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Fandom and unfinished WIPs

Ha, lately my LJ is nothing but those silly dolls and the fandom meltdown over the whole cousinjean situation.

Now that I've read her original post (reproduced here), it got me thinking -- as I was just discussing with quiet_rebel. Part of what irritated me was her attitude about her WIPs - that people either owed her money to finish them or to shut the hell up and never ask her about them again if they didn't give her money.

(Hmm. I was trying to create two polls, but LJ isn't cooperating.) So, tell me how you as a reader and a writer, feel about unfinished WIPs. Or, we could just make more dolls, LOL. ;-D


Writers:
Do you lie awake nights stressing about that one thorny plot point that's holding up everything?
Do you often forget about your WIP(s), until that momentary twinge of guilt comes?
Have you shelved it permanently?
Do you want to turn and gore anyone who asks when to expect the next update?
Or are you working on it and just haven't been able to edit/type/post it?
Or is it all your beta's fault? LOL.

Readers:
Do you live in agony until there's a new update?
Do you squee when you see there's a new chapter but otherwise forget the darn thing exists?
Has it been so long between updates that you don't even care anymore?
Has it gotten so lengthy that you just wish they'd wrapped it up 3 chapters ago?
Are you going to show up at the author's house and threaten to break their legs if they don't finish it, and soon?
Or are you just quietly sad that it's been left hanging that way?


I know I want to get my two WIPs finished! But sometimes the muse just isn't there or you (or your co-author) gets stuck and you have to move on to other things. Maybe not permanently, but until you've got your mojo back. I mean, I was just (jokingly) harrassing uberaeryn to get back to "The Disappeared." But if she doesn't, hey, I'll kidnap Josh Holloway and hold him hostage until there's a new chapter understand. ;-D

I guess the same thing could go for sequels - sometimes there's more to a story and it's great to know people want you to continue. Other times, that's all there is, folks and no amount of cajoling will convince you otherwise.

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
lillyjk
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
As a writer:

usually when I have a WIP that I haven't finished it's because I just haven't had the time or some other fandom, or story within the WIP fandom has hijacked my writing. for the most part I'm okay with it when people comment/nudge me about a particular story. I appreciate that people are interested enough to want to get the next installment. I've had a couple of people who have crossed the line from harmless nudging to outright badgering via email, but on the whole, not too big a worry. If I could sit around and write fanfic all day, I probably would, but too often real life intrudes so things get pushed back.

as a Reader:

hey you, finish that stuff right now. 'cause I'm deseperate to know what happened! no, really, for the most part I'm just a huge squeeing fangirl who gets a thrill when one of my favorite author updates. I have been known to nudge, but I don't think I'm obnoxious about it.
halfdutch
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
I'm in that 'oh wow, an update, SQUEE* camp too, as a reader, although some are so long abandoned I fear they're just never going to be finished. And that makes me a little sad.

As a writer. Ah! Well, there's some guilt and some anguish about not wrapping stuff up. But I got hijacked by life and smut and the OTP - none of which are a part of my WIP I started um, back in January, I think! *blush* It's mostly there in my head but I get writer's block from time to time, not just on the WIPs. I have three fics (not including the WIPs) I've started that are bogged down, for now. And a growing list of to-do fics! As you know. :-D
lillyjk
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
see, that's exactly what happens to me. I am amazed by writers who can write one series, and nothing else until the entire series is done. I'm the total opposite. I'll have a couple of series (usually in different fandoms) plus random stories that get into my head and won't leave until I write them.
lillyjk
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
OH YEAH.
here's some badgering! where's my Hidden Connections fic you beyatch??? just kidding...or AM I
halfdutch
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
Re: OH YEAH.
*taps noggin* in here, babe, still in here!

