So You Want to Write a Successful Fannish Essay

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Title: So You Want to Write a Successful Fannish Essay
Creator: Rana Eros
Date(s): January 15, 2006
Medium: online
Topic: writing meta
External Links: So You Want to Write a Successful Fannish Essay, Archived version
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So You Want to Write a Successful Fannish Essay is a very long essay by Rana Eros.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


1. Determine your point and stick to it.

2. Check your passion at the door.

3. Resist the urge to grind axes.

4. Be aware of your assumptions.

5. Own your biases.

6. Know the difference between opinion and fact.

7. Cite your sources.

8. Be certain you know the full meaning of every word you use.

9. Betas: not just for fiction.

10. Always keep in mind that the internet is a public forum.


A recent batch of links at the LJ community, metafandom, really stirred some people up. I'm no exception, though it appears what most irritated me wasn't what irritated anybody else. While other fans seem upset about some of the opinions expressed in the links, I'm more torqued by the lack of cohesive argument in most of the links I followed. In each case, the piece would start out with what I felt was a clearly-stated premise, and then wander away from it, often devolving into simple axe-grinding by the end. I'm not entirely sure why I'm seeing more and more such cases cropping up, but I thought a review of the basics of debate and essay might be timely.