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03 May 2007 @ 01:04 pm
not trying to cast the first stone... really  
I've done it.  I know I've done it.  I've complained about certain aspects of fic writing, of certain things I see happening over and over, or things that people do that drive me nuts in fic.  And where else is most appropriate to put that than in my own journal (my supposed posterboard to the world that really ends up being my own little corner that only half the people read)?

At the same time, every time I read a new entry by an author about what really drives them nuts in the fic world, I'm wondering - man, why should I write when someone's going to take a look at my fic and say those very same things about me?  And the defensive side of me dredges up the old 'let ye without sin cast the first stone' (note the caveat here - i'm not religious most of the time, except to acknowledge that I'm going to hell.  really).  Because as far as casting stones go, we're all implicated.  We all have our little self indulgences.  That's what fic is about, to me, indulging one's "what if" fantasies (be they porny or gen) and finding out what happens. 

But when someone criticizes a whole genre of fic because most writers don't do what that individual wants them to?  I keep going back to the maxim:  there is NO perfect fic out there.  There is nothing that will satisfy everyone.  One person's peeve is another person's joy - be it linguistic joy, characterization joy, plot device joy.  It's all someone's joy.

Sometimes I think it's the tone these kinds of entries take that make me feel defensive - even if that tone is unintentionally in there.  The tone that says "I don't do this in my writing, and my writing is the perfect example of what I'd like everyone else to do" while they're complaining about some aspect of others.  Gotta say, people, NO ONE IS PERFECT.  Everyone has their handicaps. Even if you're making sure you don't include any of your own pet peeves, you're going to tread on someone elses'. So when these rants of "oh my god everyone else does this and it's wrong and I'm at least right in this one way" entries... it drives me FRIGGING NUTS.

I'll admit that I'm being harsh. I'll face up to the fact that I'm basically pointing fingers and whining. It happens. I don't expect anyone to stop doing what they're doing because of me. In the same way that people have the right to grumble about fic they think is less than perfect, I feel like I've got the right to grumble about the commentary, right?
Professor Fancypants von Deth, Esq: Words Hurtdwg on May 3rd, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
I got sent a "TOP TEN TIPS FOR BUDDING WRITERS!" from Some Big SciFi Author, and in there was a rant against writing fanfic. This guy said it was a waste of time and talent when people should be focusing on more original pursuits. That's when I closed the email and haven't really bothered to go back since. Honestly, there's some simply amazing fic out there and some of the fic authors I know also work on original stuff, it's just that they keep that more to themselves.

This is why I maintain that all I want to write is stuff I think is cool. If other people enjoy it, great. If they don't, hey...either let me know what you don't like and why, or go away quietly and dismiss me as another hack.

But the moment that I think I'm the greatest writer ever, I implore people to punch me in the head. A lot.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)

This is why I maintain that all I want to write is stuff I think is cool. If other people enjoy it, great. If they don't, hey...either let me know what you don't like and why, or go away quietly and dismiss me as another hack.

me too. i don't write that much, and when i go back and read my own stuff, i cringe, but at the time i liked the product. there is a certain liberation in writing what you want and being happy with the coolness of it. And dismissing everyone as hacky that doesn't do it the way they're supposed to dismisses a lot of the coolness out there.
Purplepsychoadept on May 3rd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
psst. I think you forgot to put the filter on. I totally agree with you, though...
my monkied brain: buffy - sad-defeatedkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
OH CRAP. thank you. thank you. this is why i should not be allowed to use the intarwebs.

and i will expect the defriending by the very people i was trying to exclude to commence...
Purplepsychoadept on May 3rd, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
Hey, if they defriend you it's their loss. They don't sound like the most mature folk in the world anyway.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
it's not that they're not nice people - they are - i mean we're all subject to this every once in a while (as i stated at the outset, i do it too)... just something someone said this morning got to me. And you're right, if they defriend, they defriend. It'll be a bummer, but ... just as they take a public stance in their own ljs, i can too.

