Hey, Halfworlders. I would have posted that last chapter of Fifty Shades several days ago, but unfortunately my laptop containing the in-progress review is away for repairs. I’ll have it back in a few days, no worries.
Over the last couple days, I’ve been going through my old MSTs — doing some minor edits, mostly. It’s been a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, as odd as that sounds, but it also got me thinking. Back when I first started doing MSTs, I was a fifteen-year-old kid; not much older than the authors whose works I was mocking, and, indeed, younger than at least a couple of them. Now, though, I’m a few months away from turning nineteen, and it’s starting to feel a little unfair of me to be picking on bad fanfic writers; many of them are in their early teens, or even pre-teens. They’re just kids. They may not know how to write, but their poor attempts at writing are basically harmless, and for me to be ripping apart the work of barely-pubescent kids seems pretty cruel now that I’m past that age myself.
That isn’t to say I’m condemning the idea of MSTing fanfic in general, or that I’m never gonna do another MST, but I think it’s time to refine the criteria a bit. Many of the fics I’ve MSTed in the past have been author-insert fics written by fangirls in their early teens, but that sort of thing doesn’t seem too fair for me to criticize — if young girls wanna pretend that they have super awesome powers and that they’re married to Zim from Invader Zim, then more power to them, I guess, and far be it from me to judge them for a little harmless escapism. Seemed like fair game when I was around that age myself; doesn’t seem fair now.
On the other hand, stuff like My Immortal and Forbiden Fruit will forever be fair game for reasons I’m sure don’t need explaining (you can’t not laugh at one of those). I stand by my sporking of Love Knows No Race, as it was the literary equivalent of a hairball and also contained multi-generational alien twincest (somehow presented as totally okay?). Trollfics, like those of MarissaTheWriter, are practically written for people like me to pick apart and have a laugh at. (Well, in the case of MarissaTheWriter’s fics, they were literally written for me.) And I feel justified in MSTing Dibra, as the way it portrays sex and gender is pretty screwy and deserves to be criticized.
I’m not gonna swear off MSTing; I think it’s fun, and I think there are fanfics that deserve it (hell, some authors are totally fine with their work being picked over in this manner, too — I’ve even had authors request that I MST their fics a few times). But I’ll be more careful in choosing my targets. I don’t want to turn into some sort of internet bully here; that’s never been my aim with these MSTs. I don’t want to dissuade any twelve-year-olds from becoming writers simply because they wrote a second-rate fanfic (and, honestly, I’m not sure what other kind of fanfic you could expect from a twelve-year-old).
You know what is always an acceptable target, though? Published fiction.
I don’t know if I can continue on to the rest of the Fifty Shades saga right away; I might need a break. But there are plenty of bad books out there. There are so many works of fiction — bestselling ones, even — that are absolutely dreadful. Look at Twilight. Look at all the shitty young adult novels inspired by Twilight. And now remember that everything written in those books is being read by a large and impressionable audience. Surely that kind of writing deserves to be ripped to shreds here on THW.
In short, what I’m saying is that this blog is gonna be shifting focus a bit; there’ll still be MSTs from time to time, but I’m planning on doing mainly bad book reviews. Please do not send me any submissions for fics to be MSTed at this time. I may decide to close MST submissions indefinitely.
I’ll be finishing up the MSTs in progress; no worries.
Thank you all for being a great audience. Here’s to another year of awful writing and despair-inducing blog posts here on The Half-World!