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02 July 2007 @ 05:41 am
On the Subject of Fandom and bad!Fic  
Well, it seems like the fandom of House exploded in debate a moment ago, which can be both bad and good. The current hottest topic seems to be the "overflowing number of bad!fics" currently being posted on communities such as house_wilson and similar things (I wasn't there when it started so I can't be sure).

I'm not going to say anything about the House fandom specifically, as I'm currently not actively writing or exactly reading anything from there (SGA still eating brain - still very interested in House, but sadly I don't have enough time for all my fandoms) and I'm a bit out of the loop. There are many interesting discussions starting on that subject all over lj at the moment, so I don't think I have anything to add to it.

I just had to make a comment about the "bad!fic"-problem and ask:

Why is it such a big problem?

Finding fics you like is always hard. Not only do they have to be "well written", they have to be your type of well written. One person's Shakespeare is another's *insert your worst author here*. And when that is done, you have to find someone who's written your type of fic. Example: Some people love death fics, some are neutral towards them and some loathe them. That's just the way it is. Deal with it. Writers of fanfiction are usually very good at putting warnings in the subject-line of their fics and know what to warn about depending on which community they're posting in. If you find fics with warnings for subjects that squick you, skim past them; it's as easy as that.

So, we've established that finding a fic to like is hard - especially in larger fandoms - and that warnings and backbuttons exist. What to do then?

1.Skimming

If you're in a large fandom: learn to skim. We all have to do it, you're no more a victim that anyone else. When the supply of fics is vast you have to realize that not everything can suit you. If you're picky about what you read or just like one certain genre, the chance is even less.

To have a lot of fics in your fandom doesn't have to be a bad thing though. There are uncountable other fandoms where there's next to no fics. There, if you don't like what's on the menu, you have to write something else for yourself. Please take that into account before complaining about how 'hard' the 'bad' fics are making it for you to find the 'good' ones. At least they're there to be found.

2.Recs

These are a wonderful invention and very user friendly. Step 1: Find a person who likes similar fics that you do. Step 2: Find links to fiction recommended by said person. Step 3: Read and enjoy. Who knows, you might even find something out of your ordinary comfort zone that interests you.

3.Start Communities

A wonderful idea if you're looking for a certain type of fics in a big fandom. You get to have all the perks of a Small(er) fandom and still enjoy the positive side of membership in a larger one.

Just remember to respect people outside of your community. What you see as the crème de la crème of fanfics does not have to be what everyone in your fandom should love. Until someone glues your eyelids to your forehead and makes you read something you don't want to, you have no right to harass or flame people who think differently than you. In turn they have no right to do so to you either.

4.Same Author

You like one story an author has written you might like other stuff s/he has written/will write. Simple as that.

What about the bad!fics then?

Well, what is a bad!fic to you? Horrible grammar? No ability to spell? Mary Sues? Or just that it's not part of any genre you like?

If you answered 'yes' to the last option you might want to remind yourself of the whole "mutual respect" and "read warnings"-thing.

If your answer was one or more of the other options, think about this: everyone has to start somewhere. Very few authors are born geniuses and you can't get better without practice. Instead of taking the bad!fic as a personal insult, think of it as an opportunity to give advice to a newbie author. Who knows, a bit of constructive criticism and a few encouraging words might be the catalyst for a process that leads to your future favorite fic being written. Stranger things have happened.

To clarify, "This is crap!" and "YOU SUCK!" is not constructive criticism. If you feel that you're qualified to criticize another person's story you really should be able to express yourself better than that, right?

In conclusion: Learn to skim, respect others and only criticize at a 'level' you know you yourself could take if the roles were reversed. There's no need to treat people like fragile china, but flames and insults will get you nowhere.


On a more pleasant, less rant-y note:

Today the entire family went to meet our soon-to-be-house-hold-member, whose name shall be Sebastian. He's an absolutely gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cat-mix and he seemed to like all of us. He purred all through the visit and was both playful and more than willing to be petted. Why someone would ever abandon him I cannot phantom. People can be crazy.

He's the icon used for this post, btw. He loooved my sister's camera.

The people at the Animal Shelter will swing by with him next Thursday (not next week, the week after that). He was suppose to arrive on Monday - which technically is today - but he was feeling a little under the weather (nothing serious, just some worms he'd gotten from eating lousy food while being without a home) so he had to stay and take his meds at the shelter. When we visited he was quite chipper. He'll most likely be fully recovered around Wednesday, but then the people responsible for him would be out of town for a week.

Long story short we have to wait until the end of next week to sign all the papers and to have people from the shelter come check out our house and neighborhood. We can wait. Sebastian's definitely worth waiting for.
 
 
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Listening to: General Joy - Tori Amos
 
 
Nonesane: Sebastiannonesane on July 6th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'd be ever so happy if you did; I always enjoy making new friends! I haven't gotten around to joining and posting in many communities yet, so my lj-friend-circle is small (that, and as I said before, I'm ridiculously shy about the whole friending thing). I'm a terribly slow and fickle writer when it comes to fanfiction - though I'm quite stubborn as well, so all my projects get done, it just takes a while - and I always want to wait with posting in communities until I can "contribute" to them.

