what do you think of my birbs i drew earlier at around 8 or 9 in the morning? :^)

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Wow look at these cuties! Their color schemes are great, they go nicely together and none of them make my eyes wanna bleed. Some of the lines are a bit shaky in places, but that’s not too big of a deal. Good job <3

P.S. I love the green one I’m adopting them

-Mod Spectre

So, this is of course just a sketch, but I want to turn it into a digital speed paint. I thought it’d be best to get a second opinion on it first, though.

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I just posted something from our submission box and this shows up and I’m glad I’ve got more stuff to distract myself from my own art :’)

First off, he is HOT (get it bc he’s fire haha good one :))))) ) 
I’ll start the critique!
The first thing I notice is the legs. They look to be one width for the most part the whole way through. I’d add some more definition to the thighs, make ‘em thicker, thighs are naturally going to have more shape and muscle to them over the calves! The calves width and shape for the most part are fine!! C: 
Second thing I notice is the way his feet are positioned. The front one should follow the flow of the legs, the way it’s positioned now is at an awkward angle. 

kind of like this! I feel like it’d be more natural in this footing position. I’d also show more of the heel of the shoe in the back one!
Next, I’d add a few folds on his vesty thing, especially where the arms meet the rest of the body, and some where his body kind of curves! I like the folds and wrinkles you’ve got going on in the pants!! 
The rest of it is looking pretty good!! If you end up doing something digital with it, I’d really like to see it!! c:
Thank you for your submission!! 

- Mod Minty

Advice on how to Critique

Let’s talk about how you can critique respectfully without sounding like an asshole. 

Be Objective: ugly/gross/disgusting are great examples of what not to say during a critique where you aim to help someone. You can talk about what elements of the piece is a success and/or failure—of course this depends on your opinion so you can’t be 100% objective, but deliver it in a way that consists of facts supporting your argument instead of using words like “ugly, disgusting, unattractive” 

Bad example: the coloring is horrible and it doesn’t fit the mood well at all  

Good example (notice how there are no subjective words): the colors are not working with the mood you’re aiming for, to improve it you could [insert helpful comment here]

Another Good example: this piece could benefit from [insert helpful comment here]

A really Bad example: this is really bad, your shading is way off 

Be Polite: Common etiquette here. Most of the time these artists aren’t looking for critique, they just want to show the world what they made and promote themselves. You critique to help them improve if they want it. And if they do, they will ask you. Simple as that. A random stranger suddenly critiquing the shit out of your art is very awkward, especially when you didn’t ask for it. Trust me, if they wanted it in the first place they would’ve asked for it. If you really have a dying urge to approach them about something they could’ve improved on, private message is a thing. Approach cautiously, be respectful, be helpful. Congrats to you for caring so much and doing it in a way that encourages them to improve!

BONUS—The Sandwich Method: Say something that works, then proceed to tell them what they could improve on, then end with something else that works.

Finally. Remember. Help not Hurt. You want them to improve, don’t dampen their spirits with rude commentary. And hey, if you’re doing a critique and you’re like god those hands are so fucking beautiful I just want to let them know how talented they are don’t hold back. Give credit where credit is due! You can help them AND compliment them. But do NOT insert your negative opinions there. 

TLDR; 

If you claim you’re trying to help an artist but you’re being an asshole in your delivery then that’s not critique. That’s just you being an asshole. That’s not respectful. And most people won’t take you seriously. 

Here is a video (strong language due to the serious topic) that would be helpful if reading is not your thing. 

hi!! could you critique this? i know the hands and arm are messed up, but id still really appreciate a critque.

Haha, I love the shirt! Well, I suppose you could work on your anatomy, since he (?) looks like he has a right shoulder, but no left. Try to make sure that you draw two shoulders haha. Maybe try adding folds on the clothes too, and some shading. But hey, what a cute style you have! Looks sorta cartoony in a good way, and the character looks great as well!

~Mod Rina

A critique does not consist in saying that things aren’t good the way they are. It consists in seeing on just what type of assumptions, of familiar notions, of established and unexamined ways of thinking the accepted practices are based… To do critcism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy.     — Michel Foucault

(via sonofforneus)

(A table of contents is available. It will be kept updated throughout the series. This series will remain open for additional posts.)

