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Old June 6th, 2008 (09:30 AM).
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We all know the story: Trainer wakes up, trainer is late/early/on time, trainer eats breakfast, trainer runs to the Professor's lab (or equivalent place), trainer receives first Pokemon, trainer goes on a journey. On said journey, trainer defeats all eight gyms in order while battling the evil henchmen of Team Blank who plot to destroy the world or some other nefarious scheme by using the power of Blank, which is either an ancient, powerful Pokemon or a new weapon. Along the way, Trainer makes friends, catches Pokemon, watches them evolve, and battles hundreds of wild Pokemon and opposing trainers. At the end of the story, trainer ultimately saves the world from imminent destruction, or becomes League Champion. Possibly both.

If you have never read a Pokemon fanfic with this basic set-up, you are obviously very new to this fandom, or an inexperienced author. Ninety percent of all Pokemon stories with original characters (as opposed to canon characters from the anime) follow this pattern. So much so, in fact, that they have become predictable, bland, and extremely boring to read. As the saying goes, "read one mediocre OT fic, and you've read them all".

"But my OT fic is different!" I hear you exclaim. "Can't you see how different it is from the others? My fanfic has a girl as the main character!" Or, "My fic has an evil team that isn't necessarily evil!" Or "Mine ends with the main character not becoming League Champion, or saving the world!" I have a newsflash for all of you: This is the internet. There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, writing Pokemon fanfics. Chances are that at least one of those hundreds of thousands or millions of people is not only writing a Pokemon fanfic with an extremely similar plot to yours, but unless you have evidence that proves otherwise there is a very good chance that this person is doing a better job of it than you are. Even in fics that are large departures from the standard OT fic, there's a surprising amount of authors writing stories with almost paralell plots. Of course, the stories aren't exactly the same. The writing styles and characters of both authors usually differ at least slightly. But that does not change the fact that both fics are almost exactly the same in terms of basic concept. If fics that are relatively unique are similar in terms of plot, what do you think an often-used concept like the OT fic will look like?

Moving on from that, I'm going to show you a few examples of common cliches in the OT genre. By avoiding these, you will be able to distance your fic from the hundreds of similar ones floating around on the internet somewhat, as well as maximising your chances of it looking good in the eyes of reviewers. Eliminating these things from your fic will do something else as well: They will challenge you to be creative. You will need to come up with things to fill in the gaps, different starting points, or invent new ways to accomplish the same ends without being trite. Well, let's get started, shall we?

Let's Talk Professors!

Most people state that when they go to a professor to get Pokemon they are following "Anime Canon" or "Game Canon". However, most people tend to use the standard anime beginning: They wake up, and discover that they are late or almost late, then rush to the professor's. There, they receive either their choice of starter or the last one available. There are three things wrong with this picture.

First, waking up late and going to the professor is neither canonical to the anime or the game. In the anime, trainers do receive Pokemon from the professor at a designated time. However, many trainers disregard this entirely. They receive their first Pokemon from a relative, or run around trying to capture one by using more "creative" methods than battling it. Many trainers in the anime have simply "caught" their starter Pokemon with no outside help. In terms of games, the Professor gives Pokemon only to trainers that he needs to do something for him, or as a thank-you to them. In Red, Blue, and Yellow, Oak gives you Pokemon because he wants you to do something for him after seeing you move into the tall grass. Possibly, he thinks since you want to go out of town, you'd be perfect to go fill up his Pokedex. In RSE, your character saves the professor and he gives you a Pokemon as a thank-you, then asks you to help with his Pokedex. In Diamond and Pearl, you're given a Pokemon after the Professor decides they're really useless as research specimens, and he wants you to fill out his Pokedex. In Gold and Silver, you get one in order to make a delivery for Professor Elm. And you get a Pokedex. Are you starting to see a common thread here? The game professors do not give away Pokemon to starting trainers left and right. They give them to specific trainers in order to help them fill out the Pokedex or accomplish some similar task.

Aside from the fact that "Wake up and grab Pokemon" isn't always canonical, it's overdone. There are several problems with the scenario, the first one being "waking up". Unless you are a fan of reading about trainers eating a suitably generic breakfast, usually including bacon (and it's ALWAYS bacon. You would not believe the number of OT stories I've read including a breakfast of bacon. I don't know what it is, but it seems like every single one involves bacon). How exciting. Please, unless it reveals some hidden secret depth of your character's consciousness, you can skip right over this. There is no need to throw in unneeded details such as eating breakfast. It slows the pace of the story down, and does nothing to capture the reader's attention. In fact, all it does is prove to us that your character really likes bacon. Do us all a favor: do not show this.

Now, I'm going to give you a radical piece of advice over your character receiving their first Pokemon:

Skip it.

You heard me right. I said skip over that part of the story entirely. Starting the story In Medias Res not only allows you to get to the meat of the story faster, it also eliminates the need to write an obligatory first battle or go through the tedium of explaining where your character's team comes from right away. Preferably, you can reveal this part of the story through flashbacks, and only when it becomes completely necessary for you to do so. It's actually much more entertaining to the reader than forcing them to sit through a scene that they've most likely read at least fifteen times before.

Love at first sight, or "The Completely deluded Starter Pokemon".

Never, never, never establish any bond closer than a tentative friendship or partnership between your character and starter at the story's beginning if you choose to begin at they very beginning of the journey. If the character and Pokemon have an unbreakable bond from the start, or form one before even entering the next town, it will seem artificial and forced. Even if the Pokemon respects the trainer enough to obey commands, he may not see him as a friend until the journey is almost over. Remember, friendships take time to build. Unless you start in the middle of the character's journey, his relationship with his starter needs to be built up over the course of the story.

I saved you, now love me!

How many times have I read this? A trainer saves a Pokemon who was injured somehow, and they immediately love him and trust him and want to travel with him. May Zeus and the rest of the Greek Pantheon serve as my non-existent witnesses as I call down curses upon the over-use of this cliche, and its complete departure from reality. It isn't so much the rescue of an injured Pokemon that I mind about this cliche, it's the fact that it becomes devoted to the trainer. First of all, the trainer only found the Pokemon. He had no direct role in nursing it back to health- if anything, I'd think the Pokemon would be more greatful to whatever Nurse Joy was helping to heal it when it was sick. After all, despite their identical appearance, Joys are people with emotions. If they are the ones nursing the Pokemon back to health, the Pokemon probably won't just forget about them. More importantly, oftentimes these Pokemon have been abused by human trainers. Don't you think that if you were abused and left to die, you wouldn't be so trusting? If I were that Pokemon, I would probably rather die than let a human take care of me. In fact, I'd be preaching to all the other Pokemon I met that humans were a nasty, brutish race of people that think only about fighting, and urge them to rebel. It's depressing, but true.

Rant, rant, rant.

