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Fan Fiction Quarterly: Edition 4 (February 6, 2016)

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by AmericanPi, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    [​IMG]
    Edition 4

    Welcome to the fourth edition of the FFQ, and the first one opened to the entire section for creation! We have been posting new editions every few months, but for the first time the mod team have stepped back to allow others to hop in. Do read and share your thoughts in this thread!

    Each edition of the newsletter has featured both a current fan fiction and one from the glorious archives. Also included is an interview with a section reviewing regular, updates on what's going on in the section and a writing prompt challenge!

    Credit goes to American--Pi, bobandbill, JX Valentine, and Psychic for writing this edition.​


    Editor’s Choice

    Our first column deals with a staff pick: a single story published or updated within the past three months that we, your dutiful FFQ editors, feel is most worthy of your attention. It’s a tough pick, one that’s based on a variety of factors, including update reliability, creativity, and mastery of the basics of storytelling. In other words, set out to tell a good story, and you too might get a spot right here under Editor’s Choice.

    This Quarterly, we shine our spotlight on a promising and interesting newcomer fanfic that has entertained us with frequent updates since November. Presenting...

    The Curse of Forgotten Time
    by Shattersoul​

    This is an alternate-universe fic that ties together many of the 4th-Generation Pokemon games. Games that are alluded to in The Curse of Forgotten Time are the main-series games of Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum; Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia; and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky. The story's universe is a rather dark interpretation of the Pokemon World - Poke Balls remove free will from Pokemon, and Trainers are systematically forced into taking dangerous Pokemon Journeys that kill off all but the best individuals.

    The biggest thing that stands out to a person reading this fic is the fact that it is quickly established that the two main characters, Vis and Nil, are sad, tragic immortals who have both lived for hundreds of years. It is heavily implied that they have been driven into near insanity by watching the world crumble around them. Vis was a male human, and still looks like one, but has forgotten his real name. Nil seems to be a female Umbreon, but it soon becomes clear that Vis and Nil are not what they seem. They are special individuals who have lived many unique experiences, and the reader is drawn into the story, which, through Vis's memories, tell of how Vis and Nil got to where they are now.

    The story takes place in two tenses. There is the present tense, during which main characters Vis and Nil reflect on their long, sad lives as they wait in nervous anticipation for unnamed visitors. Most of the story takes place in the past, through Vis's memories. And Vis certainly has a very fast-paced, interesting, and compelling story to tell.

    He begins his story by explaining that he was never a very good Pokemon Trainer, instead choosing to spend his time exploring ruins. After stumbling upon a trap during one of his explorations, strange things begin happening to him and his Pokemon, Nil. The trap itself causes Vis an excruciating amount of pain and leaves him with a large scar, but that is only the beginning. As time passes, discovers that he can do many things normal humans cannot do. He can communicate telepathically with Nil, tell where his Pokemon is at all times, and create portals that can instantly transport people, Pokemon, and objects from far away to close by, or vice versa.

    Though the fic does have a few issues with pacing and description - plot points may happen too quickly for a reader to take in, and sometimes there is a lack of explanation for important events - The Curse of Forgotten Time has many strengths that make it a very enjoyable read. The universe this fic takes place in makes the story interesting already, but what really makes The Curse of Forgotten Time a worthy read is its interesting plot, great moments of dark humor, and dynamic characters. Shattersoul does an excellent job at inserting apt and appropriate moments of humor into his otherwise plot- and character-driven fic. Speaking of character, The Curse of Forgotten Time is an entertaining study in character development. We follow Vis as he figures out what his purpose in life is, and changes tragically from a smart, spirited adventurer to a sad, contemplative immortal.

    All in all, The Curse of Forgotten Time is a worthwhile read by a promising newcomer. If you're looking for a fast-paced and entertaining fic with an interesting plot and dynamic characters, the fic is definitely worth checking out!​


    Reviewers' Feature

    In this part of the Quarterly, we sit down with one reviewer we feel has done an exceptional job within the past three months. We’re talking about reviewers who are active, give great advice, and generally interact with the community on a positive level. In other words, be an awesome reviewer, and you might have a mod stop by to say hi.

