come one what did you expect me to do when i get space with dw

According to Plan

Originally posted by frozen-delight

Pairing: Dean x plus sized!reader
Word count: 954
Warnings: Swearing

Part 6 of Fat and Beautiful

Rolling over, your hand met a cold sheet, making you open your eyes. “Dean?” You yawned, propping yourself up on your elbow. “Babe?” Looking around, you blinked. He was nowhere to be found. Normally you were the first one up, and he woke up not long after. Pushing the blankets back, you got out of bed and stretched.

You made your way out of your shared room and through the halls looking for him. As you moved towards the kitchen, you pulled your hair up into a ponytail. Something smelled amazing, and it was making your mouth water.

“There you are.” You said softly, making him turn to look at you. “I was surprised to wake up to your side of the bed empty.” Moving closer you saw his face fall just a bit. “What’s wrong?” You asked, worried.

Dean smiled sheepishly. “I, uh, was hoping to surprise you…” He told you. “Was gonna bring you breakfast in bed. Had a tray all set, have flowers in a vase and everything.” Dean motioned to the counter behind him. Your eyes flicked between him and the tray. “Surprise.” He chuckled slightly.

Smiling, you kissed him gently. “Thank you, babe.” You said against his lips. “It smells amazing.”

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“Thin Ice” quicktakes:

  • Bill/the TARDIS is canon nailed it
  • “History’s a whitewash’ thank
  • no but this was such a good way to balance the whole ‘time travel to the past in majority-white areas will suck for non-white people’ thing with ‘but also can we have a fun adventure’ - acknowledged, made part of the story, but also not a weepy ‘those poor people’ thing. i am not an expert here, but i like how this was handled
  • that ‘how many people have you watched die’ sequence fuck
  • the dr keeping food in their hat i mean obvs look at all space they’d be wasting otherwise
  • the bit where they first meet the whale thing - this show is generally very script-forward, v talky and with aggressive incidental music; cutting the dialogue and letting the scene play out isn’t a move i’d expect it to make, but it works, and it’s nice. in general this season feels a bit more director/DP-forward, like each episode has a specific visual language, and there’s a - like a trust? in the director/DP/editor/etc to take a basic direction ('Dr and Bill look @ whale thing’) and make it work without explicating it. i like this, i enjoy this
  • Sarah Dollard made Peter Capaldi say 'tattoo’ again #writergoals
  • god i fuckin love angler fish and i don’t care how bad the prop is i love it. rule #19782 of DW (and horror in general): make the vague implication spooky as shit and the reveal as crap as you can
  • Doctor Disceaux~
  • mmmmmmmm that opening mournful whine of 12’s theme coming in just after they were a jerk and immediately before they turn back into the better 12 that 12 can be. i have my qualms with Murray but he does know how to leverage a motif
  • Bill side-eying the Dr when they ask if Douche McFucklord’s family kept a record of the people the whale thing killed
  • the villain is Whitefuck Racistington Ancap the III and i am living
  • "Don’t be smug, smug belongs to me” “i just wanna know how long it takes to be able to make a speech like that” “i didn’t save them, you did…Boss” i love them so much i love this relationship this is a true and great brotp
  • are Whouffaldi diehards arguing about how only Clara can be the Boss have we come full circle yet
  • 12 and Bill were both very pretty in their Hats and Fancy Frocks; i am a bisexual
  • and i love Bill so much i love her joy and earnest open emotional responses and her 'yeah aiight fuck you then’ retreats and her confused but hopeful empathy and BILL
  • also 12 my boy who is so much more willing to learn and admit they’ve fucked up but just as good at fucking up as they’ve always been
  • did i mention the hats
  • those were great fucking hats
  • also again in re 12&Bill i love that she appeals to their better nature but it’s not like a, ‘oh if only you were kind you’d listen to my gentle plea’, it’s a ‘ok ok OK ok fuck you also: fuck you what is wrong with you, you asshole’ and then later 12 is like ‘i might have learned a lesson but do not look at me directly’ and it’s just
  • and i love how Bill gets to freak out and cry but it doesn’t come off as a weakness, just a regular necessary human thing, and then that regular necessary human thing turns out to be the hinge point like it is powerful, and listening to that regular human thing is powerful, and this show i swer
  • sorry did i mention the hats i forget

