Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perceptions of Popular Fanfic Posting Sites. An authors view

First of all, for those of you who are unaware, I write a little music blog called Music Sundays. This summer we will be running a series of playlist reviews written by over 30 fanfiction authors and readers. A challenge of sorts, we are sending these fantastic people a playlist from an anonymous author that they must review. These reviews will be posted on Sundays and Wednesdays throughout the summer and we strongly encourage reader involvement to get the most songs out there. Compiled playlists will be available on imeem for the duration of summer so it's a good chance to get to know some new music and to reminisce about your love of older tunes as well.

Now, on with our show.

This week I decided to take a decidedly different approach to my article by abandoning my focus group and asking as many people as possible their perceptions and usage of fanfiction posting sights. I put out a survey for a short period of time on my LiveJournal page but also linked to it on The Gazebo, a live journal community, my gmail chatbox (which is very diverse) and Twitter (follow me!). This way, I would avoid asking people if they liked FanFiction.net ON FFN or if they liked Twilighted ON Twilighted. It seemed the fair way to get perceptions of the 2 biggies, as well as the smaller sights around our fandom. I mention this early because there are some comments geared toward loving Live Journal and I will be the first to admit that Live Journal can be intimidating if you don't know how to use it. I, still, have never really searched LJ and I know that many haven't scratched the surface of everything they have to offer. It's broad spectrum style is not connected solely with fanfiction, fandom or really anything at all. You can belong just to belong. That said, though, you do have to BELONG to comment, so I did make sure that non-LJ users could comment by emailing me. It was an impressive response to say the least. I did promise that I would give everyone credit for participating. So there is a long list of credits to this post. I won't apologize for that. I am eternally grateful for having such a community and those who were willing to take a few moments out of their Monday evening to humor me deserve recognition and deserve you reading their stories. Our fandom wouldn't exist without the support of others, this blog would not exist. It is important.

Posting Fanfiction, where to go?

Truly I could have asked "FFn or Twilighted" as these are the two biggest answers by far. Some post on both, some also post on their LJ accounts or on smaller shipping or all canon sights.

The perceptions of these sights is what is most interesting. I find that even if people use them they don't necessarily like everything about them. Also, the comments about Twilighted were often about their forums and not about the stories themselves. I was on Twilighted before the explosion of new fics/people. In fact, the story that I am still working on is #1000, meaning (I assume) that it was the one thousanth story to be posted there. I don't even know what number they are on now. I remember a time when my story was on the front page of the forum for weeks last fall. Yesterday someone brought it out of oblivion to ask when I will be updating (this week, if jfly has time on vacation to beta it. my hiatus as a fanfic AUTHOR has been far too long)

Here is a list of perceptions of Fanfiction.net, Twilighted and Live Journal taken from a broad spectrum sampling of people who use all three sights.

Fanfiction.net: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Standard huge lots and lots of tweens, .. well, lots and lots of everybody rather vast and sometimes a bit confusing to find anything. Easy to post, easy on the eyes 14 Year Olds writing Pr0n, sifting through lots of trash to find a single gem Addiction. Very author and reader friendly The place to go for fanfiction 12 yr olz hoo wrt trth r dare fics lik abt EDWARD FUCKING CULLEN It's author friendly and allows me to quantify my readership accurately. lots of stories, wish it was easier to search for fics... that they had more options easy to post easy 15 year-olds writing horrible smut and taking it as a personal affront if there is any kind of conflict between their favorite characters.the basics (i.e. where it starts) UGH! CHAOS AND IDIOTS! easy to use and read, but looots of crappy fic I love looking at the traffic graph - and it's easy to use easy Easy to read, easy to post, but if you're looking for something good to read, it's like shopping at KMart, you have to wade through a lot of crap before you find something worthwhile The Pit Smutty crap Occasional gem. Lots of bad fics, some good ones. Fics get lost in the crowd. easy to use, cool way to view traffic to your story, & a lot of bad stories Easy to use, easy to read, customizing is nice. Impossible to find good fic by chance. Easy to read and post Easier to post and manage, however I wouldn't search for a new fic to read using ff, there's just too much. Super easy to post chapters. Have to rely on Favorites to find good stuff to read. Easy, vast and diverse. It's quick, easy and convenient. Plus, it's easy on the eyes, especially for someone like me who can't see worth a damn without the screen all up in my face and squinting like crazy because I can't be bothered to find my glasses. techno fail, too many stories with bad plots, 13 year olds reading BDSM Easy reading, large amount of resources, and 'story alerts' Ease of posting (as a writer); teenagers & terrible grammar overloaded! kind of the "everything" place. All fandoms, all kinds of ahem, writers. under-rated. Yup, people like to give out about it but it is a great resource and anyone with half a brain can figure out how to avoid the cringe stories.Easy and Popular Basic but Vast Everything The Pit Obsessed