When a trainer finds an abused Pokemon, there is usually a period of time where the trainer rants to whoever is nearby, usually the generic Joy, that trainers who abuse Pokemon are the scum of the earth and deserve to die, all the while slyly implying that they would never do such a thing. Yeah, yeah, whatever. If your only method for establishing your character's "good" credentials is to have them rant about how abusing Pokemon is bad, it's time for a re-write. If you can find anyone who actually thinks that abusing Pokemon is a good thing, then feel free to put a rant like this in your fic. If not, however, you can skip it. We already know this. If you want to insert a rant, please make it about something people may disagree with your character on or not realize. If you want to make your character seem nice and caring, have them do what actual nice and caring people do: give them a background in volunteer work or community service. Don't expect us to accept that your character is a moral paragon because of their stand on Pokemon Abuse.

Talk to the animals... and the animals will talk to you.

Pokespeech. In order to avoid robotic Pokemon, the easiest way to give them personalities is to have them "speak human". Or rather, to translate their remarks so that both trainer and Pokemon understand them. Generally, there are two ways of explaining how the trainer understands what his Pokemon are saying, and both of them are equally shaky.

First Way: Trainer gets a machine that magically translates what his Pokemon are saying. The usual explanation is that these machines are either common, or they're prototypes designed by the protagonist's father (never his mother, as far as I know) who works at either Silph or Devon, whichever one is appropriate for the region. First of all, this seems contrived. Both methods make it seem like the only reason that they were put into the story at all was to make it easier for the trainer to communicate with his Pokemon. The second one is even worse, because it makes it seem as if the father's connection to Silph or Devon is only introduced to give the trainer this magical talky-device. If you intend to include either of these objects in your story, the best way of avoiding a cliche is to make them more important. Perhaps the translators are a machine only available to richer trainers? Or perhaps your character's father is an inventor whose ideas rarely work out, and this is his first real success, so he wants them to test it? Who knows. But please, make this more than just a two-line throwaway.

Second Way: Trainer knows how to speak to Pokemon, either through some special power or by learning it in school. Or he is able to understand his own Pokemon from being around them a long time and reading their body language. I'll admit, I happen to think that learning Pokemon as a second language is completely batty. Pokemon, as I understand it, is probably a tonal dialect if it's a language at all, and probably involves many body-language nuances that it would be extremely hard to learn all of. If anything, it could take years to learn Poke-speech. Special powers might be important to the plot, but if they aren't part of the plot of the story they make your character look like a Mary/Gary-Sue. This, obviously, is not a good thing.

The best way, in my opinion, to translate what Pokemon are saying is not to really "translate" it. If your character is an experienced trainer, then perhaps they might be able to guess what their Pokemon is "saying" with some degree of accuracy. Either that, or develop a new language for both to speak that draws from both English and Poke-Speech. Pidgin languages are always fun to develop, and if you can develop one that makes sense, then you can not only solve the problem of communication with your Pokemon but also wow everyone with your language-creating skills. However, any method of explaining how humans and Pokemon are able to speak to each other can be used, presuming that its presence in the plot is not simply to allow them to speak to each other.

I Trainer, your Pokemon! I catch, you travel!

As Farla of fanfiction.net has so often pointed out in her parodies of the OT genre (a must-read), sometimes Pokemon will say no. Not every Pokemon your trainer captures will want to go with him. If your trainer says "Well, being with a trainer can be fun!" or "Trainers aren't like you think they are," he is basically rejecting the Pokemon's ability to choose for itself. He has said to it, "You are stupid and don't know anything, now come with me." If your trainer does this, and the Pokemon not only comes with him but actually enjoys it, you have committed a crime of fantasy racism by implying that all humans know better than Pokemon what is good for them. Pokemon have lives outside of being caught and trained, you know. If your character captures a Pokemon and they don't want to go with it, unless you want to show that your character is selfish and cruel and write the scene to depict it as such, you really shouldn't have him keep the Pokemon. In addition, you may want to give reasons as to why the Pokemon who do stay with your trainer stay with him. Perhaps it's as simple as "Hey, he has food!" or "Well, I didn't have anything better to do, and I might get stronger if I eventually decide to return home, so..."

Now, notice that the thread's title calls this "Part One" of my guide. And so it is. However, Part Two will be posted in this thread. Not any other thread. This one. Merged with this post, if necessary. So DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL.

THIS GUIDE IS THE ONLY THESIS-APPROVED GUIDE TO AVOIDING CLICHES. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES. UNLESS YOU CAN PROVE THAT THE SUBSTITUTES ARE BETTER THAN THIS THESIS-APPROVED GUIDE. THEN YOU ARE OKAY.
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Old June 8th, 2008 (12:33 PM).
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Bay Alexison Bay Alexison is offline
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Hm, you know what's weird? At another forum the members are also talking about some OT cliches.

I'll say that I agreed on most of them, but there's one thing I want to point out.

Quote:
If I were that Pokemon, I would probably rather die than let a human take care of me. In fact, I'd be preaching to all the other Pokemon I met that humans were a nasty, brutish race of people that think only about fighting, and urge them to rebel. It's depressing, but true.
In my ophinion, I think that's overused too. Many times if a Pokemon thinks that, than eventually there's going to be a trainer who will prove to them that they're nice and it either ends happily or tragically. True, I understand your criticism of Pokemon suddenly bonding fast, but I still think a Pokemon hating all humans is a bit much too. Maybe there are Pokemon that wants to go with trainers for whatever reason as you mentioned before.

Other than that, looking forward to Part II.
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  #3    
Old June 12th, 2008 (05:30 PM).
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Eh, Bay, you're misinterpreting what I meant about abused Pokemon. I'm saying that having an abused Pokemon react with immediate devotion to whoever saved it is somewhat illogical, and it would be more likely that the Pokemon would have a grudge against humans in general, or at least the one particular human who harmed it. But you are right- "teaching the Pokemon about trainers who love it" is another OT fic cliche. Which brings me to the long-awaited second part of my guide...

PART TWO! DA-NA-NA-NA!!!!

Last time, I outlined a good number of the cliches presented in OT fics. Today, I'll be outlining a few more. Let's start with the one Bay pointed out.

But Trainers are nice!

Let's get something straight here: I am not a "trainer-hater". I do not think the concept of being a Pokemon trainer is somehow immoral. I do, however, think that in the context of the Pokemon world it should be considered wrong for a trainer to simply override a Pokemon's wishes and capture it despite the Pokemon's apparent feelings. Yet, in many OT fics this is exactly what happens. A Pokemon is captured, who for some reason has an intense dislike for most if not all humans. It is captured by the main character. The Pokemon has an intense dislike for the main trainer at first and demands, sometimes violently, to be released. So the trainer, respecting the wishes of the Pokemon and trusting it to be capable of making its own choices, sets it free and wishes it on its merry way. Right? Wrong. Ninety percent of the time, the Pokemon is "educated" by the trainer on how humans are really very nice people and only certain humans are bad (usually ones wearing fancy uniforms and calling themselves "Team Something"). The Pokemon then comes to realize that it was in the wrong, and happily leaves its former life behind, despite the fact that it might have been protecting or providing for its family, and goes to be with the trainer. This is called "friendship".

