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Gavin Luper
20th December 2008, 11:43 PM
WE WANT YOU!

Are you a wannabe journalist?

Hungry for recognition?

Thirsty for glory?

Then why not join the ranks of the Fanfiction Forum E-zine and send us an article for our next edition as we move into our massive THIRD year of publication?

You can write about writing, reading and theories; you can do a spotlight on a poem or underappreciated fic; you can interview a fellow member --- whatever you've got to say about the goings-on in the fanfic forum, we want to hear it!

Anyone can be a published journo, so send your articles to me via PM by the 31st December 2008to be published at the beginning of the new year!

Oh, and post here to let me know if I can expect some articles from you or not!

Cheerio, then!

Dark Sage
21st December 2008, 08:03 AM
I have one coming. It may already be in your PM box.

PancaKe
21st December 2008, 11:55 PM
Lol mine was too long for the tpm pm box. Is that a bad thing?
So I sent it to your facebook.

Gavin Luper
22nd December 2008, 05:59 AM
Sweet! Thanks guys, I've received both your articles and they look great!

Gavin Luper
2nd January 2009, 09:40 PM
~ The FanFiction Forum E-zine ~
January 2009






Contents


The Third Year, The Frost
Gavin Luper

The Evils of Perfectionism (and how to fight it)
Lady Vulpix

New Fic Spotlight: Sinister’s End
mr_pikachu

Avoiding the Trap: Updating Knox’s Ten Commandments
Dark Sage

To Be A Master
mistysakura


Good Times, Great Classic Fics: Spotlighting the Best of FanFic’s Past
PancaKe






The Third Year, The Frost
Gavin Luper

It started as an idea between friends. A fanciful “what if?”. A memory of an old presence in the Writer’s Lounge that had seemingly faded into history.

Two years on, I’m proud to present the twenty-fifth edition of the Fanfiction Forum E-zine; the first issue of 2009, our third year of publication.

But what a huge year our second outing was! 2008 saw a wave of new fics, new discussions, new members arriving and old members returning, coupled with a surge in involvement in the Fanfic Award ceremonies, the Silver Pencils and the Golden Pens, which were also this year restructured to reflect mid-year and year-end milestones for our writers. The Hall of Fame was created, to acknowledge those who have made Fanfic what it is today. There were the traditional Writing Contests and the inaugural Writing Sprints, which were both runaway successes. The Secret Santas were recently revived and were tremendously received. All the while, older traditions like the Fanfic Trivia Game, the FFRO and the Poetry Corner continued to garner activity amid a backdrop of vigorous discussion in the Writer’s Lounge.

Perhaps the biggest event of the entire year was the resignation of darktyranitar as Fanfiction moderator, having served the forum for over eighteen months. The three remaining mods, Gavin Luper, mistysakura and mr_pikachu, unable to decide on the next moderator, held a public election for the position between the two preferred candidates. Amazingly, close to forty votes were cast, with classy_cat18 surpassing PancaKe by a single vote to win the election.

We are all pleased to have Shonta aboard as the fourth mod of Fanfic, especially as we enter into a new year for Fanfic. Not only are the results of the 2008 Golden Pens due out any day now, there are many other exciting events on the horizon for 2009: a new Writing Contest, a third Hall of Fame induction and, hopefully early in the new year, the launch of the much-lauded TPM anthology of poetry, the support for which reflects the strength of the artistic community we have here on TPM.

The e-zine, too, is now arguably stronger and more relevant than ever before: This month, our resident correspondent to the stars, Lady Vulpix, takes a break from interviewing and instead explores a beast that many of us writers grapple with: perfectionism; our other regular columnist, mr_pikachu, temporarily vacates his post as Grammar Nazi to put a new fic in the public eye; Dark Sage looks at one writer’s view on the cliché in fiction; mistysakura provides another awesome instalment in the life of the fanfic writer; and PancaKe casts a reminiscent eye at the much-loved fanfics of years past.

With so much crammed into this issue, I’ll say no more other than, we hope you enjoy this latest publication, and look forward to seeing you all around the place in 2009.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!







The Evils of Perfectionism (and how to fight it)
Lady Vulpix

Perfectionism... it's a heavy burden I've been carrying my whole life. I've also known, for most of my life, that it hinders me more than it helps me, so I've been trying hard to find ways to deal with it for the last... 13 years, at least. It's hard to take it easy. http://img49.imageshack.us/img49/8914/wink26st.gif

But, ultimately, I think it all boils down to realize it what the real purpose of doing something is (especially something you do for pleasure). It's not perfection, as that can't be achieved. In the case of writing, the purpose is to enjoy ourselves and give others something they can enjoy too, isn't it? So you can improve your work as much as you want to, and if you find a little spot you don't like don't beat yourself over it. I still try to fix them when I find them, but at some points even I realize I should simply let myself be. If writings had to be perfect in order to be published, there would be no published writings... and the world would be a far worse place than it is now.

So, here I am, writing this article on the 31st of December because I've been thinking about it for weeks and haven't found anything good enough to add to it until today, just before I got out of bed in the morning, when I finally decided to at least try to do what I preach. It's a hard task, I know it too well. Too many times I've been stuck with my stories for that same reason. Even if I know the general idea of what comes next, I usually spend weeks -or even months- thinking of the details, and wondering if they will be good enough for the readers. If they will be believable enough, if the readers will view the characters in the same way I view them... and so many other questions that only manage to slow down the writing process tremendously (in addition to the lack of time to write, of course).

Now, I'm not saying anything new when I say perfection can never be achieved. We all know it. Then why does it bring us down when someone finds a flaw in our work? The answer may vary for each person, but in any case, we shouldn't let that happen. Writers are not perfect and hey, neither are readers. It's not as if a single mistake will deem you unworthy of being a writer. Most mistakes can be fixed with some work. It's harder if, for example, you realize some key event that plays a major role in how the story will unfold contradicts something you have already written. In that case, you can choose between going back and rewriting what you said before, or restructuring your plans for the future so that the new story makes sense without that event. Or maybe something in between, if that's a possibility. Either option is hard and can have negative consequences: if you take the first option too often, readers will no longer trust what they read as it would seem to be subject to change at any time, and the second option could take a very long time and may take the story in a completely different direction, perhaps even leading to a dead end. I believe, however, that there is always a way to finish a story. A perfect ending? Probably not, but once more, perfection is not the goal. You should try to write a story you like, and keep writing as long as you enjoy it.

So, to sum up, here is some advice for forum writers (I think I'll read it rather often myself).

-Remember what you're posting is a work in progress, no one will think any less of you if you make a mistake, nor if you decide to make small changes to what you've already posted in order to improve it.
-If you or anyone else finds a flaw in what you've written, it's not the end of the world and it doesn't mean you're a bad writer. It's a part of the natural course of things.
-If someone posts an offensive reply to your topic, don't let it get to you. That's his/her fault, not yours. Readers aren't perfect either.
-If someone gives you praise for your work, and you feel your next instalment won't be as good as the last one, don't be afraid and write it anyway. A good reader won't leave you just because you can't thrill him or her ALL the time. On the contrary, a good reader will help you improve your work. And who knows? Maybe your readers will like your next post more than you do. Sometimes we're our own worst critics.
-Striving to improve your work is good. Bringing yourself down because it's less than perfect is not.
-If you're stuck for a while, don't be too proud to ask for help. (And if you do that, make sure you ask someone with good intentions and some writing experience.)
-Starting something without knowing how it's going to end is not illegal. In fact, it can be an interesting experiment. Same goes for trying writing techniques with which you're not familiar. If you always stick to what you know, you'll never learn anything new and you may miss out on great things.
-And last but definitely not least, if you like writing... then WRITE!!

I now leave you with some final words by Amber Williams.
this comic (http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_852.php).

Strip quoted with permission from the author.
(07:33:04 AM) Amber Williams: Go for eet. :3








New Fic Spotlight: Sinister’s End (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17913) by Houndoom_Lover
mr_pikachu

mr_pikachu reminds you to watch for deer on the road and spoilers on your screen. A major spoiler in your view can be just as dangerous as a doe through your windshield.

Summary: Picture a young girl, living in a mysterious boarding school on an otherwise uninhabited island. When a trio of monsters slithers out her shower drain just before midnight, she must choose between fighting for the forces of evil and booking a one-way trip to hell. But is there really a choice? What consequences lie in her future? And what crazy creature will Houndoom_Lover draw next?

Plot (16/20 points): We haven’t seen much of the plot yet, but how many times do you see No Face from Spirited Away (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_away) slither out a shower faucet with its two brothers? Granted, it’s not too surprising that these ghostly-looking things support the dark side, and the idea of a grand battle between good and evil is far older than the 101-minute cliché that was Mortal Kombat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_Kombat_(film)), but the appearance of these creatures was enough of a surprise to keep things interesting through the first chapter. The laughable “choice” they offered between participating and burning in hell also made for nice characterization of the inhuman beasts and showed the true nature of their offer.

Plot Originality (6/10 points): Thus far, there’s not much to distinguish Sinister’s End (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17913) from clichés like an isolated (and mysterious!) boarding school a la Harry Potter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_potter), conflicts between good and evil predating the Bible, and even talking animals from shows like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabrina_The_Teenage_Witch). We’ll have to wait and see if this improves over the next few chapters, but right now it's a little ordinary in the fantasy realm.

Writing Style (13/20 points): A few years ago, the comic format of Sinister’s End (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17913) would have ratcheted up this score. It’s no longer an original concept on TPM, however, as it follows in the footsteps of War of the Forums (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15700), Rapagania (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16683), The Misadventues of Charles Legend (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16497 ) [sic], and To Be A Master (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17714). That’s not to say this piece isn’t enjoyable – blending text with pictures effectively is quite a challenge, and it works exceptionally when done well – but it loses the edge of innovation.
Additionally, it is sometimes very difficult to tell what’s happening in any particular panel. Certain scenes may need a little more background to establish the context. For instance, is the main character watching a horror movie before the “CRASH”? And why is slipping on the bathroom floor “weird”? Alternatively, we may just need a few more panels to fully explain such action scenes. I’m curious to see if (or how) the style will change to facilitate comprehension.

Spelling and Grammar (8/10 points): I saw a couple of typos (“uncarted”) and slight grammar errors (such as “its” instead of “it’s”) here and there. There certainly weren’t any catastrophic mistakes, but there were more little blemishes than expected for so few pages, particularly handwritten ones.

Characters (13/15 points): We haven’t been introduced to many characters, and we actually don’t know anyone’s name, but I have to give praise for the main character’s development. Through just a few actions and outbursts, we can see that she’s a clumsy scatterbrain who was “not born of a woman’s womb.” She’s clearly a bit of a drama queen, yet she appears familiar with phenomena that would shock most of us – talking cats, anyone? Curious. I really like how she injects bubbly excitement into the mix.

Settings (12/15 points): The main character lives in a castle that doubles as a boarding school, and I would assume that the rooms we’ve seen comprise just one of many housing units. The setting isn’t overly emphasized aside from the essential elements (the bed in which she lay, the cabinet under the car, the shower drain that spawned the creepy trio, etc.), but there’s enough to give us a vague idea of her home.
This might be too little if she was going to spend a lot of time at home, but I get the feeling that much of this comic is going to be spent elsewhere. So, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt for now. The central setting, however, definitely needs to be shown in great detail.

Overall Appreciation (8/10 points): Again, there’s little advantage from the comic format’s originality, but Sinister’s End (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17913) is still fun right now. We’ll see what direction it takes in the future.

Final Result: 76/100 = 76%.

Closing Comments: This fic needs something more to stand out from the crowd. Simply making a comic is no longer enough, so I’m hoping to see layers of intrigue beyond the upcoming tournament itself. In terms of style, the action needs to be explicitly obvious. It’s a different challenge than a written fic since you can’t say in a comic, “She slipped on a wet patch on the tile and fell down.” Actions have to be shown in still frames without a word of explanation. It’s a tricky task that requires careful choreography.
The devil is in the details, as the audience doesn’t know anything beyond what they’re shown. A good comic artist has to think in the perspective of the audience to find any gaps in that visual explanation. The audience should feel as though they’re a part of this world without having to work to interpret everything. That’s the main weakness of this fledgling fic. If the clarity of setting and action is improved, Sinister’s End (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17913) could be a very strong piece.







Avoiding the Trap: Updating Knox’s Ten Commandments
Dark Sage

When an author writes fiction, any fiction at all, he must avoid one serious trap – writing a situation that is a cliché. A story that has clichéd situations is a bad story, for many reasons. But some writers can’t help themselves sometimes. They have a hard time coming up with things that are completely fresh, and often wind up with situations that are essentially old wine in new bottles.

This sentiment was well known to a British writer named Ronald Knox, a Catholic priest and mystery writer who lived in the early 20th century. He was a member of the Detection Club, a group that included such well-known mystery authors as Agatha Christie, E.C. Bentley, G.K. Chesterson, and Dorothy Sayers. Novels he wrote include The Viaduct Murder, Double Cross Purposes, and Still Dead

Knox disliked clichéd material, so as a nod to his being a Catholic priest, he published The Ten Commandments of Detective Fiction. This list, unfortunately, is somewhat outdated today, but we can still apply it to modern writing.

Here is Knox’s list:

If you write such stories, thou shalt obey these laws:

1. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.

2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.

6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

7. The detective must not himself commit the crime.

8. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.

10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

(The proceeding information was taking from the Gotham Writers Workshop, researcher uncredited.)

Now, just by reading this list, you probably figure that all of it is outdated, and that modern fiction breaks these laws all the time. And you likely wonder what mystery fiction has to do with other forms of fiction.

Well, Knox had to be one heck of a writer to get into the same club as Agatha Christie. His Commandments are still useful, and can be updated for modern times, so long as you analyze them.

So, let’s take them in order…

1. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader is allowed to follow.

The second part of this rule is a very good safety tip for a mystery story. Knox is saying that the culprit’s thoughts should not be open to the reader, because thoughts concerning the crime could not be concealed if they were.

The first part is a good safety tip for any fiction at all. The villain who is going to give the heroes the most trouble should at least be mentioned early. Even if the heroes only deal with his cohorts for most of the story, they should know what their goal is.

Of course, if a hidden danger exists that is behind the most visible villain, this is okay. But, it must be handled with care. It should not come as a complete surprise at the end. Hints should be dropped along the way that, perhaps, the one whom the heroes are fighting is just a part of a bigger picture. That way, readers won’t feel deceived, and you don’t fall into the cliché.

2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

Knox was a firm believer that in detective stories, the culprit should be human. He wasn’t opposed to fantasy, but he thought that such things were for other writers. The supernatural and almost-supernatural tended to ruin the setting of mystery stories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expressed this in Sherlock Holms’ epic case, The Hound of the Baskervilles where it was implied that the killer was a supernatural beast. In truth, it was really a savage, but very mortal dog, whose hellish appearance was obtained by phosphorous.

This rule may be useful in one regard – it is important to keep genres from spilling over into one another. If you want to do a crossover, fine, but make sure the genres match. (And before anyone mentions it, I’m guilty of breaking this safety tip. Possibly my worst fanfiction ever was a crossover where the genres didn’t match, and I’m not gonna provide a link to it.)


3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

What Knox was concerned about was the fact that secret rooms, doors, and passages were so common in mystery fiction, they were almost expected, and they often were key to the most important clues.

In more modern fiction, we can imply this rule to objects that turn up a great deal in such stories. Using old objects in new ways to get a point across may work. Take Hagrid, the groundskeeper of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books. His wand had been broken after he had been expelled, so he concealed the broken pieces in an umbrella, which made a makeshift wand. An umbrella that doubles as a magic wand is certainly unique, and Rowling could have applied the theme to a lot of similar objects. Go for the unexpected. Tired of old oil lamps that hold genies? No-one uses oil lamps for light anymore anyway. Maybe someone found something else that could hold a genie.

4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

Possibly the worst type of cliché is the deus ex machina, the unlikely solution to a problem that comes from nowhere and rescues the heroes at the last minute. It seems like divine intervention whenever it happens, and says that God somehow favors the heroes of the story. Even if a miracle happens, there should be some reasoning behind it.

The same thing is true for villains, however, which is what Knox meant by this rule. This rule may be a little outdated (modern fictions of all sorts use new chemicals and technological devices all the time) but there should always be an explanation for them. If an assassin uses a poison that only three government agencies know how to make, be prepared to explain how he got it. Even in the world of fantasy, you can only push the envelope of believability so far.

5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.

This seems like a racist comment, but it made sense to Knox. In his time period, when a suspicious-looking Asian man showed up in a mystery novel, you could almost guarantee that it meant bad news. The stereotype was out of control in the literary world, and Knox had to include this to try to stop it.

In modern fiction, we can use this rule to make a good one of our own: Avoid stereotypes of all sorts. No-one likes them, no-one appreciates them, and they’re clichéd. This is why The Sopranos got so much bad press. On the other hand, if you include a character that goes completely against the established stereotype for his race or position, you may wind up with an interesting character.

The same goes with locations. The Yu-Gi-Oh anime, for example, has long been centered in the fictitious Domino City, located in Japan (exactly which island, we don’t know, but it seems to be based on Tokyo in the same way Gotham City is based on New York). Most fanfic writers follow suit, and place Yu-Gi-Oh fanfictions in a Japanese setting. I went against this grain once with Dark Messiah, placing the whole story in New York City, but there’s nothing that says a fanfic using the Yu-Gi-Oh elements must be in any well-known location at all. In the anime world, the game that they play is globally known, so you can use any location at all, and not restrict yourself to the same old thing.


