So this is a handy dandy guide of how to get a megaton of reviews in the SVM category. It’s really a relatively simple formula. I’ve read 95% of SVM fanfic, so I know what sells and what doesn’t to the community.
There are some fundamental rules to this thing that work in human or vamp fics.1. It must be a Sookie and Eric story. If you write about Quinn and Sookie or Bill and Sookie, you’re doomed. If you write about an original character (which is often unfortunately the author themselves play acting that they are Eric’s love interest) you’re screwed. I don’t read “Eric” fics but I certainly don’t read Eric OC fics. I’ve tried a couple, and they’re really about how Eric can get a girl to do as he says, and in that case, well what the hell is there to read? At least Sookie provides a modicum of resistance, and does less toadying. The only reviews you do get from that Eric/OC fic is some Sookie bashing.
2. Sookie bashing is a popular pass time. In an Eric/Sookie story, Eric must be the paragon of all things good. He must be a guy who does things that book Eric wouldn’t even think about. He must be so very good that he makes you hate Sookie for not doing what she’s told. That way you’ll be cheering when all of her personality is sucked out of her and she does what she’s told. If only Sookie would tow the line she’d be magnificently happy – all of the angst is driven by Sookie’s inability to get her head out of her arse and see the magnificent bounty that God has provided her in the form of Eric. This can even go so far as having Eric spout shit that makes your teeth hurt it’s so saccharine sweet, with none of the “I have a responsibility” (DD) mob boss-not-lover vibe of book Eric. You’ve done your job correctly if Sookie does what she wants, Eric does a whole heap of things to hurt her, and the reviewers hate Sookie.
3. Bill must be a criminal mastermind or a small dick pathetic man. In your popular story, Bill is like pond scum. God help him if he actually slept with Sookie first. Coincidentally, anything that book Bill did to Sookie is just fine and dandy for fanfic Eric to do. When Bill raped Sookie in the books, he’s a bastard but if fanfic Eric rapes Sookie, she’s a lucky bitch. If Bill hurt Sookie cause he’s jealous and out of control, fanfic Eric does it to show how much he loves her. If you don’t believe me, read some reviews. I’ve seen positive reviews for chapters that have made my gorge rise…but then I don’t give Eric preferential treatment. And the reviews still bash Sookie and blame her and praise Eric for not “really” hurting her (despite the fact that often he does, but heals it with vampire blood, which makes it not happen amirite?). Conversely, he must be the worst in bed, shittiest relationship ever. Never mind the fact that Sookie herself says in the books that she was lucky to go to bed with two men who were good at it, and was jonesing for a fix of Bill throughout CD – Bill is bad and has a small dick. Either way, both of those are a killing offence. Bill must be killed – not by Sookie – but by Eric. It’s all Eric’s business after all.
4. Quinn and Sam can either not feature in a story or they can be completely delusional douchebags. That works for them. Most people just leave them out. It’s not as if they generate reviews anyway.
5. Get Sookie and Eric thinking about being horizontal in the first chapter. There’s this group of reviewers that I call “The ESN hounds” but I don’t use their names. They got that name for hounding writers for ESN. That’s what they do – they demand ESN, sometimes quite rudely. One of the reviews from one of the hounds on a story I read actually exhorted the writer with the fact that condoms are on special in the store near them at the moment, and that Eric and Sookie should buy some for her pleasure. The ESN hounds are stout reviewers. You put sex in a chapter, they will review that. If you wait too long to put sex in the story, they will hound you. They are like dogs with a bone, and the bone they want is Eric’s. Fuck plotline – the hounds want sex scenes. The good thing is that they don’t care if they’re the lather-rinse-repeat of sex scenes from DTTW – or that the dynamic isn’t changed (Eric saying “Look at me lover” when he’s going down on her despite them having sex every night for years – Sookie has the memory of a goldfish apparently) that’s all good. They don’t look for originality, although bewilderingly, they seem to want new scenes all the time. Every time a writer remarks on their reviews for chapters with sex in them going upward – that’s the ESN hounds baying at the sight of the bone.
6. Anything that happens to Sookie is her own fault. Eric is not to blame. If she sees him kissing another woman, it’s her own fault her feelings got hurt because she didn’t stick around for Eric’s plausible explanation. If she does something so stupid as goes to the shop for some milk and gets the shit beaten out of her, it’s her fault for not waiting for Eric and his escort of bodyguards (cause fanfic Eric has them – book Eric only has Bubba occasionally and for really big things like Fae Wars). Sookie can be doing something as innocuous as walking to her back door at night, and bitch deserves torture. I never even considered that one of the dangers of walking alone at nightfall was torture, but now I know, so if I do something like walk alone at night, I’ll have deserved it.
7. Anything that is less than conducive to a relationship is also Sookie’s fault. So if Eric fails to tell her he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her, but she assumes that they’re broken up because he is leaving for somewhere else, then Sookie is at fault for not knowing what Eric doesn’t say. There will be no condemnation that Eric is a frustration since he doesn’t say anything – only for Sookie for not being assuming, not being psychic, and not knowing she’s in a story. If Eric treats her like trash, Sookie is at fault for not knowing he has very noble reasons to treat her like trash. Furthermore, if Sookie tries to get away from Eric in any way, or not do as she’s told, she gets her arse beaten, or at least Pam threatens to beat her arse, or Eric tells her she’s lucky he didn’t beat her arse.
