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I wrote a post yesterday, but felt I needed to be a bit more active. Since there were two chapters, I left a second review.

Unfortunately, because of a review left by another reviewer, I feel the need to clarify something for the writer.

Contrary to what the other reviewer said, writers don’t get a pat on the back simply for tacking difficult subject matter or trying to add something positive to the world, but to praise a writer for simply doing that despite the fact the writer failed is majorly insulting to those who deal with said difficult subject matter every single day of their lives, but majorly trivializes what they go through.

In fact, doing so tries to conflate calling a writer out for romanticizing said subject matter whether the writer intended to or not as a matter of don’t like, don’t read, yet it’s a known fact that those who deal with said issues don’t necessarily avoid said stories, but actually use them for therapeutic reasons.

It’s not therapeutic though to see a favorite character the reader knows is a strong character within the canon material turned OoC or stripped of their agency. It screams to those dealing with said issue that the issue is black and white – you can either cope with your emotions like those who don’t have the issue, or you’re constantly a mental basket case.

The fact you enjoyed writing it? There isn’t a writer out there who doesn’t enjoy what they’ve written, but when a writer makes the decision to publish their story and SHARE said story with complete strangers they are going to GET feedback from complete strangers, even stuff they don’t like.

By calling negative reviews “hate” rather than accepting someone may have a legit opinion, the reviewer is effect attempting to censor the reviews and reading experiences of others. No, they can’t physically stop someone from leaving a review, but the act of vilifying something send the psychological message that something is wrong when it’s not. It’s a form of bullying.

The reason I’m leaving a review is because the trivialization of difficult subject matter needs to stop. To many writers get a pat on the back simply for tackling the subject matter, only for the manner in which said subject matter is handled to scream the writer didn’t do their research and/or think things through in the manner they should have.

Apologizes for bringing this up in the writer’s reviews, as I doubt they intended to handle the subject matter poorly. There’s a reason I used the words “feels” and “comes across” instead of outright saying the writer’s only purpose of using the subject matter is for drama and angst, and that they actually didn’t care about romanticizing the subject.

Because I honestly think they do care, so the trivialization comment is not directed at them.

It’s directed at their second reviewer, but if they’re able to trivialize the subject matter for their mere reading enjoyment, who else will? That’s actually a writer’s worst fear.

I honestly take far, far more issue with the reviewer than I do the writer, but as I mentioned at the end,

… if they’re able to trivialize the subject matter for their mere reading enjoyment, who else will? That’s actually a writer’s worst fear.

I’ve dealt with this. It was in regards to shipping, where one of my anons came across as only caring about the one ship, but only the fluff stuff and the stuff clearly marked. It’s a fear every writer has at the back of their mind, that someone is just reading their work to drool and kink. Well, maybe not those who don’t take their writing seriously. They may not be able to understand what I’m getting at here.

It’s pretty much about the merits one works stand on, and standing on ones own merits. For someone who doesn’t take writing seriously, any review which praises is a good thing. Doesn’t matter if there’s a negative underlying message, such as the attempt to censor someone via bullying them into silence.

Fanfic is the only form of writing I’ve found where anyone actually actively argues that a published writer has the right to deny critique – forgetting that both positive and negative reviews are in fact critique. If this were any other place, the writer would be treated like a social pariah, but struggle with getting anything published after that, and if they do publish, their image is ruined.

It’s a hobby – people say, except fanfic is the only hobby which people share with others where yet again this is okay. Do these people actually understand what it means to be a hobbyist in the public eye? One gets critiqued on success or failure, but given tips on improving.

It’s escapism – yet this is the only place where such form of public escape where criticism isn’t allowed.

Why is it the fanfic writers are expected to be treated like special snowflakes?

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Off Topic

I hate doing this, as my posting this means the writer of one of the stories I reviewed may be found if people know how to look, yet the response from another reviewer in response to my review floors me – that they would completely miss my point.

