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This is a journal entry for my Follower Friday journal set.
 
  While they're definitely popular works of fiction, reader insert stories often have a negative image in many writing communities. If you're reading this, you probably know I'm a reader insert writer as well.

    Today, I'm not necessarily defending these types of stories as a form of literature, but instead, I'd just like to hear peoples' opinions on them-- why you like them, why you don't, or what you would change about them-- and share my own. I'd really love to hear some arguments as to why you may dislike them, but I ask you do so in a polite and constructive manner with your fellow commenters!

    I'm going to start by outlining a couple common arguments I've heard opposing reader inserts, some of which I agree with, and some not so much.


1) It can be weird that you're being told what to do.
    This seems like the make or break factor at times as to whether someone likes reader inserts or not. I think one of the most important things in reader inserts is to remember that despite being a bit of a fictional escape, just like any story, you want to aim for realistic reaction and dialogue. Would characters actually react this way? Would an actual person react this way? An alternative is writing in 3rd person POV, but even sometimes, people don't like reading them-- fair enough.

2) Mary Sues and Plot Clichés
    Yes, the reader is often portrayed as a Mary Sue, and yes, it's definitely hard to develop a personality for a character who is different depending on who is reading the story-- what's the perfect balance between too vague and too specific? I do agree that there are waaaay too many stories where the world revolves around one character and everyone in their lives is working to ship them with whoever they're paired with. However, I think there are a lot of Mary Sues and Gary Stus in normal fiction and honestly, even famous works of fiction-- they just happen to be more prevalent in reader inserts as someone's "ideal". I don't think this plagues every single reader insert, but can be painstakingly common.

3) Lack of Creativity
    
This probably relates to my last point quite a bit, and of course, there are two sides to this as well. People seem to naturally copy what is successful-- what comes to mind is how some DreamWorks movies are eerily similar to Disney predecessors (A Bug's Life then Antz, Finding Nemo then Shark Tale, etc... I think Shrek was a DreamWorks masterpiece even though it's meme'd so much, but with some other movies I can't help but notice similarities). However, people also like to take "reader insert" quite literally, and they actually rewrite a canon scene but just with them in it, like competing in the Triwizard tournament with Harry Potter. That being said, there are some clichés that I absolutely love (and will probably write a journal about soon), and plot copying isn't the worst thing you can do, but c'mon, I'm sure you have a billion more different ideas in there! It does suck reading through the same stories over and over again, but I think once again, it's a matter of how many you have to look through.

4) Reader Inserts are Self-Indulgent
    
I have two words for you-- you're correct. Everyone has their reasons for writing, but I find a common path for reader insert writers is reading regular fics then wanting to be a character in them. Or at least, I started writing reader inserts because I loved the characters and imagined myself interacting with them, which evolved in trying to make a relatable character that others could use as well. So this may not apply to everyone, but hey, you're literally inserting yourself into the story, so I'm not really against this argument.


    Just like other works of fiction can be bad, reader inserts can be some of the cringiest things you read in your lifetime. Each "type" of fiction definitely has its own problems (for example, shipping wars or dislike of shipping in general), and these are some that are definitely common with reader inserts. Believe me, there are a ton of tropes that I've seen in reader inserts that make me roll my eyes so hard, and there are probably many in my own stories that others find overused or poorly done as well.



    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think these opinions are quite popular among the reader insert community and many would agree with them. Therefore, I'd really appreciate hearing some that disagree with any or all of these points, and why!

    At the end of the day, reader inserts are a guilty pleasure for me, and simply another way to enjoy the fandoms I'm in. I don't think I'm a super skilled writer-- rather, this is just something I do for fun, as I like to imagine myself in the world of whatever fandom I'm writing about. I believe that in general, everyone has a right to enjoy whatever they want so long as it doesn't harm others. Everyone has a right to dislike certain types of stories as well! But I don't think it's right to discourage someone from expressing themselves in a healthy and creative way.

    Reader inserts are a fun, daydream-y way to escape life for a while and imagine yourself in your favourite universes. They allow people to express their love for and get involved with particular fandoms.

And everyone deserves to be able to do that, don't they?

Skin by SimplySilent
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:icongreenwolves:
Greenwolves Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I would agree with everything you said a couple of years ago, but I definitely think that the reader-insert community is evolving.

I mean, I have never seen this much creativity and diversity than nowadays (here I am talking like a granny). Like, four years ago? It was really what you depicted, apart from a few fics, but now, wherever I go, I stumble on numerous jewels! What "people" (well, the ones who don't like fanfics) may object were true most of the time before, but now a very large portion of the writers and their works have really become better and sadly, only the clichés that you mentionned are remembered outside of this community. I wander a lot on DA, Wattpad, AO3, and all sorts of medias where people share reader-inserts, and the difference from a couple years ago is REALLY noticeable.

So hey, let's search for new standards under which we can create without shame! ´ ▽ ` )ノ Really, if I would love something to happen, it would be for readers-inserts to gain a legitimacy amongst other forms of amateur writing. Why not?
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
That's a really good point that hasn't been brought up yet! I definitely see a huge improvement in both the community and myself from around 3-4 years ago as well, so I think that's a great thing. You're right, the frequency of seeing the typical "bad, cliché" fics that are infamous has definitely decreased from then, even with more writers emerging, and it's only natural that such a writing community evolves. However, I think there is still a lot of stigma in the type of fiction like I outlined above-- these are things I still hear around, though you're right, not as much.

I think the improvement of the community is a great thing to witness and I'm glad you pointed it out! Thank you so much for the comment! <3
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:icongreenwolves:
Greenwolves Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, yes, these stigma still exist, and probably will always exist, as long as people write reader-inserts.

