What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

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    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    There are many common problems with lots of fanfics, a lot of which have become tropes, such as the Mary Sue (which I still refuse to acknowledge), flat storylines, et cetera.

    Personally, I feel that a single problem trumps any other major problem by a mile. This problem is a problem that I term "skipping".

    In a nutshell, this problem is a lack of detailed description of events, making a story seem more like a summary. Almost any fic that I determined to be "boring" or "badly written" was a fic with this problem, or tried to correct this problem by inserting in a lot of unnecessary details, which simply makes the story seem like it's jerking from one place to the next while moving at the same speed as a slow but smoothly flowing fic should. (If you've ever tried speeding up a video 3x and then slowing the sped-up video back down, you'll know what I mean. The story seems choppy and turbulent.) Hell, my own fics had this problem at first.

    But I realize that other people may have differing opinions. What do you feel is the biggest problem in fanfics, if at all there is one?
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    One of the biggest problems I have with fanfiction in general (which I guess is blaming the authors, but it still applies to the works themselves) is that they almost never stray from norms and precedents set by the media they're trying to imitate. The usually offer nothing new for an average fan of the franchise, sticking to the same old characters, the same old locations, the same old stories and even the same old character-to-character relationships.

    There are a lot of good fictional works out there with unique and original characters, settings and plots but they're always overshadowed by what I mentioned above. I should stop myself before this turns into a rant against the readers next.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    One of the biggest problems I have with fanfiction in general (which I guess is blaming the authors, but it still applies to the works themselves) is that they almost never stray from norms and precedents set by the media they're trying to imitate. The usually offer nothing new for an average fan of the franchise, sticking to the same old characters, the same old locations, the same old stories and even the same old character-to-character relationships.

    There are a lot of good fictional works out there with unique and original characters, settings and plots but they're always overshadowed by what I mentioned above. I should stop myself before this turns into a rant against the readers next.
    I... can really understand why... it's usually the more notable stories that aren't quite the "My character in place of the player person" variety. I haven't exactly read any of the stories here, but many stories I've come acrossed on FF.net tend to fall under either of the previously mentioned idea... or perhaps with the "Pokemorph hybrid characters with a simple hollywood outline" and...err, over-the-top sort of stuff to process.

    as for problems, on the few times I actually go out to read fanfiction, one I come across is in the battle scenes. in other Pokemon media (the anime and Special will be my examples), you often have plenty of details placed into a battle that will make it seem at LEAST somewhat reasonable for an action sequence. in the few stories I've read, most of a battle is person A shouts a command, and one of four things happen:

    1) Pokemon responds and the Attack hits.
    2) Pokemon responds, but attack misses.
    3) Pokemon doesn't respond in time and something interrupts it, like getting hit by an opponent's attack.
    4) Opposing Pokemon gets knocked out.

    it's a simple thing between person A and his/her opponent, and not a whole lot of detail is put into it... the only thing missing that would make it close to exactly like the battles in the games is how much damage is dealt.

    someone asked me on FF.net to read through his story and give constructive feedback... the first thing I said in the review was that "the story felt more like a script to something, you aught to rewrite each chapter with a little more detail." unfortunately, "a little more detail" is an understatement now that I think about it.
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    Requiem Raver Drakon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    One of the biggest problems I find is when battle scenes are glossed over.
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    Burqa Swag zakisrage's Avatar
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    Talking Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    I personally think fangirl wank is the worst. You know, the kind written by 12-year-old fangirls whose lives revolve around yaoi, make songfics with One Direction/Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift songs, and high school AUs. Every major fandom gets some.

    I heard from a user I met on FF.net that he is tired of slash fiction. I think that a little is fine, but when it dominates a fanfiction type it gets bad. Because this is a male fanfic writer we're talking about, I can see why. You might remember when there was Legolas/Aragorn slash fiction everywhere because of LOTR's popularity.

    There is a website called the PPC Wiki. They list a lot of common charges for bad fanfic writing in their charges category. Other than the obvious Mary Sue, the charges include Cute Animal Friend (a cute or fantastic critter accompanying a Mary Sue to emphasize her/his Sueness), Tenth Walker (a fanfic where a fan inserts an OC or themself in a Fellowship of the Ring fanfic), male pregnancy, out of character, complete disregard of canon, and many more.

    One of the most notorious badly-written fanfiction is "Celebrian", a LOTR fanfic about Elrond's wife. In it, she serves at the Orcs' prostitute and eats ice cream that makes her weirdly coloured privates grow. Read it to believe it - it is one of the most disgusting things ever written.
    Last edited by zakisrage; 19th October 2012 at 04:16 PM.

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    The Mighty Barbarian Fengor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    There are many common problems with lots of fanfics, a lot of which have become tropes, such as the Mary Sue (which I still refuse to acknowledge), flat storylines, et cetera.

    Personally, I feel that a single problem trumps any other major problem by a mile. This problem is a problem that I term "skipping".

