I received this comment from "GMW:"
If we take the published author view then I hate to say it but Mr. Lee
Goldberg, according to this you have no talent for writing because you
are using a preset universe and characters. You do write fanficiton
with legal ability to get it published for money. In my mind that is
the only thing separating you from a fanficiton writer. Has writing the
‘DM’ and ‘Monk’ novels helped you in writing your other novels? If yes
then why can’t it help others? If no, then why do you write them?
1) I didn’t just wake up one morning, burning with the need to write DIAGNOSIS MURDER fanfic and then sent it out a
publisher, hoping to sell it. They came to me. I would never consider writing a book about characters I didn’t
create unless the creator/rights holder asked me to. Why? Because the
characters aren’t mine.
2) I was an executive producer and principal writer of the DIAGNOSIS
MURDER TV series for many years and was approached by the studio and
publisher to write the books. In many ways, I shaped, guided, and
"controlled" the characters long before I started writing books about
them. This makes me a rarity among tie-in writers. As far as I know, there isn’t anyone out there writing fanfic about the shows they wrote and produced.
3) I was writing for the TV series MONK for several seasons when the
creator/executive producer of the show approached me to write the
books. I not only continue to write episodes of the show, but I write
the books with the executive producer’s full consent and creative input. How many fanficcers are also writing for the TV shows they are ripping off?
4) To date, I have only written tie-ins based on TV shows that I also wrote and/or produced. Again, that makes me a rarity among tie-in writers.
5) These are licensed tie-in novels, written under the contract with
the rights holders, who have full control over how their characters and
"worlds" are used. This is true of all tie-in writers…and no fanficcers.
6) I wrote my own, published novels long before I was approached to
write any tie-ins (in fact, they got me the tie-ins) and continue to do
so. My recent book THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE, which got a starred
review from Kirkus and was favorably compared to Hammett and Chandler,
is currently nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Novel.
What I do isn’t comparable to fanfiction — which is using someone
else’s work without their consent or involvement and distributing on
the Internet. I don’t do it as my personal artistic expression — it’s
a job, one that I do to the best of my ability.
Like a fanficcer, I am writing about characters I didn’t create and that are not my own. But, as I said before, unless approached to do so, I would have absolutely no interest or desire to write about someone else’s characters. Why? Because…and let me repeat this…
the characters aren’t mine. I didn’t create them. They don’t belong to me. I much prefer to write totally original work and if I could make my living only doing that, I would.
Write all the fanfiction you want to for practice — just don’t post
it on the Internet or publish it. Or if you do want to post it, ask the
creator/right’s holder for permission to do so first. How hard is that?
What I have yet to see any fanficcer explain why they
won’t to ask the creator or rights holder for permission before posting
and distributing their work. Or why fanficcers adamantly refuse to
follow the expressed wishes of creator/rights holders (for example,
Rowling has approved fanfiction based on Harry Potter as long as it’s
not sexually explicit…but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from writing and posting Potter slash, disrespecting her and her wishes ).
I know the answer, of course. Fanficcers are terrified of officially being told NO… and identifying themselves in case they decide to blithely violate the author’s wishes anyway.