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Green Room - Week 36 - Day 2

Yesterday afternoon, the internet exploded with delight over OMG HARPER LEE IS RELEASING A NEW BOOK!!!

Last night, the internet reacted with horror over "OMG, Harper Lee actually didn't want this published and her sister was helping her do that, but now that her sister is as dead as that Nationwide kid, Harper Lee is being taken advantage of now that she is unable to make these decisions for herself!"

It was weird, since all of that information was in most of the early postings as well.

It was kind of like the internet, collectively, saw a headline and posted their reactions and only got around to reading the article a few hours later! :)

***

So what about YOU? Excited? Upset?

If she *really* didn't want it published, why does it still exist? Is it one of those things that would have normally been "found" and published once she was gone? If she honestly doesn't want it to the see the light of the day (or didn't when she was in a better state of mind) - does *that* make a difference to you?

How much control do you really have over what you create? How long does that control last? How long *should* it last?

Some people argue that it doesn't matter if they write fanfic for a world where the author has expressed a dislike for it. Others won't touch it if the author/creator doesn't approve.

Some people have bootleg Calvin and Hobbes merchandise even though Bill Watterson specifically said he didn't want any made.

Which are all wildly different things - but part of the overall question.

Follow-up: If you put aside a manuscript that you didn't like, but didn't want to get rid of - would you care if someone found it and published it after you died? (Obviously not "would you care after you were dead, but rather a "If you knew that was going to happen NOW - would you care? Would you destroy it so it couldn't happen? Or tie blinking lights around it with a sign saying READ ME!!!)

***

Speaking of "Read Me" - the Quick Fire Judges are busy reading. So if you have a free moment, you should check these out as well: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/833059.html

People are also voting on "The Spirit of LJ Idol, Season 9" award: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/832594.html

Both of these ballots have had a few chuckles for me - showing just how different tastes are - with ballots that almost could have been turned upside down coming in back to back! :) People look for different things, and they have different tastes, and that's what makes life so much fun/frustrating at times! :P

***

People are also waiting to read your entries for the main Topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/832879.html

If you still need a little help, stop by the Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/833401.html

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
watching_ships
Feb. 4th, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC)
I'm going to claim ignorance regarding my excitement over the new Harper Lee book, since the article I read conveniently left that information out.

Maybe opening a can of worms here, but I have waffled back and forth about fan fic. I mean -- I've got some serious issues with it that I have a difficult time getting past as a writer. That being said, you can find plenty of my "Phanfic" from 1998 floating around. If an author stated that they had a problem with folks writing fan fic about their world, I would absolutely stay away from it out of respect.
halfshellvenus
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC)
I do write fanfic, though less these days since Idol has taken up so much of my time and inspiration.

It's one of the reasons I have a whole, separate Internet life, partly for discussions I wouldn't want to have over and over with friends and family. Most would just think it's silly.

OTOH, I am really, really proud of the fanfic poem I wrote based on "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," so there's that. ;)

TV shows and movies, I don't worry about at all, regarding fanfic. I think it usually helps the source (in terms of attention and devotion) more than hurts it.

I don't generally partake of the literary-based fanfic (apart from the above), because there's such rich detail in the characters and writing style from the original author that it would be very hard to 1) duplicate the style, or 2) make anything more interesting than the author would already have written (my opinion, at least).

I don't want fanfic Thursday Next, I want Jasper Fforde to write more of it. Same for Smekday. Or not-- I already love what's there.

Dang, I thought this would be shorter. :O
(no subject) - fodschwazzle - Feb. 5th, 2015 02:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfshellvenus - Feb. 5th, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
veronica_rich
Feb. 4th, 2015 04:49 pm (UTC)
My closest analogy is my fanfic - if it came out after I died that I was this Veronica Rich person, why would I care? I don't not claim my fanfic because I'm ashamed of it, I eschew it because it could hurt my career and/or get me sued for some reason.
kathrynrose
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
The morning after I make a comment about keeping my opinion to myself, you open a conversation about fanfic.

