Critics United
Critics United: a place for reviewers to gather and talk, exchange tales and support each other as we all try and help the authors of the site.
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ChaCha1st

This thread is intended to clear up some of the rampant misconceptions regarding not only Critics United, but also the reasoning behind some of ff.net's rules. We did our best to make it as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible. However, if we missed something, please let one of the forum mods know so we can include it.

We also included some useful essays on specific fanfiction.net related topics designed to help site users understand why the site is the way it is while other essays are aimed at helping a writer improve and avoid the temptation of posting a violation anyway.

To make it easier, the following table of contents will contain the post number to find the specific topic you're interested in. -Cha


  • FAQs: post #2
  • Solutions to make violating stories compliant with the site rules: post #3
  • Glossary of FanFic Terms: post #4
  • The Classification Codex: post #5
  • FFN trolls, what they are and how they work: post #6
  • What is a Flame review?: post #7
  • FF.net Cover Art (Parts 1-3): post #8
  • Why is MA content not allowed in Fanfiction.net?: post #9
  • Why songfics aren't allowed: post #10
  • Two prime reasons 2nd person (you) based fics are not allowed: post #11
  • What's the deal with Real People stories?: post #12
  • Descriptive Writing: post #13
  • Ideas on improving your writing: post #14
  • Developing your story: post #15
  • Sex in Fanfiction: post #16
6/9/2019 . Edited 6/9/2019 #1
ChaCha1st

FAQs

These are some of the frequently asked questions CU has gotten over the course of our existence. Hopefully this will be able to answer your questions you may have after finding out about us.

1. Why was Critics United formed?

It was founded in 2010 when Goody, DarkSacredJewelXoX and Gaaras1Girl were getting tired of trying to find good stories, but due to the huge amount of Truth or Dare, script format, FaceBook fics, etc. We were critics and were already used to getting the angry authors who didn't want to hear that their story was against the rules. After stumbling upon another author, we began sending each other stories that were breaking the rules. After brainstorming the idea, the forum was made and the search for members began. We were tired of all the poorly written rule breaking fics that were swarming the site, overshadowing writing that was allowed to be posted.

2. Why doesn't CU warn the author before reporting their story?

We do warn the author first. One member from CU will find a story and review it. Many authors are willing to fix it and admit that they didn't read the rules. Others lash out, others tell us they won't change it, and some just ignore us and continue posting the same way. One of those three things has to happen before other CU members are informed. The story isn't reported until it's clear that the author will not fix it.

3. Why is CU deleting stories?

No site member has the power to delete stories. We can ONLY report them. The administrators of the site are the ones who make the final call.

4. Can't you be nicer in your reviews?

Not all of us leave harsh reviews. Some review according to the situation, not just copy and paste the same review. Some members do have copy and paste reviews for some types of violations. It makes it less personal and more detached. It must also be taken into account that if an author has most likely lashed out at a member and at that point, we don't feel the need to be as kind in reviews. Even then, the only reviews you will see from us here in the forum is from rule breakers or those in the Help Topics.

We still have stories that we give constructive criticism on that have no reason to be in the forum. We also have the "The CU help desk - Q&A thread' thread that further prove that CU isn't simply about getting rid of violating fics.

5. Do CU members leave anonymous reviews?

No CU member leaves anonymous reviews. It is unfair to leave a review that may leave the author with questions and not leave a way for them to get in touch with the author with the reviewer.

6. Why does CU leave reviews calling stories "sh*t fics" or other names?

It is the reviewer's own personal opinion of the story. We have rendered cursing from reviews, but that doesn't mean an author isn't entitled to their opinion that a story is crap. Reviewers aren't required to be nice in their reviews and CU members are not told how they should review a story. Each has their own personal style, some being harsher than others. The term "sh*tfic coined long before CU was even an idea.

7. Why is CU reporting stories just because they have bad grammar or aren't good enough?

That is a myth. We only report rule breaking stories. However, poor grammar, punctuation etc. is reportable. Sometimes we'll point out grammar errors, but first and foremost is the rule violation. If the grammar is so bad that a first grader could do better, it's likely a trollfic and will get reported for that.

8. Why does CU gang up on an author?

Sometimes it takes another person telling the author that they are in violation before they are willing to change it. Our goal is for the author to fix their story (if possible), not to report it into oblivion. Sometimes it flusters the author, sometimes it gets their attention and they change it.

9. A lot of people don't like Critics United. Doesn't that bother you?

No it doesn't. If we didn't have thick skin, we would have stopped reporting and warning authors a long time ago. After dealing with authors and seeing a trend in responses, it's very easy to let things roll off our backs.

10. Why doesn't CU just report a story and not review them?

It is completely unfair to come onto the site and find your story has been removed and you have no idea why. Every author has the right to know they are in violation and be given the opportunity to fix it. CU provides that opportunity. There are many independent critics and other movements who do not warn people that their story is getting reported. We do and when it's removed, the author knows exactly why it happened.

11. Is CU reporting MA stories?

We used to report very few. There was confusion and self-interpretation of what could be considered MA. CU has reported bestiality stories and stories when scenes that were clearly too mature for the site. Other than that, due to confusion about what 'M' could contain, we did not report MA fics.

We weren't involved with the mass deletion of MA stories a couple of years ago because of the fact so few were brought in. However, the site admins made it clear in later updates that stories with sex scenes or scenes that are too violent won't be tolerated:

Fiction MA rated content which can contain adult/explicit content on the site. http://www.FanFiction.Net only accepts content in the Fiction K through Fiction M range. Fiction M can contain adult language, themes and suggestions. Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature is considered Fiction MA and has not been allowed on the site since 2002.

12. There are tons of stories like mine, so everybody does it! Why are you picking on me?

We're not singling anyone out. We just happened to find your story. As for the 'tons' of similar stories, we don't have that many members and have real lives respectively. Most of us don't go out 'looking' for violators. If you know of stories just like yours, the other writers might appreciate you giving them a heads up their story is violating the site rules. Unless you want us to tell them?

13. Why do you do this?

Each member has their reasons, but just about all of us love our fanfiction. We love reading and/or writing it. We all know that this site is one of the top ones for fanfiction. However, we got tired of the rapidly increasing amount of violations. We each decided to do something to help solve a worsening problem. We could've easily ignored things and just continued looking for good stories to read, but felt if we didn't at least try, who will?

14. But the site admins should be policing the site for violations, what makes you think you can do their job?

We aren't trying to do their jobs. The site admins asked all of us when we signed up for our accounts to police ourselves. The site admins would have to hire a huge staff to patrol this site. They are only making enough money off of advertising fees to cover costs, but it isn't enough to pay for the amount of people needed to check through the hundreds of thousands of archived stories for violations. They would have to charge members a fee to use the site to cover the cost of hiring someone to do that.

15. Do you guys ever disagree on how your group should work?

That's how we worked out our methods. We argued and figured out what worked best that would make everyone happy and still be within the site rules. That's why some members are harsh reviewers and others are not. We don't all work the same and the group has to accommodate that.

16. Have you ever seen a really good story deleted because of a rule violation, or do you just go after the ones you don't like?

Yes. There have been some violators that were actually pretty good we reported in our early days that we had to watch get deleted. Those stories are part of the reason why we came up with solutions to most rule violations that we will share with writers who really want to save their stories.

17. Does CU work outside of Fanfiction.net?

No. Enforcing the rules of every website any of us frequent is not the life goal or focus of every member.

18. Does CU work in collaboration with any other forum?

CU works independent to any other movement or forum. Any forum or person claiming we collaborate with them is just looking for attention. Each forum of critics has their own way of handling stories and although we sometimes visit each other's forums, we are not working together.

19. Is CU reporting stories for being yaoi or yuri?

No we aren't. A story won't be removed because it's a same sex pairing and none of us have a vendetta against same sex pairings, although some of us do not read it. The reason a yaoi or yuri story is removed is because it most likely has a lemon in it, not because it has same sex pairings.

6/9/2019 #2
ChaCha1st

Solutions to make violating stories compliant with the site rules

By MrGoodyTwoShoes & ChaCha1st

We've all faced situations where the author breaks the rule and they want to know how to fix it. It used to be that none of us had any suggestions other than recommending they delete it or leaving them to figure it out on their own.

However, there were writers truly sincere in wanting to keep their work without violating the site rules who could not figure it out on their own without help. So, through good ol' trial and error, as well as stumbling across the work of some very clever writers, we eventually came up with some suggestions.

So here are some quick, ready-made solutions that generally work or put the author on the right path of thinking and working creatively within the site rules. The casual lurker at CU can use these ideas just like our members do when working with writers.

Keep in mind, there are some violations that can't be corrected, such as plagiarism.


A. Problem: Author writes an author's note (announcement/update) as a chapter/story.

  • Solution: Suggest they move the announcement/update to their profile page. Believe it or not, people will check profile pages, so be ready to reassure the author of that.

B. Problem: Author posts a Story Idea/Story Challenge

  • Solution: Suggest moving the Idea/Challenge to their profile page or even creating a forum for their challenges. If not, there are existing forums with threads to post those ideas in. Writers are always looking for these and do search forums.

