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MarigoldG
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December 2013
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MarigoldG [userpic]

Hullo! I was reminiscing to myself at work today about the hobbity part of the fandom and thinking about how it has become so quiet and missing the excitement of those Golden few years at the beginning of things. I have been wondering for a while now why our part of the fandom seems to be less prolific these days when there still seem to be loads of new stories featuring elves and men. Thankfully Llinos is posting loads of new chapters of Recaptured! and that makes me very happy, but a lot of the time when I have a moment to read a hobbity tale I find myself falling back on old favourites, as there aren't very many new stories being posted.

I started wondering why this was so and am interested in other folk's opinions as well. We've lost quite a few of our hobbity authors for whatever reason and while I understand that people develop other interests and drift into other things I also wonder if perhaps we readers may have contributed to the situation by becoming too complacent – there were so many excellent hobbity stories being posted for a long time that I wonder if we started taking them for granted and didn't let the writers know how appreciative we were and so some may have concluded that we weren't interested and stopped writing.

I know I am guilty these days of snatching a moment to read a new story or chapter and promising myself that I will review when I have a bit more time, but of course I never find the time to go back – I should have just taken a few more minutes to leave a few words of appreciation right then. I should know better, because I have experienced myself the confusion of getting 100 hits on something that I've posted within the first couple of days but only receiving six or seven reviews. Does that mean that the other several dozen people read my work and didn't like it – or were they just doing what I have been doing myself lately? They read it and liked it well enough but didn't bother to comment because they didn't have the time or because they assume that folks will keep writing regardless and so they needn't bother?

The fact is though, that authors won't keep writing if we don't let them know how much we appreciate them. A friend gave me an analogy a while ago about this very thing. She said that if an actor or singer performs for an audience and the audience just sits there without applauding what's the performer to think? They're going to think that no one cares and they'll stop entertaining and leave the stage. And that is why I think we've lost some wonderful contributors to the fandom and I am worried that we will lose more. I would really hate for that to happen!

I'm really interested to know if other folks agree with my ramblings or have any other ideas?

Comments

I think there's definitely something to that, but also it seems like once the general level of conversation dies down in a fandom, the quantity of fic declines rapidly. When there are lots of contests and challenges and this cauldron of simmering ideas with in-jokes and plot-bunnies flying back and forth at the speed of light, it's a lot easier to latch on to an idea, just start writing, and see what comes of it. I know that for me, at least, the vast majority of the fandom projects I've started have had their genesis in conversations with other fans about characters or interesting plot points or "what-ifs". To some degree, no matter how much you love a particular fandom, once everyone else drifts off to other things, it seems like much of the energy (and especially the energy to start new projects) goes out of it.

I agree with this but even though this creative give and take to produce lots of stories isn’t what it once there are still lots of readers out there, so quite a few people are still interested. Going from what the authors I chat to regularly say, the moment something is posted the hits start coming in thick and fast. But not the reviews. So, as the interest is still there we readers are shooting ourselves in the foot by not giving the deserved kudos to the authors that are still entertaining us, risking their loss as well. Does that make sense, lol? It is very late here and I am not at my most articulate!

Oh, it makes sense. I just think it's a bit of both. :) I haven't seen a lot of newer stuff in this particular part of the LoTR fandom posted recently (it could be that I'm just looking in the wrong places!), so I wasn't aware newer things were still getting many hits.

And my goodness, if it's this late here, it must be really late over there. o_O

It was! Bloody shift work, lol! Didn't get home till about 2am : )

Very well said and just what I've been thinking as I'm experiencing the same,though I write about Aragorn and Faramir mostly.I've started posting a new adventure in which they meet a dragon, which I thought people would like and my beta readers thought so too, but hardly anyone has commented, just a few friends and I'm starting to wonder why I bother.I do love writing, but it is disheartening, especially when I used to get lots of comments.I'm reminded of a slogan the Post Office used to have "Use it or lose it."

I admit I don't read like I used to, but if I read a chapter or story to the, I always comment even though it might only be "I enjoyed this."

I did get quite a good response when I wrote one of my rare stories featuring Hobbits a few months ago and I'm glad Shirebound still writes her lovely Hobbits and Aragorn stories as does Larner.

Edited at 2010-05-10 06:09 am (UTC)

I will have to look for your dragon story when I get back from holiday!

