This post was originally appeared HERE on June 8, 2011 and was written by Push
2017 Author's note from Zyra: Another one from the archives, and one that had been on my mind. Reviews. They keep the fandom alive, and yet at times they can be incredibly hard to come by. I know I've got a current work in progress and it has either completely lost the interest of any readers or people just have nothing to say, but I haven't gotten this few reviews on my stories since I first started, I don't think. And for a story that was already proving a challenge to write, it kind of sucks the potential creativity out of you. Reviews mean more than you think.
When I first started writing fanfiction just over a year ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But only days into publishing my first story did I get my initiation into the addictiveness of those little, tiny e-mail notifications that let you know that someone has left you a review.
Now, I'll be honest, my first story got very little reviews and those e-mails were few and far between, but they were like gold when I did get them. A few months into my journey, I started conversing with Zyra. Of course, we discussed reviews (or the lack of them). In fact, my very first correspondence with Zyra was to thank her for her nice reviews and apologize to her for not leaving her any (she still likes to rub that in occasionally).
Yes, I had been a horrible lurker for at least five or six months, reading and enjoying but never reviewing. Zyra's stories having been some of the ones I had read and loved. I had 'favorited' her stories, which I reasoned was just the same, but no. No it isn't. It wasn't until I began publishing that I realized the importance of a review.
I can still remember my hesitation over reviewing when I was just lurking back then. I looked at all the writers out there as people who were secure enough to publish a story so they obviously had to know that it was good without some unknown reader out there letting them know that, right? Well, that may be true for some but I really don't think I'm in the minority when I say as a writer those reviews are just a very treasured commodity. I guess the little traffic counters of fanfiction.net could be maybe just the equivalent of nicotine or alcohol. They are nice and slightly addictive, but just don't have the same effect as a written review. (Please don't think I'm a crack head - I'm really not - it's just a metaphor. Not that there's anything wrong with being a crack head. But I digress.)
As writers, I think we of all people should appreciate the importance of a review. I know since I joined your ranks, I've made it a must-do when I read a story that I like. So what if I don't like it? I thought of that just as I was typing it. I won't say that if I don't review it means I don't like it, because there is a lot out there that I just have not had the time to read and review. Especially all the stories I read back as a lurker and should still probably go back and review. But I will say that if I don't have anything good to say, I usually just refrain. Is that right? I think it is.
There was a profile page of a writer that I can't remember who it was now, but she basically said that if you want to provide constructive criticism on her story because you liked it but had found some small flaws or had suggestions to make it better than that was fine. But if you read it and you didn't like her story line, didn't agree with her characterizations and basically disagreed with the premise of her story, then just walk away and let it be. She asked not to give a review that would basically cause her to rewrite her story to please you. If you wanted to see a different story line, then go and write your own story.
I remember when I first read this person's profile page, I was a little taken aback. But, you know what? I actually agree with her and that's what I do with my reviews, and I'm fine if people do the same with my stories.