Part Three: Taking It In & Spitting It Out

Asking for critique can be terrifying: Are they going to like it? Is it really up to scrutiny? Is there even anyone out there who will want to read it? You’re putting your creation, your offspring of imagination, into the hands of–sometimes–a stranger or–more often–a friend or colleague. These other people may be creative themselves or not; either way this outside perspective on something you’ve grown from your own imagination is nerve-wracking and sometimes heartbreaking. Assuming your critique partner has done their job, you’ll be feeling ~emotions,~ all of them. If they’ve given you constructive criticism, they’ll have given you the good and the bad, and they’ll have flung you off on a roller coaster of fury and elation. So how are we supposed to handle that?

With grace. Outwardly, your first step is to say thank you. Always say thank you. This person gave up their time and energy to read your work with a critical eye. That’s much more investment than a casual reading requires. Even if you don’t like anything they said once you’ve looked over the critique, thank them anyway. Thank them for their support. Thank them for their time. Thank them for their thoughts and feedback, and promise to give them all due thought. Even if you decide not to use any of it, it is your obligation to at least consider their comments. Let’s talk about that a little bit.

Now that you’ve received the critique, it’s time to sit down and read it. Remember a couple of things when evaluating a critique:

Remember who the source is. Did you choose someone who is an acquaintance rather than a friend, hoping for a more neutral party, and now it turns out they have very little good to say about it? Remember that personal preference exists! Try to determine if the things they’re unhappy about are tied to a specific trope. If so (and it’s a trope you were actually going for), consider whether the person maybe just doesn’t like that trope. I once gave a fantasy story to a person for critique who doesn’t like fantasy much, so surprise, surprise, their comments tended toward negative on aspects of fantasy. Shocking. I have also given stories for critique to people who didn’t particularly enjoy my company or writing style. They pointed out things I had done quite on purpose as things they hated about the piece. Well, that’s okay. If they pointed out something I’d done on purpose, at least that means they noticed it, even if they didn’t like it. Comments from your family are less likely to be meaningful evaluations of the writing (unless they are also practiced writers with their own knowledge and can set you–your family status–aside like my Libbs can. Way to be, Libbs). Friends can also be this way: more concerned with keeping an intact friendship and supporting your creative endeavors than giving you helpful feedback that goes beyond simply, “This was great!”

Remember who is in control. You are. It’s your story. In the end, you can reject every single comment in a critique. You don’t have to change a thing. If you’re happy with it, then don’t mess with it. But on the other hand, why did you send it out if you weren’t looking to change anything? It’s sometimes smartest to let a critique sit after you’ve looked at it once. If there’s anything in there that calls any of your story or technique into question–and there will be–high emotions will fly. Let it be. Come back to it when you can safely evaluate the critique and your work separately. You need to cultivate a sort of detached view of your work when looking at critiques.

Consider why a comment was made. Maybe the actual comment itself is unhelpful or you don’t agree with it, but you should at least think about why it was said. Is that background thought that resulted in this comment valid? Is a character’s comment out of character when put in the context of this reader’s thought process while reading? If so, is there a way to change what’s around it to make it clearer that the comment is in character? Looking behind the surface value of what’s said treats the root cause of a problem you may not have known about or even considered.

Once you’ve considered the comments, it’s now up to you whether you implement them or not. Make sure you’re treating the source not the result. It may take more rewriting than originally anticipated to tackle the flaw brought to light in a character at the end of the piece. You may need to rework your climax or resolution. You may need to reconsider your style or even the POV you chose. Be open and receptive to what your critique partners have to say, but also remember that if you don’t think a change is in the best interest of the story you wanted to tell, you are not obligated to make the changes. Read them, consider them thoughtfully and seriously, yes; make them, absolutely not.

Next up: Some software tips!

I never quite get over the changes made to the bargaining sequence prior to the Battle of the Five Armies for the film, largely because they made sure to make it clear that Thorin is being unreasonable due to the madness. He makes no real reasons for why he’s turning away destitute people from the one secure shelter right before winter. They are drastically outnumbered, and even with Thranduil’s army at his gates, it’s nothing but prideful suicide. Even when it was just men, he intended to bar them out, with full knowledge that Smaug is dead and their shelter is annihilated. It’s clearly just Thorin being unreasonable and unwilling to treat due to madness. 