Oh, but there's one I can't agree with though, because I don't see how it could be different than any other form of expression: are reader-inserts really self-indulgent?
I mean, more than OC writing? Or any other form of art really. Sure, one puts oneself in the fic and create a story around that character that is supposed to represent them but hey. It's basically the same for the "non reader" characters. I have never heard of a writer who created a character who has absolutely no common trait with them, or any relatable trait at all. Even a villain, it does not have to be the hero. Every character holds a part of the writer, in all the ways possible.
As we plainly state that it is "us", "me", interacting with already existing characters. However, even the already existing characters that we use in our reader-inserts come to belong to us, even a little, and even for a short while, as we make them live in our text. They go from "someone else's character" to "kind of a shared persona". Hence, how different is a plainly stated "me" character evolving with "almost" our characters (for the time of the writing), with not "us" character evolving with people we fully created?
To some extend, I think it is the same. No, in fact, I fully think it is the same in essence, although the real difference resides in how the reader (the real person) will feel about it. Will they imagine as themselves literally, or as a person halfway between them and an original person who holds at the same time their traits and the writer's traits? And how can we say that something so great is a bad thing? Being so self-indulgent, so obvious is something that lies in reader-inserts only, and we should treasure that unique way of writing and reading, instead of trying to be like the other forms of writing. If reader-inserts exist, that is for a reason. Not everyone has the same, but in the end, being self-indulgent is what a reader-insert means. And the consequences of it are not to be jeered or laughed at, but appreciated.

I don't know if any of my words make sense though, I feel like I've just blown everything in a horrible messy way. xD

Long story short, what I mean to say is, that every form of writing is a way to put a piece of ourselves in something external to our sole body and mind. Reader-inserts are just a more obvious way to place that part of us in the text. 
So if reader-inserts are self-indulgent, then all writings are. And the fact that reader-inserts are so evidently self-indulgent is good, not bad, because of all the things that comes from it. That's what I want to say.

did I just get emotionnal about a guilty pleasure?
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
Yeah, I feel that as well haha.

Okay, that's actually a really good point you bring up there! I do think first of all, that being self-indulgent isn't necessarily a bad thing-- we're so used to a culture that doesn't encourage a ton of self-care (maybe on the surface, then the same people criticize others for caring too much about themselves and not every other issue), but you're right, in that sense, all other writers are writing for themselves. They just have a different way of living through the characters-- through other characters, rather than a reader. Reading can get you lost in a fantasy world, so you're right

I think the source of this argument stems from extremes; that is, those fics that are arguably not very different than some rudimentary OC fics. I think it comes from overdescription-- for example, "you have blue hair, hate wearing dresses, and are not like the other girls" (in which case I'd say that's a self-insert, but to avoid making things complicated, I would just say it's a reader insert as well, lmao). This does go back to your first point from a previous post though-- I see a lot less of that kind of reader insert now, so once again, these perceptions come from past images.

Anyway, assuming that I'm getting the gist of what you're saying, I don't think self-indulgence should be shamed, especially not to this degree (there are bad forms of self-indulgent in which you take away from someone else, but this isn't like that at all).
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:icongreenwolves:
Greenwolves Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, I get what you mean I agree with it. In the end I'm just kind of sad to see that reader-inserts are almost only judged with those extremes (makes me think about the way gamers are seen really xD).

Let's just hope that slowly, outsiders will understand how good can reader-inserts be and how much deeper it can be than simply putting oneself in a world that already exists! Heart Heart 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018
Yeah true, people tend to categorize things into stereotypes and look at things the only way they've learned them, so it takes a long time to change community perceptions. I have definitely seen a TON of improvement in the community these past few years, agreed, so a shift usually follows after that!

Yeah, exactly! It's a super fun experience and good for the imagination! :D
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:iconfrappe7:
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018
I gotta say, yes a lot of them can be cringey. And its kinda silly to make a big deal of it and call out that writer for a harmless story.

If people dont like reading, then they dont have to. They should move on. Find another XD

So far i do enjoy reader insert stories if written well and with a good enough plot. My standards for it arent that high. To me, alll that matters is that i enjoy it.

And i have respect for people who take the time to write creatively 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
I really like the points you bring up! I don't believe in leaving negative comments or personal call-outs, and while I personally enjoy constructive criticism, I don't post it myself unless the author asks. Honestly, these are really just my opinions from being in the community for a while but really, I don't think anyone should have to listen to me-- if they like what they're doing, then they should rock it!! I'm hoping this can serve as somewhat of a reference for maybe someone who wants to take their writing to the next level and see the common complaints surrounding these types of stories... but at the end of the day, you're right, people should just be able to write what they want to write.

Thank you so much for your comment! <3
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:iconfrappe7:
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018
No prob! I do enjoy these kind of discussions! 
Writing a story and posting it for everyone to see takes guts because then u are making yourself vulnerable to all kinds of criticisms
That's something I respect because at least they are doing something creative and harmless in their time rather than whine about stuff like they are better than everyone else (such is what the trolls and jerks online do)

I also agree with u in that u dont give constructive criticism unless the person specifically asks for it
To forcefully give ur opinion to someone who doesnt want it is an arrogant and self serving thing to do. Because sometimes i dont think they are trying to help but rather, at times, they just wanna show off that they know better :D I think the key is just knowing how to communicate effectively. However there are still some butthurt sensitive people out there who wont listen to logic even if u do communicate properly as best u can
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
That's great to hear!
And yes, definitely true with anything you create-- I feel like at times, I take that for granted because it takes a lot for some people to put themselves out there, and it's really brave!
And on a side note-- I hope my journal doesn't come across this way, it was more to just see both sides but hopefully shed some light on how reader inserts are similar to fanfiction but often get the brunt of criticism. Either way, you're right, I think people should be actively encouraged. If people don't like a story, they don't have to read it!

