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Cashing in on famous characters of fiction

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Showing 26-50 of 59 posts in this discussion
Posted on 16 Jan 2013 18:17:54 GMT
What if you come across a character that hasn't been fully developed in a previous incarnation? Is it fair game to expand upon a theme or do the lack of imagination hysteria brigade prevail?

Posted on 16 Jan 2013 18:24:15 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 21 Jan 2013 19:16:46 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 08:46:49 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
But it does qualify as a breach of Amazon rules about self-promotion. Using a discussion to wangle a free plug for one's own book is a bit of cheap trick.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 09:14:39 GMT
Anita says:
So perhaps *you* lack imagination to not think so...

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 09:21:54 GMT
Steven says:
I think it is lovely that your novel enspired someone to write their one and only amazon review...

to answer your question though, yes in my view.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 09:54:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jan 2013 09:55:17 GMT
Nugent Dirt says:
Depends whose imagination you're talking about.

Posted on 17 Jan 2013 10:02:34 GMT
G. Owens says:
It doesn't really matter what we think, one way or the other. The top four best selling books in the US last year were the first three pulls on the fifty shades chain, with the compendium coming in fourth. reputedly fanfic with the names changed. Travelodge reported that of the near enough twenty-two thousand books left in its rooms last year seven-thousand were shades of Grey.
I'm a writer and I have no idea how other writers work, all I want to do is explore what's going on in my own head. I have enough weird new vistas of my own to keep me happy, without looking over into the territory of other more successful authors. However, people like characters, and they like to drop in on people they met in books. So when an author has enough of someone they've created, the shouldn't be surprised if that character continues to live in the imagination of their audience, some of which will have the creative skills to channel those characters back in a marketable form.

Someone mentioned cover bands, I reckon it's as much like when an audience makes a band become their own cover band. A few people may go and see Bob Dylan for the new stuff, but most are sitting in the audience waiting for Lay Lady Lay or Blowin in the wind. So, it's a market. Fulfil it or not, as you desire, people gonna vote with their dosh. I'd love to be able to finish with the old "plough your own furrow" advice, but fifty-shades accounted for four percent of all books sold in the states last year, so to paraphrase "when you finally find someone else's milkcow, work it until it moos in pain" clearly the way to go.

Now, that erotic zombie novel won't write itself

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 10:09:46 GMT
Nugent Dirt says:
Never had the highest opinion of Septics and this info confirms it but I am interested in zombie erotica. You already have one customer. Will probably be far more entertaining than 50 Shades of S*** and its legion of imitators.

Posted on 17 Jan 2013 15:09:55 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
I don't think there's any doubt that "rip-offs" can be profitable. Even if they don't actually pinch the same characters, if a successful original book appears (or film, play, TV show, boy band, girl band etc.) you can bet your life there'll be an army of imitators, backed by men in suits, ready to churn out cloned products. Don't suppose it's a crime, if that's what the market desires, but I can't see any real merit in the practice. Nor can I imagine it giving anyone much artistic satisfaction, even if it does enhance the bank balance.

Posted on 17 Jan 2013 17:37:55 GMT
Anita says:
Just noticed someone mentioning a parody of The Lord of the Rings on another thread.

A disclaimer: no, I'm not the world's biggest LOTR fan and so I'm not offended because of someone mocking something I love. Just I think any parody is of aforementioned "cashing in" genre. It seems every more or less famous thing tends to get a parody (ies). The mere fact of some people making good money of it notwithstanding, I think it's an utterly stupid thing to do (whatever the quality of the original). So those who want to write something funny don't even need to create anything? Just take whatever *is* and make some mockery of it?

I'd happily add *all* parodies to the Sou'Wester's post above (sorry, Sou'Wester)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 21:17:16 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jan 2013 21:18:14 GMT
monica says:
But parodies can be affectionate as well. In fact, I can't think offhand of a parody I've read that felt mocking--at most some, like Craig Brown's (as when he's taking off an autobiography written by someone famous for nothing), are taking the mick and to me that's not the same as pure mocking. (Sorry for so idiomatic a phrase--'taking the mick' to me implies having someone on or simply teasing them.) Hadn't thought about it but possibly intent to mock leads to writing of something ironic, or something straightforward but pointed (like Twain's essay on Fenimore Cooper.) Impressionists--comedians who imitate voice & mannerisms of famous people, often politicians--aren't so far as I know of accused of mocking, not even by their targets.