Which is such a sharp contrast to the bargaining in the book, where Thorin makes clear and entirely reasonable arguments for why he won’t treat with the people of Laketown. His big thing is, “ We didn’t realize you killed Smaug until now, so this fortification is halfway here for him. Yet, suddenly there’s an army of elves at my doorstep, where I’m holed up with 12 other people and no provisions. Why should I sacrifice the one bit advantage that I have to treat with people who clearly mean to kill and rob us? Send the army of elves away and you’ll receive the help promised for your invaluable aide in killing the wyrm.” Those are very clear and very reasonable terms. It’s clearly the elves and men that are unwilling to bargain in this situation, despite clearly having the advantage. And then Tolkien spends the rest of the book saying it’s Thorin that is being unreasonable. Sorry Tolkien, but no matter how you look at it, the men and elves are being unreasonable and are acting like greedy thieves. Your favoritism is showing.

I understand why it was changed for the film, since it makes far more sense to have Thorin actually being unreasonable and truly show the dragon sickness. However, it erases what can easily be attributed as bad history/unreliable narrator. It’s the one time in Tolkien’s works where the elves are blatantly at fault, displaying the very attributes that they demonize dwarves for. (nevermind that most “negative” attributes of dwarves come from the influence of the 7 rings) I think that’s such a shame to lose that in the translation.

What to Take from a Writing Critique

Today I met with a professor to talk about my novel, which I’m writing as an independent study class with him as my supervisor. I’d only sent him an outline and 2 or 3 chapters, but he talked for almost two hours about all the things I should do if I want a successful novel. His advice included the following:

  • change the main character’s name
  • change the main character’s personality, because right now she’s just me (basically a self-insert)
  • make the main character more girly/bratty
  • add a romance between main character and best friend
  • change my ghost lore so it’s consistent with typical ghost lore
  • maybe scrap the ghost idea entirely and go the “Indian burial ground” route
  • maybe kill the best friend

As you can guess, the majority of the time I was listening, I was just thinking about how awful all this advice would be for my novel. But that’s just it—I know my novel way better than he knows it, after only 3 chapters and a barebones outline. I know it’s not best for my characters or their development to throw in another romance or make my ghosts more like demons or ectoplasm rather than the way they are now.

But I wrote all his advice down anyway. Even though it was clear he knew next to nothing about my project (the entire time he talked as if I’d only written 3 chapters, instead of the finished novel, a finished sequel, and 3 more drafted books after that), he still was onto something. He still had good advice to share, even if it wasn’t the advice coming out of his mouth. And that’s why I encourage all of you to sit through awful critiques, nod and smile, and write it all down. It doesn’t mean you need to obey and follow all the advice, but you can still learn something.

For example, he claimed that my main character Alice was really just me. He could only imagine ME, Emilie, writing and telling the story, instead of Alice. This is far from the truth (to the point where I don’t think I would even get along with her in real life), but her personality doesn’t really begin to shine until several chapters in—farther than what my professor had read. So even though he said Alice isn’t unique enough, and I disagree, I still learned something. Alice’s personality is fine. I don’t need to change her. BUT I don’t do a good enough job characterizing her in the first few chapters, because her unique personality just isn’t coming across in the beginning.

Same with his advice to make her more girly/bratty. This wasn’t a matter of personality—it was actually a problem with her reactions to events in the books. When Alice finds out spirits are real and they’re actually out to kill her, she reacts rather… calmly. She’s a bit unnerved for a chapter, then accepts the fact and goes all Buffy the Vampire Slayer on them. So even though he said she should be more girly, I don’t think he necessarily meant in the “oh no I broke a nail” sorta stereotype, but rather he knew she wasn’t quite freaking out enough. She wasn’t acting like a normal human would upon finding out the truth about the supernatural.

As for making her more “bratty,” he was just picking up on how little she reacts to a setting so different than her own. She grew up in a warm, dry climate, so suddenly spending time in the constantly moist, constantly raining climate of England, she’s probably be more likely to complain—simply on the grounds that it’s not what she’s used to. She doesn’t complain enough about a setting that’s so completely different than what she’s accustomed to, which really doesn’t capture the “fish out of water” feeling that makes more sense.

