Yesterday I mentioned that, as I penned my little tales and posted them on the Big Valley Writing Desk, I considered that the "someday" I'd always hoped for hadn't arrived. But in all actuality, it had. If, as many publishers decree, that anything posted anywhere for public consumption is indeed published, then "someday" for me was here as soon as I clicked "post". Was I not fortunate enough to be "published" in the Valley? Was I not more fortunate than authors who put their work other places, even in print, and never receive any comments or feedback?
Once I retired, I realized that the time had come to look seriously at trying for publication. Right off the bat, one of my BV fan fiction stories--rewritten for the mainstream--won the Editor's Choice award in a contest and publication in an anthology of holiday stories. To say I was elated is an understatement!
So, although I had come to the end of ideas for my fan fiction, I found that the stories had possibilities elsewhere as mainstreamed fiction. The most important point here is that they would never have come into being at all had it not been for the opportunity to write fan fiction.
Consider the character of Victoria Barkley played by Barbara Stanwyck. "Missy" started as a chorus girl, paid very little, uncredited when the productions were advertised, unnoticed by the world at large. But she had a dream, and she knew that she had to start at the beginning and learn her craft, and that's exactly what she did. Without those early years of "hoofing" and barely surviving, would Ruby Stevens have become Barbara Stanwyck? Probably not. Later, she spoke of those days with pride and affection. Everyone begins somewhere.
Writers get all kinds of advice, including "Don't give it away"--but a clip is a clip, whether it is paid or unpaid. It's a matter of opinion and individual choice--and payment often comes in other ways than monetary. Every writer has choices to make about his/her work. However, I believe that giving credit where credit is due is an obligation, not a choice, and that belief spurred this blog topic.
Tomorrow: Fan Fiction Part 3: The Changing World of Publishing and the Future of My Fan Fiction