I don’t read Kristen Britain anymore.

Not because I don’t like her writing: Green Rider was excellent, First Rider’s Call was a delight to discover a couple years later, and The High King’s Tomb left me hungering for more in the series.

Because I wanted to know when I could get my hands on the next in the series, I checked out her website. All authors should have websites: especially ones that they update with the release dates of their next books. As I browsed around, looking for extras like Sherwood Smith has on her site (she has maps!), I found Kristen Britain’s FAQ, and her response to fan-fiction.

It confused me, at first. Fanfiction does not affect your copyright as the author, since, uh, you created it first, and everything is automatically yours. Most fanwriters will prominently label their works with at least the name of the original work, if not your name, because they want other fans to be able to find it. They label them as fanfiction. Of course, anyone trying to sell fanfiction is doing something illegal and violating your IP and should be reported, but non-commercial fanfiction is generally treated as falling into slim grey fringes of Fair Use.

But that’s the legal stuff, and has very little bearing on my decision.

Fanfiction is, at its core, a love letter to the original work. People write it because they can’t get enough of the world, they want more, they want to explore an aspect of it that won’t be further explored in the text (like someone’s ambition to become a pirate which is derailed by plot). Saying that it’s all unwelcome seems very much a denial of your fans’ emotional investment in your work. Obviously they will never be as connected as you are as the creator, but does that mean no one else is allowed to fall in love with it?

I thought that was king of the point of writing. Kristen Britain’s answer to the question of fanfiction struck me as very much a refutation of the validity of fans loving her work. Anne Rice behaved very similarly and was higher-profile, but I stopped reading her for other reasons, so this is prompted by Kristen Britain’s stance. From what I’ve read, we’re supposed to buy her stuff, read it, and care about it only as much as necessary for us to buy the next one and not one iota more.

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