Opening Yourself Up To Hate:
Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post a story or tweet about someone else’s story last night. It’s been my intention to promote a story whether it’s one of mine or someone else’s everyday during the Fic-A-Thon. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do that last night, but after the events of the last two days, I just couldn’t get my heart into it. I was up half the night last night and eventually fell asleep in front of my tablet.
I’ve blogged before about my friend Fire Girl125 and her story Glee: The New York Story (GTNYS). For those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s what we call a ‘fix fic,’ meaning the author began writing it to fix things that she saw as being wrong with the TV show itself. Specifically she created it to be a story where Finn Hudson was alive and well and in New York with Rachel, four ‘seasons’ ago, but over time it has grown into much more than that. The story is completely AU and picks up where season 3 of the show left off. Only small selected bits of what has happened on the show since then have appeared in her story, and the ones that have all had her own spin on them.
The story started featuring Rachel, Finn, Santana and Kurt as the main characters and was set mostly in New York (thus the title). Beginning with the second season of her story, which is now in its fourth, she began adding Puck and some of her other favorite characters, a few at a time into the mix. Now there are very few characters who were on the TV show that haven’t appeared in her story at least briefly, and numerous original characters have been added as well. Most of the main characters are immediately recognizable. Other characters, such as Brody for example, are quite different from how they were on the show (not a male gigolo).
She’s managed to do what RIB failed to do, and not forget that Glee is about Glee Club, by having Finn lead a college glee club in New York. At first her focus was almost exclusively on New York, however beginning in season 3 she began to add additional emphasis on the characters who were still back in Lima, but didn’t follow the plot-line of season 4 of the show.
Wildebrams shippers for example will be happy to know that in her version Kitty never tormented Marley into having an eating disorder. There was still conflict between them, but no worse than with anyone else, and their genuine friendship is more believably written. Kitty and Artie still broke up when he graduated, but it wasn’t bitter. Artie’s sexual bender when he went to college still happened, but at least it had a more realistic motivation then the one they gave us in the show, and Kitty and Artie are now back together.
Many of the other original couplings are alive and well in her story, along with many other new and unexpected ones. She’s come up with a few of her own – for example, she actually had the idea to pair Puck and Marley (Parley) together; which on the surface doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, but the way she wrote it it actually works. Both characters got the character development that they never got on the show. They have become hugely popular and the two of them share the central pairing spot with Finchel. Wildbrams fans will be glad to know that Kitty and Artie are also in the story and are together. They aren’t the main characters but they’ve definitely had their own plot-lines and she intends them to be an endgame pairing. Kitty still has her snark, but she omitted her mean phase. She wasn’t any worse to Marley than anyone else.
The story itself is humungously popular. It’s approaching 100 chapters, a million and a half words and has about 1,500 reviews on fanfiction.net alone. This doesn’t even count all the stuff on Tumblr. Unfortunately when something becomes this popular people begin to have strong opinions about it. In recent months the author has had to endure a lot of things from her so called fans.
Many of them are upset that the story is no longer about Finchel exclusively or even mainly. Its an ensemble story, but Finchel and Parley are the main paintings. People were upset because she has dared to give Finn and Rachel and many of the other characters real character development. Yes they are not the same characters you saw on TV and that’s a good thing.
About a month ago you may have read my blog about how she was receiving death threats after writing that Rachel had a miscarriage. I wrote shortly thereafter that it seemed to have blown over and yes the death threats did stop as far as I know. But more and more so-called fans decided that because she advertised the story as being ‘for the fans’ that they had the right to tell her, in no uncertain terms, how she should write her story. People have been downright cruel to her in her reviews and in posts on her Tumblr blog. Most of which the public never saw because she deleted them, but I’ve seen a few of them and they were pretty pathetic.
She works her butt off, and literally seems to spend all of her free time on the story itself and promoting it, which is updated regularly on a predefined schedule. She has always welcomed and been open to reader input, and has incorporated more reader ideas into her story then anybody else I’ve ever come across. This is very obvious from her Tumblr blog. But this is going way beyond that. Some people aren’t just suggesting things they’re demanding things.
Last weekend a fellow Tumblr user got it into his or her head that Fire Girl125 needed to change her story and write out Kitty and change it to a Tatie endgame, because in her estimation most fans hated Kitty, and that it wasn’t right for her to use Kitty so much just to appease “the two people who actually ship Kartie.” Yes, my friends – she actually said that. I think we all know that that’s not true. But even if it was she wasn’t doing it to appease her fans. She herself ships them too. I’ve had many discussions with her on the subject and she’s reviewed several of my stories so I’m very comfortable saying that. They aren’t her OTP, that’s true, but she still loves them.
A few weeks back she took a break because she was still upset over the death of her cat which she has had for something like 10 years. When you consider that she is in her early twenties, owning a pet for 10 years means that you own them for a significant portion of your lifetime and probably don’t remember very much of your life beforehand. Any pet owners will tell you that your pets are part of your family, like your children. Instead of being understanding many readers made mean comments.
Friday things came to a header, and she’d finally had enough! It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. She disappeared for about a day and stopped responding to messages. Then late yesterday she posted a message on her blog saying ‘goodbye for now the story is on hiatus’ while she takes care of herself. The haters had pushed her so hard that she had an actual panic attack, and her doctors have told her that she needed to distance herself from the things that were causing her stress, which sadly included the Glee fandom and her story.
She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met in the fandom and has gone above and beyond to be receptive to her fans, but true to her own vision. And how do they repay her? Harass her and make her miserable because she won’t make her story mostly Finchel again, get rid of characters that they don’t like such as Kitty, or change her plans for the endgame (in short, compromise her vision). Their sense of entitlement never ceases to blow my mind! If you don’t like the story you don’t have to read it, and it’s very easy to skim or not read the parts you don’t want to.
Glee is supposed to be about, love, acceptance, and opening yourself up to joy, not hate!
I think it’s really pathetic that some people make it their life’s ambition to make other people miserable. Clearly these haters need to rewatch the season 2 episode, Night Of Neglect. WORDS HURT (even in the digital world)!
I’m worried about my friend. I don’t think she’s really online much, but I’d like to ask all of you guys a favor. She could really use some love right now. So I would really appreciated if you would take a few moments and post something positive on her Tumblr blog, Twitter, or read and review her story. If you see any of these haters put them in their place. I don’t know when or if she’s going to come back to the fandom. But it would be great if and when she did, she had a whole lot of positive messages waiting for her.
It’s not about the story it’s about the person. But right now she feels like she’s letting her fans down. Please let her know otherwise!
EDIT: Upon re reading this a couple hours after it was published, it occurred to me that some could take this to mean that she has a lot of haters. This isn’t the case at all. The overwhelming number of readers are very supportive, but a very vocal minority have been making a lot of noise making it seem like there are a lot more of them than there are. Most of the mean comments are anonymous and very likely being posted by the same few people. But the words still hurt!