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Vladimir Popov

Just curious to see what some people's pet peeves are.

Mine are as listed:

No paragraphs. I've come across some great stories but whether the author meant it or not, there are no paragraphs. I've tried to read a few of these stories but, I just can't! I end up losing track of where I am and have to start over.

R&R! When someone writes this down at the beginning of a chapter, I am perfectly okay with it. But what does bother me is when they write it in the summary. When someone does this, it tempts me not to read the story.

ITS AWESOME JUST READ IT!!!!! Yeah, that's not a good summary. First off, I don't know what the story is about which will generally means I don't want to read it. Also, when someone capitalizes a who sentence, I think maybe the whole story is like that which means I won't read it.

I will only continue if I get 50 reviews. I understand how reviews keep you going but if you post this, someone simply might review 50 times. Stories shouldn't all be about reviews.

One or two sentence paragraphs. If its a dialogue or action paragraph, I don't mind. If it isn't, I mind.

The who story being bolded. This might be a glitch but when a story is like this, I just get lost and can't read it.

I do not mean to offend anyone with this list. These are the things that bother me in FanFiction. If you have done something like this, I understand because these things are quite tempting. It would be great if you could change it but that is your choice and not mine.

Additional note from moderator:

Please bear in mind when reading or participating in this thread that many times a pet peeve is personal preference - if you are posting a pet peeve of yours, remember that personal preference does not equal The Right Way To Do Things, and it is not okay to demean anyone in this thread (whether generally or specifically); and for readers, remember that just because you do something that someone considers a pet peeve of theirs doesn't necessarily mean they are attacking you, or that it's bad writing.

10/9/2012 . Edited by Rhea Silverkeys, 1/26 #1

Welcome to fanfiction. :P Where anything and everything can get published!

10/9/2012 #2
Aspiring Hobby
Welcome to fanfiction. :P Where anything and everything can get published!


Yup, anything. 8P

10/9/2012 #3

Here are mine:

Navel gazing- Basically, the characters do nothing for the majority of the story. The first few chapters are really great at hooking you in then it's just filler until the ending. This happens the most in Harry Potter fanfics. Writers hope to emulate the books and think the story must take place over an entire year, but don't have interesting things going on. If they do, it's usually the canon events combed through like a checklist.

Weird typos- This is kind of specific. The odd typo or missing letter doesn't really bother me that much. There is an author I follow, though, who despite writing fanfic for a few years now and having almost a dozen stories consistently mistypes the letter I for the number 1. I have absolutely no idea how they do it and it drives me crazy. People have been pointing it out since the first time it showed up but it still appears regularly.

Short chapters- I don't like short chapters. Thought it was because of the wait between updates, but the first Maximum Ride book was too painful to even finish. It bugs me when there is an unnatural pause in the story. It feels like the writer is trying to manufacture tension by cliffhangers instead of the actual content of the plot. Everything short bothers me so maybe I just always want more, which would explain why I'm on ffnet.

10/9/2012 . Edited 10/9/2012 #4

Hmmm, let's see...

Horrible formatting: Stories where the writer has not separated different characters' dialogue into separate paragraphs, everything is centered on the page, all bolds or all italics (flashback scenes withstanding for italics).

Consistent spelling and grammar errors - contrary to popular belief, spellcheck does not catch everything. If the summary has misspellings and bad grammar, that's even worse.

Poor diction (utterly vs udderly).

Obvious lack of research (no one is perfect but some effort should be made on the effects of a gunshot wound from close range or PTSD if one is writing about it).

Mary Sue-esque OC's

Narrator "voice" or character "voice" does not fit the age group they are supposed to be in - i.e. twenty and thirty somethings do not generally speak and act like middle schoolers.

These are just my own personal pet peeves. I understand that many posters on this site are honing their writing skills. Some are writing for their own entertainment and don't take it seriously enough to bother with proofreading and formatting. etc. I completely get that. This site runs the gamut of the uber-serious writer that takes him/herself too seriously and the inexperienced writer just looking to have some fun with it.

@Street Boy - I will admit to the one or two sentence paragraphs but not as a rule. It is a purposeful style I have employed in some 1st person POV's I have written when I need the sentence(s) to stand out and pack a punch. Actually, they are more like fragmented sentences that are internal thoughts. Sometimes I will have three or four of those one line sentences in a row followed by a more descriptive paragraph.

