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Daily Prompt: Pungent

via Daily Prompt: Pungent

Today I got into a conversation with some fans of the youtubers Phil and Dan, and found myself amused when they claimed that no fandom has stories which are badly written smut that make ones eyes water, and one feel like throwing up, and yet a fandom which is only two years old can’t possibly compare to a fandom which is nineteen and a half years old in regards to the stuff that comes out. However, I’m not sure I really want to talk about the pungent stuff found in the Harry Potter fandom that involves obvious kink. That’s just…

Here instead is a list of things that make me face palm within the Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom.

First, there are a group of writers who think that Shiro/Allura is canon fact despite the fact the two have never shown signs of liking each other in the first season, and the canon pairing for the original series was Keith/Allura. (I’ve read some good stories for S/A, but they also don’t write the pairing as fact either.)

  • I read one story where the writer jumped to the two being married as the begining of their story, but also where Allura was already pregnant with their first child. Nothing really bad happened except to add a brief bit of angst to the series, and everything was sugar coated.
  • I read another story where the writer forced the two to act as a married couple for diplomatic reasons despite not explaining the customs of the aliens upfront to the reader because the aliens wouldn’t accept help from the paladins unless diplomatic measures were taken. Why the paladins of Voltron needed permission to save the day, and then leave as soon as the task was done, I do not know, except the writer kept explaining “this is the customs of the aliens, and their religion, so the paladins have to respect that”. In reality, they just created an excuse to force two characters together. The two also weren’t in love with each other, but lusting after each other, and acting majorly out of character, something the writer claimed would be explained through flashbacks, but in reality, having looked at the reviews on their later chapters – they just can’t be bothered to keep any of the characters in character.

Second, I’ve come across quite a few stories where writers think AU means do whatever you want, not realizing that while the AU genre covers possible alternate universes, it does not cover impossible ones. For example, it is not possible for an alternative universe where alternate universes do not exist to exist. A lot of these seem to also tie into the Galra theory as well.

  • I read a story where they were in a fantasy setting AU, and suddenly Keith was Galra – as if that were canon fact, when there is no hard evidence in the canon material, and = well, the piece read like original fiction.
  • A story where Shiro was a youtuber with black eye shadow. (Please, the fact his eyes have the dark lines around him does not equate him having eye shadow, so while this may be used with a meme, it should not be used as if it were canon fact!)
  • A high school AU where Lance was suddenly wearing different colored nail polish on his nails because he was “so gay” and that’s how the writer wanted to see him, and not because she could back it up with canon fact.
  • A non-AU where the writer attempted to work out the Galra theory, and – well, made a story where his being Galra would not have at all gone unnoticed.
  • Alpha/Omega, where people are only doing the AU to write an mpreg, not because they really want to explore the concept.

As for some good fics, I can’t remember the tiles or names of the author’s off the top of my head, but I have read a good Shiro/Allura where the others are kids in preschool, and Shiro is having to raise Katie, and then another with Keith/Lance where they’re in college, and getting to know each other. One where Lance gets PTSD, and no romance. And some ones that did well with the Galra theory, and various others.

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Daily Prompt: Liminal (Fanfic)

via Daily Prompt: Liminal

For today’s post, I didn’t know what the word liminal meant. According to Merriam-Webster, the word means…

 

  • 1 :  of or relating to a sensory threshold

  • 2 :  barely perceptible

  • 3 :  of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition :  in-between, transitional

What this particular word reminds me of in regards to fanfiction is original fiction writers attempt to pass of as fanfiction, but also the attitude that comes with why some people feel this is okay.

The first question which comes to mind is this – what is original fiction that passes itself off as fanfiction. The best way to describe it is, replace the names of all canon elements, and you’ll find that you won’t recognize what fandom it is for. However, I’ve read a few pieces of fanfiction which aren’t original fiction trying to pass itself off as fanfiction, so this isn’t a catch all. You also can’t come out and say that that particular element was likely inspired by a given fandom either, unless maybe you’re talking about fanon headcanons. It’s something that’s not, in other words, easy to explain, beyond the fact the work strips the fandom of it’s identifiable elements, and it doesn’t feel like the fandom anymore. Which brings us to two problems.

  1. A few people argue that people should not be subjected to limitations on what fanfiction can or can’t be.
  2. Some argue that what a fandom feels like is subjective, not objective, because it is a feeling, but there is a bit more to the feel than just emotional feeling, but more on that in a bit.

In regards to the first problem, there is a group of people out there who try and argue that writing has no rules. Let me make it rather clear that this group of people is honestly looked down upon in writing circles, and no, this isn’t because of some kind of elitist attitude. I’ve found in the long run, the ones who tend to have the elitist attitude in regards to writing are those who either believe the classics are flawless, and attempt to mimic these works without stopping to think about the flaws, or people who think there should be no rules, and that those who believe there is any rule can just stuff it.