I understand what you mean about wondering why you bother as I hear that from quite a few people - the readers are obviously there but why don't they *say* something, sigh...

I also think though that the stories, although folks don't comment enough, are at least *out there* and people are enjoying them and will continue to enjoy them for years to come whether we know about it directly or not - a sort of legacy I suppose. And too, the stories are an homage and thank you to Tolkien for creating his world in the first place so even if we don't get the response that we desire at least the professor is being paid back by our small efforts : )

I hope you'l enjoy the story which will be posted here on LJ.I fear it does not have Hobbits,but it does have a friendly dragon!

You are spot on, as I guess I do care about leaving a legacy "out there" that will hopefully still be there when I'm forgotten.

I guess I'll keep on with my tributes to my favourite author.

Hope you have a nice relaxing break.

This is pretty much exactly the same thing I wrote privately to a friend a few days ago. There is a level of complacency about leaving fb that is very disheartening, and it's not only in the LOTR fandom. I've seen similar comments made in other fandoms, too. Sometimes, as Linda Hoyland said, you wonder why you bother to post fics at all. There was an excellent post about feedback that I read the other day, and in comments someone said 'I don't write for feedback, I post for feedback.' That struck a chord with me. It's hard to post fics in a vacuum, and as Europanya once told me, there is a symbiotic relationship between fanfic authors and readers. We need each other- it can't all be one way, with the writers giving and getting nothing back.

I know there are other reasons people have left the fandom and fewer fics are being posted, but lack of commenting is a contributing factor, imo.

Complacancy is exactly the right word, sigh. People used to be som enthusiastic when a new story was posted and now they seem to take it for granted that the writers will just keep them coming whether they recieve feedback or not. But without encouragement what incentive do the writers have to post - lots of hits with little response is really a form of rejection, as if saying the story isn't worth commenting on, so writers aren't getting enough positive reinforcement to continue posting.

And as you say, I can happily write stories for myself without posting or just imagine them out without writing them down. Posting is offering up your vision which implies in itself the expectation and desire to recieve a response/reaction from others who share your interests.

"I don't write for feedback, I post for feedback." Excellent point--something I had not been able to put into words before. Very true. There's a certain energy generated by reading feedback, that translates into more writing, more ideas, more motivation to post, even if I really can't spare much time for writing these days. I am more likely to use those spare moments for writing if I feel motivated to write, but if I feel as if I'm talking to myself, there's not much point in writing it down--I can talk to myself anytime, without having to sit down at the computer.

*hugs* Marigold! I was just thinking of you earlier today, as a matter of fact. I almost never get to LJ lately, so it's nice to see the thoughtful conversations continuing.

Yes, that is a lot of it for me. Writing is not easy for me; I tend to do it when I'm hit with an inspiration, which is neither predictable nor forceable. But I keep writing because I think people want to read what I'm doing. My hobbit writing fell by the wayside in large part because fewer and fewer people seemed to be reading it. When a story gets only one or two comments, my Muse loses energy and wanders away.

Writing can be a really emotional and difficult process no matter what the genre and when you share that with people it is really disheartening not to recieve an acknowledgement that your vision, skill and your blood, sweat and tears were appreciated.

Maybe, as Dreamflower says, interest will pick up again when The Hobbit is released and your Hobbit muse will be reinvigorated! And so will the excitement of the readers!

First of all! ((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))

I've missed you dreadfully!

I know there are a lot fewer comments and reviews, even for the most popular authors and the most highly recced stories. Sadly, I think much of it is that the LotR fandom has shrunk as many who began as fans during the movie years have moved on and left those of us who are fandom monogamists a bit bereft. They are still our friends, but now they give all their time and attention to Merlin or Torchwood or Doctor Who or Star Trek or...well, you name it. Since they no longer read about hobbits or LotR, of course they no longer comment.

I still leave comments for every story I read, unless something comes up that prevents me at the time. Even then, I will try to go back and comment later on if I can.

Even getting people to participate in challenges and exchanges is harder than it used to be, and I feel quite sad at that lack of energy. I so miss your Challenges. The GFIC challenges are kind of a tribute to you-- but we knew that if we had "hobbit-only" challenges such as you did so successfully, that there were simply not enough people to participate. And so we have a lot of lovely stories about Men, Elves and Dwarves as well. But they still are just not quite the same as yours were.