Nice try. :P
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(no subject) - lrig_rorrim - Feb. 4th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
lrig_rorrim
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
I have complicated feelings about the new Harper Lee book, which I sort of feel someone else summed up rather well.

And as for fanfiction... oh man.. complicated feelings. On the one hand, I feel that once you've put something out into the world, it's out there. People can and will do with it as they will. I don't read much of any fanfic. And I start to say that I don't write it or feel the urge to play in other people's sandboxes and stop myself - because hey, I had an alt this season writing in the style of Lovecraft, in the alleged voice of one of his characters. Where's the line between pastiche and fanfic? Parody or satire and fanfic? Does it matter? Is one more legitimate than the others, less offensive to the creator? Again, does it matter? But the way works inspire and move others to create seems a neat thing to me, and mostly I think stories that are out there are more or less free game.

And then I turn it around and try to apply that to myself - like, how would I feel if someone wanted to write stuff based off of my fiction? And most of what I come up with is "weird", "surprised" and "uncomfortable". It brings up all sorts of insecurities, honestly - so that's more about me than about any work that would be created because of or inspired by my stuff. I think really it has to depend on context and approach, but in the end my personal feelings don't actually matter that much. People do what they do, and stories are wonderful in that they have lives of their own. Trying to control those lives is a doomed effort certain to lead only to frustration. I can state an opinion - and any opinion will always be a "well, in this case right here and right now? I do/don't feel awesome about this" - but the story is the story and whether it lives on and mutates in someone's brain or personal files or the internet for all to read, that's how it goes.
clauderainsrm
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
Follow-up question - because you've got me thinking about this:

" I think really it has to depend on context and approach, but in the end my personal feelings don't actually matter that much. People do what they do, and stories are wonderful in that they have lives of their own. Trying to control those lives is a doomed effort certain to lead only to frustration."

What if someone wants to take your characters/setting and do something "problematic" with them?

I'm purposefully being vague because that word (and that line) is going to be different for every person. But think of something that you personally would find horrible and then imagine that someone says "This is the story I am inspired to tell!" and writes it.
(no subject) - lrig_rorrim - Feb. 4th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfshellvenus - Feb. 4th, 2015 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
swirlsofblue
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC)
If I put something aside, I think I would be happy for it to be found and published, but then different people may have reasons for not wanting something published. I think if I wrote an autobiography it would have to be published after death 'cause I'm not dealing with the shit it would stir up. I'd die and leave everyone else with the shit mwahaha.

The fanfiction thing is difficult. I haven't written any Game of Thrones fanfiction despite loving Game of Thrones, I'm not sure if this is due to some for of subconscious respecting of G RR Martin's wishes. At what point would it be wrong. The posting of fanfiction is not its inception. Would that be the line that makes it 'bad'? Or would writing fanfic that you never posted still disrespect the author? What about thinking it? I usually think out so many scenes in much detail before they go anywhere near a computer. Can we say creative thought alone is bad?

The thing is, I genuinely struggle with this notion. On one hand I find it difficult to understand, especially as I would consider it paying great respect to me if anyone ever chose to write fanfic of something I wrote. The greatest thing as a creative is to inspire further passion and creativity, by sharing a world, everyone gets to live and play in that world, denying that seems to deny passion for the world itself.

On the other hand. I listened to an interview by GRRMartin and I realised, if I had that view I would find fanfic something I didn't want to happen. It's about the perception of the world created, and what makes it true to itself. It was on the belief that any creation of the world added to the canon of the world, was merely a different version of the world. Which, as the series is still going, can be problematic.
halfshellvenus
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:44 pm (UTC)
I would read the second Harper Lee book in a hot minute, and readily forgive her if it was half-baked, "off", or just lesser in any way.

We are so often our own worst critics, and sometimes we're right about our own limitations. Other times, we may be overreacting.