C. Problem: Author posts an interactive poll as a chapter/story

  • Solution: Suggest moving to profile page (where there is a poll function) or a forum.

D. Problem: Author is writing in 2nd person perspective ("You" based).

  • Solution: Not much can be done outside of switching to 1st or 3rd person perspectives.

E. Problem: Two authors, working together, post the same story on their respective accounts.

  • Solution 1: Review both authors, alerting them to the rule about multiple entries of the same story. Suggest they should choose who gets to post it to their account. Make sure the review is exactly the same, word for word, on both stories. Do not make the choice for them as to who will post the story. They generally work it out for themselves. Whichever writer does *not* post the story can post an announcement in their profile alerting readers about the story and where it is.
  • Solution 2: Another solution that has worked well in the past is suggesting to the authors that they open a joint account to publish the work they write together. Both have access for updating & editing purposes.

F. Problem: Author posts a list.

  • Solution: Suggest the author begins writing a group of short stories (drabbles) based off each point in the list with the list serving as a table of contents. Most authors jump at the idea of doing this and usually grow as a writer.

G. Problem: An internet chat/facebook/myspace/twitter/email/text message story is posted.

  • Solution 1: Suggest the author rewrites their fic and removes the chat portion where they refer to what went on in the chat without writing any part of the story like the chat room.
  • Solution 2: Another option is to convert the chat into dialog. However, instead of using the "he/she said" dialog tags, it'd be more like "he/she typed". Encourage them to paint a written picture for their readers so they know what's going on.

H. Problem: Author posts an interactive character submission sheet (OC's needed/SYOC Hunger Games fics, etc.).

  • Solution 1: Suggest author moves the form to their profile and they have submissions pm'd to them via their profile while they write the story.
  • Solution 2: Suggest they create a forum where they place the sheet and people can submit and continue to interact as the story evolves.
  • Solution 3: Suggest they delete and repost while utilizing either Solutions 1 or 2. This is to remove the 'evidence' of their story being interactive. However, the more reviews they already have, the more reluctant they will be to do this. So, do not push this one.
  • Extra note: Just be aware that most reviewers are idiots, so chances are a bunch will still review with sheet submissions despite the author changing how they get submissions. Some authors might need to be advised of this and encouraged not to use review submissions at all.

I. Problem: Author writes a story in chat/script format.

  • Solution: Suggest to the author that they need to write it out as a traditional story following proper grammar rules concerning dialog. Be ready for the excuse of, "I don't know how to write like that..." with the reply of, "All you need to do is character said this..." and so forth. These can be dicey and you may end up guiding them through changing it. The upside is that the "dialog" is already there, it just needs to look like normal dialog and not like chat/script.

J. Problem: Interactive Q&A/Send in your dare story (usually written in chat/script see above).

  • Solution 1: Similar to interactive character sheet. Suggest the author takes requests/questions/dares via pm and then writes the story around it.
  • Solution 2: Probably the best idea, take it to a forum where they can interact and pretty much role play to their hearts content.

K. Problem: Author posts a songfic with copyrighted song lyrics.

  • Solution 1: Author removes the lyrics and notes within the story where the song in question is "playing" in the background or being "sung" by a character. Author could state in an 'Author's notes' at the end of the chapter suggesting readers look up the lyrics to see why the song was used.
  • Solution 2: Author removes the copyrighted lyrics. In their profile they can copy/past the url address to the song or in an author's note at the end of the story they can state the name of the song and the artist and suggest readers look it up on YouTube.

L. Problem: Author has used Real People in a story

  • Solution 1: Author changes the names to original characters that share the same traits as the real person used.
  • Solution 2: Author changes the spelling of the name. People still know who is who but they can't be claimed as a "real person" because of the spelling difference.

M. Problem: Non-Story essays/rants/opinions.

  • Solution: Turn it into a story where the characters express the writer's thoughts and feelings through conversations and interactions with other characters. There are some exceptionally clever examples of this across the site and the writer can take it as a challenge to be creative while expressing themselves.
6/9/2019 . Edited 6/9/2019 #3
ChaCha1st

Glossary of FanFic Terms

By BeachWriter

The world of Fan Fiction can sometimes be intimidating because of the slang terms and abbreviations that get tossed about. With a little help from friends and from the Urban Dictionary, I have put together this list of terms and definitions to help out, although I'm sure I've missed a few. If there are any that should be added, please let us know.


Adultfic - Fan fiction that depicts sexual or overly violent material. It would be rated PG-13 to NC-17 if it were a movie.

Alternate Universe [AU] – A story in which an author will choose to stray from the canon of the show and create events on a different timeline.

Beta Reader - An editor of fan fiction. This is anyone who is sent a story for the purpose of reading and reviewing a story before it is posted.

Canon - The events which happen in the fandom. Every person, event, statement, etc. that happens in the show, movie, or book is canon.

Concrit (Constructive Criticism) --A specific type of feedback in which helpful suggestions or edits are offered to improve the quality of a story. Concrit is not a flame, even though it may contain negative comments as well as positive.

Crackfic – A story that is completely random and makes no sense.

Crossover - A fan fiction which incorporates characters, events, places, ideas, etc from another fandom.

Deathfic - A fan fiction which deals with the death of a character.

Disclaimer - A note that acknowledges that the fan fiction author acknowledges the copyrights to the material which they are writing for.

Drabble - A fan fiction that is self contained and is no more than 100 hundred words.

Fandom - The activities, canon, characters, fan fiction, and fans of a particular show, movie, book, etc.

Femslash - A story depicting sexual situations between females.

F/F - denotes sex between two or more females.

Filk - A fan fiction that is a parody of a song.

Fix-It --An alternate universe story in which the author attempts to correct or rewrite something that they feel the original canon should not have done or failed to do properly.

Flame - A negative, hurtful comment meant only to anger or upset a person. Not all criticism is automatically a flame.

Fluff - A light fiction which is usually just a day-in-the-life piece that is cute and humorous.

Gary-Stu - Any original male character which is too perfect, too extreme, or otherwise badly done.

Lemon – A story with graphic or explicit sexual content, either heterosexual or homosexual in nature.

Lime – A story with light or mild sexual content, either heterosexual or homosexual in nature.

Lulz- Laughter at someone else's expense.

MST ((Mystery Science Theatre) – Author inserts of "humorous" personal comments within the body of a fan fiction story. Usually not funny to anyone but the author.

Mary-Sue - Any original female character which is too perfect, too extreme, or otherwise badly done.

M/M- Sex between two or more males.

MPreg (Male Pregnancy) –Stories with a male character capable of conceiving and/or carrying a child. May or may not include the birth as well.

Newbie - Any fan that is new to a fandom or list.

OC (Original Character) - Any character that is not in the series and is created by the author.

OOC(Out of Character) - A canon character acting in a way that is totally contrary to how they would act in the original work.

Oneshot --A single story that can be read and understood in full without having read any other prior story.

PWP (Porn Without Plot) -A piece of fan fiction that contains nothing more than sexual acts between the characters.

RPF (Real Person Fiction) -- Stories featuring a real life person, celebrity, or historical figure.

RPG - Role Playing Game .

Shipper -Someone who supports a particular pairing.

Slash – A story containing a homosexual relationship featuring at least one canon character.

Songfic - A fan fiction which is based on a song or includes a song.

Troll -- Someone who deliberately and repeatedly makes inflammatory comments in an attempt to upset other people and create trouble. Trolls try to get emotional responses, preferably as explosive as possible, and don't actually care about whatever point they are making so long as it starts an argument.

Vanilla - Sex which is ordinary male/female without any kinky stuff.

Whump/whumpage -- Stories in which physical or emotional pain is heaped on a favorite character, often repeatedly and brutally.

Yaoi- Stories with a male homosexual (m/m) relationship.

Yuri – Stories with a female homosexual (f/f) relationship.

6/9/2019 #4
ChaCha1st

The Classification Codex

By MrGoodyTwoShoes

Just something I cooked up one day during my early days at Critics United that should help people understand the terms who toss around from time to time when describing certain people/things here.

The "Youngin"/New Writer - Usually new to writing in general, much less fanfiction. Generally identified by their poor writing technique as well as structure writing. Odds of being under-age for the site high. Most easily spotted for their very poor spelling and grammar along with their low word count. May or may not have excessive author's notes. Usually non hostile, although some case of hostility have been noted. Generally doesn't understand how things work and will try to use a sob story. Chance of encounter: Low to medium.

Ignorant/Compliant Author - The term "Ignorant" may be incorrect, but fits as these are usually authors who didn't know they broke the rules and are happy to have been given the heads up and makes the changes. The most common of those dealt with along with being the easiest to deal with. Chance of encounter: very high.

Hostile Author - This is the type of author who responds angrily to reviews and are usually extremely stubborn. Tends to use poorly spelled insults and threats along with lots of cursing. May or may not operate in a Gaggle. Chance of encounter: medium to high.

