View Full Version : The Fanfiction Forum E-zine ~ August 2008

1st August 2008, 12:00 AM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine
August 2008


Whose E-zine Is It Anyway?

Conversations with the Stars – Houndoom_Lover
Lady Vulpix

Why, Oh Why Did the Trainer Fic Die?
Chris 2.1

Moderators Are... (Part 2)

My Kind of Hero
Dark Sage

The Grammar Nazi – The One Rule

Whose E-zine Is It Anyway?

Welcome to another issue of the FanFiction Forum E-zine, where everything's made up and the points don't matter! That's right, they're just as real as all the Silver Pencils we mailed last February. (They're on their way! We promise!)

We've got a great issue lined up for you, so let's get started!

Conversations with the Stars – Houndoom_Lover
Lady Vulpix

Lady Vulpix: How long have you been writing?

Houndoom_Lover: Oh, wow, since I could hold a broken stabby crayon in my hand ^-^

Lady Vulpix: Interesting. What did you write about back then?

Houndoom_Lover: A story book where a poorly drawn monster ate the alphabet- the kids had to kill him with a letter T ^_^ Or maybe they all became friends- I can't remember ^-^

Lady Vulpix: Heh. Quite different alternate endings.

Houndoom_Lover: Yeeeeeeeah ^-^ I can't remember making it, but its lying around the house *waves my hand* somewhere ^_^ Mom keeps all our art.

Lady Vulpix: That's sweet. ^.^
Obviously your writing skills have improved a lot since then.You've even made a great improvement within the last few months. How do you feel about it?

Houndoom_Lover: I hardly notice I improve or do well at all ^_^ Hontestly, it always surprised me when someone says I did. Its a strange thing.
Or do ^-^u Heh, grammar

Lady Vulpix: Have the replies from your readers affected you in any way?

Houndoom_Lover: Hmm, I have to say yes. I get discouraged easily, but I always enjoy a good review. It tickles me pink that someone takes time outa their day to make me smile.

Lady Vulpix: You say you get discouraged easily, but you've participated in most contests and shown a clear improvement from one context to the next. Do contests encourage you to write more?

Houndoom_Lover: ^w^ I just like making things but, but I suppose they do. I like the whole theme writting thing, and limits and stuff. Its like exersize (<- Spelled herdenously wrong)

Lady Vulpix: Herdenously?

Houndoom_Lover: Hehe, spelling joke- One of my weak points in life @.@

Lady Vulpix: Ah, but that can be improved. Tell me, how often do you read?

Houndoom_Lover: Every day! ^_^ Besides books, I read backs of labels, signs, you know, stuff that people just can pass by...I'm not sure how to turn it off, but yeah, every day, hours, second. Unless I'm sleeping, its hard to read then.

Lady Vulpix: Really? Haven't you ever read anything in your dreams?

Houndoom_Lover: ...*ponders this* I may have, that would be an uneventful dream though ^__^ I can't recall any

Lady Vulpix: What do you enjoy reading?

Houndoom_Lover: Fantasy ^_^ I like short stories if I'm bored and have nothing to read.

Lady Vulpix: Do you read mostly books, online stories or both?

Houndoom_Lover: Both! ^-^ Though I find book easier to read. Its hard to keep focus online- but I enjoy those Amazon previews of books, and various fanfiction what not.
Read books that is ^_^u

Lady Vulpix: Have you read other people's stories on TPM?

Houndoom_Lover: Yes ma'am I have! Various ones, I'm a bad keeping tracker of others updates- don't tell no ones ^__^

Lady Vulpix: Err... You do know this interview is going to be posted on TPM, right?

Houndoom_Lover: Yes ^_^u *chuckles at myself* Sorry, just downed microwaved s'more- like, three of them. The sugar is kicking in.

Lady Vulpix: It's ok. Hmm... this opens the way for a somewhat crazy question, since we're talking about fiction writing and sugar... What effect would you say sugar has on literature?

Houndoom_Lover: Hahaha- well, for one, it created that whole genre of Crack!Fic, unless you're doing Crack then...which is expensive, sugar is cheeper. I like to think it keeps me going, like beer to someone who needs beer. ^_^ Instead of huffing glue, people could just eat like nine candy bars and have the same effect. Woulda saved Hemming way a suicide attempt.

Lady Vulpix: A crazy answer for a crazy question. Well done. Tell me, where do you normally find inspiration?

Houndoom_Lover: ^_^ The TV *points to it behind me* Screw what people tell you, that TV kills creativity. 92% of the time, if I need inspration, I turn the tv on and see what's on. Like, for a none fanfiction explame, this man on the history channel was named Philpbert- and I was like, he has two Ps in his name! Bam, got a taxi driver for a short story ^_^

Lady Vulpix: Yes, I agree that TV can be a source of inspiration... if used wisely. What story was that?

Houndoom_Lover: Oh, well, with man name Philpbert is daydream about how suceesful his life was, then someone gets in his car, and the last line was "It's nice to dream"- Just a stort story for a little P.R when I need it ^_^

Lady Vulpix: P.R.?

Houndoom_Lover: Private revenue? It sounded nifty :DÂ When I'm in need of money, I have a little host of publishable things, so, you know, I'm not staving while I go to college

Lady Vulpix: Oh! Have you ever published anything?

