WIPs and you: how not to drive fic authors to try and drown themselves in their coffee
Holla fandom! Come! Gather! Let me lean close and whisper things into your sweet, sweet ears.
Todays subject: WIPs and how best to ask for updates.
The short answer is: Don’t. But then the short answer is mean and doesn’t explain anything so I’d recommend you read on lest you leave this thinking I’m a monster.
(Not even a cool one)
Here’s the thing about authors of WIPs: We never forget about them. Ever. Not even the ones we’ve left, abandoned and rotting in the deepest depths of fanfic.net (*cough*Forms*cough*). They are always with us, just over our shoulder, waiting.
(like this, but scarier)
Now, leaving aside the abandoned stories (for which there is no hope) there are many reasons for hanging WIPs.
Maybe the author is stuck on the plot. Maybe real life has taken over the author’s ability to focus on their writing. Maybe the author’s ability to write anything that won’t make them want to curl into a small ball and sob forever has dried up like a puddle in the Sahara.
WHATEVER the reason, us authors? We’re FULLY aware that we suck a lot for not updating. Fully aware. Painfully so.
So when we get messages, no matter how well meaning and enthusiastic, asking us to update these WIPs? Our suckage is brought to the fore. We’re reminded that we’re awful and/or that our life is in shambles and/or that everything is terrible.
Symptoms may vary from author to author but the end result is the same: we feel bad for not updating.
You know what we don’t feel? Inspired to write.
Granted, this may not be much of a change from before the message, but this time we’re uninspired with a dash of self-loathing. And that’s never fun.
"But Hattie!" I hear you cry. "How can we express our enthusiasm for updates without making the fic author regret their life and their choices?!"
There is a way, dear reader! And it is hella easy!
Express enthusiasm for the story itself.
Because our little WIP demons are forever lurking, messages like, “I really love this story!” DO remind us to update, they just do it in a way that doesn’t come bottled with the same level of self-hate.
I’ve gotten a few repeat messages on WIPs that are basically people going, “I come back to this every now and then and it’s still fab,” and these messages are AWESOME. They make me feel happy that I’ve made this reader happy and they MAKE me want to get this reader an update ASAP.
This is the best outcome!
Aim for this one!
Take care of your fic authors, and they’ll take care of you
with porny epilogues.