And no, I am not offended. :)

10/9/2012 #5

On the "one or two sentence paragraphs" thing, I don't actually use a scorecard to keep track of how many of the paragraphs in a chapter are 1 sentence long, how many are 2 sentences long, how many are 3, how many are 4, et cetera. :)

But it does annoy me when the author seems to think: "Every single time I finish a sentence, I need to follow the period with a carriage return before I type the next sentence of my story!"

In other words -- the author doesn't grasp that there is a difference between a sentence and a paragraph!

(Sometimes the only exception is that the author obviously knows that if one person says three or four sentences all in the same piece of dialogue, that should all be clumped together in one paragraph, inside quotation marks.)

10/9/2012 . Edited 10/9/2012 #6
No paragraphs. I've come across some great stories but whether the author meant it or not, there are no paragraphs. I've tried to read a few of these stories but, I just can't! I end up losing track of where I am and have to start over.

A wall of text? I hope that is just a formatting error that happened during the upload. I could never imagine how someone could write a story that way, and not get lost in the sea of words. Also, those make my head hurt. I have the sudden urge to copy and paste the story into my Word, so that I can make the proper paragraph breaks.

Obvious spelling mistakes. Like the ones that come with the red squiggly line. It really bothers me if those misspelled words make it to the published version.

10/9/2012 #7

Hostile inversions.A piece of 'fan' fiction that is written to show up a flaw, perceived or otherwise, in the canon. An example would be the How SomeMovie Should Have Ended series of YouTube videos, if they were prose. They're parody, so that's different, but some of the 'inversion' fiction I've read isn't funny, and seems to exist only for the author to kill off a character because s/he hates the genre.

Not extending the canon. This is tricky, but a piece of fanfiction has to first be based in the canon, and then do something that is outside the same canon, something that hasn't been done before (or at least not in the canon, though other pieces of fanfic may have done it.) Take a throwaway character's death and try to make the character actually be meaningful. Take loose end and wrap it up neatly. Write a prequel to a CC that explains a quirk. Don't just give us more of the same. However...

Making a sow out of a silk purse. There are some fics that take it too far. They change the scope of the canon into something unrecognizable. We have a spec ops fire team in the canon, and they're ... globe-trotting race car drivers? Or a group of scientists who are now rock stars? (Caveat: unlike Buckaroo Banzai, we're talking about scientists who were not rockers in the canon.)

Changing the feel. Some canons are grim. Others are light. It's hard for me to read a fanfic for a darker canon where the characters are happy, joking, or somehow above the despair. I've not seen the converse, where a light and silly canon is written with somber characters added in (and not trying the hostile inversion.) Respect the tone of the canon, please.

The 'feel' has a few other intangibles. Let's take chapter length. If the canon has brief chapters, then writing huge tomes of fanfic isn't in keeping with what the readers are expecting. The power level - the amount of resources, all the little things that make the canon what it is, in addition to just the canon characters and events.

10/9/2012 #8

Crossovers that make no sense. I don't mind crossovers if they make sense, but some authors abuse it so much that they don't make sense at all. ElliotxClaris's deviantART entry "The Crossover Abuser" sums it up as a whole. Sometimes, crossing over two fandoms that don't have a common theme or genre can work like Les Varioufs's "The Switchover". I would go more into this, but my post provides more detail if you click here.

I suck at summaries. When an author puts that message as part of the summary to a story, it usually shows that the author is bad at writing. The following quote from TVtropes.org sums it up very well: "If you can't write a decent summary, how the hell am I supposed to expect you to write a decent fanfic? Geez, at least if there's no summary at all, that way I can assume you're just lazy."

Big blocks of text. People should realize that they should add a new paragraph whenever new dialogue is placed. It makes the story readable to everyone. Listen to the FanFic Critic's "Enter Key" song at the six-minute mark by clicking the link right here. It'll sum up everything I've stated here.

Skits at the beginning and/or end of a chapter. What do these things have to do with the story? Does it add anything to the plot as a whole? These things are nothing but "Big-Lipped Alligator Moments" and they're not funny. None of the professional novels have anything like that in their chapters. Click here for an example.

