Interesting and fairly well-balanced article on fanfiction in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, published yesterday. It's nothing new for fanwriters, but it's nice to see an article written basically for the mundanes, that only mentions Star Trek once, doesn't make any more fuss about Harry/Draco than Harry/Hermione, and quotes the "might very well be Fair Use" side of the legal issue. There's even a brief mention of RPF that doesn't smack of "But think of the Children!" There's the traditional "practice to make me a better writer" and "empowers women" opinions, but there's also acknowledgement (albeit mostly from readers' pov) that folks have other reasons (escape, interest in the canon, etc.) than the uber-political ones for being involved with fanfic.
There are a few 'huh?' moments. A painful metaphor about separating gems from chaff, for instance, where I wanted to take the writer aside and gently point out that there's a reason you always see that word paired with "wheat." And: The lesbian version [of 'slash'] is "alt" fiction -- what, did they get their definitions from Xena fandom? They talked to the ubiquitous Henry Jenkins, and I can't see him having used the term in that way, and if the article is otherwise slanted towards any fandom, it's HP, which as far as I know uses f/f slash or femslash, like -- ..er... most? -- of us.
There's also that strong Harry Potter slant, for no reason that I can see in terms of the subject or setting of the article, other than "HP is popular, therefore we'll use that as our hook without *saying* it's our hook." In the "Sampling of Fan Fiction Sites" 4 out of 7 sites were HP; the remaining 3 were ff.net, Writers' University, and Godawful Fanfiction. Nice to see the last three there, for writing-meta-reasons, but if they were going to go for fandom-specific sites in the other four, a range would have provided much better support for the general theme of "There's all sorts of stuff out there; people write fanfiction about everything."
Overall, though, I was fairly impressed; the variety was there in the narrative if not in the choice of fanfiction links, the tone seemed mostly positive, and the journalist seemd sincerely interested in the sujbect -- most days I'm just satisfied with a mainstream article making it to "not lurid" status.
- Fanfiction Article