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Advice for Aspiring Authors

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Zephyr Flare, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Zephyr Flare

    Zephyr Flare /pose

    Thankfully I still had a copy of this. I claim no ownership to this information except the part I did type. Originally posted at Pojo's back when the fanfictions existed.

    This thread may be used for general advice to future writers. However, make sure what you ask would not be more suitable for the Author’s Cafe if you wish to ask a fanfiction or writting related question. This was not here when I orignally posted it :)




    As I have read the various works posted on this board, I have noticed many of the same problems over and over. Here are some general guidelines to follow when writing your fics:

    1) Proper Use of the Keyboard.
    There are several useful keys on the keyboard:

    Enter/Return: This is one of the most useful keys. Use it whenever you have finished with one idea and are ready to move on to the next paragraph. Use it when one person has finished speaking, and another is about to start. When doing so, hit it twice, to produce a blank line between paragraphs. This makes it a lot easier for your readers to tell where your paragraphs start and end. Large blocks of uninterrupted text are hard to read.

    Shift: Another important key. Hold it down when typing the first letter of a sentence, the first letter of a name, or the letter 'I' when using it as the first person singular subject pronoun.

    Caps Lock: Often used as a substitute for the 'Shift' key. Don't do it. Text should not be in all capital letters unless someone is SHOUTING!

    The Spacebar: Hit it once after every word or comma, twice after a period.

    Tab: Unfortunately, this does not work to indent paragraphs on these boards. This is why a blank line between paragraphs is essential.

    Other Keys: Your keyboard, unless it is defective, comes with a full complement of letters. Don't be afraid to use them. There is no reason to type 'u' instead of 'you', or indeed to use any abbreviation you learned in a chat room. There is no penalty for taking a few seconds longer to type complete words.


    2) Tips on Composition.

    Paragraphs: Use these as your basic unit of composition. Each paragraph should be used to set forth a single idea. If a paragraph seems to long, it probably contains multiple ideas, and should be split up for clarity. If it seems too short, expand on the idea.

    Sentences: A sentence should contain exactly one action or statement of existence. If it contains more than one, split it into two or more. If it contains less than one, finish the sentence. Run-on sentences are often confusing, while fragments make the reader feel that something is missing.

    Description: Make sure that your reader can visualize what is happening. Don't just say something like "Joe walked along enjoying the scenery". This gives no indication of whether the scenery he is enjoying is a redwood forest, a beach at sunset, or the Grand Canyon.

    A description is not just a list of attributes. When describing a character, don't just list their name, age, height, weight, hair colour, and current pokemon team. Bring this information out gradually when the person appears in a story.

    Don't have Joe meet a trainer named Fred who is 12 years old, has green eyes and red hair, is three and a half feet tall, and whose pokemon are squirtle, pikachu, butterfree, grimer, tauros, and krabby. Have Joe see a short, red-haired kid with startlingly green eyes, and talk to him. Have names mentioned early in the conversation. The pokemon may be either revealed in a battle, or introduced individually during the conversation.


    3) Other General Advice

    Plot: Try to be original. "Joe is 10 (or 11 or 12) years old and about to start his pokemon journey. He goes to Professor (insert tree here) and gets a (insert pokemon here)" has been done too many times already. "Joe is a 10-year-old from Pallet Town and about to start his pokemon journey. He accidentally sleeps in, and by the time he gets to Professor Oak's lab, all the starters have been taken, so he gets a Pikachu" is so old everyone is sick of it.

    Try to be reasonable. A new trainer is not going to start with a legendary, or even rare, pokemon. The standard starter pokemon were selected for a reason: They are easy for professors to obtain whenever new trainers are about to start, they can be controlled by beginners, and with proper training, they can become quite powerful.

    Likewise, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to catch any of the legendary pokemon. They are simply too powerful. If you have seen either of the movies, think about it. Mew or Mewtwo can deflect any attack you try with minimal effort.

    Consider the scene in The Power of One where Ash's Pikachu (which has been known to defeat rock and ground types) meets Zapdos. Compare their relative power levels. Now think about how hard it would be to defeat Zapdos. This can be applied to any of the legendary pokemon. No trainer will have one unless it has a good reason to want to accompany that trainer.

    Characters: Make your characters real. Give them strengths and weaknesses. Inherently superior trainers who win each battle effortlessly are boring. So are incompetent members of Team Rocket. So is the gym-leader-who-can't-stand-being-defeated. The stock "Rival" character is also getting old.

    Whatever you do, don't just refer to people by labels from the GameBoy games (Rocket, Cooltrainer, Lass, Bug Catcher, etc). Remember that these are real people you are working with.

    Spelling/Grammar: Write your story in a word-processing program. Use the spellchecker, but don't depend on it completely. It can tell whether your word matches the spelling of a real word, but it cannot tell whether it is the word you wanted to use.

    Use grammar checkers with extreme care. They cannot actually understand what you are saying, and often make mistakes.


    4) My Personal Advice:

    Note that the contents of this section reflect my personal preferences. Other good writers may disagree with me.

    Battles: I generally dislike sentences of the form "(pokemon species) used (name of attack)". You are describing what the pokemon does. In a real-world battle, the pokemon would not "use Bite on" its opponent; it would "bite" its opponent. There are, however, exceptions to this. If there is no verb for the action, go ahead and say "Bulbasaur used Leech Seed". Still, try to avoid "used (name of attack)". Better options would be "fired a hyperbeam at (enemy)", "hit (enemy) with (attack)", etc.