    In this edition we chatted with Dramatic Melody, a member who finds meaning in both giving and receiving reviews. He loves the exchange with writers, and finds himself constantly learning.

    Examples of Dramatic Melody’s reviews can be found here, here and here.

    Dramatic Melody
    Always Learning

    Fan Fiction Quarterly: To start things off, when did you start reviewing, and why?

    Dramatic Melody: Hm, probably a bit after I started posting in the fanfic forum, so…2008-2009? But I only became more active with reviewing very recently, like 2014. It was likely a way to thank people for their reviews.

    FFQ: That's interesting - so you saw people reviewed your fics and reviewed their in return as a sort of thank-you?

    DM: Yep. I was completely new to the idea of fanfic back then so I was just lurking around and saw that people usually reviewed each other, so I did the same. I think the reviews I got for my very first fic really helped. Like, that was probably the first time I was exposed to getting constructive criticism for my writing and it felt really great.

    FFQ: So these days, what makes you click on a story and keep reading? What types of stories are you drawn to the most?

    DM: Right now I'm really interested in one-shots. I think a big part of it is because that's what my writing's geared towards right now, but also because there's just something about one-shots that really makes storytelling fascinating. How one-shots work through the limited space they've set themselves with really takes a lot of skill from the author, IMO.

    Outside of that though, I'm very interested in character-centric stories. One of the main draws of a story for me is seeing its characters develop. For chaptered stories, that's what makes me keep coming back. For one-shots, that's what makes me read their other works.

    FFQ: That's pretty cool that you look at an author's other works if you liked their one-shots. Why would you say you do that?

    DM: I guess to see how else they could execute their stories. And, well, if I find an author particularly good it's great to indulge in their collections. XD And to see how they've improved, too!

    FFQ: What goes into your decision to sit down and review a fic?

    DM: Hmm, I do notice recently that my reviewing comes in bursts. Kind of like writing, actually. XD Like, I have this day where I wanna review a whole bunch of fics, and they're usually just what I see on the forum.

    But with regards to deciding to review a fic itself, I guess it's when I find that there's something interesting about the story that can be talked about. Of course, I'm more inclined to review works by authors I've reviewed before or have reviewed my works as well. I guess it's something I picked up from when I started reviewing. But over time I eventually branched out to reviewing more works.

    FFQ: In what other ways would you say your reviewing style/habits have changed over the years?

    DM: I think I'm more comfortable with it? Bit of backstory: I'm a writing major, and a big part of it was workshops where we basically reviewed each other's works in a roundtable setting. Going through those workshops made me much more comfortable with the whole reviewing process and made me realize that at the end of the day, it's a whole lot more about helping the author. If anything I just see reviewing as an online workshop. XD I also noticed that I was more about proofreading back then, but now I rarely go into stylistic comments.

    FFQ: Typically, how do you build/format your reviews?

    DM: Pretty much like workshops. I always start with the good points and segue into the critical points. Most of the time I point out a quote I particularly liked in the chapter/story and start with that, too.

    FFQ: So the sandwich method!

    DM: Yeah! I do start and end my reviews on a high note and leave the criticism in the middle.

    FFQ: Fair enough! Is there any particular interaction you've had with a reviewee that sticks out most in your mind?

    DM: I think the most interesting one was with Hakajin in their fic. It was the one that really felt like the workshop setting since we went back and forth with each other. It was around the time where I just started reviewing again, too, so in hindsight that was really encouraging for reviewing more works! I'd like to think it was helpful for both of us!

    FFQ: That's so cool! How do you mean it was helpful for both of you?

    DM: I hope it was helpful for Hakajin with regards to going forward with the story. But I do know it was helpful for me since it encouraged me to churn out more reviews.

    FFQ: Yeah, having authors who are really dedicated to improvement is great. It feels like you're really making a difference.

