The Writing (and Artistic) Ranting Thread

Morgan

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I've seen a shift in the "culture" where criticism, regardless of how courteous, specific, and actionable it is, gets seen as hate, and what a writer wants is to have smoke blown up their ass because they value cheap emotional pops and plot twists instead of being concerned that a character contradicted themselves from one chapter to another. The only way I can explain it is that Authors are trying to emulate Corporations. They don't want their readers to engage with the story, they want readers to consume product and be excited for next product (to the point of shelling out money for it, if it's not fanfiction).
 

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Something I'm curious about and its something i wanna try. I've been having writer's block for 2 years now and I've sporadically broken free of through it via fanfiction. Granted i think i could just be a writer who doesn't know what to write about.
 
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Morgan

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I'd also recommend reading. The advice sounds facetious, but when you have trouble on "what to write about", sometimes the issue is how to write it. In case your writer's block is the type where you have the idea in your head but it's not coming out, read stories in the genre you want to write about, and then read stories in the genre you're not writing about: chances are an author from the other genres portrays a character, a world, an action, in a way that's effective and gets the gears turning.
 

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Why do so many new writers get annoyed when they ask for advice and an older writer points out that they owe it to their readers to give them a cohesive and coherent story that makes sense? Because that's like storytelling 101: the story has to make sense, which in turn makes it believable, when you get to the end...that's literally the writer's job...
I think it's you get attached to the chaos in your head and you're afraid to part with it.

"killing your darlings" is a tough lesson to learn.
 

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I've seen a shift in the "culture" where criticism, regardless of how courteous, specific, and actionable it is, gets seen as hate, and what a writer wants is to have smoke blown up their ass because they value cheap emotional pops and plot twists instead of being concerned that a character contradicted themselves from one chapter to another. The only way I can explain it is that Authors are trying to emulate Corporations. They don't want their readers to engage with the story, they want readers to consume product and be excited for next product (to the point of shelling out money for it, if it's not fanfiction).
Funny that you should mention this. There have been a ton of recent cases of authors harassing readers/reviewers (again). Just yesterday, in fact; one author--who had gotten a bloody 4 star, no less--got miffed at a joking comment the reviewer put in their review. One, simple little line, and she went on a ****ing tangent about it. :/ And that's to say nothing of the dozen or so other cases I've seen in the past week. So yeah, I'd say you've hit the nail on the head--a lot of these writers/authors want praise only, validation for their overly-purple prose and shallow, repetitive plots. And when they don't get it, the first time someone says, "meh", they lose their minds.

This is what happens when only friends/family read and review your work: a sense of entitlement to receive only good, and none of the bad.
 

Morgan

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I think it's you get attached to the chaos in your head and you're afraid to part with it.

"killing your darlings" is a tough lesson to learn.
It doesn't have to be. Best advice I've ever put to practice is to delete the first draft of a text after writing it and start the second from scratch instead of editing the first. Really. Destroy the first draft. Nuke it from orbit. Summon all five pieces of Exodia on that sh#t and wipe it off the board. Awaken Bahamut from the heart of Dalamud and purge the first draft from existence with a Megaflare.

Or be a bit more generous and hit the Enter button until the first draft's disappeared under 10 blank pages of nothing and you can't reference it without painstaking scrolling. It's best not to have too much loyalty to one's own writing. The first draft is supposed to suck. Let the first draft be "What to write" and the second, third, fourth, etc. be how to write it, where the effort is put into smoothing out the story and Hey, that quote I thought was utterly badass doesn't fit here. If it's meant to be, the scenario will come back in a more fitting way later on down the road.

Funny that you should mention this. There have been a ton of recent cases of authors harassing readers/reviewers (again). Just yesterday, in fact; one author--who had gotten a bloody 4 star, no less--got miffed at a joking comment the reviewer put in their review. One, simple little line, and she went on a ****ing tangent about it. :/ And that's to say nothing of the dozen or so other cases I've seen in the past week. So yeah, I'd say you've hit the nail on the head--a lot of these writers/authors want praise only, validation for their overly-purple prose and shallow, repetitive plots. And when they don't get it, the first time someone says, "meh", they lose their minds.

This is what happens when only friends/family read and review your work: a sense of entitlement to receive only good, and none of the bad.
If I wanted to get into this I'd say the shift is happening everywhere thanks to decades of atrocious schooling (and/or parenting) and reflected on every single hobby that humans affected by said atrocious schooling (and/or parenting) have ever touched. This is what we get when school grades are measured on a scale from 1 to 100 but a 50 is as much of a Failing Grade as a 0 is, and not a Perfectly Average grade, despite what one would expect from the fact that 50 sits in the middle of 1 and 100. Games are reviewed on a similar scale from 0 to 10 (or 0 to 5 stars) but the only scores gamers and publishers pay attention to are 9s and 10s and a 7 can be so damning as to have the publication blacklisted and an 8 is therefore barely decent, see: literally any Zelda game.

