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Stop Sending Annie Proulx Your Extended Gyllenhaal-Ledger Fantasies

Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx isn't a fan of Brokeback fan fiction. She gives her thoughts on it to the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview:

Proulx2"'Brokeback Mountain' has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life. There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story. They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for 'fixing' the story. They certainly don't get the message that if you can't fix it you've got to stand it. Most of these 'fix-it' tales have the character Ennis finding a husky boyfriend and living happily ever after, or discovering the character Jack is not really dead after all, or having the two men's children meet and marry, etc., etc. Nearly all of these remedial writers are men, and most of them begin, 'I'm not gay but….' They do not understand the original story, they know nothing of copyright infringement—i.e., that the characters Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar are my intellectual property—and, beneath every mangled rewrite is the unspoken assumption that because they are men they can write this story better than a woman can. They have not a clue that the original 'Brokeback Mountain' was part of a collection of stories about Wyoming exploring mores and myths."

Last week I posted about Proulx's new collection of stories, one of which visits similar two-lonely-cowboys-in-a-pup-tent territory.

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  1. I totally understand Annie Proulx's irritation. Her stories are her creations, and with each of them she's trying to effect something in the reader. Change the story and you lose that. These fan fic hacks are fucking with her baby.

    Posted by: JD | Sep 17, 2008 1:24:08 PM

  2. This is so funny! But I'll bet authors get crap like this all the time in this day and age when everyone thinks they have some sort of creative talent when they really don't.

    I'll bet most of these guys sending her these "fix-it" stories can't write their way out of a paper bag, and I KNOW most of what she receives is perverted trash if it comes from gay men. I just find it weird that straight men would even bother.
    If I were her, though, I wouldn't even bother speaking out about it. I'd just continue to trash everything people sent. It'd stop eventually. But I don't blame her for her annoyance at all these people butchering her story and then sending her what they probably think is a better version simply because they wrote it themselves. I don't think it's Proulx who has the ego problem so much as the people sending her that crap, lol. I would like to read one or two though if I could stomach it.

    Posted by: LJ | Sep 17, 2008 1:24:48 PM

  3. While Proulx has every right to her opinion (and frustration) about how people try to re-write her fiction, it puts her in some pretty distinguished company of authors whose work has so moved people who are inclined to imagine the lives of the characters of a work outside of the context of the original story.

    I expect that the manga and/or graphic novel version of BM should be coming soon...

    Posted by: circuitmouse | Sep 17, 2008 2:21:09 PM

  4. "What is she talking about? Huge majority of slash writers are STRAIGHT WOMEN."

    Yes, but it's not slash if the characters are actually gay. And presumably Proulx can tell the difference between male and female names in the manuscript byline.

    Posted by: j.d. | Sep 17, 2008 8:12:34 PM

  5. Oh, how awful! People think her story hits so close to their home they have to improve on it! Get over it. Be grateful people care enough to think twice about your very little story. Thank them for their thoughts and get over your too big ego.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Sep 17, 2008 9:19:18 PM

  6. Pale imitations are not the sincerest form of flattery?

    Posted by: anon | Sep 17, 2008 9:20:04 PM

  7. Annie Proulx needs to traipse on over to for the Fan Fic Friday series to sample truly horrific mangling of literary worlds...

    Posted by: TikiHead | Sep 18, 2008 1:26:51 AM

  8. One of the most vile Fanfic stories on was the encounter between Picachu and his pervy sons...

    Posted by: TikiHead | Sep 18, 2008 1:29:32 AM

  9. For the most blatant (and brilliantly tongue in cheek sendup of) fan fic, can you beat Cassandra Claire's gayed up Lord of the Rings?

    Posted by: TikiHead | Sep 18, 2008 1:33:29 AM

  10. DD, thanks for that -- hilarious. Still laughing.

    Posted by: freddie | Sep 18, 2008 1:44:52 AM

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