Long story short, I came across a story which romanticized cutting and suicidal tendencies. Since this subject matter is something dear to me, I decided to speak out. Here is my review.

The stories bad. There’s no way of getting around the fact it’s bad, but while the writer claims their issue is not being able to come up with a cohesive ending, yet the real issue is coming up with a cohesive beginning.

Pretty much the reader gets dumped into the emotional baggage of the canon character, with no actual build up to why said character is cutting themselves. Which is problematic, as I point out in the second part of my review.

In this particular story, the writer removed the agency of a character – [name of character], and made them super OoC, but for the sake of what? The subject matter’s not handled well. It feels as if it is here more from the purpose of drama and angst rather than treated as the serious subject matter it is. It’s the kind of subject matter which shouldn’t be there just for drama and angst, as otherwise it just comes across as romanticized, and it’s not a topic which should be romanticized.

Everything I sad above is important, because topics such as cutting and suicide attempts should never be taken lightly when the writer utilizes them. Did the writer mean to? I don’t know if they did or not. That is actually mute in this case, as even if they didn’t, what they wrote has implications they did not intend to be in their writing.

Well, another reader less than a week later decides to call me out. Badly that is.

Yemi Hikari is a **** ****. He legitimately spent time reading your book then wrote 380 words on why he didn’t enjoy it. Take that in. He spent his own time writing 380 words of hate to a stranger on the internet. You wrote a story you enjoyed writing and worked on about a difficult topic. You tried to add something positive to the world. Don’t even for a second think he is superior to you just because he can write a bit.

My review is actually 129 words, but this is beside the point.

When you write something online, there is always a chance you will get a negative review. It doesn’t matter how much you the writer enjoyed writing the piece. The fact they’re a complete stranger doesn’t matter. Why? Because you the writer decided to publish and share your work with complete strangers in the first place. As for hate? Critique isn’t about like or dislike, and in this particular case it is about how the subject matter was handled.

This idea that a person should get a pat on the back for writing about a difficult topic is in fact INSULTING. The fact you tried to add something positive to the world doesn’t mean you did, but that also doesn’t get you a pat on the back. You don’t handle the subject matter in a way which is respectful and handled with care, then don’t blame others for calling you out.

Don’t get upset with readers because the subject matter wasn’t handled well, period. The fact you give trigger warnings does not negate handling the material in a decent manner, but don’t scream don’t like, don’t read when people call you out.

The sad thing is, it’s not the writer that is the issue here, but the other reader. The fact they completely missed my point regarding the fact the subject matter wasn’t handled well, but dismissed it as mere hate is insulting.

I mean, we’re talking a female character who is a strong female, but subject matter the canon material tackles in a far, far more tactful, but realistic manner. She’s a character who is open with people regarding who she is, but doesn’t take flack from anyone, yet we’re suddenly supposed to believe she is cutting herself? She doesn’t have anxiety or panic attacks. No, that’s her mother who suffers from PTSD because she’s a military vet when said mother goes off her meds, but her kids are very aware of the issue and know they can approach her long before things get this serious.

I’m floored.

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I got this particular review on a story I only have one chapter to so far.

:God, this story is, like, so dumb. First of all, what the heck? Maddison? Dixie? Superpowers? Secondly, D*** GRAYSON IS NOT THE WARD OF OLIVER QUEEN. You said ‘Oliver Queen, or his ward D*** Grayson’. D*** Grayson is the ward of Bruce Wayne and not Oliver Queen, you idiot. Oliver Queen is another billionaire. CHECK YOUR FACTS next time, before posting something so dumb.

First off, the names I selected for my OCs were actually pretty normal, but there was nothing actually dumb. The goal of the prompt was to create an original superhero, so I did, but there’s nothing wrong with creating an OC with superpowers within a superhero universe. Nothing dumb about that at all, but they weren’t even Mary Sueish and instead ended up pretty much messing up in regards to their powers.

