search DejaNews, you will
find many who have posted their belief in this. How you can judge whether they
"truly" believe is another question all together.


>
>>IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>about that.


I do. I guess we shall see in years to come who is right.


> Hmmm, makes ya think that perhaps
>Pocket Books doesn't like that idea too much, eh? And perhaps would like to
>discourage it, just a *wee* bit, non?)


Oh. Yes. It is all a vast conspiracy.

HAHAHAHAHA

Pocket Books is soo frightened by this group they send an under-cover operative
to troll the creative groups.

>As for me, I'm happy with my non-fiction newsletters and freelance articles
>-and- will continue writing fanfic because I enjoy writing it and getting
>feedback for it

Glad that you are happy and fulfilled. Fan Ficiton IMHO is a hobby. As I said
before, an outlet for frustration with the direction of the show. No harm in
that. However I don't believe that relying on feedback provided by fellow
amateurs is of any value.


>Hell, I may get money for "Your Thyroid Gland and You" but no amount of money
>is anywhere near as sweet as a letter saying "That was great! I just
>*loved*
>it!"

This is not critical feedback. This is adoration. Two vastly different
concepts.

If you are looking for an ego boost fan fiction is the easy answer.

Punkie, who has no clever tag at the moment.

Alli

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
> >
>
> ...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you

> think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
> fiction riter and a professional fiction
> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
> writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
> practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
> what audience you have responding to your work?
>
>
> So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
> to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.
> There are lots of places to get that -- you can pick up important
> tips just buy going to a "so you want
> to be an author" panels at SF conventions. You can attend workshops
> taught by pro writers and editors.
>
> I suppose *my* personal problem - I'm not speaking for others - is that I am 16. I can't go out to conventions and the like, or get an agent like many publishing companies require, and I'm not about to immerse myself in the miserable world of rejection after rejection (I mean, look what it did to CSM!) So while getting something published (not as a full-time author, mind you) I'm content to practice my writing in fanfic. I don't write anything that would go against the show as it is now-- no heavy MSR, slash, character death, etc. I keep my stories case-files and perhaps the only thing I'm guilty of is delving too deep into the character's minds. I create a good number of original characters as well. This is the closest thing to sending in manuscripts that I can get, I suppose. Maybe when I turn 18 I'll go in more professional directions, but for now this is where I'm content.
Now, Mr. Ordover, maybe you'll have some advice
for me. I hope you do. I hope it's good advice.
And I'm not trying to flame you. I'm just trying
to explain my position.
Alli

PD

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
Cpnk0 wrote: (in response to CiCi)

...And in general in response to this whole Ordover thing...

> Glad that you are happy and fulfilled. Fan Ficiton IMHO is a hobby. As I said
> before, an outlet for frustration with the direction of the show. No harm in
> that. However I don't believe that relying on feedback provided by fellow
> amateurs is of any value.

... among other things...

Now, take a deep breath. This is going to be loooooong.

OK. I've been lurking in this particular thread for, oh, about 15
years. I respond now with absolutely no intention of claiming the last
word. To quote Glen Close, "It will go on and on..."

My Take: Such as it is. I have been writing seriously for over 12
years. Not long in the grand scheme of things, really. But every day I
write, with everything I write, I get better. Every single thing.
After several years, after writing for essentially myself, close
personal friends and my family, I thought I was ready to present myself
as Debbie, the Writer to someone who didn't know me when I wore a "Shark
Bait" T-shirt and Dittos. Eeuuuu. When to what did my wandering eyes
did appear but a contract with my name on it. Yes, my name's still on
it, yes, my best effort to date is being shopped by an agent, and yes, I
write fanfiction, too. Of course, according to Mr. O, I haven't been
paid for anything yet, so I'm not a professional. And I don't claim to
be one, either. I do, however, claim to be a serious writer with
serious intentions.