If I really wanted to double down on this I'd go further on the atrocious schooling bit and say people of today have a shiny veneer of trauma in their psyche that makes them afraid to ever be seen as wrong about something for fear of ridicule, because the memory of their perfectionist or rude teacher(s)/peer(s)/parent(s) that made fun of them or gave them a bad grade still lives in their head rent-free. That combined with an unhealthy attachment of their identity to things they've worked on (or enjoy as a fan along the same lines) serves to form a blackout-worthy cocktail of a mindset where criticism of a thing is seen as an attack on their entire person because they enjoy the thing and certainly they didn't think of the flaw as a flaw, what does that say about them? So the association still lingers that criticism of the one thing means the entire thing is wrong, and because it's wrong and they made/like it, that means they're wrong, and they're wrong because they're stupid, their stupidity means they're a bad person, and being a bad person is awful and they should be ashamed of themselves!

If I really, really wanted to express my thought about why these reactions happen I'd explain it as them internalizing the correlation to the point where it's a reflex. Instead of being mindful of the resulting shame they feel as a response to criticism and taking to account that the emotion they feel in the moment may be real but not valid and the shame ought to be fleeting, they only understand that any negative feeling at all has to be dealt with right now but unfortunately for literally any sane person with a good head on their shoulders, these individuals have only learned how to weaponize their internalized hurt instead of actually processing it in anything approaching a healthy manner, so they brigade their fandom (or peers if they're in a fandom) to attack the "source of the hurt" to make that source feel the same pain in retaliation and/or they sit around fishing for compliments from their adoring fans on how "That's just a hater, we love you/your work, you're/it's perfect" so that they don't need to acknowledge that admitting they're wrong about something or don't know everything doesn't make them terrible, it just means they have room for improvement as long as they're willing to put in the effort to address that thing. It's a lot easier for them to consider themselves Good People By Default, and as we all know, Good People never ever make Bad Decisions, or have Bad Thoughts, and in fact were Never Bad, Ever.

If I really, really, really wanted to share how this ends up affecting people in general and the media they create or consume I'd say it's gone to the point where in real life, people can't be arsed to give proper apologies and make amends when they've done something wrong (see: "I'm sorry if [blank]," even though their need to apologize at all means the offensive act isn't a matter of debate, it happened), people support their idols not apologizing for legitimate grievances leveled against them,

and in terms of fiction it's contributed to a rise of dumbly written books/shows/whatever where: the heroes do heinous things to their own friends and family but still get stanned in the narrative because they're Heroes/Good People, their character design says so!;

characters in general, especially villains, are endeared to the audience with cheap psychological tricks like the characters getting hurt, feeling sad/sorry for themselves, or having a sad backstory to make the audience feel bad for them, because it takes less effort to make the audience go "Aww, poor baby!" than giving the characters agency and making them compelling through their actions or how they move the plot;

and villains are given redemption instead of earning redemption on their own, and the way stories have expressed the Redemption Arc has gotten as lazy as having the hero be a mouthpiece for the author and granting the villain forgiveness or forcing the wronged characters to "be the bigger person" and forgive the villain. Bonus points if they deem the villain as having righted their wrongs with actions the villain undertook that a) no one knew about nor were there to witness or b) have nothing to do with the initial wrong, like a former child abuser getting redeemed because he saved some puppies from drowning, and none of this requires anybody understanding each other in the story at all! Empathy? Who has time for that? The author just likes the character, isn't that reason enough for the character to have everything handed to them? Oh, and you have to shame the characters in the story that have valid reasons not to trust the villain. They said sorry, isn't that enough? Why can't these characters just let bygones be bygones?

But, what do I know? I just write for fun and go on tangents sometimes. *sips drink*
 
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Rebel Dynasty

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@Morgan It's almost as though you've given this a lot of thought. :laugh:

Seriously though, you've cut to the very heart of it. I don't think I've ever thought about all of it at once and found the connection as you have, but there does seem to be a very specific pattern and group of individuals that fall into this particular mindset, where their circular thinking leads them to think criticism of the thing is criticism of the self; just as the people who enable their behaviour likewise do.

It's not too different than child-rearing itself, in fact. You have one group, who upon becoming parents, continue the cycle of abuse their parents bestowed upon them. And you have the group that breaks it, often by overcompensating (i.e. coddling their children and supplying them with material expressions of their love), instead.
 

