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.
- 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.
- Bleach – I love stories where Gin and Rangiku are Toshiro’s parents.
- 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.
- Voltron: Legendary Defender – Stories where Shiro and Keith are biological brothers.
- Getting to see young writers grow in their craft.
That’s it for now.