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To be an Elfling or not to be an Elfling

In my previous post, I discussed anonymous reviews from 2008 and 2010 that I decided to delete, because they felt more like attempts to flame or belittle than actual reviews. One of these reviews involved calling me out for grammar issues, but pretty much claimed one couldn’t have a good story unless the grammar was “good”. However, here is part of one of the reviews I received for my first story with chapters.

February 18, 2006 ~ Lyn ~ I wish I had your imagination and skill as a writer!

So, why bring this up?

Lyn is the person I consider to be my first Beta ever. This is only a small portion of one of her reviews. She’s the one who taught me the difference between there and their, but they were super patient with me, and took the time to explain what errors I made grammar wise. Not everything she explained to me clicked right away, but she was wonderful, and gave excellent explanations.

More important though, despite all my errors and where I was at writing, she saw beyond these errors and saw definite potential. Unlike her, I don’t critique or Beta for grammar unless it’s to point out readability issues. While it is important, it’s not the “end all”. I’ll always be thankful for her reviews.

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Beyond the Night: Beyond Justice

Sometimes people baffle me. I received the following review for a one-shot collection I’m working on which amounts to an AU for both Teen Titans/Young Justice.

Are the teen titans going to be involved at all?

So far, I’ve only published four one-shots.

  • The first one takes place in Titan Tower and mostly involves Speedy, and setting his character up for later one-shots, but also how he ends up interacting with the Teen Titans in later one-shots. However, had the person actually read the one-shot, they would know that Starfire showed up in that particular one-shot.
  • The second one involves Robin visiting a recuperating Cyborg, but also some discussion of what’s going on with the other Titans.
  • The third one is about Robin forming a friendship with Wally after the disbanding of Teen Titans.
  • The forth one is about Robin revealing his identity to Wally. Originally, the third and forth one-shot were going to be one single one-shot, but together these two one-shots total over 10k, and each stood on their own.

Truth of the matter is, a former Titan has been involved in every single one-shot so far, although Robin is a character that belongs in both continuities. Starfire shows up in the first chapter, Cyborg shows up in the second, and Raven is marked as one of the character tags for this particular fic. There is also a mentioning of the group every chapter so far. Sure, they’re indirect references, but that doesn’t mean the Titans aren’t involved with the story.

I decided to delete this one. My reason for deleting comes down to the fact I am suspicious the reader didn’t bother reading anything I wrote, but may think I’m going to jump right into one-shots where the Titans are a part of the team despite not having done proper set up.

One-Shots I’ve Written

  1. Circus Freaks – Roy’s not to impressed with the Teen Titans.
  2. What Adults Do – Robin is visiting Cyborg, and also what happens to the Titans.
  3. Playdate – First playdate between Wally and Robin.
  4. Identity – Robin reveals his identity to Wally.
  5. I am Batman Quoth the Raven – Very random one-shot involving a Teen Titans era sleepover between Robin and Raven where they drive Batman and Batgirl up the wall with some surprising twists. Still working on writing this one.

One Shots I Plan to Write

  1. Beast Boy hates his new mentor.
  2. Starfire hates her new mentor.
  3. Raven has no new mentor, but is worried about Robin.
  4. Robin reflects on his own secrets, and Roy rants about the stupidity of the Teen Titans and how he hopes they’ll never be a part of the team. Teen Titans is an off topic subject, yet Wally’s figured out Robin is the former leader even though the other guys don’t know. Instead of getting a girl right away, it takes time. Miss Martian is being introduced another way as well. Her introduction is meant to occur during BtC.
  5. Roy hates their mentor Zartana. (No, I’m not making her the same age as Robin. She’s actually the oldest, and already a member of the JL.)
  6. Raven shows up, Roy leaves because of her past. This ties into number five.
  7. Cyborg eventually does show back up, but I want to do some one-shots before that.
  8. Robin’s birthday for appearances, inspired by one-shot number four.
  9. Robin and Wally get to go snowboarding.
  10. More one-shots involving James Gordon, but Robin and Raven talking about the bullying. Nash (who is the father of Nash from Batman Beyond) is there as is Andy Mallory, borrowing from other continuims.)
  11. Koldur being asked to look over the Teen Titans records to find out Ray’s judgement was off, but his was spot on for someone else.
  12. An alternative first mission where Robin decides he doesn’t want to be leader before Raven which may end up being a one-shot that is just LJ with references to the Teen Titans.
  13. An AU to the “just Koldur” involving … well, spoils if I go into that. 🙂
  14. Artimus and Raven bonding.
  15. AU to how Roy finds out he is a clone.
  16. And others as I come up with ideas. Mostly, these are a few to set up the AU setting so I can write BtT and BtJ which turned out to be more integral to BtC, which is integral to BtN.

Longer Series

  1. Beyond the Night – Terry’s time frame.
  2. Beyond the Night: Beyond the Cave – Terry’s alternate history.
  3. Beyodn the Night: Beyond the Grave – Terry’s little brother’s alternate history.
  4. Beyond the Night: Beyond the Talons – A story with an AU version of Talon and League of Owls, but also Dick’s process of becoming Nightwing.
  5. Beyond the Night: Beyond the Joker – A story involving Jason Todd’s death for this particular continuum.
  6. Beyond the Night: Beyond the Dream – Something I realized wouldn’t work as a one-shot.

This isn’t some simple idea in my head. Then again, when have I ever done simple.

 

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Please Learn to Check Publication Dates

Today I received an anonymous review from someone using the name Shadoriune5123.

Not to be rude, but Pidge didn’t even go into all the possibilities that open up…

I thought at first I was actually getting a legit critique from someone, but the more I read the review, the more I want to slam my head against my computer keyboard. I wrote “Aliens Among Us” before season two, so why is the reader bringing up information that is not only revealed during season two, but is information Pidge still does not possess to make a deduction from? That’s not the only things though.

…when you think about the fact that there are co-dominant genes, and those could affect whether the camouflage gene shows up in Galra.

Why would Pidge think that the traits are co-dominant? Yes, co-dominant genes do exist, but there is no reason for her to believe with the information she has that the genes are co-dominant. Keep in mind, in this fic the team is specifically arguing hypothetically whether Keith, with Galra blood in him would have purple skin. For him to be Galra, Pidge has already come to the conclusion the purple skin would not be a dominant feature, which led to the debate about whether they were the same species. Pidge mocks this idea by pointing out that camouflage would be a non-dominant trait, as they would have seen Galra with this trait, which they have not.

Then you have the fact that there are also gene mutations that affect our chromosones and their genes, and that opens up even more possibilities for the Galra and Alteans to be the same race.

I’m honestly still trying to figure out what this has to do with anything. Throwing around big words doesn’t actually make you smart, and one needs to make ones point a whole lot clearer than just saying something exists. They never get into what they meant by gene mutations specifically, just said it is possible. However, to use it theoretically, you need to back it up with more than “it’s possible”.

Besides, Haggar is Altean and she’s BLUE. I know the Alteans have camouflage capabilities, but really, she is BLUE.Besides, Haggar is Altean and she’s BLUE. I know the Alteans have camouflage capabilities, but really, she is BLUE.

Not only is this second season information that Pidge still doesn’t have, Haggar is purple, not blue. This is also based around the idea that purple is Haggar’s natural skin color rather than her doing exactly what Allura says her species were known for, infiltration. Don’t argue that her skin color is something when we actually do not know.

Besides, how many Alteans do you think have solid yellow eyes.

How do we know this isn’t part of the camouflauge capabilities, one that Allura in her young age does not have as a skill, but an older Altean like Haggar would have? Let us also not forget when this was published.

I think that Haggar could possibly be a bridge between the two. And maybe they’re separate races, sort of like how you have lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, caracals, and servals all on the same continent. They’re all pretty different, but in essence they are the same. They’re all a kind of big cat, so I think that the Alteans and Galra and humans aren’t that far apart, otherwise you couldn’t have a viable hybrid such as Keith. For instance, tigers and lions can interbreed, but a fox and a coyote cannot.

Good grief.

First, if she is a bridge between the two, she is a hybrid, which I won’t argue against. But then this person brings up hybrids but doesn’t use that in reference to Haggar. Again, this fic was written before this particular reveal as well.

Second, the “race” thing is complicated. There is a big debate about whether the Vulcans and Romulans are the same species or not. Genetically, they are the same species, but in regards to race, it’s been discovered that only a select few genes are linked to true racial differences genetically. Race is instead a contrived idea. However, they are referred to as different species because they see themselves that way.

However, the problem comes up when the writer of this referred to animal species as races when there is no such thing as race among animals. It’s that they are of differing species. Add to this, Pidge wasn’t debating with people whether a hybrid between any of these species was possible or not. What she was arguing was whether or not the purple skin trait was something which could be passed on genetically to the hybrid, with Keith being what they based their hypothesis around. In other words, this wasn’t a debate about whether Keith was Galra or not, but a debate about whether his skin was actually purple if he so happened to be part Galra.