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Just my thoughts, but I think the change has to do with the shift in how we view writing. It used to be a form of art and entertainment--you could only find books from the other side of the world if they were really good/popular otherwise you were limited to what was currently selling in your country. (Anyone else remember bookstores in the '90s? The pain of not realising book 2 in a series you liked had come out and now all the store sells is book 3 and the annoyance of trying to find the missing book? Or worse, finding the last book in the series and no way to find the rest?) But now we've got millions of free stories on the internet and the ability to automatically download ebooks. You can literally read anything you want at any time, no matter how niche. Writing's stopped being viewed as an art or as something worthy of respect by the readers. It's a product, something to be consumed and then moved on from like getting fast food. The old symbiotic relationship of readers and writers is gone--the readers want more, now, without having to wait (I've gotten death threats for updating too slowly; yaaay), invest, or consider the person behind the story as a living being; the writers want some sort of incentive to write more and to know that people are enjoying their work without being pulled in 50 directions at once or being yelled at for having a life. People don't care as much as they use to and expect too much in turn. Blaming it all on one group doesn't fix anything; it just makes the readers resentful and the writers stop writing.

There needs to be a change in how we communicate as a group and a change in expectations. Readers can bitch about writers updating too slowly or about tropes they don't like or about characters and plot points and blah blah blah that they hate but they have to accept that, if they do this where the writer can see, they're begging the writer to respond and chew them out in turn. Writers can take two years to update a chapter, but they have to accept readers might've moved on by then; and they can do whatever they want with their plot, but they have to realise that it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea and prepare themselves. We can all be polite all the time, but then we're lying and that's not always helpful. We can be absolute ****s to each other, but that's clearly not helping either. Something has to change.

And I think, something for people to remember, is that social media used to be a safe place to vent about personal problems where only a select group of people could see what you were saying--it was the only safe, judgment-free space we had. Overnight, it became a place where all your friends, family, their family and friends, your boss, your co-workers, potential employers/employees, people's pets, corporations, and random strangers are all at. It feels like you're shouting into a blank void until the precise moment where some family member you haven't seen since you were 5 starts complaining about your political opinion or you're getting fired for posting about not wanting to go into work or people are yelling at you for having a normal reaction to an emotion. A lot of modern writers started on livejournal and similar sites where things were so much more private--it's natural for them to want a bit of privacy to vent when they're emotional and to forget, in those moments, that social media isn't private. Furtherly, writers aren't a product--we are not our products. We're not actors or musicians or whatever; 99% of us don't have PR teams that will screen our posts or coach us on what to say. It's just us and a keyboard and let's be honest, if we were good at saying things the first time we wouldn't need to edit. We're people and we're imperfect and we're going to **** up 9 times out of 10. Yeah, it's disappointing to see a friend go on a rant at their reviewers, but I'll admit, I've also been the one going off on commenters and y'know what? It's usually a sign of something much worse going on with the writer behind the scenes. Remember we're human, not robots. And that goes for both sides here. We need to have some compassion for each other. Also remember the block button exists on most websites; I encourage one to use it freely and without remorse.
 

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I think there needs to be a distinction, in this case. When you post stories on fanfiction, A03, or any other free reading site, the relationship between you and your readers is more intimate. They comment, and you're notified of said comment, so there's no avoiding it really--good or bad. Couple that with the fact that you provide your work for free with little to no emotional pay-off, and it's completely justified for you to clap back when someone is rude. With reviews of finished products, however, there's supposed to be a degree of separation; if the author sees their reviews, it's either because someone took it upon themselves to tell them, or more often, they went looking for it. I'm in full agreement that we're not our products, and many of the readers who have been targeted by harassing would agree--in fact often use the very argument that criticism of the product is not criticism of the author.

Conversely, just as it's bad form to harass readers/reviewers, it's poor form for readers to tag the writer in negative reviews and send them death threats. So you're absolutely right, both sides are guilty of wrongdoing, and both need to learn and respect boundaries between them.
 

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@Rebel Dynasty I agree! And I expect that's probably part of why a lot of published authors now seem to be struggling with divorcing themselves from reviews: they're used to the environment of FFN/Ao3/etc and are used to it being a conversation--which might be part of why some reviewers don't realise they're not supposed to tag the writers. The rules are getting mixed up. :S But I also have no idea how we could fix this in the communities, because it seems to constantly open a gate to shouting. Everyone feels like they're acting in the right, and have valid reasons for doing so, but it's also removing the ability for us to converse and be like "hey, this is really frowned upon behaviour". Something's gonna have to change eventually or we're gonna keep yelling at each other. :/
 

