I will never get over the fact that Long John Silver defeated Captain Flint with love, like…I have never seen such a thing before, a man beating another man not with weapons or physical strength or manipulations but with…love and he did it pursuing nothing but more love and peace…like if this isn’t the most revolutionary portrayal of two male characters and their relationship then I don’t know what it is
What's your honest opinion of readers who don't comment?
Dude. My man. My lady. My non-gender-binary associate. You’re killing me with this one. Seriously.
Alright, let’s dig into this because I haven’t got my thoughts all nicely assembled together on it, but I’m going to try, just for you.
[caveat that I’m only going to talk about my fic experiences from the last 3 years on AO3 and not about my experiences on other platforms at other times]
When I first joined AO3 in my current fandom, I dove in head first because I had a brand new OTP and I wanted to READ. ALL. THE THINGS!!! I ended up reading god knows how many stories in that first two weeks, and I didn’t comment on any of them. Even as a person who had written and commented in previous fandoms and on other sites, I didn’t. Why not? A few reasons:
The fandom was pretty tiny still at that point, and everyone seemed to know everyone else and I didn’t want to “butt in” uninvited.
I hadn’t read or written fic in several years, and I was shy about diving back into it again. I didn’t know what to say.
Everyone seemed more talented and cooler than me, and I thought it was best to just lurk in the shadows and let them do their thing without me.
I get not commenting. I’ve been there myself.
But I’ve also been the writer who is racked with self-doubt or just so tired or unmotivated or blocked. And when I’ve felt like that, a comment or two really helped bring me out of it.
When I was writing and posting all the time, I didn’t understand why readers didn’t comment when “everyone knows” that you really “should” comment and what’s wrong with readers these days don’t they know it’s only polite to let the author know that they liked the story even if they just say “I liked it” it’s really not that hard, like c’mon really???
I took a step away from AO3 (both reading and writing) because it was getting to be too much and I was letting external metrics like comments and kudos and hits take over my idea of my own value. I still read a bit. I still write some. But I’m not writing 70K a month and updating daily like I used to. And taking that step back has given me some perspective.
Readers aren’t lazy. They aren’t entitled. They aren’t spoilt. They aren’t greedy. Everyone has some of that sometimes and no group is totally without its jerks, but generally speaking readers are just… people. People with a lot going on. People with stresses. People with anxiety. People who don’t have a lot of time. People who download stories and read them a month later after their exams are finished. People who read chapters two paragraphs at a time in between taking care of a sick child. People who don’t know what to say.
I get it. I’ve been there.
Readers who don’t comment aren’t a scourge. Writers that want more comments aren’t demanding. We’re all just human beings trying to get along as best we can. I think if we can remember that, we’ll all be better off.
I don’t hate you if you don’t comment. But I do hope that, sometimes, you do.
Stricklake Medieval Fantasy AU featuring Lord Chancellor Strickler (or Hand of the King, whichever you fancy) and Healer Barbara, Lady of Lake.
Though his primary concern is given to controlling chaos and keeping a watchful eye of the Court of Arcadia, Strickler’s attention cannot help but be drawn by Lady Lake as she does the duties of both Principal Healer in Court (and battling the sexism of other male Healers) and mother to one young Knight, James of Lake, who just so happens to be the latest Trollhunter and target of dark designs from Strickler’s master…
Gosh, but going through the first AU with a brand new OTP is always a delightful thing! Barbara doesn’t have her glasses for obvious reasons, so she has to deal with headaches from nearsightedness along with everything else, poor woman. Not gonna lie, I am SO pleased with how Strickler’s shadow turned out – I love the Shadow Reveal The True Form trope so so so much <3