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text 2015-02-09 01:09
*That* Fanfic and Why It's Okay to Still Be Pissed

With the imminent release of the movie adaptation of that Twilight fan fiction people will not shut up about it and it seems like people are suddenly falling all over themselves to defend it and its writer. 'It's not her fault if people can't see it's abusive.' 'I don't like it but I can see what others see in it.' 'Abuse is NBD, people, jeez!' 'People just hate anything that elevates female sexuality!' Oh, God, you guys, can we please not?

 

You know, if this were an actual book I'd maybe feel that way as well. Hell, Twilight was a steaming pile of abusive crap and I was still able to find the fun in it. This, however, is a different story. There's nothing fun about this fic. There's nothing fun about the content or what it's done in the publishing industry.

 

1. This is fan fiction, not a book. One that is tied heavily to the source material and takes directly from it in many places. Really. Please don't lose sight of that fact.

 

Long list of links about this thing, but there is a whole section for you to explore the similarities and outright instances of directly taking from the source text.

 

This is not okay and should not be okay with anyone. Especially real authors who spend their time writing their own characters and stories. The slew of fanfics picked up by publishers in the wake of the success of this thing is not okay. Just think about your book or the books of writers who slogged their way through their own work sitting in slush piles on editors' desks or getting rejection letters while those editors are trolling fanfiction.net and AO3 for stories written from other people's work.

 

Even if you're going to forgive everything else wrong with this fanfic, if you are on board with how unethical and wrong this is please don't shrug it off.

 

2. This fic is not a romance. It's just not.

 

Also, the "hero" of Fifty Shades of Grey does something at the end that is not redeemable by romance novel standards. I won't spoil the story for the three people who haven't read it yet, but bottom line: Not a romance novel, not a romance hero. And that's not because of his BDSM tendencies -- you'll see why if you keep reading. –from here

 

And while there are a lot of books in the romance genre labeled as romance that are not romances this one is by far the worst because (well, it's not a book) it is so popular and so many people who don't read, and especially don't read the genre, think they are well versed on it because of this fic. Don't we have enough to deal with as romance readers without having people think this is what we read? Or having a bunch of people tell us what the genre is or isn't or should be based on this one fic? We should really all be completely insulted by that.

 

3. The general insult to BDSM. I was sick of BDSM before this thing got popular. Like with this fic a lot of times it's thrown in as something that has to be corrected for the characters to find their HEA. Or, it's poorly researched and poorly done. So the first insult is using BDSM to make money without having any respect for it. This fic takes it much further in that every practitioner of BDSM in it is a child molester, or mentally unstable, or deeply psychologically damaged. Then they must be fixed. Insult number two. There is only the mildest of kink. Like I can imagine people reading it going, "Wait, that's BDSM? Honey, did you know what we've been doing is BDSM?!" Insult number three. All the fans of this drivel who refuse to bother to find out what BDSM actually is but will attempt to shout down actual practitioners that this IS BDSM and 'what do you know?!' Insult number four. Then there is all the abuse. They were never within the confines of a safe, consensual, and sane BDSM relationship. The story just uses that term to cover up what he was doing as okay. It's not. Insult number five.

 

4. Speaking of abuse. There's liking something problematic and then there's trying to insist that it's not problematic, or even worse in this case, that it's okay because it's something that you don't understand. And another reason why it's so heinous to call this a romance. We're supposed to be moving away from abuse and rape as romance. You can dig a man who rapes a woman, tortures her without permission as punishment, and leaves bite marks and bruises all over her chest to prevent her from showing skin, but dear God, don't sully an entire book genre or lifestyle with it. It's funny, I remember all the people defending the abuse in Twilight, particularly because it was more insidious and thought maybe the next thing with more overt abuse would get people to understand. And now there's this fic and people are going out of their way to say it's okay. When, exactly, will it not be okay? Yeah, I guess I'm an "asshole" because I think we should be doing better as a society and a genre.

 

5. People can have problems with this fic without it being a ding on female sexuality. Hell, I don't want my sexuality tied to it in any way shape or form. Do you? By all means, if you see someone applying the "all" label to the genre or to women because of this fic then take them down. (Oh, and that mommyporn thing. That's just insulting to moms. No moms I know like this crap. And, shocker, moms can like well written erotica and actual visual porn, too!) But specific criticism of this fic and stories like it isn't inherently anti-female.

