Fanfiction tropes you hate -

Syaoran Li

Old-School Rocker
True & Honest Fan
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The fact it exists.

Genre fiction in itself is usually pretty terrible, then take away all sense of publishing standards from that and you get...that.

The idea of literary fan fiction is kind of amusing, though. People writing about what happened to Pierre Bezhukov after the Napoleonic Wars.

Honestly, I find the hate on genre fanfiction to be very pretentious and reeking of pseudo-intellectual cope most of the time. I know you're not a pseudo-intellectual, but it is a disturbingly common trend with literary fiction enthusiasts who shit on genre fiction for merely existing.

Let's be real here, Sturgeon's Law also applies to literary fiction as well. Especially any literary fiction written from 1960 onward. For every Mark Twain, there's a dozen pretentious navel gazers and boring snobs doing boring things.

Most of the good literary fiction is older stuff from before WWII (or at least before the 60's)

I actually like genre fiction and in some rare cases, even fanfiction. But I'm also a common man with common tastes, so make of that what you will. Most literary fiction I like is older stuff, to be completely honest. Stuff like Poe's short stories or Mark Twain's works.

Isn't fanfiction as a genre specifically based around sex scenes?

Nope, but I can easily see why people think that.

There's a lot of fanfic that's actually clean or at least is plot oriented or intended as parody.
 
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Pointless Pedant

Breaking the chains of gravity
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Honestly, I find the hate on genre fanfiction to be very pretentious and reeking of pseudointellectualism most of the time.

Let's be real here, Sturgeon's Law also applies to literary fiction as well. Especially any literary fiction written from 1960 onward. For every Mark Twain or William S. Burroughs, there's a dozen pretentious navel gazers and boring snobs doing boring things.

Most of the good literary fiction is older stuff from before WWII (or at least before the 60's)
It's not pseudo-intellectual to say that writing with terrible prose (which I guarantee you most fan fiction is) is bad. Now I'd also agree that there is some terrible prose going around in literary fiction when people waffle meaninglessly, but if you seriously think writers like Philip Roth are bad I just think you don't understand the art of writing prose. Fan fiction writers certainly don't.

For example, David Foster Wallace was a progressive and I disagree with his politics, but if you don't find the prose writing of something like Big Red Son engaging it's a sign you don't recognise a great storyteller.


"THE AMERICAN ACADEMY of Emergency Medicine confirms it: Each year, between one and two dozen adult US males are admitted to ERs after having castrated themselves. With kitchen tools, usually, sometimes wire cutters. In answer to the obvious question, surviving patients most often report that their sexual urges had become a source of intolerable conflict and anxiety. The desire for perfect release and the real-world impossibility of perfect, whenever-you-want-it release had together produced a tension they could no longer stand.

It is to the 30+ testosteronically afflicted males whose cases have been documented in the past two years that your correspondents wish to dedicate this article. And to those tormented souls considering autocastration in 1998, we wish to say: “Stop! Stay your hand! Hold off with those kitchen utensils and/or wire cutters!” Because we believe we may have found an alternative."
 

Syaoran Li

Old-School Rocker
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
It's not pseudo-intellectual to say that writing with terrible prose (which I guarantee you most fan fiction is) is bad. Now I'd also agree that there is some terrible prose going around in literary fiction, but if you seriously think writers like Philip Roth are bad I just think you don't understand the art of writing prose. Fan fiction writers certainly don't.

For example, David Foster Wallace was a progressive and I disagree with his politics, but if you don't find the prose writing of something like Big Red Son engaging it's a sign you don't recognise a great storyteller.


I edited my post for clarification. I was mainly defending genre fiction and not fanfiction.

I like some literary fiction but overall I'm more of a Stephen King and Mario Puzo kind of dude than a fan of Thomas Pynchon. But I'm a common man with common tastes and I'm cool with that.
 

Pointless Pedant

Breaking the chains of gravity
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I edited my post for clarification. I was mainly defending genre fiction and not fanfiction.