    Additionally; the GameBoy battle format makes no sense in the context of a real battle. A pokemon in a real battle would not just attack, then stand there waiting for its opponent to attack. In a real battle, you would have no time to go in and administer a potion or antidote to your pokemon. Watch the TV show for a reasonable depiction of what battles would be like.

    GameBoy Terminology in general: Try to avoid it. In the real world, referring to something as "Level 17" is meaningless. Pokemon have varying levels of power and experience, but don't just summarize all of this with a single number. In the world of your fanfic, pokemon are real, living creatures. They are individuals. They have their own strengths, weaknesses, and skills.

    The only thing worse than referring to "levels" is referring to "hit points", "power points", or any of the "statistics" (attack, defence, "special defence", etc). Avoid use of these terms at all costs.

    -Original text by Murgatroyd



    Characters are fun, aren’t they?

    The characters of a story determine much of whether or not the story is likeable. If a story has a killer plot, but has unbelievable characters, chances are that it’ll fall. People like to be able to connect with the characters they read about. It’s what keeps them tied into the story. Most people feel that they need to know what happens to the characters. If they die, if they succeed in their quest, etc.

    Character development doesn’t always have to be deep, but readers definitely appreciate a good character. How about some tips…

    -Unbelievable Strength

    Don’t make a character unbelievably strong. If you have a normal kid, he acts and reacts like a normal kid would. You can’t have a normal kid get shot and get over it in half an hour. A normal kid isn’t going to forget a bullet wound… If the kid is even conscious.
    This is true with trainers, too. They cannot have an unbelievably strong amount of power. If you have a story about a kid, it usually doesn’t work if the kid has eight legendaries.

    -Believable Strength

    It is quite possible to have a strong character. Sometimes the strength can be attributed to special powers, if you work with fantasy. These are the easiest to deal with, perhaps because they can be there because they were inane.

    With ‘real people’ in fics, this can be somewhat hard. There can be characters who have unbending will to go on, or even derive pleasure from pain (Anyone seems “Tomorrow Never Dies”? Stamper is a prime example of this…). To make a character like this believable, the characteristics must be hard and strong.

    As an example… Salvador is a strong guy with a hard will to continue. He never fails to work hard, especially when it is for his work (he works for the Rockets). He is willing to take any and all pain necessary on the way to achieving his goals. Throughout the story, Salvador has sustained minor injuries, and kept his strong will. When he is faced with an agent of another Team, however, he will sustain a much larger one…

    "Salvador narrowed his eyes in concentration, debating whether or not he should leap forward and attack or not. There were certainly other alternatives. He could try to throw his empty gun at the man. He could hold back for a few moments, though it would most likely lead to being shot.

    After a moment, Salvador decided that he could take it no more. His way of doing something was to go ahead and do it. He wasn’t going to change that because a guy had a gun at his head. If he was killed, that was it. He wanted to go down fighting.

    He leapt forward with a speed that surprised him, but, unfortunately, failed to surprise the dark man. Even as Salvador lunged forward, reaching for the man, he could hear the gun being fired. Salvador felt the dark man step back, and then felt the force of the bullet piercing into his chest.

    He cringed in agony, almost screamed. He felt bones shatter around his organs, felt a bolt of heat near his lungs. For a moment he tottered and nearly fell to the floor. However, he was able to hear his earlier thoughts, those that had stated that he didn’t need to worry about being killed. These thoughts kept him standing.
    Salvador saw the form of the man in front of him. Though it was becoming blurry, he knew he could attack, maybe even hit. Maybe he was going to die, but he didn’t care. Once more, Salvador lunged forward."

    Of course, a character doesn’t need to be strong all the way through to have moments of strength. A person can definitely find courage during a traumatic moment, before a possible death or the like. Strength lies deep in everyone. Depending on the character, it can be found at different levels.
    The main point is, don’t make a weak suddenly character act strongly all of the time. Readers won’t swallow that too well.

    -Alternate points of view

    These are very useful when developing a character.
    While one character is thinking about his or herself, you realize what he/she feels about the traits he/she has. A reader can also make insights about the character by what he/she thinks of others.
    For example:

    "Lydia knew that she didn’t like Chad very much. The truth was that she hated him, loathed him. The boy always seemed to be in some sort of trouble, whether it was because he had been caught talking one too many times in class or because he had been caught stealing from the local convenience store.

    Maybe it’d be better to say that Lydia distrusted Chad. She didn’t know him very well, and didn’t want to. He seemed to be the kind of guy who would stand in a dark ally, smoking a cigarette and waiting, just waiting for some innocent bystander to walk by and…

    Lydia shook her head vigorously. Of course Chad wasn’t doing that, he was too busy with homework and the cross team. Still, it was a feasible idea, one that could happen in the near future. She felt this strongly, and couldn’t shake her dislike for Chad."

    In reading this from Lydia’s POV, you should be able to realize that she dislikes Chad. You can see that she distrusts him because of his actions. She seems to be stuck on certain ideas, and has a sort of prejudice towards those who seem ‘untrustworthy.’ She judges before she understand anything. You can also see that she has some sort of imagination.

    To carry development even further, it’s good to write what other characters observe about their fellows. For example…

    "Julia didn’t understand why Lydia always seemed to walk on the other side of the hall when Chad walked by. It was always a movement that could almost be absent-minded, a simple move to the other side. Julie didn’t think so, though. Not when it was always done.

    Julia didn’t think Chad was a bad guy at all. He certainly didn’t deserve to be avoided like he was some sort of disease. Although Lydia was her friend, Julia sometimes had trouble understanding Lydia’s short-sightedness"

    This further pushes the fact that Lydia doesn’t look below the surface. It also shows that she has perhaps made wrong judgment of Chad.

