A lot of people enjoyed my previous article about Fan Fic Review Peeves, so I decided to write another article about my personal pet peeves when it comes to reading fan fiction in general. Once again, let me reinstate that this is not a personal attack on anybody and that you shouldn't feel bad if you are guilty of any of these. To be perfectly honest, I probably did a few of these myself in my early days of writing fan fiction. So without further ado, let's get down to my ten pet peeves when it comes to reading fan fiction.
"Sorry, summary sucks!"
If your summary sucks, how can you expect a reader to care or be invested in your story? Writing an eye-catching summary is the key to getting readers. It is important, as it helps give readers information to decide whether they want to read the story or not.
Choosing not including a summary of your story risks you losing a lot of readers. So get working on making some fantastic summaries!
Extremely Long Author Profiles
I do not understand the need for an extremely long author profile. I came to read your stories, not your profile. If your profile is so super long that it stretches towards the moon, then I'm going to struggle to be invested in your stories.
So many authors copy and paste lots of useless information that tells me nothing about them or their stories: from the inaccurate poem about abortion to chain letters about your mum dying if you don't add something to your profile. I think there is an option to hide profiles, but I really get overwhelmed by long author profiles that don't need to be long.
This is one I think many readers will relate to. You find a wonderfully written story that you've been hooked on and you go through chapter after chapter and then the story ends on a cliffhanger and the story hasn't been updated in a very long time.
Now I know that authors get busy and things happen. Sadly there are many stories out there that sadly never get finished but I also sympathise with readers who love a story but are also heartbroken because their favourite story will never be finished.
Just imagine that you get a book and you enjoy it, then you find that pages are missing or the ending isn't there. Again, some writers can't help it.
Explicit Scenes Without a Warning/Incorrect Rating
Now, there's nothing wrong with writing explicit material. I've written some myself. There are still a lot of minors online right now and also lots of people who chose not to read stories with a lot of violence, sex, or drugs in it. A simple warning either in the summary or on the first page of your story should be sufficient.
This also applies to stories with the wrong rating. If you've rated your fic a PG and there's lots of sex and violence in it, readers will get pissed off.
Basic Spelling and Grammar
If English is your second language, then I think this can be forgiven. Correct spelling and grammar are essential for any sort of writing success and it's the minimum requirement for many publishing houses. When writing fan fiction, always write to the best of your ability. Get friends or anybody to have a look at your work before you publish it.
Lack of Research
An obvious lack of research does make a story a lot less credible. I've lost count on how many times I've come across things that would be medically impossible in real life, like male pregnancy and over-romanticised sickness stories.
The Character's Essence Is Lost
This section is dedicated to out-of-character-ness very common in fan fiction. Of course, certain situations will change the way a character sees and views things, and that's understandable. The characters still need to be developed to retain their greatness. We still need to feel that character's voice. Sure, you can write about Goku in a dress. But why is he in a dress? If you justify his reasons why he's in a dress, then you might be able to get away with this.
I guess in silly and crack fics, this is okay. In serious fics, well you won't get away with it so much. And writing alternative universe fics don't make OOC moments acceptable. Though I think what one person might consider OOC, another reader might find perfectly IC, so I think it's subjective depending on the reader.
Would you read a story that's all just one big paragraph with no lines or spaces? No, nor would I! Bad formatting can kill any story, even the best fan fic of all time. I know sometimes websites can be glitchy and ruin the format but don't give up and don't stop until the format is fixed. And if the format continues to screw up, use another site to share your fics.
Overuse Of Clichés
Bunch of school girls squeal and hook up with boys. The End
Boy and girl meet. They kiss. They fuck. The girl is pregnant. The End.
Boy falls in love with a jerk. Jerk warms up to boy. The End.
I'm personally fed up with all the overused and rehashed stories with out-of-character versions of characters. Countless retellings of canon with original characters with no unique plot twists, school fics with dozens of fictional characters thrown in with no unique plot twists. Don't just do a rerun of other stories just because it's fan fiction—think of some of your own stuff too.
Character bashing makes me sad. I think it's extremely sad and petty. Okay, so you don't like Ron because you think Harry and Hermione are the greatest love story never told but don't bash Ron for it by making him into an evil character just because you don't like him! I'm just using that as an example, but there are many characters who sadly get poor treatment in fan fiction. Anybody remember Daisuke "Davis" Motomiya from Digimon? Also, I don't want to read fics about people getting senselessly tortured just for the sake of it. I have read Agony In Pink... never again!
And that concludes my top 10 personal pet peeves. I'm sure you've all got your own. My next article will be Fan Fic Writing Peeves That Really Get On My Nerves. I hope to write and publish that article by next week.