twankharder

Apparently we'll never grow out of twank.

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Our roller coaster ride is just beginning.

What would you personally consider success in fandom?

Lots of reviews? An award? Seeing your name in every love post?

…A printing publishing deal?

You pathetic underachiever.

If your ultimate goal isn’t to have a fanfic about you, Jennde, Icy, Morgan Locklear, and Ninapolitan posted on ff.net, then you’re obviously just treading water until your trust fund kicks in. You are dead weight, and are hereby voted off this island.

ETA: Link is no longer valid. See screencap here.

ETA II: Oh noes, we have a flounce!

Some highlights:

But alas, talent is a beast with it’s own set of parameters. It literally chooses you. Sebastien didn’t know it, but he had indeed been chosen.


I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN! FAREWELL, MY FRIENDS. I GO ON TO A BETTER PLACE.

He was a writer, so of course he wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more. Does a cow not produce milk? Does a duck not quack?

Does a bull not shit?

His editor Jennde was his most trusted friend, and the only one to see his masterpiece as it formed slowly over the months. Each successful posting, brought people by the millions out of the woodworks, leaving poor Sebastien to abuse his own lip with his awkwardly capped fangs, and made him wonder if perhaps he should have rethought his endeavor.

Too late. The barn door is open and the horses are dead. LET’S BEAT THEM!

He was becoming utterly-famous. He shuddered at the realization.

ZOMG! That’s how we reacted too!!11! *fangirl squees*

“He’s not taking it down!” Jennde told Icy, which turned the Icy lady cold with anger.

“Yes, he will. If you don’t…” she eyed Sebastien, as he held tight to the leather chair beneath him. “Then I turn her. Your choice.”

*instant crickets*

This trainwreck would not be complete without a cryptic, panty-drenching review from Morgan Locklear, in which one of us finally realizes that MOG does not in fact mean “Mother of God.”

We’re shaking in our skivvies as we wonder just what the evil puppetmaster has in mind…

If you came in here with even an ounce of self-esteem today, we sincerely hope it’s gone. Damn, just when you think you’ve made some headway along the Alpine Path, you look up from your well-written, cliché-free manuscript and realize that Sebastien Robichaud/Sylvain Reynard is already at the top.

Not that SR’s life is perfect, not by a long shot. If it were us, we’d want our hagiographies done by someone other than Miss RMD, who brought us the epic tale My Name Is Edward. At the very least, we’d hope for someone with a better grasp of mechanics so the tribute doesn’t read like a colossal clusterfuck. But hey, you get what you settle for in this world.

Nonnie, thank you. As much as we’d love to have called satire on this one…what the shiz. Either way, it was still funny.

Aspieward? Really?

Please take note: It is possible that this post or comments could be triggering for some, as we’ll be discussing sensitive topics that are often poorly handled in fanfic/fandom.

ETA: Also please note that the 8 comments thus far from user “anonymous” (just the lowercase ones) have the same IP address as comments from “mamasutra.” If you want to respond, just understand beforehand that you’re speaking to the person who was twanked.

ETA 2: The “anonymous” posts involved in the MOTU argument are from a different IP.

On February 19, mamasutra73 had a great idea for a new contest:

Intensive planning went on for two whole days, at which point the tweet “Aspie Edward story contest! write one for us & tell your friends: http://angst-thenewfluff.blogspot.com/p/writing-contest.html” was sent out, apparently just to everyone on IcarusToSun’s follow list, as it indiscriminately included a lot of inactive users and RPattz news accounts. Even the original Twankhard got a shoutout! But not us. 😦

There were a few people who responded that it sounded like a good idea, but they were busy/couldn’t do it justice/etc. Others didn’t like the idea. Tweets like this one probably didn’t help:

This is how it was later posted by sleepyvalentina in the LJ community heroines_heroin, and we assume the text was taken directly from the original post on the Angst – The New Fluff! blog:

Ugaiz, this was even enough to pry sleepyvalentina away from the mirror long enough to make that entry. We didn’t think Gabriel’s Trump could accomplish that.