*squishes you for the support*
Lostgirllostgirlslair on May 3rd, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Don't fret, sweetie. It wasn't up for long before you fixed the filter and not all that many people are on this time of day. ::nods firmly::

Well, I know I've had my little tirades now again. I try not to take the occasional rant too seriously (which, of course, doesn't mean I succeed . . . *G*), cause everybody complains about things they don't like, and everyone gets fed up. You know how trends are, sometimes elements that someone doesn't like become trends and then they're seeing it all the time and *poof* rant.

Broad generalization, though, those annoy. "All fanfic...", "All Slash/Het/Gen...", "All fic with suchandsuch character...". And when the complaints are more than once in a blue moon, when people just can't seem to stop the rantage, that's annoying.

I applaud your rantage, sweetie. ::nods:: Get it out! *G* ::huge hugs::
literate and stylish: buffy/willow londonversemishloran on May 3rd, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
Broad generalization, though, those annoy. "All fanfic...", "All Slash/Het/Gen...",

Aargh, that fucks me right off! My friend Cal I actually met through an online role playing story writing type thing, and we all have either adapted cahracters from the Star Wars universe to our own characters in all but name, or made ours up entirely, and he dismisses slash and RPS/Real Person Fic generally as disgusting and immoral and Simply Not Done etc etc, and it makes me go BWUH? But this is exactly what YOU DO, just in a different way... etc.

Maybe not the rant we need, but hey. It's good to talk?
Lostgirllostgirlslair on May 3rd, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
Mish!! ::squishes you::

Exactly! As Kate said, making judgements against a whole genre? Silly and not cool.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
it is good to talk! as i was saying to LG, i revised this post to public, so if you want me to hide your comment, just let me know.... and really, i'm just standing up for the other side in a longstanding conversation... *grin* thanks for the support darlingest.
literate and stylish: giggle loopmishloran on May 3rd, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Okay. Randomly flicking about with the public/friendslockednessness today then, huh? ;)

I am cool with it being public, whatever, ya know? (Although the Universe In General knowing I am a huge Star Wars geek... maybe not such a good thing, but heeeey...)

I do not know the conversation. I guess someone was pointing and laughing. Which is kinda rude and all, but, well, sometimes it just has to be done. I would do it flist-locked, though, to spare embarrassment etc.

Mainly I don't read the Thou Shalt Not Do This In Your Fic type posts, because, well, if I wanna do them I am going to do them anyway. Whatever floats your boat, peels your banana etc I say. (For example, mpreg? I do not get. Like, at all in the slightest. So I do not read it. Likewise fic with bad spelling or grammar. Don't read it if you can't put up with it. You don't see me throwing hissy fits about it. *shrugs* But I am easygoing and laid back. Uh... sometimes?)
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
Well, i posted it publicly for the heck of it. (so let me know if you want me to hide your comment)

I figured if lj is a place for complaining, why not add to the whine? seriously though, it's me being fussy about a particular moment in time. Thanks for the love! It does annoy, even when i go back and read my own rants. But i'll have the courage of my own convictions (and besides, who reads my lj anyway? people who know i'm being a dork *grin*)
Lostgirllostgirlslair on May 3rd, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
::more hugs::

Don't bother hiding my comment, I don't care. ::laughs::

And you have every right to rant, sweetie! I know you, you're not one of those people who loves to focus on the negative, drag it out into the street and beat it to death. (Wow, violent metaphor. ::blinks::) So, this moment in time really annoyed you, or you wouldn't have posted, and therefore, I say rant on! ::nods::

I cringe after reading some of my own previous rants, but, as frightening as it is to quote Lilith (from Frasier, though I think she's pretty much the same on Cheers) "I simply responded with a genuine emotion I was feeling at the time." ::nods::

(::blinks:: Am I making any sense or I am being completely random? ::laughs::)
my monkied brain: You Rockkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
*snuggles you* you're making a ton of sense! and thank you, for the reassurance and the encouragement. I do try to focus on the positive, but sometimes things just ... get under my skin. And eventually they're gone. I wonder sometimes if I've gotten away from the original reason why I started an online journal - to write my emotions/feelings/thoughts in a public space, and now am more concerned about what people will think than I used to be - LJ has a way of doing that to us, I think.

