Sunday, August 23, 2009

What to do if someone doesn't like your fic

No, I'm not writing this because another person got offended by my comments on their fanfic/fanart (thankfully, it's been very quiet since that one and only time). I just decided to write this after finding myself reading a bunch of fanfic/fandom blogs.

Okay, so, you write yourself a fanfic and you think it's pretty awesome. You put it on Fanfiction.net or someplace and you wait for the incoming comments.

Well, you get comments alright. Just not the kind you were hoping for. These comments are bashing your fic like there's no tomorrow. You find it on bad fanfiction blogs and whatever. So, how should you handle this situation?

1) Stay calm.
I know, it's not like there's a horrible death plague going around and there's mass panic in the streets. However, this is something a lot of fanfic writers and fanartists forget. Just seeing all of those negative comments makes you want to scream and tear out people's throats, right? And you just want to tear them a new one and you start typing up a nasty reply on a blog or message board or whathaveyou. Well, stop. Turn off the computer moniter and go chill out for a bit. Like I said, it's not the end of the world if you get bad comments on you fic. Getting negative comments about things you've done happens to everyone.

2) Watch what you say.
So, you want to write a response to whoever said bad things about your fic. Okay, fine. If you decide to write a response on the spot, though, your thoughts aren't going to be as rational and clear when they are when you're calm. I've seen many a fic writer go onto GAFF or DeviantArt mere minutes after they see a negative comment and just go crazy. DO NOT DO THIS. I guarantee, you are going to be treated as a joke and no one will take you seriously. Not only that, if you come to regret the things you've said, just like in real life, they can't be undone. There are always chaches and screencaps that can come back to haunt you. #2 goes hand in hand with #1. If you feel like you must write a response, then go chill out first. Once you're calm and collected enough, then start writing. If you feel yourself getting emotional again, then take a break and come back to it later.

2a) Terms to avoid in your response

"Don't like, don't read!" (ever hear of bile fascination? That's why a lot of us read bad fanfics in the first place)

"You're just jealous!" (99.9% of the time, we're not)

3) Sometimes it's best not to fight back

Ever go to Encyclopedia Dramatica? In many an entry, it'll be noted that the subject tries to get ED to take the article down. What does ED do? They just laugh at them some more. Depending on who the comments are from, it's just a good idea not to give them more ammo. Don't email them. Don't comment on their profiles. Don't ask them to take their comments down. In some cases, it's not even a good idea to delete their comments. They will know and they'll give you more hell for it. If you can, just report them and move on.
Some people are more generous than others, though. If you remain clam, be polite, and not try to pick a fight with them, then they might take their comments down. Hell, that's what my beef with that one girl was. If she just asked politely if I would remove my comment about her picture instead of trying to pick a fight with me, then I would have. However, she chose to go the dramalama route, which just made her look like a complete joke.

4) Ask for honest critique instead

This is a big one. I'm sure most fic writers want to improve their writing. So, ask for honest critique! DO NOT ASK IT FROM YOUR BESTEST BEST FRIENDS UNLESS YOU KNOW THEY WILL BE BLUNT AND HONEST WITH YOU. Most likely, your friends and parents are just going to tell you it's "perfect", just so they won't hurt your feelings. It's a better idea to find someone you don't know on a message board or blog and ask them to critique your story before you post it.
If your story was already posted and you got negative comments, ask those commenters (unless they're ED or 4chan) how you can make it better. It's true, some stories will be a lost cause (mostly due to icky subject matter). However, most can be saved. And remember: IF YOU ASK FOR CRITIQUE, NO MATTER HOW HARSH IT IS, TAKE IT. Don't give excuses about how you can't or won't. Because, once again, you'll be treated like a joke.

5) Above all else, be polite and respectful, even if the commenters aren't.

So, that's my advice. Yes, I'll still be putting badfic on here. Just remember not to be like MissMysty and become a Drama Lama.

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