"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009

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'Training wheels' my ass

Brief rant, apropos of a passing remark that broke the camel's back.

I am sick and fucking tired of fanfic being presented as "training wheels". That's a load of BS. Fic is its own practice, with its own locally variable stylistic and presentational rules and its own systems of distribution and compensation, all of which are thoroughly distinct from commercial writing practices. Authors may enjoy writing both. They may write both sequentially. But fic is not somehow an annex of commercial publishing, nor is commercial publishing some kind of evolution of fic. Face it. Those first hundred thousand words are going to be crap no matter how you slice it; if they're written as fanfic instead of drawer-fic, it may appear that writing fic helped one get better. In fact, writing period helps one get better. Do not fall into the logical fallacy of mistaking the venue for the mechanism.

What pisses me off the most is the fanwriters who naively embrace this myth because it offers fast validation. Do they not see that this is the same political maneuver (albeit on quite a different scale) as saying "give us rights because we can't help being deviant" instead of "give us rights because we're human beings too, fuckers". No, of course they don't see it, never mind. The point is this "validation" is only available to writers who implicitly agree to denigrate their fanfic work, to be a shill, a practitioner of fanfic who presents it as of lesser value than commercial work. This offends me in purely logical terms, the two not being commensurate in the first place. It also gets me wound up in defense of my community, even considering that I want to give the vast majority of my fellow community members a good trouting on a regular basis.

So rather than being bamboozled into apologizing for our activity, try this one: "I write fanfic because I like it."
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