I love that quote from Lilith!! Haven't thought about her for years, but she was a fabulous character, wasn't she?
Lostgirllostgirlslair on May 3rd, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
::snuggles you right back::

Oh, I so know what you mean! It takes courage (and more) to post such private (sometimes irrational, sometimes vague) things as thoughts/feelings in a public space. It's both weird and wonderful to have people staring at your journal, especially when we don't necessarily know everybody on our flists as well as we normally would want to before sharing.

It's nervous making, but I respect anyone who can be themselves in such a forum, because that's not easy. ::nods:: I think LJ (the forum itself, not the people . . . er, not usually the people) encourages a weird paranoia.

She was! *G*
Antenna: headacheantennapedia on May 3rd, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
Heh. I bet I know what you're reacting to. I left a comment. Youth is rigid, and youth is tactless, and our egos will survive it. Even publishing in the soft-and-cuddly world of fanfiction requires a certain amount of ego-buffer around the tender core of writerly insecurity.

The other thing to remember is that most of the time other people aren't talking about you or me. They're talking about themselves. We are tiny bit players in each other's stories.
my monkied brain: buffy - pirate swordkatekat1010 on May 3rd, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
lol - I highly approved of your comment when I saw it - I would not have been half as tactful (and it's been a morning of me trying to think of a tactful response too). You're right that even fan publishing requires a certain amount of ego - and then is also an ego-investment that doesn't like being assailed. We're squshy bunnies that really should be petted at every opportunity. *grin*

And although I can intellectually justify to myself that the discussion isn't about me (actually, since my contributions to the fic world are pretty insignificant compared to most, i'm mostly out of the equation), part of my huffy resistance comes from wanting to defend others whose work I enjoy so much. Regardless of the intellectual rationalization I still emotionally want to defend, you know? Run up with my flaming sword and say HEY.
Antennaantennapedia on May 3rd, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I know that defense urge. Am having a raging argument with my husband at the moment (not actual rage; more like "on-going spirited discussion" cough) about fanfiction in general, and whether it can ever be any good. GOD.

Took me a while to write that comment, and I probably shouldn't have, because my ox was definitely gored, there.
Lostgirllostgirlslair on May 3rd, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)

::is trying very hard to stop laughing so she can type:: I think I found what you were responding to. ::blinks:: ::bites lip::

Yeah, the tone of that is just, er . . "Oh, dear." *G* Lecturing to the 'uninformed' is not a good tone for a rant and, yeah, that has me wanting to speak up, too. ::huge hugs::
(Deleted comment)
EB: Queen of the Social Leperselizabuffy on May 3rd, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
ugh! i can't figure out how to delete previous comment *pout*

gileswench: educationalgileswench on May 3rd, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
You know, I've written a couple rants on what needs not to show up in more fanfic...but in my own defense a: I have only done it in essays for websites whose entire purpose is to help fanfic writers learn to write better so I assume an audience that is ready to have its ego prodded at least a bit, and b: I've totally copped to the fact that I've made well over half of these blunders my own self. Several of them multiple times. And the evidence lives out there on the web, and on my own fic archive site.

Oh, and the rants in question were about either technical matters (just HOW many limbs are there in that bed??? No, that isn't the way you spell Xander's name, so stop it right now!) or clear-cut matters of misinterpretation of canon (You don't have to like Riley...hell, I can't stand Riley! But you do have to accept that he has enough brain cells to keep his knuckles from dragging on the floor and limiting his conversation to 'duh, want sex now.' Unless your fic is meant to be an incredibly broad parody or he's just had several long swigs of Black Frost beer).

OTOH, I've read more than my share of rants about how certain characters should never, ever be shipped together, or how writing certain fanfic forms (songfic, slash, anything with a happy - or with an unhappy - ending, etc.) is proof of the complete and utter downfall of our society, so there.