So there’s your lesson. I’m not going to follow the advice my professor actually explained to me, at least as far as characters/plot. But I listened to him because he felt something was off in those spots for a reason, and in order to make my novel better, I have to try to see where he’s coming from. The problem might not be what he thinks it is, but he knows there is a problem.

Read more about how to give constructive criticism and take constructive criticism. When it comes to workshopping, it takes practice and time to get a feel for what’s good advice, and what you can ignore. Get a writing group of 4-10 people together, whether it’s online or in person, and workshop each other’s stories on a regular basis!

–E

La Muse Tragique&Sexy - Maladies Mentales et Regard Masculin

Nouvelle traduction d’un article que j’ai trouvé intéressant ! Il a été publié en novembre 2015 sur guerrillafeminism et est écrit par Anne Thériault. Les liens qui sont dans l’article sont en anglais.

J’ai un souvenir très clair de la première fois que j’ai repéré la Muse Tragique&Sexy. J’avais une vingtaine d’années et je vivais dans une vieille maison en bois délabrée tout au nord d’Halifax. Je discutais avec une amie sur MSN Messenger, ce qui devrait vous donner une idée de l’année que c’était. On parlait de musique - dans le cadre de longues et infinies conversations sur Les Chansons Qui m’Accrochent Vraiment - et à un moment elle m’a envoyé le lien d’une vidéo Youtube de Ryan Adams, Sylvia Plath. C’était la première chanson de Ryan Adams que j’écoutais ; mon amie me l’avais envoyée parce qu’elle savait que j’adorais Plath et elle pensait que j’adorerais aussi cette chanson. Mais ça n’a pas été le cas.

Dieu sait que j’aurais aimé l’apprécier ; en tant que personne qui est à la fois une écrivaine et une femme vivant avec la maladie mentale, j’idolâtre probablement la Plath plus que je le devrais et je suis toujours à l’affut de la moindre information à son sujet. Le problème est que cette chanson ne parlait pas d’elle en réalité ; au bout du second couplet, il parut clair qu’Adam chantait sur quelqu’un d’autre, une personne dont la ressemblance avec Plath commençait et finissait avec le patronyme qu’elles partageaient.

La version qu’Adam avait de Plath était celle d’une sylphide buveuse de gin, fumeuse à la chaîne, adepte des baignades nues - « le genre », dit-il, « qui sort sans cesse puis dort une semaine ». Il fantasme sur son comportement à moitié imprudent, ce qui inclut mettre sa cendre de cigarette sur les tapis d’une demeure raffinée, dormir sur un bateau, et lui glisser des cachets. À un moment il espère qu’elle pourrait lui donner un bain (bath), ce qui pourrait être soit une référence à la scène dans La Cloche de Détresse où Esther Greenwood s’épanche sur les joies qu’elle éprouve à rester dans une baignoire fumante d’eau chaude, soit, ce qui est plus probable, c’est juste que c’est le seul mot qu’il a pu trouver qui rime avec Plath.

L’image qu’il peint est celle d’une femme qui n’a rien à voir avec la vraie Sylvia Plath, une non-fumeuse qui était méticuleuse au sujet du ménage et non, du moins de ce que je sais, renommée pour son habilité à baigner des hommes. Au lieu de ça, elle est une sorte de conglomérat de ses projections et de ses fantasmes - une femme qui marche sur le fil que les hommes semblent voir, ce fil qui sépare « être sexy » et « être malade mentale ». Une femme qui n’est pas vraiment une personne, plutôt une chose avec laquelle les hommes peuvent faire et exprimer ce qu’ils souhaitent.

Bien que Sylvia Plath ait été une poète et romancière farouchement brillante, elle est sans aucun doute plus connue pour son suicide. Culturellement, l’image qu’on associe le plus souvent avec elle est celle d’une jeune femme avec la tête dans le four. Sa dépression finale et sa mort ont fait de l’ombre sur sa vie et ses accomplissements, et son nom est devenu synonyme d’un type spécifique de beauté tragique. Quand Adam chante qu’il veut une Sylvia Plath, il ne veut pas dire qu’il veut la réalité d’une personne qui fait l’expérience d’un épisode dépressif ou d’idées suicidaires. Il indique qu’il veut une femme qui est assez triste mais d’une manière sauvage, impétueuse et sexy qui, d’une certaine manière, lui sera utile. Il ne veut pas une vraie personne ; il veut une Muse Tragique&Sexy.

