Fanfiction Pet Peeves

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by WarpTenLizard, Jan 21, 2018.

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What would make you LEAST likely to read a fanfic?

  1. Contains a couple I don't "ship"

    9 vote(s)
    25.7%
  2. Deviates from canon

    3 vote(s)
    8.6%
  3. The captain has a teenage son/daughter

    9 vote(s)
    25.7%
  4. Bad spelling/grammar

    29 vote(s)
    82.9%
  5. Focuses on an "OC"

    7 vote(s)
    20.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    No offense meant to anyone. But, here is a list of my personal pet peeves when reading "Star Trek" fanfiction:

    • Turning a regular character into a villain because they're a threat to your OTP. ("In this story, Will Riker falls in love with Beverly Crusher LIKE HE SHOULD OF, and Deanna Troi is EVUL and tries to steal Riker for her own shallow, evil purposes but then DIES!!")
    • People thinking that the only two women in Chakotay's Maquis crew were B'Elanna and whatever female Maquis they happen to remember. Really, people. (Jeri Taylor even did this in "Pathways.")
    • Entire series re-writes with the only change being the addition of the captain's teenage kid (Why? Why do people do this? WHYYYY?)
    • Hey guys, wanna meet a brand, new character living in the "Star Trek" universe, that I created? Want to see your favorite sci-fi show from a new, fresh perspective? Well here is the saga of my character, Ensign Generica Blandmuffin! She's an average, 20-year-old, Human from Earth (specifically, Wisconsin, USA), from an average family, with an average body-type, with an average, somewhat shy personality! Her main conflict throughout the story is that she might have a crush on that one hot character who never did much. (Isn't it great to be able to escape into a sci-fi word, and forget about your bland, realistic life now and then?)

    Your turn. List the things that annoy you in "Star Trek" fan fiction.

    The only rule is, it has to be an actually writing gimmick, habit or story-type you dislike. This is not just an excuse for character or "ship" bashing. ("My peeve is any fanfic that pairs Kirk with Yeoman Rand, because Kirk/Rand makes me PUKE and Rand is a slutty Mary Sue who should DYE!!!!!3!") Actual writing related things that annoy you, in "Star Trek" fanfiction. Go.
     
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  2. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Forgetting that there's a whole crew of hundreds to support the seven main characters.

    Oh, wait. You asked about fan-fic peeves. That's a general peeve that applies to the TV shows, too. :whistle:
     
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    A lot of it is due to personal preference, I think.

    For example, I'm not big fan of fan fiction focusing on canon characters. There's plenty of Trek Lit out there doing that already which tends to be, on average, much better and obviously more professional.

    I am a sucker for OC Trek, however, since that is what I like to write as well. The Trek universe is so massive, there is endless room to explore characters and ships and crews we don't get to see on the screen. They too have adventures and great stories worth telling.

    I have a few pet peeves when it comes to fanfic, too, and while I wouldn't say they necessarily will turn me off, they'll likely induce an eye roll or two

    • Very poor grammar, spelling, syntax, etc. Now, I'm no master at the technical craft of the written word, so I don't try to be to judgmental here, but you have to at least attempt to keep the reader engaged in the story you are telling. If there are constant technical errors and flaws throughout your work, that becomes really difficult. I often get the feeling that many novice writers haven't read enough to try their hands on actual writing. You can't be a writer without doing a lot of reading and there is nothing wrong with emulating published and professional writers.
    • The old fanfic cliche of the most powerful ship crewed by the best and brightest crew in Starfleet. Including the tendency do invent brand new starship classes more powerful than anything that has come before. There is nothing wrong, I think, to inventing new and exiting tech, that's part of good sci-fi, but there are so many ships already out there and even if none of those feel right, try to be sensible with that new starship class you've come up with. To be fair, I've come across this much less these days than I used to.
    • Over reliance on contemporary references or culture. This always causes me to roll my eyes. Generally Trek is set nearly 200-300 years in our future and after a violent and turbulent history. In my view at least, it's a very different place, maybe even more different than the 17-hundreds were to today. I always find it odd and perhaps a bit lazy when I see characters making seemingly quickly understood references to things they shouldn't really be familiar with. Or if future institutions are structured exactly the same way they are today.
    • One thing that always peeves me a bit, and that's purely personal, is the tendency of fanfic writers to constantly refer to ship classes and so forth in conversation or prose. It often says more about the writer than the characters. Unless you are an admiral working on fleet deployment plans, ship classes aren't that important other than giving the reader a quick reference to know what the ship looks like. Characters wouldn't refer to this all the time, other than perhaps acknowledging it internally and for more important ships should probably already know the class. But that's just me.
    • EDIT: Forgot to mention, and this applies to the TV shows as well - a heavy focus on humans, which is more understandable in filmed entertainment with budget constraints, but the Federation is supposed to be made up of hundreds of races. Where are those? And how come non-humans always show up in single numbers? One Vulcan, one Andorian, one Tellarite, while humans always show up in droves? It shouldn't be unusual at all to have more than one Andorian for example on the senior staff. I have seen some fanfics justify this by stating that Starfleet is by its nature human-centric, that more humans join than other species. That's not a terrible explanation, and certainly supported by canon, but personally I prefer the multi-species approach.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  4. Dulak

