KC (kc_anathema) wrote,

can't gripe without it turning into a damn essay

Dear TMNT BNFs, specifically the old fen and their fanpoodles who are ironically now mostly out of the fandom,

Remember Twisted Autumn, that fanfic you dogpiled on me for not listening to you oh so wise ladies when you said Raphael was an asshole and how dare I not treat your constructive criticism as points to make changes in my own damn narrative? Because obviously I am a bitch and an obsessive diva who should change to fit other people’s ideas and opinions.

It’s been translated. Into Italian. At least one fan liked it enough to put in that kind of work, and other fans enjoyed her translation.

I’ve thought about this a long time. Obviously I’ve been carrying this grudge for quite awhile, and it’s made me wonder if I really am an obsessive neurotic. And while I’ll to being obsessive and neurotic, I also think that the burn and the hurt I felt is genuine, and that having a good portion of the old fen suddenly attack me is a legitimate wound. I pretty much abandoned the fandom then, and I never went into another.

A long time ago, back when I was going from high school and settling into college, I was writing in nearly a vacuum. I found the most camaraderie in the Vampire Chronicles fandom (before Rice bombed it) and a notice about one of my TMNT stories being up for an award…kinda threw me. I didn’t really know about fandom then. And for awhile, I ignored fandom. Only slowly did I start to meet other fans, get to know people… I met douchebags, but they were usually courteous enough to be upfront about their douchebaggery.

So when I received the comment from a BNF that Raphael was being an asshole, I said what I always said to jerks—-I didn’t care about her opinion, and if she didn’t like it, she could gtfo. In the resultant mess that followed, it must have been at least five or six BNFs with a handful of fanpoodles that then told me what a hack I was, that I couldn’t handle criticism, that I wasn’t a serious writer, that I was a horrible person. And the one I remember vividly: that she always thought that I listened to her opinions, so clearly if I didn’t listen to reader responses, she would no longer continue reading.

Of all the insults, that one hurt the most. Not because I was a bad person for not listening, ‘cause by that point I’d heard that a few dozen times.

She only read my work because she thought she could influence how I wrote?

So I hid the whole mess before it got blown up on fandom wank (reported by a damn friend no less) and left fandom. Sure, I still write, but participate? I started slowing down then, too. Work picked up, and the mess left a real sour note. I got told repeatedly that if I didn’t want to receive “constructive criticism,” then I shouldn’t post stories online. I should just keep them to myself.

And I can’t help but think that there’s some truth in that. Stories don’t receive jackasses telling you how to change your story…when you don’t post them. And that reviews can be quite seductive.

I now have a few stories that aren’t posted. I don’t talk to nearly anyone in fandom anymore. And on tumblr, I can just watch pretty pictures dropping down the dashboard all day. If I read someone else’s fanfic, which I rarely do anymore, I try to leave a note about how good it was and why. But that’s it. Me and fandom are pretty much done.

But then…someone says my work was good, and they translate it, and people respond to it. I know how hard translation is. I saw people doing it at my university.

I’m done with fandom forever. But going back to what I was before, throwing stories onto ff.net without much of any other presence, is a good thing. I just wish I could write faster and with less restraint, without that constant flinch that I’m a horrible writer and a baseless diva. Part of the reason I slowed down so much is because I doubt and doubt and doubt the way I write the story, and the internal editor nags at me incessantly. Usually in a loud BNF voice.

There was one good outcome of being dogpiled, though. It taught me to temper my own reactions and to recognize bullying when it’s couched in terms of the bully’s own sense of being offended. It’s a lesson well worth it when I critique my students’ writing and edit their more basic skills.

And when I tell my brats to just write, to put something down because it’s so much easier to edit than face a blank page, to not worry about editing to make it perfect first time through and just try, just try, I’m also hoping that one day I can take my own advice again.

So thank you, BNFs. You were a lesson. And I’m glad you’re not around much anymore, because you’re a lesson I wouldn’t wish on anyone else.


Tags: rant, tmnt
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For what it's worth: I think you are a fantastic writer. The story-lines are original, the amount of research is astounding. I really like how you portray the characters, be it Harry Potter or TMNT or any other fandom I came across. There is always a twist, and I find myself re-reading pretty much everything.
TMNT is not a series I have watched or read a lot. To be honest, I started reading, because of the Bad Places-fic. Wich is pretty much toeing the line of what I find a touch to creepy, without me being scared to sleep ;-) Twisted Autumn is not my thing, but that is my problem. I just don't read it, and find something else in the pile that is more to my liking.
It is not any ones place to ask or demand that the author changes his/her fic. It's their idea, and maybe one can offer some advice for how it can be better, but the author has the final vote, I'd say.

There is no need to yell at the author, if it's not your thing to read...just find something else, but I think I am apparently very simple that way.

I hope you will post whatever you have written, in wichever fandom, for I am curious. Not so much for the 'Update Now!', but more to enjoy your style.
-I hope I haven't missed the whole point of your post, but I really enjoy your fanfics, and would be sad to see them go because of some idiots who can't be a bit more open minded-
^_^ Thank you. It was easier responding to the tumblr posts because they were so much shorter---here it's like LJ is meant for baring more of ourselves, so I kept setting it aside for when I could. And I really do appreciate the kind words. I don't think you missed the point at all; in fact, I think you nailed it. It isn't easy to put all the words down for various reasons, and having a reader lash out and say you're doing it wrong can be soul crushing. For a new author, it could shut them down entirely. I ended up posting even slower (than my already glacial speed) because of the attack I got.

