There's no fics today, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'd like a week off just to help our checklist get back to it's usually robust standard, but also I'd like to discuss some things that have been reoccurring lately, and some issues that keep popping up again and again. These are, of course, the issues of rejection, resubmission, and comments about fics.
Recently, a number of people have gotten a little upset at the fact we've apparently 'rejected their fics for no reason.' They've been a little unecessarily aggravated at this, and either said so, or resubmitted their fic again asking for us to reconsider it. While I have nothing against this, there are several things I want to say and several points I want to make about this. Consider this update... a big episode of Fanfic Follies.
Firstly, remember that good and bad are subjective. When it comes down to it, whether a fic gets accepted or not is wholly dependant on whether 5 people like it or not. Which means a good fic can easily be rejected not because it's bad, but merely because it's not our cup of tea. As an example, say someone sends in a wonderfully thought out, exquisitely written FF7 Aeris/Sephiroth resurrection fic. (Those of you screaming 'oxymoron!' at your computers, shush.) No matter how well written, no matter how grammatically good it is, if 3 of our reviewers hate the thought of Aeris ressurrection fics, it won't get accepted. As it stands, the rejected notice is the same no matter what the case. Don't automatically assume we've rejected your fic because we think it's bad. It may just be Not Our Cup Of Tea. Which brings me to...
EDIT as of 18th December: It seems I explained this rather badly. I'm not saying we do this on purpose - nor am I saying we enjoy doing this. The trouble is, it's all automatic, and can be very hard to spot. Say you have a fic in your inbox and it's a borderline accept-reject in terms of writing and technical matters. While you umm and aah, your subconscious is saying 'Weeeeellll... I don't like the subject matter much...' and influencing your decision. Spotting that, especially in borderline cases, is extremely hard. We strife to be objective - and will continue to - but it is difficult to remain so. End of edit.
We won't critique fics. It says so in the Guidelines, no less. We do get a lot of fics in each week, and we do review and read each one, and as such, giving critiques for each would either eat up far too much time, or result in scrappy one-line critiques that really don't help. This is what the RPGFFML was set up for, that handy lil' button to the right. If you've sent your fic through to the RPGFFML and there's a consensus that it's good, and yet we're rejecting it, then it's a fair chance that you've run up against the Tea Syndrome. When that happens... there's sadly not a great deal we can do. As I said before, the Fanfiction department, when it comes down to it, is an extension of our preferences.
Don't resubmit without changes. I'd like to think this is self-evident, but... if we've rejected a fic, don't send it to us again without any changes. We read every fic we get, so if we rejected it before, odds are we'll reject it again.
Finally, Don't say everyone liked it unless you've shown it to the RPGFFML, or another group of strangers. People you know don't give good criticism, because they'll either be biased or they'll be trying to spare your feelings. The very best critique you can get is from strangers, because they have a clean perspective on both you and your work.
If you wish to debate any of these points with me, then I can be found at my email address, email@example.com or, if you want a live debate, in #rpgffml on irc.lunarnet.org port 4444, the official IRC channel of the RPGFFML. I'm eager to get feedback on my points, and potentially we all reach both a conclusion and maybe change things for the better.
The Steel "..." Gunner
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