I like some literary fiction but overall I'm more of a Stephen King and Mario Puzo kind of dude than a fan of Thomas Pynchon. But I'm a common man with common tastes and I'm cool with that.
The Godfather is a classic, no doubt, though more for the first 2 films than the novels (one of the rare cases where the films are better than the books, along with The Shining and Fight Club). I don't think Pynchon is the only way to write well, either (Roth and even Wallace don't write in anywhere near that abstract prose, for example). He has a very idiosyncratic approach that other writers shouldn't try to copy. If you're talking about genre fiction is general rather than fan fiction, that's a lot more defensible. I don't think King is an excellent writer prose wise, but he's leaps and bounds ahead of fan fiction authors, except for that time he wrote the gross underage sewer orgy in It.
 

Syaoran Li

Old-School Rocker
True & Honest Fan
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The Godfather is a classic, no doubt, though more for the first 2 films than the novels (one of the rare cases where the films are better than the books, along with The Shining and Fight Club). I don't think Pynchon is the only way to write well, either (Roth and even Wallace don't write in anywhere near that abstract prose, for example). He has a very idiosyncratic approach that other writers shouldn't try to copy. If you're talking about genre fiction is general rather than fan fiction, that's a lot more defensible. I don't think King is a good writer prose wise, but he's leaps and bounds ahead of fan fiction authors, except for that time he wrote the gross underage sewer orgy in It.

I was just citing Pynchon as one example off the top of my head but he's definitely more abstract than most modern literary fiction writers.

I disagree on Kubrick's The Shining being better than the book but I agree that the sewer orgy in It was totally unwanted and unnecessary. Also agree on Fight Club's movie being better than the book

I can probably attribute that to King being extremely coked up at the time and wanting to have something that helped sell the "loss of innocence" themes he was going for with that book but there are a hundred other things he could've done that would've been a lot less disgusting. IIRC, even King regrets that scene and chalks it up to cocaine being a hell of a drug.
 

Pointless Pedant

Breaking the chains of gravity
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I was just citing Pynchon as one example off the top of my head but he's definitely more abstract than most modern literary fiction writers.

I disagree on Kubrick's The Shining being better than the book but I agree that the sewer orgy in It was totally unwanted and unnecessary. Also agree on Fight Club's movie being better than the book

I can probably attribute that to King being extremely coked up at the time and wanting to have something that helped sell the "loss of innocence" themes he was going for with that book but there are a hundred other things he could've done that would've been a lot less disgusting. IIRC, even King regrets that scene and chalks it up to cocaine being a hell of a drug.
I see why you mentioned Pynchon, since he's one of the postmodernist school, where you do genuinely get a lot of people waffling and not saying much. Pynchon's work is meaningful, but his imitators often not. I wouldn't say postmodernism really represents literature, though, just a very niche branch of it.
 

Kari Kamiya

"I beat her up, so I gave her a cuck-cup."
True & Honest Fan
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I wonder if the problem with finding good writing prose in literary works, fiction and fan fiction alike, is that everyone has a different "tone of voice" in their head, but not everyone has the ability to pull that out in writing. The basics being taught can only do so much for certain people who may need a more unorthodox approach in bettering their writing skills. Tone-of-voice may also change over time as the author ages regardless if they improve upon their writing, and perhaps in some cases, depending on the genre or the type of story being written, they may think they are getting better at writing but... it was a fluke, or just a lucky coincidence.

Slamming Stephenie Meyer is to be expected and it's not like she doesn't deserve that criticism, but when you try to read The Host, something about it just doesn't work with her style. She's a one-trick pony who just got super lucky, but her style worked better in the Twilight series even though they're not good books. That series was much easier to get into than with The Host, and its failure to get as big as Twilight is why she gave up her plans on writing more books for The Host (on top of her having not left her high school years, so it was in reality just her throwing a fit). Whether it had crossed her mind or not, she couldn't (or wouldn't) figure out a way to change her tone of voice to make a different(? I mean, nothing wrong in reusing the same concepts you're a "master" at but switching it up in a different genre; it's a proven formula) story in a different genre more compelling, and so she fell back on her comfort zone as a cushion and remained stagnant as a writer.

Another problem may just be that we have a generation or two who just can't stand being told "no" and can't take criticism because they're supposed to be perfect, everyone told them they were perfect as they were. No one wants to improve or change anything about how they perceive the world (both in reality and in fiction), so their tone of voice remains the same as a result. It's actually spooky how in the world of literature you have a high chance of opening up different books from different genres (for fan fiction, in different fandoms) and you might not be in the wrong for thinking they're being written by the same person. This could be why sometimes it feels like stories just blend together (and not just because there's only seven plots and originality is dead). For a world where everyone is supposed to be special and unique, that rarely shows itself, fandoms being one of the worst cases of it (hence the "pit of voles" FanFiction.net was branded with).

