0

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.

Advertisements
0

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.

0

PM – Their PMs are Off

Sometimes a critique will lead to a writer deleting everything they’ve written. This is the response I got today from a writer who just deleted everything.

Hey, man, I get it. Ok? But lemme tell you something. I wrote this when I was 12. And for that time it was something I was really proud of. 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. But YOU are the asshole who ends this. And you know what? How fucking pathetic is it that this is how you fill your time?

Lemme tell you something, I have no sympathy for this one, nor do I think they get it.

I wrote this when I was 12.

Let’s start off with the fact they’ve admitted to writing the story when they were only twelve. Okay, but that typically means they likely posted it when they were twelve. On rare occasions someone who is old enough will post something they wrote when they were twelve, but it’s not often. In other words, this writer just admitted to me they created an account over on the pit before the required age to create said account. They weren’t even supposed to be posting stories.

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

This just confirms my belief that they were actually twelve at the time of posting the story. Normally I’d say the “really proud of” part is something to be lauded, because that is important, but again, they should not have been posting in the first place. There is a reason why sites say you must be thirteen at least before posting, and one of them comes from the fact those under the age of thirteen aren’t going to have good judgement as to what is good or not.

In fact, I just got into a conversation with three of the preteens I work with. The older of the three pointed out that Twilight was “bad writing”, shocking the other two girls, but it was really hard to explain why Twilight was “bad writing” to the two younger ones. The first – she’s well read, unusually so for someone her age, but the other two are not, but one of them doesn’t read at all and only has seen the movies. I’m going to have to clarify to one of them later that it’s okay to like “bad writing”, as I realize after the fact I didn’t clarify that.

However, this is a stage where merely attempting something is highly praised, where as at thirteen one is moving into “perfecting” whatever they are doing.

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.

Were they really keeping their profile open for others? I doubt it. No, see, they talked specifically about the “nice review” there, meaning they were keeping it open for the “nice reviews”. Try to paint it however one wants, that’s the real reason. Oh, yes, these writers pretend its for other people, but it’s really for them. No, seriously. What they really care about is the “good feeling” they get from the nice reviews, but the site rules clearly says not all reviews will strictly praise the work, yet it defeats the point of the review system.

But YOU are the asshole who ends this.

No, you’re the one ending this. You’re the one who decided to throw a tantrum and delete all of your stories just because you got one negative review. I suspect this is the writer’s first, so they honestly believe that the only point behind the system is to get positive reviews.

However, I do have another theory as to why this all ended. See, I think their parent caught them because they threw a tantrum over the “mean review”, and their parent made the decision for them to delete everything, but also turn off PMs, because they didn’t have permission to be on the site in the first place. Before they deleted the fic though, they threw a PM my way because they were pissed off that I – in their opinion – led them to getting in trouble and having their fun ruined.

Well guess what. Those who are anti-critique ruin everyone else’s fun, but you shouldn’t have an account if you’re not yet thirteen, but even if you are, you shouldn’t have one WITHOUT your parents permission. No, seriously, if you’re writing fanfic and doing fandom stuff without your parents knowing, stop, unless you’ve got a parent who’s anti against anything you write and thinks even writing original fiction is a waste of time, and you’ve got this dream of being a writer they feel is a waste of time. The latter – that’s a bit of a different situation.

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

Actually, what’s pathetic are these writers who don’t want to spend their time working on their fanfic stories, then get mad when someone who does spend their time calls them out for bad writing, but the fact they didn’t spend any time on what they wrote.

I also don’t consider my critique a waste of time, because contrary to what the anti-critique people say, most people actually want the honest critique, but the anti-critique people have unfortunately made a certain subset of  fandom feel guilty for saying anything negative, whether it be critique or opinion. And that’s wrong.

0

Popularity Game

via Daily Prompt: Popular

In fandom we have this popularity game which equates to anti-critique. There are certain writers who only care about how popular their stories are, but also the number of reviews they get, but they’re not willing to put any effort in to what they write. These are the writers I like dealing with the least, because they’re super entitled and honestly writing for the wrong reasons. The love of writing just isn’t there.

Nobody is obligated to spare your feelings, but being anti-critique means you become known for something other than what you want to be known for. It’s not worth it.

0

Moon Princess (Voltron Legendary Defender)

I’ve got an anonymous reviewer whose reviews make me face palm today.

Hey you should refer to Keith as the Black paladin

Why? Why should I?

Look, I get the fact certain parts of fandom want Keith to be now referred to as the black paladin because he is now piloting the black lion. However, he is still wearing the red paladin armor, but not once during season three does anybody refer to Keith as the black paladin. Lance is not referred to as the red paladin, and Allura is not referred to as the blue paladin. Instead, they are referred to as the paladin of the [color] lion or the paladin who pilots the [color] lion.

So no, I’m not going to call Keith the black paladin, as he’s still wearing the red armor, but even in the old fandom he was referred to as “red” despite piloting the black lion.

Oh, and I get the fact people want the paladins uniforms to “match” their lions, but that’s just being persnickety, and not in a good way. Sure, we never got a reason why they didn’t match in the old series, but we did get a reason why they don’t match in the new series, but to switch they would need a good reason, but I think they still think of Shiro as the black paladin, just as Sven/Shiro never stopped being the black pilot. Didn’t matter he didn’t pilot the black lion in the original, he was the black pilot.

And Kira means ‘Lady’ in greek

What does that have to do with my story? No, seriously. It’s not my fault you’re not paying attention to the fact her name is Kyra, but a character who’s original language is Japanese thinks her name is Kira. It’s also not my fault you’re not double checking your information when you look up the name.

According to Think Baby Names, the name actually means Lord in Greek, though it could be a short form of Kyria, which doesn’t mean lady but is “the Greek title of respect for woman. Slavonic is “strong woman”, Russian is “beloved”. According to She Knows it means light in Latin and America, but enthroned in Greek. According to Oh Baby Names, Kyra means “lady” in Greek, but is also possibly derived from Ciara/Ciaran, which is the IRish Gaelic name for “little dark one”, but clarifies that by “lady”, it means the feminine version of “lord”, not “woman”.

However, this is for the name Kyra, not the name Kira. Oh Baby Names points to the same meaning, but in Japan it means “glittery, shining”. According to She Knows, the name means “light” for Latin, Russia and America. According to Think Baby NAmes, it means “lord” in Greek. But I’m talking about the Japanese meaning, but more importantly the real importance in her name comes from the name Akira, which is Keith’s middle name in the English version, his name in GoLions and for my fic, it’s Keith’s actual name.

0

Tattoo in the Sky

I got this from an anon today.

Hey, have you read this thing: fanlore{period}org{slash}wiki{slash}An_Open_Letter_to_Fanfic_Readers

Just thought you might get a kick out of this, especially if someone you critique tries to tell you to follow these “rules” from now on when review. LMAO

I’m actually quite aware of An Open Letter to Fanfic Readers, and think the writer of said letter has a major ego problem, but the same goes for anybody who agrees with said “rules” the writer put down. Said writer gives writing advice, but most isn’t good advice FYI. Pretty much it comes down to “negative reviews are mean”, and “ask permission to review”.

Sadly, I have had a person I left critique on who sadly subscribed to the idea that reviewers have to ask permission, and that the writer’s “fun” trumps that of the reader leaving their honest opinion, that they weren’t accepting critique from writers.

The funny thing is, this is the same person who decided to make Keith from Voltron a nurse in their fanfic, and when I asked for them to go into why, they blew it off as “inconsequential”, but fitting his character when it didn’t. I mean, he dropped out of the garrison, but struggles with the lingo Pidge and Hunk used in season one. No, it’s part of the symptom that I didn’t realize of stripping Keith down to his feminine traits for a certain pairing.

Which, I do have him doing some things which are feminine in nature myself, I think. I mean, having a mental break down is considered a feminine trait which is “unmasculine” or “weak”, but I’m of the opinion real men cry. It’s also silly little quirks that tie into my autism head canon.

 

0

Sister Avatar

I got this review today. It wasn’t from an anon, but someone who has PMs disabled.

id just like to ask if u can PLEASE put Iana and zuko together, i love the idea of OC’s with zuko and i just hate any other pairing with him 🙂

The answer is no. For starters, I’m a Zuko/Katara shipper, and I started that fic with that in mind.

The second reason though comes to the hating of any other pairing except an OC pairing for a character. For me, this sends up warning bells regarding the reader. I’ve found a lot of people who prefer an OC pairing with any given canon character typically do so because they like the self-insertion more than anything, and there is no real justification for their dislike of their pairings between canon characters.

I mean, I get it when the fandom doesn’t actually have many options of whom to pair up with a canon character, like if you only had one male or female and the rest of the characters are the opposite sex, and you’re either not really into the slash thing, or are very particular with your pairing choices. This though, it isn’t one of those times. AtLA has a ton of male and female characters.