There’s something that has been irking me for a while now. It seems that a lot of people in this fic-verse are strongly averse to reading stories that are Work in Progress. Some are strictly against drabbles but are kinda sorta okay with reading regular length WIPs. Others wouldn’t touch either with a ten foot pole. Not unless it’s marked “complete”.
The reasons behind it are manifold: 1. Impatience for updates, 2. need for instant gratification, but most importantly, 3. the fear that the story might go into an indefinite hiatus, leaving the reader high and dry.
All are pretty valid points.
The first two are individual personality traits that no one should have to apologize for. After all, we read Twilight fanfiction for fun. If a quick fix makes you happy, then so be it.
However, I have a few thoughts on the third point. I’ve been wondering whether or not there is a correlation between readers shunning WIPs and writers abandoning their work mid way.
Authors may experience a myriad of issues that could result in them setting aside their writing. Heath problems, death or injury in the family, writers block, job loss, any of these can contribute to a story going into a state of limbo. There is little we can do to safeguard against such misfortunes.
Nevertheless, it occurred to me that there is another reason that might be at work, in at least some of the cases, whereby authors give up on their projects because they feel unappreciated and ignored.
Just imagine the case of a relatively new author who doesn’t have the benefit of a BNA’s pimpage as a launching pad or know all the nooks and corners of this fandom to get a fix on where to showcase their work. The interactive system that is ff.net, where the only tangible form of validation an author can get is through readers’ feedback, how long do you think this newbie will remain motivated to churn out chapter after chapter if s/he never gets any kind of response from the readers?
I know that it can be argued that one shouldn’t write for the readership but for one’s own incessant drive to get the words out onto the paper. That is true. But when someone takes that pivotal step to lay it all out before a public forum, and then is made to feel invisible, the blow can be crippling.
I speak from experience. I’m clearly still here, but my scars are still raw enough to recall how close I came to call it quits.
So, a humble request to those who avoid WIPs, not because they crave instant indulgences but because they don’t want to risk investing into something that might go on hiatus, please consider that maybe your decision is triggering a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Personally, I love WIPs. The wait, the anticipation, the speculation, the engagement, they all add up to what makes reading Twi fanfiction a unique and joyful experience. Being able to follow a story from its early days, watch it grow and unfold its wings, and witness it take flight is a precious and magical gift that one cannot acquire through reading a published book, or a completed fic. Not to mention the possibility of interacting with the author!
There you go. That’s how I feel about the topic.
Thank you for indulging me:)