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Author has written 138 stories for Giver, His Dark Materials, Sandman, Jumanji, Animorphs, Harry Potter, Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Toy Story, DuckTales, Series Of Unfortunate Events, Left Behind, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Batman, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Magic School Bus, Justice League, Superman, Bible, Calvin & Hobbes, NCIS, Sesame Street, Green Lantern, Flash, Batman Begins/Dark Knight, Looney Tunes, Westing Game, StarTrek: The Next Generation, Cthulhu Mythos, Space Trilogy, Greek Mythology, Misc. Comics, Get Smart, Alice in Wonderland, Captain Marvel/Shazam, Chronicles of Narnia, Misc. Cartoons, Enchanted Forest, Avatar, Dick Van Dyke Show, Veggie Tales, Misc. Movies, Flatland, Phineas and Ferb, Fairy Tales, Arthur C. Clarke, Doctor Who, Foundation, Aladdin, Dilbert, Jurassic Park, Avengers, Monty Python, Misc. Books, My Little Pony, Children of the Corn, and Independence Day.
I Qoheleth was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I proposed in my mind to seek and search out wisely concerning all things that are done under the sun; this painful occupation hath God given to the children of men, to be exercised therein. -Eccles. 1:12-13
There are a few things I'd like to say before you read my stuff. First, for the benefit of you statisticians in the audience, I'm an American male of mixed European extraction and legal voting age. Second, not all my ff work is contained on this account; in addition to the stories I contributed to the Reviews Lounge compendia Rainbow Magic and The Reviews Lounge Birthday Ficathon, I have a backup profile under the name Bar Sira, where various additional works of mine can be found. (And, to be thorough, I suppose I should also mention my Fictionpress account - or accounts, technically.) Third, anyone who has any interest in finishing my Westing Game story Life Happens, or any unfinished story posted under the Bar Sira name (or in continuing the saga of Sarah "Sparkle" Palmer, to which my Flash story 30 Days of Speed is an introduction), please let me know. Thank you.
A FEW OFT-NEGLECTED PRINCIPLES OF OUR GENRE:
1. Fidelity is non-negotiable. A fanfiction story that ignores the known facts and texture of the imagined world in which it is set is as much an artistic failure as a science-fiction story that disregards basic science. This does not mean that AU variations are impermissible; what it does mean, however, is that the art of an AU lies precisely in presenting the canon universe just as it would be if one or two key details of history were changed, not in every fact that the author doesn't care for simply vanishing. (Corollary: a story in which the identities of known characters are superimposed on other persons entirely - stories that identify, for instance, the son of a mortal mob boss as "Nico di Angelo", a Regency-era aristocrat as "Severus Snape", or a human IT executive as "Thorin Oakenshield" - are not properly AUs, or even fanfiction, but a sort of daughter genre of dreamscapes and dress-up games; I propose the general term "fantomime". They may well be worthy literary endeavors - in fact, I would argue that we should have another sister site specifically dedicated to them - but they shouldn't be presented as something they aren't.)
2. Derivatives are not canon. The only facts that an ff author is under any obligation to observe are those that appear in the actual book(s), movie(s), etc., that the story is based on. All else, even if it proceeds directly from the creator him- or herself, is mere suggestion, which the author is at liberty to disregard. (A quasi-exception may be made for such creators as J. R. R. Tolkien, for whom the legendarium itself, rather than this or that specific production based on it, is the central work of art. But this is vanishingly rare, while the mere pretense of it is, nowadays, outrageously common.) To assert otherwise is both to diminish the original work of art, and to make fanfiction writers into servile lackeys of the very people whose self-interest is what marginalized the genre in the first place. (Cf. James 2:6-7 - which reminds me that the Bible subcategory, and others based around non-fiction books, do constitute another quasi-exception to this rule. One is not, of course, at liberty to disregard a known historical fact about a character just because it doesn't happen to be mentioned in one's immediate source.)
3. Character death happens. Fanfiction, by its very nature, has the entire history of a given fictional universe to explore - and in that history, sooner or later, most characters (not all) are going to die. (Moreover, as mentioned in #1, the AU sub-genre is all about exploring the consequences of particular changes to a universe's history, which must often involve the explicit rescheduling of So-and-So's rendezvous with the Reaper.) To object when this happens, or to demand that this aspect of the plot be given away in advance, is unworthy of any but the most childish of ff readers. (The same applies, though not in a specifically fanfictional way, to "trigger warnings" in general. The whole purpose of storytelling is to trigger emotional reactions - in the Sage's words, to awaken pity and terror; anyone who can't handle that should stay away from literary venues.)
4. Pairings are strictly optional. I include this one because it seems to me that a great many of the stories on this site that shamelessly glamorize homosexuality, incest, bestiality, sex with fruit, etc., are less the result of convinced libertinism than of quite understandable boredom with all the lawful pairings a given fandom has to offer. Such authors should perhaps be reminded that, strange as it may seem, one can write a perfectly good story without any romance in it at all.
5. Do your best. Just because you're not getting paid doesn't mean that you can excuse any amount of carelessness by saying, "Hey, it's just for fun." You still have readers who expect something worth reading; you still have fellow authors whose work becomes more likely to be overlooked every time a piece of garbage is posted alongside it. If you can't be fair to them without spoiling your own fun, then probably you should just keep a private journal of your ff instead of trying to interest the global public.
ILLUSTRIOUS AUTHORS SUPPORT FANFICTION:
-"When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre, / He'd 'eard men sing by land an' sea, / An' what 'e thought 'e might require, / 'E went an' took - the same as me!" -Rudyard Kipling
-"If you had asked Laȝamon or Chaucer, 'Why do you not make up a brand-new story of your own?' I think they might have replied (in effect), 'Surely we are not yet reduced to that?'" -C. S. Lewis
-"Being, somehow, Cervantes, and arriving thereby at the Quixote - that looked to Menard less challenging (and therefore less interesting) than continuing to be Pierre Menard and coming to the Quixote through the experiences of Pierre Menard." -Jorge Luis Borges
-"[Aeschylus] is able to treat the story [of Agamemnon] in this way [i.e., as a vehicle for a certain conception of justice] because his audience knew its main outline already. One great advantage in using myth was that the dramatist was saved the tedious business of exposition." -H. D. F. Kitto
-"'To have composed a special poem for the occasion,' [the Emperor] said, 'would have been the ordinary thing to do. But to find a quote that fits the moment perfectly - that is truly difficult.'" -Sei Shōnagon
-"Then Eliu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered, and said: 'I am younger in days, and you are more ancient; therefore hanging down my head, I was afraid to shew you my opinion. For I hoped that greater age would speak, and that a multitude of years would teach wisdom. But, as I see, there is a spirit in men, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding; they that are aged are not the wise men, neither do the ancients understand judgment… Therefore because I have waited, and they have not spoken - they stood, and answered no more - I also will answer my part, and will show my knowledge. For I am full of matter to speak of, and the spirit of my bowels straiteneth me.'" -The Book of Job
-[for the good people in the TV Commercials subcategory] "Did you see the one in which this woman is in a supermarket making a telephone call?… What she is saying on the telephone (with nobody watching that cart) is, 'Helen, I've been wondering. What do you use for occasional irregularity?' Now, I just can't leave it there. I want to know more about Helen. I want to know about Helen's husband. Does he say, 'Who was that on the phone? Janice? Where was she? -She was in the A & P and wanted to know what?'" -Jean Kerr
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