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  1. #31
    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 Calliope View Post
    DC has a clearly-established multiverse in their canon. New Earth (or Earth-0) is the "primary" universe in which the comics take place, while various media adaptations and certain other stories fit into others of the 52 universes DC has. Therefore, both the Batman comics and the Dark knight trilogy are canon to their respective continuities.
    Still, this does mean that any interpretation that is consistent with at least one universe in the canon cannot be considered "out of character". Now, what happens when two characters from two different multiverses come together? Is either one of them considered out of character, or is it simply just one more alternate continuity, where "out of character" means nothing? Are only the "official" creators "allowed" to create alternate universes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calliope View Post
    Hey, DC at least has a more rigid and organized multiverse than, say, Marvel.
    I'm interested in the implications of this. Does this mean that there are some universes in which a Marvel character could legitimately be considered "out of character", in your view?
    Last edited by Zekurom; 25th November 2012 at 08:09 AM.
    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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    Once named, twice shy Regardlessly's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    The lack of stories featuring canon characters... without shipping.

    I just want to read about May going on save-the-world adventures, I dun care about relationship drama :c
    Kutomba likes this.

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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Poor characters. Especially main characters (canon or original) that lack cohesiveness, especially emotional cohesiveness. Unless a character is a robot or has been established as an absolute cold-blooded character (and sometimes even then they need to show some of the more powerful of the emotions, even if they're just glimpses) they should show emotions, especially sorrow, grieving, depression, angst and the other dark but passive emotions. I see lots of anger because it's easier than most and almost always has a character reacting in some way and driving a plot forward.

    I've read some really cool plot ideas in fan-fics, but sometimes the characters are absolutely flat and the plots suffer massively because of it. I would argue that most creative works, in writing more so than T.V. or movies, lives or dies by the strength of its characters, heroes, villians, and otherwise. Its hard to read (and care) about cardboard cutouts.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Regardlessly View Post
    The lack of stories featuring canon characters... without shipping.

    I just want to read about May going on save-the-world adventures, I dun care about relationship drama :c
    Maybe you should try your hand at writing one yourself. I'm not sure the target audience for such things is that big, and even when it is, it's usually Ash that gets the spotlight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    Poor characters. Especially main characters (canon or original) that lack cohesiveness, especially emotional cohesiveness. Unless a character is a robot or has been established as an absolute cold-blooded character (and sometimes even then they need to show some of the more powerful of the emotions, even if they're just glimpses) they should show emotions, especially sorrow, grieving, depression, angst and the other dark but passive emotions. I see lots of anger because it's easier than most and almost always has a character reacting in some way and driving a plot forward.
    Is this the only criterion for "depth"? That a character is able to show unhappy, passive emotions? Or is it simply the criterion that is violated the most? What other requirements are there, if any?

    I've read some really cool plot ideas in fan-fics, but sometimes the characters are absolutely flat and the plots suffer massively because of it. I would argue that most creative works, in writing more so than T.V. or movies, lives or dies by the strength of its characters, heroes, villians, and otherwise. Its hard to read (and care) about cardboard cutouts.
    In what way did the flat characters hinder the story? And what way would you have suggested to improve the story in such a general way?
    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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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    Poor characters. Especially main characters (canon or original) that lack cohesiveness, especially emotional cohesiveness. Unless a character is a robot or has been established as an absolute cold-blooded character (and sometimes even then they need to show some of the more powerful of the emotions, even if they're just glimpses) they should show emotions, especially sorrow, grieving, depression, angst and the other dark but passive emotions. I see lots of anger because it's easier than most and almost always has a character reacting in some way and driving a plot forward.
    Is this the only criterion for "depth"? That a character is able to show unhappy, passive emotions? Or is it simply the criterion that is violated the most? What other requirements are there, if any?
    No, it's not the only requirement, but it is certainly violated the most from what I've seen. Characters that have difficulty showing remorse or sorrow for a certain event should also have difficult expressing anger over the same. Or the expression of anger should lead to a showing of something like grieving because in real life these are often associated. Good character depth also requires a certain amount of backstory, don't a a whole heaping ton of it right of the back, just hints. Characters also need established patterns of behavior not something difficult to do in a single chapter or even a few paragraphs for a minor character and must not violate or act illogically to their design unless the author has done the work of slowly building a character toward that decision. There are more, but I can't name them all and some of them are preferences of certain readers but not others.