Twilighted: A bit better but has it's issues

naughty flashy Pictures higher quality Twilight FF Cliquey Easy to find readable fics. I never have to read that someone "shuttered." Waiting for validation makes me overly anxious. God, I hate that fucking annoying background. But I love the forums.
less exclusive than it used to be Good friends, I started there and it is somewhere where I always feel comfortable and because of it I have met a lot of amazing people. Cliquey Smut My retinas are burning I could gestate a full term baby in the time it takes for my fic to get validated very hard to upload and get validated on. It is a cool that you can upload banners though.This may make me sound old, but my eyes cannot take the black background and white writing. Reading there makes me think I'm on shrooms or something. The white text seems to move. I used to hear that this was THE PLACE to go for intelligent discussion and fic that is head and shoulders above the rest. I think that it might only be true if you're a strict Edward/Bella crowd. Don't read too many fics over there. And my eyes hurt from the dark background/ white text. do you even validate anymore? White text goth victoria's secret background, rpf abounds, but really lovely people forever long validation and white on black text often bothersome, but good forums
Less easy better quality Too freaking long to validate. Love the forums. UGH! CHAOS ON A BLACK BACKGROUND!
The Good Old Days clique-ish fad fanfiction that doesn't make me claw my eyes out with grammar problems Big Red Logo Complicated and Cliquey
Some bad fics, mostly good. Colour scheme SUCKS. The red/black kills my eyes. i used to think it was exclusive until they accepted my story. annoying to use b/c of the colors Pretty banners Painful to try to read, a hassle to switch formats, but the forums are great. A real refuge after BD came out. Too many graphics though. Aside from the validation period - which is understandable but still highly annoying - the fact that I can't get on there from my cell phone or that when I do, I've gotta sign in every other minute just pisses me off something fierce. I dislike waiting to be approved, and having to re-login a hundred time while I'm there (plus the background hurts my eyes). I use it mostly to archive and meet other authors. Hurts my eyes to read, but an easier place to find new fics, and a good way to first get acquianted with the Twilight fanfic community. Not a fan of showing the author's reply with the reviews. The background is hard, but at least there are some minimum standards. The first chapter validation takes a while, but once you get going, the validation is pretty quick Higher Quality Smut Filled Cliquey
There are more and more grammatical errors popping up in the stories. The only difference is that the eleventeen year old writers don't hang there.Too Dark/Too much black great idea in theory. There is a disparity between what is technically well-written and what is actually a good story. Review trends stump me over there.

Live Journal: Hello? Is this thing on?

My life. still confuses the hell out of me I need to figure out how to use it
Gift exchange. that is why I signed up ontd_twatlight and the_gazebo have made my life better the_Gazebo and complete randomness Confusing Complicated Home Can't find fic. Need direct link. Fun but I wouldn't put my fic on there that strange world AG003 inhabits sometimes hard to follow chapters, linking them is annoying for me when I post Cumbersome and complicated. Lj-cut annoys the fuck out of me. A great place to "waste" several hours of life per day. Gazebo.... Pattinsonlife....lolz
difficult The ultimate consumer of time confusing oh i better check ontd_twatlight & the_gazebo & maybe pattinsonlife Good for fic "extras." No idea HT make it good for fic. I think AG may be the only one who knows how to use this platform well... I don't understand the site enough to be useful. My favorite place to post, it's easy, simple, interactive, and I can link the fic to various communities for the featured subject, ship, etc, like sortofbeautiful Confuses me, pretty much only [go there] for The Gazebo. God, this site makes me feel incredibly stupid. Particulary since I have a decade and a half of internet experience but can't figure the damn thing out. I need to learn coding. A good resource and great communities. I don't really think anything of it, I suppose. I primarily use it for just blogging - er, journaling? - but aside from that, it's just some place that I can fuck around with coding/designing. I have no idea if anyone even sees the story on there. Hard to figure out. If hellacullen hadn't helped me, I'd still be scratching my head. The most frustrating, yet most satisfying place to post, even if no one there reads my fics. It's still pretty (thanks, AG). PAIN IN THE ASS to get started on, but once you do it is absolutely addicting. You can do so many neat things on it, I love it! I've written and read fic on here for years, and I like it, because I can keep everything on the same website. However, if you don't know what you're looking for, it's way more difficult to find good stuff. I mostly rely on others' recommendations for finding stuff here. A hassle I don't generally think of LJ in relation to fanfiction Complicated. I prefer a set format. Coding is way beyond me. Ag's tute was even way beyond me... Plus, I use my LJ for plain old rambling. My preference, Hands down complicated but if I get a direct link I've read some awesome stories.

