Days of High Adventure: The Art of Writing Tie-In Fiction

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Days of High Adventure: The Art of Writing Tie-In Fiction

Do you ever wonder how exactly your favorite game or series makes its way to the Barnes & Noble bookshelf? Matt Forbeck, author of of over a dozen tie-in novels, is here to walk you through the arcane art of the tie-in.

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Ah tie-ins.

And i do prefer them to the Books on the actually game, remember The Flood Novel about Halo, it was good but i was being told a story i already knew for a while, i got alot of "Oh i remember that" moments and i shouldn't have that.

Now ghosts of Onyx that was kick-ass

I'm glad you guys are tackling this subject. I've often looked at the books penned by the likes of R.A. Salvatore wondering "How the heck to people tap into that market?" Thanks to you, I feel more likely to find out.

As a particularly rabid fan of the Black Library's Warhammer 40,000 novels, I'm well acquainted with tie-in novels, and how they can genuinely kick ass. That segment of genre fiction gets a bad rap, and while some of it completely deserves the disdain genre 'purists' hold for it, mostly they're just shortchanging themselves of some quality writing based on a faulty assumption.

It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!

p.s. in before screams of "literature snob", "fan-fiction is good practice", and "everyone has to pay the bills somehow".

I just want to state, for the record, that the Hellgate : London tie-ins were the first tie-in books I ever read, and they were shockingly bad. I think that a lot of people have similar experiences, and that's where a lot of tie-in hatred comes from.

Of course, I then picked up some Black Library stuff, and the Eisenhorn and Gotrek and Felix novels drew me, kicking and screaming, back in. If anyone has a bad experience with this kind of fiction, Dan Abnett should be there to save the day.

Pandalisk:
Ah tie-ins.

And i do prefer them to the Books on the actually game, remember The Flood Novel about Halo, it was good but i was being told a story i already knew for a while, i got alot of "Oh i remember that" moments and i shouldn't have that.

Now ghosts of Onyx that was kick-ass

omg, Ghost of Onyx was amazing... the ending was sad, I wish it continued seeing as it ended openly (kind of)

Korten12:

Pandalisk:
Ah tie-ins.

And i do prefer them to the Books on the actually game, remember The Flood Novel about Halo, it was good but i was being told a story i already knew for a while, i got alot of "Oh i remember that" moments and i shouldn't have that.

Now ghosts of Onyx that was kick-ass

omg, Ghost of Onyx was amazing... the ending was sad, I wish it continued seeing as it ended openly (kind of)

I know, and i hope that it does, i also really want to know what happens to Earth and what remains of her colonies in general after the war.

and Kurt has been added to a small list of Characters i gave a shit about in Halo

Keyes (Because he's Goddamn Keyes and quite a character)
John 117 (Because he is the Embodiment of awesome )
Avery (For flip music and mouthyness)
Guiltey Spark (Because He's all soughts of crazy)
and Kurt 052 (Because i actually cared about his death, and it was some Epic death.)

though it was sad i dont think anyone could of asked for a better send off, nor better last words

OANST:
It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!

p.s. in before screams of "literature snob", "fan-fiction is good practice", and "everyone has to pay the bills somehow".

Well, I won't flame you, beacuse I understand the perspective you are coming from. Afterall, a lot of tie-in novels are really bad. That said, isn't it a bit unfair to claim that all tie-in novels are bad, period? I mean, most original novels are bad as well. Does that mean that novels in general are not worth reading?

Your comparison of tie-in novels to fan-fiction is justified, but that really isn't saying much. Yes, most fan-fiction is bad. Yet, there are a few examples in which the fan-fiction itself was superior to the work it was based on. In light of this, is it really that much of an impossibility for a tie-in novel to overcome the limitations of the original material and become a decent work in it's own right?

Anyway, I thank Matt Forbeck for this article. It is always interesting to learn of another facet of writing.

*jealous because the article author is a published book writer*

Intrigued for the next part.

Best tie-in novels have to be the Mass Effect books (haven't been able to read the comics yet) and the Perfect Dark books & comic series (all of them so very excellent). Hell, my favorite books of all time are the Perfect Dark books, and that's saying something for someone who has easily read over a thousand different books.