The voice of reason herself, @107_yroldvirgin, asked her followers how they felt about it, and since the general response was that it sounded potentially hurtful (@ImMelly2 explained the problem best), she contacted the contest admins and relayed the message. As of now, the blog entry reads:

I am so sorry to anyone that was offended by the idea of a writing contest concerning the topic of Asperger’s or Autism. It was not intended to offend, but instead bring light to subject,

My apologies,
Xxoo

Of course IcarusToSun and mamasutra had no malintent and no idea how this would look to people. But we have wondered for a long time about this –ward trend, and authors who write about issues they have no experience with for shock value. Sure, if you see a fic get attention because it deals with a sensitive topic, it’s understandable to want to write something no one’s ever touched on before. But there are things you had to “be there” to really, truly understand. Edward (or Bella) with a physical or mental challenge isn’t supposed to be something cute that you “want to see more of.” And don’t get us started on the romanticizing of rape and suicide that goes on.

Which do you think are the worst offenders in terms of fics that sensationalize or trivialize serious topics?

Is this a new soshul experiment?

Thanks to a nonnie for the alert. Quick intro for those who didn’t hear yet: fledgling fanfic writer ZombieBella‘s fic Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number was found to be plagiarized directly from a book by Abby Wood called Twice Her Age. Discussion can be found on ADF and the gazebo.

Is it a soshul experiment? Really, we wonder. Look at the date:

Did someone just want to see if a new writer would be treated differently from Krismom?

Was she treated differently?

No one seems to be getting in the OP’s face on ADF. The gazebo is safe because they just sporked it recently anyway, so we don’t have to deal with the defensive reactions of people who pimped the hell out of the fic. Also, no one knew the author yet, so there’s nobody lamenting the loss of a friend. Mostly there’s a lot of jeering.

Plus the book sucked so Abby Wood deserved it, right?

Someone’s bound to bring up plagiarism in general tomorrow, or some Johnny-lags-behind will show up and ask “Whatever happened to that fic by ZombieBella?” and we’ll see if The Dead Horse™ (similar to The Baby Jesus™) comes up then.

The author gave her reason for things and “apologized”, although we’re totally ugly people for reporting her:

Do so many people really not know how to spell plagiarism? Or is “plaguerism” some new kind of pun to refer to the plague of it we seem to be experiencing?

Anyway, if it isn’t a soshul experiment, then could it be that someone saw the attention TVM got and wanted to cause a stir?

It could be completely unrelated to the recent problem. The timing is just odd. Who wakes up one day with no previous experience in the fandom and thinks, Mmm, snow day. HEY! I’ll just feed the kids and then copy a book word for word and make it into a Twilight fanfic!

This brings up an interesting question. When you find out a fic has been plagiarized, you have basically two options, right? Either report it quietly or post on one of the forums and tell everyone. (Obviously there’s a spectrum here.) But which is better? If you report it quietly, does the person just go do the same thing under a different name? It’s not like they were humiliated in public, after all. Then again, if you make a post and a bunch of people get involved, does it attract trolls who see it as win/win – they get praised at first, then lambasted if they’re discovered, but either way it’s attention?

On a darker note, is there something we need to do differently in this fandom to make this kind of behaviour unnecessary? Sure, attention seekers are everywhere in life. But this is a specific act, plagiarising published books.

Do you feel like it’s hard to make friends in the fandom if you don’t actually have a fic of your own?
Is the adoration lavished on authors du jour so overblown that it makes people desperate for that kind of spotlight? Everyone wants Twitter followers that call them Goddess, right?

DISCUSS.

ETA: What the everloving fuck is with this:

That’s the first time this blogger has been compared to Hitler.

The Stuff of (Urban) Legend

And until a nonnie gifted us with this, we thought the email was an urban legend.

Our guess is that Nina was helping with the marketing of Univers–excuse us, Gabriel’s Inferno. Nina’s profile disappeared from the Omnific staff page a long time ago, allegedly the night after the Hannah81 twank on the original Twankhard, but we’re all almost certain she was in charge of something-or-other marketing. And a Certified Editor™, of course. So again, our guess is that as a friend of Sebas–er, Sylvain’s or sub mesa with Omnific, she put together this promo email.

