Tag Archives: writing

The Time for Progressive Fan Works is NOW Part 2

With all of the worries about what is true news, big social media sites have been focusing on favoring posts which are authentic and personal. Bad news for organizations, but good news individuals.

2018 has brought similar changes in search engines, which may be related: fanfictions have been given a high priority in organic results recently, which came as a pleasant surprise! Up until now, for so many years, top results for our green friends were mostly wiki articles written by people who are not Wraith fans. There still are a lot, but they have been curbed a bit.

People are seeking stories about SGA Wraith romance, too, and progressive works get noticed by the search engines, with a lesser focus on the “swallowed the Wraith and human can’t be together Koolaid” crowd. I am thankful for this change and for Google to be doing the right thing so many times.^_^

This especially comes at a good time because Stargate Origins has brought more traffic as well. Fortuitous synergy! 🙂

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Everybody Needs a Wraith OC

Or 2. Or more. 😀

It seems like most Wraith fans tend to have at least one OC. Cosplayers, artists, fanfic writers….

There were so precious few of them on the show and all those combinations of hair, beards, tattoos, uniforms, etc. are just too irresistible. ❤ ❤ ❤

When Racist and Anti-Wraith Comments Backfire

I keep saying that writing hateful comments only makes the writers look bad.

Here is a good example of such a comment coming back to bite the writer in the behind.

One of the books states that Wraith smell like “Chinese takeout decomposing in the fridge.”

In the statement’s sheer ignorance and absurdity, one can only wonder this:

Who doesn’t clean out their fridge?!

I rest my case.

Wraith Do Not Have Bad Breath

WHY do so many Fandy books write Wraith as having bad breath? The trope is also seen in many of the on-chapter-13-of-64-and-never-going-to-be-finished fanfics. Why is that a common trope, beyond cartoons made for toddlers, to give villains bad breath?

Just as artists should not add warts to Wraith portraits, writers should not add non-canon junk either!

If a villain is needed, they should be disliked for their personal villainous choices (I have to underscore, personal and individual, not racial).

For example, (Legacy spoilers ahead), Queen Death is not a beloved character because she did everything from feeling entitled to take Ember’s lifeforce, to helping to raise her younger brother prejudiced and privileged, to laying waste to planets and taking away sovereignty from other Queens. Bonus points for including better Queens to counter the bad example of the villainous one. If the authors would have skipped all that and just given her bad breath, well, that would have cheapened the character and cheapened the opponent, detracting from the protagonists’ triumph too.

Regardless:

Wraith should never have bad breath! 1) Someone who hasn’t eaten in thousands of years will not have acid reflux, food stuck in their teeth, garlic and onion smell, etc. 2) The few who do occasionally consume food for pleasure still have superior immune systems which would probably kill off any bacteria. There is no cause or reason for it.

Wraith do not have bad breath. This has been a public service announcement.

Gaming Fanfiction Sites

Getting a fanfic to rise to the top in site-specific searches often has less to do with story quality and more to do with social engineering. This is not to say that authors who do these things don’t write enjoyable stories, but to show how site programming and psychological tendencies work both for and against different personalities of writers. Don’t let the appearance of popularity fool you into missing some good stories.

Here are some ways people have been observed to game the system:
*Draw the story out for as many chapters as possible. The more chapters = the more comments people will leave for each chapter.
*Make fans wait a long while between each chapter so people beg for updates. Begging = more comments.
*End chapters on cliffhangers and that will accelerate and amplify the comments begging for continuation. This is seen more in chapter-by-chapter fanfics than on printed books.
*Comment and kudos/like on other peoples’ stuff and they will likely feel obligated to comment and kudos back on yours, through the law of reciprocity.
*Ask other readers to beta your work. Betas feel creatively invested in the story and will feel the need to comment and praise the story and give recs.
*Gift work to commenters. Recipients will feel obligated to comment and give praise and recs.
*Do collabs with other writers, including crossovers, to pull in more commenters from other audiences.
*Write the most popular pairing, which, in the Wraith fandom is John x Todd. That pulls in Lantean fans and Wraith fans. If you must write an OC, pair them with an on-screen character, as those are searchable. If you bother with OC x OC, make sure they are with Team Shep or a part of Todd’s hive so you can add those on-screen characters as searchable tags.
*Go tag happy. Tag every character in your story, even if they only say one line. Swipe ideas for tags from other writers. Tags = more page views.
*Ask for kudoses/likes and comments, directly in the story comments or through emails. Ask friends and family to join, even if they never read the works.
*Join clubs or groups. Get your works added their lists.
*Reply to readers and converse. Those are more comments. Agree or semi-agree even with trollish comments. To heck with self-esteem, because… comments!
*See who is in a commenting clique and try to join it, if you are not precluded by nationality or length of time visibly in the fandom. (Yes, these are real things.) Just don’t tick off the group’s unofficial leader, lest you get yourself comment shunned by the group. You might have to give up your unique writing voice, your sovereignty, and, sometimes, your ethics, to make that clique feel comfortable to get more comments. (See my previous post about prejudices going unchallenged and piling up.)
*Some sites allow guests to kudos/like and raise the hit count. Kudos yourself, using multiple browsers as “guests.” Wait a few days for your IP address to change, then give yourself more kudoses. Keep on doing this weekly.
*Kudos yourself while at the library. It’s a new IP address.
*Privately email others to kudos one each other’s works as “guests” with an international underground kudosing ring.
*Programming savvy? Have your computer automate “guest” kudosing.
*Some sites allow anonymous, guest commenting too. Use the above system to comment on your own stuff. You can even make alt guest accounts. You can even have “conversations” with the sockpuppets that way. Fictional character comments on works of fiction. How about that?
*Speed to market is paramount. The more time that lapses between your story being posted and the fandom’s peak popularity, the worse the page view collecting. The more years go by, the more page views. So, hurry up and post that first chapter and try to make readers beg for more.