The only tie-in novels I have ever read are the Mass Effect books, and they were surprisingly good. It's probably a giant headache to write in a universe where you can't mention anything about the main character from the games, because of the choices the player could have made, but somehow he pulls it off. I like how it is only tangentially related to the games in that it takes place in the same continuity/timeline, and contains some of the characters/factions/races/technologies, but other than that is unrelated and original. The best part is that they are written by Mass Effect's head writer, so it maintains a lot of the style the main series has.

Tom Phoenix:

OANST:
It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!

p.s. in before screams of "literature snob", "fan-fiction is good practice", and "everyone has to pay the bills somehow".

Well, I won't flame you, beacuse I understand the perspective you are coming from. Afterall, a lot of tie-in novels are really bad. That said, isn't it a bit unfair to claim that all tie-in novels are bad, period? I mean, most original novels are bad as well. Does that mean that novels in general are not worth reading?

Your comparison of tie-in novels to fan-fiction is justified, but that really isn't saying much. Yes, most fan-fiction is bad. Yet, there are a few examples in which the fan-fiction itself was superior to the work it was based on. In light of this, is it really that much of an impossibility for a tie-in novel to overcome the limitations of the original material and become a decent work in it's own right?

Anyway, I thank Matt Forbeck for this article. It is always interesting to learn of another facet of writing.

Again, I won't say that they are badly written. I have no way of determining that. I can however, say in full confidence that they have nothing to offer. The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

And no, other poster. I'm not jealous. What are you? Nine?

OANST:

Again, I won't say that they are badly written. I have no way of determining that. I can however, say in full confidence that they have nothing to offer. The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

And no, other poster. I'm not jealous. What are you? Nine?

What about tie-in novels that are written by the authors of the original products? They are technically using their own characters, worlds and ideas. Example: the Mass Effect novels.

Well, that's not really a tie-in novel, is it? That's the creator continuing their creation in another medium. That doesn't mean that it will be good. More than likely it will be a piece of crap (as most novels are), but it isn't inherently bad. It's their baby. They are justified in doing as they please with it.

OANST:

Tom Phoenix:

OANST:
It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!

p.s. in before screams of "literature snob", "fan-fiction is good practice", and "everyone has to pay the bills somehow".

Well, I won't flame you, beacuse I understand the perspective you are coming from. Afterall, a lot of tie-in novels are really bad. That said, isn't it a bit unfair to claim that all tie-in novels are bad, period? I mean, most original novels are bad as well. Does that mean that novels in general are not worth reading?

Your comparison of tie-in novels to fan-fiction is justified, but that really isn't saying much. Yes, most fan-fiction is bad. Yet, there are a few examples in which the fan-fiction itself was superior to the work it was based on. In light of this, is it really that much of an impossibility for a tie-in novel to overcome the limitations of the original material and become a decent work in it's own right?

Anyway, I thank Matt Forbeck for this article. It is always interesting to learn of another facet of writing.

Again, I won't say that they are badly written. I have no way of determining that. I can however, say in full confidence that they have nothing to offer. The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

And no, other poster. I'm not jealous. What are you? Nine?

I find your comment interesting, beacuse being a fan of something requires a degree of love and respect for the work by default (assuming the author is a fan). Ingenuity is another matter entirely, though. Still, I find it hard to belive that out of all tie-in authors, there is not one that would have the ingenuity to write a good or great novel.

That said, you are absolutely correct in saying that most do it due to monetary reasons or a lack of imagination. Infact, I think a lot of problems that tie-in novels face stem precisely out of the fact that authors do not respect the works on which these novels are based. I know that if I was entrusted to write a novel based on a beloved franchise, I would treat it as if it were my own child, my own creation. Unfortunately, tie-in authors seem to lack such respect and I think the quality of these novels would vastly improve if the authors were people who were genuinely excited to write novels for a specific universe.

Also, I find your comment regarding characters hilarious. Not beacuse it's necessarily wrong, but beacuse fan fiction writers tend to be criticised for the opposite. Meaning, they are criticised for implementing their own characters into an already established universe. And since writers are going to be partial towards characters they created themselves, this often leads to so-called "Mary Sue/Marty Stu" characters.

