Of course, the non-challenge fics are exclusively Mary Sue territory--and created for the purpose of having a fictional argument with him--so he probably wouldn't have much love for me anyway. Frodo's wife and daughter, for example. Pippin's extremely clever cousin/future wife. I like my own Mary Sues. It's just other people's that are so horrendously annoying, naturally. (For a clue of how deep into Suedom these are, I took my writing name from one of them. Oh, not intentionally--I was writing "The Jewel of Brandy Hall" when I got sick of being IM'd on AoL, and I hadn't figured out how to turn it off yet, so I just made another screen name to hang out on, and grabbed the name of little Gala's mother, which was, at the time, Fern Withypoll. (She was very quickly changed to Lily once I realized that I did intend to put the story up, and in fact, when I wrote her story, "The Girl Who Aimed Straight," it seemed that Lily fit her better than Fern anyway. But I started writing fanfic at the FernWithy screen name, and the name stuck. It's a hobbit name.
Speaking of the argument, they began from a discussion on rec.arts.books.tolkien, regarding the question of whether or not Frodo was right to sail west, a question I still find quite interesting. It happens, narratively, right on top of Saruman telling him that he will have a short and sad life... and that happens narratively not far from Gandalf warning people that Saruman still had the power of his voice. Tolkien's letters seem to suggest that he didn't intend Frodo's choice to be wrong (hence my thought that I'm arguing with him), and yet the narrative is... suspicious. Why remind us about Saruman's voice, then have Saruman say such a thing, then have Frodo, for all intents and purposes, live it out to the letter?
Now, of course, I'm a canon lady-of-ill-repute... what am I doing arguing? Aren't I the one who always says that fanfic writers need to respect the original author's intent and theme?
I think the reason I like these stories--and despite their Sue-i-ness, I do like them--is that I was trying to respect the world while disagreeing with a choice made within it. I tried to take the argument into the world itself, rather than just changing the world to suit the way I wished it had been. (And yes, I just admitted it. I like my own stories. I am a humongous bighead.)
Ah. Upload finished. Going to sleep now.