It’s a step up from the author spamming everyone who originally had the fanfic on alert with a totally believable explanation of how the story started as original, then got changed to a fanfic and back again and asking them to go buy the new old the book, right?

We personally don’t think this means Ninapolitan is Sylvain Reynard, but that was a popular theory, and now here’s the email, and everyone can read and/or discuss without worrying that a huge love post is going to go up tomorrow. We liked the original Twankhard because with so many people commenting, it wasn’t just one person forcing their version of the absolute truth on anyone else.

User-generated, my…ass?

We took a poll, and you know what unanimously annoys the fuck out of us? Hypocrisy.

Not “Hey, I used to think this, but now that I’ve grown up to be less of an ass, I think this instead. Fortune is like woman: loves youth, and is fickle.” That’s…humanity. Hypocrisy is more like:


~*~


~*~

Oh.

When you say you’ll only delete comments in a dire emergency, but “dire emergency” just means anything that annoys you, and when everyone is being polite except you and you’re the one everyone says is so nice…We’re beginning to wonder if maybe we just don’t have the same definition of “nice” as everyone else. This blogger is using Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. Can someone check Oxford for us? Nonnie, is that where you got “a hypocrite and quick to lash out at people that upset [one], condemning those that do the same” from?

Maybe nice is actually some type of affliction, and anyone suffering from it is seen as being in delicate health and unable to help themselves.

There’s an eerie parallel between accepting praise for a story one didn’t write, and enjoying a reputation one does little to earn…

BTW if you don't like this post then FIX YOUR DAMN MOUSE AND JUST SCROLL THE FUCK PAST RAWR!

What’s that? Who are we to give orders? Who the hell do you THINK we are?!

This takes “change the names and it’s totally publishable” to a whole new level.

*sigh*

In trying to emulate the original Twankhard, we created a misnomer. This isn’t Twankharder, it’s TealDeerHarder or TryAndUnderstandHarder.

Well, read if you dare.

There are always some who accept whatever they’re told without checking, and always some that don’t accept it even when the evidence is right there.

Originally we planned on doing a nice table comparing text, a la the Cassie Clare writeup. We started at the beginning of chapter 1:

The Velveteen Mother by Krismom Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
Edward stared at his mother, aghast. He couldn’t think of a single thing that might have prompted her to turn up, here, at his apartment, on a weekday evening, uninvited without a warning. There was no precedent to this behavior, and he immediately assumed something must be wrong, something too awful to discuss over the phone- at the very least, someone must have died.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

“Nothing’s wrong.”

“Is everyone OK?” He’d spoken to his brother Emmett a few days ago and he’d mentioned having had dinner with his other brother Jasper- so it wasn’t any of them.

“Everyone’s fine,” she said. They stared at one another across the threshold, both at a loss as to what to do next, like hikers suddenly realizing they are lost.

“Aren’t you going to invite

Matt stared at his mother, aghast. He couldn’t think of a single thing that might have prompted her to turn up, here, at his flat, on a weekday evening, uninvited, without even giving him a warning. There was no precedent for this behavior, and he immediately assumed that something terrible must have happened, something too awful to discuss over the phone — an event to be spoken of in hushed voices, with a chair at the ready and hot, sweet tea to hand. At the very least, someone must have died.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

“Nothing’s wrong.”

“Is everyone OK?”

“Everyone’s fine,” she said. They stared at one another across the threshold, both at a loss as to what to do next, like hikers suddenly realizing they are lost.

“Aren’t you going to invite

…Do we see the problem?

You can pretty much pick any line from The Velveteen Mother‘s first chapter, and plug it in to Google Booksearch (it searches better if you take out the names) and bring up the exact same words from William Sutcliffe’s Whatever Makes You Happy.