    DM: Definitely. And I think it's great if the authors really question you with regards to something about your review. Even if they end up disagreeing with the point, at least they were receptive about it. And that's really motivating for a reviewer.

    FFQ: Yes! It also shows that they're interested in seeing what you have to say and taking your advice seriously. Do you have any other advice for authors looking to catch a reader's attention? And any advice for reviewers looking to improve their skills?

    DM: To reviewers: Best way to improve is to keep on reviewing, and to listen to what the authors have to say in reply. Also, I'd like to think there's no such thing as a useless review, so don't be nervous about it!

    To authors: It's been a said a lot, but a great way to get reviews is to give them yourself. But beyond that, it also helps to engage with the reviews that you do get.

    FFQ: Ohhh I love that answer! And lastly, is there anything else you want to say?

    DM: Well, a big thank-you to you and the rest of the FFQ team for holding this! :D And a shout-out to the SppF community for being a blast overall. I honestly believe that posting here has helped me so much with both writing and reviewing, and I do hope other authors and reviewers feel the same way!​


    Blast from the Past

    In this part of the Quarterly, we take a trip back in time to examine a complete fic worth noting. Whether they were culturally significant to our fandom or just really excellent completed work, these are the fics your staff likes to call blasts from the past.

    This time, we feature an interesting, creative fanfiction from more recent memory - its author is still active and posting stories. It is a medical drama at its heart, but simply calling it that does the fanfic a disservice. We're talking about…

    Carry On, Blissey
    by ChloboShoka​

    Matron Blissey works at the Hearthome City General Hospital and Pokemon Center. Her job, while rewarding, is anything but easy. In cases where Pokemon have simply fainted from battle, regular healing machines at Pokemon Centers suffice to heal the Pokemon to full health. However, this story makes it clear that there are many ailments for both humans and Pokemon that healing machines cannot cure. In cases like these, the patient is referred to the clinic where Matron works, and the experienced staff of the clinic do whatever they can to save the patient's life. Every day is different, and every chapter of this fanfiction has a new case to offer.

    This fanfiction combines drama, slice of life, and emotion into a highly entertaining package that also offers very interesting interpretations of the Pokemon World and its mechanics. For example, Action Replay - a real-world device used to hack in Pokemon and items in your games - is portrayed here as an illegal, dangerous, and addictive pill that can result in Hacked Syndrome, a disease that leaves the Pokemon severely damaged in multiple ways. Type matchups, advantages, and disadvantages play an important role in the day-to-day lives of the workers at the hospital - for example, Grass-types must never drink alcohol due to their Poison-type weakness, and Fairy-types are often chosen to work with mentally unstable Dragon-types because they are immune to Dragon-type attacks.

    In addition to the creative concept and rich worldbuilding, Carry On, Blissey offers a colorful cast of characters, from the major (the passionate and tireless titular Matron Blissey) to the minor (the tragic and sympathetic Gardevoir patient). The fanfiction has some aptly humorous moments, such as the appearance of Team Rocket Grunt Butch and his name issue, and is certainly not lacking in highly entertaining twists, such as Matron's unexpected daughter.

    Carry On, Blissey is definitely not for the faint of heart. Many darker, interpreted aspects of the Pokemon World and the real world are dealt with and brought up, including hacking, illegal experimentation, various forms of abuse, and plenty of death. While the premise behind the fic is very creative and interesting, several plotlines, including the one with the drunk Chikorita, go unresolved. However, the fanfiction's arguably biggest weakness is the prevalence of spelling, grammar, and English usage mistakes. This may or may not heavily impact one's overall enjoyment of the fic.

    Despite this, Carry On, Blissey still is, all in all, a worthy read that interprets Pokemon in an interesting way. It is certainly one of the most creative fanfictions on these forums. Finally, it offers an uplifting message that whatever happens, it is important to keep doing what needs to be done and carry on.​


    Events

    What’s going on in the Fan Fiction forum for the next few months? Check below for all our upcoming events!