Please, for the love of all that is logical, don't include this in your fanfic unless you're trying to show the hypocricy of it. If your main character is supposed to be a good person who considers Pokemon his equals, don't have him do something that shows his beliefs to be contrary. Once again, Farla of fanfiction.net has written many fics that parody this extensively, including Lucki, an extremely well-thought-out parody of what Farla calls the "Middling Sue".

Hero=Good

This is probably the worst thing you can do when trying to write a fic that includes well-rounded characters. Some authors- no scratch that, a good number of them- judge the morality of a given action based on what the hero of the story would or wouldn't do. If the main character wouldn't capture a Pokemon by building a trap that could quite possibly injure it, then anyone else in the story who does that is automatically wrong. Never mind that the main character captured the vast majority of his Pokemon by injuring them, albeit indirectly. Also, anyone who opposes the main character is wrong, for any reason. This isn't a problem in Pokemon fanfiction alone. Even in the world of published writing, many authors do this. May I direct your attention to Christopher Paolini?

There are two major problems with doing this in any story. The first is that the main character starts to sound preachy and boring, and you start rooting for the other side. The second is that the world starts to revolve around the main character, transforming them into an irredeemable "Mary-Sue". (For more on the subject of Sues, the Wikipedia article is actually very well-written and quite informative. Alternatively, a simple Google search will probably bring up several articles, along with a thousand or so "Litmus Tests".) If your story has a main character who is a "Sue", readers will definitely be turned off, to say the least. Why? Because Mary-Sues are boring characters, and hard for the reader to relate to emotionally. They don't act like real people, they don't think like real people, and yet somehow the author wants you to care about what would happen to them as if they were real people. See the problem?

My name is Kitsune! It means "Fox" in Japanese!

Many fans, knowing Pokemon is from Japan, try to make their OT story "different" by including the use of Japanese honoratives and names. Unfortunately, many of these people know absolutely nothing about Japanese culture. Aside from the honoratives and names, which are often extremely generic, everything else could have come from America. In fact, I've seen references to distinctly western customs side-by-side with characters named such things as "Yuki" and "Sasuke". (Which reminds me: under no circumstances should anyone ever attempt a crossover between Pokemon and Naruto. Please. It does not work. EVER.) If you want your story to be authentic, don't use Japanese unless you actually know a little more about the language than a few things about honoratives, or you have extensive knowledge of the country beyond what you know from manga. (Remember, real writers actually do research on what they're writing to avoid factual error, so we aren't exempt. Besides, the internet is an amazing resource.)

And on day four, I found a penny!

Just a comment? Battles that do not advance the story do not need to be included. If you're including a battle just to show your character's "advancement so far", or to show that they're training their Pokemon, but nothing else, all you're doing is boring your readers- especially if it's early on in the fic. A battle consisting of nothing but yelling "Dodge it!" or "Use Scratch" is pretty dang boring. When you do include Pokemon battles, try to make them as exciting as possible. And for the love of Tolkien, please do not make references to "HP" being "in the red". You're writing about something that's actually going on, not transcribing a video game. Which brings me to my next point...

Game transcription.

Sometimes reading stories following the plot of the games is fun, don't get me wrong. But when every event follows the game exactly, and not much is done to differentiate the story from an exact transcription of the game, it gets boring. We all know the game story. We've played it. We're members of the fandom. If you're going to transcribe the game, you need to be doing it from an extremely different angle. The OT story just isn't suited for this.

Aim for the Horn!

Make sure your strategy in Pokemon battles makes some sort of sense, and try to stick to canon as closely as possible in terms of what moves Pokemon can and can't learn. Something like countering Rock Slide with Rock Smash or a newly-caught Pokemon defeating most opponents through the use of Frustration? Makes sense. Something like a Charizard using EXPLOSION of all moves to defeat opponents- without fainting- or a newborn baby Eevee fainting a much more powerful Manetric because it loves the trainer very much and uses a super-powered Return attack? Not so much. (Credit to Alter Ego for bringing this to everyone's attention long before I did and the baby Eevee example. Credit to Jax Malcolm for the Exploding Charizard. And yes, those were actually in fics for those of you who didn't know before.)

Defeat=Friendship

All characters defeated by the main character, unless they are clearly evil and therefore cannot switch sides, join the main character's party or wish him well. There is no resentment, no jealousy, no reaction beyond "Oh, I just got my butt handed to me on a silver platter. Well, better luck next time!" Or, in extreme cases, "Let's travel together!". This is illogical, and happens to often.

Well, not compared to...

Defeat=Assasination

The opposite extreme. Every trainer your character defeats becomes jealous of him and plots to kill him in his sleep, or beat him in their next encounter by cheating, or something. Please, leave both extremes alone.

I am not left-handed!

The main character wins a battle by revealing some incredible skill that they were hiding the whole time. Er.... I'm all for strategy, but something like "by the way, I'm only using thirty percent of my actual power!" or "My REAL strongest Pokemon is actually this one!" over and over again is almost as boring as reading transcriptions of in-game battles. Maybe teaching your Pokemon to use Defog in order to prepare them for battling a gym leader famous for using smokescreen and haze would be appropriate. But "I suddenly reveal my true strength!" gets annoying after a while.

Alright... part two was rather dull. Part three will be better, I promise!

Oh, wait, that's another one.

I promise the next chapter will be better!

Never say this, because nine times out of ten, it won't be.
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Old June 13th, 2008 (08:11 AM).
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Alter Ego Alter Ego is offline
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Umm...thes, mind if I interject? :3

While I do agree with most of the points you've raised here, I do have a few small objections:

1. The pokéspeech thing? I seem to recall Gale having a rather eloquent chat with his Scizor which didn't just involve the trainer roughly "guessing" the meaning of his pokémon's words but actually completing the latter's sentence ("You are the shogun and I am just a humble ronin", I think the entire phrase went?). Not to be mean, but this makes your own comment on the learning of pokéspeech being "batty" sound slightly hypocritical.

2. The spiteful villain...it's not like it's an inviolable taboo that will immediately damn your story beyond the reach of all correction, you know. For some characters (usually antagonists) it is perfectly in-character to want to take vengeance on those who have humiliated them (take, for instance, Knight Rose from Midsummer Knights). The problem, as you pointed out, arises when everyone the hero meets seems to share these personality traits.

3. There's a danger of over-saviness here. Yes, all of these things you mentioned are clichés, and yes, they do tend to detract from the quality of the story, but sometimes you can actually get away with playing a cliché or two and still end up with an enjoyable fanfic. (A certain FFotM comes to mind here) If you avoid everything that you perceive as cliché like the plague you are essentially succumbing to a kind of inverse of the problem, which makes your story just as predictable and - arguably - boring as one that is pure cliché. (I.e. We know that the character will have a bad starting relationship with their starter, know that the defeated antagonist won't declare a vendetta against them, know that the character won't get their starter from the lab etc.) Personally, I think clichés are something that should be acknowledged, but only censored where they actually detract from the appeal of the story. If a clichéd villain works for a plot's purposes there's really no reason to shoehorn another one into its place.


Okay, yeah, enough picking on your writing. It's a good guide and an enjoyable read, and as someone who is currently still drafting up the first chapters of an OT I have to say that it's given me something to think about. Good job. ^^
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Old June 13th, 2008 (07:45 PM). Edited June 15th, 2008 by Scarlet Weather.
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Quote originally posted by Alter Ego:
Umm...thes, mind if I interject? :3

While I do agree with most of the points you've raised here, I do have a few small objections:

1. The pokéspeech thing? I seem to recall Gale having a rather eloquent chat with his Scizor which didn't just involve the trainer roughly "guessing" the meaning of his pokémon's words but actually completing the latter's sentence ("You are the shogun and I am just a humble ronin", I think the entire phrase went?). Not to be mean, but this makes your own comment on the learning of pokéspeech being "batty" sound slightly hypocritical.

2. The spiteful villain...it's not like it's an inviolable taboo that will immediately damn your story beyond the reach of all correction, you know. For some characters (usually antagonists) it is perfectly in-character to want to take vengeance on those who have humiliated them (take, for instance, Knight Rose from Midsummer Knights). The problem, as you pointed out, arises when everyone the hero meets seems to share these personality traits.

3. There's a danger of over-saviness here. Yes, all of these things you mentioned are clichés, and yes, they do tend to detract from the quality of the story, but sometimes you can actually get away with playing a cliché or two and still end up with an enjoyable fanfic. (A certain FFotM comes to mind here) If you avoid everything that you perceive as cliché like the plague you are essentially succumbing to a kind of inverse of the problem, which makes your story just as predictable and - arguably - boring as one that is pure cliché. (I.e. We know that the character will have a bad starting relationship with their starter, know that the defeated antagonist won't declare a vendetta against them, know that the character won't get their starter from the lab etc.) Personally, I think clichés are something that should be acknowledged, but only censored where they actually detract from the appeal of the story. If a clichéd villain works for a plot's purposes there's really no reason to shoehorn another one into its place.


Okay, yeah, enough picking on your writing. It's a good guide and an enjoyable read, and as someone who is currently still drafting up the first chapters of an OT I have to say that it's given me something to think about. Good job.
Oh, you're still here? Well, you can just bugger off. XD

Hmm... I do have three responses to your three nitpicks, and I'm glad you brought them up.

1. In "Thief in the Night", so far, Gale's "Pokespeech" translation has not been explained. However, I will say without giving too much away that the translations of Pokespeech given in "Thief in the Night" are what Gale perceives his Pokemon to be saying, not necessarily direct translations of what's being said. (It would also explain why Laertes referred to Gale as his "Shogun" in that sentence and Gale then called him a "Ronin", or samurai without a master. 0.o) And now you've gone and made me spoil a little bit of the exposition I had planned for chapter three, dang you. >.<

2. Couldn't agree more. "Defeat=Friendship" and "Defeat=Assasination" were about mass reactions of love or animosity as opposed to ones explainable by certain characters. Besides, in the fanfic you've mentioned, the situation adequately explains why everyone Viola defeats would be out to get her.

3. In retrospect, I should have said something along these lines from the beginning. I'll go ahead and say it now, folks: Avoid cliches when possible, but don't go to the opposite extreme of avoiding everything. Even a cliche, when used properly, can turn into a wonderful story. The problem comes when everything in the fic is cliche after cliche after cliche. Just as Mary-Sue characters aren't usually annoying because of one specific trait, a fic isn't made bad by one cliche. In both cases, it's the sum of the parts that really causes bad reactions from readers and reviewers. My goal in writing this is not to say "None of these things should ever be used in fanfiction". My goal is to create an easily accessible list of cliches so that you can look at your fic and catch problems before posting. Nothing more, nothing less.

And thanks for the compliments, because I really need them. :3

EDIT: I had forgotten that Gale completed Laertes's sentence, as opposed to Laertes saying the whole phrase in that chapter, since in my rough draft Laertes says the whole phrase on his own. Whoops. 0.o So yeah, changed in order to better reflect that. Also, confession? I didn't really think about how weird it would be for a human to learn Pokespeech on his own was until after I started writing chapter two of "Thief in the Night".
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Old June 16th, 2008 (02:14 PM).
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Wow, haven't posted here in a long while. But since I'm writing my fic again and it's almost summer, I'd might as well do so.

This was a quite well thought out list, I must say. I admit that I've fallen victim to a few cliches (though none cringingly bad, I hope.)

Did you include overdone starters? (apart from the traditional 12) Some that come to mind are eeveeeeveeeevee, and occasionally legendaries.
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  #7    
Old June 21st, 2008 (12:21 PM). Edited June 21st, 2008 by Matt11.
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I like your guide, I want to start a fanfic myself and what u wrote really helps.
Thanks for writting :D

I'd also like to see overdone starters in chapter 3!!!

Also, shouldnt u change the name since u have part 2 in here too?
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Old June 24th, 2008 (10:41 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Thesis:
EDIT: I had forgotten that Gale completed Laertes's sentence, as opposed to Laertes saying the whole phrase in that chapter, since in my rough draft Laertes says the whole phrase on his own. Whoops. 0.o So yeah, changed in order to better reflect that. Also, confession? I didn't really think about how weird it would be for a human to learn Pokespeech on his own was until after I started writing chapter two of "Thief in the Night".
Ahh...I figured as much, just thought that it would be bad form to leave that particular nit lurking in the woodwork of your argument. Besides, better safe than sorry, right? :3

Quote originally posted by Matt11:
I'd also like to see overdone starters in chapter 3!!!

Also, shouldnt u change the name since u have part 2 in here too?
Well, he can't really change the thread name without modly intervention, which is maybe a bit too much of a bother for such a small thing, especially since he added an explanation to the end of the first part.


Oh, and will there be some more discussion on antagonists both small and great in the next installment? Particularly the whole 'organized crime syndicate' shtick? I'm kind of working on those myself right now and it's always a bit more comforting to walk into the proverbial minefield if you've at least been prepped about basic safety measures. XD Ironically, there are also some cliché subversions that are so often resorted to that they have practically become clichés themselves, so you may want to add a word of caution about those too.

But yeah, it's your guide so it's about time I shut up and waited for the next installment like the rest. ^.^
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Old June 24th, 2008 (06:49 PM).
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You should add something about overused types-teams in an OT fics (Grass-Fire-Water-Electric-Flying-Random)
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Old June 26th, 2008 (08:33 PM).
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Well, since you all demand it, here's part three of my most incredible super-special-awesome guide, which is rapidly turning into a long list of cliches. Hmm.... maybe I should have entitled this thread "Thesis's list of OT fic cliches, parts one through I-haven't-figured-out-how-long-it'll-take-till-I'm-satisfied".

