Some people say that the things you hate most about other people are what you see in yourself.
Aaaanyways, with no relation to that first preamble whatsoever, here are some of my pet peeves regarding fellow FictionPress writers.
1. When someone does not acknowledge or thank fans whatsoever, whether through PM or an author's note announcement. And then asks why no one reveiwed, several chapters later.
Has it not occurred to them that people do not have to leave words of encouragement and praise for their works, and that they are purposefully taking time out of their day to let them know how much they enjoy their stories? Would it kill their artistic integrity to leave a small note of appreciation for SpaghettiLover896 in the beginning of the chapter?
What I should probably tell myself: They may just be shy, or not feel comfortable interacting with fans who they do not know (and who can be sometimes well-meaning but unpredictable or a little too enthusiastic), or they might not even know how the PM feature works. Or, like me, they may have had some bad experiences and want to keep to themselves for now. Be patient.
2. Someone reviews the first chapter of my story, which is by no means a good example of my capacity as a writer, and it is clear that they're just saying whatever will sound vaguely positive because of the Reviews Returned system.
What I should tell myself: Hey, bitch, don't act as if you didn't do the same thing to thirty other people. I can't hear you over the BLARING HYPOCRISY ALARM that just went off.
3. Someone gets mad at me for not immediately replying to their reviews/PMs/requests for something and instead doing something else with my time.
Whoa whoa whoa. Um. This is a little going over the line. Take a step away - people are not ENTITLED to your reviews. Even if I am avoiding answering them immediately, DEMANDING something from me is not a good way to respond. I love Fictionpress, but I have other life stuff to do, and I can't always be there for everyone. Plus, this isn't a committed relationship of twenty years - unless this person is one of my closest writer friends, I probably don't know them that well or owe them any real favors.
What I should tell myself: They're probably not trying to harm you, but they may be overreacting a little. It is okay to block them if they go too far for your comfort, though. If they're a good friend, they should be reasonable enough to talk it out. If not, they are probably not a healthy friend to keep in your life. If you see any red flags, don't wait. Maybe even take a break from FictionPress altogether if you feel like you don't have the courage to block them because you're afraid of how they'll react.
4. People expect me to review every single chapter and story they have ever written and start promoting their work to everyone else.
What do they expect me to do exactly? Email their work to everyone, post it on Facebook, PM everyone and request that they read it? How much am I going to be paid for this?
What I should tell myself: Well I'd probably do the same thing if I could, wouldn't I? Oh heck. It's not like they asked me to leave reviews for a five thousand word epic. Stop being such a baby. Stillllll...if I really liked it, I've probably already favorited it, and that's already a huge commitment on my part and the most that I can do. If not...I probably don't like it enough to force my poor friend/beta to read it.
5. When people only ever PM or favorite me to be their beta call.
Yeah I know you came here to write, not make friends, but come on. At least pretend to care instead of favoriting and leaving a half-assed "good story :D yay!" for that poem I wrote when I was twelve years old that is clearly not representative of my current work yet easiest and quickest to skim. Maybe you are okay with being on the favorites list of a bunch of people who didn't even read your story, but I didn't say I was. And great, now I have to review your story back or I'll look like an ungrateful bitch.
Which...I don't already act like?
What I should tell myself: Yeah I probably have done this to at least one guy, but hey, just remember to give them the option to say no and don't guilt trip them. If you're gonna Reviews Return somebody, at least make it someone whose work you actually genuinely love or make your comments actually useful and honest.
6. People who think swearing and sexual content is automatically banned from FictionPress and try to warn you about it by threatening to report you for it.
If you put that content under an inaccurate rating, yes, it should be banned (for example, Fifty Shades of Grey fanfiction in the kids section is absolutely unacceptable). But if it's under an M or MA rating, well, it's pretty much fair play. Otherwise, it would be, um, censored.
What I try to tell myself: They're probably just like, an eleven year old kid. Be patient with them.
7. People say they don't want criticism (don't like don't read), and yet they expect reviews.
I have a solution. Don't post publicly on the Internet. Unfortunately no one will kiss up to you, but they also won't have any content for which to offer up suggestions.
What I should tell myself: Okay that was rude of you. Maybe they're just looking for a safe space, you know, they already have a hard enough life, they don't need unnecessary drama in their writing life too. They have been meandering, soul searching for a long time, and don't even know what's good or bad anymore. Let them just try to figure things out right now and encourage them to continue writing. You know you've been there.
8. Somebody reviews the first or second chapter of Frazzie and the Fairy Treasure and says either "I like your introduction I hope the actual story is funny too" or "Wow the swimming cats, man, damn they were raaaad."
People. There is literally a lesbian half-fairy, the bisexual queen she hooked up with, a pansexual main character of color and her gay cousin who crushes hard on a trans stable boy, a dark-skinned mermaid with locs and her selkie girlfriend in a committed relationship, and OH RIGHT A LESBIAN HALF FAIRY DID YOU GET ANY OF THAT. NONE OF YOU DINGDONGS READ PAST CHAPTER TWO, HUH. ALSO SCREW THOSE STUPID CATS. THEY. ARE. CATS. WHAT IS EVEN SO SPECIAL ABOUT THEM. WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH FOR ANIMALS AND ANIMALS RIGHTS BUT NOT PEOPLE OF COLOR AND MEMBERS OF THE QUEER COMMUNITY
What I try to tell myself at night when I am checking my reviews page and going through an existential crisis about the quality of my writing and lack of representation in fantasy stories and pathetic lack of recognition for my attempt at increasing diversity: WHY DO THEY CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THE CATS oh forget it they're just trying to be nice and give props for an original idea BUT I WROTE IN THOSE STUPID CATS AND I COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT THEM OK CATS ARE COOL AND ALL THAT BUT DID YOU SEE THE LESBIAN HALF FAIRY? I SWEAR ONE OF THESE DAYS.
Anyways this is a very unique problem to have that most writers can't relate to, but hey, just imagine yourself as JRR Tolkien in a world where Gollum wasn't even supposed to be that important yet everyone lost their chill over him and started wearing Gollum T-shirts and hats and fidget spinners and rings everywhere. Like thanks for the Gollum love, but...did you notice my Jesus Wizard...? Or, uh, the trees that can fucking walk and talk? No? Just Gollum? Okay...
9. Someone PMs me a pre-made message they automatically send to everyone else in which they threaten to report me in case I break any rules. IN CASE. Not because they suspect I have; just for future reference.
Why are you treating me like that ex boyfriend who blows up your phone every Valentine's Day...? You don't HAVE to PM me, you know...also I have given you no legitimate reasons to act so hostile. Why are you threatening me? I didn't leave any flames on your story, nor did I cuss you out or obviously break any rules. Geez, I'm starting to understand why you don't have many repeat reviewers. You treat all your readers rather aggressively!
What I try to tell myself: It's good that they're willing to be a whistleblower and call out the desperados, but yeah, they may be taking things too far since they're just threatening a bunch of random people who haven't even done anything. But eventually, their actions will end up catching up to them - soon, nobody will want to read their stories anyway. You don't even have to lift a finger or say a word. But hey, stand up for yourself, and maybe they'll learn something.
10. Someone decides to write a slash story only it's pretty obvious they don't actually believe gay love is normal love.
They have to make it hot, you understand, they are working for a target market. Look, anyone could write a story about Aidan and Callum who met and happened to like each other, but that's BORING. Also, it's not as if two boys would ever WILLINGLY consider kissing or having sex, no! We have to add in some SHENANIGANS and HIJINKS to get this party started. And by that I mean unconsensual stuff.
Situation 1: Boy A and Boy B are forced to interact romantically when they, spontaneously, decide to become gay porn actors. Careful not to trip on the massive fucking plot holes that are riddling the ground everywhere. This SURE helps to normalize the idea that two boys would ever willingly have sex instead of stigmatize or fetishize it. Thank you, slash author.
Situation 2: Boy A emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually abuses Boy B and calls him various homophobic slurs. But heeey Boy A can't be homophobic if he's into Boy B, right? Well, not that Boy A is GAAAY, there's just something...special about how he has sex with Boy B. Cause like, Boy A still says he's straight and is sensitive about being called homosexual. But yeah, this is twu wuv at its finest and not at all an unhealthy, manipulative, possessive and abusive dynamic.
Situation 3: Boy A is an Alpha. Boy B is an Omega. Boy B is sexually assaulted a lot. Then he has sex with Boy A and it is sexy. Gay people only have sex because secretly they are werewolves with mating cycles. You know, just like straight people.
What I tell myself at night: I hope these people read my essay You Can Write Slash and Be Homophobic and learn how to separate fetishes from reality. Also that they realize bisexual/pansexual people exist.
11. Someone apologizes to me and, despite having demonstrated the ability to use actual grammar and punctuation, does so in text speak.
You couldn't be bothered?
What I tell myself: Maybe textspeak is their first language. You know, they might be a millenial too. Oh hell. You are a bitch, aren't you?
12. People make it very clear that their characters of the same sex are not a slash couple. But they're not homophobic, okay, they're like...totally cool with Neil Patrick Harris and once walked past a gay person in 1999 without saying anything mean.
Dude...if I wrote at the beginning of my story "by the way Jada is wearing AN ORDINARY HEADSCARF, okay, it's not a hijab she's not a Muslim or anything like that" instead of just being like "Eh, you can imagine her as Muslim if you like, I wouldn't mind" do I really sound like I'm comfortable with Muslim people?
I can understand if you don't like romantic pairings in general and want all your characters (whether straight or queer) to be platonic friends, or if you're afraid that labelling them as slash will make writers expect you to write lemons when you're not comfortable with sexual stuff, but at this point you are literally refusing and shutting down potential inclusion. You're not afraid of writing about two people kissing, you're afraid that both of those people might be of the same sex.
If you really did see gay people as normal people, you wouldn't even bother counting out how many gay friends and friendly, nonaggressive encounters with them you've had, you'd just...automatically treat them with respect, add them into your character roster just because you felt like it one day, or consider lending a hand whenever you saw bigots picking on them without having to reassure yourself "GAY PEOPLE ARE NORMAL, GAY PEOPLE ARE FINE WITH ME" first.
I'm not saying you HAVE to write a slash story, and in fact, I'm not sure if I trust you to write one that doesn't end up like the one I mentioned in Rant Number Ten. But I would appreciate it if you didn't entirely shut down the possibility of fans reimagining characters as queer characters with which they could represent themselves.
What I'm trying to tell myself: At least J.K. Rowling was supportive of black Hermione. Now, how about Indian Harry, eh?
13. People react very negatively to constructive criticism even when I added a small note to encourage them like "Good luck!" Or "You have some potential!"
Come on, we've all been here. Even if I am in the wrong, you know YOU at least have been there.
What I try to tell myself: ok apologize to them then curl up in a ball of regret rocking back and forth in fetal position and let's have no more internet today
14. People treat their female characters like shit.
There was no need for Mary Pumpernickel-Schwarz to be drawn and quartered, then stuck into a freezer and salted for preservation, then reanimated through electroshock therapy, then forced to run for president, and finally slowly strangled in a dark alleyway just so the Angsty Male Protagonist TM could feel guilty for being unable to save her. Why the heck am I supposed to feel bad for Male Protagonist? I feel absolutely way worse for Mary! She just went through bloody hell and back! Also, Author, who hurt you? Was her name also Mary?
What I try to tell myself: Maybe they'll read my essay on Fridging.
15. Someone can't possibly bothered to do research on ancient China or Japan or whatever so they just write in whatever the hell they want to.
Honestly fuck you, my heritage is not a fantasy, it's a living breathing culture with an actual history and not a pretty dress up costume you can wear whenever you want to.
What I try to tell myself: They're probably just not "woke" enough yet to understand what they are doing. God I hate that word.
16. Hasn't updated since 1999.
Someone please tell me what happened next in Greg the Vampire. Please. I must know.
What I tell myself: Maybe Aggybird will come back someday.
17. Someone posts some story on the Internet that only a select people who the author has already previously given permission to can read. NOBODY ELSE TOUCH OKAY THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT AND PERSONAL REAL PERSON FANFIC.
Why are they putting this on the Internet and not just privately sending it as an attachment instead?
What I told myself: Maybe it was over 16 GB.
18. Someone posts a really long fucking chapter as a story. Like, it's over 4000 words.
Jesus Christ this must be hell on ADHD, if I'm supposed to be a gauge for the average attention span.
What I try to tell myself: Bitch, do you even look at your OWN word count?
19. People feel the need to drag down other female characters in order to lift up others by screaming Mary Sue or hating on cheerleaders/blondes/makeup-wearing girls.
I didn't realize you felt personally victimized by blondes...?
Do you even know how fucking hard it is to be a cheerleader or wear makeup? You make it sound like these girls are talentless, when in facts they are accomplishing feats of incredible strength and flexibility and detail that most people just wouldn't be able to. I'd be more concerned if Mackenzie made racist remarks than, say, if she wore glitter lipstick. Also why do we have to call Mary Sue instead of just helping authors to develop their characters better?
Seriously, who is Mary and how badly has she hurt the author? I must know.
What I tell myself: Plug your story How to Be the Best (Internet) Writer in the World and the chapter on Mary Sues so they can be enlightened.
But you know what, all of these are just minor annoyances, okay? They're not really that big of a deal. What I find especially shitty, though, let me tell you, I just hate it when...
20. Some really bitchy asshole decides to write a long list of complaints about other people where they just insult well-meaning fans and writers and call out a bunch of people who honestly didn't ask for this kind of savagery.
Honestly, I just hate those kinds of hypocrites, don't you? Like what the fuck, you know you've caught them doing all of these things too. I swear, they are the absolute worst. The bane of all existence. Scum of the earth.
Hey, wait a second...