Hey, at least this one is somewhat relevant. Er… in a roundabout sort of backasswards way.
I wasn’t going to jump in with this confession this early on in my writing career, but here goes:
I came back into writing through fandom. Yes, I’ve written fan fiction. No, I’m not interested in attempting an ELJ. (You know what I mean.) Okay, not unless someone’s offering seven figures right off the bat. Or even six. Hey, a woman’s got bills to pay. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t turn down that kind of money.
While my fandom past isn’t anything I’m ashamed of, it’s also something I don’t consider up for much discussion, simply because it’s not something I really do, anymore. However, there have been several occasions lately where I’ve found myself thinking, “man, that assclown should have gone through the trials of fandomwank and fanficrants for a few years before venturing out to the internets.”
Okay, I am aware that this probably sounds pretentious as fuck. Then again, I have done my time in the fandom sandbox. I’ve worn the training wheels. I’ve made an ass of myself, I’ve written cringe-worthy pieces of tripe, I’ve witnessed other folks make bigger asses of themselves, and I’ve read vomit-inducing garbage that was lauded as fandom masterpieces. I’ve even had my work rejected as sub-par from an ‘elite’ fandom archive (this was a HUGE lesson in how much I actually did not know about grammar and punctuation, and I will be forever grateful to that site and the help and experience they provided me).
And while I’m still just a noob in original fiction publication, there are a few things fandom taught me. Things that seem to be overlooked by some writers who, in my humble opinion, ought to fucking know better, by simple reason that they’re out there selling (or trying to sell) something.
So, here goes:
Shit Fandom Has Taught Me
(or, “Lessons Some Writers Could Stand To Learn From Fandom“)
- Don’t be an asshole
- The internet remembers everything. And the internet is more brutal than a team of middle-schoolers ganging up on the fat kid.
- Ignorance and good intentions do not excuse behavior that the internet sees as assholish. Deal.
- If you choose to be an asshole, own it and prepare for the backlash. In other words, if you can’t stand the heat, go back into your cave and order takeout.
- No one owes you a review, ever. They sure as hell aren’t obligated to give you a good review or say nice things about you, even if you’re giving them something to read for free.
- Find a beta and use it.
- Edit your shit.
- EDIT YOUR SHIT.
- Popularity =/= quality. Get over it and write.
- Flouncing, whining, manipulating, lying, plagiarizing, etc., will always eventually be discovered and called out, even if your secret bad behavior is limited to your ‘private blog’ or twitter, etc. Nothing on the internet is private. (see point #2)
There’s a lot more, I’m sure, but those are the ‘lessons’ I can think of at this late hour. The things I’ve personally gained from my fandom experience are a lot sweeter, richer, and not quite as foul-mouthed as that list. It’s just – whenever I catch wind of another author making an ass of themselves on the internet, I can’t help but think of fandom, and of the really harsh corners that will rake you over the coals the first chance they get. Think what you will of fan fiction, but the fact is, fandom (at least, the parts I saw), would never tolerate that kind of crap. They eat their young. Or their own. Or something.
Anyhow. That’s what I have for right now. I’m saving my
rant opinions about editing for another day.