Author has written 7 stories for One Piece, Naruto, Soul Eater, and Kingdom Hearts.
Most of the stories I've written won't ever be completed. This is sad - but its so true for many fics out there. As to why - a lack of inspiration and direction is the main cause. Quite often authors on this start with an idea but no end goal, which often leads to a train-wreck in the end. Potential does not equal substance.A mythology-crossed Harry Potter trilogy involving a complex "divinity" system which runs in parallel to the "magical" system of wizards (it was so much fun to work on, but I tried to finish it before I posted it and lost some momentum. Maybe in the future). A Highschool of the Dead/Harry Potter fic involving Harry as a single father who's been all-but exiled from the wizarding world, and thus needs to take a job as a mercenary. This was so fun to write - but in the end I only managed two full chapters. The idea was to have Harry battle with his alcoholism, his duties as a father all the while trying to protect some teenagers from getting killed... all without a wand. Fun stuff, I enjoyed it. Highschool DxD fic where Issei possesses the Buddhist Magic Sacred-gear. This allows him to transform between the 6 States of Existence at will, and would also feature Matsuda and Motohama as prominent characters (since they are so neglected in the Light Novel/Anime). Highschool DxD/Gamer fic. Not seen a good one of these. So much room here for fun, but I've not taken any notes yet.
I'm going to try and continue Finding One's Self, which should last about 20 chapters all in all since it does now have a tangible end that I've planned, and its quite enjoyable to write things from the perspective of a much neglected character like Kakuzu.
Projects I've been working on that have yet to come to fruition include:
I like to think I've become relatively experienced as an author and reader over my now many years on this site - having grown from an awful, awful hobby-writer to a more avid-but-selective reader and occasional author. This site is amazing for a plethora of reasons - the most prominent being the forums of imagination and creativity it fosters, which allow expansions of universes we all dearly love.
But if you love something, be prepared to acknowledge it's flaws - of which this site has many.
All of these notes are subjective, and my own opinion - and needless to say if you scroll through my favourites you'll doubtless find some stories or authors who tick off a few boxes on this list and rightly call bullshit. The only thing I can say to that is: sure. I've grown and changed as a reader and an author, and my tastes have changed too - some things that were once sweet have turned bitter over time.
But enjoy, and feel free to engage in creative debate.
Change is good... Kind of:
Fanfiction exists on the principle of changing the universes we know. Be it by the edition of new characters, powering up existing characters, or simply altering the universe slightly to set the story on a different path. Good - that sounds promising.
But what if you change everything? What if you pump he story full of OCs, give everyone superpowers, and then start a zombie apocalypse? Yeah... No.
The fact is; if you want fanfiction to be tolerable you need to accept at least some of the boundaries created by the original author. You can bend them, sure - tonnes of AUs are creative and fun but remain true to the original spirit of their story's. But at the point where you are basically changing EVERYTHING: it's an original story. Not necessarily a bad thing, but false advertising is sin worthy.
Problems with heroes
Harry Potter, Naruto, and most other popular protagonists? Boring as fuck.
No, really. They are deliberately made as boring as possible from the get go - it's more immersive if you can empathise with a character who has very little personality.
But let me be clear: protagonists need this. The backbone of any good story is growth of a character, and this becomes so fluid when you have the templates laid out by your token heroes. As long as the progression is logical and thought out, I can dig it.
Now for the overarching problem - it's such a common trope on this site for the hero to have a tragic backstory filled with suffering and woe, get uber powerful off-screen (getting trained by elves, or some wise master, or a character from another series) and then get sweet, sweet vengeance which is generally quite disproportionate to the harm inflicted upon them. While collecting a massive harem of Women who apparently serve as little more than decorations attracted to pure machismo and dark pasts.
Removing a few of these tropes can produce something interesting - such as "Deprived" by the Crimson Lord. A story where the character has suffered and is powerful, but at the same time isn't a functioning human and does grow over the course of the story with the help from the deuteragonist.
Other stories include all the tropes, tend to be poorly written and contrived, and generally amount to the equivalent of character masturbation.
Crudeness aside, I've been guilty of a feckload of these - and the reason for my inactivity is my purposely trying to avoid such tropes and focus on a non-contrived hero who does have room to grow.
Examples to follow would be Kenichi from Strongest Disciple, Shi-Woon Yi from The Breaker, or Han Jee Han from The Gamer. All start off weak, but through time and effort grow - and while some do get an easy path, it's mitigated by the costs it comes with and the challenges they have to endure.
A hero fighting against the odds is a story. A broken "badass" warrior toting weapons with "shadow" or "darkness" in the title offers little more than meaningless gratification with no tangible payoff.
Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist:
A continuation of the previous notes. When you give your character everything, what is left? There is nothing to fight for, nothing to be achieved. Harry Potter is often subjected to this - bland personification that he is. Typically it will go: visits goblins and is polite, they are so awed by his messianic nature that they hand over a feckload of treasure, in that treasure is the revelation he is the heir to 30 noble houses and thus inheritor of 100 powers he'll never, ever used or even expand upon, and also receive so many marriage contracts you'd almost think societal laws of a Monogamy weren't a thing and that Lex Specialis doesn't apply.
Oh, where to begin with this?
Individual cases aside - this is quite simply the most boring premise imaginable. In a RPG; do you start on Level 100 with all the legendary items, with mines filled with gold, and with all the possible knowledge of magic you could have? Generally no - you start at Level 1with hardly any equipment, barely a pittance and no working knowledge of magic. You have to work for all that shit.
Life doesn't hand you the solution on a silver platter just for being polite. Life screws you over. A lot. And while there are some things that exist that will help you, unless you are willing to actually do some work you don't get to Level 100 that easily.
