This profile has kind of evolved overtime to now represent most of my thoughts on this community. It's more of a journal than anything, but if you ever wonder why I feel the way I do on a comment I may have left you then this profile may provide a better understanding.
Quick warning - There is sporadic use of profanity in this profile
To anyone I may have left a review to:
My motto on reviews is to be as brutally honest as possible. I will tell you what you what I think the good points of a story are, and I will also tell you what can be improved. I don't usually pull punches, but I rarely intend to be antagonistic. I am not a professional critic by any means, but when I leave a comment I try to remove myself from the story and just analyze what was written. Ultimately it's just my opinion, but I believe the purpose of the "review" feature on this website is to provide honest critique. Anything else is doing the author a disservice imo.
The rest of this profile is separated into 5 categories.
Favorite Themes - General plot designs that I believe offer a lot of potential and that are fun to read
Pet Peeves - General "don'ts" for any story.
Individual Franchises - Here I list franchise/genre specific "do's/Don'ts" and anything else that may come to mind.
Character Relationships - I have favorite character pairings just as anyone else.
Wishlist - Self explanatory but a things I want to see come true on this site. Either new site features or story ideas.
Darker stories - The stakes are high and everyone isn't all bubbles and sunshine. I have nothing against more light hearted fics, in fact I read them all the time, but in my experience the stories that are the absolute most intriguing are those that take on a darker nature. It really isn't about being emo/gothic or anything like that. There are just more possibilities in a story that isn't bound to being on the "light" side. I think it also makes the story more realistic. The real world is harsh, and most genres of stories involve some deep seeded conflict making the world an even harsher reality than the one we live in. So, it only makes sense for those stories to take on a darker tone themselves.
Grey/Dark protagonist - This is almost a continuation of "dark" stories above. I just really think there are so many more options a "dark" or "grey" character can have. This doesn't necessarily mean evil, but just having an attitude "the ends justify the means" or one of indifference. This is perhaps a bit hypocritical with my dislike when someone is OOC, but darker is just easier to imagine because some characters, in canon, are so selfless that it is nauseating and unbelievable.. I also have a limit on this. For instance, I don't want to see an entire cast of characters completely changed (ie: turning the entire Order of the Phoenix evil). Anyways, this theme offers a wider array of paths for development to take than lighter stories. I liked the whole infallible/can do no wrong/hero when I was 8, but now I just find that kind of character one dimensional and boring. Where is the appeal of a character who you know will always do the absolute right thing and always come out on top even if they do things that make already insurmountable odds even worse? Really, how realistic is it when a character is asked to do 50 little favors from 50 different people and accepts all of them because it's "just the right thing to do"? Where is the suspense of a character who never has to make a hard decision that might lead to someone getting hurt/dying? Simply having some heroic monologue and being stubborn isn't going to work in every situation. I know that all sounds a little bit morbid and probably cynical, but it's the truth. That kind of character has no complexity, it isn't realistic in terms of psychology, and ultimately it's just boring to read about (and I'm surprised it isn't boring to write for some).
Double Life/Secret Identity stories - What I mean by that is a character who leads a double life (think Bruce Wayne/Batman). It's very cliched but I can't help but be drawn to them. Especially if the character is still in high school or college. I think the reason I like that setting so much is because school is a setting where you are basically forced to be in constant interactions with other people, and at some point those people are going to notice things. I just like all the different angles that can be played from a character's standpoint and his/her relationships. Those relationships can definitely be a bit strained with the person always disappearing. I just enjoy the aspect of keeping a secret even from your closest friends and the problems it can cause.
Crossovers - I like crossovers because we get to see favorite characters from two different universes interact, or simply how one favorite character reacts to being in a completely new place. My favorite crossovers are:
Pet Peeves: I have a few of them :P. This list is for general problems I see with the fanfiction community and it's stories.
Out of Character (OOC) - When you fall in love with a new movie/anime/book what is it you like about it? Is it the universe the story takes place in, the characters, or maybe a combination of both? I'm going to assume that option #2 is at least a small part of it and the reason you are writing a story based on this franchise (not to mention the reason why you added certain characters to the filter option). So, if you liked this character's traits enough to write a story about him/her then does it not stand to reason that anyone who clicks on your story feels the same way? If you agree with this logic then why take a beloved character and change him around into something unrecognizable? What you do not realize is that you have ceased to write about the character you set out to write, and instead you have created a completely original character which just so happens to share the same physical appearance as the one both you and all the readers love.
