Writer In Progress

The Official Blog of Sara Harricharan

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jeff-the-god-of-biscuits asked: Hi! I love your blog, it's so inspiring! But, I'm a typography nut, and I was wondering what font you use in the Strange Bizarre and Weird Prompts and the new Neil Gaiman's Rules For Writing post...

maxkirin:

Hello there, fellow typography nut~ ♥︎

You have no idea how much I love fonts :x I do a lot of graphic design, so finding the correct pair of fonts is very important to me. I try not to repeat a lot of what I do, but as you’ve noticed I used the same font set for the Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing and my Weird Prompts c;

So, for you (and everyone else wondering) the font set I used on those posts is:

KG Second Chances KG Ten Thousand Reasons

image

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I love those two~ they work really well against a black chalkboard c;

I love fonts so much, you have no idea.

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http://shulkiesmash.tumblr.com/post/92648117305/cloudsinvenice-replied-to-your-post

tamorapierce:

shulkiesmash:

tamorapierce:

shulkiesmash:

cloudsinvenice replied to your post: cloudsinvenice said:What’s a five…

I will never watch Dawson’s Creek again without this in mind. Curse you! :P

Consider it payback for reminding me that Anne Rice decided she was going to write another Lestat book and that it’s not just a weird dream I…

Woo.  What brought this on?  Tell, I beg?  I dropped out of Ricedom (never a fan, just a reader) with CRY TO HEAVEN, and I would purely admire what generated such vitriol!

Oh boy. Well. There’s a lot to complain about—her writing, for starters. She started refusing to work with an editor sometime in the 90s, and. Uh. It shows. It shows big time. She’s not good at self-editing, and with nobody there to rein in her worse tendencies as a writer, her books are just contradictory, bloated messes now. 

I would not find this to be nearly as much of a problem if not for her behavior toward her fans. Bad writing unto itself is not a crime.

See, in the 90s she started having her lawyers track down fanfiction archives that featured Vampire Chronicles fanfic and sending them cease-and-desist letters. The entire fandom wound up going underground because of it. I came into the fandom around 1998, before the rise of social media as we know it, but after the initial kerfuffle. Unfortunately, time did not diminish her hatred of fanfic writers. Or roleplayers. People who were unequivocally not doing any of this for money, but who spent plenty of time and money on her books. I was a member of a roleplaying message board that got shut down in 2008 because someone was feeling spiteful and made sure to tell her about it. (I still don’t know who it was, but I was the one who got blamed for it as I’d recently quit due to waning interest.) Full-on C&D letter and all. 

Not to mention how she had a massive hissy fit when her last Vampire Chronicles book was published in 2003 and got some negative reviews on Amazon—she spent a lot of time there, telling everyone why they were wrong and why she’s a genius and that they were “interrogating the text from the wrong perspective.” (That’s a direct quote.) But it didn’t stop there. More recently, she’s also signed a petition that wants to force people on Amazon to use their real names for book reviews, citing “anti-author bullies” as her reason. Last year she then set her fans on someone who used a thrift-store copy of her book Pandora to decoupage a decorative box by linking directly to the blog post on her Facebook account, with a tacit invitation for them to unleash their nastiest vitriol on the poor woman. Even though it wasn’t explicit, she full well knows how the internet works by now and what she was doing. 

So. Not a lot of love lost for Anne Rice.

Okay.  I was dead poor in the 90s and not as attached to the publishing world even in the early Naughties, so the fan stuff whizzed right past me.  I know there are writers who don’t want fanfic and land on fans who do it.  I think it’s counterproductive; it hurts no one; the fans love the original work, and from my point of view, fanfic often creates new writers so I will never run out of original books to read.  Everybody wins!  But every writer makes her/his own choices.

Going after reviewers on Amazon or anywhere else seems wrong-headed to me.  People will say what they will say, whether on Amazon or on their own blogs.  It just makes the writer look silly and as you said, mean.  Going after roleplayers, ditto.

As for the editing thing.  You may or may not have heard of this, since it happened in the 80s, but once upon a time Doubleday Publishers had a golden goose by the name of Stephen King.  He wrote a book for them, intending to carry on his growing line of blockbusters, called THE STAND, and his editor required him to cut 400 pages.  King was most unhappy.  He wrote two fast crap books (CUJO and CHRISTINE) to get out of his contract, and went to Viking Press.  Ever since then, when a writer gets successful enough, editors are very, very reluctant to edit their big sellers, and if the writer’s ego goes with the sales … ::coughTomClancyGeorgeR.R.Martincough:: and, as you said, Anne Rice.

