& Archives of Our Own 101 | GEEK TALK SERIES

Welcome to today’s edition of our Geek Talk Series.

Yes reader, you know who you are.

So, this article is for the best of the bests of all geeky, nerdy and awesome people out there who actually know what a Fanfiction is. No shame, my friends. No shame.

Here are the 101 rules you probably should follow if you frequently wander and geek out on / AO3.

Rules if you’re a “reader”:
Credit and Source: “One of the Kind” by Dina Belenko
  1. You definitely need to become a reviewer, pronto.
  2. Reviewing the fics you’ve read is nice.
  3. Reading the reviews of others reviewers is nice too, it helps with perspectives and stuffs.
  4. Sharing is caring. Share the work if you liked it.
  5. Remember that writers are people. They have feelings.
  6. Be respectful when you review a fic. Even if you didn’t like it.
  7. Give constructive criticism if you are able to.
  8. If you truly have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  9. Don’t be a hater.
  10. Seriously, don’t leave a hateful/racism/discriminating message.
  11. Remember that karma is real.
  12. If you’re truly can’t help yourself and want to be hater, prepare yourself to be banned from the websites and blocked, blocked, blocked.
  13. Don’t stick to just one fandom. Be curious! Being a HP fan doesn’t mean you can’t geek out on Dragon Ball Z fandom.
  14. Keep your mind open.
  15. Don’t be judgmental.
  16. Get your freak on. This is a fiction stories website.
  17. As I said, be curious: You don’t have to stick to one pairing only. It’s OK to read about your favorite character getting in on with a new fictional character.
  18. You have the right to worship you OTP.
  19. You have the right to defend your OTP.
  20. You have the right to go down with that ship.
  21. Just be respectful about it.
  22. Don’t spit on crossovers. Some crossovers stories are truly nothing to sniff at. Damn good writing.
  23. On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable with a pairing or if you are utterly grossed out or even traumatized with a story, feel free to change the parameters on and AO3, and you won’t have to suffer those unwanted stories ever again.
  24. It’s OK to truly dislike a pairing. It’s called a “Trigger”.
  25. Don’t force yourself to like a pairing. Even if it’s the most popular one in the fandom. It’s not worth it. Trust me.
  26. While you can be passionate about your OTP, you cannot turn into one of those crazy, obsessive, irrational and downright scary fans that harass and terrorize entire fandom just because they are incapable of accepting that their OTP is not canon and not that popular either.
  27. Loving and cherishing your OTP is OK. Bashing and degrading others because their OTP is different than yours, is not OK.
  28. Remember that and AO3 are both running fics that display all types of couples: gays, lesbians and straight. That’s the beauty of diversity.
  29. Refer to rule 9.
  30. If you are homophobic, those websites are not for you.
  31. If you are racist, those websites are not for you.
  32. If you are misogynistic, those websites are not for you.
  33. If you don’t know what tolerance and love is, those websites are not for you.
  34. There is no limit to how many fics you may read in a day.
  35. The “Bookmark” button is your friend.
  36. You can snoop around in the “bookmarked” list of others people. It’s OK.
  37. Fics are like fairies, one minute, they are here and the next, they have disappear from this world forever. So, don’t hesitate to download or save them.
  38. If you download or save a fic, don’t you dare repost it elsewhere and pretend you’ve written it.
  39. Seriously, nobody like a thief or a copycat.
  40. Plagiarists are the enemies.
  41. If an author asked his or her readers not to share or repost his or her works in any other site than the one he or her choose to publish, do not go against his or her wishes. Capish?
  42. Bashing the writer is NOT OK, in any way, shape or from.
  43. Remember that in most cases, the writer doesn’t write his fic for you.  It’s a way to express his feelings. Mainly his frustration.
  44. You must ride with the wave of his feelings.
  45. If you don’t like where the story is going, stop reading.
  46. If you don’t like the way a character (or worse your favorite character) is described by the author, stop reading. do NOT leave a crappy review. Be constructive.
  47. Sometimes, (a lot of times) authors like to make characters a little OOC. Nothing wrong with that.
  48. If you don’t like OOC characters, don’t read the fic.
  49. Read the warning the author put in the disclaimer for his story.
  50. Seriously, always read the warnings before reading the story. This is important. 