Follow the yellow brick road to chapter 5, and you get this:

The Velveteen Mother by Krismom Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
Emmett put on a smile and tried to give himself a mental enema as he walked down the stairs, past the bodybuilder/undertaker bouncer at the door. He’d never quite mastered the etiquette of bouncer eye contact, his size usually creating an air of competitive animosity among other guys who were larger than the average male.
“Take it easy, Chief, it’s cool.” Emmett walked by and searched the bar for his brother. Emmett never understood how going to a loud bar where you have to yell at point blank range is supposed to be social.
He handed over his coat to a beautiful coat-check girl and stepped in. Emmett felt very out of his comfort zone. Perhaps this was why they employed women like her at the door: to give you the feeling that you were not just entering a bar, but being allowed access to a better world. The bar was lit with a curious blue glow, not by any discernable bulbs, but by cubes of wall that emanated a colored radiance which vaguely approximated to light while somehow not giving enough information to let you know where the floor was.
Daniel put on a smile and tried to give himself a mental enema as he walked down the stairs, past the bodybuilder/ undertaker tableau of bouncers at the door. He’d never quite mastered the etiquette of bouncer eye contact, and his intentions of a casual breeze-past always evaporated at the last minute, replaced by a shy smile and an ingratiating, coquettish simper. Daniel handed over his coat to an aggravatingly beautiful coat-check girl and stepped in.
Perhaps this was why they employed women like her at the door: to give you the feeling that you were not just entering a bar, but being allowed access to a better world. The bar was lit with a curious blue glow, not by any discernible bulbs, but by cubes of wall that emanated a colored radiance which vaguely approximated to light while somehow not giving enough information to let you know where the floor was.

And in chapter 6:

The Velveteen Mother by Krismom Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
That’s the deal. They didn’t want a father. All they needed was sperm. They’re good friends of mine and I trust them, so I gave them some sperm. It’s no big deal. I did a favor for some friends.” “That’s the deal. They didn’t want a father. They already had the father. All they needed was some sperm. And they’re good friends of mine and I like them and trust them, so I had a fresh AIDS test and gave them some sperm. It’s no big deal.”

And by “scroll down,” we don’t mean that everything in between is original, just that we went through picking completely random lines from whichever chapter our mice scrollers stopped on, ran them through the scanner…and they were plagiarized. At that point, why go further? It’s obvious that there’s a big problem here.

There have also been allegations that Committed to Memory, the fic Krismom began after TVM, contained the same type of copypasta from two or more published works, but we do not yet have a copy of this to verify.

And so we’re faced with several issues:

1. Copying that much text, even for the purposes of proving that someone plagiarized, would cross the line into infringement very quickly. We’d end up posting Sutcliffe’s whole book by the time it was over. Even having a copy of TVM is…like having an illegal copy of WMYH.
2. Yeah. Right. Like we have that kind of time. Just doing this much copypasta was fucking tedious.
3. It wouldn’t matter anyway. If it isn’t clear by now that TVM was essentially WMYH with the names changed and some random lines cut/added/moved, no amount of Windex is going to take the rose off those glasses.

So here’s the thing. If you have either fic or can get them, verify this independently. Copy any line from the fic you like (again, removing the names means it’ll hit better) and paste it into Google Books. Scroll down and do it again.

And again.

And…again.

Do the whole damn book fic if you want.

You won’t be taking our word for it; the above table could have been pulled out of our collective asses. But the hits on Google Books? Sorry, if any of us had the tech power to fake that, we wouldn’t be wasting it on the Twilight fandom.

So why is this upsetting? It’s not like she made money or gained anything tangible from it, right? As far as it’s possible for us to tell, Krismom has never participated in fandom charity events, and TVM doesn’t seem to have won any of the awards that it was nominated for. (Please feel free to let us know if we’re wrong, about this or anything else. It took over a year for someone to realize TVM was copied practically verbatim from a book; forgive us if we missed something between now and two days ago).

It might even twist itself into a good thing for the author. One of us only ever read Pamela Dean’s books after they played such a huge role in the Cassie Claire scandal; the same could end up true for William Sutcliffe. Except…the sheer magnitude of the plagiarism means that anyone who has a downloaded copy of TVM basically has a free ebook of WMYH. So that changes things. Luckily that’s not our mess to sort out.

What does it mean for fandom? The pulling to publish craze has made people reluctant to read incomplete fics or praise any fic too much lest the author decide his/her work of art deserves a wider audience. That’s not fair to those left behind. This? People are feeling duped right now. Readers often have an emotional investment in a story (witness the rage when one gets pulled), and when something like this happens, it stings.

