Conversations With Fictives

By Ryuu (karma_aster@yahoo.com)

Rating: PG

Summary: A commentary about fanfiction critiques cleverly disguised as a ReBoot ficlet! Huzzah!

Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own ReBoot. Am using the characters without permission. Everything belongs to Mainframe. Please don't sue?

Notes: This is pretty much me commenting on certain individuals and their reactions to negative reviews. If you want to know the full story, just ask. I don't feel like naming names here, since I'm not the only person this has ever happened to. Oh, and props to Silv, Meghan, and Fidget and their crazy, mad writing skillz!

Feedback: I encourage reviews, even negative ones! Feel free to leave one!

***

Sharon pushed her door open and dropped her messenger bag on the couch with a sigh of relief. She rubbed at the bright green bandage wrapped around her elbow and frowned. "This thing itches."

"What was that?"

Sharon let out a yelp and whirled around as a lovely green woman poked her head out of the bathroom. "Dot! Don't do that!"

Dot Matrix smiled apologetically. "Sorry. I wasn't trying to startle you." She stepped out of the bathroom, briskly toweling her hair dry. "Hey, thanks again for letting me borrow your shower. The plumber says it's going to be another week before ours is fixed."

Sharon grinned. "No problem. Next time, I'd recommend you let a professional look at it before Bob tries to 'fix' it, though."

Dot rolled her eyes and laughed. "Yes. I love him, but Bob's no handyman." She looked at the green bandage. "What's that?"

"Oh, I gave blood." Sharon frowned. "I don't get to take this thing off for five hours and it itches!"

Dot nodded, a small smile tugging at the side of her mouth. "Nice color, though."

Sharon glanced down at the bandage. "It was either this or neon pink. I figured you'd approve."

"Oh, I do!" Dot replied cheerfully. "So, what are you up to? Any new ideas?"

"Hmm…well, I was having a couple of ideas for a quasi-romance fic."

The green sprite chuckled. "Let me guess…starring Bob and I?"

Sharon shrugged. "Well, you're my favorite character and I'm rather fond of Bob too. You guys are fun to write about." She frowned. "Does it bug you?"

Dot smiled reassuringly. "Well, it's actually nice to have someone writing us a normal couple once in a while, and I really like not being written as an utterly heartless bitch or as standing in the way of the 'true love' between Hexadecimal and Bob, or various Mary Sues and Bob." She made a face. "What's so inherently wrong with just accepting that I love Bob and I want to be with him?"

Sharon shrugged again. "Bob's endearingly dorky and that makes him sexy as all get-out?" She laughed a bit at Dot's expression and added, "He's also very much a one-woman sprite. And he's awfully lucky that you're that woman."

Dot blushed slightly. "So…um…what was your idea?" She perched on Sharon's desk chair, hanging the towel over the back. Sharon fished a notebook and pen out of her bag and made herself comfortable on the floor.

"How do you feel about a post-episode fic for 'Identity Crisis'?" she asked.

Dot looked intrigued. "What angle are you planning to take? You said quasi-romance, but that's quite a bit before the third season."

"Oh, any sexual tension is going to be strictly of the unresolved variety," Sharon said. "I was thinking of using it more as an opportunity to explore the strong friendship between the two of you and hinting at your beginning to realize what Bob means to you after you thought he was nullified."

Dot looked thoughtful. "So, it's not so much a romance story as it is a hint at future romance?"

"Exactly!" Sharon said. "I want to pay more attention to the friendship, because I think that's the real foundation of the love you guys share."

"It sounds interesting." Dot nodded. "I certainly think it could be a good fic."

Sharon sighed. "Well, it'll be good if I can manage to write it decently."

Dot laughed. "You know, you always say that and you still manage to write some very good stuff." She shook her head slightly. "And they say I have trouble believing in myself!"

"You really have been around me too long," Sharon declared with a smile. "Oh hey, you mind if I check my email? I haven't gotten a chance to all day."

"Certainly." Dot relinquished the chair and grabbed a seat on the floor, busying herself with perusing the various titles on Sharon's bookshelves. A few minutes later, she heard Sharon let out a disgusted, "Oh, I don't believe this!"

The green sprite looked up. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, I just got a couple of reviews on a filk I wrote," Sharon replied, glaring at the screen.

Dot blinked. "And this is a bad thing?"

"It is when it's just an excuse to whine about a review left on this person's fic that wasn't utterly glowing and positive," Sharon said dryly, "especially considering that my initial review was left about four months ago."

"They waited four months? Well what was the original review?" Dot walked over to look at the monitor.

Sharon clicked over to the fic in question. "I'll admit that it's a bit harsh, but it's also honest. I still stand by everything I said in that review."

Dot read it over. "I don't think it's a bad review. You didn't attack the authors, and you pointed out what you didn't like about the fic. It's a bit blunt, but nothing worse than anything Hanako's ever said…you're right. It's honest."

Sharon clicked over to another page. "Well here are the reviews that the author and one of her buddies left."

Dot read the reviews, looked at them in disbelief for a moment, and then started laughing. "You're kidding!"

Sharon shook her head, also starting to laugh. "Unfortunately, no."

"Is it possible that they really don't know what a filk is?"

"Considering that they're yelling at my lack of creativity in 'ripping off some stupid oldies song and changing the lyrics,' I suspect the answer is no," Sharon replied, still laughing.

"Well, this one says your review was 'unwanted,'" Dot pointed out. "Was it?"

Sharon shrugged. "It said right in the author's notes that the author wanted reviews," she replied mildly. "I didn't see anything asking that those reviews only be positive ones."

Dot rolled her eyes. "It would be nice if some of these authors would clarify that point, wouldn't it?"

"You're telling me?" Sharon grinned. "My favorite is the assertion that I have to 'try a little creativeness before becoming a critic next time.' This coming from people who wrote a fic that was solid Mary Sues with a couple of itty-bitty cameos for the canon characters squeezed in? That's almost as ludicrous as the people who insist that you're not allowed to leave a critique if you're not an established writer."

Dot started laughing again, "Following that logic, a lot of professional critics should be out of work, then! I assume that reasoning only applies to negative reviews?"

"Well, of course, silly! After all, positive reviews only point out the natural brilliance of the fic and the writer!"

"Of course! However could I forget?" Dot looked over the reviews again. "I think you can be proud of the fact that neither one of these was able to point out anything that was really wrong with your filk and were really more of hysterical, ineffective personal attacks. That says a lot about your strength as a writer and about your ability to criticize other writing."

Sharon nodded. "Plus, they're abusing the site's review function by using it less as a way of telling a writer how his or her writing is received and more as a personal bulletin board for particular vendettas and grudges." With a shrug, she added, "I figure you shouldn't ask for reviews if you can't handle negative ones. Not everyone is going to like what you do and part of becoming a better writer is accepting that fact."

"These kids are certainly going to have a tough time when they get out in the real world if they can't handle that idea," Dot mused. "So, are you going to delete the reviews?"

"I can't really see a reason to," the younger woman replied. "After all, I don't discount reviews just for being negative...even if they really have nothing to do with the filk in question." Her smile took a slightly mischievous turn. "And I'd certainly hate to deprive anyone else of such a great laugh."

Dot smiled. "You think they mock themselves effectively, huh?"

"Well, that too." Sharon closed down the program, stood up and stretched. "You know, I am suddenly having a serious craving for a milkshake. You want one? My treat."

"Chocolate?" Dot asked hopefully.

Sharon chuckled. "Is there any other kind?"

The two women left the apartment, the door swinging shut behind them.