literature

5 SIGNS YOUR FAN-FICTION IS CRAP

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modji-33's avatar
By modji-33

Literature Text

 

5) YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE ISN'T ENGLISH, YET YOU PUBLISH IN ENGLISH


A lot of times when a story on DA is especially awful, I'll click on the author's avatar and find out they are from Poland, the Phillippines, or Chile. That is - their story is written in english, but english isn't their native language.

If a writer has a good grasp of english, that's not a problem. However, that is rarely the case - far from having an understanding of english, it's clear they've used google-translator to convert the text.

That would be like me writing a story in my native english, then google-translating it into japanese, then posting it on an asian fiction site - for ACTUAL Japanese people to read. Does that sound like a good idea? Do you think a japanese reader would like to be subjected to the terrible, unreadable grammar this would produce?

Here's a recent example I found from a dA author (I've changed the character/s names):

"David has accepted Mrs. Harts offer and moved back to town with small Penny. He took my old apartment on downstairs. As soon as, I finish my work so I help David with their daughter. David is getting very hard over her death."

That's right. 'David is getting very hard over her death.' When I suggested to the author in his comments section that he might want to change that sentence, he changed it to, "David has got very hard over with her death," which still isn't an english sentence quite yet, but at least David sounds like slightly less of a necrophile now.

I'm not saying NEVER publish in English if it's your second or third language. But at least ask an english-speaking friend if it's understandable first. Unless of course you're comfortable with your submissions being embarrassingly terrible.  

4) YOU TELL A STORY LIKE YOU'RE WRITING A GROCERY LIST


If your story starts with something like this: 

(authors note: Leonardos POV)

...you're doing it wrong. You don't have to TELL me whose POV I'm reading in. It will be readily apparent as soon as I begin reading, or even before that, from the chapter title, or even before that, from the book title. And if it's NOT immediately apparent who the viewpoint character is, well that's a nice little mystery for the reader to finally solve as they're drawn into reading your story, isnt it?

Second, a story isn't just "this happened, and then this happened, and then this next thing happened." There's a little thing called 'cadence' and 'voice' that stories have used since there WERE stories. Cadence, or 'speaking-flow', is like the way you take the readers hand and guide them through the information you're delivering in the story. If there isnt a nice balance of punctuation and grammar, a story feels like a list of information, not a journey or adventure. It's just short, sharp sentences jabbing information into the readers head.

Ouch!

The 'voice' you write in should literally feel to the reader as if a new person has entered their life and is telling a REAL story that REALLY happened. You should probably think about using it. People do. For a good reason.

3) YOU NEVER EVEN READ - LET ALONE EDIT - YOUR STORY BEFORE PRESSING 'SUBMIT'


This one speaks for itself. COME ON GUYS! (and girls) At least re-read your story ONCE before you press submit. I bet you'll find at least ten mistakes. And trust me, readers don't wanna deal with working out what you're TRYING to say. You should have worked that out clearly for them.

I've seen authors on dA who have written a series of works, over years, and the last sentence in the last chapter of the story has a spelling or grammar mistake! Do you know how BAD that looks? It looks like even YOU don't care about your story. How do you expect anyone else to?

RE-READ and EDIT. PLEASE!!! (my eyes...argh myeuyes!@!)

2) THERE'S NO ACTUAL PLOT, JUST EMOTIONS


A story without a story. Well done. You did it man, you REALLY did it. Oh well, as long as some commenters leave some poorly-spelled comments about 'major feelz', I guess its all worthwhile, huh?

No.

It isn't.

1) YOU THINK AN 'X-READER' IS A LEGITIMATE STORY DEVICE


I realise this is not a popular view on dA, but honestly, I feel that X-Readers are an embarrassment to the definition of the word 'story.' When I was growing up, Choose Your Own Adventure books were popular. They were never really considered serious novels, but they were a fun diversion when you couldn't play real D&D. X-READERS are like Choose Your Own Adventures... minus the choice, style and fun. You are TOLD what to think and feel; and you have NO choice in the outcome.

For some reason X-Readers are also very homoereotic and emotional (see 2). The emotional range seems to be hugs/near kisses = warm feeling, and screaming/shivering = bad feeling. THAT'S the entire emotional range a typical X-Reader TELLS you to feel. As if I were a kitten or something.

I have not read a SINGLE X-Reader that made me respond with: "Hey, this is good! Well-written! Challenging!" And every 'love scene' I've read in one made me shiver in repulsion and disbelief. Yet they CLOG-UP DeviantArt by the millions, making my DeviantArt experience go something like this:

Author logs-on to dA - "Hmm, let's see what stories have been submitted while I was away."

BuckyXSteveRodgersxApplejack - terribly written garbage. Next...