    I've read some really cool plot ideas in fan-fics, but sometimes the characters are absolutely flat and the plots suffer massively because of it. I would argue that most creative works, in writing more so than T.V. or movies, lives or dies by the strength of its characters, heroes, villians, and otherwise. Its hard to read (and care) about cardboard cutouts.
    In what way did the flat characters hinder the story? And what way would you have suggested to improve the story in such a general way?[/QUOTE]

    Plots should be more character-driven than Characters are plot-driven. There is of course some give and take in this. A natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or something of catastrophic level should certainly drive a character to hard decisions (ones keeping with their characters though). But afterward characters should react and drive a plot forward by their own actions.

    Like the Walking Dead where zombie attacks and the plague in general are the main motivating plot factors which help keep the characters moving and such, but when the zombies aren't attacking the rest of plot lines are developed because actions of the characters moving them along instead of them being dragged around on a plot hook.

    If characters are slaves to plots you start to feel like they're fish on the end of a hook instead of human beings, and that makes them harder to care for in any ways, it makes it harder to love heroes, cry for tragic events (if your that type of person), or even hate the bad guys.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    I've read some really cool plot ideas in fan-fics, but sometimes the characters are absolutely flat and the plots suffer massively because of it. I would argue that most creative works, in writing more so than T.V. or movies, lives or dies by the strength of its characters, heroes, villians, and otherwise. Its hard to read (and care) about cardboard cutouts.
    In what way did the flat characters hinder the story? And what way would you have suggested to improve the story in such a general way?
    Plots should be more character-driven than Characters are plot-driven. There is of course some give and take in this. A natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or something of catastrophic level should certainly drive a character to hard decisions (ones keeping with their characters though). But afterward characters should react and drive a plot forward by their own actions.

    If characters are slaves to plots you start to feel like they're fish on the end of a hook instead of human beings, and that makes them harder to care for in any ways, it makes it harder to love heroes, cry for tragic events (if your that type of person), or even hate the bad guys.
    Personally, I use a plot-centric development method to my stories, introducing plot first and then deciding how the characters act or react. This doesn't mean that the characters are pulled along a fish-hook, but I do let the plot develop my characters, rather than deciding how to develop my characters first and building the plot around that. I find that it works better for me personally, and it was how I wrote this story here.

    And does it have to be a catastrophic event that changes a character? Can't the situation simply develop slowly? You seem to think of the character as a rigid, unchanging entity that must exhibit a perfectly consistent reaction to every event that happens to them, not allowing the plot to make them different at all.
    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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    Once named, twice shy Regardlessly'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
    Quote Originally Posted by Regardlessly View Post
    The lack of stories featuring canon characters... without shipping.

    I just want to read about May going on save-the-world adventures, I dun care about relationship drama :c
    Maybe you should try your hand at writing one yourself. I'm not sure the target audience for such things is that big, and even when it is, it's usually Ash that gets the spotlight.
    I think about it, but I've never been able to visualize a decent plot for a story like that.

    I think the target audience might be bigger than you expect, in re: to non-shipping stories. Who wouldn't appreciate a breath of fresh air?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Regardlessly View Post
    I think about it, but I've never been able to visualize a decent plot for a story like that.
    Well, there you go. If it's not easy for you, what makes you think it will be easy for other people?

    I think the target audience might be bigger than you expect, in re: to non-shipping stories. Who wouldn't appreciate a breath of fresh air?
    My idea of a "breath of fresh air" is stories that don't feature canon characters except in ironic roles. There are many people writing save-the-world stories for canon characters; perhaps you simply haven't found one for May yet.
    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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    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 Regardlessly View Post
    Who wouldn't appreciate a breath of fresh air?
    Everybody, apparently.

    My real father lost his head at King's Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong. ~ Theon Greyjoy

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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Personally, I use a plot-centric development method to my stories, introducing plot first and then deciding how the characters act or react. This doesn't mean that the characters are pulled along a fish-hook, but I do let the plot develop my characters, rather than deciding how to develop my characters first and building the plot around that. I find that it works better for me personally, and it was how I wrote this story here.
    Well, that true and it is a good way to write. I know and have worked with many plot-centric writers. Many have helped with my own writing because I tend to lack good plots in terms of flow. If I sounded like that's the wrong way to write than I made a mistake in tone. It's certainly not, many authors, especially male authors geared toward suspense and action style work are mostly plot based authors. Characters in plot based stories tend to be different, but not bad, though sometimes they suffer from a cookie cutter syndrome, which is fine if its written well enough anyway. Characters suffer in those kind of stories if they're disregarded.