Strong Female Leads (becoming weak) - The action/adventure genre has always been dominated by men through all mediums: movies, games, and books. Occasionally a story comes along though that changes up this formula, and instead of a strong male we get a strong female. I still enjoy the male protagonist stories, but that formula has been used so often that it is refreshing to have a new variable thrown in. These characters take traditional "male" characteristics of being a fighter/stoic/powerful and put them into a female which is just such a great change of pace. Unfortunately though, these successes are few and far between as so many authors (I'm speaking more to those professionally than to those here on fanfiction) will take those few traits that typically belong to male leads and mix in the typical "female" attributes of whiney/weak/hopeless romantic. I do not understand why it is so necessary to create such contradictions. We have seen with male leads for decades that they can maintain both their "strength" and become emotionally vulnerable without becoming inconsolable. Why can't we get this same consistency from female characters? I think that the movie Underworld did the best job in staying consistent with it's lead. Selene was a total badass to start. She was feared, respected, and highly skilled. Then she develops a romantic interest, but that did not diminish the attributes we saw from her leading up to her interest or suddenly turn her into a helpless fool. Her personality is also not overtly altered, she just gains a person into her life and integrates that person into her social interactions.
Emotionally crippling strong female characters - Somewhat of a continuation from the prior topic, but slightly different. This is when the female character in the original franchise is a strong action oriented character, but then in the fanfiction story a traumatic event takes place where this characters has a total break down. Anyone can have a psychological breakdown, but you have to keep everything in context. Is the cause of the breakdown truly so horrific that someone who has spent their entire life as an action oriented and results driven character would have a total meltdown? If so then you have an argument but not much of a story. If the event which occurred does not meet the above criteria then you have just ruined the character consistency from the original franchise, not to mention failing any test of rationality.
YaoiYuri - If the characters in the anime/manga/book/show/movie/game are heterosexual then why would you make them homosexual? This has nothing to do with any prejudices against homosexuality, but it has everything to do with who these characters are. Probably my biggest gripe with yaoi stories is that it's usually just fangirls looking for an excuse to throw a couple of hot male characters together. I don't really see explanation of turning otherwise heterosexual characters into homosexual ones. All too often it seems the entire motivation of the story was to throw a couple of "attractive" male characters together and make a story around it.
Physical changes when exuding "power" - People have seen Dragon Ball Z way too many times and seem to think to give off an appearance of power you have to have lightning sparks around you, your eyes turning pure white, or start glowing. Seriously people...no...just no. Unless you are writing a story about Dragon Ball Z, or any similar franchise where the characters do this, then just don't do it. The only thing you will do is make readers think you lack creativity as a writer and/or are too lazy to come up with something better.
Stay within the Universe's parameters - I'm not a canon-nazi. I think that writers of fanfiction need some creative liberties in order to keep the story fresh and engaging. However, don't break the laws of physics, so to speak, in order to accomplish that goal. Just as Harry Potter should not be able to go Super Saijin 3, a Jedi in Star Wars should not have 20 new force powers that are both non-existent in the Star Wars universe and completely overpowered. Sticking 100% to canon is not required, but when you start screwing with universe's makeup then you stop writing about that universe.
Overpowered/over emphasized original characters (OC) - As I mentioned in the OOC section people who come to fanfic do so because they fell in love with a particular setting and/or it's characters. Therefore no one wants to see how totally bad-ass your original character is. Bringing an OC into the mix can greatly enhance a story and even differentiate it from the hundreds of others in the same topic. However, when their "screen time" begins to rival that of the main characters that brought both you and your readers to this Fanfiction website then we have a problem.
Character Bashing - It's bad writing, and that is by far the nicest way to put it. We all have biases against certain characters, but when you start over emphasizing any of those traits to turn them into some contemptuous and bigoted turd; then it just comes across as petty. If you find that there is a character who you hate then find ways to either write them out of the story, or better yet, find a way to redeem them into something tolerable. Case and point. One of the worst characters in all of fiction in my opinion is Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series. However, the best fanfiction I have ever read was written by an author who did not result to petty "bashing" even though he shared my contempt of the character from the source material. The story did not hide the many personality flaws this character had, but the author found a way to make him tolerable while still recognizing those severe personality flaws.
Instant romance - This is a constant plague on the fanfiction community. This scenario is when characters fall in love, seemingly, at the flip of a switch. Honestly, I tend to think this is just laziness from the writer. I typically only want to see romance as a sub-plot, but even I have to wonder why you would write a love story without actually showing the characters falling in love.
