Ruby Rose read through the comments of her latest fanfiction with a smile. She wrote for fun as a nice little hobby, and right now, things were good. Sure, she'd never become a major writer, but it was a fun creative outlet. Her favourite was ONYX fanfiction. Man, that series was awesome, and perfect for awesome fanfics. Lots of short but sweet words of encouragement from many different people.
And then there's this jerk, she thought to herself when she saw a wall of text and an edgy and pretentious username. Funny... Despite all the online mockery of names like ShadowDeath and BladeDoom and BloodFountain, it was usually the ones with more pretentious names that fit the "Edgelord" stereotype. Usually something with the word void in it, or a rarely-used pseudointellectual word with over three syllables you'd only know of if you read through dictionaries for fun and/or to find words that can make you sound smarter to some people.
She skimmed his inelegant ravings and rantings about how this was the worst thing he ever saw, and she replied when she got bored with reading. "Why did you dislike my fic?"
"It's a fanfiction! Fanfictions suck, and only stupid kids like them or write them."
"Then... Why are you here, on a fanfiction site for all ages, and not doing literally anything else?"
"Because the task falls to me to wade through garbage like this to find the rare diamonds in the rough I feel entitled to enjoy for free." He typed pretentiously, and then snapped. "And everything that wasn't made by me or my friends or my thirty fans or my forum sucks!"
Ruby rolled her eyes. "How can I improve?"
"You... buh... huh?"
"How can I improve? That's what a critic's job is, right? To criticize constructively so writers can improve?" Ruby asked.
Six paragraphs of pretentious mouthsmegma spilled onto her screen like assorted fluids from an infected wound on the butt that went right into the colon, and she skipped to the final part, where he insisted her fic was a failure on every level.
"Really? Then you'll have no problem listing those levels."
More mouthsmegma... the gist of it was that he couldn't think of anything specific to complain it so he obscured it with words and smugness. He also believed the job of the critic was actually to be a drama-causing cancerous bullying parasite on the moral level of LeafgreenIsHere, because it entertained the thirty fans he gained solely by being a member of a big forum.
She poked some more, and eventually got him to get off his high horse and give her a straight answer.
"Spring is strong. WAY too strong."
"But... she's just as strong as I am." Ruby said aloud. She instead posted about how her original character was strong but not overpowered, certain characters could beat or overpower her, she didn't break the story or its dramatic tension, etc.
It seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. Or... in one eye and out the other? "It never felt like she was in any REAL danger." The critic recycled a stock complaint. In stock complaint critic land, no amount of danger was real danger.
"Wait, so all those fights against monsters and enemy hunters don't count? Even the ones where she almost died?"
"They don't count, you know she's going to survive. So there's no dramatic tension."
"It's the first chapter out of four! Of course she's not going to die in episode six!"
"That's why it sucks. I saw a review for Sword Art Aether, and it said it sucks because the hero is never in any danger."
"Sword Art Aether sucks because of lots of things, not just that! Like how the hero is super boring, and the combat is super boring because the swordplay is super boring! And the villain is so lame, he can't even remember why he's evil! And the romance is dumb too, I guess."
"The main problem with this story? It's an action story, not a tragedy!"
"But I never said this was a tragedy. I thought I made it pretty clear that this is an action story, there will be action, and it! Will! Be! Awesome!"
"So? Awesome stories are cheap and lame. Anyone can write awesome stories. Or as they should be called, juvenile power fantasies. Because only stupid children write them and like them. And because we hate stories like this blindly, only enlightened critics like myself are worth listening to. The last self-insert story I read that I didn't hate said all self-insert stories suck except his, especially if they do things he doesn't like! Like being stronger than his characters! Here, let me show you a better version of your story."
Ruby opened the document she got from him, and recoiled in disgust at the smug pretentiousness dripping from each word. She skimmed it, wondering if she should grab Yang and make this a drinking game where they take a drink of a banana and cherry smoothie every time he says realism. The parts where Summer got beat up were stupid, the pretentious "You're just a child, stop trying to be a hero!" speeches from everyone were infuriating, the scene where she gets diddled by a pseudointellectual swordsman whose sword isn't even also a gun and spends five chapters in rehab was hilariously shitty enough for her to laugh and lose the rage building within her, and the ending, where Summer falls into hell and dies, was the worst thing she had ever read. Ever.
"Wow, and you say I'm the terrible writer."
"You are, because I said so! And I have quantifiable evidence that agrees with me! Namely, I have thirty fans! And they all think I'm right! General consensus and mob rule are life's only truths!"
"Got it. Question: If you believe all action stories suck, why do you read action stories?"
"Because I feel entitled to enjoy works children create as an unpaid hobby more than I'd possibly enjoy actual published books! If it's not up to my standards, it's trash. If it has anything I don't like in it, it's trash. If it doesn't have my ship in it, it's trash. If it has any new OCs, it's trash. And if it's trash, I'm going to bully the stupid child of an author, because it's the author's fault for catching my attention!"
"And you don't see anything wrong with acting like this?"
"No! You're the writer and I'm the critic, so I'm automatically right! You're wrong for acting like this, not me! Look at this! You're even arguing with critics in the comment section, which is another thing on BlastFeed's 'Top Ten Things Fanfiction Writers Should Never Do' list! It's number two, and writing fanfiction is number one!"
"You're not just wrong, you're stupid. Bye!" Ruby typed happily, and blocked him. Then she reported him to a moderator, and he was permanently IP Banned.
"Goodnight, sweet prince." She said, and sighed. That was exhausting. One one hand, she wished she could get through to him, and make him less of an asshole. On the other hand, she was just glad that was over. That guy was so stupid, it hurt. It hurt her brain and her faith in humanity.
She decided to take a break from writing for a day or two, and see what Yang was doing.