I believe in judgment of humans through their judgment of fiction, for nothing else tells better of their disposition freed from apprehension.
This is my current forum signature for a reason. It was not quoted from anyone else, nor did anyone else give me the idea.
Relatability. Character development. Suspense and tension. Challenging content. Audience participation. There is quite the chance that you have heard of at least some of these, and intuitively understand the value of all of them. You are also likely to understand that it is something writers are meant to provide for their readers, and very likely to expect that yourself.
In addition, several of you are quite likely to express disappointment or malice towards works(and their authors) which do not succeed in those aspects, yet remain popular anyway.
However, have you ever considered to ask yourself as to why?
The system of the rules of writing are incredibly unlikely to be your personal opinion conceived from your own observation alone, chances are high that you were taught what they are and if not immediately, eventually came into agreement for how important it is. However, unlike the visual arts, your reference for its validity cannot be confirmed through definite measures of accuracy, and in spite of that, belief in the system remains strong, so much so that it is worth belittling everything that does not uphold them properly, or even belittling yourself for your enjoyment of those very same works that would be considered subpar once measured with the rules of writing.
If you are the latter type of person, you cannot even use your own feelings as proof for the effectiveness of good writing, yet continue to understand it as the truth in measurement of quality.
However, I believe in myself. I do not listen to what others have to tell me about how I should feel. I do not feel shame, and reject criticism of others toward me for refusing to follow the standards so often echoed as correct. My personal enjoyment of media does not adhere to how recognized a work is for being well-written. In short, I am an outsider, and have the observations of an outsider towards this system.
I come to understand why through questioning its purposes, reviewing its function as a whole, and through the desires expressed of those who do adhere to it.
I will tell you now that when fictional works do follow the rules of writing and fulfill them well, that is not a reason for me to derogate from its decisions in presenting itself either. However, it will not have great effect on my ultimate enjoyment of the work for following the procedure it should either, to me, they are only few of many elements of appeal fiction could have, and do not warrant elevated praise.
In other words, this ultimately comes down to why people will find themselves ready to deride media for its shortcomings in accordance to the rules of writing, and not whether the system should be controversial in of itself. I already know just how effective it could be in practice, because I learned to use its means of appealing to consumers in real life towards other human beings, and this is no invention of mine, for I was given the suggestion in the form of advice for what I should do to seduce women.
Let me tell you how I was to act.
I was to minimize information on myself to remain mysterious. (challenging content)
I was to draw out as much information I would of the person I approached in order to tailor my behavior and beliefs around what they had to tell me. (relatability)
I was to present myself as a scarce reward for them that could only be met through their efforts to keep their attention on me, yet infrequently enough to frustrate and starve them of my attention. (suspense)
I was to gradually reveal further details of myself, especially tying into events that occured after we had last met, vague enough to warrant further questions, yet consistent enough to further their trust in me. (character development)
I was to hint when opportune moments arose towards the woman I approached that she changed me for the better with her presence in my life. (audience participation)
What do you think this design revolves around? What do you think it's meant to do?
It felt to me like the only way I could ensure someone loves me is through feeding their entitlement and playing with it until I had them under control, and just like how people lose interest in a work once they have finished the journey it had to offer, all of those relationships had to be terminated once I knew I couldn't commit to acting any further without boring them into closing the relationship like they would close any book without a sequel available to them.
Everyone that judges fictional works from their degree of adherence to this standardized model of how media should appeal to them appears exactly the same to me as those I seduced with the same method. Every time they do so with conviction they reinforce a fear I have that they couldn't actually care much for anything or anyone else.
Entitled bastards who will call out stories for not being constructed for them as long as they have a justification ready to put them in the right. (Those of you who get pissed off at how a number of people will be outraged at a lack of racial, sexual, or gender diversity in fictional works should be able to recognize to some degree how this viewpoint is conceived.)