I extended the deadline for myself too. *whistles, ducks from heavy objects*

But this weekend, oh yeah! I seriously just made a list of to-do (RL and LJ) and whoa daddy, it's long.
lillyjk
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
Re: OH YEAH.
okay, I will now cease and desist with all badgering.
halfdutch
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
Re: OH YEAH.
;-D Not all of us can turn fic around so quickly and ably as you! *kiss*
lillyjk
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
Re: OH YEAH.
*preens*

yes, I am quite fabulous. even Josh thinks so.
cmere
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
*rambles*

I had this WIP that I posted on aff.net that I hadn't updated since October 2004, and within the last couple months I had been getting reviews/emails asking when I was going to update (I keep typing udpate), so I posted an author's note saying I probably wasn't going to, because I didn't have any plans for it and it was in fact the last thing on my to-do list and would likely remain there. Forever. I mean, come on, guys. OCTOBER. It wasn't like the chapters were exceptionally long, either--4000-5000 words.

I got flamed liek WHOA. The reviews started off nice enough, like, "I'm sad you aren't going to finish this, but whatever." Then I started getting, "Can't you just do one more chapter, like an epilogue, to tie up the loose ends?" (To which my answer was 'no, h0r, I haven't even looked at this story for, like, 9 months.) Then I got, and I quote (by an anonymous, no less):

Wow, I imagine that I can as your reader expect just as little commitment to your following stories. I noted your discontinued in the index and suspected that it would end just like this. Perfect, I just hope that you never have anything to do with movies or I suppose I can hope to go see that and have that ended in the middle as well. I did spare myself the reading of your story so that I would not be made a fool of by your promaise of a story and then find oh, you've gotten bored and now like a little child, why you need a shiney new toy. Can you say "scarecrow"

WTF, lady. I would be getting paid if I was writing your fucking movies. She hadn't ever reviewed the story, so I don't know why she even cared.

Since that happened, I vowed never to ever bother writers about updating WiPs ever. And I HOPE to god I didn't sound like these people before. "I WANT TO KILL YOU YOU ARE EVIL HOW COULD YOU" is probably the last thing that would make me want to update.

Dunno if that was even what you were asking about, but I like taking up space, talking about myself. :D
halfdutch
Aug. 13th, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
Good lord! I've never gotten a comment like that! I've had some people say 'OMG, when are you going to update' but never FLAME me.

Sheesh. People it's a hobby. No one is getting paid for this. There's that little thing called REAL LIFE we all have to occasionally tend to.

The sense of entitlement on the part of some readers (and certain authors) is just staggering. Fandom should be FUN! Not some hideous obligation!

*pets you and scolds mean, mean people*
halfdutch
Aug. 13th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC)
*giggles at "udpate"*

I'll UDPATE you, you ungrateful, demanding arse!
foxxcub
Aug. 13th, 2005 01:27 am (UTC)
O____O

Um. OMGZWTF

That chick has too much time on her hands. Feh.
eponine119
Aug. 13th, 2005 12:09 am (UTC)
As a reader, I tend to avoid WIPs until they're finished, because so many of them don't get finished. Sometimes authors are good enough that I don't care, I can just enjoy the chapters when/if they come, and be sad if it doesn't get finished. I never bug people to finish things, because I know sometimes the muse is fickle or life and other stories get in the way.

As a writer, I generally avoid posting things until they're finished. If it's hugely long and I know for sure I will finish it, sometimes I start posting parts, pacing them so I don't run out. I got good responses when I did that, people liked having a set day they could count on for updates.

Sequels...man, I wish I could produce them at will. There's tons of stories or universes I'd like to revisit, and I know people would like to see more of, but I wrack my brains and just don't know what happens next.
halfdutch
Aug. 13th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
As a writer, I generally avoid posting things until they're finished.

Good advice. I wish I had followed it, myself! My 15-chapter WIP I was initially writing ahead a few chapters before posting but now I'm ahead by maybe half a chapter ... that I will probably rewrite. And once again it's been two months since I worked on it as other fics and real life have taken priority.

I admire people like ficangel who wrote most of her WIP before posting it and now says she's done! It also gives me great confidence as a reader that an author knows where they're going and that yes, it will be finished! But I think a lot of writers do each chapter off the cuff and that's where we run into trouble. Or I post as I go because I think the added pressure of producing the next part will help spur me on. Not always the case, naturally!