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and villains are given redemption instead of earning redemption on their own, and the way stories have expressed the Redemption Arc has gotten as lazy as having the hero be a mouthpiece for the author and granting the villain forgiveness or forcing the wronged characters to "be the bigger person" and forgive the villain. Bonus points if they deem the villain as having righted their wrongs with actions the villain undertook that a) no one knew about nor were there to witness or b) have nothing to do with the initial wrong, like a former child abuser getting redeemed because he saved some puppies from drowning, and none of this requires anybody understanding each other in the story at all! Empathy? Who has time for that? The author just likes the character, isn't that reason enough for the character to have everything handed to them? Oh, and you have to shame the characters in the story that have valid reasons not to trust the villain. They said sorry, isn't that enough? Why can't these characters just let bygones be bygones?
This particular bit reminds me of Inheritance Cycle. Eragon is protagonist, and therefore anyone opposing him is wrong. Murtagh - after getting captured and mind-controlled by Galbatorix the Gaul - is treated as an evil, evil person, despite being forced into servitude against his will. And in the last book (which I honestly mostly skipped) Galbatorix is made to feel regret due to some BS magic and kills himself.
 

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This particular bit reminds me of Inheritance Cycle. Eragon is protagonist, and therefore anyone opposing him is wrong. Murtagh - after getting captured and mind-controlled by Galbatorix the Gaul - is treated as an evil, evil person, despite being forced into servitude against his will. And in the last book (which I honestly mostly skipped) Galbatorix is made to feel regret due to some BS magic and kills himself.
Never read Inheritance Cycle, but it's probably as bad as The Wheel of Time. Doesn't Eragon go an uncomfortable lot into details about his elf teacher during a bath in a voyeuristic, weird way with a dollop of "No Homo"? That's the only memorable part someone else told me. Sounds like a miserable read.

Protagonist Centered Morality is the damn worst. The entire narrative twists itself to adhere to whatever the hero's whims are even though they're petty and have no redeeming characteristics.

I think there needs to be a distinction, in this case. When you post stories on fanfiction, A03, or any other free reading site, the relationship between you and your readers is more intimate. They comment, and you're notified of said comment, so there's no avoiding it really--good or bad. Couple that with the fact that you provide your work for free with little to no emotional pay-off, and it's completely justified for you to clap back when someone is rude. With reviews of finished products, however, there's supposed to be a degree of separation; if the author sees their reviews, it's either because someone took it upon themselves to tell them, or more often, they went looking for it. I'm in full agreement that we're not our products, and many of the readers who have been targeted by harassing would agree--in fact often use the very argument that criticism of the product is not criticism of the author.

Conversely, just as it's bad form to harass readers/reviewers, it's poor form for readers to tag the writer in negative reviews and send them death threats. So you're absolutely right, both sides are guilty of wrongdoing, and both need to learn and respect boundaries between them.
Little to no emotional pay-off? I wish writers were doing it that way, but they are getting paid. Not monetarily, but with views, reviews, and therefore validation that their writing made someone other than themselves feel some type of way. It's a baffling conceit when authors post something in a public space accessible to anyone with a keyboard, agree to the Terms of Service stating that they'll be exposed to the public and its commentary, take the praise, but then in the face of anything negative claim they're only doing the story "for themselves". Great. Why not just keep it to themselves, then? Weirdest day ever when I logged back into FF.net after a while of not writing and found rule number 3 in there: "Respect the reviewers. Not all reviews will strictly praise the work. If someone rightfully criticizes a portion of the writing, take it as a compliment that the reviewer has opted to spend his/her valuable time to help improve your writing." and a rule telling authors to express basic literacy because they have a duty to proofread. A duty. And this is required reading if you don't publish a story consistently. Were people not performing those rules before? (That's rhetorical. An author once defended their "right" to post their story without proofreading, once.)

And in a finished product there's even less excuse to not take criticism in stride. It's a product. For customers. Which are paying constituents. It's a business, not a charity; if an author writes a romance they're touting as the greatest since [Insert Overblown Romantic Couple Here], and readers make the same complaint that actually, one of the love interests is a total creep, their behavior is manipulative, and there's no time spent developing the romance believably, it's a really good hint that continuing on that track if they still think their story is genuinely romantic will cost them their readership, the chances the publisher will accept any future work because of reader dissatisfaction, and also they're gonna have to get a better editor because the editor should have noticed that one before the book got published.

@Shadow The parallel problem is the rise of parasocial relationships with how instant the internet is. Not just readers to authors but anybody remotely in the same ballpark as celebrity status now has a direct avenue via the internet to get talked at by their fans, @'ed by fans, tagged by fans, and fans shove things "in front of their faces" like fanart and fanfiction and ask them for their opinion on it. Fan art of characters gets tagged under the Voice/Live Action Actor. They're not their characters! Stop that!