    Now to mid-February: We're currently in the 2015 Fanfiction Awards Nomination Phase! Nominations for the 2015 Fanfiction Awards will be accepted until February 13th, 2016. If necessary due to low nomination totals, an extension to February 26th, 2016 will be given. Let's make this year's awards just as interesting as the past few years' awards, so take a few minutes to nominate today! Click here to access the 2015 Serebii.net Forums Fanfiction Awards site, here to nominate, and here to view all nominations that have been sent in.

    Now: Want to help with writing next edition's FFQ? Check out the Fan Fiction Quarterly: Future Planning thread! There will soon be a Future Planning thread for Edition 5 specifically, but general FFQ planning should still go into the aforementioned thread. We always welcome writers, so if you're looking for a way to contribute to the Fan Fiction community then look no further.

    February: Once the nomination phase closes, it's time for the voting phase of the 2015 Fanfiction Awards! Further details about the voting process will be given when the nomination phase closes.

    February 27: What kind of fic community would we be if we forgot about the 20th anniversary of our beloved fandom?! Keep an eye on the Authors’ Café for an exquisite event that’s fun for the whole forum. Not enough Pokémon fanfic fanfare for you? Then stay tuned for even more fun stuff from your fabulous mods!

    April 1, 2016 to April 30, 2016: Is November’s NaNoWriMo too hardcore for you? You’re in luck! From the same people who brought you NaNo comes Camp NaNoWriMo, a springtime edition of the classic annual event. The rules and the brutality of the challenge are still the same, but it’s set in April rather than November. If you wish to participate in the challenge, be sure to keep an eye on Author’s Cafe for the revival of the special Camp NaNo thread for those of you who need a place to write, hang out, and cry.

    May 1, 2016: This is the FFQ Edition 5's projected release date! The contributors to the FFQ are trying to keep FFQ releases to a solid, workable release schedule of four times a year. Again, if you want to help with writing the FFQ, check out the Fan Fiction Quarterly: Future Planning thread.

    May - June 2016: Keep your eyes peeled for a new Collaborative writing event around May and June! Announcements and more details will be made closer to the date.​


    Quarterly Challenge

    Looking for something to flex your writing muscles? Try this challenge on for size! In the following section, you'll find a writing prompt. Write one or more fics fulfilling or related to those prompts, post your fics in the forum where they'll work best (Pokémon fics in the main forum, original fics and non-Pokémon fics in Non-Pokémon Fics, and shipping fics in Shipping Fics), and link to your finished work here! At the end of the Quarterly period, all of the fics will be gathered up and posted in an honor roll at the end of this column.

    Additionally, everyone who completes the challenge is guaranteed to get a review from at least one mod. (Usually, we'll just show up, but feel free to ask for a review request.) That's right! Complete a challenge, get a review! So do your best and write! You can do it!

    1. All Fan Fiction rules apply to all fics. This includes the minimum length requirement, so all fics must be a minimum of two pages long. Additionally, please submit material appropriate for the Fan Fiction forum. Although NC-17 fics are okay in Shipping Fics, please do not submit NC-17 material to the challenge. Other forum rules likewise apply.
    2. If a prompt is an image, a quote, a song, or a video, it's perfectly okay to be inspired by the prompt. What that means is you don't need to include the exact quote or the song or the exact situation depicted in the image or video for it to fill the prompt. So long as the essence is there, you're fine.
    3. If a prompt has multiple parts, your fic needs to fulfill all parts, not just a handful. There is one prompt per quarterly, and this prompt is designed to be pretty short in terms of its list of things you need to include. So don't be too intimidated!
    4. The exception to rule #3 is the extra credit part of the prompt. Extra credit is exactly like what you remember from your tests in grade school: optional, but it'd be cool and a cherry on top to you if you did it.

    Have fun with writing and get your creative juices flowing, so relax, put your digits to your keyboard, and write whatever story the prompt inspires you to write! Good luck!

    This quarter's prompt is:

    Write a crossover fic.

