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April 15th, 2012

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08:46 pm - Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

I get a lot of questions! So here are all the answers!

Who is Das Mervin?

That’d be me. Owner of this comm, the one who set it up, the one who approves all the posts, that kind of nonsense. My real name ain’t none of your business, though I have made it known I lived in Oklahoma for twenty-seven years before recently moving to Tennessee. I’m a girl, I’m single, I’m in my late twenties, I own three very needy cats, and I did attend college. Granted, my degree is useless—I got an English degree because I wanted to be an English teacher, but changed my mind for personal reasons and am now seeking a job as a medical transcriptionist, medical coder, or patient service coordinator—you know, that person who gives you reams of paperwork to fill out when you go to a doctor’s office? Yes, that one. (And as a note, if you have ever yelled at them because your prescription wasn’t filled or you have been waiting for forever or something’s going on with your billing? Don’t do that. It’s not their fault. You’re yelling at the wrong person.) I’m all kinds of broken—bipolar disorder, polycystic ovarian syndrome, severe sleep apnea, knee trouble, and when I get a migraine, it doesn’t give me a headache, it just makes me go blind. I mention this because sometimes, one or more of those problems causes a delay in my sporkings.

To make a long story short, I’m really not that exciting.

Who is Mrs. Hyde?

I still get this question, even after years of sporking with her. Yes, Mrs. Hyde is a real person—I would swear on anything you put in front of me. The alter-ego-type name was sheer coincidence—my grandparents gave her that nickname due to a chocolate allergy she had when she was young that made her go insane. She is real, and she is my sister. She’s three years older than me and you may as well call her Dr. Hyde from now on, because she’s got a Ph.D. However, Hyde is very secretive, as I’m sure you all know. She doesn’t like putting personal information out on the internet for a number of reasons, and one of them is the fact that she’s published several scientific papers that have her real name and information all over them—if someone put their mind to it, there is a risk they’d find that out. Her reluctance to reveal anything about herself is more than a little understandable. (That, and she’s a weenie, because she is old enough to remember when the internet was strictly for porn and pedophiles and has yet to shake that perception.)

But that doesn’t mean she is completely absent from the internet. She has published a few awesome pieces of fanfiction via my LJ, and has helped me write several fics—and, of course, all of her sporks and recaps here. Her two biggest contributions to the comm have to be co-sporking the Ariana Black series with me and her single-handed recap of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun.

Why are you so bitchy?

Well, between my brokenness and all the awful stuff that gets posted here, some of which is insanely popular and being held up as great literature, why do you think I’m so bitchy?!

In all seriousness, though, I’m actually not all that crabby in real life. It’s just my sporking persona—people love comedic tantrums. See all of Channel Awesome for further details. There are even two big names over there devoted to being angry—the Angry Video Game Nerd and Angry Joe. And everyone thinks they are funny! Here is no exception.

What are some of your favorite fandoms, books, movies, and shows? Do you like any obscure fandoms?

The current fandom I am knee-deep in is “Supernatural”. I got so addicted after one episode. However, I have also been involved in Harry Potter, Sweeney Todd, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, The Matrix, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, Hellsing, Lord of the Rings, “Gargoyles”, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and, reluctantly (and hatefully), Twilight. You’ll notice that’s not all that many—and that is because while I do like to read and watch a lot of things, when I get into the fandom, when I really, really like something and fangirl it, I throw myself into it and it consumes me. I cannot do this with more than one show or book series or movie at a time. Something else that factors into this lack of fandoms under my belt is that I really don’t watch much TV. Like, at all. Things I like but haven’t really gotten into fandom-wise are The Hunger Games, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, “Big Bang Theory”, Vampire Hunter D, all manner of bad movies and slasher flicks, and I don’t think MST3K counts. Have to say the most obscure fandom I got involved in is probably Once Upon a Time in Mexico. My first fandom that I got really involved in, including shipping and all that entails, was “Deep Space Nine”.

Really, Hyde’s the one who has more fandoms. She’s got almost all of the ones I do as well as “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, Pride and Prejudice, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, she’s dabbled in “Dexter” and “Psych”, and even gotten in to some more old-school fandoms with “Twin Peaks” and “Alien Nation”.

As for favorite books, movies, authors, and shows in general, I’d have to say my favorite author of all time is Joseph Conrad because that guy can write descriptions. His prose is amazing, and honestly, he’s the exact opposite of how I tend to write—I do minimal descriptions and focus on dialogue while he is very description-heavy. But he sucks you into his works so effectively I can’t help but love and admire his prose. My favorite movie of all time is, hands down and will never be changed ever, Jurassic Park. I’m a dino-nut, I saw that five times in the theater when it was first released, and it was awesome. I own four different copies of the movie. My favorite show is, without a doubt, “Mystery Science Theater 3000”. It’s flawless. And my favorite book—I know this is weird, because I’m sure plenty of people expected me to say Harry Potter—is Stephen King’s The Stand. Bear with me, guys—this book managed to evoke the most emotional response from me simply because of the first half. The depiction of how the killer flu spreads through the world and kills everybody was truly terrifying and exactly how something like that would happen. And the aftermath was absolutely horrible—because he didn’t pull any punches, and you see what happens to certain people when all the rules are gone. The characters were very real, and I didn’t even mind the supernatural aspects of it—Randall Flagg was creepy.

What do think constitutes as a good book? What makes it work for you?

Both Hyde and I agree—not sucking is what constitutes a good book.

But to not joke, it’s just using your head. Good writing—and I don’t mean beautiful prose—means it’s edited, you’ve made sure you have no gaping plot holes, it all makes sense, your characters aren’t flat, their actions are realistic for their settings, and here’s something you guys may be surprised to hear: you can put a lot of yourself into a character and I won’t mind. The thing is, when you do that, the main reason has to be because you’re drawing on personal experience to flesh out your character. Writing what you know can go a long way to make sure it looks realistic and you know what you’re talking about. The thing is, don’t put too much of yourself into a character and definitely don’t write an idealized version of yourself that gets everything you ever wanted—i.e., a Mary Sue.

This is merely a good book, though—it takes something else to make a truly great book, and what makes a great book is really hard to pin down. Suffice to say, even if you aren’t Shakespeare or F.Scott Fitzgerald, you can still write a good story. I’m really not that hard to please—I know, insane, right? But I’m not! “Supernatural” is full of errors and plot holes, but the characters are real and consistent, the writing is mostly good, the story arcs are wonderful, and the themes are beautiful. And that, really, is the crux of it—your characters need to be good, or, barring that, your story has to mean something. It can’t just be “person x does this and this happens.” It has to have a meaning, a purpose—you have to be telling a story that has a general message. Otherwise, it’s either your journal or your Mary Sue wank fantasy.

Are you writing anything of your own, and if so, do you ever want to be published?

I have a few things lying around here and there, but I am so, so very hard on my own original stuff that I doubt I’ll ever be published. I’ll probably just stick to fanfiction. I’ve “published” that, and am actually quite fond of some of them. But original fiction, probably not—though yes, to be published would be so very awesome.

What is the best YA original fiction you’ve read recently?

Truth be told, I really don’t read Young Adult. It doesn’t resonate with me, and I’m really not the target audience. I took a Young Adult Lit course in college and I hated almost every single book we had to read for it. They were too simplistic, too hand-holdy, and I just didn’t like them. The closest I have come to actively liking Young Adult is Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but I don’t know if the latter even counts—the first book is filled with violent imagery and is about twenty-four children being locked in an arena and killing each other. It’s not kid-friendly and I don’t know why people say it is. For that matter, even the last books of Harry Potter are pretty grim.

