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  1. #46
    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 zakisrage View Post
    Gimli is more important to the plot, yet he doesn't have as many.
    Being such a massive fan of classical fantasy dwarves, this greatly upsets me. I'd write my own, but I'm afraid that all I know about Lord of the Rings is hobbits taking a ring that makes people invisible to a volcano. :(

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

  2. #47
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabber Claus 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.

    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.
    I'm going to second this. I don't think it's the most annoying thing, but dry Journeyfics are very common due to the common nature of Journeyfics themselves.

    One must understand that this is only logical, however... When you play a Pokemon game, you create your own experiences with your own team. Think back to a time before you even knew what Pokemon fanfiction was. In such a time, what kind of story would you want to write if it was going to be about Pokemon? You'll write what you know, which amounts to a novelization of the experiences you had playing the game. It's "your adventure", and which is where almost everyone starts. The source material encourages this kind of action, and sets the template that is all too easy to begin with. And for that reason, I can't fault the fanfic community for doing such things.

    Lengthy description has also been an issue for me. To be honest, it's not a flaw per se. If a fanfic was to cover pages and pages of detail for a specific scene make me feel as though I were right in the middle of it and feeling every iota of emotion of every character participating, all the more power to them. But every so often I come across the kind of fic that winds up considerably shorter than the rest yet still manages to achieve the vividness of description or punch of emotion, and I wonder if all of the other lengthy fics I read could have been made to be more concise whilst covering the same purposes.

    Another thing that bothers me is TVTropes abuse. The existence and spread of that site has done a lot of make people aware of the works they create and consume, as well as identify the categories that the parts of the whole belong to. Tropes are not bad, as they say. However, I've had the troubling personal experience of seeing writers struggle with these kinds of categorization. I get thoughts from these peopel saying, "oh, where are the flaws to this guy? You need a definite flaw or he'll be a mary sue! But don't make him too flawed, you don't want another Shinji Ikari!". People lock themselves to these tropes and view things with definite borders, which is something that I feel boxes in the natural flow of creativity. When you construct things with TVTropes in mind, it becomes all too easy to place things around like discrete blocks. That is "abuse", in my eyes.

    These issues of mine may be closer to stylistic disagreements than technical faults, though. Keep that in mind.
    Oh?

  3. #48
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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.
    Try reading these articles on flow and pacing they helped me a lot with my problem.

    As for what I think to be the biggest single "problem" with fanfiction is well... the fact that it's fanfiction. I mean if we're going to look at it objectively, fanfiction is only fiction with borrowed concepts settings and characters, so the only possible problems it might face is a problem that has to do with what the writer did to make it in anyway different from the original.

    Let's use a standard pokemon fanfiction for example: classically a writer would start out just like the canon, whether it's based off of the anime, game, manga or whatever then the writer would begin to change the story, setting or characters to set the ground for an different plot. Alternatively, the writer might begin the story in a completely different way, using a different setting, different characters (OCs) and sometimes add different concepts, ex: pokemorph. In which case you could argue that it ceases to be a traditional fanfiction and could be more like an original-fanfiction hybrid.

    Now, putting aside marginal and general problems that are associated with writing of any sort (grammar, format, pacing, flow... etc.) the major, or 'single biggest' problem with fanfics has to stem form its origins, as in the fact that it is a fanfic. Of course, it should be noted that these problems were there from the start, and I believe that many have become better writers from there love of a certain franchise, which led them to writing fanfiction in the first place. Like all of us :)

    In the end it doesn't really matter what problems fanfiction itself may have, as long as we as writers can overcome the problems amateur writers have trying to begin writing, I believe that's what fanfiction is there for. An enjoyable entertainment medium that creates great writers.

    ... wow, it's been a while...

    COMING SOON!

  4. #49
    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
    Well, there you go. If it's not easy for you, what makes you think it will be easy for other people?
    Because we're all different people with different strengths and weaknesses?

    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 number of stories not featuring canon characters is overwhelming, so idk how they're like a breath of fresh air for you but okay.

    I would like to think that a May-saving-the-world is out there, somewhere, but I'm good at finding things and this has been a sidequest for me for months, so the odds are higher that it doesn't exist, than the odds that it does exist.



    ...and if anyone does find one, please oh please let me know. I'll draw you fanart.

  5. #50
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    The biggest problem I have with fanfics and, indeed, a lot of things is that they are predictable and rarely have a twist. I know it can be hard to think in several layers when working on a very long project like a fanfic when some I've seen can reach almost 60 chapters but I think it's important to still surprise readers and not reveal everything in the first few chapters.

    For example, I remember reading a fic (whose name escapes me) in which the Champion has a special ability to "become" the pokemon he's using, making it stronger and more agile simultaneously. He also had a grandfather who is part of a secret organisation who had recently died. This is all revealed in the first chapter. That's all well and good but the Champion says that he always wondered why there were strange men who came to visit his grandpa and why they were always doing strange rituals rather than the Champion being unsuspecting of his grandfather until (oh my gosh surprise!) it is revealed later and surprises him and possibly the readers too. Also in the first chapter, the Champion says that he has concerns about his "strange power" and that he is having headaches because he uses it too much. This is effectively making sure he cannot have a twist later on where he suddenly has a headache and wonders what's going on or some other such surprise.

