Mutters and Grumps - Pet Peeve
Fan Fiction Division
Back in the Dark Ages... you remember the stone tablets and such? Those of us who loved Science Fiction looked for any way to feed our addiction.
In the early 1940's fans began putting together APA's (Amateur Press Associations). Each writer made enough copies of his work to give each member a copy. Carbon paper and non-electric typewriters made this truly a labor of love, or fanaticism. Most of these people, like the professional writers they loved, were male. C. L. Moore and Andre Norton were among the very few female pros.
I discovered speculative fiction in the late forties but wasn't aware of amateur contributions until much later. The first ones I got hold of were from the Baker Street Irregulars, Sherlock Holms Fans. They were wonderful, continuing the adventures and adding new people, etc.
My love affair with Science Fiction continued. Books and the early editions of the Twilight Zone, and Outer Limits fed the fever. Then Star Trek burst on the scene. Not only did I love the journey to new worlds, the people, particularly the Captain, delighted me. I'd met real heroes in the Marine Corps. The Editor of my base paper was a real one, a man who had aided many of his fellow prisoners in the Philippines to escape, staying himself to cover for them. Kirk had the same feel to him, and I was hooked.
Never before had I been willing to risk writing fiction. On the Newspaper staff, my boss/editor covered my total lack of spelling skills. Now, I wanted to write, needed to, but years of embarrassment about that particular lack made it very frightening for me. New friends offered to help me edit. Now Hectograph and mimeograph machines as well as electric typewriters were the tools of the trade.
Stencils, nasty sticky things with an alarming tendency to tear at the worst possible moment became all too familiar. I had blue, corflu stains everywhere. My patience was definitely strained.
Real Life took me away from the worlds I'd learned to love and just getting through the day was the best I could manage for a very long time. Then, computers came along. They offered me a chance to get back to writing with their wonderful spell checkers. Yeah!!
In 1992, for the first time since Star Trek, a show tempted me to wander back into the world of fanfiction. I resisted successfully for quite a while but as the Internet developed, I found that the fan world was busily staking out territory that the APAs had pioneered. From websites to elegant 'Zines, there was a wealth of reading material out there. Something else was happening too. Something that really irritated me.
You'd think that anyone with enough love to write in a Fandom would take the time to reread what they wrote. Spell checkers come with every word processing program; so do grammar checkers.
People send out things that obviously have not been looked at. I'm not talking about character and plot here. Just the common respect for the time people spend reading or the self respect I would expect from a writer. I've asked a couple of these "writers" about errors and been told, "I just do this for fun". Fun???
It isn't fun for the reader to struggle through a minefield of misspelled words, homonyms for the wrong ones and wandering tenses. It isn't fun to have to try to figure out what in the world the writer is talking about. If the writer can't respect the time I'm taking to read her/his little gem by basic checking, I'm deleting or moving on to another page.
Other people have bewailed the character assassination that goes on with some of the writing so I won't bother with it here except to add that those get deleted and further junk from the same twits doesn't even get opened.
If you want to write and share your work, terrific! It's wonderful to explore the possibilities. Just watch enough of the show to see all the characters and the way they interact. There are plenty of people in your favorite Fandom who will willingly go over your story and help spot corrections that your spell/grammar checker might miss.
If you love the characters, then treat them that way.