A Fan Fiction Writer’s Opinion

16 Dec

I am about to shove in my two cents worth on the debacle at the BFI screening of Sherlock “The Empty Hearse”.

It is my considered opinion that springing explicit Johnlock fan fiction on Benedict and Martin, and expecting them to read it was pretty disgusting behaviour on the part of Caitlin Moran.  This is not the professional behaviour you expect from a journalist of Moran’s calibre.  It’s also a low, nasty trick to play on someone who is a friend.  Not funny.  In fact to pinch the Sherlock fandom’s favourite phrase, it’s a bit not good!

Of course Twitter and Tumblr reacted in their usual manner.  Firstly whining about the fan fic writer’s work being used without permission, then bashing Martin and Benedict for not wanting to read it!

Let’s look at the first one, shall we?  All fan fiction writers break copyright ever single damn time we post a story.  So don’t whine to me about stories being used without permission.  If Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and the BBC really wanted to, they could make life extremely miserable for fan fiction writers.  Oh and those “disclaimers” so beloved of fan fiction writers actually mean diddly squat if BBC seriously decided to sue.

Many fan fiction writers seem to think that they are above the law and that the shows owe them!  Excuse me, has it occurred to you lot that you are actually stealing the character’s created by the hard work of others and then playing holy hell with them?  So many stories are so far removed from the characters that they are barely recognizable.  I try to keep the characters in character – which is why my stories can take a month to write.  Until I can hear every word being delivered in character by the actor in my mind, then to my way of thinking, it’s not proper fan fiction, it’s simply new characters dressed in old clothes.

And Johnlock is about as far removed from the true characters as is possible.  Neither Sherlock or John are gay.  Yes the show has homoerotic overtones, which are mostly used for comic leaven.  Not to be taken seriously.  Yes, I have written a little light Johnlock myself, though nothing explicit.  And this has only happened when the story I’ve been working on works best with that outcome.  I prefer the strong friendship that glows throughout all the episodes of the show.  The friendship that is the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works.

The second complaint about Martin and Benedict not being happy to read Johnlock fan fiction.  How the hell would you like it if you were an actor and you’d invested so much time and effort into bringing a character to life, to find people are happily bastardizing the character for their own amusement?  Think how Martin and Benedict must have felt.  Martin at least has read some Johnlock, I understand, Benedict I don’t think has.  Suddenly, you’re confronted with some pretty explicit writing that you’re expected to read out loud.  I’m actually surprised they didn’t just get up and walk off.  It says much for the grace and kindness of both men that they didn’t take their anger out on the audience.

Remember this when you write fan fiction or draw fan art.  We are privileged.  We are using the images of two REAL men who just happen to play characters, and they are mostly happy to allow us to do so.  Remember that the next time you feel the urge to whine about lack of respect to fans, be it writers or artists, or just the average fan.

Respect is earned not given as a right.  If you don’t respect the actors with your work and your attitude, why the hell do you expect anyone to respect you?

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8 Responses to “A Fan Fiction Writer’s Opinion”

  1. DarkPhoenix December 17, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    I totally agree with you. I’ve heard about the incident but not seen it, and it shocked me to know that a professional journalist would ask the actors to read fan fiction, knowing full well what many fan fictions entail. Contents of fan fiction are the main reasons I avoid reading the trash. Characters and events totally not in the spirit of the original work and many times the vehicles for people’s pornographic minds. I would have been embarassed too if I were them. I probably would have said a few choice words to the lady as well. I’m not saying 100% of all fan fictions are rubbish, I’ve written a few myself when I was a kid fantasizing about running off with one of my favorite characters on an adventure and it kept the characters pretty much as they are supposed to be, but a good majority do not take that care. I would also never post any online due to copyrights, though I don’t think anyone would bother with little ole me, but they could sue if they wanted since I would be infringing by making that stuff public without permission to use the characters. I stand behind Martin and Benedict 100% in their not wanting to read it. I hope the interviewer was duly chastised afterwards.

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    • margysmusings December 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      It’s harsh to categorize fan fiction of trash. There are some brilliant fan fiction writers out there. I wasn’t taking a stand against fan fiction, but of the attitude of some fan fiction writers towards what they do.