    Obviously, you can do a better job of conveying information by using various POVs than I just did. It is a very useful technique, and I recommend it.


    Name can be quite helpful in defining a character, too. A character’s name can reveal certain traits about him or her, contradict his or her traits, have a strong meaning to the story, or mean nothing at all.

    Using a variety of names can be helpful. While it’s fine to use names such as ‘Rob’, ‘Jim’, and ‘Amanda’, it’s good to mix these in with less common names. I suppose this isn’t quite ‘character’ information, but it stays here because I don’t feel like putting it elsewhere.

    Names such as ‘Angel’ can be used to either contradict or convey the characteristics of a character…

    "Angel fit her name to a level of perfection that seemed undeniably firm. Her practical, caring behavior, along with her endless amount of forgiveness, seemed to fit nearly everyone’s idea of angelic. Her hair seemed to be spun of gold, and her body had been shaped to a soft faultlessness."


    "Angel’s eyes blazed with anger as she watched the man before her. She had a short temper, and certainly wasn’t the most mild-mannered person in the world. Both Angel and the man knew that she could kill him without a second thought. For a moment, however, she simply glared, piercing eyes glaring out from under her black bangs, standing with an intensity that seemed to scream that she was a murderer."

    So… I really have no way to wrap that one up.
    I guess, while names can mean something, convey a characteristic, or symbolize something, it’s perfectly fine to have them be meaningless.

    A character must, obviously, stay constantly in character. By this I mean that you should make sure that if a character does something, it is befitting of him/her. It’s fine for a character to do something that SEEMS out of the ordinary… as long as you explain the reason for the actions.

    For example, if you have a character who seems to be the perfect angel, you can make him/her do something ‘bad’ by a number of methods.
    First, you could use a traumatic happening. Have a close death, or a near death experience.

    There’s always the ‘hidden character’ method, too. The angelic personality could be a cover-up for the character… and as the writer, you don’t have to reveal this fact until you want to.
    Isn’t that fun?

    -Original text by Crimson Rose



    A story goes through four different stages from beginning to end. These are as follows:

    1, Exposition - this is where you introduce the main characters and let your readers know a bit about their background. Traits which should be revealed at this stage are:

    Pokemon owned (for humans)
    Name of trainer (for Pokemon - optional)
    Unusual traits/special powers (if applicable)

    Other traits should be revealed as and when they become relevant and it's important (especially if you're writing a mystery story) not to reveal too much too soon.

    Complication - this is where conflict arises. Note that this doesn't have to be a war in the literal sense - you can have conflict over a number of situations. In "The Chimera Children", the conflict was between two human/Ursaring hybrids and the organisation who wanted to eliminate them.

    Lack of any real conflict is one of the main problems with writing journey fics. Even if you manage to avoid most of the pitfalls these stories contain (clichéd starts, too little description, lack of realism etc) describing Gym battle after Gym battle can get repetitive after the first few. And, when journey fics DO contain conflict, this usually comes in the form of a rivalry between two trainers or the need to foil Team Rocket, both of which have been used in the games and tv series.

    As a final note, if you're writing a short story, make the conflict something, which is straight forward and easily, resolved.

    3, Climax - this is it, folks! The final showdown! The conflict has reached its peak and now's the time where things could go either way. You need to build towards your climax gradually and one way to do this is by dropping subtle hints throughout your fic, a process known as foreshadowing.

    Whether you include an actual battle in your climax depends on the nature of the story. You also need to be as dramatic as you can at this stage; ending your penultimate chapter with a statement like:

    "Lisa and John clung to each other nervously and Growlithe snarled threateningly as the door opened"

    is especially effective as it means people will need to wait until the final chapter to find out who (or what) is behind the door. You could end the story there, but, then again, finding out what's behind the door might be extremely inportant.

    4, Resolution - here, the climax has passed and the characters are starting to get their lives back together again. Key questions should be answered at this stage if they aren't already and you might also want to drops hints that there may be a sequel.

    Post-climax, your characters will more than likely be changed by their experiences and you need to reflect this in your ending. You can have them just go home and try to get on with their lives, but your plot might require that they make a new start somewhere else. But, whatever you do, don't waffle on about each character's subsequent life history unless it's absolutely essential. Even then, it might work better in a sequel.

    -Original text by Clare


    I thought of a few people may find useful waaaay back.

    3rd person

    Imagine you are there in the written work but your unseeable to the characters, an invisible entity if you will. You still have your senses but no touch.

    I apologise for using this Punchiemon but you gave me the idea and it works J In his Digimon fic Time and Time again, Eaglemon was getting electrocuted. You can enforce this with something like this.

    ''The intoxicating aroma of singed feathers filled the room.''

    It gives more depth while not becoming too wordy for a reader. It is a little basic by my standards now however but it gives a reader something to envision.

    Said, Said Said etc. It's boring! What emotions does it convey? Nothing at all.

    Although you aren't the current speaker in the written work, they very rarely are stone cold and no different happy or sad in real life are they?

    People will show their emotions by their face, their body language or the way they speak. This can make a character more believable and more real over some poor image randomly slapped into a world that he or she has no connection with.

    Something like explained, shouted are a good example though said quietly and said thoughtfully is also perfectly acceptable.

    1st person

    It is best to use if you feel yourself as that person or Pokemon depending on what you're writing. If you are nothing a like, you may find your character losing touch with reality.

    Take my first fanfiction Sandra and Chargon for example. I find myself very much alike her. Ok my name isn't Sandra, no really it isn’t J You are seeing me as I am. I do have a temper problem. I can be rather evil and merciless. This helps me write it easier because I know whom I'm dealing with.

