What is Your Pet Peeve?

What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby SPQR » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:42 am

Is there something in fan fiction that just absolutely annoys you? Is there a theme thats been done far too often? Are there little things that bug you, or is there one solitary thing that you find unbearable?

Be honest...what is your pet peeve?

I think I have two:

1) The term "candlemark(s)". Argh! There is no such thing! Candles weren't even used in ancient times, they used oil lamps of various sizes. Never mind how long the candle is, and what exactly are those marks? And I couldn't believe that I saw that term in a published novel (uber Xena). There it was on the printed page, and I wanted to scream.

2) Made up character names and places. I'm a student of ancient Greece and Rome and can spot a fake name every time, and it bugs me.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Otter » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:15 am

My biggest pet peeve in Xena fic is unfortunately, very common.

I hate when Xena calls Gabrielle: 'Gab', 'Gabs', 'Gabby'. Not once in six seasons did Xena ever call her anything except her full name. The only exception of when Xena said 'Gab' was when Gabrielle took a header into the lava pit, and I think Xena was too stunned to say the rest of it. My biggest peeve is when authors are being too lazy to write the whole name, and call her Gab in narative. Can't stand it. And if the fic hasn't lost my attention because of it, cos sometimes it will, I'll paste the damn thing in a document and find/replace it.

And where in the heck did 'Brie' originate? Can someone tell me who was the first author to use it in fic? I'm betting on it being Missy Good. I'm not against it, and have, actually used it myself, but I am curious as to where it came from.

One for uber's...I suppose would be having Uber-X be very into and very good at martial arts and sword play. Over-done. Completely overdone. Way way WAY overdone. I think the only clumsy uber-X character I've ever come across in fic is Melinda Pappas, and only because she was such a damn clutz in the ep 'The Xena Scrolls'.

Anyhoo...there's my two.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Calliopenjo » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:35 pm

What's my pet peeve?

The thing that I find frustrating is a posted story that has not been gone over thoroughly enough to catch all of, or at least the majority, the spelling or mistyped sentences. That's what really bugs me. I know that authors use these websites as "test markets" for their stories, but can I at least ask that they go over their story to be sure that all of the mistakes, at least the majority, have been taken care of. Posted stories do not have to be in rough draft form.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby LoriAMeyers » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:39 pm

Oh...I hate the term "candlemark", as well. I never use it in my fan fiction. I'd really like to know who introduced that nonsense into Xena fan fiction. And I don't like the nicknames, either. (Gab, Gabby, Gabs, Brie, Xe, Pony, Ep, Eph..) I only used "Gabs" once, just to prove a point that she hates being called that; and it was Perdicus who called her that, not Xena.

Unresearched stories annoy me, as well, and incorrect pronunciations. I hated it when Renee O'Connor pronounced the name of the town Poteidaia (not Potidea!) as "Po-ti-dee-a", its really "Paw-tey-die-a". In the Greek the "ei" and "ai" are dipthongs, and are pronounced as one sound.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby calabria » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:33 am

Oh, I have a list. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but the uber cliches are piling up these days and need to go away. Here are a few of mine:
Calling women "the blonde" or "the brunette" or "the older woman" etc
Calling women by their professions..."the attorney" for example...instead of using their names
Green eyes meeting blue and vice versa
Telling me when someone is teasing, being sarcastic, etc. when it's obvious that's what's going on
When one of the women is smaller physically and she touches the other woman with "small hands" creepy
"booted feet" just plain bugs me

And then there is the mis-use of pronouns. I can't tell who is doing what to whom and where because the pronouns are floating in space...not attached to the correct noun...if any. I just quit reading those stories. :not talking:

I suppose I could name more. And, don't worry, I've made the same mistakes in my time.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby pippinfluff » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:37 am

I think all you writers are special people, But what gets me peeved is the amount of stories that are great stories, well written and then they just stop somewhere in between and are never touched again. Or when you wait for ever for a promised update which is like only 2 pages long and your left drooling for more again for ages. But i do think you writers do a great job. Donna.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby RhB » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:01 am

Don't even start with names and events. It is not easy to have to turn your mind off the vast majority of times you read any sort of fanfic. I did actually come across a rather good one, Clonefic or something like that, where the author had actually tried to make some sense of the history and not randomly put in names, places and events. Loved it!

I do have a peeve with ubers where the characters are totally off from the series. An uber is a little more than a blonde and a brunette couple.

