pornosophical said: I’ve been thinking about automatic fanfic turnoffs, and I know there are a great many guides to writing fanfic out and about—some good some not so much—but I was wondering if you…
200% disagree with your comment on summaries. I need to know what is going on in the fic other than taggable items. I want what it’s about, and if your summary does not give me a good idea, I’m out.
Tagging is great for sorting/filtering, but it doesn’t tell me the story, and that is what I’m looking to find out before reading a fic.
hi, dansrusse! Okay, maybe I was too hasty to handwave summaries, but it was mostly because I suck at writing them and don’t actually enjoy, personally, making my summaries very descriptive. I prefer to tag with every relevant major element of the fic that I can think of and then let the summaries be either vague one-line descriptions or little epigrams or something, things that kind of enhance the fic without giving too much away. I realize most people might see that as a terrible practice, but I honestly don’t care. At the end of the day, I write for myself, and I don’t really care if someone is put off by my habit to use ridiculous quotes in summaries.
I will admit that I rely on summaries as a reader a lot, but almost no summary will get me to read a fic that’s tagged “high school AU” or “major character death.” I also acknowledge that I’m from old(er)-school LJ fandom where trusted rec lists, delicious/pinboard, and word-of-mouth from friends were all WAY more important than individual summaries in getting people to read fics. I also got really lucky, in that my first fic, which was posted to FF.net, got read by a lot of people despite having what I still thought of as a crappy summary. And I think that’s also why summaries just didn’t feel as necessary to me.
Because so many people just read fics on AO3 these days, I expect there’s a slightly different mentality at work when it comes to summaries. But I also think it’s different in smaller fandoms. I’ll pretty much read any Arthur/Eames fic I can get my hands on at this point unless it’s a weird AU or tagged with tons of warnings or kinks that aren’t my kinks! I expect this is much different for bigger fandoms. I’ve never been in a truly HUGE fandom on AO3. (And I cheated because when I started reading Destiel fic last year, I started with the podfic archive, because I figured if a fic was good enough to be podficced, that was a rec all by itself.)