    I guess what I'm saying is that good surprises in a long fanfic are hard to come by and if they happen then they aren't done well. People reveal too much too early on and it annoys me. It would be nice to see a properly paced, well thought out fanfic.

    EDIT: It may be important to note that I have read quite a few of the fanfics on the forums at the moment but not all of them. If I have, in my haste, missed out on a fanfic that does have a good surprise or two, let me know so I can read it and praise in that specific order.
    "This isn't the time to make hard and fast decisions, it's the time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere great. Fall in love...a lot. Major in philosophy because there's no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind and then change it again because nothing is permanent. Make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday, when they ask you what you want to do with your life, you won't have to guess. You'll know."

  6. #51
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    I don't really read any fanfiction, so I can't exactly contribute to this thread. However, something that really irks me is when people label original stories as fanfiction. I've never seen it here, but it happens all the time on another forum I frequent. I've seen a ton of topics entitled "An Original Fanfiction!", and if you ask the author what it's a fanfic of, they'll say something like, "It's about a girl who can turn into a cat!"

    It may be important to note that I have read quite a few of the fanfics on the forums at the moment but not all of them. If I have, in my haste, missed out on a fanfic that does have a good surprise or two, let me know so I can read it and praise in that specific order.
    I'd actually really appreciate some feedback on whether or not the twists in my fanfic are glaringly obvious. I have quite a few planned, but I'm not very confident in my ability to subtly foreshadow things and I feel as if I've given away too many hints.



  7. #52
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Sure. Your story is Plasma's Folly, right? I think I may have read a little of it as I browsed or something like that. I'll read some of it and message you to let you know what I think. Just as a note though, I've never seen anyone use the word transmogrification in normal writing before.
    "This isn't the time to make hard and fast decisions, it's the time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere great. Fall in love...a lot. Major in philosophy because there's no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind and then change it again because nothing is permanent. Make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday, when they ask you what you want to do with your life, you won't have to guess. You'll know."

  8. #53
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Lack of description is something that I do find to be a mark of amateurish writers, and it can make a story really boring. Uninteresting and cliched dialogue and characters are also all too common with badly written fics. Someone mentioned 'fangirl wank' as a problem which actually kind of offends me, personally. I would actually like to address that here as well.

    Amateur male and amateur female fan-fiction writers are actually pretty easy to tell apart without even knowing the author of a fanfiction, and having slash in the story actually doesn't have that much to do with it. They both have their typical pitfalls that are weirdly common. Obviously good writers tend not to have these problems, so I'm primarily talking about what makes a bad story/writer.

    Stories by girls: Stories by girls primarily focuses on shipping and romance, which is just a matter of taste and there is nothing wrong with it. Often there is an adventure too, but the real problem is going to be the 'twilight' style romance, i.e. an idealized male who is either perfect, or claimed to be perfect but the facts just point towards him being a jerk or a mannequin. The girl will also be simultaneously belittled ("I'm just boring and no one likes me,") while contradictorily she will be put on a pedestal ("You're so beautiful and perfect, I don't get how you don't see that, Melissa!"). This is the prototypical Mary-sue. Basically the story blatantly contradicts itself to the point of being sickening, and this is the most common mistake in female amateurish work. The deal with Yaoi is also a matter of taste, and a yaoi isn't inherently going to be a poorly written story, and the ones that are generally fall into the same mary-sue type problems as female characters do. The reason there is so much of it, is that most fanfiction writers are girls (or gay guys, interestingly enough), and more than that, girls who like anime. And a large percent of girls who like anime also happen to like yaoi. Therefore, a lot of fanfiction is yaoi. Don't blame it on the writers, it's hardly girls' fault that most guys who like het can't be bothered to write fanfiction.

    Stories by guys: Stories by guys tend to focus on epic, "Song of Ice and Fire"-style adventures. Which is great, I guess, a lot of people enjoy those sorts of things. Where amateur writers go wrong is a little harder to pin down than the straight-up Mary-Sue concept. I've found it's a dependance on tragedy to create interest. Basically every time the author thinks something interesting needs to happen in the story, it's going to be something awful and tragic. Someone is going to be brutally maimed, injured or killed or betrayed or something else. Such writers don't seem to conceive of the fact that interest isn't solely created by bad things happening to move the plot along. They focus so much on this that it can seem sort of ridiculous, especially if the source material isn't something that supports this kind of thing. It can also make the story so depressing and hard to read that readers straight-up lose hope that there will be any kind of enjoyable ending. Making things 'darker and grittier' is sometimes necessary in order to be logical or realistic, but when it doesn't match the tone of the source material, it can start becoming amateurish and un-enjoyable.

