So who am I? Does anybody really care? Well since I am in a "safe environment," I will admit that I am a reader who has become completely obsessed with Twilight and Twilight related fanfiction. I read the Twilight Saga in April of 2009 after being hounded by family members that I would love it. They said I wouldn’t be able to put it down. I disagreed. Boy was I wrong!!
After trolling around on the Internet for a couple months, I discovered the world of fanfiction. In the past 16 weeks I have read over 5,500,000 words. That comes to approximately 21,100 pages or 42 500-page “Twilight” equivalent books or the Twilight Saga 8.5 times. Did I mention I was obsessed?
I am a grad student by day and fanfiction reader at night, often turning down food and sleep to keep reading. Clearly I have no life, my eyes are completely shot and I have all but turned into a vampire because my skin has barely seen the light of day all summer. I use to be a responsible member of society interested in politics, economics, the environment, pop-culture, hell I don’t even watch TV anymore. I could pretty much talk about any subject…a wealth of useless knowledge. I blame it on this shitty recession and living the life of a grad student where life pretty much revolves around school and that’s it. Did I say recession? What recession? I’m lucky I even know that it’s going on, only being reminded of it by old co-workers that the company I use to work for is going down the fucking tubes. I’m lucky I got out when I could and live in the little rose-colored world I have created for myself. For some reason I’m okay with this, ignorance is bliss. I really am in need of some medical intervention, but hey we all have flaws.
So I have yet to write my own fanfiction, but I do have one in planning stages. I don’t know if it will see the light of day and if I keep reading it won’t…it’s either the reading or grad school that I need to drop if I want my story to come to life. I guess I choose to stop or at least slow the reading to ensure that I don’t fail out of grad school. That’s a far too expensive mistake to make. Anyway, I have learned so much from all of you out there. Hey, I’m not an expert but I feel I have earned the right to comment on some of the things I have discovered about fanfiction…
1) I love lemons as much as the next girl, but if it doesn’t enhance the story or further the characters, it’s just useless smut. An excellent example of lots of well done lemons is americnxidiot’s You Bring Me Closer to God. It’s beyond me how someone can literally write about at least a dozen sex scenes and have every one sound completely unique, original and exciting, but she did. Read Tara sue me’s The Submissive and The Dominant for excessive lemons… almost no one I have read does it better.
2) I've declared that I have read a lot of stories and I tend to read the finished ones first, so I pick long stories to read. I have noticed that even though many have been excellent, some lose their way and become tedious. Most stories should not be over 200,000 words. If you have written beyond this, you need to do some serious editing. 200,000 words is a 770-page book, equal to Breaking Dawn. Chances are you probably wrote too many pointless lemons or shitty scenarios that kept Bella and Edward apart. There are definitely exceptions: Angstgoddess003’s Wide Awake and Winnsdsinger’s The Red Line are both over 300,000 words and are exceptional novels.
3) Stop with the extremely pathetic Bella’s… I like my Bella damaged and a little insecure, but give her some MO for it. If I read one more Bella that 24 chapters into a story doesn’t get the fact that Edward loves her pathetic ass, I’m going do something drastic. I don’t know what that is yet, but it makes me crazy and clearly I have issues. Boycotts and BarFlies by vjgm is a great example of a Bella that’s got some great substance, but is still a little unsure of herself. She can still be admired and sympathized without being annoying and whiny.
4) My biggest issue is unfinished stories. Some of you are really terrific writers and you have stories floating out there unfinished. I know life gets in the way and this is just hobby or past time for the majority of us… BUT, be respectful of a reader who reads 975 pages of your story and wants a damn ending. Is it too much to ask? One author in particular has left me hanging on 3 of her stories and I wouldn’t be mad except that she has 28 stories that she is working on and basically only the oneshots are finished. This lady is a seriously outstanding writer but I can’t invest any more time in stories that will never see an end. You know who you are… please finish what you started, then write some more because you are that good.
5) For the most part I am humbled by the truly talented so called “Amateur” writers out there. You guys are seriously gifted. How many stories can be written about the same two star-crossed lovers and still have it be interesting? Apparently, a lot. I have read absolutely more good stories than bad and even the bad ones have their moments. I will read anything: AU, AH, canon pairings, Slash, Femslash, horror, thriller, romantic, comedy, drama, oneshot, pure smut, PG…etc. I have enjoyed all genres. I am wiling to give a writer my undivided attention, so even if it’s bad I will see it to it’s completion rooting for it to end well.
My Best list includes: If you read any of these stories you will not be disappointed. They are outstanding on every level.
Boycotts and Barflies by vjgm
If anybody decides to read this...Thanks for listening to my little rant.