I haven’t written “fan-fiction” in years.
Probably the last time was in middle school, at the height of my early Star Trek obsession. (There’s a later Star Trek obsession too, and a current one 😉 ). Even then I didn’t like playing with the existing casts so much as creating my own characters and stories in that universe. Star Trek after all offers a vast galaxy and any number of stories can be told with the crew of just another ship. Even so, I abandoned those stories in favor of my own worlds, my own galaxies and characters.
Because writing for Star Trek doesn’t pay unless you’re a professional.
That’s still true for the moment, but Amazon’s Kindle Worlds does open up the possibility of getting paid for playing in someone else’s sandbox.
The royalty’s not particularly good (35%, 20% if the story is shorter than 10,000 words) and the price is set by Amazon unlike other Kindle Direct Publishing works. Moreover, if the copyright holder likes any of your work and wants to incorporate it into the main storyline, they don’t have to pay you extra. And the current selection of “worlds” is three shows I couldn’t give a hill of beans about.
But you can get paid for fan-fiction (as long as you’re not writing crossovers, or porn (probably most “slash” stories), you’re not overly violent or vulgar, and as long as you don’t mind handing over your creativity). More on the “nitty-gritty” here.
This is not a particularly good deal, especially when you compare it to the relative freedom you can get by writing your own original content. The power is definitely shifted in favor of Amazon (who can pull your book if it provides a “poor customer experience” – i.e. is crappily formatted or badly written) and the original copyright holder (who can use you and others like you as an idea factory for very low compensation).
This last probably sounds like the worst part, but let’s be realistic; I doubt the copyright holder will want to sift through thousands of these stories for ideas. At best they’ll look at some of the best sellers, but even then the process of taking that story and using it in a show could take months or even years, during which time shows can be cancelled or retooled to make the story unusable. A fan-author might write a story set in Season 1 when you’re already on Season 4, and modifying that story to work in a later season, when the characters have grown and changed may be more trouble than it is worth.
I think the idea is intriguing, if not best implemented in this phase. Maybe Barnes and Noble or Smashwords will come up with a better arrangement. But admit it, you’ve had a story tucked away for a long time that you might write if given the chance for people to actually see it, and you to get paid.
For me it’s a rewrite of Star Wars 3 (yes I watch those too). Ever since seeing that movie I have been trying to “fix” it in my head. I’ve got a storyline involving a better death for Padme (as a fighter), a more believable turn to the dark side for Anakin (removing the creepy old man\young boy aspect), and a tortured Obi-Wan who may be partly to blame for Anakin’s slide. And leave out most of the “Clone Wars” stuff. I don’t know how the cartoon is now, but a lot of us thought it was stupid that we had to watch badly animated 5 minute episodes to “understand” the movie. And also, two lightsabers is cool, four lightsabers is a pinwheel.
As for anything currently airing on TV? Nothing’s coming to mind. But we’ll just have to see what worlds become available (even if Star Wars is pretty unlikely). Maybe some Star Trek in the new timeline would be cool … we’ll see.
What about you? Would you consider this if the right property came along?