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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Thank you for your letter. It is good to hear about your newsletter and the activity of my fans.
I think I need to address your question about the stories. You are right about stories set in my world or my landscape or my world's history plagiarizing my creation, and plagiarism is theft; a benign theft in the case of a fan publication, but just the same, an author's sole property rights to his creating lie in his copyright, and to infringe my copyright is to steal from me...Even if I were to set restrictions, any permission or approval from me would set a precedent that I cannot and will not set. You might agree not to use any of my characters, say, but another fan club might not be as correct as you have been regarding asking permission, yet take publication by your newsletter of stories in my world as an okay to do the same. Like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, I might well find stories being published that do include my characters, and published to make a buck. Such would lead to all sorts of legal wrangles.
For that reason, I cannot give you such permission.
As to role playing, that is an entirely different matter. As long as there is no commercial consideration involved, feel free. With regard to sanctioning your club, I'm afraid I can't. I do not intend to sanction any fan club; there are a number of clubs, and I really can't favor one over another. I hope you understand.
I enjoy hearing music about the Wheel of Time and seeing drawings about the Wheel of Time. As far as the fan fiction goes—that is, stories—please remember copyright, guys. To protect my copyright, I have to keep on top of anyone who violates it. So, no fan fiction using my characters or my world. Sorry.
Using the ornaments out of the books is a different matter. That is a violation of copyrights, trademarks. When I say I like seeing art about the Wheel of Time, I mean art that the fans created themselves. And remember guys, you can't try to make money out of this stuff.
How do you feel about WoT-oriented fan fiction?
I am really only barely aware that it exists, I'm afraid, and the question is a delicate one. I don't go looking for it, but if I find out that someone is writing using my characters, and publishing it (including posting it on-line) then I MUST do something about it as a matter of protecting my copyrights. (Although this is a different matter, some other time, I'll go into why pirating books and stories to post them on-line is no different from taking somebody's ATM card and making a series of withdrawals from their bank account. Whenever I see anyone post a defense of pirating, I really, really want to get my hands on his ATM card and PIN.) Writing in my world is a different matter I think; my lawyer may tell me I'm dead wrong on that. The one thing I do try to keep an eye out for is /slash/ or KS fiction using my characters. If you want to write erotica, fine. I like reading erotica, sometimes. But if you write erotica using my characters and post it, I WILL find you, and I will come down on you like the Hammer of God. I've found some very raunchy, and very badly written, examples of that, and I don't like it a bit.
The talk continued in the direction of fan fiction, with Jordan talking about stacks of paper he sometimes received. Sitting there I felt certain the female Dragon debate I'd given him was doomed, but listening to this again now, I have better hopes.
People occasionally send me various compilations of FAQs and things of that sort they've done about the books, or analyses of the books, and I will occasionally read that if I have time, but fan fiction, or other fiction, or 'I've read this book and would you please tell me what you think of it?' or stories, it gets returned to them.
I do not read it, I'm sorry. It's not because I think that anything is going to compete with my works, it's not, but it's because what Terry said, there are bozos out there.
I was accused in an anonymous letter to my publisher, of plagiarizing. That The Dragon Reborn was plagiarized. Now this infuriated me to such an extent that I'm going to incredible efforts to find out who'd written the damned letter. I knew it was a nutcase bozo somewhere, because I knew that every word was ripped out of the inside of my skull. And I'm going to find him, and push him into a corner, and beat him half to death with my walking stick [laughter], because he made me that mad, that he would make this accusation against me. And this was...in an anonymous letter, who is not making any effort, he's not trying to make any money out of it, he just wants to cause trouble.
There are guys out there who I know who said 'you know, I have this great idea' and the great idea they want to share with you is worth about as much as 'let's write a book about pilots' and the worst case is when they see something in the book and say, and they think that they can claim it was stolen from them. So I will not read fan fiction, I will not read anything that somebody sends to me. The only things I read are the books I buy.
[something about the prequels and fanfiction]
Fan fiction has never really taken off in the Wheel of Time fandom. Partly the reason for that is because Robert Jordan did not like fanfic—he didn't like other people playing in his sandbox—and so when me and Jason became aware that he didn't like fanfic, we pretty much killed it on Dragonmount, and because we killed it on Dragonmount, that meant everybody else killed it too, because people pretty much follow our lead, so there's never really been a lot of fanfic in the Wheel of Time. There is some out there—if you look around you can find some like on fanfic.net—but it's never really taken off for whatever reason. And I think it's partly because we killed it very quickly, but I think it's also partly because a lot of what is special about the Wheel of Time is the unique voice of Robert Jordan, and for the most part other people writing in that universe, it's crap. Even if they're a really good writer, it's...[Brandon] is really the only person I like writing in the Wheel of Time universe other than Jim, so...I think that's another reason why it doesn't take off, because it's pretty obvious it's not Robert Jordan.
Right, the Wheel of Time is about Robert Jordan's voice in a lot of ways, and the reason we're all still reading this is because we like that voice. And there are books that are slower than other books, and those of us who just love his voice, love those books.
It doesn't matter, I really like Crossroads of Twilight. I'm sorry!
Yes, because that's what we're reading the books for. I mean, of course it's the characters also, but time with Jim and the characters is what these books are about, and as much as we like the epic battles and things, at their core it's Jim and the characters.
Yeah, and it's his prose, and it's his writing style, and just the way he presents everything. And so, fanfic can't capture that.
I think there's a real loyalty to him as an author as well when you find out, as a fan, that he doesn't like that kind of fanfiction, then you don't even feel inclined to do it.
He was very—I mean, if you guys read the interviews—it was only like the last minutes that he changed his mind on even having the series finished by someone else. For years, he was gonna...what was it, burn his hard drives, and things like that...
...and salt the earth, yeah...
Yeah. There was going to be no ending. It was only like the last month or two that he said, "No, go ahead and find somebody and have it finished." So, yeah.
We're all really glad that he said that.
Yeah, you almost didn't have this.
So, watch out for those kneecaps.
Okay. If my kneecaps float off mysteriously...
That is mysterious.
...and you see a shadow with the hat and a cane, and maybe a pipe... (laughter)
I'm Bradley Johnson. I'm local. I'm fairly new to the series. My question is primarily for Jason, but it's open to anybody. I believe you've had this question before, but a few months ago there were a few articles on tor.com as a kind of recap of the series as a whole. The last one was, "What are titles for hypothetical Wheel of Time musical numbers." [laughter] And I was wondering if you had anything to add to that, or if anyone else had anything to add to that.
I'm going to pass that along. They tried to drag some answers out of me for that, and I passed on it. I'm going to stick to film. So there you go.
Hello Brandon !!! One of my favorite question with people with a good sized fandom, What are some your favorite fan made stuff ? Be it fan fication, art, crafts. I hope this isn't too late <3 .
I generally stay away from reading fanfiction done on my work, for various reasons, though I don't have a problem with people writing it. I think the coolest thing is when I get fanart from the books; it helps me understand how people are visualizing my characters, and it gives me a boost to see that what I've written has inspired other artists.