Author has written 3 stories for Wicker Man, Harry Potter, Naruto, and Frozen.
Yes, well. So my name's Arkarian23. Frustratingly I can't change my username to my newer name which I've had for the last five or so years. Anyway, here's a few interesting facts about me.
My Favourite Stories List
You'll find my favourites fairly small by comparison to other readers despite the time I've held this account and the time I've spent reading ( I am currently following over 1400 stories and I can be picky about even that). It is mostly comprised of completed stories because I try to only add an unfinished story for special circumstances. A good example would be "Queens of Darkness ladies of Light" which had the makings of a truly epic tale (Porn which is actually relevant to the plot! What's not to like?). While it will most likely never be continued, never mind completed it is still worth reading in order to appreciate the ideas behind the story and the good writing.
Similarly I add the occasional incredibly long and/or impressive stories which have no chance of being completed in the near future such as "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". I've recently added "When Harry Met Wednesday" which is truly original and worth reading just to broaden your horizons and imagination, even if it's not finished. I've tried to provide you with the cream of the crop of stories I have read and spent a while trolling through lists to find some of them. My Favourite Authors List on the other hand is a bit more unwieldy, more like a recommended follow list than a list of good authors. My Favourite Authors list is almost as big as my Favourite Stories list. Please take a peek.
People make spelling mistakes. It happens. However, if you switch any of the following words once in your story it's ok. If you do it four times in two consecutive paragraphs, stop writing, slap yourself (hard) and then go look them up. No excuses!
There are quite a few other pitfalls a lot of writers seem to fall into which aren't spelling related which I've noticed follow distinct themes:
Author's notes in the middle of a story, often for the author to tell you something they freely admit they're too goddamned lazy to write in themselves! There are actually ways to do this sort of thing, notably the Bartimaeus trilogy which did this without detracting from storytelling. Terry Pratchet's Discworld also did this albeit for a slightly different purpose. These notes are used to expand on something, without distracting from a story. Terry Pratchet used his notes mainly for comedic explanations and occasionally some world building. Bartimaeus expanded on historical events from his own perspective, giving the reader enlightenment on Bartimaeus' attitude to something or an explanation on how it worked or came to be. These notes are a side of the story that isn't necessary to the plot but can be included for greater understanding or storytelling. They shouldn't be used as an escape from actually explaining something you certainly can in a story, with just one or two sentences! Quite frankly considering the nature of how the webpages here work I wouldn't recommend using any kind of reference in a story at all. Finding the section of writing again is incredibly annoying now this site has blocked certain features from working.
Spellchecker. People who go through a story with spellchecker and seemingly click random suggestions as edits. With a bit of brainwork you can figure out what they meant, it can be really funny sometimes but still ruins my reading. You'll encounter these writers on here every now and then. At least it's an improvement on not proofreading.
Minutes. Should I take a moment to explain? People seem to have a deeply under-exaggerated idea of how long a minute is. They mean, a "moment" or "second" at most. You'll see people write things such as "thought for a few minutes". Next time you see this try to put into context how long that actually is, actually sit and wait a few minutes and appreciate the absurdity of what the writer describes occurring "for a few minutes". I picture the other characters checking their watches, waiting for conversation to resume which the main character "thinks for a few minutes" before the witty repartee resumes.
It's a bit like... It's a "bit like in the third Matrix film, you know the part when..." This isn't an exact quote but it is based off a real example and gets the message across I hope. If you can't actually describe something yourself then don't bother writing it. Simply asking someone in an A/N or otherwise to regurgitate a memory for the sake of creative writing is perhaps the height of laziness. What makes it worse is that the person whose time you are violating might not have the memory to regurgitate. I know plenty of people who haven't even seen Star Wars, nevermind the Matrix! Jesus, just describe it yourself. if you can't describe it properly in your own words then you don't deserve to write it.