Are there any fanfictions which you would recommend?

Honestly? No. I read some fanfic here and there for my own amusement, but I’m not recommending any for two reasons. One, I don’t read that much good fanfic, because I’m too busy sporking bad fanfic. Plus, badfic has sensitized me so badly that even if the fanfic is good, I do nothing but nitpick it and find things that I don’t agree with or spot canon errors. This is how bad it is, guys—your spitefics? I love them. But some of them drive me a little crazy because my brain is so hardwired to be such a canon whore that I do nothing but say, “That is not Twilight canon!” And two, because everybody’s tastes are so radically different. What some people like, I hate. What I like, others hate. My fandoms are limited, so my recommendations would be horribly limited as well. However, if you want a recommendation at all regarding fanfic, just don’t look for good fic on The Pit.

What trend in books do you wish you could see come to the mainstream?

This one is rather a “which trend would I like to see come back into the mainstream” response. Right now, the mainstream is Mary Sue escapist fantasy where the main character strips off her humanity because humanity sucks and who wants that, right? I want flawed characters who are very human and actually suffer but grow through that pain to come back. I want stories where loss is featured, but not such a loss that it’s “rocks fall, everybody dies”. It seems we are going all or nothing these days. Either it’s “absolutely nothing is sacrificed and it’s a wondrous frilly happy ending” like Twilight or it’s a miserable downer where everybody dies or is left broken and miserable like, if I’m going to be honest with myself, “Supernatural”. (Love the show, but could SOMEBODY OTHER THAN THE BOYS PLEASE BE ALLOWED TO LIVE, AND WOULD THE SHOW WRITERS PLEASE STOP BEATING THE BOYS WITH STICKS?)

Basically, my big push is realism and moderation. I want a middle ground to come back—like Their Eyes Were Watching God. The main character loses the man she loves—worse yet, she has to kill him. But she’s happy. It’s a bittersweet ending. She’s content, she’s grown, she’s experienced life, and she has found out what real love is. It’s a good ending. It’s not all flowers and sunshine, but it’s not complete misery like, say, Of Mice and Men. Oh my God, could it be any more depressing than shooting your mentally-challenged brother in the back of the head while telling him all about the rabbit farm you know you’ll never have now? Steinbeck’s prose is great and I like it because it’s my style, but man.

What’s the worst published novel you’ve ever read and why?

Hmm. There are a number of books I’ve picked up, but not been able to finish. I’d dearly love to say one of those—so bad, I couldn’t finish them. Gloria Tesch’s work is one, Eragon is another. However, that goes against my principles—I can’t declare them the worst because I haven’t read them all the way through. I just can’t do it. I cannot judge the whole book based on what little I saw. I know, silly, but, there you have it. So, the worst book I’ve ever read completely through, the one that made me the angriest, the one that had the worst prose, worst plot, worst characters, worst themes, that I have personally read…

Y’all think I’m gonna say Twilight, don’t you?

Nope! But it’s close.

The Host. Oh my God, I hate that book. I hate that book so much. You have no idea. But, I cannot tell you why. Not yet. You’ll find out in a later question. Just hang in there.

Who’s your favorite MST3K riffer?

That’s like asking, “Which is better—cute little puppies, fuzzy kittens, or tiny baby chicks?” I can’t answer that!

Who are your heroes, in fiction and in real life?

Heroes? Hmm…I don’t really have any. I mostly just have some people I look up to and try to be more like, but I don’t put them on pedestals and think of them as heroes. They’re just people, and that’s what makes them special. And it’s pretty personal, so I’d rather not say.

All right—enough about me personally. How about we get to the questions about my sporkings, eh?

How did you get started?

I found other sporkings that people had written, and I just started doing it. That’s pretty much it. I told Hyde about it, she agreed it was hilarious and wanted to do it, too. That’s it. I’m nothing special. I started getting attention for my sporks on deleterius, and became pretty well-known for having a knack for finding really, really bad fic. Things just went from there.

Was MST3K a part of your inspiration to spork? What are some of your other sources for inspiration or jokes?

Oh, definitely. I think almost everyone has MST3K as part of their inspiration. They were the originals! They were the first mainstream riffing we ever saw. As for other sources, pretty much anything and everything. Pop culture, fandoms I like, internet memes—whatever brings the funny or is a relevant reference, I try to throw it in. That’s what makes sporkings so fun—everybody has a different reference pool. I’ve found out about new fandoms through sporks, believe it or not. You bring what you know to the table, and guaranteed someone is gonna like it.

How/Where did you learn to do this?

There’s not much to learn, sporking-wise, other than just reading other peoples’ sporks. Your own style just comes out of that. My own style is that of extreme nitpicking and over-analysis. I don’t like to let any stone go unturned.

What was the first thing you ever sporked?

My first full, genuine spork was Ariana Black. I don’t start small.

What got you into sporking in the first place?

It looked fun. I was young and innocent at the time.

How DO you find these fanfictions?

I don’t know.

Sorry—that’s all I got. I just don’t know. They just fall into my lap. I’ve found them on my own, I’ve had people send me links—they just happen. I am starting to think God hates me.

What are some of your biggest peeves in Sue fics?

By far, canon twisting. I hate that. Sure, I can take it if the original characters are terrible and the prose is God-awful, but the canon mutilation is what gets me every time. Come on—you’ve read my sporks. I hate it when a character is warped OOC. I hate it when a Suethor says they don’t care what happened in canon, they didn’t like it so they’re gonna change it. LOOK AT HOW MUCH I HATE ROSE POTTER. She’s the epitome of everything I hate about canon twisting.

But she is also the epitome of the thing I hate in every work. What I just said up there? Is my biggest peeve with fanfiction. My biggest “hate” button in all writing or television or movies or anything is when the main character can do no wrong—no matter what it is. They can kill people with impunity, but because they are the protagonist, it’s okay. I cannot stand that hypocrisy and the mentality of, “I’m the main character and I’m the good guy, so I can do whatever I want and it’s good. Everyone who thinks that what I’m doing is bad means they are bad guys—they can’t criticize what I do. I’m the lead!” I hate that. That’s why I hate all Dark Lord Potter fics, why I cannot stand Twilight, and why Rose Potter is so horrible. Because it doesn’t matter what they do—the leads can get away with anything and anyone who disagrees is obviously the bad guy.

Will you ever do books or fanfics that are more geared towards Adults rather than YA?

Fanfics geared towards adults? I wasn’t aware I’d never done one of those. I’ve done plenty of adult fanfics.

As for books, I would like to, but it’s all a matter of finding one. The honest truth is that Young Adult currently has the biggest pool of spork-worthy garbage to select from. The thing about it is I like to pick novels that are well-liked and talked about. I like to pick those apart because I like to show why the people who rave about them and call them great literature are stupid. Most of the adult books that get picked up by the mainstream are usually social commentary and tend to get political, which I never do.

Are there any shows, movies, books, or fanfics that you won’t/can’t spork and why?