Relatability. Character development. Suspense and tension. Challenging content. Audience participation. These are not meant to be separate from each other, they are all supposed to contribute to one whole.
What do you think it sounds like when someone will express their contempt at fiction for failing to sufficiently fulfill these factors?
Always, always, tantamount to this is what I will hear!
I can't see myself in any these people, that means they have no fucking personality! Why the hell should I care about what goes on in their lives if they aren't even going to change and mature into a better person? How am I supposed to root for the protagonist when they always win and hardly struggle to make a difficult decision? Does the author think anybody else actually gives a shit about some Mary Sue like that? Who would ever like someone that's perfect? Flaws, flaws, flaws!! I need you to show me that a real human being can become what I want to be! Fuck you for making it about someone general audiences wouldn't ever identify as! And people like this shit? Just how disgusting are they to care about something that won't serve the needs humans have that are actually worth anything? Oh I see, so it's all about someone like YOU, huh? Power fantasies, wish fulfillment, self-inserts! That's all you pieces of shit can give a damn about! When the hell are you going to learn to appreciate real works of art? Your opinion doesn't mean jack if it didn't educate yourself on what's actually worth partaking in. Grow up. I'm tired of all these stories being marketed for stupid kids and edgy teenagers.
For every time someone believes in the creed of good writing and says they want to see others be happy in fiction my mind must consider the unmentioned caveat that should be present: "I want others to be happy, if I can see myself in them."
Before you will counter this with naught but a claim of it being a strawman fallacy, I have to point out again that this is specifically for when someone is scornful of works based on how it scores on the parameters of good writing. Would you think that words of hatred and ridicule should sound pretty and contained? The fact that this thread's initial post itself is also one of vilification should easily prove that it has no intention of portraying me as flattering and sensible either.
When someone tells me that they wish something horrible would happen to my favorite character to give him an excuse for character development, I will not look to them kindly. When someone tells me he should die so that the story can go in an interesting direction for once, I will not look to them kindly. When someone tells me they can't see how anything about him warrants love, I will not look to them kindly. When someone tells me that because they cannot relate to him, and accuse him of being designed for individuals they dehumanize to project onto him, I will not look to them kindly. When someone tells me that the female love interest should actually get together with her boss, who appears over 30 years older than she does, is negligent in assigning her a trustworthy bodyguard, and is actually responsible for tricking her and everyone else within the setting into a life and death situation instead of the protagonist because the hero is a dull character from their perspective that therefore doesn't deserve to be happy, I will not look to them kindly.
However I will know that everything they say will have further sway than what I could value instead because they have the support of good writing to excuse and rally others to slander and rancor. Rarely ever do they even have a personal problem with the story or its characters to share, so common it is that they will rave for its injustice to the procedure writing should follow. From there on comes the most ludicrous interest for them to have: a taste for characters that deal with thoughts and decisions the consumers will most likely never have to take seriously, a look to the tragic or the dishonorable as exotica beyond themselves. It is so comically absurd, for anyone who needed to put themselves in the right through use of the parameters of good writing to justify harsh criticism to begin with, will show themselves for hypocrisy the moment they are to doubt their own integrity by considering somber individuals driven to desperation potential reflections of who they could be. Even if they were to, they could easily fade away any concerns by telling themselves they know to separate fiction from reality, ultimately dissipating it into nothing but yet another form of entertainment to move on from.
That's all fiction will amount to in the end for most, and for its lack of commitment or consequence do humans reveal their true colors. That is why I judge the disposition of others through how they judge fiction, and why I will never concur with the standards set for what is meant to make fiction well-written or not. Fiction is more important to me than that. I am not interested in measuring its value through the rules it should follow when I have my own feelings to do that for myself, nor am I interested in the need to legitimatize my opinion to discredit others with the use of the creed of good writing.
Now, if you would be interested in coming to the defense of good writing, tell me why you think you value it as you do. I am but an outsider, the insider should have better to say about what they believe in.