A Presumption of Interaction: Readers, Writers, and Fanfic

There’s been a conversation circulating on tumblr of late about “the culture of fanfiction”: namely, about how in the Good Old Days on LiveJournal and Fanfiction.net, people left comments on fanfic, but now, on Archive of Our Own (AO3), they rarely do. Commenters also associate this shift with a change in readers’ attitudes towards fic writers. This shift, folks argue, has been from one of gratitude towards one of demand in which readers expect stories to be crafted to meet their preferences in pairing, plot, sexual situations, etc., and get pissed off when stories don’t do what they want them to.

Something about these discussions has nagged at me all week.

Admittedly, I’m relatively new to the fanfiction game; I know next to nothing about LJ and even less about Ff.net. I’ve cut my teeth as a fic reader and writer on AO3, the Grindr of fanfic, where the next story is just one swipe away. Perhaps that will make you take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. To wit:

Writers, your readers don’t owe you anything.

They don’t owe you a kudos, or a reblog, or a comment, or any sort of public recognition at all. No matter how long you worked on it, how much research you did, how much of yourself you invested into its lines: readers don’t owe you a thing.

Continue reading “A Presumption of Interaction: Readers, Writers, and Fanfic”

Sure to Bite Me in Mine

One of the great things about posting your writing online is that people will read it.

This is, of course, also a pain in the ass.

When people say nice things about my work–about my ability to write–then the digital broadcast of the stuff is all marshmallow fluff.

Some days I live and die by the kudos, you know, over on AO3.

kudos

Like so.

But when readers don’t like what I’ve written and take the time to make that known, man. Makes me feel like a need a shower, one in which to drown my laptop and save the universe from the crap tentacles of my pen.

Ultimately though, I have a co-dependent relationship with my readers: I need you. Badly. And I hope, once and a while, you might need me, if only for 2500 words or so.

Most my readers, y’all, I’ll never meet; most of you live only, thus, in my imagination. Once my stuff goes up, gets out of my hands and onto someone else’s server, the reader has the upper hand; any status to which I might have pretended as a creator is huff poof boom.

I shouldn’t need anybody’s approval in order to value what I write.

Ok. That’s what I’m supposed to say, anyway. Total bullshit.

Continue reading “Sure to Bite Me in Mine”