The Fanbrat - Extremely hostile in their responses. Generally uses poorly spelled and typed insults and threats. Very likely to use reprisal reviews against reviewer to "get back at them." Almost always runs in a Gaggle. Usually has conversation with friend's via author's notes. Most common in the "ask a ..." script based writing. Can evolve into a Troll depending on the circumstance. Most likely to appear in the Worst Review thread. Chance of encounter: low to very high.

Gaggle - Term used to identify groups of "Fanbrats." Numbers generally range between 3-6, although higher numbers have been reported. Common practice of a Gaggle is to review each others fics to artificially raise the review count. Also known to attack other reviewers via their own reviews on a story. Author's within a Gaggle are also prone to review their own work and use it as a means to attack critics. Gaggle's are also know to attack in a group stories of people who left reviews they "didn't like". Generally hostile, Gaggle's can be dealt with since they are all a "monkey see monkey do" types - remove one and the rest will follow. Chance of encounter: rare to medium

The Defender - A person who responds to a review in defense of another's story. Generally a friend or fan of the work/author. Can be extremely hostile at times. However, most cases can be called "Fanbrat" level. Known for their righteous attitude and need to show how strong they are by defending their "pal". Unlike most author's, Defenders can rarely be reasoned with and are always right in their mind. Chance of encounter: low to medium.

The Crusader - A recent offshoot of the Defender, Crusader's are different in that they are not necessarily allied with the author or even a fan of their work but feel that any criticism that is not deemed "positive" is not needed and the reviewer/critic in question must be removed from the site at all costs. Can be viewed as hostile at best, to extremely hostile at worst. Because they are only recently identified not much else is known as per if they operate in a gaggle. Further investigation is required. Chance of Encounter: rare.

The Lecturer - An offshoot of the Defender, Lecturers are less hostile (in general), but like Defenders and Crusaders can not be reasoned with for they are right and you are wrong. Lecturer's often write long winded messages in which they are talking down to and are very condescending towards the critic. Like Crusaders, they may or may not be allied to the author or a fan of the story, however, their goal is similar to the Crusader in that they want/demand the critics to stop reviewing. There is one major difference, the Lecturer only wants the critic to change how they review (usually noting how it hurts people feelings or the critic won't have any friends if they continue) and not leave the site like the Crusader. It should be noted that Lecturer's can easily evolve into Hostile and/or Fanbrats as the exchange takes place (and the Lecturer gets frustrated), so one should deal with them with caution. Chance of Encounter: Low to medium.

The Avenger - Another offshoot of the Defender, Avengers are allied/friends of the author and sole purpose is to "get back at the critic" by any means necessary. They are purely hostile and will attack via reviews on the violating work, attack via revenge reviews, attack with PMs (usually tossing in a threat to report the critic along with the accusation of 'bullying'), attacking via forums and even go so far as to create a forum for the sole purpose of attacking the critic in question. As with others of similar type, they can not be reasoned with. Chance of encounter: rare to low

The "Know-it-All" - KIA's are becoming more and more visible in recent months. They are usually authors who misread, misunderstand or downright lie about the rules and regulations of the site yet act as though it is the gospel. They also spread around their version of the rules to others as they claim to be an "expert". Generally non-hostile although many display a 'high horse' attitude to the critic when confronted about their misinformation. Usually becomes compliant once they understand where they made a mistake. Chance of encounter: low to medium.

The Encourager - not an author per say but a reviewer type that is more and more visible as time goes on. Can be confused with Defenders and Avengers with the main difference being they support the author and rarely acknowledge much less attack the critic. Encouragers will often review with lots of courage egging on an author of a violating story to continue despite knowing full well said story (and author) are at risk for removal. Often goes to the point of downright telling the author they are above the rules of the site although this was one single extreme case. Encouragers actually lack courage themselves that they show via review and will back off almost immediately when confronted via PM although some cases are known to strike back by reviewing again encouraging the author even more. Chance of encounter: low to high

The Troll - By very definition the worst of the offenders. Usually moves alone, but has been known to form in groups of trolls. Has nothing positive to offer the site and usually attempts to intentionally engage reviewers. Can often be confused with the "Youngin" and "Fanbrat," although, further investigation can reveal their true identity. Extremely hostile and should follow the current policy of Identify, Isolate and Ignore. Very high chance of reprisal reviews. Chance of encounter: Rare to medium.

The Attention Whore - An offshoot of the Troll, AW's are known for making submissions, and later responses, intent on continuing the engagement with the critic/reviewer since they crave/demand the attention. While they may not necessarily be hostile compared to their counterparts they are persistent in maintaining focus upon themselves for their satisfaction. Like Trolls and Fanbrats,AW's cannot be reasoned with and will in fact feed off any discussion attempted by the reviewer/critic. Attention Whore's are very difficult to differentiate from a troll, thus making true AW's hard to spot as generally Trolls like to disguise themselves as an AW. Chance of encounter: extremely rare.

The Baiter - Relatively new, baiters are called such because they try to bait people into doing something they want. Most baiters operate to get attention for their writing although there are many that are just trying to bait the target into an argument in which they plan on using such against the target down the line. Baiters seemingly appear out of nowhere, much to the confusion of their target, and are not necessarily allied with authors of the work they seemingly are defending. The general way to deal with a baiter is to just ignore them. Chance of Encounter: Rare

The Spammer - The Spammer selects one, or several, categories and proceeds to post dozens of one liners every day. Most are insults towards the site or the users of the category(ies) under attack; the objective of the Spammer is to bury real fanfics with spamfics in order to get fame and notoriety. A Spammer won't revenge review, but might use your review on his spamfics. They could be considered an offshoot of the Troll and can be dealt with in the same way. Chance of encounter: Extremely rare.

The Smile & Nodder aka S/N - Characterized by their ability to 'look' you in the eye while while smiling, acknowledging they've done wrong and accepting responsibility before duly promising to never to do it again with several nods of their head. Once your back is turned, they blithely, as they usually aren't being deliberately spiteful, turn around and repeat the exact same offense you just nailed them for. Offshoot of the Fanbrat as they tend to run Gaggles and is likely to become Hostile when challenged, wondering why you're picking on them. Chance of Encounter: Low to medium.

6/9/2019 #5
ChaCha1st

FFN trolls, what they are and how they work

By Dr Facer

Troll. That is a term that is thrown a lot to people one disagrees with on the Internet, and certainly used quite a lot on FFN; unfortunately, most of these times the term is used incorrectly. Because of that, a definition of what an internet troll is will be necessary before we can proceed to talk about what a FFN troll does and how they operate.

An internet troll is someone who intentionally disrupts an internet community by posting off-topic and extraneous inflammatory messages with the intention of getting an emotional response and to disrupt the flow of normal conversation.

Something else that we must make clear is motivation. What motivates a person to troll an internet community?

After years of observation, some research and personal experience, I believe that trolls act the way they do because they yearn for violence and to cause trouble in any given environment they participate in; they want to provoke negative emotions and a general sense of outrage to as many people as possible in order to feed the morbid pleasure they get from it.

Normal trolling tactics include breaking as many rules of the site or community they are attacking as possible, engaging in taboo topics, name-calling, stalking, falsely agreeing with others, spamming and many others.

A particular type of troll that I find quite interesting is the Concern Troll and the reason is simple: concern trolls are highly effective. You see, these trolls pretend to be someone who agrees with the members of a forum, community or site in order to write posts with "concerns" that have the intention of planting doubt, fear and uncertainty in any given group they might be trolling. Concern Trolls are among the sneakiest and are often able to destroy communities by making its members doubt themselves, or by posting something that could be seen as a sensitive article in a receptive community that would send the users there rushing against people in a different site. When a concern troll has managed to create a flame war over false, one-sided accusations written in an emotionally manipulative article disguised as a concerned post, we can say that the troll has been successful. This is the reason why I consider concern trolls as extremely dangerous.

Three things we must also make clear before starting discussing FFN trolls are these:

  • One, a troll is not always a flamer and vice-versa; however, trolls normally resort to flaming in order to get a negative reaction.
  • Two, Trolls do not involve in cyber bullying all of the time, as it would distract them from their objectives, but let's not forget that trolls are never above from indulging in this behavior as often as they can, even more if it is getting a reaction.
  • And three, trolls do not participate in Cyber Stalking very often, as they don't tend to single out victims and prefer to target large groups instead; keep in mind, however, that trolls will cyber stalk if it serves their needs.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at how an FFN troll operates.

During my time on this site I've seen, reported and witnessed the fall of many trolls, and I feel that experience can be helpful when it comes to discussing how a person trolling this archive operates.

The first thing we have to mention is that due to the nature of this site and it's primary function (hosting fanfiction) trolls do not operate as they normally would on other communities.

What do I mean with that? Well, it is easy. FFN is not a community that thrives on forums as they aren't the main focus on the site, and given that individual users have direct control over their forums, trolls can be easily identified and banned from any forum extremely quickly because the majority of FFN members don't like to be trolled. This means a troll can quickly reach pariah status on this site the moment they try to troll the users of any of the many forums we have here.