I make sure my editors know I want to be edited—even though I’m not huge, they’ve gotten a little too respectful sometimes, particularly the younger ones.

I am very sorry you got crunched by Rice’s crusade.  She obviously doesn’t care if real people get hurt by the backlash from her actions.  I hope my fans would never do that.  I’d have to speak to them sternly if they did.

There are a lot of good writers out there, who respect their readers and understand that once the books leave their hands, they have no control over them. 

Filed under interesting did not know that writers

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I think fanfiction is literature and literature, for the most part, is fanfiction, and that anyone that dismisses it simply on the grounds that it’s derivative knows fuck-all about literature and needs to get the hell off my lawn.

Most of the history of Western literature (and probably much of non-Western literature, but I can’t speak to that) is adapted or appropriated from something else. Homer wrote historyfic and Virgil wrote Homerfic and Dante wrote Virgilfic (where he makes himself a character and writes himself hanging out with Homer and Virgil and they’re like “OMG Dante you’re so cool.” He was the original Gary Stu). Milton wrote Bible fanfic, and everyone and their mom spent the Middle Ages writing King Arthur fanfic. In the sixteenth century you and another dude could translate the same Petrarchan sonnet and somehow have it count as two separate poems, and no one gave a fuck. Shakespeare doesn’t have a single original plot—although much of it would be more rightly termed RPF—and then John Fletcher and Mary Cowden Clarke and Gloria Naylor and Jane Smiley and Stephen Sondheim wrote Shakespeare fanfic. Guys like Pope and Dryden took old narratives and rewrote them to make fun of people they didn’t like, because the eighteenth century was basically high school. And Spenser! Don’t even get me started on Spenser.

Here’s what fanfic authors/fans need to remember when anyone gives them shit: the idea that originality is somehow a good thing, an innately preferable thing, is a completely modern notion. Until about three hundred years ago, a good writer, by and large, was someone who could take a tried-and-true story and make it even more awesome. (If you want to sound fancy, the technical term is imitatio.) People were like, why would I wanna read something about some dude I’ve never heard of? There’s a new Sir Gawain story out, man! (As to when and how that changed, I tend to blame Daniel Defoe, or the Modernists, or reality television, depending on my mood.)

I also find fanfic fascinating because it takes all the barriers that keep people from professional authorship—barriers that have weakened over the centuries but are nevertheless still very real—and blows right past them. Producing literature, much less circulating it, was something that was well nigh impossible for the vast majority of people for most of human history. First you had to live in a culture where people thought it was acceptable for you to even want to be literate in the first place. And then you had to find someone who could teach you how to read and write (the two didn’t necessarily go together). And you needed sufficient leisure time to learn. And be able to afford books, or at least be friends with someone rich enough to own books who would lend them to you. Good writers are usually well-read and professional writing is a full-time job, so you needed a lot of books, and a lot of leisure time both for reading and writing. And then you had to be in a high enough social position that someone would take you seriously and want to read your work—to have access to circulation/publication in addition to education and leisure time. A very tiny percentage of the population fit those parameters (in England, which is the only place I can speak of with some authority, that meant from 500-1000 A.D.: monks; 1000-1500: aristocratic men and the very occasional aristocratic woman; 1500-1800: aristocratic men, some middle-class men, a few aristocratic women; 1800-on, some middle-class women as well). What’s amazing is how many people who didn’t fit those parameters kept writing in spite of the constant message they got from society that no one cared about what they had to say, writing letters and diaries and stories and poems that often weren’t discovered until hundreds of years later. Humans have an urge to express themselves, to tell stories, and fanfic lets them. If you’ve got access to a computer and an hour or two to while away of an evening, you can create something that people will see and respond to instantly, with a built-in community of people who care about what you have to say.

I do write the occasional fic; I wish I had the time and mental energy to write more. I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of fic these days because most of it is not—and I know how snobbish this sounds—particularly well-written. That doesn’t mean it’s “not good”—there are a lot of reasons people read fic and not all of them have to do with wanting to read finely crafted prose. That’s why fic is awesome—it creates a place for all kinds of storytelling. But for me personally, now that my job entails reading about 1500 pages of undergraduate writing per year, when I have time to read for enjoyment I want it to be by someone who really knows what they’re doing. There’s tons of high-quality fic, of course, but I no longer have the time and patience to go searching for it that I had ten years ago. But whether I’m reading it or not, I love that fanfiction exists. Because without people doing what fanfiction writers do, literature wouldn’t exist. (And then I’d be out of a job and, frankly, I don’t know how to do anything else.)

“As a professor, may I ask you what you think about fanfiction?” (via meiringens)

(Source: inkandcayenne, via bibliophylum)

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