I am at somewhat of a loss. Up until this point, my fanfic has generally received what I consider good feedback or comments on stories. However, my the crossover story has now earned two comments that left me in the position of not being sure how to react.
The first one: so, if a person leaves a comment stating they didn't like my characterization
, I take that at face value. Fair enough - they may view a character very differently from me. Or they may feel the plot is weak or implausible. Again, the reader is entitled to their feelings and opinions. I once had someone take great exception to a Pretender story I wrote where Jarod goes dark. He drugs and almost sexually assaults Miss Parker. I was exploring what might happen if he snapped; since that man was abused by The Centre since childhood, I felt it was possible. A reader strongly and vehemently disagreed with my characterization. I was totally ok with that and not all offended.
That isn't what happened here. Rather than taking issue with out-of-character writing or bad plotting, the reader seemed upset with the character
, that it was their fault
things went wrong. The character should have stuck to their assigned place and not done something different. It left a bad taste in my mouth because it was a female, teenage character. I have become more sensitized to how much vitriol there is out there against female characters, so it rather came off to me like they were saying this female teenager is not allowed to change or make mistakes or errors in judgement or be imperfect.
It bothered me much more to have someone blaming this teenage girl than it would have to hear they thought my writing sucked. I don't know if this really makes sense to anyone else, but I felt very defensive on behalf of the character. I didn't really know how to answer, so I just stuck with the 'thank you for reading and commenting' because, hey, they did.
The second one: that is a little closer to home. I have an OC in my story - also a female. Again, teenager, and friends with two teen boys. I pulled aspects of my teenage self into her - one of them being that I sometimes smacked or punched my teen male friends when they were being idiots. Someone left a comment pointing out every time this character attempted to hit or did hit her two friends and then said this abuser should not be allowed to come to Atlantis, that she was a bully and to think about if it had been a male character who did that.
When I was a teen, I knew guys who were as likely to punch me in the arm as I was to punch them, so it didn't seem particularly weird. Plus, I actually *did* think about the time frame this is written in - early 2000's, so about when schools were actually taking notice of students casually smacking each other and frowning on such things, but still - friends who have grown up together have a different dynamic with each other than casual acquaintances. And while I don't typically write characters hitting each other, the fact that she is flicking one friend's ear, smacking the other one for saying something annoying, and kicking one under the table - she's not actually a bully. I'm not saying hitting people is appropriate, but I think bullying is about a power dynamic, and that doesn't exist here.
Getting any kind of feedback is useful - it made me think about what I wrote. I'd already weighed the pros and cons before I wrote it, but I reexamined and reconsidered. And I still would not change her because that's who she is, and by the time she's 23, she's probably not going to punch her friends in the arm any more. But right now, she does. And maybe one of them are going to say, "Gracie! Stop it!" or maybe they won't. I don't know.
Man. People talking about the character you write rather than your writing - it's like people talking about your kids. Weird.This entry was originally posted at https://shaddyr.dreamwidth.org/433778.html. Please comment wherever you want.