    What’s a crossover fic? It’s a story that involves elements from (at least) two different fandoms, such as, for example, Pokemon and Digimon. Crossovers extend beyond fics - video games for instance regularly feature this concept, such as Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and the Super Smash Bros. series (which crams practically a whole history worth of games together). You entry doesn’t have to include Pokemon, but if so it has to go in the Non-Pokemon stories subsection.

    There are various challenges and choices to be made here, and part of it can come down to deciding what exactly are you going to cross over and to what extent. What characters would you use, for example? Where is the story set - both worlds, one of them or a completely different place not seen in either fandom? What situation will you use for the plot, and how will the two different fandom elements work with each other (or in the case of a crack fic, how won’t they?) Keep in mind the fandom/story elements need to interact to be a proper crossover for the purposes of this challenge; adapting the story and/or characters of one of the works involved into the world of the other is closer to homage (or plagiarism if the author is seedy about it) than outright crossover.

    Consider the above elements carefully, because a crossover fic involves managing two sets of canon so they make sense together. And you still need to fashion a sensible plot out of the story too, unless you are again going with a crackfic. And if you go down that path, you still need to pay attention, because if you just throw two random fandoms together that could be swapped out for any two other fandoms, then it’s not going to be an enjoyable story for readers. There does have to be some sense and semblance of characterisation and the such.

    Still want a challenge? Bonus points go out to those who cross over three or more works or fandoms, rather than just two.

    Last Quarterly's Winners:
    • American--Pi, with "One Winter Awakening", a dramatic fic that focuses on the emotional plight of its main character, Supurna. While admittedly, the festival takes a backseat to Supurna’s story, this fic presents plenty of holiday-themed warm-and-fuzzies by starting off with a heart-wrenching depiction of depression and ending with a message about the importance of friendship. Top that off with an intriguing portrayal of Articuno, and you have a fun winter-themed drama.
    • bobandbill, with "The Entertainer", a drabble focusing on Regice. As part of his Drabble Dex project, bobandbill manages to tell a story of a Regice and a winter celebration it conducts within a 100-word limitation. The drabble fits well with the drabbles around it, each one being similar in structure, emotional, and focusing on one of the legendary golems.
    • Spiteful Murkrow, with "Auld Lang Syne", a long tale where a town of Pokemon’s own winter celebrations for the longest night of the year - complete with fireworks - gets interrupted by an attack by pirates.This sort of scenario doesn’t usually end well, but Spiteful Murkrow’s use of characters result in a happy and believable ending for everyone involved.
    • Umbramatic, with "Out In The Cold", featuring a pair of former Plasma grunts hiding out during Christmas, when one recounts a tale about his hometown’s winter events. The result involves Kyurem and a lot of food. There’s some interesting interaction between man and Legendary to appreciate within.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2016
  2. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

  3. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    Oh. Hell. YES!!!!!

    I already have an idea for what I want to do for my interpretation of the prompt. It's a chapter-fic, though, so I don't know if that qualifies.
     
  4. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    As long as you can show us you've touched on the prompt, you're good to go! ;)

    Also, awesome job at getting this together, Pi! You've put in a lot of hard work, and everything looks amazing. Here's hoping you keep on contributing to the FFQ—which, don't worry, we'll always help you with, amirite, guys? ;D
     
  5. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    *blushes* Why, thanks! It was a joy contributing to the SPPf Fan Fiction community, and I hope to contribute to many future FFQs. In fact, I'm posting the FFQ Edition 5 Future Planning thread later today. :)
     
  6. ASCIInerd73

    ASCIInerd73 User of the Internet

    A question about the prompt:

    Does including stuff from Real Life count as a crossover with real life (assuming it plays a significant role in the story), or does it have to be works of fiction?
     
  7. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    Fics about celebrities aside, real life is not a fandom, so yep, crossovers involve fictional works only.
     
  8. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    This paragraph was my sole real contribution to this Quarterly and solely because I asked bobandbill about it in regards to one of my ideas for the prompt.

