Clockwork_Knight

Pet Peeves-What can't you stand

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The reason why nobody took what you said to be nothing more than satire is because satire invariably requires visual indicators to let the audience know that it is, in fact, satire. The written media, on the other hand, is not a visual media. It requires some skill for an author to effectively carry off satire. And, more often than not, the reader approaches the work knowing in advance that they're going to be reading satire.

Another reason why most took you seriously is because many writers out there have that self-deprecating attitude, and most of us are fed up with it. If you, the author, thinks your own work is garbage then why on earth would we want to read it? If the author is a new-comer to story writing, and they genuinely want to learn the skills of writing, then there are other ways to approach it than by pointing out up-front and in your face how rubbish you are. And I'm saying "you" as in these authors in general, not a particular person.

Anyway, let's not allow this topic to get hijacked by discussing the merits of satire and move quietly back to the pet peeves topic. :unsure:

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Guest sylvir
Anyway, let's not allow this topic to get hijacked by discussing the merits of satire and move quietly back to the pet peeves topic. :unsure:

Right on so here we go back on topic.

I hate it when a character is played up as an innocent, inexperienced blushing virgin up until the lemon. Then she/he is all; "fuck me harder", "Shoot your cum all over me." ect.

When a character goes from virgin to slut in 2 seconds or less I can't help but roll my eyes.

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I'm currently going further with a particular series than I thought I would when I wrote the first story. It's just developed. To this day (and I wrote the first story over a year ago), it is still my most popular, attracting a respectable number of readers. However, the second story in the series had to do something very subtle. While the first was a strong, simple message (Satirical Mary Sue bamfs into canon universe; actually gets treated like a jumped-up little tart actually would in that situation), the second story had to be more suble: (Mary Sue returns, doesn't reform because that would be too cheesy, but leaves with doubts over her attitudes). The third story, interestingly, is the second most popular in my cache (May Sue returns again, ultimately reforms into a nicer person, and gets on good terms with the canon characters).

I've enjoyed writing up until now and am continuing to write, but story no. 2 just didn't attract the crowd. I've noticed something similar when reading trilogies: the first book has the powerful new idea, the third one has a long-awaited and satisfying resolution to the entire problem, but the middle one goes off like a damp firework.

One of the reviewers for story no. 2 asked whether there'd actually been any point in the story at all. There was: story no. 3 wouldn't have worked without it. But I find the inherent flaccidness of middle stories to be frustrating. What I find to be a particularly sad thing about it is that, there's no way for the reader to be sure whether the final story will be satusfying. Therefore some, I suspect, just get bored half way through story no. 2 and don't go any further. Frustrating for the reader, soul-destroying for the writer.

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Here goes:

1. OOC. Well, this is somewhat a grey area but I have very firm opinions and I am sticking to them. Period. And it is NOT completely a matter of a POV, how much some godawful writers think that it is. (Well... they do have quite firm opinions too so it's not a grey area for them either.) The most usual OOC flaws tend to happen in stories where characters who hate each other in canon are paired together consensually and romantically. *vomits* I practically consider those pairings as the writer's Mary Sue or Marty Stu paired with a character they drool over. *tries to vomit again. only bile comes out.*

As a reader (and a writer ...because I'm an arrogant bastard and proud of it), I'm sticking to my opinions and my tastes. Of course. Why choose sticking in someone else's tastes and opinions?

If writers who lean to the OOC side would mark their stories as AU/AR, it probably would not invoke an urge to kill rising. At least not that strong homicidal feelings. But of course they don't because they think that they are not raping a character's canon personality. Luckily story descriptions and warnings are very helpful here so I can pretty much avoid the stuff

AU/AR in general is not a pet peeve of mine.

I'm absolutely not bashing AU/AR in general ...I've read so very many absolutely great fics where the story is not in canon but everything is written in-character.

2. Stories in desperate need of a beta. Way too many typos and clear grammatical mistakes make me shudder with abhor. Fuck, there are writers who don't even write their characters' NAMES right. For shame! For shaaame! It's not so difficult to find a beta. And it's very easy to check out your typos with almost any text program. For example OpenOffice is freeware. To quote the usual example: "I helped my uncle Jack off the horse." is quite different than "I helped my uncle jack off the horse."

