There has been a long standing debate between myself and fans who do supposed “fan fiction”. The main sore spot between me and these supposed fan authors is on the subject of what they consider fan fiction and what I consider fan fiction. When I think of fan fiction I think short stories and novels. Hell, I’ll even include fan poetry as fan fiction. But, the one thing I will not includes as fan fiction; and this causes screams of rage and foul in most forums and groups I’ve talked about this subject, is fan scripts. Give me a fucking break people they are scripts. They are meant for filmmakers to use as a blueprint for a film production and for actors to give them a quick and easy way to learn their lines. It is not intended to be used as literature. Scripts are written in a short hand, rather than in pros and don’t even require full sentences. They lack description and only give a hint at characterization. Therefore, it takes next to no writing skill to create them.
On the other hand, short stories and novels require great amounts of descriptive skill and understanding of characterization, because they need to work with the reader’s own imagination to bring the scenes and character to life.
For the writer of novels and short stories it is a long and tedious process filling a blank pages, building locations, and creating completely life-like people with nothing but words. That kind of writing is a craft that only a few very talented people can achieve. On the other hand, writing a script takes next to no descriptive skill. In most script scenes there is a very basic description. Characters are handled mostly through dialogues and gesture notes. For example, here is a scene the way a fan script writer would write it…: We open on a boiler room with pipes snaking out of the rusty boiler. Steam is shooting all over the place. A blond girl (Ashley) stumbles forward and looks around. She is in a sweat soaked nightshirt. We see a sheep runs down the aisle. ….
Ok, let’s see what an actual writer would do with this scene….: Steam shot out in every direction. There was clanking sound of metal as the rusty, battered boiler expanded and retracted with heat. Ashley stumbled forward and looked around in shock. Her nightgown was soaked with sweat and stuck to her slender form. Her butt length blond hair was slick and stuck to her back. Beads of salty liquid slid down her face and touched her lips.
Where was she? She asked herself. How did she get here? She looked around and a sudden movement caught her eye. She jumped back. Then she heard a scream echo through the boiler room. It sounded like the scream of a child. Then, the source of the movement and clomped into view. It was a white and black dotted sheep. The animal bayed and ran down the row of pipes that fed into the boiler. What the hell, she thought to herself……
See the difference?
A writer must craft the description to the character and their perception, where as the script writer need only give basic information for the set designers to get ideas and perform their art.
It is said that writing is bleeding. A writer must go into every that he is and knows in order to build believable worlds round his characters. This takes hours of writing and rewriting scenes until they come together and flow. It is not so with a script writer. Not to say his craft doesn’t have its challenges. I know those challenges because I’ve written scripts myself. But as people have noted I can quickly knock out a scene in a script in less than an hour, where as the same scene will take me hours if I’m writing a novel.
So, I gather the ever increasing horde of fan script writers are exclaiming “Who gives a shit!” It doesn’t answer why they can’t be called fan fiction. Ok, here is the reason…because fan scripts are too easy. Fan script writers don’t bleed. They are too lazy to actually write stories, yet they have the gall to expect to be lumped together with artists that do bleed and have the privilege to call themselves authors. They expect to get the credit and admiration without putting in the work. Sorry, my mentor Harlan Ellison would have a heart attack…and don’t go there. You don’t want to suffer the wrath of Harlan. I’m a Care Bear in comparison to him.
Also, these so called “fan fiction writers” seem to think that because their scripts are so easy to write, then writing is easy and so published authors are a joke. Thus, we have come to the situation where convention organizers, who are mostly former fan script writers themselves, think that authors deserve no respect because they, themselves, were considered authors by their peers and it wasn’t a big deal, so therefore these ego case, big shot, authors are no big deal ,and are a ridiculous for expecting to be treated with any kind of respect.
I recall when I was being harassed on From Dusk Till Con, a number of my harassers called me a fan fiction writer, because they were too ignorant to know the difference between a published writer and a fan fiction writer. No matter how many times I explained they refused to see the difference.
So, in summation, remember this kiddies, an author is a craftsman who takes years of pain and bleeding to learn his art. On the other hand, writing fan scripts are for lazy lumps who want to wow their buddies with their genus, yet don’t want to have to put in the time and effort to actually use pros and write an actual short story or novel. Writing is an art form as is poetry, thus they go together. Script writing is a building tool. It is in essence an outline, that is part of an art called filmmaking. Unlike, poetry, short stories, and writing, script writing is not literature, because it is not meant to be read unless you are going to use it to create a movie. If it is not going to be used to make a movie it is a waste of time and effort. Sorry, guys but that is the truth in my opinion.