Monday, May 2, 2011

Do You Want to Talk About It?



I love writing. You probably don't need to have me tell you that to know it. Otherwise why would I spend so much of my time doing it for free? I usually write every day in some capacity, even if it isn't fanfic. It's been a part of my life ever since I learned how to do it, probably. By the time I was eight I had written a few illustrated books, including my own version of The Empire Strikes Back which I'm incredibly sad to say is likely lost forever :(


Now, some of the stuff I write is just for me, but my fan fiction I like to put out there and get feedback on. I don't do it for accolades and awards (I don't think there are awards) but pretty much the only satisfaction we get as writers is feedback from readers. And let me just tell you that there is nothing more demoralizing than receiving dead silence when you post something. I've been there, and I'm sure some of you have, too. I'm sure there are many people who have no idea that their silence tends to crush our souls as writers. To most of us, silence seems to scream, "This isn't even worth the time and energy required to tell you it sucks."


Now, there's a good chance that's not at all what you are saying with your silence, but that is how it's often misconstrued. Maybe you just don't feel you have anything to contribute or your opinion is meaningless. It's not. I promise. You have no idea how good it feels to have someone tell you they enjoyed what they read. I know sometimes people will list my story as one of their favorites without ever reviewing a chapter or saying a word to me. While that is also appreciated, I'd like to know why it's considered one of your favorites. Because I swear, when some of you have literally five hundred stories listed as favorites I often wonder if you're just adding it to the list to keep track of what you've clicked on.


So here's the thing: once upon a time we used to go on forums and talk about Han and Leia and our stories. People used to review stuff and we had forged our own little community of writers and readers. Instead of closeted pen names and anonymous clicks, everyone was getting in on the conversations. Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I feel like maybe there are a lot of Han and Leia fans out there who would love to have this sort of interaction become the norm once again. The thing is, we've been silent for so long that everyone just assumes that nobody out there is interested anymore so they're not talking. So maybe if we all started talking a bit more, then more people would be encouraged to speak up and join in. Again, this is only a theory, and the silence very well could be that there is just literally nobody but me, Push, our ff.net reviewers and our nine followers who actually care in the slightest anymore.


I was thinking about this because of the comments that have been left on the "My One and Only" post. It seems that people are leaving the Han and Leia fandom to escape to other places where people are actually giving feedback. That's a real shame, I think. Part of it might just be sheer numbers, because I'm sure there could quite possibly be a thousand times more people reading Harry Potter than there are reading Han and Leia and the same percentage of those people are commenting, but there's just a way larger pool of people to pull from. But we're going to lose a lot of good writers and potential for great stories if nobody ever speaks up and lets us know that we're not just talking to ourselves.


So I'd encourage you "lurkers" to speak up and say something. Do you actually want to talk with other Han and Leia fans or are you content with just being a casual observer? It's always great to hear from people whether it's about our stories or just about Han and Leia in general. I still check in on Nerfherder's Playground in the hopes that someone might bring some of those old conversations back to light. Several years ago we used to have some fun conversations. Maybe it's that everyone else decided to grow up and move on and I'm still holding on. But unfortunately the older I get, the more apparent it seems that I will never grow up, so I'm just going to have to keep trying!


So lurkers, come on out! Comment on this post! Review a story! Start or contribute to a thread on Nerfherder's Playground! We won't bite, I promise! And it's always good to "talk" to people about our similar obsessions. Makes us feel less alone in the world :)

23 comments:

  1. Hmmmm... it would appear you really DON'T want to talk about it. I'm not trying to call anyone out. I'm just genuinely curious if my hopes are well founded or if I should stop being so hopeful.