For another angle on this issue (and this gets debated regularly), there are those who say that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant should have retired earlier... and others who say that "old" Kobe Bryant and "old" Michael Jordan are still significantly better players than most, in a setting that holds the best of the best.
theun4givables
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
As far as it goes for creators being against fanfiction and the like -- I am very respectful of these wishes. I hear they don't want people to write fanfic, and I don't. I don't even let the thought cross my mind, though I think if you write it for personal pleasure and don't share it, then what harm are you really doing?

Personally, though? Oh my god. Let me get a fucking fandom. I would troll the HELL out of that thing. I would make the damn kinkmeme myself! I want the TVtropes page and the section on fanfiction.net and AO3. I even want the problematic, awfully written fanfic. The fanart! Oh, god, the fanart.

Except I'd be so pissed if artists whitewashed any of my characters. But, again, who am I to argue against their artistic vision? And I can always ignore that that part of the fandom even exists.

But all of this is probably why I refuse to get my trilogy published until it's complete. The whole story, every piece of it. Because then I can't be influenced by the outside world/the world of fandom. And no one will have to wait years and years for the next book. ;)
swirlsofblue
Feb. 4th, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC)
Personally, though? Oh my god. Let me get a fucking fandom. I would troll the HELL out of that thing. I would make the damn kinkmeme myself! I want the TVtropes page and the section on fanfiction.net and AO3. I even want the problematic, awfully written fanfic. The fanart! Oh, god, the fanart.


THIS.

Ah, the fun that could be had with tumblr.
(no subject) - theun4givables - Feb. 4th, 2015 09:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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tsuki_no_bara
Feb. 4th, 2015 07:22 pm (UTC)
i've kept a lot of shit i've written that i don't plan to ever show anybody - mostly because it's old and i like to think i'm a better writer now - so the fact that harper lee's old manuscript sat around for fifty years without her ever trying to get it published doesn't seem weird to me. maybe she thought she'd come back to it some day, and she just never did. or she was emotionally attached because it was her first novel. the fact that it's apparently going to be published unedited gives me pause, tho - if she really was ok with it being published, wouldn't she want to make sure it was the best novel she could write? what self-respecting novelist wants to send a draft out into the world? y'know? is she not well enough to edit it thoroughly, and someone's just rushing it out now that they can? i would not be at all surprised if other manuscripts of hers come to light after she dies, so someone can publish them and squeeze some royalties out of her estate.

i think it's different from fanfic, tho. fifty shades of grey aside, fanfic isn't written and shared for profit, and harper lee's new novel very clearly is. altho yeah, some authors are explicitly anti-fanfic but that doesn't necessarily stop people from writing it. you don't always have a lot of control over your work once you send it out in the world. you can't control everything people do with it. (aside from someone, say, selling unauthorized merch, i guess. ) and i think one reason fanfic can get away with it is because it's not for profit. no one's making money off it. it's not intended to take fans away from the original property. personally i think it's kind of ethically hinky to post fic even if the creator has said they don't want you to - i agree with watching_ships that you should respect the author's wishes - but i get why people do. you love the world, you want to play with it. (or in some cases, you love it and want to fix what's wrong with it....)

i understand why authors don't like it, but i know there are also authors who do. i've written fanfic, and it would be hypocritical of me to turn around and say no, you can't write it for my work. i'd probably just tell people that if they want to, go ahead, have fun, knock yourself out, i'm super flattered, but i don't necessarily need to see it. i don't know if i'd be able to stop myself from looking for it, tho, if i knew it existed.

i dunno. fanfic is a tricky thing. i think it should be allowed to flourish, and i think you should respect the creators who don't want you to write it. and i'm honestly not sure what i think of harper lee's new novel, other than if it kind of sucks, i don't want it to hurt her reputation as the woman who wrote tkam.
clauderainsrm
Feb. 4th, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC)
6/11 votes for Spirit are currently in. There is a clear favorite - since people have been asking, but, as of right now roughly half the field is still "in it".
kickthehobbit
Feb. 4th, 2015 10:16 pm (UTC)
My understanding about Harper Lee was that she was fine with having it published...after she was dead, when she wouldn't have to listen to people compare it to To Kill A Mockingbird and she'd be free from the criticism that it was sure to receive.

