BSV Forum - General - The Bloodshedpub

whats going on & why are authors leaving???

Nov 06 2006 02:59 pm   #1Guest
The thing i enjoy most about this site is the standard of writing and the quality of the stories. I'm not a writer so i have no clue what happens on their end of things, and i don't know what kind of screening process authors and their stories have to go through to get posted. I would hope everyone is treated with kindness and respect. I enjoy the quality of fanfic here and I hope it doesn't change.
Nov 06 2006 03:08 pm   #2Guest

Yeah, with a bunch leaving at the same time, there's no way we can avoid the issue, huh? I wonder if anybody tried to fix the problem before it got this far....

Man, I've seen a lot of choosing sides in the fandom lately...Whatever happened to just having fun?

Nov 06 2006 03:48 pm   #3Diabola

They are leaving because we've been too harsh in our rejection letters when not accepting a fic. Somewhere we must have forgotton that people react differently to such things, and slipped into a tone that hurt the authors. I can't really explain how it happened, we never intended to hurt anyone or to be mean, but from the responses we're getting now it is clear that that's what happened.

No matter what anyone wants to believe, I'd like to think that had someone brought this up before we would have realized what we were doing and stopped instantly. Should we have come to that realization on our own? Probably, but alas we didn't and no one bothered to mention it either.

I'm not trying to shift the blame here, we obviously crossed a line somewhere without noticing it; but I think it's importatant to know that this is not happening because we ignored everyone who told us we were loosing our way, but that the mass exodus you're seeing right now is the first reaction visible to us.

Anyway, we know it now, and for those who are willing to give us a second chance, I can assure you that we will take care to consider the authors' feelings more in the future. I appologize to everyone we hurt with our harshness, that was never our intention. We were trying to react to complaints about the validation process beeing too lax, and I guess we ended up with the extreme on the opposite side of things. Then the whole sweet-talking and positive talk seemed somehow false and not something one of us would want to hear, so we gradually stopped using it. This obviously got out of hand and we forgot how a letter like that will look to the person on the recieving end. Again, I appologize for that.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Nov 06 2006 04:50 pm   #4slaymesoftly

An excellent reply, Dia. 

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 06 2006 04:54 pm   #5Guest

It's nice to read your side, Dia. The author's notes were a real surprise to me this morning.

I tend to go with the school of thought of bringing a problem to someone privately first, rather than airing it to all and sundry. Whichever side people are going to fall on now, this will tarnish the reputation of the site. Gossip is a bitch like that. I'm really sorry this is so public now.

Caro Mio

 

Nov 06 2006 05:06 pm   #6UncagedMuse

I'm one of the authors who pulled out. I want you to see the type of fic that was rejected by this site. In the rejection they also told her that the fic seemed way to similar to another fic, which they didn't give a name for, and told her she needed to watch her writing and ideas because it was too close to something the mod had read somewhere before. 

Here is a link to the site her fics are on right now. The fic in question is called It Hurts and it's written by anon462.

http://home.att.net/~lubakmetyk/crypt.htm#anon462

No, I dont' not know this author personally. I only know about her because I've been reading this fic. I have not reviewed her yet either, so there has been no contact what so ever between me and this author. In no way am I biased because this is not a friend and I have only recently started reading her fics.

Also for those of you who have no idea about how any of this works, but you seem to have an opinion on we who have left I feel the need to say that most of us agree there has to be a standard to stick by for accepting fics. We do not however condone new authors being ripped apart by emails when there is no need for that sort of behavior to tell them why they were rejected.

The fandom will die if we do not have new authors coming in and writing. Most everyone's first fic is not very good. In fact most of the great authors on this site feel their first attempt at writing was horrible when they look back on it. The only way we get any better is to have a little help from willing established authors.

Being shreaded by a site is definitely not the way to go. Someone who has the potential to be great may never write another word because of these reasons.

UncagedMuse

Nov 06 2006 05:49 pm   #7Guest

Anon462 has been posting on FF.net for a couple years. It's not like she's new.

I don't get why this couldn't have been handled privately first....all this is making us readers choose sides. And that stinks. And all of the leaving done in one morning? That just screams to me of certain people wantin to make a statement and discredit the mods. They have to clean up the mess that's left, whether there was deliberate harm, or not.

Where's the friggin' proof?

 

Nov 06 2006 06:18 pm   #8Guest

hasn't there been fic screening all along? Why is it suddenly such a big deal? I don't get it.

Nov 06 2006 06:19 pm   #9UncagedMuse

I was not saying that anon was a new author but I was pointing out the fact that a fic with minor problems, but a very excellent story all the same was rejected by this site.

Here's a little proof for you. This is the email in full that was sent to this author.

Story: It Hurts (So Bad)
Chapter: Ch. 1

Write an email to tell the author why his story was rejected.

Hi - Thanks for submitting your story to the BSV. Unfortunately we cannot take it the way it is.

Just in the first two paragraphs, there were multiple punctuation errors and one misspelled word (a typo, I imagine). The punctuation errors continued throughout the fic (I read all three chapters, just to be sure) and that is just not something we are willing to accept. You have some problems with matching your tenses and pronouns, as well as some awkward wording that detracts from the writing too. (Although, much of it is not that poorly written- just difficult to follow because of the punctuation issues).

Also, while the story is rather intriguing, the fact that you are "telling" it rather than showing what is happening makes for a rather boring read. You also repeat at least one scene in the second chapter that you have already described in the previous one, so I think a good re-read is in order to make sure you aren't doing too much of that.

I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that the story itself, as I read on, is incredibly similar (as in, almost identical) to one I remember reading somewhere. Not that you have plagiarized in the true sense of the word, but it is almost as though you are re-telling the story I remember reading. Could be a coincidence, I suppose, but you might want to think about your ideas and be sure you are not unintentionally using some other writer's plot and scenarios.

At a minimum, you need to get yourself a very good beta who can not only fix your punctuation errors, but explain the problems so that you don't continue to make them. If you need to see what I'm talking about, you can email me and I will do a thorough beta on the first page or two as an example of what you should expect.
 
I have read everything this author has posted so far on this fic. There are some small problems, but nothing close to some of the fics on this site. The fic in no way is boring and in fact its gripping enough that you do not notice the minor problems at all. It is in no way difficult to follow and if you take the time to read the fic you will enjoy it.
 
"I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that the story itself, as I read on, is incredibly similar (as in, almost identical) to one I remember reading somewhere. Not that you have plagiarized in the true sense of the word, but it is almost as though you are re-telling the story I remember reading. Could be a coincidence, I suppose, but you might want to think about your ideas and be sure you are not unintentionally using some other writer's plot and scenarios."
 
This part of the email was very upsetting. Especially since the author has been writing on this fic for a long time and in no way resembles any other fic I've ever read.
 
This was my deciding factor in leaving. You do not say something like that without proof.
 
On the matter of rude rejection emails you can ask one of the other authors who left. She stated if you wanted more info she could give it to you. There is plenty of proof.
 
Concrit has nothing to do with tearing someone else apart. There is a nice way to tell someone they need help with characterization, plot, flow, or what ever it may be. No some authors would not be happy to hear that they need help, but the emails I've seen are done in a manner that is not constructive.
 
To tell someone they will never be good enough for this site is a little much I believe.
 
Anything else you want to know you can email me. I'm pulling GS as of this moment and and shutting down my account. I only put it up in the first place so that I was not just running out on my readers. I should have just left without saying anything at all.
 
This site was started for a reason and was one of my favorite places. If I didn't believe in what this site was started for I wouldn't have spent many hours and weeks going through hundreds of fics for the original owner. I wouldn't have promoted the site before it opened. I was one of the first people to know about the idea for this site. I helped as much as I could to get it up and running and now I've cried for days trying to get up the courage to leave it behind.
 
You have no idea how much this hurt to do. I did not come to this decision lightly and it took a large chunk out of my heart. The fandom I joined seems to die a little more everyday and I can't be a part of anything that harms it more than it helps.
 
Goodbye
 

 
 
Nov 06 2006 06:29 pm   #10spikeslovebite

Funny, I don't see even one of the writers who have left asking anyone to take sides. That, my dear anonymous friend, is your issue and something I for one refuse to take responsibility for. If you feel it was done to make a statement? Again, your perogative, think what you will. And as far as discrediting the mods and leaving the 'mess' for them to clean up? Any discrediting was done on their own, not by me, and the 'mess' is something only they can fix.

What you might consider in this being handled privately, is that-for me at least- the lines of communication were never open, and even if they had been, I doubt I would have spoken up. I've seen the fallout on several occasions when certain actions by certain people were taken into question. Very nasty, if not downright ugly. Why would I subject myself to that when I can take my toys and go play quietly elsewhere? Besides, say what you will, even if I had felt comfortable approaching anyone over this matter, nothing would have changed. I'm firmly convinced of that.

I'm not encouraging anyone else to leave. I'm not telling anyone not to patronize the 'Verse. I myself will continue to read here, because there are several fics I'm following. I simply made the decision I felt was the best for my peace of mind and I'm content with that.

What is seriously cracking me up are all these anonymous postings. Did everyone suddenly forget how to log in? If you're going to state your opinion, you should at least have the guts to stand by your words and do so in your own name.


Nov 06 2006 06:37 pm   #11Caro Mio

Huh...well, I don't find that letter that bad...maybe others were, I don't know. I wouldn't have been offended by one like that for my stories, but, to each her own. Thanks for sharing it, I guess.

What a morning, eh?

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Nov 06 2006 06:43 pm   #12Diabola

Ok, I hope I'm not upsetting anon462 even more with this, since the letter I'm about to post was originally a private email to her. If so, I apologize, but I think it only fair to handle this as openly as possible, since it is all public now anyway.

This is not supposed to be an excuse for our actions, in fact, I think the letter makes us look even worse, but it should make sure everyone has all the facts strait.

Hi - Thanks for submitting your story to the BSV. Unfortunately we cannot take it the way it is.

Just in the first two paragraphs, there were multiple punctuation errors and one misspelled word (a typo, I imagine). The punctuation errors continued throughout the fic (I read all three chapters, just to be sure) and that is just not something we are willing to accept. You have some problems with matching your tenses and pronouns, as well as some awkward wording that detracts from the writing too. (Although, much of it is not that poorly written- just difficult to follow because of the punctuation issues).

Also, while the story is rather intriguing, the fact that you are "telling" it rather than showing what is happening makes for a rather boring read. You also repeat at least one scene in the second chapter that you have already described in the previous one, so I think a good re-read is in order to make sure you aren't doing too much of that.

I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that the story itself, as I read on, is incredibly similar (as in, almost identical) to one I remember reading somewhere. Not that you have plagiarized in the true sense of the word, but it is almost as though you are re-telling the story I remember reading. Could be a coincidence, I suppose, but you might want to think about your ideas and be sure you are not unintentionally using some other writer's plot and scenarios.

At a minimum, you need to get yourself a very good beta who can not only fix your punctuation errors, but explain the problems so that you don't continue to make them. If you need to see what I'm talking about, you can email me and I will do a thorough beta on the first page or two as an example of what you should expect.

Looking back now, I have to admit that the phrasing of this letter could have been much more polite. Things like "Just in the first two sentences", "not willing to accept" and "poorly-written" (even if the latter is part of a sentence that says it is NOT poorly-written), give the whole thing a rather dismissive feeling. Again, I appologize for that.

The story was however not rejected because of it's supposed similarity with something the mod had read before, but because of punctuation and tense problems.