Yes, actually, there are. I’m not going to spork certain books like Eragon or Gloria Tesch’s works because they hurt me in a bad place. They are that bad—I can’t get through them. I’m not going to spork things like Hush, Hush and the House of Night series because somebody is already doing them, I’m reading those sporks, and I wouldn’t want to be influenced or horn in on their action. However, fanfic-wise, the only thing I will not ever consider sporking is squickfic. There’s no point—I would rant about why what was going on is disgusting or anatomically incorrect or whatever, which is the point. That’s what a squickfic is. So why do it? And the other thing I will not spork are books or fics that are trying to make a huge political, religious, moral, or social statement. That’s asking for trouble—I’m not doing it.

Aren’t you worried that Pauling out all the time will end up doing horrible things to your blood pressure?

Oh, sweetheart. Paul is within all of us. He is simply the representation of all the rage you’ve ever had.

But, as above, that’s just part of my internet persona. It’s not that extreme. The only time I have ever really gone complete spitting rage and flailing and furious is over The Host.

What kind of “meter” do you use when you rage in sporkings?

I Paul-out for general rage. I go all-caps and screaming when I am really mad, but the top of the rage is definitely the nuke. When I nuke, we’re done.

What gave you the idea to start drafting characters like Snape and Sands into your sporkings?

Sands was the first character I ever drafted to spork with me, and it was done for humor purposes, the fact that I was into that fandom at the time, and because I needed a partner—I needed someone play off of when I talking. I didn’t intend to bring him back repeatedly—however, he was a huge hit over on deleterius. So he became a regular. Snape came in the same way. Our own comm’s gehayi just very off-handedly mentioned that Snape and Sands sporking together would be funny. She wasn’t hinting we should do it—she just said, “Wow, that sounds awesome.” So we tried it, and it was an even bigger hit and spawned a crackship. From there, we’ve just pulled characters we’ve written fanfic about or really know for guest sporkers. Gradually, it shifted from being a comedic device to characters who have something relevant to say about the material being sporked. For example, Twilight is all about bashing humanity and showing how the monsters are awesome. Who better than the Winchester boys to show how Meyer is very mistaken? But it’s more than that—they are also a serious relief for me to use. Sometimes, what I’m sporking is so bad, so infuriating, and so just unbearable I can’t take it—so I use another sporker. The reason it takes the edge off is because I’m very busy concentrating on keeping that character in-character rather than concentrating quite so hard on what I’m sporking. It also helps the pacing sometimes, when the character doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what’s going on, so it would be OOC to write them having a violent tantrum about it. They comment on it, and then move on where I couldn’t. I discovered this with Sands when I used him to recap the infamous chapter fifteen of Eclipse.

How long does it take you to spork a story? Do you think of your comments straight away while reading the sporked material, or do you first read it and then come back to it?

That is hard to answer. My sporking time varies. Sometimes I fly through it because the comments come easily, but other times, it makes me so angry it saps all inspiration from my head and I just can’t do it. It depends on how the fic makes me react and how fast I suffer burnout, because yes, it has happened—see “Child of Grace” for further details. I burned out, and I never recovered. As for how my comments go, it’s a combination of both. I do my initial read-through, and if something comes to me then, I write it down. And sometimes, my initial read-through is all I need to do. Sometimes, it just happens—I spork it on the fly and call it good. Other times, I have to think about it. However, I always, always go over it several times no matter how I sporked it. I do that for errors, to make sure I covered all points that need to be covered, and to make sure that I’ve gotten as much funny as I can manage into it.

Would you consider doing an anti-sporking?

For reference, this is an anti-sporking. As for my answer…I’d have to say no. That’s not really my style. People enjoy my snark and my tantrums, and I can’t really do that at a good fic. Plus, as I said before, I’d be too busy concentrating on the flaws because sporking has made me excessively nitpicky.

What advice would you give to people who wanted to start sporking?

I know this is hypocritical, but I would advise you start small. I know, I know, I started with Airhead, but I’m dumb, and I did do some small fics to test the waters before that that I never posted or shared with anyone. Starting big is a huge risk for a total flameout—you get in over your head and decide you just can’t do it because the story is too awful. Start with tiny fics—ones that are either one shots or short multi-chapters that are already finished. Also, start with stories that are merely dumb, not completely infuriating. Honestly, I think that’s how I got through Airhead and didn’t suffer burnout with that one—because she’s just dumb. She’s light-hearted, harmless, and incredibly stupid. If I had decided I was gonna start with Rose Potter, I doubt I would be here today.

Use small fics to discover your style and tastes. Those starting fics are where you are figuring out where your limits are, what you like to do, and when you post the sporkings, what people like about what you’re doing—it’s good feedback. I discovered people liked how thorough I was and the fact that I could find some seriously bad fics that weren’t squickfics. That became my trademark—really bad fic like “Hogwarts Exposed” and lots and lots of commentary on it. I’d recommend going to places like marysues and deleterius to post your sporkings. However, there are a lot of sporking comms out there for pretty much all fandoms—specialty comms are easy to find. You just search interests. Find one that has a nice number of members and watches, and go for it. Just jump in—waters are fine.

Will you spork this fic I found? Pleeeeeease?

Yeah, about that…

I have a lot on my sporking plate already. Recapping Twilight actually takes quite a bit out of me. Not only that, but you’ve seen my sporking style—I do not go halfway at all. So, combine that with the fact that I’ve found I am quite terrible at writing, recapping, and sporking with prompts or on command? I’m afraid the answer is no. I’ve got a list, and I have to stick to it.

However! That does not mean the fic you’ve found will definitely go unsporked! There is a large number of sporkers here, and there’s a good chance that one of them might find it in their interests to do it! As such, just take your fic here to the Spork Suggestion Box and drop it on in. Don’t let a badfic go to waste!

Will you please beta my spork/my fic/my blog post?

Afraid the answer to that one is the same as above—no. I am just too busy. Sorry!

When are you going to go back to sporking the Ariana Black series?

I get this one a lot. And my answer is…as soon as I can. The reason this one has gone on hold is because this is a joint sporking and always has been—it’s Mrs. Hyde and I. It’s our baby—it’s what started us. So we’re not gonna bring in any other sporkers or hand it off to someone else or leave it unfinished. We wanna finish it. But Hyde and I are currently separated by 800 miles, and Ariana Black, for those who follow it, has taken a turn for the Twilight. Yeah—I’ve read Twilight now, and if my “Stepehenie Meyer = Ariana Black” count didn’t tell you, they do bear a certain resemblance in places. However, what was missing was all of the infuriating stuff from the Twilight series. Airhead is so bright and bubbly—until now. We’re currently stuck on a passage straight out of New Moon and it’s driving us both insane. We are having a great deal of trouble returning to that fun, MST3K-style spork that we kept all through that series because it’s fucking Bella Swan. We started that spork ten years ago—

Wait. I started sporking ten years ago?

Oh my God, I’m old.

*shakes self* Anyway, we started that spork ten years ago, and have now developed our full sporking personas—we’re both angry, bitter, bitchy people in our sporks now. However, while we know it’s impossible to keep that persona completely out of the Airhead sporkings, we are afraid it’s gonna leak in too much. However, rest assured, we will finish it. We just need to get back together again. When we do, maybe we’ll finally lay Airhead to rest.

And, because people asked, I have to add them.

What’s the square root of cake?


How many roads must a man walk down before he can called himself a man?


What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

What is an unladen swallow, anyway?

One that ain’t carrying a coconut.

You’ve asked questions about me, questions about my sporkings—how about questions about sporkings in general?

