I was hesitant to share my last post because I’m leery of the current climate related to intellectual property. I didn’t want to risk getting embroiled in a plagiarism controversy. I didn’t want to take a chance that someone would see “fanfiction” and dismiss Synn as a knock-off of Masters of the Universe. It isn’t one and bears little, if any resemblance to He-Man and She-Ra. It has more in common with Stargate SG-1, even though it’s a different genre. Any connection with SG-1 was purely unintentional, but it’s there because SG-1 has affected the way I think about space travel.
I don’t want connections to Masters of the Universe or other franchises to be a selling point for my work. I don’t want Synn to be lumped into a category with 50 Shades of Grey or any other fanfiction that’s been reinvented and made a ton of money in recent years. I decided to post anyway because I think it’s important for creators to acknowledge the stories and concepts that inform their work. I blog a lot about the stories that have influenced my work. I use them as examples when I talk about writing craft or as reference points when I discuss my own fiction. So, it would have felt intellectually dishonest if I had left leaving this connection between He-Man/She-Ra out of the discussion. Overall, I think the years I spent developing Defenders of Grayskull made me a better writer. That’s more important to me than whether it was an “original” idea or not.
Anybody who reads the Synn stories for five minutes is going to see that I’m a Disney fan. If you read a little deeper, you’ll find Narnia, Star Trek, Anne McCaffrey, Star Wars, and Dune. http://rosebfischer.com/2015/07/14/fantasy-books-fox-hunting-women/You’ll probably find Stephen King, Anne Rice, and VC Andrews. I haven’t found them yet, but I haven’t written anything to-date that isn’t influenced by them in some way. It’s all there whether I intend for it to be or not. Pretending that it isn’t and saying “Oh, my work is so fresh and new…I didn’t borrow anything!” would be insulting to my audience who are fellow fans of the same genres. I want readers to feel welcome and respected in my online space.
The relationship between Synn and Defenders of Grayskull was a little more complicated, though. I created Synn from the ashes of several failed fantasy projects. Most of its early characters came from an illustrated story I tried to write in 1999. I combined those ideas with some other fantasy concepts I had laying around my head (because yes, fantasy concepts just pile up in the dusty corners of my mind), added the idea of travel between worlds, and then I needed a complex political scene that was based on constitutional monarchy but had room to include other political systems and explore the influence of humanism. I happened to have the perfect thing. I knew that I wouldn’t write Defenders, so I cannibalized parts of the worldbuilding into Synn. The MOTU cartoons only have sketchy references to politics, and I didn’t use any of the MOTU/POP characters. I do have some concepts that were probably informed by Filmation’s series. So, is Synn a fanfiction? No. Is it “based” on a fanfiction? No. Is it completely original? Well…yes, and no. Just like every other work of fiction, in its own way. But maybe a little different, too.
Rose B. Fischer is an avid fan of foxes, Stargate: SG-1, and Star Trek. She would rather be on the Enterprise right now. Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. To find out more, visit her website or her Amazon Author page.