Fanfiction Pet Peeves
So as not to take over the Randomness thread. In two parts cuz of the character limit; this is part one. XD In no particular order, here are my main fanfic annoyances.
1. Mary Sues. Now, I understand that a lot of people want their character to be the best at everything, but that just doesn't hold water in fanfic or RP for that matter. A Mary Sue will warp the whole story, and destroy the canon just so that she can be the best, get the boy she likes and defeat the enemies.
Not all original characters are Mary Sues, and not all Mary Sues are original characters. It's just as bad if you take a canon character and then grotesquely edit them so that they bear no relation whatsoever to their former selves. A character should also not be thin; if you give no details about them, just a name, age and power description, it makes them a cardboard cutout rather than a person.
2. Allergy to "said". It's normal to want to be creative when describing conversation, but "said" isn't really as bad a word as a lot of fanfic authors seem to think. It's OK to occasionally drop in another word, but honestly, people won't hate you if you use "said" a lot of the time. However, if every other word is a creative alternative to said, it makes the fic unreadable. Sometimes, all a character is doing IS saying something, rather than growling, hissing, screaming, yelling or muttering. Do not be afraid of "said".
3. Pairings gone wrong. Look, if you want to put two characters together, then please pay attention to detail. Would they even like each other? Would the personality of one allow them to mesh with the other? And, most importantly, can you keep the two characters as canon intended, without having to horribly edit them? If you answer no to any of these questions, then the pairing is not going to work. That doesn't mean at all that you can't put in a pairing not hinted in the canon, but it means that you've got a lot of work on your hands to make it fit. It's not good enough to throw two people together just cuz you think both are hot.
If you want to match a canon to your OC, it can be done. I've seen several fanfics where this works, and sadly, several fanfics where it's gone horribly wrong. The key thing you have to do is explain why the couple are together, what brought them together and why they stay together. You also need to do this without trampling over established facts, such as a character's prejudices for example, and editing the character in order that they like your hideous Mary Sue.
4. Rapefic. I hate and detest this with the fury of a thousand burning suns. No, I am not saying that you can't have rape as a plot element, but it can't be the whole point of the fic. This shows up in both het and slash, and most people can't write it effectively at all. I especially loath the plot where one character rapes another, which has the result of the victim falling in love. And not tortured, Stockholm Syndrome-esq love, but proper love. That is not realistic and is frankly insulting to rape victims.
Here's a link to an author's opinion of rapefic, which pretty much matches my own, and explains just why it's offensive.
5. Lack of attention towards grammar and spelling. While it's true that not everyone is perfect at spelling and grammar, you ignore them at your peril when writing a story and putting it out for the whole world to see. If you really can't spell or use grammar, then it's a good idea to get a beta to go thru your story and check for such things. Generally, betas are better off found online, rather than you appointing your best friend to do it. A beta can also check for faults in the story, such as lack of consistancy, and make suggestions on how to fix it.
6. Badslash. Emphasis on the BAD. Now, I don't have anything against slash as a genre. Done properly, it can be just as enjoyable to read as hetfic. What I hate is when people misuse the genre. Remember how in 3. I talked about bad pairings? Badslash is full of them. I once talked to another Naruto fan about character assassination in Naruto badslash. Her favourite character Deidara was a frequent victim of this; for some reason or another, a lot of badslash authors like to turn him into what is basically a girl with an XY chromosome.
I've seen badslash in the Streetfighter fandom do this too with certain characters; Vega is one of them. Look, the guy likes to perform assassinations, cagefight and kill bulls in his spare time. He's also hardly a girl, figurewise. If you're going to make a male partner in a slashfic a girl, then you should really consider ditching slash and writing hetfic instead. Also, when you're writing slashfic, there is no need whatsoever to either vanish all the girls inexplicably, or alternatively to turn them into nasty jealous harpies.
7. Purple prose. This does not refer to descriptive text; there is a difference. No-one is saying that you should only write in dull or humdrum text, but you can be descriptive without lapsing into sick making flowery text. Purple prose is so over extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. It is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated emotion to force the reader to think a certain way.
Here's a link that gives examples of purple prose and when descriptive text goes too far.
8. Lack of consistancy. If you're writing fanfic, then for the love of cheese, stick by the rules that the author has laid down. For example, in the Harry Potter fandom, there are far too many badfics where the author has her disgusting self insert be an American exchange student. America more than likely has its own magic schools, a canon example being the Salem Witches Institute.