Second, what’s dumb is the fact they missed the fact it’s the OC who got their facts messed up, not me.

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Virus Among Us

Oml the fact that Allura liked the last red paladin that way when it’s now known that the last red paladin was her father…XDD

*sigh*

I’m tired of people bringing this up.

Specifically, nowhere within the canon material does it say Altor was the last red paladin, but I actually doubt he was indeed the last red paladin. What the canon says is that he was the first red paladin, not the previous red paladin. We’re also talking something I took into consideration when I wrote this, that Altor was in fact the first red paladin. After all, I read the comics and knew Altor was a paladin. Since the position of black paladin was taken by Zarkon, this meant he was most likely the red paladin.

Why then note Allura had a crush on the previous red paladin when I already figured out the above? The reason comes down to the fact Altor is a previous red paladin does not mean he was the previous red paladin. One of the things I’d factored in was the fact someone had to take over as the black paladin when Zarkon turned on the others, and that person was likely Altor. This in turn meant someone would need to take over Altor’s position. That is the person Allura is referring to, not Altor.

The logic fail of some people in the Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom is baffling. A lot of the logic fail comes from the Klance side of fandom, and to be honest, I don’t think this is an exception to that rule. I mean, I’ve got Klance fans reading this fic – possibly on both sites I’ve so far posted it to. This is despite the fact I’ve clearly marked this story as Kallura.

When it is brought up, it always feels like it is brought up in a way to mock Allura because I’ve made the fact she likes Keith quite clear in the story I’m writing. There are other comments – on Wattpad – which point to her being undeserving, in the wrong, even evil, for liking Keith.

It is also not my fault certain Klance fans can’t read context, such as Altor not being the red paladin Coran or Allura is referring to. It’s not my fault they think my story is Klance when it’s not. Of course, we’re talking the fans who think their pairing will be canon despite the fact the producers clearly stated it’s not going to happen, but we’ve been hit over the head with that Lance is into girls.

I’ve allowed the Wattpad comments though because I can reply directly to them, but this anon? No way.

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Virus Among Us – Review Response

Yesterday I got an anonymous review on my story Virus Among Us.

I love the note on this talking about his Keith might not be Galra. You are in for one hell oaf a surprise.

I decided to take a look at the actual note the reader was referring to, and I actually didn’t rule out the possibility of Keith being part Galra.

Note: One of the reasons for the theory of Keith being Galra ties into the fact the red paladin supposedly uses Galra tech that the others can not, but there is a major difference between pushing a button, and a hand scanner, let alone using a prosthetic arm to access Galra tech. The other reason is because Zarkon comments on Keith fighting like a Galra, and yet ones fighting style has nothing to do with genetics, but temperament. Still, I liked the theory of Keith having alien DNA simply because it is fun to play around with in fanfiction.

This is after I also clearly said in an earlier note that…

This story also puts a twist on the Keith is alien theory.

Nowhere do I say Keith can’t be Galra, but the point I was attempting to make actually still stands. The fact Keith is supposedly Galra doesn’t make the above true. Keith’s fighting style has nothing to do with being Galra, but his pushing a button has nothing to do with being part Galra.

However, also note that I used the word supposedly there, because the only proof we have that Keith is Galra comes from what Kolivan said. Kolivan puts forth the claim that the only way to activate one of the blades is to have Galra blood flowing through you, and in truth I believed this true until Haggar was revealed to be Altean in the final chapter.

The fact nobody knew Alteans were alive – and this included Allura until Kolivan saw her, makes me wonder if the activation of the blade is indeed limited to Galra, but this is neither here nor there.

The reader’s review – did they even bother to look at the publish and update dates? It’s not okay to mock a story for using a jossed idea for starters, but the other issue is if they’d looked at the publication date, they’d notice that I’ve updated since the reveal, yet think I don’t know that Keith is supposedly Galra. I actually don’t have a single fic where he is Galra though, as I’m still working with the idea that what Kolivan said is a red herring. If he is Galra in any of the stories, well – it will only be a quarter at this point.

