Alt.tv.x-files.creative Interview with cofax

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Interviews by Fans
Title: not specifically titled as such
Interviewer: Dee
Interviewee: cofax
Date(s): November 29, 2000
Medium: online
Fandom(s): The X-Files
External Links: original post is here
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In 2000, a fan named Dee asked fanfic writers about their thoughts about writing, specifically feedback.

The excerpts below are from that series of answers.

The original post:
I'd like to direct this questions to fanfic writers: What motivates you to write a story? Do you write a fic because you have a story to tell? Would you write a story for yourself? for an intended audience? Would you write a fic if you didn't think anyone else would read it? The reason I am asking these questions is because I am puzzled by the strong reactions to reader's comments. Does it really matter? Unless you are accused of something horrible, like plagiarism, do the negative/unfavourable comments really matter? I am posting this not incite a riot, I am genuinely interested in what motivates a fic writer to write. [1]

Some of cofax's Responses

What motivates you to write a story? A desire to see if I can convey in text what I see/feel/wonder about in my head.
Would you write a fic if you didn't think anyone else would read it? Well, I have done, in the past. Somewhere I have a floppy disk full of Robin of Sherwood stories that only two other living human beings have seen. <shrug>
I posted a story about a month ago that contained some truly horrible actions by Scully in response to the Emily trauma. Now, I was struck by the fact that I received *no* negative feedback. None. However, when I spoke to some fellow writers in person, they gave me some excellent and substantive feedback on why the story *didn't* work for them. Basically, I had cheated by only writing the end of the story, and it would have been far more believable had I written the entire thing as a casefile. Now, that's a useful reaction, one that I can use to develop my writing. Someone flaming me (as I expected) for making Scully a child-killer would not have been of any assistance, because it wouldn't tell me anything about my writing. It might have hurt my feelings if the person called me names, though. It's not as though I actually believe Scully is a child-killer or want her to be one, after all. I'm just experimenting with possibilities here.
There's a lot of snarking that takes place on this board, and it takes place in public, and what the snarkers may not understand is that for a lot of writers, their stories are very personal to them. It takes a thick skin to even send them out into public, and it takes a kevlar skin to accept public criticism. If the criticism is unpleasantly phrased or vitriolic (as it can be), well, that makes it all even worse. And it isn't very helpful -- it just makes the writer unhappy without improving their writing.
One last note is that a lot of writers write to challenge themselves. They want to push the envelope. I am thinking of writers like Sabine, in particular, who appears to have no interest in going where plenty of other people have been. Thus these types of stories often appeal primarily to themselves and to other writers who appreciate the effort involved, and not the huge audience of XF readers. And that's okay. Not all the writing is for the readers. Or, I should say, writers are readers too, and we write what we want to read.

References

  1. ^ "alt.tv.x-files.creative".