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  #1    
Old July 22nd, 2010, 02:46 PM
Mizan de la Plume Kuro's Avatar
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Should you write for your own sake or for the amusement of your prospective readers?

I've been wondering, as of late, on whether or not I've been going around this whole fiction thing the wrong way. When I first started writing fics, I wrote them for myself because I enjoyed them, and also because I wanted other people to enjoy them too. Now, I question on whether or not this strategy works very well or not considering the fact that what I consider to be interesting may not also be interesting to other people. I'm of course referring to the old saying in the fanfic biz that goes,

"Write what you want to write." or some derirative of that.


I first started wondering this when I wrote my latest parody fic. Of course, when writing a parody, you have to make jokes that are enjoyable and can be easily understood. This inherently entails taking the reader into consideration because I can't neccesarily assume that what I find funny would be funny to other people.

Case in Point: [May contain slightly offensive language]
Spoiler:

Then, this led me to wonder if this theory could/should be applied to my other fics.

So, tl;dr: As a fanfiction writer, should you write what you want to write or should you write that which some people might find amusing?

That's not to say that taking into consideration your potential readers would lessen the enjoyment of writing, no. It would just require a bit more effort on the writer's part and may stifle creativity a bit. Personally, I'm leaning towards writing for the reader's sake, but I want to see what you guys think or maybe get some advice on which way I should go. Remember that I'm applying this to non-comedy fics too.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 03:18 PM
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I confess - some of the comments or jokes I put in my writing are obscure ones, the sort of thing that you would only get if you were educated in a certain subject which amy or may not have any relation to the topic at hand. For example, a recent chapter of my Total Drama fanfic heavily referenced the bootleg games Pokemon Diamond and Jade (not Diamond and Pearl, Diamond and Jade). It's stupid, but it makes me snicker, and there was at least a little bit of explanation included before the in-joke flood came in.

In the realm of fanfiction and not jokes it's not quite as easy to do, considering a lot of the things included in the fanon are at least somewhat recognizable by the reader. Regardless, I managed an obscure reference here too. (Robotic Murkrow horde, anyone?) As long as it's not stupidity for the sake of stupidity and there is an opportunity to add author's notes at the end of the chapter - or, in other words, most mediums on the Internet - then writing things that nobody else will understand is acceptable... if only in very small dosages.

For example: I read a fic a short while ago. It was entertaining... but only a VERY obscure reference to dangling off cliff faces and people singing in helicopters made me respect the writer loads more. On the other hand, I can definitely see how the meaning would be lost to anyone who holds no relevance to the name Cliff Hanger. While it may be tempting to add a zillion things in that you may like, whether everyone else gets it or not is also a large factor to consider.

But this isn't what you're asking.

You're asking if we should let the desire for others to like our writing override the desire for us to like our writing more. And honestly, I'm going to have to take the purple pill and say that there ought to be some sort of balance.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giratina ♀ View Post
But this isn't what you're asking.
This was honestly going through my head halfway through your post. :P

Quote:
And honestly, I'm going to have to take the purple pill and say that there ought to be some sort of balance.
Yes, balance is good. However, right now, writing non-comedy, I don't consider the fact that my fic may not be amusing to others. I just write for the sake of my own enjoyment. The question wasn't simply meant to imply if "we should let the desire for others to like our writing override the desire for us to like our writing more," because inadvertantly, we'll at least write something that we'll like.

For me, I'm wary of considering the amusement of people at all because if I did it might stifle creativity to a certain degree. That is to say, if the reader doesn't like it, tough.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 04:24 PM
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Personally, I write what I want to write. I have an original trainer fic because that's what I wanted to read, and the story was one I wanted to write. That's how it is with all of my fanfics. I have plenty that no one will ever read, but I wrote them because I wanted to.

If whatever stories I post do get read, then that's fine.

Quote:
You're asking if we should let the desire for others to like our writing override the desire for us to like our writing more.
I always work with the idea of "you can't please everyone". If you try to change your writing to please the most people, well, you just might lose the story you were wanting to write. And maybe it's because I just read words by my favorite writer that said this, but sometimes, the best work, the ones that you're most proud of, no one else has read. But that's just how it goes.

So yeah, I just say write what you want to write the best you can. Otherwise, I guess the magic is gone from the words, and the story isn't true because it's not the true words the writer wanted to share.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 04:36 PM
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Yeah, I got kinda sidetracked, sorry... XD

In comedy, it's important to have accessible jokes so that others find it funny; that is, if you even intend on putting the comedy up to other people at all. If you're writing personally, not showing your work to anybody, then you can totally include that absolutely HILARIOUS dancing purple sock song you made when you were seven. But if you do intend for your comedy to be read by others, be it from being posted on the Internet or just handed to your friend by manuscript, they expect humor that they can appreciate. If they don't appreciate the dancing purple sock song or what have ye, then the entire purpose of the story is lost.