“Of Conduct and Procedure: Multi-Faceted”

Fourth Installment, dedicated to @katiethemstie

Originally, the Eighth Doctor was all over this, but the fic evolved so that he doesn’t actually make himself physically known. He’s just talked about a lot. He’ll be present in a future installment, I’m sure, so for those of you who were looking forward to seeing him, don’t be disappointed. And for my Classic Who fans, look! It’s Seven!

The TARDIS was in between stages. She had changed a lot, under Seven’s watch, and at this point in her timeline, she was still a mix between the more sterile aura that Six had left behind and the dim-lit, paper-and-tea-scented, homey place she would be by time Seven would start losing his hair (which was a terrible shame, considering the Doctor’s tradition of keeping a fabulous head of hair through all his regenerations, but then again, who was Nine to judge?).

At the moment, though, Seven was still in his younger years and still the keeper of a full head of hair. And he was calmly preparing mint tea like it was nobody’s business, which was mostly true, seeing as the only other person in the TARDIS with him was… himself.

“So, what is the matter?” Seven asked. Nine immediately wanted to call Seven out on his placating tone, because I was you and I remember and I practically invented that tone of voice so don’t you dare use that on me, but he found himself… placated. Well, as much as he remembered being Seven, he had forgotten how good Seven was at this. This, being… well, whatever it was. “It must be something important if you crossed timelines to talk to yourself about it.”

“We met a girl,” said Nine.

“Oh, dear, that’s awfully specific,” Seven snarked casually, shifting the kettle. “Please, be more vague so that we can include basically every day of our lives and ninety-five percent of our companions.”

“Shut it. I’m the one who’s supposed to be a snark, not you,” Nine said. He would have been amused if he wasn’t in such a foul temper.

“Hmph. I can be whatever I want to be.” Seven shifted the kettle again, more out of habit than necessity, since moving the tea kettle did absolutely nothing. “So, tell me. What’s so important about the girl.”

“We love her.” Sometimes blunt really was the way to go, especially with one’s own self.

“We do?” Seven looked as startled as he had ever been, which was saying something, considering how many times he had gotten a gun pointed in his face. Really should be a bit more wary of guns, Nine thought, remembering Seven’s unfortunate and honestly stupid end, but it wasn’t as if he could warn his younger self, so he stayed silent on that matter. Seven stared Nine down, looking for some hint as to his future self’s meaning, and he must have found it genuine, because he suddenly went slack in his seat and said, “Oh, my. We do.”


Seven’s eyes darted aimlessly before settling on Nine’ shoe. “So. Love. I never thought….”

“Neither did I,” Nine agreed, bobbing his head in a nod. “But she’s fantastic.”

A small smile lit Seven’s face. “So, did you come just to tell me the big news, or did you need something? Not that news like that isn’t enough. I won’t be able to remember it, but I’ll still have that sensation of looking forward to something. Thank you.”

“S’pose I should tell the others,” Nine pondered, before shaking himself. “But I’m here because… well, I did something stupid.”

“Oh, of course,” Seven groaned. “I may not be particularly knowledgeable of your regeneration, seeing as you do come sometime after me, but I think I can guess that it was something you said. Our talent with words doesn’t seem to last past myself.”

“It does, though,” corrected the Ninth with a sneer. “It lasts through Eight, that’s for certain.”

For a moment or two, Seven was pleased, before he noticed Nine’s sneer of disdain. “Oh, dear. What does this have to do with Eight?”

“Well, y’see, it started…” Nine leaned forward, and so did Seven, both looking as though they were about to divulge the secrets of the universe. “Um… Oh, this is weird. Thing is, she’s human.”

“Human?” echoed Seven, his eyebrows shooting up to his hairline. “Well, I suppose that’s… very much like us, to give our affections to a human. I never really considered it, I don’t think.”