La Muse Tragique&Sexy peut être trouvée dans la musique, dans les films, dans la littérature et dans à peu près toute autre forme de média. Elle n’est pas sans rappeler la Manic Pixie Dream Girl* - en fait, je dirais qu’il s’agit d’une sorte de croisement entre ces deux tropes - mais elle a quand même ses spécificités. Elle est généralement jeune, et presque toujours blanche. Elle est souvent représentée comme étant hyper-sexuelle - elle est le genre de femme à laquelle fait référence Jack Donaghy dans 30 Rock lorsqu’il dit « Les femmes émotionnellement instables sont fantastiques au lit ». Elle est abîmée, souvent à cause d’une agression sexuelle ou d’autres abus commis par des hommes. Sa vie porte en elle une espèce de Leçon Profonde, généralement une leçon que le personnage masculin a besoin d’apprendre.

La Muse Tragique&Sexy, c’est Joon dans Benny & Joon, une femme malade mentale qui, pour paraphraser une merveilleuse critique de Carleen Tibbets, se révèle ne pas avoir tant besoin d’une aide professionnelle que d’un petit ami. C’est Marla dans Fight Club, avec son étrange regard fixe et sa tendance à assister à des groupes de soutien pour des maladies qu’elle n’a pas. C’est Gia Carangi dans Gia, un film dont le slogan est « Trop Belle Pour Mourir, Trop Sauvage Pour Vivre ». C’est Babydoll dans Sucker Punch, une ingénue à couettes vêtue de lingerie qui fait des moues sexy pour parvenir à s’échapper d’une institution psychiatrique. C’est Suzanne dans Suzanne de Leonard Cohen, une femme qui est « à moitié folle » mais qui peut «  {toucher} votre corps parfait avec son esprit ».

La Muse Tragique&Sexy fétichise la souffrance des femmes en dépeignant les maladies mentales invalidantes filtrées par le regard rêveur de l’homme. Ce trope rend glamour l’addiction et des maladies comme la dépression, le désordre bipolaire, et la schizophrénie - des pathologies qui sont très nettement ingrates pour celleux d’entre nous qui vivent avec. La Muse Tragique&Sexy est vulnérable, et sa vulnérabilité est sexualisée. Son incapacité à prendre soin d’elle-même ou à prendre des décisions pour elle-même est présentée comme un élément de son charme.

Et peut-être que c’est la chose la plus frustrante avec la Muse Tragique&Sexy - le fait que ce type de personnage soit une chouette façon de supprimer l’autonomie d’une femme sans que le film, le livre ou la chanson soit vue comme ouvertement misogyne. Elle se tient à l’intersection entre le validisme et le sexisme, et ses maladies mentales sont dépeintes d’une façon qui rend louable, et même nécessaire, le fait que les autres prennent soin d’elle. On ressent de la gratitude envers les hommes qui se manifestent et la sauvent, parce qu’il est évident qu’elle ne peut pas le faire elle-même. On ressent de l’empathie pour les hommes qui rompent avec elle, parce qu’on voit qu’elle est difficile et volatile. On n’a jamais l’occasion de voir les choses de son point de vue ; souvent il est sous-entendu que ce serait impossible, parce que son point de vue est trop confus et fracturé.

Il est vraiment démoralisant de voir tant de récits qui traitent des femmes malades mentales littéralement comme des objets - des objets qui existent seulement pour satisfaire les besoins des hommes. Notre souffrance et notre détresse ne sont pas là pour être chosifiées, réemballées dans un flou artistique rêveur, puis servies comme une sorte de panacée destinée à les soulager. Nous méritons le droit à l’autonomie sur nos vies. Nous méritons d’exister comme des personnes complètes, des personnes qui peuvent être en proie à des luttes, certes, mais dont la valeur ne dépend pas de la façon dont ces luttes peuvent profiter aux autres. Nous méritons le droit d’exister en tant qu’êtres sexuels sans avoir nos maladies sexualisées par celleux qui n’en font pas l’expérience. Nous méritons le droit d’exister, un point c’est tout, sans avoir besoin de qualificatifs supplémentaires.

