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#1 Edited by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Please, nobody think less of me for this. But, I've threatened to make this thread multiple times now and have gotten some support from authors and commenters alike, so I've decided that it's probably time I put this up for everyone to see.

Fan-fic is a pretty funny thing. With normal writing, people actually purchase books to read them, and we can all agree that that's cool, and once you've paid your cash the author in question has no right to ask any more from you. But fan-fiction is quite different, I'm afraid. Fan-fics are works of love, works of practice, and sometimes works of fun, but they do all require work and effort, and the only reward that the authors in question can expect is for someone to read their story, and tell them what they thought.

A lot of people, however, will read the whole bloody thing, regardless of how long it is, enjoy it or not, and then just... move on. This is pretty uncool.

Slightly better is when people read the whole thing, then take a quarter of a second to splatter their fingers across the keyboard enough to say "pretty cool" or "nice job", or "was okay."

In a slightly different category is when people decide that the author needs their help; perhaps the story has some flaws. So they tear into the story, ripping it apart savagely and bringing the author to their knees before them where they lash at them with the Scourge of Shame. Now, I understand the desire to do this -- most authors ask for constructive criticism. The problem is when "constructive criticism" becomes "destructive criticism".

So far I've mentioned how NOT to comment. I'm getting to the how to comment part now.

Once you've read a story, it doesn't take you long to say what you liked about it, and what you didn't like. You have two options to create a really great comment which can easily be the size of two sentences or so, and take about a minute of your time, dramatically less time than it took you to actually read the story in the first place.

#1: Say a few specific things you liked about the story. Pick out a few lines that tickled you, comment on the wordplay or writing, or specific pieces you enjoy ("I love how that one girl keeps doing those sound effect things!" or whatever). Maybe pick out a part of writing, such as the dialogue or characters, and tell the author how you feel about it. This will make the author feel satisfied and happy with themselves, and your comment will not have gone in vain. Just saying "good job" will garner a reaction from the author of equal enthusiasm -- not much.

#2: Destroy, and build. This is if you really want to get inclusive. Start by saying the story has its high and low points, if it indeed does. This will make the author not feel attacked. They wrote this thing, and to have it destroyed before them will not leave them very open to criticism. What's that, you say? They asked for criticism? Well, maybe they did, but they lied. They want NICE criticism and, believe it or not, that's really not much of a challenge.

Tell the parts of the story that you disliked, and some suggestions on how the author can fix them. This can be done GENTLY, it's not all that hard, and gentler criticism has a much greater chance of making a lasting change in the author's writing. Once you've said what you don't like, refresh and invigorate them by doing #1 -- EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO LIE. Pick out SOMETHING good, even if it's just the idea. If it's completely awful, tell the author that it has potential, and that practice makes perfect! These are still true, and they'll leave the author (hopefully) ready to improve their game with the advice you've given.

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I hope some of you read this, and I hope that it makes some small difference in the way that this site comments on the fan-fics that get churned through here day by day. By doing your part, you can bolster the confidence and skills of our writers, and give them the motivation to keep doing what they do. What's the worst that can happen, you give your fingers some exercise and lose two minutes of your time?

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#2 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

cool

...

...

...

*ahem*

I mean, this was seriously needed. Excellent work!

#3 Posted by teoP_ehT (155 posts) - - Show Bio

15 people didn't listen to you...

#4 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@teoP_ehT: I'm not expecting many people to, Bizarro-Poet.

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#5 Posted by Mercy_ (92502 posts) - - Show Bio

Amazing and needed

Moderator
#6 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mercy_: You honor me. *bows*

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#7 Posted by batkevin74 (10411 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl:

@Joygirl said:

.A lot of people, however, will read the whole bloody thing, regardless of how long it is, enjoy it or not, and then just... move on.

Well done!

#8 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: That guy's face is just... so very funny to me. ^_^ Maybe the coffee that i need more of.

I'm hyper.

Ahhhhahh

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#9 Posted by Strafe Prower (11887 posts) - - Show Bio

A nicely put together topic! I agree 100%.

#10 Posted by Strafe Prower (11887 posts) - - Show Bio

Also, i feel as if this should be pinned.

#11 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@Strafe Prower: You're probably right, else it will vanish.

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#12 Posted by joshmightbe (24600 posts) - - Show Bio

Sometimes when I just say good job I don't have much time to leave a real comment but I feel I should at least bump it if I enjoyed it

#13 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Not trying to chastise anyone, just trying to help everyone and make the Vine a better place to write.

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#14 Posted by YoungJustice (6666 posts) - - Show Bio

This thread shall not die.

#15 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Bumping this.

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#16 Posted by wildvine (8326 posts) - - Show Bio

I too am guilty of the one word comment. But never again. (maybe).

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#17 Posted by Project_Worm (3339 posts) - - Show Bio

I am probably most guilty of commenting on stuff that has not part of the story itself...

Sort of like that ^^^

#18 Posted by feebadger (1436 posts) - - Show Bio

This one slipped by me so thanks for the bump. I don't comment very much on posts, because it's hard for me to find the time to read a lot of the stuff in here. Like a lot of contributors, i'm trying to create material and that takes up the bulk of my energies from reading other peoples. Having said that, i really try to comment fully on as many posts as i can, especially in this particular forum. It's pretty hard sometimes though with works like those contributed by Ravager4 as as example. I always feel incredibly guilty for not commenting on every single one of his posts because he does SO much work and keeps it at such a high standard. The only thing is, if i spent my time commenting on all of his stuff i would NEVER get out of teh house, but man, does he deserve it as do so many others. Not defending myself, just thinking it through as i write.

Great article though, and i hope people take it to heart. This place can really grow as a community if people take more time to pay as much attention to others work as they do their own.

#19 Posted by Miggy4 (44 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for the advice :D I'm not exactly new here, but I don't get the chance to go on too often, I was just trying to finish a quest looking for a story to comment on, and found this X) Anyway, I totally agree, the one word comment thing gets annoying in just about any context, whether it's story responses, battle forums, or even text messages (really, how the hell do I reply to lol?) But anyway, I'll keep all this in mind when finding a story to comment on.

#20 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump because it got community spotlight and should be stickied!

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#21 Posted by batkevin74 (10411 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: This is Mr Bump :)

#22 Posted by CapFanboy (4520 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: Only problem here is that I find it really hard to give criticism or even just say what I liked about a story, it's just difficult for me to split it up into different things since I see it as one story, which is why I generally just type a "good job" or "well done."

#23 Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k (3712 posts) - - Show Bio

I don`t read that much fan fic. This is helpful, though.

#24 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Bout time this got stickied, folks. , if you wouldn't mind?

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#25 Posted by batkevin74 (10411 posts) - - Show Bio

Bumping!

#26 Posted by xxxddd (3572 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: I wish people more people would do this.

#27 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Bumplez.

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#28 Posted by batkevin74 (10411 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: Bump'd

#29 Posted by batkevin74 (10411 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl said:

Bumplez.

Bumped again!

#30 Posted by dngn4774 (2720 posts) - - Show Bio

If you also add the @ symbol followed by the username of the person who started the thread, it sends the comment directly to their inbox. This is good since the user gets to here responses to their work faster than repetitiously checking the forum that they posted the comic into.

#31 Edited by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

Bumping this for a new year. <3

Edit: Because this generation really needs it.

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#32 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@joygirl: Yeah thanks. My work seems to be living in a comment free environment at the moment

#33 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@joygirl: Yeah thanks. My work seems to be living in a comment free environment at the moment

Everything is. I was glancing back through the forums looking for this -- the FF board of one year ago, everything got comments. One chapter of JSA could get 30 comments (mixed with banter and whatnot).

