Thursday, July 12, 2012

Well, when it rains, it pours. For some reason Blogger did NOT want to update yesterday... and If you didn't catch my deviantart journal last Thursday, the rather destructive 'super derecho' storms knocked out power and internet for a while... and I couldn't get online until after update day. That's why there was no update last week. Like I say in the disclaimer, sometimes, updates will be missed... and speaking of which... I'd like to talk a bit about my disclaimer.

I know. So many people are rolling their eyes that i can hear it echoing through the tubes of the intarwebz. But I've gotten some snide comments, and some nice ones, and some curious questions, and I feel like I ought to explain myself a little, at least in one part. This is largely sparked by someone who may be writing a fanfiction... And, flattered as I am... I can't read it.
I don't suppose you've ever heard of
Marion Zimmer Bradley? She's an author, and wrote several science fiction books that are known as the Darkover series. While I've not read any of her work, she published several anthologies that consisted largely of fanmade works, which she paid the fanauthors for the use of. Personally, I think this is kind of a beautiful idea; vaguely similar to doujinshi. However, this later resulted in an odd incident with a fanauthor, Jean Lamb, who did not like what was offered, and eventually, lawyers became involved. The roumor was that "Bradley had a skirmish with a fan who claimed authorship of a book identical to one Bradley had published and accused Bradley of 'stealing' the idea, and the resultant lawsuit cost Bradley a book." The truth was, it was more the other way around. But, Bradley's lawyers suggested that she no longer read fanfiction.

That's terrifying to me. Even if that wasn't really the case, the idea of someone else laying claim to my work is just... mind-numbingly scary. Heck, the idea of someone doing anything to make it look bad is scary. I don't know what I'd do... I've put hundreds of hours into this over the years, and much of it was being worked on before it was ever a comic. In addition, while I do hope to make revenue off of this sometime, fact is, I'm so busy making the dang thing that I have very little time to research getting it published for purchase. Part of me worries that after I finally get around to publishing it, some twisted version of Bradley's situation will crop up. I'm in kind of a perilous position. It's a scary world to be a creator in, and since I'm constantly displaying an unfinished work, I feel really vulnerable to things like that. It frightens me. That's part of why my disclaimer is so long... It's why I have that extended portion discussing my policy to not read suggestions and such, and how, if suggestions or the like are made regardless, that they become my property. It's not that I want to use folks or anything... it's that, if the natural course of the comic is similar, this way, hopefully, I have some protection. The disclaimer is to protect terrified little me... and you. I don;t ever want any of my readers to feel taken advantage of or upset.

I want to share; I want to meet people with similar interests; I want to entertain, and I want people to imagine. Sometimes, fanworks come of imagining. Sometimes they're done out of love for a character or story... sometimes they're done for practice... and sometimes they're done as a way to say thanks to the creators. Personally, i think it's very flattering, and I love the drawings folks have done for Eldritch... but, given the context of the above, it can also be very scary.. particularly with fanfiction.

Several authors, if I understand correctly, disapprove of fanworks to varying degrees, such as
Anne Rice, George RR Martin, and Andre Norton.
I remember how Anne McCaffery had, for a time, said she wanted no fanfiction of her work posted. (This is understandable really, after several 'Zines had been profiting from fanfiction of her work published in them) She later revised that, saying it was okay so long as no one was profiting from it... but people don't remember that. I remember that after she died, people were happy because folks could make fanfic... they had no idea it had actually been allowed for some time. It was sad, really... to see fans of a creator happy at her passing, simply because they felt this left them free to play in her universe. To imagine it in their own ways, just for the joy of it.
So... that leaves me with a problem. The safest thing is to outright disallow fanwork. The "I licked it; it's mine!" mentality. But... suppressing imagination... that's a horrible thing. I mean, everyone's made fanart... doodled favorite characters on their binders, written Mary-sue self-insert fic, or filked a song so you could sing about your fandom of choice. While some will do it for selfish reasons, most of the time, it can lead to wonderful things. So... So long as it's for fun, not for profit... I hope it's okay to say it's alright to do. I hope I never have to regret it. I get scared... I worry that I'll somehow lose my baby by doing so. But I also want my readers to be happy and creative. I'm trying to take a page of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's books (Pun?) and treat fanwork and such as a harmless expression of appreciation. Which, I think, the grand majority of it is.
So.. please forgive me for my oddities. Sometimes, folks contact me on AIM and want to talk about the comic... and a lot of the time, I can't. I swear, I don't intend to be mean when I say I can't read a fanfiction (that is certainly more fun to read than my rather dry script, I'm sure.) And while fanart is safer for me to look at and comment on, that doesn't mean that I appreciate it else any more or less than other fanworks. It's... just what I have to to if I want to show this to you guys as I make it, as opposed to working on it for several years and then just publishing it after it's all finished. It's the best way to keep me safe.

Thanks for putting up with me.


  1. I see no reason for you to fear. You have created something everyone loves, and you should be proud of your self. And if your really that afraid, then here's what you do. Go to a publisher, and get the title and main storyline published. That is it. That way you can mix it up any way you want. It doesn't matter if someone says you copied them, as long as you publish the title and main storyline you will have proof that the story is 100% yours and no one else s . ... Sorry if this sounds weird, my computer clearly can't spell.

    1. Hon, I'm sorry to say, but I don't have the storyline isn't produced yet. I can't just throw the whole thing at a publisher. That's actually why I publish the comic online as I go. It applies a date to it. However, just getting sometimg published by a publisher doesn't mean that someone won't pop up and claim to have given you the idea some time later.

  2. *sigh* good point ... I'm having issues with the whole Literary Agent/Publisher cycle myself. Neither will look at a new author unless the other as already vouched for you ...

    1. Definitely! That's why I've started posting some of my Chapters in my own blog to see if I can get enough public feedback that I can catch someone important's attention.

      =^^= ~