“You will.”

“Hm. So, what’s it like? Loving a… a human.”

“Fantastic.” Nine smiled. “Not like those Gallifreyan ladies. She’s not full of it, actin’ better’n I am ’cause-a station. She’s jus’… her. Wants to see the whole universe. I get to show her everythin’. And she tries so hard, jus’t’be alive. Harder’n any Gallifreyan in history ever bothered to.”

A warm, toasty feeling started to crackle to life between Seven’s hearts. “That sounds… wonderful.”

“Is. Problem, though,” admitted Nine.

Seven turned to gather two teacups from the cabinet. Nine looked at the delicate cups with some level of amusement. They didn’t really suit him or Seven, but they had been around for so long, he couldn’t imagine getting rid of them. He hadn’t dared to take them out around you, but now that he thought about it, maybe you would find them as funny as he did.

“Of course there is,” said Seven, snatching the kettle off the burner (and, really, was that a Bunsen burner? Why did he even own one of those, much less make tea on it?). “Go on.”

“Well, being human, she doesn’t really know about the courtin’ procedures,” Nine admitted. Seven saw where the conversation was going and immediately groaned and allowed his head to bump against the cabinet door with a dull thud. “My thoughts exactly. And the worst part is’at I’m not all that good at courtin’ in the first place. I tried a few little things, messed the last one up horribly.”

“Double down,” Seven mused. “So you want me to help–” and then Seven paused, because the whole conversation clicked in his mind like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. “Eight is good with words, you said. You went to him for help.”

“Yeah,” said Nine. “Eight is… well, you’ll understand when you’re him, but it seemed like the perfect plan. He’s good with that sort of… thing. Women, I guess. He practically memorized the courting procedures, and he’s very… charming, y’could say, so I thought it would work.”

“What would work? You didn’t… oh. You did.”

“I took ’er t’see’im,” Nine admitted, scrubbing a palm down his face and covering his eyes. Seven scooted a cup of freshly-brewed tea under the other Doctor’s rather prominent nose. The steam rose up and wetted Nine’s skin. “It seemed like a good idea. He was so lonely, y’know. That body wanted love more’n any o’ the others did, so I thought he would be the most willing to help. Was a bit too willing.”

“Ah.” Seven sipped his tea and instantly regretted it. The liquid was scalding. “So.”

“He was all over her!” Nine exclaimed, suddenly throwing both hands into the air. If he hadn’t been feeling so tired, he might have jumped out of his chair to pace, as well. “I swear, second I told him who she was to us, he practically ran over and snogged her right then and there.”

“Well, you did say he wanted love more than the rest of us, and that’s saying something, considering how much we’ve wanted a… a bond-mate, over the centuries.”

Nine scoffed. “Either way, he was ridiculous. Eight’s very tactile, no sense of personal space, so I was expecting him to get a bit touchy with her, but he had her sitting on his lap. On his lap, hear me? I’ve known her for years, few weeks ago I finally get her to lie down on the couch with me, and in less than five minutes he’s got her on his lap, holding his hand. Oh, n’his hands were everywhere. On her face, in her hair, on her thigh, blast it. And she didn’t stop ’im, either.”

“Why would you want her to?” Seven asked, confused. “He’s us, he was forward enough to initiate courting touches, and she accepted. That’s perfect. What’s the problem?”

“She’s human, Doctor,” said Nine, frowning. “From a Gallifreyan woman, that might have been perfect, but she’s human. To her, it wasn’t me. It was a man who was more handsome and better spoken than me, touching her, and she was fine with it.”

“So you didn’t tell her that you and Eight are the same person? That we’re all the Doctor, despite our differences?” asked Seven, who was beginning to wonder if his counterpart had lost some brain cells through regeneration.

“Of course I did, but–”

“But nothing!” Seven cut his future self off abruptly. “You explained to her that Eight is you, she met Eight, and she accepted his courting offers. Maybe she doesn’t know the first thing about courting procedures, but it sounds to me as if he was making himself rather obvious. If she accepted it from him, then she accepted it from you, just as much as from me and all of us who come before and after.”