Rules if you’re a “writer”:
Credit and source: @Gabe Denims
  1. You are weird and that’s OK.
  2. You live in your own little world when you write and that’s OK too.
  3. In fact, this is the way to go.
  4. Do not limit yourself when you write a fic.
  5. Always write your heart’s content.
  6. Always write about what YOU want, not what the readers wants you to write.
  7. Don’t be afraid of your thoughts or desires. Even if they are kinky.
  8. A fic is the perfect outlet to express every single inner deep and dark fantasies of yours.
  9. A fic is the perfect outlet to express every single most profound dream or romantic aspiration of yours.
  10. A fic is also supposed to reflect your writing skills.
  11. If you don’t know how to write, learn how to before posting anything.
  12. And remember, trying is winning.
  13. Spell-check is your friend.
  14. But sometimes, mistakes are endearing.
  15. Just kidding. Spell-check is your friend.
  16. You HAVE to put all warnings in your story’s disclaimer.
  17. You should not be evil and try to traumatize your readers by not warning them about your fic’s content.
  18. Learn what “NSFW” and “Rated R” means.
  19. Remember that there is a lot of underage readers out there. I cannot say it enough. Put warning. Put restrictions if you are writing kinky or violent stuffs. 
  20. You also need to put the appropriate tags if your story has a specific vibe to it. Case in point: you are writing a Crossover? Put the crossover tag on it.
  21. Don’t go around triggering people.
  22. You should know what “triggering” means.
  23. Explicitly tag your main pairing. In my experience, not many people like a surprise pairing. Trust me.
  24. You have the right to be passionate about your OTP and write them some epic love/hate story. Get your freak on.
  25. Dear Lord, there is no need to follow Canon when you are a writer. It’s a fic. Go nuts.
  26. You should know what Canon is.
  27. Canon can give you legitimacy and a great start for your plot but remember: you are still writing a fic.
  28. Now, now… It doesn’t mean that you get to go completely off-base.
  29. But if you do, please tag your fic as an “alternative universe”.
  30. Listen to all feedback and reviews.
  31. Reply to all feedback and reviews.
  32. Don’t write just for the sake of getting feedback and reviews.
  33. If you do not get as many reviews as you would like, don’t be crestfallen. Check up your fic to see if you’re doing something wrong, like too many typos in your text, for example.
  34. Don’t let the readers bully you into changing the course of your story line.
  35. Don’t be afraid of writing an OC. Except if it’s a Mary-Sue. Mary-Sue are the devil.
  36. Don’t be afraid of loving and defending your OC.
  37. Don’t be afraid of pairing him or her with a popular of the main character.
  38. Your story is your story. Not the readers’s story.
  39. Don’t let the readers influence which character you will kill in your story. And yes, someone will die.
  40. Don’t be afraid of writing love scenes or steamy scenes. It’s OK to be corny and it’s OK to be freaky.
  41. If you’re a complete and utter geek, don’t be afraid of going above and beyond plot-wise as well as in your writing skills. Go crazy.
  42. Your imagination is never wrong.
  43. Feed your mind with books and explore all fandoms.
  44. Don’t you dare steal the work of someone else. Don’t be a copycat. You will be banned from the websites.
  45. Tolerance and love is the key to become a great writer.
  46. Always acknowledge the people who leaves you feedback, kudos and reviews.
  47. Be proud of your work, no matter how nerdy, dark, weird, smutty, depressive or fluffy it is.
  48. Your work is not obsolete or dumb. Know that your fic made someone happy somewhere in the world.
  49. Writer block is real. Don’t force yourself to write if you’re not feeling it. Sometimes, the muse just takes her time off. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
  50. Tag your abandoned work as “abandoned” though.
  51. Don’t let anyone make you believe you should not write if you know you’re good at it and enjoying it.

Voilà! I hope you appreciated this 101 rule guide! Let me know if you are familiar with those websites and if you are a reader, a writer or both? Let me know if you agree (or don’t!) with those rules!

See you in the next Geek Talk!

Stay magical,





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