News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Doing the research

    By Claudia Rebaza on dimanche, 30 March 2014 - 7:55pm
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    • Geek Anthropologist posted a video of Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon, a PhD Student at Concordia University, Montreal, presenting her paper on Fan Fiction, Fan Autoethnography, and Everyday Life. "I define fan fiction more broadly to include stories written both in and outside of fandom communities. In order to illustrate my argument, I will employ an autoethnographic approach, recalling my own experiences writing fan fiction as a young pre-teen. In light of the recent trend of positioning oneselves as an aca/fan (Academic/Fan) in fandom studies, I differentiate between fan fiction and fan autoethnography."
    • Video game scholar Victoria Hungerford wrote about The SwanQueen Fanfiction Community’s Non-Philosophy. "This paper hopes to explore what SwanQueen fans are doing and how fanfiction acts as a philosophy in itself, as a way to understand and interpret media production, representation, creative economies, culture, communication and existence. The SwanQueen community is a generative community that subverts dominant ideology while at the same time clinging on to some traditional notions of relationships as 'end game'...Fanfiction embodies fandom as a fundamental aspect of every day life and is political. The SwanQueen community is a non-philosophy community that tries to understand their relationship to one another, as well as their relationship to the greater OUT fandom, and the larger Geek, Nerd, Dork (GND) communities of the Internet."
    • Columnist Stephen Downes of Ireland's TheJournal.ie could have used some academic research when discussing why fanfic is making people nervous. From claiming that "FanFic is split evenly between the genders, with just as many girls as boys engaging in writing...although popular topics are largely split between sci-fi-fantasy (boys) and erotic-paranormal-fantasy (girls)" to saying that "it will be an interesting journey to see where we end up when the author of a story featuring Captain Kirk has never seen Star Trek", it is perhaps unsurprising that his conclusion is "FanFic’s impact on young people, in particular, is slowly rotating from the positive to the negative, as young readers stop reading, watching and learning from mainstream mediums and begin to solely enjoy and mimic FanFic."
    • Women Write About Comics wrote about some statistics on female comic fans. "Graphic Policy has been updating data, accessible via Facebook, for the past several months using data visualization with graphs and charts as part of their Facebook Fandom Spotlight series...This month’s post showed that women comics readers hit approximately 47% of all self-identified Facebook comics fans, which puts a very different spin female comics fans on the well-known 2012 survey completed after DC’s new 52 reboot saying that of the respondents saying that 93 percent of the respondents were male."

    What fandom research has grabbed you? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish divisions

    By Claudia Rebaza on jeudi, 27 March 2014 - 5:13pm
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    • As greater recognition of the diversity of fandoms appears in the media, author Brad R. Torgersen decided to trace 21st century English-speaking fandom’s path. "I agree absolutely with Toni that some of these fault lines can be traced directly to the social and political fault lines in the wider English-speaking culture; out of which a good deal of fandom springs. But I also think that much can be explained by examining where people come to fandom from–and through which doors they walk when they enter." Torgersen discusses, among other things, the importance of super-cons in allowing people to experience fandom together.
    • One of the most significant super-cons, however, has demonstrated yet another division: the one between geeky and mainstream audiences. Laurie Penny addressed this at New Statesman while various others have weighed in with additional concerns. "Why is it that this early history of Science Fiction fandom is presented as 'idyllic' when we know for a fact that large groups of people stood outside looking in? Isn’t that history being rewritten in front of our very eyes?...It is obvious to me that this idyllic period of Science Fiction 'history' is told largely from an American, white, male perspective. It might be an important part of a historical narrative, but it is not the whole narrative."
    • Fangirl the Blog pointed out more in-house divisions within fandoms by gender. "The Star Wars fandom as a whole often has gendered reactions to different types of fan participation in expressing love for the franchise." She listed examples in RPGs, fanart, cosplay, fan films and fanfic, concluding "Ultimately, if Topher Grace and Kyle Newman can be praised, even given official support and visibility, for their fan creativity – for their fanfiction – then female fans deserve equal respect for all the ways they produce fanworks, too. Including their prose fanfiction."
    • The OC Weekly turned a spotlight on Disney social clubs and the mixed reaction they have received. "These social clubs are a new generation of hardcore Disney fans, powered by Instagram and Facebook and made up of grandparents in their 60s, as well as teens and toddlers plodding along beside their parents...Like the Goths of the 1990s or the hippies of the 1960s, they trek the park like a second home, occasionally mistaken for troublemakers and ne'er-do-wells. But unlike other groups, they're not at the parks to scare or intimidate. They're there for fun, for friendship—and to uphold Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom ideal."

    What fandom divisions have you come experienced? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfic revelations

    By Claudia Rebaza on mardi, 25 March 2014 - 5:35pm
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    • In a piece about Harold Ramis and a mock Ghostbusters article, interviewer Alex Steed said “Your piece stuck out to me because it really changes the way I look at fan fiction. Someone recently asked what the focus of my larger body of writing and I said that I am interested in taking the world at large and making it more understandable by looking at it through the lens of popular culture. I had long known fan fiction as crappy stories people write about their favorite fan universes or erotic stories about their favorite X-Men or whatever but when I saw this it was something I understood immediately.”
    • His revelation is one of many that come about when people start pondering fanworks. Latin Language Blog posted a look at the tragic stories of ancient Rome. "Ovid, in my opinion, is first author to truly take the time to write his version of a 'fan fiction'...Ovid composes the works known as the Heroides in order to breathe new life into these Heroines and give the much needed character work to these mythical women who have been frozen in time." Linked from the blog was Quirk Books own post about 4 Famous Authors Who Wrote Fanfiction, notably RPF, crossover, and self-insert fic.
    • At The Globe and Mail, Kate Taylor considered what happens when stories get told by new people. "The characters seem mighty durable; it’s the contemporary sequels that feel more contingent. These books are definitely creatures of their eras – that 'different light' is the illumination provided by contemporary sensibilities." Taylor concludes that continuations of old stories owe "more to the literal death of the original authors than to the theoretical Death of the Author: time marches on and copyright eventually expires."
    • A guest writer on Offbeat Home & Life had a more personal revelation about writing fanfic: it "changed my sex life". Discussing her decision to share her fanfic with her husband, she detailed how it increased trust, got them to take risks, boosted her libido, and made her a partner who was more aware and in the moment. "I'm glad I threw caution to the wind and shared out what kind of things I was up to behind the computer screen, because my marriage is better because of it. Would we be fine without it? Would we still be together? Would we still be having great sex? A million times yes. But, I will take the extra boost anywhere I can get it."

    What fanfic revelations have you come across? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Discussing fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on vendredi, 21 March 2014 - 1:29am
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    • Not Another Teen Wolf podcast posted about their interview with OTW legal staffer Heidi Tandy. Among other things "We learn about the Organisation for Transformative Works and the basic legality behind being a fan creator. We also reminisce about the early days of the internet, when there was a lot of scaremongering surrounding fanfiction in terms of copyright. Why was AO3 started – what was the initial gameplan? Why did a resource like AO3 become necessary?”
    • Although the NATW podcast chat spent only a bit of time on copyright, Copyrightuser.org posted the video ‘Copyright & Creativity’ to make "copyright compelling to creators and average Internet users, trying to demonstrate that it is not just a set of rules but an interesting world worth exploring. To this end, we approached leading copyright experts and sent them a short questionnaire about the relationship between copyright, creativity and technology, with the idea of writing an accessible script based on their answers." The site is "an independent online resource aimed at making UK Copyright Law accessible to creators and members of the public. The goal is to provide answers to the most pressing concerns creators have about copyright, helping them understand their rights."
    • Heidi Tandy and recent OTW academic chat panelist, Anne Jamison, were at South by Southwest discussing fanworks. The importance of internet platforms in allowing non-celebrities to develop their own fandom took a different tack on creativity. When asked, "What is the secret sauce to creating good content?" BuzzFeed’s EVP of Video, Ze Frank replied that content "must represent a part of your individual identity better than you can talk about it. Second, your content needs to be an emotional gift, and should make your audience feel a certain way. And third, your content should provide a social role of information. Frank continued by explaining that your content should prove an argument that people have been having all along or play a part in real world conversation."
    • Joystick ran an article exploring the fandom of Twitch Plays Pokemon. "Taylor started doing Internet research in the 1990s, and turned to video games in 1999. Her studies resulted in books such as Play Between Worlds and Raising the Stakes, which explore virtual worlds, MMOs and e-sports. Those examinations bear relevance to Twitch Plays Pokemon, as the same elements of extended narratives and player curation could be found in the earlier days of EverQuest."