That is the main reason trolls don't normally care about trolling forums or creating forums of their own. It's too much work and the results they get are over quickly and easily dealt with as soon as the trolling is identified.

And that is why FFN trolls go about things in a very different way. With this I mean that an FFN troll does not target users or forums unless particular circumstances are met. Normally, trolls here target categories instead.

How do they do that? Well, I'm sure you've heard the term trollfic more than once, have you not?

Let's have a small parenthesis to define what a trollfic is, shall we?

A trollfic is a story written with the only purpose of being as offensive, disgusting and inflammatory as possible and it is the main weapon of the FFN troll. While the majority of trollfics break the rules of the site, there are some of them who manage to remain within the rules. They are written to deliberately bait for flames, and each flame the trollfic gets gives pleasure to the troll.

There are many types of trollfics. The most common are those of violent nature in child friendly fandoms such as Dora the Explorer, Blues' Clues or any other child friendly franchise.

Violent-happy trollfics are not exclusive to those types of franchises, as categories with very vocal fans are often targets as well, which is the reason why the Harry Potter, Twilight and Naruto fandoms are often targeted.

Similar in writing, but with a different approach are trollfics with sexual content; depicting innocent characters as sexual addicts, incestuous deviants or suffering from extreme fetishes such as bestiality or scat is also a common practice that many FFN trolls use.

The gibberish trollfic does not contain a story of any kind. They are often non-story rants of offensive nature, copy&paste of irrelevant things (I've seen gibberish trollfics which contained a copy paste of a DVD's instruction manual) or simply several paragraphs of random keyboard presses like these: UHRO#(HND28.

These types of trollfics are not as successful as their more violent or sex oriented cousins when it comes to getting flames, but they offer nothing and clutter the site.

The Spamfic. These are normally one line stories of insulting content aimed at the category it is published in, other authors or famous people, though sometimes spamfics can also be several thousand characters long. So why are they called spamfics? Because the troll uploads as many of them as possible as often as possible; burying real fanfiction under what becomes a wall of trash.

Spamfics are notoriously the most annoying of them all if only because of how annoying they are. Fortunately, given the amount of work spamming this site requires, trolls normally don't bother with spamfics but there's always an exception.

There are other types of trollfics, (I've even seen interactive ones) but the ones listed above are the most commonly found here.

Now that you know the weapon of the troll, let's talk about how you should deal with them.

Ideally, you must never engage a troll. The reason as to why is quite simple: you can't defeat a troll in a verbal argument. Since trolls don't care about what they are talking about and they do it only to get a negative reaction out of people, it isn't possible to outsmart them, as they won't care about how intelligent you are and in fact will love to know they got a smart person responding; and insulting them is futile, as they immediately gain pleasure from knowing they got you to respond.

It is possible to make a troll angry as it is possible to insult them, this requires however, a lot of time invested in studying a particular troll to detect quirks and other traits to use successfully against them; doing this, however, is not particularly easy and I personally advise against it.

The best way to deal with a troll is the obvious one and I'm sure you already know which one it is: Ignore and report. Even if you're dealing with a troll posting spamfics flooding a category, the best course of action is just that; ignoring them and reporting them.

I know that when you deal with a troll you expect immediate action against them to be taken, but unlike what happens in forums, trollfics and the troll account do take a while to be deleted and banned respectively. Rest assured that your reports are the best course of action, and remember that nothing hurts trolls more than refusing them the attention they so much crave.

6/9/2019 #6
ChaCha1st

What is a real flame review?

By ChaCha1st & Bonus-Kun

How often have we heard something akin to, "Ur nuthin butt a flamah!" despite the fact that the review we left wasn't even remotely close?

Now pay attention class, time for a lesson on old school flaming.

According to Wiki 'flaming' is:

Also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of an Internet forum (They mention other locations, but I'll spare the boring details.). It is frequently the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues such as politics, sports, religion, and philosophy, or of issues that polarize subpopulations, but can also be provoked by seemingly trivial differences.

Deliberate flaming, as opposed to flaming as a result of emotional discussions, is carried out by individuals known as flamers, who are specifically motivated to incite flaming. These users specialize in flaming and target specific aspects of a controversial conversation and are usually more subtle than their counterparts. Their counterparts are known as trolls who are less "professional" and write obvious and blunt remarks to incite a flame war, as opposed to the more subtle, yet precise flamers. Some websites even cater for flamers and trolls, by allowing them a free environment, such as Flame-Wars forum.

I said this in the chat, but true flame is a lot harsher, crueler even, than the types of reviews all of our members leave. I'm sure someone is reading this and whining while pointing accusingly at a CUer, 'But so n' so said my story was sh*t!' 'Sh*t' can be used as an adjective to describe something, in this case a story. 'So n' so' could've said the story was lame, stupid, asinine, banal, imbecilic, well, you get the picture. In this context, it's an expression of the reviewer's opinion, or criticism, that said work was 'sh*t,' therefore, it is not a flame.

The goal of the flame is to not offer any constructive criticism at all, but to rip the writer to shreds. No advisements are made that the writer may have violated site rules and no suggestions on improving are given. They're also typically profanity filled. Calling a story 'sh*t' does not qualify as profanity filled.

Now that we've got the basic definition and context of a flame, now we get to an example of a real flame. Note: Prior to this posting, this flame was never used in a review on a story by a CUer. Bonus-Kun was kind enough to compose this as an example and I'm posting it here with his permission.

You are a retarded and inbred piece of sh*t, a turd out of my *ss could be better at life than you, you miserable f**k! I've seen roadkill smarter than you, you f*g! Were you too distracted sucking sh*t out of a donkey's anus to notice the "no retards allowed" sign on the door of this site? Your existence puts shame on humanity you f***er, I bet you have a limp d*ck or tiny little zit t*ts! If you go and die right now you would be doing mankind a favor so slit your wrists already! Oh, and since I know you love it, I will also fart in your general direction, you f**king Taliban worshiper.

Ok, flame over. As you can see, in this example, the story or writing abilities of the author were not mentioned at all, the message is extremely insulting and cruel and it has the only objective of making the receiver feel miserable. The example above is the type of thing I would never do.-Bonus-Kun

THAT my friends, is a real flame. Class dismissed!

6/9/2019 #7
ChaCha1st

FF.net Cover Art 1: No Adult Content

By Yemi Hikari

This is an essay covering one of the rules for uploaded pictures on fanfiction.net and why they have such a rule in place. The rule I'm going to cover in this essay is number 2 under Image Guidelines: Posting adult/provocative images are not allowed will result in the immediate removal of your account.

Posting adult/provactive images are not allowed will result in the immediate removal of your account and you could lose every single thing you've worked on. Breaking the rule is not worth the cost of losing your account and every single bit of work you may have put into it.

The word provocative has two meanings that people posting cover art on fanfiction.net need to be aware of. The first definition of provocative is this: making people angry or excited; deliberately aimed at exciting or annoying people.

However, this doesn't mean you can't have an image that evokes some kind of feeling. For example, the characters from Nightmare before Christmas are "creepy" characters but they are also a child friendly kind of creepy. No, the kind of pictures not allowed on the site are the ones that would cause people to go up in arms if they found out such an image was found on what is supposed to be a child friendly site. So it is basically important to keep the images used as G rated as possible. Which I might add goes back to the first rule for uploading images. All the Site Guidelines apply.

Under the Site Guidelines is says this. Entry title and summary must be rated K for all audience. No exceptions.

Now, some people may think along the lines of, "but this rule applies only to the title and summary". However, there is a reason why the title and summary on all stories must be rated K for everyone. This site is supposed to be child friendly and thus the images posted to the site should be child friendly. It doesn't matter that there is a filter that will stop children from finding M rated fanfics when they peruse the archives either. The stuff posted to your profile is not filtered and a child can easily pick up an M rated fanfic to read and still find the image. More information on this later.

Moving on, I am going to cover the second definition of provocative: sexually arousing; intended to arouse someone sexually.

This means "no porn", right? Actually, that is only scratching the surface of what the site admins over at ff.net don't want posted. First, a lot of the artists on this site know full well that you can create an image that arouses someone sexually and it not be a pornographic image. The more skin one shows, the more likely someone is to be aroused sexually. Thus the more skin you show on a character means the more likely someone is to be aroused sexually. On the flip side showing some skin isn't a bad thing either, nor are characters that happen to have a large chest size.

How about clothing that people wear? I unfortunately can't say, "If you wouldn't let your kids dress like that…" simply because I've seen the videos where parents let their little tykes dress up like hookers or beach babes and let them dance to provocative music. I think it is better to ask, "Would there be a public outrage if you saw a thirteen-year-old dressing like this and posing like this?" If the answer is yes, then your picture is probably provocative. If the answer is no, then your picture isn't provocative so long as the clothes fit.

Absolutely avoid content that is ecchi. One of the things this means is avoiding pictures that show a female's characters panties. There should be no pictures where the female's chest size defies willing suspense of disbelief. There should be no pictures where the female anatomy looks like it is going to pop out of the clothing any minute which goes back to clothes actually fitting. It should look like a female is wearing her bra. No pictures that have a secret joke.

