Friday, December 5, 2008

The Review Rant

Sometimes, on FanFiction.Net, I see people who say, "I hate how people hold thier stories for Review Ransom." Don't believe me about that? Here's an actual quote from someone's profile (I won't be giving any names.)

One of my pet peeves on ff net is authors who hold a story hostage for reviews, i.e. "If I don't get X reviews, I'm not gonna post any more." All that does is guarantee I won't review. Nor will I read any more of the story. I write to entertain, not get my ego stroked.

Here's another FFN author's view of it:

It's becoming one of my pet peeves- the idea of "review blackmail." You and I both know what I'm talking about: "I won't post the next chapter until I have TEN, yes T-E-N reviews." People- don't write for reviews. You might say "but I don't want to write something that nobody's going to read!" Write for fun, not for reviews. The creative process is a fantastic adventure that shouldn't be squandered on worrying about a "payoff" in the form of reviews. Who knows? If you're a bad writer who enjoys writing, you will keep writing and eventually become a good writer, and the reviews will come on their own. If you're a bad writer who writes for reviews, then you won't get them and you'll get discouraged and quit.

And if you're a good writer, then chances are you have at some point been a bad writer who loved writing, and you won't put those silly blackmail statements at the end of your chapters.

I notice that these two authors are most probably fairly well known in thier respective fandoms, and I therefore doubt that either of them have much trouble getting reviews.

For me, that is not so often the case. When you only write for two or three fandoms, I presume that eventually you will become known in those two or three fandoms. I am not that lucky. Here's the fandoms listing from the top of my profile:
Author has written 60 stories for Winx Club, Sonic the Hedgehog, Cartoon X-overs, Teen Titans, Ned's Declassified SSG, Kingdom Hearts, Avatar: Last Airbender, Navy NCIS, Tokyo Mew Mew, Game X-overs, NiGHTS, Super Smash Brothers, and Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.

Between the time I began writing this, and actually posted this, I added two more fandoms to that list. You don't become well known by jumping all over fandoms. This causes me problems, becuase I have a wide range of interests, as you can clearly see. And I like to write about these interests. I don't turn down good story ideas.

So I hear people say, "You should write because you like to write, and not because you just want feedback.

I like to write. Therefore I make an attempt to update my stories. You know something? I hate putting all that time and effort into writing another chapter of my story, and then having no one review it. Feedback, or reviews, is what tells me it's worth my time to work on these stories.

But if no one cares, there's no point wasting time working on that story. I can imagine what you'll tell me now: "But you can just check the stats and see if someone read it or not." Just because I got hits doesn't mean anyone read it. The only way I'll know for sure if someone read it is if they review. To illustrate my point, let me tell you the tale of a story called "Recovery."

I wrote that story. At the time, I thought it was a good story idea, so I typed it up and posted it up on FFN. The first chapter didn't get a review. I figured that okay, I left everyone at a nasty cliffhanger, and that's why they aren't reviewing. So I posted the second chapter. No reviews. I finally got one review, when I posted the third chapter.

Reviews were skimpy after that. I don't know how that fic managed to scrape by ,but somehow it did. Finally, by the seventh chapter, I'd lost patience. Here's the note I posted at the bottom of that chapter:

... For a long time I have despised this story, and have come close to taking it down on numerous occasions. Thanks to Dragon Girl ... and Rae Logan, the first and second chapter of this story actually have reviews. Originally I had to post three chapter[s] before I got a review. This story is currently on five favorites lists and four alerts. At the time I am posting this chapter, it has had 1073 hits.

Anyway, what I said before still stands. I got reviews recently from three people, which convinced me that I had to get this chapter written and up. For a time, I lost both interest, and my muse for this story, but I found a new muse and got back to work. We did indeed skip four months so I can revive this thing and get going. Like I said: No reviews for this chapter equals no more story. So that's all I have to say. I guess now the only thing left to do is post this chapter and see what happens.

I actually got reviews after that. Impressive. But without reviews, I had no incentive to keep working on it, and now I'm struggling to bring it back.

Now, I'm not demanding "ten reviews, or else I won't update." When I open my inbox and see one review sitting there, it makes me happy. When someone likes my story enough to stop and leave a comment, it encourages me to keep thinking about it, to come up with more plot, and to keep the fic alive.

On the other hand, if no one reviews, why should I update? It's like Avril Lavigne said in her song Losing Grip:

If you don't care, Then I don't care, we're not going anywhere.

That's about the size of it in my mind, you know. If you don't care, why should I care?

It's really not fair to say "I want ten reviews or no more story!" When I am logged in, I can only review one chapter of your story, once. And I'm not going to log out and give you nine more reviews for the same chapter.

It's not unfair, though, to ask for one or two reviews for a chapter. I don't need ten reviews (although I would like ten reviews). All I need to tell me somone cares and wants to see the story continued is one review.

And that's my "Review Rant."

Begun 12-5-08
Completed 12-9-08

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