this is gonna be weird

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 20 01:46:17 EST 2004


>Mind you I have the same reaction to all
>those sequels by another hand that crop up.
>Someone in the Guardian the other week was
>writing about Peter Pan sequels and said they
>thought it was akin to treating Peter like a used
>tea bag which you were trying to make another pot
>out of, which struck me as rather apt. And now
>I'm imagining a great deal of indignation being
>aimed in my direction......... it is not a matter
>of old teabags I hear you saying but of taking a
>recipe and making something new from the
>ingredients........ or some other analogy
>altogether.

It *can* be old teabags. Let's not kid ourselves. Just like sequels (whether 
by the same author or a new one), or long-running TV-shows, or whatever, 
things can run dry.

But I think it's important to remember that a lot of fanfic originates from 
things like TV shows and comics, where it's in the nature of the original 
version not only to have many stories, but to have many stories written by 
different people. And when things space out (as they tend to do) fans not 
only go, "wait a minute, what kind of crack is this writer on?" but also 
"*I* have a better grip on the characters than that!"

It's not impossible to write fanfic based on a one-person, high-quality 
work, but it's a lot more difficult and requires a certain amount of hubris. 
My ideal source for fanfic is something I find "promising but shoddy" - 
something that *needs* to be reworked.

Yes, damn it, I'm Ted Mallory. (Though I don't have his materialistic 
outlook. I hope.)


>I've tried Buffy fanfic, some stuff by a friend
>(who isn't on this list but I won't specify
>further) read a few Star Trek novels and picked
>up some of the conventions (Mary Sues, canon and
>so on). I've even written some, way back in my
>teens, before we knew anyone else has thought of
>it, my friends and I used to while away boring
>lessons with rambling stories about Dr Who and
>Star Trek.

Well, then. You've written fanfic. You obviously had some reason for that. 
*grin* Do you think, because you've since stopped enjoying it, that your 
reason wasn't somehow similar to other people's reasons?

>I'm going to fall into a trap here so I'll just
>point out that I know it, I'm going to say that
>if it's "proper fiction" it's not fanfic........
>I see a difference between mnaking new fiction by
>taking communal cultural artifacts like Norse
>gods and the mad wife in the attic (even a
>specific mad wife in a particular attic)  and
>using somebody else's teabags.

So you consider the Peter Pan sequels "teabags" but the Wild Sargasso Sea 
"not teabags"? How does that figure? I mean, Peter Pan is pretty much a 
cultural artifact by now. Certainly as much as Alice in Wonderland - does 
that make Coraline "teabags"?

I suppose in my mind it's very hard not to go "it all depends on what you do 
with it."

>Having written that, I think I see work that is
>communally authored in the first place as
>different again. The Buffyverse, Star Trek etc
>are closer to being my communal cultural
>artifacts I suppose than single authored
>creations.

Oops. My initial part wasn't needed, I see. Should read entire post before I 
reply.

Never mind, I'll leave it as is.

Katta

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