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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Cha's Aegis

Avast ye scurvy dogs! Here lies the gems and doubloons of the great brigantine ship the Lofty Critic, manned by the brave crew of Critics United. This here is for the treasure we have no quarter for and the vaults shall only be opened for the limeys of CU to contribute any more booty they come up with.

Thieves beware! Ye shall be drawn and quartered before we send ye to visit Davy Jones' Locker if ye attempt to sticky yer grubby mitts in to pilfer our treasure! Arrgh!

Blimey! Must kick off this thread with a pirate song!

4/16/2011 #1
Cha's Aegis

Collaborative composition created with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Does not reflect any actual desire to commit violent acts by any pirate of CU despite the temptation.

Official uniform:

A blue beret and matching blue bandolier with a patch showing a roach surrounded by a red circle and a bar across it. The roach represents bad fanfiction, or roach fics, that seems to multiply like roaches. The Bandolier allows plenty of room for hatch marks, recording how many site violators have bit the dust.

Attached to the end of the bandolier at the waist is a pouch for holding the light up yo-yos. Yo-yos are used to bonk stubborn violators on the head to remind them they agreed to the site rules when they posted.

Uniform also includes boot spurs, a hatchet for dealing with Suezillas and a musket for dealing with Old Yellers. Suezillas are monstrous Mary Sue characters and Old Yellers are stories that should be put out of their misery.

The finishing touch is a pair of galoshes or sturdy farming boots for wading through the manure or stomping on the roach fics the faniacs call writing.

Mottos:

English: I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

Latin: Sum purgamentum agis gluten, quisquis vos narro reus bene mihi quod virga vobis.

French: Je suis l'élastique, tu es la colle. Tout ce que tu dis rebondis sur moi et se colle sur toi.

Spanish: Yo soy la goma y tú el pegamento, lo que digas de mi rebota y se te pega a ti.

Manifesto: aka The Criticsist Manifesto or Discourse on the Rights of Critics and Fanbrats.

"People need to know that their stories don't sh*t gold and belch roses. We tell the cold, hard facts and give pointers on how to improve it because someone has to be the one who holds the torch against the unending tides of "Update soon" and "Your story sucks and you should go die" reviews. Someone needs to be a shining beacon of hope for the masses to hold off the useless and the flames. You have a right to not like us, but next time you want to jump down our throats, go suck a fudge pop, you hypocrite."-EternalKnight219

Theme song: Pat Benetar's Hit me with your best shot.

Mascot: Bob the Squirrel, also known as Bob the Fanfic Defender, Terminator, Roach Killer, Judge Doom, and Bob "Don't mess with me or I'll gnaw your ankles off!" Squirrel.

4/16/2011 . Edited 7/17/2012 #2
Cha's Aegis

Okay, we know the site rules specifically state under Actions Not Allowed, rule # 3, that "Copying from a previously published work (including musical lyrics) not in the public domain."

However, even when we point this out to violators posting songfics they turn to us with wide, watery gazes and plaintively ask, "Why?"

Errihu has come up with, in my lil' ol' opinion, a wonderful explanation that would be a bit tough to argue. At least, for the average songfic writer. With Errihu's permission, I post this here so those who need to explain this to others can use it to assist them.

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.If you guys need to use this, please give credit to Errihu. ^_^

5/15/2011 #3
Cha's Aegis

I felt this was another gem that was too good to waste. 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 polarise 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!

5/16/2011 #4
Cha's Aegis

Not adding anything here yet. I'm merely posting to show some activity so this does not risk getting purged.

2/11/2012 #5
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Just moving stuff over from the old help desk early since it seems we'll need the Q&A sooner then later.

Topic 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 their 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 awhile 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.

10/13/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/14/2012 #6
MrGoodyTwoShoes

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.

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?

Note: For further help in analyzing and critiquing your OC, stop by our OC Help Desk thread.

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 here:

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 Aegis: 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.'

10/13/2012 #7
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Topic Developing your story

By Cha's Aegis

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 cliche 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. (That I know of. This is merely an example.) 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.

10/13/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/14/2012 #8
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Thoughts on "fanfiction addiction"

By PlaidButterfly

I feel like there's two different "addictions" here...

1. The motivation to write, wherein the joy of creating is the reward

2. The motivation to receive feedback, where attention and comments from others is the reward

Both of these things are perfectly natural motivations. I'm not going to knock the social motivation too hard, either. It's perfectly natural. Humans are social animals. We gather together in groups, we want to associate with one another, and we want to be well through of in our communities. I'd be a complete hypocrite if I said that it wasn't a powerful incentive, either; my day's made - or my week! - from one of the great reviews I get.

I also think that creating is an essential part of what it means to be human. I won't get gushy and religious on y'all, but I believe there is part of the soul that cannot be satisfied unless a person is creating something useful. Fanfiction is just an extension of this, as is all writing. If you feel like you're truly 'addicted', my advice to you is to realize that moderation in all things is crucial.

It's not all about this drive to create, and it's not all about this drive to get feedback and respect, either. I feel like on the internet sometimes we confuse this motivation for social status as motivation to create. And I feel like sometimes this need to create isn't fully satisfied by just writing on the internet, where - let's face it - your stories are very ephemeral. It's hard to pick up one something and say, "I did this".

If you're struggling with it, or you're at a point where you feel like your relationship to fanfiction is getting unhealthy - an 'addiction' - my advice is to go do something with your hands. I'm not saying something original or non-fandom related. Just do something physical that creates a physical object, something you can pick up and toss across the room. Draw your original character, make a simple plushie of your favourite person from Star Wars, make a necklace like the one you think is like what appears in one of your stories, etc, etc... I used to think creative drive could be filled by writing online alone until I explored my other hobbies a bit. Although it may, to the rest of the world, end up with a photograph online being the final product, there is a great amount of pleasure in picking up my fancy ball-jointed doll and manipulating fabric and posing her just-so - actually doing something with my hands with an object that has weight.

10/13/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/14/2012 #9
MrGoodyTwoShoes

Sex in Fanfiction

By Cha's Aegis

*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 can be subjective to the opinions or belief of the reader. Where I personally feel that if it's likely to be found in most movies that teens can and would go see, then it falls under the 'M' category even if it's a bit descriptive.

However, others do disagree with this opinion. In that case, it's really up to the site admins to ultimately decide.

Moving on from that, 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 regarding sex. The scene they are depicting lacks emotion. 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, there is no way you can 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.

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.

You can still accomplish a lot by implying every movement during the sex act without even having to be very descriptive. Many writers have been very successful doing this and it kept their stories well-within the site rules.

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.

10/13/2012 . Edited by Cha's Aegis, 10/14/2012 #10
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