      The writer of the piece used is actually a pretty good writer.

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      • DarkPhoenix December 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

        I didn’t say 100% of the stuff out there was rubbish, just a good majority of what I came across in my years on the internet. I came across so much bad writing that it turned me off of fan fictions. Not having read the author’s story, I cannot say if her’s was bad or not. Because of past experiences I just pretty much avoid them now.

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  2. ♥ Marie Edwards ♥ (@MarieEdwards429) December 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Adding in my two cents (it might be more, so sorry in advance) …

    I wholeheartedly agree. I honestly don’t share my “fan-fic” with anyone (outside my mother). As you said in a tweet … you’re putting yourself out there. I’m not that brave, but don’t blame others for it either. I don’t write Sherlock, but I have written about other older TV shows and a few “current” or “recently” canceled ones. I’m more into a few of the late 70’s series. But, I get where you’re coming from.

    I’ll admit, I’m a “prudist” (is that a word?) when it comes to my fan-fic writing. I don’t do the slashy, that’s not me. I tend to focus on the friendships already established by the creator of the series, what the creator intended, I play off that to create the boundaries and the banter. If it wasn’t “in” the series, I don’t dabble. I don’t question or critique what others do, I just do my own.

    I keep the characters true to themselves (and as honest as they are when I watch them). I re-watch older episodes to get “phrasing”, clothing styles, quirks, and hobbies accurate. I also see how they’d handle a similar situation I might write about. It’s written for me to enjoy (and to continue a series that is no longer on). I guess mine is more of a “tie-in” novel (just hasn’t been approved or published). Write about a romance in the middle of a case kind of deal. I love writing about solving cases. On the romance, it’s more or less a “permanent” one as established by something a character has said (ie: “I want to get married, have a few kids, get a pet”). I wouldn’t dream of marrying a character off if he was a “bachelor” for life. I try to walk the line and NEVER go outside — just in case it MIGHT get out there by someone of less than “stellar” character. I tend to respect the actor in that sense. How would they feel if I did that? How would I feel if it were me? I wouldn’t like nor appreciate it. I can’t expect they’d be that different from me.

    I feel blessed that we are able to take these characters and do this. Studios, creators, and the actors could sue everyone over it. So, this is a privilege, it’s a blessed one. It should be treated with the utmost respect. We can’t expect the actors to see what we see, or to like what we’re inferring or seeing.

    Despite how “prudish” my writing is, I am merely “borrowing” the characters and having a little light fun with them, as their creator did. Even what I write … I wouldn’t dream of asking the actors to read it (silently or aloud). I’d die of embarrassment!

    Glad you wrote this!

    As far as me? I didn’t hear or see it, but I’d have gotten up and walked off. They’re true gentleman, and that … whoever she is should be fired. That was horrid, unprofessional and just STUPID behavior! It makes some of the “honest” writers and true fans look like lusting animals.

    Sorry about the long comment. In short … I agree!

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    • margysmusings December 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      The really sad thing is that the author of the piece misappropriated by Caitlin Moran is actually a really good writer. I have read all her fics and enjoyed many of them.

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      • ♥ Marie Edwards ♥ (@MarieEdwards429) December 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

        Poor lady! I do know I started writing my own brand of “fan-fic” (like I said above) when I was 12. It helped me create my own work and work through a lot of things, and improve my grammar quite a bit. I would be devastated for anybody to find it (though I shredded a good deal), and read it for the world to find out.

        Although the work isn’t entirely the author’s (because of it being fan-fic), there should be a way to stop those “misappropriations”. I know some accounts (LiveJournal), you have to have an account or be friends with the person to “unlock it”.

        It sounds like this Caitlin Moran just picked it out from the internet (obviously without consulting), and decided to use it. I’d be interested in why she did it, and what she was thinking. Though I suspect she didn’t have anything to think with at that moment.

        That’s what so interesting now … the motive as to why she (Moran) did it, and why this person. Though I’m sure every other writer, had it been done to them, would be asking the same thing. There goes the “detective” thinking … why.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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