04-11-2011, 06:01 AM
Great list, though shouldn't this be in Entertainment?
Especially agree with you on the part about bad slashfic. If you want to write about two male characters getting it on - sure, why not. That doesn't mean you have to turn every female character into a horrible, jealous bigot whose only purpose in life is to break your two loverboys up. Strangely enough, most of those fics seem to be written by girls (who apparently have a really low opinion of their own gender).
Anyway, although I don't read that much fanfic nowadays, I've got some points to add:
11. Bad metaphors and similes - Often a part of purple prose, but can occur on their own as well. Metaphors and similes are a great way to make your prose more engaging if used well, but there's nothing more jarring than reading a story only to come upon a figure of speech that makes you go "bwuh? what is this I don't even". Rule of thumb is, if you're only sticking a phrase in because it sounds cool (and you're not really sure what kind of mental image it's supposed to create), it's probably better to leave it out.
12. Bash/hate fics - I'm not saying that you should never mention a character's negative traits or write about a character if you don't like them. But if you do, stick to traits that they actually have. Turning the intelligent, scheming villain into a blithering idiot, or the pure-hearted hero into a puppy-kicking maniac, and then having them be killed painfully just smacks of pettiness and does not make for a very interesting story.
13. Character derailment in general - Covered in part by some of the previous points in Miranda's list, but I feel it deserves its own section. If you do not care about the author's original characterization at all and just want to use the characters as a vehicle for your own fantasies - stop. Step away from the keyboard. Go write original fiction or something.