    However, In Search of a Sister which was dropped a few years ago now, Lisa the main character and I are very different causing a conflict between writing about somebody I do not fully understand. This can show in your writing so it is something to watch for.

    Proof Reading

    I hate it as much as anyone but as much as I hate to admit it, it does help. Spell checkers cannot spot words that are spelt right but are not what you want.

    Get another person to skit through your writing as they may find mistakes that you have missed or require a section explaining which of course you do not want.

    Do also read though yourself though because any one can make mistakes or thought type like I have many times in the past.

    World Fluff

    Possibly something I am a little more infamous for as it seriously annoys the heck out of me. Reality is not pink; sugar coated and has helpful pixies dancing in hula skirts. A world is never perfect and a character is never perfect. Learn to draw on corruption and backgrounds to help give your world a sense of depth for a reader to identify with.

    By all means make a humour that has a go at these perfect worlds of Mary Sues, there is no reason either why your fanfiction can’t be sugar fluff. Just remember too much sugar rots yer teeth, too much sugar fluff rots your fanfiction.

    By: Me quite a few years ago now


    This is a piece I did on Pojo's board (most of you will know me as Clare over there) about a year ago and it basically outlines the types of endings that are (as a rule) best avoided:

    1, "And they all lived happily ever after" - you might have got away with this when you were younger, but you should by now realise that real life isn't like that. Have your characters marry by all means, but remember that people nowadays tend to like realism in their fanfics.

    2, Main character becomes a Pokemon master - this ending is most commonly associated with journey fics, but they seldom get that far. Also, if you have a character reach this status for no apparent reason, you'll probably send people's Mary-Sue radar into overdrive.

    3, Characters (human and Pokemon) walk off into the sunset - Cliché! Cliché! Cliché! If you want to end with them moving on to something else (to be explored in a sequel) give an indication of what this might be in the final chapter.

    4, "It was all a dream" - translated, this generally means "I haven't got the imagination to come up with a convincing ending". Many people dislike stories that end like this because it basically makes them feel cheated, so only use it if there's no other way of resolving things.

    5, Excessive waffle - your readers don't need to know ALL that happened to your characters once they reached their goal. Stick to whatever is relevant to the story at hand.

    6, Cliffhangers you have no intention of resolving - there's only one word to describe these . . . irritating. If you must have a cliffhanger, I'd advise you to start planning a sequel to let your readers know how, say, Johnny survived after falling off his Charizard's back while they were 100 feet up in the air. And make sure cliffhangers are resolved in a realistic way; don't suddenly give your character magical powers unless you plan to make this a central part of the sequel.

    7, An anti-climax - picture the scene: you're reading what looks like being the most exciting fanfic ever, only to find that the author gives it the lamest ending you can imagine. Don't insult your readers' intelligence by ending a fic with a phrase like "It was an Eevee" when you've led people to expect a really powerful Pokemon, possibly even a Legendary. Of course, doing this for humorous purposes is another matter . . .

    8, Killing off all the characters - this could be seen as a cop-out designed to avoid the hassle of writing a sequel. If you must kill characters off, make sure the deaths advance the plot in some way. But don't kill characters just because you've come to dislike them; think of some other way to write them out of the story if you really want to get rid of them.

    Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines - there are no "hard-and-fast" rules when it comes to writing stories.


    Description comes in many forms and there are various tricks you can use to convey what is happening to your readers:

    1, Adjectives - these are words that tell people what something looks, feels, sounds, smells or tastes like. In theory, you can have a story without any adjectives, but it would seem rather bland and offer little more than a basic outline of the scene. Take this as an example:

    "Jessica shook back her hair"

    OK, maybe Jessica's hair colour isn't important in this instance, but let's, for argument's sake, say that it is. And, again for the sake of argument, let's say she has dark hair:

    "Jessica shook back her dark hair"

    Or, to take it a stage further:

    "Jessica shook back her lustrous raven black hair"

    If you ever need help coming up with suitable adjectives, a good Thesaurus might come in handy. Just be careful to make sure that the adjective you choose conveys the meaning you intended: for example "cute" and "beautiful" both mean something that is attractive, but "cute" tends to mean it is attractive in a childlike way.

    2, Synonyms for said - not strictly description, but using words such as "exclaimed", "retorted", "muttered", "commented" and so forth is a useful tool if you want to convey a character's tone of voice. The use of "said" combined with an appropriate adverb can also help here, as can describing a characters body language. For example, if the character is impatient, he or she will probably be fidgeting, checking his or watch or doing any one of the various displacements actions people engage in at such moments.

    But don't be afraid to use the word "said" on its own without any qualification if it's appropriate to the situation.

    3, Metaphors and similes - these are words that compare something to something else, the difference between them being that a simile simply says that something reminds the author of something else (eg, "as cunning as a Vulpix"), whereas a metaphor suggests that the two things are more or less one and the same. For example:

    "Mark is a bit of a Gyarados"

    does not mean that Mark is literally a Gyarados (or even a human/Gyarados hybrid). Rather, it suggests that he has something in common with Gyarados such as a quick temper.

    4, Onomatopeia - can't remember the exact spelling and I don't have a dictionary to hand so I can't look it up. Anyway, this is a very important tool for creating sound effects - try saying words like "click", "hum", "rattle", "yawn" and so forth out loud and notice how the pronunciation imitates the sound they represent. If we take the sentence:

    "The trees swayed restlessly in the breeze"

    as an example, notice how the word "restlessly" sounds remarkably like the sound of rustling leaves. In any case, doing this kind of thing can help add atmosphere to your writing as it enables people to "hear" what your characters are hearing. This is one of the more advanced forms of description, but I'm sure you can think of a few examples of words being used to convey sound.