No, I am not a professional. But I will be. Yes, I write fanfiction.
Why? Because I enjoy it. Because it keeps me writing. As nearly
everyone else has said, everything you do every single day makes you a
better writer. I love being critiqued. I also love being told "your
story... can't remember what it's called, but yeah. It rocked." This
does not make me a professional, but it makes me feel good about sitting
down at the keyboard and adding another single word or a particularly
wonderful sentence to what I can call My Writing.

Yes, fanfiction may be an outlet for frustration for some. For some,
perhaps most, it's something else entirely. It may sound cheesy, but we
write because we have to. If I didn't write, my head would explode.
And then, that's just plain messy. Unless I missed a crucial piece of
this thread, I don't think anyone is claiming "I write fanfiction and
here, my little friends, I will be discovered. Then I'll get
paid."
And here is where I take the Ordover prong of the fork and agree with
him. To a point. Creating your own characters and breathing life into
them is essential to honing the old crafteroonie, as well. But has
anyone said that they ONLY write fanficiton? Has anyone said that they
don't create their own characters in some form or another? Unless I'm
wrong - yes, it's happened before - X Files (or what have you) fic is
probably but one outlet for many writers here. At least for those that
are embarking on a career as a writer. I write screenplays and create
characters from the murky recesses of my own mind.

And often, fic writers DO create their own characters. Fleshed out,
breathing characters. When I think of spectacular fic, Iolokus always
jumps to mind. MustangSally and RivkaT write a Mulder and Scully that
is beyond compare IMO. They also created their own astounding
characters. Have you ever met a baby in fanfiction with more
personality than Miranda?

The bottom line, Mr. Ordover, is that when a writer is ready for an
"audience that matters" (a real slap in the face to the reading
community, BTW), they will seek them out. Until then, the "audience
that matters" is the community that appreciates and acknowledges the
effort and love and talent that goes into CREATING STORIES around
characters we love. There is nothing inconsequential about
that.
Flame away. I wear asbestos and I look damn good in it.
===========================================================
Debbie

"The device has yet to be invented that could possibly
measure my indifference to that remark."
***********
"Agent Scully, you are so kind-hearted. He's a nut! I
just read his manifesto... I don't know what was most
disturbing. His description of the inner core
reincarnated soul's sex orgy, or the fact that the whole
thing is written in screenplay format."
***********
"But... I just put money in the magic fingers."
===========================================================


MERRICAT K

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
>...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you
>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>fiction riter and a professional fiction editor (an editor -- the
>person whose job it is to buy stuff from writers) might know
>-more- about what it's important for a writer to practice, and
>so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
>what audience you have responding to your work?

Response to this at end.

<first analogy snipped>

>Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate
>the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't
>know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to
>get you the right answer?

To fine-tune this analogy, if you were trying to correctly pronounce the French
verb "to go," who would you ask--someone who could hear you, or someone who
couldn't? Since you can't read unsubmitted fanfic, how can you judge it in any
way?

>So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
>to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.
>There are lots of places to get that -- you can pick up important
>tips just buy going to a "so you want to be an author" panels at SF
>conventions. You can attend workshops taught by pro writers and editors.

>Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,


>I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
>writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
>published.

Let me see if I get this straight. You publish what a lot of people on here
say they think are very badly written books. And you think those people should
come to you asking how they can get published? My first guess would be, write
badly, in the same way, as the dreck that's being published now. But...maybe
they don't want to do that. Which could be the answer to your first paragraph
question--you publish things that a number of people here don't respect, but
you expect them to respect your opinion. Um, why would they?


Merricat, always puzzled by such arrogance

stillwater16

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
In article <36875532...@news.southwind.net>, bl...@xsouthwind.net says...
>
>Ooops, here's our self-appointed expert again!!
>
>Welcome back, didja have a few more drinks last night?
>
>PLEASE, people, ignore this putz. I'm sick of seeing his name.
>
>bliss

AMEN to that.

is it logical that we should be able to convince mr. ordover of anything? we
don't pay his salary. publishers do. and if you read high-quality fanfic, logic
says you probably won't buy the low-quality profic his company produces.

if he encourages us, he lessens the potential profits of his company and
possibly jeopardizes his job. let the poor guy alone. we're right, he's wrong,
and what have you done when you've bested a fool?