OANST:
...More than likely it will be a piece of crap (as most novels are)...

You're a really depressing, pessimistic person, aren't you?

Tom Phoenix:

OANST:

Tom Phoenix:

OANST:
It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

LET THE FLAMING BEGIN!

p.s. in before screams of "literature snob", "fan-fiction is good practice", and "everyone has to pay the bills somehow".

Well, I won't flame you, beacuse I understand the perspective you are coming from. Afterall, a lot of tie-in novels are really bad. That said, isn't it a bit unfair to claim that all tie-in novels are bad, period? I mean, most original novels are bad as well. Does that mean that novels in general are not worth reading?

Your comparison of tie-in novels to fan-fiction is justified, but that really isn't saying much. Yes, most fan-fiction is bad. Yet, there are a few examples in which the fan-fiction itself was superior to the work it was based on. In light of this, is it really that much of an impossibility for a tie-in novel to overcome the limitations of the original material and become a decent work in it's own right?

Anyway, I thank Matt Forbeck for this article. It is always interesting to learn of another facet of writing.

Again, I won't say that they are badly written. I have no way of determining that. I can however, say in full confidence that they have nothing to offer. The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

And no, other poster. I'm not jealous. What are you? Nine?

I find your comment interesting, beacuse being a fan of something requires a degree of love and respect for the work by default (assuming the author is a fan). Ingenuity is another matter entirely, though. Still, I find it hard to belive that out of all tie-in authors, there is not one that would have the ingenuity to write a good or great novel.

That said, you are absolutely correct in saying that most do it due to monetary reasons or a lack of imagination. Infact, I think a lot of problems that tie-in novels face stem precisely out of the fact that authors do not respect the works on which these novels are based. I know that if I was entrusted to write a novel based on a beloved franchise, I would treat it as if it were my own child, my own creation. Unfortunately, tie-in authors seem to lack such respect and I think the quality of these novels would vastly improve if the authors were people who were genuinely excited to write novels for a specific universe.

Also, I find your comment regarding characters hilarious. Not beacuse it's necessarily wrong, but beacuse fan fiction writers tend to be criticised for the opposite. Meaning, they are criticised for implementing their own characters into an already established universe. And since writers are going to be partial towards characters they created themselves, this often leads to so-called "Mary Sue/Marty Stu" characters.

Oh, I agree that fan-fic writers love the world that they are thieving from. No doubt. They just lack the ingenuity and the insight to make something great. I don't care how well you can write. If your life is so sad that you fantasize yourself into other people's work then you are clearly not the next Cormac McCarthy or David Sedaris. You won't be wowing the literary world any time soon.

The complaint of people injecting their "Mary-Sue's" into fan-fics is a fan-fic reader's complaint. It's also not worth arguing from my point of view, since it is mostly a complaint about style. My complaint about fanfiction is that it is an intellectual death from the start.

OANST:
The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

You seem to be laboring under the impression that by "tie-in", we mean books that simply expand on or recap existing narratives started via another medium. I actually agree with you there for the most part, as it's quite hard to see them as anything but money-grabs on the original IP holder's part, and even when otherwise competent authors tackle those projects the results are rarely worthwhile.

I don't really read that sort of tie-in novel though - Warhammer 40,000 novels, barring the few that are in fact specifically linked to various products (and thus not especially good as a rule), simply take place within the established setting that the original IP (a table-top wargame) created - none of that "You've seen/played the [example], now read the book!" nonsense. And since the setting is "the entire damn galaxy", there's not a whole lot of overlap and authors are free to do just about anything they'd like, within the constraints of canon and the specific atmosphere of the framework.

And since there are only a comparative handful of established background characters/settings that are, for the most part, sacred and not to be tampered with, that means they're free to create and then destroy entire worlds. Using their own damn characters from start to finish - and I don't mean "alongside the established ones", because in 40K there effectively are no "established characters", just certain iconic larger than life background figures who rarely if ever show up in any of the novels penned for the setting.

Chipperz:
If anyone has a bad experience with this kind of fiction, Dan Abnett should be there to save the day.

Quite true, though I have another name you really need to check out if you haven't already: Aaron Dembski-Bowden. He is fast becoming my absolute favorite BL author, the man really gets 40K.