The AMAZING Plot Device that rules the world! You've all seen it, it's done to death, a true godsend for lazy and unimaginative writers. I am of course talking about the anthropomorphisation of Death, God/Kami, Satan (or generally his very loose, widowed and submissive wife. Because that makes sense), Fate and other random Human derived forces of nature. These personifications exist for no other reason than to give X character 'another chance' or a random new power (or booty in the case of Satan's wife). You might not even see them again for the rest of a story after they do their bit and sod off. Quite frankly it's cringe worthy, the epitome of lazy plot devices. I have often seen the "Death" plot device in the Harry Potter Universe where Death (because we know from the real canon he/she/it is such a nice entity and all) wants Harry to be happy or he/she/it facilitates something happening, is fighting with Fate about the prophecy or some other drivel which could just as easily be left out and have a better impact on the reader as a result. That's not to say Death can't be used well. There are plenty of examples of Death personified and used effectively, I have seen this particularly in crossovers with the Marvel universe. See "Finding Home" (A HP/Avengers Crossover) for an example of how to do Death right.
Ah the prophecy, that amazing concept that is one HUGE spoiler. People make up their own prophecies, maybe reword Harry Potter's prophecy or make up one of their own. Just STOP. I've started a number of stories with an extra or alternative prophecy. "Well done, now I know a huge part of your story. I guess I don't need to read it now... So I won't." That is literally what goes through my head almost every time. knowing it'll all work out on the end, knowing the character will have a happy relationship with X person and will be successful or anything else doesn't add to your story. I don't need to be sitting, waiting for events I know of to happen I should be asking what will happen next. People talk about the suspension of disbelief with fiction. I want to instead talk about the suspension of the future. People say to read twenty pages of a story before giving up on it. That is because when you're twenty pages in you want to find out what happens, you want to carry on reading. What's the bloody point if I already know how it's going to happen with just a few lines of badly written poetry?
Essay writing is cool. You do it a lot, it's pretty much vital during your schooling especially for any higher education. However, it certainly doesn't belong in fiction. Now I'm not saying people actually write an essay, but they do fall into the style one uses when writing an essay. They list events , "so and so did such and such because of this, then so and so did..." That's an essay, not a story. If you're going to write events, write them in story form. You shouldn't be reciting events or facts like a drone. There isn't an exam board grading you on this and ticking off points. Actually write events from the perspectives of the characters. Endeavour to write in "real time" for lack of a better word. While most writing is effectively past tense it shouldn't be written out like facts from your History textbook. To put it bluntly, it's boring and so are you.
Flashback: Flashbacks suck. No really they do. I can probably count on one hand all the times I've seen a flashback work as part of a story and not as an example of poor plot design and planning on the part of the writer. That's what they are really, a way for someone to insert events into the story that they were too lazy to think to write in earlier so that they can drive the plot forward as normal. if you'd just stuffed it in where it's supposed to be that'd be far better and make so much more sense. You can even go back and edit older chapters if you really desperately need to so why not do that instead? Just leave a message at the start of the next chapter telling the reader you gaffed and fixed it and you're set. It's a similar kind of laziness to the use of an AN in the middle of a story though at least one step above it because you're still bothering to write it in at least. What really depresses me is when someone "flashbacks" to events that occurred during the same chapter! Jesus, are you even editing your drivel before you release it?
There are lots of stories where a character becomes godlike (or already is) or overpowered early on in a story. It's a huge cliche for Naruto and Harry Potter fanfics and no doubt many more fandoms. I'm just going to come out and say it. It's tough to write a godlike character, especially when it is the main character. Where is the challenge to be overcome when your protagonist has three kinds of advanced cellar regeneration, immunity to magic, super strength and speed and an adamantium skeleton? (aswell as the ability to speak to fish for some reason). There isn't really a threat that can be posed to him at this point and your story will fall flat on it's face. An obvious character who doesn't need any buffing in the fanfiction writer's imagination is Superman. He is the original overpowered character, that's why we have Kryptonite, because he is so ridiculously powerful there needs to be some sort of equaliser. There are lots of ways to avoid this kind of overpowered bull*. Wentworth360 sometimes took away Superman's strength in her stories, such as in "Pale Horse" which is a superb fanfiction. In Ashikabi no Shinobi Naruto does practically zero fighting on screen for the entire story, instead letting the other characters prove their strength on their own. Often the story is driven on a more drama based track than one involving combat, though it's doable. Even One punch man managed it and they do pretty much the same thing as in Ashikabi no Shinobi. There are many tactics to use that avoid the stagnation that arises from a godlike character but it's simpler to just write a non overpowered character to begin with or at least provide baddies that are up to the challenge of fighting with them. It's a massive problem that the DC universe has always had and they keep inventing stupid ways around it and is going to shoot their film industry in the face with a sledgehammer (yes I meant to write that) in the coming years.
