Log in

No account? Create an account
27 August 2006 @ 04:14 pm
Fic peeves  
I was reading a discussion on another journal about fanfiction pet peeves and it got me thinking.

There is a ton of bad fics in the world of fanfiction.  I guess that's part and parcel with the fact that many of the writers are young and inexperienced not just with writing, but with life itself.  This in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I have to wonder if some of these writers care about improving how they write.  So, let's see what it is that ticks me off when I read.

Marking separate sections whenever there is a flashback.  This really burns my bonnet for some reason.  The writer should be able to flow into and out of a flashback without having to let the reader know that what they are reading is, in fact, a flashback.  There should be no need to put a header *end flashback* to let the reader know.  It should be stated in the writing.  

I won't even mention the painful spelling and grammar mistakes out there.  Now, I am guilty of my own mistakes, but come on people, there are spellcheckers out there...use them!  As for grammatical errors, a forgotten comma is not a big deal, but when you have "could of" instead of "could have or could've" it makes my eyes bleed.  

Now, every fandom has it's own cliches out there.  It's like certain ideas just get latched onto and recycled through the mill ad infinitum.  I am guilty of one of more popular Gundam Wing cliches myself.  Trowa as a rape victim.  He has long been portrayed this way because of his withdrawn personality.  Just as Heero is often depicted as an emotionless robot or Duo as a drug addict and or prostitute.  I suppose their personalities lend themselves to these conventions if the author isn't willing to dig further or falls victim to the sensationalism these types of stories can generate.  As I've said many times before, rape is the most overused plot device out there.  It's either used to create tension, bring two characters together, or the most appalling- used as some sort of kinky sex.  

I sincerely hope that anyone who has read Hold Your Light or Power and Control and felt that I was falling into the usual fic cliches would tell me because that is my greatest fear.  Yes, I realize I have Trowa as a rape victim, but I'll tell you why I chose him and not one of the other pilots.  I relate to Trowa more.  If I, as an author, want to portray rape as realistically as possible, I need a character that I can feel comfortable writing as.  It really was as simple as that.     

This leads me to another peeve- feedback.  As much as I love getting reviews and hearing that people liked what I wrote, I like hearing what it specifically was that they liked.  Same thing for something they disliked.  Posting stories in a public forum does leave the door open for negative responses, but authors have to take that into consideration.  I have seen far too many immature authors fall into "flame wars" because they received feedback that wasn't entirely positive.  Constructive criticism is not a bad thing and if I want to improve as a writer, it is a necessity.  I just wish some of the younger writers out there would learn to accept it graciously.  

Anyone else out there have any fanfic pet peeves?  Drop a line and we'll discuss.

It's been raining here non-stop all weekend.  I love when that happens. 
Current Mood: apatheticapathetic
presser_kunpresser_kun on August 27th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Hmm . . . your peeves match mine, pretty much. But don't look for young ones to accept anything graciously anytime soon. It's not in their makeup.

evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on August 28th, 2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Oh, don't I know it. I shudder everytime I remember the fuss made over P&C. It just makes me want to grab these kids (dear lord, did I just say that? I'm officially old now.) by the throat and shake the stupidity out of them. But I'm not a violent person.

Goose Fra Baaaa...

Franfranwi on August 28th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
I wish I could write well, but any attempt I make falls short of my own expectations, and eventually I just give up. I admire the efforts others put into their work, though. I suppose a lack of effort annoys me. I can overlook spelling errors if the story is interesting, but major OOCness is intolerable.
evilkat_meow: Asami and Takaba- cigaretteevilkat_meow on August 28th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
I can overlook some grammar mistakes, but spelling is just inexcusable when there are tons of spellcheckers out there. And you're right, major OOCness when it isn't intended is cause to hit the back button immediately.

And don't sell yourself short. I read one of your stories and it was great. Writing is like anything else, the more practice you do, the better you get. I sometimes cringe when I read the earlier chapters of Light, but the newer chapters keep improving so I'm moving in the right direction.
Fran: Honey-Oops! (Ouran)franwi on August 29th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
I sometimes cringe when I read the earlier chapters of Light, but the newer chapters keep improving so I'm moving in the right direction.

Aw, I loved it from the start, though! But I know what you mean. I cringe at earlier chapters, then yank the whole thing. I don't have anything online other than a bleach challenge fic where Ichigo reads Ayn Rand, lol.

Someday I'll have to rework an old Fruits Basket series fic - sans those pesky flashback headers! ;)
evilkat_meow: froggyevilkat_meow on August 29th, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
Yes! Death to the pesky flashback headers!

And please do post more of your stories. I would love to read them^^ Ayn Rand? Eeek.
Fran: Sad Smile (PotC2)franwi on August 29th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
Yes! Death to the pesky flashback headers!

That will take some serious reworking on my part, but it sure would be better. I remember receiving a few "not another flashback" replies, and although they were good flashbacks and crucial to the telling of the tale, I think the way they were done was off-putting.

