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avocado_love: (Default)
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 06:17 pm


So I was laying in bed last night, a snoring mastiff at my feet, when I finally finally was hit with the ending to the fic which has been eating my brain. (Unfortunately it'll increase my word count like whoa although that is neither here nor there.)  I started writing it out and realized, once again, I was basing the premise somewhere in Northern California.

This probably is to be expected: I've lived in NorCal all my life and am not really all that well-traveled. By using somewhere I myself am familiar with I can avoid embarrassing mistakes, like saying that Boston is a two hour drive from Long Island, or accidentally using 'miles' instead of 'kilometers' when my characters are dodging bullets in the Swiss Alps.

Certainly there are actual authors who do this --  Stephen King would have me believe that everything important and/or scary happens somewhere in Maine -- and if it's in the canon, hey, why not? 

Still...

... There's something lazy about it, isn't there? It's always seemed to me a little smug, as if the writer is saying, "This is my home: let me show it to you." Like being cornered and forcefully shown boring vacation photos from extended family, and yes, they had a good time but you personally couldn't care less.

It still doesn't stop me from doing it, occasionally. Not like I have much of an opportunity -- there's not much use for any geographical location to pop up in ATLA or Naruto. But I will sometimes throw in a local bird or describe a swimming hole based on a place I've been: tiny inside jokes probably only I will get upon re-reading.

So my question to everyone is... how much of this do you do in your writing? Do you prefer to set your characters in a place which suspiciously resembles your home town? Do you avoid it like the plague? Do you see it as lazy writing or relatively harmless? 

avocado_love: (Default)
Saturday, April 17th, 2010 03:16 pm
I think I may have touched on this once about a year back, but I thought I would bring it up for discussion with you fine folk again. :D

I'm writing out a fic right now that's a crossover of two different fandoms and then set in a modern setting. And it occurred to me, from the second page on, that the tweaking has become so far out there that it's bordering on original fic. Like, if I didn't tell the readers who the characters were from the fandom, there is probably no way anyone could guess. Gah. I'm going to have to rework it.

Maybe this is all stemming from this one fic I read recently called Team Time which had the Naruto cast with the Jounin's (and Iruka) as middle-school teachers and the Rookie's as their students. It's a great fic and I totally recommend it, but exchange Kakashi's name with Kevin and a couple other really small details and you have a mighty-fine novel-length OC story.

There's one professional author, Cassandra Clare, who's pretty much done just that.  (Her characters are clearly exchanged from Buffy and Harry Potter). I have my own private crack!theory about Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series as well.

This brings up a whole host of questions:  At what point do you personally draw the line and say "This is fan fiction" or "This is come to the point where it's original."? Is it ethical to world-build off of what is essentially not yours to begin with? Do you think there are professionals out there who have done this? Why am I bothering with this meta-crap when I could be writing some hot 'n steamy Sokka/Zuko?

I'm finding myself without any answers. So what say you?
avocado_love: (God Is Angry)
Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 11:36 am
There's an author out there on the great interwebs --  one that some have probably ran into at one point or another. No, I'm not going to name-names, or the fandom. That's not my style and it doesn't matter beause I'm sure, even if you haven't met him, you've met someone like him.

You know the type: Established in the fandom for a year or more, reasonably talented, consistent updater with plots that don't really sink claws into you, but you'll read anyway if you're bored or just desperate for moderately good fic.

Oh yeah, and he's a jack-ass.

He always seems fairly normal up until chapter four or five in his story. Then the snippy little author notes start: Why didn't I get many reviews on my last chapter? Did I do something wrong? Please tell me. Then, evividibly on the next chapter: Oh thanks for the reassurance, guys. Was having a big crisis there, but I feel a whole lot better now. :D

And he's normal again for another chapter -- maybe even two or three. But now it's like he's gotten that taste of power. His fic has picked up steam and maybe he's feeling a little heady with power.

Let's talk, guys. I'm really doing this for you and I need to know what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. Reviews like "That's great" aren't helping. When you review tell me what you liked and didn't like and give examples. K, thanks.


A sizable portion of the readers follow through with these instructions and give the boy what he wants: A greater number of reviews, and in higher detail. There's nothing wrong with it. It keeps the author happy, his rapidly expanding ego still inflated, and the readers still get regular updates. Win-win.

