Early 2007 I was sitting in front of the computer, nursing a cup of coffee in order to become more awake so I could go to work. While reading some newsflashes a few lines about a scam stood out for me. It said there were people who wrote something called fanfiction and one of their stories was translated to Spanish and published in South America by scam artists as the 7th book of the Harry Potter saga, making lots of money before they were apprehended. I was mesmerised: how could these readers be deceived, was this story that remarkable that they couldn’t distinguish that from JKR’s writing? So, I noted the details and took off to work where I searched the internet in my lunch break to find this wonderful story (The Seventh Horcrux by melindaleo). I was truly stunned when I found this wealth of stories and I’ve been reading ever since.
I love good and long stories and I'm thrilled when I find another fanfic gem. My favorite stories are varied, because I don't have my preferences set in stone, though I have developed some dislikes over time, like the Harry/Ginny pairing. For me a good plot is most important, good writing and good grammar are next. And when originality is involved it gets even better. For many years I didn't want to read slash, not because I'm homophobic (anything but, I like to think I’m more open-minded than the average Dutch), but I thought reading about the 'mechanics' of it wouldn't be to my liking. Despite that, I decided to try anyway and read a very well recommended fic with a slash pairing and I discovered I had been wrong. The story was great and after reading more of these stories I can honestly say I feel it's a shame people would ignore some wonderful stories just because there’s slash in them. When you're a lesbian, a male hetero or a stuck up prude, I can understand the hesitance to read such stories but otherwise? Go and read The Apple Tree from Philo. If you're still not convinced after that I'd be really surprised. The story is not here on FFN, but on HP Fandom.net. Absolutely worth your time, both her stories are epic.
A site like this is a great place for people all over the globe to meet and get to know a bit about each other. So be open to other thoughts, don't let prejudice rule your life. But foremost, respect other people when they are different from you. Try to learn from them and widen your horizon. And if you comment on a story, do it in a respectful and constructive way. If that's too difficult for you, then keep quiet. Harsh words written down can really hurt, even more than when said face to face. Seeing the person who's being hurtful makes it easier to know if you should take the words seriously or not. But, don't be over-sensitive like the author I saw blaming a critical reviewer to be a flamer when I only saw honest and reasonable remarks in his review. Think before you react! Over the years I have experienced how much authors appreciate reviews, so try to express the joy you've had while reading something the author has spent a lot of time on to create.
Coming back from a holiday without internet access mid 2012, I was shocked to see the havoc the admins had created by initiating another major witch hunt on stories that are in some way violating the (at that moment not always clear) ToS. On her page here Toki Mirage wrote the following which I’d like to quote:
“In regards to FFNET getting up in arms about porn and violence on the website…
Funny fact, for anyone who’s interested. I met someone in the industry that told me why FFNET is so against smut. Advertisers. Competitors for companies like Ford, for example, apparently take screen shots of these ads displayed next to smutty bits of writing and send them in as “complaints,” saying things like “I’m horrified that your company is being represented in this way, blah blah…” Scandal. So that’s a mystery solved for me. You can now blame ads for all your problems. ADS, the pandemic, a literary version of AIDS that strives to attack your stories in their deepest, darkest recesses…”
So… a non-commercial site has a lot going for them in this light! When you have ‘smutty bits of writing’ publish those on a site like Archive of Our Own (AO3). The site is fan-driven and not commercial. Read their ToS and you’ll see your stories are safer there. Also, they’re not 'selling' your data to other commercial parties like ‘some’ commercial sites do! And things I like best: when there are problems, like story piracy or other abuse the admins react fast as lightning to do what they can to solve the problem. Also, they publish a monthly newletter that keeps you informed about the goings on at the site. Or if you're really good and publish regularly, you could approach Jeconais for your own space on his site fanficauthors (dot) net. Also not commercial and you'd have some pretty impressive authors as your neigbours.
I've got an account now on AO3 under the same name as here and I've been collecting wonderful stories there as well. Check out my profile there if you're interested. And did you know authors get a message from FFN when you favorite/follow them or their stories giving them your name and profile link? So, tell the authors about it if you liked their story.
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