Ayn Rand? Eeek

LOL, that was part of the challenge, to slip in Atlas Shrugged. So Urahara turns Ichigo onto the book, which makes him question his own convictions. Somehow it all works out and Renji ends up with his pants down to his knees - it was all good. ;)
evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on August 29th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
Somehow it all works out and Renji ends up with his pants down to his knees - it was all good. ;)

Now that's what I'm talking about. ^__^
Jukeboxjukebox_csi on August 28th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
Ok, I'm guilty of the *flashback* *end flashback* thing. Unfortunately, I sometimes see it as a necessity as many readers might not immediately realize it's a memory or scene from the past. It could be that it's also very hard to write it such that it's obvious as a flashback without the headers/footers. Or, maybe I'm just lazy *grin*. I agree on the feedback thing. I don't mind constructive criticism at all if it helps me improve my writings or makes the story better (though I also wouldn't want the person suggesting to get upset if their suggested changes did not take place). What I have a hard time with are the comments "your story sucks" and nothing else. Most of the time, I laugh at those. How a person honestly expects an author to take those words and use them to "improve" the story is beyond me. *laughs* So I guess a peeve of mine would be if you can't say something positive or constructive, don't say anything at all.

Sometimes the cliche thing can get old, but I still tend to read them. Despite having seen the anime and reading a ton of fanfiction, I don't feel I know the GW characters all that well. I, myself, have never really clicked with Trowa as being a rape victim as much as I see Duo as one. From what I've gathered, Trowa was loyal to his captain & crew and anguished over his betrayal that caused their deaths even though it wasn't truly his fault. Duo, though, was a street rat which lends credence to his possibly being a rape victim or the cliched prostitute. But, I could be really, really wrong since I don't feel I know the characters all that well. I've read some very well done fics where they were both rape victims and Trowa was more in denial about it than Duo (acting like he had long overcome it, when in actuality he had not ever truly dealt with it).

I think a pet peeve of mine is changing tenses. Pick a tense and stay with it. If a story goes from a present tense to a past tense in the same paragraph regularly, it just gives me a headache.

I guess another would be concentrating on OCs in a fanfiction piece. I have no problem with OCs, but if I'm reading fanfiction (as opposed to original fiction), it's because I want to read about specific fandom characters. It's discouraging if the story spends an exorbitant amount of time on an OC and/or practically makes the non-fandom character the star of the fic. If a story calls for OCs, they should be secondary to the fandom characters I think. Or at the least, they should be so endearing that the reader wants to read more about them.
evilkat_meow: Takaba- sparkly eyesevilkat_meow on August 28th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
I suppose the reason the flashback thing bothers me so much is that, to me, having to tell the reader what it is that they're reading, defeats the purpose. It's almost like reading a script instead of a story, not to mention very jarring when you suddenly come to a header. My beta, the lovely Presser_kun, once told me something along the lines that you don't want the reader to feel like they're reading. The second they realize that their reading, then the magic is gone. I may not be the best writer out there, but if you want some help working on flashbacks, I offer any assistance I can give.

And yes, the "your story rocks/sucks" comments do nothing. I admit, I'm not a very good reviewer, but I always try to mention specific points to the author whenever possible.

As for the Duo/Trowa rape cliches, I think part of it has to do with their personalities. Trowa, being the more quiet, withdrawn member of the group makes him an easy mark for the "I've been abused so I can't get close to anyone" cliche. Personally, I think that Duo uses his outgoing personality as a cover for his inner pain, and I've seen this shared opinion many times over, but it doesn't always have to rape, drugs, or child prostitution. I started writing my stories with the intent to accurately show what would happen if these cliches were to really happen. And as soon as I'm finished with "Hold Your Light" and "Power and Control" I will probably never write about rape again. It's far too draining. I don't fault anyone for writing these stories and I have read some wonderful and believable stories with this particular theme. I guess I just want something new brought to the table then the tired old cliches. I could go on and on about this, but I'll spare you ;P

Changing tenses. I lump that one in with the spelling/grammar peeves. It's almost as bad as the author labeling each section by POV. I'm all for letting the writing tell the story and not the headers.

OC's yes, they should be used sparingly or be a believable character. None of this Mary Sue crap. Real people have faults and idiosyncrasies, so should the characters you write about...even the canon characters.

Eek, I said a lot.
Jukeboxjukebox_csi on August 29th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
lol naw, not a lot. I think papers could be written on the subject *grin* Thank you for the offer of help on the writing. I may take you up on that in the future, especially if I do anymore flashback scenes!! I've several stories in my head too that may need a helping hand periodically if I ever get to them, one a WK/X-men crossover though I feel the same about the WK boys as I do the GW boys (seen the anime, read a ton of fanfiction, don't feel I know them at all). Though I've written three GW fics, and have thoughts for a few more, there are soooo many out there it makes it hard to find a 'unique' idea in regards to that fandom.

