Author has written 9 stories for Naruto, Elder Scroll series, Harry Potter, Inuyasha, and Lord of the Rings.
Hey, I'm Aista
I discovered fanfiction mid-high school and have never looked back. I read in multiple fandoms. My favourites have been compiled over a number of years and provide an amusing commentary on my personality and maturity.
—Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011
In defence of what we do
I have never felt the need to hide my enthusiasm for writing fanfic. I freely confess to all and sundry that it is the favorite of my many hobbies. I soon learned to navigate the shoals of fandom, and have made many lovely online friends, some of whom I have been fortunate enough to meet in Real Life. Fanfic fills a creative void in a way entirely different than needlework or calligraphy or painting or sculpture. It is a satisfaction of a singular sort.
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
— Ira Glass
Canonicity is a touchy subject among fans. To what extent are writers allowed to creatively play with the characters? How faithful should a fanfic be to canon? Are alternative-universe fics (AUs) automatic no-nos?
People will always have different interpretations of characters according to their own experience - especially if the canon material does not provide a lot of detail. As long as you understand why your character behaves the way they do and you can present an explanation for it if necessary then it is fair enough. If you want to make Harry Potter murder unicorns and torture babies, then explain why he his doing it.
I think it's important to keep the characters in character within the context of the particular story the writer is telling, and how one has established that character to be as shown and evidenced through action, dialogue and narrative. Any change that happens to the characters is more of a metamorphosis, something more natural otherwise it might risk reader whiplash.
They're a symptom not a disease. Sigridhr (AO3) makes some valid points in her essay:
Original Characters (ie. OCs)
A canon character's story is usually a closed book by the time the story ends ... but the world just keeps going, and you never learn everything about it, so there's always room for more. To me, the world of the fandom is the most important character, and is the one I always want to read more about. I don't care about Harry Potter. I care about Hogwarts. I don't care about Frodo, I care about Middle Earth. I don't care about Luke Skywalker, I care about that galaxy far, far away. I want to see stories that develop the world, give it more history, flesh out its current nature and problems, and move its development forwards in interesting ways.
I think the whole original character thing depends on how well written the story is overall. I'll trust a good writer over any pairing, plot, universe, or character -- whether original or canon. If the writing is bad, it doesn't matter if the original character is in the lead, or in support. A good writer makes you know, believe in, and understand the original character as well as the canon characters. They blend the original characters into the story so well, you wonder why the canon author forgot them.
The absence of a comment does not mean the writing is good, all it means is that no one has noticed or has bothered to comment on the mistake. But I try and give the reviews I like to have. If I've goofed, if there are errors in my story, I'd like to know about it. I assume all the other authors here want to write better. The first step towards better writing is to know when you screw up. But if you say things like 'Don't like, don't read' or send abusive PMs back in response to honest critique, you run the risk of alienating your readers.
There are two considerations when reviewing: PLOT and SKILL.
PLOT is story. It's a matter of taste and a matter of personal likes/dislikes. So I don't bother commenting on the plot; or the characters in their roles. I will comment on what I call the internal logic. Does the story have a consistent framework? Or do 'miracles' have to occur every other chapter to keep the story moving? Do the characters act according to their backstory and history? Or does the author u-turn or even 'retcon' to go a completely different way, ignoring the fact that three chapters back she had the character saying she would sooner die than go that way.
SKILL, on the other hand, is observable. There is a basic standard. SKILL is not a matter of taste, it's a learned ability; or rather a cluster of abilities: This word is spelled this way; a question has this punctuation; with a new speaker, begin a new paragraph; and so on. This can be taught usually by pointing out errors and possible corrections.
One articulate review is worth a million of 'KYAAA!!OMG. . LOL. YOure a grate writer! UPDATE! PWEEAASSSEE!! XD which is not a review IMHO and definitely not a barometer of writing skill or good plot.
'How to Review' by Juno Magic (Honestly the best guide I've ever come across.)
'The Six Types of Reviewers' by MizSphinx.
'Critique: Best and worst reviews you have given or received' . An interesting discussion on reviewing and critiquing.
Oxford's Section for Better Writing- It pretty much includes all the wonders of an English textbook without being in boring textbook format. Also, it's better organized.
Writing Forums- Includes tips for character development, plot development, setting development, grammar, critique and research.
Hunting Down the Pleonasm- Let's avoid redundancy eh?
Homonyms- A bunch of words that sound alike but mean different things. A grate resource too help yew chews the write won wen inn doubt.
Semicolon- Oatmeal's guide to "the most feared punctuation on earth"; combines memorable examples with unforgettable illustrations.
Who vs Whom- Oatmeal again, this time on "who" vs. "whom". With monocles. And steeds.
“As he talked, I thought of my difficulties with writing, my struggles to articulate feelings not easily expressed. Of my struggles to find a language for intuition, feeling, instincts which are, in themselves, elusive, subtle, and wordless … ” –Anaïs Nin