Just a couple of things I’ve noticed that… well, if they don’t change the story entirely, it is a good indicator that either the story will be going to a dark place, or else will be put in hiatus soon.
Or else will show that the good start was an illusion.
Club scenes are good if you have an actual purpose for them. If you have an informant, or are looking for someone, or else are looking for a quick scene to be the start of what-did-I-do-last-night problems.
But if you decide it’s time for your character and all his/her friends to make it to a club just because… It makes me assume you don’t have any idea where you’re going from there. You have decided to forgo cohesive plot lines and have blanked out the idea of pacing in your story, and decide to describe dancing and singing and really, there’s a reason why there are dance/singing movies by the dozen, but hardly a book to be seen.
If going to the club doesn’t have any purpose, don’t use it. Chekhov’s gun is applicable here–don’t mention something unless it’s important. Don’t mention the gun above the mantle place unless it’s going to be used, and don’t gush over dance moves unless dancing will be important later.
REVIEWS PLS LOL JK BUT SRSLY
This is two in on, the ridiculous abbreviations and begging for reviews. I don’t really take people who use srsly and lol and rofl and whatever else in excess. You’re trying to write a story here, use your words. No–no, use ALL of each word. If you have a character that speaks in these shortenings, well, that’s you using them responsibly. But in AN’s and the like it makes you sound–dare I say it?–Derpy.
And the begging for reviews… Well, those occasionally get paired with what I call the hostage situation.
“If I don’t get X amount of reviews I’m not posting the next chapter lol”
Right. Well then. So sorry to have wasted my time, as you obviously have no interest in writing or posting this story if you have to be cajoled into writing. You apparently also don’t care about the quality of reviews, if you’re inviting dozens of ‘update soon’ reviews.
If you’re writing a story, and are serious about it, people will review when they have something to say. You want reviews? Write something that creates a reaction. but do it with a plan.
Don’t just kill off a character just because, do it because it’s time. Don’t just randomly decide for something to happen, because then it’s weirdly random, and not enjoyable.
So yeah, use your words and stop begging and holding chapters hostage. It’s annoying, and *I’m* certainly not going to be the one to drag you kicking and screaming into writing your own damn story.
If you aren’t writing a crossover, don’t do it.
If they have no reason to be there, don’t do it.
If you just really like so-and-so and want to write a story with them in it, don’t choose any random story to include them in. It’s weird and if someone doesn’t know them, it’s weird and confusing.
If you want character from X show to interact with character with Y show, then write a crossover. COMMIT.
A lot of stories that suddenly have cameos end up with Mary Sues, too, and that’s just not good.
Or else the author has given up on writing anything of value, and has just let their fantasies go wild.
More on Mary Sue’s later, but an example of cameos gone wrong is an InuYasha fanfiction, very clearly Kagome/InuYasha, and the author brought in the lead singer of Simple Plan, and had him in love with Kagome, not to mention the number of famous actors and record companies after her for her amazing voice and stellar dance moves earlier displayed at the club. WHY did they bring it up in a story about general high school problems? No clue. It did nothing for it.
MARY SUE’S and STU’S and OC’s TAKING OVER
If you want to write yourself into a story, do so, but don’t disguise yourself as a character already part of the story. If you’re planning on writing a story about an entirely self-made character who waltzes into a series you like, go ahead. But it gets REALLY irritating when part way through a story I’ve invested myself in, you introduce one fo these characters and instead of having the story I’ve invested in I now have a story about your OC. Your Other Character has hijacked your story, and you don’t even seem to mind.
Now, occasionally these OC’s don’t end up Mary Sue’s and Stu’s, but it is a rare occurrence. This is because we put a lot of effort into creating our own characters, and it’s hard to have our babies ride in the back seta, or even the passenger seat when we have the ability to put them in the driver’s seat. But go out and write them their own story, or else don’t let them hijack your other projects.
And Mary Sue’s/Stu’s… If your character, self-made or adopted form a series, has no problems, no weaknesses, and fixes every problem that heads their way, then you are making a Mary Sue. Wild Hair, amazing voice, fabulous dancer, AND they prevented that one character from dying like they did in canon? Wowza, what a Mary Sue.
And what? Oh, pardon me, they *do* have problems don’t they… What a tragic past they’ve overcome, what hardships they’ve dealt with, and they’ve gotten over their emotional trauma just in time for them to save the day… convenient, yes?
