Wednesday 14 November 2012

Reviews and the Draining of Writer's Veins (and a Giveaway)

So last week Laura Howard posted about the power of reviews not just on readers but on the authors as well (check it out here) and it got me thinking about reviews not just with works of fiction but also with fan fiction.

Now wait I know what some of you are thinking, fan fiction is not the most respected art but I think there's a lot of merit to celebrating someone else's work by creating your own - by drawing inspiration from an outside source. Not only that but reviews are very powerful when it comes to the written word and it doesn't matter how those words are presented, they deserve respect.

For people who don't know Fan Fiction (usually shortened to fan fic because our generation is inherently lazy) is the act in which a fan of a certain piece of fiction (be it tv, books, plays, movies, video games etc.) writes, drawns, creates their own piece of fiction by taking a character or characters and placing them in a new situation. Sounds a little complicated but it really isn't - well actually there are a lot more little facets to the concept of fan fics but that's basically it. And I freely admit that I love it. I love reading what fans think and how far they can take a character and some of it is really good. Not all of it - some of it's crap - but that's how it works in the fiction world as well. Not everyone is going to like what someone has put out there but that doesn't mean it deserves any less respect.

And that doesn't mean that you shouldn't review. No matter what any writer says, every single one of us needs verbal or written affirmation of our awesomeness - or our weaknesses - it's how we function. That's why we need reviews. When someone leaves a star'd review with no explanation or worse, a one word review that just says 'nice', it eats me up inside (I can't be the only one) and I'm grabbing my computer trying to shake it, hoping it'll answer my pleas of 'why!?' but they never answer me.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: it takes balls to publish (in any sense of the word) expecially in this day and age when anyone with a computer can post whatever they want - and they do. And that's probably where the reputation for fan fiction comes from. Regardless, someone sat down and took the time to write something and posted it for the world to see so that other's could read it. And you as a reader owe it to the author to tell them how you felt about that piece of writing. Even if it made you nauseous; tell them that. But also tell them why it made you nauseous.

It takes two minutes after you're done reading to just tell them how you felt, is that too much to ask?

Now somewhere in this little rant explanation I sort of lost track of whether I was talking about fiction or fan fiction....which oddly enough is my point. Fundementally the two aren't all that different. It's about a writer sitting down with a set of characters and a world for them to play in, opening a vein and sending it out for others to criticise and pick apart. Granted with fan fiction, the world and the characters aren't your own but there's still the same sense of vulnerablilty and anonymity that comes with being a writer online.

Yes, I said vulnerability. Are you kidding me? Every time someone puts something out there - a novel, a fan fic, a picture of their dog - it has the chance of blowing up in their face and they know that. The world now comes with this little stamp that says "warning: once it's out there you're screwed for life" so a few sentences from a reader telling the writer that they read their work and this is what they think of it is like eating rainbows while sitting on a pink fluffy cloud of awesome.

So yes, I love fan fiction but the thing I love more than fan fiction is fan fiction reviews. I love reviews for fiction - ALL kinds of fiction.


And to show just how serious I am, if you read and review a book, short story or fan fic in the next month and send me a link (down in the little rafflecopter below), you'll be entered to win an e-book (Kindle) copy of your choice:
  • Charade by Nyrae Dawn,
  • Losing It by Cora Carmack,
  • Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
  • *NEW* Between by Cyndi Tefft
  • OR a $5 Amazon Gift Card. 
And you can do that every day with a new story until the contest ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!

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