moonlite_tryst: (Default)
[personal profile] moonlite_tryst

That's discuss people, not flame!




As an author who has been a bugger for starting to post chaptered fics and not finishing them this may seem a strange post, but here goes.

Whilst spring cleaning my LJ, I clicked on a link for one of the greatest H/D WiPs ever written IMO. Although labelled as catagorically not abandoned, it has not been updated for almost three and a half years *cries* and who knows if it ever will because the author is now writing in another fandom *cries some more*, which leads me to wonder:

If a WiP has been abandoned for a period of time, e.g. over 2 years or more, and the author was close to the end, should said author post a synopsis regarding how things were going to end for the reader's benefit?

Does an author have any obligation to readers who have followed/are following a WiP, or does the label WiP translate into read at your peril?

Thinky thoughts authors, readers?

Date: 2011-02-23 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-rowan.livejournal.com
I wouldn't say an obligation, but if there was an end in sight, it would be considerate to post a brief synopsis.

I tend not to read WIPs anymore. Unlike pro writers, a fanficcer has no motivation to finish and some seem to have the attention span of a mayfly.

Date: 2011-02-23 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
it would be considerate to post a brief synopsis

Oh yes. especially when it's the last chapter or so close to the end. I wonder if doing such a thing would also give a feeling of closure.

I tend not to read WIPs anymore

Absolutely. The only one I do still follow is Captive Prince by [livejournal.com profile] freece.

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Date: 2011-02-23 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dysonrules.livejournal.com
It's heartwrenching when you see her writing other fic, too, so you know she's still around. I think she got tired of people asking for it and decided to let us all go hang. (If it's the one I'm thinking of.)

*sadface* A synopsis would be nice, but probably won't happen.

LOL, and that ONE fic is the reason I don't read WIPS.

Date: 2011-02-23 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
If it's the one I'm thinking of.

It is. I was one of the many who asked and she was quite obnoxious about it, even though I said that so many readers thought it was one of the best fics out there. I had the feeling (IMO) that she ranked us below cockroaches.

I know that Harry and Draco will end up together because she said so, but God above, how do they get there from where they are now?????????????????

that ONE fic is the reason I don't read WIPS

Ditto.
Edited Date: 2011-02-23 10:13 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2011-02-23 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winstonmom.livejournal.com
I too have had my heart broken by a WIP. I loved the story to pieces because the writer and the plot were unbeliable good. I tried to convince myself that she would see the emptiness in my heart and my unselfishness waiting for it to be continued....even a cookie would've done the trick.
I stalked her LJ and my heart would beat faster if I caught someone asking for an update, but I never had the guts to ask directly (she scared me) so finally I decided to forget about it. What surprised me the most was that her chapters were long and well thought out with lots of research, it seemed to be she was really invested in the fic.
Anyway, now I tried to follow WIP from authors I know finish their fics.
It was a live and learn kind of thing.
ps/ I know it's bound to happen again... I will get my heart broken by another WIP. Only time will tell :)

Date: 2011-02-23 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
It was a live and learn kind of thing.

Absolutely. When I started reading fanfic back in 2004 it never occured to me that WiPs might not get finished. I think my 1st experience was a couple of years later. One has not been updated since it's penultimate chapter. Aarrgh!

I understand though that RL gets in the way and, in my own case, interest wanes in a pairing. I do wish though that if it was an epic WiP a synopsis would be posted.

Date: 2011-02-23 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calanthe-fics.livejournal.com
I never intended to be the sort of person who abandoned fics. However, my real life got in the way, and ultimately I have to put that first. I don't feel I owe anyone anything.

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Date: 2011-02-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
Have you abandoned fics? *scratches head*

RL does have the tendency to stick rather large road blocks, or should that be fic blocks, in the way of our hobby.

Re owing: if - LOL! hell would freeze over first - I wrote a fic that had 10 or more long chapters posted and I knew I was never going to finish it, I'd feel an element of closure if I posted a synopsis and I think the readers who took the time to read, follow me on my character's journey, comment and engage in discussion deserve to know how it would all end.
Edited Date: 2011-02-24 09:44 am (UTC)

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Date: 2011-02-23 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symetric.livejournal.com
haha, i know which WiP you're talking about. i periodically go check it out for updates even though i'm on the mailing list. *sadness*

i want to rant and rave but i have no right to because it's the author's life and hey, things come up. i don't there's any obligation but a synopsis would be nice. i'd like some sort of closure. it's one of the reasons why i went screw it, and put a complete stop to reading WiPs.

Date: 2011-02-23 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
i periodically go check it out for updates

Me too hun. Me too.

a synopsis would be nice

It would, especially if it's been a long journey for both author and reader. You are right, it is the author's life and it's a hobby of course, but some authors can create stories that seem to touch our very souls and those are the fics that leave a feeling of... emptiness for want of a better word when things are left hanging.

Oh, here are the links for Jumping Jack Flash - The God Eaters and The Kastor Chronicles are my faves:

http://www.fictionpress.com/u/643549/Jumping_Jack_Flash

And Zebbie - With Intent is fab:

http://www.fictionpress.com/u/551319/Zebbie

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Date: 2011-02-23 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snottygrrl.livejournal.com
i am always slightly bewildered by the angst over unfinished wips. understand that i'm not judging in any way, i can tell that folk really get upset about it. it's just that i can't wrap my head around it.

ironically, i like closure as much as the next grrl. i tend to finish fics/books even when i can't quite get into them, because i'm curious about where the author was going and how it will end. and i'll freely agree that i'd like to see the end of a few fics that never got there. but i can't fault any author for abandoning a story, and especially not an author who is doing it for free and in their spare time.

so my answer is no, i don't think the author has any obligation, and i'm usually just grateful for what i did get a chance to read. so i'll continue to read wips and i'll continue to be thankful i have access to so much really good fiction even if not all of it gets to a conclusion.

Date: 2011-02-23 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
who is doing it for free and in their spare time

This is so true and I think folks sometimes forget that it is a hobby for many authors, rather than a stepping stone for becoming a pro writer.

I wouldn't say I get angsty over an abandoned WiP, but there are a couple that touched me so much because of the quality of the writing, the charactersation and the plot, that I am left with a profound feeling of disappointment whenever I think of them. I would love closure with a synopsis, but we often don't get what we want do we?

As for reading WiPs, there are 3 I do follow, all original m/m fics.

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Date: 2011-02-23 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fran-fic.livejournal.com
Ohhh, that's a really tricky thing, I guess.

I can only speak from my own experience as one who did abandon her stories for a very long time (more than three, closer to four years, I think.) I guess no one thought I would ever get back to my writing, and myself I was very unsure about it as well. But, in the end, here I am :-) Still having some writer's crises now and then, but chugging on...

If I had posted a synopsis of how the story was going to end back then... I would have sort of spoiled myself now that I am working on it again. However if they are completely sure they won't get back to it, maybe suggesting it could be a good idea? It might be rather unusual that people start to work on unfinished stuff that old again?

I think that in the end, yes, sad and frustrating as it is, reading a WIP is probably a 'read at your peril'-thing :-( It's difficult to see how there could be a practical solution to that problem, besides hoping :-)

Date: 2011-02-23 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
It is a tricky thing isn't it.

(more than three, closer to four years, I think.)

Really? Does that include The Red Braid?

I have a fic that I started in 2005(WTF!!) and then tried to start again a couple of years ago before I lost my H/D mojo. I only posted a couple of chapters, so it's not one that qualifies for lots of fans wanting more, but I understand the conflict over posting the synopsis of a fic you're not sure you're done with.

reading a WIP is probably a 'read at your peril'-thing

I steer clear of many these days. It takes a lot to draw me in again, like with The Red Braid, which I am enjoying immensely.