Now, due to popular request and the fact that I meant to cover these things eventually, this third part of our guide will examine the cliches involving the "bad guys"- from minor villains to big bads- and rivals as an extension of that, since they often play antagonist as well. Also, overused starters!

Leave the guns. Take the Zubat.

This happens time and time again: ten-year-old (well, usually fifteen or older) trainer confronts one or more "grunts" of a major organization. The grunts are disgruntled (no pun intended) that this runt is interfering with their plans, and so decide to teach him a lesson-

Through a Pokemon battle. No, they don't just beat the crap out of the kid with their bare hands or hit him with an iron pipe, as logic would dictate they should. They don't even threaten him with a weapon. They just pull their Pokeball and yell "Go!" and it's another battle, albeit one with the opponent wearing a bizarre cap and black spandex. (Which reminds me- what is it with the Rocket uniforms? Are they meant to look ridiculous, or is that a fashion statement wherever Giovanni lives?)

No, it gets worse. These grunts, though they are much older than the main character and probably have a heck of a lot more experience as a trainer, are limited to certain Pokemon. Namely small, annoying, and generally weaker ones. You know: Zubats, Rattatas, the occasional Ekans, maybe a Hypno for the really experienced ones... honestly, if Team Rocket really spends as much time capturing rare Pokemon as all accounts say they do, you'd think that they'd at least be distributing a couple of them down the ranks!

Unfortunately, this follows canon- game canon, anyway. Team Rocket of the anime has actually been a little more heinous, when we see their main body anyway, and at least one member has been trained to actually use weaponry of a sort. (If anyone would provide the name of that Rocket from Mewtwo Strikes Back for me, I'd be much obliged). But it completely misses reality. Game Rockets exist only for the player to barge through on their way to completing the story. Real Rockets, on the other hand, would probably be a little harder to deal with than simply knocking out a Zubat.

[Insert Pokemon name here], That's Right!

Many of the more juvenile OT fics, to use a slightly more flattering term than most I could think of describing them, have decided that the original anime Rocket Trio is simply not good enough to fill the role of annoying recurring villains. And so, they create their own Trio. This Trio will always meet these qualities:

-They will always be a man and a woman, despite the fact that it's been shown in the anime (the Japanese, at least) that two men or women could be partnered.

-They will always have names that, when put together, create the name of a famous character or criminal. (I think the worst I ever saw was the duo of "Millicent and Bulstrode". o.0)

-They will recite the Team Rocket Motto (or a very badly adapted version of said motto.)

-They will have a Pokemon who serves as their "third member". (Technically canonical, but do all of them have to speak English?)

They will then proceed to plague the hero through several chapters, hounding them for their starter (as opposed to the other, equally powerful Pokemon on their team) never stopping to perform other assignments. They will also contribute to several chapters of "padding", the literary equivalent of filler. Unfortunately, I've seen this far too many times. Seriously, Jessie, Meowth and James have had their fill of your holding up of lousy knock-offs. They are the original screwball comic trio, and they fulfill their role quite admirably without the competition, thank-you-very-much. And besides, when the only point of your villains is to constantly make the hero look good by defeating them, you really haven't developed them much, have you? Bringing us to our next point, which once again is a problem in literature as a whole...

Cardboard Opponent

The Antagonist has no development, or none at all. We are given little chance to see his motives, or to learn how he has amassed such an amazing power base. All you need to know is that he is evil, if only because he opposes the hero (see "Hero=Good"). That, therefore, makes him worthless, and completely expendable. Also, the Antagonist will do several things that make very little sense except that they are considered mean. Almost as if he was trying to shock a group of unseen readers, hmm?

Seriously, the villain should be more than the word "evil" printed on someone's forehead. The antagonist in a story is the most important character besides the protagonist, because he is the character who creates the conflict that the protagonist must either succumb to or overcome by the end of the story. Sure, your villain is evil. Now how and why is he that way? What makes him deserving of death? What are his motives? And why is it that the hero wants to oppose him directly? These are all questions that you should try to answer in some way during your story.

So what are we gonna do tonight, Giovanni?

There is no getting around it: The evil team is always hell-bent on world domination, for no good reason. This is understandable: After all, Team Rocket took over Saffron and made a bid for Johto in the games, and in the manga it was shown that the Rockets wanted to take over every Pokemon in the world. In the anime, Giovanni helped fund the creation of Mewtwo as part of a cloning experiment that might have allowed them complete takeover. But original evil teams, which are often more paper-thin in motivation then the rockets, who just seem to be exceptionally greedy, are always after the same thing. And you've got to wonder: just why is it that the Rockets, Aquas, Magmas, Galactics, and whoever aren't fighting for the turf? I mean, they're all after the same thing one way or another. They should really be concentrating on offing the competition. Why is it that they're always trying for world domination? Would it kill them to concentrate on something a little smaller?

By all your powers combined, I am Captain Giovanni!

Ooh, this is just itching to be lampooned in fanfiction someday soon. Many people have speculated that if all the teams (who seem more like "gangs" to me, but that's another story) joined together, they could create a Super-Team that could work as one to dominate the world. This does create a problem for the hero, but unfortunately it just wouldn't work.

First of all, the teams may be after the same thing, but they aren't after it for the same reasons. Let's take a team-up between Rocket, Aqua, and Magma for example. First of all, Aqua and Magma will never reconcile outside of the RSE ending. Aqua wants to cover the world with water to.... I'm not quite sure, really, but apparently they think raising the sea level will help people. Somehow. Magma is also out to change Earth's structure, but they want to create more land so people can build more houses. Both groups are also eco-terrorists, meaning that they're out to save the environment (in the case of Team Aqua, they are probably literally trying to save the whales). Team Rocket, on the other hand, wants total domination and aren't particularly concerned with what they squish in the process. That's not even considering the possible addition of Galactic, which is led by Cyrus. You know, Cyrus? Crazy guy who wants to take over the world by breaking it down into its most basic elements and then rebuilding it? Yeah, I'm sure that he and Giovanni would be in complete agreement on the best ways of how to rebuild the world assuming he actually succeeded. Moral of the story? Teams do not work in each other's best interests for a reason.

Also, there's geography to consider. Remember, these are criminal organizations, and they're big ones. Steps have probably been taken by law enforcement to make it as hard as possible for them to move around. They can't afford to suddenly ship members off to a region where they have little to no power base. The Rockets seem firmly based in Kanto and Johto, no matter what canon you use. Aqua and Magma are Hoenn-exclusives, since they're after something that can only be found there, and probably aren't too friendly towards visitors. Cyrus, once again, is based solely in Sinnoh. Location, location, location.

The Power of Friendship

Villains of any sort are apparently not allowed to understand the concept of friendship or trust with their Pokemon... which is odd, considering at least three of the heads of evil teams canonically own a Crobat. A Pokemon which only evolves when a strong bond is present. Interesting, no?