All this stuff makes stories rise to the top in search results, as ranking programming tallies page views, comments, kudoses, etc.  Which are ethical? Authentic? Fair game within programming parameters?

See how this is played out on various writing sites and look for it. Some of these games work for art sites and original fiction and nonfiction, too, even on popular book selling sites, pre-planned long before books’ launches! Heck, even providers of goods and services pay sites such as reputation.com to bury negative reviews while offering bloggers and customers discounts or small free gifts for leaving positive reviews on social media or even just following them. Over the years, I have seen and heard some stuff, both online and in workshops and lectures. It’s a game, more serious if money is on the line.

People whose stories tend to get buried away are authors who: write short or complete stories, write OCs, are newer to a fandom, are introverted, or don’t have the desire or time to spend to increase their rankings and consequential likelihood of being noticed.

A lot of articles will tell writers how to do the ethical networking stuff, but leave out the clandestine stuff. I say this all as someone who doesn’t currently have works on those sites and have nothing to gain… and also nothing to lose for fear of retaliation through comment shunning.

Now that you know some of the tricks, give some of other writers and works a chance on ff.net and AO3. Gems are everywhere and they don’t always have dozens of comments on them.

There Needs to Be an Un-Kudos Button

It is frustrating enough that so many SGA fanfics are outright racist and kill off Wraith. But, the state of too many Wraithy fanfics lately comes with too many similar problems, giving me conflicts.

Should I fave, kudos, comment on, rec, etc., a story that is Wraith-centric and would otherwise be good, but that:
*gives Michael an awesome, happy ending but trash talks Rhys and just about every other faced officer?
*praises Todd but trash talks the technology and homes of his people?
*kills off any Wraith who isn’t Todd?
*relates to female human worshippers but trash talks Queens and/or kills them off?
*praises Wraith but kills off Michael and/or his hybrids and trash talks them? Even though Wraith are already human/insect hybrids?
*trash talks some Wraith hairstyles and hair textures, which carries definite racist undertones?
*presents unearned guilt of women who love Wraith and have sensual relationships with them?
*features dub-con or non-con, for the main character? For secondary characters?
*shows a Wraith x human love story with the Wraith overcoming anti-human bigotry while featuring the human hypocritically and greedily enjoying the end results of victimized fellow animals? Shows Wraith as joining said humans in needlessly harming fellow animals?
*uses speciesist language and speciesist analogies, in dialogue or exposition, casually condoning and normalizing speciesism?
*writes ableism, of Wraith killing off their differently-abled friends and family!? Boris has a scar over one eye, the pupil altered too, and maybe his vision was impacted– and he was a badass fighter and Commander. Michael’s telepathy was stronger than most Wraith, extending beyond just the same solar system. There was no evidence of ableism, directed to, or coming from, either of them over abilities. Even if someone can’t fight or pilot a dart anymore, they can contribute so many other ways and learned new skills, keeping their knowledge.
*presents a good story, but has homophobic, nationalist, or other prejudiced remarks on his or her profile? Displays artwork of Stargate characters in neo-Nazi uniforms!? WTF!

Ugh! I wish I were making these things up! This discomfort with it all keeps growing. Adding to the confusion, sometimes, I kudos something and the author changes it later to do these things listed above and some sites won’t let me click un-like or un-kudos. SIGH-borg!

Fans notice this stuff and message one another too. People talk. Sometimes, such things are done to try to insult other fans, such as negative remarks about dreadlocks aimed at fans of Wraith with that hairstyle, but that just makes the person saying prejudiced things looks bad.

This is why I rarely comment or get involved, even though I want very much to kudos Wraithy stories. Prejudice is something to be overcome, as flawed characters grow, not glamorized. Why can’t people be fair to all the characters and stop being racist, sexist, homophobic, speciesist, etc.? Until then, there needs to be an un-kudos button!

Gater Confession: I Edit and Save Fictions Also

Another Stargate fan said they edited their entire collection of ebooks, to correct what they say are frequent and recurring instances of weapon parts being misnamed, from “clip” to “magazine.” Drama! Controversy! LOL.

Well, then. While ‘gaters are confessing such things, I, too, confess that I edit Wraithy stuff that I want to re-read (and also artworks). Mostly, stuff that gets stripped out are instances of misogyny and speciesism. Gone are name-calling parts, such as calling female lovers of Wraith as wh*res. Gone are non-con human flashback scenes that mar love scenes by projecting them onto unrelated Wraith. Gone are references to violence done to fellow animals and remnants of their bodies, their skin, their stolen reproductive secretions, etc. Those are all human problems, not Wraith culture, and do nothing but distract from otherwise good stories I want to revisit. So… GONE!!! Gone as in three shots from a Zat gone!

It’s telling that such trauma exists in human society that these things all too frequently casually creep into what are supposed to be works of romance– even when it is a Wraith and a human stuck in a small room. Seriously, how do humans manage condoning and promoting human-caused violence even then?! These stories could be so perfect otherwise, too.

Some say to let such violence in stories be, that it is a part of history that will someday be gone. I say, provided humanity wises up, stops our war on all of creation, and survives, that some paid historian or archeologist who didn’t have to live in such a society can look at the violent references with a distanced air. The only time I leave them in is if a character overcame the odds and changed to be a better person. Characters condoning violence are unappealing. I just want enjoyable stories of bravery, mystery, adventure, intergalactic cultural sharing, and romance that I can re-read on my self-care days with a square or two of cruelty-free, fair-trade chocolate, thank you very much!