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  2. I fully admit that I was a big bad lurker for many years but for the most part I really did want to comment and join in with discussions but I was scared. That sounds so ridiculous now but everyone seemed like such a tight knit group that I thought, why would they care what I think? I'm pretty sure that I felt all the insecurities of conversing with any group of new people, just because it's not face to face doesn't make it less daunting. Looking back, I regret that I didn't "speak up" sooner. I missed out on some great conversations that I did have an opinion on but was too scared to say anything and the worst part is that it wasn't horrible and scary when I first plucked up the courage to join a conversation. Yes, I count that as a bad thing as I spent years hiding for nothing!!

    It was so much fun to finally put my view across and have someone agree or put another point across for consideration and after years of having nobody "real" to have these discussions with it felt so refreshing.

    Right, reviewing. I used to shy away from reviewing stories as I felt I was completely unqualified to make any relevant comments. I'd never written anything myself so I had no grounds to comment, right? WRONG! Now I've crossed over to the other side and actually written something it's so nice to get even a little comment saying "good job" and it's like Christmas when you receive a comment from someone explaining why they liked it. Like, Z says, how do we know if you like it?

    Okay, I'm going to stop talking about myself now because there are far more interesting things to discuss. So, I'm going to head on over to Nerfherder's Playground and dig up some conversations that I missed out on the first time round. Who's with me? (This is the part where you drop what you are doing and head over there!) ;)

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  3. I still don't feel completely comfortable reviewing, but I know how it feels when no one says a word about your work. So I push myself to open my mouth.

    I've also thought about doing some thread CPR, but then I get shy about it for whatever stupid reasons. I always feel like I don't have anything new to contribute and I'm just going to repeat what's already been said.

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  4. I was also a horrible lurker and I still feel weird when giving reviews. I get all self-conscious and believe it or not, fret over contributing to a thread or leaving any kind of insightful review than I do just publishing my own stories. Zyra HATES when I say that and just can't understand it and I envy Zyra in the way she can give such constructive feedback. But I promise if you guys try to revive some threads at NHP I will join in. But no, I'm not going to start my own threads - I'm doing this blog for krith's sake! LOL!

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  5. Caption for this photo:

    Han: "Hey, Lando, is it just me or is Princess Leia grabbing my ass?"

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  6. I have been 'lurking' (haha good term) for a few months...and am getting tired of saying "In this one story, Han and Leia...HEY don't roll your eyes at me!" to my friends when I try to discuss fanfiction.

    Lol I haven't been involved before, but I am definitely interested in learning and discussing! :)

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  7. Yeah, either people get it or they don't and none of my friends get it, either.

    We're glad to have you here, though. Welcome aboard, fellow lurker, Liz F. :-)

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  8. Sorry, if you can see the post deleted by "Isabel" that's me, an old google account from a Spanish class that my computer automatically signed me into...lol when I said I don't know how this website really works I meant it! lol

    Anyways, I said: I'm excited to be here, and I love your fanfiction! :)

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  9. No problem, I deleted the other comment and thank you, I'm glad you enjoy the fanfic!

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  10. So glad to see some new people coming out. As for reviews, simply saying you like something is good. And if you can't think of anything really constructive, even just picking out a specific line or paragraph and saying you liked that in particular is really great to hear. Just read something and try and articulate WHY you liked it. It's really not as hard as it sounds!

    And there are never too many people talking about it so don't be afraid to jump in and say something. I know sometimes groups can seem "tight knit" but most of those "groups" have disappeared and aside from Push and I who you know from a previous entry did get to meet, quite possibly for the only time ever, it's not like we're all friends hanging out somewhere like the "cool" kids and won't let anyone else come play. We all share the same interest or we wouldn't be here, so don't be afraid to jump on in!

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  11. I have definitely been guilty of lurking and in time I realized that if I wanted to keep this fandom alive I had to participate. And I mean, we are WAY cooler than Harry Potter or Twilight fans, right!?

    I struggle to not be "the cheerleader" when it comes to reviewing. I know it feels so much better to have someone point something out or throw out an idea. It's encouraging. Push, there is literally about 5 to 10 things from each of your chapters that I absolutely love but I feel like that is way too much to address. I can probably send you an entire list of sentences, paragraphs, and lines of dialogue that I freak out about every time I read them.