If you think I’m just making fun, check out this comic that shows all the problems with such a character, and enjoy, and maybe you’ll be able to recognize a Mary Sue in the future. Ensign Sue Must Die is a fantastic comic, as is its sequel Revenge of the Sue (can be found through the link above, seriously looking for ‘revenge of the sue’ will get you angry p0rn)
And, just to be honest, I was very close to writing my own Sue and posting it. But then I recognized that what I was writing was a plot-less fix-it-all and stopped.
As for OC’s taking over…
If you’ve read my story It’s Green, you’ll know I have a number of OC’s in it. Most of which were entirely unintentional. Max was supposed to be a one time deal, Mr. Baryn a fluff character, all of them not even riding in the back seat–they aren’t even in the car. But I wrote them intending for them to be side characters, and not even significant ones, and they developed on their own into something a bit more.
Not enough to take over the story, and in fact I’ve had a number of comments on how non-confrontational my OC’s are in regards to plot development. They are obviously different characters, they don’t have the cut and paste feel of reusing a characters trait and style, and they have plots and ideas of their own… but they aren’t the main character. They occasionally HELP the main character, but that’s it. They’re doing their job as side characters. And that’s it.
I also have a more Main Character OC in my Torchwood story (CoE Fix-it HERE, sequel now up), again a character who I was intending on being a one-off character, but he’s a villain. And he doesn’t have a real name yet, either. Right now he’s just Boss Man.
I also have a couple of OC’s in there that I rather like, and intentionally developed the characters (for a change) of for plotty reasons (before, they were just names and not even part-playing characters), but I made them for plot reasons, and they still aren’t going to take over the story. I just happen to have one big plot, with a couple smaller plots within and beside it, and this OC plot has its own uses.
So really, use your OC’s responsibly, and if you want them to be centre stage… well, why not START a story with that in mind, hmm? Aren’t they worth their own story?
And beware of can-do-no-wrong fix-it-all characters, because you may be writing a Sue.
And, for a last thing that, while it doesn’t show that a story is heading to a dark place or will be put on Hiatus, is irritating…
SRRY, BAD AT SUMMARIES
Really? Well, if you’re bad at summaries perhaps you aren’t that great at writing stories.
This is not to say you can’t be good at writing stories and be bad at writing the hook, the summary.. just, when looking for a story I’m already looking for something that attracts my interest. This is an unsure thing, because the story I pick might not be all that great, or might disinterest me, and really I enjoy finding the well written, well thought out stories. When you tell me, point blank, that you aren’t good at summaries, it seems like you’re telling me “I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN MY WRITING IT MAY BE BAD LOL READ IT ANYWAY!” If it turns out that you would’ve written a better summary, eventually you can change it. But when you say the summary is bad, you’re telling me you think the summary is bad, and that you went with it anyway. It’s not attractive, it doesn’t give me the sense that your story might be good, and the worst of it is that before you said anything about it, I might not have thought that the summary was all that bad. If it was bad and still gained my interest, then good for you. But what if I thought it was good and you still said this? Well, the I’m not interested in what you label as good or bad, because you obviously can’t handle having your work out there for viewing, for critique, because you’re pretty much trying to beat me to the punch.
Lol I know it was bad, I said as much didn’t I? Yeah, now noting you can say will hurt meeee because–ooh, ouch! Wh would you say that? You’re just repeating me! YOU CAN’T INJUR ME! *cue hurt look and sniffles*
The laughing at your own problems thing isn’t fool-proof, and again, is generally unattractive.
The same can be said for the “First Fic!” mentions in the summary, because it’s pretty obvious you’re trying to make SURE you have an excuse out there in case people don’t read AN’s. Because if you just write it in an AN then someone could miss it and judge your writing thinking that you’re a seasoned writer.
It’s unattractive, and ridiculous, and mentioning it in the summary makes me think that, as your first fic, you’re not experienced enough to know about things like quality.
Anyway, yes I know it’s a bit rant-y, but I’ve noticed quite a few fics have these horribly annoying ‘first fics’, ‘bad summary’ and lol’s in them, and a couple fo the stories I’ve been following for a couple of years now have either petered out into Hiatus, or else have forced me to stop following because they’ve decided to turn this story about the mafia into a Dancing, singing, reality show, or else a story about a girl dealing with the problems of teen pregnancy finding that she can be an actor while giving the best care to her toddler, as well as satisfying her harem of uuber rich suitors. All of whom are interested in a relationship with her even knowing about her kid.
Reeeeally annoyed at this shit.
If anyone else has anything that points to a story changing track, or turn-offs for summaries, let me know.