Oct. 14th, 2011

kitsjay: (Fall flower)
Fanfiction is an art unto itself. While most recognize the same elements which make up any story, there are differences between published fiction and fanfiction that can range from the uniquely charming to the annoying.

Here's one of the most egregious of the latter.

Creating an entire world.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud those who find the time to create the entire world before they write; it adds elements to the stories that one wouldn't otherwise find. Even when they're not mentioned, you know the author has them worked out in his/her head and can see delicious, tantalizing hints in the prose.

That said, creating an entire world, and then proceeding to write nothing but that world can be frustrating--for fanfiction.

The difference is that Susie Goodauthor has created the world for herself, so that she knows her characters' motivations and can have them react accordingly; they serve as head-canon, guiding her plots and she uses these pieces to create a story. Sam Badauthor has created the world to show everyone else on the Internet what he wants to see; every bit has to be shown in horrific, mind-numbing detail, and the picture becomes a cubist nightmare.

Obviously, published fiction is there to create worlds and let the reader enjoy them as they get to know the characters and how the world works, but with fanfiction, the reader knows the characters and how the world works and just wants to get to the new stories.

I see this most often with extreme AU's (Alternate Universe). While an AU can be fun, it takes talent to successfully keep a character in character while transporting them to the future/past/whatever. Most AU's end up a mess of barely recognizable characters doing things they would never do in a world I don't recognize. If I wanted that, I'd--well, scratch that. I'm never really going to want that.

As I'm searching for fanfic, I should be able to stumble on one that looks interesting and read it without finding myself floundering, wondering what on earth is going on and who these characters are. Though it's perfectly reasonable to have one fic and write a sequel to it, I should have to read the first to get a handle of the plot, not the characters and the world. If you casually mention a plot point that happened in Story A, then I'll happily trundle to your profile to look it up, particularly if your story is interesting, but if you simply have created new characters and an entirely different world that I'm unused to, I'm just going to hit the back button and, in all honesty, avoid your fic like the plague.

Mainly this seems to be someone who has created this world and finds it very exciting, blindly crusading forth in her quest to write forty novellas revolving solely around her premise without ever once deviating into something that most people want to read. The author is almost fanatical in their devotion, proselytizing to everyone who will listen, and some who won't, as they expand endlessly, foraging forward as the lone pioneer in a brave dull world.

It's annoying as fuck.

Like the inverse-quality law of fanfiction (which I'll talk about in a future post), there's another which I'm tentatively naming the Productivity-Quality Law, which states that the worst authors seem to write the most. The person who churns out shlock without any sort of effort somehow manages to be the most prolific poster in a fandom. There are exceptions, but they only serve to prove the rule.

So the next time you have that burning urge to write a fic about Catwoman being a train robber in the Old West--keep it to a short tale. It may be an interesting idea the first time, but after 155 chapters, your readers are getting a little tired of it.


kitsjay: (Default)

January 2014


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