    Now, girls can also fall into the 'darker and gritter' pit, and a particularly 'girlish' version of this is turning a story into a soap opera or teenage horror story with unplanned pregnancy, drug abuse, suicide, cutting and every other thing under the sun that can possibly be jammed into a story to 'make things more dramatic'. Also males can fall into the mary-sue pit, making the so called 'gary stu', a character who starts out as ordinary ("I'm just a regular guy from nowheresville, USA!") and somehow almost effortlessly becomes a mutant-alien-prince-godling ("I will save the world and remake it in my image wiht my new found powers that I had all along!") with the powers of the universe. You'll notice that in the first case, the problem becomes fused with character relationships and 'teen-life' while in the second case, the male mary-sue becomes "epic" and has to save everything and the love interest isn't a big part of the equation, though she may exist as well as some perfect, pure girl that might as well be a doll, or an ass-kicking girl who just sin't quite as good as gary-stu and occasionally still needs to be rescued.

    And there you go. The bare-bones version of the primary problems I find in poorly written fanfiction. I could also mention a tendency towards making stories bigger rather than smaller and more character focused, but I suspect that's a matter of taste. Still, writing a big complicated story doesn't mean you're a good writer at all. Making a small, focused story meaningful and interesting is much more difficult.

    Official Claimer of the Pokemon Pumpkaboo | Official Claimer of the Move Trick-Or-Treat | Official Claimer of the Items Silph Scopeand Odd Keystone.
    If you like comedy, check out my fanfic "You Win Some, You Lose Some" (CHAPTER THREE UP!) | For some supplementary art, visit NG's Sketches 'n Stuff!

  9. #54
    Will Rip Titles 4 Money speedingbulletbill's Avatar
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Way, way too much unnecessary, unneeded, easily removable description.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by stickerstaryoshi View Post
    Way, way too much unnecessary, unneeded, easily removable description.
    I've been curious about this but I'm often unsure. Could you provide examples so I can see your point better?

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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 stickerstaryoshi View Post
    Way, way too much unnecessary, unneeded, easily removable description.
    I've been curious about this but I'm often unsure. Could you provide examples so I can see your point better?
    I mean purple prose. I won't provide exact fanfics, since I don't think negativity on other authors is allowed.

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

    I agree that that is annoying. Like when people describe a characters' clothing down to the last details when it doesn't even have anything to do with the story. I do not care if your character is wearing a yellow chiffon dress with a fit-and-flair style and a veep v-neck , or if your character wears trick-pants with neon green zippers that he saw at hot topic but waited and bought online because hot topic is stupid.
    AceTrainer14 likes this.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NoirGrimoir View Post
    I agree that that is annoying. Like when people describe a characters' clothing down to the last details when it doesn't even have anything to do with the story. I do not care if your character is wearing a yellow chiffon dress with a fit-and-flair style and a veep v-neck , or if your character wears trick-pants with neon green zippers that he saw at hot topic but waited and bought online because hot topic is stupid.
    Neither do I! And after a while, the writer ends up repeating himself because we hadn't heard enough about his/her Mary-Sue character's appearance.

  14. #59
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    Sometimes clothes are a little important, at least right when a character is introduced, since clothing can tell you a lot about a character, but yeah, we do not need every last detail of a character's bracelet or shoes or snowboard, or whatever, especially when said thing is probably an unrealistic item for said character to even have. Your sweet orphan with a tragic past whom everyone loves, and who lives on her own, conveniently without parents, cannot afford to shop at Bloomingdale's!

    Official Claimer of the Pokemon Pumpkaboo | Official Claimer of the Move Trick-Or-Treat | Official Claimer of the Items Silph Scopeand Odd Keystone.
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    Default Re: What do you find is the biggest single problem with fanfics?

    I don't read any more fanfiction, but I remember that one of the most salient problems I had with a lot of them was that they weren't really that well-written. At thirteen and fourteen, I recall mentally correcting the grammatical and syntactical errors of these fics while I was reading them, and by fifteen I just gave up entirely. Most were also pretty stale and failed to deviate from convention, and it gets boring reading the same descriptions of Pokemon, trainers, etc. really quickly. There were a few enjoyable ones, but they were far between.

    Then there was the whole problem of gratuitous swearing. A lot of the authors of the fanfics that I read often threw in a "fuck" or a "shit" where it was totally unnecessary. I was never entirely sure if it was just because they wanted to seem "edgy" or they truly believed it was needed. And then there was the morbidity that was almost always in poor taste, and some other things that I fortunately can't remember; however, I think a lot of this goes along with my claim that most of what I read wasn't that well-written (in my opinion).

    Again, take this with a grain of salt. Since I was about fifteen or so (I'm eighteen now), I've read absolutely no fanfiction, so I'm unaware of the current state of affairs in that field. I don't want to seem condescending at all, because I did read some pretty good ones. And I'm a pretty terrible writer myself, so I probably shouldn't talk about the quality of the writing.

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