Competition Turned Brutal

Now let's take a break from organized crime and cover rivals. Rivals are especially important characters, because they are part of the reason the protagonist is motivated to train. That's what a rival is, isn't it? Someone you are driven to compete with and overcome?

Apparently, many OTers are unclear on exactly what a rival is, and make the mistake of making their rival a recurring or semi-recurring character who occasionally shows up, battles, and then leaves either in tears or promising to become stronger. He never defeats the hero.

See, the problem there is that a rival isn't just someone your trainer battles with. You can't just slap the word "rival" on someone and expect them to be one. A rival is someone your character is driven to compete with, to defeat, to surpass, and then to continuously surpass. Rivalry is a pretty bloody business when you think about it, really. A rival has to have three things in order to become a rival to your character:

-They must have a relationship of some sort- that is, they know each other fairly well and are aware that they are in competition.

-There must be a reason that they compete beyond the fact that they are both trainers. Otherwise, every trainer your character battles with throughout the course of the fic could be considered his "rival".

-The rival and the main character must be equal in either potential or ability- otherwise, there would be no need for them to be in such heated competition, since one would have completely outclassed the other already.

Rivalry runs deep. Take Ash and Gary from the anime as an example. Their rivalry began because as children they were always quarreling about who was the best. Eventually, it developed into a relationship characterized by a constant desire to "one-up" each other. As is motivated throughout most of Kanto to continue training because he wants to beat Gary. And it's not easy either- Gary doesn't cut him any slack. This is an example of a rivalry that makes sense. Not a fan of the anime? Try the manga instead. Red is motivated to battle Green at first because of their incredibly different ideals about Pokemon training, and because both have the same goal. Gold wants to beat Silver because Silver stole one of Professor Elm's Pokemon while he was there. Ruby and Sapphire challenge each other because when they first meet they can't stand each other. And on the list goes. The point is, however, that there's a common link between all of these trainers. They all want to beat each other because at some point, they fought, and wanted to settle it. A rivalry could almost, in some cases, be thought of as an extended argument that two people have decided to settle through an elaborate competition.

Now, to quickly deal with rival stereotypes that show up quite often:

-Evil Rival: Silver without the redeeming qualities. He's cruel, merciless, steals Pokemon, and abuses them. For no adequately explored reason. He can't understand why the hero defeats him again and again, possibly because he hasn't noticed that his rival's surname is "Sue". He releases Pokemon when they get too weak. Also, he strangles puppies. He exists either to turn to the dark side and get killed, or to be redeemed by the hero. Wow. Interesting. Never seen that before. *rolls eyes*

-Childhood Friend: The childhood friend who competes with your character but seems to be doing it more because he's serious about the competition. The problem with this? Rivals have to actually be devoted to beating each other.

-Wise Old Mentor Lite Rival: Gandalf in the body of a fifteen-year-old. He may lose occasionally, but that doesn't stop him from imparting some home-spun wisdom to the main character each time they meet. He's ridiculously calm. He eventually joins the hero's entourage.

Overused Starters

Many people, in order to avoid the tedium of the usual twelve starters, decide to have their trainer start with a completely different Pokemon. But when the non-starter starters start repeating in species over and over again, it gets annoying. Especially when the explanation for why your character is being handed a Pikachu looks suspiciously like the beggining of the anime...

The follow Pokemon are used in the place of normal starters so often, you'd think they'd be on the registered list by now:

-Pikachu
-Eevee (Actually, Eevee might be the easiest to explain if your character got it from a lab. I mean, it's got so many evolutionary forms, I'm sure a professor would be anxious to study one. If you don't like that explanation, read the chapter of Farla's list of OT parodies entitled "How to give your stupid trainer an Eevee". Or something along those lines.)
-Munchlax (the latest addition)

This list includes only Pokemon that are given out by Professors to trainers.

Keep watching for part four of the guide! Next time, we'll continue our look at the cliches surrounding Team Rocket and the rest. Also, a special guest appearance from Augustus of "Thief in the Night!"
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  #11    
Old June 27th, 2008 (08:27 AM).
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Well, I've just been admiring this guide from afar, never really saying anything about it. Time to act!

But first...

Quote:
-Evil Rival: Silver without the redeeming qualities. He's cruel, merciless, steals Pokemon, and abuses them. For no adequately explored reason. He can't understand why the hero defeats him again and again, possibly because he hasn't noticed that his rival's surname is "Sue". He releases Pokemon when they get too weak. Also, he strangles puppies. He exists either to turn to the dark side and get killed, or to be redeemed by the hero. Wow. Interesting. Never seen that before. *rolls eyes*
Don't be so cruel to me.

Quote:
The follow Pokemon are used in the place of normal starters so often, you'd think they'd be on the registered list by now:

-Pikachu
-Eevee (Actually, Eevee might be the easiest to explain if your character got it from a lab. I mean, it's got so many evolutionary forms, I'm sure a professor would be anxious to study one. If you don't like that explanation, read the chapter of Farla's list of OT parodies entitled "How to give your stupid trainer an Eevee". Or something along those lines.)
-Munchlax (the latest addition)
Considering my decoy Riolu just fainted, I'd like to point out that Riolu is an overused starter, as well as what you've listed. That, and I can't tell you how many times I've read a story with a shiny starter, hence why I put it in my OT parody.

Quote:
Villains of any sort are apparently not allowed to understand the concept of friendship or trust with their Pokemon... which is odd, considering at least three of the heads of evil teams canonically own a Crobat. A Pokemon which only evolves when a strong bond is present. Interesting, no?
And even more interesting, is that Cyrus, who has no emotion and thinks of you as a fool for having friendship and compassion for Pokemon, has a Crobat in the final battle.

But anyway, I'm looking foward to the next part, Thesis! -runs away from your cheddar cheese-
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  #12    
Old June 27th, 2008 (03:42 PM).
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Silver, Thesis called you a guy!!!!
Ok, lol jokes.
Good good! Nice job so far Thesis.
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Old July 16th, 2008 (06:23 AM). Edited July 16th, 2008 by Cerulean.
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This is actually very helpful (even though reading this made me forget to read the manga). Kudos to you!
If every OT writer out there would actually read this then I must say .... We shall be cleansed and PURIFIED of the over-cliched and Mary-Sue fics. But as you have said, many will be challenged to ACTUALLY think over the plot of their stories and we shall be blessed with stories that we can actually soak ourselves into.

If I actually get round to writing an OT fanfic I'll be sure to refer to these guide again. And I shall post this in my ff.net profile so that I'll have more Pokemon fanfics to read. I am honestly getting tired of browsing the archive of Pokemon fanfictions in ff.net and (mostly) find ContestShipping fics.


Again, Kudos to you for actually bothering to write this and guiding writers-to-be (or even experienced writers out there) on what to avoid in writing OT fics.
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Old July 16th, 2008 (08:43 AM).
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This is great! Not just because it's helping me write my current FanFic but it's absolutely flipping hilarious when it comes to examples of extremely stupid cliches.

