I was lurking around one of the more popular fanfic mailing lists when I noticed the following passage:
...And my heart leapt! Oh the ecstasy! A highly-overrated and incredibly mediocre fanfic author was *asking* for an honest critique! Oh hoorah! And boy did this fic sorely need it for not only was it boring and predictable but it also had one HELL of a case of multiple personality disorder. Oh ye plotless wonder wanted a plot *so* badly but could not quite seem to pull it off all that well. Was it a romance or an action/fantasy? That was the question for the fic did not even seem to truly know. And when a fic does not know what kind of fic it is, that tends to spell trouble. Yay! Maybe someone will tell this person that!
Uh... okay....Yeah. Sure. Riiiiiiiight.... Once again, it is proven that there is no accounting for taste. Folks, it is entirely possible for something to be completely likable and still have it suck major ass. Starship Troopers was fairly enjoyable and look at how awful that was! Hell, then there's The Matrix and I don't even want to *go* into how bad that film was, yet look at how much money it made at the box office.
But I digress. The above quote came from one of the lists younger members who has yet to write an even HALF decent fic. Said author took this as an okay to continue what she was doing.
After all, she just said that she wanted her fic to be published. She *never* said that she wanted it to be good. Who wants to read a good story, anyway? Makes tons of sense to me. Yes, the 12 year old who is my buddy *must* know more about what makes something a high quality fic than a qualified, critical reviewer who has read over hundreds of fics over a period of a few years and probably is probably *trained* to be able to pick those things out of fiction. (Ever notice that most reviewers are English majors? Gee, I wonder WHY....)
Which brings us to an interesting point about feedback. Every single fanfic author *begs* for feedback. They *say* that they want to know what people think about their fic. They *ask* for constructive criticism. "Please," they beg, "send us your C&C!"
But the problem is, they don't actually want constructive criticism. They want constructive praise. It isn't satisfying enough to just receive an email saying, "Your fic kicked ass!" No, they want to hear *why* it "kicked ass" so they beg for your "honest feedback."
Honest my large, white ass.
In the event that someone even *dares* to point out a flaw in the fic, suddenly said person is unjustly accused of flaming.
"Yon spawn of Satan! How DARE you speak disparagingly of the fic that I have written with mine own two hands and half a brain!" Curse. Curse. Swear. Swear. Something about eternal damnation in Hell... etc, etc, etc....
Interesting fact of life: Everyone is invariably in love with his or her own writing. It does not matter if his or her writing style resembles that of a five year-old. If he or she writes it, then it must be the best thing since sliced bread.
This is why I ask you, the readers of bad fanfics everywhere, to continue giving your honest criticism to the fics you read. Show no intimidation. Get to the point and don't water it down! I'm not saying to be overtly mean. After all, that's MY job. [EG] But please, do not be afraid to be honest. And if you are an author, do not be afraid of negative reviews. After all, if you don't know where your problem areas are, then you can never improve.
We'll beat some sense into those crappy fanfic authors, yet!
Literally, if I have to.