I have to agree about the unfinished stories. There are still a few stories that I am patiently hoping for the next installment. Not because I have much hope that they will ever be finished but because my mind simply cannot believe that I will never read the end.

Another thing. Disclaimers and warnings should have some point in my view. Random and funny ones, a laugh though they are at times, sort of defeat the purpose. I am not even commenting on the rude ones...

A small tiny peeve too. What's with the asterisk mania? Try italics instead...
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby AJMArks » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:01 am

I guess mine, is something I actually don't see a lot of here. Its the let's write a story and not use paragraphs. I can deal with spelling error (as long as it's not too bad), some gramatical, but one long paragraph has spoiled a lot of good stories.

I will admit I don't like with the writers put out a great part one, then you never hear from them again.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Bardeyes » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:44 pm

Okay…a number of thoughts and lots of questions for anyone that would like to answer...

Candlemarks -
They didn’t exist though most people have an idea of what the term means. How much does a word or object need to be in the collective vocabulary for it to be accepted in a fictional universe? What else didn’t exist in Xena that we accept? Bimbo or whining goddesses/gods, ridiculous armor, returning chakrams that cut through anything, levitation, the absurd idea that a staff is not a deadly weapon, people in ancient Greece speaking…English, etc… Many, many things aren’t real, yet we happily accept them in fictional universes. Why not the use of the fictional term candlemark?

Made up character names and places -
It’s a fictional story about in a fictional universe. The TV series never even pretended to have any historical accuracy, and one of the elements of in the series was an extreme tendency to blatantly ignore accurate historical events or timelines. Why are fictional place names and fictional character names a problem in fan fiction based on a massively inaccurate pseudo ancient Greece setting?

Calling Gabrielle anything but Gabrielle -
If Xena would have called Gabrielle “Gab” on occasion, would it have then been acceptable? What about Brie? Many writers use that as well, including one specific accomplished writer that we all know. Why is Brie acceptable and Gab isn’t?

Martial arts/swords in uber-xena works -
Was it overdone in the series? If not, why do you feel it’s overdone or overused in uber-xena stories? What makes an uber-xena story anyway? What elements need to be included and which can be ignored? How far does an uber need to diverge from everything Xena related to be called an original work?

Unfinished stories –
We’ve heard this complaint/pet peeve more often than all of the other complaints combined. A two-word response could suffice: Real Life. I can never give a two-word response though. :whistling: How often, as readers, have you wandered away from a fandom for other pursuits? How many have been single and very much into online fandom, met their life partner, and suddenly online fandom didn’t seem so interesting anymore? The writers don’t owe us anything, not even a completed story. We’re the ones the owe them a lot for sharing the results of their creativity, passion, and incredible hard work. Also, if you’re frustrated at unfinished stories, remember that the blame rests completely with you. You knew the story was unfinished when you started it. ;) (Oh, I’m very guilty of this as well, and that’s why anymore I try very hard not to read works that aren’t finished.)

Overused clichéd terms such as "the blonde" or "the older woman" etc –
This is endemic of fiction across the entire spectrum, and is certainly not confined to fanfic writers. I’ve seen it in published authors that make a living writing novels. I agree, seeing less of this would be a good thing, though it’s hard to expect a fanfic writer to do something that even some of the paid professional ones don’t do. Speaking for myself alone, in fanfic, I’d like people to improve their craft, but the main thing I’m hoping for is that they are continuing to have fun with in their writing. If they strive to improve, that’s great, but if they’re happy with their writing as it is – clichéd terms and all – and are still having fun storytelling, I can easily overlook those pesky overused terms.

Incorrect sentence construction, or generally weak grammar –
Ah, if we all could be English Majors. ;) Ok, you certainly don’t need to be an English Major to spot some of the worst offenders. In running an archive site we’ve come across a few that defy description. We agree that this can be a problem. Please keep in mind that we often do not know anything about the writer before we look at their story. How old is the writer? Is English their second language? Is this the first thing they’ve ever written? Did they ever have even one English Comp class? Was that one class 30+ years ago? On our site we will return a story to the bard, if it has glaring errors, though realizing that one person’s glaring errors could be another’s small mistakes. (Like in that last sentence.) We usually include a few simple recommendations, and advice to find a beta reader. Some do, some don’t, and some try to contact a beta but fail for any number of reasons. (I’m not faulting the betas here.)