    Dulak Commander Red Shirt

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    My biggest peeve is when characters who supposedly made it through the heavily screened Starfleet admission process and then made it through four years of rigorous instruction make immature decisions that make them seem more like spoiled Jr. High kids.

    Also, when people invent a new species for one of their main character that is simply a "Mary Jane" species.
     
  5. jespah

    jespah Rear Admiral Moderator

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    Wish fulfillment characters and scenarios. Also technical issues. I'm fine with the occasional typo (we all make them), but if your prose is littered with tense changes, misspellings, etc. then my suspension of disbelief is gone, gone, gone.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    OCs with tenuous or blatant connections to canon characters.

    Heavily human crews, with all the imagination of fans can create why limit yourself to such a bland species.
     
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  7. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    Dec 13, 2003
    My big pet peeve probably is poor grammar--that's why I run my stories through alpha and beta reads before posting as I tend to commit keystroke errors by leaving out letters or quotation marks. While I do agree with Cejay that a lot of contemporary culture would be lost during the turbulent later 21st--early 22nd centuries, the sheer quantity of media would act to preserve a fair portion of our heritage. Added to that, many countries such as the United States now have very well protected and hardened storage facilities specifically designed to preserve our cultural heritage in the event of a major catastrophe. The lasting damage would be to standing structures such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and St. Peter's. Most, if not all of those structures that you'd see in the Trek-verse would probably be reproductions as would several works of art.

    Mary Sue's are also a pet peeve of mine as well as gratuitous character bashing. I don't think it's out of place for characters to be cold or dislike each other, for example in my Sutherland series, Captain Shelby doesn't care too much for Riker, but she doesn't hate him--she just thinks he's too comfortable and lazy and an underachiever. To bash a canon character just because you don't like that character--no.
     
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  8. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    I don't necessarily object to OCs having ties to canon characters, as long as they're well done and/or logical. Now, if your OC ends up having Picard's illegitimate kid, then there's a problem. I like taking characters that appeared in a single episode or two episodes like Shelby, Lavelle, and Sito Jaxa and then seeing where I can take them.
     
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  9. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Commander Red Shirt

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    It worked for Peter David in the New Frontier series. Granted, he wasn't technically writing fan fiction, but it was closer to fanfic in spirit than novels based on canon crews are.

    I'm ambivalent on that. It really depends on the kind of connection. If someone met Curzon Dax, because they happened to be an embassy guard when Dax was a diplomat, that doesn't bother me, for example. That kind of thing happens in the real world all the time. If you're in a small enough community for any length of time, you're bound to rub elbows with well-known people.

    And almost always a human (or very close human analog) main character on top of that. To which I say, why the heck would I want to write about Terran bipedal apes, especially since modifications to baseline humans is frowned upon and even outright criminalized in the Federation.

    Having said that, I don't see the need to invent a ton of new species for just one crew (or cast, if you're not writing about a ship, per se.)
     
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  10. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    AMEN to the focus on humans!

    As for the modern pop culture references, those too annoy me when out-of-hand. I do like seeing them in bits, because if "Sherlock Holmes" is still remembered in 300 years there's no reason "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter" won't be as well. But when it's something more obscure, there has to be a good reason for why and how the characters discovered it. I doubt the average Starfleet ship has the "Spice Girls" movie in its database, for example.
     