stillwater16, who has seen this guy's tired argument on ng after ng, and is
weary of all this


>
>Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover) wrote:
>
>>
>>>
>>>Look, I don't think too many writers would argue that good writing takes
>>>practice. Lots and lots and *lots* of practice. Which means -writing- every
>>>chance you get, morning, noon and night.
>>>
>>> The disagreement here is the sort of practice that would serve a would-be
>>>professional best. (Of course, the argument could also be made that would-be
>>>professionals don't necessarily have to be good, just relentless, but...)
>>>
>>>Some writers would say that writing fanfiction is just as useful a practice
>>>tool as any other, and you should write what you are inspired to write, because
>>>it's better than writing nothing at all.
>>>
>>>Ordover says that creating original characters and practicing with them is more
>>>productive in the long run, _assuming_ that becoming a professional novelist
>>>is your primary objective.
>>>
>>>While I can see the logic in both of these statements, it sounds like a very

>>>personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten


>>>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>>>about that.
>>>
>>

>>...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you
>>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>>fiction riter and a professional fiction
>> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
>>writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
>>practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
>>what audience you have responding to your work?
>>

>>Quick "audience matters" parable:
>>
>>Once there were two men, both of whom wanted to learn the length of
>>the nose of the Emperor of China, who was hidden from view in the
>>Secret City. The first man went to everyone in the chinese
>>countryside, and asked them how long they thought the Emperor's nose
>>was; then he put all the people's answers together and averaged the
>>lengh.
>>
>>The second man learned that the Emperor's Butler, who
>>washed the Emperor's face every day, left the Secret City every
>>evening at 7 to buy soap. Waiting by the gates, when the butler
>>stepped out the second man asked him "How long is the Emperor's Nose?"
>>and since this was not an imperial secret the butler answered.
>>
>>Which man do you think was most likely to have the correct answer
>>about the length of the Emperor's nose?
>>

>>Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate
>>the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't
>>know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to
>>get you the right answer?
>>

>>So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
>>to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.
>>There are lots of places to get that -- you can pick up important
>>tips just buy going to a "so you want
>>to be an author" panels at SF conventions. You can attend workshops
>>taught by pro writers and editors.
>>
>>Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,
>>I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
>>writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
>>published.
>>

>>Enough for now.
>
>"I am not an angry girl/but it seems like I've got
>everyone fooled/everytime I say something they find
>hard to hear/they chalk it up to my anger/and never
>to their own fear- Ani DiFranco
>
>"'snuff ed"
>
>"but how often is too often?"

The Woodwards

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
Well, it appears we have ANOTHER person who hasn't been paying much
attention... .

>Experience DOES matter.


And I'd certainly like to know what experience you're speaking from.
Connection to a reader is, as I've said about seven hundred and
forty-six times in this thread, is the key to good writing. Connection to
ANY reader in ANY venue. And when one has honed the skills to make that
connection in work after work after work, then one has "made it" into the
circle of the "good writers."
That means Old Man Schmidlap at the end of the block who kindly agreed
to read your latest murder mystery, but doesn't know jack about professional
writing, can give you more valuable insight than a hundred folks who read
for a living. Not only that, but I'd venture to say that he'll take the
time to point up what's right and what's wrong with a given piece of work,
which the slush-pile readers won't.
Being surrounded with the same stable of adoring fans might be great on
the ego, but you're right: it doesn't do much to help the aspiring writer.
In fact, it can be detrimental, but what works works and what doesn't work
DOESN'T WORK, no matter WHO does the reading and no matter what the writing
entails.
So when one uses the word "experience," it's an empty expression devoid
of real meaning. Define and use, folks. Define and use.

>X-Files newsgroups in particular have little regard for reality. You are
part
>of the grand conspiracy. How dare you rain on their parade in such a
manner?

