Insert Ozzallos' Rules of Fanfiction Failure!
Now let me take this moment to sound like a pompous farbtard. Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months, where you simply want to rewrite a fic somebody just posted for the sole reason to show them not only how much they fail, but to painfully illustrate just how much better their fic could have been? Ranma and Kasumi HLS? Don't tempt me. Sword slinging feudal Ranma-chan? The thought makes me ache to write. Naruto invades Ranmaverse? Well, close enough. Infact, Foxcat was born from just such a loathing, much as it pains me to admit. Let me find it... Ah, here it is-- "Kitsune"! You FAIL. Of course, that was november of last year and i'm only on part 3 of mine, so whatever. Anyway, let me continue my pompus rant and outline a few rules you must follow in order to not fail at fanfiction. You can blame my overuse of the word fail on DCG.
1) Your summary fails. It really does. This is the hook, your foot in the door. Avoid asking your readers questions here and avoid references to other parts of said fic. "What if Ranma fell into the world of Mario and saved the princess?" HE'LL EXPLODE INTO GOOEY CHUNKS AND SHOWER THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM WITH CRIMSON RAIN, DROWNING TURTLES AND PLUMBERS ALIKE IN A LAKE OF MARTIAL ARTS CARNAGE. Seriously, don’t give your reader a chance to answer that question themselves. Next time you read a review that's formed into a question, please remember the above reply. Secondly, such reviews impart no useful information to your audience. Likewise, "Continuing from part five, review my ass please" is similarly annoying. Hey genius, I didn't read part one. What's that about again? Convince me I should take the time to read ch1 before even considering part five. Be creative, give them a little bite of what to expect. Most entertaining is "I'm bad at summaries." The amount of fail in that statement could light Crystal Tokyo for a couple hundred years and encourages nobody to read your fic.
2) Your Grammar/Spelling fails. This is a direct indication about how much you care about your fic, and therefore how much we as readers should care about the fic. Every time you fail miserably at this, Chuck Norris kills a kitten. What's worse, you know you're failing and release the fic anyway. Don't cry when you get reamed by your reviewers. Why you aren't molesting the spell/grammar check function at a minimum is beyond me.
3) Your Plot Bludgeons fail. What is a plot bludgeon? You know, those pieces of information you impart on readers so obvious it hurts to read. An example of one I recently encountered-- Ukyo was really a flat-chested man, unwraps himself to reveal that fact and say, "heheh, I can't believe I keep fooling them!" ...And i would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for those darn kids. Okay, so you want to get a point across to the reader. Great. But very rarely is there call to light your plot point up as a huge neon lit Las Vegas strip sign. Learn subtly. Weave it naturally into the story. Ranma is a genius! Great, but tell me a story about it, not as an outright fact. Exceptions do exist, though most don't apply to you anyway.
4) Your obscure plot fails. Big rule... The more obscure/complex your plot is, the more it needs built up through detail and story telling. Likewise, the more important an event is in that plot, the more attention you need to pay it. Glossing over critical event is not allowed. Zap! Ranma is a female permanently now and feels suicidal. Huh? What? Ranma got mad and killed his father for all the injustices visited upon him. Whoa there, Tex. Might want to tell us what triggered that rampage or what led up to the critical events you insist only require one sentence explanations. If you have something weird going on, your readers might like to know some basic information... Like who what why how where, some history, motivations, etc...
5) Your Dialogue fails. This mainly pertains to the structuring of said dialogue, not the content. The Pope will visit you tonight and rape your keyboard if you ever post a page full of dialogue without framing and context again. Don't assume your reader knows who's talking. Tell them who is talking. If you're feeling frisky, tell them how that character feels when they're talking. maybe the expressions on their face. What they're doing. Dialogue is like a picture... It needs a frame if you're going to hang it on the wall properly. Of course, you could just nail it up there, but that's why you fail.
6) Your Shallow characters fail. Believe it or not, not everybody has read your favorite series. I KNOW! It's tough to swallow, but its true. Take a moment to tell us a bit about their appearance. Detail their mannerisms though story telling. Sure, you can assume if they're reading in a certain section they probably have at least basic knowledge of the series, but frankly, that's a poor excuse not to embellish your characters with detail and depth. Sure, everybody knows who Optimus Prime is (did I just use him as an example? Yeck), but your story will fail less if you paint him in color instead of black and white.
7) Your short chapters fail. Hardcore. Mainly, because they give you so little space to impart critical plot and/or knowledge to the reader, forcing you to condense a lot of information into a short blurp. This normally leads to failures 2-6. Similarly, you drag out scenes that really should be combined into one flowing work. For example, watching Ranma wallow in angst for several short chapters while not really taking the story anywhere is not fun. It's like watching an episode of DBZ once a week. It's excruciating.
8) Your derivative plot fails. Wheee! Ranma loses his memory after being locked as a female! Most readers are not opposed to this on average, but before you go thinking you're Stephen King, remember two things: Assume it's been done before and buy a six pack of originality down at the corner 7-11. Your story/chapter needs a hook, no matter how good it is. Just because it has been done doesn't mean you shouldn't try your hand at it, but do your research on the competition before you just dive right in.
9) Your reviewers fail. Actually, no they don't. They're entitled to their opinion. Don't get defensive and don't argue with them because you're inherently insecure about your work. Self confidence is required when facing your reviewers and actually debating their opinion on your work is bad taste. Honestly, why did you even bother posting in the first place? If you're writing for enjoyment, they shouldn't matter anyway. If you're writing to improve yourself, take notes. If you're writing for the warm fuzzy glow of praise, quit right now or stop failing so much. If you were that good, you wouldn't be posting fiction here. Nothing says insecurity and ass like a running review war. Yes, reviewers CAN be wrong, but so what? Arguing with them is a waste of your time anyway.
10) Your Alter-verse fails. What do you get when you strip your main character of his canon personality, kill off all the supporting cast and send him off into another x-over series? You get one big bucket of suck. Any story where you can replace the main character with the name "Ed" and not know the difference automatically fails nine times out of ten. Do yourself a favor and assume you aren't that tenth time. Why did you even bother choosing that character and series to begin with if you were just going to piss all over the story and abandon it next chapter? Ha ha ha! Ranma doesn't have a curse, lost all his memories to the neko ken and has been training with Bruce Lee in the cyber wars of 2010! O.o' Of course that's ridiculous sounding, but its amazing how many aspiring authors totally divorce the characters from their original canon so completely. The sooner you accept the fact that you should scrub these fics from your hard drive with a brillo pad, the better.
Exceptions exist to nearly all of these rules. They probably don't apply to you, but hey, it's called a disclaimer for a reason. And yes. I am PERFECT in ALL of these.
Fanfiction Failure Metarule #1-- Readers will absolute love a completed work but will invariably pick apart and attempt to destroy it if given a hand in its creation. Be especially wary of open forums in this regard. Either have a healthy self image or screen your pre-readers carefully to avoid this failure.
Fanfiction Failure Metarule #2-- The phrase "...that's just another excuse to (plot device)." indicates you are dealing with a person of below average insight as to how fiction is written. These people should not be allowed to influence your work in any way because everything is a means to an end and is therefore "an excuse" to achieve that end. For example; "...(plot device) is just another excuse to lock Ranma as a girl." This is an empty statement attempting to hide behind factual expertise; a bludgeon used by particular readers that don't get their way or don't approve of your plot. It contains no value beyond personal opinion and should therefore be treated as such.
-Found from Author Ozzallos’ ff page
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