Gildan Bladeborn:

OANST:
The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

You seem to be laboring under the impression that by "tie-in", we mean books that simply expand on or recap existing narratives started via another medium. I actually agree with you there for the most part, as it's quite hard to see them as anything but money-grabs on the original IP holder's part, and even when otherwise competent authors tackle those projects the results are rarely worthwhile.

Nope. Not under that impression at all. Any work that is written in the constraints of someone else's imagination and rules is A. Not really your work, and B. Drivel. Mind-numbing, pointless drivel.

OANST:
Oh, I agree that fan-fic writers love the world that they are thieving from. No doubt. They just lack the ingenuity and the insight to make something great. I don't care how well you can write. If your life is so sad that you fantasize yourself into other people's work then you are clearly not the next Cormac McCarthy or David Sedaris. You won't be wowing the literary world any time soon.

The complaint of people injecting their "Mary-Sue's" into fan-fics is a fan-fic reader's complaint. It's also not worth arguing from my point of view, since it is mostly a complaint about style. My complaint about fanfiction is that it is an intellectual death from the start.

No, you misunderstood me. I said the opposite. I think that most tie-in writers have absolutely no love for the worlds they are "thieving" from, hence why most novels end up being as bad as they are. If you are doing something purely for monetary gain, then you are not going to be motivated to produce anything deep or thought-provoking.

So if I understand you correctly, you think that a work immediately loses any chance of being good the moment it is set in a universe that is not an original creation? Well, you are free to think so, although I think that is kind of stretching it. I mean, even "original" universes are not necessarily original, since even good established writers tend to borrow concepts from elsewhere.

La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri, which is considered one of the greatest works in literature, is essentially a collection of religious and historic tales, combined with philosophic teachings and biographical elements. Infact, it wouldn't be even that much of a stretch to call it a work of "fan fiction", beacuse the world which Dante potrays is essentially taken from the Bible and religious manuscripts. Dante may have fully fleshed out these worlds, but they still weren't his own original creation.

Tom Phoenix:

OANST:
Oh, I agree that fan-fic writers love the world that they are thieving from. No doubt. They just lack the ingenuity and the insight to make something great. I don't care how well you can write. If your life is so sad that you fantasize yourself into other people's work then you are clearly not the next Cormac McCarthy or David Sedaris. You won't be wowing the literary world any time soon.

The complaint of people injecting their "Mary-Sue's" into fan-fics is a fan-fic reader's complaint. It's also not worth arguing from my point of view, since it is mostly a complaint about style. My complaint about fanfiction is that it is an intellectual death from the start.

No, you misunderstood me. I said the opposite. I think that most tie-in writers have absolutely no love for the worlds they are "thieving" from, hence why most novels end up being as bad as they are. If you are doing something purely for monetary gain, then you are not going to be motivated to produce anything deep or thought-provoking.

So if I understand you correctly, you think that a work immediately loses any chance of being good the moment it is set in a universe that is not an original creation? Well, you are free to think so, although I think that is kind of stretching it. I mean, even "original" universes are not necessarily original, since even good established writers tend to borrow concepts from elsewhere.

La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri, which is considered one of the greatest works in literature, is essentially a collection of religious and historic tales, combined with philosophic teachings and biographical elements. Infact, it wouldn't be even that much of a stretch to call it a work of "fan fiction", beacuse the world which Dante potrays is essentially taken from the Bible and religious manuscripts. Dante may have fully fleshed out these worlds, but they still weren't his own original creation.

I didn't misunderstand. I was responding to the first paragraph where you were discussing the love that fanfic writers have for the worlds they take from.

Now you are bringing up some very good points. Are all writers and storytellers not thieves of a kind? Sure, they are. We take from everything. Our experiences. Stories that have had a deep effect on us. Everything.

There is a difference, though. In the case of Dante, yes, he was definitely taking from religion. But, and this is a big but, Dante's world operated under Dante's rules. He was writing a fiction that encapsulated a religion that he fully believed was real, to begin with. It isn't fan fiction if you write about the real world. That doesn't make something non-fiction either. The real world is a real place. Whether you're a fan of it has nothing to do with it, and it isn't theft to put things in that setting. Dante believed that heaven and hell were real, and he wrote a fiction there. Even though he thought they were real they still exhibited traits that cannot be traced to any other religious work, though.