I'm wholly convinced of your flame-attracting/troll intentions, so I'll
ignore that. Let's stick to the issues at hand. My entire involvement in
the "Ordover thing," as it's come to be known, stems from my wife calling it
to my attention after noticing a recurring thread laid between the piles of
unreadable fanfic she culls through on a regular basis. And anyone who
tries to discourage a writer from writing is pegged in Sight One of my guns
from the get-go.

>... who thinks that Mr. Ordover while providing a useful public service,


>is speaking to a deaf audience who perfers to wallow in their ignorance.

To paraphrase from the post to which I'm responding: what you wish Mr
Ordover's notes to be and what they ARE aren't the same thing. Sorry, but
we have to check into the Hotel for Those With a Clue.

And a spell-check.


The Woodwards

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
John, John, John, John, JOHN! Just when I thought you were about to
play nice and be helpful... you got your head stuck up your arse again!
What are we going to do with you?

>>I don't think too many writers would argue that good writing takes
>>practice. Lots and lots and *lots* of practice. Which means -writing-
every
>>chance you get, morning, noon and night.
>>
>> The disagreement here is the sort of practice that would serve a
would-be
>>professional best.

I thought we'd already hammered out the VERY OBVIOUS points surrounding
this exact subject. Numerous points were brought up, including a brilliant
example made by yourself (not that you'd thought it through very carefully
or used it to any great advantage) concerning Michael Crichton. In fact,
with that Crichton argument I'd thought you'd done an excellent job of
shutting yourself up, because Crichton is the perfect example of writing is
writing is writing, no matter the training or the venue.
MUST I go over the importance of the learning and practice of: 1) an
active and dynamic writing voice, and 2) construction of compelling plot?
Must I THEN repeat, as I have already numerous times, that forging a
connection with a reader of ANY stripe is the earmark of a successful
author? Must I continue to type my wittle fingertips raw conveying the same
information ENDLESSLY to you, much as a parent might lecture a particularly
unintelligent child?
We'd settled all these issues, John. Writing is writing and work is
work. I'm unsurprised concerning, though tired of, this propensity you have
for rehashing a completed discussion. If you need it all explained to you
once more, I'd be happy to cut-and-paste every word I've written on this
subject so far and you can read it all again, uninterrupted.
The simple fact of the matter is that fanfiction is valid work for a
writer because it allows the familiar-setting practice of the craft that can
then be applied to more legitimate lines of work. This is the meat of the
matter and it does not harm a potential "pro writer" to work in this medium
if they so desire to do so prior to continuing their craft on a professional
level. Skills learned writing any sort of fiction are UNIVERSAL and the
positive result of these can be gleaned from any audience. Connection with
a reader is the goal for a writer of any caliber. Any investment in the
craft ends (hopefully) with this result.

>Don't you
>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>fiction riter and a professional fiction
> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
>writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
>practice, and so on, then someone who isn't?

No.
The best readers are ones who come to a work fresh, without an air of
pretension to superiority or professionalism, simply because they want --
no, they DEMAND -- to be entertained. If the work's not there then, damnit,
they aren't going to go for it. And if they DO go for it, then the whys and
wherefores of their enjoyment can be useful. Of course, the opposite is
also true; one can learn a great deal about one's own writing from those who
detest it. In fact, one might learn more than one WANTS to learn.
As Maxwell Perkins wrote, "Writing, like drawing, is an art, and
whatever conveys the meaning is justified." That means writing, Mr Ordover,
writing and learning to convey meaning to whomever reads the words. What
form that conveyance might take... that's up to the writer and his or her
approach to their craft. The success these writers may attain in making
that connection is something genuine and wholly divorced from the more
prosaic confines of professionalism as you describe it.
Oh, and Maxwell Perkins was an editor who carried on a correspondence
with Ernest Hemingway, probably the greatest American author who ever lived,
for twenty years or so.
In a side note, I would approach VERY CAREFULLY any so-called
professional editor who cannot spell the word "writer" correctly.

>Quick "audience matters" parable:
The mind boggles. My advice: when telling stories, please have a point.
Enough said.

>Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate
>the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't
>know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to
>get you the right answer?

