Boston Globe Fanfic articleBooks
The Boston Globe magazine has highlighted TLC editor Heidi Tandy for her fanfic work:
"With Harry Potter, people are always trying to figure out what's going to happen next. Fanfic just puts that speculation into narrative form," says Heidi Tandy, a Miami intellectual-property lawyer who has no problem using her real name online and in print.
On the surface, Tandy has a lot in common with J. K. Rowling. Both are 30-something working mothers who spent last fall and winter racing to finish book-length manuscripts about Harry Potter and his friends before the arrival of a second child (Rowling gave birth in late March, Tandy in June. Tandy's first child is called, surprise, Harry.)
Rowling was writing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Tandy was at work on Surfeit of Curses, a teen-appropriate novel-length fiction (600 manuscript pages and counting) that explores the inner life of Draco Malfoy, Harry's schoolboy rival at Hogwarts. "Fanfic stories grow out of discussion," says Tandy. "People said, `Draco could never be anything other than horrible,' and I said, `Well, maybe not.' "
Like many other fanfic writers, Tandy makes it clear that she's not a frustrated novelist who can't think up plots or characters on her own. And she bristles at the suggestion that fan fiction is somehow a lesser calling because it's derivative work.
"I have heard people say that if something isn't completely original, it's not creative, that it's bad, bad, bad," says Tandy. "Do they mean bad like West Side Story or bad like Clueless" (the takeoff on Jane Austen's Emma)? Fan fiction has made me a better writer and a better reader. And you get feedback in two days! There's an emotional benefit, even if it's hard to quantify."
(We have not linked to the article because it contains the text of the explicit material to which it refers - and appreciate in advance your cooperation in our comments section - but congratulate Heidi [whose work is not explicit] on being spotlighted to such an extent! )