Author has written 2 stories for Battlestar Galactica: 2003, and Twilight.
Things that I do not like in (Twilight) Fanfiction. (and you are welcome to scream at me if I do them) –...
- PLEASE keep your driving romantic couple apart as long as possible. If you are writing an X and Y get together story- once they get together your story is over! There is a reason P&P ends when they get together! Some suggestions:
Your characters don’t IMMEDIATELY find each other the most gorgeous specimen of their sex EVER. Rather, they grudgingly admit that “her eyes are passable, I suppose”. As an author it gives you somewhere to go! They can gradually discover each other's attractiveness. A little “maybe there’s something there that wasn’t there before” vibe that comes as the characters get to know each other. From the horse's mouth:
Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes.
Your characters aren’t IMMEDIATELY obviously the most amazing, generous people ever. Even if Bella spends her day wiping tears off of abused children’s face, or Edward jets around the world saving rain forests- they are still going to have unattractive aspects to their personality. And maybe these unattractive aspects will conflict? Maybe they will clash? Maybe you will have dramatic tension?
Pet Peeve – keeping characters apart because of misunderstandings that are easily cleared up with a quick discussion or phone call. “Oh… you were talking to your mom when I overheard you say ‘I love you?’ Goodness, if I had only known that 26 chapters ago!
- PLEASE have three-dimensional supporting characters. Look, Alice and Rose may have their defining characteristics = shoppaholic pixie and gorgeous bitch – but round them out please! I’ve read it! We’ve all read it! A million times! Dig a little deeper under Emmett’s skin. Find a unique, interesting angle/slant on the characters or please just leave them out.
- POV. For source material reasons, First Person point of view is very popular in the Twilight fandom. Most of the time it works great. HOWEVER BEWARE
Flipping POV frequently. First person works cause you’re in a character’s head – makes them relatable (imho the Bella character almost wouldn’t work from any other perspective except first person – because she just wouldn’t be relatable if we weren’t practically forced to by living in her head). BUT most of us don’t have multiple personalities, and the more heads we have to live in, the less we can relate to any particular one. Every time you change POV you pull people out of a character.
Plus it’s really hard to keep the mystery going if we’re in everyone’s head all the time. Is Edward laughing at her or with her? What do his strange silences and looks mean?? Why not keep us guessing for a bit longer rather than leaping into his head to explain it all to us?
PET PEEVE: Repeating plot points from different perspectives. I really hate this. I don’t need to see the same dinner from four people’s perspectives. It DRAGS your story. It KILLS forward momentum. If you find yourself having to repeat everything from everyone’s POV – you’ve made some poor plotting choices. Yes sometimes – its awesome – sometimes its needed, but don’t overuse it. Think of it like a sit com. They are filmed with multiple cameras - if the director wanted they could show every scene five times - each time from a different perspective. But they don't because it would make a 30 minute sitcom TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF TORTURE.
Have one! Your story raises a question in its opening chapter, answers it in the last, throw up lots of hurdles, obstacles, challenges in between. If you want to write a long romantic story about Bella and Edward, you better have a laundry list of real, substantial problems keeping them apart. Ex. Bella meets Edward. They have past problems (One of them is horrible scarred. One of them just came out of a bad relationship), they have current problems (one or both of them make a horrible first impression, there’s a decoy lover/triangle involved, one of them has a temper, the other is over-sensitive, their jobs pit them against each other, one (or both) of their lives is going to hell in a handbasket and they don’t want a relationship right now. There are future potential problems (one’s rich, one’s poor, relatives/friends hate each other, one wants to raise a family, one wants to travel the world).
Even if you are writing a comedy, please still have a non-silly plot. Ross and Rachel? Very funny moments. Still had solid plot. Most importantly – DO NOT break character for the sake of a funny line/joke. Character is EXTREMELY important in comedy (more than plot!). Chandler saying Joey’s lines? Elaine saying George’s? Wouldn’t work.
Please do not write phonetically. Perhaps there’s an exception if you are a linguistic expert, but otherwise please please do not attempt to write phonetically. YES BY ALL MEANS use appropriate vocabulary, use expressions that a native speaker from that region would use. It adds flavour, makes the characters pop more.
Do not beg for reviews.
Do not threaten your readers. You don’t like your story enough to write it without cheerleaders? Don’t write it. As a matter of principle I never review stories that do either of these, and generally stop reading immediately.
Passable spelling, grammer, etc. I’m not a nazi on this (as anyone who reads my stuff knows :-). I don’t think writing has to be ‘perfect’ to be moving, interesting, engaging. But it has to be comprehensible enough that the reader isn’t constantly tripping over sentences. (Breaks your story flow).
Goodness I could write an essay on why this character bugs me so much and why it’s so easy for fanfiction writers to go wrong with her. Just please …. Don’t make her perfect.
DON’T HAVE everyone who meets her loves her/is attracted to her within five minutes. (How many times have I read, ‘oh watch out for STALIN, STALIN hates everyone’. But surprise! Bella says/does something witty/charming/cute and STALIN says: ‘I don’t know why, but damnit if I don't like that girl! Marry her Edward!’)
DON'T HAVE her constantly objecting that she isn’t perfect/ wonderful when the overwhelming external evidence is that she is. You know that girl who says ‘But I’m so fat and ugly’ when trying on a size two dress while fashion photographers click away and the store clerk swoons? Would you like that girl? Of course not. She’s as annoying as hell.
HAVE her clumsiness actually being a problem for her beyond fortuitously tripping into Edward’s arms. I’m clumsy, and there isn’t much adorable or cute about spilling orange juice on yourself when you’re already late for work, or breaking a friend’s prized possession.
CAN we avoid the ‘she was horribly disfigured until she took her hair out of a pony tail, removed her glasses, and Alice bought her a pair of boots’ cliché?
Well that’s it for now :-) I’m sure the list will grow. Feel free to PM me your own personal pet peeves and if I agree I’ll toss them up!