Houndoom_Lover: Sorta kinda- I made an attempt to get in the market early, but the people who wanted it wanted me to change parts, and as much as I like money, changing the end of the story to make is happy didn't please me, so I'm withdrawled from publishing things until I'm outa high school, so I don't get roped into anything.

Lady Vulpix: Oh, was that what they wanted? I've heard that editors always ask for changes, but I think asking to change the ending completely is going too far. Unless it was a children's story with a tragic ending or something like that. Was it?

Houndoom_Lover: Yes >.> It was, oh- some girly animal magazine, and they wanted stories were animals changed a girls life for like 40 dollars- so I jumped on the train. I guess I'm just not girly enough :P

Lady Vulpix: Have you tried targetting a different audience?

Houndoom_Lover: I'm not sure what audience I target, although, I thought there was nothing wrong with leaving the gate open, its not like she was devouring that horse in a santanic umm- that sentence got away from me...I only entered 'cause my Grandma gave me the magazine and was like "Go like horses, you're a girl" ^_^u
A ritual! Satanic ritual! Haha, pwned that sentence!

Lady Vulpix: Do you often talk to other writers about your work or theirs?

Houndoom_Lover: Huh? -.- Oh, forgive me, I never notice when I'm funny. I don't think I really am...funny, that is. The conscience flows, ummmm- Yes! Yes, I just usually chatter to my friends and whatnot about they're doing. I think its fun to bounce ideas off people. ^_^

Lady Vulpix: So do you think about what they've said to you when you write?

Houndoom_Lover: Sometimes ^_^ Though I don't think much when I write- I usually work off a single tagent or scene in my head and move from there. Sometimes I make a check list, because I know I won't think about it when I'm writting

Lady Vulpix: Oh. So you mostly go with the flow rather than plan ahead?

Houndoom_Lover: Yep ^.^! I manage to log myself down when I plan ahead too much. I never commit myself to anything I've written down as a note, 'cause it might change in a sentence.

Lady Vulpix: What about your characters? Do you have a somewhat clear idea of what they will be like by the time you start writing, or do you figure them out as you go along?

Houndoom_Lover: Hmmm, I never gave that a thought before! ^_^ I guess I know them before, which is weird since I never knew them before. That question really has me thinking, but yeah, I think I know them before...or while I'm writting. Curious!

Lady Vulpix: I recalled a story in which you changed the style of the narration according to the character who was on focus. I found that quite original. Do you often use that or other resources? Or do you not give it much of a thought?

Houndoom_Lover: I don't give it much thought, but I do! ^_^ I love the story- I'll update it eventually. Um, yes, I do- I use the time date thing to seperate stuff in some point, chapters based on where a character is, story told in flashbacks and flash forwards, leaving the present to last, a mix of first second third person...let's see. Stories told in song form ^_^ I like exparmenting.

Lady Vulpix: ^_^
Ok, so... is there anything you'd like to say to the readers and writers on the Fanfic forum?

Houndoom_Lover: Keep truckin'? ^_^ No, a chance to give people nuggets of adive...Hmmm. No, I've got nothin' Hi ev-rybo-dy!

Lady Vulpix: Hehehe. Ok, that was original. Thank you.

Houndoom_Lover: You're welcome! ^_^ That was fun

Why, Oh Why Did the Trainer Fic Die?
Chris 2.1

I have always had a difficult relationship with the trainer fic. Like a married couple we argue, make up and take a bit of time apart from each other, only to end up realising how hopelessly lost we are without the other. I try other genres, only for it to reignite the passion I have for my lost love, and although it may take different forms deep down, this is the genre I enjoy reading (and writing) the most.

It is something I imagine many members of this community share with me; after all, in a forum based off the Pokemon franchise, is it not natural to want to replicate the fun and adventure of the Pokemon games? This natural link between Pokemon and Fanfic is perhaps the reason why trainer fics flourished so freely in the early days of my registering into TPM, around 2000.

Those who can cast their minds back to The Pokemasters website (when it had a Pokedex, episode guides, the lot) might remember the fanfic section. Through a username I cannot even remember I once posted the first part to what I hoped would be the biggest blockbusting fic in the world. From what I can recall, you often posted chapters up on their own to get rated and reviewed, and while there were a number of one-shots, there were also fics that spanned over a few weeks or months. My fic was a simple trainer story. It featured a boy in Johto (the games which were just released at the time and the talk of the ‘net) who picked a starter Pokemon from Professor Birch...

...and, come to think about it, the first part of this (groundbreaking) piece of work was actually about the length of this very article you’re reading now. Maybe four paragraphs. It was about the boy waking up and deciding to get a Pokemon, while a shady looking guy watched from atop a hill. Four paragraphs that barely narrated the first four minutes of the Gold/Silver games. This was my first chapter of my fic. It got a horrific rating (as I recall, fics were given a rating out of five stars, and mine did not get anything above three) and I remember, at about twelve (or perhaps thirteen) feeling a gut-wrenching feeling of disappointment.

Now, I have to say, at nineteen years of age I can quietly admit that it was a shocking piece of work, nay, a collection of paragraphs. It truly was. But it was the first of many spirals into pre-teen snobbery that put me off writing for a long time. Until then, I quietly reflected in work that was beginning to take shape around me; trainer fics that were fast becoming phenomena. One of which was a fic that is still underway to this day.