I think you are, of course, confusing a mechanical skill with an
artistic one. Mechanical skills include punctuation, grammar (and its
misuse thereof), not to mention your Number One bugaboo: spelling. Verb
conjugation is a mechanical skill with only one way to approach its mastery.
Writing, on the other hand, as I'm ONCE AGAIN forced to tell you -- and,
believe me, I'm getting good and tired of it -- is a craft that can be
learnt in any number of ways. The desired end is always the same: solid
fiction. However, how one comes to this end is entirely personal, is
entirely subjective and cannot be adequately relayed by anyone or anything
other than reading, writing and constant reexamination of one's work by
anyone who can be nailed into one spot long enough to read it. Period.

>Enough for now.
Amen, brother. Amen.


stillwater16

unread,
Dec 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/27/98
to
In article <19981227194616...@ng-cg1.aol.com>, cp...@aol.com says...

>
>>From: stillwater16<stillw...@erols.com>
>
>>if he encourages us, he lessens the potential profits of his company and
>>possibly jeopardizes his job. let the poor guy alone. we're right, he's
>>wrong,
>
>AHHHH. Those black helecopters again.
>
>Conspiracy!! CONSPIRACY.
>
>Let us try this slowly. The man is NOT telling you not to write fan-fiction.
>He IS telling you that fan-fiction is NOT the way into legitimate published
>venues. PERIOD.
>
>How do you come to the conclusion that just because his message annoys you that
>"we're right, he's wrong" ?
>
>You have no facts on your side.
>
>He does.
>
>Punkie, who is amazed at the number of people who continue to believe something
>when all facts point the opposite direction. GOD anyone?
>
i think you misunderstood my post, so i'll clarify, even though my troll radar
is going off at a frantic rate.

ordover is employed by an industry to whom fanfiction is at least indirect, and
possibly direct, competition. it would be wholly illogical for him to promote
the writing of fanfiction as an individual metier or as a step to professional
writing. it isn't very sensible to expect to convince him that fanfiction has a
vital and important life of its own *outside* the hopes of those who see it as a
way into the industry. and since he seems to think fanfic is invalid as 'real
writing', in my view, he is *wrong*.

fanfic writers are not going to convince him; he isn't going to convince us.
period.

no helicoptors, no conspiracy, and all the facts you want. and my last word on
the subject.

stillwater16, humming 'troll, troll, troll your boat...'

bliss

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
Ooops, here's our self-appointed expert again!!

Welcome back, didja have a few more drinks last night?

PLEASE, people, ignore this putz. I'm sick of seeing his name.

bliss

Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover) wrote:

>
>>
>>Look, I don't think too many writers would argue that good writing takes


>>practice. Lots and lots and *lots* of practice. Which means -writing- every
>>chance you get, morning, noon and night.
>>
>> The disagreement here is the sort of practice that would serve a would-be

>>professional best. (Of course, the argument could also be made that would-be
>>professionals don't necessarily have to be good, just relentless, but...)
>>
>>Some writers would say that writing fanfiction is just as useful a practice
>>tool as any other, and you should write what you are inspired to write, because
>>it's better than writing nothing at all.
>>
>>Ordover says that creating original characters and practicing with them is more
>>productive in the long run, _assuming_ that becoming a professional novelist
>>is your primary objective.
>>
>>While I can see the logic in both of these statements, it sounds like a very
>>personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
>>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>>about that.
>>
>

>...and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you


>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>fiction riter and a professional fiction
> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
>writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to

>practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
>what audience you have responding to your work?
>
>Quick "audience matters" parable:
>
>Once there were two men, both of whom wanted to learn the length of
>the nose of the Emperor of China, who was hidden from view in the
>Secret City. The first man went to everyone in the chinese
>countryside, and asked them how long they thought the Emperor's nose
>was; then he put all the people's answers together and averaged the
>lengh.
>
>The second man learned that the Emperor's Butler, who
>washed the Emperor's face every day, left the Secret City every
>evening at 7 to buy soap. Waiting by the gates, when the butler
>stepped out the second man asked him "How long is the Emperor's Nose?"
>and since this was not an imperial secret the butler answered.
>
>Which man do you think was most likely to have the correct answer
>about the length of the Emperor's nose?
>

