If there's one thing I've learned on the Kinjascape it's that there are more fanfic readers out there than we acknowledge. This means that fanfic is read by normal, healthy, educated people who have normal*, healthy**, educated standards. So let's discuss our fanfic peeves. What this post is about: Ranting about universally egregious sins committed by writers and readers. What this post is NOT about: Shaming anybody's preferred pairing, kink, trope, fandom, or other creative choice. Please. This is not a place to bash fanfiction habitudes like "turning a character gay" or something. That's fanfiction, dude. Welcome to 1995. We've moved on.
KUNDRY'S FANFICTION FACEPALMS:
- Writers proclaiming in the summary that "I suck at sumaries." Then why the fuck do you think I want to read your fic? Seriously, if you can't either write one sentence blurb or extract a single appealing morsel from the text, you're better off leaving the summary field blank. Seriously, I'll read a fic based on the tags and other data, but do not tell me that you suck at summaries (or sumaries, or summarys, or summeries), and expect me to go "Gee, I bet the fic itself is pretty swell anyway, and totally worth clicking on." NEXT.
- Writers misspelling canon proper nouns. This really gets my goat. I'm practically emotionally scarred by some of the butchery I have encountered. And worst of all, it just sneaks up on you! You don't have a chance to look away before the offending nomenclature is seared like gristly, burnt meat onto your brain. Darcy's estate is not Pemperly. The Transfiguration professor is not Macgonnagol.
- Writers ripping entire conversations from canon. I saw this a lot in Pride & Prejudice fanfic. I'm cool with tucking in a key phrase here and there. That is a nod to the source and gives me a happy little tingle. But if the scene you "wrote" is actually just your description of the setting and twenty lines of Jane Austen's dialogue, perhaps you missed the memo on what transformative works are and what they are not? EXCEPTION: When a fic writer chooses to write a "deleted scene" or a spinoff based on a passage in the source material, and they preface their story with the source text and italicize it. That's classy, then.
- Writers who write Real People Fiction (RPF). I get that this may look like I'm violating my "What this post is NOT about," but I think that we can draw a real line between fiction and reality. RPF can be done well or it can be done badly. The threshold for me is are these real people still alive, and how central are they to the story? For example, a meticulously researched AU of John and Sherlock hanging out with the Bloomsbury Group is pretty snazzy, and not reeally RPF, in my opinion. (You can read it here.) Those people are historical figures and they're all dead now, so nobody from TMZ is going to go shoving fanfic into Lytton Strachey's face whilst live on the red carpet. Similarly, an AU taking place in, for example, competitive sports, can just use the names of real athletes as offstage fillers and to contextualize the level of competitive eliteness. I don't really consider the second example to be RPF either, actually. But you cross my line of squick and disrespect when you write a detective story starring Stana Katic and chick-who-plays-Irene-on-BBC-Sherlock, rather than a Castle-Sherlock crossover starring Beckett and Irene. Which, I'd totally read the latter. Someone write the femmeslash already!
- Writers who can't write cleanly or don't have a (good) beta to clean up after them. It should go without saying that poor spelling, grammar, regional integrity (Why the fuck is Hermione converting galleons to dollars in her head in Hogsmeade???), homophone misuse, apostrophe abuse, and other very, very basic elements of style aren't so much pet peeves as instant NOPE-ifiers. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. I am punching Alt+ left arrow key as fast as I can. It should go without saying, but it won't.
- Readers who complain about writers who discontinue a series or choose not to complete a work. People, you are not paying these writers. This is not the same kind of social contract that we have with GRRM. These are transformative works. They are written out of love, not duty. There are no expectations. If a writer no longer wants their work on the internet, they can pack up their toys and go home. If they're sick of a work, they can stop it. Your thoughts and wishes are irrelevant, because this is all in good fun.
Tell me your peeves, either as a reader or a writer!
*normal is overrated
**healthy is inclusive of all things kinky