However, in regards to what can or can’t be fanfiction, that’s not subjective at all. That said, there are three definitions of fanfiction.

  1. Fictional works derived from another person’s fictional work.
  2. Fictional works created by a fan of something about said something, meaning it is still derived.
  3. Fictional works created by amateur writers who are just fans of the genre. (This is the original use, and was used by professional writers in genre like sci-fi to brush off the work made by amateur writers in amateur publications as not as serious as their work, which is why saying fanfiction isn’t serious business is a major nitpick.)

For something to be a fanfic of an already existing work, it needs to be in some manner derived from that work. If it’s not, it’s just original fiction passing off as original fiction, no matter what the writer and fans of said story says. But what does this mean? It means that one is able to recognize the work as being a part of that original work, but what exactly are the criteria for this?

What defines a fandom are the characters, place and objects that are unique to that fandom. Thus, I will cover each.

Characters

If a character is out of character (OoC), then they are not themselves anymore, but an OC pretending to be the canon character. Thus, place becomes important in making the work still a fanfic, which is why situational AUs are problematic for when characters are made out of character – the story no longer contains any of the three elements. Even if this isn’t the case, place itself can be made OoC as well, thus having the same effect. For example, stories which take place in the world of Harry Potter with creature inheritances, and added features that serve no real purpose, and the canon elements taking a back seat are really hard to argue as being fanfic and not original fiction. Fanfiction is about writing in another persons world, and not about creating your own world – that’s the purpose of original fiction, so when you start crossing the line into creating your own places and characters with only a faint resemblance to the canon ones, or even none, you’ve crossed the line.

Place

Not everybody likes using the canon characters. Some prefer using the place, but if place itself is not described, and focused on, one gets into problems as well. For example, I once read a story where a bunch of OCs claiming to be Harry Potter OCs ran around doing random stuff with no relation to the canon material, supposidly taking place in the world of Harry Potter. That was hands down original fiction. Other times, place just isn’t well described, and could be anywhere, unless destinct details are given. This is particularly problematic in regards to the schools outside of Hogwarts, which is why including canon characters somehow is important.

Objects

Fandoms like Pokemon present a unique element in the fact one simply needs to mention the use of Pokeballs, and other items to be qualified – and the Pokemon do count. This allows people to create new worlds for people to explore. However, a bunch of fans playing the Pokemon games does not count as fanfiction, not unless they are canon characters.

Why is this a problem?

I read fanfiction to read fanfiction, which is about the characters, places and things I love from the fandom, and not to read original fiction. However, this brings me to the fact some people can’t recognize that the fandom isn’t the fandom anymore. In some part, this can be explained by the following.

  • Those who are new to the fandom, even some adults, are learning what it means, and are simply excited about getting into fanfiction.
  • Some readers, aren’t good readers.

The second one is problematic, as this led to some Twilight writers taking advantage of Twilight fans whose reading comprehension skills left a lot to be desired. They took their original fiction, purposefully published it for the fanfic readers, then pulled it once it got popular – because others were doing it – to retool to publish as original fiction, making something someone got for free now something they had to pay for, although the payed for version had a few edits here and there.

Speaking of reading comprehension, here’s another issue. It counts visual comprehension as well. Some people do not comprehend what they are reading or writing, and thus have an interpretation of the canon material that doesn’t add up. For example, the Galra theory is popular in the Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom, but is also came about because of visual comprehension problems. For Bleach, there is a group of fans who believe Hinamori Momo can do no wrong. Not only to they write her this way, they expect other writers to never make her have to deal with repercussions from her fatal flaws – like characters voicing the fact they’re frustrated with her actions behind her back.

However, there’s also a group that honestly doesn’t care. All they care about is getting their ship kick, with as much sexy romance to make their senses drool, that they don’t care about whether the characters are in character, let alone if the plot makes any sense. The writers are the same.

That’s it for today’s word.

 

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Sated – Fanfic Essay

Sated

In regards to sated, I’m thinking of what does it take to be satisfied as a fanfic writer, but also a reader.

As a Writer

For me, personally, I’m not satisfied with my own work unless I put my best effort into whatever I do. I also don’t understand why others don’t care to put an effort in at all, but then I eventually remember that what satisfies other people is getting positive reviews, reads and favorites. Are those though really worth it, if one doesn’t put the effort in? Isn’t the feeling of satisfaction received also a false sense of satisfaction, and a false sense of satiating ones appetite for praise?