Yeah, that's very true in a lot of cases. I do personally like criticism because I think you need it to grow and improve, and it helps you to step outside of your comfort zone. However, I do respect if people don't want it right away, as it took me a long time to gather up the courage to face criticism as well-- people can do it at their own pace. Yeah, there will always be some really negative people but I think being encouraging is a super powerful and helpful thing! :D
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:iconfrappe7:
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2018
I like that you are keeping an open mind while writing this journal. Some people tend to be too aggressive when it comes to their opinions and that can lead to petty fights.

Yes, some people think that just because someone posted something online it grants them the right to give criticism right away even though the person didnt ask for it. 
Regardless of motive or how much a critic wants the artist to improve, they should also learn to respect that artist's wish.
And if a person is not ready for criticism, they should note that somewhere in the description or disable comments if they must. Because people will likely criticize. People do love talking about their opinions :D
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018
Thank you so much! Yeah, I don't mean for this to come off as a "you MUST do this" guide so I'm glad it didn't come off as too much of that, but rather kinda just trying to see both sides of the coin as I write a ton of reader inserts and these have been my personal experiences. And being in the community for a while, I see a lot of the same kinds of fics with mistakes so I hope this just makes some people think a little but it's almost like you have to go through some of that to keep improving!

Exactly... it's definitely pretty brave to put work out there. And that's a good point you bring up-- it's when people are ready for it, fair enough. I do love criticism and opinions though, it's very uncomfortable to go through at times but I think it makes an artist or writer a lot better when they are able to use it. But that's something you learn in time!
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:iconfrappe7:
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2018
Yep! I'm open to criticisms and i dont recall ever being upset with someone because of the criticism they gave my drawing. In fact, I always take note of them and try to improve in those aspects they pointed out!
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2018
Exactly, that's awesome! I get what you say though when some people just simply don't want criticism for whatever reason, which I agree, is okay and should be respected!
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:iconhaikyuubbys:
haikyuubbys Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Ahh I think like a lot of other people, it really bothers me when I see comments on reader fics that are like "I'd never do something like that" since it's impossible to generalise actions in a way that it encompasses everyone, and if you don't give the reader a bit of personality, it'd be really difficult to even write a story with enough substance. And the extremely shy reader also kind of gets annoying since there are a lot of fics like that! If it were only a few, I wouldn't mind but - oh boy there's a lot of them alright (':

And I feel kind of embarrassed to tell people that I read/write reader insert fics?? I remember once I was going through my countless number of screenshots and my friend was looking over my shoulder when suddenly I come across a screenshot of a reader insert fic that I liked. My friend said in this sort of judgemental tone, "xReader?" and holy I was so embarrassed omg. Even with one of my other friends who's super open-minded about things, I always feel hesitant talking about this topic with her, and I guess one of the main reasons why I don't like sharing my writing with my friends is because I mostly write reader fics nowadays. Also I wouldn't like it if my friends think I write/read reader fics because I want to imagine myself in the scene with the characters (though there's absolutely nothing wrong with the self-indulgence - I just don't like it when the reasons why I do something are assumed and also incorrect lmao) - I more so enjoy reader fics because I'm a sucker for fluff/angst/everything with fictional characters lolol and for some reason I don't really like OC fics (even though a reader insert is similar to an OC fic - I'm not too sure what makes the difference for me). 

Also with the cliches oml - I love cliches, I'd totally write them myself, but of course, after a while it gets a bit boring when it's just the same thing over and over again? Even adding a small twist makes a huge difference because it's always fun to see how authors reinterpret the cliche and add their own spin to it, and a lot of authors on dA do add their own unique flare to a trope so I don't often get bored of it! A common idea I've seen around a lot is when the author begins the fic by making it super fluffy and cute with the reader describing their love for another character, and at the end, the author hits the audience with the reality where the person reader loves doesn't actually love them back (and they love someone else instead rip). There are so many different ways to write this idea, but one I see a lot is the wedding trope! I love reading these but sometimes, I come across fics where there's no new twist or no new idea that makes it a bit different - I remember one I read a while ago added the red string of fate to it, so that was something I really enjoyed. But then again, if the writing is amazing and my heart gets wrenched, I have no complaints lolol

On another random note, it's cool of you to come out with a new journal every week where we can have some sort of discussion! It's always fun reading everyone's opinions about a topic (and it's also fun spending way too much time writing about my own opinion lmao) xx
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
Very true, I think there's a such thing as being way too specific, but that's when it's more like, "you, the reader, have blue hair, love Fall Out Boy, and think preps suck", and it has no bearing on the story. But just because the reader ordered a certain drink? Yeah, no. Definitely too many shy, helpless readers. I don't mind people being shy at all, it's more just that there's too many and I think they mistype shy people as being just socially helpless and cute and in need of saving and I don't feel that!!

Omg don't even worry, I'm in the same boat as you-- this is a more private aspect of my life as well. And as for the OC fics... I usually see myself in reader inserts so OC ones get too specific to the character, personally!

Love certain clichés, but yes yes yes! Small twists for sure can make a HUGE difference. I love café ones, but I've seen too many of the reader being this frazzled, workaholic girl with sweatpants, a laptop, and hair in a bun, then the server sits down with them and gets their number. A lot of them are really well-written! But I still want a twist on that, haha. Good call with the wedding trope lmao, but yeah totally feel ya.

Aw, thank you so much! I actually really appreciate that a ton... not every week is opinion week but I do have a directory right on my profile! I really liked hearing yours and I'm glad you like to read the comments as well, so thank you so much!! <3
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:iconhaikyuubbys:
haikyuubbys Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Ahh that's true - it's always important to remember to never include too many unnecessary things in the story if they don't play an important part! And shy people can be strong and independent too mhm

I would just go and hide if one of my friends ever found my dA oml. Actually I remember reading a few fics where the title said it was xreader but it was actually an OC fic instead rip

Omg who doesn't love the cafe trope?? :D Reading a cliche that's beautifully written is always nice, but it's still so much more pleasant to read when there's a twist that makes it a bit different! 