Used to be if you wanted to contact an actor, author, or a publication you'd actually have to send a hand-written letter to them and it would be filtered, and there was an awareness that it would take time in any direction. Preparing it. Sending it. Receiving it. Maybe the celeb or publication actually being arsed to post it or share it anywhere. And death threats required actual thought like cutting out magazine letters to not be identified via handwriting, and making sure to send the letter with no return address. Even trolling is different now when some can make a Twitter handle in seconds or bot brigade someone's mentions in a minute.

Going back to the good old days isn't going to work very well because people are given an equal voice on the internet, and someone will inevitably think it's unfair that a Big Name is getting praised for subpar work with @mentions, tags, and everything, and the praise doesn't have to follow any etiquette whereas criticism has rules in place. People specifically write fanfiction with the purpose of getting attention from as many people (including the actors) as possible. Fanfic authors get fanfic in tribute to them. The "celeb" likes the easily provided attention. Fans in general think a celeb placing boundaries (like forbidding that fanfiction be written of their work, or expressing distaste at the idea of their face being used as an Original Character's "play by") is abusive because "You wouldn't exist without us, you should be grateful!", etc. etc. It's just... bad.

My stance is, the fans that consume are one thing, and fans of that type that can't articulate themselves in any direction have existed since the dawn of the first emotionally stunted person and their consumption of subculture. There are readers that come and go because they've always done that.

The fans that *create* and the spaces they choose to share their creations in are a whole other basket, and fanfic authors have hastened the death of feedback culture thanks to their own attitudes. When the question is, to be crass, "Why are writers nowadays so thin-skinned?", the answer is the author and what baggage they're bringing when they put their writing where other people can see it and getting defensive over basic advice. The way readers say something or examples of the most extreme behaviors of reviewers is beside the point; readers generally aren't a hive mind and whether a review works or is "polite enough to be acceptable" relies wholly on the attitude of the author receiving it. There is no silver bullet to writing a "polite-enough" review that no one ever gets mad, not even the hamburger/sandwich method. An author that feels attacked by the slightest shred of negativity won't give a damn that the two compliments came with it, they'll focus on the negative because they feel attacked. Trying to pre-curate the way readers express themselves, nitpicking the way they leave reviews, and being rude at them in public is needlessly performative and carries the risk of turning off other readers with anxiety away from putting their own comments on the work. And now authors complain about Comment Drought and how no one engages with their writing anymore, people only ever leave Likes/Kudos and no actual reviews, etc.

There are straight-up some authors that do not belong in the author space and are in it for the wrong reasons (external validation/popularity), who have no intention of taking commentary in good faith because of their baggage as reasons why they shouldn't or can't improve. Bonus points if they mention having a mental illness, because I guess that's relevant now. Authors With Attitude abuse ease of access on the internet, ride the wave of passive consumerism, and take advantage of the doublethink regarding Fanfiction Websites and Fanfiction in general as inferior to/less valuable than Original Work (so they are allowed to put less effort into writing well because it's just a fanfic, hobby, etc.), while using their work as a metric in an unspoken popularity contest, where being popular requires that readers Engage With A Capital E in a way the author approves of. This ignores that readers also are people behind a screen who are spending time on something they care about. It doesn't help that the authors in fanfic space are aware that people in their Group have actually gotten famous to the point of Bestseller lists and movie deals from publishing their Fanfiction AS Original Work simply by changing the names of the characters, entire websites are getting awards for hosting fanfiction (effing AO3... seriously. ..), and more aspiring authors want a piece of that but go about it through tactless ways via writing fanfiction or creating roleplays and @'ing the creators of the work they're ficcing about or RPing in. No, Kamiya is not interested in your Sparda Tumblr blog no matter how much lore you put in it to adhere to his canon after you hounded him on Twitter. Get over yourself.

I mean, authors need to pick one and stick with it. Fanfiction can't be so mindless and personal as to not warrant anything approaching criticism or serious feedback because they feel some type of way about their "baby", while pimping out the same baby for accolades and actual fame/notoriety both within and outside of the subgroup even if it's as simple as a viewcount or one-liner "I like it" comments. That's the same pit video games are in with people wanting to regard it as Serious Art Like Cinema but Lord forbid someone actually thinks the game is terribly written, then it's just a video game, calm down, stop taking it seriously.
 
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Shadow

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@Morgan No judgment, but have you considered taking a break from fandom? Cuz all of your posts have moved away from writing and into the reasons-to-be-angry-at-fandom area and it might be a good idea to take some time to away from it all. It doesn't sound like it's bringing you any joy. And I know taking breaks from fandom, stepping completely away from everything annoying me, usually helps a lot. Also, blocking people who you find annoying in fandom is always a good idea; you don't have to surround yourself with these people if you don't want to see what they're saying.