What is sporking? Why a spork, and not, well, anything else?

A sporking is basically someone taking a story they think is bad and inserting their commentary into it a la MST3K. It’s a riff—it’s them poking fun at it and pointing out why they think it’s bad. At its heart, it’s a review. On the surface, it’s light-hearted snark, but you’re actually explaining the flaws of the piece in an entertaining fashion.

And why a “spork”? I have no idea. I didn’t start it. That’s just the term in the internet gave it, and the internet is a strange and mysterious thing.

Where do you find material?

ANYWHERE. Badfic is everywhere—just look at any site or comm that features fanfic and guaranteed, you’ll find something. Even on good sties, there’s gonna be something bad. However, if you want easy targets where you are almost guaranteed to find the fandom you want, I’d recommend The Pit. The Pit is also known as FanFiction.Net. It was one of the first sites that was where all fanfic writers of all fandoms could gather and post anything they wanted. They didn’t have any standards or any real rules—they have some now, but they still have all the archives and it’s very hard to actually get something removed these days.

Who are some of the sporkers here?

Just click here. Collect Meet them all!

What makes for a good sporking?

A lot of thing, but there are two things that will always make it top-notch. The first is definitely knowing your canon. Don’t go into it half-assed. The second is humor. I know we’re not all comedians, but sporking came from MST3K, which is a comedy show. It’s about humor, it’s about laughter, it’s about entertainment. Try your best to make this stuff funny. I know there are certain things that you don’t want to make funny—and there are certain things that you shouldn’t make funny, like, you know, Neil’s pedophilia. NOT. FUNNY. But for the most part, just try and bring the humor. Inject a little levity.

How do you spork a book that has chapters of sporkfest-worthy material interspersed with chapters of not-sporkworthy material? As in, what do you do with the chapters that don’t have much wrong with them (if you’ve ever had that problem)?

One word: Summarize.

I ran into this problem in Rose Potter, as you know. Half of the fics are plagiarized material. The very first chapter of “Rose Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was pretty much the very first chapter of that book, and only one word was changed—Halcyon changed the word “Harry” to “Rose” in the last sentence. So I didn’t spork it—I just said what it was, told the change, and moved on. Same thing happened with the first chapter of “Rose Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. Nearly everything was the same except for a few changes, so I simply pulled those changes, discussed them, and summarized everything else. If it’s not spork-worthy, either summarize or skip it. Even though I urge people to be thorough, you don’t have to analyze every word. And if you see something that actually doesn’t have anything wrong with it, or was something genuinely good? Say so! I don’t hesitate to point out when Meyer actually writes something decent, after all, and actually pointing out where the Suethor did something right is a good way to make sure you have a defense against the argument that you just hate everything and are looking for things to nitpick, so your opinion doesn’t count.

Is there a limit to sporking mediums on the community? We know you spork published fiction, fanfiction, and articles, but could one, for example, spork a really bad webcomic if they were so inclined?

I’m not sure at the moment. Visual media is hard to spork—you have to post the pictures here and comment on them, and sometimes, that’s illegal. However, I actually would be open to movie analysis like they do over on the Agony Booth. I’ve considered doing it myself—I just haven’t had the time. An analysis of a movie, complete with recap and pictures, is very funny and easy to do. However, webcomics and bad manga…that’s pretty hard. I’m on the fence with that one.

We can seriously go nuts with our guest sporkers? Are there limits (like only so many sporkers per section)?

I encourage using guest sporkers when what you’re sporking because too bad—it’s very nice relief for you, as I said above. However, I do strongly recommend you keep an eye on the number of sporkers. I’d say four is a good limit—five if you’re really good. Even then, with those four, you have to be careful. You have to make sure they know how to take turns, know when to shut up, and know when to stop arguing amongst themselves. Too many characters bog down the spork—they talk so much you can’t see the fic anymore. Two people total in a spork is usually the best bet.

Are there any kinds of badfic that you wouldn’t want on your comm?

Yes, there are. I really, really don’t want badly-translated ones, troll-fics, squick-fics, or fics that do nothing but get on a political soapbox and yell at you. Yes, I know I have exceptions here—“alien companion”, for example, and “One night of the drop of rain”. Those were posted before I had hammered out all of the rules for what was allowed and what wasn’t. I have nothing against those sporkers and they actually did a great job bringing the funny and sporking them, but that really isn’t what I’m looking for because those really don’t lend themselves to humor or sporking because they spork themselves. And as always, you know I hate politics and they aren’t welcome here.

When you spork a piece fanfiction, just how bad does it have to be to be worthy of a sporking?

That’s hard to say. It’s not a matter of how bad it is as much as it’s a matter of can you snark it. If it’s a fic that’s just flat, bland, and boring, what’s the point? You need to find a fic that you can actually talk about. In other words, a fic that you feel strongly is bad and a fic that you can explain why it is bad. Some people can spork fics that others can’t.

What’s a Mary Sue/Scary Sue/Dead Herring/Etc.?

I am currently working on a list of all the terms used on this comm. Check back for updates.

Your comm has a lot of sporkings. I want to read them, but I have no idea where to start. Where do I start?

With a fandom you like. I can read fics where I don’t know the fandom and still enjoy them—some people can’t do that. So I say just pick a fandom you love, see if it’s in the tag list, and if it is, go to town. If you're new to this, you'll probably get a lot more enjoyment out of reading something from a fandom you know, because you'll be able to spot the problems with the fic and share in the sporker's outrage. That’s part of the reason I opened it up to new sporkers—because I have a limited number of fandoms. This is bringing new material to the table.

Okay, so I’m in as a sporker. I’ve found a fic I’d like to spork, but the content is a little…unorthodox. Is there a benchmark fic/sporking that would tell me whether the content is too graphic or disturbing or gross to be allowed on this comm?

Hogwarts Exposed” is featured here. That’s as bad as it gets. Extreme violence, excessive rape, pedophilia, scat, that kind of thing? I really don’t want it here. However, you have to push it pretty high to make me say I don’t it here. “Harry Potter and the Head of Black”, for example, is a Dark Lord Potter and a Harry Harem fic and it’s sick. I allowed it. Just use good judgment and good taste. For example, no, you may not post your sporking of “Cloud Mows the Lawn” here, nor may you post your sporking of “Eating Granger”. And no, I don’t want to see you spork “Agony in Pink”. But on the flipside, I would probably allow a sporking of “Celebrian” or “Subjugation” here because those fics are just stupid, and sometimes hilariously so. However, my squick-level is a little higher than most. “Celebrian” was just a laundry list of warty cocks. Others might not like that. Just try to be reasonable—and, really, you usually have to ask me if it can be featured. So more than likely I’ll just be telling you personally if you can do it.

What are you hoping your readers will come away with on this comm? Do you want us all to learn how to recognize and properly defend ourselves from Mary Sues, become better writers/analysts in general, etc.?

The first thing I want everyone to come away with is entertainment. I’m doing this to make people laugh and enjoy themselves. That’s my number one goal—that should be everyone’s number one goal. My second goal is just to deconstruct the stories I spork and show why they are bad. A lot of the stuff here is very popular with the mainstream, and I’m explaining why it’s undeserved. People coming away with a better understanding of writing and analysis is icing on the cake—I’ve been very flattered to learn that people have improved their writing from reading my sporks. I’ve been flattered to learn that I’ve changed peoples’ minds on what constitutes good and bad writing. But that was never my goal—it’s just a happy accident, one that makes me blush and flutter. Thank you!

