Posted by: kentauros | September 20, 2010

Non-publishable Fiction

So I’m finally going to talk about writing. Unfortunately for y’all, it’s more of a rant, so I apologize in advance if you’re turned off by that kind of thing. I just need to get this out and the two forums that are aware of this blog either wouldn’t care or would be rather upset by it. The latter one may still get that way, for the few that read this blog.

I consider fan-fiction for the most part to be “Non-publishable Fiction” with few exceptions. Those are where the fan-fiction has been “pre-approved” or sanctioned by the original author or company owning the rights. Because I like the show “I Dream of Jeannie” I have thus spent a fair amount of my writing time creating fan-fiction stories within that world. I seriously doubt I could get sanctioned by Sony Corp, though, as they own the rights to the show through Columbia Pictures. I suppose it’s possible, but I seriously suspect that I wouldn’t get much creative control over things. Still, I do write some fan-fiction in it, and I attribute my current writing skills to creating such stories.

In fact, I recently collaborated with another writer-friend in a crossover of spinoff stories. I had created a series with another friend back in the early 00s for a site we ran just for fan-fiction and related stories in the djinni-genre. My later writer friend enjoyed one of the stand-alone chapters (all of the stories were stand-alone and connected by a common thread.) With his prodding, I developed the story further and had something worthy of posting online. However, we then had the idea of taking advantage of one magic power of those djinn: being able to go into fictional worlds and interact with the characters there. He had his own spinoff series from some other writer-friends that had created an IDoJ universe as closely matched to the TV show as they could get. He worked his character into their universe and had his own sub-series.

Both of us had created djinn-characters that were young, as in teenaged. Normally I prefer to work with older characters, at least in their late 20s, but preferably in their late 30s. That way I have a better idea of what they are like in present-day society, versus trying to figure that out for an age-group completely disconnected from my way of life. However, we managed and created a decent crossover.

So, I had my one story, and he had his other background stories, as well as one other that was unrelated to the final collaboration, other than as a cameo. That was something he had written about a decade ago and posted to my fan-fiction site. So, that one got posted first to this IDoJ forum where we are both members, though I have a somewhat more frequent presence there. We did have an introductory thread that helped people understand what was going on and was still to come, and that got a bit of attention.

Perhaps I should give a little background about these IDoJ forums first. The “community” really started before the introduction of the Web, but took off once people figured out how to make their own sites. So, its presence online started in the late 90s and grew to a handful of strong and popular sites in the early 00s. One of those sites was run by a woman that became popular and almost legendary among fans and friends alike. She went by the nickname of “Carpet” but was known as Carrie, and full of more energy and enthusiasm than you would expect for a mere human.

With her site and a few others, the community was fairly well-balanced in their interests. Like many other fan-based sites then and now, you could find out pretty much anything you wanted to know about your favorite shows. And, there were all the budding writers wanting to show off their ability to creatively copy a show and its characters. Carrie was one of them, as was myself, my site-partner, a couple that are now on the IDoJ site I frequent and a few others that have kind of dropped out of the scene entirely. I’m now wondering if I should follow in the footsteps of those last ones as well.

The other major thing about the IDoJ community these days that is very strong with fans is: The Bottle. I will admit right now that I could not care less about this prop. There are some fine artists out there that can copy the design down to the last detail, exactly as it appeared on the show. Painting like that isn’t one of my skills and I applaud their ability. What I don’t care about is the fanaticism that follows it. In the early days of the online community, this fanaticism hadn’t really been so developed, and the community was balanced. These days, not so much. I’ve watched it tear apart at least one good site and forum and caused major strife between all the rest. It’s funny in a way and sad at the same time.

You could probably find writers fighting in a similar way over other subjects and forums, but I may question if their fights would ever reach the levels I’ve seen over this glass prop. Writers are just as quirky as other artists, yet at least in the few fan-fiction places out there, their fervor is kept to their art and not each other.

Okay, what does all this have to do with fanfic and IDoJ? To me, it’s the reason why my story, that of my friend and our collaboration is basically sitting on the forum, barely read, and certainly minus comments. Oh, there’s one comment on the very first story by one of the fans, and I appreciate that, but the other two have been up now for weeks, and we’ve gotten nothing but *crickets*. I’ve tried to point out that feedback is the bread and butter of any artist, that the creativity will likely dry up without some kind of response. (I don’t ‘require’ it here, because I’m not really writing my blog to only entertain, as with fiction.)