Like someone said before, anon464 has been posting for a while now, and I too have read this story quite a while back. I imagine the same was true for the mod who wrote this letter. So of course the story sounded familiar, it's the same story. Normally the mod should have googled for the story, and they would have realized that it was the same author. And had that been the only problem with the story, we would have done exactly that - or asked the author whether she had posted it somewhere before. I imagine that the mod couldn't find the older version, and thought since she was rejecting the fic anyway, it would suffice to mention it in the letter. A short response, saying "That's prolly my story you remember reading, I posted it a few months ago on site xxx." Would have cleared the whole thing up - and the mod would have appologized for acting rashly.

This is not supposed to be an excuse, but an explanation. Mentioning the similarities this way, just from something vaguely remembered and without looking up the facts, may have been thoughless, but it was not intentionally malicious.

That being said, I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do now. I appologized, and will gladly do so again. I admitted that we lost our way, and tried to explain how it happened. I promised that we will change our behaviour in that regard. I wish I could take it back - or at least that it could have been stopped earlier - but that's impossible. Is there anything else I should do? (I don't mean anything I can do to make those authors come back. They made their decision, and I repect that. But I still feel like I owe it to all of you to do something now. I'm just not sure what is expected.)

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Nov 06 2006 06:47 pm   #13UncagedMuse

Caro,

You would not be offended by someone telling you your fic seems to be exactly like someone elses and that although they can't say its plagerism in the strictest sense you need to be careful you aren't unintentionally copying someone else?

I find that very offensive, especially since this authors fic has been up for more than a year and in no way resembles anyone elses.

Nov 06 2006 07:00 pm   #14Caro Mio

Immediately offended? no, I really wouldn't be. If I knew that I was indeed original, I would have pointed out the when and where of my original posting, but I wouldn't have been mad. None of us can be 100% sure that a story is original - there's just too much fic out there to have read it all.

I come from a career, though, that is very critical, and I had to learn to take criticism as it was intended, or quit. Perception is subjective, and it's just as easy not to be offended, as to take offense.

 

Dia, I'm not sure there's more you can do here - people are going to form opinions now, and it would probably take new authors posting their new letters to prove to all that the mods are doing things a new way. It's sad, but that's how it goes. I haven't had any personal experience in the offending issue, so I'll take it on faith after your apologies that more care will be taken. It's all I can do.

Caro Mio

 

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Nov 06 2006 07:38 pm   #15slaymesoftly

Thank you, Dia, for taking point on this and making the apology for me. As you so clearly stated, had the author e mailed me back and said that she had posted the story other places and that I had probably read it there, that would have explained the whole thing.  I did, in fact, find that the story was on FF.net (I think) after searching for the author or the fic and concluded that I must have read it somewhere before and just not remembered the author's name or the title.  Had I found it under another author's name, I would have pursued it more vigorously. When I saw that it was the same person, it became irrelevant. Since the author never responded to my (private) rejection letter, I didn't bother to apologize for the original comments.  An oversight on my part - I should have told the author that had, in fact, read it somewhere else and that was why it seemed familiar to me.  

I cannot see what is offensive about suggesting to an author that she may be copying what turned out to be her own fic.  If anything, I was obviously trying to protect the person who originally wrote the story (that would be her) by discouraging someone from copying it.  A simple "it's my story - you can find it at...." would have been all it took.  I was a bit surprised that I didn't get a response like that once I found out that she had written it.

None of which makes up for the punctuation and grammar errors that seriously affected the readability of the story.  They would be the reason it was rejected. Careful reading of the letter would show that I said that we could not accept it "at this time." Perhaps it could have been made more clear that we would like to have it when those things were fixed, I just thought that would be obvious. 

So, clearly, I need to apologize for #1, not being clear that we were only rejecting the fic until it was fixed up a bit and #2, not contacting the author again to tell her that I'm a dope and had since discovered that it was her fic that I had read, so obviously sounded just like one I'd read before.  I can't apologize for not knowing who she is. I don't know who lots of people are. If none of the three of us recognize a name that comes in, we can't be faulted for responding as though it was a new author.  And, if verse members suggest to authors that they post here?  A head's up to the mods would be helpful in terms of our handling a rejection, if there is one to be made, with kid gloves.  Even better would be to take a good hard look at the fic in question and ask yourself if we are likely to want it before suggesting to a writer that they post it here.

In the case of this writer, I think she did mention that someone had suggested she post, but I didn't figure out who it was until after - didn't know it was a "regular" until then.  Not that it wouldn't have still been rejected, but I would have stuck with the punctuation and grammar issues and skipped the writing advice had I known she was an established author somewhere else.

So, just for the record - I wrote that letter (and most of the other objectionable ones probably), so if you feel the need to yell at someone -please yell at me and leave poor Dia out of it.  Sometimes she gets to see the rejection letters and sometimes she doesn't see them until after they've been sent.  Like the fine person that she is, she is accepting the blame for all of this since it is her site.  However, if it turns out that all the objectionable rejection letters are mine - then we will do whatever is necessary to make that right, and people can stop picking on the verse as a whole and throw things at me instead of Dia.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 06 2006 07:51 pm   #16Caro Mio

Well said...we might as well get the truth out there.

What's bothering me now is that people who didn't/don't know an author apparently had her/their private emails circulated around for others to see? If the offended authors were putting their letters up on a public LJ, or something, okay....but that this may have been passed around people they don't even know, and people got offended on behalf of others they don't know?

It seems a bit like a game of Telephone, yeah? Except with a bit more righteous indignation than gossip usually calls for....

Good luck, Mods...I think you're going to need it for a while.

Caro Mio

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Nov 06 2006 08:01 pm   #17slaymesoftly

Sadly true, Caro Mio. So it would seem.  Thanks for the good wishes.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 06 2006 08:08 pm   #18Caro Mio

You're welcome. I've had to deal with perceptions enough in RL, so I understand how it's even harder over the internet where there's no tone of voice or facial expressions to help.

What If I'm Not the Slayer? now updated with chapters 22 and 23.
Nov 06 2006 09:15 pm   #19Guest

i think it's sad that people feel the need to leave the bloodshedverse because they are not being suported.

personally as long as its gramatically correct and follows the rules of this site any fic should be allowed. if authors feel it's good enough they should be allow share it. if you don't like the story you don't have to read it.

authors shouldn't be stopped posting their fics because certain people don't think they're good enough. what you love i might hate and vice versa. no one has the right to tell some one their stories not good.

if this is how authors are being treated  the fandom will die out and i don't think any of us want that. it's hard enough to keep it going now that the series' have ended. new authors should be appreciated not put down.

we should be supporting each other and working together to keep spuffy fandom alive, not stopping people who want to contribute because their stories don't meet certain peoples standards.

Nov 06 2006 09:55 pm   #20Guest

I just don't understand why this is a problem now. Hasn't there always been fic screening? I am not an author but I love reading on this site and it's the readers who are suffering here, IMHO. Bad vibes, people, bad vibes. Find the problem and fix it please!

Nov 06 2006 10:01 pm   #21TwilightChild

   I recieved a similiar letter when my stories were rejected.  However, I did not take it so personally.  Of course, this could also be because I am trying to become a writer professionally and can use all the constructive critisism I can get.  This site was the very first site I had ever recieved a rejection or bad review for a certain story that I had submitted, so I had no idea there was anything really wrong with it until I came here.  As much as it may jar someone, sometimes the harsh slap in the face of truth is better than the underhanded and untruthful smiles and pats on the back.

  However, something that all the mods here need to realize is, this is NOT a publishing company.  They are not making money off of the things they allow posted here.  Alot of writers here don't have degrees in english and literature, they aren't editors or lawyers or paid writers of any kind.  Some of them are just regular people with regular, tiring jobs that like to take a load off in front of the computer and enjoy stories and sharing stories.

  This isn't politics, and this isn't publishing.  This is FANFICTION.  Fanfiction, above all else, is about fun.  It's sharing your love of a story and characters that you can't quite let go of.  It's sharing your views and your feelings about things that could have been, or should have been, or something that just touches you.  This isn't about getting everything right, or becoming the best of writers.    This is just about fun, and it should stay that way.  If you react to a new author who just wants to share with harsh critisism all the time, then they're not going to bother trying to share again.  They're just going to read and sit on the sidelines.

  I enjoy good quality fanfiction as much as the next person.  Yeah, there are pet peeves that'll throw me right out of the story, but that's my problem, not the fanfiction writer's.  Helpful critsism is what reviews are for, to guide them and help them shape themselves into better writers.  

Those are just my opinions.  Personally I don't think any readers should be taking sides, I certainly won't be.  The writers that choose to leave have their reasons, and I understand them, but even if I didn't it's not my place to argue it.


TwilightChild

Nov 06 2006 10:13 pm   #22GoldenBuffy

Well, since everyone's tossing their two cents worth, so am I. Personally I don't understand why this issue wasn't done in private. I'm with the school of thought of not airing dirty laundry. If you have issues with a person persons, you take them to the side and address it in private, not in public where all can see. I'm not out right knocking thoughs who did make this open, because they have their reasons, but it sould have been done in private first. If the issue wasn't known by the mods how were they supposed to fix it.

I remember way back in 05,lol, when BSB rejected my first fic I submitted here. I think it was rejected at least three times, but she also told me what needed work, why it was rejected, and opened me to the world of Betas. Also, she did a quick beta of my first chappie so I would understand what she was speaking about. *I'm going off topic aren't I?*

But my point is, even if the mods offended author's, I'm sure it wasn't malice. Dia already explained that she didn't realize that the responses were so harsh. But each person has their own feelings, what some see as helpful others see as rude. I just hope this will soon be put behind us. What needs to be fixed will be, and we gain new authors and maybe even some old ones.

And in the air the fireflies
Our only light in paradise
We'll show the world they were wrong
And teach them all to sing along
Nov 06 2006 11:38 pm   #23Guest

I never review, just read, because reviews are never wanted by the majority of authors. I've seen this same type of brouhaha several times now.  This is another case in which the 'cruel, harsh statements no one should have to endure' bears any resemblance to cruelty.  This site does have higher standards than most which is why its pretty much the only archive site I regularly check .  The letter rightly complained of punctuation and grammar deficiencies.  The offer to beta was made.  To me, its pretty generous of a moderator to make an offer requiring so much of their time and effort to someone they are permanently rejecting.

I realize that I'm not a writer, I've never offered up my thoughts in fiction at an archive and been rejected.  My ego isn't at stake here.  On the other hand, anyone who is serious about an art form needs to take the technical side of their art seriously and work at it.  Even if it is fanfiction.   Or if you don't care, just put a warning note on the abstract: "Its crap, crappily written and I don't care."  It will save me clicking through two or three pages to get to your story and then clicking my way back out.   I'm always happy if a moderator has saved me that trouble by demanding that a work by betaed before posting it.

Slaymesoftly, I always read your stories first because I know I will enjoy the experience.   When my time is limited I don't want to waste it.

Nov 07 2006 12:15 am   #24Guest

*SIGH*

That is my initial reaction to this whole issue summed up succinctly.

Honestly, I feel it's very sad that it's gotten to this point -- but I have to say, I stand in support of the mods on this site.

I read that email (which should *not* have been posted up here without at least the permission of the person to whom it was sent -- and if those who posted it had that permission to do so, then I'm not saying anything against you) and personally, I saw nothing that anyone should have taken offense to, unless they were quite thin-skinned. I can honestly say that I would not have taken offense to it -- I read the first chapter of the story, and -- comments on the fic's originality aside -- I have to say that I agreed with the mods' assessment.

And to the person who said that a writer has a right to post whatever they want, as long as it's not plaigarized? Who ever said *THAT*? I had to be invited to post at this site -- it's always been a very high quality, respected site with very high standards -- and that's a good part of why I *like* it...so who has the right to come along and say to those running the site, "You *have* to let anyone in, whether their writing is good enough or not?"

