The Ugly Underbelly of Fandom

There is a certain kind of writer who attaches no value to their own work on an emotional level. They write for attention. It’s the same kind of “writer” who dreams of writing a book so they’d be rich and famous. This is also the kind of “writer” who wants to write a book about their life because apparently, we ALL want to read about it and just don’t know it. This attention-seeking writer actually taints the fandom, and readers, with their pathological need for attention. They encourage readers to offer them suggestions for future plot developments, character arcs, and even pairings. Then when they write themselves into a hole because of they actually listened to all the crap they get back—they blame their “muse” for not being inspired to complete the story.

Of course, the worse part of an attention-seeking writer are the readers they leave in their wake who feel entitled to intrude on the process of other writers because they felt validated by a previous experience. They are utterly comfortable providing a list of wishes and wants to other writers in their feedback. If they want a certain pairing in a story—they demand it and will abuse a writer if they don’t get it.

I’ve said before that reader entitlement is the ugliest part of fandom. I’ve been threatened with rape and murder for not updating when a reader felt I should. There have been times when readers have essentially had screaming fits on my contact form or in an email because I didn’t write the pairing they wanted or I chose a Stargate project over a Harry Potter one for Rough Trade.

Some readers take my decisions regarding my own writing as a personal insult and have no problems letting me know that I’m ruining their life by not writing what they want me to write.

Recently, I had a reader send me a single sentence email, and it was:

“I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, I hope you finish Phoenix before I die.”

At first, I was outraged, but I wasn’t particularly surprised since I’ve seen this kind of emotional blackmail in fandom before. I deleted the email without a response, and I put the sender on a filter in my email that automatically trashes any email she sends me in the future. Because I want no part of her bullshit but I do wonder how many other writers she’s approached with this disgusting tactic.

Those who only read in fandom don’t genuinely understand the creative process. They don’t understand the intimacy of writing or the emotional risk of posting it in public. They never will understand, really, and investing yourself in trying to make them is just intellectual masochism.

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

2 Comments:

  1. I am so sad to read this, but I’ve seen the bullshit of people who think they have a say in what others do. Unfortunately I think COVID has made everyone more crazy and they are taking it out on everyone else. I just wanted to tell you that my daughter shared the link to Absence of War, and I loved it so much, I binge read all of your other stories. You are a phenomenal writer, and I’ve enjoyed everyone of them. Stay strong and know that there are plenty of people out there who are just jealous because they don’t have the talent you do. God Bless! 💕

  2. Your comments always give me something to think about. I’m not a fanfiction writer. so I don’t have the demand to finish things coming in. But I am a big of an of some authors. It’s frustrating when authors put out stories, string the fan along, and then never finish it. I’ve written authors to politely let them know that I enjoy their work and look forward to reading the next installment. I always try to thank authors for sharing their creativity. I’ve gotten the impression that some writers don’t believe anyone out there is reading and enjoying their work, so a request to read more comes appreciated. But I’ve never felt that demanding or harassing or threatening an author is acceptable either. I would say that I can’t believe how awful some people can be, but if nothing else the Trump era and the Year of Covid (TM evil) has shown that there are some pretty low places many people aren’t afraid to publicly travel, So, while there are several stories that I look forward to reading the next step from, mostly I am grateful for what you’ve shared. I love your strong characters and your insistence that love conquers most issues & good triumphs over evil in the end. :). I am happy when I read your stories. I have reread several of them. (By the way, I sorta skim the sex so I can’t describe much about the steamy parts. Maybe sometimes something sticks in my head. But mainly it’s the love that your characters show that makes your work so good.). I’m sorry I can’t express my thoughts as well as some, but I will send my best wishes to you for a better autumn and health & good vibes too. 🙂
    Vicky

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