Vultural said:User generated content, with few if any gatekeepers. Editors are few and far between, and I have no doubts it can be soul destroying to proof stories written in txt spk. No profit in words, either. Plus, literature may have reached a tipping point a few years ago with more writers than readers. Also attenuated concentration means short, simple lines over extended prose. Shifting gears, I think fan fiction is closer to fan films than fan edits.
In concept, perhaps, but I think only because fanfic frees up the reliance on existing clips to work with. However, good fanfic--and I have read a LOT of that!--relies heavily on the existing canon for characterization, setting, etc. Good writers (and I know many) will spend ages tracking down tiny details to make sure everything's just right, and that it fits with canon except where they're deliberately choosing to go AU.
As for the text speak and lack of extended prose, I think that has a lot more to do with where you're reading the fic. Fanfiction.net? Sure, with most fandoms there you'll get tons of that junk. Archive of Our Own, less so. And in many fandom-specific archives, the quality is very high. While the first fandom I started reading fic for was Lord of the Rings (bookverse--movies hadn't come out yet), and I was a teen then (I confess that my tolerance for junk fic was a bit higher), a few years later I got heavily into Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. In fact, I read most of my fanfic there while having only seen four eps. The quality of the fic on the L&C archive (http://www.lcfanfic.com) does vary, but they have yearly fanfic awards that are voted on by the readers, giving any new fan a quick guide to some of the best fic there. At the time I joined, there were hundreds of new fics published in the last year, and the vast majority were quite good. No text speak, there was extended prose, some complicated issues being dealt with, etc. (They have general editors that check stories for SPAG to make sure they have at least the basics tidied up before the stories appear on the archive.) It was excellent. I keep track of all these good writers, too, and save the fics so I can re-read later if I like.
And being involved in a yearly story exchange, I can't say that there are more writers than readers there! Perhaps in mainstream fiction, yes. But then, I enjoy fanfic more than mainstream fiction, because I already know and love the characters, and want to see more about them. With a published fiction novel, you have to sell me on these new people I don't know yet. And I can be a tough sell.
TomH1138 said:When there was someone editing a fanzine, the editor could clean up the punctuation / spelling / grammar, as well as address any continuity issues. And, frankly, they could just make sure that the stories were good -- well-written executions of solid ideas, with the characters all sounding and acting like they should. But now the floodgates are open for anything and everything.
There are bad fan edits, too, but that's why FE.org makes every edit go through a stringent quality analysis. They're doing the work that fanzine editors used to do.
But I've always left myself open to the idea of reading more fanfic, if I could find more good stuff. As with fan edits, sometimes the fans have better ideas than the people who actually own the property.
Hee, that's why I like some of the fandom-specific archives. As I noted above, the L&C one actually used general editors to tidy up stuff. Mind you, they're not full betas, so some of the stories are weak in plot or sentence quality. But they lock the NC-17 rated fics behind a password so you can't stumble upon them willy-nilly (which means you only get there if that's what you want, and while I've poked behind there, I didn't spot any self-inserts). And the quality of what's visible is overall high enough that new writers tend to aspire towards it, rather than getting stuck in badfic land.
As for finding good stuff, you don't happen to share any of my fandoms, do you? I'm always happy to recommend my favorite stories . . .