John Scalzi has posted, over at his blog, the “Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America”! He has posted a very silly image that evokes epic fantasy, with a Wil Wheaton–shaped hero riding an awesome sort of … um … creature, ready to attack a green Scalzi-shaped orc. Hit the link for more details, but I’ll shorthand it for you: write a 400- to 2,000-word non–sexually explicit story describing the picture by June 30 and maybe win some fun stuff, the proceeds of which benefit a very good cause.
Scalzi fan fic contest image by artist Jeff Zugale, 2010
I won’t be submitting anything (no explicit slash allowed!), but I’m intrigued by this project. At first blush, it doesn’t seem very fan fic–like to me, because it’s not based on characters or situations created by another author. But the term works if you take fan fic to mean broadly “derivative literature based on an external source.” I further suppose that Scalzi’s audience may contain fans, and this project and the term fan fic may resonate. Certainly writing a story to describe a picture is a well-known genre from the SF/F magazine era, and fans have run many a writing contest along these same lines.
I’m unsurprised to see remarks in comments decrying fans’ desire to write explicit (possibly homoerotic) porn—a response that Scalzi does not want to see for this project because it is going to be published online by an actual real reputable nonporn press, Subterranean Press, and because he does not wish to read explicit slash about himself and Wil Wheaton. The comments are useful because Scalzi clarifies that he doesn’t really mean “no slash,” which he says in the contest rules. He really means “no sexually explicit content.” Tame slash curtainfic is therefore acceptable.
I would love to see an outlet for fic inappropriate for this contest to be posted. But where?? Certainly it should not be posted in comments to my blog post!
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