Author has written 1 story for Naruto.
I use fanfiction as both a distraction from the stress of real life and, well, for entertainment. I'm an engineer in the actual world, so I'm very...hmm, analytical is a good way to put it, I think. I'll get around to writing something eventually.
I guess the best way to put my personality is that I'm a dreamer. Not a "head-in-the-clouds" type, but definitely a guy who tries to always see the big picture. I'm a pragmatist to a fault, tempered to a degree by moral judgements. As an extreme example: I'll support torture if it's the only option, but if there's something else that would get the information without putting lives in danger, I'd prefer that second way. I guess I'm also very Rawlsian in that I'm a huge proponent of the veil of ignorance and its pragmatic approach to societal good. You can't fully satisfy everyone, but you can satisfy everyone to some degree.
I started reading by teaching myself at age 5; by 5th grade I was reading War and Peace, Les Misérables, and Don Quixote. I don't think I'm a genius, but I do think I'm very intelligent. My tastes reflect that.
My interests in fiction tend towards the setting as a primary point of interest, then to the plot, then to the characters. I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi, usually older works. I love Niven and Clarke, I adore Pohl and Asimov, and I worship Zelazny.
Fantasy-wise, it's a bit more complicated. Tolkien and Pratchett are the top, for the former's incredible worldbuilding and the latter's...well, everything. Seriously, go read his books. My personal favorites are Reaper Man, Thief of Time, Night Watch, and Thud!. Death's speech at the end of the first is easily up there for my favorite climactic moments in the entirety of literature, the plot and characters of the second make it my favorite of all of his books, Night Watch is like Les Miserables but better, and Thud! features another of the best moments in all of literature (The Guarding Dark. Anyone who has read the book knows immediately what I'm talking about.)
JK Rowling is up there on the one hand, but abysmal on the other. You see, the world she created is just a bit below Middle-Earth and the Discworld on the "oh wow, this is incredible" scale, but past book 5, she started trying to force her already developed characters into a different plot structure. She totally destroyed the characters of Harry and Hermione, depicted the former in a relationship with someone who didn't know enough about how he worked, and the latter in an outright abusive relationship, neither of these attractions being hinted at prior to book 6. I really don't like Ron/Hermione, it's an absolutely horrible relationship and would be extremely unhealthy in real life, much less unlikely to happen. Hell, even Rowling herself admitted it. (I have a lot of Harry/Hermione stories in my favorites list because that's the one pairing that: a) is relatively common, and b) does not involve pedophilia that can be assured to not have Ron/Hermione involved. My actual preference is probably Harry/Luna.)
Rules of fanfiction:
In my time on this site, I've read way too many stories. I've found a few things I think people should endeavor to follow. These are by no means exact, but still.
Rule 1: One "What if?" is enough.
So many stories say something like (and if some story actually has this, I absolutely do not apologize, because it's stupid as heck,) "What if Harry moved to Japan? What if he was raised by Sailor Moon? What if he became a Sailor Scout?" (I have no clue whether this is even possible, as my knowledge of Sailor Moon is limited, to say the least.) You know what you should do? Don't phrase everything as a question. Try for more pizzazz: "When Harry moved to Japan, he never expected to find a family. Much less become a magical girl." This was from less than a minute of my time, and it sounds so much better. You get the same info across, but it's very clearly presented, and sounds a hell of a lot less contrived. In fact, if you want, you can cut out the second part: the important thing is that there's only one big "What if?" involved. You have to make it seem like Harry moving to Japan will logically result in your crossover working, not that it's all completely contrived. That veneer of legitimacy is incredibly important, because it forces you to actually figure out how to get things to the point you want them to be at. You have to actually show why Harry moving to Japan will turn him into a Magical Girl. That's helpful for the audience and the author.
Rule 1.5: Variants of "What if?" also count:
"By a twist of fate" sounds stupid. "In a weird circumstance" sounds only marginally less so. I don't care how you word it, too many author interferences are dumb.
Rule 2: No gratuitous language quirks.