He wrote a fiction, and he wrote it using his own rules. This is one of the many things that fanfiction lacks. When you write in someone else's idea, you are conforming your story to that idea. The act of creation is limited to events.

Oh lord those Star Wars expanded universe books from the mid-nineties. What utter crap most of them were. Books like Crystal Star and Children of the Jedi were just phoned in pieces of crap that had the Star Wars label slapped onto it so they could guarantee a New York Times Bestseller rating.

Now, the later books have been mostly good, but that's because they got settled down to multiple authors telling pieces of one whole tale.

Still, I'd rather take fiction than crappy compilations of essays called non-fiction.

EDIT: And yes, I mean David Sedaris. Also the emotional pornography that Nicolas Sparks writes.

JaredXE:

Still, I'd rather take fiction than crappy compilations of essays called non-fiction.

Somebody is taking a jab at David Sedaris. You're a bad person.

OANST:

Gildan Bladeborn:

OANST:
The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

You seem to be laboring under the impression that by "tie-in", we mean books that simply expand on or recap existing narratives started via another medium. I actually agree with you there for the most part, as it's quite hard to see them as anything but money-grabs on the original IP holder's part, and even when otherwise competent authors tackle those projects the results are rarely worthwhile.

Nope. Not under that impression at all. Any work that is written in the constraints of someone else's imagination and rules is A. Not really your work, and B. Drivel. Mind-numbing, pointless drivel.

By that logic The Dark Knight Returns must be fundamentally worthless because Frank Millar didn't originally come up with the concept of Batman. That is clearly crazy talk (and this isn't anything remotely like the example I used).

You, sir, are a fundamentally misguided snob cheating himself out of things that are wonderful - shared universes are simply tools one uses to construct an original work. Go read Eisenhorn and then tell me it's not really Dan Abnett's work and pointless mind-numbing drivel - until you've done that and still hold this ridiculous position, we have nothing further to say.

Gildan Bladeborn:

OANST:

Gildan Bladeborn:

OANST:
The writer isn't writing this story out of the combination of love and ingenuity that is needed to make a good or great novel. They are either doing so for monetary reasons (which is fine, as long as the author is duly embarrassed and uses it as a stepping stool to get their "real" work out there), or they are doing it because they are so void of imagination that they not only steal other people's ideas (which almost all genre writers do to begin with) but they feel inclined to steal their characters as well.

You seem to be laboring under the impression that by "tie-in", we mean books that simply expand on or recap existing narratives started via another medium. I actually agree with you there for the most part, as it's quite hard to see them as anything but money-grabs on the original IP holder's part, and even when otherwise competent authors tackle those projects the results are rarely worthwhile.

Nope. Not under that impression at all. Any work that is written in the constraints of someone else's imagination and rules is A. Not really your work, and B. Drivel. Mind-numbing, pointless drivel.

By that logic The Dark Knight Returns must be fundamentally worthless because Frank Millar didn't originally come up with the concept of Batman. That is clearly crazy talk (and this isn't anything remotely like the example I used).

You, sir, are a fundamentally misguided snob cheating himself out of things that are wonderful - shared universes are simply tools one uses to construct an original work. Go read Eisenhorn and then tell me it's not really Dan Abnett's work and pointless mind-numbing drivel - until you've done that and still hold this ridiculous position, we have nothing further to say, as all you're doing right now is trolling.

Not trolling. Just expressing my distaste for work that offers nothing worthwhile.

However, you have just dipped the conversation into a huge grey area that even I am not comfortable expressing all out disdain for. Comics and television. Is it all worthless? No. And here's my reasoning. Many comics are created with the express idea that they are going to be collaborative in nature. Some books are, as well. The Wild Cards series, for example, is a set of books that is meant to be collaborative. The original author's intended for others to work with them and work on them. Also, these writers are given free reign to change the rules of the world if they so desire.

Not all comics are this way, though. Would you take a series of Sandman comics written by anyone other than Gaiman seriously? What about Sin City if Miller wasn't involved? Some creations are intended for this at inception. Most are not.