6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

Another rule about the dreaded deus ex machina. It applies to heroes far more than it applies to villains. Heroes should earn their victories, and this plot device should be avoided at all costs.

7. The detective must not himself commit the crime.

Basically, Knox was saying that the hero trying to solve the crime should not be the one who committed it. It goes without saying that unless you are planning a story where the bad guy is supposed to be the main character, you shouldn’t reveal at the end that the hero was the one behind all the misfortunes all along. Even if he was doing something questionable in secret, there should be someone else behind it.

People have played with this idea from time to time. There are stories I’ve heard of where the hero has a multiple personality, he doesn’t know it, and he has no idea that the person he is looking for is his other personality. (And that might make an interesting story, in fact.) Clearly, an outright case of the hero deceiving the readers should be avoided, but if the hero can be responsible for the villain’s actions while trying to stop them at the same time… Well, such a story would take a lot of work just to explain, and might be very original indeed.


8. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

This means that anything the hero knows in relation to the current situation, the reader should know. The hero can still have his secrets, but if the readers don’t know vital information, future situations can be ruined.

In modern fiction, whether a hero keeps something secret from the readers or not depends mostly on when he intends to make use of it. For example, I write Yu-Gi-Oh fanfiction, and in a duel, even in the actual anime, it’s quite common for a duelist to glance at the card he has drawn, decide to save it for later, and not let the readers know what it is until he actually uses it. It’s usually something that will play a big part of the duel in a later scene. However, for more vital information (such as Misty’s reason for wanting to kill Aki in a recent episode), it was important that it be revealed as soon as possible (which it was, right when Misty confronted Aki). Basically, don’t save everything for the end – save for the end what’s meant to save for the end.

9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.

In other words, any character designated as a sidekick must not outshine the hero and save the day. This sentiment, of course, is ignored many times in modern fiction. (I can’t remember the number of times that Robin – any of them – has done something that Batman owes his life to.)

This may be a case when Knox was on the wrong track. The sidekick likely shouldn’t be less intelligent than the average reader, or the hero won’t survive. Harry wouldn’t have lasted to his third year if Hermione were on the level of most of the folks who read the books. Still, a sidekick shouldn’t eclipse the hero entirely, unless the sidekick is the true hero of the story. If that is the case, the fact should be established early on. And even the true supporting cast should not be thought of as expendable dolts. Heroes cannot do everything themselves.

10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

Ah, yes, the “twin-gets-someone-in-trouble plot device”! This has literally been used for centuries, ever since Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night, and continues to the present day. A classic example of a clichéd plot. Practically every hero faces an “evil twin” of himself at one point (or more) in his career, and unfortunately, folks never seem to get tired of this situation. Sometimes, this specific situation may be necessary, but it seems to be used all the time.

Basically, if any situation in fiction has been done as often as this one has (I can list a dozen off the top of my head) it’s a cliché that should be avoided. If you’re a good writer, you can think of something better than situations that have been done to death in other works of fiction.


The biggest problem with fiction is, as the years go by, more and more of it is produced, and it becomes harder to think up ideas that are truly original. With fanfiction, it’s even harder, as you are already using a pre-existing work as your base. The sign of a good writer is to think up something truly original.

Knox had the right idea. If he were alive today, he might update his Ten Commandments for the modern world of writing, and whatever he came up with might teach us a few things. After all, a writer who was accepted into the Detection Club likely wrote some pretty good stuff.







To Be A Master
mistysakura

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/41.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/42.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/43.jpg

All pictures courtesy of Pokemon Nightmare (http://www.pokenightmare.com)
This issue was partly inspired by the NCIS episode "Dead Man Talking".






Good Times, Great Classic Fics: Spotlighting the Best of FanFic’s Past
PancaKe

After being in a very reminiscent mood the past few months, and digging through old fics and stories that have been lost, or that have been found – and rereading those classic fics that really stood out from the crowd for their originality, their writing style, their characters and their sheer awesomeness, I thought it would only be fair to highlight the fics that made the fanfic forum what it is today.

So this month, we’re backtracking to a fic that dominated the Trainer Fic genre, a fic that’s topic was referred to as a spam-hole, a fic that made others green, or shall we say, emerald, with jealousy! (Oh okay, that joke was terrible.)


The Emerald League
by Captain Pringle.

Following Captain Pringle’s first trainer fic, Michael’s Pokemon Journey and written alongside comedy anime-spoof fic The Adventures of Firewood Ketchup and His Friends Cloudy and Sock, The Emerald League burst onto the fanfic boards on the 14th of June, 2001, and was completed three years later, on August 6th, 2004. TEL tells the story of young Bryce Westfahl’s journey through Emerald Island, claiming badges and developing strong bonds with his team.

[I]He wrapped his arms around me and gave me one last hug before sending me out into the unknown wilderness of the Emerald Island. I admit I was somewhat scared of what might be out there, but at least I was now a pokémon trainer. And I would be the first one to go through the Emerald League. Furthermore, I might be the credited for discovering new species of pokémon! I couldn’t wait to see what was out there.[I]

Bryce Westfahl’s journey starts off simply, travelling with his father, a great pokemon researcher, to Emerald Island, and coming across a weak and paralysed Shellder whilst walking along the beach.

From these humble beginnings, Bryce goes out into the wilderness, one of the first trainers to explore the terrain and challenge the league. He encounters new types of pokemon, new people, forms friendships with his pokemon and his people. He encounters plenty of obstacles along the way, which alongside his team, he fights to overcome.

All in all, The Emerald League is one of the better written trainer fics, from an era where every second story fit the genre. It’s characters, although original, still somewhat fit the cliché moulds that come with the genre, but a new setting and a new league add enough spice to make The Emerald League stand out from the rest.

I caught up with Captain Pringle recently, and we took a walk down memory lane as he told talked about TEL and his writing.

PancaKe: What made you want to write another trainer fic?
Captain Pringle: Well, first of all, I had a blast writing my first trainer fic [Michael’s Pokemon Journey]. If you go back and read it, it's pretty ridiculous how badly it starts out (it was the first major story I had ever written). So over the course of that fic, you can really see my growth as a writer, from absolute boring newbie to... I dunno, some glimpse of a half-decent writing style and maybe even a little original plot on occasion. So to answer the question, with TEL, I think I just wanted to take another crack at the whole trainer fic thing, but with my training wheels already off this time.

PancaKe: What were some of your inspirations whilst writing TEL?
Captain Pringle: Inspirations… that’s a tough one. A lot of the story is the pokémon battles, and I don't really know where most of that stuff came from other than my vivid imagination (well, that one air-platform arena in the pokemon league probably came from playing too much smash bros. melee :p).

I think the general tone of the story is set by the main character, Bryce, since the story is written in first-person POV in a way that tries to let the reader think and feel along with him. So as for inspiration for Bryce... a lot of him naturally came from my own personality back then: the way he interacts with his dad over a cup of hot chocolate, the way he interacts with people in general, and ultimately the way he thinks. I'm not experienced enough a writer to write first-person POV for a person completely different than myself, so that's just how it went by default.

PancaKe: What was your favourite thing about writing TEL?
Captain Pringle: I think my favorite thing about TEL was that it was big enough and long enough that, at the end of it all, I could look back with nostalgia at the beginning of my own story. I love being able to create a story, a character, and a world, and stick with it for a loooong time, and really get to know it and see it fleshed out. Now, I think I failed at this in some significant ways with TEL (lack of character development, especially), but it remains my favorite thing about it. Writing the crazy 20,000-word final battle of TEL was only as fun as it was, to me, because I could look back at the previous 80,000 words and see those now-super-powerful pokemon back when they were still a cute little shellder and a feisty little chikorita eating marshmallows together.

PancaKe: What about the hardest thing about writing TEL? Or the most challenging?
Captain Pringle: The hardest thing about this fic was finishing it!! Haha... the poor readers back then had to wait 6+ months between the final chapters. So bad of me!! ^_^; Ah, but aside from that, I'd say the hardest thing about the actual content of the fic was keeping a focus on developing the pokemon's personalities as they grew up. I distinctly remember you [PancaKe] being brave enough to give me some honest (and very insightful) constructive criticism about exactly that point, and I couldn't agree more. I tried to work on this a bit in the final chapters, but in the scope of the whole story, I feel like they still lost a lot of their personality.

PancaKe: What do you think when you look back at TEL now? What do others who knew about it think?
Captain Pringle: My fiancée finds it hilarious that I still get asked about these pokemon stories from before she even knew me. It makes her laugh every time I mention it.

[center]The Emerald League can be found here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TB0TJBGM

Dark Sage
3rd January 2009, 08:02 AM
Not bad. I was glad to see that very little was changed in my article. Ada's comic strip was good too and the interviews were nice.

I just worked all night so I'm tired. I might give a more thorough review later.

Houndoom_Lover
3rd January 2009, 12:14 PM
*takes a ritualistic sip of my early morning after breakfest water- goes to read this E-zine*

O.O PFffffffffffft! Water is everywhere- Comical Spit take! But, Oh my gosh. ^w^ EEee! Thanks for reviewing my new story, even if it is still in its youth. And catching those typoes, which I would have never ever caught in a bajillion years. (Here I made a note to go fix them) <- World's worst proofreader.

The main issue I had with chapter one is I had to condence it at the last second >w<. My orginal storyboard was 27 pages long, but I you have to get good at condencing some time in your life! ^_^

AAah, it was those awful right hand side pannels -w- I'm going to have to redo them somehow. Somehow...I'll be sure to improve of those thing next chapter! Thank you again for that though. Wow. What a great day so far!

E-zine day is always a great day! I can't wait to see the continuation of the on going E-zine comic, and the articals were tasty good. Knox’s Ten Commandments may go on the wall, but I'm not sure how Kurt would feel about sharing the wall with another list.

And a nice litte interview- they're always good! Good stuff guys, gold star! *curls up like a sandshrew and beatboxs' my way outta there*

Edit: GASP! First E-zine of New Year!

Gavin Luper
3rd January 2009, 12:49 PM
Not bad. I was glad to see that very little was changed in my article.

Aside from changing the semi-colon in the title to a full colon, I don't think I touched it at all, unless the spell-check picked something up. My editorial approach is generally to let you guys write what you want and I'll proofread and edit any glaring errors but other than that I'll go ahead and publish it, unless it's inherently offensive or inappropriate for the forum in some way.

In regards to the article itself, as a reader and a writer I disagree with several of the "commandments", especially the first and seventh ones. I read a fantastic mystery novel once where we followed the thoughts of the lead character as one-by-one the group was murdered by one of their own, and only at the very end did the reader realise that the lead character (whose first person narrative was very likeable) was the killer all along. It was a total head trip, but it made for a thrilling and very unexpected conclusion, which I'd say is a successful piece of writing.

Moreover, your claim that "a story that has clichéd situations is a bad story" seems really totalising, although I get where it's coming from. While it's generally good to think up fresh stuff and steer clear of stale ideas, I don't think cliches and stereotypes need to be avoided altogether, just treated with a lot of caution. Fiction relies on cliches and stereotypes to function, as there are recognisable patterns within every genre that define that genre; thus, cliched situations are to some extent quite essential - the thing is, they just need to be presented in a way that is fresh and engaging for the audience. I reckon if you read an entire novel where every single character was forced to be a non-stereotypical character, and every plot device and situation was made intentionally non-cliche, it could possibly become a frustrating experience purely because it tries too hard to break the norm in every way, rather than forming what might be a more organic story. That's purely my take on matters, though.

Lady Vulpix
3rd January 2009, 02:07 PM
I loved Ada's strip. Go, Royalblue/Magenta!

And the editorial was great too!

Seeing Brian post a fic review in the E-Zine was a surprise; I don't like dissecting fics like that, but I think he did a good job and I applaud his effort.

I never got to read The Emeral League, but it's nice to see old fics get some attention, and I liked the interview.

As for the commandments... sorry, but I don't agree with most of them. I don't like recipies for writing, I think they limit creations too much and result in repetitive and unoriginal stories. Assigning labels to characters and defining their traits and possible courses of actions according to their labels is not a good idea, in my opinion. Real people don't fit into any labels. Why should fictional characters be different? Anyway, I think this can serve as a guideline for writers who don't have a clear picture of what his/her story and characters will be like. You can start with a pre-fabricated idea and then start building from there in order to create something new. But I would call them 'suggestions' rather than 'commandments'.

Dark Sage
3rd January 2009, 04:19 PM
Gavin: Fair enough. That sounded like quite an interesting story you mentioned.

LV: I'm sure that Knox meant them as suggestions too. He likely just didn't like the obvious copycat writers who were writing stuff in his time. (The word "Commandments" came from his nod to being a priest.)

I didn't mean these as guidlines, and I know have been broken several times. I just think that obvious cliches tend to cheapen a story and make it boring. That was the idea I was trying to get across. Like Gavin said, maybe some cliched material is good, to a point, but not if it's too obvious.

classy_cat18
7th January 2009, 06:39 PM
Hey there! Fanfiction's classy kitty is here to ask you to help me with next month's E-zine! Just a few suggestions:

- Interviews with fanficcers and the TPMers who love their work
- Reviews of fics that catch the eye
- Advice, rants and raves of anything fanfiction-related

Post here if you're planning to submit an article. Please PM all articles to me by midnight of January 31, 2008. That's Central Time, people! I look forward to seeing what you got!

classy_cat18
1st February 2009, 06:45 PM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine
February 2009






My Turn! Mine! Mine!
classy_cat18

Conversations with the Stars – MeLoVeGhOsTs
Lady Vulpix

New Fic Spotlight: Show-Off by Chris 2.1
mr_pikachu

Submission
mistysakura

The Thrill of Battle
classy_cat18

Loveless Love
mr_pikachu






My Turn! Mine! Mine!
classy_cat18


It's my privilege as the newest moderator of the Fanfic forum to bring you this month's issue of the E-zine! Last month was a good start for the year of 2009, with many of us seeing enough snow to last us five lifetimes! And those of us in the Southern Hemisphere had the pleasure of baking in the summer sun!

For upcoming events, we have a new Writing Contest as well as a Writing Sprint to challenge our imaginations! And Gavin is still working on a Poetry project that's so secret it might as well be locked in a safe and buried a thousand feet below his house! The Fanfic Trivia Game has once again picked up speed! Members return, fics continue, and promising newbies show their faces!

...Okay, enough with the exclamations.

The feminine fox, Lady Vulpix, has brought to us an interesting interview with MeLoVeGhOsTs. Our resident Grammar Nazi has a new fic spotlight on Chris 2.1's newest masterpiece as well as a month-appropriate view on a specific kind of love. Ada, or mistysakura, provides a muse on submissions. And yours truly has pulled together an oh-so-short piece on the reality of Pokemon battles in tribute to the violent yet thrilling tradition known as the Super Bowl. So without further ado...







Conversations with the Stars – MeLoVeGhOsTs
Lady Vulpix


Lady Vulpix: When did you first start writing?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Uh, when I was 16 years old, I wrote mostly poems. I did, however, started my own fantasy worlds, with pokemon, gym leaders, the whole shabbang, when I was 14.

Lady Vulpix: Have you been writing (or plotting) trainer fics since then?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Yes.
I wanted to write a fic, since otherwise nobody would ever find out about my 'region', so I tried several attempts at a trainer fic which didn't get any further than two chapters, or some plotting.

Lady Vulpix: What stopped you from finishing them?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Lack of interest, especially lack of replies and just the fact that my english was way too limited.
Even now, I'll need proofreading from someone else for my next chapter.

Lady Vulpix: Have you asked anyone?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Not yet, I'm not sure who would do this for me, who has the time, and the expierence. Since mr.pikachu told me to get it proofread, I was thinking of asking him, but he seems pretty busy. If you know somebody I'd appreciate it.

Lady Vulpix: Well, I could try. English is a second language for me too, but I think I'm fluent enough by now.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: I'd really appreciate it. I really appreciate constructive critism all around since it really gets me somewhere.
Lady Vulpix: :)

Lady Vulpix: How much do you feel your writing has improved throughout the years?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Well, my writing was never any good, so it must have improved. But not by really writing, but just by getting some more expierence with english as my third language.

Lady Vulpix: You speak three languages? Cool! Which ones are they?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Well not fluently, but as you might have seen in my post in PCG, Belgium has three languages: Dutch, French and German.
We get french from the age of 11 and german from the age of 16.
So I speak Dutch and French as my first two languages, even though I suck at french compared to most flemish people. I don't include german since I only got three years of German lessons.
So dutch and french, and english as my third language.

Lady Vulpix: When did you begin to learn English?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: At the age of 14 we started english class in school, but I knew this and that before that from watching the simpsons, friends and many more english shows.

Lady Vulpix: Have you written anything in Dutch?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Yes, a few scribbled short stories when I was back in high school, even an erotic short story, which received good comments, even from a teacher o_O

Lady Vulpix: That's impressive.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Well, looking back at it, it probably sucked ass. But yeah, I was 15.

Lady Vulpix: Why did you decide to post your work on TPM?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Well, I read a few stories there (trainerfics or not) and it seemed like a pretty cool place for writers, including pokemon fiction. As it was the only place where there were enough readers for someone to notice and read the fic, the choice was obvious.