I might have read the same post; if I did, it's telling that it was by someone saying that books he read over and over were LOTR *and* the parody Bored of the Rings . . .

Posted on 17 Jan 2013 21:40:04 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Apropos parody, I think this is slightly different. For example, to a certain extent, Jane Austen wrote parody (particularly with "Northanger Abbey"); she was. albeit very gently, "extracting the michael" of the popular Gothic novels of her time and ended up producing something infinitely greater. So, no - I wouldn't automatically dismiss parody.
Monica mentions impressionists, where I do have more of a problem. Those who seem to rely solely on their ability to imitate others have no appeal to me whatsoever. The exceptions are people for whom the ability to do impressions is just one of many talents. I'm thinking of people like John Bird - whose impression of Harold Wilson in 1960s satire programmes was often scathingly funny and clever; the impression was very good but it was what Bird was saying that impressed. Before that, of course, there Peter Cook's superb and ground-breaking impersonation of Harold MacMillan - it's still screamingly funny fifty years after Cook first performed it.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 22:36:06 GMT
Anita says:
Yes, it was the same post, and I did check out the book (stupid curiosity), and things like changing names into "Dildo" or "Pepsi" or whatever seem to me plain idiotic, sorry. Not trying to generalize anything here, if anyone finds that funny (or interesting??) so be it, but personally I'm totally unable to get things like that. Some chipset missing in me, maybe.

It may be different for TV shows, but talking about books I can't help but see parodies mostly as the aforementioned examples of lack of imagination (or any sense of humour at that) and just someone's inability to create something of their own. NB: as always, there probably are exceptions. Just few and far between...

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 22:50:34 GMT
gille liath says:
Don't agree there. I'd far rather hear a good covers band than a terrible original one, and I think (judging by the usual reactions of pub audiences) most other people would too.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 22:55:55 GMT
gille liath says:
Parody is the lowest form of comedy, as sarcasm is the lowest form of wit and satire used to be the lowest form of poetry. But it is still comedy.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2013 22:58:15 GMT
gille liath says:
And there's that other old saw: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Though I don't think Mike Yarwood was what they had in mind...

Posted on 18 Jan 2013 04:58:43 GMT
bloosn says:
I read a "sequel" to The Day of the Triffids, and was glad I did....

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2013 09:27:44 GMT
Anita says:
If you mean this one

The Night of the Triffids

sorry, but - arrrggghhh!!!

It could have been a decent book, maybe. But why on earth Clark had to use classics to write something of his own? And - maybe you have noticed - the triffids themselves were happily forgotten at the page 5 or 10...

Posted on 18 Jan 2013 10:48:41 GMT
G. Owens says:
Now - I think there may be a line to be drawn here between "ripping off" and "riffing off".

Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond
Some of these writers I really rate, Ken Liu for example,

But this is quite a complex thing. Ken Liu (as a randomly chosen author from this collection) is a prolific and talented writer of short stories, with a couple of ponies in the Hugo and Nebula races. This year we are going to see one, maybe two, Oz movies and all the original Oz stories are public domain - therefore fair game. So working with the assumptions that a) Nobody but a blockhead ever wrote for anything except money, and b)Oz is about to be reinvented on the big screen for the new century, it makes sense for authors in the process of trying to make a reputation for their own stuff to use an opportunity like this to piggyback on the popularity of an upcoming intellectual property.

If Oz: The Great and Powerful is a big hit, then people might look for something set in the same universe, and if they read one of these stories it might lead them on to other works from the authors. No such thing as bad publicity.

However - having said all that, this is essentially Oz fanfic, so I don't personally fancy it myself, but the sales of Wicked (Wicked Years 1)show that there's a big market for it.

Writing at the entry level for a hungry pro looking for the breakout hit is all about balancing who you are as a writer no one has ever heard of, with what the big beasts are up to and what the publishers say that the public wants

Quality is the key - if you do anything well you can get away with it

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2013 19:59:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jan 2013 19:59:32 GMT
gille liath says:
Yeah, it's a difference of aspiration (little linguistics pun there).

