slagsmacker: (Default)
slagsmacker ([personal profile] slagsmacker) wrote2011-05-13 06:04 pm
Entry tags:

Location, Location, Location (or why am I here?)

Written for: [community profile] fem_thoughts
Prompt: Posting - Where femslash writers post/why/where femslash writers don't post/why (prompted by observances that there is not a ton of femslash on Ao3)

Location, Location, Location (or why am I here?)

Warning: I’m not so good with the mini  part of, ‘mini meta,‘ and this is very much based on personal experience.

So before I got into the nitty gritty of where I post, I took a minute to think about why I post. Yup it’s all very self conscious to, ‘question the question,’ but I think it’s a valid area of examination. I’d imagine all writers have been scribbling away in private for years. If we are going to write anyway, what compels us to post these things called fanfics on the big scary internet?

For me the draw of fanfic, and femslash in particular, is the sense of community it brings. I don’t necessarily mean skipping through fields of daisies, commenting in harmony about the kickass girls and beta reading each other’s work - although that is nice too. What I mean by community is the sense that someone else, even if they never review and I never know them in any concrete sense, gets it. I tend to write about non-canonical couples in small or almost dead fandoms. Femslash is often like wearing super!sekrit spy glasses. We’re not reading what is there, but what could be there. I post fanfic because I love this exchange between text (canon) - subtext (fic) - author (me) - reader (me and you).

So what cool hangouts make this possible?

1. Fanfic.net

Let’s get this straight, I don’t think ff.net is the black hole of suck that some do. Like everywhere else there are good fics and very, very bad fics.

That being said, I don’t think the site is femslash friendly. Want to write some lady on lady action? Better make it  PG-13 or you are violating their terms of service. Want to dip your toes in a variety of fandoms by writing a drabbles or one shots? Better get used to their extremely complicated, chapter friendly formatting system. Want to make sure your offering doesn’t get swallowed up by the sheer volume of m/m or het postings? Good luck.

There is something to be said for ensuring femslash visibility by posting in general archives like ff.net. But, embracing my inner whiny, teenager for a sec, it’s sooo hard. I have posted het on the site, but I feel like my femslash is too smutty or too short to venture into the pit. I write quickly and, predominantly, for fun. ff.net feels like too much hard work, like swimming against the tide.

2. Livejournal

So where do I go instead? Well, like the special snowflake that I am, I was, ‘brought up,’ in the sheltered, femslash friendly world of livejournal. For many years LJ was the place that offered the fan exchange and re-reading of heteronormative texts I was looking for. LJ just suits my needs. I understand their community based system. Plus, if I can work their search function, anyone can. Most importantly, the prompting structure that permeates LJ works. Be it a drabble challenge or porn battle, I like the sense that at least one other person has a) seen what I saw, possibly over a large range of fandoms (porn battles especially offer a box of fanfic chocolates) b) will read my fic c) might even review.

The downside? LJ has segregated femslash writers. I wasn’t even aware there were communities outside of lj until very recently. LJ can be very cliquey and I think, increasingly, myopic. If you don’t write within the fandoms listed on passion_perfection, forget it. Community is what attracted me to fanfic writing, but community can also produce a hive mind. Seems like femslash writers now expect to be a small (if loud) group, working within certain fandoms and certain parameters. We’ve created our own bubble.

3. A03

Which is why I think the percentage of femslash fic on A03 is relatively small. I think it is important to make a distinction between A03 and LJ/Dreamwidth. A03 offers a fantastic place to archive fic. I truly love their hit counter, it‘s interesting to see which of my fics people actually want to read  (no surprises, porn is winning). I also like that it offers a search function for types of pairings (f/f, m/m, gen, f/m, gang bang), making the femslash easier to find.

What it doesn’t offer is any opportunity for discussion and prompting. People will only use A03 if existing fanfic writers and readers are aware of it. Seems like a redundant point, but if prompt battles or Yuletide don’t create groups on A03, then no one is going to know it is there.

4. Dreamwidth

To tie a neat bow around this beast - that is why I am here. Dreamwidth seems alive with discussion and more open to different kinds of fanfic posting and writing than LJ.

What I’d like to see now is a push towards multi-platform posting, people wandering from LJ, to  Dreamwidth, stopping by at A03 and going back again. Like I said, for me it’s all about exchange.
 

twtd: (Default)

[personal profile] twtd 2011-05-13 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Slightly off topic, but according to [personal profile] cesy AO3 is working on a prompting system of some kind, though I don't know anything about the details. Her post about it is here.

Otherwise, yeah, +1 to what you said.
Edited (added a link to the original post) 2011-05-13 17:35 (UTC)
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)

[personal profile] sqbr 2011-05-13 09:38 pm (UTC)(link)
The downside? LJ has segregated femslash writers. I wasn’t even aware there were communities outside of lj until very recently. LJ can be very cliquey and I think, increasingly, myopic. If you don’t write within the fandoms listed on passion_perfection, forget it. Community is what attracted me to fanfic writing, but community can also produce a hive mind. Seems like femslash writers now expect to be a small (if loud) group, working within certain fandoms and certain parameters. We’ve created our own bubble.

I find this really interesting, since while I spend some time inside that bubble socially my f/f fic is for the same fandoms I write my gen and m/f etc for and those tend to be outside that bubble. I think it's one reason I often don't bother posting to femslash comms: I would rather get a "I don't usually ship them but I like it" response at a fandom specific comm than a "I am not familiar with the fandom but I like it" response at a femslash comm, since I want that sense of shared vision of the characters (not that I dislike the second type of comment :)) And the fandoms I'm in where my f/f ships are actually popular tend to be outside the bubble too.

That said, I'm primarily an artist, and there's a whole separate f/f culture for fanart on DeviantArt and Tumblr etc more slanted towards the sort of anime/manga/computer games fandoms I tend to create for.

I agree that AO3 needs a certain momentum, but on the plus side Yuletide stories are posted there. I look forward to their prompting capabilities going live and am curious to see how much uptake it gets.
sqbr: Rose and the doctor (dw?)

[personal profile] sqbr 2011-05-19 12:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah. Meanwhile I very rarely write/draw to prompts by strangers.

Heh. I have written Doctor Who femslash, but since I'm not in Dr Who fandom just posted it to my journal and hoped for the best :D
snowynight: An Asian doctor who's also Captain America (Default)

[personal profile] snowynight 2011-05-14 01:10 am (UTC)(link)
I post everything on AO3 and then advertise them on DW (I don't have LJ). Because my fandom is small, I advertise the femslash on multi-fandom com and fandom-specific com, though I have no idea about the efficiency. I just like the hit count and kudos features of AO3.
snowynight: An Asian doctor who's also Captain America (Default)

[personal profile] snowynight 2011-05-14 09:42 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah. Sometimes it's frustrating to write into a vacuum.
aron_kristina: Garbo being fab! (Default)

[personal profile] aron_kristina 2011-05-14 07:49 am (UTC)(link)
Well, AO3 is an archive, so... That said, I'm on LJ, DW and AO3, and I think it works fairly well to announce my new stuff on my journals (on LJ so far, but I'll start crossposting here too) but actually archive it on AO3. Of course, the femslash gets way less hits than the other stuff I'm writing but, well, we can't have it all I suppose. Having a prompt function on AO3 would be great, but I think the discussion is best left for the journal sites.

Which is my long winded way of saying I agree :)