This is a problem in movies and television, too, but because we're visual creatures, unless someone is paying a little closer attention, we notice it a bit slower while watching the same story two, three, seven times in a row just because the characters and settings look different, and plus different directors have different styles, so they just can't be the same story. But they are, and we don't care because the style is different. 'Cause we can see it. But it's somehow much harder to do that in writing because not everyone has that ability to mentally visualize and contextualize writing, but at least we can all do one thing together:

Speak.

Narrative prose is purposefully structured to be different from dialogue, as dialogue is supposed to be as natural as someone speaking to you in person, but if that's not beat into someone's head ASAP, they're going to just make narrative prose into dialogue. This is why first-person is so common, it's better to just put down your own words that You would say of that situation rather than make up some invisible third person to coherently reiterate what's going on for You. Their sidekicks, Spelling and Grammar, are fickle little bitches who just get into squabbles with You and it's best to ignore them. Praise Me, I'm the bestest writer ever and this is My life. Story. It's My Story.

And this is why the world of literature is dead. No one wants to read anymore, and those who do choose to live in that world don't want to follow its rules because they think they're above it and everyone else is wrong.
 

Xerxes IX

personality: nihilistic
kiwifarms.net
Slamming Stephenie Meyer is to be expected and it's not like she doesn't deserve that criticism, but when you try to read The Host, something about it just doesn't work with her style. She's a one-trick pony who just got super lucky, but her style worked better in the Twilight series even though they're not good books. That series was much easier to get into than with The Host, and its failure to get as big as Twilight is why she gave up her plans on writing more books for The Host (on top of her having not left her high school years, so it was in reality just her throwing a fit). Whether it had crossed her mind or not, she couldn't (or wouldn't) figure out a way to change her tone of voice to make a different(? I mean, nothing wrong in reusing the same concepts you're a "master" at but switching it up in a different genre; it's a proven formula) story in a different genre more compelling, and so she fell back on her comfort zone as a cushion and remained stagnant as a writer.
The Host also revealed the creepy age gap shit in Twilight was no mistake, or because of having supernatural creatures.

I think the lack of good quality prose is also because of good quality editing, for the same reasons you've said first person is so popular. If you've seen the woke purity spiraling in the YA fiction community it's easy to believe that some authors now think the concept of editing is offensive because how dare an editor deny their lived experiences or insist they're wrong by editing them, or unedited prose is their most authentic self. Fanfiction and self-publishing also put much less of an emphasis on editing a written work than "traditional" publishing routes do. Generally the fanfiction authors who still write good prose are part of the "old guard" of fandom with a stronger history with written works who used to post on sites like Livejournal or forums, but for every one of them there's a thousand bored zoomers writing on their phones.
 

Kari Kamiya

"I beat her up, so I gave her a cuck-cup."
True & Honest Fan
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I think the lack of good quality prose is also because of good quality editing, for the same reasons you've said first person is so popular. If you've seen the woke purity spiraling in the YA fiction community it's easy to believe that some authors now think the concept of editing is offensive because how dare an editor deny their lived experiences or insist they're wrong by editing them, or unedited prose is their most authentic self.
Yup. A good editing process in actuality shouldn't be to the extent of surgically-removing paragraphs and characters from the story, it's mainly to check for spelling and grammar (which will still slip through the cracks no matter how many times you proofread it), check the formatting, and to help trim the fat to move chapters along and maybe help cut down on page-count. In most cases, the works/authors also needed to have been approved by the publishing house at the door in order to have an editor assigned to the manuscript to further separate the wheat from the chaff, so this is also another way to check for really unsolicited works (like how the Crucifix Nail Nipples vampire erotica was found out). If an edited draft comes back and it's heavily changed the narrative prose, the pacing, and/or even the plot, the author's going to take offense to it, but it also suggests one of two things (or both):

One: the author is that terrible at writing that they really and truly needed a ghost writer, and this is the editor telling them nicely "You need someone else to write for you, sweetie."

