There's always going to be someone out there who doesn't like your story. There will always be a loyal reader who followed you through half or three quarters of your epic and then got mad at you and decided to bail--or just bailed and never gave you a reason why.
Sometimes people's lives just change. They don't have time to read fanfic anymore. Sometimes their tastes change, and they're no longer interested in the fandom you write for. The nature of the internet makes it a whole lot easier to "de-commit" to a story. Fanfic readers don't have to buy the book or get it from the library or even hold it in their hands while reading it. So, all they need to do is click the little X and forget the story ever existed.
The nature of the internet also lends itself to having things glossed over, and it supports a great degree of anonymity. Anonymity means a fic writer will get flamed. Remember [link to post] There Are Big Old Jerks Out There. In addition to flames, a fic writer will sometimes get perfectly nice reviews from people who don't agree with the decisions they've made.
The person I consider to have left the "best" piece of negative feedback on my stories has asked me not to include the review or their user ID in this post. So I'll just say that the reviewer read the first section of my epic fiction and liked it a great deal, but then disagreed with a decision I made.
The reviewer stated his or her opinion politely, expressed disappointment with sound reasoning behind it, and went on to read some of my other work. I felt sad that I had "lost" a One Path reader, but there was nothing I could do or say to change the person's mind. The comments gave me a lot to think about for future work in the SW fandom, and I have considered several times writing some missing scenes that would help clarify my choices and make the characters' thoughts and reactions in that section of the story more understandable.
This is the most recent flame I could find on the reviews page of One Path. There are others, and I leave them up intentionally. The "**" are curse words that Fanfiction.net censored.
"Up till the end of the chapter this was my review:
"** you. No seriously ** you. You made the entire story worthless. NOTHING HAS
CHANGED! NOthing but the existence of Anakin Kenobi. You built up all that and
I'm still really ** at all the dialogue that's the same, you're about fifty
thousand words or more shorter with all the direct or obsfucated quotes.
One Path was written to be a re-telling--a direct re-write--of canon events that explored the ways in which very small changes, including very small changes in dialogue, would have far reaching effects throughout the saga. It was never meant to be a drastic departure from canon in terms of how events unfolded. The inclusion of dialogue from the canon films was a stylistic choice on my part, but there's no way I'm going to be able to convince this person it was a good choice.
Respond with grace. We love our stories. We want everyone else to love them too, and we get defensive as heck when we feel like our precious words are being attacked. Breathe. I know you want to click that reply button and say something nasty back, or at least defend your decision. Don't do it. Why? Because, it doesn't change anything. It doesn't matter. For every person who objects to a decision you make in your work, there will be someone else who thinks it was the perfect choice.
The story is yours. Unless you have a professional editor and publisher to answer to--which you don't, since we're discussing web fiction--you can write it any way you please. Write the best story you can, and then let it stand (or fall) on its own merit.
Related Posts: It Takes Courage To Post Fanfiction | Reviews Are Everything | Reviews Don't Mean That Much | Respond With Grace