Only, this is where the author notes get extreme. Now he's not only doing the normal stuff -- thanking his beta, bitching a little about how hard this chapter was to write, mentioning a line or two about how school sucks -- he's also including long end notes. They vary anywhere from a half page to two pages in eye-tearing italics (or if he's feeling particuarly blunt, bold). And they include all of his reasonings from the character choices. Think of it as preemptive arguments. Now that he's gotten his readers to give detailed reviews, he's making sure to counter any arguments he sees coming. Instead of, you know, letting the character's actions speak for themselves he's saving all the explanations for the end.

Then the worst thing happens: He makes a misstep. All authors do it. I've done it. But now our mystery author is getting thirty fairly detailed reviews all saying the same thing, and none of it is good.

And the author blows up:

The next chapter opens with a scathing retort en mass (helpfully, in italics).

I know that most of you didn't like the plot twist in the last chapter. I have my reasons, you know! I would think that you guys would have more faith in me. I know where I'm going and if you can't trust my writing then I don't even know why you're reading this story. I'm doing this all for you, and life is really tough right now and (insert general bitching and complaining about real life). So thank you for reading and especially to (three of the thirty reviewers who didn't complain about the plot twist.)

At this point, if I haven't already checked out of the story I probably would have by now. The mystery author asked for detailed reviews, didn't he? He asked, only a few chapters ago, for our likes and dislikes so he could improve the story. Now he's got what he wanted, and it's not the end of the world to get bad reviews. Maybe he should be grateful for the replies he's getting.

Only it seems I'm in the minority because not only does the author get even MORE reviews, but some of them are apologizing. As if they were the ones who did something wrong. The author wrote a shitty plot twist that doesn't make any sense, and the readers are conned into apologizing for telling the author how it is.

This is both the endpoint and the begging of a vicious cycle. Author is normal for a few chapters (or as normal as you can get with page-long notes detailing every character decision), until something ticks him off. He takes it out on the readers -- names names of people who are doing it write -- and sits back for the 'proper' feedback to come in. Sometimes there's even a rant on the author profile page to highlight the 'best way to give a review' whatever that is supposed to mean.

So my question is, why do people put up with it? The writing is decent, yeah, but I don't appreciate being bitched at even if the writing is solid gold.

These types of authors have really got the cart before the horse. I know I must sound like a complete hypocrite considering my last chapter of Another Brother is standing at 109 reviews, but... for goodness sake, people aren't required to review your writing. I'm not talking about gift-fic here where it's common courtesy to reply, but for an archive like fanfiction.net, no one has to tell you how prettily you were able to string together sentences.

I think authors who treat reviews as some kind of payment are Doing It Wrong. I get put off real easily by that type of behavior, but for some reason... it works. It's accepted and while there sometimes can be backlash from the fandom, more often than not the authors who pitch a fit are often rewarded positively.

Why?



So what do you guys think? Experiences and reactions you'd like to share? I only ask that no one name names of specific authors in the comments. Above all else, let's stay classy.
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avocado_love: (Drink 'n Bend)
Friday, March 19th, 2010 10:24 pm
While I'm sitting here watching Harry Potter and The Sourcerer's Stone (Awful movie, by the way. I still don't know why I've watched it more times than I can count), I was thinking about LJ Guests and the possible implications of it.

I have no real opinion on LJ Guests, other than a slightly sick feeling I get in my chest when I think someone's watching me and I don't know it. I'm not someone to really look closely at stats, either on this website or on fanfiction.net. There are some, I know, who watch their hit-count on fanfiction.net, and have a sort of mathematical formula vs how many reviews they've gotten to see what what works and what doesn't and... ugh. That just sounds like SO MUCH needless angst.

Maybe I just don't want to even confront that sinking feeling all writers get when a fic doesn't do as well as they expected. I so don't even want to know if, like, 100 people are viewing something but only 2.5 average review's. What can you even do about it? Guilt your readers into reviewing at the end? That's tacky. Sit there and try to second guess why such and such reader didn't comment even if I can see they've viewed it four times? Also not my style.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy about reviews and comments. (Even that one Anon who insists on simply writing "Good job" on every chapter of Another Brother. I'm still waiting for the day when (s)he replies "Bad job". Lol.). I would just rather not stress about my hit/review ratio, or how many people from USA are reading In His Shoes vs Belgium. I don't see it as anything more than spinning my tires over something I have zero control of.

So what do you think? Do you use LJ Guests/Fanfiction traffic stats? If you do, what value, if any, do you get out of it? Am I missing something here?
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