Lady Vulpix: And you've also done your share of posting on other people's fics.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: I like reading, more than writing. I have a great sense of imagination (a man can brag, right?), so I can pretty much visualize most things and many fics often come out amazing.
Painted words really attract me.
And commenting on one's fic is as natural as breathing, seeing that I would want comments on my own fic.
Lady Vulpix: ^_^

Lady Vulpix: What do you mean by 'painted words'?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Words that really describe the way a scenery looks. Original, creative words or sentences that when I read them I say 'waw' or 'cool'.
Lady Vulpix: Ah. :)
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Is there any proper term for such words?
Like the way Tolkien can describe the landscape.
Lady Vulpix: I'm not sure. Imagery, perhaps.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Yeah, something like that. Doesn't matter;)

Lady Vulpix: How do you feel about trainer fics these days?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Like chris posted in the previous e-zine. It's personally the best sort of pokemon fic I can imagine. I like history, and I like the way that characters can look back at the beginning of their journey and make whatever speculations about it. I also like evolution and a trainer fic is ideal for that. It's a pity it's dying, but perhaps it's better that half of the trainer fics are gone.
Most of them were about ash, and animé related characters, which I don't really like.
Even though pokemon is surrealistic, I like it when realistic moments are included.
The characters in most trainerfics are teens, adolescents mostly, so they aren't black and white. The greyzone is the most important one, where they struggle with their personality, their goals, and even their sexlife.

Lady Vulpix: Weren't there also many fics that contained new characters, but always doing the same things and going through the same situations?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: That's correct, and the foundation of most trainer fics can't be changed. The mandatory 'get starter, get more pokemon, beat gym leaders, get badges, go to league, win/lose, end' can't be avoided. But you can work around it with a side plot, or a chance of events.

Lady Vulpix: How hard is it to make a trainer fic original enough to attract readers?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Very hard I guess, I don't know if I'll succeed in it, but in general, very hard. Chris made a nice adjustment by getting rid of the gym leaders and getting the whole 'village' thingy in TPML, but it's not the same as journeying.
Actually, besides 'very hard', I can't really answer the question.

Lady Vulpix: Was about the made-up pokemon you have included in your fic? What's the story behind their creation?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Well, me, my brother and our neighbourhood friend got together and played some pokemon (acting like pokemon and trainers, you know, kids stuff); and we always made fakemon and drew them, giving them stats, attacks, evolutions, etc. Eventually we made up our own game, and those pokemon were the starters, which ironically I designed, so I don't have to fear them charging me in court.

Lady Vulpix: Where's the irony, and why would you be charged in court?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Lol, since they could sue me for using their ideas. It was a joke, I already told you I have a bad sense of humor.
Lady Vulpix: It's OK, written jokes are usually hard to notice.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Yeah, writing sucks. Which was another joke. *shrugs*

Lady Vulpix: If it weren't, it would make you a masochistic writer.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Perhaps that's a title I'd appreciate. Gotta play special right.
Lady Vulpix: Hehe.

MeLoVeGhOsTs: Any more questions?
Lady Vulpix: Impatient, are you? :P
MeLoVeGhOsTs: lol, it's just that I have to go in ten minutes and I wouldn't want the interview to be un-finished.


Lady Vulpix: OK, then just this question and the last one. How do you feel about the current situation of the Fanfic forum?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: I think it has great members, and a lof of them really got potential, or are already awesome. Just a pity the activity isn't what it used to be, but perhaps that's the time of the year, or just a downphase for now.

Lady Vulpix: I hope that's just it.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: So do I.

Lady Vulpix: So, is there anything you'd like to say to this great community?
MeLoVeGhOsTs: Yeah, keep writing, keep posting, keep replying and mother told me that you guys should stop scaring her. She's afraid of fanfic humor.
Lady Vulpix: XD

Lady Vulpix: Thank you.
MeLoVeGhOsTs: lol. No, thank you. It was an honor to be interviewed for the e-zine. Just hope my humor didn't scare you off.
*hears mother shouting*
uh..yeah.






New Fic Spotlight: Show-Off (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18082) by Chris 2.1
mr_pikachu


mr_pikachu reminds you to steer clear of viruses during the winter months. A bout of mono can spread just as quickly as bad writing on Fanfiction.net.


Plot (15/20 points): A pretty entertaining start. The beginning of the fic has clearly established a few possible avenues on which it could continue. That took a lot of forethought. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed by the stark division between Milo’s two goals. It seemed like he totally forgot about Chuck as soon as the possibility of showing up his sister was presented. Perhaps this was just an accident in how those scenes were framed, but it was a rather radical shift that took away from some of the cohesiveness of the first chapter. I’m hoping that those two divergent goals can somehow be blended in future chapters – or at least, that both of them will be considered.


Plot Originality (9/10 points): Right off the bat we were presented with a major twist; the so-called “League Reclassification.” That was a fantastic way to start this long-awaited fic, especially since it’s something I wouldn’t have guessed from the previews. While contest fics still aren’t exactly the norm, they’ve been done before. This idea of a League Reclassification, on the other hand, has almost never been done in the past. (At least, it’s rarely done well – it’s usually just an excuse for stereotypically bad Mary Sues). This fic’s logic was very sound in contrast, and that makes me excited about what twists are yet to come.


Writing Style (16/20 points): This relates a bit to the setting, but the descriptions were very well planned. It was easy to sense different moods from the detailed descriptions of our two primary locales. As a result, readers should be able to immerse themselves in the characters’ world and become oblivious to the amount of text they’re reading. It becomes more of an interactive experience than a series of words when you can do that.

The writing format for the battle did feel a little formulaic at points, though: “Pokémon, do this!” Things happened when the Pokémon followed its trainer’s orders. While there are some instances during a battle in which you can’t avoid some reptition, it would be nice if the patterns were mixed up whenever possible to make the combat feel more fluid. The structure of contest battles may make that particularly challenging, so we’ll see whether the format can be improved in future chapters.


Spelling and Grammar (7/10 points): In the first half of the chapter there were a few typos that could have easily been avoided. Words like “aLeague” along with the fantasy Gym Leader “Clear” should be easy to catch in editing. I don’t usually mark off more than one or two points for spelling and grammar unless it’s a serious problem (which this wasn’t), but several of these typos probably could have been caught by Microsoft Word. It’s the sort of problem that’s easy to fix but an obvious detriment if left unchecked.


Characters (11/15 points): Pretty good characterization for this stage of the fic. I liked the sibling rivalry between Milo and Mia in particular, and Chuck was also an interesting figure. Admittedly, though, Meredith’s demeanor toward her son didn’t seem very realistic to me – she only pays attention to him if he’s doing contests? – and I wasn’t sold on the brief appearances of Vivienne or June. Still, there’s plenty of time to develop those last two if they’re going to appear further, and they were decent enough extras otherwise.


Settings (14/15 points): The settings here were fantastic. From a rocky cliff high above the sea to the elegant Mitchelson manor, we had just enough details to immerse ourselves in most of the locales. I was also impressed with the way in which the settings were used, not merely described. That is, we didn’t just see the pool, we saw Vulpix gingerly walking around it. We didn’t just see a mountain, but we saw Poliwrath bashing boulders at its peak. While I was hoping that the battleground for Milo vs. Mia would have been a little more important through the course of the match, it was still good to have all the details beforehand to create a clear mental picture.


Overall Appreciation (10/10 points): Despite a few minor points of criticism, this is a very promising start from a writer who has proven himself many times in the past. An original concept with well-defined characters, a clear direction and an intricately defined world... it’s is a great choice for anyone who wants a new fic to read.


Final Result: 82/100 = 82%


Closing Comments: This concept is very original when compared with many trainer fics, as we already have multiple plotlines. The tests for this story will probably be twofold: can those plotlines be intertwined, and will they continue to keep us guessing? Assuming that the writing style continues in its present form, potential readers can feel certain of an engaging fic. The elusive elements of cohesiveness and unpredictability may be the key to putting this piece over the top. I, for one, look forward to seeing more.








Submission
(a little ad break/musing)
by mistysakura

Submission: it’s a funny word, isn’t it? It can mean defeat, prostrating yourself before your foes. It can mean humbling yourself, transforming into a piece of putty at the hands of your superiors. Or, in the world of writing, it can mean putting a little fragment of your soul into a white envelope and mailing it off, waiting a seemingly endless wait, suspecting the worst: that your baby has been passed over without a glance. But the funniest thing about submissions is how they metamorphose from duckling to swan once they make the leap from submission to publication. Suddenly, your little piece of writing has been declared superior. Instead of being a subordinate, you have been given authority, both figuratively and literally. It’s like horoscopes in the newspaper: although you know that the face behind the words is probably the humblest intern, predicting the fate of Aries between coffee rounds and photocopying, you can’t help but be swayed, even ever so slightly, by their words; after all, they’re good enough to be in print, aren’t they? Thus, the writer controls the world for a day.

Perhaps I’m a drama queen, but that’s what goes through my head every time I sit at my computer on the last day of the month (or the first day of the month -- it’s still the thirty-first in America, I tell you!), trying to churn out a last-minute article for the Fanfic Forum E-zine. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too late to organize an interview or do a Spotlight by then, so I’m always stuck doing opinion pieces, and writing opinion pieces can be scary. Although the e-zine’s no TIME Magazine, it still has a steady readership which respects what its writers have to say. In some ways, writing for the e-zine could be worse than writing for a widely circulated publication, because I know my readers. They’re my equals. Why should I be telling them how to write? Why should they listen to this mistysakura girl who hasn’t put a fic on the board since last May? …Why are you still reading this line anyway?

And then I think: I can’t be the only one thinking this way… I may be weird, but no more so than anyone else on TPM… So, if weird minds think alike, it’s a wonder we get any articles for the e-zine at all! So that’s why us mods spend our thirty-firsts filling in e-zine space! But then… why does anyone at all write for the e-zine? Why bother having an e-zine at all?

I try putting myself in the shoes of our e-zine writers, attempting to understand why these modest souls are so confident about their writing that they feel qualified to instruct others in the art of writing. Perhaps they could help me out a little.

Then I realize that it isn’t that these people feel qualified as instructors. What they are doing is the same as what everyone on the forum does every day: sharing their opinions on writing. Publication does not make their opinion high and mighty, because what ends up in publication was originally just a submission.

Vague and theoretical, eh? I’ll try to explain a bit better… Submission cuts two ways. On the one hand, have you ever heard of superiors submitting things to their subordinates? Submission means you’re sharing something, offering an idea to the world, and receiving feedback on it. A submitter isn’t supposed to be sitting on a high horse handing down gospel. So, what you’re submitting doesn’t have to be perfect, or even better than anyone else’s ideas. Lady Vulpix wrote in an article last month that if writing had to be perfect to get published, we’d have a lot fewer published works in the world. Similarly, if e-zine articles had to hold the mysterious secrets to perfect writing, you probably wouldn’t put them in the e-zine, but go off and write your own masterpiece and be rich and famous (or sell those secrets to me and get rich that way, if it suits your fancy).

E-zine articles are really just longer versions of Fanfic posts – they’re just comments on writing. And like comments, they don’t have to be perfect to help. They just have to offer a new opinion to the reader, or put an opinion in a new way, so that the reader can analyse it and come to their own conclusions. Articles are also a bit like literary theory in that there are no right answers. There have been many articles that present opposing viewpoints, but they are all valuable because they get readers thinking about those viewpoints. In fact, several times I have vehemently disagreed with e-zine authors, but I realized that it was through rebutting their arguments and getting all upset that I founded my own opinions on good writing. That’s one great thing about the e-zine: it’s not a one-way process – through submitting an article, you get to share your ideas and see what everyone else thinks on your topic of choice. Submitting isn’t about being good enough; it’s something everyone can do.

On the other hand, because articles are merely submissions by like-minded individuals, it’s important for readers to remember that they’re only opinions. I doubt anyone idolizes Fanfic Forum E-zine articles, but when I read interviews or writing guides by authors I respect, sometimes I forget that the author is only human, and only one human at that. What works for them may not work for me. Although something like ‘show, don’t tell’ may be cited as a golden rule of writing by many, if I find some benefit in my own writing from breaking a rule with reason, that rule should not bind me. Writing is meant to be a creative activity and strict universal rules on how to write go against that definition. So, just because something is published doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Published works aren’t magic; they started out life as mere submissions, lucky enough to be exhibited to the world.

As this e-zine ad break draws to an end, I would like to encourage everyone reading this (if there are any of you left by now) to submit something, if not to this e-zine, perhaps to a newspaper or an anthology. The opportunities are too many to waste, and hitting the ‘send’ button is no difficult feat. And my fellow writers might kill me for this, but as you read the rest of this e-zine, remember that each author’s opinion is of equal value to yours (the Grammar Nazi is possibly an exception). Feel free to expand on their theories, and agree or disagree with them. In particular, if you disagree, tell us why, as your reply will inspire us, too.

(P.S. My argument that every article is but an opinion is in itself but an opinion… but then… argh my head hurts…)







The Thrill of Battle
classy_cat18

Random Quote:
"You're a bloody coward who's missing his innards!" - Pesche, Bleach


It’s the first of February. To some, it’s be just another Sunday. To others, it’s time for some major FOOTBALL! WHOO! SUPER BOWL!

…Nah, I’m not a fan. I just like the ads.

To non-Americans and those who don’t follow sports, maybe this will help you with the subject of my article:

PIKACHU used Thundershock!

It’s super effective!

MUDKIP is paralyzed! It may be unable to move!

If you’re writing a Pokemon fanfiction, chances are you’ll be writing Pokemon battles that are hopefully more descriptive than the one seen above. One thing that you might strive for in creating these is realism, especially if your story has a realistic style. But reality is more intense and more dangerous than fantasy, so keep these tips in mind:

Reality hurts. A lot. If a Charizard blasts your Pikachu in real life (assuming that they exist in real life), it’s highly likely that it’ll do more than just turn into a pile of charcoal with wide eyes. It’s the same thing for most other Pokemon. If they get poisoned, it can affect them very badly and quickly. Freezing can bring about hypothermia. Their muscles can be sprained. Their bones can be broken. They can bruise, bleed, and even die. Make sure your Zangoose has some restraint before it uses that Crush Claw, unless you want to be booted out of the Pokemon League because the opponent was disemboweled.

Humans are neither invincible nor fearless. Even Ash Ketchum was scared shitless (pardon my French) sometimes in the anime. Even he got thrashed by a rebellious Pikachu and Charizard (although has miraculously survived that and a whole lot more). If you are either, then you have to be either some kind of god, or a complete psycho. Hey, that would actually be kind of kickass.

Pokemon and humans have physical limits. This is already known by those in Anime Style Battling. Pokemon undergo exhaustion, as do their trainers. Some are sturdier than others, however. And some Pokemon can run faster than others, jump higher than others, and hit harder than others. It’s the same thing for the trainers.

Try to explain some, if not all, attacks and how they work. Okay, I know it’s Pokemon and some things just defy all kinds of logic no matter how you look at it. But readers will still wonder how Dodrio can use Fly, how Rhydon can use Surf, how Night Shade looks, how something called Petal Dance can hurt anything, etc. Also, try to consider if the attack’s look and use differs from Pokemon to Pokemon. Can it be used to counter other attacks? Does the attack change according to the Pokemon’s condition?

Some things shouldn’t be attempted to explain. Maybe there’s a reason why you only see Diglett’s head. This isn’t really a tip. More like my personal opinion.

There you have it. I might have had more tips, but I had limited time to work on this. I had an even more limited attention span. So work on those battles and…*walks away with iPod*







Loveless Love
mr_pikachu


Who doesn’t love love? The butterflies in your stomach, the pounding heart at a single glance – the emotion! As one of the most important parts of any person’s life, love is one of the most common literary themes.

As you may have noticed, there aren’t very many pure romance fics on the forum these days – their presence rapidly decreased after the fall of the Shipping forum, and they’re almost unheard of now. Nonetheless, budding love is still a major aspect of many fictional works, both fanfics and original pieces. Even action pieces usually incorporate a little flirting.

If you don’t believe me, think back to the last movie you watched. Even if it had absolutely nothing to do with romance, the main male character probably drooled over some attractive stranger. It’s true that in many cases the “love” modern films portray is just an excuse to provide some pre- and post-coitus fanservice, but the prevalence of romance remains.

Love, of course, relies entirely on compatible people. In literature, this means that the characters involved must be well-defined – as all good characters should be – as well as emotionally compatible.

Right?




Well, maybe not. Consider Chobits, an anime in which the hapless Hideki Motosuwa winds up falling in love with Chii, a mysterious (and damaged) “persocom,” or android. Chii is about the simplest character you’ll ever see… after all, she’s a broken robot. Yet the entire series revolves around the growing relationship between Hideki and the girl whose entire vocabulary consists of her own name. Try explaining that one.

Now, I’m not totally naïve. There’s a certain appeal in the idea of humans and beautiful robots falling in love, I suppose. Fetishes aren’t the point of this article, though, so let’s move forward to human-human love.

Sure, a college-age guy falling in love with a malfunctioning computer is weird, but it’s just as hard to fall for a girl who punches you into the stratosphere every few hours. Such is the case with Keitaro Urashima and Naru Narusegawa in Love Hina, one of the most successful anime and manga series this decade.

Let’s be fair about this, though. Before we start, I’d like to provide a picture of our love interest, Naru:


http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/6431/narumq0.png

Um… ahh… er…



Ahem. Yes. That’s Naru. As you can see, she has certain… charms.

