What do you look for in a fan fic?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by RB_Kandy, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. RB_Kandy

    RB_Kandy Commander Red Shirt

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    What sort of things do you look for in a Star Trek fan fic?
    Does it really matter if it's TOS, TNG, DS9, Voy, or ENT?
    Do you prefer original characters, or established series characters?
    Action packed or heavy dialogue?
    A short story 5 to 10 pages, a medium story 10 to 20 pages, or a long story 20 pages and up?
    Do you want romance in your fan fics?

    I prefer all characters from the series, since trying to memorize and familiarize myself with new characters is difficult.
    I don't really care which series it is about.
    I like long stories, heavy on dialogue and personality. That's my preference, what about yours? What really makes you wanna read a fan fic, and enjoy it?
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I generally like original fanfic (more flexibility for an all new cast of characters and different ships), set in any era is fine with me. Length doesn't bother me, however long it takes to tell a good story is as long as it needs to be.

    A story should be a blend of actions and dialogue, both of which are needed to tell stories, it really depends on the mission the ship and crew are on. As for romance, sometimes it's planned and other times it just comes along naturally as you write character interaction.
     
  3. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    It kinda depends. I've liked a lot of different types of ff.

    I respect writers who spend some time with editing. When I see stories that are overly long, or the descriptions are repetitious or there are certain technical issues, that can be a turn off as it tells me that the author didn't reread, or didn't reread recently. I am not saying that ff needs to go through 50 rewrites, but when the writer continually confuses "to" and "too"; or only says "he said" throughout the piece instead of sprinkling in "he whispered", "he stated", "he opined", "he confirmed", etc.; or drags out a slow-moving scene to 20 pages when it could have been told in 2 - that tears it for me. I want authors to care about the reader enough to get things like that right or at least make the effort. I recognize that a lot of people are somewhere along the learning continuum, and not everyone is a native English speaker. I get that. But these are things that writers need to learn.

    I love it when writers get into a character and can really get the dialogue right. E. g. Spock, Data, T'Pol and Tuvok rarely use contractions or slang. When they do, it's the sign of a problem. An author should know that, and should write their speech accordingly.

    I also like effortless exposition. Someone telling me that a character is 6'4", weighing 210 lbs. isn't natural unless that character is in a police lineup. Instead, I want to get that information elsewhere, e. g. a character says he's self-conscious about his weight, or another character looks up because the first one is taller.
     
  4. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes it matters. I prefer The Original Series.

    Depends on the established characters. I prefer Pike's crew to Kirk's. I'll read stories with OC's if the stories are reminiscent of TOS style.

    Action-packed with relevant dialogue.

    An interesting story, however long it needs to be for the author to tell it.

    As long as romance isn't the purpose of the fic, I'm good.
     
  5. Genesis

    Genesis Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I only read fanfiction starring my favorite canon characters. Yep, I'm picky, but I've never loved Star Trek for the world-building. I love it for the characters.

    The other criteria is that it must be well-written. Professional quality, or at least close to it. Writing is my job and I can't ignore massive mistakes. They make my head hurt. It also has to capture my favorite characters accurately.

    The other things you listed don't really matter to me. Long or short, action-packed or romance-focused, it's all fine with me.
     
  6. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I've only read one ENT story, and the only reason I did that is because the main character was Porthos the dog. He's the only character in that series I actually like.

    I've read very little DS9 fanfic, but the one I recall most clearly was a Garak/Bashir slashfic. It was rather graphic, but not as graphic (or tasteless) as the Uhura/Scotty story I read after...

    Most of the stories I currently follow on fanfiction.net are Voyager stories. There's a Trek BBS member, Alpha Flyer, who writes the most amazing Tom Paris stories. They take place post-"Endgame" and I am absolutely hooked.

    And there's an author, scifiromance, who has managed to make Chakotay/Seven stories entertaining and addictive (her longest work is currently up to 84 chapters).

    I'm not much for TNG fanfic, but again, I have to recommend "Starfleet Academy Blues" - about Tasha Yar's years at the Academy.

    I get most of my TOS fanfic fix from the print fanzines and the stories that have been posted online that used to be available only in the print zines.


    What I ask of fanfic is that the canon characters be true to their established traits, and original characters be consistent with themselves (and not Mary/Marty Sues). Dialogue must be appropriate, no 20th/21st century slang, inappropriate profanity unless it's an established character trait, and I HATE technobabble. Part of science fiction is SCIENCE, and it's not inappropriate to actually do a bit of research to know what you're talking about instead of relying on the Trek equivalent of "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow...".

    I like a good mix of action and dialogue. Romance is okay as long as it's not too mushy or explicit (that said, I make an exception for the excellent Valjiir stories). Stories that consist of blocks of dialogue where the author doesn't make it clear which character is speaking just drives me up the wall.

    As for length... whatever the story's natural length is.

    One thing more: If the story contains too many spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, or if the characters' dialogue is all mixed up in the same paragraph, I'll know that the author is too lazy to proofread (or to ask someone else to proofread). There are probably stories I've passed up that would have been entertaining, but I just couldn't make myself tolerate the technical shortcomings. Yes, I know that most fanfic writers are not professional. But there is such a thing as taking pride in one's work, especially work that has a potential audience of millions.
     
  7. Genesis

    Genesis Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    The trouble with this is that a lot of the canon has little real science behind it. The shows themselves were full of meaningless technobabble. So fanfic writers who write their stories this way are really just being true to Star Trek. I can't reasonably expect a higher degree of scientific accuracy from fanfic writers than from the canon itself.

    This I definitely agree with. Posting a fanfic full of basic mistakes is disrespectful to the show itself and the fans.
     
  8. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    I write more than I read but in both cases original all the way, mention canon characters, maybe have ones that weren't seen or were only children when seen depending on the setting. Canon character overload always feels far too fanfic-y
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Strictly speaking, Star Trek isn't science fiction, it's fantasy.

    There something to be said for bringing a story to a successful conclusion, in a timely fashion. Not all stories have to endlessly ramble out to novel length. Because my schedule doesn't have t a lot of space for recreational reading, I prefer short stories.

    :)
     
  10. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that's my point. If it rambles i stop reading no matter how long or short it is. If it keeps me intersted every step of the way I can read a novel length story easily.
     
  11. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like reading about canon characters primarily, with OCs filling out the universe.

    I don't have a preferred length; however long it takes to tell the story well is long enough. When a story starts to ramble, I ditch it. I can usually tell when an author is making the story up as he or she goes along, rather than having a completely thought out and written story before it's posted. I don't have patience for that, not only because the story isn't tight, but also because literary devices like foreshadowing are non-existent.

    I typically don't like romance (there are some exceptions) because I'm not a fan of soap opera in space. I don't 'ship, ever.
     
  12. ambessalion

    ambessalion Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    as far as characters, original or canon, i can handle either: with the canon people, i want them as realistic as possible. for example, i will not accept picard insulting a fellow officer, even if the guy is such an idiot that makes barcley seem the best officer ever...

    with original characters, i'll want them indepth with real personalities and history (how-to-write books recommend that too)

    the era/location, etc doesn't matter as long as the style and dialog, etc is good....i read a story on fanfiction the other day, i couldn't finish even the first chapter...it was BAD *shudder*

    i want equal parts dialog and action...too much of either gets annoying

    i don't care about length, again, as long as it's good. i've (tried to) read 5 page stories that make want to gouge my eyes out and 20 page chapters that intrigued me the whole way

    romance doesn't bother me if it's done right
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you think about it, a character not being in a romance, or some stage of one is somewhat unrealistic.

    The Capatin might be the exception, but the majority of the people on board would have (or like Geordi, like to have) a person that they want to be with off duty. Seem that they would also have a circle of friend. Not have it be that everyone on board is equally your friend. Like Bashir and O'Brein, your close buddies.

    Four stages of romance:

    Inbetween romances.
    Enter romance.
    Immersed in romance.
    Dissolving romance.

    (Shower and repeat)

    :devil:
     
  14. bluedana

    bluedana Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  15. Grey

    Grey Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yep. That's exactly what I was going to say.

    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. Obviously I want it to be something I could easily see as fitting into canon, because if I wanted to read an original fic I'd just read...an original fic. And it's the characters I care about, so the more OCs a fic has, the less I'm interested, usually.

    And yes, professional-level writing is a must, haha.
     
  16. Genesis

    Genesis Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  17. Tribble puncher

    Tribble puncher Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  18. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.


    :)
     
  20. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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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