Nine was silent.

“I don’t know how your regeneration thinks,” Seven continued, voice much softer, “but I don’t think we would fall in love with a girl who wouldn’t love all of us. If she is who I hope she is, then she knows that we’re all… us. If she accepted Eight, she accepted us all, and that includes you, in case you didn’t notice. Now, stop being a jealous sod and go to her.”

Slowly, Nine eased his way out of his chair. His eyes wandered over the TARDIS’s mixed interior, obviously recalling when it had been his, what had come before and what would come after. Then he looked down at Seven, and Seven saw a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before.

“I’d better get back to her, then,” Nine said, a smile playing at his lips but not coming all the way through. “Y’know… seems t’me like ya understand it all better than I do, and you haven’t even met her yet.”

“Maybe so,” Seven admitted, shrugging. He dipped his head down to take a sip of tea, but, remembering the perfectly unacceptable temperature, he refrained. “Still, would you give her my love?”

The smile turned into a full grin. “Aye. I’ll do that.”

And just like that, Nine swiftly escaped from Seven’s TARDIS and into the rough terrain of whatever planet they had agreed to meet each other on. Seven knew that Nine’s TARDIS couldn’t be far away, which meant that you were probably close by. He stamped down the temptation to follow Nine, to catch a glimpse of you, or maybe just to hear your voice. He wanted to know. As confident as he had acted for his counterpart’s sake, he didn’t know anything about you, and he wished… he just wanted to know something about you. Anything.

Someday, he thought, sipping the tea that had finally cooled, someday.

He would have to forget all of this. If he didn’t, it would cause a paradox. But there was nothing saying that he had to forget immediately. He could keep the memory for a day, or two. Maybe… maybe, if he kept the memory overnight, he would dream of you. Yes. Just overnight, and then he would make himself forget. Until then, though… he could imagine.


Originally posted by sooper-dee-dooper-natural

Pairing: Sam x Reader, Dean x best friend!Reader
Word count: 907
Warnings: Mentions of cheating

Part 3 of Stuck in the Middle

You shook your head. “You must be mistaken. Dean is not in love with me.”

He let out a sad chuckle. “He told me himself. After I slammed him into a wall…and punched him in the face.” Sam’s face was begging you. “Are you in love with my brother?” He asked quietly.

Tossing your bag off to the side, you swallowed. “I don’t know.” You told him sadly, your eyes on the floor. This was it, this was when you lost Sam. Not to death, not during a hunt, but because of Dean saying your name during sex.

Sam ran his fingers through his hair. “How can you not know?” He asked, not believing you. “You should know if you’re in love with someone!” His face was full of anger and pain. “Tell me the goddamn truth!”

“I AM!” You yelled back at him. “I know  I love you. I know I’m in love with you.” A tear slid down your cheek. “Dean is one of my best friends, Sam. I trust him with my life, not something I can say about more than a few people. I can be stuck in a room with him and not want to pull my hair out, sit with him in silence and not be uncomfortable.” You sighed. “I know I love Dean as a friend, but I don’t know if there’s anything more. I can’t see that clearly because all I see is you. All I want is you.” You breathed, letting out a sob.

Watching you, Sam’s chest ached. “Babe…” He started quietly, stepping forward.

You held your hand up, stopping him. “No, Sam.” You shook your head. “You don’t get to accuse me of cheating, ask me if I’m in love with him, and get angry at me like that and just get away with it.” Licking your lips, you dropped your hand. “If you could even ask me that- there’s some serious trust issues here.” It killed you that he could even let that question pass his lips.

