Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityExtraFanworksWe’re taking a quick break from our year of companions to provide you with a discussion (and explanation of) fanworks. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, and guests Anna Livingston (of A Teaspoon And An Open Mind), and Janita Burgess (of the Organization for Transformative Works), as we discuss what fanworks are, what they mean, how they’ve evolved, where to find them, and much more!

Have you created some fanworks and want to share? Please do so in the comments! Have some favorites you’d like to point us to, be sure to let us know! And we welcome your thoughts on fanworks in general.


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Download or listen now (runtime 1:16:06) 

Comments on: "Extra! – Fanworks Round Table" (42)

  1. Here are the results of my 2013 50th anniversary Doctor Who art project! I was unemployed most of that year, and having a goal to make a piece about one Doctor each month not only kept me busy and creative between countless job applications, but kept me hopeful. In the process, I watched tons and tons of classic Doctor Who and fell ever more deeply in love with the show and its history.

    the spectre of the cybermen

    • Korina said:

      Those are pretty cool; they look like woodcuts or linoleum blocks (I forget the proper terms, sorry).

      • Thanks so much, Korina! It’s pencil sketching -> digital photography -> photoshop! The process draws out the imperfections in the paper, which is one factor that contributes to the linocut/woodcut effect!

  2. Great discussion on fanworks! AM Audio Media in Canada has done a fan audio featuring Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes and it can be heard here:

  3. I just had to express my approval of Erika’s recommendation of The Ten Doctors. 🙂 Rich Morris does great stuff! He created my avatar, as well as all the artwork on my blog and the cover art for the blog books.

    Plus, The Ten Doctors is just a darn good yarn.

    • Thanks for including his whole name. I brought up the website in a hurry before we recorded, and didn’t havE time to properly research.

      And I really do (again) urge people to check it out. I was just blown away by the quality of his work. I think I thought works needed to be “official” in order to be good, which is really dumb. But hey, it’s never too late to learn!

  4. lbphilly said:

    Going to listen to this podcast later, but I have a question/suggestion/research project. A whole lot of fans have taken up knitting — even a lot of guys — thanks to Begonia Pope using up All The Wool on that first Fourth Doctor scarf. That makes her one of the patron saints of cosplaying, I think. But I can’t find much of anything on her with The Google, and I think Doctor Who fandom badly needs a Begonia Pope Appreciation Society. Any ideas? Anyone with connections to behind-the-scenes folk in the early-mid-70s era who could help us out? I think — if she’s still alive — she’d be a fabulous guest on a con panel, podcast, etc., etc. Or maybe she has already done so. Or maybe she now hates Doctor Who. But inquiring minds are inquiring.

  5. Great discussion! I love fandom; there are so many creative people in the world.

    I write a bit of fanfiction and have recently written my first Doctor Who. I’ve never heard of so I’m going to check that out. One area you didn’t really talk about (I suppose it could have it’s own show) is cosplay. Cosplay can very much be a fanwork. I spent four months building my own Sanctuary Base 6 space suit, and it was truly a fanish labor of love.
    My Who Fic:
    Building my space suit:

    Deb mentioned she loves crack vids, and I also am a big consumer of fan vids (I think because I don’t have that skillset) and want to share a link to one of my favorites:
    The Carer & the Caretaker:

    • Thanks for the link to your space suit build. Quite impressive!
      I hope Verity does have an extra on Cosplay as well. I’m not a crafter or a seamstress at all but I found clothes I already own and closet cosplay Nine and River.

  6. Richard S. said:

    Thanks for that excellent, wide-ranging & informative discussion.

    Coming from a background of ’80s fanzine writing, where the contributors mostly used their real names, I hhad to think awhile to process Deb’s comment about the pseudonymity (?) of internet fanfic. I guess it boils down to the relatively small, socially open UK print-fanzine community of 30 years ago, versus the huge & diifferently-structured global interwebs of today, maybe also the current desire for people to use (need?) different identities for different situations.

    Thinking back to my own earliest fanworks, must’ve been way back in 1975 when the primary school (kindergarten) teacher told our class that we could have a go at writing longer stories, half an hour maybe twice a week over the length of the term (semester). Naturally, I chose to novelise the recently-televised Terror of the Zygons and Pyramids of Mars!

    This was before the Target books of those stories had been published, but probably after I’d bought my very first of the range, Doctor Who And The Giant Robot (the first Tom Baker story) so I knew such things as DW novelisations were an actual thing.

    Wish I still had them. I can recall my version of Zygons utilised blue & purple Crayola crayons on the front cover for that authentic time vortex effect. Pyramids included copious interior artwork because, by the time I’d got past writing up episode one, I’d forgotten most of the actual plot!

