Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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If you aren't partial to fan fiction, please don't bother reading, cuz it really won't make any sense. Heck, it may not make sense anyway, but most of my friends know I'm like that... *snicker*

I've been reading and commenting on various fan fiction since 2003. I've had accounts at various sites since 2004. I read all sorts of stories, mostly in my preferred fandom, in my preferred pairing. I've read absolutely HORRIBLE things that still make me want to reach for some eye bleach. I've read some positively wonderful things that make me sigh, smile, laugh, cry and, generally, give me some enjoyment. Once in a while, I find a writer, or two (or more), that I like and want to assist. So I edit their writing for them, in the hopes that they will improve their abilities. Or I offer them encouragement whenever possible. Or I answer their questions and respond to their concerns as honestly as I can. And I've made some fantastic friends throughout all of it.

I've been part of some terrific groups dedicated to fan fiction in its various forms. I've taken a more active role in a few of them, and stepped back to the sidelines in others. Overall, however, I have TRIED, really hard, not to let my guilty pleasure run my REAL LIFE. Yes, it has spilled over into these pages on occasion, mostly because I have become entrenched in my preferred pairing and on those few sites where I have a more active role.

My question today, though, as it has been for some time, is... Why are some people so heavily invested in this pseudo-world that it has become necessary to pay such close attention to what OTHERS are doing in it?

My impression of fan fiction has always been that it is a way for aspiring writers to hone their craft. What about that makes it necessary to invest so much time and energy to the point that what others are doing makes people see red, literally? Isn't it enough to decide that one doesn't like another's work and cease paying them any attention? If I found it necessary to rail at those whose work I really hated, I'd certainly be one busy person, that's for sure.

I suppose that's why I don't bother reviewing a whole lot. I am loath to encourage those whose writing REALLY sucks. I am also reluctant to constantly review stories that I REALLY like, for fear of being labeled a "fanpoodle." If you hear from me, I either enjoyed your story enough to write SOMETHING, or I wanted to encourage what I saw as a burgeoning talent.

I am a HUGE fan of the axiom, "Don't like, don't read."

In that vein, aside from the obvious mechanics of writing, I have a real problem understanding why some feel it necessary to castigate others whose work they view as substandard (although, I'm still not too clear what constitutes a "standard" when we're discussing a FICTION based on an already existing FICTION). Those who endlessly debate historical references, canon versus alternate universe, canon pairings versus alternate pairings, ad nauseum, baffle me.

First off, whatever "historical" references can be made usually depend primarily on whatever time period, real or imaginary, the original author has chosen. If it happens to mimic a real era in the history of the world, that's fine, as long as the characters are human and are expected to act like it. If they're not, we're just chasing the dog's tail right along with him, y'know? After all, it's still FICTION. And, the above adage still applies... don't like the way the characters in a particular story interact with each other? Don't read it.

If the story deals with sensitive issues, like rape, incest, torture, abuse, objectification, et alia, it seems to garner even more controversy. Some people like their fiction hardcore. Smut, gratuitous sexual encounters, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, lies, betrayal, angst, drama... these are the things that some fiction is made of and, whether one likes it or not, it tends to mimic life in that regard. Still, these issues can be very sensitive for those who have experienced one or more of the aforementioned horrors. Again, however, one should pay attention to the warnings that most authors take pains to post prior to exposing the unwilling to such material... don't read it.

So, my question remains, why so much drama over who writes what, when, how and where?? As long as the rules of the site where a story is posted are being followed, why must we make such an issue of the content, the writer's dubious skill, or anything of the sort? And why do so many fellow authors seem to feel that, because someone they view as inferior has gained a following, it somehow devalues THEIR work as a result? I REALLY don't understand that one. Honest.

I freely apologize to all the authors on my friend's list, but I have a hard time with that one. Yes, I can SEE all the errors that you point out. Yes, I understand that your work is nothing like that and that you strive to produce a superior work of fiction. Yes, I know that the other author has "fanpoodles." But really, how does that make your writing any less valuable or readable? How does that negatively impact on you and what you've labored so hard to produce??

Okay, yes, some people shamelessly self-promote. It is human nature to want to tell the whole world about what they've done. It's not in MY nature, but for some, it's natural. It is human nature to dislike certain things and to want to share that dislike with others - again, it's not something I think I indulge in frequently, but I do it. What is sauce to some is anathema to others. But what is it about that which makes it so compelling that people feel the need to take it up a level? What is it that makes people feel compelled to publicly excoriate another for whatever reason??

I'm getting the feeling here that this is but a mirror of the world in a microcosm. And our world has, unfortunately, become more increasingly angry, strident, and unfriendly as a whole. Still, can't this anger be directed toward things that really matter in the world? Can't we direct our energies in more useful ways than to perpetuate this kind of drama over fictional characters in a fictional world?? At the risk of sounding like an idiot... in the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

Okies... off my soapbox. Again, my apologies to my friends. The subject has been bothering me for a long time and I hope my friends will feel free to view all of my questions as merely rhetorical in nature. I don't expect to solve the problems of the world. I don't expect my friends to either. I just want to enjoy my guilty pleasure, offer that opportunity to others of like mind, and GET ALONG. I hope I might be allowed to continue to do so without being labeled (as being on one side or another) as well, but I recognize that hope is probably in vain. If you made it through this without deleting me from your f-list, you are truly my friends, and I greatly appreciate every single one of you.

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