Electric Buggy to Victory. I think perhaps the most vivid memory I have is right at the beginning when Mr Mime traps Squirtle in a series of barriers, creating a miniature water tank that inevitably drowns the poor thing. It was such a fresh, innovative piece of fiction everyone was waiting to see what was coming next. One aspect I always loved about the trainer fic was the captures. The traditional ‘see something, fight it, catch it’ thing, where the trainer is as surprised by what he sees as we are. There’s no planning, none of the intricate mixing of types and roles within a team, but simply catching. Because, to the trainer in this hypothetical quest, they are seeing more and more fascinating creatures – in the same way you or I may stare, amazed, at a tropical fish on a nature show. Birds able to summon the strongest winds, or little animals able to wield fire or generate lightning. Is there not something truly illuminating about the quest to tame such animals? To scour the world meeting so many different, unique species?

Finding others who wish to do the same, and creating an all-out-brawl in the middle of a dusty clearing between two distant towns. Just thinking of this reminds me so much of when I received Pokemon Red for Christmas so many years ago, and my quest. Look at that snake in the grass! Can I weaken it enough to capture it? Once I did, I’d see what it was like in battle, train it, and soon it would grow into an even bigger Pokemon. The similarities between Pokemon and our own domestic pets were there, providing character, insight and depth.

The Emerald League was another fascinating quest, on an island only just established. Here, the feeling of exploration was heightened in this barely populated place. There was something so satisfying, even with the blandest of trainer fics, about seeing progression. Every capture for the team, every battle won. Every gym badge worn with pride signalled progression and development. There was a trainer fic I remember that never made it past three chapters (give or take); it was common for a lot of fics to start, but never to accelerate beyond the first few instalments due to a severe lack of interest, causing them to simply trail away like sand in a gust. The lack of interest may be due mainly to so much choice that a fic could be disregarded due to the setting or the starter Pokemon – we did, then, have so much choice. But this particular fic started while the trainer was cornered by a wild creature near Cherrygrove City. He recounted selecting a Cyndaquil from Professor Birch and soon capturing a Hoothoot, and the first two chapters filled us in before we caught up with his present situation and saw him fare off against the Ursaring. It was such a great way of storytelling I wish it had continued.

And how can I forget Joe’s Quest – I think it was actually at Serebii, but moved to TPM with much less success after a few years. I must have been known as Shinymarill at that point. It was about Joe, who had a Rattata and lived in a medium-sized village with a small gym, a rival (who had a Tyrogue, I recall) and many other trainers that he frequently battled. The first few chapters dealt with Joe in his surroundings; so many times we leave out the town that our beloved hero comes from, so it was amazing to actually feel a pang of regret leaving the village as Joe did. He captured a Horsea, a Voltorb and perhaps a Nidoran... but the story stopped. It was such a shame. It was compelling, and due to the large gap between captures, the readers really felt close to the Pokemon.

But what happened? Why are there no trainer fics anymore? I’ve wondered this for quite some time, scouring the boards, and have come to a simple conclusion. One that was achieved by recalling the sudden growth and expansion some time ago. It appears that when the anime was growing in popularity, as well as the games, everyone suddenly decided to write Pokemon Trainer Fiction. ‘Mike’s Pokemon Journey!’ or ‘Billy’s Quest 2BA Master’ would appear, and, like my first attempt at fanfic, contain no real spirit or life. Simply a trainer picking a starter Pokemon and wandering around. I rarely saw a new trainer fic reaching past five chapters (or, in the case of one Hoenn-anime-based fic, about 40 chapters were done within three weeks, each chapter being about half a page long). Nothing was original. Nothing was accomplished, and soon, the genre was viewed as particularly weak, particularly empty, and not really worth anybody’s time.

I’ve written a lot of trainer fics, briefly venturing into fantasy for Monica’s Army, Monica’s Revolution and the unfinished Monica’s Vendetta (those who keep track of the fic may be interested to learn plans are underway to resurrect, and finish, the final fic in the Monica saga). I know what I like and I know I’ve had people who enjoy my work, mainly because mine (like many others’ work) has pushed through that initial stage where it could sink or swim. And after the wave of trainer fics, there has been an intense vacuum, pulling anything inside that remotely focuses on Pokemon capture. Now this may sound as if our fanfic board is an empty beach, devoid of any life, but that is not the case. We have some great fics on our board; with Lisa The Legend, you have the blockbuster, Lord of the Rings-esque fic in our community that will, it seems, always be here. The fic focuses so little on Pokemon Capture I remember fondly respecting Gavin for that. It’s nice seeing fics where the Pokemon aren’t all big and butch, impossible powerhouses that can fight to the death. OzAndrew does a similar, great job; I whined for some time that his Cyndaquil should have evolved much sooner and, when the Quilava finally emerged after a glorious, late-night street fight against a Seviper, it was one of the most satisfying moments I have read.

Thanks to the influx of those damaged trainer fics, many people have been turned off by the concept, and I know many other writers who strive to do something different while still retaining the trainer fic’s components and parts. Pokemon: Storming Heaven’s Gates has a Fantasy-style quest encompassed in the trainer element, and my own The Pokemon Masters League took elements of Trainer Fic away thanks to the fact it is based in (and has always been based in) a single location.

