Author: Yemi Hikari PM
Tired of the excuses that people use for bad writing? Here is why said excuses just don't work no matter how much some people think they do.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Suspense - Chapters: 59 - Words: 58,797 - Reviews: 50 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 05-16-13 - Published: 12-13-12 - id: 3082657
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
~I Warned You~
I've covered this topic a bit already in my essay "Like and Dislike". There are writers out there who believe that by putting a warning in their story that they will in fact avoid any sort of criticism for the things they warned about. There is a difference though between a true warning and trying to excuse ones bad writing habits. Truth of the matter is most supposed warnings in fanfiction are the writer trying to brush off their bad writing habits rather then dealing with them head on.
One warning though that tends to be used correctly are the ones warning the reader that the story contains slash. It is actually considered proper etiquette to warn readers about this. Other things to warn people about is various subject matter that may crop up. That said, this won't stop people from coming out and telling you that you're handling the subject matter badly. Critique involving serious subject matter is also likely going to be more blunt, so if you do want to write such subject matter you must be prepared to handle it with a delicate hand as well as getting idiotic reviews that aren't critiquing how you the used subject matter, but the fact you dared to touch upon the subject matter.
Other warnings amount to an excuse on the writers part most of the time. For example, the writer I mention dealing with in the last essay felt they could write off OoCness, canon issues and the fact they choose not to spend much time on their writing. Others include having written something late at night, or on some kind of high. Bad writing is bad writing and you're not allowed to say no to critique aimed at your bad writing habits. If you don't want people telling you that your bad writing isn't good, then you don't need to be posting to a public archive. Once it is published it is fair game for any and all sorts of criticism. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but these warnings are written way differently then the ones that are meant to excuse bad writing.
There are times that the characters will appear OoC to the reader but there is a reason for it. For example, if a writer happens to be writing Crack Fic they may warn that the characters are OoC. Certain storyline concepts like "story within a story" or "its all just a dream" can also have some OoC issues, as does the amnesia type that digresses a person mentally and emotionally. Other times a writer will say that they are trying to avoid making the characters OoC but if they are in fact OoC to point them out to help them improve.
Warnings involving canon are a little more difficult. Unlike the warnings for OoCness they can't be written in one sentence. A writer needs to be upfront with the reader in the very first chapter about what they are doing. If they can't explain the theory in the first chapter's storyline, they need to explain it in an author's note at the very end of the chapter. As I've said in the previous chapter, it is wrong for the writer to suspect the reader to suspend their willing suspense of disbelief. If the element happens to be something that needs to be kept secret then you can be vague by pointing out that you know that a certain thing will indeed be an issue but that it will be explained in later chapters. Then, add author's notes at the bottom telling the reader that you're getting closer. These kind of warnings are as much of an art form as fan-fiction writing.
There is honestly no excuse for writing something late at night or not putting enough time into the writing, so there is no point in warning about those things. However, you can warn the reader to expect a badly written chapter because you were certain issues you couldn't get around, like not repeating a good segment of the actual canon storyline that would be the same. The reason this is fine is because you're admitting that it isn't well written in the first place and you're thus acknowledging your weak points as a writer and/or the weak points of the story. Critique that you receive is less likely to be blunt and sometimes if someone can think of a solution to the problem they'll say it in a review.
Warning about a small flaw in the writing though isn't the same as admitting that the entire piece is flawed. If the writer goes in knowing that the entire piece is going to be flawed they should still expect some seriously blunt critique in regards to their writing when they put up a warning. If however the person admits what their weaknesses are and they do in fact want help there is more likely to be helpful advice telling the writer how to get better with their weakness then if the writer is unable to admit that their weakness is a weakness.
There are warnings though that are written in a manner that is meant to warn of those who critique but not catch the attention of the other readers. If the warning is written in a manner that draws attention to the fact there are indeed flaws within the story, many of the readers who normally don't critique are more likely to notice errors as they crop up. When a writer writes such a warning (which as I've said really isn't a warning but an excuse) they really don't want those who critique pointing out the glaring flaw in their story, because if they point out the flaw then anyone else who reads the reviews will realize what a serious kind of flaw the story has even if they hadn't realized before. It losess them readers.
But the point of a review isn't to simply praise the writer. It is there just as much for the readers as it is for the writer in order to help them figure out if the writer is worth their time. It is ultimately their choice whether they continue with the story or not. Some will continue despite the bad reviews, but for those that choose not to because they've realized the story isn't as good as they thought it is only fair. This all in all amounts to the writer being self-centered about their writing.