Our prediction is that it’s going to take its toll on reviews and fandom participation, and those authors who actually take pride in their own work are the ones who will suffer for it. And why shouldn’t it happen that way? This took how long to discover? And only because the book is searchable on Google. Plenty of books aren’t, or at least you’d have to know the exact passages (most fics aren’t basically a book with the names changed). This could be going on all over the place. We wouldn’t want to heap praise on something and find out it was copied.

It’s not a huge crisis; it’s not on the level of predicting how the situation in Egypt is going to affect international relations and the economy. But that’s the point. Fic is supposed to be fun. This is not fun; it’s maddening and kind of boring.

People gush over fics because they’re pimped out by betas and BNA’s, and less known writers feel bad about their work because it doesn’t garner the accolades of these “better” fics. Depending on the forum, even gentle criticism of the latest fic du jour brings on an army of white knights ready to run the naysayers out on a rail.

…So how’d that work out for us this time?

(As an aside to go along with the BNA/nobody issue, while we might “come out” in the future, part of the reason for remaining anonymous for now is so you readers can form opinions based on content and not whether you know us, like us, or know/like us less or more than the people involved. If we wanted to be judged like that, we could have just commented on ADF. And been threatened with comment deletion because a mod is friends with Krismom).

Our opinion, if you care, is that we all (even we, the bloggers, are guilty of this) need to stop giving all the power to big names, who are no less likely to make poor judgment calls than the next person. Stop letting everyone else tell you what to read, how to write, and what to think. And for god’s sake if someone rings your alarm bells, listen to yourself. Don’t doubt that feeling just because everyone else is saying “That author is so NICE…” That’s all we ask.

Do this in real life, too, particularly during elections. Question everything. Take as a standing recommendation.

…But not just because we told you to.

But she was so NICE…

Just this week we were thinking, damn we miss Twankhard. Should we start a new one? Has the fandom finally settled down?

Mostly it was the discussion in the comments we missed. It’s amazing how many nasty things BNFs do that never come to light because people are afraid to speak up.

And, ironically, one of us was reading this yesterday. Read it; it’s worth the time.

So, it would appear that Krismom, author of The Velveteen Mother and Committed to Memory, has been accused of some serious plagiarism. Not a few funny quotes, not even borrowing someone else’s plot or scenes…but actually copying, verbatim, from several novels, according to a poster on her Twilighted thread.

Since the accusation (yesterday), she has pulled her fics from ff.net and turned off PMs, and today things went splodey on ADF.

The comments so far are predictable:

It’s only fanfic and it’s plagiarism anyway!
She’s such a nice person!
I don’t want to accuse anyone [but I would if I didn’t like the person]!

A few points for discussion:

Fanfic isn’t plagiarism, it’s derivative. Plagiarism is copying word for word (or heavily paraphrasing…and if the paraphrased text comes up on a Google search with a hit to the original book, that’s pretty heavy).

Let’s face it, no matter how nasty the person, they always have friends to say how nice they are. The nastiest people in this fandom still have fangirls. So comments like these don’t mean much. But none of that matters, and you know why? Because it’s still wrong to steal even if you’re nice to the people who praise you for “your” work after you steal it.

You don’t want to accuse? Then why not go read the excerpts on the forum and educate yourself? Sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich doesn’t make you noble, especially if you would go searching if it was someone you didn’t like.

We’re still waiting to post a table of excerpts until we do a little more searching of passages. Not all books are searchable online; who even knows how much more there is? Or will ever know? Cassie Clare had a HUUUUUUUUGE fanbase and still it took forever for anyone to notice.

Anyway, comment away (anonymously). Comments are moderated but will show up as soon as we get to approving them. We’re here for those who like discussing the batshit in this fandom; if it turns out the fandom’s moved on (right), we’ll fade away like the original.

ETA: Guys, really, we’re not the originals, and we won’t be nearly as funny as they were; those are tough shoes to fill. We’re just sick of all the cliquiness and want a place where people aren’t afraid to say some BNF isn’t as wonderful as their doting fangirls say.