When research is too much research

I found out today there exists a book how to write fanfiction. My first reaction was surprise, the second one shock and third laughing my head off. This has always been one field I’ve felt that person ought to write what comes as it deals with emotions and your feelings towards some made-up characters.  Apparently you need a book nowadays to give you clues.  

What clues could they be? Research the character? Make a solid background? Just spray your emotions all over the characters? Use them as puppets? Ignore your imaginary friend telling you what to do? Make your OC less bimbo?

Interesting new topic found, I headed over to the ultimate today’s learning tool – youtube! I am being ironic here, so even though there is loads of good information there, there is equal amounts of just awful videos by teenagers, who don’t quite comprehend the meaning behind their words yet.  So, after typing the topic in question in the search field, I received quite a list of videos.  I fear I didn’t get further than few, but the ones I shuffled through both raised my mood and made me think I had to do something totally wrong. Oddly the responses to my fanfiction have not been as bad as I expected, so I don’t think I did that bad.

There was one video though that stood out. Clicking it I thought I get another 9 minute lecture on how to construct, research and do things, but instead I got a nice instruction on typical mistakes, which I can’t say I’m that free either. Foreign language’ grammar is sadly one thing no one can protect us from.  In information given, it was fine, but the way she did it irritated me more than chilly in the back of my throat.  Yet I found myself constantly thinking – wow! That’s one angry reader.

So instead of getting fired up over a mocking grammar lesson, I felt like I was watching a genuine reader’s response to a bad book. And in my mind I could just as so count up all the books that I’ve come across that have the same problems – bad editing and no-one reading it through twice.

There was a young local writer, who (surprise, surprise) thinks he’s a genius.  So I went in the shop and quickly scanned the book, too.  I’m back to my original problem of reading too much in English and too little in Estonian, but I’ll get to this some other time.

Anyway, I was going through it, hoping it would give me some light on what the book was about. Stopped next to the table and quickly read some random page. Unless educational, that’s how I choose books, usually because I’m searching certain style.  It seemed interesting the first two lines. Then it started. First grammar mistake – period in the middle of a word. Ok, perhaps was left unnoticed. Then another and another and oh! One more. I counted 25 simple mistakes on that same page that could have been avoided. Simple, straight-to-your-face mistakes, which showed how little the writer had cared. And so I put the book down.

 I think most locals know whom I’m talking about. It’s like a local urban legend already – he even had a reading at the library and if I recall it right, said that he never reads them over again, because there’s no need. I beg for second opinion. I’m surprised the editor let it through without asking the man fix the mistakes. I understand here we don’t have editing included with the service, but that was just ridiculous.    

I liked tonight’s lesson. How searching “writing fanfiction” can bring you more than just the topic – it can also give you raw impression what really irritates readers, be them old or young.

Keeping this in mind I now will return to my own writing.


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