"I Love you" - This is in regards to the phrase "I love you". The problem is not with the phrase itself, but instead the problem is how and when it is used. This should be a powerful phrase used to affect the reader. It should be used to show how deeply these characters truly love one another. Unfortunately there are an untold number of stories which cheapen the phrase by using it frequently and/or too soon. If you use the phrase early in the story then you probably have not had a chance to actually develop the relationship of the characters and have immediately ruined that relationship in the reader's eyes going forward. If you it used too frequently then it loses value and impact just as anything does when it is in abundance. The absolute perfect instance I saw this phrase used on fanfiction was at the tail end of a story that was around 400k words (no you don't have to make an epic that long to use it, but I'm using this example for emphasis). The character's relationship was developed from the beginning until finally it's peak during an event that was near the end of the story, and there was only one thing for these characters to say "I love you".
Young Love - Self explanatory, but this is when you have 10, 11, 12 or maybe even 14 year old kids falling madly in love. These are at best hormonal driven teenagers who are just beginning to explore themselves and the concept of love. This is an easy way to make your story instantly lose any credibility.
Convenient Plot Devices - These are stories where the author writes in something that is terribly convenient for the characters, events, etc...This could mean a disembodied voice that leads the character in all of the right directions. Maybe a couple of opposite gendered people thrown into a dorm room together because there were no more open spaces left in their own gender's dorms. Probably the most prevalent abuse of this is the protagonist figuring out some rudimentary way to counter some difficult task that has never been thought of before. Basically, conflict is a good thing. Conveniently writing in an easy button for the characters is both boring and lazy.
Frequent bad Language - I will preface this stating I have no problem with any words that would make a sailor blush (I have even used some in writing this profile). However, while the intention of constant and over-the-top profanity may be to make your character seem either more mature or more bad-ass the result is the total opposite. Once again this comes across as laziness from the writer as it seems like there was not much thought put into the language used. Perhaps the most damning piece of this is that the character will end up seeming childish and a poser (for lack of a better term). We all use obscene language in our daily lives, but we also use it in moderation and for effect.
Lemons - I am not a prude, and I will state that this is not one of those things that instantly kills a story. However, what does kill the story is when the lemon is not well written or seems misplaced. This is because in both instances it seems like the lemon was a pre-determined event rather than a natural thing that has happened due to the events which have taken place. Unfortunately stories that feature a lemon, almost universally, suffer from at least one of these issues so I prefer not to see them at all.
"Soulbound" relationships - Basically this is when characters are destined by fate or by magic to be together. When I see a story with this I honestly just think that the author is lazy. I do not read stories for their romantic plots, but I still would agree that romance in a story can actually be very good. If they are "soulbound" so to speak then there isn't much point in showing the relationship though. Here, the characters are thrown together by an infallible magic rather than 2 characters building a relationship through mutual trust, understanding and attraction.
Individual Franchises Here I am going to speak a little on specifics I have seen from the various franchises that I select stories from.
Final Fantasy XIII:
Lightning/Hope Pairing from Final Fantasy 13...this has come up a few times in my ranting now, but it just such an unbelievably bad idea...You may notice that I think being blunt is often the the best choice for critiquing, but they are just my opinions and not necessarily am I trying to be vindictive. That being said...if you write a story with this pairing, let me state without apology, that you have no business ever creating another fanfiction ever. If you would like to know why then scroll up/down on this profile. Still not convinced? I'm sure you can wiki the characters Lightning Farron and Hope Esthiem. Still not convinced you say? Then play the damn game because you obviously either didn't play the game in the first place or you were too toked up to have even realized what you were playing.
HermioneEinstein - Okay so I just need to rant a little bit right here on Harry Potter stories specifically. I love Hermione. She's my favorite of the golden trio and one of my favorite characters overall (and who does not love Emma Watson lol). That said, I'm so irritated by the number of stories that take the "brightest witch of her age" thing way too far. Intelligent? Yes. Well read? Of course. Smarter than Dumbledore? No. Capable of writing 20 page college worthy thesis in elementary school? Try again. I will also expand this to say that no kids should speak like they have a PHD in English and are attending a formal event as part of their natural speech.
Harry/Animagus - Harry Potter never shows any inclination to become an animagus, which isn't what really kills this for me. My issue with this theme is that the Harry Potter Universe does not seem to put much emphasis on this ability at all. It's more of a disguise used to hide in plain sight. Other practical applications of this form seem to be non existent. However, in stories that feature Harry developing this ability (often from an incredibly young age I might add) his form is capable of things that no other animagus seems to be able to do. Also, as a general preference I like reading about humanoid characters. When I feel like reading a story about a bunch of animals then I'm sure I will find my way to the Lion King section of this site, and if that is what you want to write about then I'm sure that a few there is plenty of room on this site to write about Homeward Bound.