    What stories have you come across about storytelling platforms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Writers of all stripes

    By Claudia Rebaza on mercredi, 19 March 2014 - 10:13pm
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    • Author Robert Jackson Bennett wrote about how to define fans and how that related to his role as a content creator. "I happened to meet a much more established writer than me...I brought up the sort of weird alienation I felt...I knew in my head that I was writing stuff for everyone, for all kinds of people, something that’s applicable to humanity in general rather than people like me, but it was still odd to see it right in front of me, these people I wasn’t like, and know that I was writing for them. He looked at me and said, 'That’s because they’re not you’re[sic] people. They’re not. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are.'"
    • ComplexTech posted an interview with author Clive Thompson, who may have some insight for Bennett. "[T]he cognitive benefits of the Internet require social work. That turns out to be a problem for the 10 percent of the population who regards social work with absolute horror...If you pie-chart them, a lot of the negative pieces about the Internet are written by novelists." However, he thinks some writers are the ones to watch. "[T]he world of fan fiction is the most technologically explosive thing I've ever seen in my life. Every single technology that has come along, fan fiction people have come along and colonized it and stress-tested it and found the most amazing things...If you're ever wondering about a future technology, just drop what you're doing and find out what fan fiction people are doing with it...whatever it is, it's the future."
    • Such discoveries aren't likely to come from fanfic-for-hire, as Amazon is commissioning authors to launch fandom lines. Orion Books Editor Jo Gledhill advised fanfic writers to know what makes them happy. "[D]ecide whether you actually do want to find a mainstream publisher! It’s not for everyone. If you love writing and you love the support network of fan fiction, don’t think of it as a stepping stone. It’s a huge community with millions of readers, you’ll get some fabulous advice and feedback as your writing develops."
    • Here & Now focused on the value of that network in a story about Harry Potter fan. "Esther Earl was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12, and died in 2010 shortly after her 16th birthday. But in that short time, she developed a network of friends through social media, blogging and YouTube videos. She was a devoted fan of the Harry Potter books and was an active member of the Harry Potter Alliance. At LeakyCon, a convention for Harry Potter enthusiasts, Esther met young adult author and vlogger John Green, who would become a friend. Green dedicated his best selling book “The Fault In Our Stars” to her and said that she was an inspiration for the novel."

    What stories and posts about fanfic writing have been important to you? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom milestones

    By Claudia Rebaza on vendredi, 14 March 2014 - 12:26am
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    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of a black & white highway with the OTW logo and ribbons across the post title of Fandom Milestones

    • On March 1, Three Patch Podcast released an episode with Development & Membership Chair, Kristen Murphy, as a guest. They discussed the formation of the OTW and the AO3's million fanwork milestone. Asked about the AO3's popularity she replied, "I think there are a lot of different factors that have helped it become popular. One is that a lot of people just like the features of the Archive, which is awesome! I think another factor is the way fandom has spread out to new platforms, some of which are not very conducive to posting fanworks. Like, if you mostly interact with other fans through Twitter, but you’re a fic writer, you’re going to need someplace other than Twitter to post your fic. There’s something really cool about the fact that fans are spread out in all these different places — Twitter and Tumblr and journals and forums — but there’s this place in the middle where so many of us come together to share our work." (No transcript available).
    • The OTW wasn't the only one celebrating a big milestone in February as Japan's online art community Pixiv passed 10,000,000 registered users. Crunchyroll reported on their celebration activities and listed the top tagged fandoms on the site.
    • RocketNews24 looked at how artists were responding to the gold medal won by figure skater Hanyū. "[F]ans are having fun making their own Photoshop creations including “Hyōjō no Prince-sama”(Prince-sama on Ice)."
    • The music group Emblem got some attention for promoting a fan's story about them on their Wattpad account which Just Jared dubbed 'official fan fiction.' "The guys – Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, and Drew Chadwick – each have their own stories written about them and will be updating it every week!"
    • As Vintage Books was announcing that Fifty Shades had passed the 100 million sales mark, Wired asked if a new publishing model was at hand when it comes to fanfic. "For decades, it was understood that fanzines and amateur press associations were where writers—particularly in genre fiction and comics—got their chops...It’s easy to argue 50 Shades of Grey is an outlier, that its success isn’t indicative of a larger trend. However, since its publication in 2011, the lines between literary and fan publishing have continued to blur."

