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Poetry by thetaoofchaos

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Literature by B1azeIchi


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March 31, 2007
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DeviantART has long prided itself on providing a community for both visual and literary artists. To this end, they are arguably the biggest and best on the Internet, home to millions upon millions of works bridging the gap from the beginner’s first step to the professional’s masterpiece. Yet, as with all art communities, deviantART is community-driven, and there are noticeable problems in the way that this works in practice, the most glaring of which is the disturbing lack of recognition for good prose-writers.

A simple glance at the Popular Prose section reveals what deviantART really reads. Chapters from fan-fiction serials. Scripts for anime-esque stories. Every once in awhile, a comedy selection might creep into the upper echelons of daily viewing, but this small victory seems restricted to that one genre.

A check of the Popular Poetry section reveals a similar unbalance, with largely dark and unoriginal works taking the spotlight. Clearly, the only poems worth reading are those written by a thirteen-year-old who has experienced enough of love to realize that it’s nothing but a gaping hole of death, somehow relative to a black rose and blood.

This is partly stereotypical, and for those who actually do write fantastic melancholic poetry or vibrant fan-fictions (and there certainly are some out there), I apologize if this seems particularly barbed. Nonetheless, this severe unbalance shadows that diversity which should be the remarkable feature of any true community of writers. Because of the focus on these particular aspects, the present-day heirs to Romanticism and Realism are forgotten. Philosophic works remain within a tight circle instead of spreading to the rest of the community.

And what is the solution? Can there even be one? Without a widespread of movement, and a conscious effort of many to search out works outside of the comfortable genre, nothing will be done. The community will continue its stagnant trend, ever-growing in size but never getting healthier. Unless we unite as a community and retrain our focus from the familiar to art itself, many will be forced to rely upon specialized groups, which are merely smaller mirrors of this same problem. If we ever do attain this state of balance for all artists, the community’s artistic talent will flourish. And indeed, that is why we are here, is it not?
A problem I've long noticed on deviantART.

If you have any thoughts at all on this issue, I would love hearing them.
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:iconxlightsxandxshadowsx:
XlightsxandxshadowsX Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yay! Someone else noticed!

I can't even go into the fiction section anymore because I know that I won't find anything original. It seems like it has mostly become the place for people to put their Hetalia and Naruto fanfics. They don't even seem to realize that there is a section specifically for fanfics!

It's so annoying. I mean, they can write fanfics if they want, I just want them to put in the correct area.

Anyway, good job! It seems like there's a lot of people on here who just don't notice it.
Reply
:icongermanmickey:
GermanMickey Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008   Photographer
i agree and disagree. being a writer of both fanfiction and original works, i able to see both sides of the argument. people write fanfiction to express their love over already made charaters. plus, it's a great starting place for beginning writers. i understand what you are saying about original writers not getting enough recognition. that is very true, but you must understand how the trends of today are. and about your comment on the 13 year old girl, this site is a place to express yourself. some people express it in different ways.
please correct me if i'm wrong in any way. i'm new to this site, so i haven't really explored all the types of stories, but that's my opinion from being on other sites.
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:iconmackenzie001:
Mackenzie001 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2008
I think part of the problem is that many people are losing the idea of writing and reading as fun. It is, but that isn't what's being emphasized today. Schools, media, everyday citizens, are throwing out over-analytical garbage to the public and getting just as much thrown back. No one should look at a book like, oh, say, Catch-22 or Hitchhikers Guide with the purpose of finding deeper meaning; true, much of it is satire, but first it's entertainment.

"...Thirteen-year-old who has experienced enough of love to realize that it’s nothing but a gaping hole of death, somehow relative to a black rose and blood."
I empathize with both the thirteen-year-old and you yourself on this. A lot of people use DeviantArt as a place to "express themselves." Nothing wrong with it; as ludicrous as the idea seems that an adolescent can have enough life experience to write meaningful literature on controversial topics like love, they need an outlet.
I don't think, however, that their venting should be placed under the guise of art.

As for a solution....isn't the only thing we can do is to take our works seriously, take other's works seriously, and avoid the temptation to find the deep connection between the author's use of the color red and that "subtle" comment they made about how crappy their life is.
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:icontheperson8982:
thEpErson8982 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2007
I agree with that, how are we going to get artistic opinions and/or support if no one knows about it? It would be hard to even progress in writing greater pieces without advice or inspiration from others...
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:iconriverstar33:
Riverstar33 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2007
Very true! Being a writer is hard on dA but when there is recognition I appreciate it all the more.
I find I get alot of page veiws, comments and feedback when I put up a photo and pretty much nothing for a song/poem/story... I don't think there is an answer, people just can't be bothered reading.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2007
Very true. Genius in a photograph can be usually be recognized almost immediately, but genius in the form of literature takes time to digest and analyse, and the care necessary for that is becoming increasingly scarce in the younger generation.

Thanks for the comment. =)
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:iconlizzieblack:
LizzieBlack Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
But I have another argument which I bet you're more comfortable with, since you like philosophy. You must know or heard of Plato's "Republic". Well in that book there's the myth of the cave. So if you remember correctly, it talked about people in a cave, bound, watching shadows from a fire far away from them, and they thought that fire was the truth, the only reality. And if they were to be forced to come out of the cave and see the sunlight, they would be blinded by it, and very many would return to the safety of the cave.
Now you may want to say that this is a century old myth, and that humanity has evolved since then, but think about it. There couldn't have been many people throughout the history who have really seen the wonders outside the "cave", and those couldn't bring back their knowledge to make the others understand it. So why do you believe that today, most of the people live in the world outside the cave, and have refused the shadows? Because that is a very naive thought, since people are always scared of what they do not know, and despise those things.

I'm not sorry for being persistent or, basically, a pain in the a**, and I won't mind if you'd actually have a good argument for arguing my "the world is stupid" theory :)
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2007
"High literature", the stuff they teach in schools, is, by definition, an analysis of human nature. Considering that all of us are participating in human nature, the only two impediments that can keep us from understanding the texts are lingual difficulties (which, considering the translating fervor of the modern age, isn't near as much a problem as it used to be), and linguistic difficulties.

Further, by nature, linguistic difficulties are easily resolved by proper education and determination. Proper education can be readily obtained anywhere that books exist, even if the school itself be lower-class. The determination might be the only facet that a student might not readily possess.

In other words, if a student wants to know what literature is all about, they can know. If they don't want to know, they don't have to.
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:iconlizzieblack:
LizzieBlack Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I can argue on that one. In our class, the level they teach us is pretty high, even German literature is very much debated. Now the only thing I can say is that some of my classmates pretty much fall asleep during our German classes. And I am not kidding.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2007
Your classmates might not constitute an sampling of the majority.
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:iconlizzieblack:
LizzieBlack Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sorry I didn't read all comments, maybe someone already touched this issue: you have to admit the majority of the people out there are neither artistic, nor interested in real literature, and they will never be, because they can not comprehend it. They can not understand it, and why should they bother? The only thing they do get, are simple things. Why do bestsellers from authors as Sandra Brown, Anne Rice, Dan Brown exist? Because simple people feed on them. And to think that a schoolmate actually had the guts to ask why she can't read Anne Rice to write an essay about in the "British and American literature of the twentieth century" class. Her argument was that Anne Rice wrote only bestsellers.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007
I don't think it's fair to suggest that the majority of people can't comprehend good literature, I think it's just that they've never been introduced to the finer points.
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:icongibah:
Gibah Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2007
I share this opinion. Being a writer on dA is hard.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2007
Yeah, I know what you mean.

Thanks for the comment. =)
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:iconiscariot-priest:
Iscariot-Priest Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2007
The fact that you've spoken with GeneratingHype probably means you're up to date to the war-effort to that making DA a better place for writers.

