Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Perils of Fan Fiction - Part I

Lately, I've been thinking about fanfic.

This is new to me. Up until this this point in my life, I've spent more time thinking about how turtles have sex than about fan fiction.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against fan fiction. It's just....

It's like this. Let's say you came up to me and said, "So, what do you think about Dnipropetrovsk?"

I would look at you blankly.

Then you would say, "Dnipropetrovsk? Major Ukrainian industrial center?"

To which I would shake my head dumbly.

Dismayed, you would continue, "Come on! It's the third largest city in the Ukraine! More than a million people live there! How can you not know about Dnipropetrovsk?"

At this point in the conversation, I would probably explain that I'm sure that Dnipropetrovsk plays a vital role in a lot of peoples' lives. I'd admit that I'm not surprised that folks have strong feelings about how it used to be a major military asset for the USSR. I'm sure that a lot of people live, breathe, and spend a big chunk of their waking time thinking about Dnipropetrovsk.

But I'm just not one of those people. I've never known anyone from there. Never visited. Never seen a movie set in the city. For all these reasons, Dnipropetrovsk has been off my radar for my entire life.

It's the same thing with fan fiction.

Admittedly, in these last several years, I've become aware of fan fiction through a slow osmosis. At any given convention there are going to be panels on the subject. You'll hear conversations in the hall. Occasional jokes.

Even so, fan fiction has only been dimly present on the edge of my perception.

The one notable exception is that I've known, sooner or later, that someone was going to do fan fiction about my stuff. Using my characters. Set in my world.

Truth is, I've looked forward to it. When people start writing fan fiction about your stuff, it shows that your writing has attained a level of popularity. It's like fanart, in my opinion. No matter how you feel about the art itself, the fact that someone went out of their way to do it is really flattering.

That's the most I ever thought about it. The thought of folks writing a Potter vs. Kvothe cage match never really bugged me.

How other writers feel on the subject has never concerned me very much. I know emotions tend to run hot on the subject. Some people love fan fiction. Some people hate it. Some people view it as legally actionable, others see it as a crime against god and nature.

The first people I met who were firmly on one end of the spectrum are the awesome folks who won the photo contest that I ran a while back. The first time I ever met them out at Gencon, they expressed a firm distaste for fanfic. They even made up this picture for me.

When I went down to Indianapolis a year ago, I they dressed up for a reading I did at their local library. And, as a joke, I had Kvothe and Bast pose for kiss because we were talking about the bit of Yaoi that got written.

You can see from the expression on Kvothe's face that she doesn't condone this sort of behavior.

It didn't really strike me as odd that people who engaged in cosplay would look down on people who wrote fan fiction. There is a viscous of territorialism in geek society, as shown by this flow chart that Brunching Shuttlecocks put together years ago:

(Click to Embiggen.)

It reminds me of a quote that used to get tossed around when I was in grad school. "Why is the competition on academia so fierce? Because the stakes are so low."

I think some similar psychological force is at play in geekdom.

Hold on.... I just realized something. Our award-winning cosplayers, by putting together a series of images that tell a story have created a narrative. A narrative that features characters someone else created.

Does that make their entry to the photo contest fan fiction? Are they all closet fanficers?

Whoo boy. I'm glad I'm not there to hear the great wailing and gnashing of teeth right now. I'm guessing those are fighting words....

Anyway, I always figured how people felt about fanfic was a personal issue. It's like Jefferson said: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

That's been my philosophy. You love fanfic? Fine. You hate it? Also fine. It really doesn't effect my life in the least.

But then I accidentally wrote a piece of fan fiction, and everything changed....

(Stay tuned for part two, space cowboys.)


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posted by Pat at 79 Comments

Thursday, December 3, 2009
Luring the Draccus

This is a worldbuilders blog.

Let me tell you a little story. A while back, I got a piece of fanmail from a guy named Phil McDarby.

It was a nice e-mail. It had paragraphs and capital letters and punctuation and everything. It was all sorts of classy.

It also said some very nice things about my book, which I always enjoy. Then Phil mentioned that he was an artist and tossed me a link to his site. (I'm not going to link it yet, because if I do, you'll start browsing his page and forget to come back here to the blog.)

I took at look at his website and was amazed. Seriously amazed. I have no graphic ability of my own, so any sort of art is magic to me. But his stuff was above and beyond: gorgeous pictures that were photo-realistic while still being fantastic.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm kind of a fan of realistic/fantastic.

Most notably, I saw a picture called "The Amber Dragon's Horde," which showed a little dragon tiny as a sparrow. It looked like something you'd see in National Geographic.

So I e-mailed Phil back. I thanked him for the lovely note and complimented him on his work. I also said, in passing, "Have you ever given any thought as to what the Draccus might look like?"

Okay, I lie. It wasn't a casual comment at all. I was fishing....

Still, I was surprised when a week later I got an e-mail with a link to something wonderful.

Go on, click it. It's time. Go look at Phil's site. While you're at it, check out The Amber Dragon's Hoard, too.