That’s why people act negatively to a negative review, or at least one reason. They’re satisfying their urge for positive praise by not putting the effort in, and they know it. Mind you, not all writers are like this. Some of the ones who react negatively, do so because they have a gut reaction, but eventually they calm down. I’m talking specifically about the group of writers – a small group, which doesn’t put an effort into their work. For some reason, the reaction is always going to be negative, simply because they don’t want.

Now, a few people argue, in regards to negative reviews, if someone doesn’t want them, then one shouldn’t post them. However, once you’ve posted something online, you loose the right to dictate what others say about your work. Sure, you can counter critique that isn’t legit, but to say that legit critique is a no go, that is a form of censorship. Says Lucy Gillam in her essay Apology for Critisism.

Anyone not liking a story, type of story, story convention, etc., is reminded that no one is forcing them to read it, that they can simply delete it from their mailbox.  The “creative” endeavor is protected at all costs.

The critic, however, is not afforded this protection.  She is not afforded the understanding that she can’t not write, that she has ideas pounding at her brain to be let out.  She is not afforded the option of simply carving out her own space, where those who don’t like what she does can simply not visit, not read.

And yet, the major irony here is, we’re talking about people who don’t care one iota about the creative endeavor. I’ve seen one writer post a story which was a supposed situational AU where every single character was horribly out of character, but in addition to this, the writer couldn’t be bothered to use proper grammar – to edit her work before publishing. I wouldn’t say that this person had an idea pounding in the back of their head which she couldn’t get out. That’s rather impossible when she admitted she started into the idea as soon as it came into her head, when in reality an idea pounding in the back of ones head is something that’s been there awhile, aching to get out. It’s not the kind of feeling someone who only writes on the spur of the moment, slapping something together could possibly understand.

This same person, however, who couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to not write, tried telling another person that the critique they received wasn’t welcome. No, that because they decided to not put an effort in, that for some reason that exempted them from getting critique. In fact, such attitudes are alienating, hurtful, not to mention degrading. Take for example an article written by Cynical Otter called Flogging Elitism in the Fanfiction World. She came back just a day later as the Humbled Otter with a post called The Otter Apologizes to the Fanfiction Masses. To quote something from the later response…

I did not (I repeat) did not intend to target or hurt the majority of fan fiction writers and people who are kind enough to actually take time from their lives and aid in the editing process. But sadly, I did.

She also realized, unlike one reader who tried defending a writer I critiqued, by the time she wrote Fan Fiction Elitism: Two Years Later that there are some things which shouldn’t be ignored. As she points out…

Then there is the major pet peeve; fan-brats who insist on romanticizing things like rape, the Holocaust, 9/11, you know the type. If an object of lust can be conveniently inserted into the tragedy, nothing is sacred.As

Insisting there be standards isn’t the act of elitism, and instead having a standard is just common decency. When a writer posts something hot-off-the-press, the reader struggles to read it, so the common decency is to use proper grammar. The canon characters are something another writer created, so common decency towards the original creator is to keep them in character unless one has a logical reason for changing the character. In fact, we’re writing in worlds created by another person, so while one may may improvements on a series, particularly one which ended to soon, or that has a particular flaw, it is not common decency to create a preferred version which amounts to blatant wish fulfillment.

That said, writing characters in character does take practice, as does making a story canon compliant.

There is a major difference between a writer whose seriously trying to learn, and these writers who don’t take things seriously. Their implication that there should be no standards, because that is elitism, that is in fact elitism in itself. They feel an exception to how everyone is treated – common decency that is – should be thrown out the window so that what they post contains no negative reviews. Or some think their feelings should be spared regardless of what is common decency. So…

As a Reader…

I expect writers to be respectful of their readers. I still remember over on Wattpad a reader comment on how a writer lashed out at her, telling her “don’t like, don’t read” simply because the reader misread her comment. In fact, I had a writer do this to me, only to make themselves look like a jerk to their small handful of readers, which resulted in a major loss of readership, as their comment was visible.  Hands down I don’t expect everyone to act in a respectful manner, but if a person starts off by claiming the act of leaving critique is disrespectful, that is most certainly a sign of a writer who doesn’t have respect for their readers.

Reviews are earned, not an obligation.

As for other things… here are some types of stories as a reader I would like to see more of.

  1. Well written slash not written by rabid fangirls who think it is okay to emasculate the male characters, but also use stereotypes in the stories the write, but even read. I don’t in any way consider a person who writes slash for kicks to be a real slash writer.
  2. Bleach – I love stories where Gin and Rangiku are Toshiro’s parents.
  3. Bleach – I love stories where Isshin is Toshiro’s taicho. Yes, he is in canon, but I started this kick back in 2008 before it was revealed.
  4. Voltron: Legendary Defender – Stories where Shiro and Keith are biological brothers.
  5. Getting to see young writers grow in their craft.

That’s it for now.