Sorry, but no one has their reading experience improved by you using random Japanese honorifics or *shudder* actual Japanese in your stories, especially when you translate the damn words at the bottom of the page. Oh, wait, I'm not sorry at all. This practice is fucking stupid, even if the first (honorifics) is one I'll grudgingly admit can be used as a shortcut to imply the relationship between characters. However, it's just that: a shortcut. Tone, body language, mannerisms: those are what good writers use when writing in English, not honorifics cribbed from Japanese. The second (random words translated) has absolutely no place in a story. I don't give a shit if you pine for Glorious Nippon or whatever, you don't make anyone's reading experience better by using baby's first Japanese text replacement. You aren't smart, you aren't interesting, and you are damn well not writing in Japanese: it's like a Japanese writer transliterating random English words with Japanese equivalents, and using them instead of Japanese for no goddamn reason. If you're writing an anime fanfic, by all means use honorifics: however, much like actual professional translators, when you translate, you should translate everything.
Rule 3: Reveal any yaoi beforehand.
A significant portion of this site only read yaoi stories, and a significant portion never read yaoi stories. Some don't because of religious reasons, some because it makes them uncomfortable and alienates them from the protagonist, yadda yadda. I don't because Yaoi is never actually depicted in a healthy manner. And because it inevitably involves changes in sexual orientation/gender etc (see "rule" 3.5). The point is, a lot of people want to know whether the story they're reading contains yaoi or not. It's not hard to do, just write an author's note at the start of the story noting the presence of yaoi, or, better yet, include it in the summary. It saves the author flames, the reader time, and everyone ends up happier. (Yuri, the female equivalent, is in the same boat.)
"Rule" 3.5: Don't change genders or sexual orientation.
This isn't a rule, per say, but I will not read any stories of this type. So for my sake alone, at least note that you're doing this early on. I'll make an exception if the story is written before the sexual orientation/gender of a character has been revealed: i.e. Blaise Zabini from a while back being a lady, Dumbles having a wife, Haku being female, etc. Post-reveal, this is a big no-no for me. Like, "stop reading immediately, explain why, even for an otherwise good story" no-no. It legitimately makes me uncomfortable.
Rule 4: Ellipses are not your friend.
Stories like this...are completely unreadable...because...they...don't show...any grammatical mastery... No, seriously, fuck ellipses. They certainly have their place, but it's not in the middle of every conversation. It represents statements that trail off. There is no conceivable way that every single statement made can do that. It's also not a good way to indicate silences: just describe the silence itself. There is no fucking reason why people abuse the ellipse when a fucking period works better. It's like ending every sentence with an exclamation mark. Don't do this. Just don't.
Rule 5: Clothing deserves 1 sentence, Max.
The exact clothes that a character is wearing is almost always completely irrelevant to the story, and exists solely for the author to play mental dressup. No. One. Cares. It's a waste of time to write, and a waste of time to read. Each individual article of clothing doesn't need to be described: this goes double for mentioning jewelry in any context other than a formal occasion...in which case a maximum of five sentences is enough. An exception should be made for any special abilities or equipment involved with the clothing, but otherwise, it's really not important. (I guess it's okay if you're using it only as a way to flesh out a scene, rather than as the focus of a scene.)
Rule 6: Never use an Original Character when an actual character can be used instead.
I would hope this is obvious. You (and this is directed at you, the reader of this, unless your penname is The Santi,) are not as good at writing OCs as you think you are. Canon characters come with a convenient variety of inbuilt traits, relationships, goals, and abilities. Introducing an OC into the mix is tempting, but ultimately self-defeating, since it means reworking the relationships and psyches of every other living being (or deceased, even!) who knows this person. And if you just go the "oh, they're a stranger" route, you have to work extremely hard to make it look like a non-deus ex machina. This all goes double for self-inserts or first person OC perspectives, by the way. And it goes triple for OC self-insert first person perspective stories. (Don't write those.)
Rule 7: Never change canon more than needed.
One of the hallmarks of terrible stories on this site is continual changes to canon to make up for "mistakes" created by earlier changes in canon, or, worse, changes for no reason at all. If a change isn't integral to a story, do without it. The best stories on this site change only a single thing (whether it's an event, a death, a set of deaths, etc.) and run with it. There's a point of divergence, and past that, things flow logically. This rule is often connected to rules 1, 3.5, and 6. Try plotting out a story beforehand, or at least outlining it. It helps you figure out what to change. An exception exists for crossovers or actual additions to the story. And, above all, do not introduce changes in the middle of the story without thoroughly giving a good reason for them. The Potters should not pop up in an intense care ward 20 chapters in. Kushina Uzumaki shouldn't be alive. If they are, you'd damn well have a good reason for it.
Some of the series I enjoy reading about most are the following, for given reasons: (Favorite characters included)
Harry Potter: For the worldbuilding (consisting of the magic system and society built around it,) and for the limitless ability to fit near anything into the story and justify it. The world of magic is wide open in JK Rowling's world, and I can't think of a series that has more potential for fanfiction and exploration of the subject than Harry Potter. Favorite characters: Fred and George, Dumbledore, Sirius, Luna.
NGE: I like the giant robot fights, mostly. It's not profound or anything (the symbolism is undercut by how laughably little the writers actually knew about Kabbalism,) but the setting is pretty interesting and it's open to a lot of character variation. Favorite characters: Gendo, Misato.
Dresden Files: Same reasons as Harry Potter, mostly. Also the world is a bit more noir-ish than Harry Potter, which is cool. Favorite Characters: Damn Near Everyone...but Dresden is the best.
Naruto: Lots of cool variations on the Jutsus, massive crossover potential, an outright interesting storyline. It's a shame I can't stand canon Naruto until he got the absurd hyperactivity out of his system. And that I think everything past Madara transforming into a woman (it's seriously weird,) is complete garbage. All that Zetsu shit, every single thing involving the Rabbit Goddess...just get me back to the ninja fights, not the highly-glorified staring contests (You get an eye power! And you get an eye power! Everybody gets an eye power!) Favorite Characters: Anko, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Tenten, Killer Bee.
Buffy: I like Xander, and Willow was really cool earlier in the series. The setting is also good for exploration. Favorite Characters: Xander, Early-Willow.
And some series I like, but not for fanfiction purposes:
Discworld: Quite literally the funniest series I'll ever read. And one of the most touching. And most dramatic, and saddest, and most profound, and most intelligent, and...look, I will state outright that I believe it to be the perfect series. Sure, it has its faults, and some of the books aren't as good as the others, but the best books are just...perfect. There's something indescribable about these stories: from the God of Evolution's perfect creation (for my money the funniest punchline ever written,) to the perfect moment at the end of Thief of Time; from the Insurance jokes in the first book to the grief of Sam Vimes in the twenty-ninth; from the world of mirrors in Witches Abroad to the post office in Going Postal. This is the greatest series ever created.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A sci-fi version of Discworld. Maybe not quite as good, but certainly fantastic.
That's about it. Many of my favorite stories are one-shot novels or short stories, not components of a series. Some of those include:
The City and the Stars: This thing forms the single greatest influence on my ideals to this day. My utopia is Diaspar with continued research.
Gateway: There's something about the feeling of discovery; of the unknown. It's terrifying but thrilling. That's this book. It's all about the unknown, and how we respond to it. Sure, it's also about psychology, but it's really a story about how we face ourselves when we venture into the unknown.
Lord of Light: This story is incredible. I'll just go with a quote: "His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god."
For a Breath I Tarry: The single greatest story I've ever read. It's a story of what it means to be human, as shown by a mechanical post-apocalyptic version of the legend of Faust and the story of Job. The single greatest influence on me. It's expressed beautifully, in a near-biblical style, and it's just...amazing. If you need to figure me out, just know that I'm the type of person who loves stories like this.
The Last Question: Read it, and you'll know why. The second to last line, in particular.
'Repent Harlequin', said the Ticktockman: It's a simple story of rebellion at its core, but the way it's presented is incredible.
Nightfall: A story about the primal fear of the dark that lurks within us all.
The Star: Read the last line of this story, and you'll understand. Even if you're not a Christian (like me! I'm Jewish.)
The Game of Blood and Dust: I like alternate history.
Comes Now the Power/Divine Madness: Zelazny at his tragic best. Just read them. You'll see.
The Last Defender of Camelot: The greatest ending to an epic ever written. Think of it as the inverse counterpart to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
A List of Logical Fallacies, and Why They Are Listed:
1) I'll get to this. But, as a placeholder: critics don't need to write stories to find flaws in them. Take it up with the first literary critics...in ancient fucking greece. Or even earlier. I don't write because I'm way too self-deprecating, compare all of my stories to published authors, and have a hard time working up the will to write dialogue and thought processes.
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