the king of carrot flowers pt1

so i’ve been blazing through the marvey classic fics, as far as i can tell, and they’re about as hit-or-miss as your typical johnlock fare; the one real surprise was that the marvey version of a cure for boredom (i.e., the staple fandom smut), which is called upside down and inside out, drew me in and i really enjoyed it. it’s full of sex, obviously, but i didn’t even mind that so much since the story itself was so well crafted and each instance of explicit sex (some are just mentioned in passing) is significant.

anyway, the point is it occurred to me that over all my years (and years) of reading fanfic, i’ve identified what i think are some…qualifiable trials that i think every author passes through (or gets stuck in). not every author experiences every component of every stage and not every author experiences the stages in exactly the same order, and like the post-conventional stages of moral development, most authors don’t even reach the final stage, but it’s pretty consistent and it goes something like this:

  1. immature casual
    1. misuse or overuse of ellipses
    2. misuse or overuse of commas
    3. unnecessary use of noun identifiers rather than proper names
    4. tense switching
    5. poor grammar
      1. “it’s/its,” “you’re/your,” and “there/their/they’re” confusion
      2. “bear/bare” confusion
      3. “lose/loose” and “chose/choose” confusion
      4. period instead of comma at the end of a spoken phrase
      5. improper capitalization
    6. no or few paragraph breaks
    7. severely lacking in description, i.e., overuse of dialogue
    8. songfic
    9. extremely poor characterization (out of character)
    10. overemphasis on character appearance, especially clothing, hair/eye color
    11. good plot idea with unreadable execution
    12. “their tongues battle for dominance”
  2. competent amateur
    1. clumsy fixation on unnecessary details (intended to be symbolic)
    2. poorly handled run-on sentences
    3. overuse or exclusive use of formulaic short sentences (i.e., S-V-O)
    4. clumsy or inconsistent use or absence of contractions
    5. bad plot idea with good execution
    6. moderate to heavy reliance on established fandom tropes
    7. stories are good overall but contain brief sections of poor construct
    8. stories start off extremely well but lose coherency or interest value
  3. polished professional
    1. careless typos
    2. identifiable writing style (“unique” voice, not always a good thing)
    3. good plot idea with good execution
    4. potential for re-readability

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