I’ve had a couple of questions recently about how I feel about fanfic – so time for a post where I can lay it all out.
Short version: I love and approve of fanfic, but please don’t send me any fanfic (or related text, like ideas you’ve had for it) or otherwise directly wave it in front of my eyes. Sharing fan art, craft projects, and other forms of fannish goodness are all wonderful.
Read on for more of an explanation (and why I’m putting it this way.)
What is fanfic?
There are a great many ways to engage with an author’s works that involve the reader’s own creativity.
One way is by writing stories – fanfic – set in a particular author’s world. Maybe these use the author’s characters. Those might be minor characters (the ones who are on stage for a few sentences at some key moment). Or perhaps they involve original characters the fanfic author creates. The stories can run a huge range, from original epic plots to missing scenes from a book via a different point of view.
There are also all sorts of other kinds of fan art. These include making art (drawings, paintings, crafts) to cosplay (dressing up like a character) to making videos or playlists or writing songs. There are even things like making teas or perfumes or nailpolishes. Basically, if you can imagine an art form, someone’s probably done some type of fannish creation about it.
My feelings about fanfic
I am entirely in favour of fanfic existing – and I’ve been known to write some of my own. (More on that in a second.) I’d be an absolutely hypocrite if I said I didn’t want it for my own work.
I also consider fanfic to be one of the highest compliments someone can pay. People wanting to be part of what I’ve written in that way is a wonderful thought! While some fanfic comes out of a desire to ‘fix’ a problem in the canon work, much more of it comes out of a desire to spend more time with these people (and this world).
However, as an author, there are some complexities with my knowing anything about fanfic of my own work. There have been some messy situations in the past, with authors whose intended stories crossed over with fanworks. I absolutely don’t want to end up in a situation that might be legally complicated. But I even more don’t want anyone to feel hurt or misused (whether that’s one of my readers or me).
I have a lot more stories I want to tell in Albion. While Albion is still an open and growing space, I want to make sure nothing’s going to get snarled in the process. (I am not a Penelope, I only play one in some novels…)
Here’s my fanfic policies
Please write fanfic if you are so inclined!
If you’d like to connect with others:
Someone on our Discord has kindly set up a Discord server just for discussion of fanfic of my Albion books. You can get the link in the #announcements channel of the server, or feel free to ask. (I’m also glad to share the link with you. But I am not on that server, cannot see any content, or have any other information about it beyond than the link. That is exactly how I want it.)
If you want to set up fannish spaces anywhere else, I’m glad to share the links (or how to get involved) the same way. Just let me know how people can get in touch with whoever the admin is or where to find you. I’ll share the links in suitable places. (That means this post plus the Discord, plus any other locations added later.)
All other (non-text) fannish creative works
Anything that isn’t text (fiction or otherwise) is welcome on the Albion’s Delight Discord server. Please feel free to share art, music, crafts, and whatever else, so long as it isn’t telling a story about characters. I’d also be delighted to share them with readers in my newsletter if you’re willing. (Drop me a note in the contact form if you’d like to do this.)
Talking through bits of worldbuilding and details of the books is always fine on the Discord, in Patreon, in emails, or whatever else. If something veers a bit too much into “If X talked to Y, and Z happened” territory (i.e. a chain of events), I may ask to shift topics.
One particular note about me and fanfic. I don’t write a lot, but the most reliable place has been via the Yuletide exchange for small fandoms that runs every year.
(I didn’t write for it in 2022, but I did most of the previous decade. Reliably, I do read a lot of stories posted in that exchange. For those not familiar, in an exchange you write a story for someone else based on certain things you match on like fandoms or characters. Someone else writes a story for you.)
This does mean that while I’d be delighted if Albion ended up in Yuletide, I will also be firmly ignoring its possible existence.
Want to know about a detail?
I have a lot of notes about things in the books, both that have already been published and those that are in drafts that aren’t out yet or part of later plans. I’m always glad to help with details. “Is there a portal near here?” “You haven’t specified the land magic for X place, is there anything about that?” “Have there been Council members with this background?”
If I don’t have anything specified yet, I’ll tell you. If I do, I will (and how solid it is, in terms of info). When there’s a reference in a particular book, I can probably easily tell you the chapter. Just don’t share details of your plots about what you’re doing with that information, and we’re all good.
Feel free to drop me a note, and I’m glad to clarify. And again, I am delighted to share any fannish creation other than text-based fanfic with others, or share other locations where people interested can talk about it, create it, and have fun with it.