Again, not cool that they thought it okay to mock the writer for a jossed idea, but for supposedly not knowing a canon reveal, yet also not cool that they stopped reading at the first chapter because they felt the writer did something stupid, when they didn’t.

The thing is, on Wattpad, I’ve had readers claiming I should change another supposedly jossed concept – it’s actually not jossed at all, which makes this one even more amusing, because it would be confusing to the reader.

The thing is, it’s the readers job to check publication and update dates. It’s not the writer’s fault if they don’t listen to a logical argument put forth either. I’m talking about my argument that Keith fighting like a Galra, but also pushing a button doesn’t count as proof that he is Galra.

No, fact is the only proof we have is Kolivan’s word. Sure, it says he’s part Galra in the handbook which claims it is official, but actually isn’t as the producers didn’t look at it, so the stuff in the handbook isn’t officially canon until it is clearly stated in another form. This isn’t to say all the stuff won’t be eventually stated in another form, but that one should take it with a grain of salt.

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I Won’t Use the Sandwhich Method

One of the complaints I’ve had regarding the critique I give is that I should use what’s called the “sandwich method”. For those who don’t know how this method works, it involves saying something positive, saying the negative thing, and then saying something positive. Except, it honestly never works. For starters, I say something positive, it gets ignored. People honestly don’t care that you have “something nice to say” simply because something negative is said, but it’s also taking what “something nice to say” actually means.

Specifically, something nice to say doesn’t mean not saying anything negative, or having something positive to say. Believe it or not, telling someone the truth actually counts as something nice to say, because niceness isn’t based on whether the action gives off a positive or negative feeling, but whether the act is done for the right reasons. Is it okay to lie to people, or avoid telling them the truth? The truth is, it isn’t. However, I started reading some articles on why this method doesn’t work.

In Roger Schwarz’s article The “Sandwhich Approach” Undermines Your Feedback, he identifies three reasons the approach is used. First, it’s easier to hear and accept negative feedback. Second, this means one is giving a balanced feedback. Third, one reduces the stress felt by the individual receiving the feedback. How though does this apply to critiquing fanfic.

For the first, I’ve honestly discovered it honestly doesn’t make it easier to hear and accept negative feedback. The reason comes down to the fact people who typically get upset regarding negative feedback won’t even listen to the positive stuff you say, and focus on the negative. However, the sandwich feedback works well with children, because they do listen to both the positive and negative you’ve got to say, but the thing is, you need to be at least thirteen to have an account, but if you’re mature enough to have an account, you should be past the need to use the sandwich method on.

Second, it honestly doesn’t provide balanced feedback. Balanced feedback doesn’t mean giving equal amounts of positive and negative feedback. According to the Free Management Library’s article Giving and Receiving Feedback, “balanced feedback provides feedback on what is being done well as well as what could be improved. The positive feedback builds confidence and reinforces the “good” behavior you want to see more of. It clarifies expectations. It feels good. The negative feedback is given factually and preferably with suggestions for improvement.

The first problem which arises with giving balanced feedback lies with whether or not there are any good behaviors one wants to see more of. There are times when I’ve come across stories with no good writing behaviors, only bad ones. In these cases, one is stuck with putting forth the idea that you think the writer can do better, but that’s still something that should leave a feel good feeling, but helps to clarify expectation.

The second problem is, with creative writing, giving suggestions is problematic, as writers can take this as you trying to tell them how to do something, but there is a lot learned on trying to figure out solutions to the problem one’s own. I personally believe in the trial and error method, but that someone will seek help and ask the right questions when they are read to.

