I am going to assume if you are reading this, you either:
A.) Write fanfiction
B.) Read fanfiction, or
C.) Both A and B.
Many of you are also probably wondering, “Who cares!?”
Well, I think our community cares. Maybe we care too much. Am I rambling? Naturally because it’s what I do best!
Often times, writers of fanfiction like feedback. Who wouldn’t? It’s nice to hear what people think about your work. After all, sometimes they belong in the same fandom as you. It’s nice to hear other nerds rant and rave about their ships and OTPs.
However, the real issue is when an author writes. The writer can see how many people read his/her story, but no one leaves a review. Why is this? Do they not like the way you write? Could they not like your ships or OTPs? Fortunately, young writer, I do not believe this is the case.
I believe laziness is part of the case; yes, some readers may be lazy. They do not want to go the extra mile to review. Some may also think your story isn't worth reviewing. But I like to think it’s something more.
I think the reader is too shy to review. Let’s face it, most of us are more than likely introverted, socially awkward, and do not want to come off as annoying. But dear reader, this could be far from the truth. The writers want to hear back from the readers. It helps fuel the creative mind. A car cannot run without gasoline. The same goes for a writer without a creative spark.
Now the question is, how do we encourage the reader to review? You cannot simply tell them to “get over themselves and review”. It’s like telling someone with stage fright to go on stage and read a short story. It won't turn out well at all. But as an author, what we can do to remind those shy and timid readers is to reassure them that reviews are okay. We can explain that it is okay to talk to us like any other normal because that is what we are.
Even if they review something like, “omg I love it!” the writer should help ease the reader to feel comfortable and to tell them that it's okay to express how they feel about the story they just read. Once an easier environment has been established, the writer has done everything he/she can do to encourage the reader to review. It is now up to the reader to review.
"But how?!" The reader wonders while staring at the screen.
As we are aware, some writers do not like “please update!” And now you have just annoyed the writer. The last thing you, as the reader, wants to do is annoy the writer.
Even if some authors express they would like more feedback from their readers, you should remember that there are writers out there that can read between the lines. So “Please update!” can easily become a meaning of the reader really enjoying the story. Just imagine the reader foaming at the mouth with anticipation of the next chapter.
Therefore, the reader should not be put off. Keep at it. Maybe add something simple along with the reques to update with a statement like: “I really like your story. Please update!”
Remember, feedback is always good for the writer. Without feedback, the writer might just stop writing. And for the reader who wants to know more about their ship, you want that next chapter.
To all the readers, this is very important. Feedback is very important. Shaming is NOT feedback.
Remember the golden rule: if you got nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
However, do not get discouraged if you do get a flame. Readers, if you notice a couple of spelling errors or an html tag out of place, it is okay to point them out. There absolutely NOTHING WRONG with saying “Hey, I really like this story. However, I noticed in the paragraph with Roy spinning at his desk, you forgot to close your html tag.”
It’s okay to even copy and paste what I just wrote! Because feedback is very important to the writer. Then the writer will see it, and notice someone is actually reading the story and cares! It’s very nice to hear positive feedback. Just think how you would feel, if you put your heart and soul into something, and someone told you how wonderful it is.
Now, yes, helpful reviews would be every writer’s dream. Such as a reader saying “I love your story! I love how Thor tried to give Loki cookies to cheer him up. It is something I can see Thor doing! The ever loving brother. Good job in keeping them in character. I would love to see how little Thor interacts with Loki more. Their ship is my favorite.” This is the kind of ideal review that people want. Well, not this exactly but you get the idea.
However, I will be a realist. This more than likely won’t happen right off the bat when you write a new story or even update an older one. Even I have trouble telling a writer what my favorite part in his/her story is. It’s okay not to be so specific. No one starts at the top. As the reader, you can only do what is your comfortable level.
Now, imagine the reader being able to leave such reviews above. Maybe you have read a couple of stories by the writer, and you are beginning to feel you are becoming friends with the writer. Then write a review your little heart wants to scream and cry about. Because, the writer will love it. I am positive about that. He/she might even give you a reply to your review. And it turns out, before you know it, you two have become friends. No, I’m serious! It happens all the time among our community. Dottie and Felina are besties. They just didn’t roll out of bed one day, and proclaim it randomly. They were reading each other stories. Then they talked on the forums. Then they would message each other. And BAM! Playing xbox live together. Friendships happen all the time on here. I mean, look at the staff. We didn’t go BAM friends on here from here hence. I’ve known Felina since the days of e-fiction. (And that’s a looooooong time ago). Wangfire, Reno, and I fangirled over Sherlock and Tony Stark. Dantya, Reno, Dottie, and Felina all ramble off of video games. And now, we’re excited to learn more about Passerby, Emma, and Rhye.
Friendships happen here. And honestly, they last forever. I still talk to a couple of people from the beginning. You just might have to make the first step. And it’s always the hardest. But remember, Neil Armstrong’s footprints are still on the moon. You might be the one leaving footprints on someone’s heart. And I mean for the better. So go and tell someone how much you love their story. In the end, those weirdos in the normal, real life world have no idea how much you ship Hinata and Naruto. You just want to shake her, and tell her to ask him out already. Take that boy to Ichiraku.
In real life, you’re suppose to worry about papers and taxes. Pft, to the real world.
We’re the better world. Love you all!