How do you join up as a sporker?

You start here and go from there.

Does it matter how old the fanfiction is when it’s being sporked? Like, if it was published in 2006 and hasn’t been updated since 2008, is it still worthy of sporking to you?

It doesn’t matter when a fic was published—it’s fair game no matter when it was posted. The only thing you need to keep in mind is, if it was posted while a series was in progress, you need to know when it was posted and what books, episodes, or whatever were out at the time so you only take that canon into consideration. For example, I cannot talk about how stupid a Suethor was for making Snape evil before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, and neither can you. It’s not fair to snark on someone because they honestly didn’t know what was gonna happen. You can argue it was obvious, like I did in “Because God Commanded It”, but you cannot fault them for being mistaken.

So, I’ve answered a lot of questions so far—now how about people who think I’m mean, huh?

So how many bestselling novels have you sold?

None. Your point? I’m gonna use salt instead of sugar in a cake and make you eat it—and you can’t criticize it. You aren’t a professional cook.

What ever happened to “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”?

When I grew up and stopped using Disney as my moral compass. If I think something’s wrong, I’m going to say so. This isn’t Kindergarten where we all get a gold star for effort.

Your just JELLOUS!!!!11!!

You can’t spell.

I’ll confess I am jealous of Meyer and people like her for their runaway success because I like money. I’d like to get some. I would like millions of dollars. But I’m not jealous of her writing—her terrible writing and the fact that it has become so popular downright offends me. So does your writing. Just so you know.

Do you ever wonder why you spend so much time and energy on analyzing work that you hate?

Uh, yeah. Because it entertains others. People get a kick out of what I’m doing. So why should I stop? I have a tiny fanbase that enjoys what I do.

Do you ever worry that the work you’re sporking is the product of a very young and inexperienced author who may not know any better?

I know some of it is. But, as I mentioned, a spork is at heart a review. It’s constructive criticism, and young and inexperienced authors need that. Plus, when you post your work online for the whole internet to see, that means you want people to see it and comment on it. So I’m seeing it, and I’m commenting on it. Sorry you don’t like what I have to say.

Don’t you think that the entire concept of sporking is a little mean?

Honestly? I have sometimes. They are very snarky. But then I think about the fact that the writing standards today have gone downhill so much because people aren’t allowed to criticize anything anymore, and I spork with more vitriol. Constructive criticism is a good thing, even if it is snarky. The world needs it.

Why are you tearing apart these poor stories? The authors tried really hard!

They didn’t try hard enough. No gold stars for effort, people.

You can’t spork my fic! That’s illegal!

Wrong. It’s legal. Your stories are public domain. I can do whatever I want with them, so long as I credit you. And I do. I would never claim ownership of these things, trust me. In case you didn’t know it, you actually don’t have the right to write that. You have permission from the authors of the canon you’re so blithely stomping all over. Fanfiction is a very mild and mostly flattering form of copyright infringement, because that isn’t really your universe, you know. So don’t go on about your rights as an author—because you write fanfic. You don’t have all that many.

You can’t spork my fic! I have Asperger’s!

*raised eyebrow* Really? Really. Can I see the note from your doctor on that diagnosis? And why is that an excuse? You posted it online, just like everyone else. Why should I treat you differently? I believe in equality.

How dare you spork that story? My good friend wrote it!

Okay. And? Have any other tidbits you wanna tell me? That doesn’t improve the writing.

That story clearly doesn’t suck because look at all the positive reviews!

Yeah, and Titanic won the Oscar for Best Picture. Just because a lot of people say it’s good doesn’t make it good. Even more damning, just because the same small group of people screams very loudly that it’s good doesn’t make it good by conventional literary standards.

They’ve written better stories since then!

Good! I’m glad! I will take improvement into account and mention it! That one story I’m sporking still sucks!

Yeah, well, you suck!

Your mom.

And, finally, the questions I receive about Twilight. I get so many of these they have to be their own section—they are my biggest draw and the thing that made me popular. That’s almost depressing. I hate this series.

To mix things up, I’m gonna answer the questions from the Twifans first. Let’s get them out of the way.

Why do you take Twilight and the other books in the saga so seriously?

Because you and Meyer do, too. Because you guys think of it as great literature and say Bella is a role model for young girls and that Edward and Jacob are ideal men and say that this series is better than legitimate great literature analyzed in classrooms today all over the world. If you guys are gonna treat it like that, then I am gonna do it, too. I don’t think it is all those wonderful things you say, and I’m telling you why.

Has it occurred to you that you might be taking it too seriously and reading too much into the books?

No. Again—you take it pretty seriously. I’ve read Twihard analyses of these books. Have you considered you’re reading too much into it, or maybe that you’re reading it just plain wrong?

What’s the big deal? They’re just books.

Some person jumped off a cliff in Washington because Bella did it. Some woman burst into tears at the sight of her husband changing a lightbulb because he wasn’t as elegant and wonderful as Edward. Girls everywhere want their boyfriends to stalk them. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s, Mein Kampf was just a book, too.

Throughout history, literature has been a way of spreading ideas to the public. The ideas these books spread are harmful.

Why do you want to censor Stephenie Meyer’s right to say what she wants?

I won’t lie and say I don’t want her to shut the hell up. However, I don’t want to censor her. I just want people to recognize what she’s saying as the garbage it is.

You’re just jealous of Stephenie Meyer, aren’t you?

I’m jealous of her Benjamin Franklins. That’s pretty much it. I’ve answered this question already, though.

What do you have against guys who are protective of their girlfriends and want to take care of them?

Because maybe sometimes, the girlfriend doesn’t need it or, more importantly, doesn’t want it. There is a difference between being protective and being a controlling asshole. Guess which one Edward Cullen is.

Don’t you think you’re taking it too seriously because of what happened with your ex?

No. And fuck you for saying that.

Okay, that’s that! Now all of the questions I get just about my recaps of the series in general.

How did you find the Twilight series?

It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t remember it—Hyde was the one who first told me about it. It was a brief mention that it was Eragon for girls all the way back in 2005. Then I forgot all about it. 2008 rolled around and Breaking Dawn was released and Fandom Wank promptly exploded. I read up on it, decided I had to see it, read a couple of samples from other recaps, and jumped on the bandwagon. I did not intend for this recap to become this big. It’s a pretty big draw and a pretty big project.

Top ten reasons for why Twilight sucks?

Oh, man. You had to ask. That’s hard. But I’ll do my best. I’m not going to go in-depth, because damn, people, I already did! And these are just the top ten—they aren’t in any particular order. These are just the ten reasons that really stand out.

1) Bella Swan. She’s horrible.
2) Edward Cullen. He’s horrible.
3) Jacob Black. He’s horrible.
4) The writing is piss-poor and full of errors.
5) She does nothing but shit on humanity and glorify her monsters.
6) And they are monsters.
7) It’s a Mary Sue wank fantasy that tries to pretend it’s deep.
8) Stephenie Meyer herself is so arrogant.
9) The plot is paper-thin and nonsensical. Any idiot could resolve it if they would just sit and think about it.
10) All of the lost potential.

Which of the many deplorable aspects of Twilight do you hate the most?

