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Weighing in (sort of) on the warnings discussion - Light One Candle

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June 25th, 2009


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12:42 pm - Weighing in (sort of) on the warnings discussion
I haven't followed this closely, because there seems to be lots of fail (and some good points) on both sides, and I don't need fandom stress on top of Real Life at the moment. But I'm not sure I needed to, anyway, given what I'm seeing people post about.

I've been aware of the triggers vs. preference divide for a long time, not that it came up much in warning my own fic. (And despite the fact that I have no triggers myself--I have a *lot* of squicks, but it's definitely a different thing.) If anything, I'm glad more people are being made aware of this, and sad that it took a lot of fandom this long to catch on.

My thought, the way I handle this: warn for what you can, and don't worry about the times you might fail (or about really obscure things). Plenty of time to deal with such things when they come up, if they come up--you can be responsible for educating yourself and warning for things you know are likely to be triggery for some people, but you can't be responsible for unusual ones, or for everything. This is, I feel, an acceptable middle ground in my quest to be courteous to all my readers and yet at the same time not allow myself to be consumed by paranoia or unnecessary guilt (which is quite a battle sometimes without adding more burdens to my own psyche).

Examples: I warn for character death (a holdover from my time in The Sentinel fandom, when that was the Rule of Law); for violence beyond what the show would use (and I always warn for torture, even if the show goes there regularly, such as on Alias); I've warned for references to child sexual abuse, and one of my fics has a non-specific "triggery" warning, because I can't specifically warn without giving away the entire plot, but it's the only fic of mine that actually sort of did trigger someone, so it clearly needed something.

I also warn for AU, list pairings, and if necessary list other relevant "genre" stuff. I don't warn for angst, unless it's really extreme.
Current Mood: okayokay

(21 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


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From:ficwriter1966
Date:June 25th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
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Someone wants there to be a warning for angst? Seriously?

I'd have to put a big flashing neon sign at the top of my LJ.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 25th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
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LOL. No, that wasn't a reference to anything in this particular discussion, I just know that some people warn for angst (some make the warnings into an art form, like kroki_refur's Angst Rating, which really is kind of necessary *g*).
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From:leelust
Date:June 25th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Not angst, rape if i got it right.
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From:mosinging1986
Date:June 25th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)

My $.02.

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(Or $20.00, as the case may be.)

I haven't read much fic since my XF days, so I don't know how things go nowadays.

But goodness, people need a warning about every possible thing that might be upsetting to them? It seems to me that if something is upsetting to you, then you stop reading.

And if reading a fictional fandom story upsets you to the point of real life distress, then I'd say you've got some serious mental health issues to address - much more than some fic author can or should be able to address on your behalf.

(All of this being a very different discussion than the content of a lot of fic. Some of the stuff posted in the name of fan fic is just pornographic and or fantasy-living-out trash.)

The general problem is that there are no moral standards these days. Everything is a preference. So if someone wants to write/read a story about fictional underage characters having sex with adults or each other or whatever, that's their "preference" and you dare not call it what it is - immoral.

If someone doesn't like sad stories of any sort, that is their "preference".

There is very little concept anymore of moral right and wrong. (Especially when it comes to fic. Anything goes there. And I mean anything. And no one is allowed to question it.) Since everything is simply preference, both of the examples given above are considered equal. It's not a matter of objective right or wrong, it's a matter of subjective preference.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 25th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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Well, bases on this, maybe you would find the discussion of preferences (which don't necessarily merit warnings, even though I like to label my stories so people can find what they like) vs. actual psychological triggers to be interesting and useful.

I'll warn for this, too (I have not read it in depth myself, but it's supposed to be pretty frank and possibly triggery itself): Sexual Assault, Triggering, and Warnings: An Essay
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From:mosinging1986
Date:June 25th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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I started reading but sheesh, it starts with some very detailed descriptions of sexual assault. Why people put such personal things on the internet for complete strangers to see is beyond me! (At least, in such detail. But that's another issue entirely.)

Then she says:

As I have mentioned before, immediately after the final and worst assault, I could read rapefic without a problem.

WHY would she be reading rapefic at all? Glad that it didn't bother her, but given what she's been through, it makes no sense that she'd choose to read it at all! (As to the authors of such stories, unless it's based in something canon, why do people write stuff like that anyway?)

I'll try to read the rest of it, but can't promise I will get through it. I'll just stand by what I said. Such people have way more serious problems than what fic authors can help them with.