    What fandom milestones have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Corporate assembly fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on mercredi, 12 March 2014 - 7:19pm
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    • Frontline featured a number of fandoms in its documentary Generation Like. "From the agency that’s leveraging the Twitter followers of celebrities like Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) to make lucrative product endorsement deals, to the 'grassroots' social media campaign behind the Hollywood blockbuster The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, "Generation Like" explores how companies are increasingly enlisting kids as willing foot soldiers in their marketing machines."
    • A "Social Media Week" event featured a panel on “Fueling Social Fandom”. "'You think about fandom not as a one night stand everytime your show is on…it’s a long time relationship,' Fishman said, adding the most important thing for TV executives to do mirrors a relationship: listening."
    • Sugarscape is one of many sites featuring a fanfiction contest but this one is done piecemeal. "The idea is that every day when the story is updates, you'll have the chance to add the next paragraph all over again and by Sunday 23rd February, we'll have the full fan fiction. So even if yours doesn't get picked the first day, keep entering every time the story updates and you could see your writing up on the site!"
    • Kotaku used votes instead to create a 'Fan Built Bot' for Transformers. "Windblade is a rare female Transformer...Some people are vexxed by the idea of female Transformers...we do get an episode where most of the old-timey female robots are destroyed for being female, which doesn't seem nice. In the IDW Comics continuity, Arcee is the result of a failed experiment to introduce gender to Transformers. That doesn't seem nice either."
    • While some fan activities in the news seem more about recreation or transforming the format of a work, the question for many these days may be whether they're part of a corporate marketing effort and to what end.

    What ways of creating fandoms or fanworks have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Storytelling platforms

    By Claudia Rebaza on dimanche, 9 March 2014 - 8:18pm
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    • While sites like Wattpad have already demonstrated a large, international reach among young fanfic writers, other companies keep trying to capture that market.
    • The Observer wrote about Movellas which is distinguishing itself by targeting literacy rather than community. "50% of respondents said Movellas had made them enjoy reading more; 70% enjoyed writing more. Importantly, 20% of its users get free school meals (about the national average). Only 25% are boys, which the founders are looking to change with boy-focused publisher promotions and a move into 'story games'...Maybe it's time to stop being sniffy about fan fiction."
    • One boy who came late to writing fanfiction is author Hugh Howey, who was interviewed by Pacific Standard Magazine about his Kindle Worlds experience. However, he's always appreciated it. "I’m...ready to turn 40—but I grew up in a generation of open-source projects and Wikipedia and collaborative programming and the blogosphere. The idea of collaborations seems very natural to me. I also grew up reading comics, where every comic book author is writing fan fiction." Discussing the history of storytelling he continues "It’s interesting that the people who consider themselves purists are really quite modern in their thinking, to think that the novel is an uneditable, uncollaborative work...They have it a bit backward...It’s the other way around."
    • BBC One created a documentary on Fan Armies that focused on Tumblr, saying "Through their fandom, fans are developing skills that will make them more employable in the future." These included not only writing but multimedia skills. "They're really good video editors...they're really good at photo editing." They're also good at promotion. "Even to build these fanpages and have thousands of followers is learning to market something and build something...they can go work for a company and build their social media profile because they know what they're doing and how to do it well." (Transcript not available)