Ahh it's my pleasure! I always look forward to these journals xx
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
For sure! And I'm very outgoing, but I find shy people are some of THE most strong and independent people I know! I don't mind shyness at all, it's just that writers make them helpless and useless and everyone falls in love with them. Give me a bit of struggle, but also some character, ya know???

Ahaha I feel! And like, it was straight up an OC? I know someone had an issue with one of my stories where they said it should've been an OC story but I really disagreed; it was based on a request and the details were necessary to the plotline. But I know some are just straight up an OC fic, that's weird how they would label it as a reader insert.

And exactly... some are always just comfortable to read, but I want more that are risky and creative! Something that makes me look at things differently! To each their own, though.

Ahhhh, I'm excited that you're excited! :D
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:iconhaikyuubbys:
haikyuubbys Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
That's definitely true! It's so frustrating that so many shy characters are also characterised as helpless agh. I'm not necessarily shy but I am quiet around people I don't know well, and I am absolutely not as helpless as some of those characters oml

Ooohh I see! Yeah, sometimes you really do need to add that more detail to the story but as long as it doesn't go overboard, it should be fine. As readers, we should also be a little flexible when reading reader inserts, but I've come across a story where the reader was already given a name by the author?? A problem like that is relatively easy to fix though so I hope the author made the edits, or removed the xreader label.
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018
Yeah, exactly. And actually you bring up a great point, a LOT of people can be so middle ground-- quiet when meeting new people, and need to get comfortable with their friends.

That's definitely a challenge in reader inserts-- the balance between too vague and too specific, so honestly I congratulate people who are always able to pull it off, but it's a learning process! And LOL yeah, those ones where they're like, "Your name is Nina Smith and you are a 3rd year... blah blah blah." I'm like LOL girl it's you as your OC or something feel free to write it as such ahhahaha
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:iconhaikyuubbys:
haikyuubbys Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Ahh that's also something I relate to! This guy in my grade asked my friend if I even talk around her (and my other friends) because I'm sometimes so dead quiet lolol

Omg yep I've definitely seen those sort of fics around! It's not that difficult to put "OC" rather than "reader" ahh. And I see that kind of writing style in reader inserts too ("You're a shy, quiet girl and you have a crush on [character]") where the author just - directly tells you everything rather than showing it. 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018
Ahahaha, exactly. There are different types of shy-- for example, reserved unless with friends, anxious around anyone in general, plain secretive because they're hiding something, etc... so maybe that's why I dislike "shy" readers. Obviously with reader inserts you have to generalize the reader to some extent, but there are so many more "shy" personalities you can give them that will actually FIT with the story if you want them to be shy and give reader some real personality without making them too specific, either.

Haha, so true-- it's not like everyone doesn't already know it's an OC story, LOL. And you summed it up perfectly with that classic writing rule-- show, not tell. ;)
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(1 Reply)
:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh boy, this is certainly something i can talk about. 

personally, i love reader inserts bc i daydream during almost every point in my life when i'm not focusing my attention on something else. doing the chores? daydreaming. walking somewhere? daydreaming. car rides? daydreaming. boring classes when i'm meant to be paying attention? ...daydreaming. and 90% of these daydreams are about romantic (occassionally platonic) relationships with either fictional characters or people half way across the world that don't know i exist. i have full plots in so many alternate realities and storylines, i'd probably be a great x reader writer if i actually decided to sit down and write one. reading reader inserts is just another way for me to daydream about these characters, but for me to not necessarily know exactly what's gonna happen next or be able to control what happens. also, i just daydream/read a lot bc im really fucking lonely and i scare off or befriend everyone irl.

reader traits matter a lot to me. not necessarily "i wouldn't order a caramel latte" type things, i just roll with those (although, i do get slightly annoyed when the reader puts on makeup/wears dresses/wears heels etc bc i personally hate those with a passion, but i kinda just brush those off and pretend i'm wearing something different instead or just whatever) but more so the personality of the reader. i'm quite an adaptable person, so more often than not i can relate to the reader, but theres one thing that puts me off every time. the whole "i'm shy weak and useless and a nobody but my crush finds it endearing and attractive". like i understand a lot of people on the internet are shy, and sometimes, pushovers, but i just find it so annoying! like when the reader is being bullied and they just feel bad about it and mope and stare at their feet like no if that was me i'd snap right back at em and roast em so hard they would need some aloe vera for that burn, don't fuck w me. if there's some creep tryna harrass me in a gang au you bet your ass i'll kick him straight where the sun doesn't shine. if a dude won't leave me alone at the bar and is being really annoying and jerky i'd stick up the bird or even slap him if he tried to touch me. readers gotta be more aggressive!!! your man aint always gonna be there to save your ass!!! fuck damsels in distress!!! also the "i'm so shy i can barely even talk to him" i know once again some people are just too shy and i get it but not everyone is and they just seem so feeble and helpless im like??? girl grow some BALLS like if he says hi don't drop all your shit and stutter just say hi back it's really not that hard. i don't expect readers to be able to comfortably roast their crush like i do but come oooon. guys like girls with an actual personality??? i mean, obviously i can't really speak for guys bc im not but i like girls and shy girls can be cute yeah but im not gonna be completely swept off my feet with a mary sue that has a personality of a sock. another similar, HUGE peeve of mine is when the reader has the biggest emotional breakdown and sob story about their ex and is sulking for weeks. like i get its sad but honestly?? fuck that "what did i do wrong" "i miss him" shit, if my jackass cliche ex cheated on me i wouldn't wonder whats wrong with me i'd be like "well fuck HIM and his unloyal, lying stank ass, i'm fucking glad he's gone i hope he gets hit with a bus." i'd grab some friends and go out and distract myself and have a fun time. i guess what im tryna say in this whole rant is READER INSERTS NEED TO WOMAN UP AND NOT LET MEN TRAMPLE OVER THEM EVERYWHERE AND BE SUPER RELIANT ON THE CHARACTER YOURE BEING SHIPPED WITH. BE A STRONG INDEPENDANT WOMAN. this isn't even about me being a feminist anymore its just me wanting at least slightly more accurate reader inserts and less super annoying characters that are impossible to relate to bc im not that weak. it's my number 1 self insert pet peeve apart from shitty grammar and formatting.