LeonardoXQueenElsa - stupid premise and the writer has produced unreadable, emotional crap. Next...

SherlockXHetaliaXTeenTitans - offensively terrible and impossible to read. Next...

ZeldaXGanondorfXReader - Awesome! I get to have gay, PG-sex with Ganondorf? Just what I always NEVER wanted! Next...

(and this continues into eternity)
Comments290
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DoYouKnowMyRealName's avatar

6: Self-inserts (Not projecting through first person, that’s a kind of different thing)

I’m not saying it’s bad to make self-inserts. Writing is a place where you put your stories onto paper, into words, and make your own fantasies come true.

But let’s be honest.

Nobody cares about you getting with your crush.

People would much rather read a story about an anime boy getting with another anime boy, or them, than you, some random girl they barely know, getting with the anime boy.

And I know that’s making a lot of assumptions but I am extremely sure at least 98% of the self-insert fics are written by girls drooling over guys.

It’s just... keep that stuff to yourself, you know? It’s the epitome of self-indulgence to a point where it isn’t even entertaining for other people anymore.

My point: If it’s a self-insert and you’re the main character, and you’re also the romantic interest, and generally everything is about you, the author, and it all centers around you, odds are you’re probably best keeping it private.

PannacottaFugoh's avatar

Number 3 isn't so much of a problem now. We can edit our stories even if we've submitted them

LtColonelWhipper's avatar
Thing is...lack of knowledge of other words and metaphors like bowdlerize and..."Hitting like a wet towel to a tiled floor" does make me think it hurts grammar...and I sometimes use "as" and commas a bit too much...writing to me feels like I'm going on a blind trip to somewhere...and one thing is to trying to portray the official characters correctly and how they'll realistically react to this instead of being shipping puppets.
masonicon's avatar
people treats my fanfics as writer's sunk-cost fallacy often just cuz it's written by language other than writer's first language. worse they praises even other fanfics that written in writer's non-native languages
I completely agree.
6: Needlessly edgy/depressed characters.
I have a character who is pretty much the epitome of emo, but he actually has a reason for his self-loathing. He was tricked into making a deal with a demon and forced to kill his family, and then before time-manipulation, was forced to be his vessel and kills everyone while being kept self-aware enough to not want to do it, but his body is no longer his own. Just imagine the amount of trauma that, although rendered mostly pointless when the demon was temporarily defeated, still lingers in his head. PTSD on steroids... Not to mention the time-manipulation thing didn't undo his dead family.
Than you have most emo suicidal O.C.s that basically want to end their lives for stupid/irrelevant reasons or no reason at all other than they think it makes their O.C.s look cool.
ReturnOfXand96's avatar
6) Your fanfiction involves characters literally fucking with other characters' brains

archiveofourown.org/works/2034…
RensKnight's avatar

Oh, dear, #4 is probably one of my biggest pet peeves that I see in fanfics. I REALLY do not understand why that is necessary at all, as you should be able to identify the POV from the writing the great majority of the time. That said, I HAVE read and enjoyed books that did that--most particularly the Megamorphs novels from the Animorphs series growing up. I tend not to jump POVs myself though, as I am a great fan of the limited POVs that allow me to really delve into one character and stay there. The importance of creating a cadence...agreed! It's a lot of fun for me to do. :)


As far as the plot vs. emotions thing--I think it behooves one to read the artist's description to make sure you're clear on whether the author's intention is to merely write a drabble, flashfic, or reaction to something that occurred in the source material, or whether they actually did intend to tell a full-fledged story. There's one author I enjoy who writes these little tiny drabbles/flash-fics that I enjoy almost as much as when they do a longer story. :) But I also think that it should be kept in mind that a conversation--not just action in the sense of traveling or acting upon objects, etc.--can also serve as a "plot," if the author is cognizant of exactly what each character's "objective" in the conversation is, and what the outcome is they want to see at the end.


And then we get to the big one. The X-Reader thing. Yep...I'm writing one, which partly started out as a challenge to see whether I could handle the form in a manner that I considered up to the standards I try to hold my other writing to. (Oh...and there's not ever going to be a sex scene in that story or ANY of my writing, regardless of POV, because I tend to feel like my characters' privacy should be respected. ;)) Though it's the first thing posted to this account, all I will say is that I have a lot of prior writing experience that is not on this account, and went into this after gaining all that experience rather than the other way around. Second person IS a very unusual point of view, for sure. It's something that, in my mind, shouldn't be tackled until you have a very good grip on other points of view. But I am not one to ever say an entire genre or art form is inherently, always shit. (I will send you a PM with one more thing.)