It’s not hard to see how a guy could fall for someone like that. In particular, a nerd like Keitaro would probably consider it a miracle if someone like Naru even gave him the time of day. She’s got stunning looks. She’s one of the top university applicants in all of Japan. And in the course of one episode, she becomes a wildly successful pop idol. When you look at it that way, how could any man not go crazy over her?


http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/8940/narupunchfinalfl5.gif

Oh, right. The senseless beatings.

That’s the problem. Granted, in the world of Love Hina our lovely Naru could grace the cover of any magazine and look perfectly at home. No one would dispute that. A nice picture, however, does not make a relationship. I don’t care how beautiful a girl is. Attack a guy enough, and he’ll lose interest. That eighth concussion is sure to make him look past her shallow beauty.

Clearly, Naru's skull-cracking skills know no bounds, and she takes delight in slamming Keitaro to the brink of death on a frighteningly regular basis. You'd think that would be enough to keep a guy away. Yet Keitaro continues to dream about himself and Naru more and more as the beatings persist. Unless you think he’s a raving masochist, it’s hard to see him wanting a lifetime of the legendary Naru Punch. (Admittedly, he survives countless attacks that would kill any normal human, but outright masochism is still a stretch.) Furthermore, his line of thinking isn’t limited to sensuality by any means. Naru may have certain attractive attributes, yet Keitaro inexplicably finds himself drawn to, of all things, her personality.

Her personality, as far as Keitaro ever sees, equals her fist. Somebody please explain this undying love.




Perhaps, by some insane stretch of logic, Keitaro really is so shallow that he can’t help but lust for a “10” no matter how cruel she is to him. Given that he’s supposed to represent the “everyman” in anime, that’s a rather sad assessment of the male gender, but let’s run with it.

If that were the case, we could say that personality is of much lower importance to Keitaro than looks. It still matters, but not much. We could think of it as a tiebreaker. As long as there’s nobody else of comparable beauty and superior personality, it makes sense that Keitaro would gravitate toward his best choice.

But, you see, there is someone else. There are a few, in fact. Observe:


http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/2791/everything1ff3.png
http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/8052/everything2mp8.png



Okay. If Keitaro is supposed to fall for anyone under the new, ultra-perverted priority list we’ve given him, that someone would have to be Mutsumi Otohime.


http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/143/mutsumi1ld8.png

Now, there are no pictures of Mutsumi sending Keitaro flying. She’s not one for beatings. Arguing that she’s any less attractive that Naru would be difficult, as Mutsumi supposedly has the largest bust size out of all the characters in Love Hina. Furthermore, she repeatedly earns perfect scores on her university practice entrance exams, was the first girl to ever kiss Keitaro, and flirted with him every time she saw him thereafter. Her only conceivable flaw, by the newfound set of values we’ve given Keitaro, is that she’s somewhat prone to fainting. That’s a small price to pay if his whole purpose is to ogle her.

Let’s look at everything we’ve observed. Despite being the focus of one of the most popular love stories on this side of the millennium, the pairing of Keitaro and Naru in Love Hina makes no sense whatsoever. Consider:

1. Naru’s personality is pretty much unlovable for most of the series. She treats poor Keitaro worse than a rat stuck in a meat grinder – at least she’d put the rodent out of its misery quickly.

2. It makes no sense to say that Keitaro likes the pain. He constantly begs for leniency whenever it looks as though he’s about to be attacked, after all. If he did enjoy bleeding, you’d think he’d go bug Motoko Aoyama, the girl with the sword.

3. If he’s after physical attraction, his best bet is Mutsumi Otohime, a girl who doesn’t try to kill him every 30 seconds, whose body makes even Naru green with envy, and whose “to-do list” has Keitaro at the very top.

4. In short, no matter how strange we make Keitaro to try to cast Naru in a desirable light, there is always a better choice. Whether he’s just a good guy who wants a good girl or he’s looking for brains, blood, and carnal lust, Naru falls short.




Now comes the tricky part. Why, despite every conceivable reason for Naru and Keitaro to be apart, do they wind up as a couple? If Love Hina isn’t making some point about the shallowness of males, and Naru isn’t the best match for Keitaro in any romantic sense, what could possibly explain their love?

The answer is simple. They are together because they are supposed to be together.

You see, Love Hina is built on one basic premise. No matter how much of a geeky loser a guy is, he can still get any girl he wants.

Is it too lame for Keitaro to be obsessed with purikura, a photo booth hobby that he always does alone? Nope.

What about his repeated failures to pass a simple exam? Not sad enough.

His obsession with a little girl from his distant past who he can’t actually remember but whose fleeting presence guides all the major choices of his life? Nuh-uh.

Surely, though, there’s no hope for a pervert whose constant “clumsiness” always puts him in the center of groups of nude girls, right? Well….




If Keitaro can play the field, so to speak, anyone can. If he can set his sights on a girl and win her, so can anyone who has the time to watch his exploits.

It just so happens that Keitaro’s sights, from the start, are set on Naru. They’re a poor match by any analysis. But they’re supposed to be together. We’re supposed to want that. If the girl of his dreams – illogical as those dreams may be – passes him by, it might mean that we don’t have a chance either.

At the end of the day, Keitaro and Naru are together solely because it’s what we wanted.

That’s the lesson. Maybe it shows how pitiful our sense of good romantic literature is. Maybe it’s a testament to singles’ desperation. Maybe, as writers, we need to change the trend and create couplings that actually make sense. Or maybe we should just follow in the footsteps of this critically acclaimed series and use convenient couplings as a shortcut, knowing that real love doesn’t matter in a fictional romance if you want it badly enough.

The choice is yours. Now that you’ve seen the reality of loveless love, what will you do?

Lady Vulpix
1st February 2009, 07:21 PM
Nice issue!

I loved Ada's article. And she quoted me back! But that's not why I loved it. It raised many good points, plus it was deep and thoughtful, and somewhat funny too!

Brian's article was interesting, even though I've never watched that series. Judging by those descriptions, it would be possible for Keitaro to dislike women who are after him. There are people like that. But it's true that it doesn't sound like a love story at all.

Congrats on your first issue, Shonta! It came out quite well. :)

mr_pikachu
1st February 2009, 07:25 PM
Excellent, it's done! Comment time.


MLG (and Gabi too): I told you to get your fic edited? ...My memory fails me. Odd. Anyway, I was beta reading Ghost's new fic when he was posting it, although it seems like he may have stopped now. So I might have a little time if that's what you wanted. *shrugs*

Your English isn't nearly as bad as you think, by the way. I've seen plenty of native speakers who are a lot worse. ^_^;;

Nice interview! It's always good to see others' perspectives.


Ada: I totally agree with your assessment of E-zine publishing - it's a two-way street of communication. Perhaps that's actually why people are hesitant to print their articles, though... what if their readers don't like it? What if they disagree completely, find your arguments absurd, and say so? Then again, that's part of the challenge in writing. If you can't get over your fear of rejection, you're not going to go very far.

For the record, I'm just as human as the rest of us.


Shonta: You have some interesting thoughts on battles. Most of the time we think of Pokemon as these semi-magical beings that are somehow able to resist being set ablaze. They're often treated that way in the anime, actually. Aside from Pikachu's near-death experience in the Cinnabar Gym (and an episode in which it was at risk of exploding due to electrical overload), we typically see Pokemon as virtually immortal beings that can be fixed by a night in any Pokemon Center. Maybe we should make more use of true danger and mortality in our fiction.


I'll let others comment on the New Fic Spotlight as well as my "multimedia" piece. Heh heh. :sweat2:

MeLoVeGhOsTs
2nd February 2009, 03:19 AM
I just finished six weeks of exams, so my writing was on halt. I started writing again now, and the new chapter should be up by the end of the week.

And it's really weird seeing an interview you did a couple of days ago.

Shonta's article/tip was really what I was thinking about when doing some minor editing on my fic, so it was perfect for some pondering.

Mr_pikachu's article on love was really strange, but it intrigued me.

I already like Chris' new fic, and agree with the mother being the most illogical thing about the fic. For the rest it's a good fic and it was a good review.

I'm quite sparse on words now, so uh.

mistysakura
2nd February 2009, 05:19 AM
Indeed, MLG, some native English speakers are harder to understand than you are. I like the image of 'painted words' in itself. Your English is particularly impressive seeing as it's your third language -- I could never dream of doing creative writing in Japanese. It's funny that you say "commenting on one's fic is as natural as breathing", because sometimes I'm so lazy I can't be bothered to reply, even if it really only involves typing three lines! Then again, I suspect that if I didn't have to breathe to live, I'd be too lazy to do that too :P

The random quote from Shonta's article amused me. The article did not amuse me, but that's a good thing, because it made me think. I really like battles which are realistic physically. It makes us relate to what the Pokemon are going through, which I think makes them better characters. It sometimes bugs me that, as you said, in the games Pokemon never seem to suffer any actual damage, just lowering of HP and fainting. I wouldn't say that it leads to animal cruelty or anything like that, but it does make you forget that these pixels you're battling are supposed to be living creatures. If you think about it, leaving Pokemon in boxes for the duration of the game or breeding them endlessly to get good EVs would be obscene in real life, but not even the most fundamental of anti-violence-in-video-games people seem to notice. ...Anyway, back to the topic... I also like it when some of the mechanics of the Pokemon world are explained. Because the games and anime have left so many blanks, there's room for writers to get creative, and I've seen some smart ideas. For example, Dragonfree's The Quest for the Legends uses stats, but explains them as numbers like IQ, which don't rigidly determine a creature's fate. Although some things do defy all explanation, hehe.

Brian's article is really interesting. I find that loveless love happens in films and stuff too... and probably also in real life. It's hard to have any explanation for why a couple got together instead of some different combination, let alone a rational one. So maybe Love Hina isn't so farfetched after all. Maybe it's books which are too logical when they present couples as made for each other. But yeah, I do have a problem when in anime, we don't get to see the thoughts of characters at all, but watch them fall in love randomly. Perhaps there's a middle way -- having some insight into characters' thoughts so we have some idea of why they've fallen in love, but not necessarily a perfect match or perfect explanation.

And re: people being afraid of their ideas being wrong or ridiculed, indeed, that must happen too... Hopefully, at TPM, not the ridiculed part. It feels a bit different posting an opinion on an e-zine rather than in a normal post, because you're investing more in that opinion, and it seems like you have more to lose if someone pulls it down. So yeah, confidence is a factor. But if an idea's developed enough to be an e-zine article, I'm sure it can't be proved wrong that easily anyway.

Oh, and I agree that Brian is as human as the rest of us, but is grammar? :P

Lady Vulpix
2nd February 2009, 08:14 AM
Grammar was created by humans.

I'm still wondering what kind of mind came up with the "not ending a sentence with a preposition" rule. It sounds like "well, the language is all good, but let's make it a little more challenging by adding an arbitrary rule so that people have to alter their sentences completely".

Lune the Guardian
2nd February 2009, 12:38 PM
I really liked this E-zine. It's not as light-hearted as some other ones, but all the articles give me something to think about. I have similar opinions as to what's been already said, so I'm not going to be repetitive.

As for grammar, I agree with Gabi that some of the rules seem arbitrary. I think of grammar as a guideline rather than a solid rulebook. I break the rules all the time on purpose whenever it makes sense to me. As long as your meaning gets across without hindrance, I think you can do whatever you want. People are intelligent enough to understand things (as long as they're conveyed clearly) without being bound to specific rules.

mr_pikachu
17th February 2009, 10:17 PM
Good day, fellow Fanficcers!

We’re looking forward to bringing you the next issue of the Fanfiction E-zine. But since we need articles to fill each edition, here are some topic suggestions for any prospective contributors!

Is there an event in Fanfic that you want to analyze? (The Fanfiction Hall of Fame, for instance?)
Are there any concerns about the forum that you'd like to address?
Any great fics that have earned some extra kudos, or maybe something that isn’t getting the attention it deserves?
Do you want to talk about writing in general, or is there something about fanfiction in particular that people need to consider?
Would you like to do a review of a TPM fanfic using the FFRO guidelines, or maybe an interview of a well-known Fanficcer?
Do you think your fellow Fanficcers could learn something useful from a published novel?
What are you going to eat for lunch?

Those are just a few of the things about which you can write. If you’ve got another theme that you think would be good for the E-zine, let us know! We're already planning another New Fic Spotlight, a stellar Interview with the Stars, and more. But we need your help to fill the issue! You make it happen, people!

Anyone here can submit an article for the E-zine. Basically, if you’re reading this message, you can write something. Just let us know what you want to write so that we can make preparations.

If you'd like to submit something for the next E-zine issue, please PM the completed article to me, mr_pikachu, by 12:01 a.m. Central Time, March 1, 2008. And if you can get it in sooner, please do. The earlier I get the articles, the quicker I can arrange them for E-zine publication.

Thank you! We look forward to seeing your articles in print! ^_^

mr_pikachu
19th March 2009, 04:34 AM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine
March 2009






Words from a Pokémon
mr_pikachu

New Fic Spotlight: The Ketamine Trail (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18194) by Roses are Red
mr_pikachu

To Be A Master
mistysakura

Point: Who wants a photocopied novel?
mr_pikachu

Counterpoint: Free books? I'll take 'em!
mr_pikachu






Words from a Pokémon
mr_pikachu


Yeah, we're a little behind schedule this month.

Don't give me that look. The lack of an internet connection isn't conducive to posting online, let me tell you. Besides, when your (possibly imaginary) girlfriend starts cuddling with you on the couch, you don't tell her, "Oh, I'm sorry, I need to go write an E-zine article now." Thus, we have the following equation: Delays + Delays = Delays. Times two. Or something.

Anyway, we've got several engaging articles prepared for you this month! First, the monthly "New Fic Spotlight" continues, this time with the focus on one of our newest members. Next, the epic tale of "To Be A Master" continues as our young hero learns the ultimate secret. Then, one of our resident moderators argues why we writers are happily immune to the file sharing problems that plague other entertainment media. But he faces a prompt rebuttal from another concerned Fanficcer in this month's special feature, "Point/Counterpoint."

When you're done reading, don't forget to cast your vote for the Fanfiction Hall of Fame! The chance to tell the forum who deserves our ultimate recognition only comes twice a year, so make your voice heard. Who should be our third Hall of Famer? Tell us!

By the way, my girlfriend's not imaginary. Probably.







New Fic Spotlight: The Ketamine Trail (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18194) by Roses are Red
mr_pikachu


Plot (16/20 points): Overall, the plot is alright. It's an engaging story thus far, and while there haven't been too many surprises yet, it's a nice, cohesive fic that seems to making a very, very slow ascent toward something, even if we have no idea what yet. This fic could still take any number of directions, even though we're already through three chapters, so I'm excited to see how it progresses. It's begun nicely, I'll say that much.

The one noteworthy plot hole was the presence of a Mankey in chapter two, considering Iz's goal at the time and her comments about nearby Pokémon types. Considering the creature's battle abilities alone, it seems like catching it might have been a smart idea; I was surprised that the possibility wasn't at least mentioned. Still, there weren't many problems like that. This has a nice overall flow.


Plot Originality (6/10 points): If this fic is lacking in any area, this is it. The Ketamine Trail has a premise rather reminiscent of Damon's Menace (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11793). That certainly isn't a bad thing; it's actually great to be compared with dratinihaunter13's classic fic. The problem is that beyond the premise, there really hasn't been much originality at all. Maybe it will come down the line, once we hear more about the titular Ketamine Trail – I look forward to that inevitable reality – or about the mystery character at the end of chapter three. Right now, though, there just isn't much beyond the unusual hero and her vastly delayed trainer quest.


Writing Style (15/20 points): This was interesting to evaluate. On the one hand, the format employed to show our hero's progress seems quite fitting. We have the standard narration to keep us entertained as well as a few short diary entries that add a more personal feel – especially the quarrels over the bed. It's nice to have both a mixture of third-person and first-person appeals.

On the other hand, it's quite easy to get lost in some of the narration, especially the battle descriptions. The main problem with those is that some sentences contain multiple actions, so readers may have to mentally split them apart in order to decipher everything that's happening. It would be easier to understand if they had a slower pace; that would have the added benefit of making them more dramatic. Of course, it doesn't really work to give one action after another in a veritable list of sentences, either. One way or another, this was an area that could use a little improvement, as the battles almost seemed separate from the rest of the text. The style just didn't quite work there. Integrating the battle actions with another element of narration (or even dialogue) might make them richer. This improved a bit during the Gym match, but there's still room for improvement.

As it is, each installment is rather brief, like a diary entry. While that may have been the intent, particularly given the aforementioned Pokédex recordings, it's just a little too fast in the narration itself. Pacing is a difficult element to self-evaluate, yet it is crucial for the success of any literary piece.


Spelling and Grammar (9/10 points): There were minimal obvious errors here, although I did notice several misplaced modifiers. For instance, it's not clear who speaks the first line in the prologue; is it the woman or the Poochyena? Little typos, like “he” and “she” being swapped (as well as odd switches between “Geodude” and “Golem”) can also make you do a momentary double-take. Such incidents were especially problematic during intense battle scenes. This was good compared to many fics I've seen, but not quite perfect.


Characters (13/15 points): Iz has quickly become quite the novel character. Not only is her personal background intriguing – criminals in Pokémon are hardly new, but she seems different from the classic Team Rocket types – but I'm curious about her physical characteristics, too. Furthermore, her overall demeanor is rather unique for a main character (sort of like Gregory House (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_House), in a way), as are her motivations for becoming a trainer. It would have been nice to get a more detailed physical description of her sooner, but the psychological profile makes up for that.

