View Full Version : What you look for in a Pokemon fanfic

January 14th, 2005, 7:51 AM
Maybe someone has already started a topic like this, a while back; I don't see it, anyway.

I have this question, for all who write or read Pokemon fanfic: what qualities do you find most compelling in your Pokemon writing or the Pokemon writing of others? Note that I don't mean fanfic or writing in general; if it was that, then of course I'd expect answers like "'gripping plot development" or "likeable dynamics characters defining themselves through their environment" or whatever, and that's all well and good, but what about Pokemon fanfic?

Maybe there's nothing particular about Pokemon that makes you look for something more in Pokemon fanfic that you wouldn't look for in generic fiction or fanfiction. If that's the case, then by all means say so. But, I suspect--well, I only hope, really--that there may be something about the world of Pokemon that really strikes you, that makes you want to write a story about Pokemon when you could write that story in the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe or some other fanfic universe.

For me, it's when the unique talents, abilities and characteristics of Pokemon are used to further the plot and provide for action, adventure, and drama--without going so overboard that it bears no semblance to the 'canon' Pokemon talents/abilities/characteristics (such as you might see on the anime). Although inventing attacks isn't a bad thing, just not when it's used in excess, IMHO. Creativite application of Pokemon, not simply creativity associated with Pokemon, is what I look for in a story. Also, when given a choice between some sort of epic battle with mystical forces and spells and extra dimensions, and a Pokemon battle between two skilled trainers, I'll always pick the latter. (If I wanted super-powered epic battles I'd watch DBZ. ;))

If that's not present, then I like it in the fanfic when the author keeps in mind what's already been defined as existing in the world of Pokemon, without exploiting it in a way that betrays it. For instance, an author might latch onto the idea of psychics and psychic powers and make that the entire basis for the plot and de-emphasizing Pokemon in favor of having 'mind battles' the like of which you might find in some vampire fantasy novel, or decide to make the Pokemon League some sort of governing power or mystical force when, in fact, it's simply a highly-regarded trainer's organization (Lance might help you out with Team Rocket in Pokemon Gold/Silver, but that doesn't mean the entire League is some sort of CIA-type organization, does it? :\). Exploring elements of the Pokemon world without redefining them for plot-based purposes, is definitely a mark of quality for me. I'm not necessarily against the plot-purpose/role that some made-over person/place/thing from the anime might serve to fill, but I prefer when people fill that role with a character of their own creation, and not simply borrow the objects of proper nouns from the anime. Knowing how the Pokemon world had been shown to work, and incorporating that knowledge into fanfic, is something I'd pay good money for. (Not too much--a few dollars for a moderately-decent fanfic, five dollars for one that's somewhat above average in these respects, and maybe fifteen for a very, very excellent Pokemon fanfic; I'm not made of money, you know. :D)

If a fanfic follows the above two points well enough, grammar/spelling or strict literary quality (wording, structure) doesn't matter so much.

What does everyone think? Does anyone have something like what I say, that they feel toward Pokemon fanfic? Or am I alone in this? Think of it as a fill-in-the-blank poll of some sort.

January 14th, 2005, 9:57 AM
If I may come with a little plug, you sound like you'd like my fics. That won't be the point of this post, though.

I always, look for properly characterized Pokmon. We're writing Pokmon, and the Pokmon are what makes Pokmon scream out to have fanfiction written about it. The fact is that the point of Pokmon, when it comes right down to it, are the monsters. The world itself isn't too unlike the real world, the people don't have special abilities and there isn't even a real villain or plot. The absolute only thing that makes Pokmon into Pokmon is that it's a world filled with monsters who have supernatural abilities, and therefore I don't like to see fanfiction where the monsters are pushed aside, out of the spotlight because the author wants to write about Ash and Misty falling in love or some trainer who conqueres the Pokmon League with his robotic Pokmon that are all exactly the same: basically, they come out of their Pokballs, do what their trainer says, and then go back into the Pokball. The Pokmon are the exact thing that's interesting about Pokmon, they deserve at least as much attention as human characters, if there are human characters at all.