For me it is also the same, to a lesser degree, when learning to control present-tense storytelling. Going back to your mention of cadence, in #4, you REALLY need to recognize exactly what that tense is going to demand of you in terms of the cadence that will make it feel "right," for lack of a better word. Personally I didn't feel comfortable trying it until I felt like I had enough control over cadence, pacing, and voice in traditional past-tense storytelling. Though it seems like it should be simpler, I actually think it's something of a more advanced technique because it requires more control and understanding of what is or isn't in the POV character's awareness in that moment, among other things. But I see people leap into it sometimes without (IMO) recognizing these unique challenges for what they are.

EsmeAmelia's avatar
Ha, I only just bumped into this and my first thought was "I wonder what Ren would think if she saw this" - and I went and scrolled through the comments to see if you had. 
RensKnight's avatar

:D It showed up in my recommendations, and considering how similar some of our interests/browsing habits are, I'm not surprised it showed up in yours too!

EsmeAmelia's avatar
Yup indeed, it showed up in mine too.
BurningFretboard's avatar
lol
I still speak English better than many many many many many many many "native" speakers lmao.
Lots of people seem to be stuck at where I was at the age of nine though, so yeah.... I get it. 
The rest is just common sense and applies to every possible piece of writing.
xReader crap could be solved by allowing an interactive story feature, much like on writing.com
You`ll get the choices, or even write in your own, downside is the author doesn`t really need to create the story, as usually the readers will, lots of shitty content, even more typos and what I didn`t want to believe, but unfortunately it did happen, some readers will get frustrated with a certain chapter and write a crappy chapter, to counter it, or copy paste the original and change some details to their liking. Yeah, that or they`ll keep bugging the author to remove something, from the story...lol

you forgot Zootopia/nickudy/all that animal sex, lovin' goin' on...….that's all there is.....and it's all cringe-worthy.....they're cops, already......they spend more time between the sheets than on the job.....kinda sick, too.

morion87's avatar
Just noticed that a lot of those complaining about this are those who are guilty of all the above. And I can add another to the X-Reader one. All the ones I've seen stick me with being a girl. Which would be fine if I actually was one.
DawnFelix's avatar
3 Signs You Are A Overdramatic And Sensitive Person.

1. You Take Grammar Too Seriously And That Make You A Loser.

2. You Are A Cyberbully If You Need To Harass Other People For Trivial Reasons.

3. Your Opinions Are Not Fact, so Stop Acting That Your Opinions Matter.
DoYouKnowMyRealName's avatar

*stop acting like

2. Harassing? Here? Like... telling people why what they’re doing is a mistake a lot of amateurs make so that they can get better in future? Sorry man I just don’t feel like the readers are meant to be the sensitive ones here lol

DawnFelix's avatar

It doesn't matter if someone make a mistake! Cyberbullying someone is bad and it should never be encourage.

DoYouKnowMyRealName's avatar

Aside from perhaps number 5, I don't really see how much of this is cyberbullying so much as it's intended constructive criticism.

These are bad decisions beginning writers make and things that most readers (and especially critics/betas) don't like to see in stories, so the journal thing is most likely meant to be advice telling beginning authors what not to do if they want technical praise for their story!

Like I mentioned before, number 5 is kind of subjective so most people will usually sit on the fence there.

But for the authors that care about quality in their story, this is meant to basically be self-improvement, if not for the fact that it handles the "wrongness" of these elements in a very brutally honest way.

Also sorry for the big wall of text, I seem to have accidentally written a full essay lol

DawnFelix's avatar

constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others aka make a respectful argument with someone about their "mistake". Just because you want for someone to "improve" their work it doesn't mean it is a free ticker to be a asshat toward the person.

modji-33's avatar
stop capitalizing everything like trump lol
and yes, my opinions are fact :D
DawnFelix's avatar
Nope, your opinions are not fact kid. :p
CatEnglishPeoples's avatar
i hate when people write fanfic that is JUST romance or the two characters having sex.
ITS NOT ORIGINAL AAAAAA
xxxDreamingflowerxxx's avatar
To this day I still find English written stories by people who hardly have a grasp on the language and they urge me to rip out my eyes. It’s even worse that most of the people who actually read that crap are brain dead and don’t bother to try and help the writer to improve.

it’s one thing to write fanfiction on a damn phone or iPad or to write at 2 A.M. in the morning. Which is tedious as hell, but these stories just make me feel like my brain cells are dying off.

English is my third language, but I’ve been speaking it since I was small, thank you music and video games aand md internet. I think my English is better than my mother togue and second language. Since I’ve been practicing more for english than any other language.
Prongslette's avatar
*stares* I don't do any of those things except the fact that English isn't my native language, lmao, but my native language is even worse so *shot*
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