You’ve all been there. Surfing through the LJ communities, Fanfic.net or any of the other plethora of RENT fiction archives out there. And all the stories suck.
Mark likes to wear panties, Angel and Mimi feel the need to have sex with each other, Roger’s a homophobe who decides to start a sewing club for the local chapter of the KKK, Maureen takes a vow of silence, Joanne quits her job to become an alcoholic, Collins wears all black and talks about how life sucks, Benny gives all his money to charity. Not to mention the fact that basic grammar, spelling and format just don’t seem to exist. Most of the time it’s written by 14 year olds who saw the movie version of RENT once, who like to insert author notes and headings to the effect of, “ZOMG, you guyz! This be TEH best storie i’ve wrote yet! Izn’t it, like, SUPER CUTE?!! ;-) :-* :-D”
So if you’re a bastard like us, a RENT elitist who can’t stand anything OOC, trite, contrived, cliché or just plain STUPID, feel free to come bask in your asshole-ness with the rest of us jerks. Stop spending hours surfing through mounds of crap to find one good story.
If you’d like to join, please read the following information, and then fill out an application, the format of which is found at the bottom.
This community is not about us being better than anybody else. This is a community about problems we’ve come across while reading fanfic, and our hope to create a community full of like-minded RENT fans who feel it is important to take initiative in their writing. A lot of this stuff is for our amusement, and is presented in a joking manner. We ask that you take everything in the community information with a grain of salt.
“Let he among us without sin be the first to condemn.”
1. If at first you don’t succeed, edit, edit again. This community is for polished pieces of writing. That means that grammar/spelling mistakes should be few and far between. Before you post something, make sure that you’ve got the basics down pat. Read through your own story a couple times, or better yet, get a beta. If you need a beta, ask around. Many of us would be happy to help out.
2. Make sure you keep the main RENT characters IN character. This is a fluid definition, and can be argued on many points. However, there should be nothing that’s so blatantly out of character that it makes any of your readers cringe (read the summary for the community for examples). First and foremost, make sure you have a basic understanding of what makes each character tick. It’s okay for a character to act in a way that they wouldn’t normally, but make sure you explain the WHY. For instance, in general, Mark tends to be very closed off and non-emotional. If you want to write a scene with him sobbing, crying and screaming, make sure you explain it or there are events leading up to it that would make it believable. Which leads directly to:
3. Write so that readers believe you. This means that things should stay within the realm of RENT in a way that allows readers to understand how things could theoretically go the way your story is going. There should be no magical cure for AIDS just so you can allow Roger and Mark to have unprotected sex. You shouldn’t have Collins single-handedly take on the Islamic fundamentalist plane hijackers of 9/11. Maureen shouldn’t uncover a secret government plot to test biological warfare on the citizens of New York. And for God’s sake, NO MALE CHARACTERS SHOULD EVER BECOME PREGNANT.
4. Clichés should be shot and killed on sight. We want these stories to be new, original and interesting. That means no teenage angst fics where Mark starts to cut himself to deal with the pain of living. Either that, or he gets raped or gives people blow-jobs to get money for Roger’s AZT. And then he gets AIDS. Mimi runs off and dies after becoming a super-mega-bitch for no apparent reason. Either that, or she walks in on Roger and Mark having sex. Roger is a big tough man-whore who is constantly asserting his masculinity and because of that is completely homophobic. He comes to Mark’s rescue over and over because Mark is obviously too much of a wuss to take care of himself. Maureen completely freaks out when she finds out that Roger and Mark have started having sex and plots to destroy their relationship. Several of the characters were beaten as children, and Mark’s dad still occasionally kicks the crap out of him. No afterlife stories, where Angel is a REAL angel, no characters committing suicide together. Of course, all of these clichés MAY be used if you do it correctly. There’s a very fine line we’re walking here. So if you spin a cliché in a new way, that can be fine. For example, Mimi can run away or die if you’re using that as a DEVICE to get the story somewhere else. As long as the cliché isn’t the main focus of the story, it’s acceptable. If you’re unsure whether or not something in your story is cliché in a bad way, feel free to e-mail any one of us and ask.
5. Do your research. If you’re going to take the time to write something, you might as well do it right. If you want to delve a little deeper into the lay-out of New York City, do a little bit of reading so you’re somewhat familiar with it. We don’t want to see Mark filming on “Scarsdale Road” or any high school fics where Roger attends “New York High School”. If you’re focusing on a character who’s dying of AIDS, do a little research on the disease so that you understand it some, instead of making sweeping generalizations about them being in the hospital and hooked up to IVs and respirators, getting defibrillated every five minutes. No Roger and Mark having sex within 5 minutes of the start of the story, without even discussing the whole “Roger has HIV” thing, and then Mark finds out the next day that he’s positive. Just take a little initiative… it’s not that hard.
