The Cardinal Rule

Welcome to Fanfiction Friday, your passport into the world of fanfiction! If you’re just joining us now, you’ll probably want to pop over to the introductory vocabulary post first, unless you’re already a fanfic veteran. This week, we’re learning about the cardinal rule of fanfiction: don’t like, don’t read. (That’s the cardinal rule, not a recommendation for the post!)

Last week, we learned about the many places you can find fanfiction. Considering the dizzying amount of places in which fanfic can be found—across the web and around the world—it should come as no surprise that the fanfics themselves are as diverse as the people who write them.

And so it may be that you’re toodling along Archive of Our Own, or LiveJournal, or Tumblr, or whatever corner of the Internet your prefer for finding fic, and you’ll come across something that is just straight up weird. Maybe it’s a relationship pairing that you just can’t see at all, or it’s set in an alternate universe that just makes no sense. Or maybe it’s something kinky involving tentacles. At any rate, the urge to judge is strong. It is at times like these that it is most important to remember the cardinal rule of fanfiction:

If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Nobody is forcing you to read fics you’re not into—at least I certainly hope they’re not, and if they are, shame on them. No matter how tempting it may be to rant about how much you don’t like some aspect of a fic—whether publicly on the Internet or privately among friends—take a deep breath, count to ten, and move on.

That concludes this week’s edition of Fanfiction Friday. Happy reading!

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