That this is happening within three months of her sister (her lawyer's) death and that she is widely considered to be not capable of making her own decisions—that's pretty telling, to me.

Re: how much control do you have over stuff—this is why copyright law exists (and gets abused, but). It's not perfect—it doesn't prevent people from, say, writing fan fiction when you don't want them to (sort of a legal grey area as long as you're not profiting from it—it's been interpreted differently at different points in time but generally falls under 'fair use'...), but it does mean that you're able to serve a cease-and-desist if someone does write something, or if they're producing and trying to publish a knockoff of your work, etc. (See also: JD Salinger and the Catcher in the Rye sequel that brought him back out of hiding.)

I'm generally OK with the idea that once I put something out, it's out for people to do with what they will. I don't have control over what people do—I mean, I could be like, "no fan fic, ever!", but that's not going to stop the kid that has a notebook they write fan fic of my characters in and pass around at school or whatnot. I got comfortable sharing my writing through fan fiction, and I don't know that I'd be as OK with critique &etc now if I hadn't written it.

At the same time, I feel like you have to respect the creators' wishes. Robin McKinley has stated repeatedly that she doesn't want fan fiction written of her work, and so, fine: I never wrote it (and at this point probably never will), and I won't read it, either. I know there are people that write it, and that's their decision, but if someone comes out and goes, "hey guys, please don't"—I'm going to respect that.

Re: manuscripts and death—I'm dead. If they think it's good enough to publish, then have at.
ryl
Feb. 4th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
I don't see myself writing fanfiction of a book or TV series. The characters are all pretty well laid out, along with their relationships. I won't mess with that.

Video games, now, I'll fanfic the hell out of those. The characters are painted in broad strokes and there's lots of room to play with them and your character(s).

As for Harper Lee's next book, I'll read it. No hesitation. However, I am extremely disappointed in all y'all because the grim spectre of Atticus/Miss Maudie fanfic has not even once raised its head in this comment thread. :P

jexia
Feb. 4th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
Rule 34.
(no subject) - ryl - Feb. 5th, 2015 01:44 am (UTC) - Expand
anyonesghost
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
I don't think I was ever anything but horrified at the thought of the second book. "Written before, published after" sounds like it was a trial run. Sometimes it takes a long time to find one's way into the story, and this may not have been it. And part of writing is knowing where to end the story.

Part of me hopes she ended it on a cliffhanger, though.

Fanfiction ... well, I'm glad it's something that gets people writing and expressing themselves? But if you've learned how to be really expressive, and you're putting imagination into the stories you craft, why paint-by-numbers with someone else's universe?
theun4givables
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
One: Because sometimes I love those characters so much I want to play with them and explore their personalities.

Two: Because I consider it practice with keeping my own characters in character -- the stronger I am at writing characters who aren't my own, the better I understand my own.

Three: Because I fucking love the fandom in particular and it resonates within me and I want to be as intimately familiar with it as I can be, which means writing fanfiction.

In short: if I have written fanfiction for something, it means that piece of media has touched me in a way very few things have. It means I live, eat, and breathe that universe as much as I eat, live, breathe my own, and the only way to deal with THAT MANY FEELINGS is to write.

Don't get me wrong; I don't write fanfic as frequently as I have in the past, but I still play with others' characters on occasion. Because I enjoy it. Sometimes more than writing original fiction, which requires a certain amount of work and thought process. Fanfic I can really let go and relax and ease into it and meander and do as I please.
kathrynrose
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Have you seen the George RR Martin tweet that's going viral on FB? (paraphrased) "Harper Lee is publishing a sequel after 55 years. And you people think I write slow."
clauderainsrm
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:57 am (UTC)
Wasn't that from a fake account? (I didn't check, but I do remember someone posting that "correction")

Either way, it's hilarious!
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Feb. 5th, 2015 03:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Feb. 5th, 2015 04:25 am (UTC) - Expand
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