As to the rest, we're going to have to agree to disagree. Most of my circle of friends and acquaintances are writers. All but two of those are also fan-writers--even the ones that have had original work published. All of us have different reasons for writing. For me, it's a way to get the excess stories out of my head, but for some of my friends it's practice for their original work, for others it's just a fun hobby or a way to relax after dealing with work and family, another views it like smashing Barbies together to make them kiss, and another views it as a form of artistry they intend to master. Outside of tip jars, none of us are getting paid for our fanfics. Why? Because putting a monetary value onto interaction with readers is a quick way to **** up your self-esteem and to ruin your perception of your own writing. Hits/views/kudos/favs/comments are in no way the same as getting paid; I can't pay my bills with kudos--and if I could you bet I'd be writing drabbles for my fandoms' biggest ships every bloody day. All that it is is the equivalent of some fanmail: very much welcome and hoped for, but...ultimately just something to cheer you up on bad days. And, sadly, the economy doesn't run on the occasional burst of serotonin. The reason we want those interactions is because we work really hard on our stories and we're choosing to share them with the audience, so we want to know the audience is enjoying it. That's it. (And payment in fic/art? I'm well known in the Fable fandom cuz I'm the only person who writes a specific ship...the only gift fic I've ever gotten has been from people filling my requests when they asked for prompts and all but maybe three pics I've gotten for my fics have been paid for. After asking around, I've learned this is fairly common. People rarely get an excess of gifts for their writing; you have to be ridiculously famous in a very large fandom to get a response like that. If it looks like we're getting a lot of gift art, chances are we commissioned it or the artist was taking requests for their practicing and the artist just didn't mention that. If it looks like we're getting a lot of gift fic, it's probably also something prompted/requested or the person is an extreme outlier. It's just not common.)

As for pimping our fics for attention...no? Most of us have a writing blog and will put up a post for people to know a new chapter or fic is up, mainly because notifications are fickle and not all our readers have accounts, but I don't know any writers, in any of my additional writing groups, who spread their fics around that much or who will @ creators over it. It's incredibly frowned upon. And, like, I'm in the Sherlock fandom...which is notorious for being horrible to the creators/actors/etc. and it's still frowned on by everyone I know to send Moftiss or any of the actors your fic/art. (I mean, I'd need serious incentive to purposefully go check the Johnlock majority and see what it's like on that side of the fandom, so maybe the rules are different over there and people are being encouraged to be horrid little gremlins, but, like I said, I'd need an incentive to go look...like spite or...a mind wipe, idk.) I know it happens, but most of the people doing it are very young and immature (which is kinda the point of being young and immature, tbh, that you do stupid things that'll embarrass you for the rest of your life and you'll learn not to do stupid things in the future) and are very much in the minority; most of us would be horrified if someone sent our work to the creators. Especially if the creators didn't ask for it. It's rude.

I will admit that yes, we do ignore 99% of concrit. But then...so do published authors. And I'll tell you why: there's a general rule for giving any criticism that says "if they can't fix it in 5 minutes, don't say it unless they ask". If the writer can't easily fix it, we're not going to touch it if the story's already up. Most of us either have the full story written out and are posting it slowly, or we post chapters as we write them and have an outline written or a plot in mind and y'know what we're not going to do if someone goes into a lengthy critique of our story? Change the plot for you. If someone comes up to me and tells me my story should be totally different, LOL, no. Go read a different story. I have a beta team of people I trust to rip me apart before I post the story; they're the only ones I'm going to listen to for anything other than "hey, I found a typo". We all have people we trust to tell us when things need fixing--strangers on the internet that we've never met before don't deserve that courtesy. And y'know, some people aren't ready for harsh critique because...well, they're writing for fun or they're too inexperienced to properly absorb it. Trying to crush them isn't going to get them to write better; it's just going to make them stop. And, trust me, once you've realised you made someone stop writing, it's a horrible feeling and something you never want to repeat.

But all of that's an aside.

