AO3 Invites! Free to a good home!
I snagged five invites to give away for anyone who really really doesn’t want to wait. First come first served, just click the link. (I’ll try to remove the links if I notice they’ve been used.)
Invite #1 Taken! Invite #2 Taken! Invite #3 Taken! Invite #4 Taken! Invite #5 Taken!
if since they’ve all been used up, don’t despair! Since the beginning of February, the queue on the site has been completely caught up! So if you just go and sign up for an invite over there, you’ll get it in less than a day! (They currently give out 750 every night, so just have a look at the queue number when you sign up.) Just be warned if you go that way, keep an eye on your spam folder just in case. Invites have been known to get routed there in some ISPs (gmail most notably!) and get lost to the sands of time.
tywinning asked you:
As a professor, may I ask you what you think about fanfiction?
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.)
More Yuletide fun! It’s MADNESS! (See what I did there?)
So holy smokes, I got three treats for Yuletide Madness this year, and they are all freaking fabulous
In order by upload date, and not by order of preference, because I could not possibly have an order of preference…
Somebody had to write this (so why not me?) (AO3 Tags, Fandom Meta):
Yet another Found Tags Poem, this one actually starting off with a tag that I have personally used. Bonus points for the penis-tags-stanza. Seriously, people can use all the eye roll inducing tags on fic that they want if ultimately I get something like this.
Apocalypse Rescheduled (Solar System Anthropomorfic):
Earth grumbles to Mars about how the scheduled apocalypse didn’t happen after all and those seven billion ants crawling around are still here to be irksome. Oh well. ;) Couldn’t stop giggling at this one even if I for some reason can’t find myself overly sympathetic about the fact that humanity has not been destroyed. XD
Oo-de-lally Slash (Disney’s Robin Hood):
A freaking hilarious filk parody of Oo-de-lally from Robin Hood. I swear to God, I will never ever look at that song again. The meter is perfect, which is something that’ll often throw me from song parodies if it’s off, so I am giving so much applause to this author right now.
Seriously, everyone, go check these out! They’re fabulous!
I got my Yuletide assignment and it is the most freaking flawless gem of an assignment I have ever received.
Entirely aside from the fact that my recipient is requesting something that’s one of my writing strengths, they are also asking for some of my favorite characters in the fandom engaging in the reason they’re some of my favorite characters.
I swear, it’s so amazing I almost don’t know what to do with myself.
Okay, so I kind of made a thing.
A thing that I’ve been working on for like five days now. I can hardly believe it’s done.
Anyway, here goes nothing.
It’s exactly what it says on the tin. Image heavy, but… if you’re reading this on tumblr, you’re used to lots of images, so hey!
Quick PSA for those who keep up with AO3 news via the tags.
Since they didn’t tag the post, it’s not showing up in tag tracking, so just passing along…
The folks behind the AO3 posted a handy pack of info about the causes of their server problems, what they’re doing to fix them, the expected timeline, and some tips on how to help the server load right over here.
As irksome as the 502s are, three cheers for helpful communication!
do people on ao3 understand that the tagging system doesn’t work like it does on tumblr
nobody fucking cares who you wrote it for or that OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I WROTE THIS or what the fuck ever, tag your shit appropriately and stop clogging up the searchable list
Uuuuummmmmm except no.
Came across this while tumblr-tag-browsing for the ao3, cuz I track it, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen this argument, but it’s the time I’ve finally decided to address it.
I’ve been on the AO3 since day one of open beta (well before I had a tumblr.) and have been using ‘tumblr style tags’ just as long, and I was on the tag wrangling team for over a year and a half.
The entire ethos of the AO3’s tagging system is that you can tag your fic however you want to tag it.
Nothing’s going to be ‘clogging up the searchable list’ unless a tag is used often enough and the wranglers judge it useful enough to be made canonical and thus be eligible for filtering. All the other extraneous tags are still clickable, though, so you can still look up fics that are using that tag.
I remember the first year of yuletide on AO3, when the tag wrangling crew was looking at the unwrangled freeform tags on the yuletide fics and giggling and wondering what on earth kind of fic led to some of those tags and therefore wanting to look at and read those fics once they went live.
AO3’s tagging system isn’t restrictive, it’s not prescriptivist, there aren’t rules on how to do it, and that’s by design, and it’s wonderful. I have read so many fics that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise touched due to the ‘silly’ tags attached to the fic, and generally they were good ones.
Nobody’s telling you not to tag how you like, don’t start telling other people not to tag how they like. Sorry to burst your bubble.