I am probably the wrong person to ask this, anon, because I don’t have much sympathy for this type of complaint.
I’m going to gently (but not too gently) correct the mistaken assumption you have that authors owe you fanfiction in what you perceive to be a timely manner.
Let me tell you, as a fanfiction author, that I wish I could give you all a new one-shot every other day and a multi-chap update every week.
I know many others who wish the same, but can’t.
Because, you know, we have lives.
Real lives. Like in the real world. With real commitments – school to graduate, jobs to go to, both of which we need our sleep for. We have families and boyfriends who demand (and deserve) our time and attention. We have sports teams we may be committed to, projects we’re involved in, or organizations we ally our time and resources with.
And sometimes, an author may have a free day and just wants to sleep in.
Because fanfiction writing is a hobby.
A cathartic and fun one, yes, but a hobby just the same.
And as such, that hobby, therapeutic and fun though it may be, doesn’t get first priority. Or second. Or third. Or sometimes fourth.
I’ve known one author who basically left the fandom because of the pressure to update quickly and how aggravating that sense of entitlement, I know another who almost left, but didn’t, aun I see asks for the big fandom authors (Jules and BC) weekly asking when will you update? next chapter? how far along are you? spoilers?
For the most part, authors are all super gracious and kind. Because no fanfiction author is hoarding a completed chapter and deliberately withholding it to be mean. Readers are awesome and bringing happiness to someone else’s day-that’s the best compliment, right?
But to get an anon asking where in the hell the update is….that doesn’t help at all. It actually sucks the joy out of writing. And when there’s no joy, it usually—well, it usually sucks.
I’m not telling you how to feel about the subject, but really?
Please, do go write a fanfic. Come up with a plot or a concept, write a rough draft to flesh it out, edit it, maybe rewrite it, find a beta and send it to them, get it back, look at their suggested changes versus your suggested changes, edit it again, send it back to the beta again, maybe scratch entire scene or plotline, make sure your characters are in character and saying and doing the things they ought to be doing in a way that makes sense and is also compelling to read. Do all that, and post them and maybe get no reviews, or bad reviews. And do it again anyway, because you enjoy doing it.
But you will very quickly see how long it takes—how involved the process can get—because most of the people I know want to want to post work they are proud of, work that takes effort, and can’t (and shouldn’t) be whipped up overnight.
In terms of word count-a hundred thousand words-which is what most multi-chapter fics are-those take real time authors, who do it for a living as their primary income, months and years to complete. And that’s with a fleshed out concept, dedicated time to complete it, and an editor to help the process along.
Your favorite author may be stressing about finals, or working on the third draft of a chapter that just isn’t coming together right, or god forbid, having a relaxing day in the sun.
Like that’s her choice and she will post it when she can and she probably wants it posted, too.
So patience, dear. Have some patience. And go write a oneshot.
You know what’s more encouraging to an author then ‘when’s the next chapter’ or ‘update quicker!’ – leaving positive feedback about what you liked about the last chapter or the story as a whole (be specific!) – because sometimes the author is having a long dark tea time of the soul and just seeing a reminder of what’s good about their story can help them remember why they were excited about writing the story in the first place, and feel enthused enough to get back into it.
As a writer, I am an unabashed review whore. I don’t mean that I will blackmail readers and say stupid crap like “I will post the next chapter once I get ten reviews!” because that’s childish and manipulative. But I do mean that a good review can make my whole week and will definitely encourage me to write more and write faster. It’s a reward feedback system, pure and simple. I write, you review, I get a little ting! of pleasure, I want to write more and get more reward. I get insecure when I don’t see a lot of reviews, even though I know it could just be a lack of traffic or a small fandom, or the middle of a holiday when none of the usual readers are around to actually look at my work. I crave those reviews.
As a reader, therefore, I’ve decided it’s only fair to leave the sort of reviews that I personally would love to see on my own fics. I don’t just say, “nice chapter!” although that can certainly be part of it. I try to say things like, “oh MAN, the suspense here is killing me and I can’t wait to see how you resolve it, i love love love the way this character just completely shot down that other character who was being a jerk, it was perfect and way overdue for that jerk,” and so on.
^^^^All of this.
Seriously. I’ve read so much fic but only recently started leaving feedback, partly because I followed so many writers on tumblr and saw how the reviews (or the lack thereof) affected them, and partly because I occasionally post photosets myself and like going through tags, however mild or incoherent, so I somewhat understood that feeling. And that’s not even a fair comparison, photosets usually take not nearly the effort that goes into stories, but tend to get reblogged and shared with such a wide audience so quickly.
So after realizing what I appreciated about the tags, and why they seemed so much easier for people to add, and putting that together with what the various authors I followed said, I realized that a review wasn’t nearly the Big Deal that I was making it out to be.
Not leaving comments had nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with my own fear of making a bad impression, of bothering the writer somehow (I know!), of not leaving as thoughtful a comment as the fic/writer deserved, of being unoriginal. Yeah, forget all that.
There are authors who love interacting with their regular readers and who get into analytical discussions with them, and maybe you’re intimidated by that, but I SWEAR, there is not a single one out there who won’t appreciate just a “EASODIFADNAD I LOVE THIS”. But you can just say what you liked, what stayed with you after you finished. A quote, a character trait, if the characters were in voice, how you’d always wanted to see that particular plot. I know I’m terrible with this, I just can’t think of the words, but it’s not a checklist of compliments you need to go through, just think of how you’d describe it to a friend if you were recommending it.
It really, really makes a difference.