Saturday, March 21, 2009

Column: Fandom Etiquette: Dirty Uncle WTVOC's Fandom Guide to Reviews Column

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All good things must come to an end.

Quite honestly, I could whine and go on about the reviewing “rules” until you all give me the ultimate internet diss by… no longer reviewing? Whatever. I just wanted to use the word “diss”.

What I’m trying to say is that this is the last rule.

Aww. Dry your eyes, little etiqu-ettes. WTVOC always has something up her sleeve. But we’ll discuss that after this week’s topic.

1.Don’t ask for an update.
2. Your words can hurt. Have a care before clicking “submit”.
3. We love it when you love it.
4. Constructive criticism can be appreciated as long as it’s not rude.
5. If you write a novel-length review, make it either:
~Analytical in a good way
~So oddly skewed and word vomit-like that you just have to laugh
~Not contain the words “update”, “upload”, or any other not-so-clever synonym
~Especially not if it’s going to be the dreaded UPDATE SOON WALL O’DEATH (please see discussion for tip number 1)
~Any combination of the above.

Honestly, I can wax philosophical about this for some time. I love the rant reviews. They’re my favorite, for several reasons.

First off… man, you paid attention. And you often catch the things I neglected to mention or weren’t clear on. This is me getting all big-ego, but when I get a long review that enumerates not only what worked for them but the issues that they want addressed, it reminds me of English class back in high school where we were supposed to keep a running tab of questions from a book and I’d mark out in the margins my comments and questions, then transfer to a journal-like notebook that was folded into three columns: page number, quote, and notes. Your keen observations can often make or break a storyline; when you get the “why is Edward being such a dick? Update soon!” review, you shrug it off. And yeah, I just compared my crap to a piece of literature. Like I said, ego.

Anyway, when an articulate, observant, and well-written review comes in, you sit up and take notice. This is a person who is worthy of my time and effort, and perhaps I should address their points. One of my favorite reviewers is mommyofboth; she always writes these amazing summaries that leave no doubt in my mind that she thinks I am the greatest thing since grilled cheese sammiches or quite possibly Rob. And I almost never know what to say to these kinds of reviews, but I always try my best to respond. These reviews make me gush and they make me smile. If I blushed, they’d make me do that, too. We’ve been getting some seriously amazing reviews for Scotch lately… and I’m not even gonna lie. They make my day.

Another thing about long reviews is that they give the writer the impetus to write some more. All it really takes is two people to go on about how great the chapter was and I’m like “Aww. I should go give them a hug, a cookie, and a sneak preview.” Which I’ve been known to do. Minus the hug, of course.

A lot of the longer reviews make the whole asking for updates thing tolerable, too. And lemme tellya something- if a person takes the time out of their day to tell me the aspects they loved and cites specific examples from the chapter itself, well. It makes the sentence “I can’t wait for the next chapter” sound not like an update request, but like an excited person who is dying to see what words I can type next. Which is what all update requests are, I get that. These ones are just worded better and more artfully. It’s the difference between saying, “Make that casserole again, Ma,” and “Wow, Mother. I can’t remember the last time you made such a tasty meal. I really appreciated the juxtaposition of flavors; the way you managed to artfully arrange both broccoli and red peppers in a creamy alfredo sauce while retaining the robust roast chicken element was nothing short of astounding. If you saw fit, I’d surely appreciate it if you could remember exactly what spices you used so that the next time you’re making it, I can invite some friends over to enjoy the deliciousness within. And please, Mother. Do make this again. I will love you forever if you do.”

So these are my observations about reviewin’, folks. There’s more, I’m sure. And I shall continue to ponder the fandom and reviews and the like, but these five “rules” here are going to be my five. My little contribution to this blog.

I have decided to venture into something new.

Let’s see if this works.

Basically… I wanna hear what you guys wonder about. Go ahead and ask me! We’re trying this out, see how it works. Ask me a question. Twilight fanfiction. The fandom in general. Rob. Writing. What it’s like for a fic writer. What it’s like to get reviews. What it’s like to go to school and be mom and wife and write. This blog. Twilighted. Trying to organize an awards thingie. Rob. The movies.

You get the picture.

I invite you to participate in this blog article by sending your questions to . Or, I suppose, you can email me and tell me what you really think of me in a not-so-public forum. I expect that. Mostly… I want you all to be involved with this. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with! I’ll answer questions, but I’ll tell you now- I will NOT share your email address. So if you’d like to remain anonymous, that’s fine.

And I’ll do my best to answer all questions, whether they be put on this here blog or personally. Or both. I dunno, man. I’m flying by the seat of my pants at this point.

wtvoc’s quickie review etiquette number five:

Never think you have nothing to say. We love the reviews, even if they simply say “Loved it!” Review. Just do it. You know you wanna.

withthevampsofcourse's Must Have Been Love and Welcome Home are treasures of the sexy snark lovers. Her collaborations include Saturday School and Scotch, Gin and The New Girl and also betas 5464686486 fics. She is a colloborator on the Twilight FF Awards - The Eddies & The Bellies. This sister soldier of Brown may talk dirty and throw down even dirtier, but her class knows no bounds.
wtvoc on FF
The Eddies & The Bellies


  1. “Wow, Mother... I will love you forever if you do.”


    Sigh, this column was a godsend. I actually got my first UPDATE SOON wall o'death after you posted the first one and I was able to laugh and roll my eyes in amusement.

    Now to think of a question...

  2. I love MoB too! She's one of my favorite reviewers and people to talk to.

  3. Long, rambling reviews are ambrosia to an author. I've been fortunate enough to have many long reviews (quite a few recently) but the winner of the longest has to go to BalletSocks. She wrote two full pages of comments, quotes, and gushing analysis that blew me away. You rock!

    You know you have a good review coming when it starts with:

    My thoughts at the beginning of the chapter were thus: YAY! New chapter!!!

    My thoughts at the end of the chapter: *incoherent sob*


    But enough gushing on my part.

    Well, almost.

    I just wanted to thank you, wtvoc, for your column. As I told you, I love the intelligent irreverant tone you have - making your truths stand out by drawing groans, snorts, and pure laughter from my lips as I read. I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve next, but....

    UPDATE SOON! 8-)

    til next time,

  4. Hello,

    I am definitely sad to see this column come to a close. My Saturday's were definitely more entertaining when I got to read wtvoc's snarky view of fandom etiquette. I have directed many a readers to this blog, some specifically to this column, because I believe it is very necessary.

    I look forward to what looks like it is shaping up to be an advice column. It will surely be as interesting, relevant, and entertaining as this column has been.

    Thanks for putting in your time and energy to write these bits of entertainment!


  5. I think it should be mandatory for fic readers to go over these fandom etiquette posts before being allowed to click the 'submit' button.

    It's been a few weeks since I last updated one of my fics and all of a sudden I'm getting comments of the 'I DON'T REVIEW BUT UPDATE ALREADY!' persuasion. I have to admit, the evil part inside of me just wants to hold off on the updates because of the rudeness of simply demanding a new chapter RIGHT NOW.

    Also, I enjoy the snark-tastic way you address some of the fandom faux-pas. Your sense of humor makes the columns entertaining to read rather than just running through a list of 'what to do' and 'what not to do' that tends to permeate the fandom.



  6. When I want to express to an author how much I loved their chapter and how much I'm looking forward to future chapters, I say exactly that: I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter when it's available.

    People need to realize that updates aren't posted when THEY (the readers) are ready, or even when the AUTHOR is ready. Updates are posted when the STORY is ready.

    Fortunately most readers understand the creative process. The ones who don't... **sigh**


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