    For an interesting example of a literary megastar talking about his early comic fan writing alongside fellow fan (and excellent, excellent sf/f author) Howard Waldrop, check out the opening chapter ‘A Four-Color Fanboy’ in the ‘Dreamsongs’ story collection by George R.R. Martin.

    • Richard, I think you’ve got the arguments for pseudonymity pretty much right, but here’s a real-life example, if it helps: I write fanfic under a pseudonym (nonelvis), and even “Anna Livingston” is a pen name as well. I use the pseudonyms primarily because I am a small business owner, and my potential clients don’t need to Google my name and find out that I write fanfic, much less what sort of fic I’ve written. (Some of it is totally suitable for all ages! Some of it … very much not.) I’m sure some of these clients wouldn’t have the slightest problem with what I do in my spare time, but I don’t want to frighten people off before they even decide to contact me — and unfortunately, as Deb pointed out during the podcast, when fanfic is spoken of in the media, it’s often with a sniggering tone.

  7. Thanks for the great discussion! Richard S, thanks for the nostalgia. I feel this quiet longing at having missed out on UK fandom in the late 70s and early 80s from my little pocket of mostly-solitary Whovianism in rural Pennsylvania. I still have my composition books and spiral-bound notebooks written under the covers by flashlight, with gratuitous OFC inserts into the Jo & Third Doctor team.

    Thirty years later, I have the internet to thank for drawing me back to fandom and getting me hooked on Big Finish. It’s an incredibly unusual fandom. Unlike all the rest I was writing fanfic for as a kid, Classic Who is still producing new episodes! I find that fascinating as well as delightful.

    For what it’s worth, here’s the first Who fanfic I’ve written in nearly 30 years, fulfilling my unfulfilled wish that Nyssa confront the Master for killing her father. Big Finish has done fantastic things with 70-year-old Nyssa being reunited with Tegan, the Fifth Doctor and Turlough. Since they’re what’s playing in the Big Finish main range audios through March, this story may be timely:

    Master’s Thesis

    I flew to England to attend my first con and give Sarah Sutton a paperback copy last fall. Being an older fan has its perks. 😉

  8. terminuspodcast said:

    Oooh, I can’t wait to listen to this. I’m especially a big fan of fanfic and have even written quite a few stories myself (though sadly not recently — I’ve been fighting writer’s block).

    My fics can be found here, if anyone is curious:

    My fics are at all three of the above sites (all of them are at both Teaspoon and LJ), but I’m still getting them all up at AO3, so they aren’t all at that link yet.

    Oh, and very important, they tend to mostly be shippy, smutty ADULT fics, so be warned!

    • terminuspodcast said:

      I finally listened to the episode and it was so happy-making! Thanks, guys. 🙂

    • terminuspodcast said:

      Ack! I guess my comment with fanfic links fell down the moderation hole. Oh well. 😦

  9. Chris! said:

    Interesting topic: now I know what all that jargon means!

    Having listened to the whole conversation, though, I’m now more sure than ever that fanworks are not for me. What I find more interesting is the dynamic, delicate intersection between showrunning and fanworks, the opening titles of Season Eight being a prime example of that relationship developing into something fruitful, rather than acrimonious.

  10. I have written a couple Ninth Doctor fanfics. Originally I posted them at teaspoon and then cross posted them to Ao3 when I got an invite. I’m quite proud of my Alone fic, which is Nine right after he regenerated. I’m paperlessprinter on both sites.

  11. Paul A. said:

    One thing the podcast doesn’t get quite right about Who fandom pre-Teaspoon: rec.arts.drwho was the online group for general Doctor Who fannishness and discussion; the group for sharing fanworks, and which Panatropic.Net was the archive for, was alt.drwho.creative.

    (adwc and the Panatropic archive were my first touchstones for fanwork-making fandom, though I’d been making fanworks in a solitary way before that: like Richard in the comment above, creative writing exercises in school often wound up having a definite Whoish flavour to them.)

  12. This was so nice to listen to- not even my most nerdy friends know I read fanfic, because I don’t feel like being mocked, so it’s great to hear it discussed without the derision, whether or not someone is into it. I read a lot in several different fandoms, and they’re all really fabulous communities.

    Also thrilled that Anna recommended “A Partial Map of Your TARDIS (Subject to Change)”. It’s some of my favorite fanart ever. 🙂

  13. […] On Verity Podcast this week they were discussing fanworks and defined it basically as any creative work inspired by media. They talked about mostly fanfiction, fanvids, and fan art, which is what also would immediately come to my mind if someone were to ask me about fanworks, but it was also mentioned that fanworks could be cosplay, or cookies, or music, or any number of things.  I thought of my jack-o-lantern.  When I was creating it, I didn’t think of it as fanwork, but now I see that it is.   I present you, the Dalek pumpkin. […]

  14. Even more fan education from Verity! I especially appreciate Erica’s frequent stops to define the fan jargon. When I don’t understand a word someone is using, I immediately assume I should know it…then I feel old! I feel much hipper after listening to this week’s cast. (Oh dear, I fear “hipper” dates me anyway.)

    In addition, I would like to suggest a new rule. I am pretty sure the Liz rule has been firmly established (It is the best because it is my favorite-right?) I really loved that Deb’s reccomendations this week were on her list for the sole reason that they made her happy. So, I suggest the Deb rule-it is good because it makes me happy.

    Thanks for another great conversation.

  15. Have you seen the Hillywood Show Doctor Who Timewarp video? It is priceless!

    • The Hillywood Show is when I officially became old according to the laws of the internet, cos my 10 year old daughter discovered it before I did.

  16. Squirrel said:

    Great episode, as usual. My opinion of fanfic used to be less than what it is now, but it was raised thanks to a discussion on the SF Squeecast one time. One of the regular panelists (Elizabeth Bear, maybe?) talked about how fanfic could be a great place for aspiring writers to start, especially if you wanted to practice writing plots, because the characters, and often the settings too, are already there to play with, so you have one less aspect of writing to worry about. Gave me a new perspective on the whole deal.

    I was interested by Kat’s comments about where she goes in search of fanworks, particularly that she still (eventually) checks because some people still only post there. The only fanfic I read regularly is for a fairly obscure (in the US, anyway) British detective show, and I have the fandom bookmarked on both AO3 and because I find that (in that fandom, anyway) that there is rarely cross-posting of stories on both sites. I have also noticed, for what it’s worth, that shipper fic on AO3 is almost exclusively slash between the two main characters while on it is almost exclusively het between the main character and his on-screen love interest… I don’t know if any of that holds true for other fandoms, however. I don’t read DW fic on either site, Teaspoon is my go-to when I occasionally dip my toes into Who-ish waters.

    • Reading your description you’ve got me curious what show it is! used to be a great starting point for fic but somewhere along the line they just ran out of steam and I still find their search engine lacking the refinement that AO3 has. I’ve noticed the same thing you have though, it tends to skew towards on screen love interests for some shows. It all depends on how the fandom develops whether they head towards AO3, separate websites (like B7/Who) or

      • Lewis, the Inspector Morse spinoff with Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox. PBS shows it as part of Mystery! in the US (under the name “Inspector Lewis”). FWIW, I keep running across guest actors in it that have Who-ish connections – Peter Davison was the bad guy in one episode, and both the guy who played Tim Latimer and the guy who played Baines in Human Nature/Family of Blood have been in it. And Laurence Fox is Mr. Billie Piper, so there’s that…

  17. […] week’s Verity was a roundtable on fanworks. We had […]

  18. Korina said:

    I was listening to this ep on the way to work, and kept wanting to butt in! I’ve been a fangirl since the ’70s; my first con was Equicon/Filmcon 1979; I was 16, and it was my first trip away from home by myself. Yeppers, I’m THAT old. Living in a small agricultural town in California, I was very much into fanzines, and in fact still have a box full in the garage (assuming the mice haven’t gotten to them). Ah, memories.

    For anyone interested, the term “slash” started in the 60’s when Star Trek fanfic writers started pairing Kirk/Spock.

    Oh, and another amusing term; we used to call non-fans “mundanes”. I think they’re “muggles” now.

    • Korina said:

      Also, the Adipose kerfuffle started when the designer’s free pattern was stolen by a ne’er-do-well who promptly started selling it. This caught the BBC’s attention, and it all went downhill from there.

      There’s a group on LiveJournal, The Crafty Tardis, that is not as busy as it was, but it’s still chock full of amazing and inspiring craft projects of all kinds. (Sorry, my HTML fu is nil; don’t know how to embed a link.)

  19. One of the greatest collaborative fanworks out there is the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra, led by the inimitable Stephen Willis. The group has collectively produced 9 works to date, found here:
    I think the first was produced with about 40 members while later pieces showcase over 300 participants. The group has received the blessings of show composer Murray Gold, and conductor and orchestrator Ben Foster even participated in the 50th anniversary celebration piece.

    I have personally been a part of the last 5 productions and it’s been a wonderful, joyous collaborative experience.

    More info on Fanlore!

    • I have to agree! I think I may have heard about them on Two-minute Time Lord, and I was just amazed that such a thing existed! It’s unbelievable what people can accomplish when they come together to honor a thing they love.

    • Oh my goodness, how did I not know this was a thing?! I would dearly love to participate in the next one.

    • I agree that the fan orchestra deserved a nod. The recent Martha one was the first one I’ve watched and it was amazing. The sound and video editing on that was incredible.