    By: Clare

    There isn't much advice that I can give other than to write from your heart. Having your own style is everything. Whether you be a fan of the games (like me), the anime, or if you have your own idea of the Pokemon world, write what you feel is best, within reason.

    Read other well-established fanfics, that is how I got my inspiration. Try to take criticism as a chance to improve, there are a lot of people here that know what a fanfic should be. Keep this in mind and you will enjoy your writing experience.

    By: Jukain

    Feel free to add your own comments or suggestions.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2006
  2. Aquapolis V

    Aquapolis V Guest

    Sorry, But I Have A Slight Objection To Your Legendary Pokemon Item.
    In My Upcoming Fic, The Main Characters Second Pokemon Is A Celebi. She Captures It After Saving It From A Team In The Nearby Forest.

    Although I Realize and understand That Having About 6 Legendarys Is A Little Unrealistic, Also Anything Can Happen In A Story And Not All Legendary Pokemon Are Unbelieveably Strong Like That Image Of A Legendary Pokemon.
    In My Fic, This Celebis Power Is About The Equivalent Of A Level 30 Wartortle In The Games.

    So I Think You Can Include Legendarys In Your Fic, But Under Reasonable Storylines.
    i,e. Not All Legendarys Have To Be THe Unbelieveably Strong Image.
  3. Murgatroyd

    Murgatroyd Dull Manga Avatar

    Ah, the immortal rant returns. It never ceases to amaze me how popular it's been over the last 3 years.

    Aquapolis: You'll note that I didn't forbid it entirely. (At the same time I first wrote this rant, I was also working on a fic where the main character ended up being accompanied by a Mew.) However, I do advise caution. It is far too easy to let a character with a legendary pokemon get out of control. I know this from personal experience, both with a great many fics I've read and one I tried to write.
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Guest

    Here's also a tip, these pokemon are extremely overused: Dratini, Larvitar, Pikachu, the starters, Eevee. Because of the flooding of many fics with those Pokemon repeatedly, it can be overlooked because of a common starter.

    Going with something a bit offbeat (Ie, A Drowzee over an Abra) is sometimes always better. And give your Pokemon a personality, a little more than just "AND MY HERACROSS LOVED SAP! LOLS!" More perhaps, "Heracross gave a downward cast, it could tell winter was near, and many of the great trees he fed on, were going to die, with that he continued on stockpiling for the cold season".

    Also, if you capture a pokemon in your fic, why would it instantly obey you? Think of it as like when you get a new pet, will it instantly obey? Nope.

    Legendaries, don't have your characters capture them, its hokey :| And don't have your characters "OMFG ZAPADOS! AND SO I THROUGH A BALL AND IT WAS CATCHED! THEN IT BLASTED OFF TeAM ROCKET!"

    And my final point, overuse of Team Rocket. Unless you're adding a new dimension to Team Rocket, don't have them. But think about things realistically, do you really think there would be an underground crime synicate? If you're going to have a big baddie, have something like a corrupt branch of the Government, or a senile old newspaper editor making up Team Rocket to sell papers. And do you really think they'd send teams around reciting lameo mottos and being "Blasted off" ? I think not.

    Ktnxbai! :)
  5. Clare

    Clare The Dainty Delcatty

    You will also need a setting for your story. If you want, you can use the towns and cities featured in the games and/or tv series, but you could also invent places of your own. If you go down this route, try to resist the urge to write long gazetteer-style descriptions and only include enough information to let people know what your, say, city is like. You are writing a story, not a tour guide - so keep any descriptions of your setting relevent to the storyline.

    Also, whether you are using your own places or the ones from canon, there would be a lot more to them than just a Pokemon Centre, Mart, Gym and any of the other buildings you may have explored in the games. If these places existed in real life, they would have people living in them and interacting - they wouldn't just be stopping-off points on someone's Pokemon journey.
  6. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    You can also use some of the "other" Pokemon games (examples: TCG, Puzzle League/Challenge, Snap, Stadium) as inspiration for a story too. For example, my own story, "The Heart of the Cards" was inspired by the Game Boy TCG.

    To sum it up, you're not limited to the "color" games....
  7. MachopGirl

    MachopGirl <== Wanna Hug Him?

    You're so, right! I too have my own idea of the Pokémon world. It totally bugs me when some people give me half-@$$ed remarks like "Pikachu should lay eggs, not give birth!" People have totally different views about Pokémon so don't question about them and appreciate their creativity.

    Although it's somewhat rarely used, take my advice. Avoid the use of Stereotypes! It really bugs me when some authors use them. Something like dumb blondes or loser nerds are getting VERY dull and boring! Break the mold and think outside the box.

    Examples of stereotyping in Pokémon fics;

    Cute girls always using cute Pokémon like Jigglypuff: Don't do that. Not all "cute" girls use "cute" Pokémon! They too have personalities like any other character in general. Perhaps that cute girl have an interest in bug so give her Bug-types. Or maybe she have a tomboyish demeanor so give her Fighting Pokémon or any vicious ones like Ursaring. Got the idea?

    Fighting Pokémon portrayed as stupid and brainless: Ah yes, the overused "Big muscles, small brains" stereotype. That's another no-no! Fighting takes a lot of brains and strategy in order to succeed. Don't simply assume that a Machoke is stupid just simply because he/she have big muscles.

