Ansley Asher

writing thoughts

The J.K. Rowling Lawsuit from Orson Scott Card’s POV

Slashdot tells us that Orson Scott Card has made known his feelings on the J.K. Rowling lawsuit against The Harry Potter Lexicon fansite. While it is an interesting read, at the end, he writes,

“Her Cinderella story once charmed us. Her greedy evil-witch behavior now disgusts us. And her next book will be perceived as the work of that evil witch.”

Oh, for a world where women are more than Cinderellas and witches, but that’s for another day. I disagree with this. I doubt she is losing fans because of this lawsuit–if anything, I think the exposure will gain her more. J.K. Rowlings is not the RIAA. She is loved even by the man she is suing. As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Talk about something topical, and whether you speak well of it or ill, people will pay you some attention. Maybe Mr. Card knows this, too!

Creativity – Write Those Bad Ideas Down

Are you only coming up with bad ideas?

That’s okay–write them down. Getting those bad ideas out of your head and recorded on paper will leave you free to rework them, or to come up with fresh new ideas. Forcing yourself to hold an idea in the back of your mind can restrict your ability to think of new, random ideas which might work better for you. You’ll also have those bad ideas for reference–and they might look better on paper, too.

Writing Exercise 3 – Ten Word Short Story

Penny Arcade (link warning: naughty words) devised a really cute contest (that I missed, unfortunately) by asking readers to send in a 10 word story about World of Warcraft. It’s a variant of the famous 6 word story by Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Personally, I liked some of the runners up best, but it’s subjective. My favorite, though, is probably the Saurfang entry.

If I had to sum up the entire game in ten words, I’d probably do it like this: To rise, fight, and die again–we of Azeroth, immortal.

Here’s my homage to Hemingway: For sale: Feet of the Lynx with enchant, never worn.

Now you try. It doesn’t have to be about Warcraft, of course. Choose any topic that inspires you and write your ten word story. Share if you like!

J.K. Rowling Harry Potter Lexicon Lawsuit Update

Found this in Publisher’s Lunch today. Via Wall Street Journal Online:

After the second day of testimony in the Harry Potter trial, Judge Robert Patterson, Jr. urged the parties to settle, expressing concern that the case is “more lawyer-driven than it is client-driven.”

Patterson said, “The fair-use people are on one side, and a large company is on the other side…The parties ought to see if there’s not a way to work this out, because there are strong issues in this case and it could come out one way or the other. The fair-use doctrine is not clear.”

J.K. Rowling in NY to testify in Harry Potter case

Via Ars Technica, Fairuse obliteratus: Rowling to testify in Harry Potter case:

Vander Ark is the main author of the online Harry Potter Lexicon…Rowling sued, claiming that a fan web site was one thing, but a complete paperback lexicon was another. Not only did she not want Vander Ark to profit from her work in this way, but Rowling made it clear that she had plans of her own to publish a lexicon.

Although [lexicons] have generally been considered a “transformative” use of an author’s work and world, Rowling is prepared to argue that the new lexicon does not, in fact, pass the fair use four-part test found in US copyright law.

Now comes the part where I am supposed to give my opinion, this being a blog and all. But I have to say I have none about this matter. Although I’m sure the outcome of the trial will affect similar rulings in the future, and I’d really like to form a solid opinion, I only have more questions. Why is the Lexicon targetted when there are other works derived from Harry Potter, as Ars Technica pointed out here:

Rowling complained, “It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author’s hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else’s work, it does not become theirs to sell.” That in itself is a highly suspect claim. The weirdest thing of all is that similar items to the Lexicon have already been on the market for years.

C.E. Petit at Scrivener’s Error writes:

…this is really an unfair competition and trademark suit more than it is a copyright suit… as I’ve asserted from the beginning. This isn’t the time or place for a long commentary, particularly not on a matter that is currently before the trial court.

That link in the quote is long but worth reading, especially if you have more than a passing interest in the case.

One Good Question

Browsing around the internet yesterday I came across this: Candy Chang – Public Art – Sidewalk Psychiatry

“A routine trip can prompt reflections on everything from future goals to last night’s dinner conversation. As people sacrifice personal time for hectic schedules, these casual occasions for reflection become all the more important.”

The little messages encourage introspection, hopefully coming at an appropriate time for the passers-by (or maybe inappropriate, if you’re looking for humor). Are you asking yourself the right questions about your story, plot, and characters? Are you dancing around the things you really want to ask?

One good question–the right question–can inspire tired work, or shed light on something about your characters or plot that wasn’t clear to you before. If what you want to ask yourself or your characters is eluding you, try to think about and write down questions as if you were making notes about someone else’s work. Then give them to yourself, and pretend someone else gave you that note.

Leaving Something Out?

I don’t write articles. But there is something about articles–I mean professional ones, not unpaid bloggers–that I don’t understand. Countless times I have read articles that talk about an event or a quote and never mention the quote or when or where the event was. I still can’t find out when Earth Hour is supposed to be, or if it already passed. Because no one will say. I even read a multi-page article about what will happen for Earth Hour but no mention of what hour when it will be. I wish I could say it was limited to this one time, but it happens daily, and I do searches on Google to find out answers that I really wish would have been in the article.

With political blogs, there’s a lot of posts regarding “what so-and-so said” while never posting a quote. This trend never seems to die. I wish it would. Oftentimes I never find the quote, and don’t even know if it’s true.