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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Nick Trano

What is the origin of this oft-repeated thing about WoT Fan Fiction?

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I'm not a fan fiction writer, but I recently wrote something that sooooorrta falls under the definition. After a discussion with someone else I read around and I've seen a lot of stuff about the wishes of good ol' RJ and his wife that fanfiction for WoT not be publicized. I don't care about that, I'm not here to complain about that, I'm just curious about what exactly was said. Anybody know the original interview that that all sprouted from?

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I'm not sure they cared about "fan-fiction" as you mean it.  They don't want companion novels, or "expanded universe" novels being published.

As for the original interview quote, I don't have that, sorry

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Basically RJ viewed himself as the Creator and was uncomfortable with anyone else writing in his world. Additionally he viewed people using his characters as copyright infringmenet. He has answered a number of questions about fan fic such as the one below:

 

 

Interview: Dec 9th, 2002Question

How do you feel about WoT-oriented fan fiction?

Robert Jordan

I am really only barely aware that it exists, I'm afraid, and the question is a delicate one. I don't go looking for it, but if I find out that someone is writing using my characters, and publishing it (including posting it on-line) then I MUST do something about it as a matter of protecting my copyrights. (Although this is a different matter, some other time, I'll go into why pirating books and stories to post them on-line is no different from taking somebody's ATM card and making a series of withdrawals from their bank account. Whenever I see anyone post a defense of pirating, I really, really want to get my hands on his ATM card and PIN.) Writing in my world is a different matter I think; my lawyer may tell me I'm dead wrong on that. The one thing I do try to keep an eye out for is /slash/ or KS fiction using my characters. If you want to write erotica, fine. I like reading erotica, sometimes. But if you write erotica using my characters and post it, I WILL find you, and I will come down on you like the Hammer of God. I've found some very raunchy, and very badly written, examples of that, and I don't like it a bit.

 

& one from here at DM

 

Jennifer Liang

Fan fiction has never really taken off in the Wheel of Time fandom. Partly the reason for that is because Robert Jordan did not like fanfic—he didn't like other people playing in his sandbox—and so when me and Jason became aware that he didn't like fanfic, we pretty much killed it on Dragonmount, and because we killed it on Dragonmount, that meant everybody else killed it too, because people pretty much follow our lead, so there's never really been a lot of fanfic in the Wheel of Time. There is some out there—if you look around you can find some like on fanfic.net—but it's never really taken off for whatever reason. And I think it's partly because we killed it very quickly, but I think it's also partly because a lot of what is special about the Wheel of Time is the unique voice of Robert Jordan, and for the most part other people writing in that universe, it's crap. Even if they're a really good writer, it's...[brandon] is really the only person I like writing in the Wheel of Time universe other than Jim, so...I think that's another reason why it doesn't take off, because it's pretty obvious it's not Robert Jordan.

 

He was so uncomfortable with people writing in his world that it wasn't until the very end that he even agreed to let the story be finished.

 

Edited by Suttree

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Interesting. He had the Orson Scott Card view of things. Can't say it's completely understandable, but I would definitely stab someone if they wrote erotica with any characters I came up with. I can get him on that 100%. :P

 

Thanks!

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I'm always confused about exactly what fanfic is. If you wrote a story with completely your own characters, in your own world, but using an author's "magic" system, would that be fanfic? Would it be copyright infringement?

Edited by Elgee

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Does these rules still apply? I assume there must have been some shift in these regulations over the years, the current RP section are practically just that. (Just without the use of the main characters), so I assume the prohibition has been lifted? or altered to compensate?

 

Also I would totally agree with RJ. Eroticas are weird, and I really don't understand people who would want to write them. :dry: 

Be just as painful for anyone to read, unless they have a real chink for reading oddly matched Romance between already well established characters.

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I don't understand his anger at fanfiction. I can understand him not wanting other people to get money out of his universe by publishing books, but he says in Suttree's first quote that he will make people who post fanfiction online pay. 99% of the time, people who post stories on fanfiction.net aren't making any money. 