So, a few weeks or months later we receive a modestly improved version of the same story. It still has some errors, but it’s improved. Do we post it, or do we return it for additional work? It comes down to what our primary goal in running The Athenaeum is. We want to encourage those that have a desire to try their hand at writing a story to actually try it. If their first work isn’t even average after corrections, we hope that they will continue to write and improve their abilities. If we were to refuse to post anything below average even after they’ve sent us a corrected version, more than a couple of fairly popular writers over the years would have never improved their writing and stuck with this highly enjoyable pursuit. I can think of several that have actually gone on to publish one or more of their novels that had their first work rejected for serious errors, and when we posted the revised versions, the stories still had many errors.

On our site, you’re going to need to expect a variable level of quality, especially in some of the older works. If you find that a story is unreadable, and can’t find a tactful constructive way to tell the writer, you can always tell us privately – tact optional.

Stories that are basically one long paragraph –
Agreed. It makes the story impossible to read. Those always get sent back to the writer for more work.

Disclaimers –
Ok, someone finally hit a tiny pet peeve of mine in the disclaimers. Not the humorous ones, or the vaguely obnoxious ones, but the ones where the author disclaims a loving relationship between woman. Perhaps it’s unintentional, but it still strike me as odd.

I’d like to finish with a plea to keep our discussion of complaints/pet peeves as polite and as tactful as possible. My questions were not directed at specific posters - anyone that wants to comment, jump right in.

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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby calabria » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:59 pm

I agree with everything the last post said. Since I was one who griped earlier, I do want to make a clarification. The only way to learn to write is to write...mistakes and all. Nobody should resist posting a story because she is worried about grammar, spelling, cliches, etc. Posting a story is a great act of courage because you are displaying your creation and I, for one, would never write a bard directly and give editing criticism, unless she wrote me directly and asked for it. My pet peeves listed above are just a bit of a whine but never a request for anyone to stop writing stories.
And get this...stories I've thought weren't very good have been beloved by others. And that is what makes the world go round. :applause:
So write on, sisters and brothers, you have an audience waiting.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby pippinfluff » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:19 am

I wasn't complaining about unfinished stories i know real life is a pain at times etc. But sometimes stories are labelled finished and you get to the end and suprise its not. i'm just having a whine like when my brothers annoying the hell out of me but hay got to love him like i love all you writers, carry on with the good work.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Bardeyes » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:41 am

pippinfluff wrote:I wasn't complaining about unfinished stories i know real life is a pain at times etc. But sometimes stories are labelled finished and you get to the end and suprise its not. i'm just having a whine like when my brothers annoying the hell out of me but hay got to love him like i love all you writers, carry on with the good work.

If we've mislabeled a story, by all means give as a holler, and we'll change the entry. Over the last 12 or so years, I'm sure there are a fair number that are mislabeled. :|
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Dogz » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:50 am

I've been thinking about this topic and I think the only thing I can really point to is in regards to published works. It drives me crazy when I buy a book and it has very obvious spelling mistakes and they mix up the names of characters. Please for the love of all that is holy, if you are going to go to the trouble of printing a book to sell, utilize a good editor.

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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby jt » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:34 pm

I have to agree that unfinished stories are annoying, but I realize that real life
sometimes interferes. It would be nice, though, if you are not going to finish,
or are taking a long break, that you post a notice so we don't keep wondering.
Thanks to all the great bards out there for your efforts.


P. S. Note to Calliopenjo: I have a hard time reading the green print you post
against the light background. Could you switch to a darker color, please?

Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby cobbler3 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:50 am

I really have to agree with most of what bardeyes had to say.

when I started reading fanfic and came across the word candlemark, i had no clue as to what they meant, so the first thing I did was reach for ole Webster. alas, it was not listed. option #2, I googled it. while it might not be a REAL word, i now understood what the author was talking about, and that worked for me.

since i really suck at geography, and have never studied ancient anything, i never really paid attention to that. but i can understand that if that is something that you love and have studied, it could be irksome.

when i read an unfinished story i can only blame myself. normally i always check, and if it's unfinished i don't bother with it. sorry but i hate to be kept waiting. but sometimes if i start reading the recommendations, the story sounds so good that i jump in without checking. (hey, it's not really my faullt, it's all of yours for writing such good recommendations!)

i personally happen to like the disclaimers with a little attitude. i think they are put in there just to see if anyone actually reads them, mavis is really good at slipping in an off-beat comment everyonce in awhile. i also like what DAx puts in hers.

