Author has written 43 stories for Babylon 5, Emergency, and Star Trek: 2009.
I work in special education for people ages birth to 21 in my paid job, and also as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. Fanfiction lets me blow off steam. I love writing it, and if other people can enjoy it, all the better.
Here are some of my thoughts about FAN FICTION:
--Writers love the characters and situations of the fandoms we write for, so naturally we want more! Fanfiction allows us to get it, and to create it.
--If there's something in canon that doesn't feel finished, we can finish it. If there's something we disliked in canon, we can experiment with changing it.
--We can take flat characters or incomplete situations and round them out as we see fit.
--Heck, we can even (gasp) violate canon and change things around to suit our fancy!
--Writing convincing, well-rounded original characters is difficult to do in the milieu of fanfiction. For major canon characters, you don't have show people what makes them tick. But if you introduce an OC, it immediately becomes awkward except in the hands of very skilled writers, simply because that character is new, but nobody else is. So, if you're a new writer, think twice about an OC-centered story.
--It's also hard in fandoms that are reality-based to write convincing technical scenes if you don't have some knowledge of the field. That's a wonderful thing about fantasy and science fiction--it's all made up.
--There are different kinds of beta readers. Know what you need: mechanics (grammar/spelling/punctuation), technical (someone with knowledge about car racing reading over your NASCAR scene and helping you make it more realistic, for example), and the far more subtle flow/style/continuity aspects of storytelling.
Here are some of my thoughts on REVIEWS:
--As this site used to say somewhere, a well-rounded critique is a gift to the author. I try to do this whenever a story reaches me in some way, or when I see a story that has one or two underlying problems that, if fixed, would change an okay story into a good or even great story.
--I firmly believe the "reviews" section should be restricted to comments on the story, and should not be used to make comments about comments. Henceforth I will delete (when possible) "reviews" to my stories that are comments on comments, or even worse, comments on reviewers.
--Please join me in leaving reviews that contain constructive criticism., and in not engaging in commenting behavior that puts people off from writing truly constructive criticism.
--Please join me in abstaining from using ANYONE'S review section as a place for anything other than REVIEWS.
--I never, ever leave reviews anonymously. If you get a review that you think might be from me, but isn't from someone signed in to the site, it's not me. I never put things in reviews that I would be afraid to say as "me," so I don't hide behind anonymous reviews.
--Archive Of Our Own handles reviews completely differently. Anyone can reply to ANY review, regardless of whether the person has an account. Replies show in the review section, and are threaded. The author can delete ANY review--not just those from people who don't have accounts. If this site worked that way, the reviews sections wouldn't be such playgrounds for inanity and insanity.
Here are some of my thoughts about how this site handles things:
--The ratings scheme is vague, and submissions aren't moderated; however, stories DO get pulled by the administrators for content violation. Putting these two facts together, the only logical conclusion I can come to is that in order for a story to be pulled by the admins, someone has to report it. This is a problem--self-policing never leads to good feelings. The site needs to buckle up and either allow all content, or have absolutely everything moderated, which isn't realistic given the huge volume on this site.
--On ALL THREE other sites I post fanfic to, reviews are a dialog. A writer's reply to a review shows up below the review, and is threaded appropriately. Writers can reply to reviews from people who don't care to have accounts. This set of circumstances, in my opinion, allows reviews to be truly constructive, since you can go back and forth with the reviewer about things. This site, however, allows people to leave anonymous reviews, which there is no way to reply to. It also makes review replies "personal messages," which people can disable. Therefore, it is easy for reviewers to disrespect the writer. That is their right, but I believe the writer should also be allowed to reply to this in some public or private way. The only way I see to do this is to log out, and leave my OWN anonymous "review" to the story as a reply to the original reviewer--who won't get a notification about this anyhow, I refuse to do this, because it is not a "review." Therefore, I moderate anonymous reviews, and may not post ones (positive or negative) that deserve a response, or that are comments about other reviews.
--I appreciate that this site is completely free, with no "premium versions" dangled in front of us. The targeted banner ads seem to support the site, which is astounding. It is a bit disconcerting, though, to read a story with the phrase "pain in the butt," and then be offered a hemorrhoid remedy in the advertising, but I can live with that.
Have fun writing! Have fun reading!