The previous paragraph pertains to humor, but for everything else - well, I can best understand it as writing fads or things that you know are popular as opposed to things you will like, sacrificing the latter for the former. In that case, you may want to go hand a heavy book to somebody and tell them to throw it at you. If you don't like your subject matter or your writing style or whatever, then it will be obvious in your writing, and it will stink - and you won't even have the ability to have fun with it despite the fact that it stinks, because you will not be at all interested in it. It will mean nothing to you past the vague thought that, "Oh, look, I wrote this." You will be writing things that you, the writer, aren't a fan of solely for the purpose of entertaining others. And frankly, nobody will be entertained by that.

It comes down to you - write what you like, and if you feel that you should censor or modify it to amuse the readers more, do that. Personally, I'll only do it if the stuff in question will be appreciated by nobody other than me, such as a personal in-joke. Then it would have no business being public.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:04 PM
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This may sound like a cop-out at first glance, but I would actually say: Both. In my mind, the two just aren't diametrically opposed. On the contrary, I tend to think that they work hand in hand. I definitely write because I enjoy it, but most of my enjoyment comes from other peoples' reactions. It's the old "it feels good to do good" situation. If you enjoy doing something for someone else, are you doing it for yourself or the other person? The answer is that there's no reason why the two are mutually exclusive.

In short, I write for my own enjoyment, but that enjoyment itself comes from providing other people with an enjoying read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizan
I first started wondering this when I wrote my latest parody fic. Of course, when writing a parody, you have to make jokes that are enjoyable and can be easily understood.
It's funny how comedy brings those kinds of things into focus (no pun intended). I think it's because it's easier to tell whether somebody enjoyed comedy. It's as simple as this: They laugh, or they don't. When you're trying to be serious, gauging satisfaction gets more complicated.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:45 PM
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Comedy aside, it depends on what you're trying to do.

To be clear, if you want reviewers, you have to take into consideration the reader because that's pretty much logic for you. As in, why wouldn't you take into consideration the reader if you're also trying to get people to like and review your work?

However, if you just want to tell a story and have fun with it, then by all means, write what you want to write. Occasionally, what you want to write might cross over into the kind of territory where you get readers, but don't be too surprised if you don't get a huge amount of feedback. This is because chances are, what you want to write and the kinds of genres and subgenres that attract readers aren't exactly the same thing, and if they aren't, you'd have to earn a readerbase the hard way if, one day, you decide you want one.

(Of course, as a disclaimer, I'd just like to say that if you plan on publicly posting your stories, keep in mind that by default, you're considering your readers in one way or another. This general rule is why you bother to proofread, post at sane speeds, avoid blowing off canon completely, and uphold the other given rules. Otherwise, you could theoretically say that you wanted to write a crapfic to have fun or because it's your style if you go by the "write whatever you want" logic without defining it. When it comes to content, though, the above two rules of thumb apply.)

In short, if you want craploads of reviews, yes. If you just want to have a little fun, no, except when it comes to following the basic rules.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 06:49 PM
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For me, it is both with my fic - I write it because it is fun, and also in that I like to try to entertain others as well.
Quote:
In comedy, it's important to have accessible jokes so that others find it funny; that is, if you even intend on putting the comedy up to other people at all. If you're writing personally, not showing your work to anybody, then you can totally include that absolutely HILARIOUS dancing purple sock song you made when you were seven. But if you do intend for your comedy to be read by others, be it from being posted on the Internet or just handed to your friend by manuscript, they expect humor that they can appreciate. If they don't appreciate the dancing purple sock song or what have ye, then the entire purpose of the story is lost.
This and on the previous mentions of injokes, have to agree - injokes are all well and good but balance is indeed important - if you want everyone to enjoy the fic's humour then it can't be all injokes as it will go over their heads. I use a fair number of injokes myself... some I have managed to incoperate into a gettable joke anyway (so that it's funny for two reasons - ie it's a joke anyone can get, and also an injoke only a certain person/s will get for a different reason), and other instancs I just have it as an aside - so it doesn't serve as a punchline for the normal reader, but just seems like a normal detail anyways so it doesn't stick out... well so I try anyway. XD
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 05:59 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I've been looking for reaffirmation, and the general consensus appears to be in favour of writing for your own sake (in hopes that at least some people are amused).
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Old July 30th, 2010, 10:30 PM
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When I do actually manage to get myself to write, it is purely for myself. Readers would be nice, but they aren't necessary. Matter-of-fact, I can't write if I try to please the readers too much, and not my own self.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 10:18 PM
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I write for myself, and hope that readers with similar tastes to my own who I can relate to will stumble across my writing. That's about it.
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