The Pokémon themselves are quite unique for the most part, an aspect that too many fics overlook. If anything, I think Orthrus might actually be the weakest character of the lot. He seems to be little more than an able-bodied extension of Iz, really. While that's often the point of “first” Pokémon, it takes away from the cast's richness, to an extent. Most of the others are very strong and independent, but Orthrus' personality doesn't seem to add much.


Settings (11/15 points): The settings themselves are detailed. It's obvious that a fair amount of thought was put into planning the forest battlefields, the Gym, and so forth. However, this isn't always clearly explained in the text. For instance, the steel walls in the Gym weren't mentioned until the moment at which they became relevant. Ideally, these should be immediately explained so that all readers can keep them in mind throughout the text, and remember their importance during critical moments. Even those elements that don't change the course of the fic can be helpful to give a clear mental picture of what's happening.


Overall Appreciation (9/10 points): Despite a few flaws, this is certainly a worthwhile read – I don't make a habit of featuring fics that aren't worth a second look, after all.


Final Result: 79/100 = 79%


Closing Comments: I'm impressed by some of the techniques here, and the characters are engaging. It's fun. The bigger question is whether it will soon transcend lighthearted entertainment and take on a slightly more serious edge. We'll see how it goes.

This fic has a few key areas in which is could improve. Based on the end of the most recent installment, I expect that the big one is about to change; as it stands, though, we need more plot twists. Surprises can help. It would also be nice to see a little more of the physical world around our characters. It's cool to know their innermost thoughts, but it can be a little difficult to really picture the developments without clear pictures of their physical forms and the world around them.

With Pokémon fanfics in particular, it's easy to fall into the trap of neglecting such descriptions under the assumption that we already know how the characters look. Still, it's nice to have details in those descriptions as well as, more importantly, any Fakémon and other unfamiliar characters. Exciting twists cast in a clear light would really make this piece even more engaging. That's the next step that will carry it to the next level. As it is, it's certainly worth reading. Its potential goes well beyond that.







To Be A Master
mistysakura


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam51.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam52.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam53.jpg

All images courtesy of Pokemon Nightmare (http://www.pokenightmare.com/).






Point: Who wants a photocopied novel?
mr_pikachu


Let's face it: The phenomenon of illegal downloading has exploded in the last several years. Since the creation of platforms like Napster, Limewire, and Kazaa, as well as the explosion of torrent files across the internet, billions of songs have been downloaded with no end in sight. Worse yet, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's annual report, Digital Music 2009 (http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/DMR2009.pdf), a whopping 95% of music downloads in the last year were illegal.

It's times like these that I'm glad to be a writer.

In this age of rampant copyright violations, it's nice to work with the one medium that is virtually immune to exploitation. While music and movies continue losing profits, books are happily immune.

Don't believe me? Then let's examine two key facts.



1. Books are technology-free.

Think back to the earliest days of music purchases. You may have seen a record player at some point in your life. You know, those big, clunky machines with the turntables and makeshift bullhorns. They were like gargantuan CD players – which, incidentally, followed cassette players. Since then, we've adopted iPods, Zunes, and countless other mp3 players.

Now look at movies. You've got two choices: the theater or the home. Either you watch them on a reel and a massive projector, or you get a cassette (VHS) or disc (DVD) for private viewing. The choice is yours. Just like music, though, you need technology. Whether it's an iPod or a DVD player, you have to have some sort of device to "unlock" the entertainment. Music and movies rely entirely on electronics.

Books, on the other hand, have always been separate from such devices. You open the book and read. It's as simple as that. You have to slip a VHS into a player or toss a CD into a Walkman, but a book can be enjoyed without any extra accessories.

It's the reliance on technology that makes illegal downloading perfectly natural. Whether it's a song or a film, it's nothing more than a file. The internet is just an easier, cheaper way of getting that chain of 0's and 1's. Books are more than that to us.



2. Books are an inexpensive luxury.

Consider the last CD you bought. (For some of us, it's been awhile, but try to remember.) Most music discs contain, at most, about 80 minutes of songs. That's just over an hour of enjoyment. Not very much, is it? If you're going to buy a CD, it had better be really good music.

Now, you probably spent, say, $15 or so on that CD. I'll let you do the appropriate conversion rate if necessary; if you live outside the U.S., you're probably used to it. If there are about 15 tracks on a CD, that's a dollar a song. Were each of the songs worth a dollar? Was it worth the price of a candy bar for four or five minutes of music? In some cases, maybe so. In others, maybe not.

Do you feel ripped off? Would it have been better if there was some way to just get the songs you wanted – say, by downloading them?

On the other hand, most books cost about the same amount as that CD, give or take a few dollars. If you're an exceptionally fast reader, a decent-sized novel still lasts the better part of a day. For the sake of argument, let's make the conservative estimate of six hours. That's over four times as long as the longest CD. Quite a bit more entertainment, right? If you don't need either item, it's smarter to get the one that lasts longer.

Let's say that both the CD and the book are mediocre: they're nice to enjoy once, but not really worth going through again. You could remember them well enough without having to read or listen a second time. Your “enjoyment” period lasts four times as long for the book than the CD. While you paid a dollar for four minutes of music (old jukeboxes required just five cents), you could get a whopping 24 minutes of reading for your buck.

Furthermore, it's not as though you can preview an entire CD before buying it. The shrinkwrap around those things is hard enough to tear apart even after you've made your purchase. Some music stores let you listen to a few seconds of each track, or a single song on the album. But you generally can't judge everything before forking over your money.

Are you confident enough to spend your cash if you're not sure you want the music? It may be easier to download the songs online, test each track, and then decide if you want them. Of course, at that point you already have the music. Money aside, it would be a waste of time to delete them from your hard drive and then go somewhere else to buy them back.

Books, on the other hand, are easily previewed in the bookstore. Just grab the novel of your choice, flip past the preface, and read to your heart's content. You can pore over a good book for hours with no one to disturb you before deciding if it's worth your hard-earned money. That way, you'll be confident in your purchase. There's no chance of disappointment.

To put it another way, the book is probably a worthwhile purchase, even if it's not absolutely fantastic. The CD, on the other hand, is a risk. Buying a book a day wouldn't drain your wallet, but similar spending on songs would drain your wallet in a hurry. For the compulsive shoppers among us, it's cheaper to go to a bookstore than iTunes. That's why so many music fans indulge in a little virtual shoplifting.



Thanks to the technology-free medium in which books are distributed, and the fact that they're inexpensive enough to be worth your money, people are less apt to download them from the internet just to save a few dollars. Rather than stare at a cold computer screen, it's much more fun to have the tactile sensation of crisp, new pages between your fingers.







Counterpoint: Free books? I'll take 'em!
mr_pikachu


Let's face it: The world economy is crumbling. We can ignore Zimbabwe's 516 quintillion percent interest rate (http://blog.scientificleader.com/2008/11/16/surreal-risk-management-zimbabwe-inflation-at-516-quintillion-percent/), if only because few people here identify with Zimbabweans. In more relevant news, though, America's unemployment rate is nearing double digits (http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSSYD48132520090319). China's economy is grinding to a halt (http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/200903/s2520605.htm), while Germany is battling its own recession along with Britain, Spain, Japan, the European Union, and so forth (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/17/america/Meltdown-Countries-Glance.php).

Money's tight, and even cheap items demand a little penny pinching in such times. Why should books be exempt?

That's not to say that people will stop reading. We all have our hobbies, and for many, books are the most beloved pastime of all. Such avid readers will do virtually anything for a good book, whether it's skipping a few meals, taking the bus instead of driving, or even working slightly outside the law.

Still, it can't be easy to break copyright for your reading, right? Wrong. There are two primary factors that have created the growing reality of book theft.



1. Books and technology are increasingly intertwined.

For a few decades, dedicated readers with too little time to spare (as well as those not-so-dedicated readers who needed an alternative way to digest thick texts) have partaken in books on tape. In recent years, technology has demanded a switch to CD books.

Think about that for a minute. We have a rampant problem with music downloading. If the stuff of CDs can be downloaded online, why can't audiobooks be included?

Still, most of us prefer to actually look at the words while we read. There are still space-saving perks to being a technophile, though. E-books, like Amazon's Kindle 2 (http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Generation/dp/B00154JDAI/ref=amb_link_83624371_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0BKYDEJ3WP93QX84D38B&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=471681371&pf_rd_i=507846), can hold over a thousand full-length novels on a single, lightweight device. Taking a trip? Don't pack a box of books; just carry your Kindle right onto the plane. Its screen looks like paper, it doesn't respond to glare, and in basically every other sense it's better than a real book. You can't browse Wikipedia from your copy of War and Peace. Some E-book services even allow you to download replacements if the files are somehow corrupted. Do you get a free copy of Twilight if you spill soda all over yours? I didn't think so.



2. Books aren't special.

The “specialness” of paper media is dwindling by the day. Newspapers across America are collapsing (http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=449635&publicationSubCategoryId=200) as people keep switching to faster, better means of getting their news. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer just closed after almost a century and a half of steadfast reporting. If a classic paper like that can be driven to extinction by the internet, why should books be exempt from the dangers of technology?

Those of you who are in college, think of how much your last set of textbooks cost. Many such books are more than $100 each. Why not just download your class texts (http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/07/18/textbooks_free_and_illegal_online/) rather than pay such exorbitant fees? Once you've cleared that mental hurdle, it's not hard to bend morality a little further. As novelist Brenda Coulter noted, even $4.46 is pretty expensive compared to free (http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com/2008/12/on-file-sharing-sites-and-illegal-e.html).



If that doesn't convince you that books are in danger of being kicked aside by the digital revolution, just remember where you are: on a fanfiction forum. On the internet. If paper and ink are no longer necessary to tell a story, then aspiring novelists are in trouble.

Lady Vulpix
19th March 2009, 09:03 AM
Books are inexpensive over there? That's really good for you. Here most books are quite expensive, so it's quite common for people to resort to downloading (even preprint versions) and printing them, or photocopying them. Even university professors distribute illegal versions of the books they expect the students to read, because asking them to pay for the original would be too much.

I usually buy novels or collections of short stories, but only the ones that are not best-sellers because the latter are ridiculously costly. And sometimes when I have relatives coming from the USA I ask them to bring me some books and then give them back what they paid for them. Buying specialized reference books is definitely out of the question (I used to buy them in the past, I bought the last one in 2001, but sice then they have become way too expensive).

I liked the comic, even though I didn't get the 'slash' part. What does slash mean?

And I must applaud Brian for writing 3 articles for a single issue!

Lune the Guardian
19th March 2009, 11:43 AM
Hehe, this month's episode of "To Be A Master" really made me laugh. ^_^ I love some of the expressions. Perfect. I also like how Ash never really gets it, ever :P

I think mr_pikachu made good points in the article about books and piracy, though I somewhat disagree with some things within both sides. They're not incorrect, but, for example, I really hate reading books digitally and that will never change. If it's not on paper, I enjoy it less. Text books I tend to not buy at all if I can help it :P I dislike absorbing information from a computer / electronic device screen. This doesn't mean that I have an aversion to technology (heh Computer Science major), but I really prefer books in their natural form. Listening to books on tape is the worst of the worst of the worst. I have somewhere around ten times the reading rate (perhaps more) of the people reading stuff out on tape, so it frustrates me in such a way that some people would be frustrated at someone driving at half the speed limit in the fast lane. I can't be alone in some of these feelings; I don't think that I'm unique :P

Oh. Also, as long as the art is attributed to its artist, I personally wouldn't view free distribution as stealing. I would be livid if people took my characters and claimed them as their own, or made some unsightly changes to them, but to me, the story is my treasure. The money that comes along with it is not as important, as long as my work is known to have been created by me when it is passed along. I'm not trying to criticize copyright laws, but I personally hold different views.

Lady Vulpix
19th March 2009, 11:56 AM
Oh, Karin, you are unique, but you're not alone. I share your feelings about reading from the screen and listening to tapes. And I'm also a computer science major.

mistysakura
19th March 2009, 06:56 PM
Sorry the Royalblue/Magenta didn't turn out Royalblue/Magenta; my graphics program is stuffing up. Meh. Glad you guys liked it. Slash is fiction with same-sex pairings. No, I don't have anything against slash. Really. I'd be more likely to be in the crowd battering Ash. But some people do ridicule slash, and I'm just portraying that.

Now, Brian's article. I agree with the argument that books are technology-free. I, too dislike reading off the screen and listening to tapes. But I vehemently disagree with the argument that books are a better buy than music. Maybe the prices are different in the USA, I don't know. Over here, a book and a CD cost about the same. Actually, CDs' prices get slashed a lot more often than books, so I usually end up buying CDs for around 10-15 Aussie dollars, whereas a book would set me back $20-30.

The argument that in many cases, a track isn't worth a candy bar -- that totally alienates me. I can't name a single track on my mp3 player, even the mediocre ones, for which I wouldn't fork over a candy bar. In some cases, they're worth ten, twenty candy bars to me. I really love my music. And everything on my mp3 player, which is most of what I own, has been listened to at least five times. Many tracks have probably topped the hundred mark. Even the best books I've found, I've read five times at most. Unlike books, you can play music in the background, so I spend a lot more time listening to music than I do reading books.

And the risk? Many artists put their entire albums on myspace nowadays. I get to listen to most things through before I buuy them. Even if I don't get to listen to all the tracks, yeah okay, I might get some bad tracks in there and that could be disappointing. But that goes for books as well. Something could start out promisingly and turn out to be trash. Unless you read the whole thing in the bookstore, there's no way to be sure. And once you've read the whole thing, the hassle of buying is just as great as that of buying a CD after sampling it illegally.

Basically, I feel that the "books are an inexpensive luxury compared to music" argument is based on a personal belief that books are worthwhile while music is not as worthwhile. As said before, this alienates me, and would probably alienate others as well.

...E-books don't have glare? I might look into getting one...

Mm, The Ketamine Trail looks promising. Thanks for reviewing!

mistysakura
22nd March 2009, 07:47 AM
Hey all,

Got a bout of writing insiration to shout to the world? Ideas for writing? Feel like engaging in a bit of back-scratching by sharing a fic you like? No fear, the Fanfiction E-zine is here! We're calling for articles for the April edition, and anyone can submit an article. There is no word limit, and articles can be about anything fanfic-related. Examples include:

~ An interview with a board member
~ A recommendation of fics to read
~ Wild or not-so-wild theories about plot, character, anything about writing...
~ Suggestions for TPM...

and I'm sure you can think of many more. Please send your articles to me by March 31, 2009. Also, if you plan on writing an article, it would be nice to post in this thread or PM me beforehand so we know how many articles we're expecting. Of course, we'll still welcome last-minute articles with open arms. Have fun! :)

Lady Vulpix
2nd April 2009, 11:58 AM
Wow, a triple issue of "To be a master"! Great!

And that's right, you can't please everyone, and reactive writing ends up making no sense more often than not.

Houndoom_Lover
2nd April 2009, 05:19 PM
I usually try to screw the reader as much as possible :o I mean, that's why I prefer to write a whole buntch before putting it up. Less ideas to prevert the orginal intention.


A wonderful interview and a nice artical..ss... all of them ^-^

PancaKe
2nd April 2009, 05:54 PM
I really love To Be A Master.
Have I ever told you the amount of lols i get from it?
It's plenty :)

Lune the Guardian
2nd April 2009, 06:30 PM
I love this comic so much ^_^ The amount of irony in there and how true everything rings is awesome. Poor Ash, he doesn't get it does he :P

I hope eevee-shayna posts more... I'm sorry that her stories didn't receive much attention due to genre. I remember UC had the same discouraging problem.

I really liked the article about the poetry readings. It's so true - just because we may be separated by distance does not mean that the community we have here is any less amazing. It's quieter than it used to be, but we still have a lot of dedicated readers and excellent writers and I like how our environment is so healthy and nurturing. Aside from the inevitable inactivity and low amount of readers, that is - but I'm very happy with the readers I've got. Their tremendous support makes up for the small amount of readers. Also, what better place to see lots of different styles and personalities come together than an internet forum, where regional boundaries do not form any distance between us?

Gavin Luper
27th April 2009, 08:16 AM
Howdy ficcers!

The next issue of the Fanfiction Forum E-zine is not far away, and we're looking for experienced or inexperienced wannabe-journos to contribute!

Have you invented a new approach to writing?

Spoken with a new or revered TPM author and want to share the interview with the world?

Just need to vent your spleen about that niggling issue that always seems to crop up in every fic and never seems to get spoken about?

Or got something else you wanna throw into the community spotlight?

If so, then we want YOU! Write an article and sling it my way for publication! Absolutely anyone is welcome to submit articles to the e-zine, and there is no word limit.


What's in it for you, you ask? Well, you get the surreal thrill of seeing your (screen)name in print (sort of), plus it looks great on the CV !

If you intend to write an article, please send it to me (Gavin Luper) via PM as soon as possible for publication in early June. Let me know if you're planning an article so I have a rough idea for numbers, but we always welcome last-minute articles, too!

Cheers!

mr_pikachu
19th May 2009, 08:05 PM
The Fanfiction Hall of Fame
3rd Biannual Election
Voting Phase



The Fanfiction Hall of Fame is a hallowed shrine for only the greatest members in all of Fanfiction. It serves as a reminder of everything that those who built and developed the Fanfiction forum have done throughout our history. This sacrosanct place exists for the sole purpose of honoring those who have given so much of themselves to make Fanfiction better for all of us. And it is ready to accept its newest inductee.