Don't introduce creatures that don't exist in canon, for example adding in elves to Harry Potter and fairies to Lord Of The Rings. Don't, for god's sake, introduce technology to Middle Earth. And finally, don't tag on extra siblings that have no reason to exist at all, other than as a vehicle for your Mary Sue. That's just lazy writing. Arwen doesn't have a sister. Nor does Sasuke, who's entire family save Itachi was killed if you bothered paying attention.
9. Author notes. Especially if said author notes are shoved randomly in the story, breaking up the text and serving no purpose whatsover. If you must, then post an introduction at the start, before your story starts. Don't use it as a means to randomly post about how much you love your fans, have inane conversations with either yourself, your characters or imaginary people, or explain things like plot elements that you ought to have done so in the story.
Also, don't use author notes to essentially say, "shut up haterz!1!eleventy! Rowanna Mystick Angle Demetor is NOT a Mary Sue!1! Your just jelus!1" It doesn't help your case, and just makes you look extremely immature. If, in your reviews, someone has posted constructive criticism, then read it and thank the reviewer for bothering to give one. Take the advice on board; if you know anything about writing, you should be able to tell if your character is starting to veer towards Suedom, and stop it.
10. Mpreg fics. Unless it's canon that it can actually happen I think it should just be left the hell alone. There isn't anything funny or romantic about it, and a lot of badfic authors seem incapable of writing mpreg in a way that doesn't insult women. A lot of mpreg is also incredibly sexist and misogynist; if women exist in the fic, they're generally written as being nasty horrible people who shouldn't be around.
The biology aspect is what gets me the most tho. Science bit: men can't get pregnant. They don't have the necessary equipment to do so. They also won't magically grow a uterus and birth canal when needed. If you want your slash pairing to have children, then either they can adopt, or you'll have to have a woman involved to act as surrogate. Honestly, I've read a lot of mpreg and still the only plausible mpreg story I've read is the Norse myth about Loki and Svaldifari.
I absolutely hate it, hate it, hate it when you read about a main character (usually and OC) who everybody loves, it's unrealistic, everyone has people who they don't get along with and these darn Mary Sue's aren't even vaguely appealing. It just twists the whole fanfic into a blackhole of unreadable...ness.It also annoys me how these characters are the most powerful and yet they always managed to get kidnapped o.o
I hate the rapefics.... I dont find them funny at all. They're very offensive and esp. when it's over done. My girlfriend was raped so.. yeah.
And then the whole 'said' thing. I mean, it's not annoying, but I hate when it's over done. Like when a character is mad, I'm sure theres going to be yelling, the writer can be a little creative sometimes. :/
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.
I wasn't sure where to put it; I didn't want to put it in the story section, cuz it would only be wasted there and it's really for stories only, not discussion of stories.
Anyway, I certainly agree on those points; character derailment really annoys me. If an author has warped two canons in such a way as to make them unrecognisable, then they might as well write original fiction. It is entirely possible to write two opposing characters as being in a relationship; for example, I've seen a few good Draco/Hermione fics; but it does really take a lot of work and good writing to make it seem plausible. You can't just derail the characters so that they fit together; that's just cheating.
The worst fanfics ever seem to be either Harry Potter, LOTR or Naruto, at least, that's what I've found. It does seem to be mostly women who write slash, so it's kind of worrying to find women being so hateful of their own gender when they write female characters as being bitter, jealous harpies. Sakura especially suffers from this; I've seen a lot of Naruto slashfic where she ends up either being killed horribly, or outcast from the village just cuz she doesn't support a slash relationship that doesn't make sense anyway.
^My point. I mean, they go to school right? I'm sure their teacher has tought them to be creative and use others words. Anf if they want their fic to be perfect, ask a teacher to help them find different words or look them up.
Plus they surely must have been taught how to spell and how to use grammar, surely? I understand that people might be dyslexic or something like that, but then, that's what betas are for. And spellcheck, too.
I'm annoyed by any stories, fanfiction or 'original' fiction, where one or both men were originally straight but were so 'in wuv' that they change their sexuality in a heartbeat. -.-
Have any of you ever seen this? It's so annoying, especially when one is straight, the other isn't, and the g.ay one basically converts the straight one, or the straight one 'can't help' but fall for the devoted g.ay one.
No, no, and no again!
I just hate how most internet slash writers have no idea what a real malexmale relationship is like.
Not to mention the complete lack of research; not going into details here, but if you're going to write a lemon, you should be realistic.
A lot of slashfic does what I mentioned earlier; turns one of the males into a girl. That gets right on my nerves, as does writing straight characters turning g@y. Especially if one of the characters is forcing his attentions on the other one, who has been edited into a total wuss.
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