>Or to put it another way: If you're trying to learn how to conguate
>the verb "to go" in French, you can ask a million people who don't
>know french how to do it, or one who does. Which is most likely to
>get you the right answer?
>

Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
>From: merr...@aol.com

>
>To fine-tune this analogy, if you were trying to correctly pronounce the
>French
>verb "to go," who would you ask--someone who could hear you, or someone who
>couldn't? Since you can't read unsubmitted fanfic, how can you judge it in
>any
>way?

Uhhhh. What is your point???

So far I haven't seen him tell y'all you go to HIM for advice. He is correct
when he said that relying on professionals for criticsm rather than UseNet
amateurs is the smarter way to go.

>Let me see if I get this straight. You publish what a lot of people on here

You didn't get it.

Better luck next time.

>>Merricat, always puzzled by such arrogance

AMEN SISTER!! AMEN.

Punkie, who wonders if reading comprehension is a lost art?

Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
><pdr...@earthlink.net>

>OK. I've been lurking in this particular thread for, oh, about 15
>years. I respond now with


WOW. Exaggerate much?


>No, I am not a professional. But I will be. Yes, I write fanfiction.
>Why? Because I enjoy it. Because it keeps me writing. As nearly

Bully for you!! (Hard to believe, but I mean this sincerely) NOBODY is saying
that you shouldn't write fan-fiction as a hobby. Hey we all have our foibles.
However, if you believe that fan-ficiton can in anyway help you go
"professional" you are misguided. Which is what I believe is Mr. Ordover's
point.

Many have posted that receiving feedback from fan-fiction helps them improve
their writing. Relying on fellow amateurs is NOT going to help you
professionaly. Receiving criticsm from those in the business is far more
valuable and helpful.

> I also love being told "your
>story... can't remember what it's called, but yeah. It rocked." This
>does not make me a professional, but it makes me feel good about sitting

Sure. We all love an ego stroke. As long as you recognize that this is what
you are getting. Mass adoration vs helpful feedback.

UseNet is great for that. Getting all those folks who breathlessly love
everything you say sending you fan mail can be thrilling. (getting the folks
agitated and running in circles trying to defend their nonsense is also a
joy....)

>"I write fanfiction and
>here, my little friends, I will be discovered. Then I'll get
>paid."

Go to DejaNews. See where some have posted just that. They believe that
fan-fiction is an entrance into the world of professional writing. It isn't.

>The bottom line, Mr. Ordover, is that when a writer is ready for an
>"audience that matters" (a real slap in the face to the reading
>community, BTW), they will seek them out. Until then, the "audience
>that matters" is the community that appreciates and acknowledges the
>effort and love and talent that goes

You have missed the point entirely.

Punkie, who is amazed with the defensive responses this thread has generated.
Okay, not really, it was about what I expected.


Cpnk0

unread,
Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to

JourneyToX

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
>Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,
>I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
>writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
>published.
>
>Enough for now.
>

(1) Why do you publish books that are perceived, by your target audience, as
inferior? I don't want to know how or why an inferior book is published. I'm
not going to buy it. It's a waste of trees.

(2) Why would anyone want to be known for writing an inferior media tie-in
book? We all have other ways to pay the rent on our humble flat, or help us at
the Automat. If the only way I can be pro is to write shit, no thanks.

(3). I'm sure your colleagues in the industry already know why sales of Star
Trek books are down since you have taken over. It's not hard to figure out.

*~*~*~*~*~*
Journ...@aol.com, BYFP, not BOFQ
MORE Skinner, Save Spender, Can Kersh, Flush Fowley.
"God Bless America! Now get your asses out of here!" 1939!Skinner, Triangle
"Oh yeahhhh!" Mitch Pileggi, Season 3 Gag Reels. :-)
~*~*~*~*~


JourneyToX

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
punkie wrote:

<crap>

Go die of King Herod's Disease, you little troll.