I can now come to the adult content not allowed part. The reason adult content is not allowed on the site is because the site can face legal action as it is supposed to be a child friendly site (Cha's note: It's DEFINITELY in the TOS.). Contrary to what some people believe, this isn't a censorship issue but a case of selection. A parent picks and chooses what their children are ready to read while the librarian picks and chooses the books the public is ready to read, not to mention they keep more iffy stuff in the back room.

Now, some people may be thinking along the lines of "Why can't fanfiction.net implement a system like Deviant Art does?" An advanced system like that would require lines and lines of coding. Programming stuff like this is in reality no easy task and shouldn't be treated as if it is easy. Not to mention ff.net is free to use and no one has to pay to use the site, which helps to maintain the costs to have a programmer to do advanced programming like this.

  • Keep your pictures to a K rating.
  • Don't post anything that makes the readers go "sexy".
  • Don't post violent pictures. I didn't cover this, but I think keeping the pictures to a K rating covers this.
  • Don't post pictures that is meant to strike the wrong cord, like KKK pictures.

FF.net Cover Art 2: Blinding Work

By Yemi Hikari

In this journal entry I am going to cover the third rule about the art work for cover pages. Here is the rule under Image Guidelines: Posting purposefully distracting, "blinding" images are not allowed, i.e. images with solid neon colors.

Some people may be thinking along the lines of, "But this is a direct violation of my freedom of speech!" However, would you say the same thing to someone who creates a billboard on the interstate that was so distracting and so blinding that it caused you to get into an accident? Does their freedom of speech trump safety?

On top of this, there is a health risk with certain images that people use. Do any of you remember the big news about the fourth Twilight movie and how it caused seizures among some movie goers? I'm not speaking out against the movie here, but there was a serious health issue for people going and seeing the movie. I know some people may still think it is a hoax because there were people who had seizures who claimed not to have been affected. However, I am going to point out the fact some of these people were on medication to prevent these seizures while other people didn't have seizures because their seizures were not induced by light. Well, the same issue goes for the images you are posting to the site.

Actually, this all boils down to a health issue for people. I know that some of you reading this article are going to think, "But it doesn't happen to me!" That doesn't mean it doesn't happen to other people. You're basically saying you don't care what happens to other people when you know that your graphic is being posted and may cause problems. Certain images might not induce a seizure, but they can cause a person to have a mild headache. Or they cause a strain on the eyes.

The second type of distracting artwork I am going to talk about are those that uses neon colors. Neon colors are really cool colors I admit, but they also have an effect of causing things to pop out. Sometimes this is a good thing and the neon color actually helps the picture show up. Other times the image will just pop out way too much and will draw the eye in way to many directions. For artists looking to use neon colors in their cover art, less is more and use a neutral color to somewhat neutralize the effect of the neon color rather than black or white.

The third type of artwork that one should absolutely not use is op art. Op art creates an optical illusion. Optical illusions are done specifically to distract the eye. Same as with the neon colors, not all cause problems for the eyes, but others do. The rule of thumb is don't use solid complimentary colors and don't use solid neon colors. And absolutely don't use images that you can see the illusion of movement or hidden pictures.

The fourth type of artwork are glittery pictures. I know people are thinking... but didn't you cover that with moving pictures? I'm specifically talking about the pictures that are still but have a glitter effect applied to them. That would constitute an image which is hard on the eyes for some people and that you shouldn't use.


FF.net Cover Art 3: Right to Post

By Yemi Hikari

I'm now going to cover rule number four for the cover page art work over on ff.net. Image Guidelines: You must have the required permission and rights to use the image that you upload.

Let's say you are writing a fanfic for Pirates of the Caribbean. You think that the coin from the movie would illustrate your fanfic very well and you find this picture of the coin on screenmusings. Since you found the picture on the net, that means you can use it... right? Just because you find something on the net doesn't mean it is in public domain though... so no. How about if you screen capped the picture yourself from the DVD you happen to own? The thing is, just because you own a copy of the work doesn't mean you have the rights to said work. You need permission from Disney before you can use any screen cap or partial screen cap for your cover art.

Now, some of you may be thinking... but screenmusings is using screen caps from movies without the permission of the people who do own the rights of the movie. Unlike our use for fanfic cover art, their use actually falls under fair use as they serve the purpose of a database and archive. Also, if you have a Harry Potter fan site you can use the art work to create your layouts because fan sites fall under the category of fair use as they report the sites. The site notes that you can use the scene caps to create fan art, but here is where things get a bit iffy.

When you create fanart from an already existing piece of work, you have to change so much of the original work for it to be considered in fair use. For example... a Harry Potter picture looking exactly like the original but redone with pencil and eraser is fair use. Another variation of fair use are Harry Potter characters done in an artist's particular style, especially if there are new elements added in.

However, when it comes to art work consisting of photo manipulation, you can't simply crop, recolor or erase background stuff for it to be considered fair use. You have to take the old image and actually turn it into something new. (Cha's note: It's called being transformative.)

And even saying this, not everything is going to fall into fair use. The people who created the Harry Potter movies can come out and say, "We didn't give you permission to manipulate our art work". That's where stock images come in. A stock image is an image that is under a copyright that allows for the free use in other art works out there. The safest bet though is to simply use stock images.

I mentioned a couple of paragraphs prior to this that simply recoloring an image doesn't amount to fair use. Recolors are not in fair use because you don't have permission to use the picture for recolor purposes. You can draw your character and use a similar pose, but you can't trace the image.

This isn't to say though you can't use recolors of your own work. This also isn't to say you can't use recolors of other people's work if they give you permission to recolor their work.

And now we come to the last point that needs to be made about permission issues. Let's say you see a piece of fan art or a photo you would really like to use for one of your fanfics. You still have to get permission from the original creator to use the piece as a fanfic color.

Asking in a comment on one of their pictures doesn't mean you've obtained permission either. A person can always say you aren't allowed to use their picture at all, or they may have some very strict stipulations for how the picture will be allowed to use. They can always recant their permission to if you do something to tick them off.

6/9/2019 #8
ChaCha1st

Why is MA content not allowed in Fanfiction.net?

By Runic Healer

MA content is content for Mature audiences. Usually ages 18 years old and above (American law, other countries' age of consent varies). Anyone below 18 is typically considered a minor.

Now, why is MA content not allowed in Fanfiction.net? First of all, Fanfiction.net allows users that are 13 and above. Any sexually explicit content is considered as pornography and the parties involved are punishable by law. Meaning lemons fall under that category.

Written works that blatantly show how sex happens is considered as pornographic. Since the minimum age in which Fanfiction.net allows users is 13, it's safe to say that there are minor-aged users on site. Meaning the site can be punished due to having materials considered as harmful to the psychological and emotional status of minors. (Cha's note: Who is a minor can vary depending on what the legal definition of adulthood is in the site user's state or country of residence.)

Meaning whoever writes lemons is showing sexually explicit material to minors and thus, they are punishable by law. With the large amount of MA content on site, lawyers will be feasting on Fanfiction.net in case a parent presses charges for letting his/her child use a site that contains sexually explicit content.

Since the base of the site follows the law whatever country/state it is in, Fanfiction.net has to follow America's laws in terms of pornographic content. (Cha's note: FYI, per the TOS, fanfiction.net follows California law.)

'If the act depicted in the pornographic content is legal in the jurisdiction that it is being distributed from then the distributor of such content would not be in violation of the law regardless of whether it is accessible in countries where it is illegal. This does not apply to those who access the pornography, however, as they could still be prosecuted under local laws in their country.'

Fanfiction.net can be prosecuted for allowing pornographic content on a site accessible by minors. As for the user that uploaded the pornographic content, he/she is punishable by the law from what country he or she comes from. For example, if the writer is from Singapore, the writer is punishable by laws of Singapore in regard to internet pornography.

What about the readers?

There are ways to trace who accessed a certain site, and those that are not careful enough can be traced by the FBI and charges could be pressed against the offender. However, if the reader is from another country, evidence of the user's usage/reading/access to the pornographic content can be sent to the reader's local government and he or she can be punishable by their law.

That is reason enough why Fanfiction.net does not allow MA content. For one, I'm sure the owners wouldn't want to pay a fine and/or be imprisoned for years. However, since Fanfiction.net is not a site that depicts original fanfiction, they can also get into trouble with copyright owners who would want to press charges for usage of their creations.

Copyright owners may press charges for the indecent portrayal of their products should Fanfiction.net be sued for distribution of pornographic content on a public site. Besides copyright owners, real-life people such as celebrities can also press charges for indecent portrayal of themselves. Relatives of historical figures can also press charges. As for public figures or heroes, the local government from where they came from can also press charges.

What is MA content?

This part covers what materials are considered as explicit and punishable by law. Sexually explicit content is subjective. However, there are already materials that are, by definition, MA. According to Wikipedia: Obscene' pornography is not protected by the US's regulation of the First Amendment. Now, what is considered as obscene pornography?

