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  1. #151
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Comedy such as satire would be an exception, and I am willing to admit there may be other exceptions I haven't thought of. I am still a student of writing myself, so there could be something else out there. But on the whole, that sort of behavior hurts the story. Characters are supposed to be real, at least for a given definition of real. They are supposed to be real to the writer, and in being real to the writer, the writer gets to know them, and therefore can write them realistically and consistently. They are also supposed to be real to the reader. We connect with the story and pretend it's real, so when a character gets hurt we feel hurt. But why should we feel hurt? They are letters on a screen or a page. They aren't flesh and blood. And yet we care. We become invested in what happens to these characters. Authors need to try and breathe life into the characters and their work.

    And I never said it was impossible to write Paul well. I just said that I myself couldn't do it right now. I can at least admit that to myself and try to avoid writing the character directly

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

    Quote Originally Posted by reynard View Post
    Comedy such as satire would be an exception, and I am willing to admit there may be other exceptions I haven't thought of. I am still a student of writing myself, so there could be something else out there.
    Well, certainly satire is the place where it's done the most, as often the very purpose of satire is to mock the character, story, or element in question.

    But on the whole, that sort of behavior hurts the story.
    Mostly because the people who do it are one-tracked minders on the issue and would be bad writers any other way as well. Another possible cause is that that sort of behaviour messes with the overall tone of the story.

    Characters are supposed to be real, at least for a given definition of real. They are supposed to be real to the writer, and in being real to the writer, the writer gets to know them, and therefore can write them realistically and consistently.
    Mm hmm.

    They are also supposed to be real to the reader. We connect with the story and pretend it's real, so when a character gets hurt we feel hurt. But why should we feel hurt? They are letters on a screen or a page. They aren't flesh and blood. And yet we care. We become invested in what happens to these characters.
    And of course, sometimes you get so invested in the character that you get up in arms if they're treated badly by somebody else. Sometimes, you can't help the fact that fics like that exist, and it's not something you should help either. It truly is a victimless crime. Even if the characters are real to you, you don't have to treat them as real in the story that somebody else writes. They are as real as you choose to make them, and the great thing about fiction is that you really can pick and choose the parts of a character you hold to be real, even if they are the parts you don't like. You can choose whether a depiction of a character is a badly drawn poster or a manifestation of the ideally real thing.

    My main point here is this: The characters are only real to the reader (and sometimes even the writer) within the context of the story. If you start treating them as real outside of that, you start to run into problems such as hating people who would "tarnish and ridicule" a "perfectly good" character, even though you know perfectly well that those things haven't actually happened and you don't need to believe or even accept that they have.

    Really, it would probably be more disrespectful to a character to imply that it couldn't survive such maldepictions. They are a temporary annoyance at worst.

    And I never said it was impossible to write Paul well. I just said that I myself couldn't do it right now.
    That's fair.

    I can at least admit that to myself and try to avoid writing the character directly.
    But can you admit to yourself that you're afraid to try? It certainly seems like you're not willing to even risk disrespecting a character in trying to depict them a certain way, as if the risk was unacceptable to take. But taking that sort of risk (and there's really no real loss if you fail) is exactly how you learn to do such things. Writing a bad fic with Paul being bashed is part of the path to writing a good fic with Paul being bashed. Are you instead arguing that the second one can never and will never exist, simply because such a fic would "disrespect" Paul?

    As for your complaints about specific fics in the rant, it would be helpful if you would provide links to the fanfics you allude to, so that we can check it out without having to sift through both Google and the fic itself looking for what you're talking about.
    Last edited by Zekurom; 31st May 2013 at 01:57 PM.
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  3. #153
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    I don't like demonization at all. Pokémon characters get it frequently. If any characters have a relationship (romantic or otherwise) less than perfect, it could result in demonization of one of them. For example, I mentioned in one post that Roark fanfics often demonize Byron. Fanfics shipping Hilbert and Hilda might ignore all of N's positive traits.

    I try to avoid demonizing other characters in shipping fics. Though I ship Morty and Jasmine, I don't portray Eusine and Falkner as assholes because of it.

    There seems to be a recurring pattern of demonizing female characters in yaoi fanfics. It goes across the board with fandoms, regardless if there's only a handful of female characters (like Lord of the Rings) or if there's plenty of female characters (like Pokémon or Harry Potter). I actually find a lot of it rooted in misogyny, which is ironic considering that the majority of yaoi authors are female (yet women are capable of being misogynists).

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

    Right on top of what Feanor just said about misogyny and fanfic: there's a disturbing amount of Real Women Never Wear Dresses. Basically, if a female character is traditionally feminine, it's interpreted as a sign of shallowness and weakness, regardless of her other personal qualities. I think this is also partly why Dawn and May are so hated in comparison to Misty, even though none of them are really that bad as characters.