I'm also disappointed when a fic portrays trainers as TEH HELLSPAWN because we all know from canon evidence that even if you can look at it and think "Oh, the animal cruelty", Pokmon fight of their OWN FREE WILL, and if they don't want to, they don't and if the trainer tries to force them to fight, they'll just say "screw you" and breathe fire at him. Of course there are exceptions; of course there are trainers who have owned a Pokmon from when it was young so that it's grown to think of him as a master and would never hurt him - there's a good example of that in Iveechan's Guilty by Design - but the fact is that angst about a Pokmon thinking "Oh, it's a human, they're going to catch me and take me away from my family and make me fight" is just plain against canon unless you have a really good reason for that particular Pokmon not to want to be caught.

I also look for fics that portray the Pokmon world true to canon, but add their own twists, such as making new information about a species of Pokmon that is completely made-up but doesn't oppose canon. Example? ChicRocketJames's Tangled Web. Man, I can't stop talking about that fic. Basically, the author makes everything make perfect sense, so scarily well that I can only stare. Who else would think of Chansey actually not being naturally caring, but having gained that reputation for being used in Pokmon Centers? Golbat positioning its target with sound waves so that after a Kakuna evolves, Golbat attacks the lifeless husk instead of the newly-evolved Beedrill? The stinger on Beedrill's abdomen being used to suck up the prey after having injected digestive fluids into its body? Pokmon all being "psychic" and when they're inexperienced they may use attacks that make physical contact but when they're more advanced they will use the same attacks with supernatural elemental powers (such as Wing Attack just involving a strong beat of the wings that sends a blast of wind at the opponent, rather than actually having to go over and hit the opponent with the wings)? The stuff that guy can think of is amazing. I doubt there are many trainer fics out there in which you look forward to the moment when the main character whips out his Pokdex and looks up the Pokmon he just caught.

January 14th, 2005, 10:40 AM
I like it when the author uses the classic party of Ash, Misty, and Brock over the current party...

Don't get me wrong, I like the current party too...but the classic Kanto Trio had such great chemistry...and I like exploring that, even in humorous purposes

Aiya Quackform
January 14th, 2005, 2:30 PM
The world of Pokemon has tremendous potential, that's my answer short and simple. Pokemon species could each have their own cultures, trainers have different ways of training, there are lots of ways to use Pokemon aside from battling, and there's the role of the legendaries. Are they gods, guardians, or simply very powerful? There's so much that can be done with a Pokemon fan fic! That's why I look for originality above all else in a Pokemon fic. Who made it a rule that all fics have start in a base town with a 10-yr-old going to Professor Tree for his/her first Pokemon, and then proceed to go to all the same gyms in the same order? Virtually 80% of all non-anime oriented Pokemon fics follow this formula. It can get so boring, which is so tragic because, as I said before, there is just so much that can be done with Pokemon!

I feel that a good fic should display a different aspect of the Pokemon world. Do Pokemon have communities in the wild? Do all Pokemon want to belong to a trainer? Do all kids want to be trainers? How did the Gym system start? What role do the legendaries play?

Of course there is a lot more I look for, including character and plot development, but originality is the most important criteria in my book.

January 14th, 2005, 6:09 PM
In any fanfic, I look for no spelling errors, or unnoticable ones. But in a pokemon fanfic... I like it when one either goes deeper into the TV series or makes a new original plot. Not just another trainer who wants to be a pokemon master. x.o;

January 14th, 2005, 8:00 PM
the way I see it, many seem to complain that Pocket Monsters is portrayed in such a childish light, never really dark or serious. That's a real shame when you consider the fact that the world is full of powerful, nature-manipulating creatures capable of causing mass destruction, and we've seen other quirks such as these creatures capable of human speach (Nyaasu/Meowth), scientific gene-splicing experiments (Mewtwo), Pokemon gods (Japanese version of Revelation Lugia), and many more things that could really make for a good, mature plot. Of course, as you can see, I try not to immediately jump into a dark plot, like Pokemon MASTER seems to do, but rather, I pace myself. Portray a rather normal life that, through a series of events, eventually turns to a big, serious thing, a method of story-telling that most anime seem to pull off pretty nicely.