You, the members of Fanfiction, must decide who is most worthy of a spot in the Fanfiction Hall of Fame. The final step is to elect one of the finalists.

This is not an honor to be taken lightly. Fanfiction Hall of Fame inductees should be people who have contributed significantly to the prosperity of Fanfic, both in their writing and in additional initiatives.


~~~~~~~~~~

Voting will last two (2) weeks from the time of this post. Each member may vote for a total of one (1) other person for this award in the above poll.

Once the voting period is complete, the finalist with the most votes will be inducted into the Fanfiction Hall of Fame. In the event of a tie, the tied finalists will proceed to a runoff vote to last one (1) week.

Please do your best to ensure that the greatest Fanficcers have the opportunity to be honored in the Fanfiction Hall of Fame.








Finalists



PancaKe

PancaKe joined TPM on February 15, 2001 as Lavern, later using MistyDeeDee and Mist as aliases in turn. An eager member, she quickly made a name for herself as a talented writer and enthusiastic reader. PancaKe is responsible for over 36 literary works on TPM, such as And It Will Heal Through Time (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=11416#post11416), Echoes (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=129398#post129398), Stuff that is not known (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=141727#post141727), Clinging (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=110762#post110762), Countless (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=90263#post90263), Jealousy (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=89978#post89978), Bored (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=41157#post41157), Maths (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=41157#post41157), My Science Teacher Hates Me (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=41157#post41157), Dandruff Dictator (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=41157#post41157), Unwelcomed (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=23213#post23213), Apart (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=38370#post38370), Giving Everything (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=93561#post93561), One Way Street (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=106188#post106188), 24 / 7 Job (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=109114#post109114), All The Same (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=100703#post100703), Never (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=95940#post95940) Making Yourself at Home (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=217589#post217589), Angst Of Times (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=209712#post209712), carry the cross (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=191291#post191291), Both of them (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=168494#post168494), Her Job (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=165736#post165736), Replaced (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=176559#post176559), Too Far In (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=177786#post177786), Support (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=175344#post175344), November (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=174755#post174755), Living in Pichu's House (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=10665), Lapras Valley High (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=6291), Lapras Valley High 2, Full Moon (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4713), This Fic IS Big Enough For The Both Of Us! (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=45) (co-written with Last Exile), North (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=8425), Say Hello To Sunshine (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=13128), shedding.light (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12706), A Hidden Innocence (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=10823), Apart From Them (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9837), Memories & Photographs (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showpost.php?p=381789&postcount=480), and numerous untitled poems. Lapras Valley High remains one of the most famous fanfics in TPM history.

Promoted to Fanfiction moderator in early 2003, PancaKe posted the Fanfic 101, which later became the revised Fanfic Rules. She founded Smiley Town, helped run the 2003 Mod Contest and started the 2004 Chain Fic. During her tenure as moderator, which ended late in October 2005, PancaKe hosted the Fanfic Awards numerous times and won a large number herself. She was also notoriously active in The Writer's Lounge where she posted numerous polls and discussions, injecting the forum with a palpable vibrancy.






Lady Vulpix

Lady Vulpix started at TPM on October 1, 2000 and currently serves as a super moderator. She has singlehandedly written 26 articles for the Fanfiction Forum E-zine, including 22 as part of her "Conversations with the Stars" column. Lady Vulpix's most well-known fics include Stay with Me, Separate Paths (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=93341#post93341), Earning a name (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16568), A Peaceful Land (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17790), and Quest of Twelve (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11777), the last of which began in 2003 and continues to consistently win Fanfic Awards.

She has contributed to the forum by regularly judging the Fanfiction Writing Contests and prompting her peers with discussions on a wide variety of topics. In particular, she is well known for the question, "How to find the time to write?"






dratinihaunter13

dratinihaunter13 came to TPM on October 10, 2000, making him one of the oldest members in Fanfic. He has posted six major pieces on TPM: Marty's Pokémon Conquer the Elemental League, Damon's Menace (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11793), Checking In (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15462), Bohemian Rhapsody (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15690), My Holiday Trip (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15318), and Me Llamo Es Richard (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15856). His poems include Say It or Disappear (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=35387#post35387); Teach Me to Remember (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=32851#post32851); SelfHelp (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=206833#post206833); Saving Friday (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=208851#post208851); Meltdown (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=353668#post353668); Asleep Afloat (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=313309#post313309); Ominous Clouds Out (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=311763#post311763); So so (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=219296#post219296); I Knew (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=310375#post310375); Swimmer, Young and Drowned (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=305147#post305147); Baby Let's Just Lie Together (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=292474#post292474); the Affair (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=356569#post356569) anthology; I'm a Fire Dying Down (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=363956#post363956); That Whir (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=399228#post399228); and numerous untitled pieces. Marty's Pokémon Conquer the Elemental League is often credited with launching the trainer fic scene at TPM, and Damon's Menace is widely regarded as one of the strongest fics on TPM.

dratinihaunter13 held the position of Fanfic moderator longer than anyone else on TPM, from the early years of Fanfic to 2007. During that time he guided many new moderators behind the scenes and oversaw countless Fanfic Awards. He also played a large role in activities such as Secret Santa and the 2003 Fanfiction Mod Contest. dratinihaunter13 continues to post his original fiction on TPM, providing an example for less experienced writers to follow.






mistysakura

mistysakura joined the forums on September 26, 2002. Following her victory in the 2003 Fanfiction Mod Contest, she cemented her reputation as one of Fanfic's friendliest members, winning the Fanfic Award by that name multiple times. mistysakura's fanfics include Supernatural Similarity (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2422), The Nature of Peace (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9052), and Glitter (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16297). She is also responsible for such poems as Untitled (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=108348#post108348), The Coin Flip (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=109656#post109656), Song of a Twisted Angel (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=212026#post212026), Rain Eternal (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=322334#post322334), Brimstone Diamonds (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=327837#post327837), The Artist (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=333931#post333931), Tightrope (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showpost.php?p=341196&postcount=399), Solitude (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showpost.php?p=341196&postcount=399), Cocoon (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=352713#post352713), Autopsy (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=357546#post357546), Conscription (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=360780#post360780), Demolition at University (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=388422#post388422), and twitter (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=391660#post391660).

mistysakura is well-known for her helpful replies and constant activity in Fanfic. She has started multiple chain fics, run several Fanfic Awards, and helped direct the Fanfic Trivia Game, Writing Contests and Writing Sprints on the forum. mistysakura has also published nine issues and written 25 articles for the Fanfiction Forum E-zine.






Chris 2.1

Chris 2.1 originally joined TPM on November 8, 2001 as Lugia_Master2K1, later changing his name to Lugia_Master2K2, ShinyMarill, Brit Chris, and Chris 2.0. Chris is the author of 17 pieces of fiction: A Boy and His Bear; Lucky Charms (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9628); Monica's Army; Monica's Revolution (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=6610); Monica's Vendetta (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11322); From Rookie to Champion; From Rookie to Champion: The Indigo Road (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1115); Catching up with Chris - From Sequel to Trilogy (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5845); Don't you think? (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=93254#post93254); How long? (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=93254#post93254); No Silver Lining (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=94016#post94016); Take my hand, Break my heart (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=134088#post134088); Dark Territory (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15655); Stains (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16790); Deadline (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=344456#post344456); The Pokémon Masters League (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12101); and Show-Off (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18082).

The Pokémon Masters League was one of TPM's most popular works of fiction, garnering Chris numerous Fanfic Awards, and the Monica series remains highly respected to this day. Chris is also the original creator of the Fanfic Writing Contests, the Fanfic Summaries Thread, and the Fanfic Cast Thread in the Writers Lounge, and he has written one Fanfiction Forum E-zine article.






classy_cat18

classy_cat18 registered for the forums on October 10, 2002. She has written seven fanfics for TPM: Nintendo Vs. The World (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3040), A Doolittle of Pokemon (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1754), That's Life! (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5781), Dragon's Song (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9714), Knights to Remember (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12002), Hemisphere (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17189), and Scattered Lights (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16280). A Doolittle of Pokemon, Knights to Remember, and Scattered Lights comprise one of Fanfic's longest running series. classy_cat18 has also written two poems, an untitled piece (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=33941#post33941) along with Meltdown (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=387934#post387934).

After winning the 2008 election to be promoted to Fanfic moderator, classy_cat18 published the February 2009 issue of the Fanfiction Forum E-zine and contributed two of her own articles. She is well known as a voice of support for her fellow Fanficcers.






(finalists ordered randomly)

Gavin Luper
22nd May 2009, 06:43 AM
Hi everyone - just an update on this.

An overworked mod team (including myself) combined with a severe lack of articles submitted in time made it impossible to produce an E-zine edition for May.

To compensate, we've decided to create a bumper May/June 2009 edition ready for the northern summer and have several articles in the works.

If anyone has any ideas for more articles, please post here and let us know what they are. Even if you don't have the time, or inclination, to write the article yourself, you can suggest what kinds of things you'd like to read about in the e-zine, and another member may be able to turn that idea into an article.

You guys are the lifeblood of this forum, so please support the e-zine! We're hoping to make this next issue a biggun!

Cheers!

PancaKe
22nd May 2009, 12:34 PM
Mine is sent! :D

Everyone else needs to hurry up now :P

Gavin Luper
25th May 2009, 06:50 AM
Thanks Tara - it's a great piece. :)

Anyone else been bitten by the journalism bug? Let me know!

Chris 2.1
26th May 2009, 01:07 PM
I'm sending in a couple of things :)

PancaKe
28th May 2009, 06:51 AM
I'm so excited to see the new issue of the ezine. I haven't felt this pumped to write articles in AGES.

:-)

Gavin Luper
28th May 2009, 12:05 PM
It's certainly shaping up to be a corker.

Keep sending in articles, peoples! I know you want to! :lemoncool:

Mikachu Yukitatsu
29th May 2009, 08:57 AM
I'd like to do an article about how Finnish language studies have afftected my posting at Fanfic and vice versa.

PancaKe
2nd June 2009, 12:13 AM
It's June 2.
Your late

Gavin Luper
2nd June 2009, 10:57 AM
It's June 2.
Your late

I know - waiting for one more contributor to send me their articles, then it shall be up!

Thanks for applying the pressure though!

PancaKe
2nd June 2009, 04:40 PM
Pressure pressure pressure!!!

Gavin Luper
4th June 2009, 11:25 AM
Egads the pressure!

If I haven't received the article(s) I'm waiting on by tomorrow afternoon, I'll post the e-zine up as is!

Cheers!

EDIT: Tara, got your PM but my inbox is nearly full ... but yes, awesome ideas. Will PM back once I empty everything out!

Houndoom_Lover
4th June 2009, 01:46 PM
I'll hit you guys up next month ^_^ Don't worry- you'll have me contributing to this thing I love again soon. I'm almosy graduated guys- Squee!

Mikachu Yukitatsu
5th June 2009, 04:27 AM
Good thing you're late, we'll have more time.

mistysakura
5th June 2009, 04:44 AM
Congrats on graduation, Houndoom! And yay to more articles for July! Wonder if we'll get more stuff once people have finished with exams and stuff.

Gavin Luper
8th June 2009, 05:03 AM
~ The FanFiction Forum E-zine ~
May/June 2009 Bumper Edition






Contents


This Is Your Forum
Gavin Luper

Is This Growing Up?
PancaKe

When the Grammar Nazi’s Away, the Poets will Play
mistysakura

My Language Studies and TPM
Mikachu Yukitatsu

www.ThePokemasters.Community
PancaKe

Atoning for the Sins of the Past
Chris 2.1

To Be a Master [Final Edition]
mistysakura

I Am Not Ashamed!
PancaKe

The FanFiction Forum E-zine: Over to You!
Gavin Luper






This Is Your Forum
Gavin Luper

After an activity slump during May, it’s welcoming to see the recent flurry of posts in both the main forum and the Writer’s Lounge. More comforting still is the sheer number of articles and editorials that fanficcers have contributed to this edition, making the May/June issue a bumper compilation indeed!

This mid-year period – when the Antipodeans are rugging up in bed with mugs of hot chocolate and the Americans and Europeans are throwing the windows open and enjoying the summertime zephyrs – is often one of the busiest times of year on the Fanfic forum. Many of us profit from the holiday period and get some chapters of our fics churned out; others are able to widen their reading.

A lot is happening on the forum at the moment. Firstly, the results of the most recent Hall of Fame election have just been released, with beloved veteran TPM member PancaKe winning the vote in a close race! Congratulations to Tara, who joins Brian (mr_pikachu) and myself (Gavin Luper) in the sacrosanct Hall of Fame!

Secondly, the 2009 Silver Pencil Awards are just on the horizon! Look out for the Suggestion topic in the very near future! More activities are planned for the Writer’s Lounge, too, so watch this space!

There’s a lot going on in this edition of the e-zine, too. New Hall-of-Famer PancaKe offers some brilliant editorials on the current state of the Fanfic Forum and, moreover, the current state of the Fanfic Forumer. Experienced contributor mistysakura analyses the interplay between grammar and poetry, as well as delivering the final instalment of her successful To Be A Master serial that’s become an adored feature of the e-zine this year. Additionally, Mikachu Yukitatsu offers an article on the different languages spoken on TPM and Chris 2.1 explores the idea of growth in the capabilities of a fanfic writer.

We’ve put a lot into this bumper issue, so curl up under the rugs with your coffee (or sip your lemonade in the pool of sunlight by the window) and enjoy!







Is This Growing Up?
PancaKe

I decided today I would write an article for the e-zine. To begin, I did what every other writer does when they wish to start a project; I opened word. As I sat there, staring at the blinking curser, I felt like my mind was as blank as the page before me.

This is what it’s been like for my writing too.

I try; I honestly try to get back into it. I try to sit down and come up with ideas. I try to get myself back into the writing zone through all sorts of tricks and gimmicks. When I was younger, I used to write like a madman (woman in my case but you get the point). I had this special playlist on winamp (yes, pre iTunes days!) that I would play every time I wrote. So, in an attempt to continue my fictional writing, I’ll play songs from that era that inspired me originally to write. It works while I’m driving in the car – I’ll hear songs and go “Augh I want to write so badly!” And then I’ll either run out of time, or I’ll find time but be out of ideas.

Sometimes I wonder if this is just a part of growing up. I was looking over old notes of stories I had made when I was younger, about the time I started writing Full Moon, and so many ideas to be developed! Yet, there were holes, concepts to be explained, and feeling completely uncreative and frustrated at my pathetic attempts to explain this and that and the other in my fantasy world, I called my eleven year old brother and asked his advice.

Not that I’m slagging advice from other people, I’m just wondering if this is a case of growing up, getting older, being busy and forgetting to let my imagination wander. Have I really lost my touch? Have I really forgotten how to write, how to create ideas, imagine stories and craft them?

Is this just extended writers block, or growing up?

And so, I leave you with this pathetic vent about my writing capabilities. It’s all I can imagine writing.







When the Grammar Nazi’s Away, the Poets will Play
mistysakura

There has been a lot of debate over how to judge a piece of writing. In Beyond the Score: The Measure of Success, mr_pikachu demonstrates that fixed categories, with points for each category, are sometimes unable to explain the success of a piece of writing. You get great, yet plotless slice-of-life stories; captivating, yet formulaic trainer fics; thrillers with stacks of action and no style; diatribes on the evils of society, with not a single individual in sight; and pieces which are so universal it doesn’t matter where they took place at all. Besides, one person’s good plot is another person’s trash. However, most people would agree that spelling and grammar are absolute. Tomes have been written on the subject. Rules are etched in ink and passed down from red-pen-yielding teacher to scribbling student. A sentence is either right or wrong – there is no ‘in-between’… or is there?