    In a nutshell, this problem is a lack of detailed description of events, making a story seem more like a summary. Almost any fic that I determined to be "boring" or "badly written" was a fic with this problem, or tried to correct this problem by inserting in a lot of unnecessary details, which simply makes the story seem like it's jerking from one place to the next while moving at the same speed as a slow but smoothly flowing fic should. (If you've ever tried speeding up a video 3x and then slowing the sped-up video back down, you'll know what I mean. The story seems choppy and turbulent.) Hell, my own fics had this problem at first.
    I'm inclined to agree, but what do you consider unnecessary details? I ask because this seems to be a perception of pacing that varies from story to story and person to person. Pacing is a very vague and frustrating phrase for me when it comes to writing. Everyone seems to know what makes for good pacing but me, and that fine line between too much and too little detail seems to be the root of my problem.
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    Burqa Swag zakisrage's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    In the topic of "fangirl wank": when it comes to Pokemon, they are almost always written for the anime. But since Black and White, due to N's popularity they are appearing for game-based fanfics too. It typically involves hurt/comfort between a male and female character (the female character ALWAYS being one of Ash's traveling partners or sometimes a female game protagonist; NEVER anyone else) or two male characters (because yaoi is everywhere). Which brings me to my next rant...

    What I hate is the belief that two male characters who are close friends apparently MUST be gay. I am close with a lot of my male friends and I am not sexually attracted to any of them. But to fangirls, because Morty and Eusine (for example) are such good friends, they have to be a couple because they are friends. Let the fangirls know that bishonen male characters are not confined to yaoi.

    And people never want to create OCs unless it's a Replacement Sue for the player character or a Pokemorph. OCs are fun. You get to be creative with them and do anything you want with them! What's so bad about using an original character? You can go your own way with things. (Just don't take it too far, otherwise the Mary Sue police will hunt you down.)

    I refuse to read any Pokemorph fanfics because they are all the same. And the Pokemorphs have a tendency to be from the Eevee family - or another Pokemon that looks like a cute mammal. Or rarely it will be a fanservice Pokemon like Gardevoir. Ever notice there are pretty much no Pokemorphs of Venomoth, Camerupt, Skuntank, Mamoswine, or Bisharp? It's because this comes into play: What Measure Is a Non-Cute? - Television Tropes & Idioms

    Yep, in fanfics cute Pokemon are designated heroes, while ugly ones are usually marked "evil". If they're Poison or Dark, it's pretty much automatic (Absol and Umbreon are exceptions). Wouldn't it be refreshing to see a heroic Grimer or a selfish Minccino in a fanfic?

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    Only 70 new Pokemon? Hoopa's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    My biggest single complaint is bad grammar and formatting.

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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by zakisrage View Post
    And people never want to create OCs unless it's a Replacement Sue for the player character or a Pokemorph. OCs are fun. You get to be creative with them and do anything you want with them! What's so bad about using an original character? You can go your own way with things. (Just don't take it too far, otherwise the Mary Sue police will hunt you down.)
    I think the issue is that most people, both authors and readers alike, are afraid to leave their comfort zone. It's kind of devastating to people like me who pour so much effort into crafting original and well though out characters to see them fall flat and largely ignored compared to official characters which are often poorly handled (IE, they don't act in character or ignore facts that have already been established about the character.)

    Yep, in fanfics cute Pokemon are designated heroes, while ugly ones are usually marked "evil". If they're Poison or Dark, it's pretty much automatic (Absol and Umbreon are exceptions). Wouldn't it be refreshing to see a heroic Grimer or a selfish Minccino in a fanfic?
    Just wait. I do have plans for a Mightyena in my own fanfic :D Granted he's kinda cute and furry, but not as much as say, Pikachu or Cyndaquil.

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    For me personally, I agree with Zekurom. I have trouble with flow and time skipping and all that. I'd like to improve on that.

    I think for fics in general, my biggest pet peeve is fics that use canon characters and totally ruin or miss the essence of that character. I see this in a lot of HP fics, where the author makes Ron evil or something. It really distracts me from reading.

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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    For me personally, I agree with Zekurom. I have trouble with flow and time skipping and all that. I'd like to improve on that.

    I think for fics in general, my biggest pet peeve is fics that use canon characters and totally ruin or miss the essence of that character. I see this in a lot of HP fics, where the author makes Ron evil or something. It really distracts me from reading.
    it named this trope for a reason after all.

    meanwhile, I've personally had the habit of reading a few books and perhaps now and then take note of how they're written. as a result of my reading the entire series of "the Dresden Files" (which stars a genre savvy wizard who loves referencing Star Wars), my still-being-cleaned-up-of-formatting-problems story is written in first person, with an equally genre savvy and even TV/Movie buff Trainer (who is depicted as my avatar as of this post).

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    Beausoleil Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Cut-and-paste journey fics are the worst kind of Pokemon fic, to me. By cut-and-paste I mean fics that follow a formula of Trainer gets starter (often a "special" starter like Eevee or Pikachu), then travels from town to town getting badges with very little plot in between. I fell victim to some of these cliches myself when I was writing a journey fic, but I also tried to avoid others by doing things such as giving my protagonist a "plain" starter (a Bulbasaur), and creating an overarching plot.

