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RPF question

So this was a discussion question I saw at an AO3 fic writers group on Facebook, and thought it might be an interesting question to put to you guys as well.

I won't rehash the old debate about whether or not RPF is crossing any lines/disrespectful to the people it's about etc. But someone raised a question: Does it make a difference whether you're talking about, say, the One Direction guys/Supernatural cast/anyone alive today, who could potentially find out about it, or if it's about someone like Richard III who's long since died, will never know about it and can't be hurt by it?

From what I remember of the group the comments were a bit mixed and I now can't find the original discussion so I'm even wondering now if it escalated to the point of being pulled. But it had me wondering whether I should ditch a Legends of Tomorrow plot bunny involving a genuine disappearance in England (it basically involved putting the Legends in a situation where they had an aberration they couldn't resolve when the missing Princes in the Tower turn up in modern day, because returning them to London 1483 would screw up the timeline as we know it since they were never seen again after 1483 in the existing timeline, so they're damned if they do and damned if they don't). Would such a story be crossing any lines? What are people's views on whether RPF is a bad thing if about anyone who's long since died?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2018 02:50 am (UTC)

I don't think there's a single answer to your question, 'bad' being a subjective term. But my take would be that I can't see how it's any worse than RPF with contemporary, living people.

There are certain religious figures to steer away from if you don't want to *really* tick people off. And even then, I'd say 'write away.'

But that's me. ;)

Oct. 2nd, 2018 03:37 am (UTC)
Check out the synopsis for "Lamb" by Christopher Moore and go to town.

I don't think it's an issue. It seems like more and more authors are mingling history and fiction in their writings and having people in them that were actually alive during the time period interact with OCs.

There are always people who are going to be stick in the muds about this, so write the story that excites you and have fun!
Oct. 2nd, 2018 04:28 pm (UTC)
Personally, I do see historical figure as more fiction. The factual information on the princes is, to my mind, interpretive. Granted the plot line you give is very much fiction, it's not really that different in my head from writing something that says they were smuggled out or walled up.

Is it really all that different from a Phillipa Gregory book? Of course, I'm completly cool with RPF from the get go. But yeah, they are much more fiction than factual to me. Of course my interpretation of bands or actors or politicians I acknowledge to not be factual.

Oct. 2nd, 2018 06:45 pm (UTC)
When I initially read this post last night, my first thought was history is essentially nothing but fanfic to begin with - it's all tailored to our particular country's POV anyway.

Never mind the fact that there's a huge genre of 'historical fiction' soo... I agree with Kaige. :)
Oct. 3rd, 2018 10:12 am (UTC)

I'm with the others on this as I have no issues with RPF in general - I tend to think of it as giving the people another role to play because I don't really know them anyway.  So historic figures are definitely fine.

Edited at 2018-10-03 10:13 am (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2018 08:49 pm (UTC)
I personally think as long as the "characters" are handled respectfully, any RPF is fine, but especially when you considered the historical characters. There are plenty of PUBLISHED books out there that star historical figures, and not all of them handle them with respect and dignity. There was a book that I'd wanted to read for years, and then got totally furious about because of the way they handled Benjamin Franklin.

He is my all-time favorite historical male character. There were so many inventions with which he gifted us that our world truly would not be nearly as good a place as it is without him. Yet they treated him as a complete imbecile and tried to make out that a MOUSE was responsible for all his inventions. That pissed me off, and I'm sure it would have pissed Franklin off as well.

Basically, if it's something you don't think the "characters" themselves would mind reading, I'd say go for it! But if it would hurt them in any way, or embarrass them in any major way, don't. From what you've said here, I really don't think the Princes would be against it.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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