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Date: 2011-02-23 09:10 pm (UTC)
mordyn4: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mordyn4
omg i am never reading that fic - you guys get so sad when you talk about it :[[[[[[[

Just thinking about the pain of the waiting between chapters for Drop Dead Gorgeous, I know I couldn't handle it.

You know, the person that wrote that Sex Magic fic handed it off to someone else, maybe .... maybe? This author might not ever condone that, though. I have no idea.

Of course, you've all probably imagined your own endings by now, would you want it finished if it was wildly different than you'd hoped?

Date: 2011-02-23 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
We do get sad because it is such an incredible story. Magic seems to leap off the page when she describes spell casting. No simple Malfoy cast a spell to be found here. As for the plot; *sighs* the plot is so deliciously complicated.

would you want it finished if it was wildly different than you'd hoped?
The readers know the boys will be together - the author has said so from the start, but how that will happen from the point the fic stopped I cannot imagine and that's the disappointment for me.

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Date: 2011-02-23 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pingrid.livejournal.com
Obligation? No.

You could argue that the author has made some sort of deal with the readers by posting as a wip and engaging in discussion, getting feedback which boosts their ego and also CAN lead to a sort of collective worldbuilding. But when it comes down to it, fic writing is voluntary labour in order to provide free content. There is no payment or contract involved that can require anyone to prioritise the fic over their RL, or over any other fandom pursuit that strikes their fancy.

It would be a gracious gesture to post a synopsis, but I think you've got it exactly right when you say a wip label = "read at your own peril".

Date: 2011-02-23 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
or over any other fandom pursuit that strikes their fancy

*shakes fist at Merlin and Supernatural fandoms* That seems to be the case with a couple of the WiPs that I was following: the authors were distracted by the shiny of new pastures, which I understand having lost my own H/D mojo for over a year.

It would be a gracious gesture to post a synopsis

I would love one for SoHW, but pigs will fly first. :(

How are you these days? Have you been lured into the Inception fandom? If so, you should read [livejournal.com profile] hackthis's LJ.

Date: 2011-02-23 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoviki.livejournal.com
Great question!

I have a dual answer though: as a reader of WIPS (which is very infrequent for me due to the risk of abandonment) I wouldn't go so far as to say the author is obligated to give me closure. It's much appreciated if she does, though.

As a writer, I think, however, I am obligated to give closure - that's my standard for my own behavior. I think I actually do have an obligation to people who give me their time and attention to stuff I've written. OTOH, it's kind of academic because I also don't believe in posting WIPs until complete - another personal belief.

I will say that as much as I adore certain WIPs (including the one you're probably referring to), what bothers me more is when an author seems to actually turn on her audience when they ask (not demand but politely question) if there is more to be forthcoming. It's a natural question, IMNSHO, and could be answered simply by posting its answer somewhere for a reader to see. In other words, just a note at the end of the most recent chapter indicating the likelihood of more to come, or else a "so long and thanks for all the fish." At the very least, that is an author's obligation, I think.

Date: 2011-02-24 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
In other words, just a note at the end of the most recent chapter indicating the likelihood of more to come, or else a "so long and thanks for all the fish.

Yes!! Such a simple thing that would also stop the oft repeated question of when an update is likely.

I've also seen posts where authors have clearly said they have other pressing matters and the next chapter will be a long time coming, then some not very observant reader posts the update nooow! comment. *rolls eyes*

Date: 2011-02-23 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyn-ful.livejournal.com
*hides behind a rock thinking about two of her own WIP's just sitting there waiting for me to get the time and energy to write again*

I don't read them anymore because I'm afraid of the abandonment. Having at least two that are sitting there waiting to be finished, I understand life gets in the way. Knowing that I will finish them when I can - especially since one is so close to being done. I had actually finished it, but the ending was so rushed, it was just not good enough to be with the rest of the fic.

I would say comment to the author. I haven't written in so long that when I get notices from somewhere like FF.net that someone really liked one of my stories, it reminds me that there are still people out there reading and wanting to finish the story.

