On February 4, 2000, the topic of the day on the Scullyfic mailing list was "Bitchapalooza II" -- an opportunity for list members to gripe about anything that bugs them in fanfic. After reading and posting several times myself, I boiled it down into this list. It is not exactly kind (I'm usually MUCH more tactful), but it is true. Sometimes, truth hurts.
The Scullyfic Declaration
of Fanfic Independence
1. Get the grammar right*. If you don't know it, then LEARN it, or find a beta that knows and LISTEN to his or her advice. (And again we say: visit The Elements of Phyle.)
2. Speaking of betas — use them. Always. Unless it's a joking little piece of insanity dashed off in 15 minutes to quell an urge (Exhibit A: "The Metamorphosis"), have someone else read your story. Preferably several someone elses.
3. Keep headers short and to the point and relegate the long stuff to the end. Don't give away your plot before you give us the story or thank everyone you've ever known. Just let us read.
4. Mulder and Scully are Mulder and Scully 98.9 percent of the time. If Scully says "Fox," she's either talking to his mother or it's accompanied by a last name. They are Dana and Fox to their mothers and siblings and an occasional past (or prospective) lover, but almost never to each other.
5. Scully very rarely shows outward emotion, but Mulder's not much better; he only seems to be a lot more open in contrast. No sudden outpourings, please, especially in mid-sex-scene.
6. Avoid artificial angst — angst that comes as a result of a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication. These are grownups we're writing about.
7. Lack of research makes you look stupid. This covers not only gaping plot holes and obvious factual errors but also overdone and/or cliched plotlines. If you can't find it online or in a book, then ask.
8. Speaking of cliches, songfic** had its day; its day is long past. Please don't go there any more.
9. Ditto obligalas.
10. Rape happens. It's real. Write it if you must. But do not, under any circumstances, treat it lightly. If you're going to go there, you'd better do it justice.
11. Scully is not a scared little girl about sex. She may be a bit reticent, but once she decides to have sex, she will be as decisive and determined as she is anywhere else in her life. If you portray her otherwise, you'd better give us a good reason for it.
12. Ditto Mulder. And in his case, skip the "are you sure, Scully?" when she's basically to the point of writhing and clawing and begging. If he can't figure THAT out ...
13. On the other hand, if you go for the extremes of sexual activity, you'd better be convincing about it. Exaggeration for the sake of fantasy is one thing, but implausibility is quite another.
14. Don't lie to us. If it's a WIP, call it a WIP. You don't have to tell us everything in the headers, but don't deliberately leave out important information just so we'll read.
15. We abhor hatred exhibited toward Mulder or Scully, in the form of turning one or the other into a hard-assed caricature just to advance the plot. Sure, they make mistakes and get angry, but they are basically intelligent, rational, good people. Treat them as such.
16. We also abhor teenybopper characterization. These people are adults approaching middle age. They do not think or talk like high-schoolers.
17. Don't beg us for feedback. Write the story, ask nicely for feedback or specific comments if you want, and let it go at that.
18. Follow list guidelines for posts, and get the formatting right. If you can't figure it out, ask.
19. Don't bash slash or MSR or any other genre just because you don't like it. Someone out there does.
20. Having said all that, we'll believe
almost anything if you make us believe it. Just don't think
it'll be easy!
*note that special grammatical and capitalization usage is perfectly fine in casual posts or when it's part of the intended style. Let's not piss off people like brynna and wen, shall we?
**note that "songfic" includes stories revolving around M&S or others listening to a song and realizing how much they love each other, etc. Nothing wrong with background music or a dance or even quoted lyrics now and again.
|| THE WINNERS' CIRCLE ||
|| CHEMICAL REACTION
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