Weasley/Dumbledore Bashing - The most prevalent use of character bashing, among the fanfiction genres I select stories from, come in the Harry Potter section. Specifically, these characters draw the ire of many authors. I will begin by stating I am not a fan of some of the main Weasleys. My impression of Molly was that she was overbearing and petty. Then there was Ron who lacked many of the qualities that exemplify a Gryffindor. He is petty, jealous, he is only brave when his friends convince him to be, and most damning of all is his loyalty at best can be described as fickle. While these are serious character flaws, there is no reason to turn either of them (or the rest of the family) into something vile. It shows that the author even shares some of these disturbing traits with the characters they hate. The Weasleys simply should not become bigoted, vile, disgusting characters who are using Harry for their own gains. It's just ridiculous. Then there is Dumbledore. Many stories have tried to portray him as this dark and manipulative old man out to seize more notoriety for himself. If you want to say that he is at times misguided and has an "ends justify the means" mentality then I can get on board with that, to an extent. However, he is absolutely not evil or seeking out fame. He's already the most famous wizard in magical Britain, and he has had ample opportunity to take any position of authority he could have ever desired so there can't be any motivation to be manipulative in a way that brings more fame and power his way. Authors want to point to the mistakes, and some plotholes, he has made in his life that have resulted in some sort of tragedy as evidence of his dark manipulations. Unfortunately, these arguments end up just being asinine and self contradictory. Why contradictory? Because that logic requires Dumbledore to basically be a perfect being which is both ludicrous from a general standpoint, and it contradicts those very authors stories because they give him plans and manipulations which are inherently flawed. In one of the books Dumbledore told Harry that he is not infallible. He is prone to mistakes as anyone else, but because of his cleverness and position in society, his mistakes end up being more costly than the mistakes of others. Plus, character bashing is just silly. Grow up.
Selene (Emotionally Crippled) - In the Underworld movies Selene is a vampire somewhere around 600 years old and has spent nearly all of it as an assassin/soldier. Before becoming a vampire she witnessed her entire family slaughtered. She has friends and is certainly capable of empathy, but she did not survive all of those years by being an emotionally crippled woman who completely loses herself the moment tragedy strikes. Hell, in the second movie she thought the man she loved had died. Did she curl up in the fetal position and cry her eyes out? NO! She set a goal to find the bastard who 'killed' him and take him down. Nothing about her character in any of the movies suggests she is anything but the type to take adversity head on. So, with this knowledge why are 95% of the Underworld stories with Selene as a prominent character written like a bad teenage drama where she can be inconsolable when someone mentions her past or if she hasn't found Michael yet (Post-Awakening)?
Selene (Underpowered) - I'm not one of those people who usually gets involved in the "who is strong character x or character y" arguments, but I can't help to use a logical train of thought when reading. To me this logic consists of a few facts: First, Selene is a 600 year old soldier. That implies she has quite a bit of experience fighting and it is certainly implied in the first movie that she may be the best of the death dealer (an skilled warrior group). The rest of these facts have to do with the 2nd Underworld movie. Michael gets his ass kicked by Marcus on the boat, I mean he gets absolutely worked over and only had the smallest bit of life left in him. After this Selene drinks the blood of Alexander Corvinus, and therefore gains at least some of the strength that the very first immortal possessed. She then goes to fight Marcus toe to toe, he was even impressed with her new strength, and eventually defeats him (partially by fluke, but a hell of a lot better than Michael did). So, quick recap: She has 600 years of fighting experience, she has the legacy blood/strength of the first immortal making her some kind of vampire/true immortal hybrid, and she went toe to toe with the same vampire elder that destroyed Michael. Despite these facts, most Underworld stories show her as comparatively weaker to both Michael and their daughter (by a wide margin) which just seems to lack logical consistency with the movies. Perhaps she can't rip a lycans head in two with her bare hands, but her physical prowess should not be overlooked, nor should her centuries of combat experience.
Character Relationships - This is basically my thoughts on a number of popular character relationships that I come across. (WARNING - possible spoilers)
Darker than Black:
(Good) Heie/Mizuki - Heie/Li is an enigma to Kirihara which helps the intrigue, and she seemed to genuinely like Li Shensung (sp) when they were around. Similar to Heie/Yin though these are both strong characters who would not likely fall victim to a bad teenage drama.
(Bad) Sasuke/Naruto - Sasuke's sexuality is never explicitly stated in the manga, but there hasn't been anything to suggest he swings that way. In fact I would say the most accurate description of him is asexual. Naruto on the other hand is very clearly straight. He's 'loved' Sakura since their days at the academy. Their bond is more brotherly than anything. This pairing for whatever reason seems to make up nearly half of all Sasuke centric stories, and I just don't understand it.