    Dark Pokémon used by evil characters: Another no-no! Dark Pokémon do NOT have to be evil and vicious or be used by evil characters. In a fanfic of mine, I have Sakura use an Absol and she's not evil. Being a Dark-type does NOT mean bad or evil.

    Got the idea? Again, break the mold and think outside the box.
  8. The Big Al

    The Big Al I just keeping Octo

    Don't be afraid to make you're own Pokemon. The 386 Pokemon are just a fraction of the possible Pokemon that could exist. It also allows to be creative. Develope new type mixs and maybe dabble with types you come up with yourself.
    Make sure you describe this new Pokemon though. So that we no what it looks like and all. Let your imagination create the Pokemon. However, be reasonable as well.
  9. Clare

    Clare The Dainty Delcatty

    On the subject of making up your own Pokemon, a guy called FossilMagikarp wrote an article on this subject a while back. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate a copy so I'll just have to do the best I can.

    When inventing a non-canon Pokemon, one of the first things you need to consider is whether or not you need to have it in your story. FossilMagikarp (or Fossie as he was known) suggested that you only invent Pokemon if the storyline you're writing requires it. At the time of writing the article, he was writing a story about prehistoric Pokemon and invented a few of his own in addition to the five then available - this was before Anorith/Armaldo and Lileep/Cradily were around. Of course, it's entirely up to you whether you invent Pokemon or not; I'm just stating what Fossie said.

    Anyway, once you've established a need for a new Pokemon, the first thing you need to do is work out what sort of creature it should be based on. This will sometimes be an important factor in determining what Type the Pokemon is - if you look at the Pokedex, you'll notice that Water Pokemon tend to be modelled on fish and other aquatic creatures, Grass Pokemon either look like plants or have plantlike characteristics . . . and so on. If there are two possible Types, think about making the Pokemon a duel Type.

    Next, try to work out roughly how you want the Pokemon to look. This will included details such as size, colour and markings, any appendages (no, don't think like that! I'm talking about things like the seed on a Bulbasaur's back) and whether or not it evolves. Talking of which, you could also create a new evolution for a canon Pokemon; Eevee is especially popular in this respect, largely because all its evolutions are very anatomically similar.

    Finally, your Pokemon will need a name. Look at what sort of creature it is and what characteristics it has and think about a name which will convey that information and sound right when you say it out loud. If you look at the names of the canon Pokemon, you'll notice that a lot of them are blends of words. For example, a parrot Pokemon might be called Mimacaw, from the words "mimic" (what parrots are famous for doing) and "macaw" (a type of parrot)
  10. I've got two cents... Err... Maybe a dollar, but hey.

    I see sometimes with characters, the author tends to blend them, make them closer to what he or she is like, rather than the character's real personality. Every good author finds themself goofing up like this occasionally. I mean, I find myself doing this, I notice other stories like that, too. Contagious illness, stupid mistake, or intended? o_O;
  11. Barb

    Barb Guest

    Originally posted by Aphrode:
    see sometimes with characters, the author tends to blend them, make them closer to what he or she is like, rather than the character's real personality. Every good author finds themself goofing up like this occasionally. I mean, I find myself doing this, I notice other stories like that, too. Contagious illness, stupid mistake, or intended? o_O;

    Intended, really; that's why the main character of a novel/fanfiction is often referred to as the author's 'alter ego'. In Stephen King's "The Dark Half" the alter ego is literal: an evil person who tries to kill the author. In writing, the characters tend to take on personality or physical traits of the author. Nothing wrong with that, so long as the story doesn't become a Mary Sue/Marty Stu fic, wherein the author becomes some omnipotent being who solves everyone's problems. That's just egotism run amok.

    Also understand this point: lack of reviews has absolutely no bearing on how good you are as an author. Jackie Collins sells millions of books each year; maybe someone hear could name one or two of her titles. Now who can tell me who won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature? (Jeffrey Eugenides, for "Middlesex"). His novel got far fewer printings than Collins's did, but his novel was considered far superior technically than hers.

    Please don't worry about reviews or the lack thereof. Sometimes I'm not always sure what to say in a review myself but I do try to reply. Some people might want to reply when the fic is completed instead of after each chapter. If you're getting better as a writer, then people will notice eventually. Maybe not right away, but they will notice.
  12. Sammi

    Sammi Guest

    Wow! This thread is really a life-saver for me!
    My main OC is too Mary-sue...

    Here's my view on some writing stuff. Please note that this is my opinion on it; you don't have to take this as seriously as some of the other stuff. I'm not that good of an author. I just thought that maybe someone would like to hear what I have to say:
    Don't let the lack of reviews get to you. You might think that you're good and therefore you think that you're going to be an instant hit. I expected that. I'm sorry to say that most likely you won't be an instant hit, and it didn't to me. (No one is instantly good at anything anyway.) People might like your fic, others may not. Some people just don't review; some people just don't like the topic you have chosen.
    Trust me; I have a fanfic series of my own posted on two sites (not here though). It's not your usual journey fic; it's not even that Pokemon-oriented. It's more about characters in the anime and psychics. Yep, psychics. I'm surprised that people have read it with my Mary-sue, let alone liked it.
    Anyway, the point is... one site (Fanfiction.net) I have moderate success. At least every story has a review. On the other site is a different story. The whole entire series has an amazing amount of two reviews. But I don't let it bother me. I know that at least someone has read it.

    Also, enjoy what you write. Enjoy the fact that you have gotten it done, and the story is good to you. If you don't get too many reviews, at least you're happy with your work, and that's all that matters, right? That's how it is with me.