I just finished reading Broken Jade over on GW Addiction and it was great. You read that one? It's a HeeroxTrowa that eventually becomes a HeeroxTrowaxDuo as 1 and 3 work to help 2 overcome what was done to him to turn him into a slave. The author went through a lot of trouble to research and try to stay 'real' with the mental and emotional aspects of the process of undoing the damage to the mind caused by the training. Trowa's role in the story in particular showed a lot of depth. It's an angst fest. And now I find myself seeking threesome stories more often, with 1x3x2 or 1x5x2. *waves Duo as uke flag* :^D

evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on August 29th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
That story is one of my favorites. In fact, just about anything Solitude writes is amazing. If I can get Light to turn out half as good as Broken Jade did, I would be thrilled.

X-men crossover with Weiss Kreuz sounds interesting. I've never attempted to write for WK yet, its one of those fandoms that I would like to try out, but alas, no time. Same with Saiyuki or Samurai 7...and so on and so on. So, would the Schwartz and Weiss boys be mutants in that?

As for unique ideas, I think you can take a similar framwork as another story, but it's really the characters and not the situations that drive the story. How they react to the enviornment you've set up is what will set it apart from other works.

And one of my guilty pleasures are threesome fics. I do love a good 1x2x3...well, anything involving Trowa will get me to take a looksey, but I will admit....*shyly waves Trowa as uke flag* But really, I love Duo and Trowa so much that I enjoy exploring them without any set uke/seme roles, but again...I can go on for hours on this stuff.

And the writing offer will be here if you ever want it^^
(Anonymous) on August 28th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
So... I guess I did stir up a crapload of hassle involving P&C... and acted pretty immature about it, too... but hey, being an immature young 'un is about learning right? I guess screwing things up on purpose can be thought of as a willingness to learn... right?

Eheh... I guess I've permanantly etched that sketch into your mind... that image you have of me when you wrote the journal entry. Well, all I can do is blush and give a little chuckle or two... I mean, it ended actually kinda good, right? No one got mortally wounded... so... umm... yeah?

(Scampers off)
evilkat_meow: asami- devil existsevilkat_meow on August 28th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Eh...
Yes, you did and I hope it was a learning experience for you. It certainly was for me. In the end, no one got hurt, but it really did make me aware of how much people are willing to say about someone they don't even know. What really got to me the most about that whole thing was not what they said about my story, it was what they said about me...the assumptions they made about me as a person. I didn't care one bit about how they nit-picked or carried on about how my characters acted, but when they started saying that I was some kind of sicko that got off on the subject matter, that pissed me off to no end. *sigh* I've moved on from that, no need to rehash.

You, you little troublemaker (and I mean that with nothing but love), did fan the flames, but the fire has died out. Just don't go starting any new ones please....at least not about my stories ;P
(Anonymous) on August 28th, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'muh gobbolin fan waver, yes I ahm...
Yeah, sure thing. Probably won't try annything too bold now that internet life's kinda quiet... but who knows what I might do in the future... (JK)

Blah, it pissed me off that they thought they could get away with talking about people like that in the open. No, not about stories, but about the people... thinking they're the most mature of all about it, too. Well, they had to do that to your fic and insult you... I had to crack. After all, nobody was doing anything to stop them... and hey, I guess I stopped further flames from going about WHR. Well, at least in that ninja thread of theirs. Eheh... who knows about what they say behind LJ, eh?

Lesson learned there is that sometimes you should really, really keep your opinions about others to yourself. I mean, having etiquette is a mature thing, really.

But it should be in the past, eh? I did a lot of things in advanced to turn it into a personal vendetta... and it's kinda funny how it seems no one caught it in the early stages. Blah, I don't fight unless I have something personal against someone...

And hey... I managed to get to know one of the people from Harry's a bit more. Zurizip, eh? Something's latched her onto the Academy... basically, we have converted her to Magic ^_^

One thing, I hope, is that some of them learned a few things from what happened.

Wow... kinda funny. Months after all the name calling and me getting stalked by my future gf at the time, stalked by a fellow coworker whom I invited along for the ride and I still get angries about all that, despite the fact that I consider the people at Harry's to be human beings. Eheh... when you really hate something, you tend to dehumanize. I think that dehumanization had a huge part in all the angries in everybody.

Anywhoo, I don't really care for the whole "flashback" thing. I think authors learn eventually... those who really have writing in their heart, anyways.

Blah, let them do what they want. If they people aren't embarrassed about their work, it's probably not that good. I guess that must mean Franwi's stuff must be quite good to read, eh? Say... don't suppose you could link me to her profile on ff.net or something so I can drop a few letters (maybe even whole parahgraphs!) of encouragement, eh?
evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on August 29th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: I'muh gobbolin fan waver, yes I ahm...
I know, I know. What they were doing in the name of "saving the world from bad fanfiction" was both deplorable and immature. I am grateful that because of the whole brouhaha they no longer use that thread to bash people. What they do in their own LJ's is they're own business and I leave them to it.

And when are you going to get an LJ? They do have free accounts, ya know?

As for my dear, Franwi, I read her story on her own LJ. I don't know if she's posted anywhere else.