Now of course I have an ulterior motive in offering this (a sequel to "Pain Management"? ;-D) but if you ever need someone to bounce ideas off of help with brainstorming, shoot me an email. foxxcub and I run stuff by each other all the time and it's tremendously helpful. No pressure, LOL.





themoononastick
Aug. 13th, 2005 01:16 am (UTC)
As a writer I have to say that I very rarely get the idea for anything longer than a one shot story BUT a while ago I did start (what is for me) an epic that I decided I wouldn't post until it was complete as I was worried I would run out of steam and never finish it. Which is exactly what happened. The only people who have seen it are me and my beta and thats the way its gonna stay for now. I'm not sure why I don't feel I can post what I have so far ('cos maybe the actual act of posting it might awaken the muse) but I guess it has something to do with disappointment I have felt in the past when I have gotten hooked on a fic series and then it has never been finished. (ok that sounds like I am hideously egotistical and assume the world and his dog will get hooked on my story which isn't what I mean! lol!)
As for sequels - I have promised many and so far delivered none! I am a bad person!

As a reader I have definitely fallen into the squee when I see a new chapter posted of a fic I am hooked on and there are a couple of WIPs from aeons ago that I still yearn to find out what happens next in but I would never bug the writer about updating them. In fact the idea of doing that has never even crossed my mind! If the muse is no longer there for the writer then I am willing to get over it and move on. Theres plenty of great stuff posted on daily basis and hell, if your entire life revolves around the posting of a fic then I figure its time to go see a shrink!
Oh and there have been a few series of fics where I have got to the "oh come on and end it already" stage with too or just given up on because they have gotten way too drawn out. What can I say - I'm fickle ;P
halfdutch
Aug. 13th, 2005 02:17 am (UTC)
Well you sound very sensible as both a reader and writer!

I'm so much more the disorganized overly optimistic stereotype of a writer who thinks I can post as I go and then - fwump! - a rough spot hits and no more fic for ages.

I hold out hope for one WIP in particular will be finished one of these days but yes, plenty to keep me occupied in the meantime, LOL.

Oh yeah, and ICON!
foxxcub
Aug. 13th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
So, I've decided: Instead of finishing my part of "Night Falls", I'm going to demand that everyone who wants me to finish my half fly me to Oahu and put me up in a swank hotel on the North Shore and bring me Foxy and Josh. Naked.

DO IT BITCHES, OR NO WIP FOR YOU!!!!!
halfdutch
Aug. 13th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh, is that all? Coming right up! ;-D
ficangel
Aug. 13th, 2005 03:59 am (UTC)
Writers:
Do you lie awake nights stressing about that one thorny plot point that's holding up everything?


Yes, on occasion, because I don't outline and thus can find myself writing faster than my subconscious and flailing when I find myself without support. Fic porn, a nap, and a trip to the video store can often fix this 'cause it's normally a matter of stress and my own freaky work ethic. If worse comes to worse, I can read over the completed pages. The answer is usually there in foreshadowing that I laid down without realizing it.

Do you often forget about your WIP(s), until that momentary twinge of guilt comes?

I've learned to work on one major WIP at a time. Anything else invokes the hair-pulling.

Have you shelved it permanently?

One. But it keeps coming back and haunting me with how good it could be.

Do you want to turn and gore anyone who asks when to expect the next update?

'Offstage Lines' is an anomaly for me and an exercise in ego that in retrospect, looking at all of the issues in the second half, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I shouldn't have done. Normally I write the entire first draft without outside input, throw it in a drawer, and then reread a month or so later to see where the big plot/pacing changes need to be made. When that's settled and all that's still in the air are minor characterization or style tweaks, I'll usually start posting and be able to say with a relatively reliable degree of accuracy when the next update will arrive.

Or are you working on it and just haven't been able to edit/type/post it?

I'm always working on something, and usually with three or four biggish fics waiting in queue. It's gotten to where it's harder for me to find time to type than it is for me to find time to write, though. That notebook can go just about anywhere with me.

Or is it all your beta's fault? LOL.

Hee! No, I tend to only use beta readers for one-shots, but my experiences have been almost universally good.

