Monday, May 07, 2007

Creative Work

From a conversation on livejournal.


Now I'm writing a novel online that I should try to sell... but the very thought of hearing back from a publisher who likes it, then talking to an editor, then starting to work... only to realize they fully intend to alter everything about it that makes it unique... no. Even though I know that might not happen, I'd just rather waste my time flipping off the industry with my free novel. And flipping off half-ass TV shows with my fanfic that beats their own filmed episodes in some people's opinions.

But I can admit that it's a very fine line between rebelling against a corrupt system and letting yourself get shoved out of that system by its corruption. I'm not sure what the answer is.

All paths of resistance are valid and necessary. For me, I do intend to get some experience in the gaming industry, but I 100% intend to strike out on my own. Will I reach Blizzard fame? Probably not. But if I could help pioneer the way for more inclusive game design -- like companies such as Her Interactive are doing -- then I'll be happy. Would working for, say, a company like Nintendo (or going into the fires and trying to deal with Blizzard) and trying to reform from the inside out make a bigger impact? Maybe, but maybe not. Both are needed for any real change to occur.

Anyway, this is just my long-winded way of saying that the fight for equality isn't fought and won on a single front, and that you are making a difference by doing what you're doing.

ETA: Okay, I've erased four comments and I can't think of a graceful way to clear up this one in the comments, so here's an edit for intention.

I'm pretty sure her worries are based on her experiences scriptwriting (and trying to sell those scripts), which I figure would very much apply to comic book writing since you are dealing with established characters and a lot of strict editorial control.

I know a lot of would be/would like to be but wouldn't for that line of reasoning/aspiring comic book writers who have expressed similar concerns, and I very much liked Tekanji's response to this post.

So I quoted it figuring it would be helpful to comic book fans, not as an accusation towards the book industry.

In conclusion, I wish Loren Javier would come back to blogging because he's better at this sort of thing than me.


  1. This may come off as naive -- or perhaps simply inexperienced -- but I have trouble taking this line of thought seriously. When it comes to publishing, is it really that common for editors to take manuscripts and make changes to the fundamental core of the work?

    Talking to the published writers I've spoken to (which I admit exist entirely in the fantasy genre) has given me the impression that when an editor likes a piece of fiction and is interested in buying it, it's because they like the piece of work. They like what makes that work unique. So why would they want to change it into something that it's not?

  2. I guess it depends who's looking at your proposal. But generally publishers don't change anything major unless there is a very specific reason to do so (like avoiding jail). Even then they need the creator's permission for any changes.

    In other words, read the fine print and don't sell your creative rights.

  3. There are usually very good reasons for an editor to make changes to a manuscript (though not always; I've heard horror stories). Even then, as Norman said, they have to run them by the writer first.

  4. Not that I have much additional to add, but...yeah. Book publishing isn't "corrupt." It isn't perfect by a long shot, but novel editors rarely ask for unwarranted sweeping rewrites--and if they do, you know what? The author can say "no," and if the work was good enough to interest one publisher, it'll probably be good enough to attract another.[1]

    I'm disproportionately annoyed by this kind of attitude not because it isn't understandable--that sort of thing does happen in other media--but because it's an insult to the people who do work in publishing, both on the editorial and production ends and on the "creative" side. I take it personally.

    I keep starting to type more, but it's probably not fair for me to work out my issues regarding the animosity between fanfic writers and the publishing world here in the comments section. Suffice it to say: There is animosity, I'm part of the problem, and I shouldn't be. Let's all try to get along.

    -- Anonymous Alex

  5. The part that confuses me is, how would a "half-ass" TV show be memorable enough even to inspire fanfic in the first place? Why not just watch something better?