    Sorry if the advice seems bad. But I just wanted to give my two cents.
  13. Iveechan

    Iveechan <--- CHANTASTIC

    I have a little thing to add. Sometimes short fragmented sentences can heighten a tense feeling. For example, at the end of chapter 3 of "Guilty by Design", I used a few very short sentences, and when reading it over it made ME feel scared.

    "...He was alone.

    All alone.

    There was the old tree stump with yellow fungus growing on it. Just one more turn and they'd be home. The truck stopped and the ignition turned off. A door slammed. Footsteps crunched on the road. Champ's heartbeat accelerated."

    Short yet effective methinks. Of course, a fic littered with short sentences is a headache to read. Use your shorties wisely folks!
  14. Cerapter

    Cerapter Guest

    Thanks for the advice, I needed it! ^_^
    Anyway, here's my tips on writing:


    When creating new characters I always consider their names carefully, I try to never chose a name that is completely unbelievable.
    Here's some links that may help in finding names for your character:

    20000 Names
    Baby Chatter
    Baby Name World
    Baby names and meanings
    Behind the Name

    Also, when writing about pokémon, I don't automatically assume that they all come from eggs like every reptile and bird that we know.
    Eevee for example in a story that I'm writing takes care of her children like my cat took care of hers.

    Everyone has a life-story too, a story that shaped the character, pokémon or human.
    To quote Ceres from Ayashi no Ceres when she is talking about her alter-ego:

    "The "Aya" in existence now is a being that has been created over the past sixteen years.
    Aya's personality was influenced by her environment, and interpersonal relationships."

    Keep those words in mind when creating a character.

    EX. #1:The abused and orphaned girl at the street-corner would most likely laugh at Prof. Oak rather than believe that he would give her a pokémon.

    EX. #2: The spoiled girl with a single parent that isn't home much is more likely just to take the present then thanking for it unless reminded.

    EX. #3: A girl who is shy is more likely found to be reading then being at the new club, unless dragged by her friends.

    EX. #4: The tomboy usually is very active, and should match Ash, Ritchie and Tracey in personality and entusiasm.

    Those are just a few examples, but hopefully it will give out less orphaned, "feel sorry for me" trainers that suddenly is bubbly and optimistic.
    I've even read about a boy-chasing rape-victim, that's not natural.

    Also, we have the Mary-Sue, Gary-Stu case.
    When looking at their background I often find this:

    #1: Rape, Murder, Orphan, Slave, Mistreatment, Abuse, etc.
    #2: Famous, Genius, Beautiful, etc.

    See a pattern? -_-;

    You can make your character beautiful, it's nothing wrong with that, but don't give her the benefit of being superstar, rich, good voice, great at cooking, genius, nice, compassionate, etc.

    The bad thing about the character above, is that s/he is often from background #1!

    You can be a superstar, you often make a lot of money, and if you're a singer you can have a good voice too! But then you have to have some pretty bad faults to make up for it, and background #1 can't be an option unless the character has years of therapy and healing in between.


    Alright, we know that Landon is a Dragon trainer, gym-leader of Verdigris Town of Mana, holder of the Supreme Badge, is 184 cm tall, has black hair, brown eyes, dresses in blue turtle-neck and jeans.
    He is very calm, and almost irritatingly so.

    Now we will see an example on how he could be written:


    Mary stepped inside the gym. A man stood across from her, he had long black hair, brown eyes, was dressed in blue turtle-neck and jeans. I am Landon of the Surpreme Badge. he said and Mary looked up at him, as he was 184 cm tall she only reached his chest.


    @_@ Information overload! And not only that, it was just written as a block.
    Plus, if you look around they are only standing in a void, nothing was put into the description of the gym.
    We'll try this again:


    Mary stepped inside the gym, her eyes darting nervously from the high ceiling to the large windows.
    Her eyes locked onto a tall man standing in the middle of the huge room.
    Cocking her head curiously to the side, she regarded the man carefully.

    Black hair flowed messily down his back, and the blue tones of his clothes blended with the walls of the room.
    He had grass-stains on his jeans, she noted dully, and that turtle-neck doesn't go with brown eyes.
    The man looked in her direction suddenly, a smile on his face.
    Gathering her courage, Mary spoke up.

    "I've come to challenge the Verdigris Gym-leader." her neck was quite strained to look him in the eyes and not his chest.

    "That would be me." the man told her in a gentle tone.

    Mary didn't believe it, how could this shabby stranger be Landon?
    Landon, the Dragon Master of Mana was famous, and trainers came from the whole world to earn the Supreme badge.
    No one had told her that he was untidy and probably rude too.


    Here we see that Mary is a brat, Landon isn't mysterious and we used quotation marks! Yay!
    We also learn that Landon is famous, but he is one of those that would rather not be.


    I don't say you have to write like me, in fact, I would be horrified if anyone was as bad as me! But I've read many stories and I think that I sometimes can give a few tips.
    But I know places where you can get more and better tips.

    The Pokémon Tower - A Pokémon Fanfiction site.
    Flames of the Heart Fanfiction Guide - Ronin Warrior help, but takes up several things that is universal to fanfiction.
    Sakura's Senshi Circle - Even if it is mostly for Sailor Moon, some things are worth reading.

    Of course there are more, like FARP on elfwood.com and more, but the sites I've mentioned is the ones that I've checked out the most.
    Flames of the Heart is especially recommended, if you can get through the Ronin terms on the site.

    Well, that's all for me, hope someone found something useful, and I just realised on how long this post is going to be. ^_^;
    So without further ado...

    See you later,
  15. Fanfiction mods (as I assume you are somewhat experts on fanfictions), delete/ edit/ argue with this if you disagree.

    I think it gets annoying/ unnecissary when you just randomly switch out English words with Japanese words. One might argue, "My characters are Japanese, so it would only make sense to have them say Japanese word". Well, if it's an English fanficiton, chances are your characters will be speaking English most of the time, so technically their dialogue is translated. It wouldn't make much sense to just tranlate some of their dialogue and not all. I think it's appropriate to use Japanese words when:
    • the word you have in mind is a culture-related word that doesn't have a good translation (geisha, for example).
    • the word you are thinking of is so commonly used in America/ wherever you live that it might as well become an English word (anime, bishojo, manga, etc).
    • adding the suffix -chan to their name emphasizes how cute they are.
    • changing the suffix of one's name signifies an important point in the story (a boy calls a girl -chan instead of -san for the first time, etc).
    • the main character's first language is not Japanese and the person who is speaking Japanese is not supposed to be understood by most of the audience.
    Otherwise, doing things like using "hai" instead of "yes", "-sama" instead of "lord/ lady", or saying key phrases in Japanese that could quite easily be translated into English is distracting and puts people with less knowlege of the Japanese language than you at a disadvantage.

    Of course, this does not apply to names. If you are a purist, I have no problem with you calling the kid "Satoshi" instead of "Ash" or refering to the city as "Hanada City" instead of "Cerulean City". Just don't use random Japanese words becasue you think it makes you look cool, because to be quite honest, it doesn't.

    That was just my (probably unwanted) two cents.
  16. Clare

    Clare The Dainty Delcatty

    Conversely, there's no reason why a male character should have to have "tough" Pokemon. In the tv series, Brock had a Vulpix for a time and the episode "The Screen Actor's Guilt" featured a popular action hero who had a Smoochum. Both Pokemon fall into the "cute" category mentioned above so there's probably a strong temptation to only give them to female characters.

    Anyway, your best bet when selecting Pokemon for your characters is to consider what sort of person you want them to be. Are they into tough battles or do they go for some other aspect of the Pokemon world such as contests or simply keeping Pokemon as pets? Do you want them to specialise in a particular Type? I don't know about anyone else, but the old standby of flipping through your game guide can come in useful here.
  17. The Slowbro

    The Slowbro Guest

    TO ALL FAN FIC WRITERS- DO NOT and I mean DO NOT take harsh criticism as an insult. Take it as a helping tool. No one is here to insult you. Everyone is here to help. Remember that.
    And that was my half a penny xD
  18. For the most of the time, harsh critics can be helpful. But when people read a fanfic/story and suddenly flames it altogether with its author, it's the most disgusting thing a reader would ever do. I mean, why would they suddenly flame a story when they haven't fully read THE WHOLE STORY? Ahem, sorry for the capital letter usings, but I find that this kind of critics/comments don't help, instead they tend to ruin an author's confidence in writing or continuing any of his/her stories. That's why I don't really expect to have comments or critics, though any one of them are very welcomed.

    And just a quick add-on from me:
    From all types of stories, I find that a Pokemon fanfic is the most challenging of all. No, that doesn't mean that I don't write one at all. I have a Pokemon story, but then I found that its storyline wasn't as promising as some other Pokemon fanfics I have read. I could be wrong, but I feel that my writing skill stills needs improvement. I may able to write other stories, but a Pokemon fanfic demands most of my creativity and effort to be pushed to its maximum limit. Because for me, to write a good (if not perfect) Pokemon fanfic means that I have to explore deep into the Pokemon world (game/anime/etc) and try to use my creativity as much as I can in developing one storyline.

    Well, I don't expect anyone to reply this post, but if one does, then I highly thank that person in advance.
  19. Clare

    Clare The Dainty Delcatty

    Personally, I feel it should be left up to the author to decide what to do with a fic that's been criticised. But don't scrap a fic just because someone's told you it's no good, especially if what's at issue is little more than a clash of tastes. For example, imagine you've written a story in which Ash and May are an item and someone who's of the "thou shalt only pair Ash with Misty" school criticises it for no other reason than the fact it's got a pairing they don't like. If the story itself falls within the rules, there's nothing that person can do to stop you posting it - so don't let them push you around. Besides, if the "review" was REALLY insulting, you do have the option of reporting it to the mods.

    On the other hand, if a reviewer raises VALID criticisms of a story, it wouldn't hurt to at least consider revising it a little. I don't know about anyone else, but I find it really annoying when wannabe authors respond to perfectly reasonable advice to improve their spelling, punctuation and grammar; make their fics longer; be a little more original or realistic . . . and so on with childish comments like:

    Well, it's NOT fun to read a fic that's so badly written you can't make head or tail of what is happening. I write for fun too, but I also want other people to be able to read what I've written so I take my time and make sure the spelling, punctuation and grammar are reasonably accurate.
  20. Mew King

    Mew King It's black magic!

    It's okay to have legendaries if you can explain them. In one of my fanfictions, I have the main character get a Rayquaza in order to stop the revived team Rocket's master plan of destruction. Also, if the legendaries are important to the storyline, then normal people can have it, in another fanfiction, I have the bad guy use a snag machine to steal the legendary Pokémon of all the trainers in the championships. The main character then has to face a team of 5 legendaries and a mutated Houndoom (Cerberus-Houndoom: winged three-headed Houndoom).

    Also, don't make someone invincible. Give all of your a characters a unique weekspot. Such as in another fic of mine, the main character never looses a battle, but is shy when it comes to the opposite sex and won't give the normal 100% during these battles. The Achilles Heel can be anything from a crush on someone that the character has to battle to an actual weak heel. This gives your character a sense of reality.

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