Date: 2011-02-24 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
Hello! *waves* I hope you and yours are well.

it reminds me that there are still people out there reading and wanting to finish the story.

I had one of those comments the other day. I nearly fell off my chair, plus it made me realise that I ought to get a move on and finish the fic.

I would say comment to the author.

I did for my fave seemingly abandoned WiP. It was not a pleasant experience. A short note to say maybe one day or abandon all hope ye who once read here would IMO be a good solution.

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Date: 2011-02-23 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winnett.livejournal.com
I'm one of these very people you are complaining about!

Should I write a synopsis. I do want to finish the fic, I've just lost all steam on it. Wow... Now I feel guilty. haha.

Date: 2011-02-24 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
Oh no, don't feel guilty.

I'm not complaining per se. I'm mulling over the fact that one the one hand it's so frustrating for me, as a reader, when a WiP stops abruptly and there's no hint of whether or not the fic wil be finished one day; but on the other hand, I am guilty of starting 2 fics and stopping dead when I lost my H/D mojo.

I do want to finish the fic, I've just lost all steam on it.

That's perfectly understandable. Do you get requests from readers re the fic's status? If so, could you add a note on the last chapter to say you'll return to it one day, or something like that?

Date: 2011-02-23 10:34 pm (UTC)
oconel: (Books)
From: [personal profile] oconel
I think I know what fic you're talking about and well, I don't really expect her to post anything related to that fic again. I'd love to hear how the story was supposed to end, but considering what I've seen of her I doubt it. I hope that doesn't sound like a flame.

Anyway, yes, I think it'd be nice if authors of abandoned WIPs posted a summary of the ending (mainly when people has shown an interest in the story). Of course, it's not really an obligation, but something that would be nice. I don't think people nag an author to be disrespectful, but because it's their way of showing they love the story, so yes, some kind of closure would be nice.

How are you and yours? <3

Date: 2011-02-24 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
I hope that doesn't sound like a flame.

Not to me. I just wish the fic wasn't so bloody good. What a waste. *shakes head*

some kind of closure would be nice.

I'm now coming round to the idea of a note to say not abandoned or forget it folks, rather than a synopsis that could be badly written. There are 6 WiPs that I would love to be finished. Maybe one day some will.

I'll mail you re RL. :)

Date: 2011-02-23 11:34 pm (UTC)
potteresque_ire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] potteresque_ire
Mmm. I think the easiest answer is—I don't think the author has any obligation. As a reader, I think I am in the "all or nothing" camp; I don't think I'd be too interested to read a synopsis-sort of ending if I won't get to read it with all the flesh, blood and bone. Whether the characters come together has never been too relevant to me when I follow a story; even the how I am not too keen on... it's almost always the details, the little things that I am after.

WIPs are tough for me to follow because I have honest trouble remembering the details of anything I read more than a week ago; the last WIP I tried to follow was Drop Dead Gorgeous, but every time a new chapter came out I had to re-read... and before the story ended I was starting to get bored of the beginning because of the sheer number of times I had to go through it :(. So this wasn't as much about the risk of reading WIPs but a personal problem that I am alone responsible for...

If I am to write a long, multi chapter story one day, I think I will be those people who die an old, peaceful death first finish the whole thing first before posting—no, I don't really trust myself. :))) Also, because I tend to not follow a strict plan when writing a story, chances are I'll need to "patch" the earlier parts as new ideas spring up from the later and so it's best I have the whole thing done and beta'ed before making any part of it public. But if I do end up with an abandoned WIP, I think I will try my best to accomodate the wishes of my readers, whatever it is—be it providing a synopsis of the ending, or burning the script, or ... :)))))

Date: 2011-02-23 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snottygrrl.livejournal.com
I don't think I'd be too interested to read a synopsis-sort of ending if I won't get to read it with all the flesh, blood and bone. Whether the characters come together has never been too relevant to me when I follow a story; even the how I am not too keen on... it's almost always the details, the little things that I am after.

