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If we write some awesome professional Fan Fiction - will it get published / put into game?


Pathfinder Tales

Andoran

Just wondering what happens with really good (genius) written unsolicitored fan-fiction? If you see talent, do you embrace it and allow them to continue to write for Paizo, help grow the Pathfinder world?

Heres hoping! :)


Professional fan-fiction is typically a nonexistent contradiction in terms: To write professionally is to be paid for what you produce, while Fan Fiction is usually unpaid (being fiction that is written and shared with a fan community without monetary recompense).

I don't know Paizo's stance on free fan-fiction, so I won't speak to that at all.

On the other hand, if you are writing something set in the Pathfinder world and being paid for it, without Paizo's knowledge (and consent), you're infringing on their intellectual property, the same as you would be if you wrote and published a Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Warhammer 40K, Star Trek, Eberron, or Star Wars piece. You could be in fairly serious legal trouble.

If you are instead asking: Paizo/Goblinworks, can I write for you? I would direct you to this portion of their website's FAQ

Please note: I am not a Paizo or Goblinworks employee of any kind, and nothing I have said above is meant to be read as the corporate policies of either entity.


I'm pretty sure Burdock was using "professional" as a way to measure the quality of the writing, rather than in the literal sense.

@Burdock, every time I've ever heard advice for writers, it boils down to one thing: Write. I would strongly encourage you to start a thread on these forums with a sample of your writing. Not only will Paizo then have the opportunity to review it, but you will also very likely get some very direct feedback from the community.

Before you do that, however, I would also strongly encourage you to make sure that you have a very thick skin, and that you're actually up to the task of hearing people potentially trash your labor of love in very cruel ways.

I'm not sure who said it, maybe Sun-Tzu, but there's an old saying to the effect that you shouldn't listen to what your friends say about you, because they love you and will withhold certain information from you in order to avoid hurting you, rather listen closely to what your enemies say about you, because they will speak the ugly truth. If you can hear what the haters say, and pick the truth out of it, you will find that it will make you a better writer.

Good luck!

Paizo Employee Digital Products Assistant

Paizo does not buy fanfiction or unsolicited manuscripts for a variety of legal and logistical reasons. We almost exclusively go with authors who have established themselves in other venues, such as RPG Superstar, Kobold Quarterly, other game companies, and various fiction magazines.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Paizo does not buy fanfiction or unsolicited manuscripts for a variety of legal and logistical reasons. We almost exclusively go with authors who have established themselves in other venues, such as RPG Superstar, Kobold Quarterly, other game companies, and various fiction magazines.

We do, though, support the concept of fan fiction. Please see our Community Use Policy to learn more.


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Here is a bit of unsolicited advice, some of which has already been touched on.

First, if you are serious about writing fiction, you need to look beyond writing in just one world or for just one audience. For some idea of what kind of markets are out there have a look at this site: http://www.ralan.com/

Look at the bios for the pathfinder fiction authors and investigate the other stuff they've done prior to PF. Good writing and ideas are important, but there are a lot of other factors that go into making a writer, like how well they take edits and how they handle deadlines. A few good fanfic pieces won't communicate those factors to an editor the way a list of published credits will.

You should also engage with all sorts of people. Submit fiction, talk to editors, or maybe even see if you can volunteer for small markets as an editor yourself. Go to forums that are focused on writing, and not just for rpgs. Go to conventions, meet people that do what you want to do and suck their brains out with a straw (metaphorically).

Don't be afraid to cut your teeth on other projects, like the sort of things you find here: http://forum.rpg.net/forumdisplay.php?12-Game-Freelancing

And read widely, not just the kind of things you want to write. Think about what you are reading, analyze it, see how it works. Take notes, write reviews, whatever you have to do to start looking at it as a writer (as a *student*) and not as an audience member.

While you're doing all that you've also got your butt parked in a chair as often as possible, doing the actual craft of writing, one word at a time.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

If you're interested in writing fan fiction set in the Pathfinder universe, I'd point you toward www.pathfinderchronicler.net--those folks have done a ton of great work, and run an annual fan fiction contest with some truly excellent prizes! If you want to get an audience for your fan fiction, that's the place to be.

But will Paizo ever buy fan fiction or incorporate it into canon? As folks above have mentioned, the answer is no. As many big-name authors will tell you, it's actually dangerous for copyright holders to even read fan-fiction, as it's always possible that someone will accuse them of stealing ideas and try to sue them. (The copyright holders inevitably win--do you really think R. A. Salvatore needs to steal ideas from folks on forums?--but even winning a legal battle is a huge pain in the butt.)

If you want to write for Pathfinder Tales, the thing to do is to write other places--sell your fiction anywhere you can. Once you've got a few sales under your belt--both to establish your talent and to prove you know the basics of the industry--email me some story samples and we can talk. But any fan fiction you write before then is pretty much guaranteed not to make it into canon--though as I mentioned, you can still find an audience for it!

Writing's a hard road, but it's doable! Good luck, everybody!

Andoran

Being published would be great fun, getting paid for it and officially recognized even better. I'd venture to say that most folks around these forums would find more joy in their own work being accepted by Paizo officially then any happiness a monetary compensation could bring.

If the routes explained are a bit out of your league, remember this: To DMs and Players, any bit of well-researched and sensible fluff, story and conception is valuable to add in the mountains of space Golarion needs to be filled in with. If it's a good piece, no crap, you will influence other gamers and that is cool in itself. I know I read this one in-game essay on Beer around Golarion, not sure if it was fan made or not, but I used that in my game. The writer is a rival of my players' Inquisitor of Cayden Cailean, who is also a beer connoisseur and a writer of books.

Andoran

Nihimon wrote:
I'm not sure who said it, maybe Sun-Tzu, but there's an old saying to the effect that you shouldn't listen to what your friends say about you, because they love you and will withhold certain information from you in order to avoid hurting you, rather listen closely to what your enemies say about you, because they will speak the ugly truth. If you can hear what the haters say, and pick the truth out of it, you will find that it will make you a better writer.

Nihimon's advice here seems wise.

Ironically, his reference to Sun-Tzu and his work of strategy, The Art of War, reminds me of a similarly titled book on creative writing, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I found Pressfield's book to be inspiring. It's a passionate plea to your inner muse.

Qadira

There's also Wayfinder magazine, which is always looking for good Pathfinder-based fiction.


Shadowborn wrote:
There's also Wayfinder magazine, which is always looking for good Pathfinder-based fiction.

Which really is just saying look at pathfinderchronicler.net since Wayfinder gets all their fiction (that is not donated from already published authors like Dave Gross and Kevin Andrew Murphy) from pathfinder chronicler.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Shadowborn wrote:
There's also Wayfinder magazine, which is always looking for good Pathfinder-based fiction.

Wayfinder is also a great option, and not just for fiction!


James Sutter wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
There's also Wayfinder magazine, which is always looking for good Pathfinder-based fiction.
Wayfinder is also a great option, and not just for fiction!

Indeed!


I don't know, I hear those Wayfinder-people even allow filthy Europeans to write stuff for them. ;)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DreamAtelier wrote:


On the other hand, if you are writing something set in the Pathfinder world and being paid for it, without Paizo's knowledge (and consent), you're infringing on their intellectual property, the same as you would be if you wrote and published a Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Warhammer 40K, Star Trek, Eberron, or Star Wars piece. You could be in fairly serious legal trouble.

Again as pointed out countless times, infringement has nothing to do with being paid. Publishing a pathfinder story on your website is infringement.

Fan-fiction is an infringement activity which is generally given a "look the other way" treatment as long as it stays below the radar. But technically, any publication of fan-fiction has a theoretical legal sword of Damocoles hanging over its head.

One last point. Fan-fiction is not good fiction. It is almost universally the opposite. The only examples I've seen of good fan-fiction have come from writers who established themselves with their own original work first.

Paizo Employee Developer

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LazarX wrote:
Fan-fiction is an infringement activity which is generally given a "look the other way" treatment as long as it stays below the radar. But technically, any publication of fan-fiction has a theoretical legal sword of Damocoles hanging over its head.

Note that we created the Community Use Policy specifically to allow fans to create their own original work using our intellectual property without fear of reprisal from us (as long as they abide by the terms of the policy). We want people to write fan fiction set in our world, we just want them to make it clear that 1) we own the sandbox in which they're playing; 2) their personally created content is not endorsed by Paizo; and 3) that they are not charging anyone to access that content.

Qadira

Aaron aka Itchy wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
There's also Wayfinder magazine, which is always looking for good Pathfinder-based fiction.
Which really is just saying look at pathfinderchronicler.net since Wayfinder gets all their fiction (that is not donated from already published authors like Dave Gross and Kevin Andrew Murphy) from pathfinder chronicler.

No, that actually isn't the case. If it were, I'd have never been published in Wayfinder.


Shadowborn wrote:
No, that actually isn't the case. If it were, I'd have never been published in Wayfinder.

I stand corrected. I shall amend my statement.

Pathfinder Chronicler is a great way to get your stories reviewed and vetted by others. The current editor of Wayfinder said elsewhere on the boards:

The-Last-Rogue wrote:
Are fiction submissions still being handled via PF Chronicler?
Timitius wrote:

In short, yes.

People interested in getting their fiction into Wayfinder should really take part in the community of writers over at PF Chronicler. Preference will be given to those pieces that have "run the gauntlet" over there.

Fiction that hits the "Anything over 1,500 words will have to be pre-approved by the Editor-in-Chief" guideline will definitely come from the Pathfinder Chronicler group. Nearly all of our larger fiction pieces now originate from their group.

Now, if people send me their 750-word or 1500-word fictional piece, and I like it, I may send them over to the Chronicler group, and ask the group (and author) to polish it up for Wayfinder.

There was the source for my above statement. I misremembered what was actually said, but had most of the "gist" of it correct.

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