Friday, August 30, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... Fan Fiction

On my "Five Things I've noticed about" articles I generally rag on things that I don't like (conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, bigotry, etc.). But, what about something that I do like?

I like fan fiction. In fact I feel that some of it is just as good as the original fiction itself it is based upon (sometimes even better). But, this isn't always the case, and because of that it's made me noticed a lot of things about fan fiction that I have narrowed down to five things.

So here are five things I've noticed about fan fiction.

5. A lot of it contains unnecessary filler.

A lot of fan fiction is contains what most people would consider to be unnecessary filler, including really good fan fiction. In fact really good fan fiction seems to be especially prone to this.

Now by unnecessary filler I don't mean side stories within a chapter, or a side story chapter itself, as this can actually help improve the content of a story and perhaps gradually explain a few things. What I mean is stuff that doesn't need to be in there at all and has nothing to do with the story.

Some of the most common unnecessary filler includes long disclaimers on every single chapter (it is only need on the first chapter, and it doesn't need to be long), unnecessary author's notes, comments from fans, excuses by the author why they haven't updated in a while, reviews of the previous chapters, and previews of the next chapter. None of this is necessary, and all it does is add to the word count of that piece of fan fiction.

4. Some of it is unreadable.

There is some fan fiction out there that just cannot be read. By this I don't mean it's such a bad story line that no one wants to read it (that's just a matter of opinion than fact), but that the grammar, spelling, line and paragraph breaks (if there are any), and coherency is so bad that no one can understand it.

Now no one expects a piece of fan fiction to be perfect and have everything right with it (it is mostly being written by amateurs after all), but some of it is so poorly done in terms of spelling and grammar alone that it looks like the author didn't put any effort into it, and because of that what could have been a great piece of fan fiction is nothing more than a jumble words and letters that makes little to no sense.

Heck, I know I'm not the best at spelling and grammar (I sucked at language arts in school) but at least I put some effort into what I write, and double and even triple check my work before I publish anything on this blog. Some fan fiction on the other looks like it was typed up and published and that's it. No pre-reading to find errors or anything.

3. Longer doesn't always mean better.

There is this assumption amongst fan fiction readers (and probably writers as well) that a long piece of fan fiction is probably a good piece of fan fiction, which is usually true, but not always the case. In fact many of them can have poor story lines, make the already established characters completely out of character for no reason what so ever, not be very coherent, and as I said before, just be outright unreadable.

Just because someone is dedicated enough to write a piece of fiction that is over 100,000 words doesn't mean that person is any good at writing. Same thing with short fan fiction stories (just in reverse). Just because a story is only a one shot story that's a couple of thousand words long, it doesn't mean that it's bad. In fact some of the best fan fiction I have ever read were short stories that were far better then some long pieces of fan fiction.

2. Romance based fan fiction is way over used.

I don't mind romance based fan fiction. Heck, some of it is even really good, and some of the best fan fiction I have read has some romance in it, but, there is way to much fan fiction out there that is purely romance, and it almost seems like it's just easier to write.

I know, a lot of people love to read romance fan fiction, and write it too, but because there is so much of it, it just feels like it's a cheap way to make a story.

If romance is going to be put in a piece of fan fiction, then it really should be more of a side part of the story that help complete the story rather than the story itself (especially if it's a long story).

1. A lot of it never gets finished.

If you ever go onto and go back around two or three or five years (or longer) in every section, chances are you're going to find a lot of fan fiction that never was finished.

It doesn't matter if it was a really long piece of fan fiction, or a short piece, or if it was really good, or really bad, there is just a huge amount of fan fiction that has never been finished, and probably won't be either.

Now there are several reasons why some people never finish a piece of fan fiction. Maybe they've had a major case of writers block and said to heck with it. Maybe they haven't had any time to do any writing. Maybe they've had to many discouraging comments. Maybe they've gotten bored with it and gave up.

While I have no problem with a bad piece fan fiction getting abandoned, it can be really disappointing when a really good piece of fan fiction doesn't get finished and is just tossed by the way side.

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