I mentioned last time that there is a lot of hate directed towards fanfic and the authors who write it. As with anything posted online, it seems to bring the dregs of society out in full-force. Hiding behind the anonymity that the internet provides is a shameful way to behave. There is an enormous difference between constructive criticism and just being nasty for its own sake.
It’s perfectly acceptable to leave an author a review of their story or even tweet them with comments disagreeing with their views or the direction they have taken. It’s even fine to say you just don’t like what they’ve written (although leaving it at just that is not helpful). As we’ve established, everyone likes different things in fanfic. It’s impossible to please everyone.
What is NOT acceptable is to “flame” someone – things like insulting the author, threatening them, telling them you want them to die… (IKR?!?!?!) Readers get involved in a story and its characters, and it’s understandable for them to become upset when things don’t go the way they wanted them to. I assume this is even more prevalent in fanfiction readers, since there is already that pre-established affection for the characters. But isn’t it just common sense to use that strong emotion to shoot for something good? Ask questions and offer suggestions. Speak your mind, but respectfully. Some authors who read their reviews while their work is still in progress are not opposed to taking these thoughts into consideration when writing subsequent chapters. What do you hope to achieve by upsetting an author? (other than showing everyone you are just a cowardly, mean-spirited, useless troll…)
Most fanfics come with a summary that states the general premise of the story as well as what category it falls under (AU, OOC, HEA, etc. – more on that another time). Warnings and labels are all over the place. No one is forcing anyone to read anything (although my friends may say I push certain fics on them a lot). The point being, if the story is not something you like, DON’T READ IT! So, you invested endless hours in a story that hits a wall and starts to suck? You CAN flounce. And if you feel you can’t (I know a few dedicated readers who refuse not to finish something once they started ~ our “team hitters”, if you will), that is YOUR problem, not the author’s. Keep your nastiness to yourself.
It’s really sad that some stupid people feel the need to spew their hate online, but what makes me even sadder is that some authors take this stupidity to heart and flounce their own stories. They give up writing them completely. I understand that it takes several people praising you to forget one person giving you crap – but when you quit, THEY win. And as someone that goes out of my way to extol the virtues of a writer and their story when I really like it, it hurts my feelings when my comments don’t carry as much weight as someone who is being a jerk. I do not give lip-service. I don’t say nice things when I don’t mean it. If I compliment you, you can believe I think very highly of what you have done. I would like to think that matters more than someone who doesn’t know what to do with their words.
Like I said in my last post, writing fan fiction is hard. Writing GOOD fan fiction is a gift. The authors who share it with us are giving us just that – a gift. Treat is as such.
(originally posted to Eat. Sleep. Breathe. Twilight.)