That, and a debate about the logic Lance used to joke about Keith being Galra. They were having a major joke at the expense of Keith, utterly mortifying the poor guy, who at this point in time is horrified by the idea of possibly being part Galra, and they’ve not yet gotten to him seeing the blade. Lance just randomly brought the idea up.

Anyways, that’s my take, but I think it’s a great story and you did awesome!

Thanks, but I can’t help but think you missed the point of my story.

Anyways, while I don’t agree with the logic the reader used, I’m letting this one through. While I don’t see the critique as legit because of logic fallacies, it is still a valid opinion and they did attempt to use logic in their analysis of what I wrote. Thus, it isn’t a flame. And, it did mean my fic did provoke some kind of thought with them.

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Black Dream

What the fuck do you know about writing? Fuck all is the answer. So who do you think you are?

I got this as an anonymous review today on this particular one-shot.

I get the fact someone is likely mad at a review I left, but if there was something wrong with the actual review, why not counter it? If I am wrong, and don’t know what I’m talking about, then prove it rather than just saying I don’t.

On an added note, I’ve revisited a few stories I’ve reviewed in the past, and one of the reviews left in response to a review I left said they agreed with the review, except for the fact the “theory” wasn’t “presented as a theory” by the writer, so I couldn’t argue whether the theory was valid or not. However, the problem with this argument comes down to the fact said “theory” isn’t canon fact, but also, what does presenting something as a theory mean? Is it really true that one has to say they are presenting a theory in their author’s note for someone to be presenting a theory?
As a theoretical writer, the answer is no. As a writer, you’re either presenting your work as canon fact or theoretical. There is no in-between. In other words, this is an attempt to try and deflect a legit criticism. It attempts to ignore what they’re working with isn’t fact, but also tries to skirt the concept willing suspense of disbelief. If something isn’t fact, it is the job of the writer to make it believable. In fact, if you are choosing to write an AU, you are creating a theoretical piece, and AUs aren’t something one can do whatever one wants without critical thought.As for the theory, it can’t be considered an AU, for while the “theory” they were working with is now canon fact, there were parts which contradicted canon simply because the writer couldn’t care to to think about what they were doing critically. Should a writer want to explore things that contradict canon, they NEED to note the contradictions, and why they are choosing to explore it.

 

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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.

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Daily Prompt: Chaotic

via Daily Prompt: Chaotic

Here is my first response to the daily prompts here on WordPress. Since I am a fanfic writer, I intend on tying the word into fanfiction somehow, whether it be to write a short story, or an essay.

In this particular case, the word chaotic reminds me of the whole writing process. One of the excuses I’ve seen people make in regards to my critique is to complain that I take fanfic writing to seriously, but when someone does this, what they say makes me think they really don’t understand the writing process at all, let alone how much work I and others put into their stories. The process, like any writing process, is utterly chaotic, and this chaos makes writing hard.

However, those who complain about me taking fanfic to seriously, I’ve found they don’t take fanfic writing seriously at all. They don’t care about putting an effort in, let alone the hard work. Yet, despite this, they still expect to get positive reviews only, as if the readers are obligated to do so. Suddenly, things become all about them, which in itself is chaotic. I’ve had a tween tell me that most of the writers in fandom were tweens, despite the fact there isn’t any site I can think of out there for writing that allows tweens to have an account. The one I can think of – Quizella – is now gone.

Why should this self-centered idea that an exception should be made regarding critique simply because the writer doesn’t want to take things seriously be respected? The very fact they’re not willing to take things seriously, how is that respectful to the majority who do take things seriously? If they’re not serious about fanfic, why are they even writing it? Why should those who are serious leave, just so those who are not can party?

The answer is no, we should not have to respect thoughts and behaviors which show a lack of respect for others, nor should the fact we don’t respect this be deemed disrespectful. Respect is a two-way street, but is also something one earns. There is also a major difference between respecting the fact people have different opinions, and not putting up with acts of disrespect. Respect means showing courteous behavior, but disrespect means not doing so. Those who feel their disrespect should be respected mean people should let their behavior slide without reprimand, because reprimand is disrespectful in their minds, but in reality, a reprimand is in no way discourteous.

Oh, and the work of those who don’t take fanfic seriously – in all honestly the stuff the produce is almost always chaotic in nature, reflecting their chaotic attitudes. Real writers take what they write seriously.