6. No stories focusing on OCs. This is a pretty simple rule to follow. While we don’t prohibit OCs being in the story at all, the OC shouldn’t be the main character. That means no next-gen stories, following the life of Wendell Davis, Mimi and Roger’s son. That means absolutely NO Mary-Sues, under any circumstances. We’d all like to have sex with one or all of the characters. That doesn’t mean other people want to read about your personal fantasies. Seriously.
7. Don’t break the 4th wall. The 4th wall is a line that should never be crossed. We all have inside jokes. However, we won’t accept fanfics where Mark cross-dresses because, HEY!, Anthony played Hedwig, and he was Mark, so Mark cross-dresses and isn’t that FUNNY?! We don’t want to see a fic where Maureen plays Elphaba in Wicked and Roger stars in Aida. Don’t have Mark and Roger adopt two boys and name them Anthony and Adam. It’s contrived and trite at best, and always groan-worthy. Just don’t do it.
8. Keep cheese on crackers or nachos. We all know that RENT is a very dramatic play. At parts, it’s even…(GASP) melodramatic. Both those two things are therefore acceptable in your fanfic. But don’t cross the line from melodrama into corny-ness. For example, we don’t want you to go on for paragraphs about the shining blue of Mark’s “limpid orbs”. No declarations of love that come straight out of a harlequin romance novel. The characters shouldn’t be making speeches that sound rehearsed. “For God’s sake, people, don’t you see what you’re doing is killing Collins… killing all of us? Open your eyes for a minute and look at the pain… the deep-wrenching AGONY you’ve inflicted upon the people who love you most! ::tear::” No one says shit like that in real life. Get a grip.
9. No smut for the sake of smut. Whereas mindless sex fics are all well and good, that isn’t the point of this forum. We don’t want stories that are nothing but a long string of “cock”, “ass”, “fuck”, and “thrust”. If anyone ever describes penetration as, “he pushed into the hilt” again, I’mma kill a bitch. I have read the term, “puckered asshole” one too many times. You can post smutty one-shots as long as they are well-written, and make an overture at having a plot, but please, keep it to a bare minimum of those. For the most part, we are looking for stories that focus on the characters and how they interact with one another. Whereas once and a while it’s fun, we don’t want the entire point of the story to be making guesses at how many times each of them can come in a half-hour period.
10. Keep criticism constructive. As tempting as it is to flame, just don’t do it. We may all be elitist assholes, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose any semblance of sophistication. It’s perfectly all right to express your dislike of a story, but please, explain WHY, and make suggestions for how it could have been better. And remember to stay courteous. You’re just adding insult to injury when you don’t even take the time to use somewhat proper English when telling someone you hate their story. We don’t want to see anything like, “i hait u, dis story is the fuckin’ worst i ever red.” The person you flamed last week could very well turn right around and let you know what a piece of crap your story is. So please, children, play nicely.
These are just a few things each one of the mods absolutely hates to see in any RENTfic. Please, try not to sin in these ways:
neonnchrome1123 (Jade): Hates when people put too many references to RENT in their story. Like Collins drinks nothing but Stoli, and Mimi always wears spandex. Can’t stand to see RENTfics that are crossovers with other movies. Johnny Depp would never hang out with Anthony Rapp anyway.
blank_stares(Katie): Wants to kill when people dress Mark up in drag like a Barbie doll, especially since he wouldn’t look good as a woman anyway. Will never condone Mark crying when he should be internalizing. And if she sees another high school fic where Roger and Mark listen to bands and watch movies that didn’t come out until well past the year 1994, she may very well explode.
baka_sensei(Maria): Abhors when people ignore the laws of biology and knock Mark up. Goes ballistic when Mark commits suicide or contracts AIDS on purpose. The former makes her depressed and the latter makes her say, “WTF?”
smarmyelf (Carrie): Disapproves when people make simple grammar and spelling errors. Hates when characters are written OOC. And cries every time she even sees a summary for a story where Roger dies.
All the standard rules apply here. When you post, please make sure you put a header that somewhat resembles the one below:
Title: Chapter: (if applicable) Summary: Pairings or Main Characters: Rating: Genre: (ex. Angst, Dark-fic, Hurt/Comfort, Drama, Tragedy, Comedy, etc.) Warnings: (ex. Character Death, Non-con, Adult Themes, etc.)
The main thing we ask is that if the fic is NC-17, you make sure and post a rating where it’s easily seen. We don’t want any virgin eyes being sullied… or something. You may also leave links to where earlier chapters are archived or anything you feel is important to your story (for example, if a picture inspired the story and you’d like to leave a link to the picture, feel free to do so).
The only other main rule is that you make sure to cut before posting the story. We don’t want huge long entries all on the main page. It just gets messy, otherwise.
Here is the link to the application, which must be filled out before joining this community: