Although I haven't posted on ff.net in years, I have left up the stories that I had already posted, so I occasionally still get reviews on them. The reviews I get have the unfortunate effect of reminding me why I don't still post on ff.net. Most of them are sweet and encouraging, but then there are those that are so boneheaded as to make me want to drive my head through the monitor, which is not how I like to spend my admittedly limited "fun time" these days. For example, I once received a series of encouraging comments on Another Man's Cage from a reader on ff.net. Now AMC is a character-driven story. The plot certainly isn't original or particularly exciting. Most reviewers on ff.net praise the writing style, but flowery prose alone will not sustain the reading of a 350,000-word novel; it's an interest in the lives of the characters that causes people to devote hours of the lives to such a hefty chunk of text.
This particular commenter got all the way through AMC before she decided that she was doing me a disfavor by not providing me with "concrit." (That is another of ff.net's mores: that every story is posted with an eye toward improving or revising it, so concrit is a gift. Whereas I am so done with AMC at this point and don't care to ever revise it again.) Anyway, this reader--who had fawned over my story in multiple reviews--proceeded to pick apart how I developed just about every major character, basically advocating for a more canatic interpretation. For example, Carnistir was "too weird"; never mind that removing that "weirdness" would completely change his function in the story. But this person didn't get this. She thought she was enjoying pretty writing and my interpretations of the characters were irritants to be endured when, in fact, it must have been the other way around. As noted above, I don't believe that anyone will sit through 350,000 words for prettiness alone.
Anyway, these kinds of comments are the norm, I've found, as of late, and my satisfaction with posting there has diminished as a result. But every now and then, I'm seized with guilt that I'm taking the easy way out; that I'm blaming ff.net as an entity for its shortcomings without being willing to make even the minimal effort of posting my work there to "be the change" I want to see. After all, many very thought-provoking writers I know don't want to post there because they view it as the shallow end of the pool or just plain intolerant (often with very good reason; I don't mean to criticize anyone's choices but my own).
So I've decided to try an experiment. Although it seemed very cutting-edge at the time, AMC is a relatively tame story; I would certainly make different choices if I were to write it now (beginning with less adherence to L&C as a "canon" text). I think Hastaina is probably my most heretical story at the moment: It both directly challenges the "canon" and is likely to piss off the holy-rollers as well. So I'm going to post "Hastaina" on ff.net and see what happens. Will it get comments? What kinds of comments will it get? Will it be flamed? Will anyone "get" it? (It was well-received and many certainly "got" it on the SWG.)
Here it is. We'll see!
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!