I’ve tried to garner interest in the stories, to even just get people to tell us why they won’t comment but even that seems to fall on deaf ears (or is it blind eyes?) Sure, we’ve gotten the “explanation” that online you are lucky to get maybe 10% of the population to take any notice, much less comment. However, the site has quite a few people that will post threads and comment on pretty much everything but fanfic. This is why I’m pissed off and ready to stop even dabbling in fanfic now. Far more than ten-percent of the members there comment in all the other sections, seeming to avoid fanfic like the plague. Fine. I have better things to do with my writing, even if the publishable story is also about a djinni, minus the fanfic angle.

I don’t know how my writer-friend feels about all this, but I guess I’ll find out soon. That site will still get my posts on other topics as I do like to participate in some of the subjects, just nothing on The Bottle. The zealots can keep that part.


  1. sounds like it’s still the same as it’s ever been. I’m sure you feel better now, eh!? 🙂

  2. Isn’t a bummer to get no feedback at all? Even a “hey, that story sucked ass” would be some evidence that what I’m writing was being read.

    I have written a couple stories that I posted in an online community and got one response. Yet others, that I thought “sucked ass” got tons of responses. It really put me off sharing my stuff there. I had one person for whom I wrote and they seemed to like it so I left it at that.

    Still, I hear ya. I’m fascinated that you are so into IDoJ. Every day I am amazed at what piques the interest of others.

    I’m glad you were able to vent here. I do that over at and it feels nice to have a space for that. 🙂

  3. Yes, I do feel better. It’s nice to rant once in a while 🙂

    I also tried to get people to say that they hated the stories and still got nothing. I let out my frustrations to the admins, but because they want to keep a “drama-free” forum, I can’t say what I feel to the whole group. If they read this and don’t like it, well, they’re going to get an earful!

    I’ve looked over your snarkypants site and liked what I saw. I need to read more…

  4. My humble opinion? Expressing and sharing any form of art is a brutal experience. Indeed, lack of response/interest is often more devastating than negative feedback.

    I’ve grown to believe, more and more, that those with a genuine passion about writing — or painting or dancing or whatever — must do so for themselves and themselves only.

    The passion to express, as a means of thriving for oneself, must be the driving force, completely detached from others’ interest, or lack thereof.

    That focused internal passion, divorced from others’ feedback/opinions and expectations about the end result (being published or whatever), is what I truly believe creates miracles

    For what it’s worth. 😉

  5. What I’ve discovered from writing fantasy fiction online is that writing it for myself is the best tactic. I can’t write based on what others might like or what they will approve of. I found out early on that the audience pretty much ignored my best efforts because they weren’t “sexcapades”. Even after I relented and turned them into porn there were very few comments. I get one response a year or so from someone who wonders why I never finished a series of stories. I have received some very complimentary responses, but they were few and far between. Writing “free” fiction is basically a thankless task unless you think of it as good practice at honing the craft.

    Did you ever notice how few people even check the “like” or “don’t like” option on You Tube. There can be thousands to millions of views and a relative handful of people willing to say anything by simply clicking on a picture of a thumbs up or down. Go figure.

    I have found from having my own groups and blogs that my interests are extremely esoteric and attract only a few die-hard followers. Most people who view my blogs are voyeurs. They like to stay beneath the radar and I think are either afraid of reveling themselves or not equipped to write a decent comment or voice their opinion adequately on any level.

    Interestingly, the most page views I ever received on one of my blogs was the day I wrote a small remembrance of the newly departed singer Amy Winehouse. With a culture so impressed and enmeshed in celebrity you need to start up either a gossip site or one devoted to a mass pop figure like Justin Bieber if you want any one to really pay you any attention.

    Personally, I prefer a small, silent audience to a large mass of brainless sycophants.

    Though my blog devoted to centaurs is an adult blog I am always amazed to discover that there are readers under 15 years of age. I’d just as soon they didn’t respond to my posts anyway.

    So, Kentauros, write for yourself and fuck ’em if they don’t have the good sense to acknowledge what they read with even a thumbs up or down.

    There is a genuine reason why our country appears to be sliding down a slippery slope right now. Most of the populace is numb, dumb, and apathetic. Be thankful the small numbers who actually read even give your work the time of day.

    Trust me, if J. K. Rowling had written “Harry Potter” for the online community you’d have never heard of her.

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