ann_r_starr: (easy going)
Here are my thoughts on fanfic.

Since you guys all know me, it would be pretty pointless of me to say I fully support fanfiction. So bare with me while I be utterly pointless.

I support fan fiction.

What is less pointless is why I support fanfiction and the people who write it. So, my friends, let me take you down memory lane.

To start with, I strongly object to a 'no child left behind' policy in schools. Simply because if my many, many schools hadn't simply shuffled me forward when I was young, someone might have caught on to my rather large issue rather then berating me for it.

I have always loved to read and to tell stories. But I learnt to read by memorising whole words, in the young adult level books, skipping completely that stage of learning to read by sounding out words. That lead to my being a fantastic reader with a huge vocaburary... that I had little to no idea how to spell.

Here's a fact. The phrase "Sound out the word" has very, very little meaning to a child who isn't even aware letters make sounds on their own.

Here's another fact. A child who can't spell anything with more then four letters but who loves to write stories gets very little support and a great deal of mockery. So it wasn't school that taught me to overcome my spelling issues. Nor was it my parents, who didn't realise the cause of my problems until I was fifteen or so.

The people who helped me get past my issues with spelling and grammar were the supportive and friendly fans of my Pokemon fanfiction - and in particular the friends I made through those fanfiction works. I'm still not the greatest speller in the world, but the support of my fans and friends lent me the strength I needed to follow my dream and over come my shortcomings.

Without my start in fanfiction, my dream of writing an original novel would have been lost. And I know I'm not the only person like myself in the world, so, that is why I support fanfiction. Because somewhere out there is another child who needs a safe space to learn to walk before they can chase their dreams.

Do I consider fanfiction to be uncreative or a mockery of the original author?

Not at all.

I can understand why some authors are touchy about fanfiction, but I think dismissing it as uncreative or a mockery is out of line on the parts of published authors. Firstly because very few people write fanfiction out of hatred for the original work. That would be an amazing waste of time - which is why, even if Katherine Kerr were to allow fanfiction, you wouldn't find me writing it.

Secondly, and I admit to bias here, I don't consider fanfiction to lack creativity. When I wrote Pokemon fanfic, Ash, Brock and Misty were rarely seen in my writing. My interest was in the Pokemon themselves, in particular Mew, Mewtwo and what might have been involved in that cloning process to make Mewtwo so different from Mew.

My fanfics were certainly ill thought out, badly ploted and full of Mary Sues, but they also were nothing like the original games or cartoons. Nor were most of the other fanfics I read over the years. Most fanfiction writers take the original setting and add a 'what if' to it.

That, in my opinion, is creativity. After all, isn't the truth of so called 'original fiction' that we authors simply take reality and add a 'what if' to it?

ann_r_starr: (two cents)
I was going to blog about this when it first came to light, but unfortunately I had other things that needed to be done (shopping for food before the cats ate me, washing clothes, writing, ect) and by the time I had a moment to spare, it was sort of resolved.

Why do I say sort of? The cover is being changed and reprinted, doesn't that solve the problem?

For this book, yes. For Liar the problem is also 'solved'. But this isn't a matter of simply two books with bad covers. Both books are merely the symptoms of a far larger problem. One that, in 2010, we should be able to say we've left in a dark and regretful past. But we can't.

I'm talking about racism in general, but in particular, the practice of whitewashing book covers. Why don't I focus on the boarder issue of racism? Because this blog post would never end. Racism is still a huge problem and perhaps the only way we'll really put an end to it is by addressing and treating one symptom at a time. Such as cover whitewashing.

What is cover whitewashing? No, it's not painting a book cover with white paint, that's just vandlisim. Cover whitewashing an even more unattractive act. It's the act of taking a story about a character with anything other then white skin, some times people of Asian heritage, but generally those with black or dark skin colours, and, rather then have an accurate representation of that character on the cover, use a white model.

Here's an experiment for you;
  • Go to your local bookstore or library.
  • Find some children's or YA books that star a character described as having dark or brown skin.
  • Now sort out which of those have a character on the front.
  • Count how many of the cover models are black and get back to me.
The blogging world is taking a stand against this, and they've proved that if enough noise is made, publishers will change the covers. This is good, this hurts their pocket. But it's not enough.

What I want to see is simple. I want to see a day where a fuss doesn't HAVE to be raised. Where a publisher simply wouldn't even consider whitewashing a book cover. A day where I can write Thief's Choice, see Mat, Acqua and Echo on the cover and not have the only difference between Echo and Acqua be Echo's cat-ears and tail.

 This practise needs to be made unthinkable, and it needs to happen now. And the only way that will happen is if people keep making a fuss. But don't just make a fuss about newly published books. Find those older white washed covers and make a fuss about them too. Blog about cover white washing, write complaints to publishers who do this and talk about it with your friends and family.

Together, we can make 2010 the year the whitewash was put away.

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ann_r_starr: (Default)
Ann Rosa Starr

May 2012

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