And I'm not saying anything about any writer -- I have read many fics by the writer who was sent that email, and always thoroughly enjoyed them...honestly, I would have thought that most of the errors in the version of the fic that I read (from the link on here) were typos -- but does that mean that it should be allowed to be posted, all typos included?? *NO!*

I feel that it's always wise to respect other people's feelings -- but sometimes when someone has to be honest about their assessment of a piece of writing, I think the writer needs to be big enough to accept constructive criticism...

I *will* say that the question of plaigarism should have been handled with more delicacy -- but that is about the only thing I think the mods should have handled differently.

And I will agree with them that if something like this is becoming an issue, you should talk to the people involved. Maybe they'll do something about it -- maybe they won't -- but if they don't and you choose to move on, then you've done all you can to keep it from getting to that point. If you just assume it wouldn't have fixed anything and leave, then you'll never really know if things could have been a lot better.

That's my humble opinion, and I really hope I haven't offended anyone with it. I'm simply being honest about the way I feel about the whole situation.

I love all of you guys, the writers who are leaving, the writers who are staying, the mods -- everyone -- and hate to see this split -- but I will continue to read -- and *write* here, and also to read the fics of the writers who are leaving.

*Hugs all around ;P*

DreamsofSpike

Nov 07 2006 12:55 am   #25slaymesoftly

I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of us on here.  It is much appreciated today. 

No doubt mistakes have been made in wording the letters - obviously we will have to take a harder look at them and go back to passing the letters around until we all agree that it is OK to send. I don't apologize for trying to keep up the quality of the stories on the site- and as long as Dia is behind that philosophy, we will continue to do so.  I don't believe that "elite" and "snob" are synonyms.  I think that being considered a fine enough writer that you are offered posting privileges on a site known for "elitism" would be a big ego boost for a writer. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be the best (or as close to it as one can reasonably expect to come). We may not be a publishing company, but we are offering a service to readers and they have come to expect a certain level of quality from this archive.  I will except criticism for our methods - accept it, think hard about it, and certainly try to temper future letters (If I'm allowed to write any. LOL) accordingly - but I will not back down from a desire to archive only fics that meet a minimum standard of technical and/or artistic quality.

There are sites for writers who are only interested in sharing their stories with anyone who cares to read them.  I personally don't go to those sites because I don't have time to wade through a lot of bad fics trying to find the gems.  That seems to be the sort of thing upon which we may all have to agree to disagree. And that is fine.  One of the purposes of the forum is to provide a place for people to air their opinions and viewpoints.  You may or may not change someone's mind about what they believe (beliefs being much harder to change than opinions based on fact), but then again - maybe you will. Or alter it a bit anyway. 

I have another interest in which the same sort of argument comes up occasionally.  The "we're doing this for fun" participants vs the "I'm doing this seriously and trying to get better and be successful."  There is usually no problem except when the "I'm doing it for fun" people try to compete with the "I'm working hard at this" ones for limited spaces and find that even if they have some natural talent, they will almost always lose out to the serious people. Much gnashing of teeth and complaining generally ensues - although, every now and then someone with natural ability is able to see the difference between what they can do and what the others can do and instead of being angry, goes to the proper person and asks what they need to do to reach that same level of ability.  Much happiness all around.

Often, that happens here too - someone is rejected with specific suggestions and a request to re-submit, they are grateful rather than angry, get some assistance and resubmit a fic that we are happy to put up.  I wish it happened more often than it does.  And, I wish that those authors who ask for specifics about what is wrong with a fic would understand that they may not like what they hear.  No matter how diplomatically it is put (and, yes, clearly I could be more diplomatic!) no matter how much hand-patting and encouraging is done (and I didn't do much of this lately), some people are always going to be hurt that their work was not what we were looking for.  There just is no good way to say that to someone.  And if we don't say it, then we are being forced into putting up fics that we really don't want just because we can't fault them mechanically. Then we are back to what we owe our readers who are counting on us to provide a quality product.

Someone mentioned the possibility of fics that they would like being rejected because of our personal tastes.  Could that happen? I guess it could.  That would not necessarily mean that the fics that you would have liked were good ones.  It would mean that you weren't bothered by their defects, didn't recognize the defects, or actually liked the less than stellar writing. It happens. If the mods at a particular site don't feel the same way, then you would have to go elsewhere to read those fics.  There are a lot of published authors that I wouldn't bother paying money for or reading for one reason or another - doesn't make the authors any less rich, just keeps my shelves a little less cluttered.  Just as you might go to Borders and want to buy and read something that I don't, you may have to seek out authors or fics that we don't care for somewhere else.  I'm not saying that the BSV is the be-all and end-all of fan fic.  But it is going to reflect what the mods consider readable stories.

Someone responded to poor anon's letter - and I hope she is OK with all the public airing it is getting - by saying that it had a "few minor" punctuation issues.  Um - no, it didn't. While Dia has regretted the opening sentence of the reasons for rejection in which I said there were multiple punctuation errors and one typo in the first two paragrpahs - I wrote that for a purpose.  The author had written a potentially decent story. I wanted it to be very clear that I was not nit-picking over a "few minor" errors. That there were a lot of them.  Too many (along with the problems with tenses) to justify letting it on as is.  And that is what I said.  I would love to see her get it well-beta'd and resubmit it, but we state clearly in our rules that fics should be grammatically correct and as it stood, it wasn't.  Would we have turned down the same fic if it had a typo here or there?  No, of course not.  Might have mentioned them in the acceptance letter, if I felt the author would want to know, but wouldn't have turned it down for a few mistakes.  We all have those. Even betas miss the occasional typo. 

This has gone on much longer than I intended - but there were so many issues brought up and I wanted to respond to everyone who posted so they would know that I was paying attention and thinking about their opinions.

Again, thanks very much to those who are being supportive of us at this difficult time.  We really appreciate it.



I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 07 2006 01:29 am   #26Megan

I have been a mod on this site.  The last mod, in fact, along with BSB herself.  In one rejection letter I've read, it was said that the site had to be 'brought back from' what I presume was the miserable state of affairs we'd left it in.

Modding isn't easy.  Not if you care about the people who are taking the time to try and be on the site.  Often you wish you could say be damned with rules and standards and take them all on, but this site WAS setting a standard and we did our best to keep it up.  It was very difficult to write rejection letters and Stacy and I would often discuss what we wanted to do about certain fics.  But NOT ONCE we were ever confrontational, terribly in depth or insensitive.  More often than not, I offered myself or spikeslovebite as beta on a fic I thought showed promise but had some real problems...and the majority of the time, we were taken up on it.  I feel proud of some of the fics that made it to the site through positive encouragement aimed at understanding not everyone is thick skinned, and more often than not quite sensitive--being that writing is in league with the artistic temperament.

Three authors that I know of have been very hurt by the response to their attempt to post at this site.  I'm only going to talk about anon, as I have IMed personally with her.  

I have asked Anon a few times to write to Dia to make known how hurt and upset she was about the claims that she was ripping off someone's fic.  She told me she couldn't, because she was terrified of a confrontation.  Not worried about it, really upset and fearful she'd receive another letter claiming--I guess--that she's a thief of ideas.  Now she never knew that Patti later found out the fic she had been stealing from was her own, only that by saying anything she'd be open to an unknown reaction.  

I know that many people love getting criticism, want to get better, but there are several layers of writers.  Those that want to be professional and those that just want to connect with spuffy.  Anon is one of the latter and she's too sensitive even to be betaed--and I have offered--because she's afraid of being told she's wrong, or her ideas are bad.  I would love to beta her, but this is one type of personality the current mods have to deal with, and any excuse to be so harsh is just that.  All the old rejection letters written by Stacy and myself were and still are available for them to take pointers from and there was never any need to be so judgmental and harsh.

As for my leaving?  It was a decision made with great difficulty.  There was no mass exodus planned, and believe it or not, it's quite traumatic to take down three years of work.  This site has meant so much more than any of the readers can know.  It wasn't only about being read, it was about being accepted, loved and appreciated.  By BSB.  None of you can know how much we owe her, and her ability to care and be sensitive--as well as diplomatic--to others is what made this place great.  I do not have the same confidence anymore.


Megan

Nov 07 2006 02:28 am   #27anaunthe

Wow, what a mess.  So glad that I am only here looking on and hoping that most of the dust has already settled.

I can easily see how people would have an honest difference of opinion on this issue, and respect all people's feelings and opinions as valid.

That said, I am glad that I did not have a similar experience when I first began posting on this site.  I can see how getting any kind of 'rejection' would be hard to take, no matter how nicely it is phrased (and okay maybe sometimes it could have been said more nicely).  Published authors, however, must face rejection time and time again.  It does not necessarily mean that their work was "bad." Many best sellers were first rejected by other publishing houses.  Like all art, it is subjective. Of course when you are just starting out, that is hard to take.

In daily life, I am a teacher.  One of the hardest things I have to do is give a student a poor grade.  I have to continually remind myself that if I don't, then not only am I not helping the student to improve, I am also cheapening the grades of the students who put in the necessary work, and denying the student who is not working up to expectation the chance to do.  Probably even worse is having to write personal comments on each student.  How does one say to a parent, in a diplomatic way, that their child is obstinate, belligerent, stupid and lazy, without of course using any of those words or leaving the impression that I hate their child?  Their are entire books devoted to this subject and offering suggestions. 

So, although I have never done it, I'd have to agree that being a mod is not easy.  What makes it even worse is that you never know how your artfully phrased criticism will be received.  Given the exact same comment, some parents might be pleased, while others will defend their child or give excuses, while a third might take the child home and thrash him.  The point is you never know how what you say will be taken.

So, I thought of a few concrete suggestions for future and current mods (to take or reject as you see fit - I really don't want your job here, just trying to be helpful).

1. Have more than one person read the 'rejection' letter.  Not the fic, cause that would probably be too much work.  But get a second opinion before sending anything out.

2. Develop some standard language that you all agree is not too harsh to use for specific problems that you encounter often.  Unfortunately this will have the effect of making your reply more of a form letter than a personal critique, but it might be less hurtful that way.  You could include some language that if the author wants more information, they should ask for it.

3. Make sure that you also find something good to say about every fic.  This is what we have to do for students, and I admit that sometimes it is hard.  You may even want to sandwich your criticisms between comments about what you liked in a fic. This makes the criticisms much easier to take.

Just my thoughts, to take or leave as you like.  It's too bad this had to happen, and my heart goes out to everyone involved on either side of the divide.

-cas

 

 

Cas
Nov 07 2006 03:03 am   #28slaymesoftly

Some excellent suggestions, Cas.  Actually, very rarely does one of us reject a fic without consultation.  Since usually all that is submitted is one chapter, it is fairly easy for us to keep up and all read and agree on what we want to do.  And I think we may have already made the decision to go back to vetting each other's letters before sending. When I first started modding (lol), I was very hesitant to make the decisions on my own and ran to Dia for everything. As I became more comfortable with the limits to my discretion,  I probably did do a few more on my own.  Truly bad fics, or obviously good ones usually don't require a conversation - but we often have one anyway and someone is chosen to write the letter.  Dia has added the option of putting up a letter with an acceptance as well as with a rejection, which is a nice feature and allows us to welcome people to the verse.  Anyway, I think we are way ahead of you on this one - it will be quite a while before either of us feels comfortable sending a reject letter without input from everybody. The trick will be sticking to our guns while sending messages that are not going to be welcome no matter how they are worded.

I like the form letter idea, actually.  Provided we can come up with the proper wording for it, it could save us a lot of trouble. 