Take a look at this poem.

ygUDuh
aaaaydoan
aaaayunnuhstan
aaaaydoan o
aaaayunnuhstand dem
aaaayguduh ged

aaaayunnuhstan dem doidee
aaaayguduh ged riduh
aaaaydoan o nudn
LISN bud LISN

aaaaaaaaaaaadem
aaaaaaaaaaaagud
aaaaaaaaaaaaam

aaaaaaaaaaaalidl yelluh bas
aaaaaaaaaaaatuds weer goin

duhSIVILEYEzum

Out of thirty-three ’words’, half a word is spelt correctly. Sentences don’t start with capitals – heck, where are these ‘sentences’ we speak of? Where’s the punctuation? Seemingly random words, and parts of words, are capitalised. If a mod saw this on a fanfiction forum, they’d most likely be tearing their hair out in frustration, trying to break it gently to the aspiring writer that perhaps they ought to take up crocheting instead.

And our jaws would all drop when we found out that this poem, which makes so little grammatical sense, was written by the great American poet e. e. cummings.

So why has e. e. cummings screwed over the rules of spelling and grammar? Perhaps he was feeling particularly cynical that day, and felt like putting random letters on a page and laughing to see the ’poem’ analysed down to the last space and proclaimed the work of a genius. Perhaps his typewriter screwed up. Perhaps he was screwing with our collective heads. But if you slur the poem as much as you can, and say it quickly… no, even more slurred… think drowned in a beer barrel…

Do you get this?

All of a sudden, it makes sense. The gross misspellings imitate a broken accent while the capitals emphasise the speaker’s insistence on certain words. The whole poem points out the irony of an uncivilised person (represented by the uncivilised spelling and grammar) discriminating against un’SIVILEYEz’ed people. The poem is ironic because it in itself is discriminating against the speaker and making him out to be an idiot.

Spelling and grammar have long been manipulated in poetry. Many poems have neither capitalisation or punctuation, giving the poem a gentle, perhaps even passive, feel. In the twentieth century, poets have played with punctuation and the layout of words on the page. Sometimes, punctuation goes where it shouldn’t go, creating a disjoint effect. A poem by Paul Mitchell goes:

Practice

i play.aaaaaaaaaadrums.
I mean, i don'taaareally
play drums. I mean
it's hardaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayou know
the rhythm. therhythm's hard. i get
my feet wrong. and the sticks.
In my hands.aaaaaawrong, I get the wrong
drum.aaaaaaaaaaaaI mean, I hit the right drum
aaaaaawith the wrong stick.
I likeaaaaaaaaaaaaadrums. it's
aaaaaahard, though. to prac
tise. no one likesaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadrums.
aaaaaaThe noise.aaaaaan
my rhythm.aaaaaaI play. drumaaaaas.

At other times, poets forgo traditional formatting all together, and create poems of all shapes and sizes. A famous example is Swan and Shadow (http://www.thegatesofparadise.com/Swan.pdf).

Many haikus, whether in Japanese or English, are fragments of sentences. A pedantic may froth at the mouth going “argh there is no verb!”, but a lot of the time, haikus are precisely about looking at a fragment of time and finding the stillness, the silence, the beauty of the moment. With a poem like

The sea in spring –
Ever so slow and idle
All day long.

It just wouldn’t make sense to have the sea do anything.

As for spelling, the "yguduh" example is by e.e. cummings, but something similar can be found on our very own forum: Spoil Chick.

Unorthodox use of spelling and grammar in prose is more unusual, but it can nevertheless be found. The most common example is the sentence fragment: "And then there were none." Despite starting a sentence with "and" not being allowed, standalone fragments can be very powerful statements. Another example is having a narrator speak ungrammatically for characterisation purposes, perhaps to show their casual voice or emphasise their lack of education. We see it all the time in teenage fiction, especially those written in diary, e-mail or text message form (try reading a novel’s worth of forum posts, complete with emoticons… my eyes, they bleed!) Sometimes it makes sense to have a sentence end with a preposition, instead of having something convoluted. Some people even fuse words or make up their own words to get their unique meanings across – if Shakespeare did it, who’s to say we can’t?

So even if something as seemingly fundamental as spelling and grammar can be manipulated to suit your creativity, where is the limit? Maybe there is none. Maybe we should just be as innovative as we can, and not worry too much about formalities like well-described settings. At the end of the day, we're here to communicate our weird and wonderful thoughts to the world, and language is supposed to help us, not hinder us. And if we do get published, and our works last the test of time, the perception of “good writing” will change anyway. Somehow, I don’t see the readers of tomorrow cross-checking our writing with an antique twenty-first century grammar manual…

*looks over shoulder* Shh, I hear the Grammar Nazi coming!

*straightens self* Of course, that is not to say that spelling and grammar should be manipulated for manipulation’s sake. If you want to tell a good story, you want it to be understood, and correct spelling and grammar are important to that end. Yeah. Totally. But exceptions are essential in the world of art…

“Uh, hi, Grammar Nazi. I was going to say exceptions prove the rule, right?”







My Language Studies and TPM
Mikachu Yukitatsu

My mother tongue is Finnish. Here are the languages I have studied, respectively.

English
Swedish
Japanese
German
French
Mandarin Chinese
Russian
Spanish

I have studied Japanese and Chinese by myself, not at school. I teach Japanese now, however. I had only one course of Russian in Lukio (Finnish equivalent to senior High School) and don't remember a thing. Spanish is my newest language. I studied it for almost one year at Kansalaisopisto, an educational establishment for adult students.

I started English like most Finns do, when I was 9. We hear English daily in TV, videogames tend to be in English and we use the internet quite a lot, so it isn't easy to avoid it. However, I didn't know I would write messages in the very same language 7 years later for Americans, Australians and other nations to read. After I turned 13, I started Swedish, the second official language of Finland. Biggest boosts to my Swedish studies were Sailor Moon we had in Swedish here in Finland and Pokémon Orange league which my own country skipped.

Yeah, I have found grammar studies useful. Yes, I am a theoretician. In Lukio, I loved the first course in Finnish language and literature because I learned lost of useful grammatical terms. On the other hands, I hated all the other courses because they were poem analysis, reviews of books we were forced to read, painting analyses and stuff. This has resulted in me being disinterested in reading books. Fortunately, TPM is different. Even after I have printed a topic, it's still more enjoyable to read than a book.

I let my Finnish affect my English, for example I often leave the subject out of a sentence. For in Finnish language, we conjugate the verb and may leave the subject out.

(minä) teen = I do
(sinä) teet = you do (singular)
(hän) tekee = he/she does
(me) teemme = we do
(te) teette = you do (plural)
(he) tekevät = they do

My multi-language approach has given me many great opportunities at TPM. It started when a Finnish member posted a topic about Pokémon Championship Finland in late 2001. I replied in Finnish and Austrian ViceMaster Alex advised I should always give a translation, which I did, then.

Next, a Finnish guy named Harwey appeared. In his welcome topic, I posted a long reply in Finnish and English. Once a French guy proposed in French we should post in French here at TPM, and I was able to both translate his reply and respond in (was it four?) different languages. In 2003, I translated Team Rocket mottos from Finnish and Swedish. I even got some positive feedback from a Swede. In 2003, I also began to translate TV Tokyo Pokémon ep previews.

Much later, I posted a topic about Pokémon names with Finnish meanings. I have posted poems in the Poetry Corner in both English and Finnish. The situation now? I kinda have neglected languages other than Japanese and English, but I keep up the former in teaching-related business, and the latter by posting at TPM. I have almost overcome my hate for poem analysis, so I might do something like that someday. I'll also keep reading more.







www.ThePokemasters.Community
PancaKe

With Heart Gold and Soul Silver soon to be released in Japan, now is the perfect time to relaunch the main site. Thousands and millions of gamers of all ages and nationalities will be googling for news, pictures, and secrets. The biggest challenge for us now is getting out there while people are still looking for us.

This raises the question: What can the Fanfic community contribute? Sometimes we get lost in thinking that our gifts in language aren't as useful as the gift to write html, or create fanart or construct detailed walkthrus. Surely these are the things that the site most needs, right?

Recent discussion in The Writers Lounge (What can we contribute to the main site?) has been aimed at brainstorming useful and necessary ways we can offer our skills.

Phoenixsong raised this point: "The more the site opens with that differentiates it from the other Poké-info giants, the better. Fanfic was a big part of that back in the day as far as I remember, and I see no reason that it couldn't be again."

TPM, in order to regain our place among the giants, needs to boast something different. What is it that TPM can have that other sites don't? Community.

Community based features are what brought a lot of us to the forums, and has kept us here for so many years. Many of us can say we've been here for three, four, six and even eight or nine years - and why? For the people.

The fanfic pages on the old website boasted a massive library of fics, contributed by fans around the world. It was easy to lose yourself for hours among the tales. It was just as easy to write, submit and be included. These are the type of features we need to refresh the page - features that welcome new members into the community.

In the discussion topic, members have been compiling a list of things that we can bring to the website:

- Fanfic E-zine linked/posted
- Hall of Fame
- Uploading fics from the Fanfic Archive
- Direct links to awards / publishing the Golden Pens and Silver Pencils on the main page (Gavin Luper)
- A whole forum e-zine (Ultimate Charizard)
- Editorials (Jeff) like these
- Reviews of games/movies/episodes/other pokémon memorabilia

At this point in time, we need two things from you, fanfic community.

1. We need people to brainstorm, suggest ideas, think creatively. Is there some way that we can be using our writing skills to support the site, to create community and to be different from all the other giants?

2. We need people to get on board. Contribute to the forums, write reviews and editorials. If we need raters, get on board and rate. How can we boast community at TPM if we're not all in this together?







Atoning for the Sins of the Past
Chris 2.1

When I was writing The Pokémon Masters League there was a chapter in which a character, penned as a typical villain, was finally caught. His name was Ecks. Restrained in a cell, and awaiting a trial, he was smart enough to know he would soon meet his demise and, through dehydration, starvation, his eccentricity and childhood trauma, he began hallucinating. The security cards melded into wolves clad in tuxedos, playing jazz instruments with aplomb. Ecks sat, immobile, as the people he had murdered wove into the cell and regaled him with tales about their deaths. I explored a concept of dying, and what it could possibly entail. The four deceased characters explained, individually, that their death reflected the life they lived and was a grand spectacle taking them somewhere else. The attention-seeking glamour-girl Solia Fuerte died amid a huge battle in the city; her death was embodied as a grim parade through the streets, where she sat on a throne made from skulls and saw the highlights of her life, before passing into another realm. Similarly Karin’s dying moments manifested as a Broadway performance, on a stage before thousands in a wonderful dress.

At the time, some readers commented with enthusiasm, wondering themselves what their own deaths could manifest as. Scoring a home run for their favourite team, fireworks exploding in the sky? Or leaping from a plane, no parachute, screaming in the delight of the unknown?

I wondered about my own. As an aspiring journalist my only thoughts seemed to be that my dying montage would involve being stabbed repeatedly by a dissatisfied rockstar. Given my clumsy nature, the notion of a doctor explaining to my family that I stepped on a skateboard and whizzed under an ice cream van seemed similarly just as plausible.

While I debated this query, a related thought popped up. Not the notion or the event of me passing from here to wherever lies ahead, no; instead, particularly my given enthusiasm as a writer, I may have to atone for sins of the past. Over the next few months I’m going to be wondering just why, despite winning a couple of nice shiny awards, the bad might outweigh the good and I might be condemned to a Hell where the pens are all out of ink and the computers run on Microsoft Works Word Processor.

I have been in these forums for too many years. I have undergone new names and seen people come, go, come again, elevate to new levels of power and flee with their tail between their legs. In the time that OzAndrew has slugged away with Electric Buggy To Victory, and Gavin has chewed through Lisa The Legend, fics of my own have burst into life. Some have been finished, and I have tied them into bundles and hurled them into the archives, while others have sat, forgotten as I feverishly type something new. Other fics, while completed, have dissolved in the voids of computer errors.

The first thing I ever wrote for the forums was a nail in an as of yet uncreated coffin. I simply opened the ’new post’ window and began writing something. It was set in New Bark Town, a trainer stole a Pokémon, and this kid (think I called him Gold…funny how that works) wanted to be the best trainer in the world. The entire thing was shorter than this article.

And here came the first mistake. I needed a name for my fic.

‘Gold’s Johto Journey’?

No.

‘To Be A Master?’ At the time, my name was Lugia_Master2K1 so I think the term ‘master’ might be done to death. Too much mastery of anything is never good.

So I picked a name that sounded classy, ominous and a little bit pretentious. Destiny’s Way. The idea being all the crazy calamity that was going to kick off with a Pokémon being stolen at Elm’s Lab was all destiny. Oh the pain. I went away to live life as a twelve year old boy and came back one night to see if people were climbing over one another to get more of the fantastic fic. I imagined critical acclaim; the idea of a publishing deal flickered across my mind, I’ll admit. Unfortunately all the replies were about one thing. The title. Apparently there was already a fic called Destiny’s Way on the boards and boy, was it popular. ‘I don’t know why you’re trying to RUIN the other fic,’ quizzed one angry ficcer. ‘Why are you copying the title?’ another argued. I quickly apologised, after a brief attempt at negotiating (‘Can’t there be two fics called Destiny’s Way?’ - ‘No’) I conceded, and ended up deleting the fic. I left the forum that night, and don’t think I came back for some time. As a way of dealing with the knock down, I made a brief fic on Serebii. Without any planning, I created a brief fic famous for its multitude of water Pokémon and a continuously rotating team. But that’s for next time.







To Be a Master [Final Edition]
mistysakura

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam71.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam72.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam73.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v287/mistysakura/tbam74.jpg

Screenshots courtesy of Pokémon Nightmare, Pocket Monsters and AnimeClick.







I Am Not Ashamed!
PancaKe

I love writing. Many of you are well aware of my love for writing stories. In fact, if not for the severe writers block that has plagued my creative juices, I would still be publishing stories left, right and centre. And, I'm not ashamed of it either!

But the minute I say to someone, "Oh yes, I've written a book, I've written quite a few stories in my day", their reply is "What was it about?"

Freeze.

I don't think I have ever turned around and said, "Oh, well it’s about a girl who turns into a pokémon, kind of like a werewolf, and she lives in a boarding school with pokémon." Just as I have never said to the general public "My hobbies include writing stories about pokémon."

I can't explain why either! It's as though friends and family will laugh at me, will raise an eyebrow, will pat me on the head and say "Yes dear, that's lovely" or take a few steps back. Is that what I really fear? If it's not, then why is it I choke up, stumble over my words and mumble answers that vaguely describe my interest in writing and reading general fanfiction?

Only trusted friends know. Only my friends equally obsessed with pokémon know. They're the ones that go "Oh wow, can I read?" instead of going "Oh, really..." They're the ones I'm not afraid to tell after a while; I'll give them links to my stories and hope they'll read it. They're the ones I'm comfortable around.

So what is it with everyone else? Am I the only one who lives a secret double life? By day I am a university student who works at a coffee shop and hangs out at church a whole lot, by night I'm a famous fanfiction author, known world wide for my creations and successes?

Am I ashamed after all?

Even moreso, am I the only one?







The Fanfiction Forum E-zine: Over to You!
Gavin Luper

So you’ve just finished reading the latest issue of this e-zine. You might have noticed that we’ve tried something a little bit different this time around: we’re focusing more on editorials, on the opinions and sentiments of regular members, in addition to our usual fare of expository articles.

So what do you think? Do you like the addition of opinion pieces in the e-zine? Would you like to write your own, even?

Moreover, what would you like to see appearing in the e-zine? More interviews with members? More writing tips, as opposed to opinions? How about fic and poetry spotlights? Or – for the future – what about the idea of themed editions?

Please leave your feedback and comments for us, and together, we’ll help to shape the future direction of the Fanfiction Forum E-zine.

After all, it’s your forum. It’s your e-zine.

PancaKe
3rd August 2009, 06:44 AM
Oh noes. I must rush and send you one more article.

Houndoom_Lover
3rd August 2009, 05:02 PM
I was gunna ask when this was done but the date it up there. I can't wait for it~

PancaKe
4th August 2009, 08:38 AM
Aw . Now I feel bad for not submitting more articles! :-( It's a shame that after two months we only have three articles. People - get a move on! Perhaps at the end of each issue you could put some suggestion topics out there? Kind of like:

"Be Part of the E-zine!

We want you, yes you, to be writing and contributing also. Next issue in particular, keeping Halloween in mind, we are looking for editorials, articles, fanart, quizzes, reviews and anything else you'd like to contribute around the theme of horror lalalalalala"

You can make it sound much better.

Perhaps have a fanart section? I'd love to see interviews with the stars come back (hint hint Gabi), possibly a notice board, shoutouts, etc.

And there will be lots to write about next time, with winners from both the Fic-Swap contest, and the Silver Pencils, as well as other articles I wanted to write and will start writing now.

Feel free to steal my ideas for next time people.


wow this will be a long reply.,


Ada I loved the quiz! Turns out I'm "Deathmatch" - which I had already started to read. Although it did spark my interest in Thorn Darkrose's story as well. I may check that out when I can get away from all this uni homework!!! :(

Houndy I love your article! It's once again filled with your randomness, but yet, sound and solid advice! Very awesome, and great inspiration for more writing (and more articles!)

Houndoom_Lover
4th August 2009, 12:39 PM
Mistysakura! I forgot to squeak in your direction! Great opening and quizz...So much has happened between the last E-zine, its almost mindboggling!

I agree with PancaKe about the stunning lack of articles and the bounce board we could have at the end of them. I'm soooo glad I got one in. It felt wooonderful!

That quizz was such a sweet (Sweet here means cool in this sentece) addition! I dug it emrmcely. :3 Thanks for including Ivo! I got to question two and thought "Hey, D sounds fimular" Bizzamba!

And anyone reading it, I'll put date it once its drawn. I got this new system, where I write down all my fanfictions on tiny slips of paper. Put them in my travel art box (A blue pencil box) shake it up alot and draw one. This time around I drew Gon Yi Tampi:Fight! Maybe next time I'll draw Ivo so always stay tuned :3 Who knows what I'll do next!