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Phil’s Liveshow 3/9/2016

*many of these quotes are not word-for-word, but basically what he said

  • He was eating “Prawn Cocktail” Pringles while playing The Witcher 3 before he came on
  • The cat shirt is back! (the one with the secret pocket) found in the bottom of his closet
  •  lost his Captain America shirt :(( 
  • He was also wearing shorts (cheeky knee) & non-matching fox socks 

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Not Good Enough

Originally posted by littleblondesamoan

Pairing: Dean x Reader
Word count: 888
Warnings: Slight angst

Final part of Consequences

You had heard Dean yelling about you fucking Sam and froze, hearing everything. “I did.” You told him, making them both look over. “If you’re gonna be mad at me, don’t be mad at Sam. It was my idea. I asked him. I damn near begged him.” You felt a tear roll down your cheek, so you wiped it off. “Hate me all you want, please, please… Don’t hate Sam.”

Sam backed up. “I think that you two need to talk.” He said calmly. “I’m gonna go for a jog.”

You watched him walk to his room to change before you looked over to Dean. “I take it you need your usual ‘after a night out’ breakfast?” You asked softly.

“In a minute.” He said softly, taking a step closer.

“Let’s get some food in you, Dean.” You told him, turning and walking towards the kitchen. He sighed and followed you, the silence deafening.

He was picking at his meal, knowing he should eat, but unable to actually do it. “Talk to me.” His green eyes looked across the table at you.

You shrugged, eyeing your coffee. “What’s there to say?” You asked, looking up. “You’re pissed. You want nothing to do with us. I’m surprised you’re even here. You couldn’t even be in the same room as us!” You teared up. “Why would something like hearing what I said change anything?”

“Because…it just does!” His eyes pleaded with you to just believe him.

Picking up your coffee, you shook your head. “You wanted me to talk, but you can’t do the same?” You asked gently. “Come find me when you can be honest with me, too, Dean.” It hurt to walk away, but it wasn’t fair what he was asking. How could he expect you to open up to him if he couldn’t do the same?

Dean didn’t say a word, just watched you walk away. He knew that you were right. Fuck, did he ever! But, he could barely admit it to himself- let alone you. And admitting it to you would mean admitting it to Sam. “Fuck!” He pushed his plate away, his fingers gripping his hair as he snapped his eyes shut.

When you got to your room, you let out a deep breath. Setting down your coffee, your pulled your hair up and decided a deep cleaning of your room was in order. If you couldn’t work on things with Dean, this was something that you could control. Kicking your door shut, you licked your lips and moved forward. You pulled the blanket and sheet from the bed, pulled each of the pillow cases off, and then the fitted sheet. It had only been a few days since you’d washed them, but that seemed too long ago at the moment.

They were tossed into a pile at the end of your bed, knowing that you’d have more things to wash soon enough. But first, music.

Dean knew that things were rough when he heard music blaring through the bunker. Groaning, he let his head fall forward and hit the table. Maybe you were right. He should heat.

After a few minutes, he sat up straight and pulled the plate closer. You were an excellent cook, and knew exactly what to make him when he’d been drinking the night before.

You’d completely cleaned your room, did all your laundry, put all your clean clothes away, made your bed, and showered. And still no sign of Dean. Deciding that you really needed to get something to eat, you made your way to the kitchen. It was mid afternoon, so Sam was likely in the library, and you had no idea where Dean was.

Once in there, you grabbed a bag of chips and a can of soda. Sitting at the table, you ripped the bag open and popped a chip in your mouth. Your eyes were trained on the table, your mind spacing out.

“Y/N?” You heard Dean’s voice and shook yourself from your trance. Blinking, you looked over to him. He gave you a sad smile. “Look, I’m sorry.” He started. “The only reason I hooked up with that woman at the motel was to get you off my mind.” Your eyes went wide. “I’ve always cared about you, always. As something more than a friend. Then you asked me of all people to be the one you lost your virginity to. I was shocked, but you have no idea what that meant to me. I felt good enough.” He ran his hand through his hair. “And then you fell asleep in my arms. That was the happiest I’d been in a long time. I knew that I wasn’t good enough to have that. So, when I walked in to see…that? It felt like I’d been stabbed.”

Getting up, you moved to stand in front of him. You ran your fingers through his short hair, his arms wrapped around your hips. His face was against your stomach, wanting to just be close to you. You smiled down at him, your hands gently resting on the back of his head. You’d open up in a minute. Right now, you were content holding himself like this.