(Good) Sasuke/Sakura - Ok this one is kind of believable (and my favorite of the Sasuke/x ships). Sakura obviously loves Sasuke , and despite the fact that I referred to him as being asexual he clearly had some feelings for Sakura that were shown the night he left her on the bench (whether those were romantic or not is debatable). That said, this pairing requires some work. Whether it is completely AU or not Sasuke needs to develop/re-develop his bond with Sakura at a slow pace. Sasuke isn't the type to be very open with his thoughts so this one can't be rushed.
(Terrible) Hermione/Draco - Are you kidding me?
(Bad) Harry/Draco - Draco could conceivably be gay, but afraid to come out being from a family like the Malfoys. Harry however is definitely not gay. He crushed on Cho Chang for years, went to the Yule Ball with one of the Patils, and obviously there is the thing with Ginny. Besides, they absolutely hate each other. Just no.
(Bad) Ron/Hermione - Ok so I don't actually read many fics with this pairing (by choice), but I'm listing it here because JK had it in the books. Seriously what was she thinking putting the 2 of them get together? Ron does not have the drive that Hermione does, and he did so many things to cause fights between the golden trio it's amazing either she or Harry ever took him back in. His seemingly fickle attitude towards friendship with Harry and Hermione make it hard to believe that Hermione would ever love someone like him. JK tells us that they are together and they love each other, but at no point in the books is it actually ever shown with anything more than "this is the way it is and don't ask questions"
(Bad) Harry/Ginny - There are a few reasons I list this one as "bad". For one this pairing almost assuredly leads to a Ron/Hermione pairing which I think is just stupid. Second, Ginny's idolization of him I would think would be a huge turnoff. Even though she seemed to get over him in the middle books I would think Harry might be a bit wary of forming any kind of deep relationship with her. Which brings me to point #3. Exactly what relationship did they have before he pounced on her in book 6? As far as JK's writing goes the answer is virtually none. Ginny is non-existent through most of the series and the only really implied interactions between her and Harry are in the fact that Harry spends a lot of time with her family (for reasons other than her being there) and seeing each other in the Gryffindor commons. For this relationship to work it would have to be completely AU and the story would need to start from the beginning and the characters basically completely re-written.
(Good) Harry/Hermione - It should be pretty obvious that I believe this was the correct relationship for Harry to have in the books, at least out of those that seemed to be options. Hermione was always there for Harry, anytime Ron would abandon them she stood by Harry and not Ron, and obviously cared deeply for him. The pairing almost made too much sense, maybe that's why JK did not go that route. Still though, it was such a perfect match that it basically ruins every other Harry/x, Hermione/x relationship. As for how this relationship should proceed. Harry is definitely oblivious to the opposite sex and so any relationship should be built upon. This is doubly true as Hermione never appeared to show any outward deep romantic feelings for him. Any good story revolving these two should have them continue to develop their relationship and come to terms (after a number of events) to how they really feel about each other. Don't simply take a starting point from one of the books and suddenly have them announcing their love for each other.
Full Metal Alchemist:
(bad) Ed/Envy - Ed likes girls. Ed hates Envy. Envy is a humunculus. Ed hates humunculai.
(bad) Ed/Roy - Ed likes girls. Roy likes girls. Ed is a teenager while Roy is old enough to have been in the army during the initial rebellion.
(Neutral) Ed/Rose - Ed likes girls. Ed and Rose share a mutual bond that can easily develop into something more.
(Good) Ed/Winry - For some reason the best (and might I add canon implied) pairing in the FMA universe is the one least used on this site. Absolutely everyone wants to make Ed act out the author's fantasies with Ed/whatever 'hot' male character in the FMA universe. Ed has loved Winry since they were kids. Winry loves Ed. I will always caution writers in developing a relationship in their story too quickly, but this one can be done so a little quicker than many of the others (assuming you are sticking to some semblance of the FMA universe anyway). The only thing getting in the way is the stubbornness of each character. So the one thing to be conscious of is that neither is particularly willing to make the first move, and Ed is certainly the type to hold in a lot of feelings.
Ranma 1/2: (all Ranma's are male unless otherwise noted)
(Neutral) Ranma/Ryoga - Both are clearly heterosexual. However, if Ranma is somehow stuck in his girl form it is conceivable that his chemistry might change to that of a girl so she becomes attracted to Ryoga. Ryoga's willingness in this is up for debate as he has a rivalry with Ranma, but it can be done. Male Ranma/Ryoga stories however simply do not work.