I don't think the argument of what qualifies as art really has any merit in any way--everyone has a different opinion and there really isn't an answer (things can be art but not be important, things can be important and still be artistically worthless, things can be not-art but still have artistic value; it's too individualised to bother debating). But I believe all writers and writing has a place at the table together--whether it's classic lit (aka aged pop-lit), a pretentious English-major being fake edgy, some teenager's Sonic/Naruto slash, or something that transcends all literature. All one needs to do to become a writer is write. That's it. It doesn't need to be good to earn the title of "thing that has been written"--it can have absolutely 0 merit whatsoever and it'll find an audience that appreciates it. Is it all important? No. Is it all worthwhile? No. Is it all good? No. Was it written? Yes? Then it's writing; congrats, we have a new writer. But the table needs a divider with rules on it so people understand that there's a difference between published writing and posting something online. Writers have always been less thick-skinned than they seem (isn't there a story about Hans Christian Andersen getting a negative review about one of his stories and afterwards he was found sobbing on the ground in Charles Dicken's front garden? ...I mean, yeah...sometimes it be like that) and there's only so far ego will get you before it ****s you and your work up. By publishing an actual novel that is getting paid for with actual money, we're agreeing to put ourselves in the public's hands and accepting that people are going to say whatever they want because the reviews are for other people looking to buy the book, not for the author. The difference is that fandom is supposed to be a way for all the fans to interact and enjoy sharing their feels and creations together. There's no way to create a separation as with published books if we're all sitting in the same space, trading stories. But we need to make sure we're educating people that, though fandom is a casual space where conversation is intended, the creators are not a part of fandom and should not be forced into it or addressed as if they're part of the fandom. The creator isn't your friend who posted a new fic, they shouldn't be addressed as one. So either we need to bring back that respect and separation of creator and created or we need to find something new, but punishing writers who just want to have fun is never going to do anything but start more fights.
 

Morgan

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@Shadow Been there, done that. People are still terrible. I find it relevant to speak of fandoms, writers in fandoms, and creators of official works in the same topic, as no creator now has ever not been a fan of something. It's not like someone becomes an Official Writer Of Original Works and somehow totally divorces themselves from having consumed other people's works to have taken inspiration from them or the creator's behaviors. There are people creating remakes, reboots, and adaptations to official works now that cut their teeth writing fanworks of an older version of the work, or they at least grew up being fans of the original work, proudly self ID-ing as "geeks", "nerds", "one of you/us", and then being toxic filth to the sound of applause or likes on social media, because "They're professionals. Let's see you do better!"

And as I've said before, the behaviors contributing to "writers not taking good feedback, however basic or polite" were probably brought on by either something outside of those spaces and the works, or learned from within fandom spaces by someone (or many someones) still carrying their own baggage into the space and expecting everyone else to follow along and then getting rewarded for it in any way possible. It's reinforced and then causes a feedback loop of people emulating what they've seen, because it's popular/it "works", their idols (whoever they are) do the same, etc.

You don't do what I've described happening in fandoms. That's great, but, not sure why you decided to share it as if it disproves what I've seen. I didn't go on about fanspaces trying to get you to cop to it or pound your chest and go Mea Maxima Culpa.

People exist, and have existed, in fandom who have internalized terrible behaviors, received Protection From Criticism via their peers or the people they see as their fans, and didn't unlearn it when they left the space and made it big. It's not that hard to find examples of this nonsense even outside of specific fandoms or naming specific works; there's an abundance lately of professionals and Big Name Fans alike in every shade of the entertainment industry who are only being called out on and facing repercussions now for the behavior they engaged in for months/years/decades, who were protected by their peers, superiors (if any), and fans for about that long a time up to the current day because their "contributions to the industry/community" were seen as more valuable than the cost of their toxicity. They're not that hard to find. That's just the state of the industry.

"Most of the people doing it are very young and immature" is a cop-out. They don't pop out the aether being "horrid gremlins". Maybe you'd have a point if there was a perfect divide between older and younger fans preventing them from interacting with each other, or fandoms filled of younger audiences totally divorced from adults, or something that ensures a work aimed towards kids would absolutely not appeal to adults or wind up with adults in the fandom to accurately pinpoint their behavior as a result of their youth, but that's not real life. Kinda hard for the divide to generate considering stuff aimed for children and teens is made by adults and the sh#tfits grown adult bloggers go into on the regular when younger fans start setting boundaries on who's allowed to interact with them in a fandom of a work for kids, but y'know, that's a thing that happens, and the whole phenomenon of Fandom Moms/Aunts/Dads/Uncles hanging around minors, roping them into drama, getting into petty fights with other adults as well as minors over shipping/fic/art/whatever, displaying generally abusive behaviors, and dodging accountability via self-professed victimhood because of their status as geeks/nerds/mentally ill/"Good Person Incapable Of Abuse" both a) isn't new, and b) didn't spring from the minors themselves. Thought that'd be obvious.

If it were easy for young people to drop off toxicity and insecurity-driven negative behaviors, no industry or fanspace I referenced would be having the issues they're having whether grand or petty, but here we are. The episode that Teen Titans Go! devoted to making fun of adult Thundercats fans for having grievance against Thundercats Roar and saying they have "poop mouths and poop opinions" wasn't a mass hallucination; that's a show made by adults and aimed at teenagers/children that took potshots at critics and old fans of a series (and its reboot in the case of the 2011 show) that the kids watching probably didn't see themselves. Professionals put in time, effort, and money to this. Not to make the show stand on its own, but to paint detractors in general as immature/childish and literally living in dumpsters, all over another TV show not being liked. And then they tossed in a cheap joke about a dead voice actor. That happened.