Contrary to how it may seem from the complaints and the quotes from the letters, we do try to say something positive most of the time.  It's possible you don't know exactly how truly bad some submissions can be - lol - but we will definitely be making an effort to say something positive in the future.  It actually isn't difficult most of the time - even fics that we reject for some reason may have a really good plot idea behind them or something like that to praise.  I think one way I got into trouble here is that I tend to be a rather low-key person by nature, and I come from some other hobbies/activities in which understatement is the norm.  So, my idea of something positive isn't going to be "this is a wonderful idea" it's going to more along the lines "this isn't half-bad".  That's not to be taken literally, obviously, but you get the idea.  We don't say a dog or horse is gorgeous - we say he is "a nice dog" or "a nice horse".  Nor, except for fanciers of one unnamed breed, do we say unkind things about the competition. We don't say the other dogs are "garbage," we might say "the bitches were better than the dogs today" to indicate that we didn't like the male dogs shown.  More information than you needed to have, no doubt. lol  The point being, that what seems to be to be praise may very well not come across that way, so I will have to watch it.  Also, we need to be careful not to allow ourselves to become rushed into making decisions when we are tired or in a hurry.  It is so easy to forget to thank the author for the submission before telling them that we aren't taking it when one is trying to get an impatient author a response. Ditto for giving the response the thought it should have sometimes.  

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions - they are excellent - practical and taking into consideration the needs of both mods and submitters.  I particularly liked the part about not cheapening the grades and work of the students who did well.  It resonates with me.

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 07 2006 04:05 am   #29ZoeGrace

I've really thought about how to address this because I have friends on both sides of this issue.  I don't wish to appear two-faced or hypocritical.  I can see both sides of it to some extent, but on the whole I think people need to get thicker skins about their work.  If you just write for fun and have no intention of improving...great...post elsewhere.

That may be harsh and mean and whatever, but I'm not a mod and I don't have to worry about your feelings.  If you can't edit your own stuff reasonably and won't get a beta to help you and won't fix your errors, but instead choose to go to other people to complain about your horrible mistreatment...I don't want to hear it.

This site is a site with much less craptastic fic than most fanfic sites for a reason.  I don't want to see the mods suddenly afraid to reject people so the quality of fics can just go down the crapper.  

As for people leaving.  You gotta do what you gotta do, however, speaking as someone who has gotten into a little snit and been a drama queen, pulled off her fic and left the site (yep that was me,  I did that.)...

It really comes down to deciding why you post.  Do you post based on a happy utopia fanfic site where everybody loves and respects everybody or do you post for the readers?  I had to get my head out of my ass and realize, that whatever personal little issues I had with a few people, it was shitty to start ripping all my stuff off and punishing my readers for it.

The readers don't care about your personal dramas.  Learn to separate your fic from your drama.  We'll all be happier.  Having said that...the BSV could turn into evil drama central and as long as I have readers here, I will post here, because the readers are what matter.  If they didn't, I would just write my stories for myself and never share them.

Could the rejection letter have been written more nicely? Maybe...however I'm the type of person that doesn't like people to mince words...If you have a problem with me or my work, come to me and be straight with me and we'll work it out.  I don't need you to soften it and sugarcoat it for me.  I'm a big girl.  I won't break.

As for the "i may have seen this elsewhere"  People have done that with me too, and I've responded with: "Yes, it's mine, you saw it at such and such site, this is a repost, thanks for remembering my story."

Why not be: A. flattered that in the huge mileu of fanfic someone actually remembered your story, and B. they are trying to protect it?  (from you, as it turns out...but the thought is still nice.)

(I knew i should have read EVERYBODY'S posts before posting my own...dammit...argh... Megan says Anon is too shy and fearful to reply to emails like that and I shoudl consider that possibility rather than assuming the worst of someone.  I can't assume everybody is all "out there" about literally everything like I am.  So I apologize for assuming things about an author I don't know.  Just because something looks a certain way on the surface doesn't mean it is.

I could delete this entire post, but in general, this is how I feel, if we aren't pointing fingers at individual human beings with their quirks and idiosyncrasies...this is how I feel.

There has been in the past an author rejected that I didn't agree with being rejected. (not like the world always consults Zoe first.)  And I find the more time goes on, the more deeply the lines in the sand are getting drawn, to the point where ME, loud mouthed, opnionated, smarass Zoe is almost afraid to post this for fear that people on the side of the line I didn't come down on, won't like me anymore.

Jeez, how did we get here?


Nov 07 2006 04:26 am   #30slaymesoftly

It's sad, actually, Zoe. And go you with the mincing no words.  I hope you don't catch too much flack for it.  I read Megan's post about anon and it does explain  why she wouldn't just email right back to tell me it was her fic. Although, I don't think I'm all that scary (unless you are twelve...and in trouble...and I'm watching you. lol) - I would have been delighted to hear that she was the author of the one I remembered, but then I could have emailed her back when I finally found it and realized that it had been posted before, so I'll take the rap for that.   Thanks for the support

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 07 2006 04:31 am   #31Always_jbj

LOL...Zoe, you afraid to say what you think?? I don't think the day will ever come, will it? And as much as I may not always agree with what you say, I don't think I would like to see the day come where you were afraid to say what you think...in the appropriate place and manner, of course. ( LOL...don't you love my disclaimer?)

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Nov 07 2006 04:45 am   #32LisFayte

I read the e-mail that Patti sent, I also read the fic in question. I think that Patti was actually very nice to offer to help the author, I happen to agree with what was said in the e-mail, and I don't think it was said or meant in a mean spirited way. As for her seeing it before, I know I have read thousands of fics, it is difficult to remember every one of them and who wrote them, the author should be flattered that the plot was remembered, and that someone cared enough to try to protect it.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.--- e e cummings

Come to challengespuffy  post Spuffy fic challenges or find something to write about
Nov 07 2006 04:53 am   #33Guest

So what is so different now than before? How were things handled before? Did people get rejected before? And if they did, did they get get upset?  If they didn't, why?  As a reader, this pisses me off and I just want the fic back. This was the last safe sight for me and now I have to go elsewhere. not happy people.

Nov 07 2006 05:14 am   #34Grave Tidings

I am a relatively new fan of BtVS. When I came to this site, I came to read. Much later, I came to post stories. I have had three stories accepted, but I don't know which mods did so.

I was aware that spelling and punctuation and grammar were issues for acceptance as it was made evident in the submission guidelines. That, to me, was common sense. 

At the time I submitted the stories I was not aware that solid plotting, characterization, dialogue, point of view, and other technical considerations were also part of the submission guidelines. By sheer luck and I think also by virtue of the fact that I have a BS in Creative Writing as well as over 20 years of experience as a professional writer, editor, and small press publisher, my stories were accepted. 

What I find ironic to the debate at hand is that during my teens and even into university I honed my skills while writing fan fiction based on Kirk/Spock slash and the original Star Wars. Yes, my fan fiction was crap at the time. Yes, I cringe to look back on it now and would like to burn it. Yes, the mods here would reject that work. 

My point is that traditionally fan fiction has been a safe place to experiment and learn. I hope that this safe place is not being lost. I have already encountered a certain "elitism" regarding an actor in the BtVS world. It would be sad to think that sort of "you can't do that/write about that" elitism is spilling over into fan fiction at this late date, especially as so many fiction archives have already been deleted and are lost to new fans like me who are ravenous for a good read.

If the owners of this site do not want to accept work by inexperienced writers who do not know how to properly use pronouns or point of view, or writers who cannot "hear" the characters' voices as the mods can hear them, or cannot frame a conflict to save their souls, then the owner is well within their rights to restrict the work posted here. It is their virtual library, bought and paid for, after all. 

But may I point out that when a professional author or their agent submits work to a publisher, they follow clear guidelines that have been made clear beforehand by the publisher. Therefore, as the requirements for archiving to this site appear to be more strict that for other sites, those in authority may wish to consider posting clear guidelines as to what is required. A glance at Writers Market (available at most public libraries) or at the submission requirements posted online by any number of publishers might help in this regard.  

When a student signs up for a creative writing course or a writers workshop or hires an editor to critique their work, that student knows they're going to be in for some heavy criticism. They brace themselves and learn to deal with it or they stop writing. In the case of writers' master classes, students are in for a rough and bloody ride at times. My point is they willingly sign up for that ride.

After reading this discussion, it sounds like the fan fiction writers here did not sign up for that ride, yet some feel they were taken on it. They were also not aware of the requirements to have their work archived here. They walked into the fire not expecting to be burned. So the problem as I see it is twofold: 

1. Requirements for acceptance are not posted clearly to this site. 

2. Writers submitting their work did not ask, nor did they expect, to be critiqued by the mods in such depth.

Both of these things came as a shock to them, as did the detailed critique following rejection of their works. 

Many fan fiction writers are tender and hopeful and scared to death. They are easily hurt--far more easily hurt than any professional writer who expects (but hopes not) to have their work rejected. I can understand why the mods would wish to reject some submissions. I can also understand how confusion and pain for all parties has come about because the submission requirements have not been made as clear as possible.

The sort of detail I am seeing in the rejection letters is worthy of a fiction editor hired to do the job. That is well and good, but in many cases, telling a fledgling writer what is wrong with their work in that detail does more harm than good because: 1) it is unsolicited advice and can be a shock; and 2) sometimes the writer hasn't the skills to correct the problems, so all they feel is embarrassed, incompetent and hurt, and all they hear is, "Your work is bad, we don't want it," no matter the good intentions of the critic. 

Additionally, in the world of fanfiction, we write for love rather than blood--this is supposed to be a fun, safe place to play. When the playing becomes hitting to a fledgling writer, many of them flee. 

Perhaps if the guidelines for archiving were made absolutely clear, there would be less pain for everyone in the future. 

~Candlekeeper

Nov 07 2006 05:21 am   #35Niamh

 I don't get why this couldn't have been handled privately first....all this is making us readers choose sides.

No one -- neither the authors leaving nor the mods -- has asked anyone to take sides.  If you feel you must, then that decision is your own.  I believe various individuals have made attempts previously to address this issue and their concerns were summarily dismissed.  Since the issues were ignored those individuals involved felt the need to make their feelings made known publicly. 

Where's the friggin' proof?

In various emails sent to people from some of the mods when rejecting the fictions submitted.  One of which was sent to me, because my opinion was asked on whether or not the tone was excessively harsh.  My response was an unequivocal yes, it was excessively harsh.

hasn't there been fic screening all along? Why is it suddenly such a big deal? I don't get it.

Yes, there has been some form of fic screening from the start.  However, that is really not the issue.  The issue is why it's become one.  The reason it has become an issue is because of the increasingly harsh tone of the rejection letters.

For purposes of length, since this post is going to be considerably long, I am not going to quote the entire rejection email that was posted hereinabove.  If you want to scroll up to read it again, feel free.  What was contained in that letter was not in any way constructive, nor was it completely cohesive.  Granted, not all of us are versed in the art of letter writing, whether it be for personal use or business.  Letter writing is an art form.  Above all else, be cohesive and coherent.  And professional.  That rejection letter is none of those things (and yes, I can hear you all screaming about how this is just a hobby -- well if that's the case, back off and treat it as such.  You cannot have it both ways -- asking for professionalism in fanfiction writing and not demanding it of yourself is just flat out hypocrisy).  There was little that was constructive in that letter also.  Looking at the whole of it critically, the whole thing should have been written twice and proofed the same number of times.  Letters offering constructive criticism are impersonal, almost detached.  There's little to no fingerpointing and definitely no "You did this"  or "you made this number of mistakes in your first paragraph".  Constructive criticism, like intervention, keeps the focus on the reader, not the writer.  Mainly because you are dealing with a potentially volatile personality.  The rejecting authority should always tread on the side of  caution -- delicacy and fine hands are needed, not bulldozers and stomping feet.

I am not even going to address the issue of adding the accusation of plagarism, because that is something that I cannot believe was even included in such vagueness in a rejection letter.  The witchhunt against plagarism is such that only the hint of it needs to be whispered and the person is outcast.  Not something that should be mentioned in a letter rejecting a fanfiction unless the writer has absolute proof of same.