JourneyToX

unread,
Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
>UseNet is great for that. Getting all those folks who breathlessly love
>everything you say sending you fan mail can be thrilling.

If that's all you think that Usenet feedback is, then you're sadly mistaken,
troll.

What are YOUR credentials as far as giving out advice about writing
professionally? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm???

Why should anyone listen to you, especially since you're a smartmouth with no
known presence on this group? Hmmmmmmmmmm?

I don't expect an answer. Go be maggot food.

ImXFScully

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
Oh, Merricat, he's talking about the aluminum siding analogy, not his idiotic
amateur/professional athlete analogy. Yours was at least remotely on target --


Amy

ImXFScully

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
Let's see --

writing fanfic will never, ever, ever, in a billion years, get you published,
according to Mr. Ordover.

Of course, Mr. Ordover also runs the "Strange New Worlds" contest, which finds
-- you guessed it -- Star Trek fanfic. From fanfic writers. Takes this
fanfic, PAYS for it and PUBLISHES it. Maybe not a ticket to the big time --
but $$ and exposure on paper.

So -- does anyone ELSE find this a little schizophrenic? Either he believes
that fanfic is a pile of junk, in which case Mr. Ordover is being incredibly
hypocritical by holding it up for greater exposure for his own personal profit,
or he secretly understands that it's not so different from the stories with
which he makes his living, and just enjoys trolling around --


Amy, who doesn't care which

bliss

unread,
Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to
Well, we could have a troll here. Or, we could have one of Mr. Ordover's
alternate personalities with a different screen name.

So let us all just let them continue their incestuous widdle discussion alone,
okay? Ignore them.
cp...@aol.com (Cpnk0) wrote:

>>From: Ord...@aol.com (John Ordover)
>


>>.and here's the post that will really get me flamed. Don't you
>>think it's at all possible that someone who is both a professional
>>fiction riter and a professional fiction
>> editor (an editor -- the person whose job it is to buy stuff from
>>writers) might know -more- about what it's important for a writer to
>>practice, and so on, then someone who isn't? And that it -matters-
>>what audience you have responding to your work?
>>
>

>You would think so, wouldn't you?
>
>Experience DOES matter.
>
>
>Except on the wacky world of UseNet!
>

>X-Files newsgroups in particular have little regard for reality. You are part
>of the grand conspiracy. How dare you rain on their parade in such a manner?
>

>A previous poster sez:
>
>>>personal decision to me, and IMHO, I think there are folks who have gotten
>>>there start here, who *will* be published one day. I really have no doubt
>>>about that.
>>>
>
>

>That is very supportive of you. However reality and what you wish (opine,
>think) are two different things.
>

>>So if you really want to become a professional writer, then you have
>>to seek out professional (non-academic) responses to your writing.
>

>YES!! YES!! YES!!!. You ask the experienced for advice not the unwashed masses
>on UseNet.
>

>>Lots of people post on here saying "The pro media books are so awful,
>>I can't imagine why they publish them." if you want to be a pro
>>writer, what you need to learn is exactly how and why that book was
>>published.
>>
>>
>
>

>Precisely. Just because you don't like the message folks doesn't make it less
>TRUE.
>

>Punkie, who thinks that Mr. Ordover while providing a useful public service,


>is speaking to a deaf audience who perfers to wallow in their ignorance.

"I am not an angry girl/but it seems like I've got

John Ordover

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98
to

It's not odd at all. Writing and posting fan ficiton will not help
your pro writing career. Submitting to a professional theme
anthology, if you sell, truly will. By providing a pro market for
Star Trek stories, I'm making availible a stepping stone to pro
publication, because as a fan, that's what I would have wanted.
That's also why you can't qualify for SNW more than three times -- at
some point, you get kicked out of the nest.:)

Also, the stories in SNW don't really
qualify as fan-fiction, because they are written to strict
professional guidelines.

Further, as I've said before, of the 35 winners to date, only seven
had -ever- written a Trek story before.

John Ordover

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Dec 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/28/98