What do you look for in a fan fic?

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

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    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.
     
  6. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

    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.

    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.
    Typically, I won't even look at a story that's on the short end of the spectrum.
    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.
     
  7. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why does it need to be successful in terms of readership? Do the shareholders fire you?
     
  8. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    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.
     
  9. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    Don't most fan fic writers write, first and foremost, to their own tastes? Yes, it's Trek and yes it is within an established format or genre conventions but not so much because that's what the target audience expects but because that's what the writer is most interested in.

    This is certainly is true for me but obviously I can't speak for everyone. Some writers may pander more to their audience than others.
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    I'm in agreement with CeJay here. At least if the fan fic writer wants to enjoy themselves more, I think it would behoove them to write in the time period or with the characters they feel most comfortable with. I was a big fan of DS9 and the Dominion War, so I based my Dark Territory series in the post-Dominion War era to exploring what might have happened after DS9 ended. The good thing about that for me was that it also allowed me to also incorporate TNG and VOY into stories as well.

    I think you first got to find something that interests you to keep writing when you hit the eventual writer's block or when life gets in the way. But also I do think most people who write want to share what they've written. But if you're not enjoying what you're writing, if you're too worried about the audience, you're probably not going to like what you produce and they probably won't either.
     
  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    ^Another agreement from me. I also write because I enjoy it and also choose subjects (and races) I like most. But I know that I'd also like some audience, because writing into nothingness would take all joy of writing away. So while not writing purely and only for the readers, trying to guess what they'd like, I think a lot of fan fic writers still would like someone to read and enjoy their work, even if it's written for fun and from their internal need of writing stories.
     
  14. Chanukahjes

    Chanukahjes Commodore Commodore

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    ^This.

    We do like someone to be reading. After all, otherwise, we'd just be confining our stuff to our hard drives, or our noggins. But we don't.

    I think writers also do (or probably should) write to the audience at least a bit, in the sense of creating art that is accessible and understandable. I don't believe it's pandering to make the vision clear. After all, the readers aren't in our heads (at least, I hope not). Hence if the character's internal motivations are important, they need to be explained or at least hinted at, and not just - oh, the readership will get it.

    Well, what happens if they don't?
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    You're talking about making a story accesible or even coherent to a reader. That's different than to pander to your audience.

    An example would be to write a Voyager fan-fic because you know there is a big audience for it even though you don't really care for Voyager at all.
     
  16. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good call. Many here could take note of that.
     
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I understand it, it just always surprises me that people are so feeble minded and needy (I'm talking generalities here not specific or individual posters).
     
  18. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oh, so it's okay to insult people if you insult them all at once? If you're so against fanfiction - or just don't "get it" - why are you even here?

    Earlier, you called fanfiction "a small box." Well, if you think about it, fanfic is just another genre. Any genre could be considered "a small box."

    So you want to write a fantasy novel? Why does it have to be fantasy? Why put yourself in such a small box? Why limit your creativity so much? Does that make sense to you? Probably not, because it's ludicrous.

    It's not "needy" to want something appreciated by its intended audience.
     
  19. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Getting a little tense in here isn't it? My kind of place...
     
  20. KirkDaPimp

    KirkDaPimp Cadet Newbie

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    Personally, I look for a collection of vignettes / stand-alone stories that help fill in the blanks character-development-wise. I love a good slam-bang battle-scene entry but every now & then, I like a slow, suggestive / steamy bedroom scene to start things off.

    I personally think the TOS, TNG, DS9. VOY stories & characters are mostly played-out. I like to see "lower decks" stories or all-new/original crews, ships, et al.

    Post-Dominion War-era (ie: "Star Trek: Titan") perhaps on a frankenstein fleet vessel, or a story / series in the TMP-era set on a Loknar-Class or Phobos-Class vessel with ~NO~ references to Chapel, Spock, or Kirk. Maybe a spin-off from Sulu/Excelsior or Chekov or Styles (Enterprise-B).