Perception is subjective, and it's just as easy not to be offended, as to take offense.

Very true.  However, if the person has never before been brave enough to risk doing something so publicly, then perhaps it behooves the moderator to remember that not everyone has had time to develop the philosophic outlook needed.  In other words, a thick skin only develops over time.  And testing.  And it would be wise to remember that about newcomers.

 A head's up to the mods would be helpful in terms of our handling a rejection, if there is one to be made, with kid gloves. 

No one should really have to be reminded of good manners and general politeness.

As much as it may jar someone, sometimes the harsh slap in the face of truth is better than the underhanded and untruthful smiles and pats on the back.

Also true.  However, when it leaves the potential new author crying and losing sleep, obviously something is seriously wrong.  And yeah, maybe the new author needs the "cruel to be kind" approach, but there are ways and then there are ways.  Above all else, keep it impersonal.  Constructive criticism does not give anyone the right to be caustic.  I have had, on more than one occasion and in more than one setting, to give constructive criticism.  I have always approached the ordeal (because it is on both sides uncomfortable) with the "less is more" and "carrot and the whip" mind-set.  And I always give the person I'm speaking to the option of sugarcoating or harsh reality.  Only on a few occasions (two immediately come to mind) when the subject requested sugarcoating -- and when they got it, they immediately asked for the harsh reality.  See, because I left it up to the other person, they had control.  And whatever criticism I dealt out was much easier to swallow.  I'm not perfect, and I'm not holding myself out to be, I've just had a bit of experience in this respect.

 If you react to a new author who just wants to share with harsh critisism all the time, then they're not going to bother trying to share again.  They're just going to read and sit on the sidelines.

Bravo! And that is the crux of the issue here.  Harsh criticism makes new authors stay away.  And we might never have the pleasure of reading some new twist on "Normal"  or "Once More With Feeling" because someone shot down the author.

I have much more to say, and believe me I will be saying it, but for now this is all. 

Nov 07 2006 05:25 am   #36bloodshedbaby

Quite frankly, I don't know what to say so I'll just say I'm sorry this happened.

*hugs everyone*

 
Nov 07 2006 06:08 am   #37Niamh

 I never review, just read, because reviews are never wanted by the majority of authors. I've seen this same type of brouhaha several times now.  This is another case in which the 'cruel, harsh statements no one should have to endure' bears any resemblance to cruelty.  

Do me a favor, don't make assumptions about this kind of thing.  Firstly, I read every single review posted to each and every one of my stories.  No, I don't always respond, but if you want to know the reasons why, I'll lay them out for you. This isn't just some drama queen or princess getting her knickers in a twist over a piece of constructive criticism.  This is about women getting harsh rejection letters and their responses to same.  One of the letters -- and for the record it was not Anon -- was so harsh and out of line that the receiver spent hours sitting at her desk at work crying over it, lost a couple of nights sleep over it and generally was heartbroken.  Perhaps she took it a bit personally -- but she's human.  Rejection isn't something that is swallowed easily.  So yeah, it upset her.  Hell, the damn thing upset me -- and I wasn't even aware of it until days later, because her beta asked me about the tone and content.  If I had been the one to receive that letter, I would have folded up my pages and gone home -- probably never to post again.  Since you don't appear to be privy to the contents of said letter, I suggest you lose the assumption.

This site does have higher standards than most which is why its pretty much the only archive site I regularly check .  The letter rightly complained of punctuation and grammar deficiencies.

Yes it does.  That does not give the right for anyone to be cruel or harsh in their rejection of stories not up to standards.  Guess what?  If I was a new author and submitting Origins now, it would probably be rejected.  Why?  Because at the time it was originally posted, I didn't have a beta, didn't know one, didn't trust my vision/words to anyone else -- complete strangers.  At that point had it be rejected, I would have probably left the fandom.  And I'm sure some of you would have been happy about that.  However, BSB and Mandi over at VampKiss took a chance on me, and my story, and posted it.  Their faith was rewarded, because, well, it's won a couple of awards. But the mods don't always hit paydirt like that.  Usually it takes longer for a new writer to find their voice.  I had the advantage of writing long fiction since I could hold a pen and write -- which was at the age of 5.  Not every author has approached this fandom from that background.  Some never picked up a pen until Spike flashed across their screens. . . . and more power to them, because they dared to reach higher.

The offer to beta was made.  To me, its pretty generous of a moderator to make an offer requiring so much of their time and effort to someone they are permanently rejecting.

The offer was made to beta one or two pages, not the whole fic.  Not that the moderator was obligated to beta the whole fic, but recommending a beta-reader would have been more constructive.

I realize that I'm not a writer, I've never offered up my thoughts in fiction at an archive and been rejected.  My ego isn't at stake here. 

No, not your ego, just the egos of those authors willing to put pen to paper or type to screen.   It takes enormous amounts of courage to put yourself and your art (whatever form it takes) out there for public consumption.  And while we aren't getting paid for it -- we have the advantage of instant gratification or instant heartbreak.  And if you aren't an author, then you have no idea the butterflies and palpitations that strike you the moment you hit "submit".  It is nerve-wracking and sometimes more than some of us can deal with.  I am always -- every single time I post a chapter -- convinced that what I'm posting is complete and utter shit.  And I am continually surprised when people take the time to tell me they think otherwise.

On the other hand, anyone who is serious about an art form needs to take the technical side of their art seriously and work at it.  Even if it is fanfiction.  

I wanted to write as a child.  Wanted to live out my days stuck in a library, or a Parisian garret, with old books around me and a half-way decent view and nothing but blank pages in front of me for all the worlds and characters that inhabited my head.  I did everything I could to learn about the word -- the structure, the history, the usage.  Hell, I love words so much I speak 5 different languages, and read quite a few more.  But not everyone has come from that background.  Not everyone has English as their native tongue, but yet they try and write stories in it.  Yes, a certain level of professionalism should be set as a standard.  But you know what?  This is a hobby for some people.  Not a way to hone their craft before they test the publishing waters.  Expectations cannot be too excessive.  And you can't expect everyone to know all the rules of grammar, not unless they've swallowed Strunk & White.  Hell, I've seen some stories that were supposedly beta'd not once, not twice but three times and there were still silly, stupid errors.  No one is perfect.  Christ, not even Stephen King can write a decent ending -- not even to save his freaking life.

 

Nov 07 2006 08:20 am   #38ZoeGrace

Something that I think could possibly help in the future is maybe some kind of intro in the email to let the author know that A. the letter is nothing personal and B. that it isn't meant to judge the author's potential for all time, only that there are problems with the CURRENT story. and C. receiving the letter doesn't mean they are rejected for all time and cannot try again.

I think in some ways this comes down to the fact that not everybody seems to understand that a criticism of the writing is not a criticism of the person.  Those of us who know it's nothing personal, don't take it personally, but some people, I guess do.

I've reread the email in question twice now...looking at it two different ways.  The first time I looked at it how I generally look at things like that...it's about the writing.  And I didn't find it offensive or really that big of a deal.  I then tried to reread it as someone who considers it "personal" and I can see where the offense and hurt feelings comes from in the people who have expressed it.

For me, it seems to come down to whether or not you take it personally.

Maybe it's because I didn't start out with fanfic, and had been rejected by magazines before even considering writing fanfic...but rejections came to be a badge of honor.  It was part of what all writers must face, and if there is no potential of rejection, what does it mean when you are actually accepted? very little.

Also, from my background, form rejection letters were considered the worst.  Any time someone rejecting you took the time to tell you why and express pointers, that was considered incredibly nice.  So, I look at it from the perspective of, this isn't a form letter.  Someone took the time to compose it, and point out the flaws and how they might be fixed.  If a new york editor ever sends you such a rejection, you're on the right track.

Most send the form letter and don't bother to give you a hint.  So yeah, this isn't new york, but this might explain why people are seeing this issue in such black and white terms.

I do agree with those who have said that with a potentially dying fandom we shouldn't be discouraging authors.  And I agree, yet...at the same time...Spuffy fic is thriving more than many.  There are many archives that house this stuff.  The spuffy Realm, BS Diaries, BS Central as well as Vampire's kiss.  A couple of them are auto update and don't have any kind of acceptance/rejection policy.


Nov 07 2006 09:09 am   #39Guest

I have lurked on this site longer than I have posted and even then knew that the stories posted have to be submitted. I played around with the idea of posting for the longest time. I want to be a professional writer and feel that writing fan fiction is good practice. I finally got the courage to try posting here after reading many stories and their reviews. At the bottom of the page stating the submission guidelines is this:

"If you are not already an author archived on the Bloodshedverse, please be advised that this is not an open forum. New fiction and authors are screened and may be deleted if found not meeting the site standards. These rules may seem harsh and bordering on rude, but they are posted for a reason."

I knew that there was a chance that my story would be turned down. I even plainly stated that I do not have a beta but would love to have one. I still do not have a beta and have to contend with spell and grammar check. The letter posted, in my opinion, is no harsher than a letter I got from a horror magazine I submitted a story to.

Now I can be a bit sensitive at times and I have always been told that I'm too shy (my teachers wrote that on practically every report card until Junior High), so I can understand the hesitancy of some people who are just in this for fun. In fact it's easier for me to express myself via the Internet because it's not face-to-face. I am very uncomfortable around people that I do not know, so I can see how people may have been hurt.

But the site guidelines are very clear to anybody who takes the time to read them. They come up anytime you hit the "new story" link when your trying to post.

I sincerely hope that this whole problem can be handled quickly, for everyone involved.

Tonia

 

Nov 07 2006 09:14 am   #40LadyYashka

 The above post is mine. I was logged in when I started it and it logged me out when I posted. ::shrugs: I have no idea why, guess I took too long.

 

Tonia

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. — Neil Gaiman
Nov 07 2006 09:46 am   #41Guest

Exactly, LY...those guidelines are plain to see, and if someone doesn't take the time to read them, then it's their own fault if they got a surprise.

I've never approached writing as a personal thing. I've only been writing stories since May 2005, and my first 2 fanfics weren't Spuffy, so they aren't here. The 3rd one is. I put up that first fic as a "what the hell" kind of thing...and no more importance than that. And I think a writer should just approach it that way...not as a personal thing at all, but just a "why not" lark...if people read it, cool, if not...well, write for yourself. The only time I'd ever take something personally is if I got an attack on an autobiography, because that would be my life story, and hence, me.

This really seems to fall into "personal" vs. "detached" in approach....and you just gotta know yourself. That's part of good writing, anyway....knowing yourself enough to express your views through the medium of a 'verse. Whether it's Spuffy, or global warming, or dog breeding. Just be aware enough to know what your reaction will be to a potential response, and prepare accordingly. Ask around, ya know? If you're that serious about it....

Frankly, there are so many places to post Spuffy, that no one has to come here. And as Zoe said above, it's about the readers, or you wouldn't be sharing your fic publicly in the first place. You could keep it to yourself, or just share it with a couple friends. And everyone has at least one fandom "friend", cuz no one's going to watch BTVS for the first time 2 weeks ago and start trying to post here. And yeah, no one directly asked us to choose sides, but isn't that what we're all kind of being called to do, anyway, because this issue was dropped like a bomb on us publicly? Because anyone who's heard about this issue today, now has an opinion...that's human nature. And we all know that not everyone is going to take the time to read both/all sides before they make up their mind what to do...they're just going to follow their favorite author, or whatever. And that's what makes the whole thing really. freakin'. sad.

Caro Mio

 

Nov 07 2006 09:59 am   #42Diabola

I think we can discuss which fics should be accepted and which not until we're blue in the face, and we'll never find something we all agree on. And to be honest, that's not up for discussion anyway. Once I realized we were hurting authors with the tone of our rejection letters, I appologized and made it clear that that wasn't our intention, and that we'd make sure it wouldn't happen again. I do not intend to go back on the fact that we DID reject those fics. We could (and should) have been more sensitive about it, but with so many varrying opinions, someone has to make the decision on where to draw the line. We did so, and if we hung the bar too high for some, I'm sorry, but by lowering it we'd not automatically make everyone happy either.