Author's notes placed anywhere except the beginning or end of a chapter. It's annoying for the reader to read the story and suddenly come across an author's note that explains stuff. It's like you're going through a battle in an RPG where you input a command that kills the boss in the next hit, and all of sudden, the game pauses for ten seconds before the final blow is delivered to kill a boss. Two of the worst offenders that I know of can be found by clicking here or there.

There are more to list, but that's all I can think of for now.

Edited by mod to remove links to stories.

10/9/2012 . Edited by Rhea Silverkeys, 1/25 #9

lack of capitalization in the summary. If the summary isn't correctly punctuated, capitalized, spelled, I'm not going to bother with the rest. Most authors seem to be at least decent on spelling and punctuation (either that, or I'm an easy grader), but I'm seeing more and more not have correct capitalization, or any capitalization. Buh-bye!

A story written for someone who knows the canon too well. Too many fanfics give only half a story. They're like a building that only has three sides, because they expect to be built next to a free-standing building. If the author assumes the reader knows this, and that, and such, It's not going to work for me. I don't want the author to explain all the canon to me, but I'd rather they don't just assume I know everything they do and base the story from that point.

10/9/2012 #10
We have a spec ops fire team in the canon, and they're ... globe-trotting race car drivers?

I just spat coffee all over my screen.

This is canon in my fandom :)

10/9/2012 #11

Which one, Thunderbirds, or Gatchaman? :)

10/9/2012 #12
Ficta Scriptor

@ taerkitty, I don't really agree with you on the 'Don't change the feel' side of things. The MLP fandom has tons of horror, tragedy, dark comedy and grimdark fics that explore things that could never be mentioned in the show and I'm glad that such things exist. I don't think 'respecting the canon' has anything to do with it.

Suddenly, in fanfiction. Where characters do things all of a sudden with no build up for stupid reasons. For example, characters that meet and express their undying love for each other in the space of a day or two. THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN. Or when characters somehow solve a million problems in a ridiculously short space of time, or reveal something about themselves on a whim just to move the story along, when they would more likely keep it hidden until they reached breaking point.

Vote for an ending! I don't like it when authors ask their readers to vote for what they want the ending to be, or vote for which characters they want to see, etc. As far as I'm concerned, a writer should be the one with the ideas and should NOT cater to the general opinion. If a writer wants to kill off the most beloved character in a horrific and gruesome way then fine. I may not like it, but I sure as hell wouldn't want the character to be saved just because there was a vote for it.

I thought I thought a puddy tat. Writers that mix in the main character's thoughts with general narration without making it clear which is which with either italics or speech marks.

Big long speech; who said that? Enormous chunks of speech when it's not clear who's speaking. It really pulls you out of the story when you imagine one character saying things and then a paragraph later you realise it was a completely different person.

10/9/2012 #13

One BIG one that has been on my list lately simply because I've seen it so much lately, multiple speakers with their dialogue in ONE paragraph.

"Now Mr. Duke I have to ask you if you have room for one more child. She has nowhere to go, you are the last of her family; if things were worked out that she wouldn't be able to come here, she'd then have to be put into foster care." John explained."Of course, we have room for her Mr. Smith. Is she with you right now?" Jesse asked. "Mr. Duke she is at the Hazzard Hotel with my associates. I will bring her by in the morning with all of her stuff."
10/9/2012 #14
Sena B


Navel gazing- Basically, the characters do nothing for the majority of the story. The first few chapters are really great at hooking you in then it's just filler until the ending. This happens the most in Harry Potter fanfics. Writers hope to emulate the books and think the story must take place over an entire year, but don't have interesting things going on. If they do, it's usually the canon events combed through like a checklist.

Oh god writing my last piece I was so so terrified I was doing this. I ended up, as I was going along, using any means I could (without taking away too much) to yank the main character away from the canon events so I could stick them back in much much further in the canon story whenever necessary (and repeat again later on). After a while though, it feels like a gimmick I could never, ever use again in a fic. XD

As for pet peeves, whenever an author avoids conflict simply because things won't go as smoothly if they don't. I couldn't count the number of times where a canon character, by their personality, really should not have just let something slide, and it just kills the immersion; I read fanfiction because I want to see the characters I'm used to acting as I love them to act.