And PancaKe! That's a great article, you know, when I went to orientation, I met two girls who wrote fanfictions. They were talking about it, and I said I did too. And then one of the girls said that she tried to keep it cannon but gave up along time ago to just write smut. >w< I wanted to cut the coversation off there. Even though we write fanfictions, there's some magical kind of quaility to good ones (ours) that trancend just fanfiction. Even my friends who write fanfictions, I'm still to neverous to tell...Why? I'm naturally shy about my work....But I love to work on them ^_^


And thanks, CaKy! Every word of that ringings true- its how I got outta a four-fiveish month nothing...It might have been even more. The tap had been running dry for quiet sometime...and that I will not put up with ^_^ And I do hope it helps others!

Chris 2.1
12th August 2009, 12:44 PM
It was a very small but great Zine. Perhaps ironic that, upon doing it bimonthly we have an even smaller issue than usual!?

I am sorry to not have contributed. I am currently writing an article for the next one however, and perhaps since the ezines are two months apart, the forum can actively engage the members in writing things.

For example, maybe ask a few winners of the SP awards to write something following the announcements of the winners. Just a little bit about how they feel and the fics they write, and who they thought they would win. I think that could be cool.

mistysakura
13th August 2009, 06:57 AM
twitter

you won’t believe this. the magpie up there just texted me to announce that it’s taking a piss. how to tell it to dump its shit elsewhere in 140 characters or less?

Nominated for Best Poem. To Be a Master #6 (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18446)is nominated for Best E-zine Article. I'm nominated for Best Reader, Most Likely to Become a Couple (with mr_pikachu, Gavin Luper and Lady Vulpix, no less. Perhaps I should have been nominated for Most Likely to Take Part in an Orgy?), Least Likely to Become a Couple (with Shuppet Master), Queen of Fanfic, Fanficcer Most Likely to Make You Gasp, and Most Helpful Fanficcer.

Thanks a lot for the nominations, guys!

classy_cat18
31st October 2009, 10:27 PM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine ~ Special Halloween 2009 Edition!

It’s my E-zine and I’ll whine if I want to…
classy_cat18

Another e-zine, another chance to give you insight on the fanfiction community. This month, PancaKe takes the reins as she provides the majority of this issue, giving us the news of the past month or so. Lady Vulpix provides us with another interview. I’m short on words, so “gomen nasai” for the short commentary. Read, enjoy, and send all complaints to mr_pikachu.

News
PancaKe
Colored Font for Fics?
PancaKe
Interview with the Stars: Samchu
Lady Vulpix

News
PancaKe

Host Takes The Most In Silver Pencil Awards

Gavin Luper, host of the 2009 Silver Pencils and Fanfic Forum moderator, has taken home fifteen awards at the latest Silver Pencil Awards.

Winning the outstanding Awards Award (handed to the participant with the most awards), Gavin’s awards include Best Fic of the Forum, Best Plot and Best Writing Style for Lisa The Legend, as well as Best Writer and Best Reader.

“I can only assume that people have been revisiting [Lisa The Legend] a lot lately thanks to the Synopses and therefore voted for it,” Gavin said. “I felt rather ridiculous handing myself the Awards Award but I do honestly appreciate the recognition.”

Tied second place, both with five awards each were Chris2.0 and Pancake.

Chris 2.0’s fanfic Show Off walked away with Best Pokemon Fanfic among other awards.

“Best Pokemon Fic is a massive achievement for a fic that has only been around since the start of the year,” Chris said.

Pancake walked away with a variety of member awards, including best contributor, and, surprisingly TPM addict, snatching the title from Mikachu Yukatsu by one vote.

“I knew I'd be quite a strong candidate for the latter, and this was a bitter defeat,” Mikachu said.

Gavin Luper and Pancake were crowned King and Queen of Fanfic respectively, with DragoKnight being named Jester, and Charles Legend being picked as most likely to cause the universe to explode.

The Silver Pencils and Golden Pens Awards occur every six months, and have been running since late 2003.

The next awards are the Golden Pens, occurring over the December-January period. To offer suggestions regarding the awards ceremony, visit the Writers Lounge.

Members Dash to Join in Writing Sprint

The October Writing Sprint recently took place over the 10th and 11th of the month.

The Writing Sprint is a chance for writers to be inspired by a theme, and write whatever comes to mind throughout the weekend.

Ten different works were submitted this month, based on the theme “Body”.

Entries ranged from poetry to prose, featuring both pokemon fanfiction and original ideas.

First time Sprinter, Kyuuketsuki said that experiencing the Writers Sprint was fun.

Kyuuketsuki entered “Poliwag’s Adventure”, a short story that focused on overcoming image issues.



“He'll defiantly be punished for destroying the village." A Jigglypuff said as Poliwag crawled out smiling "At least now he won't be able to make fun of us small Pokémon."

"Yeah. He finally got what he deserved." Poliwag said "Body size and shape doesn't matter, I just kicked his butt."

For some members, the Sprint was too short, and didn’t allow for much time for people with work and busy weekends to take part. Several members feel that the Sprint should be extended to give more members a chance to participate.

“Often weekends can be difficult,” Firepokemon said. “Perhaps something that is a week long could be trialled?”


Coloured Font For Fics?
PancaKe

It seems there are two sets of unspoken rules when it comes to posting our original writings. For RPG’s and Dragon Tamers writing, coloured font is more than acceptable. For stories being posted in Fanfic, white font is the traditional way to post.

I post my conversational text in gold, however when I post a piece of writing, be that poetry or a story, I will post it in white. Why is it we make these decisions? Do you make an active decision to post in a colour or in white? Or do you just copy paste and press post?

I spoke to Crystal Tears, author of original fiction Kingdom Heartless, and creator of RPG of the same name, and asked her about the choices she made when posting her fanfic in coloured font.

“I thought it gave a distinct feel to the story,” she explained. “Leaving the font white made it lack personality. I also wanted to carry over the relation between the fic and the RPG, as the plot in the RPG was originally posted in that shade of purple.”

When choosing a certain colour, several factors affected her decision, including the vibe of the colour, the readability of the shade and the tone of the story itself. “It helps convey the message that Kingdom Heartless isn’t a happy tale, nor it is a completely hopeless [tale],” Crystal Tears said. “I tried other colours, but the purple seemed to fit the overall theme much better.”

Many of Kingdom Heartless’s readers come from an RPG background, where reading fiction in a variety of font colours is normal. Most readers have expressed positive feedback to the lilac shade, which Crystal Tears says was a relief.

“I was worried when I first posted in the purple colour that maybe someone would complain,” she said. “I went on the notion that if I could read it with ease, not many would have a problem with it.”

Crystal Tears believes that there are two main reasons why more people don’t post their fanfictions in coloured font, both stemming from a fear of poor colour choice.

“One, people are afraid. A bad colour will ward away readers… If someone doesn’t like the colour, they’re probably not going to read the story. Two, picking a colour that fits the fic is harder than it seems. I got lucky with the purple…White is the safe neutral, it has no colour draw, but it’s not going to ruin the feel of the story either.”

But, what do you think, forum? Do you like coloured fonts in fanfics? Why do you choose to use or not use them? What’s your say on the matter?


Interview with the Stars: Samchu
Lady Vulpix

Lady Vulpix: HI.
Samchu: *is knocked over by force of hi *
Samchu: ...hello...
Lady Vulpix: Oh! Sorry!
Samchu: it's ok
Lady Vulpix: It's just that I've had no luck contacting you during the last few months.
Samchu: you've been trying? i had no idea. sorry.
Lady Vulpix: It's OK. We're talking now.
Samchu: yes we are
Lady Vulpix: If my file is right, you're a writer who hasn't been interviewed yet. Is that correct?
Samchu: you mean for fanfiction?
Lady Vulpix: Yes. That's why I've been trying to talk to you since April.
Samchu: oh... heh... my bad
im amused that you can use the term writer when i haven't put anything on there in the...5 months you've been trying to contact me longer even i believe. but yeh, i wrote some stuff in there
Lady Vulpix: That holds for me as well and I still consider myself a writer. So, would you like to be interviewed?
Samchu: sure!
Lady Vulpix: ^_^
Samchu: two sections of TPM in one year? go me! lol
Lady Vulpix: Who got to you first?
Samchu: rpg
Lady Vulpix: Oh!
Samchu: mmm really hated that interview. so many generic questions...
Lady Vulpix: Oh, sorry to hear that.
Samchu: it's ok
just felt like i was being asked the same questions i read every month
Lady Vulpix: Well, that won't be the case here. There are only 2 questions I repeat every month, and those are the first and the last.
Samchu: ooo an exciting interview? well i'm intrigued enough to do it. fire away!
Lady Vulpix: Yay!

Lady Vulpix: So, when did you first start writing?
Samchu: Whenever my primary school decided that we were old enough to use the english language creatively. I'm thinking about age 6 or 7 though it may have been earlier than that.

Lady Vulpix: So your first shot at writing was a school assignment?
Samchu: That I can remember, yes. I know I dabbled at home on a typewriter but whether that was before or after the assignment I couldn't say.

Lady Vulpix: A typewriter? Nice, I don't hear that word mentioned very often. Are you saying you learned to type when you were around 6?
Samchu: oh yes. It was faster than writing it by hand so back then it had the same appeal as using a laptop for writing does now.

Lady Vulpix: Wow, that's impressive. So, what kinds of writings came out of your typewriter?
Samchu: Mostly stories invovling my family or people that I knew. Most of it was fiction because it meant that I could also write about dinosaurs which were a passion of mine when I was young.

Lady Vulpix: Heh. Did you and your family meet dinosaurs, then?
Samchu: Meet them, rescue them, raise them, even get eaten by them. But only in my stories. The closest we ever came to meeting dinosaurs was the fossils and bones in the local museum.

Lady Vulpix: Are you still interested in dinosaurs?
Samchu: Not as much as I wish, or sometimes even try to convince myself that I am. But the interest is still there. It might just need some exposure to bring it back to the surface but it will never be a major passion for me again. My dreams of being a paleontologist are long gone.

Lady Vulpix: What are your current dreams?
Samchu: To become a published author and maybe make enough to live off of it. Marry my girlfriend and settle down in the states, have a couple of kids and maybe some day open up a bookshop. And if I'm really pushing it, one day I even hope to write something bigger than Harry Potter.

Lady Vulpix: That one's a big dream, but who knows? It may happen. I don't think anyone could have foreseen what Harry Potter would become.
Are you writing anything now?
Samchu: I'm still trying to finish the novel that I started halfway through the first ever x-pokes (some of the more senior rpgers might remember that one). Everytime I get somewhere with it I think of some way I can improve and have to start from scratch. But one day I'm going to finish it. Hopefully before I graduate from University. I have a few side projects that I've been fiddling with on and off and I'm also helping Shayna to write a book of short stories about the lives of lesbian couples. Sort of an attempt to educate through fiction and maybe bring a little hope to those newly out who aren't really sure how the whole 'being gay' thing is supposed to work. I know I was lost on a few things when I came out. It's not like there's a lot of people willing to help you out with that.

Lady Vulpix: What kind of things? (Sorry, I haven't been through that, so I don't know what it's like.)
Or we can change the subject if you prefer.
Samchu: No no, I would be more than happy to answer. Well for starters you have the differences between butches and femmes (though the names themselves are fairly self-explanitory) and there's not much help available in regards to how exactly you should try and go about telling those nearest and dearest to you (though I've found there's a lot more help appearing as the years pass). The biggest problem still, though, is sex. Because the only real education people can get from it is from books, the internet and porn. And it's really hard to dig past some of the upheld stereotypes that people have and get to the true facts. That's part of the reason for this book. We really want to show how similar the dynamic of a lesbian relationship is to that of a straight one so we're covering all the bases. Comfortable relationships, get-togethers, break-ups, even those first-time moments. Just to show that it really isn't that scary to be 'different' and it's not that different either.
Lady Vulpix: That does sound helpful.
Samchu: That's what we're hoping for.

Lady Vulpix: What about RPGs? How did you get involved with them, and how did you decide to incorporate them into your writings?
Samchu: Well like most teenagers of the 90s I was into pokemon and one night I stuck pokemon into a google search and TPM sprung up as a result. So I clicked on it and headed over to the forums and I discovered an rpg forum filled with all kinds of pokemon rpgs. So I joined up and things sort of progressed from there. As for incorporating them into my writing, X-Pokes was the first and last to get that treatment. It was a common trend at the time for people to write up fic versions of an rpg they were in and post them in fan fic so I figured I'd give it a try. I got CT's permission and it's just been a cycle of deletes and rewrites ever since. Though I will admit I have wrestled with a few ideas relating to Drusilla's Blood & Magick rpgs but nothing has come from them...yet.

Lady Vulpix: Do you read other people's stories on TPM?
Samchu: Not as much as I used to. I was once an avid closet reader but now I only read things written by eeveeshayna or Crystal Tears and usually at their request.

Lady Vulpix: Closet reader? Is that a reader who doesn't post replies or something else?
Samchu: Yes a reader who doesn't post replies. I was usually too overwhelmed by the talent of people I viewed to be far superior writers than I to comment.

Lady Vulpix: Sorry to hear that. But you don't feel that way anymore, do you?
Samchu: I'm a lot more confident in my own abilities now than I was. I even decided to enter one of fanfics writing competitions many months back which ironically had me pitted head-to-head with one of the few people on TPM who's writing I had always admired. I decided that if my story beat hers then it was proof that I had managed to surpass her (a little selfish perhaps but it seems to be a human goal to someday surpass those you admire). But as it turns out I lost and realised I still have a long way to go. Which hasn't phased me one bit. If anything it's been inspiring. I love being challenged.
Lady Vulpix: As they say, there's always a higher mountain. But that's a good thing, isn't it?
Samchu: Definitely.

Lady Vulpix: So how did you overcome your self-deprecation?
Samchu: I practiced and I submitted what I wrote to the scrutiny of the people around me. I knew they would lie to be keep me happy so I ignored what they said and just watched their faces as they read (because they can't lie about that). And I was pleased with what I saw so I started thinking that maybe there's some talent in me after all.

Lady Vulpix: Wow. Interesting tactic! Didn't watching them as they read make you nervous?
Samchu: It was terrifying but it was the most honest response I could get so I took the risk, and I'm glad I did.
Lady Vulpix: :)

Lady Vulpix: Do you like reading?
Samchu: Of course! I'm also one of those terrible people who has to finish a series if they start it. I can't stand renting books though (which is a shame because libraries do great things and are under-appreciated), I just need to own the books that I read.

Lady Vulpix: Have you read many series?
Samchu: Not many but some. Most notably the entirety of Tamora Pierces' tortall series, which she seems reluctant to finish, and The Looking Glass Wars on which I am awaiting the next installment.
Lady Vulpix: Oh. I'll have to look them up.
Samchu: I would definitely recommend them.
Lady Vulpix: Thanks.

Lady Vulpix: So, in general, what genres do you like reading?
Samchu: Fantasy. No question about it. Anything else just...isn't as exciting for me.

Lady Vulpix: And I take it the same holds for writing?
Samchu: Yep. Though I've been trying out a few different genres, such a sci-fi. I don't enjoy them as much but I still like to write them. It's nice to make a change sometimes.

Lady Vulpix: Now that you mention it, a lot of people mix up fantasy and sci-fi. How do you feel about it?
Samchu: It doesn't bother me much. I was glad to see last year that a lot of book stores were beginning to distinguish between the two genres in regards to their shelving categories and I think it's a little irritating that some places I go to seem to have given up with the seperation process halfway through but other than that I don't mind.

Lady Vulpix: Heh. I guess it's still better than sorting all books alphabetically by the name of the author (I've seen that done).
Samchu: wow, that's crazy. especially if you're like me and can't remember the author's name, just the title of the book and roughly what section it will be in

Lady Vulpix: OK, there's only one other question that comes to my mind right now. What's been keeping you so busy lately?
Samchu: My life apparently. April and May I was preparing for (and sitting) the exams for my university courses. I spent most of June trying to find a summer job and starting it. July was spent with my girlfriend (who was visiting England for only the second time in her life and kept me very busy). August was spent in the US with my girlfriend and some of the greatest people I've ever met (who sadly will not read this). And since coming back to England a little over a week ago I have been rushing around trying to prepare for the start of my second year at University as well as dealing with all the tiny ins and outs of renting my own house with some friends (which I will be moving into a week on monday).
Lady Vulpix: You can always send those people a link to the interview.
Samchu: That's true. I'm sure Shayna will pass on the message as well.
Lady Vulpix: ^_^

Lady Vulpix: OK. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers of this E-Zine?
Samchu: I guess just...keep writing and never stop believing in yourself.

Lady Vulpix: Thanks a lot.
Samchu: You're very welcome.

Kyuuketsuki
1st November 2009, 07:23 AM
I'm in there! *Goes hyper* My name was published, I have to send a copy to my mom :D. Anyway, great E-Zine, I'll definatly check some of the fics mentioned in there.

Samchu
1st November 2009, 05:29 PM
Ok...so the start of that interview makes me look like a complete f***ing ass****. Can I just clarify that I was in a really bad mood when this interview was done and so my attempt at 'humour' clearly failed.

I love you Denny!

Mew Master
1st November 2009, 05:31 PM
I feel so violated[/sarcasm]

Samchu
1st November 2009, 06:06 PM
I'll violate you any day ^_~

Mew Master
1st November 2009, 06:07 PM
Kinkeh

PancaKe
1st November 2009, 11:39 PM
Oh, I thought I wrote more than that! ^___^ I liked reading the interview as well. Gabi you interview so well! :D

Gavin Luper
3rd November 2009, 10:15 AM
I really loved this issue of the e-zine! Even though it was cut a bit short (I think your other articles will be run next month, Tara) it was still a great read. I really love the journalistic approach taken to Tara's news writing: it makes it feel like a professional ezine, and it's easier on the eyes - and more engaging - than the editor's usual brief summary. Well done on the news articles, and the coloured font discussion. Gabi's interview with Samchu was riveting too, digging into the personal side of matters as well as the professional.

In all, a great read, guys. So well done to you all, and to Shonta for collating it.

See you all next issue!

classy_cat18
3rd November 2009, 12:15 PM
Actually, those are all of Tara's articles that she sent me. I took a few of them and lumped them into a news column. ^^;

PancaKe
9th November 2009, 07:45 PM
Who is running the next one??

classy_cat18
9th November 2009, 07:59 PM
That'd be Gavin. He's got the December issue.

PancaKe
9th November 2009, 08:03 PM
Ok awesome, I'll send my articles through to him... when they're done!