That said, I'm deeply offended by the implications that "the lines of communication have never been open" or that attempts to contact me have been made and were ignored. (And yes, "contact ME"! I'm the one you have to come to if you have a problem.) I'm online in YM at least 8.5 hours every weekday, usually longer. I'm online most weekends. (The only people to whom I'm ever invisible are my family, everyone else is on my visible list.) I'm always reachable via email. My email addy can be found in my profile and is usually linked to my name on tag. (Not to mention that pretty much all of the people who knew about this have been in contact with me before, and have my email addy anyway.) There are several forms on the site via which you can reach me. I may not always react right away (because pathetic as it is, I DO have somewhat of a life to live here), but unless the issue has been resolved before I can respond, I always WILL respond. There have been no emails, and no attempts to conact me via messenger. None!

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Nov 07 2006 04:12 pm   #43Addie Logan

Okay, I wasn't going to say anymore on the issue. I have tried and tried to keep quiet no matter what I saw posted to this forum, but I've reached my limit and want to make a few things quite clear.

I did not leave because of the letter sent to Anon. Did it play a factor in my final decision? Yes. Was it what made me want to leave? No. I wanted to leave when a friend of mine received a scathing response that left her in tears. I then asked some other friends of mine if anyone else had had a problem with rejection letters to see if it was just her, and I was sent a couple of other examples—of which Anon's was one. It affected my decision, but it was not why, and honestly, had that been the only letter, it wouldn't have been enough. As a matter of fact, my first thought when I read the letter to Anon was something to the effect of, "Well, that's bad, but nothing compared to this other one." I don't want to post the contents of this letter here (though it does exist, and if you doubt me, I have offered to speak privately about it in email to anyone who would like—an offer no one who has posted here speculating about the departing authors' behavior has taken me up on); however, I will say this: It was personal, it was scathing, and it did inform the writer she was not good enough for this website, and probably never would be. All of the things that have been listed here as things an author shouldn't take away from a rejection were stated in the letter itself.

My problem has never been with BSV rejecting fics. It's the right of the people in charge of the archive to decide which fics can and cannot be posted, and I wouldn't try to say it should be otherwise. However, my problem has always been with the manner in which it was done, which I stated when I left. The letter was not only saying, "You're not any good," but was saying, "You're not as good as us." The mod who wrote it went as far as to list the people who the author should read to see what good writing was and placed herself in that category. I feel that this is taking rejection a little too far and yes, that makes it personal. I'm all for quality control of fics; however, I don't want to be affiliated with an archive that has the "we're better than you" attitude. This is a hobby and something many people do for fun, not because they want to someday go on to be professional writers. Belittling others for trying their hand at something new is not something I view as admirable behavior.

Furthermore, there has been a lot of talk about "constructive criticism." First off, let's look at the actual words there, mainly "constructive." For something to be "constructive criticism," it must be constructive. Seems simple enough, yet very few people seem to get that. A laundry list of all the problems with a fic followed by the "advice" to go read better writers and watch the show more is not constructive criticism, and this is what this letter is. Constructive criticism is when you sit down and really look at a story, find its strengths and weaknesses, and find a helpful way to show the writer what he or she needs to do to improve. This takes time and effort, and if the mods aren't able to put in that time, then they shouldn't attempt it. It would be much more productive to inform the author that they cannot give advice at this time, and to please consult a beta. A mod does not need to take it upon herself to write a hasty letter informing an author of all their faults and why they aren't good enough for an archive. Furthermore, decent constructive criticism should start out at a level that assumes the writer is sensitive. If, in the course of the discussion, you learn the author can take a little more, you can be harsher. This is done for a very simple reason: if you start out telling the author why they're "bad," then they will shut down and stop listening, and none of the improvements can be made. Sure, this isn't the case for everyone, but it's common enough that it should be thought of. People keep saying, "well, I'm not sensitive." That's great for you, and I'm sure it will take you far in life, but you also have to realize that some people are, and they still deserve respect.

On that point, the argument has been "we didn't know" which for me, has not changed my decision to leave one bit. If anything, it's strengthened it. We're all adults here. No one should have to be told that another person should be treated with respect and dignity. And if that is the case of the BSV mods, well, personally, I'd rather be on a site where the people I'm sharing my work with already understand the concept.

Also, I'd like to bring up the point of being accused of abandoning my readers. I am truly sorry for anyone who liked reading my fics here and no longer can. I expressed that when I left, and it still applies. However, I post on several other sites, including my personal site, and if someone really wants to read the one story I was currently posting here, it's still available. Furthermore, I didn't just leave quietly because of my readers. My note was not for the mods or to make a big point. I felt like I owed my readers an explanation when I left. I have nothing but respect and admiration for my readers, and I seriously resent the implication otherwise. Furthermore, the BSV situation was causing me distress, which in turn affects my writing. I can't post on an archive where I feel there's tension. I'm sorry, but I can't. And while I do respect my readers and want to provide them with a story they can enjoy, ultimately, since fanfiction is a hobby, I have to do what makes me happy. Continuing to post here would've caused me stress, and that's not something I want over something that's supposed to be fun. I have enough of that in real life. If I'm not happy, I'm not doing my best writing, and that's the biggest disservice to my readers I can do.

So there, in a rather lengthy post, is my side of the story. Take it or leave it, I don't care. I had just grown tired of people speculating on what the authors who left should or shouldn't have done when the people making the speculations didn't bother to even ask us for the reason in our own words. I decided to leave completely on my own and honestly, I was just as surprised as everyone else when several other authors followed suit. However, I support them as well, and would ask that everyone please take the time to actually get the full story before you continue to slam our actions. Otherwise, you can simply respect the decision we made as authors, and go about your business on the archive.

~Addie Logan

 

Nov 07 2006 05:36 pm   #44Guest

Ok, I have to agree with Addie on this one. There should not have been any need to tell the mods that they were being rude so that really shouldn't be used as an arguement. It is one thing to have a pet peeve about grammer issues but it's quite another thing to expect people to know what to do just because you do.

Screening the fic is a good idea. It's how it's always been done as long as I've been reading here and what has made it stand out as a better archive. And if it used to be done in a manner that didn't offend, then it might be a good idea to find out how that was accomplished

sarah.  

Nov 07 2006 05:39 pm   #45Guest

I'm one of the writer that recieved one of the rejection emails that have been being sent. On receiving my first mail I told the four Beta's I had at the time to delete all works of mine that they had stored. I felt put down a worthless as a writer I sat and cried about it for days...

I wouldn't call myself oversensitive but I was extremly hurt by the coments and the fact that someone told one of my betas behind my back to give up on me which she did ..

I was told my facts of Spike's reappearance was wrong I know for a fact I was right it was 19days after the hellmouth had closed .I checked this fact, my beta check the fact and I watched season five program two of Angel twice before I put the line in my fiction. So to be told I was wrong was out of order and the mod who told me it was wrong, should check her facts before telling other to check theirs...

I was also told  I might try to find another beta who was actully English and not one who used English as a second lanuage....How dare they berate my beta she works to the best of her abilities and always tells me to check before she or I post the next chapter of my wip

So I have said my piece and now I post at S/R where their not as snobby over who posts there and if Pari has a problem with whats going on she tells you by mail nicely... She also doesn't shout at people for chatting on the tag like ~I've seen here I always thought that what the tag was for...

I still keep my eye on the fiction updates here as some aren't on other sites but I most frequent S/R

Thanks for reading my small ranting~~~~

No amount of sorries from Diabola will get me to sumbit another fiction here again. And this was going on from before Bloodshedbaby left so it not a new thing people...

Nov 07 2006 06:10 pm   #46TwilightChild

  Am I the only person here that expects, that any moment now, someone's going to run down the street dressed in nothing but a flag of their favorite spuffy website shouting "Viva la revolution!"?

  I think we all get the point.  One half side of the argument believes that the mods were extremely insensitive and at times downright brutal and wish to leave, the other half supports the critisism and holds high opinion to the standards of the site.  I for one agree with a little bit of both sides.

  But something tells me this particular debate isn't going to be friendly for much longer.  All the points that can be made have been made, people have spoken their peace.  Some people have made their motives for leaving clear, others have promised to try and improve things here.  I think this is a nice spot to stop and remain friends.

But that's just my wishful thinking.  <.<  >.>

TwilightChild
 

Nov 07 2006 06:40 pm   #47slaymesoftly

Well said, T.C. - I think this woud be the perfect time to remind people that there is a new archive opening in just a few days - one upon which many people we know and like have worked extremely hard.  Let's not allow our problems, issues, kerfluffles - whatever you want to call it - to overshadow what should be a happy day for both the fandom and for Stephi.  

I am not a minion of Evil...
I am upper management.
Nov 07 2006 07:43 pm   #48ZoeGrace

Addie,  

For what it's worth, I gathered from your Author's note at the end of your story that the primary issue/email/rejection wasn't the one available on the boards.  I only have the one on the boards to go on, and quite frankly I don't think THAT email was my business, let alone any of the others that may have come before.
 
As for juding you for leaving, I was trying to point out my reason for staying.  That it really wouldn't matter how much drama there was, as long as I have one single reader here, I'll post here, or at the very least not take my other fics off.  Because to me, it's a personal disservice to readers to have them have to go traipsing all over the internet following after you.

But that's my personal opinion on the matter.  I don't think you are a bad person or whatever.  You're a grown woman and you have to make your own decisions about things.   I would never ask someone not to follow their principles or beliefs on an issue.  

I, personally have just tried to get to a point where everything I do isn't some sort of political statement. (and I know there is no way to say that that won't offend you, so I'm just saying it straight out.)  My writing is my writing and my drama is my drama, and I don't want the two to mix. 

There are two sides to this issue.  You may feel like people are judging you as disloyal to people who read your fics, but those of us who stay might feel like some people judge us as cold heartless bitches who don't "care."  I care if someone is hurt.  Really I do.  But I'm just not some great humanitarian.  I'm not the champion of the people and I'm not rallying the troops.  At the end of the day I have my own crap to deal with.  Now if it had been a close personal friend of mine, my reaction might have been different. 

But my personal decision to not take my stuff off, isn't really meant to slam those who did.  Clearly those who take their stuff off and those who don't have a philosophical difference that really can't be breeched.  Yet at the same time I have no beef with you personally or any of the other authors who pulled out personally.

TC, yep.  There are clearly little dramas going on under the surface that I don't know anything about.  Which I'm sure makes me look like a heartless bitch since I don't know about them, but even if I did, frankly I wouldn't pull my stories, cause like i said, my drama is my drama and my writing is my writing...blah blah blah blah.

To the anonymous poster who got berated...not that it means anything now, but you're absolutely right on the 19 days thing.  In AtS season five, the second episode, the very beginning when Spike appears there's a flashback and in big fat letters on the screen it says "19 days earlier."  

But even if it wasn't factual...who cares? It's fanfic. We all change little factors.  It's called AU.  And AU can be a big detail or a little detail, whatever we need to make the fic work.

I wasn't there, I don't know...but just to be fair and balanced here, and not be all Censored-Zoe...  If a mod DID in fact freak out over that 19 day thing...that was just so totally lame I can't even deal with it right now.

Nov 07 2006 08:10 pm   #49Addie Logan

Zoe--

I never meant for it to be a rallying cry or a political statement. I see nothing wrong with anyone deciding to keep their fics up on this archive. I didn't do it to attract a lot of attention or make a statement. That's not the sort of person I am. If I was, I would've pulled off of another archive ages ago following a flame war. But this was a close personal friend of mine, hence my reaction.