According to Wikipedia:

"Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and strip tease. A distinction is often made between erotica (the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions) and pornography (the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions)."

Anything considered as NC-17 in the MPAA system is considered as a violation in Fanfiction.net, thus pornographic content is not allowed.

Display of genitalia in a graphic manner is not allowed. The matter remains subjective. However, usage of genitalia is considered as pornography, thus harmful to minors. Meaning, any sexual act, as long as the words show how the act is happening, is considered as pornography, thus punishable by law.

Non-graphic depiction includes censorship of genitalia and the act itself. However, Fanfiction.net may allow suggestions of the act, and perhaps a few passages that indirectly describe a part of the act without portraying the act itself. Nudity is allowed, however actual portrayal of the genitals is not. There are also other sexual depictions that are not allowed. Acts like vaginal or anal penetration, cunnilingus, fellatio and ejaculation, or extreme fetish acts described in a graphic manner are not allowed. Implications and/or softened or vague descriptions of the act is allowed. Nudity and small passages of softcore pornography is allowed, as long as there are no graphic descriptions of genitalia stimulation.

As long as the reader is unable to visualize the sex scene in great detail as he or she reads, it should be fine. The author can depict or write a suggestive passage, leading the reader to assume a sexual act occurred. There are good authors on site, who write stories of all kinds of genres, without graphically describing sex. Many authors can try to create their own style without servicing readers with a mindless scene that contains sex and nothing but sex. Writers should be striving in creating stories that does not shock the reader with mind-blowing porn, but with a heart-reaching story that will definitely last in the hearts and minds of the readers as great tales.

If you can't live without porn, try Adultfiction.net.

I'm sure plenty of users are saying that FF.net should have certification buttons, but if a kid has a parent that checks browser history, or is aware of the sites his/her child enters, they would definitely see that this site allows minors easy access to sexually explicit content. I'm sure that is enough to get them pressing charges.

6/9/2019 #9
ChaCha1st

Why Songfics Aren't Allowed

By Errihu

Disclaimers help but they are not the same as legal protection. When it comes to songs and song lyrics, copyright law is different. There are fewer fair use arguments that can be made. And the RIAA has already demonstrated its willingness to sue 10-year-old children over copyright law, so the fact that we're small fish won't protect us. We have no protection at all against holders of copyright on songs. We have some protection against holders of other kinds of copyright. This is the reason that song lyrics are specifically barred from the site. (Yes, it's in the rules).

A lot of people don't understand the concept of copyright as it pertains to music. When we talk about someone having rights to the music or that music being public domain, we are talking about who OWNS it, not whether lyrics can be found online or whether you have a copy. Almost all modern music is owned by the people who created it. They grant distribution rights to companies like radio stations or music vendors. We can purchase copies and listen for our own use, but we don't OWN the music. The creators do. They have absolute decision-making power over who can use their music and where. And they have the right to demand money for use of their music or sue someone who has used their music without asking permission.

There are a few songs that are public domain, but most of these are so old that no young person would ever want to use them in a fic. ALL of the hot, cool new songs are copyrighted. The kinds of songs that aren't copyrighted are songs like Happy Birthday, Auld Lang Syne, carols and hymns, anthems, and traditional ballads and melodies like Greensleeves and Danny Boy. In Canada and the US, copyright lasts for the life of the creator, plus 75 years. That should tell you how old a piece of music has to be before you can use it freely. We will all be long dead before we can use our favourite music without penalty or risk of legal action.

Of course, if you can secure reproduction rights from the copyright holder, you can use it as long as you can provide proof that you have it. However, securing reproduction rights costs money. Car companies pay people like Neon Trees thousands of dollars for the right to use a few snippets of songs in their 30-second commercial. Generally, that's what reproduction rights go for, and copyright holders don't make allowances for small time recreational users like us. They'll come after you, too, for those thousands of dollars. I don't know about you, but I don't have thousands of dollars lying around, and if I did, I'd spend it on something else, not three lines of a song in a fic. It's better to just not use music at all, until laws change to protect small fish recreational users like us.

6/9/2019 #10
ChaCha1st

Two prime reasons 2nd person (you) based fics are not allowed

By Gaaras1Girl

Well, I hope you like short and to the point.

The first, and most important reason is because it can be considered a form of child porn. Say, for example, you're reading a "You based fic" that goes along just fine for a few chapters, but then comes to a part with a lemon (sex scene), that story is having someone run their hands down your buddy, exploring your more intimate attributes, removing your clothes, laying you down, you get the idea, yes? Now lets say that you're 13 years old reading this story. The person responsible for writing said story is now guilty of child porn, and if an angry parent found out they could not only sue the site itself but also prosecute the writer and have them labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their life.

The other reason that Second person (you based) fics are not allowed is because they are often used for interactive stories. As in people send in reviews asking the author to write what they want, rather than going off of the actual authors own "imagination".

6/9/2019 #11
ChaCha1st

What's the deal with Real People stories?

By MTunit05953234

As Fanfiction's rules state, real people are not allowed to be used as characters in a story. While the full reason may not be entirely clear, this much is certain; it's very close to obsessive stalking. There are many people who innocently write stories with no intentions of harming these celebrities, however there are also ones that depict the gruesome death of the performer.

In many cases, authors on this site use Original Characters, or OC's, to make a story with the band or person of interest. While those might seem innocent, they could tarnish the public image of the celebrity or their managers may find it. If a celebrity claims that they 'like' to read fanfiction, please remember that these are real people that are being written about. As fun as it may be, image that the story is being written about yourself and not just a celebrity that you do not know.

Image, to a celebrity, is everything. It's how they make their livings. If they gain a bad reputation, they're not going to be able to perform very well or find a director that's willing to cast them. A good, recent example would be Michael Vick. While I'm not certain there are stories about him, he did have a pitbull fighting ring in his home. Another is R. Kelly and his accusations of urinating on people.

Then there are the ones that are big time performers like Michael Jackson. He's very well-known and his image was sullied by accusations that he was molesting children that were on his Ranch. Whether this is true or not damaged his fame notably. Many people were even against buying a CD that he'd made or even allowing their children to the Ranch again.

Another notable case is of Pee Wee Herman. He was the host of a rather popular children's show and a couple of movies that were big for him. His career was nearly completely ended when he was caught masturbating in a public theater.

As can be seen from these examples, the image of a star is very important to them. It's their fame that helps them pay their bills, keep food in their houses and helps to provide for their families. To defame them in stories that are posted on a public site is disrespectful to the artist. If their publicity managers were to find it, they would be very upset and most likely demand that either the story or the site be taken down. The Jacksons certainly are not shy about using their lawyers, so why should the others be?

There are very extreme cases in which a fan is so obsessed, they actually kill the object of their obsession. Many famous cases are John Lennon, Rebecca Schaffer, and Selena (Quintanilla Perez) [killer was caught stealing and shot the singer in retaliation].

When making stories about real people, please remember to keep them off of this site as per the Rules and Guidelines. If you wish to have your story out in the public, there are many other sites on which to post them. There's nothing wrong with celebrity-loving, but please respect them and give them the space that they need.

6/9/2019 . Edited 6/9/2019 #12
ChaCha1st

Descriptive Writing

By Gaaras1Girl

Question: How do I make my writing more descriptive to my readers?

For starters it helps to first read few good books/fics that have descriptive writing that will invoke the mind. It's a useful skill to write what you feel. Try carrying around a pad of paper and a pencil with you during the day and randomly write down what you're experiencing.

And no, I don't mean what you're doing I mean literally what you're experiencing. Say for example you're sitting in a leather chair, are the backs of your legs sweating, or is it cold and icy to the touch? Is the chair wooden and hard? Does it make your back/butt hurt? If it does describe the discomfort; is it sharp or a slow throb? Where/what is throbbing? Is it a pain that throbs and spreads up? If so, how would you describe what's happening to you, in detail.

Say that you're fasting. What better way to write about hunger pains? Write how good the thought of food sounds, whatever you might be craving. Maybe even the tart smell of other people's food as you walk by, or if your mouth waters and you have to grit your teeth to ignore it. Learn to not just touch objects but feel them. How does the pencil feel in your hand? Is it hard and cool, or sweaty because you've held it for so long? Are your fingers cramping from the ridges?

Now let's talk about the pencil. Is it a yellow number two? Has it been chewed on? If so, then by who? Did you chew it? And if you did how did the wood taste? Was it musky? Does the pencil still have an eraser, or has it been worn down and grinded into a nub of its former self?

What about the paper you're using? Is it smooth and cool under your fingertips? If you press your nose to it can you smell the dye the factory used? What about if you lean in and smell a book? How does that make you feel? Do you enjoy the warm, comforting scent of the ink? Does it remind you of the library you visited as a kid? Or is it old, and has something spilled on it at some point making its scent chocking and maybe a bit moldy?

How does the book feel in your hands? Is it a paperback, and if so, does the cover give and wrinkle when you clamp down on it? Is it a hardback and it surface hold strong against your hands? Does your fingers flush whit under the pressure you're using on the books unforgiving cover?

