Has anyone amongst the Ranma 1/2 fandom taken a good hard look at the state of many of the fanfics on this site lately? I have been reading fanfiction for over a decade, ever since I first stumbled into shoujoai dot com when I was still young enough to look at a yuri lemon fic and think 'hmm, why would they lick eachother there?' and in that time, one thing has become apparent to me. There are, in my opinion, far, far, far too many dead fanfics out there, many of which having a solid and unique foundation, only to be killed before the frame work is even started. Case in point, a crossover between Ranma and Labyrinth, literally a one of a kind story, that hasn't been touched since 09. The author never claimed it was dead, but two years without an update, especially when said author has written several more stories since, and completed only one, which was a one shot anyway, screams to me that it is dead. It was a good start, and then the author just flubbed it.
That is only one example I could give, but it is a sad fact that there are so many unfinished stories that are doing nothing but collecting dust and cluttering up space on this site, that have the potential to be, if not epic, really good stories in their own right. I understand that there are exceptions to this. I myself was gone for over a year to Afghanistan, and did not update the one multi-chapter story that I have in that time, but at the end of the day, if I decided I couldn't continue it, I would leave an A.N. apologizing for letting my readers down, and then a week later I would remove the story, or pass it on to someone who could treat it better, like a literary Dionysus, because then at least it wouldn't be sitting around to waste a readers time in one fashion or another.
I have asked some of these authors in reviews to please, please continue the fic, or at least destroy it so it would no longer lurk in the back alleys of this site, waiting to tempt the innocent and naive reader into walking head first into knife like disappointment, but I have not received even one returned message, even from authors who have been recently posting stories, as if they wished to simply ignore their own stories very existence. I am getting sick and tired of browsing trough my story alert list, and seeing so many good stories that have been sitting idly by anywhere from two to EIGHT years. It is disgusting to me that people can have so little pride in their own work, or so little regard for the feelings of their readers.2/21/2011 #1 Report
I have usually found the "Completed" label to be a fairly reliable guide as to whether the story is complete or not. In any case, if you read only those which are labeled completed, then you are unlikely to suffer that stabbing disappointment you describe. And if you miss a few completed stories whose author neglected to so label them, well, such negligence would make me wonder about the quality of the author in any case.
Nor would I wish the incomplete stories to be removed from the site. I have found several gems among the incomplete stories which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading despite the fact that they are not complete. In fact, if you stop and think about it, one could regard the manga upon which our fandom is based as being incomplete at its ending.
As an author, I have usually refused to begin posting a story until it is already finished (in rough draft). I do, however, have one exception on this site. (Okay, two technically, but one I don't regard as a normal story.) I have not posted a new chapter in over a year, due to lack of energy as I still struggle to recover from the heart problems and surgeries I had. So I can speak from a personal point of view regarding your suggestion to pass the story to someone who "could treat it better". Never. My stories are the product of my imagination and careful crafting. I would never hand them over to someone else, no matter how much they cared about my vision and intended to preserve the shape I had given it.2/21/2011 #2 Report
I can understand what you're trying to say, and perhaps I did come across as a bit harsh, but sometimes I just get so annoyed when I look at some of the incomplete work here. I have a lot of respect for you and your work, being that the first Ranma-fic I ever read was one of yours, and as such I can appreciate what you're saying. I suppose that putting a story up for adoption if you don't plan on completing it may be bad form, though it is a somewhat common practice, but I just don't know how else to properly translate the feeling I get at seeing a story that could have been something amazing getting stalled after barely getting off of the ground. I do not consider myself to be a great writer, I barely count as an average writer, but I enjoy writing, and there are those on this site that have reviewed my work, have given me praise and advise, and I can't stomach the thought of leaving them hanging. Maybe I'm just having trouble putting my feelings in perspective with the authors here that seem to do that with every story they start.2/21/2011 #3 Report
Actually, I have no problem with people putting their stories up for adoption if they so choose. I was merely saying that it's perfectly understandable to me why many would not choose to do so. I also wish there were fewer authors who simply stop and leave a good story hanging. I just thought that the "cure" of having them remove the stories from the site is worse than the disease.2/21/2011 #4 Report
Ah, I get you. Maybe you're right, but looking at all of them, not even just those within the Ranma fandom, grates at me. It's a feeling akin to having a festering wound with the means to cleanse it, and then just ignoring it for shits and giggles. I went sifting through my story alert list and saw all of them, and I got so very upset, which is what lead to my little rant. What, if anything were to be done at all, do you think would be a proper solution to my little personal issue, assuming of course that the authors in question would be willing to cooperate, for the sake of curiosity?2/21/2011 #5 Report
I doubt there is any good answer. It would be nice if, once an author is sure that a story will remain forever abandoned, he would add a note to the story explaining the circumstances, and perhaps even summarizing what he had meant to eventually do with the story.2/21/2011 #6 Report
Yeah, at least then you'd know it was discontinued. The summary actually is a good idea, cause at least you could let your imagination fill in the blanks.2/22/2011 #7 Report
The problem with the "completed" lable is that some of the stories here are older than the label. And since some of the authors here have quit writing before it was added they haven't updated their stories.
As for the dead fics themselves, the number one cause of death for a fanfic is not having an idea of where to go with the story. The author has a good idea for the start of the story and writes it out. But once they've finished with the idea, which is just the beginning of the story, they haven't figured out what to do with the it. So it sits there and is usually forgotten when they start yet another idea that will in turn be unfinished.
Fanfiction is a hobby, so the authors don't usually have a reason to push themselves to get the story finished. Unlike a professional author who needs to make money off of the stories.2/22/2011 #8 Report
"... the number one cause of death for a fanfic is not having an idea of where to go with the story."
I suppose you're right. Given my own personal style of writing, I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of starting a story without knowing where you plan to take it.2/23/2011 #9 Report
Personally, I like to finish a story before showing it to others. The one I'm working on now though I may upload in serial format. I seriously dislike abandoning stories, although it sometimes takes me a while to find inspiration to continue one.3/28/2011 #10 Report
I can confirm the cause of fanfiction death. I've begun 3 stories that never made it here because the computer I was writing them on didn't have internet, but I've never felt compelled to try and re-write them. I had explored the ideas I wanted and found them lacking. My first posted story, however, is a perfect example, as I had gone as far as I had planned and it's lost all steam.
I do have one underway where I know where I want to bring it, so it will be finished eventually (as in within the next decade) and a Potter/Warhammer Fantasy fic I want to explore, but I'm holding off on the new one since I'm not sure where I want it to end. Needless to say, I'm warry of starting another that will never be finished.
I guess with crossovers this is especially dangerous as the character interaction can be difficult. Ranma characters are worked out enough to play with, but some series are very well developed and its difficult adding new elements to them (eg GTO from my own experience).4/14/2011 #11 Report
There are a number of reason of fic death.
Starting a new job that keeps me busy.
Computer died. Now longer have internet. Started the fic in the summertime and went back to school then simply forgot about it. fic did not recieve enough reviews in a timely manner so why continue it.
I know how fustrating it is to start reading a fic and it apparantly died in limbo but to complain about it does no good. There is no way to stop fics from dying.
However one can write an Author of a so called dead fic to see if they are willing to let you continue it in their steed.10/5/2011 #12 Report