Saturday, 6 April 2013

"Aleksandr Voinov hates online fic"

I got a weird message today, which essentially ran "it's weird that people say you hate online fiction - you're written Special Forces, after all, and that's kind of online fiction, isn't it?"

So apparently there's an odd perception that I "hate" online fiction (the person said this rumour originated somewhere on Goodreads after I DNFed "Captive Prince", which indeed started as an online piece of writing).

Running back through the last interviews I've done, I can't see where I've given that impression, and to my knowledge, I've never said so. In fact, I admire a great number of "online fiction writers", many of whom are in fandom. I maintain that Gileonnen, for example, is one of the most talented authors I've ever met, and I've learnt a great deal about writing by reading their stories. There's no question about the depth of talent in that particular pool. I've read a great many online/slash/fanfiction stories, and Captive Prince is in fact only one of of many long capture/captivity/slavery stories posted in avenues such as livejournal. The fact it's "not for me" is my issue, not that of the book or the vast field where it originated.

At the end of the day, I've written a huge amount of online fiction, both fanfiction (such as Collateral), and "original slash", as they call it (Special Forces, several short works), and I've done this for literally decades. Some of my 20-year old online stuff slumbers even in a German archive, and I hope nobody ever finds it (I WAS just stretching my wings). I have no idea where that rumour comes from, but it's untrue. I much prefer a well-written fanfiction story to a bad piece of original writing. Quality knows no genre, it's as simple as that.

Captive Prince didn't work for me based on my inner historian and all the things *I* brought to the table - not the book (and possibly based on some narrative principles I'm adhering to and which I struggle to put into words most of the time). But Twilight, Games of Thrones, and the Wheel of Time didn't work for me, either, and those aren't online works or fanfiction or "original slash." Every reader is different, and every reading experience is different, too. An individual brain encounters an individual book, creating a unique experience. You can never read the same book twice they say and that's correct. One of my best friends adores Captive Prince, and I listen to people raving about Game of Thrones all the time. I can live with people liking different things, and I'm not thinking any less of people I love (like my partner, who really enjoys GoT) who love different books from me. I can even love people who don't like my writing, and I can dislike people who love my writing (it's rare, but it happens).

So, for the record: No, I don't hate online fiction. I don't hate self-publishers. There's few things I hate, and often, it's a dislike (oysters are disgusting), not a hate. I'm 37 years old - at that age, I'm finding hate really quite difficult to rouse or maintain. The only thing that consistently gets my goat is authors not respecting their readers or their genre/craft, but these are everywhere, and, thank gods, pretty damn rare to begin with.

So let's all read some awesome books - regardless of where we find them.

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