Probably a tie. The insistence that you are absolutely nothing, can do nothing, and will be nothing unless you are beautiful and rich, so you should alter your body and mind completely to achieve this is utterly horrible. However, the way Meyer says anything the protagonists do or think is good and anyone who disagrees is a villain is, as I said up there, my biggest peeve. So not sure which one.

Is there something about Twilight you actually like (besides Leah)?

…no. Not really. The movies, I guess. They’re a guilty pleasure.

Five ways the movies improved the Twilight series?

Ha—five? Is that all? I can give you fifteen for each!

Do you plan to talk about Eclipse or the Breaking Dawn movies?

Yes, I do. I will be posting my “15 Reasons to See Eclipse” review after that recap is done and will do the same with Breaking Dawn when that recap is finished.

Do you have any thoughts on the fact that Meyer apparently gives lots of money to charities or something, or do you consider that irrelevant to Twilight’s badness?

The latter. Just because she’s giving to charities doesn’t mean her writing is any better nor does it mean she’s not an arrogant cock. She’s still Stephenie Meyer. It’s nice she gives money to charity and I’m not gonna criticize it, but I’m gonna criticize everything else.

Are you going to keep doing YouTube posts? Will you be doing more episodes of the Twilight Guide any time soon?

Yes to both—however, the Guide is on hiatus until I finish Breaking Dawn. I should not have started that one until I’d finished the series, because I’m having to go into stuff that I haven’t analyzed yet. You need to see it from the viewpoint of having completed the series. My apologies for jumping the gun there. However, the other series that I have on YouTube I do plan on starting back up. It’s just a matter of finding time to do it, because editing the videos together because you don’t see my face takes time—I have to keep it interesting. I’ve also been considering upgrading my voice recording software and hardware. I am very low-quality, and even though this is a hobby, that’s no excuse. Meyer.

What are you planning to do after Twilight is finished?

Remember why I couldn’t tell you why I think The Host is bad? Because that’s one of my next projects. I’m going to do two books side-by-side. I’m doing The Host and starting a new series. I have not decided if I want to do Halo or Fallen first. I’m leaning towards Halo.

If you could do three things do alter the Twilight universe, what would they be?

1) Use a sniper rifle to shoot Bella Swan in the head.
2) Use a sniper rifle to shoot Edward Cullen in the head.
3) Use a sniper rifle to shoot Jacob Black in the head.

In other words, three things is not enough to fix anything. Kill them all and start over from scratch.

If you were able to rewrite Bella’s character entirely from scratch, what would you do with her?

I’m already kind of helping to do that with Mrs. Hyde’s complete rewrite of the Twilight series. It’s slow-going right now, but she does plan on finishing it and is still working on it today. I’ve put in quite a bit of help there, so my thoughts on her will be show to the world eventually.

Do you think that the same, general storyline of Twilight could have been much better if a competent writer had been writing it?

Yep. I do. See “The Darkest Hour” for further details.

If you were to write a vampire book, what characteristics, powers, and vulnerabilities would your vampires have?

I can’t answer that question because I actually have an original fiction story idea that involves vampires. I just can’t do anything with it because of Twilight. More in general, I don’t ascribe to any one set of powers, characteristics, or vulnerabilities with vampires. If you can write it and make it work, I go for it.

Do you like body-glitter?

I love shiny things.

Have a question not answered here? Ask it! I’ll answer!

(110 comments | Leave a comment)


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[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
/You can’t spork my fic! I have Asperger’s!

*raised eyebrow* Really? Really. Can I see the note from your doctor on that diagnosis? And why is that an excuse? You posted it online, just like everyone else. Why should I treat you differently? I believe in equality./
Speaking as a legitimately diagnosed Aspie, thank you for that. While I may have trouble writing different points of view, being on the autism spectrum should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior. I believe it can go with a sincere apology ("Wait, was I talking too long? Sorry! Still working on that social skills thing."), but it doesn't give you a license to do anything. /pet peeve of mine

Here's another question: What's your favorite episode of MST3k? And while we're at it, what would you say was the worst movie they showed on it?
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
My favorite episode is, by far, "The Mole People" from season eight. The worst movie they showed would have to be "Fire Maidens from Outer Space". The fact that they managed to make that at all funny is a TRIBUTE, because it had NOTHING to work with. No goofy monster, no infamy like "Manos" or "Neptune Men"....that movie is AWFUL.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Some person jumped off a cliff in Washington because Bella did it.

Oh God, did that really happen? That's horrible. I've seen some pretty horrifying examples of people taking Twilight too seriously, but that's got to be the worst.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
I think the best part are the Twihard questions. LULZ. Is it sad that they are so predictable that we don't even need real Twihards to actually generate questions?
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 04:28 am (UTC)
Once Upon a Time in Mexico?! You just got way more awesome. I can never find anyone who has a clue what I'm talking about when I mention it...
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
Yep, love that fandom. :D That's why I spork with Sands. If you're interested at all, Hyde and I wrote an epic crossover with OUATIM and Harry Potter called "Strange Bedfellows". It's on strngbedfellows if you have a few hours to kill.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 07:07 am (UTC)
Ahaha this is brilliant. Das_Mervin, I want to be like you when I grow up.

I mean, I am already legally an adult, but still.
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
Date:April 16th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
1. Damn, no Cloud Mows the Lawn? But that's my brain bleach after Pstibbons and El Pepe! Well, it's more "puke all the hate and anger out" than "brain bleach"...

2. Did someone really say they can write crap because they have Asperger's? Ugh. Speaking as an Aspie Creative Writing Student, I need to flay some skin off some people now...
(Note: not actually skin-flaying)
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
I first saw it claimed by the Suethor who wrote Rebirth, but I can't imagine she's the only one.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
Date:April 16th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
If you're making a compilation of terms used on this journal, could you add this one? I believe you used it in the Ariana Black sporkings...ICPWINP bin, or something to that effect?
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Yes, that term will be on there.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
I have three more questions.

Are we permitted to finish an entire fic with guest sporkers, i.e. without our own sporking personas really showing up, except for introductions and closing remarks, say?

What fandoms do you plan to get into in the future, if any?

When the craze - NOT meant to be insulting: I know what it's like - for a particular fandom has passed for you, do you kick aside that fandom completely, or do traces always remain?
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Are we permitted to finish an entire fic with guest sporkers, i.e. without our own sporking personas really showing up, except for introductions and closing remarks, say?

Absolutely. Use them as much as you want.

What fandoms do you plan to get into in the future, if any?

I never plan to get into any fandoms I wind up knee-deep in. They just kind of happen to me.

When the craze - NOT meant to be insulting: I know what it's like - for a particular fandom has passed for you, do you kick aside that fandom completely, or do traces always remain?

I always have traces of my previous fandoms rattling around in me. I throw myself into the new one, yes, but I never forget the previous ones and sometimes even go back to old fandoms.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)

I have a question!

Do you admit original fiction sporkers to the site?
I pretty much think (cheekily) that you would, but never hurts to be sure ;)
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)

Re: I have a question!

Kinda unclear on what you mean--do you mean guest sporkers from your own stories to spork a fic or story alongside you, or are you asking if you can spork original fiction? The answer is yes to both, if that's anywhere close.
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Aww, this was a great FAQ! It was very informative! :)

First off though, I cannot believe someone used a personal attack like that. That was just uncalled for and unfair. Sure, sometimes a fictional work CAN affect us due to personal experience, but there is a difference between the two and how to cope with them.