you dino, don't really do this with your readers, but in reader inserts as a whole its way too common and i h a t e it.

cliches...i say i hate them, and i really do, but well written cliches that i saw from a mile away still have me squealing like a japanese schoolgirl okay. if its well written then so be it, it gets tiring after a while but its the same with any ship fic honestly. obviously realistic plots are highly, highly preferred, but i don't mind cliches half as much as i used to, although i wont look for them.
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
Ah yes, I think I'm a daydreamer as well so I can see where you're coming from on that! It's almost like someone's writing a story just for you, haha.

And LOOOLLL omg okay I'm not going to have a super long response for that but believe me when I say that rant was awesome and you're not bothering me with long-ass post so please continue if you'd like hahaha, I really did enjoy that. I totally agree; while it is hard to give readers a personality, it seems like SO MANY readers are just way too cliché shy/weak/etc. and give the character no reason to fall in love with them then all of a sudden every character in the universe finds them cute and wants to ship them with their crush or whatever. I feel like that may have been something I did in the beginning, but I do try to avoid that now... it makes me gag more than it makes me go, "awww, cute"! And yeah, waaaaay too much self-pity there.

Yes yes, totally fair! Personally a sucker for the café AU lmao. Yeah, I like ones with twists on them usually, but still, definitely manageable.

Thanks for your comment! I hope you are able to write a reader insert one day! <3
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah, exactly!

okay but like ugh i also hate it when they do that...the "everyone likes me for NO REASON" like hoe do you really think you're that irresistible like booooooooooooi wyd if so many ppl like you its gotta be for a legitimate reason, not just "oh they're so pretty...and nice...i'd die for them" like pretty and nice isnt the only thing ppl look for, people like a sense of humour, a PERSONALITY hsdjkkjsk and if youre tryna ship the oc with only one character, there is no. point. in. making. other. characters. like. them. bc personally i find jealousy rlly unattractive bc it feels like restricting and like what if you were poly? idk i just really like the idea of poly lol but poly or mono jealousy isnt usually a healthy thing like gosh its so annoying, and when all the characters like the reader its like but what if i like some of the other chars too?? ill have to read myself turning them down??? b r u h

ok cafe au gets me every damn time, guilty as charged

you're welcome! i might but i wanna focus on actually writing stray first lololol (i have like 40+ ref sheets to make first s a v e   m e)
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
LMAO I know, and it's like, "Reader doesn't look like all the popular girls but she's unconventionally attractive and when she lets her hair down... gasp! Sexy librarian! Everyone bow!" Hahahhaa obviously an exaggeration but it's as if the only "bad" trait about reader is that she's shy, which is NOT a bad trait!! But then the "shyness" is never awkward, only cute!! It's infuriating!!!

Ahaha true on that point, I do like reading some where it's a bit of a love triangle and seeing the romantic tension, but you're right, maybe there should be some more poly fics!

And ahaha don't even worry, I feel! You definitely have a talent for the ref sheets, so it's why I requested from you and not a lot of other artists I've seen! :D
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
god that’s so true!! and another thing, they make this reader really stubborn when it involves doing some humble act like dying for someone or risking her life and nobody can tell her otherwise but when she’s getting picked on or perved on?? silent. no reaction. let the, have their way like hoe that doesn’t add up?? and in more nsfw fics it’s like wow they’ve said like 2 words this whole series and awkwardly looked at their feet they’re so sExY like wtf

love triangle and romantic tension is one thing, jealousy is completely different. especially when it becomes possessive and unhealthy and people tag it as romantic.

ah, thank you! i know I said I’d get it done within a few days but I’ve been busier than I originally thought rip but I have done the lines and colour, just gotta do the rest of the sheet now that the bulk is out of the way~
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018
LOOOLL omg so true, making a character self-sacrificial can be interesting but really done wrong a lot of times to the point where it's annoying and not touching... ahaha.
And LOL I know like man, I get sometimes usually more quiet people can have this air of elegance around them (thinking Shimizu from Haikyuu) but that's because she has a ton of other traits that make her endearing like her strength and intelligence, not just because she's helpless lmao.

Oh, so true. It creeps into Yandere territories and while I don't mind those fics and the people who read them, it shouldn't be portrayed as romantic or ideal, you're right.

Omg don't even worry about how long it took, it turned out so AMAZING and this weekend I will re-organize my profile to feature it! <3
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
honestly now it’s just boring rather than touching bc you know they’re gonna magically survive it somehow or be resurrected or someone else will die in their place. i wanna see a main character that chooses their own life instead of sacrificing themselves, maybe then dedicating a large part of their life to swear vengeance. that would still make a good protagonist without overusing the self-sacrificial troupe. oh wait, i will see it, im writing one.....eue

ah shimizu is great (from what i remember anyways lmfao) but yeah it’s not that shy/quiet people = bad characters it’s more like shy/quiet people + literally nothing = bad characters.

yandere fics are a fun read imo not romantic but just interesting, and that’s fine honestly as long as people know that it’s not romantic or “hot” hdjsksksk that’s just disturbing

awh im honoured :,D
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018
LOL yeah exactly, it's like the element of originality has been taken out of it with an asspull, lmao.
And there's a character like that in my favourite series, Hunter x Hunter, and I think it's portrayed really well there-- I'd love to see what you're writing with that, then! Totally agree that it's a fresh spin on things and would make me root for the character more... and be more upset if they fail their mission or die!