    I suppose the biggest problem with fanfiction in my opinion is lack of originality. Don't be afraid to be bold and do new things with the franchise you're using! Think outside the box and take chances! You might just end up with a hit.

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    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fengor View Post
    I'm inclined to agree, but what do you consider unnecessary details? I ask because this seems to be a perception of pacing that varies from story to story and person to person. Pacing is a very vague and frustrating phrase for me when it comes to writing. Everyone seems to know what makes for good pacing but me, and that fine line between too much and too little detail seems to be the root of my problem.
    It's really hard to answer that question impersonally, because first it's a relatively preferential thing, and secondly, it's somewhat of a "you know it when you see it" thing.

    But one example that actually is clear cut is this: an endless narrative exposition of the main character's looks. This just screams "the writer is trying to shove all these details in in order to make it look like he's fleshing a character out". It doesn't flesh your character out, it crams him back in!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Cut-and-paste journey fics are the worst kind of Pokemon fic, to me. By cut-and-paste I mean fics that follow a formula of Trainer gets starter (often a "special" starter like Eevee or Pikachu), then travels from town to town getting badges with very little plot in between. I fell victim to some of these cliches myself when I was writing a journey fic, but I also tried to avoid others by doing things such as giving my protagonist a "plain" starter (a Bulbasaur), and creating an overarching plot.
    Heheh. Back when I was writing that sort of fic, I had all the plot in between but no badges. Still turned out pretty badly now that I look back at it because I was inexperienced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    I think for fics in general, my biggest pet peeve is fics that use canon characters and totally ruin or miss the essence of that character. I see this in a lot of HP fics, where the author makes Ron evil or something. It really distracts me from reading.
    Canon characters do not have to act canon in a fanfic. It may not be your cup of tea, but for somebody like me, I very much like reading about (and writing) alternate interpretations of "canon" characters, even ones that make the character out to be completely the opposite of what he is in canon. I mean, what fun is fanfic if you don't play around with things? It may just be my creative fandom tendencies, but it's my opinion that things are only sacred to consumer fandom.

    Quote Originally Posted by zakisrage View Post
    And people never want to create OCs unless it's a Replacement Sue for the player character or a Pokemorph. OCs are fun. You get to be creative with them and do anything you want with them! What's so bad about using an original character? You can go your own way with things. (Just don't take it too far, otherwise the Mary Sue police will hunt you down.)
    First, what's so bad about interpreting an official character as if they were an OC? Do you think it disrespects the original work? Are certain things off-limits just because they're "canon" and "oh no, we can't have the characters acting inconsistently in a work that's not even in continuity with the original work!"

    Secondly, what do you mean by "taking it too far"? Making it too original? Is that even possible? Also, what are these "Mary Sue Police"? Do they actually have any authority?

    (Excuse me if I sound too blunt or harsh. I get really excited when talking about stuff like this.)
    Last edited by Zekurom; 3rd November 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    First, what's so bad about interpreting an official character as if they were an OC? Do you think it disrespects the original work? Are certain things off-limits just because they're "canon" and "oh no, we can't have the characters acting inconsistently in a work that's not even in continuity with the original work!"
    I've always viewed it as making your own original character, then naming him "Ash" so that the author can ride on the coattails of success, even if the character is nowhere near how Ash acts in other works. It bugs me when I see that, as so much potential feels like it's wasted, especially if the character is much more well rounded and likable than the character they're leeching off of.

    And on another note, "Mary Sue Police" don't have any authority, but they have a dangerous power. They are relentlessly critical of every single nitpick they find, and when that harsh and needlessly negative criticism reaches the author, they more often than not are devastated and quit. That's why I see a lot of people (and myself as well) walking the fine line of making a believable character who has faults and weaknesses as well as strengths. That way the "Mary Sue Police" can't unleash their fangs and destroy the motivation of the author.

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    [QUOTE=Caitlin;4442352]
    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    First, what's so bad about interpreting an official character as if they were an OC? Do you think it disrespects the original work? Are certain things off-limits just because they're "canon" and "oh no, we can't have the characters acting inconsistently in a work that's not even in continuity with the original work!"
    You are right. There's nothing "wrong" per se about it, but what's the point exactly? Like Caitlin said, if you are creating essentially an entirely new character in terms of personality, tendencies, etc., why does the author need to make him/her a "canon" character when for all intents and purposes, he/she is a new character just with a familiar name?

    BTW, I'm not talking about fics where Ash, for example, is 17 years old in a fic and aged significantly since his "canon" self. Obviously, there is more room for artistic liberties in that sort of situation.

    I just find it distracting to read a story that is supposed to be canon where the familiar canon characters are essentially OCs in disguise.

    You are right though, Zek, it's just my opinion, and there is no "right/wrong" way.

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