I'm going to admit I'm a bit of a chapter length snob. I don't tend to read stories with an average length under 2000 words, no matter how big the total story is. This is probably due to a number of bad experiences with short-chapter stories and a lot of good experiences where stories were 5k words or higher per chapter. I think it demonstrates commitment on the part of the writer to write over 3/4k words at a time before releasing, they're thinking hard about their stories and aren't rushing to let it all out. Admittedly, I'm not a committed writer.
The most embarrassing moments of my life:
Ok picture this, I'm spending an evening or so every week at a sort of group for children with disabilities, helping out and organizing things. It's going fairly well up to the point a small boy who I've spotted around a bit grabs hold of my legs and hugs me, his forehead pressed firmly, uncomfortably so, into my crotch. while I was trying to figure out how to extricate myself from the boy without hurting him or attracting attention from anybody nearby a girl walks over. She is about my age from what I can guess and fairly pretty. unfortunately I had never seen her speak and she always had a sort of dreamy smile on her face (reminiscent of how I pictured Luna Lovegood actually), which left me thinking whether or not this girl had a disability and obviously this left me in a pickle as to whether I should try flirting or even talking with this girl for fear of the outcome. She looks at me, and I at her, we make eye contact. I definitely don't know what to do or say at this point, I can't simply walk away, seeing as I am still trapped in the vice like grip of a four year old. We just stand there looking at each other, not saying anything. She walks away, the little boy lets go. I cringed internally and pretended nothing happened.
So a few years or so ago I was in a relationship with this girl at University. We had been together for about a year and a half a this point and were headed back home after a dinner party with some friends. We were getting the bus and it was about 11pm in this sort of suburban area. We were stood together waiting when at the other side of the stop a man comes over and stands, waiting like us for his bus to come. He was about twenty feet away from us as we were a few feet to one side of the stop and he the other. It's late at night so the buses only come at half-hour intervals. Here's where things get difficult. It was perhaps not necessarily unwarranted to be wary of a stranger at night but my GF decided to take it a step further and visibly clutched onto me in fear. She was absolutely terrified. I dealt with it and held her discretely to comfort her. After all I loved her at the time and I wanted to comfort her regardless of how silly I felt the situation was and the utter humiliation of being trapped in this situation. About ten minutes later the man's bus comes and just before stepping on he gives a great big laugh, obviously aimed at us. The man was black.
Recommended IRL books and authors:
Guardians of time (Marianne Curly)
Discworld novels (Terry pratchet)
Wild Hunt (Elspeth Cooper)
Mageborn (Michael G Manning)
Codex Alera (Jim Butcher)
All of these books can be found on Kindle with the exception of Guardians of Time which annoys me simply because getting it on Kindle will actually save me money in the long run if I keep losing book 3. Though I will probably lose my Kindle the moment I get the third book on it so it might actually be a blessing in disguise. I recently got another copy from Waterstones, here's hoping...
Taking a look at Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey for those who do not know (somehow) is an erotic novel, modified for public consumption from a Twilight fanfiction wherein Bella explores her X-rated desires with Edward. The publicly released book is reputed to be poorly written, with erotica that is not well written either (I personally have just the three thumbs). This lead me to consider why this book became so popular to begin with, after all the two main selling points are apparently badly done. The explanation for how a badly written erotic novel such as this became popular I believe is based on society's attitudes, concepts of taboo and what is polite in public circles. For example someone in a Dom/sub relationship tends to hide this relationship from the rest of society. Someone who is interested in other taboo sexual acts will likewise not invite discussion with "normal people". As a result when a book such as Fifty Shades of Grey is released and escapes the confines erotic novels are often placed in, the book becomes increasingly popular. This is mostly because not only can it be involved to a greater extent in "civilized" society, but it can allow those sexually frustrated by the same taboo society to release their frustrations vicariously without feeling that they themselves are acting improperly. These people might not even be aware of their interests as they explore them vicariously through the characters.
It can be understood then, that if society (particularly Britain) were far less closed minded about sex and other sexual proclivities, that books such as Fifty Shades of Grey would never have become popular and society as a whole would be saved from badly written porn.