And from the other side of the coin, authors need to think about what they write. Some of that stuff is just porn, no redeeming value whatsoever.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:June 25th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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Some of that stuff is just porn, no redeeming value whatsoever.
Of course some of that stuff is just porn; and the writers of same know that, and they consider the pornishness of the porn to be the purpose of the story.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:June 25th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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And if reading a fictional fandom story upsets you to the point of real life distress, then I'd say you've got some serious mental health issues to address - much more than some fic author can or should be able to address on your behalf.
Well, duh. PTSD is a mental health issue. They aren't asking people to address their mental health issues, they're just asking people to give a damn.
Or is your argument that anyone who would write about immoral, triggery things is so immoral that it's pointless to ask them to give a damn?
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From:mosinging1986
Date:June 26th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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If I thought you were actually looking for dialogue, I would respond. But your nasty tone makes me think you're not. If I misunderstood you, then I apologize. What I am not going to do is get into an argument in someone else's journal, especially with a total stranger.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:June 26th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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What I am not going to do is get into an argument in someone else's journal, especially with a total stranger.
Fair enough. I should have kept quiet, though I was angry, because izhilzha doesn't deserve to have us squabbling in her journal.
If you really want to discuss this further, you can come and discuss it in my journal here.
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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Eeep. I really didn't mean to nurture this at all. I should perhaps have PM'd the link to Mo. (or left well enough alone; I didn't want to read the post because I already give a damn, I don't need to be put through a description of why I should.)

Ah well.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)

Re: My $.02.

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I'm sorry. My fault.
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From:sarcasticval
Date:June 25th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
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There's a discussion? I always miss these things!

On a personal note, I always hated it/never quite understood when fics warned for character death. I felt it pretty much ruined the journey knowing the whole time what was to come.

Edited at 2009-06-25 11:42 pm (UTC)
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 26th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
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Oh, and see, I don't read death fics, as a general rule. So if I read a fic and was blindsided by the death of my favorite character, that would be, shall we say, bad.

I understand an author not wanting to give away the punch line. I find the best compromise to be a link to the warnings. Like: "For specific warnings for this story, go here." That to me seems to be the best compromise. That way, the reader who wants to go in blind and let the story unfold can do so, and those (like me) who want to know that the author is going to kill off my mostest favorite character in the most horrifically traumatic manner possible can know enough not to read the story.

I felt it pretty much ruined the journey knowing the whole time what was to come.

So how did you feel about the end of SPN S3? Because it was pretty much a given in the last third of the season that they were gonna go there.
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From:sarcasticval
Date:June 26th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
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Oh, I knew they were going to go there before the season even began. I mean, Kripke's brain isn't always the most complicated puzzle in the box. There was never any other way. But I think there's a big difference between knowing where a story is going to go due to the nature of the tale, and having the ending for something completely new and fresh spoiled. (For example, I would never in a million years want to know that John bites it before seeing "In My Time of Dying".) Or, for that matter, even having an obvious ending publicized. I mean, the CW didn't put out a press release saying "Btw, guys, Dean totally dies at the end, kthxbai!" because that would completely cheapen the moment.

(And you *know* that's how the CW writes their press releases.)

Edited at 2009-06-26 03:53 am (UTC)
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From:izhilzha
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
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I never say *which* character is going to die. *g* That's my compromise--I figure "someone is going to bite it" is enough to let readers like Fee back out quickly, while anyone else won't necessarily be spoiled for the outcome.

Also, Fee and I both came out of The Sentinel fandom, and not warning for character death there was almost a sure way to get ostracized. It was completely SRS BUSINEZ. (Even failing to warn for *faked* death was frowned on. Gosh, I love my old fandom.)
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From:sarcasticval
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
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*grin* I understand why you guys do it. But personally, as a reader, it's just something I'm not in to. Really, the only things I care to know are if it's worksafe, and maybe pairings? And of course, if it's my beloved crackfic, the initial concept to hook me.

I'm glad I wasn't in your old fandom. I don't think we would get along. Cause I'm a rebel like that.
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
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One of the most traumatic TS fics I ever read (I cried my eyes out for, like, half an hour when I was done) wasn't even technically a death fic. But it was a fic that explored the demise of the "before" character and the birth of the "after" character, thus re-writing the character in such a way that it felt like the canon character was killed off dead. I think we've talked about this story before. It just hurt.

There are certain times when character death fics just hit me the wrong way. (Heck, there's a SPN Dean-in-Hell fic that when I read it just ripped me apart because I read it at a very bad point in time.) So, yeah, I like to know going in what I'm getting myself into.
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From:feliciakw
Date:June 26th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
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This is why I'm allergic to spoilers for canon/source material, but I like to know what I'm getting into with fic. And I think Izhi (or someone else) points out the differences nicely. The source material is original fiction, thus going in unspoiled is part of the adventure. Reading fic is more of an addendum to the source material, and if there's going to be something that drastically changes or contradicts the source material or whatever, I want to know. Partly because I read fic for fun and escapism, and killing off a favorite character isn't particularly relaxing.

Heck, I'd love if fics would warn for OOC characterizations, but that gets into interpretations and readings and sometimes the author isn't even aware that they're writing OOC.
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From:kerravonsen
Date:June 26th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
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Heck, I'd love if fics would warn for OOC characterizations
That's where reviews come into it.
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From:sarcasticval
Date:June 26th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
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See, for me there's really no difference. I don't want to be spoiled, regardless of the source.

Heck, I'd love if fics would warn for OOC characterizations, but that gets into interpretations and readings and sometimes the author isn't even aware that they're writing OOC.

We can dream, Fee. We can dream.

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