But... of course I'd still like to put my pennies in (or was that my 2 cents?)

As you probably seen, 'popular' fiction means fan-fiction (and don't forget porn, half these fan fiction things have yaoi warnings/ mature filters)
and 'popular' poetry means emo-crap. Don't mean to point out the obvious, but not looking for popular pieces will save you most of the trouble.

To find good literature, just start from a DD, and trail who suggested it or the owner of the DD.
Start reading there and you'll save yourself the grief of dumpster diving.

but I guess I'm getting off topic.

Oh ya, you mentioned helping the community spirit by recognize young writers. It's a cool idea, hell I do my bit to help young writers, but the problem is, there's not a lot of people who are willing to help those who can't be bothered to help themselves.
Truth is they're flaky. Yup that's it, many young writers don't have the attention span or the initiative. I'm sure you've noticed dead accounts. I guess to really improve the writing community, there's got to be a way to attract writers to stay on DA, and not just quit when nobody notices them (the reason nobody notices them is they don't reach out)

Then again, perhaps it's better to let such cases implode. If a person lacks discipline to master their art, it seems a waste of time to help them.
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:icontyrobia:
Tyrobia Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2007
Agreed...I mean, I just signed onto this site, but the first thing I looked for were essays and philosophical outlooks literature-wise, instead I see a bunch of fan-fic stories. While I don't have any issues with those, there is only so much a character can do. Why is the world so stuck in prolonging one story when they can just create a new story?

I personally think it's because of the fear that people have that their works will never be read, so they make their own character personalities and put them as already established characters to get more reads. If everyone does that, how will we ever learn?
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:iconkendecia:
Kendecia Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with this. If everyone just sticks to to something that had apparently taken the entire world by storm, then we're all doomed to be destroyed by it all. I write original things and the fanfics are on a different site. It's better that way since you can actually reach out and gain the best of both worlds. DA is the place for ART. Not contorted images of the commercial material.
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:iconhonorsystem:
Honorsystem Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007   Writer
Ok, so I'm not the only one who sees this trend. Certainly, I see this place as somewhere I can post my works and get some sort of response other than the generic "That's really good" that my friends offer me.

Right here in the replies to this piece are the very minds that can make something like this work, perhaps, as mentioned, some form of group on this site focusing solely on the works of pre-screened members. In the group, we can then read each other's works, and if one is of particular merit, we can then post a journal or comment someone's page suggesting they read it.

The people who might not particularly write well now should not be ignored, I've been there, I've written a lot of crap (and still do write a lot of crap, IMO). Like Zaphod said, if someone shows a glimmer of hope in something they've written, let them know, because the only way they'll improve is if someone shows them the right direction.

Great job of putting into perspective something many of us have been noticing.
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:iconmmercenary:
MMercenary Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
As an author who has indeed written about "black roses and blood", I have been thoroughly chastised. Thanks. Heh.

Okay, in a more serious manner... I agree with your sentiments, but it's probably a losing battle. It's the same with the visual art as well. A lot of it is is appealing, but not very original. And you CAN write fanfiction that isn't total crap. It just takes effort and most fanfiction writers don't take the time necessary to put out something decent. It's all about which character is suddenly in love with another character and OMG thts sooooo cute i luv naruto forever!!!1

But how do we take a stand? dA is a free site that anyone can post to whether or not the work has merit. We can't change that. It's a very thin line to walk. Who decides what is good and worthy "art" and what isn't? We might not like the kiddies who write terribly, but they've a right to be here too. Sadly they happen to outnumber the rest of us.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Sorry, I didn't mean all dark poetry. I know that selection was probably scathing, but I've read some fantastic poetry that has used that imagery but in a different manner. You're a good writer, I certainly didn't have you in mind when I was writing that.

You do bring up some good points. In the end, the only thing we can really do is raise awareness. We can't force dA to change. In the end, I'm quite optimistic about dA's ability to overcome this, but it is important for us to realize that this can be initiated (or maintained) by us, but it requires others to take a stand.
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:iconmmercenary:
MMercenary Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Oh I know you weren't coming after me personally. I was just teasing a bit. No worries about that. And thank you for the compliments!

dA has given us what we need to make our point. We can make our comments count. We can share the quality works that we come across. It's just an uphill battle I suppose.
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007   Writer
although i don't necessary share the opinion about the posted literature being comprised of "largely dark and unoriginal works", i do agree that there should be more community among the writers. i just joined this site last month and i have been considering starting a couple of groups for philosophy and poetry in order to find contemporaries and inspiration.
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007   Writer
i'll let you know what i find. i thank you for your opinion because expressing constructive criticism of this site will help it evolve.

shane
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
Groups are a wonderful asset for writers who want to find a mini-community that actually appreciates original art, but my ideal vision is that deviantART itself becomes one large Group that essentially completes this same task.

If you find some good groups for philosophy and poetry, would you mind slipping me a Note? I wouldn't mind checking them out.

Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. =D
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:icongeneratinghype:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
In defense, not all of the most popular prose is fan fiction; there are some gems in there. Even so, I agree that the community has to branch out and begin acting like a community. In fact, I've recently begun a mission to that effect--at least for prose. With the Prose GD stepping down and a new face likely to be on the horizon, it's my hope that positive changes will occur and decent literature will be recognized. That said, the problem you're discussing is prevalent throughout all the galleries--not just literature.

My first suggestion would be to involve yourself in the community if you really want to help make a change.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I do agree that not all in the Popular Prose is rubbish. Sometimes, something does break through. But it seems unnecessarily difficult for the original pieces to actually crack the fan-fiction barrier.

While I am quite pleased to hear the news of a new Prose GD, I do think that this can only be fixed through a community's combined efforts, not just the efforts of one individual, no matter how powerful. That said, if the influence of that one individual influences the entire community's mindset, something might very well get done. And that's exciting.

I would be interested in hearing more on your mission for prose, if you wouldn't mind indulging me either through a reply-comment or a Note.

Thanks for the comment and thoughts, I greatly appreciate them. =D
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:icongeneratinghype:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
First I simply want to increase prose exposure, especially for younger writers and writers without very many pageviews or watchers. I think there is too much neglected on this site in favor of supercliques, friends, and trashy literature (like the aforementioned fanfiction). I think we can do this by making an active effort to feature and involve said younger writers--not in a place where they will be chastized for their writing but in a place and way they can feel comfortable about the fact that they are growing writers who are still trying to refine their skills.

Next, I think we have to clean up the Poetry and Prose forum. There's no reason that every new writer there should be subjected to a trial by fire. Why are we wasting resources on discouraging writers? I find it ridiculous.

I believe more community-oriented projects that are open and run by GDs (and not cliques) should be encouraged, and I firmly believe that GDs should be more--neutral in their affairs. If there is a project, contest, or anything happening that is good for the lit community in general--even if it's being started or run by someone who isn't in the "GD's friends" clique, that project should be pimped and supported.

If we start there, and also branch out of our writers' box and look to involve ourselves in cross-community projects and galleries, I think we'll be taking positive steps to establishing a real literature community on this site.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Point One: Fantastic, I completely agree. I'm curious how you would enact this, though. Would this be through a gigantic group? Would you be featuring it on a specialized profile? What guarantees that people would actually check to see who is featured?

Point Two: I'll be honest, I don't read that forum at all. I do agree, though, that if it's nothing but barbed criticism, something should be done.

I agree with the rest of the comment as well, particularly the idea of moving out of our familiar genre-zone, and helping with other aspects of art. We need to realize that this should be a unified community of artists. I might not like fantasy, but as a community member, I should still be willing to help with a project where I can, and where time permits.

The plan sounds fantastic. If you ever need help or support for anything in this, please let me know. I'd be more than willing to lend a hand.
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:icongeneratinghype:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
There are seveal groups on dA that already do this. ~unknownartists is one of them, as is the group I belong to =DailyDeviants (though I am on Misc. staff there, not literature). Groups are great, but they don't get the exposure they need. I think something like this has to happen from the top down--starting with the Lit GDs. A Lit GD should make an effort to look for and feature younger writers and unknowns, perhaps in their journals or in monthly news articles, and definitely in DDs (and they should get senior members and others to pimp those journals and articles and to support and advertise those DDs.) You cannot make people read anything, but people are more likely to click a link in an article or journal of someone they trust or someone they think is important than they are to click on random prose links.

The entire forum has to be revamped. It's awful.

Yes, exactly! It seems so easy as an idea, but I'm sure implementing it will be hell. Right now I'm just waiting to see who the new Prose GD will be; that will probably determine my next action. Until then, it's journal features and contest-running for me! :D
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:icongeneratinghype:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
I actually meant this group: The Unknown Artists Project.
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:iconzaphod-beeblebrox58:
Zaphod-Beeblebrox58 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
While I agree with what you say here I need to ask how you think this should be adressed.

I prefer the poetry. It is enjoyable to mine through the, um, substandard, pieces to find something, now and then, that is wonderful and worth commenting about. Sometimes, the poem is truly awful but there is a spark or something that catches my eye and after I've watched that writer for a while they either improve or quit.

It is easy to take a picture, it is more difficult to make a photograph, and it is still more intricate to write prose, but poetry is difficult to read because the reader is as much of the poem as the writer.

You are a good writer and I will watch you.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I must agree, Zaphod. My experiences in combing the poetry are quite similar. There is a lot out there that just seems, sad to say, uninspired, but there are some absolutely phenomenal pieces out there. It takes quite a bit of digging, but it IS there.

Further, I agree with your point on the difficulty of reading poetry. Complexity can sometimes masquerade as an oafish simplicity, and unless we actually dig underneath, we can miss the larger point. This is the tragedy of poetry in large art communities: many people do not recognize the necessity to invest in the poetry. The writer doesn't give you a gift in the form of a poem. The author invests in the poem, and we must do the same to get something out of it.

I appreciate the thoughts and the watch. When I have a bit of time, I'll give your gallery a glance-through.
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:iconzaphod-beeblebrox58:
Zaphod-Beeblebrox58 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
First things first, my name is Jeff. My only regret with DA is my screen name. I was in a silly mood and had no idea that I would enjoy this as muchas I do. Too late to change.

I was in a Barnes and Noble in North Georgia the other week and there were no (none at all) books of poetry. The irony is that this was the town where I went to college and first learned to appreciate poetry. There were plenty of books on other stuff but no poetry, not even Shakespeare.

The other night, I saw a thing on cable called "Def Poetry", I couldn't watch long as it was just rap lyrics without the music. The reciters merely grabbed their crotch and poked wholes in the air while talking about how tough it is on the street. I guess there is poetry there but I wasn't interested.

The last poet lauriet of the US was Maya Angelo...if you like her work, sorry but it is nothing to me.

My pastor pointed out once that the word "poem" comes from the Greek "poema" which means "masterpiece" and yet thousands of pissed off thirteen year olds write poetry.

I'll never call myself a poet, I only write attempts, one day I'll write something that is very good but for now I'll write until I can say, I like this.

No one has ever gotten rich at poetry, it is the lowest paid of all the arts, but for me, it is the coolest. As to the awful stuff here, everyone sucks at everything when they first start.

It has been pretty cool for me to start a friendship with someone who is serious about their writing but not that good and watch them get better.

Please look through my gallery, please comment, but also visit some of my friends.
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:iconapollyonlocust:
apollyonlocust Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I generally don't read literature one DA for just that reason.

