rynling: (Gator Strut)
[personal profile] rynling
This morning I reblogged a chain of posts on Tumblr (link) about how "somewhere along the way fanart become worth more than fanfic to fandom" and how "Fan Authors have become the strange little hobbyists in the world of fandom, quality doesn't matter, care doesn't matter, research and talent and learning about writing doesn't matter." I added my own commentary, saying, "as the number of notes on this discussion indicates, there are a lot of fic writers (including myself) who are struggling through a very dark and painful space here on Tumblr."

It's probably best if I don't share the details of what I mean by "a very dark and painful space" within the context of my own life, but there are tears involved, not to mention not unoccasional substance abuse. I mean, I think many of us have at some point idealized artists like Van Gogh who suffer for their art, but when it happens to you it's really surprising how much it actually hurts. It's like, I did not plan to feel this bad about my creative endeavors??

What a lot of people say in response to a complaint like this is something along the lines of, "Well, you should create for yourself," or, "You can be happy if you have a few close friends who read your work." Both of these things are absolutely true, but at the same time it's difficult to look at someone's afternoon speedpaint get hundreds (if not thousands) of notes while the chapter you worked on for at least an hour every day for two weeks gets maybe ten notes if you're lucky. It's not that you didn't enjoy writing it, and it's not that you don't love and appreciate the people who responded to your stuff with every fiber of your heart - but also, what the fuck is even going on here? How did it happen that fic became so undervalued in fandom?

Personally, I'm not too terribly surprised that my own fic posts don't get many notes, as I write in a small subfandom, but it's been disheartening to see other people's fic all but vanish from the tags I track. There's still plenty of work being posted on AO3, but that platform isn't built for promotion and publicity, and just about the only way I find fics is if someone reblogs or recommends them on Tumblr (or here on Dreamwidth).

I guess my problem is that I see fandom as a community, and I'm disturbed that Tumblr-based fandom in particular is so dysfunctional in so many ways. This is why the essay I quoted, Social Contract Theory and Fandom Libertarianism, spoke to me so strongly: "Fandom libertarians, then, would be the people who insist that if everyone just did the fannish things they wanted to do and stayed out of everyone else’s business, we would all have a great time in fandom. And just like with political libertarianism, that sounds pretty good on the surface." But, as the author argues, libertarianism sure sucks for most people in practice, and it's not doing fandom any favors.

Date: 2017-08-02 01:38 pm (UTC)
thegingeryone: this is a wug (Default)
From: [personal profile] thegingeryone
You're definitely not alone in the bad place of fics- not just in relation to fanart but in relation to which fics become popular and how. It seems more like you have to market fics if you want them to get any sort of attention, like writing the popular pairs, be inspired by art or the right person's hc, then you gotta make sure it's all acceptable. I don't know if it's just that a lot of readers seem to be...I want to say tone deaf, but I don't think its the right term- but the writing itself doesn't matter as much as it hitting a beat sheet of 'things fandom likes'.

It's a pain in the ass. I love drawing fanart but it'd be nice if the fics got even a smidgen as much attention :/ It's why I've started making sure I comment on everything that I bookmark or leave kudos on, like I used to in the FFN days.

Date: 2017-08-04 06:59 pm (UTC)
thegingeryone: this is a wug (Default)
From: [personal profile] thegingeryone
My AO3 is loquaciouslass (http://archiveofourown.org/users/loquaciouslass)! And my genre at the moment is smutty crackfics because I read one too many fandom discourses and it annoyed me to the point of smut writing. So...thank you...discoursers?

Seriously though, I'd love to like...do a study on how fandom popularises particular fics. Because I feel like you're right, a lot of popular fics do have the Dubious Scene (or alternatively, the rape scene followed by partner comfort in the new version of 'this person gets in the way of my OTP)? Smut's a funny old bag because it seems like a lot of people are very...tight around it recently, but there seems to be a massive focus on 'cleaning it up'. Aah...I miss being able to have long convos about fics. A lot of people I know now don't read many and it sucks :/

I wonder how all the factors came together to a) put an end to discussion and b) make commenting on fics or posts a 'bad thing'. It's definitely made me want to write less fic that goes out there. It's a wonder I managed smut at all.
Edited Date: 2017-08-04 07:00 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-08-02 04:16 pm (UTC)
auronlu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] auronlu
I stopped writing last month because of this.

As I've probably said before, I put in 20-30 hour work weeks on my fanfiction novellas, engaged in professional-level research, worldbuilding, structural planning, proofreading and editing. I had worksheets on theme & premise, ethical dilemmas, backstories, symbolism, psychology, foreshadowing, and character arcs. Every scene had a checklist with a primary mission and piece of exposition to deliver, plus character notes.

I spent a year and a half with the last novella dominating my headspace. Between chronic illness and perfectionism, it took a great deal of time and effort to craft.

Result?

5 comments by three people other than 2 close friends. 18 kudos, which I should be grateful for, but I remember when I'd get that many comments on one chapter back on LJ. The third close friend, for whom I wrote the story, couldn't be arsed to read the last 3 chapters. My smutfics garner more hits, but no comments except from the same two friends.

So yes, there's been tears. There's been soul-searching about whether I'm a horrible writer or just writing in a niche fandom. I've asked myself whether the stories are good enough to be worth writing even if I'm only writing for two friends. I have another novella that I'd started, with two chapters up, and I can't bring myself to face it.

It's devastating. I'm old enough I shouldn't care, but depressed enough I crave to know I'm entertaining people. Which, apparently, I'm not. But gods, I don't think it's for lack of literary ability and effort. And I see no solution to this problem so long as Tumblr-style fandom predominates, which favors a firehose of easy-to-glance-at fandom content over in-depth discussion and fanfic.
Edited Date: 2017-08-02 04:19 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-08-07 04:40 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
I find that my short stuff gets more attention than the long form, which - I'll be honest, when I read on my phone I'm more likely to hit up the 2k-and-under stuff because I'm on the train and don't want to be tempted to sneak more looks when I'm at my desk, and then when I get home i'm just too tired to look up the longer stuff.

It's frustrating to me as a writer and as a reader, and I don't know how to wrangle it.

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