10/9/2012 . Edited 10/9/2012 #15
@taerkitty Am I confused or did you just basically say that AU fics are a pet peeve of yours. Your pet peeve is... a whole genre? My fandom's canon makes no sense on a regular basis and I have no interest in staying with in it due to offensive storylines (making a minority lesbian thank a white straight boy for outting her to the whole school and blackmailing her into participating in a song week implying that lesbians are just "having fun" instead of apologizing for example) and completely reality breaking pieces (high school students applying to Masters programs as if they can get in for example) of canon. Or sometimes I want to explore a what if like "what if these characters were actually supernatural beings?". I don't see how that makes my fics any less a fanfic than any other or why that would deserve to be a pet peeve.
10/9/2012 #16

'First few chapters are boring but keep reading and it'll get good I promise' kind of summary. I don't care if the later chapters are interesting, I want the whole story to be interesting.

10/9/2012 #17

Show me a fanfic, and I will show you either:

That everyone is bored silly, or

That some fan is up in arms.

Basically, "if you're not (peev)ing someone off, you're doing something wrong."


As a corollary, if you're worried about peeving someone off, you're probably better off losing that habit, else that fear will nag and gnaw you into the night.

Write whatever you feel like, but know that someone out there will be peeved. Be glad, because if no one is peeved, either you're not doing anything all that interesting, or no one is noticing it.

10/9/2012 #18

Dumbing down or weakening female characters bonus annoyance when combined when a male character swoops in and saves/romances them- This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and I've seen in in nearly all the fandoms I've been in.* It's really pervasive especially when there's Mary Sues or Gary Stus involved. I've seen really intelligent or strong female characters reduced "trophies" to be saved by the main male character. One example right off the top of my head is this one Zelda fic, where Zelda is not as intelligent and wise as she is in canon, 'nor is she as strong, like to the point where she is unable to lead her army, she panics at an invasion and she doesn't use her magic to attempt to escape, all so the writers god mode Stu can swoop in and save her so they fall in love, where it only gets worse. This is the same Zelda that tried to stop the bad guy as a child using her smarts, and she also hid from him as a man for seven years while helping Link along the way, she isn't some adorable useless plot device at the end of the dungeon. Another example is people writing Ashe from Final Fantasy XII as tired and unable to rule, so she needs to be romance by Balthier so he can rescue her and bring her to freedom, I mean Ashe has some insecurities about ruling but she overcomes them when she realizes her duties to her people and ancestors. She might not be as politically shrewd as some of the other characters but she isn't terribly behind, and she's quite strong both physically and personality wise. You can write romance without weakening or dumbing down the female character. If I read fanfiction with my favorite female characters, I want them to act like themselves.

As a woman I find this whole concept offensive. I do not need a man to save me from life's stressors, and I will not get/act dumber so that I will fall in love. Reality doesn't work that way, or at least it shouldn't. The implications of that are really uncomfortable, and frankly I find the trope/concept to be slightly misogynistic.

*with the exception of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic because most of the cast is female and bronies will hunt you down for ruining they're favorite character.

10/9/2012 #19


This isn't really a pet peve I have in fanfiction (namely because I don't read xD) but in storytelling in general, this is especially bad in a lot of animes.

Character A is having a chat with General B about what to do next, then we switch to some completely different situation like a short clip of character A daydreaming about eating cookies with a giant rabbit while General B is explaining something in the language of 'blah blah blah' ....

Okay, you get the idea of what I mean. There are times when it's funny, but if it's just random...at least have the extra scene relevant to WHATS GOING ON! or at least to the story. It really ticks me off, when it's done in a random way. These pointless 'meanwhile' moments bug me, and it breaks the flow of the story being told.

10/9/2012 #20
That Way

Hmm, fun topic. Obviously way too many to list them all, but some of the biggest, in order of peevishness.


It's already been said by you guys, but nothing ruins readability like stories that don't use paragraphs well. Blocks of text are just seas of words my eyes resist diving into. And a new paragraph for every sentence is almost as frustrating. I'd much rather read a fic with tons of grammar/spelling mistakes.

