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I’ve been seeing this both on my fics and those of writers that I follow and it’s starting to get to me. Writing fanfics goes both ways: people write for the fandom, and people read for the fandom. Some people do both, some do one and not the other. There is no right way to do fan fiction. Let’s get that out of the way right now. However, there is a form of etiquette that I personally think should be observed at all times, if only to not come across like a total douche. We already talked about what turns people off from reading fics, so let’s talk about what turns people off from writing fics.

1. Threaten writers that you’ll stop reading if they don’t update when you want.

I’ve gotten this a lot in recent weeks and it really made me feel lousy. I felt like I was letting people down. Keep in mind, the people that read my fics I don’t know personally. Very rarely do we actually KNOW the people who read our works, and when we do they tend to know why we take so long to post an update because we talk outside of writing.

It took another reader, another total stranger, to remind me that I don’t owe my readers anything. Yes, most all writers feel a sense of obligation to continue a story if there are people who are into it. That’s a given. But you’ve gotta remember: fic writers DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM WRITING FANFICS. We have day jobs, we have school, we have families, we have other hobbies/activities that take up our time. We also sometimes lose motivation to write. These things are all completely normal and shouldn’t be forced to take a backseat because a few impatient people on the Internet want an update from you yesterday.

Those comments I got on my fics really made me feel like a loser, like I wasn’t holding up my end of a deal I didn’t remember making. I eventually did update, but I still felt horrible. It took the better part of a week to remember that my way and method of writing is not helped by people berating me and threatening to stop reading altogether because I can’t churn out chapter after chapter at their beck and call.

I understand that it’s difficult to wait weeks or even months for an update to your favorite fic, but please don’t threaten the writer when they don’t update as fast as you’d like. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives that keeps them from writing. You don’t know if they’ve got exams, or major life changes (moving, new job, physical accident, etc), or have simply hit a wall with their story. If you want to let them know how much their story means to you, by all means let them know and POLITELY ask if an update is on the horizon. That will help motivate them to write if they know people are patiently waiting.

2. Be ungrateful when they do post an update.

Again, this happened to me recently. I finally updated a fic…and got a “well, thanks, I guess. It’s better than nothing”. Yeeeah, that made me feel really great. That really made me want to keep writing. I only forced myself through a massive block to make my readers happy for that kind of comment. Thanks.

3. Message them like a stalker ex-boyfriend/girlfriend for an update.

I haven’t gotten this myself, but I’ve heard of others getting this treatment. It’s one thing to leave comments begging for the next chapter, but when you move into private messaging it can start to become really creepy really quick. A simple “hey, how’s it going with an update?” every now and then is fine, but several in less than a week can be counter-productive to getting what you want.

4. Leave comments that only focus on what you didn’t like. Bonus points if your criticism a) is non-constructive, and/or b) focuses on the length of the chapter rather than the execution of moving the plot forward.

This has happened to me twice. By the same person (who I believe is not a writer because they haven’t posted anything themselves, but that’s neither here no there). Sorry, not all of my chapters are going to be 5000 words. Writers break up their works where they feel they need to switch focus, switch perspective, or just wherever it feels right. Look at Dan Brown’s books (The Da Vinci Code especially); his chapters are SO EFFIN’ SHORT. But they flow with the story. For fic writers, especially those who write ongoing/novel-length fics, they don’t do it all at once and then go back and break it up. They post as they go. Some chapters will be longer than others if the scene demands it; others will be shorter if they’re more of a bridge between events. There is no standard length for chapters, nor should there be. They’ll be as long or short as they need to be in order to tell the story.

Don’t get me wrong; if you’re only criticism is the length of a chapter, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean you need to bash the writer for not dragging a scene out simply to increase the word count.

5. Don’t appreciate the fact that writing is freaking hard.

This is normally something that non-writers do. I’ve been writing stories ever since I could clumsily form letters with my pencil, and actively writing fanfics for over a decade. And guess what IT’S STILL HARD AS FRICK. Some non-writers seem to think we should just be able to start typing and put out a 5000 word installment every other day. There’s a lot of prep work, research, internal debate, and editing that goes into even the simplest chapter. Quality work takes time to produce, as anyone in any creative art field will tell you (especially artists [painters, drawers, that kind of artist]). Please understand that not only does offline life get in the way of writing, but most writers aren’t going to post something without going back over it a dozen times to be sure everything sounds like the characters and all the periods and commas are where they should be (for the most part). Editing alone can take a couple of days. We want to be proud of what we post, not just throw up a bunch of words that make no sense.

Tl;dr version of all this: writers are not your bitches (again paraphrasing Neil Gaiman). We are not here to write at your will. We write because we have to, because we like to, because we want to create stories that other fans will enjoy. We can’t do that if our very readers are the reason why we lose motivation. Just please take a little time to realize that we do our best, and if we lose interest in one of our stories it’s not personal. Sometimes they don’t go the way we want, or we move on to other stories we want to tell even more. Please remember that we’re only human, just like you. Berating us into writing isn’t going to make us want to write for you.

Source: here
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed