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Old October 7 2012, 09:54 AM   #16
Genesis
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Grey wrote: View Post
I'm not a huge fanfic reader, so when I do read it, it's because I want to see a logical continuation of an idea not fully explored in canon.
Yep, that's it exactly. I should add that I'm not completely anti-OC. Writers should always add an OC if they have a role that can't be properly filled by a canon character, because the canon characters should never be forced into roles that don't fit them. But I prefer that OCs be primarily shown interacting with the canon characters.
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Old October 12 2012, 12:55 AM   #17
Tribble puncher
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

I avoid "fanwank" like the plague.

I steer clear of the "young inexperienced captain placed on a top of the line ship with his half Klingon romulan liberated borg security chief." Type of fic. I also run from anything that has poorly photoshopped celebs in federation uniforms.
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Old October 12 2012, 01:02 AM   #18
Ian Keldon
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

boo!dana wrote: View Post
I don't buy that at all. These are professionals, doing a job. Lots of people work for long periods of time with other professionals without it turning into The Dating Game. In any event, as per the OP's question, I'm not trying to read "romance in space." It's rarely done well, and it isn't what I'm looking for when I read Trek.
They're Starfleet officers, not monks under a vow of chastity.

Anyways, on the topic of the OP, I look for the same things when I read ST fanfic that I would in any other fanfic or fic in general: quality writing in the technical sense (spelling, grammar, etc), a reader-friendly writing style (trying to read and enjoy a story should not "hurt"), strong grasp of character, plot and background, etc.

Fanfic should not be judged any differently than any other fic.
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Old October 12 2012, 08:26 AM   #19
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
boo!dana wrote: View Post
These are professionals, doing a job. Lots of people work for long periods of time with other professionals without it turning into The Dating Game.
They're Starfleet officers, not monks under a vow of chastity.
People are aboard starships for weeks, months and years. It isn't like clocking out at the office and going home, because home is in the "building" as your office. It's natural for people to form circles of friends, sexual hook ups, and romantic relationships.

People do things besides simply talk shop.


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Old October 12 2012, 08:30 AM   #20
Rush Limborg
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Professionalism is a big part of it. If it's clear that the writer didn't put much thought or effort into the work...I don't care for it.

What else do I look for? Well, it must be a compelling story (or scenario, for a short "vignette"), with characters that ring true. Established characters must be recignizable as those characters, and original characters must be handled with similar integrity. Compelling, authentic--that's the thing.

And dialogue. I must admit--I'm big on dialogue quality. If it clinks, I turn off. If it's great, I can forgive a lot. (Helps explain why I'm so forgiving of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but despise Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith like you wouldn't believe. Dialogue.)
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Old October 13 2012, 08:44 PM   #21
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

I prefer original characters simply because I'm a big fan of the Trek universe and I always felt that there were many other stories to tell about other characters than those which we have encountered on the screen.

There has already been plenty written about canon characters, crews and ships in Trek Lit and elsewhere and it's just fun to see writers adding and expanding to this rich universe.

In my experience the best stories achieve a good balance between engaging characters and an intriguing plot. Not that such a balance is always necessary. There are some terrific character driven stories out there as well as great examples of purely plot driven narratives.
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Old October 18 2012, 10:33 PM   #22
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

I want something I can't get from Pocket's Trek novels. They've continued the 24th century stories and characters beyond the shows and I've enjoyed them very much, but since they're bound by Trek's continuity they can't do the same for The Original Series. I love finding old (70's/80's) stories continuing TOS, taking things in different directions to what the movies established about the characters and the next 30 years of Trek did about the universe. Same characters, different situations.
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Old October 19 2012, 12:52 PM   #23
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

I don't read Fan Fiction at all - mainly because when I have checked out what has been recommended, the material seems to be largely reactionary and conservative (in the narrative sense) - if you aren't constraited by the need to have a financially successful product - why put yourself in such a small box?

I'd be interested in Fan Fiction that took characters and the Star Trek universe into radically different directions but otherwise no thanks.
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Old October 19 2012, 09:25 PM   #24
Admiral2
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
I don't read Fan Fiction at all - mainly because when I have checked out what has been recommended, the material seems to be largely reactionary and conservative (in the narrative sense) - if you aren't constraited by the need to have a financially successful product - why put yourself in such a small box?

Because it still needs to be successful in terms of readership and, unlike you obviously, most people that are inclined to read Trek fanfic want to read new stories from that small box, and will declare anything from outside of it "not Star Trek." It's about knowing your target audience. If I want to do something outside the Star Trek box, I don't write Star Trek.
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Old October 20 2012, 02:49 AM   #25
TiberiusMaximus
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

In a word, charisma.

I want to read something that draws me in and makes me want more. For that to happen, there are a few necessities.

*Good quality writing - not necessarily professional level, but good enough that the mistakes don't make it annoying to read. Spelling mistakes are bad.

*Compelling and engaging characters. As always, quality is a must. I'd rather read a well-done cliche than a badly-written "unique" character. These characters should feel like real people, not a hodgepodge of "kewl" concepts.

*Meaningful character relationships. Star Trek is all about character relationships, and the greatest Trek characters are largely defined by their relationships with the other characters around them.

*An interesting story. I want the story to go somewhere, and I want it to take me along for the ride. The story needs to flow in a way that I find appealing.

The single largest thing I look for in a Star Trek fanfic...

*Star Trek. Well, obviously. But it needs to feel like Star Trek! I don't want a darker, grittier re-imagined universe full of death and despair. I don't want the main characters to be ruthless, amoral, backstabbing and manipulative (unless it's a Garak fanfic.) I want actual Star Trek in my Star Trek.

About the other stuff...

I like romance. I really do. But a romance won't keep me interested long-term, there needs to be more to the story. I 'ship like crazy, but it's not all I want to read about. Believe it or not, there are people who aren't interested in romance! Imagine that!

One thing romance-wise that bugs me is when two characters are written as if there's something between them and the author seems to build it up as an important part of the story...but abruptly forgets about it near the end. Nuh-uh. If you're gonna make me hope the boy gets the girl, the boy had better get the girl. If you don't want to include that, I'm totally fine with it. But don't begin something and simply drop it - of course, that applies to other things too.

Fanfic focusing on canon characters tends to disappoint me, simply because it's never quite as good as actual Trek and some character voices are just too hard to capture. For that reason, I prefer original characters. I also want to see more of the Trek 'verse than we've seen onscreen. I want to meet new characters.

The length of the story doesn't really matter to me, but I do enjoy reading something with an actual story arc. But not too long, or I get tired of waiting for the resolution. As long as something actually happens (they beat the bad guys, they find the alien treasure, they discover the truth about the mysterious artifact...) and the story doesn't become boring, I like it.
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Old October 20 2012, 06:23 AM   #26
R. Star
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Does it really matter if it's TOS, TNG, DS9, Voy, or ENT?
Doesn't really matter. One of the most interesting fics I read was set in the TNG era of a Terran Empire that never fell for example. I suppose if I had to pick an era it would be the ENG/DS9/VOY era.

Do you prefer original characters, or established series characters?
No preference. I have nothing against OC's so long as they're well thought out characters, complete with flaws, and they fit into the Trek universe in a logical way. I will say, if a fanfic author is going to use established characters, keep them in character.

Action packed or heavy dialogue?
There's nothing wrong with action, so long as it's serving a purpose in the story. Pages of Borg drones and random aliens getting slaughtered gets redundant quick. Dialogue and character development and an interesting plot is what's going to keep me interested.
A short story 5 to 10 pages, a medium story 10 to 20 pages, or a long story 20 pages and up?
Typically, I won't even look at a story that's on the short end of the spectrum.
Do you want romance in your fan fics?
No preference. Romance can be interesting as long as it makes sense. I cringe and the obvious Mary Sue romances or things that just make zero sense at all like Picard randomly hooking up with Troi.
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Old October 21 2012, 05:45 PM   #27
JoeZhang
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
I don't read Fan Fiction at all - mainly because when I have checked out what has been recommended, the material seems to be largely reactionary and conservative (in the narrative sense) - if you aren't constraited by the need to have a financially successful product - why put yourself in such a small box?

Because it still needs to be successful in terms of readership and, unlike you obviously, most people that are inclined to read Trek fanfic want to read new stories from that small box, and will declare anything from outside of it "not Star Trek." It's about knowing your target audience. If I want to do something outside the Star Trek box, I don't write Star Trek.
Why does it need to be successful in terms of readership? Do the shareholders fire you?
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Old October 21 2012, 08:41 PM   #28
TiberiusMaximus
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

Why does it need to be successful in terms of readership?
Because nobody wants to write something that nobody ever reads. That's kinda like asking, "If you're not going to sell that painting for money, why bother making it look good?" Uh, because I want it to and I want the people who see it to enjoy it.

The painting might be for your mother. If so, you'd make it something she would enjoy, right? That's an example of knowing your target audience, even though you're not making money.
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Old October 21 2012, 08:52 PM   #29
JoeZhang
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

TiberiusMaximus wrote: View Post
Why does it need to be successful in terms of readership?
Because nobody wants to write something that nobody ever reads. That's kinda like asking, "If you're not going to sell that painting for money, why bother making it look good?" Uh, because I want it to and I want the people who see it to enjoy it.

The painting might be for your mother. If so, you'd make it something she would enjoy, right? That's an example of knowing your target audience, even though you're not making money.
What sort of difference are we talking?

I mean - I talk corporate bollocks because that's what I do for a living but I find it frankly sad that people are limiting their creativity because they are worried that 42 people rather than 48 will read their fan fiction.
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Old October 21 2012, 09:28 PM   #30
Admiral2
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Re: What do you look for in a fan fic?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
TiberiusMaximus wrote: View Post
Why does it need to be successful in terms of readership?
Because nobody wants to write something that nobody ever reads. That's kinda like asking, "If you're not going to sell that painting for money, why bother making it look good?" Uh, because I want it to and I want the people who see it to enjoy it.

The painting might be for your mother. If so, you'd make it something she would enjoy, right? That's an example of knowing your target audience, even though you're not making money.
What sort of difference are we talking?

I mean - I talk corporate bollocks because that's what I do for a living but I find it frankly sad that people are limiting their creativity because they are worried that 42 people rather than 48 will read their fan fiction.
Writing fan fiction is a hobby. Part of any hobby is sharing it with like-minded people, and the main way fan fic writers share their hobby is posting stories for fan fic readers to read, and the methods used to try and attract those 48 readers are the same in small scale as those used by New York Times bestselling authors and their publishers, starting with writing something someone in a particular demographic might like to read. If the demographic in question is labeled "Trekkie," then it would be idiotic for a trek fan fic writer to write a trek story in the style of an Ender novel, because most trekkies won't read it, and thus the author won't be able to share their hobby the way they intended. No, they don't get dumped by shareholders and therefore don't lose any money, but rejection by six out of forty-eight fan fic readers can be just as devastating to an amateur as rejection by Simon and Shuster would be, so it's always best to try to avoid something like that if you can. Pleasing your target audience is important, no matter how small it is and whether or not it's paying you.

And frankly, I find it sad that there's someone out there to whom something so basic about human nature needs to be explained.
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