Character Bashing

Easily the thing I hate most about fanfiction. You don't like a character, that's fine. Don't write about them. Or write the pov of a character who dislikes them and let them vent your own frustrations. But twisting a character and making them dumb, ugly, a j***, evil, etc. (when they aren't presented that way in canon) just because you want to, or need to to make a ship work or give his/her role to a character you created or like better...that's just dumb in my opinion. It reflects poorly on the author and automatically makes me think the rest of the story will be junk. Even if it is great, it doesn't matter as they've already lost me as a potential reader.

R*** Smut Fics

Okay, this probably should be #1. I find it disgusting and offensive when someone feels the need to graphically portray a r*** for the sake of sensationalism. And it's a hundred times worse when it's actually written to be sexually exciting to the reader. If the author wants to treat it like a serious issue, that's fine. But there are plenty of ways to discuss the event/topic and get across the heinousness of the act without resorting to dramatizing the blow-by-blow.

Out of Character Characters

I suppose #2 fits underneath this category as well, but this is more in general. I'm a pretty big canon stickler. Most of the fics I enjoy fit within canon either as a continuation, prequel, or filling in details not mentioned or only hinted at but not seen. I can enjoy a good AU fic, but if you want to write about Draco Malfoy write about Draco Malfoy. Don't write about an oc who is sexy and charming and a genius and nice and not a bigoted, attempted-murdering coward who you decided to name Draco Malfoy. I understand most people have their own interpretation of canon and characters and all, so of course there's some wiggle room. But you can't just write a fanfic about Popeye and have him dislike spinach. Or about Edward who suddenly hates Bella and wants to rip her throat out. If someone wants to make changes that significant, I want to see how and why the character changed, and why it was important in the first place in the context of the story. Put in the work and actually develop them, don't just demand that your readers accept your changes.

Authors who don't even know what their story's about when they first post it

Okay, I understand that not everyone plans out their entire story ahead of time, let alone micromanages every scene or writes the entire thing before posting the first chapter. That's fine if you work things out as you go. But you should have some idea for a premise. Otherwise you can see it after the first chapter or two (after the background and setting have been established and characters (re)introduced): a lot of time the author will finish chapters with author's notes like 'I'm having trouble coming up with ideas' or 'I'm not sure where to go from here' or 'Does anyone have any ideas for what they'd like me to write about?' Uh, if that's happening that early in the story, there isn't a story to begin with. And chances are slim that the author is going to find one anytime soon and will probably just circle j*** for a while or resort to navel gazing (like others have said) or rephrase what they've already written to buy more time.

Could think of more, but those are the first that come to mind.

10/9/2012 #21

How about:

Authors who don't even know what the canon's about when they first post their fanfic? Maybe not so bad, but maybe yes-so-bad. I remember one person making a 'cyberpunk' character for an RPG without having read any of it, watched any of it, or even talking to anyone about it. He basically made a super-hero who had computer-based powers, and 'computer-based' was just about anything he could justify. No, he didn't write a story with it and try to put in in the Neuromancer category, but if someone can create a tabletop RPG character with such astounding ignorance, I'm sure someone can write a 'cyberpunk' drabble with the same lack of any knowledge of the source material.

To a lesser extent, it could be someone who only watched one episode of a show, or who only got halfway through the first book, or worse, someone who only read fanfic without reading the canon.

10/9/2012 #22

taerkitty said:

A story written for someone who knows the canon too well. Too many fanfics give only half a story. They're like a building that only has three sides, because they expect to be built next to a free-standing building. If the author assumes the reader knows this, and that, and such, It's not going to work for me. I don't want the author to explain all the canon to me, but I'd rather they don't just assume I know everything they do and base the story from that point.

Well, to me, that's what Author's Notes are for! I don't rehash the entire plot of the relevant story or stories from the source material, but I do make sure my readers know which portions of the canon were major inspiration for my current effort. As I've said in other threads, I don't assume that my readers have read or viewed every single piece of canonical material (not if it's more than just "a few books" or "a movie trilogy," anyway), and I don't assume they have photographic memories for every tiny detail of what they once read or viewed, either!

I've certainly been known to dust off some obscure villain from a comic book universe (for instance), and have a viewpoint character blink and wonder: "Who is this weirdo?" as she gives us a quick description of the distinctive features of that person's costume, hair color, etc.

