Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The Reluctance to Review Sexy Time (...and Most Everything Else)
So for those of you who don't write, you might not quite understand the kinds of things we go through as writers. It's probably easy to imagine us at our computers typing away and spending time writing and editing our stories. Sometimes a considerable amount of work can go into it, or sometimes I know I've written a story in twenty minutes and just gotten the silly idea out of my head and posted it before I came to my senses. We do it just because we enjoy doing it.
So what do we get out of posting these stories? Obviously not money. I really wish almost anything I enjoy in life would actually produce a viable income, but so far, not so good. I honestly don't think we do it for the accolades, either. We mostly just do it because we enjoy it. But, I will say that it is a heck of a lot more fun posting stories when you get some sort of acknowledgment. Or, more accurately, I would say that is often what keeps us writing.
I'm sure I've said it before, but to those of you who don't write, you have no idea what it means to a writer to get even just a few kinds words about something you're written. Obviously the ultimate is when people point out several specific things that they liked, but even just taking two seconds to write that you enjoyed something can be meaningful. When a story is posted on fanfiction.net we can check and see how many people read it. We see the traffic stats. We get notifications when people favorite or follow a story. You wouldn't believe how many people favorite stories without ever saying a word to the author about why they might have enjoyed it.
My favorite little quirk of the reviewing of fanfic is the fact that it seems like people are extremely reluctant to review sexy time fics. Or, within a larger story, the sexy time chapters. Even more fun is the fact that you can break the traffic stats down quite specifically and without fail the adult rated stories/chapters get far more hits than anything else, and they are almost always the least reviewed stories or chapters. No, we don't know which people are reading the chapters, but we do know they get looked at quite a bit.
So what is it that keeps people from reviewing these chapters? Is it embarrassment? Seriously, go look at almost any story on ff.net that is basically just a little sex scene, like the quickie challenge stories. They rarely get many reviews. I've many times posted a sex chapter in a larger story expecting to get some sort of response and then gotten.... basically none. You can even see it on here in our first joint story, or even the second one, when we post some sexy time and only like two or three people are brave enough to step forward and admit not only that they read it, but that they liked it.
We already know you read these scenes. We know you all like them because the general trend according to traffic stats is that you actively seek them out specifically. Come on, we're all (mostly) adults and we can admit that sometimes we feel like reading some sexy time. So why are we so afraid to admit it? Especially since this whole thing is anonymous! A few of us here and there have met each other (and Push and I both think this is awesome, because we suspect without this blog not only would we have never met, but several of the rest of you who have met up) but for the most part, nobody knows you beyond a made up name and maybe a silly avatar, so go ahead and tell people that you thought that scene where Han and Leia did it in the shower was hot and you enjoyed it.
For those of us who write, I'm pretty sure that the general consensus is that these are the most difficult scenes to write, and certainly the most difficult scenes to actually share with the "world." I'm probably not the only one who winces when I click to post such scenes or stories. I don't even know why, really. It's just somehow more difficult to do than most other scenes. I should really get over that because in my experience, you tend not to get much of a reaction at all. Not good or bad, just nothing. Or one or two comments, often from people you talk to all of the time anyway so they just feel obligated to review for you.
So come on out and admit it that you don't review these scenes. Do you feel weird admitting you like to read about sex? Have you met someone who doesn't? Or maybe you don't like the scenes and are just trying to refrain from saying anything at all because if you can't say anything nice, then you should just keep quiet.
Aside from just the sex scenes, really, please take the time to review if you can. If you enjoy reading fanfic, and you enjoyed reading a particular fanfic, let the person know. If we post and nobody says anything, it starts to feel an awful lot like you're talking to yourself. At which point, what's the point of publishing anyway? And reviews make the author more excited about writing in general. So if you enjoy something, review it! And don't be afraid to review the sexy stuff either. We already know you read it.