(Good) Ranma/Akane - This is the canon pairing and it really makes for good stories. They are both so emotionally stunted that there is always the issue of getting over their awkwardness with each other. However, even once that awkwardness has been overcome Ranma will never be the type to constantly spill his feelings to someone, and Akane is much the same way.
Final Fantasy VII:
(Bad) Cloud/Zack - Admittedly I don't know a lot about their relationship beyond what was told in the original Final Fantasy 7 game, but I know this doesn't work. In a single word Aeris.
(Neutral) Cloud/Aeris - I never really cared for that particular relationship. Part of it is because I always liked Tifa's character better, and Aeris never really resonated with me. It's canon and you can make a valid argument for it with their interactions in the game, but I just don't like Aeris.
(Good) Cloud/Tifa - Why? Because they're my two favorite characters in the game and they have a history with each other.
Final Fantasy VIII:
(Bad) Squall/Seifer - They aren't gay. Squall has 2 other relationships that work out far better. They don't get a long at all.
(Neutral) Squall/Quistis - I would like this one better were it not for the next pairing I will mention, but it does work. Quistis has certain feelings for Squall that could be romantic the only question is does he return them, and how do you go about forcing it out of him. Because of their relationship dynamic and the next pairing I will mention, I really like this as a sister/brother pairing more though. It's really perfect for that.
(Good) Squall/Rinoa - Like that wasn't obvious. Do I really need to explain this one?
Final Fantasy XIII:
(Bad) Hope/Light - No. Absolutely not! If you do this you need to have your keyboard stolen! I am annoyed by the fangirling that goes on with pairings in many franchises and fics, but the audacity that so many authors have in believing this pairing works on any level really and truly irks me. Hope is like 14, Lightning is 21. Hope clearly respects Lightning and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he had a crush on her (what 14 year old boy wouldn't find a petite girl slicing through enemies like that hot?). The problem though comes from Light's feelings. She treats him like a little brother or even as his surrogate mother. Even when he grows up and becomes a man she will always be nearly a decade older than him, and even for those stories that have some kind of occurrence where Hope ages while Light doesn't (or Light becomes younger) you can't get by the fact that her initial feelings towards him are not the kind that can easily translate into romantic ones. The only possible route to take to make this work is to make it completely AU, screw with their ages to make them closer to each other from the beginning, and go from there. The problem with that though is as a reader it's hard to think of little Hope as anything but a kid and Lightning as an emotionally-detached soldier with a protective nature over Hope. On top of that, what exactly would be the point in writing a Final Fantasy XIII story if you are going to take so many liberties with the characters? There really is no logical explanation to a romance between these two. If you write a romance between these two characters then you are just being obstinate and it saddens me that there are actually people who encourage those stories with favorable reviews.
(Neutral) Light/Fang - Light's sexuality is never stated. Fang's sexuality is in question and she certainly has the right personality to get under Light's skin and make it work though. I'll go more into why this only gets a neutral rating next...
(Good) Light/NA - The FF13 story for Light lacks any easy to believe relationships. Snow has Serah, Sazh is way too old, Hope and Vanille are both too young, and Fang is questionable. Cid is a possibility, but his part in the game was so brief he might as well be an OC if you decide to write him in. It's very hard to imagine Light ever having any overly dramatic romance. She's too independent, driven, and calculating for any story with her being like "oh I love you" to be believable. This is a girl who had to grow up fast to take care of her little sister, became a soldier to provide for them, and was always driving towards some goal. Any relationship she has should be written to show her independence as a person. Unfortunately I've rarely seen her personified in that way. Normally I find stories where she is blushing like a schoolgirl and perhaps acting more like a damsel in distress would towards her knight (or Knightette in Fang's case). I believe it is just very difficult to write a romantic relationship with her that is believable so I prefer to only have, at most, hinted pairings with her. This (and other instances of character/NA) does not mean that the character is incapable of love, it just means that their attributes do not make it very likely to develop a relationship in the middle of a compelling plot.
(Good) Light/Serah - Sisterly relationship only. I find the relationship between these two sisters very unique and interesting. Their parents died when they were both pretty young, and Lightning was forced to grow up fast. She adopted a bit of a cold demeanor because of it and is very protective of her little sister. Given Serah's natural caring demeanor it potentially creates quite a few interesting scenarios between the two. Lightning being a soldier who is detached and her little sister worrying about her emotional stability. It's cute and one of the more powerful bonds to read about in terms of affecting the reader.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic:
(Bad) Revan/Carth - KOTOR is a unique game in that the main character is what you make him/her to be. As a personal preference though I don't like Carth and so I don't like this pairing. Aside from my general dislike of Carth's character, this pairing also requires Revan to be not dark or even grey but light, and I've already mentioned I find light sided characters rather boring. - pairing is not an instant kill, but it does make me wary from the start.