I urge you to create more trainer fiction. Staple trainer fiction that will have started many of us on our roads towards being writers. Now individuality may lie within the fic, and you may be tempted to stray away from many of the cornerstones of classic trainer fiction, but as both a reader and a writer myself, I urge you to keep the standard stuff standard. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Moderators Are... (Part 2)

Being a moderator is fun. Sure, we have to spend a lot of time on the forum, planning ways for people to get involved and ideas to keep the place exciting. It takes a lot of dedication. When you think about it, though, we wouldn't do it if we didn't care. We constantly strive to make our forum the best one around, and it's incredibly fulfilling to see that dream come true – even members who don't frequent Fanfic often comment on how active our little niche is.

However, there are some things that we really don't like to do. It's tiresome to scan Golden Pen and Silver Pencil nomination threads to make sure people aren't cheating. It's a chore to cobble together E-zine articles at the last minute. Yet, far more painful than anything else is doling out the dreaded infractions.

Moderators Are Law Enforcement

"The internet is serious business." If you don't recognize this major net meme, you don't spend enough time online. While it is one of the most sarcastic retorts to forumites embroiled in impossible debates over everything from politics and religion to sex and drugs, moderators have to take things seriously when it comes to the rules that govern any forum. A degree of chaos is always good – what fun would life be if it was totally predictable? – but without a set of boundaries and officials to enforce them, every thread would erupt into a maelstrom of flames until members simply lost interest. Or, even worse, until the forum became 4chan.

Here in Fanfic, we don't make a habit of infracting people. That's a good thing. No one wants to attract punishment, so being hit with a penalty can be a jarring experience. We're not evil; we don't like doing that to anyone. Besides, if our goal was to infract people then nobody would stick around to deal with us. Forums aren't like Pokémon games. There's not always another member in the next patch of tall grass.

MODERATOR used FISSURE! It's a one-hit KO!

Wild MEMBER fainted! MODERATOR gained 338 Exp. Points. MODERATOR reached Lv. 34!

MODERATOR is trying to learn Flamethrower, but MODERATOR can only learn four moves. Delete an older move to make room for Flamethrower?

...Ahem. The point is, if we started banning people left and right, pretty soon we'd be managing an empty forum.

Here's the good news. We don't infract members very often – I'd say that if it happens more than four times a year, it's a rotten year – and it almost never reaches a high level. The majority of infractions are pretty much warning shots, as if we're saying, "Knock it off or we're going to get serious." I don't even remember the last time anyone in Fanfic was suspended. Generally, people are smart enough not to push the limits more than once. Kudos to you!

Unfortunately, there's a downside to all this. Just because nobody is breaking any rules doesn't mean we can relax. Think about what would happen if police stopped patrolling an area just because crime was down. Total mayhem would ensue. Our principle is the same. Even if no one does anything wrong, we have to scan the forums day in and day out, seeking problems and trying to stop feuds before they start.

Experience is helpful in this, because we have a general idea of what might happen. At this point, our whole team is experienced enough to see most potential quarrels before they ever begin; one of us will occasionally contact his or her comrades and say "we need to keep an eye on this thread," or something to that effect. That way, we have a good chance to catch violations before anyone else notices them. Such vigilance is crucial for handling problems without disrupting the entire forum.

This, of course, takes a lot of time. We moderators skim through virtually every new post that is made in Fanfic, keeping a watchful eye for trouble. Skimming isn't reading, however, and that makes it much more difficult to sit down and actually read fanfics. If you think that we don't reply to fics often enough, that's part of the reason why. It's difficult to scan every single post on the forum, read and reply to a bunch of new chapters, and still have time left for sleep.

(A little side note. Moderators don't get to read many fics, but we also know how trouble is likely to start. We laugh, then, when all four of us have carefully read through every word of a new fic within hours of the first post. Let me tell you, it's rarely because we're adoring fans.)

Some rules are harder to enforce than others, especially the plagiarism rule. This is almost never broken in Fanfic for two main reasons. First, fanfiction itself requires a degree of copyright infringement. However, fanficcers give due credit to the franchises of Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and so forth, whether explicitly ("Pokémon belongs to Nintendo") or implicitly (using Pokémon in their fanfics), and that's more than enough by our standards.

Second, our members are smart enough to add their own creativity to the franchise and to avoid using ideas from their fellow ficcers without permission. It's actually hard to break the plagiarism rule unless you're seriously trying to do it. Besides, no self-respecting author would commit blatant plagiarism, and our forum is filled with delightfully honorable writers.

Nonetheless, it does happen on rare occasions, much to our chagrin. Not only is it annoying to see a writer go bad, but it places our whole forum in danger of feuding, whether between our own members or with another community. So we have to stop it whenever it happens.

Plagiarism, though, is hard to detect in such a huge quantity of material. Realistically, look at all the fanfics on TPM, then at the works around the internet. Do we really have time to check every single sentence to make sure it doesn't resemble something that someone else wrote? Does anyone?

College professors have software to do the work for them: they can just copy and paste any essay into a massive database and see if it matches anything that's already there. Fanfic moderators have to be more creative. As such, one of us might randomly take a sentence or two from a fic (or for that matter, a fic title) and run a Google search. If any of the excerpts we find look close, we investigate further. Also, certain excerpts may grab our attention during our frequent scans. If, say, a paragraph looks out of place, or if a writer's style changes drastically from chapter to chapter or from fic to fic, alarm bells sound in our heads.

In the event that we miss a violation – we're dedicated but we're only human – we rely on the reporting system to help Fanfic self-police. Members, unfortunately, rarely make use of it (I like to think it's because we clean up all the messes before anyone else sees them), but it can still be a useful backup for overwhelmed moderators. If anyone finds something that might be a violation, we'd like a report so that we can promptly take a look.