Two: the editor is purposefully rewriting work to make them all sound alike because that's just how the publishing house likes it. Conform or gtfo.

Editors are supposed to be screened for their quality and experience, but I think with the rise of "sensitivity readers", that has damaged the integrity of editors enough to have allowed for self-publishing to go unchecked, therefore flooding the literary market with useless shit and some copyright infringements by publishing fan fiction.
 

Xerxes IX

personality: nihilistic
kiwifarms.net
Yup. A good editing process in actuality shouldn't be to the extent of surgically-removing paragraphs and characters from the story, it's mainly to check for spelling and grammar (which will still slip through the cracks no matter how many times you proofread it), check the formatting, and to help trim the fat to move chapters along and maybe help cut down on page-count. In most cases, the works/authors also needed to have been approved by the publishing house at the door in order to have an editor assigned to the manuscript to further separate the wheat from the chaff, so this is also another way to check for really unsolicited works (like how the Crucifix Nail Nipples vampire erotica was found out). If an edited draft comes back and it's heavily changed the narrative prose, the pacing, and/or even the plot, the author's going to take offense to it, but it also suggests one of two things (or both):

One: the author is that terrible at writing that they really and truly needed a ghost writer, and this is the editor telling them nicely "You need someone else to write for you, sweetie."

Two: the editor is purposefully rewriting work to make them all sound alike because that's just how the publishing house likes it. Conform or gtfo.

Editors are supposed to be screened for their quality and experience, but I think with the rise of "sensitivity readers", that has damaged the integrity of editors enough to have allowed for self-publishing to go unchecked, therefore flooding the literary market with useless shit and some copyright infringements by publishing fan fiction.
Trimming the fat is an important thing that often gets overlooked. I've really noticed written works ballooning in length over the years and it's almost certainly because of a lack of good editing. And it's not just amateur writers who do this, even JK Rowling's new novel (the one that got criticized over the crossdressing male murderer) has been criticized by people who have read it as way too fucking long and that it didn't need to be 900 pages.
 

CrystalRoserade

Ratvioli
kiwifarms.net
One that always kills me is the "I'm a secret assassin by night but a cute uwu school boy by day" ones.
Like, fam, you ain't that cool.
God, that reminded me of this one reader insert I read where the reader character was a computer genius 12-year-old who had 'trained eyes' and was desired by every dude in the series that could be considered appealing... including a 19-year-old. The author's working on rewriting it, last I saw.
 

Caramelo

The mongrel
kiwifarms.net
Forgive me if it was already commented here, but a big petpeeve of mine is when fanfic authors insist on using google translator when a character speaks in another language.
Bitch, just write the speech in italics or/and informs the character is speaking in another language if you have no grasp of it. It's incredible offputting seeing a sentence with botched grammar, direct translated or weirdly formal.
 

Kike Konger

Bike, Bike, Bike!
kiwifarms.net
Piggy-backing off the last post, I hate it when people write out accents. I can not and will not put effort into understanding your character if they "T'lk l'ke d's."

You could just, I don't know, maybe do something along the lines of, "I talk like this." the man slurred out, accent heavy," so that readers can actually comprehend your writing?

If anyone used to be in the Hetalia fandom, god forbid, you know exactly which character I'm complaining about.
 

Prophetic Spirit

Dork of Dojima at its finest
kiwifarms.net
Mmm... seeing about talking prose, i'm wanna share a thing about that:

Following a prose is more or less easy but creating one from scratch is work. At least in my case, it was just practice looking for how to make a good story that follows the plot I developed. I know it may have its mistakes but I always try to seek opinion on it.

I made sure that all the writing processes were understandable and I think it has gone well for me, the few people who have read to check the prose say that even if it is new and has its errors, it is understandable.

The thing is being humble. Now, talking about fanfiction tropes:
I hate every school setting or utterly ship between characters, they're disgusting. I never saw a fanfiction with a novel-like quality. If you know something about, let me know.
 

RumblyTumbly

kiwifarms.net
I used to read fanfiction when I first got on the internet back in the 90s and wrote a few myself. (FYI, they were terrible)

I knew which ones to avoid and which ones to read.