    It is beautiful and glorious and you shall all laud and praise me for i-

    -bricked several times-

    But more seriously, with a very big thank-you to bobandbill for answering said question, I now know how I am going to try and answer this Quartely's prompt. It's silly, fun, and involves accomplishing dual goals of mine of working with some Yangverse characters of mine I'm grown fond of more and playing around more with a non-Pokemon fandom I've had a hell of a lot of fun experimenting with lately. XD
     
  9. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    Hmmm so crossovers. Crossovers confuse me. So, since I feel like the language used to differentiate crossover from homage is kinda ambiguous, I guess am gonna ask some questions to see if the plot Nido I already have would fit into the challenge.

    So if I understand correct, "merely" adapting characters / story from A to B is a homage. At the other end of the spectrum we'd have actually merging the settings of A and B into some sort of hybrid world via thinking with portals or other shenanigans. Somewhere in between... Where would stuff like these fall into?

    * "the premise of B is executed into A, adapting all narrative components (characters, plot, ...) to take the background of A into consideration" (I'd presume this is plain homage, but since it seems to be one of the "standard" crossover types for fanfiction, I better ask)
    * "the characters from B are brought into A" (I'd also presume this is plain homage, unless also the plot of B is brought in somehow?)
    * "the story / events of B are treated as a show (or show-within-a-show) in the universe of A"
     
  10. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    If it helps, I wrote that bit because I had two plot Nidos myself, one fitting the first and the other the second, and I asked bobandbill if the one fitting the first counted for the challenge and he said "no" in a way that influenced my addition on such stories, while he was good to go with my idea that fit the second.

    Basically, as I said there, the different fandom elements have to actually interact with each other for it to count for this challenge - as bobandbill phrased it to me, doing a full-on "Pokemon version" of a non-Pokemon story doesn't quite count for the prompt - the different fandom elements have to interact pretty much as they are, eg. Pokemon characters encountering The World Ends With You characters via some convoluted scenario. So from that... First option doesn't count for this, second does, third wouldn't unless there was a Refugee From TV Land scenario of some sort involved.

    That said, I'll be getting to bobandbill himself to further clarify since he's the one really in charge of this bit IIRC.
     
  11. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    You did a great job, Pi, thanks for authoring this edition.

    As for the challenge, I hope this really-and-truly counts. It's the only one of its kind, I'm not writing another one of these again--at least not to post on Serebii anymore, anyway. And before you ask, I'm perfectly sane.
     
  12. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Umbramatic is right there - while homages can be thought as a crossover in general, the particular challenge to this one is to have the interaction of the two worlds rather than a homage (or parody). The third one could maybe be worked into something acceptable but if it's just "characters see people from another show on the television" then it's hardly an interaction.
    Yep! I'm afraid I do not recognise the other character/fandom from my skim read, but looks acceptable!
     
  13. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Thanks bobandbill!

    Also...

    >First Challenge answer is an intentional lolwhut crack/trollfic

    ...I consider this a genuinely good sign for silliness to come. :p
     
  14. AmericanPi

    AmericanPi Write on

    Well, it took me laughably long, but I managed to write a one-shot that fulfills the prompt AND the extra credit on time: Betterer. Which features an alternate-universe region of sorts full of celebrity tennis players who are also Pokemon Trainers. This took forever, but was fun. :D
     
  15. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Thank you, Pi, for the silly motivation to get cracking on mine.

    ...Now to decide if do that NOW or keep working on something else silly.
     
  16. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths

    Aw man, I thought I was gonna be the one to revive this thread! Curse you, American-Pi! *where's my angry fist-shaking emote?! It's around here somewhere* So anyway, I did a thing, and that thing is called Courage's Double Trouble. It's really cool and you should all read it and leave plenty of likes, comments, subscribes, donations, and fan art, especially if you like '00 Cartoon Network cartoons and dislike Hitler. Ciao!
     
  17. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    ...I will spoil that my initial entry and the hopeful secondary entry - both in-progress - are so utterly disparate tone-wise in some ways from everything else so far it's not even funny. Literally for some parts.

    ...Not that the cracktastic entries so far aren't hilarious. XD
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016

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