Altough the stuff featured in the Daily Devations is often good, so I know good literature on DA does exist.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
Right, there are certainly good writers out there. Every once in a rare while, a gem will sneak onto the Popular Prose section. The DD's are often very good as well (though sometimes I wonder what's going on with some of the poetic selections, to be honest).

The unfortunate thing is, though, that unless you get selected for a DD, or write what everyone else is writing, you don't really get noticed. It's this that I'm trying to raise awareness for.

Thanks for the comment. =D
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:iconratch-and-clank:
Ratch-And-Clank Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
i agree, not just with literature, but the entire spectrum of art on DA.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
A good point. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to really comment on that, since I'm a writer. A blind child can draw better than I can. ;)

Thanks for the comment. =D
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:iconechoxchamber:
echoxchamber Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I agree with you. I thought of posting my literary works here a long time, even before I joined, but decided to take it somewhere where it was just fiction instead, and not fan-fiction. I'd actually hate to see my work being drowned by fanfiction because it's so hard to compare the two.
This is really spot on because dA could be so much better at this seeing as they're one of the biggest and best art communities. Or maybe they should leave it up to others? I don't know but I hope that your text can inspire others to speak out if they feel like it and maybe dA could separate fanfiction and fiction? So that everyone gets more of a fair shot.


xx - sorry about the novel on this one.
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I agree in entirety. It's actually very tempting personally to take my works to EliteSkills or other similar sites that focus primarily on prose and poetry, but even there it becomes drowned out (though to a far lesser extent). I'm not entirely pessimistic about dA's ability to change. I think the community here can rise up and fix this problem.

Splitting up fanfiction and fiction would definitely be nice, but that doesn't quite fix the audience problem. It would just make it easier for some people to tune out everything else.

Don't apologize for the novel, I appreciate the thoughts. Thanks for the comment. =D
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:iconechoxchamber:
echoxchamber Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I think dA has alot of potential as a writing site, because it's so big and you could reach such a great audience here. I hope that someday this community will rise up and fix everything. I'd definitely take my business here then. :D
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
I completely agree. If that day ever comes, I think I might just go insane.
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:iconamazing-notebook:
amazing-notebook Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I agree to the fullest, it always annoys me when I see all the fan-fics out there but not really many actual original ideas =/
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I absolutely agree. In fact, that was the basis for this work. I love reading other people's works, and I'm always looking for something fresh, but instead, I see people taking characters from shows/games/whatever and throwing them around in strange stories that don't really make any coherent sense. I'm not anti-fanfiction (though I really don't care for it personally), but I am pro-originality, and I don't see much of that in fan-fiction.
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:iconamazing-notebook:
amazing-notebook Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007
I know, it's just so rediculous. I mean, half the fan-fics have almost nothing to do with the actual plot of whatever they're basing the story off. It would be easier just to create new characters and a new setting, then there'd be so much more originality, but apparently that hasn't struck many as an alternative to the fan-fics =/
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:iconcberman:
cberman Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Unfortunately not.

Again, I don't want to seem as though I'm crazily against the idea of fan-fictions. I don't write them myself, and I don't particularly care for the idea, but I will grant that something funny/interesting/whatever could come out of them. But for many, it seems like just a cheap way to get out of making your own characters that are at all interesting. Further, you're guaranteed at least a few hits from people that love Sonic, Naruto, or some other anime.

The fact is, if I do like the show (which, I don't watch TV), chances are I won't like your fan-fiction, since they tend to go off in some random direction. If I don't like the show, chances are I won't like your fan-fiction, since my reasons tend toward lackluster characters and a dumb plot.
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:iconamazing-notebook:
amazing-notebook Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Yeah, I understand. There are some fan-fics that are pretty good, I will say that. It's just so many of them are poorly done and are just a lazy way for people to have characters and a setting and still stick to their own plot that completely changes the characters and everything else from what they are based off. That's just my opinion though.
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