This is a plea to all those who write fanfic, to those who proofread and beta these fics, and to those who run fests that post these fics…
Please please double and triple check your work.
If you write, please invest time in finding a good beta for SPAG. Yes, plot is important, but if I cannot get past the first few paragraphs, I will never be able to see your amazing story or fall in love with your characterization.
Betas and proofreaders, being picky is your job. You are doing your writer a disservice if you let little things slip through, because something may seem tiny, but it may also leap out to readers if tiny mistake on tiny mistake is compounded. Homonyms and other similar sounding words and phrases are a huge, huge part of the problem.
And for those who run fests, I KNOW that running a fest is a huge time sink. I know you are overwhelmed. But I do recommend just skimming the first screen of every item when you pre-post it (or when it is submitted through AO3) just to see if anything leaps out at you. Otherwise there may be amazing fics that are never read because the reader simply can’t get past the grammatical errors.
I just tried to read a story for a fest (I’m not going to say which one, since I’m reading stories from something like six or seven fests in three fandoms right now). On the first screen I ran into multiple typos, several homonym issues (they’re/their for instance) and a couple of random word substitutions where the entirely wrong word was used because it had a similar sound (but wasn’t an actual homonym). I gave up because I just couldn’t take it seriously when my inner editor was perched on my shoulder whining about every sentence.
And I feel BAD about this. This is a writer who I am missing out on, and it could be an amazing story, but it’s so riddled with errors that I can’t take it seriously. And all it needed was a little time and effort and it passed through multiple gateways that missed these errors. And we’re not talking one or two (everyone has that slip through… I’ve had typos and word errors I’ve found in my own fics after they’ve been edited six times!), but an entire page riddled with errors.
I want to read fic. I want to give writers a chance. But reading is fun, and if I’m editing it in my head, I can’t… I just can’t… and I can’t comment because my comment would sound rude.
So yeah. This, then, is my response. Please remember to edit, and ask for help. No one is good enough that they don’t need a second pair of eyes. NO ONE.
[If there are typos or poor words in this post, I apologize… I really hope I haven’t set myself up for that kind of horrific irony. *laughs*]
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth. You can either comment there or here.