Oh 100%, in another journal I actually discussed that maybe what I dislike about "shy" characters is that there are SO many other possible shy characters to use yet it's "cute" to choose that one. For example, someone that's shy because they're keeping a lot of secrets, someone who's reserved with others but very loud with their friends, someone who's just anxious about what people think of them all the time, one that's been told their jokes suck before so they don't like to tell them... THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF SHY PEOPLE. So it sucks when people use the cookie cutter cute and helpless one when their characters can be so cool!!

Yeah honestly definitely don't mind them, but shouldn't be romanticized like they are sometimes, I agree.

<3
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(1 Reply)
:iconobviouslies:
obviouslies Featured By Owner Edited Jan 26, 2018  Student Writer
The thing I like to keep in mind while going through reader inserts is that, although all those points are true, people have different tastes and are also at different points in their life. I, for one, actually have a strange thing against reader inserts written in first person, like for no real reason. My hypothesis is that for reader inserts, even if written in second person, I imagine a character there who is not me, just a stand in for me. Like there she is, miscellaneous girl with X and Y personality traits. Aint she doin' fine. But once it's in first person I'm like ??? me?? idk her

And yet, for the same reason, someone might like things written in first person better. Me! That's me! Yes!!! And they'll have a great time. Opinions are strange, fiddly little things. And I mean--I too once enjoyed seven minutes in heaven and hetalia *ve~ time skip ~* so who am I to judge. We were all that kid once, and honestly, probably also that author once. The Mary Sue/Gary Stu OC is almost the rite of passage for new writers, that one character you loved so much they were just omnipotent in all regards. And then comes the overused situations, the cliches, the 'for some goddamn reason the character doesn't look both ways before crossing the road and baBAM there they go', because they're easy to write, and easy to conceive. And self-indulgent. Love me some good old self-indulgence. I take a bath in it every sunday. But all those things I look at and gurgle my way out of immediately are just another step on an author's path to improvement. No matter how nasty.

Still, I try not to wallow in my own self hatred too much. Humble origins don't mean forever servility. One day that author, me or you or anyone else, will look back and, if all went well, will be able to laugh. Like, check that out kids, I sucked! Look at the abomination!! Look it in the eyes!!! It's utterly disgusting!!! Now look at this, look at what I just did!! It sucks LESS!!!! I'm so happy!!!!!!! For some reason I wanna say yehaw!!! Screw it!! Yehaw!!!! I improved!!! 

And that's a good feeling. Feels kind of warm and fuzzy inside. We all come from somewhere, but if all goes well, hell, if we self-indulge just that little bit more, one day we'll be able to look back and not be embarrassed by it all. This was the truth. This was my origin. I should despise it. And yet, I guess that with enough time, with enough patience and practice and persistence, anything becomes the good old days.

Because look how far we've come.

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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
Really like that first point-- very fair! I can't say I enjoy first-person either, but you're right, there are some people that do and it definitely comes down to personal preference and how many you've read. And no matter how cliché a story is or how bad, some of it is almost a rite of passage. Like, you have to write some clichés and start improving while getting into reader inserts. And you bring up a good point in the sense that it's part of improvement-- I don't believe at all in leaving nasty comments-- and while I don't mind constructive criticism, I personally don't post it unless the author specifically asked for comments like that.

Oh for sure, I feel like in the future I'd almost want to post ones I've cringed at of my own and what I learn from them?? But I think this is a great place to improve skills in writing, and hopefully for the most part, a positive community in doing so. Everyone will have their own opinions of things they like and dislike, so I think the best thing is to continue writing what you like, no matter if anyone sees it as good, bad, or anywhere in between!

Thanks for the comment! <3
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:iconwordopoly:
Wordopoly Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
These are all definitely fair points, and painfully correct in some areas aha. However personally myself the 'reader' has never been me, but my oc that I've had for well over a decade, Peyton. Her character is flippant and whimsical by nature, so she slots in well with writing, as her moods are forever changing situation dependent. 

I merely write reader inserts cause I enjoy writing, and it passes time. It was also the first and only place I let anyone ever read my writing, though I have kept a lot of my original work away from public sites, I have uploaded once or twice a few older pieces. I don't even let my friends or family read my writing, so it was a big leap for me to upload anything on here, and doing the reader inserts was a whole new style of writing for me that I'd never done before. It was merely something to try, and turned out I liked doing it. 


Mary Sue's and Gary Sue's I tend to find are more common in newer writers, though sometimes it sticks for longer, and make for painful reading at times -_-' 

As for plot copying and cliches, well, it's difficult to be original these days, but I like to see people who put their own twist on things, and who doesn't love the occasional cliche? Aha! 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018
Ooooh, that's super interesting! I think that most of the time, I try imagining myself, but good reader inserts I find are the one that actually enable you to do that. Some are okay to read but just don't pull me in, so I don't feel immersed in a story. So it's cool to see a bit of a different viewpoint on that with OCs.

Oh, that's so cool! Out of curiosity, have you ever tried just straight up fanfic or even just OC fics? And did you like them better or worse, if so?

Yeah lmao, definitely something that happens when people starting out. Definitely like twists, gotta agree with you on that, and hell yeah, there are a ton of cliches that I could read for days haha.

Thank you for your comment, I really enjoyed reading it! <3
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:iconmirror-of-roses:
Mirror-of-Roses Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with the others saying that writing a reader insert is similar to writing an OC story. I used to write with OCs and now that I think about it, the process of "creating" the reader and the OC are pretty much the same. I still have to think of the character's talent/weapon/something specific to the universe I'm writing for, and I still need to write them a certain way (like the personality and mannerisms) to make them relatable somehow. That said, there's always a chance of making a Mary Sue, reader or not. 

