When It Comes To Fanworks; Keep Your Negative Opinions To Yourself

Fanfiction and even fanart are concepts much older than some people even seem to realize. Sometimes, we have things like Victor Hugo adapting his own story into a stage production and changing many aspects of the story. People have been changing and adapting classic stories for centuries. However, the modern fandom is very much online, and unlike adapting a Greek tragedy or a Shakespeare play, modern fandom is very much run on love. There are the fan artists that put tons and tons of hours into drawing things from their favorite media. There are the fanfiction writers that write hundreds of thousands of works that they won't ever see a dime of. There are the podfic readers that are turning those amazing fanfictions into free audiobooks for you to download and listen to at your leisure. There are the people making the graphics and the gifs for you to share on social media and often have their names stripped from their work. It's all done for free, and it's all done out of love for the piece of media.

When It Comes To Fanworks; Keep Your Negative Opinions To Yourself
The official logo of AO3, aka Archive of Our Own.

This is why people need to keep their negative opinions concerning said fanworks to themselves. There is already a terrible stigma surrounding people who participate in fandom. The artists are starting to get some respect as you actually can sell prints of your work, so if you can make money on it, then it's legitimate. This is very much not the case for the fanfiction writers who are doing all of this for nothing. There is never any situation where you should mock or make fun of someone for doing something creative in the first place but to go into a story or podfic or piece of fanart that someone created and leaving hate comments is a part of fandom that needs to stop. It very much needs to become a place where if you have nothing nice to say, then you don't say anything at all. Unless said writer or artist asked you to give them criticism personally, then you have the back button, and you have the ability to scroll on by and mind your own business.

The inspiration from this article comes from personal experience. I write fanfiction, and I adore it, and I refuse to be ashamed of the fact that I write fanfiction. I also tend to write fanfiction that has a lot of angst and hurt/comfort aspects to it because that is what I like to read. After a particularly gruesome plot turn in a story I am currently working on, someone decided to leave the following comment; "Toodles it is. I was hate reading (more like hate skimming) to see how much you would torture them but yeah this was too much. Not sure why you take such twisted delight in being cruel to them but I'm out. It doesnt have to be all rainbows and unicorns but man I wonder who hurt you to think people enjoy reading chapter after chapter of this?" This is not constructive feedback; this is not helpful to me as a writer in any way; this is just someone implying that there is something physiologically wrong with me because I tend to put characters through hell.

There is the argument that when you put your art of any kind out there for consumption, not everyone is going to like it, and that is very much true. However, fanworks are labors of love where no money is going to be made. If I publish a novel and get a bad review, it's because I was asking someone to invest money into my product, and they didn't like it. If someone reads the novel-length fanfiction, I wrote that I will get nothing but a burst of serotonin to my brain when I get a "you got kudos" email from AO3; that comment is meaningless. There are plenty of writers or artists that aren't looking to do this professionally so they can improve or not improve at whatever pace they want. There is no need to bring negative comments to free content when no one asked for it, not in fandom spaces, because unlike most media, this isn't corrupted by capitalism. It's just someone creating something for someone else to enjoy because they want to.

And as for the person who told me that "You wrote 50 chapters and got less than 30 reviews… Can't you take a hint?" I don't think I will take that hint, and neither should anyone else out there producing fan content. Keep your negativity to yourself and let people create without stigma, without a fear of being laughed at by their peers, and without the worry of someone hate skimming and asking if "someone hurt you."

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at http://www.nerddomepodcast.com