I'm 19 actually (just getting into the move-away-from-home-start-university part of life, which feels very odd). Graduated last month and I've yet to fully realize that school, as I knew it, is over forever. Now it's all up to me, more or less, which is wonderful and scary at the same time.

I've been practicing my English online since I was twelve, so hopefully I've both learned a few things about grammar/spelling and Internet conduct in general. Glad to hear I've improved a little at least. I reread stuff I wrote when I was 13 sometimes and every time I do I'm mortified at how egocentric I was, without knowing it then. Thankfully the people I hung out and role played with and those who read my (horrible) fics were very encouraging and gave good feedback. Criticism that helps you improve is never wrong, even though it might sting a bit.

I almost feel sorry for some people who trash-talk. I always picture them as edgy and unsure of everyone around them. In my experience, if you insult for the sake of insulting or go on a crusade to tell people who do/say things you don't like (but have nothing to do with you or anyone close to you - replying to bad things others write about you is very different from flaming) what they're doing "wrong", you don't feel too good about yourself. Why not just relax and have fun?

The younger teenage culture was a reason I never enjoyed going to parties at that age. They usually only consisted of sitting around drinking (something I don't do - don't mind others doing it, just not my thing. I get crazy enough without the alcohol and I often need to drive home after-wards) and talking behind the back of everyone who wasn't there. Now-a-days to have a party at someone's house means to have fun together. Being around drunk people isn't the problem at all (they can be a lot of fun). Being around people who're only there to bad-mouth their friends or people they barely know is.

Babies, of any kind, tend to be a handful and there's always a lot to think about when raising them. You have all my respect for attempting (and probably succeeding very well) with guiding a kitten into adulthood.

Losing a pet is always painful. We've had a few "smaller" ones (guinea pigs, budgies, etc.) and I've loved them all dearly. My first one was a particularly hard loss. He was a very intelligent rabbit, by the name of Pompen (I wanted to call him "Sammet" - Swedish for "velvet" (few six-year-olds are very original when it comes to naming pets) - but the rest of the family called him Pompen until he only listened to that name). He ran free in our house during the day, we took him out for walks (on a leash, but he was always very well behaved) and came when we called him. He also outlived a lot of our other pets. Even though it was sad when they passed away, there was always Pompen there for comfort - until one day there wasn't.

The longer a pet lives and the more you get to know its quirks and personality, the harder the loss I think. They're family members (if they're not, why have a pet?)...aaand I think my posts get more rant-y by the minute. Sorry 'bout that, it's twenty-past-one-am where I am and I get weird(er) when I'm a little tired (not tired enough to go to sleep yet though *smile*).
Xanthexanthe on July 8th, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
Your English is excellent! And you remind me so much of me at your age! LOL! I didn't drink either (still don't) and have so many of the same attitudes as you. I felt the same way about leaving home/university. It's quite a scary time but it's also got that "all about to happen" feel to it too. In a way I wish I was starting out now, with things like the internet around - I'd love to have been able to access stuff like fanfic when I was at university.

And I'm SO with you on the "just relax and have fun" thing. And I agree with your analysis of these people as being edgy and unsure. Some of them are also just very invested on being intellectually superior to everyone else - I suppose that's just about needing to feel special in some way and put others down - a kind of insecurity. I'd feel sorry for them if they hadn't been so horrible to me!

If Sammet means velvet, what does Pompen mean? I think both names are lovely! Rabbits are so beautiful. Someone sent me a link to this site today and it made me laugh: http://www.birdchick.com/adventures/rabbit



Nonesane: Sebastiannonesane on July 9th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do think my generation is very lucky to have the Internet. I honestly couldn't picture my life without it. I use it for school work, keeping in contact with friends who've moved out of town (and they're quite a few), to role play and of course to keep up with all my wonderful, crazy fandoms. I discovered fanfiction when I was about twelve and I haven't be able to stop either writing or reading since then. The first thing I do after having seen a good movie, TV show or read a good book is to go online and try to find good fics - preferably about my favorite characters *smile*

Fandom can be vicious, I know. It's really rather sad that people feel the need to find things they don't like that isn't harmful to them or anyone else. Searching for and protesting against stuff that can hurt people I completely understand. Reading fanfiction you don't like just because it isn't your kind of fanfiction I don't. Very silly, very sad.

But fandom can be a lot of fun as well! Meeting new people, reading new fics - all that sort of makes up for the flamers. I'm currently obsessed with Stargate Atlantis and all it characters (particularly Drs McKay and Zelenka) and so far most people in the communities I've visited have seemed really nice.

Pompen is just a nonsense word my mom made up. She thought he looked like one for some reason and it stuck. The link nearly made me fall off my chair, it was great! Rabbits do have a tendency to disapprove (mine mostly disapproved of not being given crackers or having to go inside when the weather still was good).

I can't get enough of lolcats and their likenesses. Have you been to the icanhazstargate and icanhasatardis communities? The Stargate one has these penguin photos that always make me laugh (especially the Radek one).