No. 1 Grovyle Fan
I've always been a bit confused as to why short stories got their own characterization award. Is it so they get more recognition?
It's because characterization in a short story works a bit differently from characterization in a longer work. In a long fic, it's going to be pretty integrally about how the characters grow and change over the course of the story; in a short story, it's about making a quick, strong impression on the reader. (Hence why the equivalent award for longer fics is called "Best Character Development".)
Not quite. Only "Best Trainer Fic" was present in last year's awards. "Best Journey Fic" was suggested by Feralninja on page three of this thread.
Journey fics more or less are a subset of trainer fics, so having both seems rather iffy to me. Rather than debate about what the words mean, we'd do better to discuss exactly what sorts of fics we want to be eligible for this particular genre award and then pick the word that best describes it.
Right. That makes sense. Follow up question: What exactly classifies as "short stories"? Is it just one-shots? For example I have a non-pokemon story called Scars which was only supposed to be several "parts" long. It'll end up being about ten or so parts long and it was intended to be a "short story". Just as an example, would something like that be considered a short story or a chaptered fic?
I'm in favor of Most Heartbreaking Story, though I still think that would fit better with Most Frightening Story and Funniest Story as opposed to Best Horror and Best Comedy.
That it would make more sense to either have "Best Comedy", "Best Horror", "Best Tragedy" and "Best Suspense" or "Funniest", "Most Frightening", "Most Heartbreaking" and "Most Suspenseful". My personal preference is the latter so that these categories are less likely to overlap with Best Overall, but that's me.
Personally, I would place "Most Heartbreaking" with "Most Suspenseful", not in the genres. That way, we would be broadening the scope of the award. If you put the award with Best Comedy, you'd be essentially consigning the category only to fics of the "tragic genre". However, what if there is an epic black comedy which has extremely well-written moments of tragedy? The story cannot be formally categorised as a Tragedy, yet surely it deserves to be considered as well?
I think you just defined it yourself. If it's a black comedy, it's a comedy. If it has moments of tragedy, that would classify under the 'Most Heartbreaking Moment' award.
Also, I may be missing something because it's late, but I'm not sure what your suggestion has to do with the Comedy award given you suggested combining Heartbreaking and Suspenseful. If you mean that placing 'Most Heartbreaking' under the same heading separates the fics ... well, yes, isn't that the point? Conflating it with Most Suspenseful still won't avoid the fact it's separate from Comedy. And Heartbreaking and Suspenseful are two different things anyway; one is tragic, one keeps you biting your nails. They're not mutually exclusive, but they're not mutually inclusive, either.
Pop this question to the shippers on FFNet, and they'll say, "Everything." *shot repeatedly*
Seriously, this is a good question, and I think it's just that canon characters and the canon in general tend to be mutually exclusive. You can expand on canon without actually focusing on canon characters by, for example, writing a fic based on and explaining a Pokédex entry pulled straight from the games. Alternatively, you could explore the mechanics of battling as presented by the anime or maybe write a fic about an in-game event (a random trainer who's not necessarily the game protagonists during Team Rocket's siege on Goldenrod City, for example), and all of these would be expansions of canon on one level or another.
Meanwhile, you can write a fic about a canon character (i.e., canon character-centric fic) and pretty much violate everything canon has to say about them and still make it work. (I'd hate to give Pokemon MASTER as an example because I personally think it's a terrible fic, but its actual fans would say otherwise. So there's that.)
Jax already did a good job answering this, but I think I'd like to add that settings, events, devices and plots can also be expanded on from canon. The Team Rocket attack on the Goldenrod Radio Tower, which Jax cited, is an excellent example.
That's pretty much the difference, yep.
On the subject of your suggestion, hmm. Maybe "best background character" would be good?
Dedicated writers aren't necessarily established. If you just joined this year, post a lot of well-written chapters in a short amount of time, and respond quickly to reviewers, that would mean you're dedicated to your work, right? Meanwhile, you might have an author who's established in the community but only posts occasionally to their own fic, so that would mean that they may or may not be called dedicated writers.
Best Trainer Fic- This is simply about stories with an original trainer in it as the main character. Not all trainer fics involve the trainer journeying. Some are at academies, others are already champions, etc. But of course a lot of them are journeying throughout a region.
Best Journey Fic- About stories where the journey is the main focus of the plot. It could be an OC or a player character.
From what I understand though, is that when most people think of Trainer fics they automatically assume it is a journey fic as well. I personally think we should just have Best Trainer Fic category since it already covers journey fics as well as others. If we had both categories then the trainer fics that have a journey could be nominated for both while the rest are left out.
You raise some good points, and I can see where they come from, but I think I am inclined to disagree.
It appears to me your primary concern is that Best Writing Style already covers Best Description. I would disagree with that. While it is true that "style" would certainly include description as a factor, that award actually covers more how the fic reads as a whole, if it is well-constructed and structured. Description may be a factor in that, but it is a major enough factor that I think an award for it can still be sufficiently separate. After all, a fic could have perfect description, just right between Purple Alert and bare bones, but be structured horribly elsewhere and not fulfill Best Writing Style.