Then I might have a note at the bottom of the chapter, saying, "The Japanese mad scientist known as 'Cathode' appeared in a two-part story in [insert date and other details of the comics in which she appeared]. She has never reappeared in the many years since, so it's no surprise that the narrator doesn't recognize her -- and you probably don't, either!"

Likewise, if I write a story that's providing detailed "follow-up" to some loose ends from a canonical episode of a TV show, I'm going to say at the beginning: "This story is set right after Season Two's [insert episode title]." I figure that's a pointed hint to my readers that if they have never seen that episode, they are risking massive Spoilers if they keep reading my story and see the major characters talking about recent events which are still weighing on their minds. Or if the readers haven't seen that episode in a long time, they might want to go refresh their memories of it so they'll understand what I'm referring to as I go along. But I just warn them that certain material is going to be highly relevant to what happens within my story --what they do after receiving that warning is entirely up to them!

10/10/2012 . Edited 10/10/2012 #23

I agree with many of the above plus I have to say I really hate when the author makes sexually victimizing women an act of love.

I'm not talking about aggravated r*** exactly but the act of a sexual predator using a victims grief over the lost of a love one and/or emotional insecurities to manipulate them into a sexual relationship. And this sexual predation being portrayed as being OK in the story. Season 7 of Buffy is used a lot as a canon source for this kind of story.

10/10/2012 #24
Yuli Ban

Askfic: To this day, I hate these. I don't know what it is about them, but every askfic I come across seems to be like a celebrity- you can't love them because they're attention w***, and you can find many reasons to hate them, such as the fact they suck up ideas other writers could have used for their own stories, or force characters to do ridiculously wrought things. Futhermore, their is no end to some of these- on some fandoms, it feels as if half of the things posted are askfics. Is their nothing else people are interested in writing??? On top of that, they're rule breaking since their interactive fics. Like a cherry on top, they tend to be in chat/script prose. It almost calls for a French Revolution/Reign of Terror styled ordeal just to deal with these things. The mods oft delay in removing there accounts mainly due to the fact askfics/interactive fics tend to not do too much damage such as, say, a troll fic or plagiarized works.

What I take some schadenfreudistic pleasure from is the fact that askfics/truth-or-darefics tend to be an author's only story with more than 5 reviews. I see a typical askfic pulling in typical askfic numbers (about 70-200 reviews). I check the author's account- lo and behold, there other stories seem to peter out at about 3-7 reviews.

Kudos if you caught all the "there/they're/their" errors in the above post.
10/10/2012 #25
I don't have a whole lot of peeves, but I'd have to say my biggest one is over use of Japanese words. Obviously a lot fandoms won't have this problem, but the ones I fallow typically do. I understand that certain words don't translate over so well, or the use of honorifics to demonstrate mood or tone, and those are perfectly fine in moderation. The thing that gets to me is when Japanese words are written out in English all the time. Example being, "arigato that's so kawaii," when they could have easily written, "thanks, that's so cute." It's great that people can speak some Japanese, but they're writing in English, so they should keep it that way. That's just my opinion though, others might not find it that bad.
10/11/2012 #26

Oddly enough, that's almost the parallel of Japanese culture convention of 'borrow-words' where they use Eng(r)ish words. Mind you, that's because they're using words that may not have an exact (or succinct) Japanese equivalent, but the net effect is the same - to interject a word from another language in the middle of a sentence casually. Yes, the reason is very different, but the feel is the same.

10/11/2012 #27
Lilly Valens

"X Character's" Point of View (POV): I hate, hate this! It's like the author assumes the reader is too dumb to figure out which character's perspective they're writing from.

10/11/2012 . Edited 10/13/2012 #28
"arigato that's so kawaii," when they could have easily written, "thanks, that's so cute."

Yup, that's annoying.

Unless you're writing an annoying character who thinks it's cool to speak fangirl Japanese, of course :) But then the other people around him/her really should react to it.

I like it when untranslateable words are kept, or words where the English equivalent just doesn't work. When Gatchaman was recently released in a dubbed version, they religiously replaced "aniki" with "big brother". Who uses "big brother" in dialogue? It sounds awful.

10/12/2012 #29
Ursa Dextra

Too many OCs.

I'm all for being imaginative experimenting by putting your favourite characters in new situations, but really there comes a point where you're essentially writing an original story but with a few characters nicked from somewhere else.

10/12/2012 #30
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