3. My squicks. Talk about obvious. (In case of precious me for example Mpreg, scat, watersports, beastiality, characters who hate each other in canon falling in love with each other, characters who love each other in canon getting non-consensual together, a character using wrong kind of language (like an aristocrat using lower-class or slang words. Eww.), American English used in fics that happen in Great Britain and vice versa. For example. *has a tendency to get very, very irritated because of so very, very many things.* Fuck, I can stop reading a fic if a writer messes up characters' eye colours. So... ad nauseam, ad nauseam.) Some of those are matters of opinion but there *are* objective reasons for hate.

p.s. I don't flame fics I don't like. I just don't read them ...and if I accidentally start to read something that makes me sick, I stop reading.

p.s. part II -the return of the revenge: Dear reader, if you feel like complaining, I most probably can't be bothered to answer.

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Fuck, I can stop reading a fic if a writer messes up characters' eye colours.

I know exactly what you mean, because I've done this myself. I once read a Twilight fanfiction which had this premise: Edward and Bella get into a spat, and Edward slaps Bella. Will they ever get over it?

Ugh. I'm going to ignore the huge flaw in that premise and make my point below.

Halfway through the first page, it described "tears falling from her startling blue eyes". Not only is "startling" the most overused adjective to describe blue eyes, but Meyer wrote probably a dozen times that Bella's eyes are brown.

And that's what the back button is for.

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I know exactly what you mean, because I've done this myself.

Halfway through the first page, it described "tears falling from her startling blue eyes". Not only is "startling" the most overused adjective to describe blue eyes, but Meyer wrote probably a dozen times that Bella's eyes are brown.

WORD. In my case (= reading and writing only Harry Potter fanfiction ...though I guess I didn't need to mention it.) I have encountered about kajillion fics where Lucius and/or Draco Malfoy have blue eyes. Sheesh, the first description about Lucius includes "his cold, grey eyes".

OFF-TOPIC:

One of the reasons why I'm so totally anal with eye colours is that I very much see the point in describing a character's eyes because I go quite a lot for facial descriptions when I write. Emotions, both true and feigned, are important and the cliché about one's eyes being the mirror of one's soul is IMO quite true.

So, the description of eyes (or any part of a character's body, body language, voice and so on, ad nauseam, ad nauseam...) should not be only about fawning over a particular character but to describe what they feel. (Okay, I must admit that I'm rather guilty of endless fawning over male Malfoys but I'm constantly trying to get more repertoire for my endless fawning. :wub: . Constant fawning is not IMO a bad thing if it doesn't repeat the same descriptions again and again and again. *makes a mental note to re-write my earliest fics. I like the content but they could have been written better.)

And that's what the back button is for.

Again, WORD. I just can't understand people who read something they do not enjoy and after that go on with their idiocy and pathetic anger by writing equally stupid and pathetic flames.

(Damn, I still haven't got any flames. *has a need for answering them in the most snarky way I am able* :blink: -> :D -> :throwup: -> B) Sorryyy... I just wasn't able to resist the temptation of showing with emoticons what my reaction would be.)

p.s: I love your icon. Did you make it yourself? And if you did, can I use it on my LJ? If you didn't, do you know who made it? (I hate it when I'm not able to credit my usericons properly. They are art, for fuck's sake.)

I think I got a bit carried away... :lurk:

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One thing that will turn me off even to an otherwise well written fic is when a character refers to another as 'love' in every sentence. It annoys me when people use pet names in general but that one in particular is over used and stuck into places where it does not need to be.

Another thing I really dont care for is when two characters who either dont like each other or who normally would not be paired together are all of a sudden smashed together. Things like this need to have been thought out and go along with an actual plot, not just random "Oh my god i just realised how much i luuuurrrve you! lets do it!"

There are more things that irk me but at the moment those are the two biggest ones I have.

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I used to have a long list of pet peeves that I'd rant about given half a chance. But, I've mellowed over the last few years and while some things still irk me, I'm also willing to overlook a whole lot for a good story. I can't think of anything that would even make me grind my teeth anymore because the back button and I are very good friends. It just doesn't send me into a ranting mood the way it used to.

That said, things I consider marks against the author(s):

Poor spelling: If you don't have a dictionary and your spell checker is crap, you can find both online, in abundance.

Poor grammar: Can't tell the difference between "to" and "too;" "their," "there" and "they're;" "were" and "we're;" etc.? Wouldn't know proper sentence structure if it stood in front of you doing a strip tease to the tune of the ABC song? Have a beta help you out; have several help you out. The more the merrier. For that matter, go check out Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. The fourth edition is out (since 1999) and it never stops being relevant.

Poor punctuation: Don't know what a comma splice is? Using apostrophes to make things plural? Are run-on sentences and paragraphs your trademark? Again, The Elements of Style should be your bff.

Epithets: "the taller man," "the redhead," "the older woman," "the [insert modifier and/or description here]." The characters have names; please stop being afraid to use them.

OOC: When did poor characterization become just another category instead of a sign of bad writing?

A/Ns inside a story: Author's notes belong at either the beginning or the end of a story, not in the middle.

Rape as a simple throwaway plot device: If the only reason character A is raped is so that character B can cure him/her immediately with miracle healing sex...yeah. You're doing it wrong.

Lube-less anal sex: I think it should be some sort of cosmic rule that anyone who wants to write this should have to try it themselves first.

Lack of hygiene: Rimming without a good wash beforehand. Licking fingers after having them shoved up someone's ass. Character A has pulled his cock out of Character B's ass; Character B immediately gives him a blowjob. I'm gagging just thinking about it. No one likes to think about it much, let alone write about it, but the reality is that short of an enema, the anus and excrement are a package deal. Doing those three acts, or any like them, besides being horribly disgusting also carries a serious risk of disease. Ecoli, anyone? Cholera? Dysentery?

Mpreg: Over a decade in fandom and I've found exactly one mpreg story that a) made sense, b) was well written, c) had perfect characterization, and d) was believable. I consider that the exception to the rule because the author in question (may she rest in peace) was a wonderful writer and only did it to see if it could be done well. Generally speaking, mpreg is just another word for badfic.

Songfic: About the only way I find this acceptable is if the lyrics are posted either before or after the story, like author's notes. Sticking the lyrics in the middle of the song tends to disrupt the narrative flow and having any of the characters sing it is usually a recipe for OOC and eye rolling. Remember: one person's inspirational song of wonderfulness is another's "oh fucking hell, that song SUCKS!"

G*d/G_d/etc.: Unless you're seriously Jewish, there's no excuse for this. Find it offensive? What're you doing on AFF?

Urple prose: Purple/urple prose is bad enough in a bodice ripper, I really don't care to see it in fanfic. It's not a manhood/manroot/throbbing staff of ecstatic erotic destiny; it's a penis, cock, dick, prick, hard-on, even. Last time I checked, nothing I have resembles flowering petals of dewy delights; if you're too much of a pussy to write pussy (or cunt, or something in the same vein), again, why are you on AFF?

Girly men: Yeah, some guys are pretty girly, but if the character you're writing about is a tough-as-nails, ultra-macho guy who can kill someone with a toothpick and a harsh glare, why would you ever write him as breaking into tears at the drop of a hat, constantly needing to be rescued, and discussing his emotions every other page? Men are not women and don't behave or react like them.

I'm sure I could find other things to go on about if I thought about it enough, but that takes too much energy. I'm just going to go find some good fic to read.

Edited by Mythdefied

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Bad\Sue Fics that get an insane amount of reviews. I know writing fanfiction is not all about the reviews but this is one peeve that pisses me off

Rape as a simple throwaway plot device: I agree with Mythdefied on this. Rape and torture are often used as throw away plot devices to generate a emo character or worse, one that wants to be screwed by some one.

In the same category is the ever irritating Growing To Like It, just becouse the body reacts to the stimulation does not mean the character enjoys being violated. Psychologically, in the long run when some one is mind fucked, tortured and raped, they may end up 'liking' it.

And NO to the love cures it all bull shit.

Lube-less anal sex: Owwwww. It does not work that way.

Babies: Fucking babies that pop out of every damn where magically. And they seem to grow at an inhuman rate

Love at First Sight: I can't stand love at first sight, lust, yes but not love. It's even worse when its two characters that rather kill each other or one that would rather kill the one or torment them rather then magically fall in love with them.

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I think that, even outside of a full-on AU fic, OOC can count. Even if you aren't radically changing canon, sometimes writers do it to try something with the character themself, a sort of "what if". If it's properly labelled and usually only has one character acting out of the norm, I don't see much problem with it. I do agree a lot of times it's just the writer's ineptitude, but I think to conflate OOC with bad writing in every case is ignoring the sometimes legitimate artistic reasons for seeing someone act strangely, especially if everyone else is well characterized.

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I think that, even outside of a full-on AU fic, OOC can count. Even if you aren't radically changing canon, sometimes writers do it to try something with the character themself, a sort of "what if". If it's properly labelled and usually only has one character acting out of the norm, I don't see much problem with it. I do agree a lot of times it's just the writer's ineptitude, but I think to conflate OOC with bad writing in every case is ignoring the sometimes legitimate artistic reasons for seeing someone act strangely, especially if everyone else is well characterized.

I am THE QUEEN of OOC, and I am unrepentant. I write for Naruto, and took the characters of Hiashi Hyuuga and Yoshino Nara and totally revamped their characterizations for my fanfiction. It works well; the 'what if' to which you refer certainly applies in my case. I'm proud of my re-work to the character.

I think if you keep the characters IC it severely compromises the number of fanfiction ideas you can use for them. I'm about writing, and that means character development. So I will step out of characterization and relish it.

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Mythdefied has mentioned everything worth mentioning.

Out of all those things, the one thing I am just starting to loath is the Epithets. I didn't used to pay much attention to authors never using characters name and just describing them every time. But now I cringe every time I read "the whatever", especially when it is used every single time in the story.

Also rape is prettty annoying to see.

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On 7/9/2009 at 1:00 AM, Clockwork_Knight said:

On the other hand there are some people who Beta that should NOT be Betas. FF.net is a place where you have to wade though the masses of bad Betas and wanna be’s to find any good ones that can actually to their job

So, so true. What about the reverse of this? One time this other writer approached me to beta her fic with the promise of fan art for me. I accepted because hey, fan art, plus the plot was centered around a character I love. But then the more it progressed the more I began to dislike it due in part to how she approached the cast. I wasn’t sure if that was enough for me to critique, because it seemed to be a case of differing interpretations. She winds up not even finishing it and leaves for another site altogether without a word. I only discovered that she set up shop elsewhere when I happened to stumble across her account on the second site. Haven’t heard anything from her since.

Anyways, I agree with a lot of things a bunch if people have said here already , but I have some of my own to add:

Character bashing. I refuse to support stories that do this. What’s so bad is that the term character bashing itself is so misused now that people don’t even understand what it actually refers to. There are people who literally think if you do anything to a character that isn’t making life daises and sunshine for them, you must be bashing them. The character gets sick? You’re bashing them. Another character dislikes another character for perfectly valid reasons? That’s perfectly normal, happens all the time in real life. Nope! You’re a character basher. I remember this one girl who was trying to defend bashing Twilight characters by saying that critics bash characters all the time when they give negative film/book/etc reviews. That’s… no. I don’t even like Twilight and it’s clear to me you don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Badly-written romance. And the funny thing is, when I once stated how awful many shipfics are (I’ll call them shipfics to differentiate them from a good romance story), this one person now thinks I hate romance. No, I hate stories where we get stuff like this:

  1. Mature grownups suddenly start behaving like dumb kids in middle school or characters in a CW show when it comes to love.
  2. People who write about children (when I say “children”, this character can only be 8-11 years old) having sex with adults and teens and having the older party be so impressed by their maturity/or physical attributes. Yeah, that’s realistic.
  3. Unhealthy relationships being treated like they’re normal. At least have the self-awareness to point out that one or both characters are bad for one another.

There are romances that have made me tear up or feel joy that the couple’s finally gotten together. The crap I just described made me tear up, but not from happiness. Also it’s just annoying to see the exact same ships be written about the same basic way over and over again. Can we mix it up please?

Writers who can’t make characters act like real people. This is a big issue with several canons I like. It’s not just OOCness, it straight-up feels like the cast exists purely to be the writer’s mouthpieces/tools. If it’s a character(s) the writer likes, then they’re always depicted as Good, Honest, and Noble, even though more though more often than not they act like complete turds instead. Any character who challenges the author’s pets (especially if they’ve clashed with them in the source material) exists to be an obstacle that must be demonized and humiliated at every turn. Whether it’s a villain or a good-aligned character who committed the crime of simply disagreeing with the pet character in the original material, under the fanboy/girl’s pen they’re transformed into vile monsters that do everything from abusing animals to committing rape. Look, I don’t care about what characters you wanna project yourself onto or date. I just want to read a normal story.

Edited by Dirty Unicorn

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Wow, such an old topic, interesting find @Dirty Unicorn.  In my stories, I want things to be realistic/plausible, so I excise anything that isn’t.  Guess that’s a pet peeve of mine, unrealistic/highly-improbable.  (Though, I’ll overlook it on a story/movie if it’s otherwise very, very, interesting.)

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I’m going to own up to abuse of epithets. My editors tend to want to beat me over the head, I think, and they are teaching me to stop that annoying habit. It started, quite frankly, when one person who was editing a novella of mine took the hard and fast rule that there could only be one “he” in a paragraph. Dude, I write slash, okay? It’s ALL he. If you are clear enough in the context of the sentence, a reasonably sober reader can figure out which male it is. 

I’m also coming out in support of the correct use of “that” because nothing grates more than seeing people go through contortions in writing to avoid a word someone put on a blog as a “bad” word. There are no bad words. Trust me on this. A good editor understands when you need “that” as opposed to “which” and certainly as opposed to the spate of verbiage required to avoid using either word.

I do miss the Oxford comma, however. Apparently it’s going out of style again. ::sigh::

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3 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

I’m going to own up to abuse of epithets. My editors tend to want to beat me over the head, I think, and they are teaching me to stop that annoying habit. It started, quite frankly, when one person who was editing a novella of mine took the hard and fast rule that there could only be one “he” in a paragraph. Dude, I write slash, okay? It’s ALL he. If you are clear enough in the context of the sentence, a reasonably sober reader can figure out which male it is. 

I’m also coming out in support of the correct use of “that” because nothing grates more than seeing people go through contortions in writing to avoid a word someone put on a blog as a “bad” word. There are no bad words. Trust me on this. A good editor understands when you need “that” as opposed to “which” and certainly as opposed to the spate of verbiage required to avoid using either word.

I do miss the Oxford comma, however. Apparently it’s going out of style again. ::sigh::

And anything can be overused.  When I find such a word, I’ll try to avoid it for a while, it can help me weed it down to a better level. 

As to the comma, don’t forget to eat, shoot, and leave :)

 

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1 minute ago, Desiderius Price said:

And anything can be overused.  When I find such a word, I’ll try to avoid it for a while, it can help me weed it down to a better level. 

As to the comma, don’t forget to eat, shoot, and leave :)

 

I just cringe when I see people editing according to their favorite blog. Honestly, the word lists are brutal, and often flat-out wrong. I’d rather rely on things like the Chicago Manual of Style, and actually read things aloud to hear how they sound.

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I actually tear at my hair when geniuses confuse waste with waist.  I can’t even roll my eyes hard enough anymore!

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Just now, pittwitch said:

I actually tear at my hair when geniuses confuse waste with waist.  I can’t even roll my eyes hard enough anymore!

Bear and bare.  Oh, and definitely and defiantly. Really???

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4 hours ago, BronxWench said:

I do miss the Oxford comma, however. Apparently it’s going out of style again. ::sigh::

What?! No! Not as long as I have something to say about it! 

Okay… Content warning: I swear.

I actually raged about epithets before. I don’t remember where. People just acted like it was just inane – like I just pulled a random, nonsensical pet peeve out of my ass. I get this reaction whenever I tell people that helper verbs are passive. Yes, I am still on a crusade against overuse of ING verbs. 

But one of my major pet peeves, and this I have developed recently, is something I see in a lot of writing tips articles. It never used to bother me, but I find I get pretty pissed off when I encounter it now. Professionals telling amateurs not to do something. The word lists apply to this. “Don’t use gimmicks”, “Don’t use intensifiers”, “Don’t put rape in there”, “Don’t chop your arm off and eat it” (I couldn’t remember any more...) Of course there are some things that are best avoided, but when you tell a budding, insecure writer not to do something, like BW said, they’ll twist themselves into a pretzel to avoid shit when maybe, just maybe, it would have been fine. There’s a time and a place for everything. To me, when I beta, it’s more important that you’re conscious of your word choice, and when you make iffy choices, like throwing in a ‘very’ (outside of dialogue) that you did it intentionally and well

Plus I really fucking hate it when someone tells me not to do something. 

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3 hours ago, CloverReef said:

What?! No! Not as long as I have something to say about it! 

Okay… Content warning: I swear.

I actually raged about epithets before. I don’t remember where. People just acted like it was just inane – like I just pulled a random, nonsensical pet peeve out of my ass. I get this reaction whenever I tell people that helper verbs are passive. Yes, I am still on a crusade against overuse of ING verbs. 

But one of my major pet peeves, and this I have developed recently, is something I see in a lot of writing tips articles. It never used to bother me, but I find I get pretty pissed off when I encounter it now. Professionals telling amateurs not to do something. The word lists apply to this. “Don’t use gimmicks”, “Don’t use intensifiers”, “Don’t put rape in there”, “Don’t chop your arm off and eat it” (I couldn’t remember any more...) Of course there are some things that are best avoided, but when you tell a budding, insecure writer not to do something, like BW said, they’ll twist themselves into a pretzel to avoid shit when maybe, just maybe, it would have been fine. There’s a time and a place for everything. To me, when I beta, it’s more important that you’re conscious of your word choice, and when you make iffy choices, like throwing in a ‘very’ (outside of dialogue) that you did it intentionally and well

Plus I really fucking hate it when someone tells me not to do something. 

Don’t chew your arm off!  :)

Having some tips are good, especially when they’re word patterns that can indicate a more serious issue, but sometimes those words are the right choice.

 

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