The best tie-in novels I've ever read were the three Myst novels. Not only did they greatly expand on the backgrounds of the D'ni civilization, but Rand and Robyn Miller (the minds and creators behind the Myst Series) had direct input as to the plot and how David Wingrove, the co-author, should write the books. They weren't just spinoffs of the game series - they were legitimate entries in the Myst Saga.

As a huge fan of the DragonLance novels, it's nice to see this topic covered. Of course, the first thing I have to say is that it's unfortunate just having a name you like on the cover isn't enough to guarantee you're going to be getting a book you'll like. With DragonLance it really does run the gamut from amazing to absolute drek. You really do have to pay attention to the author's name. Doug Niles and Richard Knaak? Good to great. Weis and Hickman? The ones who started the whole thing and you can't go wrong with them.. sort of. Anything pre-Chaos War is amazing (particularly Chronicles, my favourite fantasy trilogy of all time, and Legends). After they've written since about Second Generation though is totally second class for some reason. Anyone else? You're spinning a roulette wheel. And that's just in one "universe" alone so it's very easy to see why tie-in books get such a bad rap.

OANST:
Oh, I agree that fan-fic writers love the world that they are thieving from. No doubt. They just lack the ingenuity and the insight to make something great. I don't care how well you can write. If your life is so sad that you fantasize yourself into other people's work then you are clearly not the next Cormac McCarthy or David Sedaris. You won't be wowing the literary world any time soon.

The complaint of people injecting their "Mary-Sue's" into fan-fics is a fan-fic reader's complaint. It's also not worth arguing from my point of view, since it is mostly a complaint about style. My complaint about fanfiction is that it is an intellectual death from the start.

It doesn't seem like you actually read much in the science fiction and fantasy genre then (heaven forbid you touch the romance section!). The Mary-Sue is a character trope and as such no writer is exempt from the possibility of including one in their story, regardless of if the story is original or fan fiction or a tie-in. If you like, I could give you a list of original characters with all the classic hallmarks of Marysue-itis. So no, it isn't strictly a fanfic reader's complaint, it's a general character complaint. Trying to pretend that it isn't is really quite silly.

Another thing, while I might not be reading shared world stories as much as I used to, I did start craving more complicated tales after while. But I had to start somewhere. Certainly the pithy, thoughtful and completely dull books I read throughout high school did nothing to encourage me to read more. It took my mother's Dragonlance and Pern books, my dad's copies of the works of Jules Verne and a slew of awful young adult sci-fi series to get me to like reading. It took The Forgotten Realms and the Star Wars novels to get me looking at narrative structure, setting creation and character design in more detail. One has to start somewhere and I'll say this for the fan fiction writers, the good ones watch characters closer than any other group of readers, save perhaps the academics.

Lastly, if you are going to turn up your nose at shared world fiction, you might want to stop reading altogether. Most literature set in the real world would qualify as "shared world" because they rely on the relative normality of their characters and settings to encourage the reader's suspension of disbelief in the story.

OANST:
It's not that people think that writing tie-in novels (or fan-fiction, as I call it) take less work. The problem is that people (rightly) think that it's not worth their time. There will be nothing of literary value in this book. Nothing to be learned by anyone with a high school diploma. It's drivel.

If you were to take your own feces and write the words "poopy-caca" on a cave wall, I would see more literary value in it than the regurgitation of over-explored themes and stolen ideas that is the best written tie-in (read fan-fiction) book ever made.

It's not that I think that you don't know how to string words together to make competent sentences. It's just that I think your work is worthless.

Ah man, throughout your arguments in this thread you have almost completely changed my opinion about tie-in works.

I mean, if someone like you is against them, then there has to be something to them, and I've never read a tie-in in my life (although I have watched the Lord of the Rings films, so it's not like I have zero experience with derivative works).

Film critics don't object to the concept of video games being converted into films, nor does anyone complain when they convert a book into films, so what kind of problem do these "genre purists" have when an author writes a book based on a video game?

I'm not that well read in the field of tie-in-fiction, perhaps though i'll pick up a Warhammer novel. I love the depth and scale of the warhammer universe, but never been much of a fan off the table top game due to overly exsessive dice rolling.