The biggest point here is, the sandwich method doesn’t actually provide balanced feedback. The focus is to much on softening the blow, then actually giving feedback

As for the stress part, having some stress in one’s life is actually healthy. I read somewhere about how someone’s flatmate dropped out of uni because they thought all of their mental health problems would go away once they hit uni, but they don’t. Instead, one finds oneself thrust into the real world where those typically helping you deal with your anxiety aren’t there, but exceptions aren’t made for your issues either.

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I Remember the Fic…

So, I actually remember the story which involved the PM mentioned in my post PM – Their PMs are Off. The story was a Young Justice fanfic – sort of.

The story involved the pairing between Kid Flash and Robin, which I normally stay away from, but the story wasn’t even clearly marked. There was no warning for the pairing, nor was there any character tags used, so for all I knew going in the fic was het. Not that I have an issue with slash, but I’m not fond of this particular pairing. I mean, I just look at the summary for many of the stories for this pairing, and I already know one or both are going to be OoC, or that the writer is going to writing a slash fic using stereotypes, which includes emasculating the male characters. I decided to read the first chapters of a few, but hit the back button due to how cringe worthy the characterization is.

Slash – I’ve got this rule about reviewing everything I read, and this is one of the places I make an exception to the rule simply because I don’t like dealing with rabid fangirls who think they are being progressive simply because they write slash pairings, but don’t understand how insulting making the characters OoC is to the actual gay men in fandom. In reality, they just like their hot slash because it’s their kink, and they’re just not willing to admit it.

In this particular case, I was dealing with a writer who thought their story was inspired by Your Lie in April. Which, undeniably it was. Having seen the Anime, I found the similarities between the two works too similar, my reaction being “nails against the chalk board”. The writer’s other readers, I don’t think they’d actually ever seen the series, so they didn’t pick up on it. However, they relied so much on Your Lie in April, that the only thing left of Young Justice was the characters civilian identities. It was original fiction inspired by Your Lie in April, not a fanfic inspired by it. This puts their review in a whole new light. Not that it changes anything, but it is interesting.

Hey, man, I get it. Ok?

Did they?

I don’t think they actually understood what was so wrong with their story, or why they got the lashing in the review that I did. Truth be told, the story wasn’t just original fiction and not fanfic, it came very close to plagiarizing Your Lie in April, but not quite, or at least at my first glance. I can’t go back and double check this one because the writer did delete it. The fact I’m not quite sure about the plagiarism thing is, though, bad. It’s one of those one would have to examine with a fine tooth comb.

I wrote this when I was 12.

While them being twelves does explain things, it’s not an excuse. I’m now wondering if the reason those two characters paired together is popular is because girls like to self-insert themselves in Robin, which honestly explains a lot of the awful characterization that goes on in most fics I’ve come across. It’s kind of disturbing, hearing this writer talk about their self-insertion as Robin simply because he’s super feminine, but it also brings up two issues I’ve got with slash fic.

  1. If a character is effeminate, he must be gay.
  2. Ignoring the canon character’s actual canon sexual orientation or claiming that the guy was jumping from girl to girl because he was really gay all the time.

The first is a bad stereotype. The second – that’s…

One day a couple of years I met a female who kept getting mad because of “gay eraser” over characters like Willow from Buffy who happened to date both male and females in the series when writers decided to pair her with a female, but also people who just wanted to eplore alternatives to the canon just because it interested them. Well, the problem was she did that to male characters. These male characters only ever showed an interest in female characters, yet that interest was gone. It’s hypocrytical.

And no, the “we’re under represented in media” doesn’t cut it anymore, as I’ve looked into things and found the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is actually over represented.

That said, a twelve year old girl writing slash? Probably not a good thing at all.

And for that time it was something I was really proud of.

It’s original fiction which came very close to possibly being plagiarism, but which also made a slash pairing OoC. To a clueless twelve-year-old, they are going to be proud of that story simply because they don’t know better. Let me repeat, someone who’s twelve probably shouldn’t be writing slash as they likely know little to nothing about it. Not unless they themselves were LGBTQ+, which I doubt it. The writer wasn’t exploring their own sexuality in this fic. I’ve read those kinds of stories, and the tone is definitely different.