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

    @Zekurom: You are right. I admit I probably jumped the gun a bit. You're right about that sort of thing not usually being alone, and you are also right about possibly holding the characters on a pedestal. I overreacted a bit. I guess that sort of thing just hits a nerve with me lately, and when it's from an author I was otherwise really enjoying...

    And as for Paul, I will admit that I am afraid to watch the Sinnoh episodes, which I would want to do to get to know the character before I could effectively write him. I'm afraid of what I am going to see and what my reaction will be, because I don't always deal with anger so well. That's why I chose to avoid him for now (and what I was thinking of didn't directly involve him in the plot so far anyway). I guess I can't avoid it can I, at least not for too long.

    I also apologize for not including a link. Here's the link to the Pokemon fic I talked about, Family Matters: Family Matters Chapter 1: Sugar Rush, a pokémon fanfic | FanFiction. The chapter in question is chapter 183. And like I said before, there is another chapter, number 19, where Erika is not presented very nicely, but I let it slide because it was first person. Something about what the author makes Erika say just seems...wrong. She sounds way too immature. And what she does with Skyla (and says in the author's note at the end) just doesn't seem right to me. See what you think.

    @Feanor, @juiceboxx: You are right. It's usually women. And it seems to happen often in bad slash fic. Take what I said about Kingdom Hearts earlier. Kairi is the girl between the main trio, and Sora and Riku are often paired together. And because the boys are paired together, she is often demonized by the authors, probably because she is in the way of the pairing, or that any trace of attraction to her needs to be destroyed, even though animosity and hatred between her, Sora, and Riku makes no sense and runs against the plot of the first game. And even though I have not skimmed through the pages of the Pokemon section of fanfiction.net in a while, I would not be surprised to see the same between Ash's various love interests. Again, it's about destroying any perceived threat completely so the pairing you do want is the only one left. With bad slash, just being female is cause to be labeled a threat. Because the idea of a mature friendship between someone who is gay and the opposite gender, or a mature friendship between a man and woman, is impossible to the author.

    And it is complete nonsense to think that just because characters like May, or even Dawn, are more traditionally feminine in attitude (or at least relative to Misty) that they are weak characters. You can have female characters that are traditionally feminine that are still strong and interesting in their own ways, ways that don't necessarily involve fighting or being a tomboy.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by reynard View Post
    @Zekurom: You are right. I admit I probably jumped the gun a bit. You're right about that sort of thing not usually being alone, and you are also right about possibly holding the characters on a pedestal. I overreacted a bit. I guess that sort of thing just hits a nerve with me lately, and when it's from an author I was otherwise really enjoying...
    It's alright. It can happen to anybody, including me. It's okay to have these feelings about people doing things like that, and even be repulsed by them. What you need to look out for is treating those things as unacceptable to even exist, as everybody really does have their own writing style and preferences for choice of opinion.

    And as for Paul, I will admit that I am afraid to watch the Sinnoh episodes, which I would want to do to get to know the character before I could effectively write him. I'm afraid of what I am going to see and what my reaction will be, because I don't always deal with anger so well. That's why I chose to avoid him for now (and what I was thinking of didn't directly involve him in the plot so far anyway). I guess I can't avoid it can I, at least not for too long.
    Personally, I haven't watched the Sinnoh episodes myself (or most of the anime for that matter), so I don't know about whether there are any other sides to Paul either. I guess if you wanted to harp on how Paul as he's written in canon is in general a bad character, then you'd need to know him better, but if you're just concerned about that one aspect of him that you know about, and that one aspect blots out any other qualities of him that he might have, then feel free to do whatever you want to him.

    In this case, knowing more about Paul before you slam him is not so much about respect for the character, as it is knowing what you're talking about when you pan him, and respecting your own knowledge about the character.

    I also apologize for not including a link. Here's the link to the Pokemon fic I talked about, Family Matters: Family Matters Chapter 1: Sugar Rush, a pokémon fanfic | FanFiction. The chapter in question is chapter 183. And like I said before, there is another chapter, number 19, where Erika is not presented very nicely, but I let it slide because it was first person. Something about what the author makes Erika say just seems...wrong. She sounds way too immature. And what she does with Skyla (and says in the author's note at the end) just doesn't seem right to me. See what you think.
    Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

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

    I guess I am sensitive to the subject because I had another author I really liked in another fandom. And she was a really, really good writer, and I read her stuff for years. It had a strong impact on me. And then I realized she was bashing characters rather badly, and it made her a hypocrite in the process... it's a long story. The end result was that I left and it hurts. And I get that people have different styles and takes on characters. But there's alternate interpretation and blatant OOC for no actual reason that would make a better story. It just reminds me that even the best authors can make easy mistakes.

    I don't necessarily think Paul is a bad character per say, I think the problem is that he was badly handled by the writers. From what I am reading of him second hand from the wiki and TV Tropes, I get why people liked him. He was mean, he was nasty, and that isn't something you get often in the show, at least as far as rivals. And I get that he may have been a commentary on the Stop Having Fun Guys crowd.

    And I get that that trope is about people who not only play just to win, but who believe it is the only way, and rip into anyone that doesn't play just to win (i.e. someone who plays just to experience the game). The issue is the lack of courtesy they show to others. They can still play just to win. There's no harm in that for a game.

    The problem is that there IS a problem with taking that philosophy into the anime. There, Pokemon are living breathing creatures, not data that you can mess around with without consequence. And yet while Paul may have learned to treat others better or may have (hopefully) learned to treat his Pokemon better, what I am reading indicates that there are no real consequences to treating them like that. He should be arrested, because guess what writers, trainers have this thing called a Trainer's License, and a license can be revoked. It was hinted at in the first part of the anime. Does this mean that as a trainer, I could practically beat one of my Pokemon to death for failing, and I would face no consequences? That's my problem. The head writer apparently found him to be their favorite character, and as such Paul avoided the hammer that should have dropped right on his thick skull.

    I would like to see Paul face the legal repercussions for everything he did. I would like to pretend that he avoided them (no one turned him in, not even CYNTHIA) because maybe he said things at the League, and that was stuff that could actually be used as hard evidence (because the matches are televised and recorded). Maybe you could write a fic where he works his way back from that wretched experience. And if I wrote him, I would like to understand how he got to that abusive point in his life, to see where he went wrong.

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

    @reynard Strangely enough, I like Paul because of how much of a dick he is compared to the other goody two shoes shown on the Anime and there's only so much of Ash being all "YEAH, LET DO IT" I can handle. Legality of his actions or not, his jackassness is my favorite aspect of him all things considered about the Anime. Not that I don't get where you're coming from (I totally read you) but the Anime would never concern themselves, being sugarcoated and all, with getting a Pokemon license revoked or other things you mentioned. Believe me.

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

    Personally I think the biggest problem with fanfics is that it is full of newbie writers who mostly don't know what they're doing.

    I, for example, took a crack at writing fanfics myself, needless to say I had no talent for it and no business writing fiction but I still did it and that's the lure of fanfiction for newbies and even genuinely untalented writers like me.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by reynard View Post
    I guess I am sensitive to the subject because I had another author I really liked in another fandom. And she was a really, really good writer, and I read her stuff for years. It had a strong impact on me. And then I realized she was bashing characters rather badly, and it made her a hypocrite in the process... it's a long story. The end result was that I left and it hurts. And I get that people have different styles and takes on characters. But there's alternate interpretation and blatant OOC for no actual reason that would make a better story. It just reminds me that even the best authors can make easy mistakes.
    The line between "alternate interpretation" and "blatant OOC" is always in how consistently the character is interpreted (and, as you said, how good it makes the story).

    I don't necessarily think Paul is a bad character per se, I think the problem is that he was badly handled by the writers. From what I am reading of him second hand from the wiki and TV Tropes, I get why people liked him. He was mean, he was nasty, and that isn't something you get often in the show, at least as far as rivals. And I get that he may have been a commentary on the Stop Having Fun Guys crowd.
    People only like the meanness and nastiness because they believe it makes him badass. (At least that's the vibe I get from people talking about it.) And people like badass. I'm not so keen on it, especially when it makes a person a jerk.

    And I get that that trope is about people who not only play just to win, but who believe it is the only way, and rip into anyone that doesn't play just to win (i.e. someone who plays just to experience the game). The issue is the lack of courtesy they show to others.
    I guess most watchers prefer somebody who's mean but skilled, rather than a courteous and incompetent character (say, Ash). I personally can't stand that type of person, but I guess that's just you and me.

    They can still play just to win. There's no harm in that for a game.
    Mm hmm.

    The problem is that there IS a problem with taking that philosophy into the anime. There, Pokemon are living breathing creatures, not data that you can mess around with without consequence. And yet while Paul may have learned to treat others better or may have (hopefully) learned to treat his Pokemon better, what I am reading indicates that there are no real consequences to treating them like that. He should be arrested, because guess what writers, trainers have this thing called a Trainer's License, and a license can be revoked. It was hinted at in the first part of the anime. Does this mean that as a trainer, I could practically beat one of my Pokemon to death for failing, and I would face no consequences? That's my problem. The head writer apparently found him to be their favorite character, and as such Paul avoided the hammer that should have dropped right on his thick skull.
    Back when Gary was Ash's rival instead of Paul, he was also pretty much a jerk, but at least he was more childish and comical about it, rather than the stoic, self-righteous pain in the ass that Paul is. And he learned his lesson when Ash actually beat him at the championships (and he didn't mistreat his Pokémon, at least not as much as Paul did).

    Also, those Stop Having Fun Guys would argue that treating Pokémon ethically has nothing to do with playing to win, and that people should still play to win, just under different, tighter constraints (cf. the Olympics, where people still strive to be the best, but aren't allowed to do things like take drugs). Paul's actions would be unacceptable even under the Stop Having Fun Guys' principle of playing to win (at least, so some people would say. Truth is, lots of doping and abusive behaviour goes on in preparation for the Olympics, and even legitimately "playing-to-win" strategies such as purposely losing matches in a tournament to make it into a lower bracket the next round have been punished because they don't fit the spirit of the event).

    As for the "practically beating to death" thing, the trick is to do it in private, where nobody will see you. I'm not sure if that's what Paul did, but it would explain the lack of repercussions.

    I would like to see Paul face the legal repercussions for everything he did. I would like to pretend that he avoided them (no one turned him in, not even CYNTHIA) because maybe he said things at the League, and that was stuff that could actually be used as hard evidence (because the matches are televised and recorded).
    Pokémon, being a children's series, generally doesn't deal with legal matters or technical details like that. Such things are generally bureaucratic in nature, and their target audience aren't exactly prone to know about or interested in these things.

    Maybe you could write a fic where he works his way back from that wretched experience.
    Or maybe he doesn't work his way back, and is just punished with extreme prejudice. I'd be okay with that too.

    And if I wrote him, I would like to understand how he got to that abusive point in his life, to see where he went wrong.
    That may or may not be provided by the anime. You might need to make that up. I assumed you were concerned about covering his current character properly, not about how he got that way. (Because, well, a sordid past is no excuse for his actions.)

    I generally have the same feelings that you do about Paul being let off too easy for the jackass he acts like, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    @reynard Strangely enough, I like Paul because of how much of a dick he is compared to the other goody two shoes shown on the Anime and there's only so much of Ash being all "YEAH, LET DO IT" I can handle. Legality of his actions or not, his jackassness is my favorite aspect of him all things considered about the Anime. Not that I don't get where you're coming from (I totally read you) but the Anime would never concern themselves, being sugarcoated and all, with getting a Pokemon license revoked or other things you mentioned. Believe me.
    According to reynard, your prefernce for how much of a dick Paul is is quite a common thing. And the official license revocation or whatever isn't the issue. The great thing about fanfiction is that you can explore alternate roads of things happening, and create divergent storylines for how you felt the story should go.

    And as I said above, it's probably less of a sugarcoating problem and more of a "adult matters that don't make for a good story" problem. If you want a series where the characters aren't as goody-two-shoes as the anime, go read the Pokémon Adventures manga.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairy View Post
    Personally I think the biggest problem with fanfics is that it is full of newbie writers who mostly don't know what they're doing.

    I, for example, took a crack at writing fanfics myself, needless to say I had no talent for it and no business writing fiction but I still did it and that's the lure of fanfiction for newbies and even genuinely untalented writers like me.
    Everybody has to start from somewhere. You can't expect people to instantly have a talent for writing stories without practising that talent and doing things badly a few times to start off. The same applies to you. You may think, "man, I suck at writing, I should stop doing it", but if you really like writing fiction, then keep on doing it and you'll get better.
    Last edited by Zekurom; 4th June 2013 at 11:28 AM.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    If you want a series where the characters aren't as goody-two-shoes as the anime, go read the Pokémon Adventures manga.
    I read Pokemon Adventures (see my threads in the Manga sec.) but still when contrasted with the rest of the Anime, Paul is by all account hateable I don't blame reynard a bit but for me, his hateableness is what makes him appealing to me. But I guess I'm just weird like that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    If you want a series where the characters aren't as goody-two-shoes as the anime, go read the Pokémon Adventures manga.
    I read Pokemon Adventures (see my threads in the Manga sec.) but still when contrasted with the rest of the Anime, Paul is by all account hateable I don't blame reynard a bit but for me, his hateableness is what makes him appealing to me. But I guess I'm just weird like that.
    I see. Okay, then. Well, I have weird tastes sometimes too, just not that one.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    The sheer amount of mind-scarring fiction there is out there, ESPECIALLY for the Pokemon fandom. Makes the normal, sane stuff look bad. There was a particularly sickening one I read yesterday, starring Burgh, a Caterpie and a Sewaddle... that's all you need to know about it.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    If it co-starred Rule 34, then yes, we don't need to know any more than that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratelier View Post
    If it co-starred Rule 34, then yes, we don't need to know any more than that.
    It went further than Rule 34, and that's all I'll say about that.

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