 

6. ELJ's behavior in fandom and as a *gag* popular "author". Just, ugh.

 

7. "New adult". Enough said.

 

8. General disgust for something so poorly written being so popular is totally okay, too. It is objectively bad on every level and we should definitely not shrug that off as okay either. Do we really want people thinking that producing something this bad is fine? Is that really the direction in which we want literature and publishing to go?

 

I'm not sure why there is so much positively toward this thing happening now, but this is definitely not one of those times where it's deserved. It especially perplexes me seeing it from real authors. All P2P and P2Pers should be ostracized from the real book community. Or maybe it's too much to think that there should be consequences for people's actions. Of course it is. I mean, how many books have I read that should have made the bajillions this woman has made from cobbling together other people's work and calling it her own? Anyway. I'm not going to take the finger-wagging. If you want to make all of this perfectly okay, that's your business but I am certainly not going to follow and I hope I'm not alone in that.

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text 2015-01-14 03:57
I see we have to go over this again.

Authors!

 

You. Yes, you.

 

You speshul wittle snowflake.

 

Where to start . . .

 

Okay, once again, for the class, YOUR BOOK IS NOT YOUR BABY. Why do so many of you say that?! Just so you know, most people think not kind things about you if you spout that nonsense analogy. Shiloh Walker perfectly explains to you why it's ridiculous.

One review isn't going to make or break your career. Acting a fool about them might, though.

REVIEWS ARE NOT FOR YOU. Mine are, first and foremost, to get my feelings out because sometimes I have to get things out or I have to have my say. Second, they are for other readers. (Hey, imagine if my bad review stops someone else from reading your crappy book, hating it, and writing their own bad review. I saved you one. Or, I just may have convinced someone to read it. It's a win-win when you think about it.).

Reviews are not bullying. Just, shut up. No, seriously, shut. up.

Now, let's answer these bulleted points from the latest author who thinks they should control the reading and reviewing experience (and while I'm responding to this post, keep in mind that this author is not the only author who has said these exact same things. She's just the latest. Which is why some of what I say goes beyond the scope of her points. My responses go out to everyone who thinks this way):

1. Hahahahaha, you're kidding, right?! You want me to get permission from you to write a less than four or five star review? Then you'll help me craft a three star review as long as the criticism is constructive and you understand it? And one and two star reviews just should not exist, right? No, just . . . no. Ahahaha, NO. No one owes you a certain type of review. No one owes you not posting a negative rating or review. I've given both to books written by authors with whom I've had dinner and a great time. While I wish I had enjoyed their book, I'm not going to lie about it to myself and others. Bad reviews happen. It's the nature of the business. The only thing a reviewer owes you is acquiring your book legally.

 

And reviewers don't owe you constructive criticism. That's what your beta reader(s) and editor(s) are for. You had better be giving me the best product you can by the time I buy it. You want constructive criticism? You'd best be prepared to pay me for it before it's published.

By the way, no reviews are purely objective. Even professional ones. Stop whining about that.

2. I don't have to finish the book to review what I've read. That's nonsense. There's a reason why I didn't finish and I want to say what that is. And my reason(s) may help another person decide to read or not read. There's value in that. Get over it.

4. (Yes, four, because irony is not dead.) You are not purchasing my review. Poor grammar on my part does not absolve you of yours in a finished product you have released into the marketplace for purchase. I don't care how you're published (if you're self-publishing the second you place that book for sale you are saying your product is on par with any being produced by a publisher–there is no leeway here), your spelling and grammar should be impeccable in a product for which you want me pay money. The "I'm rubber, you're glue" defense doesn't work here.

And what in the blue devil makes so many of you think it's appropriate to charge people for a substandard product that you'll get right later for other customers? How can you even think that's okay? Let's apply that insane logic to other professions. Let's start with mine: "I'm a new attorney! I'm working to get better all the time! Sorry I screwed up and you won't get damages/you're going to jail. I'll get it right in the future with my supervisors/partners."

 

"Oops, sorry our medication killed so many people! We're working all the time to get better with the FDA and we'll have the formula refined and much safer in the future!"