Sam stood in the kitchen doorway, his eyes dropping. Swallowing, he turned and walked away.

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My complicated feelings about the fic kudos/comments/lack thereof discussion, let me show you them.

Has the switch to Tumblr-based fandom resulted in a drop in commenting on fics? Yes. Has it affected me? Hell yes. I don’t write fic anymore for a variety of reasons - nothing is speaking to me enough to make me want to write - but part of that lack of motivation is definitely feeling like I’m posting into the void. 

Writing is a peculiar mix of personal and community; you want to write something that makes you happy, because otherwise writing is as terrible and boring a grind as most day jobs. You want to write something that makes other people happy, because it reinforces the idea that that your writing is worthwhile. Sure, some people can write one without the other. I’m sure there are people out there who are perfectly content churning out whatever juggernaut pairing fic people seem to want, without actually feeling passionate about it themselves, because the attention is enough, just as I’m sure there are people out there writing fic just to please themselves and never posting it or caring if they get feedback. Both of those are perfectly valid ways of thinking; most of us, though, lay somewhere in the middle. We want to have fun writing, to be passionate about the characters and pairings and canons we write about, but we also want to affect someone else with our writing, to entertain, to give another fan something they want.

The problem is, combining those two things is a very inexact science. That pairing you love might have a tiny following. Your fandom might be on the decline, and have fewer people around now than it did two months ago. Or the opposite - maybe your small, niche fandom has blown up, and there’s suddenly more people there than ever before! Maybe you’re writing the juggernaut pairing, but you love writing gritty drama when the rest of the fandom loves fluff and curtain fic. Sometimes, the stars align and your passions match the passions of the rest of the fandom. But most of the time, that’s not going to happen.

But yes, current fandom culture is part of the issue. The only way to interact on LJ/DW was commenting. Places like Tumblr and AO3 (and, let’s not forget) have given people an easier way of acknowledging things. I consider this a good thing! If I counted up my kudos on AO3 versus all the comments I ever got on fic on LJ, I can tell you with 99.9999% surety that I would have at least 5x the number of kudos than I ever got comments. I am getting more feedback now than I did on LJ. I suspect that a majority of people who have been in both LJ and Tumblr/AO3 fandom - people who were not BNFs and/or did not have a fic blow up and become super popular - would find similar results, if they were to count. 

(This assumes you count kudos as feedback. I do. And what’s more, I find the “kudos aren’t good enough” mindset to be inexplicable, and in a lot of cases, unreasonable.)

But comments are better than kudos, without a doubt. There’s something infinitely gratifying about the idea that someone was moved enough by your story to actually say something to you. I would, however, ask those who think LJ fandom was infinitely better about feedback these questions:

- How many comments did you get that simply said “I loved this!” or “This was great!” or “Awesome, thanks for writing!” … or anything short like that? 

- Of the above short comments, how many of those ACTUALLY turned into a conversation and/or a friendship? 

I’m not saying that LJ culture didn’t have more in-depth commenting. It did. And I, like most writers, would love to see more in-depth commenting on my fic. But sometimes it seems like people over-romanticize LJ comment culture. Most of us weren’t getting a whole page of detailed feedback that told us exactly what lines people loved or how well we wrote a character. For me, in my biggest fandom, I was happy to get 3-4 of those comments on one long (20K+) story. Yes, that’s more than many long stories average these days. It would be awesome to go back to something like that. It’s a conversation absolutely worth having, about how to maybe encourage more interaction, especially in the days of Tumblr’s screwy communication.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting attention. There’s nothing wrong with being disappointed when your feedback/interaction drops off, or is nonexistent. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning that you’re feeling down about it. The problem is, though, that these conversations frequently frame the subject as “readers are WRONG and SELFISH and taking advantage of poor authors!” And this is where I put my foot down and move over to the side of the readers.