(Good) Revan/Bastilla - This relationship can work whether Revan is male or female. The force bond that is forged between them creates a unique relationship that can be strengthened no matter what sex Revan is. I still don't like "light sided" Revan here, but a kind of grey Revan works great. I also really like stories where they had some contact before the Mandalorian War (my personal favorite would be 1 sided "hero worship" of Revan, not necessarily them having any contact)
(Good) Revan/NA - Revan has a mission to complete, whether it is the Mandalorian Wars, Crushing the Republic (good or bad intentions), or redeeming him/herself after being brainwashed. This doesn't leave a lot of time for love.
Sword Art Online:
(Good) Kirito/Sinon - I never hated Asuna, but I always felt like her character/relationship with Kirito never really made sense. Maybe though it was just because there is so much that we don't ever see in the original SAO arc because of the time skips. Then there is Sinon who is one of the deepest characters in the source material. It's hard not to fall for her story. Plus, we got to see every moment of her interactions with Kirito. The bond that they formed seemed more real.
Teen Titans (cartoon):
(bad) Raven/BB - It's canon but I don't care. It really just doesn't work. I see the argument, he's the "funny" one and opposites attract. If they formed a relationship and spent tons of time together I can easily see him winding up as a corpse though. Maybe I would feel differently had I read the comics, but as far as the cartoon goes their personalities would not mesh well.
(Neutral) Raven/Robin - They both understand each other better than any of the other titans, and they have similar personalities. It only works as a sub plot though because there is only so much you can have two standoff-ish characters show each other during an adventure before it becomes corny.
(Good)) Raven/NA - Outside of Robin none of the Titans really make a good fit for her. It's also nearly impossible to write a good story with a relationship involving her being anything other than a minor subplot because of who/what she is. She always has to keep her emotions in check, and even for those of you who try to get around this by saying after she defeated Trigon she was free...the girl spent the first 16 years of her life controlling her emotions and developing a sarcastic and witty personality as a defense mechanism. She isn't going to turn into a bubbly cheerleader overnight, if ever. If that were her personality AT ALL she would have had a much more difficult time controlling her emotions all those years.
(Bad) F-Shepard/Alenko - Sorry, I just really don't like Alenko's character at all. Nothing more than that. I was more than happy to leave him on Virmire.
(Neutral) M-Shepard/Ashley or Miranda - Grouping these together because they both work out for basically the same reasons. Both human and both opposite genders.
(Good) M/F-Shepard/NA - A few things here. I don't usually skip over F-Shepard/(whomever) stories based on pairing, because I don't really have any strong feelings about any of them. Honestly, the only relationship for F-Shepard that I think is believable is with Alenko (or maybe one of the females in the crew) which I'm obviously not a fan of. Ultimately though this comes down to Shepard as a character. Shepard is a decorated marine, SPECTRE, and slayer of reapers...that's a lot of responsibility. Even if you don't go the renegade Shepard (my favorite) s/he is still has a lot going on and finding time to romance a member of the crew (all of whom are subordinates I might add) just doesn't seem likely. Shepard has a mission and exaggerated romances take away the focus of the most important mission in the galaxy. Romancing Shepard only serves to take away from the phenomenal story that is Mass Effect.
My Wishlist Essentially this is my wishlist for this site and its authors.
- More search options. I want an additional story theme to be available for authors to check "Yaoi/Yuri". In addition to that I want the ability to exclude up to two characters from search results and the ability to exclude stories with a yaoi/yuri theme. These additions would drastically reduce my search time for new stories and just make my experience a lot easier.
- More KOTOR fics. I enjoy the old republic universe so much more than the one shown in the movies. Jedi are not extinct or nearly so, and there is Revan who kicks ass. A few themes I would love to see more of are:
1.) Pre-Mandalorian Wars and on...Revan is a customizeable character from the start and is totally unique to the individual playing him, and so I think it's so much cooler when we get to see him/her growing up in the enclave, excelling among his/her peers and eventually leading them into war. I've come across a few stories that did this and then continued on through the events of the game or further. I found those Revan's so much more appealing because I could watch them grow and understand all of the actions better.