No, not that scary Nichole Kidman movie.

JakeandBells.com. a great up and coming resource for all the J/B fans out there.
Ramblings and Thoughts: clean canon

Ramblings and Thoughts - perhaps a bit too big for it's boots but has great canon stories and perfect for serious fans or people starting out reading Twific.

authors note: Really. These were the only ones people listed. Care to comment on ones you like?

My survey included an area on how you advertise your writing but I am going to forgo that for next time. These results prove that our perceptions of even our favorite places can be harsh. There is room for improvement, yes, but we love them still or we use them because we must.

whether you agree or disagree with these results, it's important to accept other peoples perceptions as just that. If a sight offends us, a blog post or a thread, the best choice is to just choose not to go there. There are many places for us to go but we are, in fact, a community and thus have to learn how to take the good with the bad. Posting on these sites is something we choose to do. It is our choice to put our work out there to be loved and not-so-loved by many people. At worst, we can be mildly annoyed and at best we can make some very good friends.

So, do you agree with anyone's perceptions above? Do you feel different? If you have anything to add we would love to hear from you. This is a community after all.

giselle-lx hmonster4 Gondolier Ginny JStarrh Acireamos SiDEADde Pwtf Starshinedown Frenchbeanz Purdueliz Einfach_Mich JMeyer Moonwitche Adair7 Beate73 Ruby-Wednesday Lillybellis gangsterdorothy JeesieChreesie thatisastory HighViscosity Bratty-Vamp americnxidiot unicornhime caligula42 faeriegal713 scarlettletters KTBass blueandblack jabberwockylove circasurvived michellephants stretch hedoesnthavefangs ElleCC Jfly Cullenista stolenxsanity duskwatcher araeo rparkerp DDofEve juliejuliejulie Vampgirl Limona

If you would like to see the full results of the surveys, go to my Live Journal page at emibella.livejournal.com


  1. The steriotypes about teens really annoy me. I know there are some - okay, a lot -- of really crappy teen writers on FF, but there are also a lot of crappy adult writers on there. I'm a teen and I have near perfect grammr, I don't write porn when I shouldn't and my writing is a lot better than a lot of adults on both sites. But I still get steriotyped.

    But, aside from that, I agree with most of the stuff people said. The reason I like Twilighted better is because of the background and font. It's not good for long hours reading but I find that it adds more magic to the story, makes it more beautiful because it's pretty. The main problem I have with Twilighted is how you can't search for certain characters. If I want an Alice/Jasper fic and I try searching for that, more often that not I'll get an E/B story that also has a little bit of A/J.

    Thanks for the article, Emibella, I liked hearing other people's views on the two sites :)

  2. re:just-drifting-6...

    The teen thing really only becomes an issue with terrible writing and terrible stories. If you write well, by and large, no one is going to know/check/care how old you are (by the way, it's 'stereotype' :) ). It's only when sifting through the viscous - not to be confused with vicious, although sometimes this fits too - sludge of absolute shite fanfic on FF.net, etc., that the overwhelming proclivity of teens to write this shite fanfic becomes conspicuous.

    One (or even many) counterexample doesn't mean a generalization about a group doesn't have validity, and such generalizations are nothing personal against you individually. In fact, you should take great pride in transcending the bounds of your age and excelling in your art despite the fact that some of your peers may be idiots. Don't let stereotypes get you down; if they bother you, just don't fit them.

  3. I found I am reading fewer and fewer stories on Twilighted these past couple of months. The quality of writing is not what it used to be, in my opinion. Some of the stories are just downright painful to read, and so bad I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    I've heard that the betas/validators there are overwhelmed, but I'm finding misspelled words, incorrect grammer, and typos in almost every chapter I'm reading on the site.

  4. Hey! Why is my word misspelled up there? Should be 'grammar' not 'grammer'.

  5. I agree with a lot of what's been said.

    FF.net is by far the easiest and most writer/reader friendly site. The problem is that if you have a new fic by a promising author who doesn't know how to network, chances are that it's going to get buried beneath the piles of complete shite fic that are there. FF.net has no standards to meet for writing so there are a lot of completely amateur writers testing the waters there.

    That being said, essentially all the top fics of the fandom are posted on ff.net.