    I'm a bit more a character driven author, so I prefer to start stories or ideas with a character, who stands out to me in some ways, and I try to find a way to address them with the plot and either change them in some way through it or use the plot to showcase the character in a way I want them to be seen, which means generally, because I focus on characters so much, plots get fuzzy, obscure, or sluggish. Its a give and take and takes a long time to master. Like Pokemon! You can be all out attacker or a supporter, both have their direct advantages and weaknesses, the trick is learning balance.

    And does it have to be a catastrophic event that changes a character? Can't the situation simply develop slowly? You seem to think of the character as a rigid, unchanging entity that must exhibit a perfectly consistent reaction to every event that happens to them, not allowing the plot to make them different at all.
    It doesn't have to be a catastrophic event. It can be a slow, small process to change a character, in fact many of those work the best. My best example of that would have to be the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings, especially Sam, Merry, and Pippin, because they begin the stories as normal, hungry, rather ADD hobbits, with more questions than sense. But they over time transform into brave, spirited, heroes and warriors. Sam, you could argue, was THE hero, because without him, Frodo wouldn't have made it, and Merry and Pippin become very cool, and very different characters than they were at the beginning. But it took three huge books for those changes to occur. If they had transformed in the Mines of Moria than it would have happened way too soon. Their changes were hinted and foreshadowed throughout the stories as well.

    Catastrophic events are good for causing quick change, or mistakes, and also for propelling a character through a plot, especially if by nature you want to write about a character who isn't necessarily heroic, like hobbits for instance. Catastrophic as well, doesn't necessarily means Wraiths in the Shire or a bomb going off, or an ancient enemy awakening. It could be dwarves for dinner and an invitation from a wizard to go on an adventure, or any other event that demands a character to make some sort of choice.

    I don't think characters shouldn't change, in fact they must for a story to be a good story, but it must be consistent and organic. The worry-wort should stay the worry-wort throughout unless you go through the work of changing them, they cannot simply become the optimist because it's convenient. The novice will remain a novice unless they are trained, if they are trained however then of course they should change and improve, though it should be to a degree, and not totally complete but there of course exceptions. And a character can be inconsistent, but they must be consistently inconsistent.

    I realize I might sound like I'm talking in circles a little bit. If I am let me know. Thanks for talking though, I rarely get to talk about writing anymore.

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

    My biggest issues are mainly the changing of a character's personalities. Yeah, if you have an OC in like the pokemon universe or something, go for it, but if you incorporate characters already there, they need to have the same personality and background, yeah, I get it the personality can change but it's usually not explained WHY it changed. The background issue is a big deal for me too, they were given a set background by their creators, so keep it that way. The only exemption I allow to this is if you've already written something about someone's background in your fanfic, which hadn't been discussed before, and the original writer comes out with a book or episode or movie that contradicts your statement, you didn't know that was going to happen, and you already wrote it, so don't change it.

    Another issue is inserting OC where they don't belong. Like an example that was given earlier in this thread, a tenth character in the Fellowship of the Ring. They don't belong there and they never will, J.R.R Tolkien was an amazing writer and knows that your character didn't belong there so he didn't put them there.

    Yet another thing that irks me is shipping characters that don't belong together, which is one of the main reasons why I have SUCH a problem with the Susan/Prince Caspian thing. In the original story Caspian was Edmund's age, slightly younger, and was NEVER interested in Susan, but very interested in Lucy. Or Sherlock/John Watson from BBC's Sherlock, no matter how much the fandom wishes is, those two will not partake in any Yaoi, at least not with one another, that's just not their relationship, nor in their original characters as written by Sir Aurther(or however his name is spelled) Conan Doyle, which BBC does an excellent job at following and merely modernizing.