    What stories have you come across about storytelling platforms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanwork transitions

    By Claudia Rebaza on mercredi, 5 March 2014 - 9:18pm
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    Banner by Lisa of a leaf transitioning from green to red

    • Even while fanfic writer Bianca Bernardino is seeing her work turned into film, another author is turning to fanfic of her own work. As L.J. Smith explained last year, "[E]ven though I have written the entire series, I don’t own anything about The Vampire Diaries. And from now on, the books will be written by an anonymous ghostwriter, just as Stefan’s Diaries are. It will say 'Created by L. J. Smith' on the cover, but I am not allowed even to change a word in the ghostwriter’s book." Instead, Smith has released the first of a series through Amazon's Kindle Worlds.
    • J.K. Rowling's changing views on relationships in Harry Potter led to articles across the Internet, from The Washington Post to The Wire recording fan reaction. But blogger Lucy Softich reminded readers that "it doesn't change anything." "It was also really interesting when she told us Dumbledore was gay, but it didn’t really affect the story. It didn’t add subtext that wasn’t already there, or validate any arguments. Authors decide how to write their books, yes, but once they’re published, they can’t change anything...Fanfiction, on the other hand, can do anything. It can take the smallest interaction between characters, and turn it into a shipping war. It can take the merest hints, and create new and unexpected plot-twists. It can highlight things everyone else overlooked. And unlike books, its not permanent."
    • While more people trying out fanfiction are pleasantly surprised by the experience, Emma Cueto at Bustle suggests that the real problem is that too many people don't understand what it is. "Look at the book (and movie) The Hours, which was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Isn’t it just meta-fanfic where the book that inspired the fan fiction is also part of the story?...It just happens to be very well done and rooted in a literary great, so no one bothered to notice. Then there are shows like Once Upon a Time that put a new spin on fairy tales, or Sleepy Hollow and Dracula that grew out of classic novels...Don’t tell me that isn’t just fan fiction with a budget."
    • Kendra Mack at Open Source focused on the importance of participation in fanwork communities. "But female fans have long participated in (and led) fan communities before this RW shift, remixing and making new meanings from fictional texts. Henry Jenkins has written about the influence of television fan fiction writers in the 1980s, many of whom were women...This practice of fan refocalization continues today with shows like Adventure Time, a (personal favorite) cartoon with two male character leads that has many fans creating derivative fiction and art focused on the secondary female characters. The show also received positive fan reaction and high ratings after airing an episode in which the gender of all the characters are reversed, not to mention a slew of fan art and fiction involving the gender-swapped heroines."

    What fanwork transitions do you think should be remembered? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Marketing to women

    By Claudia Rebaza on lundi, 3 March 2014 - 1:22am
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    Banner by Bremo of a smiling Frank Sinatra passing a group of excited fangirls

    • There have been discussions in the media over past months that suggest that a significant reason for the erasure of women in fandom is that companies have no interest in marketing to them. This was made explicit in an article on io9 which discussed the fear of TV network executives that their cartoons had too many female fans.
    • Even targeting stereotypical female interests seems difficult for marketers to do, leaving women's fashion options lacking for years. Perhaps that's why this feature on a history of fangirl fashion in Elle seems to be more a collection of random female fan photos than an exploration of the creative fashion statements seen at fan gatherings.
    • Part of the problem may be the general disapproval expressed when women come up with their own ways of enjoying fandom. Even when commercial entities use many of the same ideas it's somehow different when fans do these things for themselves. This attitude may be a factor in why even some fannish people resist becoming fans.
    • The Shipping News focused on what such disapproval said about wider society. "[I]t’s not the fans that make it all about sex, it’s everyone else...we just like to see people fall in love. Sure, sex is a part of that – a super fun part that we enjoy immensely – but anyone that has read over 80,000 words to get to a kiss, knows that porn is just a side effect...they have got to stop assuming that slash fandom is synonymous with sexual deviancy. Slash fandom encompasses A LOT of different things, so the fact that they are obsessed with the part that is porn says more about them than it does about us."

    What issues involving female fandom have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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