So don't make it easy - make it a struggle. Make the protagonist have to crawl through the muck to get anywhere.
Because when they triumph over whatever problems they are subjected to, the taste of victory is so much sweeter.
Planning is needed:
Most stories on this site never reach an end - and that's the sad truth. Why? The universes they are based on have had years of work put into them, and generally are still running. Remember - we don't get paid for this. It's purely rewarded by feedback and appreciation.
But for those who do wish to finish something I've not yet succeeded in doing; a story cannot be ad-libbed. It cannot be based on the readers wishes. It needs clear direction and thought; for foreshadowing, for character introduction, for character death - all point to the conclusion of the story which needs to be known well before the story's middle.
An end gives you direction - and no matter how sad it is we need to reach it one way or another. So before setting off, know your ending and work towards it.
The results are far more rewarding.
Pair at thy peril:
Pairings are often forced and by extension unbelievable. Harem stories are a common trope, and let's be clear - it's because of the anime effect.
But that doesn't give you the excuse to under-develop characters with the excuse they are just pairing fodder. If you want a reader to care about a pairing, you need to care about BOTH the people in it - no matter what their genders.
The best pairings don't happen in a single chapter. The best pairings aren't established at the beginning of the story. The best pairings take time, take effort, take both characters to know, appreciate and love each other. You know: like real life.
By this token: marriage contracts are a shit idea. HP stories are really guilty of this, and quite often those involved seem more than willing to accept the results of the contract (death or love protagonist... No choice.) Necessity doesn't equal love. I'm fine with contracts but please stop making those it focuses on happy about it - at least until they've actually gotten to no one another.
And don't bash LGBT pairings: they exist in real life, and are just as genuine as straight pairings. It doesn't matter that I'm not part of that demographic; it doesn't mean I can't care about their struggles for love.
Fish Out of Water
Adoption and relocation of protagonists is such a common trend. The phrase “The dursley’s died, and Harry was adopted and raised in America” or something synonymous, is generally a bad sign in the Story summary. The main question is: why? Why is that necessary?
Okay, don’t get me wrong – I generally understand what people are trying to achieve: give the character a different environment to grow up in. But at the same time, you have to realise at the point of which you a) change their close family and b) remove them from the environment they originally had… they are not the same character. Which can be fine.
But quite often they make them the same character. Harry will still be Harry – but with an American accent, and no glasses for some reason. This… is lazy.
Alternatively – they’re completely different. So much so, it’s almost like they are an original character who are generally story breakers in terms of conflict. One of the most bullshit lines I’ve ever read came in the first chapter of a story where Harry Potter was raised by Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan (bizarre in itself), and Harry – upon hearing of Voldemort, tells Dumbledore “We Americans know how to properly deal with terrorists.” It’s at this point propaganda/self-insertion becomes quite blatant.
I don’t care if you shift characters about – I embrace that. But recognise that firstly: they will no be the same character, and secondly: they will not become god. Unless they are raised by a god – but that has so many more problems.
Deus Ex Machina:
Not even once.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? There are far, far too many of these. Back in the day - like '08/09 - all we had to read was Naruto, Harry Potter, and Bleach fanfiction with the occasional crossover. And nearly all of them were Naruto crossovers. I don't understand this trend exactly, though I admit to being a part of it. I love Naruto - it's a story which shows a fairly natural character progression, and ultimately reached a natural conclusion. But stop kicking that dead horse. My main peeve with the titular crossover in particular is fact that it's basically an excuse to give Naruto a God-mod, strip away everything that made Naruto-Naruto (namely his humour and occasional idiocy) and slap him with a 12' penis. It's an excuse to pair Naruto with the DxD cast. Nevermind that Issei is a much more interesting character to play with - don't get me wrong, Issei is a morally reprehensible piece of crud, but that gives you so much room to change him, and make him an interesting character. That's the point here - Naruto is unnecessary. This is more rant-y than some other musings, but it's something that continuously bugs me considering its a trope that pops up continuously.
As mentioned above, I'm quite sick of the common tropes that exist around pairings - but that's not to say I'm against pairings. Far from it - they often add something quite necessary to stories: heart.
In terms of individual series- I've stopped reading Naruto fics more or less. Take a shot every time you discover a crossover fic with Naruto as the protagonist where he more or less just replaces the original protagonist. I sweat to god you will die of alcohol poisoning. I do enjoy some Naruto fic's to be fair - many are really well written - but all in all I'm quite tired of them. As a result my pairing thoughts on this series are quite rusty, but I do take note of no longer enjoying NaruHina fics. Hinata was, is and always shall be a boring character. Unless the author does some serious work in making her interesting - I'm really not interested.
Harry Potter is an interesting one. I'm in favour of non-conventional pairings: that is to say Harry with Daphne, Tracey, Narcissa, Millicent, Gabrielle, Fleur or Tonks - underdeveloped characters (or non-existent in some cases) whose presence in the life of the protagonist can lead to loads of interesting scenarios. And they are all virtually blank slates, so this lends itself to creativity.
My main thoughts on this can be summed up thusly - pair the protagonist with whomever you want. But make them interesting. Don't try and sell us the cock-and-bull "we've always secretly loved each other" shitck that so many authors get away with (*COUGH-Harry-Hermione-COUGH*) Women tend to be so poorly written as fanfiction characters (this is a highly biased perspective as the majority of stories I tend to read seem to come from males) so don't join the crowd and please write them as humans. James Spookie and Gabriel's Blessing tend to write characters like this very well, and all in all handle pairings very well. Please follow that example.
Remember, all my thoughts are subjective, and do not reflect on all fanfiction. I'll say it again: fanfics are a brilliant creative medium, and I know they help improve the reading and writing skills of everyone involved. They are fun, and are meant to be enjoyed. So make them worth enjoying.