While I try to be original with my ideas, there are many stories I get inspiration from, so I end up writing something similar because that's all I can think of at the time and I'm itching to write a story. It happens, intentionally or not, with any type of fiction.

I also think it's pretty obvious that reader-inserts are self-indulgent, I always thought that was the whole point of them. I imagine myself as a character in a universe, so I write a story about it. I've never thought there'd be another reason to write or read them.

Reader-inserts are one of my guilty pleasures, too! I don't think I'll ever tell anyone I write or read them, yet I share them online :| (Blank Stare) 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018
Ohhhh, that's so cool how you have that perspective! And exactly, it's a fine line to balance relatableness to vagueness; being overpowered to bland... it's definitely an art in itself, at times, and I think it's actually really cool! You don't want your reader to be TOO bland, but not unnecessarily specific.

And that's totally fair-- do you have any idea how many cafe AUs I've written, or soulmate ones? There are going to be cliches even in regular fic-- it's trying to sometimes put a spin on them that can be good for an author.

Oh, 100%. I used to just write stories in my notebooks about me and either favourite characters or some of my classmates, lmao. Not an unusual thing to do! You're not alone on that, don't worry hahaha!

Thanks so much for commenting, I really enjoyed hearing your opinion! :D
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:iconmirror-of-roses:
Mirror-of-Roses Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
You’re welcome! I like hearing your take on them as well
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:iconobscurephoenix:
ObscurePhoenix Featured By Owner Edited Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I definitely agree with Fate's comment. Reader-inserts are more like nameless OCs with varying personalities from fic to fic, depending on how the author writes the story. I think one of the things that throws most people of is feeling like they're being thrown into a story, and I can't blame them; after all, people have different tastes, but I think there's something special about reader inserts that's hard to capture in other stories: an interesting type of immersion. In one of my classes, we were talking about second person point of view (and this really divided the class, surprisingly). There were people who hated second person, which is fine, but those in favor of it admitted they had a type of "fluid identity" when reading that made it so they'd have an easier time going along with the flow of a story. I think a large part of it is if someone has a "fluid identity" or a more "rigid identity." That's just my personal observation, though. 

Whenever I explain reader-inserts to someone for the first time, I liken them to a first person video game where we don't know much about the protagonist. Whenever I play these games, I think, "Okay, I'm going to go here for A, then here for B" and not, "Okay, the protagonist is going to go here for A, then here for B."

Points two, three, and to an extent, four, can be applied to all other types of fiction as well. They may run rampant in reader-insert fanfiction, yet from what I've seen, they're equally as rampant in other genres, points two and three specifically. Mary Sues, plot clichés, and lack of creativity aren't just bound to this specific genre. Four is a little harder and, admittedly, yeah, might be the core or a strong appeal of reader-inserts, imagining that you're interacting with your favorite characters. However, from my perspective, this can also be applied to other fiction and media as well, especially with named characters that are like blank slates. Let's look at some harem series for example, in how quite a few main characters are there for the viewer to project themselves on to. 

And yeah, I definitely agree with Fate when they say, "People who get overly picky over a reader-insert and point out things such as "that's not my favorite color" or "that's not something I would wear" kind of irk me because reader-inserts are not revolved around the reader; they're revolved around a nameless OC created in a sort of way that can make a majority of readers relate with them." Those comments--"that's not my favorite color" etc--get on my nerves, too, mostly because I feel they're nitpicky.

Anyway, I get super passionate about this topic. I went on a whole rant there, sorry!
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018
Wow, are you a psychology major or an english major? Because that was a really cool point. That's actually so interesting how you talked about it in your class as well-- I feel like I had a eureka moment when you said that. Because sometimes it feels like reader inserts, you either love them or you hate them. And that could be THE factor in determining whether or not you like them! And that's a really good example that I'll have to use in the future-- of course you sometimes wanna be the main character in a story! ;)

YES, that's the thing-- a LOT of these can be applied to regular fiction, but seem to be tacked onto reader inserts only at times. There can be good stories and bad stories and everything in between with any type of fiction you read.

On my other journal, I mentioned that I think too many blanks to fill in are actually more distracting! Like, having F/C as favourite colour, F/N/A/C as favourite North American country, F/D/F/D as favourite dairy-free dessert... ok LOL obviously exaggerating here again, but I think those serve as a distraction unless they're completely necessary to the story. People get so up in arms about wearing a red dress, eating an apple... but that's way too nitpicky. I think it keeps a lot of the professionalism and makes it polished to just have something named if it's just a random tidbit.

Don't apologize-- that's why I posted this journal, after all! You're so insightful and amazing as always, so thanks for contributing and I look forward to your comments on future journals! <3
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:iconobscurephoenix:
ObscurePhoenix Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I'm glad it made sense! I wasn't sure if it came out jumbled compared to what was in my head.

I completely agree. Blanks like F/C or E/C pull me out of a story immediately, which is why I never use them. I think the blanks are designed to make reader-inserts feel more immersive, but from my experience they're usually unnecessary and counterproductive. The clothing Reader wears usually doesn't bother me because I don't really picture it as I'm reading (I actually have a hard time consistently visualizing scenes in a story. I can visualize some scenes but it doesn't happen constantly); the only issue I'd have with clothing was if it was unrealistically impractical. That issue I have with it, though, is just me being me. 

D'aww, thank you! I love responding to your journals because they provide interesting talking points that don't typically arise in the community! 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018
Nah, definitely makes sense. It was actually something I was thinking about the other day-- what is THE factor that seems to make people either love or hate reader inserts? I've never seen anything too in between... for example, while I read some occasional fanfic, I don't consider myself a shipper by any means and just prefer reader inserts. So I thought that was cool.