Second, moving on... Can I just say you are AWESOME? Jurassic Park is the best, one of my all-time favourite movies as well! The Stand, oh hell yes! I have the book right here, and I can't wait to read it. Now I REALLY want to read it.

Hee! The Twilight films definitely do have some good things about them, especially Eclipse, which is arguably the best one. And who are we without Charlie's awesome mustache? Team Charlie's Mustache!

Oooh, and that's a great way to answer the "How many novels have YOU sold" thing. I think I had that once, I don't know, but now that's a good way to answer it. Thank you! That puts my mind at ease! I wasn't ever sure how to answer it.

Once again, great FAQ! Thanks so much for taking time to answer these questions!
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
First off though, I cannot believe someone used a personal attack like that. That was just uncalled for and unfair. Sure, sometimes a fictional work CAN affect us due to personal experience, but there is a difference between the two and how to cope with them.

I've never had it on me personally, but I have, in fact, seen a number of Twihards snottily dismissing anyone who says things like that simply because they're just being too CYNICAL, or letting past relationships taint their view of the books. I mean, I've seen people trash Mark of Mark Reads Twilight when he mentioned his own abuse at the hands of his parents and how he knows exactly what it looks like in canon--saying pretty much he shouldn't let one bad experience ruin everything for him. So, yeah--I fall into that same category, and that is the only response I have for people like that. And that pretty much is my ready answer to anyone who ever declares that, because I've never been in love like Bella has, I can't criticize their relationship and say it isn't love. No, I've never been in love. But I've been in an abusive relationship. You wanna use that argument now, bitch?
[User Picture]
Date:April 16th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
I can’t answer that question because I actually have an original fiction story idea that involves vampires. I just can’t do anything with it because of Twilight.

I feel your pain. I have two ideas involving vampires that will probably never see the light of day, thanks to this whole vampire craze.

I started developing one somewhat recently, just to get it out of my head for a while, and aside from some very basic similarities, I pretty much made it a goal to make it as un-Twilight like as possible. The human female lead would be integral to every major conflict, and the dhampire male lead was not attractive (although he might have been, if he didn't have an unhealthy palor, an underfed look about him, and the tendency to stare at people like they were a steak dinner).
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
A wonderful FAQ! :D

"And why a 'spork'? I have no idea. I didn’t start it. That’s just the term in the internet gave it, and the internet is a strange and mysterious thing."

According to TV Tropes, some people refer to really bad works as "sporking" them because whatever it is is so bad that it makes them want to gouge out their eyes with a spork (the idea being that a spork has the scooping properties of a spoon, and the poking properties of a fork). I think the sporking = MSTing" term might have something to do with that.
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Ooooh. That... makes much more sense than I was expecting. I always just assumed it was because a) sporks are weird and b) spork is a funny word, though I imagine those also factor in.
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Great FAQ, thank you for it :)

The advice you gave on what constitutes a good (or great) book? The best thing I've ever read. Not trying to kiss ass or anything... but that is the best advice I've read on what makes a book one worth reading and one worth writing. Can I keep that? Can I keep that forever?

"And that, really, is the crux of it—your characters need to be good, or, barring that, your story has to mean something. It can’t just be “person x does this and this happens.” It has to have a meaning, a purpose—you have to be telling a story that has a general message. Otherwise, it’s either your journal or your Mary Sue wank fantasy."

Thank you for delivering it straight up ^^
Date:April 17th, 2012 07:48 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to find out you're eventually going to spork Halo. I despise that book to the core of my being, and it hurts me to see some of my female friends sqeeing over how 'hott and dreamy' Xavier is and how 'uh-may-zing' all these YA heroes/heroines are. (I might hate Halo more than I hate Twilight, and I hate the idiotic messages Ms. Adornetto is spewing all over the place: "Your virginity is a precious precious gift", "Women are weaker than and inferior to men".) I was going to ask one thing: what do you do when the people around you claim books such as Fallen, Hush Hush and Halo are good, like, try to change your mind or brush you off? Do you try to convince them otherwise or explain your opinion, or do you just outright ignore them and not even bother?

*Oh, and excuse me if my grammar/spelling has any mistakes, English is my second language*
[User Picture]
Date:April 17th, 2012 04:05 pm (UTC)
Y'know, when I first saw Halo there, my immediate response was "What's wrong with Halo? Master Chief is awesome!" and then I realized this was probably a book about angels* and not a super-soldier in power armor.

* If I had realized angels were the next vampire, I never would have started my current book -_- But I'm determined to finish it anyway. Plus, while YA, mine isn't a romance.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
Date:April 19th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
That Aspie thing pissed me the hell off. As a man who went twenty years undiagnosed I KNOW the worst of that disorder can cause. I also know that it has no effect on your empathy or moral compass so why are people using it as an excuse?

Also just to put my money where my mouth is (and kill the "but they improved" argument), Mervin if you or anyone else want to do a quick spork of an Aspie's work go to FF.net and search under this user name. It sucks and I am well aware of that fact. The revised edition and it's follow up are on Twi.Spite.Fic if you want to do those as well. (Just send me a copy of the edited second chapter first please.)
[User Picture]
Date:April 22nd, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Wow. You really put a ton of work into this. This FAQ is so massive I just couldn't read it in one go - hence, my pathetically belated comment.

Wrong. It’s legal. Your stories are public domain.

Really? I'm seriously asking, I'm not quite sure about that, but then I'm not an expert on American law. The guys who run sporking communities over here usually invoke their so-called "quotation rights" - the part of our copyright act which allows for reproducing quotes from any published works for the purpose of teaching, analysis or criticism. I think the nearest American equivalent would be 17 USC 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching [...] scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

Fanfiction is a very mild and mostly flattering form of copyright infringement

I don't think it's that clear cut. Contrary to what some hot-headed authors say, fanfic is very much a grey area, and the contents of 17 USC 107 could be very well used to argue why fanfiction (sufficiently transformative, non-profit fanfiction anyway) should fall under the Fair Use category. It's done for fun, not profit, it doesn't reproduce the source material - like I said, transformative enough - it fuels the fandom and helps to promote the original works by keeping the interest going. Thus, it clocks as many as three out of four Fair Use principles.
[User Picture]
Date:April 22nd, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
The thing about copyright laws is that they apply to published, copyrighted material. Fanfiction seriously isn't. That isn't your universe. Authors can and have forbidden people to write fanfic about their work; Anne Rice is the most notorious about it. And while you can argue that it's not plagiarism, the plagiarism element is still there--as I said, it's not your universe, and you are using it to write a story, not any of the usual reasons people quote. You're using their world, their setting, their characters, etc., hence the reason it is so important to have a disclaimer when you write a fanfic. However, most authors are fine with it simply because it is very flattering, that people love their universe enough to want to play in it like that.

There actually was a huge dust-up some years ago on deleterius about this very thing. Someone sporked a fic on the site, and a Suethor came down having a complete tantrum about how that was illegal and how they couldn't do that with her story, and they cited that yes, they could do it, using both the Fair Use argument and the argument I just presented, that she can't say what people can and cannot do with her story criticism-wise because it's fanfic; she doesn't have a copyright. As such, she tried to actually say she DID, and even started trying to go through legal processes. Considering her fic was a Harry Potter fic? Yeah, JKR's lawyers said, "Bitch, please."
[User Picture]
Date:April 24th, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
I think I would marry you, or whoever, chose to spork the Anita Blake series. Or anything by Hamilton. Because her rage-inducing abilities are on-par with Meyer.