Taking a look at popular pairings
Dramione or Hermione and Draco paired together is a fairly common pairing and many people seem to like it. In my opinion these people have read certain stories by good writers on the site and have subconsciously changed their opinions of the characters to fit in with the new ones in the fanfics, we've all done it with different characters at one point or another. For a while I ha a completely irrational hatred of Ron, now it's a rational hatred. Now when something is done right, any character can be made as "oc" as you like. The most blatantly heterosexual character can become bent as a tire if you put enough work into your story. Of course people tend to forget the original backstory of the characters and devolve into some bizarre position where they believe "they're meant for each other!" Look I'm sorry your brain may be addled by as many teenage hormones as you like but it won't change canon, at best you can say that the characters in that particular fanfic belonged together. Now of course I haven't actually gone into a proper explanation for why Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger don't belong together so I'll paint you a picture.
The scene is set in the real world. in an undisclosed southern state in America The town in question has a significant black community and there have been severe divides between the black and white communities which have only grown more tense since the events of the 1960s and then the more recent KKK activities in the last decade. Our two characters are called Sam and Prudence.
Sam and Prudence have grown up together there and abouts because both their families live quite near each other, they even go to the same school. Prudence is a nice girl, almost a stereotypical "nice girl" and quite booksmart, more importantly to our story I should also mention she is black. She is considered friendly but is quite closed off, preferring to stick with a small but tight group of friends who she spends most of her days with. Prudence knows a lot about history and is very much caught up in the concept of human rights and what it should mean for her gender and race among other things. Sam is a decidedly different sort. His family have very conservative beliefs and it's thought that their family took part in the civil war fighting against Abraham Lincoln's desire for equality. It's rumoured that the family still has memorabilia of the war promoting racist agendas and "tools" used by the slave masters in the past, but it's never been proven. Many people have assumed that those rumours are just an extension of people reacting to the blatant racism that Sam's family demonstrate. Sam himself is seen as very racist by many of the schoolchildren and has even whispered the word "Nigger" at Prudence when he could get away with it at school. Due to a series of events involving Prudence, Sam is falls into the wrong side of the law and gets involved in a gang.
The gang is very very racist, they have very militant pro white beliefs, not dissimilar to Sam's family and all is fine for a while. Sam is good friends with them and their openly admitted beliefs encourage Sam to integrate with group quickly. However, one day the gang shows their true colours to the public and there is violence. Prudence is caught by the gang and they almost rape her. the gang threatened Sam's family and use their home as a "base" of sorts where they meet up before leaving to commit more acts of violence. Sam wants no part in any of this and tries to distance himself from the group to no avail. It doesn't work out well and while Prudence escapes in the scenes that follow (thankfully unmolested) Sam runs for his life from the gang who now want to kill him for his perceived weakness. Fortunately Sam is saved by the police, the gang members are all caught or killed and life almost returns to normal. Sam stops being so antagonistic to Prudence at school and everyone lives "happily ever after".
Now hopefully you can see the similarities between the HP verse and this one. I think I demonstrated a lot of important distinctions over the course of the story. Sam never actually rejects his pro-white philosophy. He merely kept it to himself after the events that transpired. he didn't want to kill or hurt anyone, he was terrified of doing so. That does NOT mean he was in any way not racist does it? it just means he doesn't have the stomach for serious violence. Likewise Draco Malfoy never seems to actually reject the Pure blood agenda. Oh sure, his family is put under pressure and threatened and he shows real fear when trying to kill Dumbledore. A fear which is understandable from anyone's point of view. When the incredibly powerful Voldemort is supposed to be afraid of Dumbledore, what hope did Draco have? That doesn't mean that suddenly the last five books he featured in never happened. He never really reformed as such and so trying to claim he was actually a really nice guy, just hiding it really really deep down inside just doesn't cut it. People don't work that way. if you're going to make Draco a "goody" then you'll have to put a truckload, no, an oil tanker of work into it to get it done right.
Having established the above, trying to match up the two very different characters of Draco and Hermione is truly illogical. The intelligent, self assured and independent Hermione who is well aware of what equality and fair treatment should mean isn't just going to fall in love with the bigoted racist is she? Before you start talking about opposites attracting etc, that's nonsense really and doesn't apply in such an extreme situation as this unless you're a masochist with severe anxiety issues. Opposites attracting is when two people with very different personalities get together, not a sexist and a suffragette. Rarely does that relationship even begin in the first place and it rarely lasts if it does, that's why people notice it when it happens. To those Dramione fans out there if you're going to write it, do it properly please! The less said about weirdoes who write Lucius/Hermione the better, you people need to get help.