Massive Fiction: An Introduction

I’ve tried to write and re-write this post to make it short, and it just keeps getting longer. So I’m trying something new. I’m giving you the facts and nothing else. Then in the coming days and weeks, I’ll write more on a few of the topics below. Does that work? Okay, so here we go. Just the facts.

Fact – I’m an instructional designer. I spend a great deal of time thinking about how people learn and the best way to teach them.

Fact – I’m a writer. I spend a great deal of time thinking about the very complex craft of writing.

Fact – Scaffolding is a technique instructional designers use when teaching a complex skill. It allows designers to break down the skill into smaller skills, and allows a learner to focus on digestible chunks. More on this in a later post.

Fact – Fan fiction is when a writer composes stories in a world that somebody else created. They use characters, setting, and even the plot of well known stories, but the writer gives it their own personal spin. More on this in a later post.

Fact – Fan fiction provides scaffolding while learning the craft of writing, and is therefore an excellent instructional method for teachers and learners alike.

Fact – Fan fiction is illegal. You cannot share or sell your fan fiction stories. At best it is tolerated; at worst publishers and authors file lawsuits against offenders.

Fact – You can write fan fiction about a work that is in the public domain; however, because most of that work is over a hundred years old, it doesn’t happen very often. When was the last time you saw Huckleberry Finn fan fiction?

Fact – Huckleberry Finn fan fiction is fun to say.

Fact – As an author and instructional designer, I came up with the idea to create a world with setting, characters, and plot–a world where it is not only tolerated and legal to create fan fiction, but encouraged.

Fact – I enlisted the help of an Instructional Design professor at BYU, and eight fellow authors (some of them New York Times best selling authors) to help me create this world.

Fact – The stories about this world will be released under a Creative Commons attribution license. That means you can do anything you want with them, including printing the stories, selling them, writing your own, and more.

Fact – We could use your help. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help create this world. You can find all the latest information, and read more about this project, over on our Kickstarter page.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear any thoughts and feedback you have on the idea.

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9 Responses to Massive Fiction: An Introduction

  1. Krista says:

    Incredible. I wonder if people will appreciate how generous this endeavor is. Totally hoping this gets its legs. Go go go!

  2. Suzanne says:

    This is SUCH a fantastic idea. I very much enjoy watching creative people collaborate on projects, and this one feels like it will be Mammoth-ish. Good luck to you guys! I’ll spread the word… and while I don’t have a ton of cash, I’m super excited to Kick in for this one. (You guys get my pedicure allowance for the spring/summer.) (Just never look at my hideous feet.)

  3. Michael says:

    Great idea. This is something which can really get the creative juices flowing. I look forward to seeing the initial results of the project, it should be fun.

  4. Julie says:

    I wrote quite a bit of Fanfiction in junior high. Fanfiction.net is relatively safe (Unless you want to write Anne Rice stuff, then you better kiss your life goodbye because that bugs her enough that they won’t accept it.) But most authors are okay or ignorant to Fanfiction… As for me… I don’t know. I would probably be okay with it. Fanfiction is what got me started into writing. I’m considering writing some again with video game characters that no one else has written about in a huge genre, so I’ll basically be invisible. Also, most Fanfiction is really a slush pile, but when you find golden gems of story, the world is wonderful.

    Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with Fanfiction, but in a world where it’s encouraged? I’m intrigued. :) Just to be sure, there are some weiiiird Fanfiction writers out there, with the quality of forever free E-books (or worse).

    Good luck with this fun project of Massive Fiction!

  5. Carole Thayne Warburton says:

    I love this idea. Though it’s very new to me.

  6. Scott Taylor says:

    I love the idea of people working together on a project–it automatically generates creative ideas (my opinion, of course). Hopefully I can help in a small way. I’m excited to see the new world(s) that will evolve from this. Good job!

  7. Eleanor C. Jensen says:

    As a former teacher, anything that will help students to be creative and write is desperately needed. I’m very excited from what you have told me.
    As a mother, I think I know why I am not creative, all my creativity went to you and your siblings. I am in awe.

  8. Erica Frank says:

    Fact – Fan fiction is illegal. You cannot share or sell your fan fiction stories. At best it is tolerated; at worst publishers and authors file lawsuits against offenders.

    Not entirely fact. The legality of fan fiction is contested, but if it were clearly-and-certainly illegal without permission, sites like fanfiction.net wouldn’t exist. The Organization for Transformative Works believes that fan fiction is a transformative use of the original material, and therefore covered by fair use guidelines.

    As far as I’ve been able to track down, no lawsuits have been filed against independent fan fiction authors. A few C&D orders have been sent out, and DMCA takedowns have been issued, but no actual lawsuits have been filed, much less resulted in a ruling that fan fiction outside of a publishing contract is copyright infringement. (For-profit fan fiction is a different matter, and depends on one’s definitions–lawsuits were filed for The Wind Done Gone and 60 Years Later: Coming Through The Rye, with the results being that one was ruled infringing and one was not.)

    I am delighted at the idea of a world created to encourage fan fiction and other shared-world projects. I would prefer it were done without implying that almost all existing fanfic is written by lawbreakers.

    That said, the project sounds interesting; I’ve pledged to the kickstarter even though I’ve no idea if the subject matter or genre of the shared world will be to my taste.

  9. Some great thoughts, Erica.

    From what I can tell, there have been no lawsuits because when authors ask that fan fiction be taken down, the sites comply. But you are right, it’s a very complicated issue (as you can see from the link below) and we’re hoping to make it easier.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_with_fan_fiction

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