Hey guys! DragonoftheEastblue here. As you know I'm a fanfiction author and I consider myself to be quite a good one. As I write this I am on a "writing retreat" of sorts at my family country house near the border of Eastern Canada and the United States. So far I have written over 6 thousand words completing several chapters of my fics. Anyways, while I was writing, the idea of writing a list of do's and don'ts on fanfics returned to my head. And since I have completed so much work, now would be a good a time as ever to write said list. So now I give you my list of the top things that will make you a better fanficion author.
1. Keep It Real:
The most important thing any author, whether fanficion or original must understand perfectly is keeping the story believable and balanced. It's truly the key to pulling off a good story. Easily 90% of fanfics found on fanficion.net alone are unrealistic jumbles of words that give most readers headaches. An example would be my own work, the first fanfic I ever wrote "Rescue Mission: Save Hinata". When I look back at it, I realize how poorly written it was and am amazed by all the positive feedback I get even today. That won't stop me from editing it mind you, but it does show you that some readers are impressed by just about anything.
Most fanfiction authors believe that a fanfic is nothing more than a blank check and run wild with it; ignoring all common sense and logic. Yes by definition "fanfiction" means facts and backgrounds can be changes, altered or created by the author, you can't ignore the facts.
2. OOC Is Not For Me:
Time and time again I read fanfics with characters with perfectly good personalities, butchered into something unrecognizable. Honest, brave, kind, honorable and funny characters become scum of the earth. It is very rare that a character(s) needs to become OOC (Out Of Character). Here are the exceptions:
a)The character has no personality in the original series.
b)The fic you are writing is AU (Alternate Universe) and you need to give a character a new coat of paint.
c)The character has gone through something traumatic and/or intense and his/her personality must change accordingly.
d)You want to express the character with a personality that suits him/her better or you want to show a side of him/her that is mostly ignored in the original series.
So the moral of this, is know your characters, know your Manga and don't make the beautiful women sluts.
3. Keep Thy Religion To Thy Self:
This is something that has become more and more apparent in the fanfics I read. I typically read Anime/Manga fanfics only so I don't know if this is a problem in other groups. The religious beliefs of most Manga characters are either Buddhism or Shinto (sometimes Catholic but it's usually mentioned). Sometimes the Manga takes place in a totally different world so the world religion is something completely different. And sometimes the character(s) is atheist.
Changing a character's or a group of characters' religion is a huge no-no. I've read fics, where not only the characters are OOC, but the author makes these Buddhists say grace, follow the strict code of sex after marriage and never before, and fear to use the "Lord's name in vain" or fear to curse at all. This is just wrong. I was once a catholic (now Buddhist) and even then I wasn't ok with Christianity being the only religion present. Others share the same feelings as the movie "Priest" received poor reviews for, among other things, having Christianity being the world religion.
I may be Buddhist, but I believe in all religions and love incorporating all of them in my work, instead of focusing solely on one.
4. A Little Space Please!:
This is one of the things that piss me off the most. I'm reading an amazing fanfic but have to stop because of my eyes hurting. Why are they hurting you may ask? Because of how the author has spaced and set up the paragraphs. As my readers know, I never have large paragraphs in my fics. The reason for this is because of how text appears on the screen. With no spacing on large paragraphs, sentences become painful to read and even end up causing motion sickness (to some readers).
Another issue with spacing is when authors will have someone speaking in the middle of a paragraph and have someone reply IN THE SAME PHARAGRAPH! This is really gives me a headache and I'm sure it does to many who read this. Please take the time to look over your work before submitting and make sure the spacing it correct so it becomes comfortable for your readers to continue reading.
5. Press F7 For Spell-check:
I know I sound a bit of a hypocrite saying this but please check your spelling and grammar. All word-processing programs do this now and the fanfiction site does it as well when you upload a chapter to your Doc Manager. But that is only the beginning. You must proof read your work several times to make sure sentence structure, grammar and spelling is correct. Typing "were" instead of "where" and forgetting the "t" in "the" are all common and the reason being spell-check doesn't see anything wrong. If you're like me you want to get your work out as fast as possible so you skip the proof read. Your readers will be more grateful if you take the time to check your spelling. Better to make that mistake now than when you write your own book one day. How many have found spelling errors in "best seller" books?