To those, I blow a hearty raspberry. Shipping is a matter of individual interpretation. No, I don't have any intention of ever shipping Xander and Spike, for instance...but I'll damn well stand foresquare in the defense of those who do like to write it. RPS? So very Not My Thing...but if it's yours, I'll just quietly hum in my corner and ignore it. If I don't go out of my way to read it and it's not about me, I'm not going to make a stink. That's what cheap Somebody Else's Problem Fields are for. Songfic? Committed it several times, and may do so again, if the right song pops out at me. I remain utterly shameless in this regard.

Whatever you complain about in fandom is going to gore someone else's ox. Whatever you write is going to gross someone out. Over the years, my skin for these matters has thickened. I guess nearly seven years of coping with 'eeeewwwwwww, but it's actual incest 'cause he's sort of kind of like her FATHER if you look at it sideways' comments have forced me to either get over it and develop a sense of humor or wind up rocking in a room with mattresses on the walls while wearing a pretty white jacket with sleeves that tie in the back. I choose to laugh.

One thing's for sure: there's no One True Path in fanfic, and the world would be a hell of a lot duller if there were. I bless diversity in both fandom and reality.

(dismounts soap box)

And none of this blather is directed at you, Katekat, because I think we're saying more or less the same thing, which is to say: Neener, neener, I'm going to keep writing what I like and I don't care if someone else doesn't like it. And you said it with so much more economy!

Yes, you do have the right to grumble about commentary that fails entirely to recognize the human fallibility of the author. But it HURTS them so much more when you point and laugh.

Living well is the best revenge, my friend. Besides, laughter leads to a lot less ulcers than grumbling does.
my monkied brain: giles - secret smilekatekat1010 on May 4th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
I think we're saying more or less the same thing too! And I'd like to qualify - when you mention writing advice up above (ie telling authors about certain pitfalls in the hopes they will avoid them) that's entirely different. Your advice is *asked* and for those who read those essays, probably exactly what they need. My rant came about from a budding writer who has pretensions to greatness who presumes we all probably want to hear their unsolicited opinions on things. And while i grant them the leeway to do so in their own journal, I cannot help but be annoyed. *grin*

living, and writing, truly is the best revenge. The only other? That this person's opinions are not the opinions of most fanfic writers out there, something I'm profoundly grateful for!

thanks for popping in - I adored your commentary!
Mireille: Giles quote - please stop (dwg)mireille719 on May 3rd, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
*g* Pretty sure I know the post that provoked this. Happily, not on my friendslist (but I'm having a bad week, healthwise, and was reading friendsfriends today) so I had a very good reason to keep myself from commenting.

And yeah--hi, people, your personal taste does not make your fic superior to Fan X's. It makes your fic more to your taste. (I mean... there are some good writers in fandom whose fic I don't read, because either I don't like the subject matter or I don't like their style, etc. I don't rant that they shouldn't write this, OMG!, or that their fic is bad because I don't like it. I just... don't ever read their fic, unless they wrote for me in a ficathon and I have to.)
my monkied brain: giles - *indeed*katekat1010 on May 4th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
(but I'm having a bad week, healthwise

this I am terribly sorry to hear, lady! I've been popping in and out of the flist this week due to papers and missed your glee posts altogether. I hope things take a turn for the better sometime very soon if they haven't already.

And see - you understand! Just because all pairings are not to my taste, or say i'm not into one type of fic, doesn't mean I disparage the entire set of fic as being unworthy! It's just not to my taste, and I understand that (as do you, obviously! hee). Someone else pointed out the relative new-ness of the person who's making the judgements - they may not be new to fandom, but they certainly are to lj - and i wonder if it's also that type of inexperience that's fueling the fire. but thanks for letting me rant about it anyway!
Mireillemireille719 on May 4th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
Someone else pointed out the relative new-ness of the person who's making the judgements - they may not be new to fandom, but they certainly are to lj - and i wonder if it's also that type of inexperience that's fueling the fire.