There is one way to handle violations that is superior to all others, however. There's simply no better outcome than stopping it before it happens. It sounds impossible without a time machine, but we manage. (I tried to get a time machine anyway... eBay sucks.) As I said before, our members are very smart. Smart enough, in fact, to know when they need to clarify some of the rules. Every so often one of us will get a PM or see a post asking about a fic someone wants to write. We may debate some of these ideas for several days, posing numerous additional examples and questions relating to the rules.

Oftentimes we give the fanficcer in question our approval to go ahead. Sometimes we don't. On occasion, these questions actually result in us rewriting the rules to prevent future confusion; we don't want people to get in trouble when they didn't mean to do anything wrong.

We usually don't think of ourselves as the "internet police," especially since very few people ever break the "law." Most use their common sense to avoid pushing the boundaries, and others ask questions when they know their idea is close to the edge. Nonetheless, we moderators are ready to deal with anything if and when it happens. As we like to say, "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"

My Kind of Hero
Dark Sage

A while back, I did an article on villains. It was well-received, but I’ve wanted to do a follow-up to that for a long time. After all, nine times out of ten, the villain is not the star of the fanfic. (That is not to say that he is never the star of the fanfic. Harry Potter fanfics alone have plenty of stories where Malfoy is the main character, let alone ones that center on Voldemort.)

I recall one fanfic of mine where one of the main characters told another one (I think I’m quoting this right): “Do you know what makes a hero? Well, 99.9% of the time, it’s someone who’s just too hungry, cold, and tired to give a damn. And I don’t give a damn.” The character was angry at the time, but true to his words, a lot of heroes have reasons for being heroes that are vastly different than what they used to be.

When designing a hero, often the main character of a fanfic, you often have to decide what approach you want to take. There are several archetypes of heroes, and they are very different from each other. We see them as good guys, but are they always? There was a time when these things were seen in terms of black and white, but as any good writer knows, the world is often seen in shades of grey.

What follows are three heroic archetypes, and tips on creating them. Keep these in mind when creating a fanfic, because the main character is the one that the readers’ eyes will be the most on.

The Celebrity: This sort of hero is perhaps the oldest. It started with such Golden Age characters as Superman and Captain America. Right away, you can see a trend. Both of them were often described as costumed boy scouts.

Whether the Celebrity intends to or not, he’s always in the public eye. He’s popular, well-liked, and admired. This has a lot to do with the fact that he usually follows both a moral and a legal code of sorts. Spider-Man is not the only hero who realizes that “With great strength comes great responsibility” (even though he technically belongs to the next group). Celebrities never break the law doing what they do, and try hard to live up a life free of any form of sin. (This is why they often have enemies that they have to fight over and over again. Since they’ve sworn never to take a life, their enemies are certain to return.)

This code may seem a bit sappy to some, but it works. Everyone loves these guys, except the ones who oppose them. Most of them get positive press, and the authorities usually have no problems allying themselves with them. Even heroes of the other two types look up to them, often wishing they could rise to that level.

How can they afford to be such saints? Well, ask anyone… Superman is very powerful, as in “more powerful than a locomotive”. Since he can’t be hurt by most methods, he can afford more leniency to anyone he tries to stop. If he didn’t have the powers he had, he might not be able to pull his punches as much as he does.

Unfortunately, Celebrities tend to be naďve to the big picture at times. They’re so dedicated to upholding the law and so afraid to break it, that oftentimes the most dangerous threats are not dealt with. Superman opposed Lex Luthor during the Modern Age, but was unable to make any charge stick, and Luthor always hid behind his lawyers and legal teams. Without being able to work outside the law, a Celebrity’s greatest foes are those who use it as a weapon.

Other examples of Celebrities include the Fantastic Four, the Avengers (most of them), Harry Potter, and Jaden Yuki. (Only in the first two seasons and the first half of the third of GX – after that, he belongs to the next group.)

The Dark Hero: Superman was hardly the highlight of the Golden Age. Batman also made his debut, signaling the entrance of the Dark Hero. Batman is the best example, in fact, so much that he earned the nickname The Dark Knight.

The Dark Hero can best be described as one who follows a moral code similar to the Celebrity, but he doesn’t always care about legal ones. He isn’t afraid to bend or even break the law in order to achieve justice. He may even think that the law is hurting innocents more than it’s helping them, and it’s time someone stepped in who could really help.

The Dark Hero often has a past that is more tragic than any Celebrity. Batman’s parents were murdered by a criminal, as was Spider-Man’s uncle. Even worse for Spider-Man, he could have prevented it, but was too conceited to do so. Perhaps then, these heroes are motivated by vengeance against the criminal element, holding resentment against scum who lurk in the darkness, preying on the weak. Thus, they are just at home in the dark, and take the fight to them.

Unlike the Celebrity, the Dark Hero often gets bad press. People in authority are suspicious of him. They often find it hard to get allies in any legitimate area. Police Commissioner Gordon is a longtime friend and ally of Batman, but he keeps this alliance a secret. Dark Heroes often are forced to clash with law enforcement to protect themselves, and might even get into fights with other heroes, of all three types.