Say you're getting dressed in the locker-room at school. What does it sound like? Does the sound of locker doors opening and closing fill the air? Is it deafening to you or a simple white noise as you chatter excitedly with friends while getting changed? Perhaps you're the type to shyly wait your turn to use a bathroom stall rather than undress in front of everyone, careful to keep your eyes on your feet as you make your way through the room. Else you catch someone indisposed.

During gym does your pulse pound in your ears and sweat roll down your neck? Is it cold and salty or hot and tickling? If you're jogging does your hair flounce back and forth in its pony tail, or do you leave it lose to fall into your eyes and tangle in the wind of your passing. Does it feel good if it's down? Can you feel the cool air reaching past your loose hair and ghosting against your sweaty scalp?

What about after class? Does the smell of dozens of girls all spraying different perfumes choke you? Does the alcohol scent filter up your nose and burn there? Do your eyes water and your head fill light from the many different chemicals? Do you take a shower and enjoy the warm, relaxing pulse of the water beating down on your tired shoulders, running down your back, rinsing down the salty, dried sweat and cooling by the time it reaches your sore legs?

If you close your eyes and face the ceiling what does that feel like? Do the sounds of the gym make up for the sense you closed off? Does it make the slams, screams, and clangs that much stronger? Or does it all fade away as you concentrate only on the water pulsing against your back and soaking through your hair, weighing your head down in the process.

If you're drinking a glass of water how does the glass feel in your hand? Are droplets of water bedding down the side? Does the moisture feel good to your dry hand? Or is it too cold? Does the waters frosty bite hit your stomach like a kick? Does it burn your dry throat as you guzzle it down?

You don't have to write all day (though once you get started it's hard to stop!) just two or three times a day whenever you're feeling something strongly. Write down these little, unimportant things and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to feel things for your character, and once your readers can connect with your writing on a level that makes them forget that what their reading isn't really happening to them, you're golden.

If you can write a scene about being cold and the subconsciously become cold too then you know you've accomplished something truly great. The whole point of reading a book/story is to be drawn from the real world and thrown into another, and to do that you must make your readers forget that they're not a part of the story. When they're reading the whole world needs to fade away.

Just carry a pencil and paper around with you and let what you're feeling flow. Once you've done this for a while it's a good practice to think of yourself as a character. Maybe even in the third person. Talk to yourself in your head as through you're describing something to your readers. That's what I do now that I've learned the ropes.

Be sure to keep whatever you write down, so that you don't forget it. This exercise will also teach you to start building your vocabulary, seeing as you'll start looking for new ways to describe simple actions.

6/9/2019 #13
ChaCha1st

Ideas on Improving Your Writing

By GodOfFlame101

This post was originally written by GodOfFlame101 for our Review Request and Help thread. Since this fits better over here at the Writers Help Desk, I thought I should move this over here. I have copied it nearly exactly as Flame originally had it since he worded it best.-Goody

Hello , aspiring young writers!

Below, you'll find a series of prompts, tips and encouraging statements from the Critics United community. All of these are designed to help you become a better writer in the major areas of narration and general literary etiquette! Considering these things will not only help you improve your own unique style, but they'll no doubt aid you in any sort of "real" endeavor you undertake.

**General Note: We, Critics United, in supplying these self-assessment tools, are in no way stating that there is one true way to write; we recognize the individual differences in narration and story-telling that make every writer unique. We understand that people have their own ideas that they feel need to be brought to life. We will never tell you that a legitimate idea or story is "wrong", unless if violates general Rules or Guidelines of Fanfiction.net or violates standard ethical policies as they apply to writing.

Plot

Plot is your story! It's all of the events that happen and how they connect to each other. Plot is a crucial part of any narrative work because it establishes the primary reason for everything; the writer is supposed to take the reader on a journey and the plot helps mark where we've been and where we need to go. Plots help tell the reader what the important conflicts, problems and events are in a story and keep them tuned into what you're writing. Without a plot, a story is really boring!

  1. Is your story believable? Do you want your story to believable?
  2. Have you done an appropriate amount of research for the topic? For instance, if writing about High School, do you have any experience you can bring to the table?
  3. Have you created a basic outline for your story? Do you know what's supposed to happen chapter by chapter, or are you just simply writing at random?
  4. Are you passionate about your idea? Is it something you enjoy writing about?

Characterization

Characterization is how you set up the canon characters in your story. Proper characterization lets us have the "actual" character appear completely in-tact during our story. For instance, if I were to write Batman into the Ouran Ouran Host High School, I'd want to keep him dark and mysterious right? Right! Because having Batman in that anime would kick butt if he was still awesome! Then again, sometimes it's okay to write characters who are "OOC". There's nothing wrong with it, but you should be sparing about it; too much OOC and there's no point to even writing in the fandom!

  1. Does your character behave the way they would in canon (ex. Is Naruto loud and annoying, is Sesshoumaru subdued and enigmatic, is Link courageous and kind, etc.)?
  2. Have you thought about what the characters would actually say, or are you just forcing them to say what you want them to say?
  3. Are you consistent with your characterizations? Why or why not?

Narration

Narration is how you tell the story! It's all about the words you use, the tone you set, and every little detail that you supply the reader. This sort of thing is important because, if you didn't tell the story, then it wouldn't exist! As such, how you tell the story is important because it determines if you and others will be able to read and enjoy it. More importantly, it's here that your own unique voice often gets to shine through. After all, you're telling the story (sometimes).

  1. Do you allow your voice to shine through your writing?
  2. Are you writing with your own style, or with someone else's style? Do you find yourself often thinking about yourself as a different author while writing?
  3. Is everything you say important? Are you filling the story in with mundane and trifling facts in an attempt to boost the word count?
  4. Who is the narrator of your story? Is it you, a character, or a mixture? Why did you choose this perspective?
  5. Do you enjoy your writing style? What are some ways you'd like it to improve?

Original Characters

As a writer, you have every right to create your own original character. The real question is, should you? It depends: keep in mind that every character is really just a tool for your plot; they are the actors in the movie that you've created. Original characters are necessary only when they add elements that other characters just don't have. In addition, it's important to actually develop your character and make them representative. Remember how Anakin Skywalker was super-powerful but had his downside? That's kind of what you have to keep in mind for your own characters. That doesn't mean they have to be worthless, but they can't replace the other character!

  1. Is your character super? No, be honest: are they just that awesome?
  2. Do you balance out the characters traits? Have you made some things about them not-so-wonderful (ex. phobias, odd-mannerisms, unsavory characteristics)?
  3. If all of the other characters were to die except for your original character, could the story still go on? (Note: If the answer is yes, there is a serious problem and you should seek help immediately).
  4. Do you "like-like" your original character?

Research

Sadly, even when writing novels people have to do research. It just makes your story so much more believable and really helps people understand something. Besides, if you don't understand what you're writing about, how can your readers? It's also important to make sure certain things are accurate. Can you imagine what would happen if your doctor had once told you that you were a boy instead of a girl? Yikes!

  1. Do you really know what you're talking about? Can you back it up?
  2. Have you properly established your expertise on the subject (ethos) in the text?
  3. How did you research the subject? Did you look online, in a textbook, have your own experience or a mixture of these things?
  4. Does it sound like you know what you're talking about when you read your story to yourself?

Grammar

Grammar is the building block of your story; this is the only thing making it readable. So treat it well little writer, and always remember that this can make or break a story. The main aspects of grammar are spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and capitalization. Spelling: Spelling is what makes the word recognizable to the reader. You don't want your work to be riddled with unrecognizable words that have your readers asking what language you are writing in. Try a beta, a spell check, or even a dictionary.

Tip 1) "I went to the park." She said. Despite what you may think, this is not correct. When creating dialog, if you are going to explain who is talking, you must use a comma instead of a period (ex. "I went to the park," she said.). You do not need the comma if you use a exclamation or question mark.

Tip 2) To emphasize the importance or emotion of a certain sentence, use italics, bold, or underline, to do this. It is incorrect grammar to do the whole, "YOU DID WHAT!" sentence. It butchers the language.

Tip 3) Want to use a semi-colon but don't know what it is? Learn about it at (writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/semicolons/)

Tip 4) Watching for those evil words with similar spellings or pronunciations. One of the most common is 'from' and 'form.' Spell check of course isn't going to catch it and neither will grammar check if you've got it. Another very common example folks have trouble with is 'effect' and 'affect.' 'Effect' is the result of. If you play with fire the effect will be you get burned. 'Affect' is the impact on something else. His bad attitude affected the opinions of the administrators had of the group.

Tip 5) If you're having trouble figuring out where a comma goes, read your sentence out loud. If you feel like taking a breath while reading, chances are that's where the comma should go.

Miscellaneous Tips

Cha's note: There is such a thing as too much detail, but I like to tell folks that it's easier to edit out than to add back in. It's like a term paper with a specified word and page count. If you fall short of either requirement it's a royal pain in the a** to add stuff in that not only fits with the flow but doesn't look like you added it in. So even if someone has gone into excruciating detail it's easier to read back over and ask yourself 'What can I delete?' rather than 'What can I add?'