I've noticed that I've been avoiding the cliches you've mentioned so far but I'm starting to fall into the traps of some cliches involved with the antagonist. But when you talk about the antagonist you use "he" so does my antagonist not have to follow those rules due to the fact that she's an insane feminist and well, not a guy?

Your point "By all your powers combined, I am Captain Giovanni!" interests me. I tried that potential cliche out a while back and it seriously messed up my story. And you should suggest that if anyone does do that they should avoid certain things, for example calling the resulting organisation something like Team RAMAG, RAMAG stands for Rocket, Aqua, Magma and Galactic. I'm never trying that again.

Keep up the good work mate!
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Old July 16th, 2008 (12:08 PM).
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Quote originally posted by burningfoot:
But when you talk about the antagonist you use "he" so does my antagonist not have to follow those rules due to the fact that she's an insane feminist and well, not a guy?
*facepalm*

You're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking.

If you are, then "haha! XD"

If you aren't, then Thesis-kun used "he" because he felt it was easier than remembered the politically correct way of combining both sexes so neither one feels left out and cries discrimination. :<
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Old July 16th, 2008 (05:29 PM). Edited July 16th, 2008 by Scarlet Weather.
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You thought he had abandoned the guide....

The guide lay mouldering in the lounge for many weeks...

But then life returned...

Now, witness the rebirth!

Thesis's OT Fic Guide- What Not to Include, Part Four!


Ahem, yes... Since I've been pretty straightforward with the guide so far, I thought I'd do something a bit different this time. So I'll be writing this section of the guide from the perspective of one of my own fictional characters, both as a creative exercise for me, and to explore what the character would do given this task. The character I've chosen is Augustus, from my ongoing fanfic "Thief in the Night" (chapter three will be up sometime... hopefully before school starts again). For those of you who have not yet read "Thief in the Night", Augustus is the starting Pokemon and partner in crime of the titular thief, "Gale" Fortunado, and he does his best to keep Gale's ego from getting too fat. Unfortunately, his efforts are largely unsuccessful.

Without further ado, here's Augustus with part four of our guide....

..
..
....


Well, I suppose most of you know who I am by now, probably because the idiot who manages this sorry excuse for a guide introduced me. For future reference, I resent the name "Augustus". He's a dead Roman emperor, and the name makes me sound pompous and stuffy. Unfortunately, I had no say in the matter. And wouldn't you know it, I've got leeway to use my section of this guide to discuss something every potential fanfic author comes into contact with when writing for this fandom: nicknames.

Go, Blaze!... Ten bucks it's a Charmander.

I have to laugh at the practice of you humans giving us nicknames. Really, it's amusing watching you try to think of a proper name for us. Unfortunately, you humans are rarely creative. Why, I've spent the past weeks reading... what is it you humans call this again? "Journeyfics"? And I've noticed an alarming tendency to use annoyingly generic names for your Pokemon. Think about it- if, as you humans insist you do, give Pokemon nicknames in order to differentiate us from every other member of our species, then shouldn't you be trying to make sure that the idiot three links down isn't running around with a starter Pokemon with the exact same name? I'll give you a few examples of annoyingly common nicknames for various species of Pokemon:

-"Flare"- Charmander line, Flareon, Growlithe Line

-"Blaze"- Ponyta line, Charmander line, Flareon (surprisingly few Growlithes, at least according to my observations)

-"Razor"- Scyther

-"Slash"- Scyther

-"Sparky"- Pikachu line, Electrike line

And that's just a few examples. I could provide more, but modesty prevents me- and no, I'm not preening myself right now because I'm feeling pride in my accomplishments. Any idiot could figure this information out with a few minutes of clicking around. I just happen to have something caught under my wing, that's all. There, got it! Now that I've dealt with that distraction, we can continue.

There are many ways to choose names for your Pokemon, if you're so hell-bent on giving us nicknames. Honestly, I don't see the need. There are so many ways to interpret canon that you're perfectly capable of just having your trainer call us by our species name. I happen to remember enjoying a certain fanfic, which I will not disclose the name of, in which all Pokemon adressed themselves informally by their species name, but gave names to each other when they wanted familiarity. Actually, come to think of it, they were a series of fanfics based around a story... what was it? Quest for the Legends, written by someone named... Dragonnfrie? Dragonfree? Something like that. Anyway, I thought that was particularly interesting, and an excellent way to explain why some Pokemon have nicknames, and others don't. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I want to talk about implausible nickname choices, the other extreme beyond generic.

Implausible nickname choices occur when a trainer immediately comes up with a completely bizarre-sounding nickname and hands it to the Pokemon immediately- usually a name from a popular series of some sort, or the name of a human being of distinction, especially a deceased one. (Which reminds me- why are you humans so obsessed with the accomplishments of dead humans? They're dead and gone, what could they possibly have to do with the here and now? Honestly, you make no sense to me.) The problem is that the one pulling these names out is a ten year old kid (okay, maybe fifteen or older, still implausible), and it's attributed (usually) to their own imagination. When have any of you suddenly thought up the name "Augustus" on a whim? I once (to my chagrin) read a fanfic in which many Pokemon characters were named after characters from the novel Watership Down. Unfortunately, the trainer in question made no reference to naming them that because it was his favorite book, or even referenced the source material- in fact, he explained each time that each name was the name that "fit" the Pokemon in question. (For future reference, I resent his implication that a physically fit Pokemon that exhibited no traits associated with leadership fit the name "Hazel"- and it makes little sense for him to refer to the Pokemon as "Hazel-rah" unless the trainer had read the book and knew something about the honorative's significance in Lapine). This is insane. If you're going to use the name of a real person as the nickname of your fictional Pokemon, use some of that common sense that the brighter ones of you humans are always going on about and give the trainer a reason to pick those names, and admit that they're named after real people.

For instance, my trainer named me after a dead Roman emperor. I don't like the name, but I'm stuck with it- and he refuses to call me anything different. I've gotten over it by now. Mostly. In any case, Gale didn't pull the name out of thin air. He was an avid reader of Greek and Roman history back when we started together, and it's been a pet interest of his for a while. He's had access to literature. He would have known the significance of the names he gave to my companions and I. Is this shameless promotion of the fic I star in? Perhaps. But you can hardly blame me for it- wouldn't you, in the same position? And besides, it would look rather hypocritical if I expounded on the evils of illogical nicknames and used this moniker. And yes, in case you hadn't noticed, my vocabulary is rather large for a Pidgeot. Please stop wondering about that- I'm not bound by the rules of canon when I'm not in my own fic, you know.

And now for something completely different-

All glory to the hypno-Legendary...