    Also, I can not and will not tell my friends about my obsession with fanfiction. I have told Digs this many time. I would be made fun of for the rest of my life, even though ALL of my friends are nerds and Star Wars fans. I guess that's just too nerdy.

    Hey Digs! That means YOU drop the XBOX CONTROLLER and head over to NHP. I will crush you. ;)

    I live by this: "the older I get, the more apparent it seems that I will never grow up." Thanks for describing me Z. Do you live in my closest?

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  12. Lol, fanfiction is like my deep dark secret. I can't even imagine beginning to tell anyone about...that. Hooray for the internet, huh?

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  13. Oh, yeah, I would never let this side of me slip to real life friends. Wouldn't it be funny though if your real friends were into it without you knowing? I think there would be signs, though. And I definitely haven't seen any, so I think I'll keep it to myself! Push and I have even talked about the panic we feel if someone is using our computer that they might discover one of our files or something!

    Jarik, being a cheerleader is better than nothing. And commenting doesn't mean you have to point out something WRONG with the story. Unless you have a legitimate gripe which I don't think anyone should be afraid to point out, either, as long as they can articulate WHY they didn't like something. I have definitely never minded one of your comments :)

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  14. Gosh, Jarik, such violence... perhaps you should cut down on the gaming! ;)

    I have a friend who writes fanfic (not Star Wars), we both know that the other does it but we sort of have an unspoken agreement that we don't ask each other about it. Plus, with liking different fandoms we'd probably get bored if we attempted to read each others. And another friends lives with me for months at a time so she knows. I was willing to risk the potential embarrassment over not writing or reading for months!

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  15. Oh Digsy, As soon as I get you in the xbox live forum its on like Donkey Kong! Your are going to cry like a little girl while I scream "there's no crying in gaming!"

    Wow Z, you just continue to describe my life completely. I delete the browser history on my computer and phone about 15 times a day and I write all my stories in my email account so it's all hidden under a password and absolutely nothing is in my recent items list. And not too long ago I questioned Digs on whether or not she was one of my friends playing a joke on me. If she is, then she or maybe he went WAY out of their way to write a pretty lengthy and good story to catch my attention. Maybe if she had thrown in something about a flux capacitor I'd be more suspicious. Speaking of that, don't you need one of those to travel back in time?

    I am glad you enjoy my comments, Z. I don't mean to say that me or anyone else has to point out any flaws but I am sure going into why you liked a piece is better than "Hey! It was good." And I BTW, I call you Z cause I am too lazy to type out the other three letters of your name but I will type Digs and Push all day long. What is wrong with me? lol!

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  16. I think what we have all been describing (about hiding this passion of ours) is exactly why it's so cool if more of us start talking to each other. This is something most of us can't share in our real lives. Like Zyra said in her post about us meeting - it was the first time either one of us SPOKE out loud about our Star Wars fanfic and not WROTE about it!

    So keep typing, you guys!

    And May the Fourth be with YOU!

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  17. Haha, Jarik, I have thought about storing all of my Star Wars files within my anonymous, Star Wars only e-mail address. I haven't gone that far yet, though. I have them all in inconspicuous folders within my documents. Who would guess what was in the beta folder? Oh, that's right, well over 100 files of other people's chapters! I only delete my history if I know someone is going to be using my computer. I actually went so far when I met with Push as to say, "What if I died and then they went into my computer and found all of this stuff?" Of course, then I said that if I died, I guess I'd have bigger things to worry about (or really nothing to worry about anymore) but still!

