Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Many Sins of Fanfiction: Part 1

Have you ever liked a book, movie, or show so much that you were sad to see it end? Have you ever wanted to see more of those characters, perhaps in new and exciting situations? If so then fanfiction might be a good outlet for you.

Fanfiction is fiction written by fans of a movie, show, or book using existing characters and/or situations to develop new plot. These works can range from the mundane to the extraordinary, and anyone at any writing level can create them. Unfortunately, that means there comes a point where you will encounter bad fanfiction. 

I myself have had run-ins with it on many different occasions. So I decided it would be fun to make a "Many Sins" post about it. I labeled it as just the first part as I'm sure I will come back to this subject again in the future. And so, without further ado, here is the first batch...

Sin Numero Uno: Bad Writing

I personally feel you should have a basic grasp of whatever language you are writing in before you actually attempt to write. It is extremely irritating to click on something that has a decent premise only to find the story to be littered with errors. I'm not talking using the wrong tense occasionally, or the wrong two (to? too?). I meen righting lyke this, ohkay? It isn't hard to click the little spell check button. So PLEASE USE IT! Otherwise I'll get twitchy, and immediately stop reading.

Sin Number Two: Bad Dialogue

Similar to the first, but not the same. This one is easy enough to avoid. Just read your dialogue out loud. If it doesn't sound like someone would actually talk that way in real life then chances are you need to reword some things. Also use moderation. There's nothing worse than like hearing someone like speak like this like they're a freaking like ditsy like person! Like. *shudders*

Sin Number Three: Bad Plotting

So you've killed a character off. Good for you! That jerk deserved to die! But... you really liked writing his character. You miss being able to put him into situations where he gets to sass at everyone in a thirty mile radius. He was fun. So you decide to bring him back. Yay! Except bringing him back doesn't make sense in the story. But, like I said, you miss him. So you do it anyway. Sure you have to make up a convoluted reason as to why he was able to come back from the dead, but your fans won't mind. He's a fabulous character! Who cares if it seems forced! To hell with sense! 

Except... it does matter and people do care. It doesn't matter how awesome a character is, or how awesome a story is. If things start to teeter on the edge of what the frickity frack was that ridiculousness then you are in serious danger of losing your followers. The thing with any plot idea is that there has to be at least some semblance of believe-ability. Otherwise there is a disconnect, and the last thing you want is your followers to disconnect from you and your work.


Those first three deal with bigger structural issues of fanfiction. These next ones however are sins that I consider to happen out of pure laziness.

The Sin That Comes After Number Three, Also Known As Number Four: Extreme OOCness

 OOC means out of character. The reason why I say extreme OOCness instead of just plain OOCness is because as a fan writer you will always, ALWAYS make the characters from your fandom a little out of character. After all you were not the one to originally create said characters so it's not something you can help. The characters are also going into situations that you can only guess as to how they might react.

The key here is that you have to try. Mind you the rules are a bit more bendy in an AU (alternate universe), but you have to at least get a basic grasp of what the character is like, and then try to figure out how that character would react in certain situations. If you are making a fanfiction where the main guy character is the strong and silent type then it is not okay for you to suddenly break character for him and make him into a gigantic crybaby just because he stubbed his toe. Just like with bad plotting, if your rendition of a character is not in some way believe-able then your followers won't buy it, and they certainly won't continue on with your story.

The Fifth Sin: Gender-swapping

There is a right, and a wrong way to gender-swap. It all depends on your reasons for doing the swap in the first place. Unfortunately the main reason people use this idea is because they are uncomfortable writing the character(s) with their normal gender identities. You usually see this with people who want to write romance between two characters who are of the same gender normally, but are uncomfortable with the idea of writing two guys or gals getting together. So they switch one so that there is only one guy and one girl.

I could rant for a long time about why this one bothers me, but I'll spare you the dramatics. Hopefully it's obvious why this one gets people into loads of trouble, and if not... well whatever. On to the next one.

Sin Number Six (The Last Sin... For Now): Nicknames

I can't stand this one. It just. Uhg! So annoying. Now I'm not talking about using nicknames that sound good and would make sense for a character, nor am I talking about using a nickname as a tool to be irritating to said character. I'm talking about a continual use of a nickname instead of a character's given name that makes very little if no sense what so ever. Want some examples? Well let's see... in the Avenger's fandom I have personally seen Tone for Tony Stark, and Lokes for Loki. As you can see both character have four letter names so what is even the point of nicknaming them? I've also seen in the Merlin fandom, people using Arty for Arthur, which no. And the worst I've seen so far (again from the Merlin fandom) is Merls for Merlin.

Again, it's obvious as to why this one is a sin, and if you don't see as to why it is then I'm afraid there is no hope for you.

And so ends The Many Sins of Fanfiction: Part 1

I hope you enjoyed yourselves. Be on the lookout for another part in the future.

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