Another thing about Dark Heroes is, they aren’t usually as powerful as Celebrities. They might have a few powers, but they can’t hoist tanks over their heads. Since they still have somewhat of a moral code, this limits their options if they want to bring a villain in alive. They usually have to fight their opponents mano-a-mano, usually with their fists – having a moral code doesn’t always mean you have to be nice, and the Dark Hero is admittedly NOT nice, especially when dealing with the riff-raff. But more than anyone, he knows that it often doesn’t pay to be nice.

They don’t always have to fight. These heroes also specialize in psychological warfare. Batman has been known to break up a gang of thugs simply by showing his face. The Dark Hero’s reputation can be almost as strong as the Celebrity – it’s simply a reputation based on fear rather than admiration. Dark Heroes may be adverse to taking a life, but unlike Celebrities, their enemies do not know that.

Dark Heroes may not be as overtly heroic as Celebrities, but they are far more street smart and knowledgeable about the ways of humanity. They understand that sometimes, the system just does not work, and you have to work outside it if you want to get results.

Dark Heroes have become far more numerous in recent years. Yusei Fudo, the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist, falls into this category. Any smart-talking hero, or one who talks back, would fit this category. (Indiana Jones fits this description too – his activities are sanctioned by the government, but he doesn’t always get along with them.)

The Anti-Hero: Most folks believe that this sort of character, the one with questionable morals, is a product of the Silver Age. Well, they’ve been around for much longer than that. If you read Ian Fleming’s original novels, you’d find that his version of 007 was much different than any portrayed by Connery or Moore. Fleming’s James Bond was not only licensed to kill, he did so much more often, and with no remorse.

The Anti-Hero’s creed can best be described as follows: He’s had enough. He’s sick of criminals living like kings while their victims suffer. He has no faith whatsoever in the legal system, likely because it has failed him as well. He often suffers from a curse of some sort that some evil force put on him. As a result, he takes the fight straight into the heart of the problem, using the same methods against criminals that they use, showing no mercy and expecting none.

Can this individual be called a hero at all? The table is divided on that. Heroes of the other two groups may disagree, and the Anti-Hero is often drawn into conflicts with them as a result. He has even less allies then the Dark Hero, and when he does get an ally in any conflict, he watches his back, because he doesn’t trust most of them.

Sure, he tries to do what’s right. He’ll try to help innocents where he can. And even the Anti-Hero sets a line for himself. He knows that if he ever crosses the line, he’ll become truly evil, and he might not ever be able to turn back. As has been said, he usually suffers from some sort of curse, and he tries hard to make certain that it does not control him. Worst case scenario, he knows that the curse eventually will control him, so he truly has nothing to lose while he deals his brand of justice to criminals.

Although this sort of character is nothing new, it has been popping up with alarming frequency in recent years. Wolverine is the classic example; others include Hellboy, Spawn, and InuYasha, Keep in mind that an Anti-Hero is one thing, and a villain like Deadpool who stars in his own series is quite another. If a character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, he probably doesn’t even fit this category.

Keep in mind that these categories are not measured in terms of black and white. Son Goku from the Dragonball series belongs in the Celebrity class. His one-time enemy Vegeta is now in the Anti-Hero class. Despite the fact that Vegeta would never admit it, the two of them are friends, despite their radically different outlooks and methods.

Use these outlines to build your own main character. Like I said, the hero is the one that your readers are going to be focused on. Unless your fanfic stars the villain.

The Grammar Nazi – The One Rule

(The Grammar Nazi is not affiliated in any way with Nazi Germany or Adolf Hitler.)

So far we've covered a variety of grammar rules, from the proper use of prepositions to the oddity of referring to “myself.” These are standard topics in English classes of various levels. It's said that if you don't know the ins and outs of grammar, you'll find yourself unable to even order a hamburger at McDonald's. How can you communicate if you don't know all the rules? How can you write without being a grammar genius? It's impossible, they say, as they drill you again and again and again.

I'm here to disagree.

As an old teacher of mine once said during a very atypical fix-the-mistake quiz, “If fixing the grammar in a sentence is too difficult, just write around the problem.” That's something you won't hear in most English classes – many teachers would be unemployed without the minutia of dangling participles and split infinitives to use in lecture after lecture. Changing everything on a whim, just because it's too difficult? Insanity!

Let's think about this for a second. Why do we learn these rules? So that we can read, write, and speak. How often, in our communication with others, are we required to determine exactly what word is incorrect and fix it without touching the rest of the sentence?

If you answered “never,” you're pretty smart. Even when you write essays and short stories for the English teachers who require you to memorize lists of pronouns and the most obscure comma rules, you are free to talk about your topic in whatever manner you wish. If you don't like the way you worded something in your first draft, you can rewrite it so it looks better. If you're just not certain whether your verb is properly connected with your subject, scrap the whole sentence and start over. Who's going to penalize you for choosing your own style?

Consider the following example, credited to Winston Churchill:

This is the kind of thing up with which I will not put!

Churchill, as some of you may know, was attempting to demonstrate why being obsessed with perfect grammar is a problem by avoiding the dreaded sentence-ending preposition at all cost. In this ironic example, changing the original sentence, “This is the kind of thing I will not put up with!” to the above abomination made it nearly indecipherable. Flawed grammar, as Churchill claimed, was sometimes necessary to convey your message clearly.

I'm not going to argue with Churchill on his last point. It's okay to break the grammar rules from time to time as long as you know what you're doing. However, a writer toiling over this sentence could save a lot of trouble by scrapping the original and writing, “I will not tolerate this kind of thing!” Even “This is the kind of thing I will not tolerate!” is better, if a little obtuse.

