this is gonna be weird

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Mon Nov 22 09:51:42 EST 2004


On Mon, 22 Nov 2004, Ika wrote:
|And I promised to get this back on topic, didn't I <g>? It doesn't seem as
|related to teabags as when I started, but I wonder whether one of the
|reasons DWJ is so hard to fanfic is because of the structure of her
|sequels/companion novels. The majority of book fanfic seems to come from
|series (Harry Potter), or at least places where there's a lot of fictional
|source material in the same universe (Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion). And
|both of those examples are sort of linear: "and then this happened, and
|then this happened..." But even when DWJ *does* write a sequel or a
|prequel, it's very turned-around and back-to-front. YoG focusses on a
|different set of characters, races and institutions to DLoD: Castle in the
|Air has a very different take on/view of Howl and Sophie to HMC; LCC
|incorporates all the facts we know from CL, but it's a different 'world',
|kind of. I'm not sure quite how to explain it, except that the DWJ 'canon'
|isn't really *structured* in such a way as to give an easy 'in' to
|fanfiction. There isn't an 'and then... and then...' structure to hook
|onto. The other main thing that fanfiction often does is to take minor
|characters and use them to comment on the major ones, as in *Wicked* and
|*Rosencrantz & Guildenstern* and *WSS*, and you *could* do that - but then
|DWJ already builds companion books or sequels or prequels round minor
|characters, and she doesn't do it just to comment on the first-published
|book. So you have an example of "what to do with minor characters", and
|it's not what you want to do. Which means that if you *are* a fan of DWJ,
|and thus (presumably) like what she does with her characters and her
|worlds and want to emulate it by writing... you sort of can't, because the
|only thing you could do would be to write a standalone novel alongside the
|others, like Castle in the Air or Year of the Griffin. Which then becomes
|plagiarism rather than fanfiction - a different sort of 'derivative'.

Yes!  Which -- as you go on to say -- would explain why most DWJ
fanfic is Crown of Dalemark.  Where she's doing precisely what she never
does, in giving us a serial focused on repeated major characters, and
creating the potential for tied up loose ends.

The rest of what I've seen is fangirls with crushes on Howl and
Chrestomanci.  Though I admit I don't read DWJ fanfic.  :)

My reasons for reading fanfic are slightly different from Katta's and
Ika's, by the way.  Part of it is the conversation they talk about, the
use of fiction as a form of exploration.  And part of it, I'll admit,
is sheer comfort fic.  Cocoa and soup fiction for when I'm sad.  But
some of it I read because it's genuinely well written, and I enjoy a
good story.  That being said, there's plenty of fandoms I don't read, no
matter how talented the authors writing are.  I'm not interested in
Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings.  So it's talent and my taste, I
suppose.

-deborah
--
I don't suppose that I have ever been so happy.  No; was it happiness?
Something wider and darker, more like knowledge, more like the night: joy.
				- Ursula Le Guin, "The New Atlantis"

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