6/9/2019 . Edited 6/9/2019 #14
ChaCha1st

Developing your story

By ChaCha1st

Question: Dude! Like I totally got this b*tchin' idea, but it came out so lame! I forgot to explain some stuff. How can I make this into one radical story?

Some of this has been covered by GG as well as the pointers GodOfFlame101 originally composed, but I don't think it hurts to get a little more in depth on this topic.

Alrighty, so you've got the bestest, most kickin' story idea evah! However, no one seems to be responding to your awesome story like you thought they would. In fact, your readers only seem to pick, pick, pick and you can't figure out what their problem is. Now if more than one person is telling you there's a problem, then clearly it has to do with your writing.

The first step to solving any problem is to admit you have one and accepting your part in contributing to that problem. In this case, it's clearly with your skill as a writer. No one's perfect and, yes, this is fanfiction, not professional novel writing, so it's not like your livelihood depends on it. However, if you're going to do something, do it right. It only benefits you in the long run. Besides, it really does benefit you in the real world, regardless of what career you choose. Even garbage collectors have to write reports on occasion.

The problems in your writing could be anything from grammar, to your spelling or to how you use your words. What I want to focus on today is developing your plot.

So, you've got this great plot idea that is truly original or it's a cliché that you think you can do a really good spin on it. Let's use the tried, but true, love triangle. I'll use the Naruto fandom for this example. You want to write a story where Sakura and Sasuke are shacked up, but Naruto still has the hots for Sakura. Now what?

For starters, you've got some basic questions you must answer: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?

Who? Sakura, Sasuke and Naruto

What? Naruto, being the possessive b*stard he is, wants to make Sakura his.

Where? This one is tricky. Do you want to set this in canon Konoha and make it AR (Alternate Reality), since in canon Sakura and Sasuke haven't hooked up yet. Or do you want to want to set it modern day and make it a dreaded high school fics, making it AU (Alternate Universe)?

When? Dependent if it's AR or AU. AR, are you setting this during shippuden? AU, is it a modern day high school or do you want to set it during the 50's?

Why? What are the reasons Naruto wants to break Sakura/Sasuke up? Is it that he truly loves her? Is he obsessed? You need to explain why Naruto would go through the trouble of breaking his two friends apart when they clearly seem happy.

How? Probably one of the most important questions out of this bunch that you have to answer. How are you going to have Naruto succeed, assuming you'll have him succeed?

Once you've answered these basic questions and explored the different angles you can take with it, then you've got the basic foundation for the plot of your story. Now you've got to organize yourself a bit because your plot bunnies got into the sweets and are running wild with tons of scenes and ideas to make your readers laugh and cry. I suggest duct taping them and throwing them into the closet for the time being. They'll get over it and we'll get back to them sooner or later. You've got to focus on organizing your ideas.

First step is in some way, shape or form, you've got to jot down your foundation. You'll forget where you're going with your story if you don't. Very few writers can pull off writing as they go. I know I can't. Let me ask you this, how many times have you been reading a fic that was updating regularly, maybe on a weekly basis and suddenly you get the dreaded notice that the story is on hiatus, discontinued or on hold until the writer gets past their writer's block or the fact they got busy and when they got back to writing, they simply couldn't remember where they were going with their story? You know once you see any of those three words, it's the kiss of death to that story. Chances are slim the writer will continue.

So unless you're one of the lucky few who can write as they go, don't try it yourself. You'll find the writers who can write as they are in college or older and are highly organized individuals who have so many brain cells they don't know what to do with them all. New, inexperienced, disorganized or procrastinating writers should try working out as much of their story ahead of time. This helps avoid gaping plot holes, canon characters being unbelievably Out of Character (OOC) unless it's intentional or losing where you were going with the story.

You can use an outline. Do not fear the outline! It is your best friend as a writer. It doesn't have to be nice and spiffy looking because you're not turning it in for a grade. Heck, you don't have to use letters or numbers if you want to. As long as you understand it, that's all that matters. Your goal is to lay out a basic plan for you to refer to and follow. You're trying to get from A to Z while covering all the letters in between. The goal is to basically list the major stuff that happens. You want to think and write down the stuff that Naruto will do to accomplish his goal of winning Sakura away from Sasuke. Your readers will want to see what Naruto will do to accomplish his goal of getting his woman.

This is the perfect time to drag the bunnies out of the closet and rip off the duct tape. Don't worry about the patches of missing fur, they'll grow back. Now you can figure out where you want those funny or angsty scenes that have been popping into your head to go.

I can't stress how helpful doing a decent outline is. It gives you a guide to follow and gives you more time to figure out how to tell your story as opposed to spending most of your time trying to figure out what happens next. You will find your writing will be much better if you give yourself this guide because from it you expand and add in your prose and dialog. It's going to be a lot easier for you to rework your story to make it interesting for people to read. You're developing your plot and making it worth people's time to read. Just slapping whatever comes to mind without any initial effort or a second look to make improvements is not only cheating your readers but cheating yourself if you're looking for the kudos or praise.

6/9/2019 #15
ChaCha1st

Sex in Fanfiction

By Cha'Cha1st

*in a bad, falsetto, German accent, a la Dr. Ruth Westheimer*

Today we are going to talk about sex in fanfction.

Intercourse is the natural part of any relationship. Whether the characters are in a homosexual relationship or a heterosexual relationship, they are likely to sooner or later have sex.

First, we shall address the site rules regarding 'M' and 'MA' content. In the section where you can find the site rules is this:

"Please note FanFiction.Net does not accept explicit content, Fiction Rating: MA, and the rating is only presented for reference."

"M-Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16 with possible strong but non-explicit adult themes, references to violence, and strong coarse language."

"MA-Content is only suitable for mature adults. May contain explicit language and adult themes."

Not very specific is it? There has been some debate on what qualifies as 'M' content and 'MA'

It is safe to say that if the sex scene falls in the area of sexual taboo it would be considered 'MA' content by the site admins. The most common, modern sexual taboos are incest, bestiality, adult/child sex, child molestation, necrophilia and fetish/kink such as bondage, rape, S & M, etc.

If a one-shot is only an entire sex scene with no real plot besides the characters having graphic sex, then it'd be considered MA.

Now we move onto the gray area of what could be considered 'M' or 'MA' content. This has been hotly debated but going by personal experience implied is okay with site admins, descriptive is not. So, if you're just painting enough of a narrative picture that a character is fingering another that'll likely pass with the site admins. However, if you're getting really detailed with it, yeah, no. Otherwise, if in doubt, don't.

Moving on, most of us have encountered stories that included sex scenes that left much to be desired. Most are copy/pastes from other stories, which they in turn had copy/pasted from someone else. It's glaringly obvious the writer knows absolutely nothing about sex, except that a boy thingy can go into a girl thingy.

Sex is a very intimate act on many levels. You are not only baring your body, but you are exposing yourself emotionally to your partner. Due to the intense, strenuous nature of sex, you are forced to throw away your masks and lower your shields.

Readers can easily tell when a writer is ignorant of or grossly inexperienced writing sex scenes. They can tell the characters are not connecting and the coupling comes off as robotic; a chore rather than the product of a genuine love or attraction.

It's also boring as hell to read.

In writing a sex scene, there are a couple things to keep in mind. If you never had sex and know very little about it, be honest with yourself and *don't* write one. There are some very well-written stories that imply the sex occurring between two characters without depicting it. You'd be doing yourself and, more importantly, your readers a favor.

Without having experienced sex or possessing a significant amount of worldly knowledge about sex, it'd be really hard to accurately depict it. Your basic Harlequin romance novel will not cut it. Pornos have nothing to do with a deeper emotional connection, so forget about sneaking peeks at that online for inspiration and reference.

Those who are old enough and experienced in the ways of the world to know what they're doing need to remember the emotions make a scene more than a 'how to' demonstration of different position. They need to connect it to their overall story. The writer felt the scene contributed to their plot, or the romance they included as part of that plot. Great, but they need to pay attention to their descriptive narrative to focus more on the emotions more than the act. Especially since being too descriptive with the physical details can get you in trouble with the site admins.

A sex scene should be like the decorative rosette on a cake. The cake is still the focus, but the rosette is an accent that contributes to the overall presentation. It's aesthetically pleasing and engages the viewer, connecting with them.

You want to feel the emotions in the scene so your heart flutters and you go 'Awwwwww! He wuvs her/him!' Not, 'Dang, he banged that piece somethin' fierce.'

Uh, no.

However, if you're going to walk on the wild-side a little, don't lose focus on your plot. Don't forget the emotions of the scene and the deeper connection between the characters. There was a spark of something that brought the two characters together. If it was just about getting their freak on, the characters would be falling into bed with just anything. Since most writers are trying to accomplish a particular pairing there needs to be a deeper connection between those two characters. It's a reflection of their personalities and how their respective characteristics are melding together. Otherwise, you have two cardboard cutouts lying in bed together.

7/9/2021 #16
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