I completely understand about not reading what's not your cuppa. I'm blown away that you'd reread or even start reading because of my fics. Bad Places got some acclaim, but when I look at it, I see a ton of errors and very raw writing. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully I can upload some more things...as soon as I actually finish the damn things.
It took me quite a while to learn how to deal with the comments I receive on my work. At first I didn't have to worry about it much because I was posting a story with an OC and people won't comment on them (even if they are secretly reading it!)

When I began writing and posting other stories and people began to respond, I was often faced with those 'suggestions' about where people think you should go with a fic. The first time I posted a multi-chapter fic with an open ending, I was deluged with rants, frustrations, anger, and a myriad of other things from fans who insisted I spell out every little thing in my story and sew it up with a nice cross stitch.

I might have found it upsetting enough to walk away but it was actually something you said in a journal that became sort of my personal mantra. Because of it, I ignore what other people shout about or give me grief over. You said in essence, "Write what you want. Write for you."

That's probably the best advice I've gotten about writing. I am writing for me and if someone doesn't like what I've done with a story, that's their problem. Granted, sometimes I still get a little butt hurt about things people say, but that's probably due more to thinking they liked my writing enough to be open to new ideas. That's a laugh. It's like asking human nature to change; ain't gonna happen.

I'm just glad I can still find the fics you post because I thoroughly enjoy them. You have an incredible talent for weaving real emotional content into your words and that's hard to come by. Whether you want to play in the fandom with a bunch of strangers or not, please do keep writing for us. This particular stranger is constantly learning from you.
I'm glad you posted, and I wish I'd gotten to this earlier. Responding to such heartfelt encouragement and thoughts was a little daunting, though, but I'm finally getting here! You're absolutely right that you have to write what makes you happy, and sometimes damn what anyone else says--full speed ahead.

I've had similar comments to stories that want a sequel or follow up, or want a definitive answer to a fic deliberately left ambiguous. Sometimes I really value reader comments because they come up with ideas I wouldn't have thought of, but at the same time readers sometimes don't realize that what they say can do more harm than good. You're right---sometimes the comments make the writers want to walk away entirely.

I will keep trying to write, even if I think you're a fine author who doesn't need any lessons.
Not wanting to anger readers by pushing the plot in a direction they probably aren't expecting (going by their reviews) is what makes me wary to post new chapters in one of my TMNT WIPs. I feel like I slowly left the fandom (in the sense you use the word, as related to the fans, and being social) without ever noticing, and before it slowly started to die a slow death. Now when I lurk at the board there's only one name I recognize. But I'm somewhat thankful that I left when I did, because of what happened to you and to other authors, and because of the anti-turtlecest debacle. So my memories may be soured, but it is second-hand. I don't think I could handle readers treating me like that, particularly because readers' response to my posted fics is some days the only way I can reach my happy place.

Going slightly off topic, I have noticed that tumblr has made me an angrier person. Never when I'm on the site itself, but it has opened my eyes to so many things I didn't know, that I'm more likely than not to realize something in RL is fucked up, and why. Movies are particularly difficult nowadays. I guess that might be why my own tumblr basically consists on pretty non-fandom pictures :P. Interacting with fandom (as in a wider definition of 'fandom', including the source material) is just so difficult these days. The TV series I used to follow are much changed now, the comics and cartoons characters I liked have been rebooted ad nauseum, the books' plots have been butchered .... And yet there's a prayer that BBC doesn't destroy the newest attempt to bring to life The Three Musketeers. Apparently I enjoy having my hope crushed u_u.

Ahem, yes. You. Congratulations on having your work translated! With so many fans choosing ESL to navigate internet fandom, having someone do the hard work of translating a fic says a lot. Particularly, that it was loved, because nothing short of an strong emotion is going to convince someone into doing a translation. And as another comment before mine has said, after ten years of reading fanfic almost every day, I find you one of the best writers I've ever read. I'm sad fandom doesn't brings you the happiness it used to, but having met you and your work in this particular corner of the internet will remain something I'l always remember with fondness.
<3 You're wonderful. I'm trying to get back into fandom, at least a little, but you're right--I look at it very warily now, like I'm petting a snake hoping it doesn't bite. So few people are left from the older days of only a few years ago. And you're right---those reviews and responses are often the only boost in a crap day. I remember seeing some reviewers apologizing for long reviews, and I wondered why on earth they'd think we only want short reviews. Long ones are where it's at.

And yeah, tumblr is full of angry people. I try to distance myself from it a bit, or repost blogs critical of some fo the worst hate on the site. Tumblr can be intensely abusive at times. It's like it specializes in just taking snapshots of people's feelings and emotions, while LJ seemed more introspective and prone to longer posts. That, or it's the nostalgia glasses talking. LJ has a ton of memories and thoughts wrapped up in it, and I'm really sad that the Russian mismanagement ran it into the ground faster than it should have been.