I don't think people who decide to stay are heartless or cruel. The rejection letters didn't affect them, so why should they? I never called for that, and I never would. It was a personal decision based on my own feelings and nothing more. I hadn't even planned to bring it past my author's note, but I didn't like some of the things I saw being said here, and wanted to clarify my actions.

Again, I'm not asking anyone to leave BSV or stop reading at BSV. My decision to leave was based on me and me alone, and I don't care one way or another what anyone else does. I don't care where anyone else posts, reads, whatever. I didn't want to be here anymore. That's all it is, that's all it's ever been, and that's all it ever will be. End of story there.

~Addie Logan

Nov 07 2006 10:00 pm   #50bloodshedbaby

Okay...

If some of you think you can see both sides of the story, you should see it from where I'm standing. *headdesk*

Here's the deal. A few months back, after hearing multiple complaints that the fics that were passing through were not up to the expected standards (both said to me directly and that I heard from second-hand bitching) I felt like I had to address that. Changes had to be made and because some things were out of my scope of competence, I honestly felt it was in the best interest of the archive to give it to Dia.

Guys, I gave the archive to Dia and ran. I didn't pop in to see how things were going, nothing.  I couldn't. It hurt too much to log onto the site. The first I heard of the problems here was the exact same time everybody else did. I really wish I had popped in to check how things were going because this probably could have been avoided, since I am VERY good at giving unsolicited advice.  (What? I can't help it)

I started this archive in response to profound rudeness from a site owner several years back. I shook my fist in the air and said "Fine, I'll start my own darn verse then! Where the site owners are nice and appreciate the people who contribute, darnit!" I stomped off in a huff, and with the help of many of the people who have just pulled their fics off the last few days, started the Bloodshedverse. The result of my little hissy fit just snowballed into this awesome site that was the friendly place. Where new authors were coming out of the woodwork almost daily, it seemed. It was awesome.  It saddens me that it has become the type of site that I created it in response too and I take responsibility for that. And if I ever hurt anybody's feelings with a fic submission, I am so sorry. For those of you who think it's easy to do the submissions, let me just tell you this - it's not. It's mentally exhausting.

Dia, I'm sorry for dumping my mess on you and thank you soooo much for taking it on! 

Can I also just take a moment to say how much I miss everyone?? *group hug*

 
Nov 07 2006 10:16 pm   #51Guest

I ended my membership here quite a while ago due to the response to my submissions. I don´t mind critisism, cause god knows I need it, but with giving it comes a certain responsability. I also wrote back and gave you my thoughts, so it can´t be completely new to you that people were unhappy.

take care

Buffymon

Nov 07 2006 10:37 pm   #52bloodshedbaby
I ended my membership here quite a while ago due to the response to my submissions. I don´t mind critisism, cause god knows I need it, but with giving it comes a certain responsability. I also wrote back and gave you my thoughts, so it can´t be completely new to you that people were unhappy.take careBuffymon

There you are! I know Megan and I were hoping you would take her up on her offer to beta your fic and we were wondering what happened to you. I'm sorry it ended with you canceling your membership.

 

 
Nov 07 2006 10:52 pm   #53ZoeGrace

Fair enough Addie.  And I didn't think you were being a drama queen.  I thought your exit note was very classy. 

Hey BSB, good to hear from you.  We were all wondering if you'd left the fandom.  And yeah, I hate that this has happened.  It seems like it doesn't matter what anyone's intentions are, when a site like this is formed, and lots of people join it, inevitably personalities clash and things start to go down the crapper.  People can't seem to avoid drama and few people seem to really want to.

Nov 07 2006 11:40 pm   #54Guest

I didn't even get a rejection e-mail when my first fic was rejected loke 3 times. LOL. Maybe it's better that way. I don't think the letter to annon was harsh but maybe that's because I wasn't the one recieving it. New authors are super sensative and unsure, they need encouragement as much as concrit. Lots of good stories need serious beta'ing and when I come across one I privately e-mail the author, and when I do so I keep in mind what it'd be like to be on the receiving end. I always tell the author what I like about the story first because if I'm mentioning the bad I should definitely mention the good first. The language need to be polite and simple like 'Hey  I loved the part where blah blah blah. Oh,there are some typo's in the fic like blah blah blah might wanna look into it.' I've beta'd for an author who was rejected (her fic's now quite a favorite at SR). I won't say the rejection letter she got was harsh but rejection always hurts. Seriously I didn't know what was wrong with the fic and what I supposed to fix. I did e-mail BSB about it ans she was really nice and all that.But my 'career' as a beta officially ended with that. I like the fics here due to their high standards. I've read some fics which are very interesting but gramatically poor, it's very frustating because you want to read but it's too much work. So, I like the high standards but at the same time, how is anyone suppose to improve if they are never given a chance. It's damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. You lose something either way so just remember you can't have everything. I'd also like to mention how difficult it is for new authors to get beta's. Most of them don't even reply to the mails even to say no. When us newbies find a beta it's like we climed Mt. Everest or something. (Morrigan, hugs for you girl. I really appreciate you. You're a fantastic beta.) What I wanna say is don't leave people, please. It makes me so sad. UncagedMuse please stay.   ---- fallen_angel                                                         

Nov 07 2006 11:43 pm   #55Guest

*gah*. I think my post needs beta'ing but it's 3 am here so I think I can be excused. --- fallen_angel

Nov 08 2006 12:14 am   #56Diabola

@ fallen_angel - Just for the record, if you didn't get a letter, then it didn't arrive at yours. We NEVER reject a new fic without an explanation. If submissions continue without the author reacting to us, then yes, we just stop telling them the same thing over and over again, but never the first time. If you ever feel like you need to know why it was rejected, feel free to email me. We keep records, so I should be able to find that out for you.

As for buffymon and everyone else who feels they need to jump in here because they were mistreated by someone in anno 1872. It is bad enough that THIS has been brewing for so long, but warming up something that happened beofore BSB stepped down is kinda cheap. It is clear that this is supposed to put my and my current mods in their place, you don't need to make us look worse by bringing up things we had nothing to do with. You want to use this chance to add your 5ct and finally let air onto that old wound? Fine, but at least make it clear that those old griveances are, well, old.

Could we maybe come to a close with this anytime soon? This is not really something that can be resolved by talking it out. We messed up, and only the future will be able to tell whether we made good on our promise to change. Those authors left and you'll have to read them somewhere else. I appreciate all the people who want to give us another chance, and I respect the decisions of those who don't; but we can't change the past, so why are we still trying?

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Nov 08 2006 01:34 am   #57bloodshedbaby

Fallen Angel-

Not to rehash here but just to clear up the misconception, there was an email sent and according to the database, it was not let through once for missed typos that would have driven readers batty and there was an offer to beta  it by the mod who felt it would be better received without the typos. Your next two submissions were validated. I do not recall the other incident that you are refering to, when you stopped being a beta, I'm sorry!. If you would like me to send a copy of the letter, I'd be happy too.

Dia, I think the people who are coming forward now had issues from before you took over and are now trying to get it off their chest. I'm pretty certain it's not directed at you, but me and maybe it can be used to further evaluate the way things can to be handled in the future, since problems obviously started way before you took things over. Well, as long as the issues stay within reason, LOL!

Or I could be wrong about why they are being brought up - and would that surprise me? Uh, no.

And is the wrong time to mention that my Angel!puppet is still half-naked after his photo op with Lucy at Writercon? Because he is. He leads a boring life in between his rare public appearances, I'm afraid

 

 
Nov 08 2006 01:41 am   #58Diabola

Ok, I'm going to make an completely off-topic post, but I just need to ask this, so everyone but BSB ignore me. LOL

Hon, did you ever get around to uploading the other pictures? I promised my sis to show ther the ones with Puppet!Angel in chains, and she thinks I'm holding back on her.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Nov 08 2006 01:45 am   #59FetchingMadScientist

Most of us who post here, post for the joy of Spuffy.  But that being said, this is one of the best sites, one that is full of quality fiction.  It would be a shame if, in an attempt to avoid hurt feelings, the quality of work on this site suffered.  I work at a firm (I'm a dreaded paralegal) where my work is always combed over by very watchful eyes.  I have a thick skin.  That can be a good thing to have.  I know it can be hard to open up enough to show your heart to strangers for fear that they will stomp on it- but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  And perhaps, if you post for the joy of it, and remember that a rejection of a fic is not a slight toward *you* personally, but rather an attempt to make your story better, you can learn from what was said, and be a better writer for it.

"Never a fetching mad scientist about when you need one." -Spike
Nov 08 2006 02:27 am   #60Guest
OOOOoooo please post pictures of puppet Angel in chains. It would give me a big happy and I could use one after reading all the drama..love this site, and all the writers...Giant spuffy huggs to all. (to any who've read any of my reviews sorry for my non-existant gramatical skills..LoL) Randi Giles
Nov 08 2006 02:33 am   #61Always_jbj

LOL...Mef, Temp and I have some photos of Puppet!Angel in chains, too. And in some rather compromising positions with Bert (from Sesame Street)...and with a bottle of Sambuca... Angel is one sad little puppy.

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Nov 08 2006 02:55 am   #62Kimber

I can this honestly.  I've been writing for some time....but for fun.  I have high stressed jobs and it's my way of relaxing, getting away from it all, nothing more.  I have learned some things along the way, but in NO way will I ever be perfect.  I suck at grammer.  But my story telling I feel very comfortable with.  I started to post here, or should I say I at first tried to post here by recommendation by several people who beta and write here.  My first chapter was posted, but then I never heard anything else.  Was wondering why nothing else I posted was showing up.  Then I was answered and my rejection letter was forwarded to me.  It hurt, for many reasons......the story was disected and everything wrong with it pointed out.  If anything positive was in there, it was not enough to out weigh the bad in a way.  Seems there had been a first letter I hadn't recieved about changes that should be done to the first chapter....and so the second letter was a tad more blunt.   Since I hadn't recieved the first one....the second one stabbed at bit, or should I say alot to my writing esteem.  

My stress reliever had been attacked and it hurt.  It hurt enough that I had everything including my membership removed...didn't think I was good enough.  But after I had time for the anger to come forth, I then decided I would do what I could to have my stuff posted here.....The problem was it wasn't fun anymore, it became a job.  It became something I had to prove, not to myself really but to those who said I wasn't good enough. 

One other thing for those that do beta.  Don't always assume all beta's are like you.  Some understand their writer's weakness and realizes somethings just don't click for them.  Some really do take a personal interest in their writers and works with them, even if they have to make the same corrections and send the same reminders.....cause they know the strength and the weakeness and how to work with it and not against it.  I think the relationship/bonding of a beta and a writer is personal and between them.

Am I going to stop posting here.....not yet....I will give the owner and mods time to work on making this a place that welcomes all writers and will find a way they can bring along the new and untried authors along and make them feel welcome....and not unworthy.  I fought my own demons to get the courage to try again.  One of my flaws is I think faster than I can write, something I'm trying to work on in my writing.....just not here today, LOL, sorry.  I'm told I'm intense, and I do agree with that......I know the readers like quality reading.....hell anymore you can't even get that if you pay for it.  To be honest, it's fanfiction and I think it should be the reader who judges what is good for them or not.  If you don't like it don't read it, don't flame them but again don't keep yourself from nicely pointing something out.  I find we might learn more with a soft touch and gentle word then a slap and a strong tone.  But yes, my experience here made me question myself and my writing.....it still does in a way.  Some people can just shake it off, some can't right at first.  Why is it the bad stays with you more then then good?  It might be something to think about.  I know I've learned the hard way when I let my emotion rule my fingers and thoughts in a reivew.....I've learned to step back digest it and then come back when it's something that hits me hard.....cause I've found that some have mistaken my rant as a dish on their story/writing, when in fact it was the emotional reaction to the characters and the story, not the author.......I'm done rambling now.  I just hope we all just walk away from this with an open mind and remember....to keep this verse alive we need new blood.....and how do we get it if we chase it away.......