Good grammar is important, but smart editing is just as valuable. If you've written yourself into a grammatical corner, just backtrack and try again. There is often a simpler method than that of your first attempt, so don't be afraid to flee from weird grammar and logical nonsense.

Just because you can write around tricky situations, however, does not mean that the rules are irrelevant. In fact, knowing them is all the more important because you can choose to escape weird speech. The more you know about grammar, the more options you have in your writing. While a grammar novice might be stuck saying something aesthetically repugnant, a master could draw upon the entire language to move past any such hurdles. The more you know, the more options you have. After all, no matter how many changes you make, you still have to be sure that your final version is appropriate. That, if nothing else, is why we learn the rules of grammar.


1st August 2008, 01:54 AM
Wow I think this may be the best E-Zine I've read thus far. Read everything this time including skimming through the Nazi column which, I usually avoid.

The interview with Houndoom_Lover was great, the interview came off as I pictured it would. Good to know more about her, and I thought Lady Vulpix did well questioning her but letting her talk at the same time. Good job.

I think Chris did an excellent job with a look at trainer fics. I remember when I was fanfic rating for the site. There were always a few trainer fics that broke through and were really good. But there, was also many trainer fics that were short, boring and typical. The most common fic, I rated surely had to be a trainer fic. I think its disappearance here is the general age of fanficcers at this forum and the fact there isn't as many as there once. I remember Big_Bad_Pokemon whose other name I can't remember right this second finding trainer fics to be a real bane. I think you're right in that they are easy to read but if done properly can be highly original and/or interesting at the same time. I presume Serebii and other big pokemon forums still have the trainer fics. I'm surprised and maybe I'm naive but there doesn't seem to be that many contest fics from what I can see. This surprises me, as I think it's one area where fics could be popular and innovative. And I guess a contest/trainer fic could switch things up. I'm sure they're somewhere in the pokemon fanfiction community. As for your fics that you posted up to be rated, I would suggest checking web.archive.org you'd be surprised at what you can still access from the main site.

I think its a shame that the main pokemon sites, psypoke, serebii, marriland, bulbagarden don't allow much for fanfics being rated. I know Bulbagarden had that library of theirs that was rather setup like fanfiction.net. Not sure if that was the best idea. I know there are specialist fanfiction pokemon sites, but they seem rather small. I've always thought fanfic ratings could be brought again to the big sites, if in a different format. As you pretty much had to accept most fanfics that came through your email even if the majority were rather poor.

The mod piece part 2 was rather interesting. I guess the one good reason about a more inactive board is you could always be busier. I mean there were days when this fanfic board could all have posts for the same day. Could you imagine how busy you would be then? Imaging checking all the new fics you would get? There can be positives in a smaller forum.

Dark Sage's hero article was also good. One could expand on it and look it more archetypes but I think the way it was set-up suited its purpose. And I thought it was well written as one would expect from a fanfic writer that has written many fanfics. Good job.

And well done Mr. Pikachu you persuaded me to at least skim through one of your grammar nazi columns.

Overall, I think this was a fine e-zine. One that I enjoyed reading and felt I could respond to well, so good job contributors I think you did a mighty job this month.

Lady Vulpix
1st August 2008, 09:09 AM
Interesting analysis, Dark Sage!

And Brian, great pair of articles! I still don't get why sentences are not supposed to end with prepositions; everyone does it and, in many cases, I just don't see a better way to phrase them. Like when I give out random hugs (on another forum), I often provide a link to the original post and say "here's the post it came from". I know it goes against that rule, but how should it be said? "Here's the post from where it came" just doesn't sound right. As for your other article, if you hadn't said "CONSTANT VIGILANCE" I would have. Oh, wait, I've said it anyway.

And thanks, firepokemon.

Gavin Luper
2nd August 2008, 05:37 AM
Wow, this has to be one of the best issues of the E-zine I've read in a while. I really, really enjoyed it, so well done to all involved, and to Brian for editing. Gabi's interview with H_L was so refreshing to read - fun and quirky and a bit random. I seriously loved the article on trainer fics, too - not just for the mention of LTL, but because I admit to sharing a similar sentiment. Where ARE all the trainer fics? I suppose they've mostly outlived their relevance for most of us, and there's a general feeling of staleness that goes with them. But some trainer fics can be really fun if they're written in an original way. I'd love to see a resurgence, even if I know that probably will never happen.

I also dug the second Moderators Are ... article. So true. The internet is such a serious business.

Overall, this was brilliant. Kudos to all the contributors as usual!

2nd August 2008, 08:14 PM
I don't think trainer fics are gone... it's just 'conventional' trainer fics that are gone. I actually like this direction. You've got trainer fics that spin off into other quests, like The Quest for the Legends and LTL, crossover trainer fics like Tiponi, Daemon League Quester, comedy fics like Minty Thrill, fics where friendship is emphasised over ownership like the A Doolittle of Pokemon series... No, I don't miss the "Self-insert woke up late and can't get a Pokemon! OMG!" days. Although I do miss a lot of unfinished trainer fics that had great potential and were different. Guilty by Design, A pokemon? master, Through Blind Eyes... Especially the anti-hero fics like The Tangled Web I Weave and Damon's Menace.