On the cousinjean drama: What really got to me about this was not only that she was demanding money for the privilege of seeing a finished product, as that's a slightly amped-up version of review whoring, but that she apparently saw no problem with dragging all of those writers who collaborated on that series into a C&D situation or worse for the sake of her ego, regardless of what they might think about it.
halfdutch
Aug. 14th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
I don't outline and thus can find myself writing faster than my subconscious...

Sometimes I outline , sometimes not. I still leave a lot up to chance or whim, which sometimes leads to an awful lot of rewriting. Or regret. Or, sometimes, something very serendipitous.

The answer is usually there in foreshadowing that I laid down without realizing it.

Yes, sometimes I think we set up things without knowing it.

If you're just winging "Offstage Lines," well, then - WOW! And writing it all before posting (or nearly) - I wish I'd done that with "Happy Birthday." I hate leaving it hanging. It's mostly there in my head but other fics just came up and took priority and now it feels like a chore to get back to it. But I really do intend to finish it! I think it maybe has 3 or 4 chapters to go.

On the cousinjean drama: What really got to me about this was ... that she apparently saw no problem with dragging all of those writers who collaborated on that series into a C&D situation or worse for the sake of her ego, regardless of what they might think about it.

Yes, that's unbelievably selfish and short-sighted of her - that she didn't even ask. Maybe she knew they'd all say no and somehow convinced herself that i if it was a done deal they wouldn't care? Deep down, she had to know what she was doing was wrong even as she was doing it.
maybedarkpink
Aug. 13th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I def have WIPs that I've totally abandoned and give nary a thought to... I actually have a whole site that's pretty much full of them, and people do email me and ask if I'm going to finish, and I'm like, I'm not into that fandom anymore. But I don't know if I should take them down, because said fandom is a small one and fic is a lot harder to find than for, say, Lost or Buffy.

Honestly, I have a pretty short attention span, so I don't read that many WIPs. When I do, I'll ask for more and occasionally beg, but only if it's really really really good. Usually it's more an, oh, I was checking the f-list and there it is! Score! I'd almost forgotten about that story type of reaction.

Does that make any sense? I'm tired. :-P
halfdutch
Aug. 14th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
Well, if you've left the fandom, then yeah, abandon hope, all ye readers! I've had people ask me why I don't write for Buffy or Angel since I listed those as my interests but I've never written for those shows and why would I start now that they're both over?

There was at least one WiP where I ended up contacting the author, who I didn't really know, when I saw her posting somewhere else and asked her about it. And it turns out she'd lost her drafts when her computer died and it was too hard to go back and redo them. *Shoot!*

And of course, I teasingly bug writers I know to continue.
fc2001
Sep. 2nd, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC)
I'm massively late in coming to this discussion, but the original post astounded me beyond belief. I'd never heard of this until now. How mercenary? Surely, we do this for the love of it. Well, I know I do.

I've got several WIPs, all ER, that aren't finished. And at least one of them is the biggest albatross around my neck, I wish I'd never written it. I feel I should finish it, but I've lost the inclination. But no-one's ever gotten on my back about it. I mean, you get the obligatory "more soon" and "please update" comments. I do sometimes feel pressure from them, particularily when the muses are being uncooperative.

Updates, with me, happen when they happen. If I'm distracted, it's either because RL gets in the way, or because I've got a new obsession that is begging something to get written. I write a lot of one-shots and drabbles because of this, not all of which get posted, it just frees up my brain. And I'll blame nothing on my current beta - she's amazing, just as busy as I am mostly. I'm a terrible beta myself; I tend to totally forget I've got it to do! Ooops. Anyway. Rambling. Back to subject.

As a reader, there's nothing like that little squee of excitement you get when a favourite author updates. It's unbeatable. But I sure would never hassle anyone, because I know what it's like to feel hassled and it isn't fair. Writing isn't something anyone can predict. And as we all do this for free, it obviously comes second to RL and the things we need to do to actually live our lives.

Sorry. This post was so much longer than I intended. Hope it makes sense.

Lol, Fi.
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