 

Sherper, I can speak from experience that erotica can be enjoyable  :wink: . I've been into manga for quite a while, and I like to think I read some top quality stuff. Being a horny teenager, I want to see some sex, but manga with lots of fan service usually sucks. So the only way to get these characters in bed with each other is through fan fiction. 

 

It's been a long time since I've done this though. The last one I remember reading was a Berserk doujin where Guts had a dream that him and casca were still in love. It was actually pretty sad and gave me feels.  I guess there's another reason. The sex scenes in Berserk are some of the most potent points in the series, and the doujin, although not canon, adds a little bit to that potency. 

Edited by HeadlessLover

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I'm always confused about exactly what fanfic is. If you wrote a story with completely your own characters, in your own world, but using an author's "magic" system, would that be fanfic? Would it be copyright infringement?

 

Such a good question, and in the strictest sense, fanfiction is defined as: "fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc."

 

I wish I knew if RJ defined fanfiction solely by the above definition, but I don't think he would view RolePlaying as falling under that category.  For instance, the tabletop RPG involves playing scenes, inventing characters, and working through the world of the WoT universe.  This was clearly a sanctioned activity by the estate, for which I am really grateful!

 

Via personal communication with Brandon Sanderson (as a Storm Leader during the Gathering Storm book tour), he was made known about online play by post RP's set in the world of the WoT (specifically the White Tower).  The website in particular referenced activities and characters in the books but strictly never wrote for them or discussed their actions (par what happened in the books).  Brandon approved of this format, and in fact addressed the book he autographed for me to my main character (Squee!).  

 

Now I cannot speak for him, but BS has discussed the rules about fanfiction at length regarding WoT.  Therefore, if play by post RP's were against the will of the RJ estate, I do not think he would have been so interested in / amenable to discussing our website, plots, characters, etc.  It is with this thin interpretation of a blessing that I went on to make The First Age (a PBPRPG).  Although set in the WoT universe (the Age before the Age of Legends), I am very, very particular about references in regards to the world, because I want to be as respectful as possible to The Creator's memory.

 

Therefore, in short, fanfiction: no; tabletop RPG: yes; play-by-post RP: yes ---  ?  At least, I hope.  

Edited by TheFirstAge

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He could have phrased it a lot better. GRRM has written blog entries on the subject, the gist is you have to go after anyone who goes beyond Fair Use that you are aware of otherwise hello abandoned copyright and knock-off novels everywhere. Also GRRM goes beyond that to say what you should do instead and why.

 

There's plenty of examples of this in publishing, and the internet has changed everything though the law has yet to even catch up to 1990 :) Of course, Stone of Tears must have somehow passed legal muster too (it looks very WoTimey at a glance at the cover).

 

Using elements of say the magic system would be ok, but you really have to make it your own. As RJ did unless he was paying money to the Tolkien estate and whomever holds the copyright on street names in Charleton lol.

 

There are authors that are ok with fan-fic to some extent, and I would like to know how they make it work. I'll check back after reading http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2010/03/perils-of-fan-fiction-part-i/

 

...and not much there, maybe his lawyer yelled at him. Oh, twist Wert's arm, he must know about this.

Edited by Cybertrolloc

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I don't understand why people would write fanfiction in the first place... RP with others, yes, with characters you make up; that I can see. It's like when me and my friend pretended we were in the Harry Potter universe when we were 11-12, making our own wands and stuff. But writing about the characters? I'm sorry; I don't see the need. I want to see the story the author is planning to tell me; why would I make up my own? That's my view at least.

 

 

And Sherper, there's nothing wrong with erotic stories, as long as they are well written. But, most of of what you find is not, unfortunatley.

