Fanfic (OT?)

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at
Tue Apr 17 06:31:22 EDT 2001

I agree that DWJ's writing doesn't seem to fuel fanfiction, for all the 
reasons mentioned up to now, and not merely because DWJ is alive and 
probably the best person to continue her own books (I wouldn't even dare try 
matching her brilliance). They seem to be very self-contained, even when she 
writes sequels, the sequels are oddly self-contained.

Partly this is because she does what she claims to have learned from 
C.S.Lewis, which is "fitting in slantwise". The sequels are not merely 
reusing the same characters at a later point in time, but showing them from 
a different angle, at a time that does not necessarily follow the original 
story but could precede it (Lives of CC), overlap it, be contained within it 
or occur years and years earlier or later (all of which happen in the 
Dalemark quartet). Unlike the Harry Potter books, which are all installments 
in an overall greater story, DWJ's series, even the Chrestomanci "series", 
seem to be more like variations on a theme.

I think often fanfics are written to fill in gaps in a story: DWJ doesn't 
leave gaps small enough to fill in with a simple story, and I think anyone 
brilliant enough to write a complex story that fits into a DWJ world would 
end up writing another self-contained book with their own characters, 
situations and assumptions and possibly just a cameo from a well known DWJ 
figure like Chrestomanci - i.e., less fan-fic than independent work 
containing homage.

To stray slightly off topic again: the Oz books have also inspired countless 
fan-fic sequels, variations, spinoffs, homages, pastiches and what not. Oz 
is much more condusive to fanfics than any of DWJ's worlds. I've written two 
Oz stories myself, both of which were published by the Int. Wizard of Oz 
Club in their story magazine, won prizes at club conventions, were tons of 
fun to write, and a number of different people in the Oz club have 
encouraged me to write more. But outside of a certain subset of Oz fans, the 
stories that I wrote are of absolutely no consequence. My mother, my 
husband, my immediate friends are not in a position to appreciate them. I'm 
not sorry I wrote them, I love knowing they exist and pulling out the 
magazine to show off the professional illustrations, they were a blast to 
write - when I was 16. But now I'm a grownup (sort of), I'd much rather 
write something that has the potential to gain its own acclaim (if only I 
had the inspiration to match this desire).
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