YES! i couldn't figure out how to say something like this, but this is a bit how i feel as well. the reason why i love a story is how the words work almost as much as what they are telling. i do have attachment to the what and the how, but the biggest part of the experience is the actual combination of words and details that are used to express those things. to me, good writing is about the writing.

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Date: 2011-02-23 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] creme-bun.livejournal.com
As a reader I'm very appreciative of the fact that I have lovely (free) stories to read. It's my decision whether I read WIP's or not. I don't feel any author owes me a thing. The reverse, rather.

Date: 2011-02-25 08:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonlite-tryst.livejournal.com
Free fic is great but it also happens on subscription sites and that's when I pull my money.

I used to think like you but my time is limited and I found it infuriating to be read a mammoth epic only to discover it petered out with no note from the author to say whether there'd be anymore or that's all folks. Now I check the last chapter if the fic is not labelled.

Date: 2011-02-24 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pir8fancier.livejournal.com
I'm in line with viki on this one. I think there are some issues to consider, the key issue is canon and how that can affect what you're writing. Probably my most outstanding WIP was Politician's Wife (which took me five fucking years to finish), and I'd regularly get emails from people asking me about the next chapter, and seriously I couldn't finish that story until I knew the ending. Not that I knew that at the time, but there are some stories that have enough roots in canon that the trajectory of canon is key. If Draco had been killed by the end of the series, I couldn't have finished that story. Having said that, I would have posted a synopsis of where I wanted to take that story. Similarly, I can't write Snape as alive anymore, because, well, he's not.

In the case of that story whose title shall not be named, it is so far from canon originally that this doesn't apply. Her hostility to queries seems strange to me, but then I think she's always been cavalier about her relationship to fandom. Maybe she wrote herself into a corner and she can't get out of it gracefully. Maybe she's bored with it. I think she could just say that. Hey, I wrote myself into a corner, or, I'm just not interested in finishing it, thanks for all your kind words. Here's what I wanted to happen...but I can't write it now. And leave it at that. copperbadge did a similar sort of thing for one of his stories when canon finished and thereby killed any interest he had in finishing one of his epics. I thought that was stand-up.

Perhaps I'm coming at this from a much more "professional" POV than is reasonably applicable to fandom, but I do see my relationship with my readers as a contract. Seriously. I do my damndest to provide you with a great read if you will, well, read. It's that simple. And with a WIP, the contract still holds. I'm asking you to come into this world that I've created, offered you a seat, and perhaps a cup of tea if it's a long haul. If only you'll read. I don't need people to leave comments. It's really nice and I'm not complaining AT ALL. That is why I respond to every single comment. Because I do see it as a contract that should be fulfilled at some level. In deference to that contract, if JKR had killed off Draco, I would have posted a synopsis of what I wanted to happen but the trajectory of the original source had precluded finishing the story. Then I would have apologized like mad.

Because what I think happens when you have a WIP that languishes (a WIP that has a huge following), there is a trust that is broken. True, as writers in fandom we don't owe anyone anything, it's not like our readers shelled out $15.00 for a read and then the book ended halfway and we have 100 pages of blank book in our hands. But with every single bit of writing you do, when someone clicks on your story you're establishign a relationship of a sort. And now, with certain authors who get worked up over something and then abandon them halfway through that trust is now broken. If this author started another long-term project in a new fandom, would you get as invested in it? I wouldn't. I'd read with a reticence. Because there is a history here of failed expectations.

Having said this, I don't think she who must not be named has that sense of contract. I'm not making value judgment here. The nature of fandom is that we all approach it with a private set of rules. I actually would prefer that she not finish it than tack on a rushed up, third-rate ending in order to silence her critics. As it stands now, it's unfinished but intriguing and fascinating in its execution. Other authors who have felt compelled to finish a major piece of work in light of pending canon or whatever and done a pisspoor job have lost my interest permanently. THAT is pandering to the crowd. Which is the other end of the spectrum.

::EYES CHAMPIONS BECAUSE THAT ISN'T FINISHED EITHER::

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November 2012

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