I think that one of the reasons for the demise of the conventional trainer fic is the maturing demographic of fanfic writers. We're not as likely to see Pokemon as mere battling tools; we want to explore the relationship between trainer and Pokemon further. I think it's great.

Great issue of the E-zine indeed. I really liked the interview; yay for a change from the uptight. And yay for constant vigilance. What would I do without writing around grammar issues? (By the way, is "This is the kind of thing with which I will not put up!" grammatically correct? Seeing as 'up is used as part of a set phrase? "She hung up" is grammatically correct, right?)

2nd August 2008, 10:04 PM
What I liked: The interview. Even I didn't know how Houndy's mind worked in terms of writing... o.O Informative.

What I disliked: The 'Types of Heroes' article.

There was a time when these things were seen in terms of black and white, but as any good writer knows, the world is often seen in shades of grey.

Gag reflex triggered by your track record with 'shades of grey' after about ten fics so far aside, the article about THREE types of heroes makes little sense: You listed the classic hero, the antihero, and the... antihero.

Seriously, putting Batman as someone more good than Hellboy or Wolverine? I don't see the differences - they all have attitudes and screwed-up pasts.

The only one who stood out at all was Spiderman, and to call him 'dark' makes as much sense as to give the same title to Superman because his parents died when he was a child. 'Conflicted,' maybe, but 'dark?' On Batman's level?

I really think you screwed this up. Maybe it was just a miscommunication in terms of nomenclature, but your classes were essentially 'light, dark, and... darker.'

Perhaps an even number would make more sense. Something like the Mario Mario class "Let's-a go!" heroes, the Ash Ketchum class "I gotta do this?" heroes, the Cloud Strife class "If I do this will you people leave me alone!?" antiheroes, and the Travis Touchdown "Time to die, motherfucker!" antiheroes.

See? With a number like 4, you don't have to struggle to find a neutral 'middle' group. Because no heroes are truly neutral. Obviously.

Honestly, it just seems like you made one good hero group and two darker, 'bad' hero groups because, like in your fics, you can't seem to think of any ways to represent a hero as being someone 'off-white' instead of either totally 'white' or 'off-black.'
Everyone else, good work. DS, you may wanna work harder at it.

Dark Sage
3rd August 2008, 12:09 AM
All right, that did it.

Blademaster, it seems that lately, all you do is make destructive remarks about anything I write. It's as if you lie in wait to insult my work whenever it appears. You are obviously trying to convince me to give up writing by making me feel bad.

Well, you won't succeed. At least I am writing, which I know is more than you can do. If all you can do is insult my work, I will take it as far as I am able to have you disciplined.

I ask anyone reading this to make his own decisions as to whether Blademaster's attack was justified. I wasn't asked to do that article. I did it solely for the forum's enjoyment. Just as I do all my writing here.

That is all.

3rd August 2008, 12:44 AM
Blademaster, that post was rather over-the-top. If you'd like to present your own theory on heroes, you're free to give it in an E-zine article of your own. Your comments weren't really helpful for possible improvement; in essence, you just attacked every aspect of Dark Sage's article as well as his fics - the latter was particularly bad, as his fics have nothing to do with his article. Consider this a warning.

I'm also going to warn you, Dark Sage, for the counterattack on Blademaster and his recent hiatus. Additionally, please do not publicly threaten to "have you disciplined" in the future. If you have a problem, you can take it to the moderators, but please don't tell other members "If you don't back off you're in for it!" Giving warnings is our job, not yours.

I don't want to hear about this again in the E-zine thread. If either of you has something to say, say it elsewhere. If you have a complaint for the moderators to handle, PM us. That is all.

Charles Legend
3rd August 2008, 03:54 AM
As with everyone else I agree that this was one of the best E-zines I have ever read, I liked the Interview with Houndoom Lover, it's a very interesting insight about her writing style. ^_~

~Charles Legend

3rd August 2008, 06:41 PM
o^W^o Hehehe...hehehe! People should interview me more often ^w^ I'm all a flutter!

True! It makes me want to go write a Trainer fic!

Ooo! ^w^ Moar lists! A comment on the Hero's artical. ^w^ While it sounds nit picky, a Dark Hero in tecnically someone who was once evil then joined the good-side. Like Nightscreen (More of a Slider actually) or Magneto at one point. A Dark Hero is someone who is evil on the inside, but does something good for a while because he has too/ or beleives he is the right side of justice like Light in Dark Note. Dark Hero and Anti-Heros are interchangable if you're just using them idle...ly :P Much like a hogie, sub, and grinder or a swamp marsh, or bog but they haaave teeny tiny differances. An Anti-Hero is someone who is always been good, but is willing to wear leather and walk outside the law. More like Batman.

Although some consider Cable a Dark Hero when he's in the Cable comics, he's more of an Incidental Hero....I should do an artical! ^,^ Stepber E-Zine here I come!

^w^ And the differance between a hoggie is they're always severed cold (I've seen warm ones but I'm not sure) and from the center, grinders are always served hot, and subs have the ends.

I LOVE the Mod stuff! ^-^ And of course the Nazi stuff, The E-Zine always makes me smile~ :heart:

Chris 2.1
5th August 2008, 11:16 AM
Agreed; I loved writing for, and subsequently reading this months e-zine. I've always wanted to, and it didn't take much time, so I'm sure I'll rustle something up for next month. The interview was great, Lady Vulpix, and Mr Pikachu continues to make me laugh :)

Until next month!