 

"Goodness! Sorry you got food poisoning from my restaurant! I'm working all the time to learn how to prepare food properly and safely and I'm sure to get it right with the help of health inspectors for future patrons!"

 

I could keep going. At no point does that logic make sense. When you publish your book it should be the final, perfected version for every single consumer who purchases it. If it isn't, the book deserves to be blasted in any and all reviews. Oh, and no they don't owe you a reread and corrected/retracted review after you get around to fixing your substandard product.

 

  1. 5. I'll write my review how I want and say what I want about the book, thank you very much. As long as it's not a personal attack on you (and, no, talking about your writing is not a personal attack, it's fair game in this business), it shouldn't be a problem. (Think for a second about how you respond to television, movies, and music and the performers . . . thinking about it? Yeah, hypocrite, aren't you?) If you can't handle the reviews, don't read them. Again, they're not for you. Yes, something I hated is going to drive me to write more than something I loved. That's actually the same for all online reviews across the board. In fact, I think books get more people taking the time to write favorable reviews than anything else that gets reviewed online.

 

Oh, and about this: ". . . don't rip us to shreds . . ." While it feels personal, you need to separate yourself from your book. That's the quickest path to you thinking a review of the book is an attack on you. It isn't. It's about the book. This business has been the same way for centuries and it's not going to change because we're stuck with the "everyone gets a trophy!" generations now.

 

  1. 6. I'll refer you to what I said in item five above. If I want to say what I would have done with the story, I will. Come on now. There's no harm in that. It's my opinion of the book. Once again, the commentary isn't for you, it's what the reviewer thinks of the book. If everyone thought this way fan fiction wouldn't exist. (There's good and bad in that, but that's another post for another time.)

 

 

Okay, honestly, the whole last paragraph of that post is exactly why book reviews exist. I fail to understand why so many authors don't understand that. Sometimes there are things that are objectively bad in books (grammar, spelling, construction, etc.), but for the most part it is a matter of taste and readers can read a variety of views to determine whether or not a book is going to mesh with his or her tastes. I mean . . . that's the whole point!

 

If you can't handle reviews, don't read them. Most authors seem to understand this. They're for the person writing it and other readers. And if you are too sensitive to deal with the negative reviews and criticism then maybe you should consider finding another vocation or avocation. This one is not for you. The only thing you should expect out of a reviewer is to refrain from personal attacks and to not be the kind of jerk that sends their negative review, links to negative reviews, or "you should have written it this way" messages to you. Seriously, readers/reviewers, DON'T DO THAT. IT MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE.

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text 2014-10-18 15:39
What is with this week and unhinged authors?

First John Grisham and his pro-child porn watching nonsense.

 

Then Dear Prudence being a whiny pretentious dick about Amazon Vine reviews. Tortious interference? TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE?! No, lady, no. That term, and "ad hominem attacks" do not mean what you think they mean. She's also being classless and tacky as hell on twitter. 

And now Kathleen Hale, who tries to spin her tale of stalking a reviewer to the point of showing up at her fucking house! into her being a victim of "catfishing". Again, that doesn't mean what she thinks it means. Someone she's stalking protecting herself isn't catfishing. It's amazing that its always the batshit insane ones who are the reason people need separate online identities who screech that everyone should post under their real names. Fuck. That. I don't need your crazy ass showing up at my house or calling me at my place of business because you can't deal with the fact that I didn't like your crappy book. 

 

Come on, people. If you can't handle negative reviews find something else to do with your life. Publishing books is not for you. 

 

ETA: If you want some really chilling reading check out these two posts, also by Hale, that details her stalking and assaulting a girl at 14 and joking about harming and killing small animals with no empathy whatsoever:

 

http://thoughtcatalog.com/kathleen-hale/2013/02/169836/

 

https://medium.com/profiles-in-courage/catch-me-if-you-can-aspca-777a7d4031e9

 

 

 

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text 2014-07-08 01:45
Dear Simon & Schuster . . .

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text 2014-04-06 16:16
WTH?
Sand: Omnibus Edition - Hugh Howey

I must argue that 250 some-odd pages does not an Omnibus of novels or even novellas make, unless you are a speshul snowflake SPA.

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