shivver13 (shivver13) wrote,

Fanfic Writing Meme #20

I was watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night, and an idea popped into my head about something that was mentioned in the movie. So I might actually write my first non-Doctor Who fanfic! Surprise, surprise!

19. Do you ever get bunnied from other people's stories or art in the same fandom?

Sure. How can I not? I mean, the whole point of me writing fanfics is to explore the DW universe, and fanfics are a valid part of the universe. No, they're not canon, but they're still inspiration. I don't see the difference between watching "Human Nature" and coming up with a new idea for a story and reading someone's fanfic and coming up with a new idea for a story.

I have to admit, a few times, I've read a fanfic and thought, "What a great idea! But what a horrible writer! I could write that ten times better!" Incredibly uncharitable of me, I know. I've resisted the urge to do so, though. It's not a nice thing to do (stealing someone else's idea), and anyway, I don't have the time to write my own ideas out, so I certainly don't have the time to write out someone else's!

I do, however, believe that it is completely fine to take someone else's idea and rewrite it if you shape it into your own idea, and I have done so. Back in December, I found on ffnet a (still-ongoing) story called Don't Call Me Doctor by K. Sinclair. The premise of the story is that after leaving Doctor Who, David Tennant's career falls apart, due to being refused all parts because the directors don't want their audiences to see him playing a character and think, "Oh, it's the Doctor!" After a year or so of no work, he's standing on a cliff, ready to fling himself off, when the newly-regenerated Eleventh Doctor appears and whisks him away in the TARDIS. He then travels with the Doctor (and Amy and Rory) through the episodes of Series 5 (which he has already seen on TV, so he has foreknowledge).

The story is a fun read, though I had a lot of problems with it. First off, the writing's a bit dodgy. Second, the author, at least at the time, was more interested in depicting the episodes of the show with David added to them than in David having to deal with being in the Doctor's universe, which to me is more interesting. It didn't help that she obviously didn't want to change the plot of the episodes, so a lot of ended up with David mentally agonizing about whether or not he should use his foreknowledge to help things along or avert problems (and basically not doing anything other than mouthing off sarcastically). And third, the author dropped the whole career-death/suicide plot while adding a clumsily-handled "there's a mystery about David" plot. (She has since added more about both, so it's gotten better. The most recent chapter, set during "Amy's Choice," is really good.)

The thing was, though, even though it wasn't the best story out there, it was still fun, and the base idea completely fascinated me: David Tennant getting his favorite wish from when he was three years old and traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor. It was a true bunny: even though I was already working on a different long fic, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I started writing the initial encounter between David and the Eleventh Doctor (what happened when he woke up in the TARDIS), but it was pretty evident very soon that I had to make a full story of it. That's where The Actor came from.

Out of courtesy, I did write to K. Sinclair and ask her for permission to use her idea, saying that I wanted to put David Tennant in the TARDIS, but it would be a very different story from hers, but I don't think that it was completely necessary. I didn't steal her story: I took part of her story idea and developed it into a completely different story. And that, I think, is the distinction, that you're telling your own story, even if it was inspired by and incorporates some ideas from another one. Interestingly, I've since had another writer ask me for permission to write a story inspired by The Actor. That was quite an honor. Of course I said yes. I think it's amazing that someone could be inspired like that by something I wrote.

Meme Master Post

Tags: writing

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