The Wide, Wild World of Fanfiction

Chapter Three: In the not too distant future.

Author's Note: Good morning, and Merry Christmas Eve. I have one thing I'd like to say before I start this chapter.

K L Morgan wrote: "At this point, saying something like "Heero is straight and that's final!" is more about your opinions on sexuality than a matter of aesthetic taste, which is what your essays are about, right?"

I shouldn't have put that in, I know. It wasn't a total hit against Heero, simply a take on the slash fiction. Yes, fanfiction can explore aspects that canon left alone. Of course, to be a good story, there has to be that magical realism thrown in. The split-second decision to become gay, or bi, almost never happens. If the canon shows some hints towards it, and the story develops it nicely, then it's more than welcome. Still, I have yet to hear a convincing hint about MOST slash pairings.

Oh! And thanks to m'dear Ciaan for reviewing. I agree with what you said, but I stand by my idea that there should be concrete reasoning for non- canon pairings. Also, I'm aware of the typos.

This chapter is about, unless you couldn't tell by the chapter name, MSTs. I warn you, this one is more of a rant.

Let's go, jello!

~~~~

MSTs. Most fanfiction authors know what these are. If you don't, however, I'll explain:

MST stands for Mystery Science Theater. The name is taken from the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which a man and two robots, trapped in a spaceship, were forced to watch terrible old movies. Naturally, the mocked the film mercilessly, this creating some great television.

Then, some authors got the idea to take bad fanfiction and subject it to the mocking. It's sort of hard to explain, so I'll show you an example of it! I'll use one of my old Slayers stories and have some of my original characters skewer it for a bit:

"Zelgadiss? What are you doing?" Naomi: Oh, you don't want to know. *winkwink* Lydia: Right, can we stay away from the whole "Zelgadiss masturbation" thing? Because I'm freaked.

Zelgadiss Greywords looked up from his laptop, pale blue eyes flickering beneath stylish glasses, "Enjoying a rare moment of quiet solitude." Terry: Zelgadiss doesn't have glasses! Naomi: This is an AU, asshole. Terry: How can you tell? Naomi: He has a laptop. They don't have laptops in Slayers. Terry: Ooooh.

Amelia Sailoon chuckled and walked up to the industrious young man, "You're working too hard, Zel." Naomi : Jacking off, and all.. Lydia : Naomi..

--

And so forth. That's not a great example, but hey, it's an example.

MSTs are the source of quite a bit of controversy. Some authors think that it's not fair having their pride and joy being ripped to shreds by another person, while MSTers commonly think that it's a somewhat twisted form of criticism.

Me?

I love MSTs. I love writing them, reading them and enjoying them. I also don't care who gets "hurt" by them. Why am I so brash?

Let's look at it this way. Person A writes a story, said story is crap. Person B (Who may or may not enjoy public television, Volkswagen Beetles and Apple Computers.) comes along and says, "Boy, this fic is baaaad! I'd sure like to MST it!"

Now, this seems okay, doesn't it? Well, maybe it doesn't. Anyway, let's go on...

Person A sees Person B's MST. (S)he and Person C (Let's all be PC, here.) gang up on Person B, beat them up and steal their Beetle. No, wait. That doesn't happen in real life. In real life, Person A gets into a hissy fit and e-mails a certain fanfiction archive about it. This happens about a hundred times, and head of this fanfiction archive says "Let the people write MSTs, but they need permission to write them!"

Good plan!

Too bad nobody listened.

There was almost no way to verify it unless the author complained...and boy, the authors sure did. The head of the fanfiction archive got really mad, so he got rid of MSTs. Everyone's happy, right?

Uh, wrong. The MSTers got pissy and most of them got up and left, to places like soupfiction.net and fandomination.net, or they created their own archives, like the wonderful Mblow did. Meanwhile, the badfic authors happily rejoiced their victories. Well, maybe they did. It's really quite hard to understand them.

So, the badfic authors won. Hooray. Superb.

So, I'll basically be addressing the controversial issue of MSTs, debunking myths and basically being smarmy and Bane-like.

Myth #1: MSTs are mean!

Wait, this one isn't really a myth. I'll address it anyhow, though. Yes, MSTs are mean. They make fun of the author's precious work. Sometimes they make fun of the author. However, what most whiners fail to realize is that MSTs are not malicious (usually). Most of the good MSTs are just a cynical tour-de-force that displays wit and style. MSTs are not about being mean, they're about showcasing humor and basically gently mocking the author's initial work. When I write my MSTs, I don't verbally abuse the author. I just make fun of funny plays on words, or things that can be taken wrong. I don't want to hurt the author's feelings. Just do make a negative review humorous. Plus, if the MSTers scoff at plot points, it's a sign on what you can improve on. :-P

Myth #2: MSTs are unoriginal! They're just copying other people's work!

This, my friends, is the stupidest thing I've ever heard...and I live in Canada. I don't think that the people who say this realize that they're basically ensuring themselves a place in a contemporary political party. First of all, MSTs are not copying another person's work. Just because another person's work is featured in it, it does not mean that they're unoriginal. Hell, the MSTer has to come up with comments that are actually humorous, not just mocking the author for grammar or spelling mistakes. Plus, most MSTers (Myself included) like to add long intros, ends and intermissions that add something to the characters. So saying that MSTs are just copying someone else's work is truly, truly stupid.

So, those are the two main things I looked at. Now, I understand that it can be hard to have your story MSTed. However, I have two different systems that could work:

1)

Person A finds that Person B has MSTed their story. Person A is offended, and feels that the MST is malicious. Person A e-mails Person B about it, and says that they felt that the MST is malicious and they should take it down. Person B says, "Okay, I'm sorry." And takes it down. If Person B says, "Screw you, bitch." Then Person A reports the story as abusive.

2)

Person B comes across Person A's story. Person B would love to MST it, so they e-mail Person A about it and promise not to be malicious. Person A says either "Okay, go nuts." Or "Would you mind not doing it?" If they said yes, Person B can MST it and if they said no, Person B can find another story to write. Any abuse of this rule would result in the deletion of the story.

See? Doesn't is all work out nicely? I know it's wishful thinking, but as long as people remain civil about it, it could work. ^_^

I prefer the first method, because that's less work for me (Hey, I never said I wasn't lazy.) but I'd gladly do the second method of it would allow MSTs to be put back on ff.net.

As for MSTs that personally attack the author, the pairing or the fandom...those can be considered malicious, for sure, and I'd like to see them removed for archives.

So, to sum this mess of a rant up, MSTs aren't always malicious, and they can actually be really funny. They're entertaining and fun to read...and write! So open your eyes and stop complaining! MSTs are not talent less hacks...we're talented hacks.

-Bane, signing out.