My favorite fan fics were the ones that tried to serve as a legitimate continuation of the canon for whatever it was they were writing about (Star Wars, TMNT, He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, etc.). There were some that I read that felt like actual lost episodes of those above shows and fit right in with whatever canon they were tackling. It was exactly what I wanted: More material from the shows (which at the time were not readily available via DVD or streaming). Once in a while I'd read creative new concepts that fans would come up with, or I read some wacky crossover with another show. It was fun!

The ones I wrote tried to be in that same vain...they were awful, like I said, but I wrote purely to have fun and make an episode of something I liked.

The fan fics I hated? The ones that were sexual outlets for weirdos getting off on children's cartoons. The ones obsessed with romantic pairings and ships. I remember Thundercats in particular had a lot of weird sex fan fiction floating around in the late 90s, and people kept sending me stuff, and I was just baffled.

Maybe I'm the weird one, but my love of the things I liked as a kid never turned into something that was sexually driven and I saved those feelings for different things. Aside from talking to real actual women, like a person does, I was around when movies like Embrace of the Vampire and Wild Things were being passed around by horny teenagers (again youngins, this is before the wide variety of internet porn that's out there now). Wanting to see Alyssa Milano and Denise Richards naked when they were in their primes? I get that. Wanting to write sex stories and make fan art of Lion-O fucking Snarf...yeah no. I don't get it.
 
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Kari Kamiya

"I beat her up, so I gave her a cuck-cup."
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Piggy-backing off the last post, I hate it when people write out accents. I can not and will not put effort into understanding your character if they "T'lk l'ke d's."

You could just, I don't know, maybe do something along the lines of, "I talk like this." the man slurred out, accent heavy," so that readers can actually comprehend your writing?
I haven't run into this too often in fanfiction (original works, yes), but I tolerate quite a bit of shit so the thought of accented dialogue doesn't really bother me. I think it does depend on how it's written, since from my understanding and how I personally approach it, the way to write accents is to spell them out phonetically. To give a quick example, Meowth from Pokémon has a Jersey accent in the dub, so in his own words, "Meowth wood talk like dis ta git in youse twerps' heads. What even is dis 'Joisey' an' what does it have any'ting ta do wi'me?" but most writers don't really write his dialogue out with the accent. There's no real need to, it's just a nice little bonus, but the key also is to keep his sentences brief. Writing out an accented monologue phonetically is difficult, but it can also be an eyesore--best way to portray it would be breaking the monologue up for the next few paragraphs for that illusion.

Same rule applies for original characters, but most writers disguise the accent by just putting emphasis on some words, usually those with hard "t"s or that pesky "th". Hell, lisps are more likely to be portrayed in dialogue than accents because all you have to do is replace the "s" sounds with "th". Brevity is still key, though; Looney Tunes fics fall into this trap hard every time Daffy and/or Sylvester are in the fic. Hell, Looney Tunes fics in general are just hard to get right and it's not just because of dialogue, but badly-portrayed dialogue kills the momentum for sure.
 

Deep Th0ts

100% Plastic
kiwifarms.net
I love fanfiction, good or bad, it's interesting to see how someone else would imagine things happening and is inspiring when it works and hilarious when it doesn't. What I do not like is reading the same string of tropes in a hundred different stories and every fandom has dominant trope strings that can be painful to sift through due to it just being popular or bad summaries.

Tropes I generally hate because I have never seen them done well and/or the premise makes me cringe:
Mpreg (not my fetish)
Modern girl in- (dumb wish fulfillment)
AU (I'm reading fanfics because I like the cannon universe and characters in it. Show me what you can do within those limits or go write original work)
Trans!MainCharacter, etc (again, not my fetish)
Fanfics in RPG fandoms that retell the game plot + Mary Sue (waste of time as these tend to be 100k+ words of just the basic cannon plot/dialogue)
Adult Characters are now in Highschool (you wish you could relive highschool don't you?)
Crossovers (I've only read one good fic with this trope and it only worked because both fandoms have possible dimensional travel magic in cannon and the characters crossing over were written true to cannon)
X Reader using 2nd person POV (Just admit you're making an OC write it in 1st or 3rd person please, this isn't clever)
Mary Sue/OC's love can redeem Misunderstood Villain (I love Death and the Maiden, but this is usually ultra pure innocent uwu gumdrop changes broody hot guy because she'll cry if he does a bad)
 
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