2.) KOTOR/Movie crossover - I've seen 2 or 3 instances of Revan being sucked through time and dropped into the time of the movies (note I say sucked and not used some force trick to open a portal on a whim...don't even bother writing if that is in your head) and it is just so cool. Whether it was movies 4-6 where he is tossed into a world of a galactic empire with darth vader and leia or the new trilogy coexisting with the newer jedi council and clone war. It's such a seldom used concept, but it is one that I find incredibly intriguing.
3.) COMPLETELY AU - Revan never joined jedi. Instead he was found and trained by Kreia to be an assassin or something like that. Maybe he is contracted to be the body guard of an important figure, or maybe he is tasked with infiltrating the jedi (having the jedi act as more of a school than what we see it as) for whatever reason. So many possibilities and yet I've never seen this story done.
- More undercover fics...Similar to section 3 previously but expanded. I love stories where the lead from that franchise is strong but is has to go undercover as a student at a high school, college, or maybe some government organization. The reasoning can vary but I just love this theme. Like when Kenshin (Rurouni Kenshin) is a high school student but still an assassin, maybe he has to move around a lot and so he's the new kid keeping his night job as a secret...I once read a full metal alchemist story where Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) had to go undercover at a school in another country and had to keep his identity as a state alchemist a secret...Gohan (Dragon Ball Z) going to school and keeping his identity a secret from Videl and his other classmates...I think you get the picture. I don't know, I just find it so much fun for the main character to always be on his/her toes trying to keep something like that a secret, all of the close encounters with their peers suspecting something is 'off' but not knowing what or having any proof.
- More non-romance stories...Probably 90% of the time when I'm looking for a new fic to read I want it to have some kind of real conflict (ie: action against an external threat). Because of this I think it's very realistic to not have the protagonist fall in love with someone in his team or he is working with. For instance, when Samuel L Jackson played his character in Snakes on a Plane did he have any romantic interest? No, cause he had some mother fucking snakes on that mother fucking plane and he had to get rid of them! He didn't have time to find someone to hook up with! Pardon the language...Basically I want to come across a story that only focuses on the plot and the conflicts brought about by it without a big deviation to form a romance. Character development in the form of platonic bonds are absolutely great, but I get kind of tired of it seeming to be a requirement to feature a romance in every story.
4.) More Teen Titans stories featuring a relationship-neutral and very strong Raven as the protagonist. I don't know about the comics, but as far as the cartoon goes Raven is by far the strongest in the group (she took on the demon Trigon). She also has some major hurdles to get through for any romantic relationship to take place. Despite these 2 facts of the series:
5.) More Underworld stories that feature Selene and acknowledge her ability as a fighter. I don't understand most of the Underworld writers here, I mean really don't understand. In the first Underworld movie up through half way into the Underworld Evolution (2nd movie) it was heavily implied that if Selene wasn't already the best death dealer in the coven then she was one of the best. All of this is of course before she drank Corvinus' blood and gained the strength of an elder. Despite this most of the Underworld stories I have come across have her as a weakling relative to other major characters. I once saw a story where Victor didn't actually die, and when he reappeared he was way stronger than Selene...I think we can use the transitive property here which states Selene > Marcus > Victor. I've also seen stories where she has a lot of trouble fighting average lycans. WTF? Did you people bother to watch even just the trailers for the franchise you are writing about?
6.) More time travel fics. I would like to see some stories with this theme were the protagonist jumps forward in time decades or centuries. It's rare to see one of these but it offers a lot of potential because you get to create your own world the character is thrust into depending on how big of a jump it is. Specifically though I like time travel stories where a character is sent back in time with his memories intact.
7.) Some legitimate Blood: The Last Vampire/Blood C fics. I am going to start off with a bit of a rant. The series known as Blood was awful. Honestly, it reminds me of an American animated movie called Ninja Scroll which tried to piggy off the back the success of a hugely popular Japanese anime of the same name. The two stories are nothing alike. This is how I view Blood. The original Blood: The Last Vampire won several awards with its dark tones and main character Saya who was a half breed vampire with little care in the world except for killing demons. She also kicked ass. Fast forward years later to the anime series Blood. In this Saya is still a half breed of sorts, but she is an innocent school girl who worries for her family/friends and is absolutely useless in a fight every time until her retainer comes to save the day. If the main character Saya even remotely resembled the one from the original you could pass this off as an AU, but shes does not. Which finally brings me to the original movie and later anime known as Blood-C. Although Blood C is in general an alternate universe to that of the original Blood: The Last Vampire, the main character has many identifiable traits that make it work like being strong, indifferent to others (especially as seen in season 2 of Blood C) and a bit of a loner, and very calculating. There many possibilities with a character like that both within her own universe and in others.