Il est important qu’il y ait une représentation médiatique des femmes malades mentales, mais toutes les représentations ne sont pas égales. Nous avons besoin de personnages qui reflètent les réalités diverses des gens qui vivent avec la maladie mentale ; nous avons besoin d’histoires qui montrent la portée complète de leurs vies - pas seulement les parties difficiles et douloureuses, mais aussi la joie et le triomphe de la survie malgré la tempête. Nous avons besoin d’histoires qui parlent de nous, et pas seulement de l’impact émotionnel que nous avons sur autrui.

Après tout, nous aussi nous sommes humaines.

*Pour une explication en français de ce qu’est la Manic Pixie Dream Girl, vous pouvez lire l’article de Madmoizelle à ce sujet.

Can you please critique this? They’re two new OCs that I made so I could practice humanoids.

All I can say though is that the legs on the one on the left is a bit small compared to his entire body. The arms on the right one also looks too long; remember that the hands align with the top part os the thigh. I also suggest adding more shading, to add more depth and all.

Also, if the angel is glowing, then I suggest adding the glow to the front of his body, and not at the back, unless only his back is glowing.

Well, if you’re practicing humans, then you’re going the right way! These already look very good for a practice. Well done!

~Mod Rina

could i maybe get a little critiqu on the desing of my most recent character and my art ;w;?

she’s based off of a glass frog so that’s why her tummy’s like that

The only thing that concerns me is that is she a frog or a tadpole? Cause I’m pretty sure tadpoles lose their tails as they mature. Also that tadpoles don’t have arms or legs, so I suggest to pick either of the two! Either way, she looks super cute already and it’s quite creative of you to base her off of a glass frog! ^^

~Mod Rina

All right. I normally make it a point to stay out of online “debates”. There are a number of reasons for this; I’ll just say frankly that I heartily dislike conflict, and I only have so much free time. Which is not enough to spend on things that make me angry or that engage in hate.

But. As a reader, a writer, and as a person working in the book publishing industry, I feel the need to speak. This is the series of posts: http://althoughsolemn.tumblr.com/post/138142277431/lewdintentions-hideous-fish-junostjames-what-is I’m choosing not to reblog, but the debate centres around two fics currently posted on AO3 that centre around hebephilia and yes, incest.

There’s a lot to unpack there. And in the interests of full disclosure, I’m going to go ahead and say that the author of these particular fics is a good friend of mine. I would like to think I’d have something to say even if this wasn’t true.

So this post isn’t one million words long, I’m going to stick with literary concerns. Mostly.

I find it problematic to make the author responsible for what the reader may or may not take from a story. Or worse yet, make others responsible for “protecting” readers from “dangerous” ideas. This doesn’t just smell of censorship, it IS censorship. How many great works of literature have been banned in the name of saving the delicate minds of readers?

Would you campaign for your public library to remove Nabokov’s “Lolita” from its shelves? Henry Miller’s “The Tropic of Cancer”? Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”? Well, those are all classics of literature, right? Okay, how about Laurie Anderson’s “Speak”? Ann-Marie MacDonald’s “Fall on Your Knees”? Yann Martel’s “Self”? Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian?” I could go on for a pretty long time here, because a vast number of books out there tackle topics that are uncomfortable, that challenge our perceptions, our comfort levels, that confront the darker sides of being human.

I’m not trying to claim that fan fic is great literature — mine certainly isn’t. But I do claim that it is normal, even desirable, for the stories that we write to engage and challenge the reader. As a parent, reading stories that tackle these topics is incredibly difficult. Their difficulty doesn’t make them unworthy, disgusting, or “outright dangerous”. It doesn’t make their readers “morbid” or immature or prurient or sick.

A couple more things. If you read either of these two fics, you would know without a doubt that neither one sensationalizes or romanticizes these topics. These stories are handled with incredible sensitivity, and are fraught with both unhappiness and a creeping horror that leaves the reader in no doubt about what is going on.

Like I said, the author is a friend. As such, I’m in a position to say that she knows exactly what story she is telling and what she is trying to accomplish. That she is perfectly willing to accept responsibility for her work, accept criticism, and engage in debate about it, and regularly does in her comments section, and via PM.

Attacking her personally isn’t criticism of her work. Calling out an author as irresponsible or immature, or worse, sick or defective or dangerous, isn’t criticism of their work. It’s cruel and unreasoned and uncalled for.

I would have hoped for better from a fandom that I have so enjoyed being a part of.