Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality

The Early Demise of Fanfic


Reading through the archives over at SGA Storyfinders, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time reading the adventures of John and Rodney, two seriously horny space explorers—at least they are in fanfiction. In the show John actually seemed a little clueless with the sexual relationships unless someone was knocking him over the head with it—often literally.

But I’m surprised at the number of stories that are gone.

Just gone.

It’s not that the authors stopped paying for their websites and so they vanished, only appear again through the magic of the web archive. It’s not that they deactivated their LiveJournal account and the fic died as an unfortunately side-effect.

Okay, sometimes it is exactly that.

But a lot of times, these stories were intentionally removed by the authors. The authors went through all the time and effort to create stories that people liked well enough to ask for them. In some cases, I see the same story asked for over and over and over.

Has anyone seen that one… you know… the one where they break away from Earth version 523? Has anyone seen the one with bug John where he’s in the crate?

Sometimes I can even track down the stories, and they’re good.

But they are, for the most part, gone. These children of some creative mind have been shuffled off to an early grave.

I wonder how many have died the death of the bad review?

Now, I’m not talking about professional texts. People are paying for that, so my tolerance for asshatary goes up.

gibbsEven the person who one starred me and ripped into me for having a child raped on screen gets a pass from me, and those of you who know me know that I would spork my own eyes out before I ever wrote that so I don’t know if the reviewer confused my book with another or if they were skimming so fast that they somehow got confused and honestly thought my character was underage. Oh, and the rape is off-screen, but whatever. I get paid to write that, so I should be able to take some hits, right?

It stings, and sometimes I think of taking up voodoo, but I take it.

However fanfiction is a hobby. This is a fun activity done by fans who want to geek out and writing stories gives them a chance to do that. I’m writing a fanfic series right now where Gibbs and Tony are in Atlantis and I’m having fun turning Gibbs loose on some of the general stupidity. They want to walk through with very few supplies? Well, Gibbs (and his tok-ra like passenger) have a few things to say about that. It’s fun. See? FUN… in a masochistic, carpal tunnel inducing sort of way.

But then I get someone announcing that he doesn’t like my logic and he refuses to read more. Why? Because I had John kidnapped on Earth. Oh, and no Stargate characters ever get kidnapped on Earth… no. *insert eyeroll here* I was setting this during the beginning of Season Two when the Trust is one of the big bad guys, but if John were on Earth for six months, they wouldn’t take a shot at him, and because I think they would, he tells me I’m wrong and he’s out of there.

Good. Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

Why do people try and treat fanfic like professionally published works? Guess what, I don’t pay to have my fanfic edited. *gasp* That means it has grammatical errors—a lot of them. If that were for actual publication, I would track those suckers down and kill every bad pronoun reference.

However, hunting pronoun antecedent references and split infinitives isn’t fun. It isn’t even on the same continent with fun, and I want fanfic to be FUN. If people send me corrections, I often (not always) get around to fixing things on my website while I watch TV. I refuse to feel bad if I don’t, though.

I guess I just wonder how much really good fanfiction has been shuffled off to an early death because a fanfic reader started treating fanfic writers like professionals? How many creative minds have shut down in the face of criticism that is really unnecessarily harsh for a playground? I am totally willing to call Damien Hirst’s work utter shite, but I’m not going to say that to the couple doing chalk art on the sidewalk.

It just makes me sad that link after link is dead, and many of those authors intentionally took their balls and went home—or John and Rodney’s balls anyway. If there’s no money changing hands, it’d be nice if people used the backbutton instead of the snark button.


Author: lyngala

Lyn Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn't stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that's where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it's writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn't writing, Lyn Gala teaches history part time in New Mexico and constantly prays for that one big breakout novel that will let her leave the classroom behind forever. She loves teaching, but she loves writing more.

3 thoughts on “The Early Demise of Fanfic

  1. I know! I find it horribly sad at the number that are gone, really. I can’t understand why they’d do that, but I guess it was theirs to give and theirs to take away. Eh. I’ve learned to save to my hard drive if I really like something, because otherwise I might not see it again.

    Fanfiction should be fun, though, for the authors, I agree. Why should you do it if you get attacked and harassed from all directions? Everyone should get to enjoy it. I’ve never understood why, if you find a fic that’s not your thing for whatever reason – you don’t just close that browser/tab. Seriously…just go away. I don’t understand why peeps seem to need to make things bad for all of us. Oy. Certainly you writers don’t deserve that. But it totally makes me sad because there really are a ton of fantastic (and not so fantastic) stories just gone. What a shame.

    Also, I’m totally loving your NCIS/SGA works, so please, please don’t let anyone chase you away. I’ve actually been impressed by how well you’ve blended them for the sake of your story line. Well done – detractors be damned. 😉



    P.S. By the way, if you’re actually interested in this – Has anyone seen the one with bug John where he’s in the crate? – I have it.

  2. You and I have both been around long enough to have seen people seek out writers or artists in fandom and seek to destroy them, to stop their voices. I don’t know exactly why this is, except I came to believe that it was a problem with the person doing the attacking. What they were doing was actually hurting themselves. It bothered me because in finding your voice you don’t always write well at first, you may make mistakes in how you post in a community. I wish there was more tolerance for this. I created communities specifically to meet these problems and they have outlived my involvement.

    I did recently write in my journal the epilogue to a beloved book. I don’t think the book particularly needed it, but for my own personal satisfaction it was wonderful to do it because now I can see those characters in an easier place than the end of the story.

  3. Ain’t *that* the truth. So many fanfic writers are naturally shy to start with, and when you throw in that awful feeling that any criticism at all, even the constructive variety, is somehow an attack on you personally, it’s no wonder they yank their stories off when the true flaming starts. Me, I found this wonderful way to deal with the spelling and grammar errors: I block and copy into a Word document and fix it myself as I read it.

    Yes, there are certain types of stories I don’t like to read, but that’s no reason to rag on the author for writing them in the first place. The only time I snark about it – if you can even call “Gee, a warning at the beginning of this would have been nice” snarking – is if there’s no warning.

    I’m no advocate of a lot of the “sensitivity” malarkey that PC nazis advocate these days, but in this case, I definitely make an exception. It’s only common courtesy.

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