    Twilighted is painful on the eyes, the search is irritating to use because it doesn't always go to the fic you want (it goes to the advanced search page instead, for whatever reason). The problems I have with Twilighted are:

    1) The reader to review ratio is even worse than on ff.net. The percentage of people who read that review tends to be roughly .5% whereas on ff.net the ratio tends to be roughly 5-8%, at least in my experience. It is to be noted that the .5% that actually review on Twilighted leave actual commentary on the story than just "UPDATE NOW!".

    2) It's hard to read more than a few chapters because the colour scheme is so difficult on the eyes. I'm young with excellent eyesight and that sight is a little too abrasive for my liking. I usually have to copy and paste chapters into Word to read comfortably.

    3) The stories, for being so-called 'higher quality' really aren't anymore. Maybe the betas are inundated, I don't know, but if authors have to wait 3+ weeks to have a chapter validated, it should be pretty damn close to perfect with no grammar, paragraph formatting, or spelling mistakes. Also, they say the betas weed out stories in which the plot is faulty and there are several fics that post on twilighted that rival the most poorly constructed on ff.net.

    Livejournal can be confusing but is fun once you learn a few tricks for formatting and layout and it really allows you to customise your story for your readers if you choose to. The only problem is that only a few people comment and there's no hit counter to tell what the reader to review ratio is. Still, livejournal offers easy reviewing where the author can reply and answer questions. These answers and responses are readable to all viewers and readers can also chat amongst themselves about thoughts on the fics.

    Finding fics is easy if you know where to look. If you join twilight fic comms, look at recommendation posts, or have friend fic posters, you have easy access that you can add to your memories or bookmark.


    I laughed so hard when I read this response:

    "that strange world AG003 inhabits."

    I like ff.net better myself, simply because I like the stats that are available for authors (such as user stats, traffic, etc.). I am somewhat new to posting on Twilighted, but so far so good. I don't really have a problem with it, though over at ff.net my story has 1500+ reviews and at Twiligted it has like 80 reviews. People don't seem to review as much over there. I mean, that's a pretty big difference.

  7. It looks to me like people tend to favour one site above the others, and that colours their opinion of the other sites.

    A couple of comments on Twilighted. As I understand it, and I'm happy to be corrected, validators aren't responsible for correcting mistakes. In the submission guidelines you can have no more than 10 errors per 1000 words (grammar, punctuation, spelling...). I'm pretty sure a validator just checks that you comply with that guideline.

    Another point is that errors are everywhere. There are so many in my copy of Eclipse it's not funny. That should never have made it to the stores. I think their editing team was a little tired. As are the validators over at Twilighted.

    Final point. For those that struggle with the background on Twilighted, you can change it to a white background. I do this to read Sanctuary, as it is only posted there.

  8. There are positives and negatives to both Twilighted and FF, as the post points out.

    I started out with Twilighted because FF seemed so "big." Yes white type on black is hard to read, but I like the "dark/romantic" atmosphere it lends to the reading experience, but I tend to be a visual person. And the type can be made bigger to read easier, I definitely have to do that on my laptop.

    Besides being "too big and overwhelming" the black on white of FF felt too "cold and impersonal" at first. But I have gotten used to it and am reading more and more fics on there, mostly because I now rely mostly on recc's from blogs and podcasts to find the "good stuff."
    And I have found features about FF that I like, most notably being able to put a story on alert for updates. The only way to do that on Twilighted (that I know of) is to "favorite" the story.

    (And speaking of spelling/grammatical errors it should be "sites" not "sights." (Sorry... that bugged me every time I read it! :))


  9. I'm new to the fanfic world, and relatively new to the Twilight fandom. I found out about fanfics through the boards at imdb.com. Someone had commented about Wide Awake and since I had finished reading the books, figured I would look it up. I started reading stories on FF.net but once I found Twlighted I haven't really been back to FF (with the exception of reading updates of WA, until it went to LJ).

    I worked up enough courage to write my own fanfic and felt more comfortable with the idea of posting on Twilighted. I went in completely blind -- I didn't know anything about submitting stories and I didn't frequent forums enough to network and ask questions. The Twilighted process was relatively painless. I'm not sure why people think the validation process takes a long time. My story was validated rather quickly, and the beta I have is quick with chapters. While it is true that the betas could just validate if there are few enough errors, the beta I have does in fact make corrections (thank goodness for me).

    Someone just asked if I would post my story on FF.net so they can get alerts when I update. I'm a bit torn on the idea. I actually offered to send them a personal email when I update since she was the only one that asked :)

    But it is good to hear that FF isn't so bad. I never looked hard at the story submission process because the site is so "big" and truthfully, it always felt a little intimidating.


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