On the other hand, the love for fanfiction in general has not faded. I got more comments on my post about Fanfic than on any other post I've ever made.

I'd love to see the hobbity part of LotR fandom re-energized and revitalized-- perhaps if they ever get around to filming The Hobbit, that may happen.

In the meantime, we faithful few will just have to cling together and support one another as best we can!

BTW: How is your mother? I was thinking about her just the other day, as I looked at some of my pictures from that time, and remembered how much fun she was to be around!


Edited at 2010-05-10 03:15 am (UTC)

I'd love to see the hobbity part of LotR fandom re-energized and revitalized-- perhaps if they ever get around to filming The Hobbit, that may happen.

It'll probably be all Dwarf slash. Dwarves slashed with one lonely hobbit, a dragon and Bjorn the Bear. Sigh.

Heaven forfend, Singe!

In the meantime, we faithful few will just have to cling together and support one another as best we can!

*clings*

I'd love to see the hobbity part of LotR fandom re-energized and revitalized-- perhaps if they ever get around to filming The Hobbit, that may happen.

In the meantime, we faithful few will just have to cling together and support one another as best we can!

I am still clinging and reading fic when i can! i do want to write again but the muse does not cooperate. :( I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this month's challenge on GFIC. I look to participate in writing a little something sometime too!

The secret to running a successful Challenge is to threaten people with bodily harm (stickses) and if that fails, to beg, plead and bat your eyelashes a lot, lol!

I hope, like you, that The Hobbit will get things going again. The monogamists among us will just have to bide our time!

While we're waiting though, are you working on the sequel to Road To Edoras? The Minas Tirith part? And if not, why not!? I also have a list of bunnies for you that hopped out at me when rereading your stories a while back and I will send them to you in a couple of weeks when I am back from camping in Cornwall with Liza and the KnittedHobbits : )

My Mom is doing well thanks - I spoke to her on Mother's Day and she asked about you and says hello. She said to tell you that she missed getting a card from you at Christmas, lol! She is living with my brother and his wife in Florida at the moment but I hope to get her over here for 6 months when her hip is up to sitting on a plane for quite a few hours.

Aha! It's the bodily harm part we need to polish up on! I've tried the begging and eyelash batting, and in the case of shire_kitchen even bribery! But I don't have any good stickses.

Actually, I do have some work done on both "In the Court of the High King" and "Cado's Year", but I need to get more organized with them. And I really need to get back to "Ancestress" and another WIP I began. But it seems lately a lot of my free time is taken up with shorter pieces and the need to do uploading of my older stories at MPTT. BTW, I would like to add you there, so I can list you as co-author when I get ready to post "Ho, Ho! My Lads!"

I'm so glad she's doing better! I need to get that new address, as I only have the Jackson one, which is why I did not get to send her a Christmas card! I knew she was no longer there. Please do give her ((hugs)) from me and Jim when you speak to her next.

How was your camping? We just got back from camping, as a matter of fact, and the wee-est hobbit managed to break her collarbone there. *sigh* But other than that, a good time was had by all.

The pictures I've seen of Cornwall are beautiful. I'd love to see more of the UK. We were supposed to, this year, but with the economy so uncertain it seemed better not to spend all that money. The airfare alone would go a long way toward buying us a new roof! Maybe next year...

I think it's a little bit of both people not leaving reviews and writers finding other fandoms. For me, personally, I haven't really written anything in forever. I'm still plucking away at a hobbity story for Shirebound, but the magic just isn't there as it used to be. And that's not because I'm out of love with the fandom, but because I just... can't write, lol.

Good to hear from you!

I feel the same way-- i am in love with Fandom so much and it's my only True Fandom but i can't seem to get going to write. :s

Here, I'm getting my stickses out of mothballs and waving them about at you! Are you inspired yet? Shall I send you hobbity bunnies when I come back from holiday?

yes preciousss, yes please! =)

Now see, I just can't imagine why anyone would want to drift off to any other fandom, lol! I'll have to beat you with my dusty stickses, that will inspire you!

I'll expect to see that story you are writing for Shirebound to be posted by the time I come back from holiday in a fortnight!

Good to hear from you too!

Looking at the influx of fanfic at some of the archives that I used to post to or still post to... there is a general decline of Tolkien ff. The decline of reviews has been going on for a while though and I am not certain if the lack of reviews is the cause of (hobbity) writers to write less (after all, it can also be that one bookmarks a story to finish or re-read a story for later on, still the hit is counted as new).

