I’ve said here before that I hate Cassandra Clare. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t dig plagiarism, bad writing, or unoriginal ideas. But she got her start writing fanfic. This isn’t why I hate her. I actually think this is awesome. I think it’s inspirational to fan communities and fanfic writers. It also provides a neat way into the field: get known in a fan community, tell your new fandom friends about your other endeavors, and get readers for your original stuff too. That’s great!
I haven’t read anything by E.L. James, but I saw on her wikipedia page that she got her start doing fanfic too (yes, I knew this before). In case wikipedia edits it, here’s a picture:
It doesn’t make her writing more or less anything but just gives us general information about her. (ETA: I should note that I too used to write fanfic. I wrote Harry Potter fanfic but didn’t get into the fandom until after the Cassandra Clare debacle, so I have no personal knowledge of it. That was several years ago. But more recently, I was inspired to write Once Upon a Time fic, either because Rumplestiltskin is so hot or because the fandom has the best ship names ever! Snow Queen, Firewood (Pinocchio/Bae), and I’m trying to get the name bell hooks to take off, but no one is biting.)
wikipedia entry contains no such information. Why? From the talk page, it appears as though wikipedia “editors” thought it was vandalism or the information was considered “trivial” and “in no way relevant or significant enough to deserve mention in a Wikipedia biography.” Unless your name is E. L. James. Then it’s totes relevant and significant. Or maybe E. L. James just doesn’t have a lawyer for a bestie. (E. L. James, if you’re reading, I’ll be your friend.)
Clare’s page is locked with no explanation. Maybe it was legitimate. Though I hate her, I do understand why wikipedia would lock it if people vandalized it by saying untrue or poorly sourced things. But it doesn’t appear that that was the case. From the talk page, the mentions of fanfic and mere allegations of plagiarism were well-sourced. If it made her look bad, that’s only because there is still shame in being a fanfic writer (undeservedly, in my opinion) and in plagiarism (deservedly). Wikipedia is not a fanpage.
It bothers me. On her website, there does not appear to be any mention that she got her start writing fanfic. But she does say that she loves fanart and supports fanfic (though she is legally obligated not to read it). That’s great! But what better way to support the writing of fanfic and encourage writers than to admit you did it yourself? What better way to inspire your fans than to be proud of your humble beginnings?
But for some reason, someone doesn’t want it known.