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Haha, I'd agree with you that fanfiction using somebody else's characters is a terrible, terrible thing from a writing standpoint. Reason this came up was because I wrote a story where an original character got catapulted from the fourth age to the first age through Finnland after the Seanchan started conquering the crap out of everyone. Technically, counted as that kind of fanfiction because I was deciding what happened after the books. 

 

As for erotic fanfiction... no, just no. Every piece of erotic fanfiction written causes poor old Robert Jordan's genitals to decay just a little bit faster.

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Honestly it seems like a lot of fanfiction is just written to fulfill some person's need to be creative, while avoiding the hard work and sweat of actually creating complete universe/characters. 

 

Like painting replica of van gogh, but using slightly different colors...

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They have a WOT site on Facebook and are allowing the fan fiction.  I haven't seen any of the characters used, but they are using the scenery, places, and magic system.  They just use a new name for an ash-man or Aes Sedai and tell it in a manner away from the main story. 

 

Kind of like the LOTR video games and how they run parallel to the main story but aviod the main characters. 

 

BTW, it all sucks on Facebook too.  Get your own ideas!  Everything from WOT belongs Robert Jordan.  That's like a crappy band or singer doing cover songs because they have no talent to write their own music!!!

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Also I would totally agree with RJ. Eroticas are weird, and I really don't understand people who would want to write them. :dry:

Be just as painful for anyone to read, unless they have a real chink for reading oddly matched Romance between already well established characters.

 

But what isn't hilarious about a fan-fic where Rand's three lovers are Galad, Gawyn and Lan instead of Min, Elayne and Aviendha? Or Gawyn, Rhuarc and Lan, that might work better. And maybe if we threw in some zombies... hm...

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My own two cents, and I don't want to get attacked because I'm new but the repeated mention of piracy and ATM and wallet makes me think RJ was against it because of money. And in my opinion that bugs me. Its understandable if it was published and printed. But a fanfic between ardent fans, that's harmless in my opinion.

 

 

 

Kim

 

Sent using my RAZ M

 

 

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My own two cents, and I don't want to get attacked because I'm new but the repeated mention of piracy and ATM and wallet makes me think RJ was against it because of money. And in my opinion that bugs me. Its understandable if it was published and printed. But a fanfic between ardent fans, that's harmless in my opinion. Kim Sent using my RAZ M

It's not harmless. Copyrights have to be defended, so if RJ doesn't defend against "harmless" fanfics, it harms his ability to defend himself against any other infringement.

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Well yes, Jordan was against it because of money. He made money writing about characters he created and he had the right to profit from the years of work he spent developing them and the world of the Wheel of Time. It's very, very difficult to make a living as an artist or author. You'd be surprised how many really, really GOOD writers still have day jobs because they couldn't pay their bills otherwise. We're talking folks with multiple awards or nominations under their belts, but they still need to clock in somewhere and write like madmen when they get home. And if they don't do that, they have a spouse that helps make up the shortfall. Making a living doing something creative is the exception, not the rule. And becoming wealthy from it is akin to winning the lottery. So yeah, Jordan was going to be very protective of his livelihood. I've heard Harriet tell stories about when they were both too broke to afford to heat their house in the winter, so they were pretty aware of how much Jordan struggled to get where he was. 

 

As for play by post RPs, Jordan was pretty aware of them during his life and Team Jordan continues to be aware of them. I'm not sure why they decided they don't mind it, but I think it's because we treat it as a game and not an extension of the story and we don't charge anyone to play it. Jordan used to DM for his step-son's DnD campaigns, so it's not like they don't understand what a RPG is. I've never really questioned them on it, because I'd really hate for them to reconsider and ask us to stop. =)

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Honestly it seems like a lot of fanfiction is just written to fulfill some person's need to be creative, while avoiding the hard work and sweat of actually creating complete universe/characters. 

 

Like painting replica of van gogh, but using slightly different colors...

 

You can only paint a replica if it is not the same dimensions as the original. If it is the same dimensions, it is illegal.

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