I honestly blame unionization. FF groups were cool in the heyday, but now every single story belongs to its respective clan. This creates a feeling of false brotherhood -- "if I splatter a quick comment on yours, you will read mine", and no further effort is put out than that. The site no longer has an honest readership, only a writership. And that makes for a bad story board.

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#34 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@joygirl: Hey some of us still have a sense of comradery. I comment on everything I read on the boards. And the stuff that I wrote that wasn't in a group got 105 views and zero comments over 5 months. I'm not sure what (if anything) can be done about it.

#35 Posted by Joygirl (18484 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: I don't know either. Maybe some people will see this and see the light.

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#36 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio
#37 Edited by dngn4774 (2720 posts) - - Show Bio

@joygirl: Hey some of us still have a sense of comradery. I comment on everything I read on the boards. And the stuff that I wrote that wasn't in a group got 105 views and zero comments over 5 months. I'm not sure what (if anything) can be done about it.

I don't read marvel fics. If you have any dc or original work send me the links and I'll check them out.

#38 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio
#39 Posted by dngn4774 (2720 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: No it's a preference, like liking comedy movies, just not romantic comedies. Entertainment on the fan fic board is supposed to work both ways. If I don't fit into your demographic I can't help you.

#40 Posted by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

I very rarely comment. I only give feedback if I really enjoyed or didn't enjoy.

#41 Edited by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: @dngn4774: But I have no demographic, I'll read anything if I have time and always make sure to leave a comment. I feel that if someone's put the time in and you read it you owe them something even if it is just a bump.

#42 Edited by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: Anyone can jump in and just say "good job". It's no better than saying nothing. If I have nothing to say, then I say nothing.

#43 Edited by dngn4774 (2720 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: @dngn4774: But I have no demographic, I'll read anything if I have time and always make sure to leave a comment. I feel that if someone's put the time in and you read it you owe them something even if it is just a bump.

Again that's great for you, but it doesn't make me enjoy Marvel. We don't all hold ourselves to that standard and I'm not going out of my way to read a genre I don't enjoy just to give the writer a pat on the back. It's the same reason any noob writing a batman fan-fic with a decent title could get more views than most of the original stories on this forum. It isn't fair, but pretending stories will only get attention by the merit of the author is a fallacy.

#44 Edited by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@dngn4774: I'm not trying to convince you to do anything I'm just saying some of us do things differently. And the author merit thing...I know too well about that. It's why I released PSOC with the writer's guild, at least there it will be seen rather then ignored because it's all OC.

#45 Edited by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: I personally try and leave more then that. It's just a little soul crushing when you've put the effort in and nobody not even your 'followers' or the people in the same group can be bothered to say anything.

#46 Posted by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: You should write because you enjoy it. I can't speak for everyone, but I only comment where comments are due.

#47 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: That is why I write. I only wish people would tell me what they liked about it, what could be improved maybe even drop a witty joke. Also when you see people you know are in the same group as you seemingly ignore your work but actively comment on someone else's work in the same group it's not the greatest of feelings. And as what you said about commenting when commenting is earned is true, how can a writer improve if nobody is willing to offer guidance?

#48 Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse (6114 posts) - - Show Bio

"pretty cool" or "nice job", or "was okay."

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#49 Edited by AweSam (7373 posts) - - Show Bio

@impurestcheese: Just because you're in the same group doesn't mean you have to read their work and vice-versa. Also, if your story sucks, I'll tell you how I think you can improve. If it's really good, I'll tell you what I liked about it. If it's not bad, but not great and has nothing that stands out, then I won't say anything. I'll almost always comment on the first story of a series so that way the author can know whether I'll be tuning into more or not. I usually read what Josh, Tommy, Batkev, Cap, and Delphic write. I also read anything that involves a character I like or if it's by someone who's new to the Fan-Fic board.

#50 Posted by ImpurestCheese (4630 posts) - - Show Bio

@awesam: Didn't offer me that courtesy when I was new. And what if you're meant to be sharing a continuity? What about then?