Possibly. I mean, I could see that in the sense of "not realizing that a lot of people will see that post."

OTOH, how new do you have to be to realize that people will not always see things the way you do?

*glances at fandom_wank* Never mind. ;)

xanzpet on May 3rd, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
Let me just say that I firmly support not only what you said but also your right to say it. If people don't like it, then they need to examine their own thoughts for why it so bothers them. Either way, it's their problem, not yours. If they defriend you for speaking your mind, then they defeat the very purpose of LJ and are basically admitting that the only reason they're here is to troll for sycophants. I had my own share of Cordettes in high school, and I don't need them in my life now. If anyone says anything to you, I'm going to have to break out my slam book and take some people to church.

I get, on average, about 10 troll emails a day, many from people who pick apart a 20,000 word chapter paragraph by paragraph to tell me what's wrong with it and why I should change it immediately. What makes me LMAO is that the fic I'm referencing is currently at 79 chapters. These people have ready EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER and email about each one to bitch. I don't have time for that; I have a life. I've told them they should look into acquiring one of their own.

I'm still relatively new to this fic thing; it's not even been two years. What I don't understand - what I've never understood - is why people who don't like a particular character, genre, fandom, etc. continue to read in that vein. I constantly have people whining to me about my love of Xander. I fully accept that not everyone likes him, nor do I expect them to; however, it's pretty obvious that he's my favorite, since he (or Cordelia) is the subject of almost every fic. Bleeding Christ on the cross, look at my name! What ARE these people thinking?

I write a lot of songfics; a lot of people don't like the genre. Don't read them. It's just that simple. You wouldn't continually read a published authors that you don't care for, so why read me? It's this cavalier attitude toward fanfiction which so offends me. Writers (and artists) do this work for free, and some people believe they can treat us as a combination public library/dumping ground. I have many wonderful readers and I treasure them, but some of the people out there...I just want to take their face in my hands and throttle them until their dying breath is my name. SAY IT BITCH!


What was my point, again? Oh, right! Say what you want, when you want, however you want. I agree with you in this instance, but even if I didn't, I'd still defend your right to say it.

Besides, you kick so much ass, if I ever did disagree with you, you'd probably give me pause to reconsider my opinion! :D

my monkied brain: You Rockkatekat1010 on May 12th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Ok, sweetest, I'm sorry this is so late, but I really want to thank you, not only for the support, but for the thoughtful answer. Because I agree, throwing stones at everybody else gets us nowhere in this fandom (and really, no where in general). The saddest part? I don't actually know that the person I was ranting about realized a) that I was ranting about them, or b) that it will make a damn bit of difference in their case. And after all, if these things aren't about saying your mind, and writing your mind, then they just aren't any fun, are they? And damn, I've always had a lot of fun here! *squishes you tight*
Michelle: Giles - with teacupscratchingpost1 on May 4th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
It almost feels like BRA is being attacked in that post. It seems inferred that past rounds have had stories that she didn't like, and she complains about the stories this round.

Here's a tip for readers: If you don't think anyone can write Giles properly, then don't go read stories at an award site where every story has Giles in it. If it's that much of a problem, just don't read any stories with Giles in it. It's that simple.

Can you tell that I'm overly protective of my awards?
my monkied brain: giles - *indeed*katekat1010 on May 12th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
Hey, your awards are FANTASTIC and you are rightfully protective of them! I think one of the things that got me about that post was that it was ranting about some really great work (and some of it that I would've never read had it not been nominated). the BRAs do something pretty awesome, in that way - more than awarding people who deserve it (and they so do) you also give giles!lovers new flavors of giles to try, you know? And it bothered me that the person in question was too rigid to relax and recognize you can write Giles in a whole bunch of different ways and still make it great.

*sigh* anyway, it's long past (and sorry, I've not been responding to comments cuz of finals, which are *finally* over), but i really do appreciate you and what you do for keeping the heartbeat of Giles!love alive - and you have every right to feel protective!