Canon or not, I'm sick of every fic with a so-called "journey" theme wandering off into Legendary-land. For heaven's sakes, those Pokemon you call "Legendary" happen to be the patron deities of Pokemon in many canon interpretations, particularly anime and some fan-made canons created by combing anime, game, and manga. They can't be involved in everyone's problems. And for those of you who were writing stories about evil teams attempting to subdue the gods- particularly the Sky Gods*- please remember that such schemes have never succeeded for one good reason, and it isn't because a ten-year-old human can intervene- nobody, no matter how powerful, can ever completely subdue a god. That idiot leading Team Rocket- whatsisname? Govanzi? Giovanni? He's never tried to capture a god before, and for good reason. Probably the reason he hasn't been killed yet. What, you thought those others had survived? Ha! They were probably lynched by worshipers of the Lords whom they attempted to enslave the minute they stepped off-camera! And what, you thought we Pokemon wouldn't fight in the name of our gods? For shame!

Super-Weapon Online! Fire, Fire, Fire!

For heaven's sakes, you humans are so obsessed with your own technology, aren't you? Why is it that in fanfiction, only clearly evil groups have the necessary technology to develop weaponry that could be used to take over the world? Are the Police simply not competent enough to build counter-weaponry?

I told you we should have installed a child-lock on Headquarters!

And on that note, why is it that most, if not all, evil teams can have their plans completely undone by a ten to eighteen year old trainer with much less experience than most if not all of their members? You'd think the only reason they'd attempted the plan was so that the trainer could overcome them, thus proving his amazing-ness...

...Wait a minute. Well, I always knew you humans had ego problems, but even Gale hasn't stooped to writing fiction just so his characters can look good...

...I think. I'd better go check on him.

..
..
....


Well, I hope you enjoyed that. By the way, I'd like to challenge those of you new to this to try looking at things from the perspective of your characters once in a while- it'll really help them come to life. That's why I do things like this little creative exercise once in a while, to make sure that my characters don't just become little copies of me who go where the plot directs them. (I'm starting to wonder if 'Gust and I are a little too similar- maybe we're both disillusioned with humanity? I dunno.)

*Augustus is referring to Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Lugia, and Ho-Oh: The five flying legendary Pokemon, who are sort of like the guardian gods of flying-type Pokemon in my interpretation of canon. Also, keep in mind that 'Gust is speaking more towards fics in which the legendaries are portrayed as gods- if they're simply considered insanely powerful Pokemon, that's another thing altogether.
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Old July 17th, 2008 (04:12 AM).
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Enjoyable AND very true, indeed.
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Old July 17th, 2008 (04:46 AM).
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This guide is really good, it helped me sofar with my fan fiction :D.
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Old July 17th, 2008 (05:04 AM).
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Oh, dear. It appears that my fic is full of cliches. I seem to have avoided a fair few of them though... original names, a rival who has been introduced although no one knows who he is or when he came in, no bacon...

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More importantly, oftentimes these Pokemon have been abused by human trainers. Don't you think that if you were abused and left to die, you wouldn't be so trusting?
I think my Selena has one foot in this cliche.

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Old July 17th, 2008 (11:29 AM).
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Astinus, do you really believe that I am the ignorant prat that the giant author in the sky attempts to portray me as? Of course I was joking!

Well done Thesis, for shining light of the repetitive and foolish nature of the OT fanfic writing people such as myself.

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And now for something completely different-
Purpose Monty Python reference?
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Old July 18th, 2008 (07:15 PM).
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This has given me quite a few helpful tips on my story, so Thank you. I have also read Dragonfree's story "Quest for Legends"(I don't really remember it anymore, I just remember reading it...) but i also thought it was interesting and quite good.

I am making a story and didn't plan on having a rival, but now you have convinced me and it fits in perfectly with my story.
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Old July 19th, 2008 (11:55 PM).
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Heh.
Well, more stuff to show how terribly cliched things can be (such as my fic)
-sigh-
Well, at least there wasn't any bacon or Recko nicknames.
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Old September 9th, 2008 (03:38 PM).
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I really like this guide. It's funny, and its informative. I try to avoid some of those cliches, though I always nickname Pokemon...

Oh, and in part 3. You mentioned that the evil teams seem more like a gang than a team, right? THat's because in the original Japanese, Team Rocket's name was actually the Rocket-Dan, which translates roughly to Rocket Gang. Of course, you can't put gangs in a kid's TV show/ video game, so they changed it to team so it would be more appropriate for all ages, I guess.

And also, I tend to use Japanese names in my fanfictions; I actually look up what I need the name to mean for the character to make sense and name it that. Like my character Nami, for example. The name Nami means wave in Japanese, and in my story, she has power over water. So as long as the Japanese names fit the character's personality/ power (if the character has any), its okay. Plus, they eat some Japanese food (onigiri, sushi, etc) and I tend to refer to the group as "(insert name here)-tachi" because that means "(insert name here) and the others" for Japanese. It's a lot easier than typing out all their names.
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Old September 9th, 2008 (04:55 PM).
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Yes, I know SailorShadow bumped the thread, but I assume Thesis is going to post more, or something like that. That said, SailorShadow, double-check the last post date of the thread before posting.

Quote:
So as long as the Japanese names fit the character's personality/ power (if the character has any), its okay.
It also depends on the culture that the character is in. You could have a character that perfectly fits a Japanese name, but if the character is in a culture/area that the name would be weird in, then why give them a name to have them stick out more?

Let's take your character, Nami. She's probably surrounded by people with Japanese names. She also has her special power over water. But if she's around people whose names are of a different culture, why mark Nami out more as a "special" character by giving her a name that makes her stand out?

There also really isn't any need for a character to have a power just to have a Japanese name. One of my characters has a Japanese name, no special powers at all that mark her different from the people that she's mainly with. But she's a Japanese girl living in Japan, growing up in a traditional Japanese household. Of course she's going to have a Japanese name.

Quote:
I tend to refer to the group as "(insert name here)-tachi" because that means "(insert name here) and the others" for Japanese. It's a lot easier than typing out all their names.
Sometimes, when dealing with a large group of people, authors use a "group name". For one of my fanfics where I have six characters together pretty much all the time, I use the term that they call themselves (Chosen Children) in the narration. The rest of my narration is in English, so why should I use "-tachi" in the narration when the characters have their own group name that's in English?

It just strikes me as weird to use a random Japanese term in the narration unless the group calls themselves that. I'll admit to never reading your fanfic, so I don't know what the case is. I'm just of the camp that random Japanese anything should be used in the fic unless the location/culture/characters/plot calls for it.
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Old September 10th, 2008 (11:52 AM).
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My story takes place in Japan, so most of the characters have Japanese names, except a few that had moved from other countries, etc. When I had the idea for the story, though, I already had it planned for the character to have power over water. So I looked up Japanese names that mean water. But, yes, it should fit the culture/location/plot. So if its in France, it wouldn't make much sense for them to have a Russian name unless the character had moved there or something.

There's a term for every character in the group, but the large group is split into 2 parts according to what their goal is. So one includes a few, and the other has a few, but I decided not to give each part a formal name.
But thanks for pointing this out to me. Most of my stories give the groups formal names, but the story I mentioned is different than the ones I usually write.
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