The thing is, at the end of the day, you (the author) chooses to write and post your fic. Unless you’re writing for an exchange/gift situation, you don’t have a specific goal, or a specific audience. You’re hoping to find a good audience, but there’s no contract, social or otherwise, that requires someone to read, like, or respond to your story. You’re posting your story in a public space. You lose control over feedback or response the minute you hit “post.” 

Does fandom work better when there’s an exchange between writer and reader (or any creator and their audience)? Of course it does! Is it nice, if a reader enjoys a story at all, for them to leave a comment? Naturally! Should readers have a thought for the author of a fanfic after they read something? Sure!

Should authors continue to post about how ungrateful readers are? NO. STOP NOW. THIS IS DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU WANT.

This, I think, is where the current Tumblr method of communication is failing us most. Tumblr’s lack of care about how we talk to each other just exacerbates it. We’re shouting at each other, not having conversations. And for this topic, every author’s definition of “proper feedback” is different. Some of us are happy with kudos and the occasional comment. Some people would rather get an “I loved this” comment than kudos. Some people aren’t happy unless they only get comments that detail exactly what they did right. All authors are here for different reasons, and that’s okay! The problem is, you can’t force your readership to conform to your particular reasoning. Not unless you choose to post something locked, and only give access to those who promise to give you what you want. And if you do try to dictate how people respond to your writing, either by locking it our including specific notes or trying to shame readers on Tumblr, you’re limiting your audience, because not everyone is going to want to engage with you the way you want. 

“But I want the widest audience possible!” That’s great! But then you have to accept your lack of control. 

So how DO we encourage more feedback, more communication? First thing, I think, is to look at how we ourselves interact. How do YOU leave feedback for other authors? I am constantly surprised at the number of people - not a majority by any stretch, but still a decent number - I find who say “oh, I don’t really read other fic, I just write my own.” If YOU’RE not commenting or interacting, why do you expect other people to comment or interact with you? Community is more than a one-way street. But even if you are reading and commenting on other fic on a regular basis, it’s worth it to remember that people in general are more likely to give their time and attention to someone who seems willing to give time and attention back. Fandom is not just about consumers giving something of value to creators. If you want a conversation, you have to be willing to start it.

And it’s not just about commenting on fic. It’s about showing an interest in other people in fandom overall. Some of the difference between now and, say, 2008 is that we’re posting fic in a different place than we otherwise interact. This has advantages and disadvantages, and one disadvantage is that it separates the fic from the rest of the conversation. This is one reason I miss LJ/DW style fandom. Tumblr is not built for long text. It’s just not, and it never will be. So until fandom moves on to another platform, we’re left with this divide. There’s no easy way to fix it, but keeping an open, friendly presence on Tumblr (or wherever you do fandom) does still help create more interactive readers. 

But still, you can be the friendliest, most interactive person, and still not get the feedback you want. You can comment on a dozen fics without getting one comment on yours. There’s no predicting it. There’s no controlling it. It sucks, and we definitely need to continue talking about how to promote reader engagement. I just cringe every time I see a post that blames or shames readers for not commenting more. The problem isn’t really reader laziness. The problem is the platforms we use, and the way we communicate, and the different expectations and standards different authors have, and a dozen other things. We should be talking about how to minimize those problems, how to better communication across the fannish board. 

(Example: the insistence that no one add their own comments to Tumblr posts, and instead confine any commentary to tags. I’ve come love tag culture for what it is, but it also discourages a lot of conversation and interaction around here. In this case, fandom has collectively decided to make one-on-one conversations harder, by making the easiest way to respond to a person somehow wrong or taboo. If you think this hasn’t affected how fans communicate, hasn’t added some reticence - is it okay to comment? am I doing something wrong? - think again.)

Fandom has an interaction problem. It’s across the board, but it’s starkly apparent in the way people interact (or don’t) with fic. But Tumblr culture has taught us that yelling, shaming, and making proclamations is the way to answer problems, and that won’t do anything to fix this. In fact, I think it’s making this particular problem worse. Do I have any solutions? No. But I wish more people would have the conversation. Shaming people never makes things better.