For an author aspiring to get his novel published, writing tie-in-fiction might be a good way of making a name for himself in the world of books so when it comes to writing his own orginal material, it will more likely be published, i guess. If i were to write tie-in-fiction i would base it in the Elder Scrolls universe, or possibly Mirrors Edge, because i think i have a secret crush on Faith Conners...but, anyway... on the other hand, there is a lot of independance writing your own orginal material, and perhaps authors of orginal fiction deserve extra kudos for stretching their imagination and translating their mental universe onto paper. Never the less though, i don't look down upon tie-in-fiction authors.

[quote="OANST" post="6.198741.6524184]
Not trolling. Just expressing my distaste for work that offers nothing worthwhile.
[/quote]

Do you regard entertainment as worthwhile?

Man, I agree with OANST. Fan-fiction is one of the worst genres - bested only by those Jane Austin-cum-horror stories. You know, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and so on.

Actually, there's another thing worse that fan-fiction*. Tie-ins. While the former at least has the decency to use minimal aspects of the subject (at least, some of the time), tie-ins go out of their way to be as much like the game/movie/whatever as they can. They just sticky-tape on some lazy piece of **** plot, make sure some major events from the movie still happen (but from a different point of view, to make it original and interesting), and that the boss battles are altered slightly so they're not the same thing over and over but with increased speed and more firepower as the fight wears on.

You can stuff those tie-ins where the sun doesn't illuminate, 'coz I'd prefer fan-fiction any day, and let me tell you that's saying something.

* but still not as bad as Sense and Sensibility and Sea-Serpents.

Chaos Butterfly:

OANST:
Oh, I agree that fan-fic writers love the world that they are thieving from. No doubt. They just lack the ingenuity and the insight to make something great. I don't care how well you can write. If your life is so sad that you fantasize yourself into other people's work then you are clearly not the next Cormac McCarthy or David Sedaris. You won't be wowing the literary world any time soon.

The complaint of people injecting their "Mary-Sue's" into fan-fics is a fan-fic reader's complaint. It's also not worth arguing from my point of view, since it is mostly a complaint about style. My complaint about fanfiction is that it is an intellectual death from the start.

It doesn't seem like you actually read much in the science fiction and fantasy genre then (heaven forbid you touch the romance section!). The Mary-Sue is a character trope and as such no writer is exempt from the possibility of including one in their story, regardless of if the story is original or fan fiction or a tie-in. If you like, I could give you a list of original characters with all the classic hallmarks of Marysue-itis. So no, it isn't strictly a fanfic reader's complaint, it's a general character complaint. Trying to pretend that it isn't is really quite silly.
.

One of my favorite authors is Ursula Le Guin. I also loved Herbert, Huxley, and Orwell. I've read plenty in the genre, but I am not a genre specific reader. I look for good books, not genres of books.

I think that I didn't express myself very well on the Mary-Sue topic. I wasn't saying that Mary-Sue's are only found in fan-fics. I was saying that the complaint that fan-fics contain too many Mary-Sue's is irrelevant to my argument because I'm not making statements about the quality of the writing or the quality of the style.

A good author remains a good author whether he/she is writing a complex and original inquiry into the nature of life and love or the next [insert tie-in franchise] volume. The problem - with all modern literature - is that there are not enough talented writers to fill the audience demand.

Corollaries:
1. Bad writers remain bad writers in the same way.
2. There are more bad writers than good authors.
3. Tie-in novels must be published regardless of the availability of good authors.
4. Therefore, a larger percentage of tie-in novels than original works will be crap.

craddoke:
A good author remains a good author whether he/she is writing a complex and original inquiry into the nature of life and love or the next [insert tie-in franchise] volume. The problem - with all modern literature - is that there are not enough talented writers to fill the audience demand.

Corollaries:
1. Bad writers remain bad writers in the same way.
2. There are more bad writers than good authors.
3. Tie-in novels must be published regardless of the availability of good authors.
4. Therefore, a larger percentage of tie-in novels than original works will be crap.

I think that most people would agree that the decisions that an artist make play a large part in whether they will one day become a good or even great artist.

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