Fair enough, we all have our preferences! I think that's great that you bring it up because recently, I've even been trying to avoid (Y/N), and I have done so successfully in some fics... not that it bothers me at all, but I think that was more of just an experiment in writing. But at times it seems even more impersonal, so yeah, just something I tried a couple times and just referred to reader as, "she".

Ahh, that means a ton! Might rant to you soon again to figure out ideas for future opinion journals because you're like the best person to do that kind of stuff with! :D
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018
Ahh I've wanted to do this journal on the myths that people have about fanfiction in general and your journal made me itch to write that out!! >< (will definitely need to find time to properly do it!)

I've seen point 2, 3, and 4 being a problem of fanfiction in general and original fiction too. So I don't think it's specific to reader-inserts although people always point the blame to reader-inserts.

But for point 1, I think, that's where reader-inserts are different. People's opinions on what reader-inserts should be vary a lot. Personally, I believe reader-inserts only mean that the exact physical description of the character is vague and that's where you "insert" yourself. I try not to describe any physical characteristics of reader-chan unless it's necessary to the plot. But other than that, I have creative freedom over the character.

In other words, my reader-inserts are no different from OC stories except the fact that I do not explicitly name the character nor describe how he/she looks. On the other hand, if I were to make the character a blank sheet of paper (I've gotten comments that it should be that case for reader-inserts), then I feel like the reader-chan essentially becomes a Mary Sue. Which is why I never do that. :D

Honestly though, if I were to change my "reader-inserts" to an OC story by simply giving reader-chan a name, my audience would be a hundred times less. ;P So I like that reader-inserts allow authors to advertise their stories/characters more by tempting the audience with a character that is them. But some of the comments I love getting are those that say how they imagine my reader-chan as an OC by itself or that my reader-chan is too good to be a "reader"! :love:
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018
Ahhhh, please do it! I hope this serves as inspiration and I'd love to read about your point of view!

And exactly-- I think the main thing is there's this weird stigma around them but they can be just as bad or as good as original works or fanfiction.

Yes, exactly-- and I don't think that's too vague, either. Actually, I think that's a great way of approaching it. Sometimes I add a few quirky-but-relatable characteristics if I can, but only if it actually makes sense and adds value to the story!

LOLL omg you hit the nail on the head right there! I stray from OC stories solely for that reason... well, not like I have any OCs, but would like to develop one eventually. But I feel like you have to gain an audience before doing that, too!

Thanks so much for commenting and I hope to see a journal of yours in the future! :D
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018
Definitely! XD

Agreed, there's more of a stigma around fanfiction in general too. Unfortunately, a lot of people see it as young kids/teens writing unrealistic, self-indulgent, poorly-written literature. Which you can't totally blame them for since a quick search reveals quite a lot of those fics whereas the good fics are buried underneath since they have fewer favorites and comments. :(

Yes! Details that make sense to the plot should be there. :D

Understandably! XD A lot of OC/FCs are pretty unlikable, so it's hard to find a good OC story. 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018
Very true-- I think a problem with fanfics and specifically reader inserts as well is that people feel they have to search through bad one after bad one in order to find a gem, as there is no real recommendation database and a lot of the popular ones have just been a long time ago but aren't as good compared to recent ones, or the author is just popular and appeals to a large base of amateur writers... but eh, who am I to judge what is amateur or not? I do think some fics should get more recognition than they do, though.
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2018
Yeah a lot of times if you write smut or short fluff pieces, it doesn't matter how well you write it because tons of people will like it. Also shorter pieces do better than longer stories. T.T I wish there were a better way of showcasing other fics but it can't be helped, I guess.
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
LMAOOO omg I feel the same way. Sometimes I'm like, WOW beautiful angst, go me, not many faves. But then I write this fluffy piece that I'm like, eh, cliché but okay and it gets all the recognition. So sometimes I seem like a fraud lmao but then I deliberately seek out less popular, angsty pieces hehe.

Yeah, I feel like with the amount of fics on here it's hard to sort through, and I HAVE read some longer ones that end up a disappointment so I'm probably guilty of sticking to shorter fics as well. But definitely a lot of hidden talent out there!
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2018
Lol nah you're not a fraud! XD Just write whatever you want. <33
But yeah, unfortunately that's the reality of the fanfic world. If you want views/favs, just write something smutty and/or fluffy. Instant reaction from the fandom! :D I wish that would change but I doubt it will because people are looking for their guilty pleasures no matter how poorly written it is. ><

Understandable! With real life bugging us, it's hard to devote attention to longer fics. T.T
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018
Bahaha, I feel ya, I feel ya. I mean fair enough, when I started out I looked for all the fluffy guilty pleasures but I think I'm in love with angst now lmao. So, maybe it'll gain popularity! :D

Yeah for sure... still, I get so invested in some series, it's like a TV show when you're waiting for the next chapter/episode to come out!
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(1 Reply)
:iconwords-of-fate:
Words-Of-Fate Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Student Writer
Regarding point #1, what many people fail to understand is that reader-inserts actually do contain an OC like other works of fiction, except that writing in 2nd person gives the reader the opportunity to feel like they are, in fact, the OC and taking part in whatever is going on in the story. It's like reading Harry Potter except you are replacing "Harry" and "he" with "name" and "you" 

People who get overly picky over a reader-insert and point out things such as "that's not my favorite color" or "that's not something I would wear" kind of irk me because reader-inserts are not revolved around the reader; they're revolved around a nameless OC created in a sort of way that can make a majority of readers relate with them.

And for the plot cliches, I mean, after the thousands of years people have been telling stories for, it's kinda hard to not include any sort of cliches. As long as you're not blatantly stealing line after line from another author and writing them in 2nd person, I'm not all that picky about cliches, haha.
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