I think what made the hobbity community so thriving was the sense of the community, I refound that a tad at MPTT. If former hobbity writers move onto a new community where chatter and discussing new things is keeping things alive, that might explain it a tad. :)

What's MPTT, Precious? I wants to know. Isss it hobbity?

I think that the lack of reviews is definitely a factor - if you post a story and it gets 40 hits but only 3 reviews you might say to yourself I'll post another and see if that gets a better response and if it doesn't, then that will make you think twice before going to the effort of doing yet another.

I loved that sense of community we all had for such a long time and I really miss it! I am hoping we will get at least a portion of it back when The Hobbit finally comes out!

MPTT is the archive Many Paths to Tread, which is the archive for the the Yahoo!group LOTR_Community_GFIC (which stands for Gen Fic) and its sister challenge community, lotr_community, where we run our challenges (that are sort of based on YOUR challenges, in that we have individualized elements added to a common theme). We started them actually because we missed your challenges. The communities are not completely hobbity, for we have several members who are more focussed on Men or Elves, and even The Silm. But we do have some interesting discussions still, and 3 of the 4 mods are hobbity folk!

Edited at 2010-05-11 12:41 pm (UTC)

I love that community-- i am subscribed to it on Yahoo and also friended it on LJ. I look forward to the story posts each month and do try to comment on stories when i can. :)

Gosh, sorry: Many Paths to Thread, a site run by Cathleen, Dreamflower, Pearl Took and Dawn. First Cathleen and the others found the yahoo group LOTR-gen fic and from there at a certain point an archive was created. It hosts all kinds of writers, from the Silmarillion to Lord of the Rings. :)

I think that the lack of reviews is definitely a factor - if you post a story and it gets 40 hits but only 3 reviews you might say to yourself I'll post another and see if that gets a better response and if it doesn't, then that will make you think twice before going to the effort of doing yet another.

As long as I have been posting ff to the archives, I had a huge difference in hit count vs nr of reviews. For me that is not something new, but everyone has their own reasons and expectations when they share their material online. After some soul searching myself, I realised that I am writing for me and anyone who might like my take on events, whether they will not leave a comment or not. I can see how it can be disencouraging though, but it didn't stop from writing. Two young kids with one in the autistic spectrum however... I do miss the community and the homely feeling that came with it, I just don't have the time that much to pop in and say hi.

Oh and, I do miss having you around, just saying. :)

I'm very thrilled and amazed to still be writing and posting hobbity stories after eight solid years of writing, but I've had to slow waaaaay down due to the tendinitis in my wrists. It's very frustrating.

But I agree, the minimal amount of hobbity stories now (compared to the Golden Years of 2002-2006) makes me sad. And every review is treasured more than ever, since they are so few. I think a lot of folks have just moved on to other fandoms, although it's hard for me to figure out what could be more wonderful than Middle-earth.

Edited at 2010-05-10 12:12 pm (UTC)

NOTHING is more wonderful than Middle-earth, lol!

I have a brilliant idea - dictate your stories to your Mom and have her type them out for you!

I was never a popular writer, and while the people reviewing my stories has changed over the years, the number of reviews themselves have not really changed. For me personally, I'm getting a little burnt out with fan fic, both the writing and the reading of it, and I do want to put more concentration on writing original work. I have a few lingering projects I want to finish, and then I think I will offer up the rest of my plot bunnies for adoption.

I have always enjoyed your hobbity stories and wished that you would post more. I'll look forward to reading those lingering projects of yours and would love to get a look at your plot bunnies!

That's nothing to feel guilty for Ginger - that's RL and and RL and family takes precendence over fun any day of the week.

And when you can focus more on the fandom again I know that it will help - the fandom and the friends I met here did so much to help me through my own very rough time several years back and I wouldn't have coped nearly so well without it and all of you. Remember that we are all here for you, and for my part, not a day goes by that I don't think of you and hope that you are doing better.

You will have to come for a long visit to the Shire when you feel up to a change of scenery - you are always welcome, remember that!

It's actually Lesley here, on Liza's computer, but I already know that she feels the same - all you need is a plane ticket. For the rest you would be our guest. The offer is open, whenever you are ready to come : )

When you are ready to come just let us know! We would love to see you again and we will take good care of you!

