So why don't I join in?
I join in because I had A Thought the other day regarding the feedback discussion that went on [in Julad's LJ]
, one that carried over into a bunch of other people's journals which I read and now can't remember because I'm having a senior moment right now at the age of 22. Anyway! My point: I found the ideas she brought up about the amount of feedback one receives acting as a measure of a fic's worth to be interesting, especially since it was so far off of the traditional "FB doesn't indicate anything!" argument. And it got me thinking.
I was conditioning my hair yesterday and I came to this conclusion*: in my mind, feedback is like box office revenue for movies. In general, for a movie to be very successful at the box office, it has to be an ok flick. Some absolute stinkers make boatloads of money, but in general, the high rollers are passable, and even sometimes quite inspired. Let's call these big-scorin' movies Studio Movies.
Then there are other movies, ones that are a little different, perhaps more adventurous or more complex or just a little bit outside the box. Most of the time they won't do as well at the box office, but sometimes they do. Let's call those the Indie Arty Flicks.
If you have a well-done Studio Movie and a well-done Indie Arty Flick, odds are that, for whatever reason, the Studio Movie will do better at the box office than the Indie Arty one. Does that mean the Indie Arty movie is a worse movie? Not necessarily, it's just different. A lot of times the Indie Arty movie seeks to accomplish different goals and so it reaches a different (perhaps smaller) audience. Maybe the Studio Movie thinks more about getting the audience through the door and getting the big bucks by creating a story the audience will like more than the Indie Arty Flick because maybe the Indie Arty Flick is concerned greater life issues or emotional truths. Maybe the former tends to get more people through the door, but maybe the latter impacts its smaller audience on a deeper level. Does that make either type of movie better or worse? Not to me.
And anyway, if you can follow my train of thought, that's what I think: feedback as dollar signs. It measures something, sure, but not everything. I mean, some authors may go out there with the audience in mind, trying to create a story they will like and enjoy and respond to. If that's the goal of their writing and they get a ton of feedback, then they probably succeeded. If they didn't, then maybe they weren't so successful. Another author may not think of the audience that directly, may simply try to tell an honest story about some idea or emotion or truth that's taken up residence in his or her mind. Maybe the story gets a few responses that show that the story accomplished that, and so the story probably worked. Maybe the story gets none at all, or maybe it gets a lot but everyone missed the point. Then maybe it wasn't so succuessful.
Anyway, that's what I thought. (and look! I just went over to Julad's page and she made a point similar to mine in her comments. Oh well. I took a long time typing this up, I'm leavin' it.) Also, one must always leave room for the Reader Who Is Often A Massive Tool; meaning, readers like me who read fic and love it and really honestly do mean to respond, but forget or put it off and secretly loathe themselves. We're the ones who really mess up the FB system.
And one more thing. In terms of the whole "writing for me alone thing" -- I don't think that is necessarily dismissive of the audience, or selfish or anything like that. I think people often do write things for themselves alone, for their own enjoyment or satisfaction or mental health. Sometimes part of that is sharing it with others. It's like, if you make a really good batch of cookies and you're sitting there by yourself, maybe you'll think "Hm. I should share this recipe with the neighbors. I think I've got something here." You came up with the recipe yourself because you really wanted some damn good cookies, but since the result turned out ok, why not share it with others? And if you gave it out to people, wouldn't it be nice if they let you know how they liked it? If there was too much sugar or not enough chocolate chips or if it was just right, etc. And if they don't let you know, maybe you do get a little pissy on the inside even though you shouldn't because even if you didn't make the cookies for them in the first place, you did share with them and can't they take two minutes to let you know what they thought? Not that you'd ever say anything to them, of course, because you have good manners. :) After all, you did make the cookies just for you and the most important thing is that you liked them, and the neighbors never asked for the cookies in the first place, you can't hold it against them if they don't do cartwheels over getting them. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a thrill if a few people did.
Oh God, I have to go before I come up with another dumbass analogy. Can you tell I spent the last few years tutoring young kids and college students and a lot of English as a Second Language peeps? I can't explain my thoughts on anything now without coming up with some weird example!
In summary: Feedback is like movies and chocolate chip cookies, two of my favorite things.
In other news: Leave for Orlando tomorrow! WEEEEEE! May be able to check email tomorrow, but odds are you won't hear from me till I get back next week. Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.
*Random aside: I have many epiphanies while conditioning my hair. I really believe that if you gave me enough conditioner, nowhere to go, and an endless supply of hot water, I could solve all the world's problems.
EDITED: To add that I know this is super-simplistic and probably makes little sense, considering the hour, but I rarely have thoughts about fandom-ish things, and so I felt the need to share.