all in all, i have to say that the quality of the stories on this site is pretty good. and the talent is outstanding. some of the bard here would put to shame several published books that i have purchased.

i will get off my soapbox now, sorry i was so long wind
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby offhermeds » Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:22 pm

Calling women "the blonde" or "the brunette" or "the older woman" etc

Oh so! My favorite one to hate is "bardic thighs." I mean, really.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby Hillsys Stalker » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:10 am

Hm... I'd have to say that my biggest pet peeve would have to be any form of pillow talk. Heck, that's probably what makes reading a um... dirty scene... so awkward for me so I just kind of scroll down. So yeah, it's not that big of a deal since I can just skip over it. That's really the only pet peeve I have though.

Of course, there's always the 'love at first sight' thing. It's not that I don't believe in it; I just don't think it's that probable.
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby lynettemae » Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:15 am

I also agree with much of what Bardeyes said, especially in the area of fictional license. I had someone send me an email saying that they really enjoyed my story but then ticked off technical points about military rank structures and policy. I thanked her for her comments, but reminded her that while I try to stay factual where possible, the story is fiction and not meant to be a military procedural manual. Although, I do understand that being more knowledgable in an area can make one more sensitive to perceived errors. But actually, sometimes authors make a conscious choice to go with artistic license more than fact, because it does make better fiction. We are trying to entertain above all. :big grin:

Like many others that responded, I do believe that the level of talent assembled on the Althenaeum is remarkable. :applause: I enjoy the stories immensely! I am honored to be in such great company and am extremely grateful for all of the faithful readers. :big hug:

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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby dchick68 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:11 pm

I go along with Bardeyes , too .

Bad grammar distracts from the story , as do paragraphs that go on and on..... makes me skip a story altogether. Also not appreciated are less than ideal to read fonts and impossible to read font color / background color combinations. It puts unnecessary strain on my eyes and I haven't even hit 40 yet! Why not keep it simple? :?

While I agree with Lynette that there's something like artistic lisence it should not keep us , the readers , from giving relevant feedback to the writer. Otherwise it'll be feedback like "liked your story " . That's not really telling you ,the writer, anything. Is it? :heehee:
Another major peeve is : unfinished story's.Don't you just hate them ? :rolling eyes2: I only read unfinished stories from writer's that I know to be active. If I don't kow them I just wait.... allthough sometimes with a certain story I can't control myself and I have to read it anyway and then I have to wait ...and wait...:frustrated: Yes, real life can catch up with a writer and they may have other things to do. I know we , the readers, should be more active and give lots of feedback. I'm also guilty of the "don't know 'm , they won't appreciate it" syndrome .

Having said all this I really , really like alt fiction and the sites that host it. I sure hope that all writers know they are really appreciated and they most certainly deserve a big hand. :not worthy:
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Re: What is Your Pet Peeve?

Postby k_alexander » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:02 am

My thoughts on this topic:

1) The word "whine" is bizarrely prevalent when it comes to Gabrielle, for some reason. Now, as someone who loves words, I might just be having a personal issue - but it's a word with a very negative connotation! Rather than paint an adorable image of Gabrielle whimpering like a cute little puppy, it shows her up as a naggy irritating girl. "Griping" or "grousing" are similar words with stronger meanings.
2) Bad spelling, poor grammar and lax punctuation are unacceptable. There are language tools on every word processor, and there are tons of betas ready to help. Writing is fun, but it's also a skill that needs to be honed.
3) Sound effects during sex scenes. "Ooooohhhhh", "aaaaahhhh", "aughhhhh" and the occasional "nghghghghg" do nothing but ruin the moment and make me spit up my wine.
4) Perfection and soulmates. The most intense black-haired blue-eyed six-foot tall woman who can chop through a safe with the edge of her hand, sing an aria from "Der Zauberflote" and simultaneously knit her grammy an angora sweater at the same time... so very unappealing. Similarly, soulmates. The ending is hardly likely to surprise you, isn't it? Give me flawed any way.

With regards to feedback, I have to agree with dchick. I always ask for contructive criticism, and while I love the more prevalent "loved your story" e-mails, I get real value from substantial responses. It's not that you have to go out and re-read everything with the hope of finding something you don't like, either. If you loved a story it really helps the author if you can tell them what it is you liked - they can ascertain their strengths and weaknesses that way.
Last edited by k_alexander on Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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