In nursing we have a saying that as been around for a very long time.

"We eat our young."  Let's not do this here.

Kimber

I apologize for any mistakes....they are ALL mine, LOL.

Nov 08 2006 03:38 am   #63Guest

Dia, I suffered yet ANOTHER computer crash and had to had this harddrive reformatted (again) so I think I may have lost those. Yep. I just looked on my little 100gb portable harddrive to see if I was smart enough to have backed them up and shockingly, I was not.

I just have a few for now.

1045386618_m.jpg

IMG_7280.jpg

ab13d8e5.jpg

I'll look around for some more of them. Like the oh so classic bathtub photos.

Corinna, do you have any pics to post? Love to see the Angel torture!

Nov 08 2006 03:47 am   #64ZoeGrace

That dog is so cute! I love that middle one with her all under the covers.  I should have got off my agoraphobic ass and gone to writercon.  Sure, I would have had a panic attack, but I would have gotten over it.

Haha and then the last one with her looking adoringly at puppet angel. LMAO.  She cracks me up.

Nov 08 2006 03:50 am   #65Always_jbj

I can only find a few of them, Stacy. I think Mef or Temp have the rest... I'll have to grab them off them.

I'll resize the ones I have (cause they are big) and pop them up... I'm using one for my avatar, though.

I love yours *giggles*... and your dog is just soooo adorable!!

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Nov 08 2006 04:04 am   #66Always_jbj

Okay...just gonna post the links, 'cause they are still pretty big and the last one is a little graphic LOL.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/Alwaysjbj/100_0901.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/Alwaysjbj/100_0900.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/Alwaysjbj/100_0898.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/Alwaysjbj/angel_wank.jpg

 

 

Aim from the heart
Some will love and some will curse you, baby
You can go to war
But only if you have to 


Fanfic ~*~ Artwork ~*~ Live Journal
Nov 08 2006 05:21 am   #67bloodshedbaby

EDIT- I deleted the pictures and smart*ss comment I had made where I had responded to a compliment. I apologize if it was in poor taste.

BSB

 
Nov 08 2006 05:27 am   #68ZoeGrace

heh. i should have gone.


Nov 08 2006 05:29 am   #69CopyKween

hee!  I wish I could have made it.   There's NOTHING like public Angel humiliation. 

Nov 08 2006 06:16 am   #70Guest

Hi, I am just a reader here, but I would like to commend everyone; writers, betas and Mods and the owner of this site for the wonderful job they do without pay. I have followed this site from the time it was nothing to now, and it is the best place to come for excellent writing and great stories. I would hope that the new writers that come to this site takes advantage of the great writers we already have here. Needless to say sometimes criticisism can seem harsh to someone who is waiting to be able to post here. Sometimes we forget that there are people on the other end of the new stories. But that said I love this site so much, please writers do not abandon us readers because so many have. We love you.,  your fan

Nov 08 2006 07:11 am   #71Guest

I just wanted to say to the last post, that the writers did not abondon their readers. And no, I'm not a writer, I'm a reader. As long as I know where to find the stories, it's ok with me. 

To the rest of this "exodus"discussion I won't say a thing, because I  don't want to start to rant and I think that the important things have been said.

Further it's interesting to see, how lightly the mods took this thread in the end by posting dog-piccies, no offense BSB, it's a really cute dog, if you need someone to watch him, I volunteer LOL. I know that there is a dog thread now, but still. This is a thread were readers and writers could and can inform themself and talk about what is going on. The mods of the site are always trying to have everything very organized and in order, from the chats on the tag to the topics in the forum and then they start posting fun pics in the middle of this thread. That doesn't help to change my opion about this site to the more positive.

Nov 08 2006 07:58 am   #72Guest
Hi, this thread has gone on for a while( I for one asked about the dog pics !!!) cause sometimes situations like these could use a little levity by way of humor) We've beaten the dead horse in to a dusty rug by now!!!! Its time to move on... We wont see any improvements through a thread..yes its a venue to discuss our feelings on the subject, but in the end this situation is only between the owner/mods of the site and the authors. I am a reader and im not interested in "Mediating" the Author/Mod relationship. I'm sorry i started the thread to begin with. RANDI GILES
Nov 08 2006 08:35 am   #73UncagedMuse

I didn't abandon my reader's. My fics can be found other places and if you need help finding them all you have to do is email me. rae.macon@gmail.com

I didn't ask anyone to leave this site and I don't expect anyone to leave this site. I will still read here on the occassion that something I'm following is updated.

Personally I never had to submit my fics to the scrutiny of being validated. I was on this site before it became self posting and when the change over happened I was already a validated author.

I removed my fics because I feel it is harmful to this already slowly dying fandom to be rude in rejection emails to new authors. I also do not feel the friendly atmosphere that once existed here.

My life is very stressful and has recently become more so. I am dealing with my father having been recently diagnosed with cancer and my uncle going into congestive heart failure who had heart valve replacement surgery a week later. There is no reason I should subject myself to anymore of it for my hobby.

It was never my intention to try and become a professional writer, but I have worked very hard to be a good fanfic writer. I achieved that and hope that I continue to improve.

I do need to say that for those of you who have decided that the authors who left were being mean or trying to start something you are wrong. This was done for our own peace of mind.

Now I'm going to go play quietly in the corner and hope this matter is closed.

Thank you,

UncagedMuse

Nov 08 2006 08:45 am   #74bloodshedbaby

 

Further it's interesting to see, how lightly the mods took this thread in the end by posting dog-piccies, no offense BSB, it's a really cute dog, if you need someone to watch him, I volunteer LOL. I know that there is a dog thread now, but still. This is a thread were readers and writers could and can inform themself and talk about what is going on. The mods of the site are always trying to have everything very organized and in order, from the chats on the tag to the topics in the forum and then they start posting fun pics in the middle of this thread. That doesn't help to change my opion about this site to the more positive.

Sorry if I offended you with pics of my dog. I was attempting to lighten the mood here, as Randi Giles was astute enough to realize, I was not trying to interfere if anybody had anything new to say or make fun of what has gone on.  I will remove the offensive photos.

BSB

 
Nov 08 2006 08:55 am   #75ZoeGrace

A. I like the offensive photos.

B. Nothing is being accomplished by rehashing the same thing over and over.  People complained, drew their lines in the sand, the mods apologized and said they'd do better.  nothing more can be done.  Are we supposed to sacrifice a virgin to fix it?  Only time will tell how things will go...sitting around here watching the pot boil, isn't making it happen faster.

Nov 08 2006 09:49 am   #76spikeslovebite

nooooo don't take the famous (infamous? LOL) Lucy pics down!! That was THE most PRICELESS moment at Writercon. Lucy is Queen Mistress of Puppet!Angel yis yis!!

*hugz BSB*

Tam


Nov 08 2006 09:59 am   #77eve

Dear BSB, you weren't offending me with your piccies. I saw them after the writercon, when someone posted the link and I was "rofl"ing LOL. It's great that they are posted in the other thread now. That's ok, never said anything against that, but I think the emotions are still a bit higher than normal for the authors that left, the readers that feel abandoned and some of the writers that got the not always so nice letters, so I just felt that they were a bit "misplaced". That's all.

I said in my first post that I won't say a thing about the exodus, although I saw misjudgement or mistreating, whatever you call it, but if I would share that, it would be just more of the "we said, they said" and that won't help this situation at all. I'm on the same page as ZoeGrace with her point B; if she allowse it  

 

Nov 08 2006 10:47 am   #78ZoeGrace

absolutely not! Eve, it's MY point B.  MINE.  get your own point! pfft.  There are 24 other letters in the alphabet...none of them spoken for (cause I took A and B)

(in the very unlikely event you don't know...this is sarcasm lol.)

Nov 08 2006 10:56 am   #79eve

yup, sometimes I recognize sarcasm and normally I am a nice person, believe it or not, LOL   And I choose... mmmh.... let me think.... C!! Now I'm back to lurking. I wish all the leaving writers good luck with their fics, the mods a better hand when they have to write a rejection letter and the rejected writers helpfull betas to help them improve.

Nov 08 2006 01:08 pm   #80Athenewolfe

D - Zoe -I have a serious problem with your above arguements.  The likihood of finding a virgin on this site to sacrfice is extremely unlikely and it is rather harsh to kidnap a random virgin and kill them just to offer above said sacrifice. If I am wrong, please let me know and we will prepare the alter right away (not meant to be offensive to virgins, people with alters who do not pratice sacrifices or people who practice sacrifices without alters???

E - Lucy + Angel Forever! Post me baby. Loves you much Stacy!


Nov 08 2006 10:03 pm   #81Guest

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to throw my 2 cents into the mix here; it is so hard to communicate via e-mail or any other written form. You lose facial expression & voice intonation, it's very easy to miss the original intent. I can't tell you the misunderstandings that have ensued over IM & e-mail for me personally. To the point where friends & I have agreed never to discuss anything serious that way.

Having the balls to put your work out there puts you in a serious place of vulnerability. This is your baby you're putting out into the world to be judged & it feels so personal. It's also very difficult to be a moderator - slogging through stacks of stories & doing your best to be kind while maintaining the integrity of the site.

We can focus on our individual hurts & allow it to bring down a great site. Or we can try to have a little understanding for each other & do better next time. I hope we can have some open communication & use this incident to make things better for everyone. I love BSV & our fandom - I'd like to see them both continue well into the future.

Sorry I've been such a stranger - I've missed you all terribly & send you love...

Soul of the Rose

Nov 08 2006 10:08 pm   #82bloodshedbaby

Eve, there's an unwritten rule. Once you delurk, you cannot lurk again. It's not allowed.

 
Nov 08 2006 10:57 pm   #83ZoeGrace

Athenewolfe...hehehe, I know of a virgin, but she would kick my ass for saying it...so...

Plus I don't think she's willing to take one for the team, in the forever kind of way lol.

muahahahahahaha

Also, Eve,  it might interest you to know...that in ye times of olde...Re-lurkers were used as sacrifices quite often in the place of virgins. 

Nov 08 2006 11:17 pm   #84Guest

We could use William......since in human form I'm sure he was still a virgin......go back before he met Dru in the alley.........I mean, why does the virgin always have to be a woman, LOL........



Kimber

Nov 09 2006 07:06 am   #85LadyYashka

Umm..Kimber..One problem with using William.

If we got him as a sacrafice, do you honestly think he'd stay a virgin long enough for us to use?

Lord knows he wouldn't stay one with me around.

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. — Neil Gaiman
Nov 09 2006 07:20 am   #86ZoeGrace

hahaha.  that's why it's gotta be a girl.

Nov 09 2006 08:06 am   #87bloodshedbaby

*dies* And you guys accuse ME of veering off the topic?

I love it.

 
Nov 09 2006 10:07 am   #88Guest

The scratch him during the devirginizing and there you have the blood of a virgin.....no death and then everybody's happy and then William is fair game to learn ALOT from those who wish to teach him, LOL.......imagination is the key.....not Dawn.....or hey there's your virgin if death is a must.....LOL


Kimber

Nov 09 2006 11:41 pm   #89ZoeGrace

You want to SCRATCH our william.  No NO NO bad kimber! No soup for you!

Nov 10 2006 12:33 am   #90Diabola

Ok, I think the original discussion is pretty much over, so I'm gonna close this thread now.

If you want to have some more fun with William the (soon to be former) virgin, feel free to start a new thread for it. You will also have the advantage of not having to scroll for half an hour to read the new comments if you do that. LOL

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits." - Albert Einstein

 Closed