  20. laurissy said:

    So I’m a bit late for the party. I’m behind on my verity at the moment. I feel a small amount of shame. but I found this really interested I’ve been a fanfic writer for a while now and I’ve enjoyed hearing all this discussion. I do wonder what’s so bad about fan It was what I discovered first and I think my first fandom was the bbc robin hood. My first love, you broke my heart.

    Anyway I’ve had a lot of problems with archive of our own. I’ve only recently created an account mainly because of my addiction for the white queen content. Oh Anne/Richard. But I find when I put my fanfics up there it completely screws up my formatting which is very frustrating. Also I find the tagging system to be very involved. I mean I’ve just wrote my lovely fluffy fan fiction about Solas and Lavellan from dragon age and I reach the tags section and i have no clue what to put. I’m just there staring because I just find myself overwhelmed I mean what tags do I put up. I mean my fanfic mentions sex do I put that in a tag but if I do that will people be expecting a raunchier tale than my tale actually is. My story has a couple of jokes in it do I give it a humour tag or will they expecting a joke filled crack fic. It’s very overwhelming also with characters in the fic, now I’m a romantic at heart so I normally focus on two people but I may have another character in there do I have to include him or her I mean I’ve only given them two lines. It’s a very overwhelming process exasperated by the fact that I get a lot less hits than I would on fan So I would really like someone to help explain A03 to me because it’s been very difficult for me to adapt to the system and I noticed a coolness towards fan and I’m curious if anyone can offer an argument about why I should be using A03 rather than fan which as a system I found a lot easier to use.

    I would also like to recommend as you can probably tell from the website it’s a stargate fanfic based on the Jack/Sam pairing but even though it’s not doctor who I felt the need to bring some attention to it. I’ve never seen any other fanfic author put so much effort into a fanwork. She’s got a Facebook page which she updates regularly she replies to every review, she’s created a timeline for the alternate world her fanfic is set in. She’s created fan art. She’s in the process of creating bios for all the characters. I’ve never seen anyone put so much effort into a fanwork and I reckon there are professional authors which don’t put a much effort into their work as she does. Even though it’s not doctor who related I feel obliged to mention her because she is truly fantastic and if you have even a passing interest in stargate, i highly recommend it.

    PS: I feel kind of bad about not mentioning doctor who in a comment to this doctor who podcast so I’ll just quickly mention that Solas who is from the dragon age fandom is played by Ianto and he is amazing. There we go I’ve mentioned something related to doctor who. I now feel I can comment.

  21. Korina said:

    I just had an epiphany; Gallifrey One is the largest fanwork out there! It’s made by fans, for fans, and for love of the show. Hot dang!

    Enjoy your fanwork, everyone! ^__^

  22. […] Doctor Who podcast Verity! held a fanworks roundtable featuring the OTW’s Janita […]

  23. Squibby said:

    A very interesting podcast. Just caught up with it

    The current info is very useful but the historIcal stuff is a too new.

    In the 1980s I was a newby at conventions and met active fans in their 60s and 70s then. They had been doing what you are classing as fanworks for decades then

    Here’s a few things I learned from them
    – Cosplay was really popular amongst fans of Rudolph Valentino in the 1920s

    – Slash as a fan fiction term comes from the early ‘Star Trek’ fanfiction mags which were printed in fans garages on Gestetner printers in the early 1970s. They were typed using a ordinary typewriter. To show the main relationship the contents page would show the fic title followed by … Kirk / Uhura. Hard Slash became fannish shorthand for same sex fanfic in the 80s.

    – MARY SUE comes from early ‘Star Trek’ fic and is a put down description of a particular type of female character and corny story where the universe is saved by an original character who often looks very like the author and always romances the main character (usually Kirk or Spock). “Meets and Romances You, Saves Universe, Expires”.

    – Fanworks didn’t start with SF. Any work that doesn’t quote the original work/text/canon but honours the intent can be classed as fanwork, eg Christmas carols, abstract stained glass windows in churches, most stories about Robin Hood or King Arthur, Roman cartoons about their Gods, etc.

    Its really interesting when you get into it

  24. Alisha said:

    Catching up on my Verity, and I just finished this episode. Thanks for getting me excited about writing fan fiction again. I just signed up for an AO3 account.

  25. Paul B. =:o} said:

    Cracking episode, thanks everyone! =:o}

    I was delighted that filk got a mention, as it often seems to be overlooked these days (possibly related to the progessive “greying” of the filk community…?) and unsurprised that the first definition given was the one about writing/singing fannish lyrics to established tunes, but was sad that nobody “corrected” or expanded on that. To save myself from some heavy lifting, I recommend reading the entry for “filk” on Fanlore:

    For an awsome example lf totally original filk, checkout Talis Kimberley’s “Goodnight Sarah Jane”:

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