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2013 20:53:08 GMT
monica says:
Oh wow like so thank you for adding yet another islet of ambivalence to one of the archipelagos in my mental map: On the one hand good show, but on the other you disappoint me for failing to avail of the opportunity to work 'fricative' and 'plosive' into a pun that makes the same point--surely it wouldn't have been a difficult thing to do . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2013 21:21:45 GMT
gille liath says:
Do wot? :)

I can't tell whether you approve or not, but I'm grateful that someone at least got it.

Posted on 18 Jan 2013 22:26:55 GMT
G. Owens says:
I'm not sure labiodental should be hyphenated, but the product link don't work otherwise
Labio-Dental Fricative [Explicit]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013 08:19:28 GMT
Garscadden says:
The parody things is interesting - there is an author whose work I enjoy - Adam Roberts. I found his books The Snow and Stone (Sf Masterworks) very entertaining, inventive and well written, his more recent sci fi (Yellow Blue Tibia: A Novel and New Model Army get very good reviews. He seems to get nominated for awards frequently. On top of that, he is a prof of nineteenth c literature, and has written a couple of very academic works.

All in all - he comes across as an inventive, capable and intelligent writer.

He also seems to output a huge amount of parody - I can't say I've ever read any, so maybe it is actually good, but it doesn't look like it. Plenty of those horrible looking parody books on display in book store chains (when they existed), they seem to be from him. It was only recently I realised they were the same person, I always assume it was two different Adam Roberts... I *assume* the parody books are just a money making scheme, and that once you have a formula a capable author can knock them out quickly - much like generic romance books, which I believe some other authors do under a pseudonym.

(I just did try the look inside of one of his parodies. Yep - not something I think I'd enjoy, but it did have moments of interest (I skimmed the star wars parody, and whilst stupid, it does make the old terrorist / freedom fighter comparison, which seems almost grown up for puerile parody).

Anyway - I found it interesting when I realised that they were the same person, that someone would knock of trash just to make money. But is it really any different to most of us? I imagine I am not alone in doing a job that, whilst I actually enjoy my job, I do primarily because it makes me more money than the thing I would like to be doing...

As for those cover bands - weren't the original complete imitation ones a phenomena in Australia? I thought the general things was that most bands actually don't spend the money to tour Aus (expensive to do, relatively small population, so presumably not really commercially viable). Seeing as the original bands didn't tour, enterprising musicians would learn a bands' setlist, and do covers tours, which while never as good as the real thing (I assume), did go down really well because the real thing was never available. Whilst a bit odd, I can completely see what the attraction would be in that situation.

I'd also say that some bands actually to all intents and purposes become cover bands / rip offs *of themselves* - I saw the Dead Kennedys a few years ago, and they weren't really them, as it were, but i still kinda enjoyed it. All these 90's indie bands that reform every so often - are they really any more than covers versions of their former selves for the most part?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013 09:43:24 GMT
Anita says:
"...whilst I actually enjoy my job, I do primarily because it makes me more money than the thing I would like to be doing..."

No different for me. :) (And I too do like my job.) However, doing only what I'd really like to do would mean starvation - or doing it for money, and then I'd hardly so much enjoy doing it... (I love my freedom doing some things.) And for some reason that's not even upsetting at all.

I know a girl who's totally in love with her city, loves to know every nook of it, every building, all the history behind it, etc. She totally enjoyed to learn a lot at the tourist guide courses. Then she went to work as a tourist guide for a short while... and thourougly hated the job. Don't try to make money (living) of what you really like, she said then. (Something anyone's free to disagree :) )

Veering off topic, am I not.

And that's perhaps off topic again (but maybe not) what I really thourougly hate is cashing in worlds classics by making those "illustrated classics" books for children. (Someone has mentioned *that* version of my beloved The Three Musketeers, and there are lots of others.) In my opinion it's just a crime against literature. I do know there are lots of people who would disagree and who buy such books. But still. If you can't read the book as it is, don't read it at all! (*Just* a personal opinion!!)
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  59
Initial post:  7 Jan 2013
Latest post:  20 Jan 2013

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