    The final big issue is when they only focus on the main, or popular characters in a series to write about. A prime example of this is Ash. Ash is the main lead in the pokemon franchise that receives most of the attention of Fan fics and Fan art, even Though all the other leads in the Pokemon Franchise are awesome too, like Red, Blue, Green, Yellow(Who cross dresses to save the day in her story line, what else could a (cliche)fan fic writer want?) Gold, Crystal, etc. Those guys are AWESOME(especially Red) but they receive little attention.
    Last edited by Rosezero0; 5th December 2012 at 10:33 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    I don't think characters shouldn't change, in fact they must for a story to be a good story, but it must be consistent and organic. The worry-wort should stay the worry-wort throughout unless you go through the work of changing them, they cannot simply become the optimist because it's convenient. The novice will remain a novice unless they are trained, if they are trained however then of course they should change and improve, though it should be to a degree, and not totally complete but there of course exceptions. And a character can be inconsistent, but they must be consistently inconsistent.
    All you've said is good advice for doing a single continuity. In such a case, a character acting "out of character" is simply writing the character inconsistently, which should be avoided. What I'm talking about, however, is more like alternate interpretations of characters, in alternate interpretations of a story. Some people believe that if a character is acting differently from how he or she does in "canon", that it is a sign of bad character writing, even if the character is consistent throughout the story. As they say, it distracts them.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    I don't think characters shouldn't change, in fact they must for a story to be a good story, but it must be consistent and organic. The worry-wort should stay the worry-wort throughout unless you go through the work of changing them, they cannot simply become the optimist because it's convenient. The novice will remain a novice unless they are trained, if they are trained however then of course they should change and improve, though it should be to a degree, and not totally complete but there of course exceptions. And a character can be inconsistent, but they must be consistently inconsistent.
    All you've said is good advice for doing a single continuity. In such a case, a character acting "out of character" is simply writing the character inconsistently, which should be avoided. What I'm talking about, however, is more like alternate interpretations of characters, in alternate interpretations of a story. Some people believe that if a character is acting differently from how he or she does in "canon", that it is a sign of bad character writing, even if the character is consistent throughout the story. As they say, it distracts them.
    What if, say, one writes a story based on the Black and White games and incorperates characters from the Anime's canon like Trip, Georgia and Stephan?

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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    [QUOTE=Zekurom;4493653]
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroctar View Post
    I don't think characters shouldn't change, in fact they must for a story to be a good story, but it must be consistent and organic. The worry-wort should stay the worry-wort throughout unless you go through the work of changing them, they cannot simply become the optimist because it's convenient. The novice will remain a novice unless they are trained, if they are trained however then of course they should change and improve, though it should be to a degree, and not totally complete but there of course exceptions. And a character can be inconsistent, but they must be consistently inconsistent.
    All you've said is good advice for doing a single continuity. In such a case, a character acting "out of character" is simply writing the character inconsistently, which should be avoided.
    Yes, exactly, and this is what I see in a lot of fan fics, with original characters, canon characters, or original canon characters. They are not stable or consistent, and its an issue that can be fixed with some extra work and diligence and can do wonders for any piece of writing.

    What I'm talking about, however, is more like alternate interpretations of characters, in alternate interpretations of a story. Some people believe that if a character is acting differently from how he or she does in "canon", that it is a sign of bad character writing, even if the character is consistent throughout the story. As they say, it distracts them.
    If a character is canon and supposed to be original as well than that's fine even though its a bit of an oxymoron. I don't like stories like that for personal reasons, I prefer takes on canon characters as they are displayed in canon, with creative liberties taken, but not changing a character at the core. Like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, certain liberties where taken but the characters at the core where still the same as Tolkien created them. But if you want to write canon characters differently, as sociopaths, unstable, whatever, is fine. That's the author's freedom and it's awesome. Yes, sometimes I find it distracting, but I can handle some distraction, but its harder to handle hypocritical characters. But if you can write an original canon character that follows the rules a character should then more power to you. I'll read it and enjoy it.

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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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosezero0 View Post
    The final big issue is when they only focus on the main, or popular characters in a series to write about. A prime example of this is Ash. Ash is the main lead in the pokemon franchise that receives most of the attention of Fan fics and Fan art, even Though all the other leads in the Pokemon Franchise are awesome too, like Red, Blue, Green, Yellow(Who cross dresses to save the day in her story line, what else could a (cliche)fan fic writer want?) Gold, Crystal, etc. Those guys are AWESOME(especially Red) but they receive little attention.
    One could easily take a look at FF.net and compare the amount of fics that characters have. For example, in LOTR Haldir has a lot of fanfics, though he is only a minor character. Gimli is more important to the plot, yet he doesn't have as many. Although one can often find a writer who writes for unpopular characters.

    I would say that as a rule for popularity in Pokemon fanfics:

    Anime - most popular
    Games - in the middle
    Manga - least popular

    This goes hand-in-hand with the level of recognition by people who aren't Pokemon fans.

    Sometimes it depends on the website. LOTR fanfics on websites that only focus on Tolkien's works are usually based on the books, while LOTR fanfics on FF.net are equally likely to be inspired by the movies. Even fanart isn't immune because characters look different in the books and movies - compare the artwork of Faramir on Elfwood to the artwork of him on DeviantArt. (Faramir looks different in the books. In there, he is dark-haired and beardless - he looks nothing like David Wenham. Quite a few Tolkien websites have artwook based on the books.)

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