    Digs decided when Push and I were going to meet that one of us was a dirty old man. Then when I told her she was who she said she was, she decided we were BOTH dirty old men with elaborate back stories. But I promise, that's not true :)

    Yes, talking fanfic out loud took some getting used to, but once we got the ball rolling, it was fine. And after months of e-mailing on a fairly regular basis, it seemed obvious that we shared some common interests even outside of fanfic so I think we both felt fairly comfortable meeting up. I'm sure there are people out there who I would only have fanfic in common with and might not be able to have such an easy face to face conversation with.

    And Jarik, I think you write Z because for some reason, even though it is exactly the same amount of letters, it just SEEMS longer because it has two syllables. Whatever the reason, it's ok, I don't mind. :)

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  18. Fine, Jarik, but I can't promise that I won't mistake you for a zombie/splicer/mutant and "accidentally" start shooting! ;)

    Okay, you got me, I'm actually your friend... umm, Dave. ;) Like I said, massive respect to anyone who would go to that length to play a joke on you! And no you do NOT need a Flux capacitor if you have other means of travel, like the FORCE or a Tardis ;)

    What is wrong with Jarik? I think that needs a blog of its own!! :D

    I'm still not 100% convinced that you both aren't dirty old men. Your common interest being to take over the world through subliminal messages in your fanfic. And it's Z for zimmer frame and Push for Push-my-false-teeth-back-in ;)

    Love the new background by the way! :)

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  19. Damnit, Digs! You just hit it way to close to the mark. I knew you were one of my friends playing a joke on me! I'm not convinced on Push and Z either. And now that we are all skeptical of each other I am sure we are going to be way more productive. ;)

    Z, I think the syllable thing is right. God, I'm lazy.

    And you probably could write an entire blog on whats wrong with me. But I'll take this up with you later, Digsy, just you wait.

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  20. *pops out of semi-lurkerdom* Hello! I'm trying again to post, as Zyra (via push) so kindly suggested, from a different browser. I hope it works, because YES, I do want to talk about it!

    I love to talk about my writing too, for two big reasons. First, it's my hobby and who doesn't want to talk about their geeky hobbies? And second, I really am interested in becoming a better writer, and would love to get feedback and discuss writing styles and techniques and whatever else, in order to do that!

    I did mention this in my other post, but I hope it doesn't matter too much that I don't ship Han and Leia exclusively. I really just love Star Wars, and just about any pairing works for me if it's done well. :)

    I'm hesitant to review sometimes too, but trying to get better at that, because it is frustrating to get no feedback at all. I might not feel the same way if I actually got what I wished for...but at the moment I think I'd just like brutal honesty. Even if it's "This plot makes no sense" or "Your characterizations are way off," at least I'd know and I could work on it next time, right?

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  21. Welcome! And I'm so glad that you could finally post! Yes, for some reason on my computer, one browser works, and the other doesn't. Oh, well.

    Yes, brutal honesty can be scary at times but the thing is you have to learn not to take it personally and accept it in the manner in which it was intended. It's supposed to teach you so you can learn from it and do better next time. I think a lot of people do certain things incorrectly in their writing simply because they don't know any better, not because they're not smart. If nobody has ever told you something is wrong, how are you supposed to know? But, it does also sometimes seem petty in a review to point out something wrong, so if it's a simple spelling error or something, sometimes a little private message is the better route so they can fix it and nobody else has to see you calling them out in a review for all time.

    Anyway, (NOT anyways - that's not a word! See? I thought everyone something else that so many people get wrong so often!) always good to see some new writers popping up and so glad you're joining us!

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  22. Glad to see you could finally post, Hikari. And welcome!

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  23. "Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I feel like maybe there are a lot of Han and Leia fans out there who would love to have this sort of interaction become the norm once again." -> I'm in! :) Or is it I'm on? Who cares... [Zyra :D]

    "Do you actually want to talk with other Han and Leia fans or are you content with just being a casual observer? It's always great to hear from people whether it's about our stories or just about Han and Leia in general." -> Both! :)

    And I have to say that it's all your fault that nowadays I review all stories I read. :D I just didn't know how important it is to a writer, even if I don't have much to say.

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