8. Once in a relationship, Sookie has lost any semblance of backbone, personality or spirit and resembles a fine mist of goo. Just seeing the magnificent beauty of Eric will do that to Sookie – and is the harbinger of personality death. You know you’ve got a review winner if the first time Sookie sees Eric, she becomes a virtual puddle all flustered because Eric looked at her. If it’s a “canon” (and I use the word loosely) fic set after FDTW or DITF, then just expound for a couple of paragraphs about how freaking gorgeous he is, and how Eric makes her cum hard in bed.
9. Eric becomes the Dad-like figure that Bill is. I call Bill a DILF – because that’s what he is – a Dad Sookie likes to fuck. Book Eric isn’t like that, which is why I favour him over Bill. Buuutttt….if you want reviews, have Daddy Eric make an appearance. He tells Sookie what to do, when to do it, how to feel while it’s done. Not just in bed, but generally. Any mistrust Sookie might have for him is completely foolish – and Eric will tell her so, spell it out and spoonfeed her so that they can have some good incest for the hounds. He tells Sookie what is important to her, and like a good child, she swallows the medicine Daddy Eric tells her to take. She asks his permission for things in her own life, including what she’s allowed to think and feel concerning her own family or even people Eric never sees. Pam serves to reinforce the role that Eric is right. That’s all Pam says in that fic, but changing it up a bit – that Eric is right, and Sookie is wrong like always. In order to get to mucho reviews without constant ESN chapters, this is the way to do it. The fics with gigatons of reviews – they have Daddy Eric and ESN every other chapter.
10. Advertise that you have a more “sensible” or “smarter” Sookie. Then remove all of the actual obstacles Sookie faces in the books. Other vampires are a problem for Sookie in the books, and Eric and Bill themselves can be pills to deal with. But, what you should do for more reviews is make Sookie confident that nothing will hurt her, and then make that her reality. A sensible or smarter Sookie is actually a Sookie in a world where vampires are *snicker* her friends and everyone is trying to help her – not hurt her (barring Bill, Victor, Felipe, Niall, Sam or Quinn natch). Sensible or smarter Sookie does as she’s told more often – under the guise that she’s smarter and Eric is always right, ergo, it’s smarter to listen to Eric. Take Eric from say Book 4 or Book 10, and put him in a Book 1 scenario – all ready to be trusted and always there to do the right thing. If only he hadn’t scared the living shit out of Sookie in Book 1, she might have been able to see his inner goodness (that CH says awakened in Eric over time and his exposure to Sookie) which was clearly evident in the way he leered at her and tried to eat her. Sensible or smarter fanfic Sookie would be eaten alive in the books – because book Sookie wasn’t stupid enough to seek out vampires. Book Sookie keeps vampires (you know, vicious killers who’ve been that way for centuries) at arms length and didn’t throw herself into their society with gusto. Fanfic Sookie should see nothing but vampires, and they should be of a quality that one can imagine that they will drop to their knees to give her a foot rub at a moment’s notice. Replace “vampires” with “weres” or “fairies” and the dynamic is the same.
11. Since this is an Eric/Sookie fic, stick solely to the vampire world. Book Sookie has to deal with competing interests and other communities who hate vampires – humans/weres/fairies. If you must bring in things other than vampires, make them subservient and only existing to serve Eric’s will. Eric can do anything and everything, so just pull out some bullshit about how Niall has a debt or some special respect for him, or how Alcide doesn’t really have pack business and Friend of the Pack to make a claim on Sookie’s services. No one cares what’s going on at Merlotte’s unless it affects Eric. If it’s a “canon” fic, Sookie should quit her job and move out of her house in the first two chapters, or you’ve failed to garner reviews like you should.
12. When there is violence against others, only Eric is allowed to dish it out, and Sookie better be happy about it. If he decides to kill Bill (as per above) God help Sookie if she suggests that perhaps sleeping with her is not a capital crime. If Eric decides to kill someone for looking at Sookie cockeyed, then she better find it flattering. If Eric decimates a room of small children for business, then god help Sookie if she even tries to retain some humanity and bothers to question if she should have to cheer him on. Sookie must not just accept that he kills things and leaves her out of it, she must get her hands dirty.
13. In a generalised and specific sense, Sookie should also acknowledge the rightful subservience of humans. They should grovel at her feet, but not as much as they grovel at Eric’s. Eric should tell her at least five times in a fic that all other humans are a waste of valuable air, but that Sookie is the only one that matters. As above, Sookie should be callous to their needs and not try to live and let live. She should resemble Arlene at this point, always trying to get a foot up by planting it firmly in someone else’s face. Human pets are just fine, and Sookie should be happy to talk about others as if they are dogs – I mean, with glamour that vampires have the humans clearly have free will, so it’s all good. She should also acknowledge that she is dirt beneath Eric’s feet and completely unworthy of his god-like magnificence. This strategy works even if Eric is human in the fic.
14. The fic is required to end with a completely happy ending – a perfect wedding, a freaky sex ritual, the birth of their first child (even if it is a creepy vampire baby) and Sookie finally doing what she’s told. In other words, the ending never given by CH in all of her other books, and one that is going to have readers of these fics howling with pain. 😀
And when you finish, you’ll have a nice, completely uncreative fanfic that I will add to the growing pile of dross, which should really be called “Eric is a fireman/teacher/professor/businessman/movie star/usual vampire mob boss” because it’s really not about Sookie – she is a hollow shell to showcase the magnificence of relationship expert Eric Northman, while bashing the shit out of Sookie for daring to catch his eye.