6. Je ne comprend pas, Io no capisco, Yo no comprendo, Wakarimasen:
Frankly my dear I just don't understand. I rarely get flamed, but when I do it's about me using Japanese words in place of English. If you are a real Manga/Anime fan then you should know what nani, baka, teme, yaro, demo, urusai, hai and iie mean. Some readers get so pissed about authors using the original words that they threaten to stop reading. If this happens to you then ignore these trolls. If you love your Anime and Manga uncut, uncensored and Japanese then don't change for what a few bitches say.
Online translators and free subbers have stopped translating the words I mentioned above as well as the suffix that the Japanese use. Mashimoto-san doesn't get turned into Mr. Mashimoto and attacks and techniques aren't translated from kanji to English but from kanji to romanji (English letters but pronounced as Japanese).
Even if you are called a weeabo, if you want to make your fic as real as possible, or just love languages, then don't fall what these whitewashers have to say.
7. You're A Virgin Aren't You?:
This doesn't really apply to the average fanfiction author but it does to those who write lemons (sex stories). More than 80% of lemons are written by clueless virgins (at least in the Anime/Manga category). You all know how they go. The dude's got a 10inch dick; they fuck for 5 hours straight, no foreplay, no story, yada yada yada. Sounds like any porno vid you find on the net these days. Sure the authors will try to deny their virginity, but anyone who's had sex can tell instantly.
Not to sound cocky (no pun intended) but the first lemon I wrote, a NaruHina one-shot called "In the Heat of the Night" (which I will post here soon) received many a review by readers who were amazed by the feeling and description of my lemon. Was there a dude with a huge dick? No. Was there sex for hours at a time? No. Was it like a porno video? If it was I would start watching porn again. It's time to put the "love" back in "making love". If you write a lemon, write it as if it was between you and the one you call you lover.
8. You're Not Jesus:
How many times have you read a fanfic and an OC (Original Characters) shows up and he/she knows everything about the characters and is a fan? You are looking at the author him/herself. They've purposely added themselves into the story to "aid" the characters or something along those lines. Listen I get where you kids are doing, but it's so corny and stupid it's painful to read. I actually feel bad because most of the fics a friend of mine writes are all like that.
Another problem is that some authors (mostly women) will create these OCs and pair them up with the main male hero. I'm already against characterxOC pairings, so pairing yourself with a character in a fic is worse. Leave your fantasies in your head and try writing something with the great characters already given to you.
9. Not All Roads Lead To Rome:
Crossovers. Got to love'em. But how many times have you read one where after a small walk through the park, characters meet up with characters from a different world. This isn't Marvel and DC here. I've read One Piece/Naruto crosses were the characters travel for a short period of time and run into Luffy, Zoro and Sanji at the execution platform in Rouge Town and it was Kakashi that caused the lighting that saved Luffy. Maybe some of you have read this story.
Stuff like this really annoys me and I'm sure it bothers you too. If you're going to make a crossover where characters from different worlds are going to meet, they make it so through supernatural means or external interference.
Also, when writing a crossover where characters replace others (which is only cool before you put it on paper) don't retell the whole story word for word. In fact, don't ever write such a fic. It would only be a waste of time.
10. The Right Point of View:
This really bothers me. POV, Point of View, is when an author changes the point of view of the narrator. Normally we authors use the 3rd person. Some author's instead use the 1st person meaning you read the story in the perspective of the character. This usually causes massive OOC.
I can't explain why it bothers me so much but all I know is that I'm not the only one who does.
11. Sounds Like A Plan Chief:
If you have learned nothing from what I have said in this list then please remember this. Plan out your fics! Many authors have great ideas and begin fanfics but never finish them. The ones with the common decency to explain why, 9 times out of 10 will say they've "run out of ideas". If you know where your story is going, you have an actual plot, a beginning, middle and end, and actually take your time, then you should have no problem in creating a fic to remember.
I personally think my fics through from start to finish. I then write it all down in point form for me to later expand on when I write the chapters. I have literally several notes books full of story ideas and complete stories (both fanfic and original) all ready to go.
I hope that will teach the rookies and so called Vets a thing or two about writing fanfics. Check out the link bellow to see my fanfiction account and to read my fics. Now then, I got shit to take care of. See you later!