  11. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    True, but you probably would see Casablanca in its database or Star Wars. As for humans serving as ship captains or as major species in crews, that doesn't bother me that bad, really. Better to write good human characters than aliens that come across just like humans except for bumps or ridges and horns. When writing an Andorian or Tellarite or a species you've developed on your own, you have to develop how that alien perceives the universe around them and what make their perspective different from the human perspective. It's one of the richest and most rewarding talents a writer can develop, but also probably one of the most difficult and I'll be the first to admit that I don't always get it right.
     
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  12. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Man, inventing a new species every time they want to do something even slightly different really annoys me too (though I've seen it more in canon media than fanfiction). It makes the galaxy seem overly crowded, and the species all very flat and stereotypical.

    This is something I love about "Farscape;" when one episode called for a planet of people who were pretty much humans, that's exactly what the episode made them: "these are a group of Sebaceans (the closest thing to Humans in that setting) who broke away a few centuries ago and set up a kindgom out here." Most other sci-fi shows would've just made them an entirely new species that just-so-happened to be really damn similar to Sebaceans. So what they did do was make the Sebaceans feel like a real, diverse species, rather than a tiny island of stereotypical clones.

    So if your story calls for a group of people who are basically like Vulcans, but against all space travel, why not just make it a specific subculture of Vulcans? If you want a character who is basically an Andorian, but you really, really want her to be purple instead of blue, why not just say she's from a different Andorian ethnic group than we usually see? If you want a proud warrior race, but have your own specific code for them to live by, before making a new race consider this an opportunity to show us a new sect of Klingons/Hirogen/Jem'Hadar/etc.
     
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  13. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. That's why I had no problem with one fic where Vorik joined an ensign in a holo-program of "Legend of Zelda." It's a famous enough and long-running enough franchise that I can easily believe it would make it to the holo-age. Now on the other hand, if that ensign had been showing Vorik a holo-program of "Mouse on the Mayflower" or "Hard Bodies 2," I would need some explanation for how something so obscure wound up having a hononovel made out of it.
     
  14. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    As far as OC characters interacting with canon characters, right now, I'm working on "Blood Cries" which is shaping up to be a humongous story (204 pages and I easily have a hundred plus to go) and at first, I didn't want to include Enterprise and its crew, but they kept shouting at me saying, 'You've got to put us in!" Besides...Kirk...Shelby--how could I not resist. That's also why I'm alpha'ing it on the United Trek forum because I want to be sure I get it right and don't go overboard with them. Best thing for a story--alpha and beta reading--corrects most errors before the story hits prime time.
     
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  15. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Using a one-time guest character can be very interesting, if the writer handles them well.

    Chance encounters and things like that are understandable, but when they are the descendant of Jonathan Archer who dated Beverly Howard and almost married her, the protégé of Pavel Chekov at the Academy, then went on to serve as Sisko's most trusted friend on the Saratoga, was Janeway's XO before she took command of Voyager, then it stretches the imagination just a little too far.
     
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  16. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Commander Red Shirt

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    This. I couldn't agree with this more.

    Holy crap. That description is so specific--have you actually seen one like that?
     
  17. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey, it's basically tradition for sci-fi "expanded universe" stories to feature cameos from the iconic characters, so go for it!
     
  18. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    I mostly agree. But, I will admit that the series I'm working on has a Trill character who has had close encounters with many canon characters in his past hosts. When a canon guest star like Lwaxana Troi, or the Grand Negus or whoever shows up for a guest appearance in my series, the first thing they do when they recognize the Trill character is slap or punch him. (I'm a very original comedic genius, I know. But mostly, it's just to poke fun at the usual cliche of making one's OC popular with canon heroes, whereas this guy has simply pissed them all off in some way or another.)
     
  19. Dashiell Mirai

    Dashiell Mirai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    One of my main pet peeves, in Star Trek fics, and just in general, are the characters acting out of character. I realize some are harder to get a handle on, but there are some you see where you're just like, "Wait, what?"
     
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  20. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Okay, this one isn't just fan-fic, nor just Trek or even just sci-fi, and is too big to be a peeve but rather a this-p*$$es-me-off:

    A plot set around the idea that anyone and everyone in uniform wants war and will do anything to start a war just so they can get their glory. Sorry, but nobody in their right mind wants to go to war, and we don't keep people in service who aren't in their right mind.