However, this also makes me wonder if their parents still found out and freaked. Now, I’m not saying the parents are necessarily homophobic. If I were in a parents shoes, I think I’d be using this as a good time to discuss the subject if we hadn’t already, but I wouldn’t have been pleased with how the kid handled the topic, and that would have gotten a lecture about how to properly handle the subject, and that it needs to be done with respect.

To be honest, I was biting my tongue because I know the pairing is popular and didn’t want to deal with its rabid fanbase, so I didn’t bring up the fact you don’t make characters OoC for pairing whether the pairing is het or slash, but that I didn’t feel the writer was taking the pairing seriously enough. It wasn’t quite a situation to do so though either, as it was original fiction and could have worked as original fiction – if it wasn’t definitely plagiarizing.

Which, if I was a parent, I’d also be examining the work for that as well.

I was teasing with the idea of deleting all these things, the stories, the account, but every now and again I’d get a nice review and would want to keep the profile open for others.

The problem is, with popular pairings whether they be slash or not, most readers care about getting their pairing fix. That’s not the kind of reader I want, I don’t know why any writer would want them. (Not to be confused with readers who are young, still learning, or special needs, etc., as that’s a bit of a different situation.)

Worse though, most weren’t familiar with Your Lie in April, so they had no clue how similar the story was. In fact, there were key points that were definitely influenced by the Anime, yet who got the credit? Well, the writer of the original fic disguised as fanfic. That’s not a good thing, but also majorly bothered me. I mean, even if it wasn’t plagiarism, that the writer of what was posted got credit and not the original creator? No… not cool.

But YOU are the asshole who ends this.

Yes. Because I had no right to be a bit upset that my favorite characters were OoC. I had no right to be upset that the plot was way to similar to an Anime I adore majorly. I had no right to be upset that the writer got credit for an idea/ideas that were the Anime’s simply because they said “slightly inspired” or something similar instead of “majorly inspired”, let alone given credit where it was due.

Yeah, had I looked closer, I might have had to call this one on plagiarism, as all the warning bells were there.

I’ll freely admit, I was blunt with the writer, completely honest. I think the closest I came to being a jerk was my “nails on the chalkboard” comment, but I want the writer to understand how it felt to me as similarity after similarity kept popping up. (Maybe it could have passed as a fanfic for the Anime? So maybe not plagiarism, but just a fanfic for the wrong series. Still rather bad though.)

Me, I kept reading it going, “this isn’t your idea, this isn’t your idea”, and while the “nails on the chalkboard” comment may have been a bit harsh, that’s honestly how jarring it was to me as a reader, and a fan of both series. I’m still cringing because of this one, but the writer also crossed a lot of lines they shouldn’t have, and I didn’t know how else to let them know how bad the situation was with that particular story.

And you know what? How fucking pathetic is it that this is how you fill your time?

I tried taking the time to read the writer’s story and give them a fair critique. I couldn’t hold back on this one, as there is a difference between inspiration and plagiarism, and this one was majorly borderline. What if they had written another story? I even avoided the topic of slash pairings in the review, because the big issue was that it was to similar to the Anime, but also not a fanfic for Young Justice.

But to call my time a waste just because I actually care about the fandoms I am writing and reading fanfic for? How close the story was getting to actually be plagiarism – and it might actually have been, that still is bothering me, so is that pathetic as well, to be concerned about plagiarism, or the characters being OoC.

It isn’t.

More and more though, I realize those who use the excuse of “you’re just wasting your time”, it’s actually those making the excuse who are wasting their time, but also the time of others.

P.S. Worst part, they said they were doing it for others, yet the others had no clue what was or wasn’t this writers, because they were likely not familiar with the Anime. That also still doesn’t sit right with me, nor do I think it should.