She just has more smut. Lots more smut. Basically PWP amount of smut, with a tiny amount of plot thrown in. And more plotholes than Twilight. I think it'd be hilarious to read Sands' comments on the porn.

Also, Hamilton is just head-asplodey on her own without even writing. She seriously puts Meyer's arrogance to shame. She's like the Big Sister of Meyer. It hurts.
[User Picture]
Date:April 25th, 2012 04:39 am (UTC)
Quick word on copyright: In my law class, I read the chapter on Intellectual Property and it basically said that any original work (obviously not fanwork) would be copyrighted as soon as it was written down, even if it wasn't published or shown to another party. Seeing as this is Australian copyright law, does this differ much from American copyright law?
[User Picture]
Date:April 25th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
I read the chapter on Intellectual Property and it basically said that any original work (obviously not fanwork) would be copyrighted as soon as it was written down, even if it wasn't published or shown to another party.

From what I could gather, it's basically the same with the American law.

US Copyright Act, section 104:

"§ 104 (a) Unpublished Works. The works specified by sections 102 and 103, while unpublished, are subject to protection under this title without regard to the nationality or domicile of the author."

And fanwork definitely has copyrights riding on it - as specified in 102-103 - it's just that different parts belong to different people.

And I apologize for being jetlagged by thirty years in my previous comment - it is not even necessary to register with the US Copyright Office to start a copyright lawsuit. It helps, but it's not obligatory (it used to be, until the late 80s when the US signed the Berne Convention).
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
Firstly, thanks for the Aspergers thing. I mean, seriously, do people really use that as an excuse for bad writing? I am doctor diagnosed and while it's a good excuse for conversational loops, stimming and going on and on and on about one of my favourite obsessions, it's NOT an excuse for bad writing or a hideous Sue.

Secondly, have you ever had a Suethor show up in the flesh to bitch about a spork, or a friend of a Suethor do that? I ask this cuz I remember a couple of times on deleterius when that happened, including one sporking of my own. Tho in that case, the Suethor herself showed up and was reasonable, somewhat dampening her fan's enthusiasm.
[User Picture]
Date:September 9th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
the "asperger's" suethor did exactly that, actually
Date:June 9th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
A sporker of this fine community has really, really pissed me off...

oh dear it's me the author of the fic that sttq sporked.

You know the one with the Gary stue and the xenomorph?

"Alien companion" was sadly my best work...

Just to let you know...

I'm autistic, I failed college English 3 times...

I don't have a very good grasp of English but...

He did not have to link it back to me!

I know I had severe grammar issues, punctuation problems and whatnot.

But, It was the best I could honestly DO at the TIME!

If I could improve it I would...

If I hadn't gotten rid of it as well as all my old creations.

I'm sensitive, angry, and quite spiteful.

But I don't blame this community just myself for not fixing it.

I've been a nervous wreck for a few months, and have doubts to write.

I just now found out about it,

and I doubt that I should stop working on my new alien vs predator project.

Including everything else as a whole.

Even if it was posted before the rules were made...

I might crucify him in the ff.net community by posting how strongly I feel about him on my profile.

I hate sporkers, I've had enough with one from fanfiction friday.

So please. Leave. Me. Alone.

[User Picture]
Date:June 9th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)

Well, I'm not entirely sure what else I could say to you, seeing as I have already replied to every single one of your comments in the FAQ already, and in general, I don't like to repeat myself. There is an entire section devoted to answering the questions of angry Suethors such as yourself. But, for your benefit, I will repeat them here, seeing as you don't appear to have read any of it.

--No, your fic's spork will not be taken down because your fic has been disclaimed by the sporker and, as a fanfic writer, you don't have the legal standing to declare cease and desists with regards to sporkings.

--Any disorders or mental issues you have (or how many times you failed English) are not excuses for bad writing. You put your fanfic on the internet for others to view; by doing that, you invite praise and criticism alike. If you didn't want criticism, you shouldn't have posted it.

--We don't give out gold stars for effort here. Just because you think it's your best fic doesn't mean that we're going to give you accolades and coddle you because it might not be as bad as other things you have written.

--We have a right to our own opinion. It isn't our fault that you are sensitive and can't take it when somebody disagrees with you.

--Nobody is picking on you. A spork is not a personal attack; it's an analysis of the fic. The only person here attempting to make the spork personal is you.

Though I do ask that you leave STTQ alone. Calling her "a fucking holier then though perfect racist Nazi lover" is quite rude. And Godwin's Law two times over, no less. And on that vein, don't attack any of the other sporkers here. You haven't been personally attacked, despite what you may believe; I request you extend the same courtesy to them.

Final note--if someone did indeed link the sporking to you, I apologize greatly for that. Linking the sporks back to Suethors is strictly forbidden, but if it was done by an anonymous reader who is attempting to troll both of us, there isn't much I can do about that. I cannot control what other people do, especially when I don't even know who it is.

At the end of the day, I recommend you go back to your respective corner while we stay in ours. I believe everybody is much happier that way.

Das Mervin
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
Date:August 21st, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)


Are you open to the idea of beta-ing my writing?
[User Picture]
Date:August 25th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)

Re: ?

I'm afraid I can't. I have too many writing projects, sporking projects, previous beta jobs I'm in the middle of, and real life issues. I can't take any new beta jobs at the time, and probably won't in the future. Sorry.

Date:September 15th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)


When is either Breaking Dawn or TBH going to start being put up? Pleeeeaaassse! I am waiting in agonyyyy!!!!!

[User Picture]
Date:September 18th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)

Re: When?!

Mervin did say she was taking a break before starting the Breaking Dawn spork. She's got a lot of things she's taking care of right now, so most likely it'll start when she gets things settled.
Re: When?! - (Anonymous) - Expand
Date:October 5th, 2012 07:04 am (UTC)
Great FAQ! I especially like your explanation on what you think makes a good book.
As for sporkings, I'd like to offer something ripe for sporks. It's called "The Secret Library Guardians."
It's basically a shallow fantasy story (it's posted on deviantArt, so you won't find it in a bookstore, thank God) about a girl and boy who get kidnapped from the human world and forced to attend a magical school called Greywyn Academy of Magic (no, seriously, that's what it's called). For some reason, the story's set in the future in which some deadly disease killed billions of people and thus created new nations instead. But that's not the stupidest part of it, oh no.
The stupidest part is that the author honestly, truly believes that it's better than Harry Potter.
No, really.
The author hates Harry Potter so much that she even compares her story to it and says TSLG is better. Yes, she thinks that her story, which is terribly amateurish in writing, has characters with the personalities of cardboard, changes tenses constantly, has utterly stupid names (Aciakyla, Skefan, Rhiassa, TaLuna--and yes, it's really spelled like that, Nevyn, etc.), and unnecessary info dumps, is better than the number-one bestselling book series of all time.
And it just goes downhill from there. I'd spork it myself, but since the sporker sign-ups are closed for now, I think a more experienced sporker would be better at taking it on.
[User Picture]
Date:October 10th, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)

just found this

Ok, this isnt a question, but I found it and thought I would share it here.


I found this awesome
Date:October 18th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)


Are non-sporkers able to submit badfic to a sporker of choice and have it sporked?
[User Picture]
Date:January 4th, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Question!

Yes, you are, but they are under no obligation to spork it.

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