Hi Marigold and other Hobbity fanfic friends,

I've been writing for the LOTR Community Challenge - the one affiliated with the LOTR - GFIC Yahoo group. When I write for that I then post the stories to SOA and MPTT. For me, both hit counts and reviews have been down and I have started wondering if it is worth the effort -

but then again . . .

I'm not reading fanfiction like I used to either and I think that makes a difference as well. I'm not reading so I'm not reviewing and so I'm part of the problem.

Like several others, RL is being horribly stressful these days. My husband's boss has become a tyrant. He needs to get out of the job but it's hard to find a new job when you are 59 and not good with computers. Either the stress at his job will kill him or we will end up bankrupt if he can't find something else soon.

I started a writing course a year and a half ago with the thought of getting published and bringing in at least a little money, but the stress is affecting that as well as the fanfiction. I'm having a terrible time with both coming up with ideas and then getting those ideas to become stories. My creative muse doesn't like the stress and is gone most of the time to avoid it.

I too have very fond memories of the "Golden Years" and of writing for "Marigold's Challenges". There were many months I wrote more than one story. The majority of the stories I have posted online (particularly at SOA) were "Marigold's Challenges" stories. Now, I'm having trouble writing anything at all - fanfic or original.

No other fandom has drawn me away - not for fanfic reading or writing. I'm a Middle-earth-er till the end. :-) I'm hoping and praying that my RL improves soon and that my muse will come back. I hope we all can come up with some ways to get things going again. I miss the camaraderie we shared.

Hugs to all!
Pearl Took

Sorry that things are so stressful for you and your husband right now, Pearl! Hope that things work out for you both! Maybe the evil boss will move elsewhere...

((((Marigold))))

So far there's no improvement, sad to say. We're hanging in there for the time being. I keep hoping he'll sell the business. :D

Marigold!!!! ((((HUGS))))

Why I'm not writing...

For starters, I am in art school now, but that has only been going on for the past year. It has been about four years since I have posted a new story.

Prior to that I think I wasn't writing as much because of changes in my life. We bought a house so instead of writing about hobbits I was living more as a hobbit. I started to make more friends locally and volunteering in my son's school. Three years ago I went back to work for the first time in thirteen years.

I'm still writing a little bit here and there, but I admit isn't all for this fandom. I have not written a complete story, in any fandom, in years.

LOTR opened my eyes to so many possibilities, I credit it for being at the root of so much that is good in my life now. But if writing hobbit fic is The Shire, then I am like Bilbo and Frodo, I love it but I feel the need to wander and see more of the world outside The Shire.

That being said, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see so many familure "faces" here. I have missed you all!

((((((HUGS)))))))

I would like to add that while I am not writing for The Shire I am including it in my school work. I have used LOTR as inspiration in several class projects, the one I am most proud of is my drawing of a door to a hobbit hole.

I'd love to see some of your hobbity art, Myst! Are you ready for commissions yet?

And I can relate to what you have said about the changes in your life affecting the time you can spend in the fandom. I got a new job three years ago that I absolutely love but, along with a long commute, is very tiring. And Ralph and I bought a lovely big house last year and that takes up a lot of free time. Instead of reading about Sam pottering about the garden at Bag End I am trying to maintain my very own garden.

And I wouldn't have any of those things without the fandom, or more specifically, if I hadn't met Llinos here. Without her I would still be back in L.A. completely miserable and living a terribly unsatisfying life!

I still remember the day that my mother handed me Fellowship when I was 10 (I was in tears because I'd finished The Hobbit and didn't think I'd ever find a book I loved as much) and told me there was more - little did I know how much that book would change my life!

So, even without so many fanfics, we are all still lucky that the fandom has brought so many of us together to form such wonderful friendships!

Late to the party, but with The Hobbit to soon start filming, even if we have to wait a couple of years for it, I'm hoping that that will lure people back to the fandom. I know that I have neglected it in recent years for other fannish loves, but Tolkien is an early fan thing for me, and I am happy to be in the fandom. :)

I always try to leave a comment when I read a story. If I don't, it's because I thought it was just terrible in some fashion. This could be anywhere from lack of beta-ing, poor grammar and other language mechanics, poor style, characters so different to the books or the films that I have no clue who they are, that sort of thing. Good writing wins praise from me every time. :)