I'm serious. Go click over there. I'll wait for you to come back...

In the months since then, Phil and I have been getting some stuff ready for you. He made some high-end prints of "Luring the Draccus." They're a limited run of 50 museum quality prints. They're signed by both of us, and I've written a unique quote on each one of them. Some of the quotes are from The Name of the Wind, and some are from The Wise Man's Fear.

If you want to buy one of those numbered prints, he has them up on his site over here.

Now I know some of you might be tempted to squawk about the price. But before you do, you need to realize a few things.

1) This isn't the sort of poster you buy for your dormroom. They're huge, on amazing paper, and printed with a degree of detail I didn't even know was possible outside a photograph. This is some serious high-end art.

2) It's nice for artists to make money off the art they create. Believe it or not, Phil doesn't get any money from you downloading his picture over the interweb. (Yes. I'm looking at you.) I have a publisher that pays to edit, print, and ship my books around. Phil doesn't. He paid for the printing and shipping of these posters by himself. (You don't even want to know what they cost him.)

3) One of these limited posters, 2 of 50 I think, is already for sale over here for a crazy amount of money. Way more than what Phil is charging.

4) Phil is letting me use his art to do a run of smaller posters exclusively for the Worldbuilders fundraiser.

My posters aren't nearly as posh as the limited edition ones. They're smaller, and we've had to crop the image a bit. But still, I'm really happy with how they turned out.

Here's a picture of one next to the paperback, so you can have a sense of scale....

(Click to Embiggen. It's awesome.)

A copy of Luring the Draccus will be $40. I've even got a silvery pen I'm using to sign it.

All the proceeds go to Heifer International, of course. Personally, I think they'd make great Christmas gifts....

  • If you're in the US, shipping will be $8.00. We'll be sending it to you in a sturdy, hermetically sealed cardboard tube. That's right. The great god Hermes Trismegistus will perform vast and terrible magics on your package to ensure its safety. Plus we'll use a whole lot of tape.
  • You can order as many posters as you like and the shipping will remain the same.

Luring the Draccus - USA

  • If you're somewhere else in the world, shipping will be $28 no matter how many you buy. So making a group order with some friends is probably a good idea. That is, if you have any friends. If you don't have any friends, you might want to console yourself by buying an extra poster.

Draccus:International Shipping

I have about 150 posters. When I was ordering them, that seemed like a really extravagant amount. But given that we sold out all my first edition copies of NOTW in three days, it could be that I've underestimated people's enthusiasm for the fundraiser.

What it comes down to is this, I'll print more posters if we need them, but that will take time. For now it's first come, first serve.

Thank you all for helping to make this year's fundraiser such an instant success. We're only four days in and we've already hit almost 13,000 dollars. I'm stunned.

See you later space cowboys,


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posted by Pat at 60 Comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Updated appearances, plus a treat....

I've got a new signings, readings, and convention appearances coming up over the next few months. The ones I'm certain of are now all listed on the tour schedule part of the webpage.
If you're ever wondering where I'm going to be rearing my ugly, beardy self, that's the place to check.

I'll be near or in Madison a couple of times, and over by Minneapolis this Friday. Well, okay, technically I'll be in Hudson. But that's practically spitting distance. You Minnesota folks have to admit that I'm meeting you more than halfway....

While it might seem that I'm saving all my love for people here in the Midwest. Let me reassure you: I love all my readers, no matter what their geographical disposition might be.

Why are most of the appearances in Wisconsin, then? Well, because those are the places that ask me to come visit. AND they're the places I can make it to without spending more than a couple hours and couple bucks in gas. If your book club wants to pay my way to Texas so I can drink coffee and chat... That's lovely. I'm on board. If your local convention wants to fly me out to talk on panels and sign some books. I'll be there in a heartbeat. But so far the majority of my offers have been local....

And now, the treat. Those of you with a discerning eye for art might recognise the graphic stylings of this particular website. It's done by Nathan Taylor, the guy who did the map in my book.

Anyway, I have it on good authority that if vote for his webcomic, you'll see something that is, in fact, wicked cool...

If that alone cannot slake your terrible hunger for delicious fanarts, then you should vote for his other comic and see what's there.

More later. Now? Sleep.


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posted by Pat at 28 Comments

Friday, July 13, 2007
Kvothe vs. Harry Potter - Cage Match!

Those of you who tune into the blog regularly already know that a few weeks ago Orson Scott Card reviewed my book on his website. He said some very flattering things, and, generally I was a blushy with delight.

Yesterday, or maybe the day before, someone on FACEBOOK brought the following piece of comic fanart to my attention.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I don't know what to say about it really. Except that I'm flattered, and I think it's funny as hell. And, personally, it looks like Kvothe might be getting ready to kick every inch of Harry's ass if he doesn't move out of the way a little quicker.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder how Kvothe and Harry would get along if they ever met. Wow. That's a weird though. Worlds collide. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I swallowed an ice cube with my brain.

Later all,


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posted by Pat at 42 Comments

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