Last I heard about Steven Moffat, there was a blog criticizing his writing for Sherlock and whatever seasons of Doctor Who he was on, but the kicker is there was a counter blog for that blog that white knighted for Moffat because he's looked at as inherently better than any critic solely for being a professional in the industry, and especially a professional who grew up watching the old Doctor Who and that makes him more qualified somehow, even though he acts like a skunk. And these are still benign references to professionals being stupidly defensive or fans being defensive on their behalf. Mentioning comics and superhero movies is a horrorshow in comparison.

What you do as a fan and fanwriter and however you want to gatekeep feedback is your business. I don't need to read it. I'm just going to restate my point, which shouldn't be a controversial one in the least,

Writers who get upset about receiving basic Storytelling 101 advice have likely internalized behaviors from those they idolize and enjoy the work of, or those they interact with (whether positive or negative). They've learned how to express their attitudes unhealthily thanks to an outside culture or inward mentality that treats all criticism as hate no matter how warranted it is, and an additional mentality that having been victimized at any point in their lives makes them incapable of harboring negative traits or behaviors that they need to unlearn. Instead of encouraging healthy dialogue or a secure sense of self, the spaces these writers come from have promoted the idea that once you reach any level of popularity, you're beyond reproach -- especially if that popularity comes from being noticed by personal idols since that's seen as a fast track to the industry. No new writer that gets that defensive about advice and constructive criticism will care of the necessity of either thing when their own favorite media is made by people who don't care about it and who are happy to say they don't care about it, and that media and its creators are supported by their own fandom that also doesn't care about it. These aspiring writers carry the mentality of "Screw you, I'll become successful anyway, and we'll see who has the last laugh!" and all they really need to do is exploit the right trend, be noticed by the right people, or have an editor or publishing house that doesn't give enough of a damn about that writer's skill for a quick buck, when they'd be better served by a [figurative] kick to the jaw and to be taught how to humble themselves and do better.

That's all there is to it.
 
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Shadow

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@Morgan As I said, we'll have to agree to disagree. I can sit here all year coming up with examples of how things I've seen in fandom prove you wrong and explain to you how you're being unfair and more than a little rude about it, but you're just going to keep coming up with things to justify it and I'm too old and too tired to be bothered with discourse; especially if it has no answer. You @-ed me in your rant--which I'm not entirely sure why you posted here instead of the general ranting thread when it didn't have much to do with writing--I gave you my opinion, that's it. (And, for the record, I said they're doing it because they're young and/or immature--by which I mean they're not a standard of which to hold fandom in general to--not that it's decent or excusable behaviour.) I hope you find some aspect of fandom you enjoy someday. Cheers.

---

Current writing rant:
Oh, editing; you cheeky bastard you. -squishes its cheeks- Give me my words back now.
 
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Rewriting DMC2 with V is tricky because I have to figure out which V i'm using. Usually V fanfics commit to him being Vergil but a few have started doing "V is not part of vergil". Commiting to that tag means creating an OC to fill his spot so I created a south asian version of V named Vijay. Creating him and a few other OCs was pretty fun.

He works for both DmC and DMC but opens up new complications if i have him replace V and DMC2 Dante.

I wanna reuse all the ideas for my "Jak replace tidus" fic as a lotus eater dream Jak is subjected to. Or do a time travel plot where Jak and Daxter expierence FF10 1 and 2 out of order. But then I'd have to figure out what happens when Jak and Daxter are doing during FF10 which cause a snake eating its tail to form in my brain.

I got a ton of ideas for "Fresh Start" but writing them down causes them to evaporate. Which is why i think most writers don't wanna commit to outlines.

One thing Fanfiction can be good for is teaching you how to come up with "plot". Mostly because you already have characters you wanna use/worlds you wanna explore.

Granted I think the ending of "fresh start" stays the same regardless if Tidus comes back or not. But that could make Jak the cause of why Yuna and Tidus are fighting in the "Will" audio drama.

If yuna ever visits Jak's world, I guess this is what she'll wear.
 
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Rebel Dynasty

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11 chapters left of Shadow & Flame, and this draft will be done. Not sure what I'll focus on next. Part of me wants to continue working on Static, but since it's not exactly a priority WIP, I'm worried I'll either feel obliged to rush through it or have to put it on the back-burner again just to return to one of my priority works. Probably best to leave it alone until I can give it my full attention.

Which I guess leaves me with either editing something that's low pressure, or maybe taking a little break to do some short stories. Eventually I'll have to delve into The Mythos Trials (if I want to have it ready for next year, that is) but not yet.
 

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I often feel like a fraud as a creative and this is what spoke to me.
 
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