EDIT: Not taking a break. Not quite sure how so many of you got that impression.
I'm not quitting the fandom, so those of you in the process of having a heart attack should promptly stop doing so. On the other hoof, the last time I quit the fandom, I followed it up by writing about 25,000 words of one of my best stories within two weeks. Don't expect that either.
Before I start rambling in earnest, I just want to announce that I'll be at Bronycon in a couple of weeks. If you want to hang out with me, that's your best chance to do so.
Let's be real. Writers quit writing all the time. Before I wrote this, I did a pass through the top fifty and checked out how many had left. My criteria were either not logging on in the last six months or posting an 'I quit' blog entry. I found eight: deviceheretic, darf, TAW, Kaiden, Butterscotchsundae, TwilightClopple, CloudySkies, and AbsoluteAnonymous. The question is why they did so.
Quite a few of them said pressure to write and please their fans was at least a contributing factor. Or that 'ungrateful' or 'entitled' fans of their work were harassing them. I can't say I get that. My fans (you guys) are pretty awesome. No , I'm not pandering. Well, not just pandering. But the criticism I get is usually more detailed and constructive than just 'you suck' or 'awesome, when's the next chapter?' So, to put it simply, why is that? And the ''write faster' stuff I shrug off fairly easily. Why do some authors draw an undue amount of hate? Few of them deserve it, judging strictly by their stories. Hell, I've Liked and Favorited more than a few stories by these people. And I'm not a nobody here on Fimfic. If it were a matter of numbers, I like to think I'm not oblivious enough not to notice it happening. Putting my ego aside I'm (ugh, I hate even typing this) kind of a big deal around here. So if attracting a following automatically led to being harassed by hordes of fedora-wearing excuses for people, I probably would have by now. But obviously it contributed to their quitting. How to explain that?
Certainly there are authors with hatedoms. I mean, Chatoyance literally has her own entry on Fimfiction Drama's list of future topics. Is it warranted? I've had my run-ins with Chat, but I've always found her to be a fairly respectful individual. Sure, I disagree with her about pretty much everything politically. We've both played in the Optimalverse sandbox, and frankly I benefited from her doing so. I like her work and we've exchanged more than a few PMs. I think we have a mutual respect for one another, and while I recognize that there are problematic elements in her work I would happily recommend her Conversion Bureau stories to anyone interested in that AU. Did she do something specific to earn the hate she gets whenever she submits a story? What separates me from her?
It isn't that I haven't courted controversy. Between No Good Answers and my XCOM fic (only fic I'd say was a mistake, right there) I've certainly given any haters opportunity to slam me. And that time I got into it with one of the mods? Still embarrassed about that. But I haven't attracted a following of people who have sufficient energy and motivation to devote time to despising me. You guys have failed to delude me with PMs about how much I suck (please don't, by the way).
I'm forced to wonder why not. And I've also noticed that 5/8 of the Top 50 list of authors who have quit are people who've written a substantial amount of clop. Now, I've got nothing against clop. Writing good erotica is just as hard (oh, grow up) as writing Everyone or Teen rated stuff. I didn't realize that until I tried to write it myself, and frankly I don't have what it takes to be a good clop author. But that still seems like a disproportionate number of porn writers versus other authors. I've been pondering this for a while. What I've concluded is that authors get an audience that reflects themselves. If you're an angry misanthrope, your stories will attract anger in response. I'm not angry. That's not boasting, I'm just a very flat and level person emotionally. Most of the time, at least. I also expect a certain degree of smarts from my readers. I'll meet you halfway, but no more. Is my following just more tolerant in general? I get criticized, but it's DannyJ and Jakethearmyguy instead of a toxic pile of bullshit. I'm absurdly grateful for that, and a better writer for their efforts to keep me honest. I guess what I'm ultimately saying is that if my fans are a reflection of myself, then I'm a way better person than I thought I was. And for that I can't thank you all enough. Are we toxic? Not in my experience. I have no definitive conclusions, but I believe in this fandom. Y'all are pretty freakin' awesome. Please continue not being humongous douchebags. I'm much obliged.
Please also continue both keeping me honest and enjoying my work. I could, but wouldn't do this without you. But anyone with an explanation for why those authors left, please clue me in. Because I ultimately don't get it.