The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: January 17th, 2000

Fanfic Cliches, Peeves and Inhumanities

By: Athena

Woah! An actual Lemure File not about "Thanking Dic" or "Why all the great sites are closing." *All breathe a sigh of relief*

A Lemure File a while back complained about how a lot of Sailor Moon fanfics these days are uncreative, a.k.a. boring. Being a fanfic junkie myself, I totally agreed with this. There is so many Sailor Moon fanfics out there that sometimes it seems like the same formula is being used over and over again. So I, along with a few friends, put together a list of cliches, peeves and down right inhumanities in Sailor Moon fanfics.

Before you continue on, I'd like to warn you that I do quote from actual fanfics I have read for examples. If you do find a quote from one of your fanfics here please remember, 1) Most of the time I'm poking fun at the idea, not the writing. 2) If I do comment on your writing, please look at it as constructive criticism. And finally, I'd like to point out that if you're a good enough writer you could probably write about all that is said here and make a good story. But because most of us out there aren't a Nobel Prize winning novelist, here are a few things to watch out for.

The Cliches

  1. "I'm late again!! Why didn't someone wake me!!" Alright, how many times has this facet of Usagi has been used to begin a fanfic? Too many. If you open up with Usagi actually being on time for a change the reader's attention is captured immediately and they know something is up.

  2. Characters being too in character. "Wahhh!" "He looks like my old boyfriend!" "I have to study." This stuff makes for boring fanfics. Create a challenge for the senshi personalities. Get inside their heads and figure out how they tick.

  3. Jadeite comes back from eternal sleep. For some reason I don't like this plot very much. Maybe if his mind jumps into some other villain's body and runs around Tokyo killing everybody in bloody revenge. That could be interesting. Or he could be a mysterious voice in Rei's head that helps the senshi out in critical moments. I don't know.

  4. Sailor Earth, Sailor Sun and Sailor Star. I know, I know, mentioning these senshi is a cliché in itself. Everybody says don't write about them. These senshi have been used so much, it's tiresome. Unless you have a really unique story about one of these senshi, I wouldn't tell it.

  5. The almighty powerful sailor senshi. If every senshi was the most powerful, there would be nothing to write about. I've read a fanfic where all the otaku senshi were all-powerful. The fanfic was pretty good, but the problem was that there was no climax. The battles were one big bang after another.

  6. Sailor Chibi [insert name here] is Sailor [insert name here]'s daughter from the future. If you want to have a chibi sailor, please don't make her Sailor so-and-so's daughter. I'm begging you. Have her be the sailor's future self, the daughter of some other almighty princess. Anything but the sailor's daughter.

  7. Sailor Ice Crystal, Sailor Love, Sailor Chibi, and Sailor Ruby. Sailor Senshi come from planets, asteroids or moons. Not some gem, emotion or prefix.

  8. Sailor 'Ice Crystal's' fuku looks exactly like the Sailor Senshi. C'mon people! Be a little creative! Not every Sailor Senshi in the universe has the same fuku! Look at the Starlights!

  9. Sailor 'Love' is Usagi's new best friend. Just because she's the princess doesn't mean your senshi has to be her best friend.
And More Peeves…
  1. "Her skirt was blue, her bows, collar and boots were pink. Her gloves….." This is what profiles are for. Try not to have a whole paragraph of the description of the senshi's fuku or transformation in the middle of the story. Try to keep it down to a couple sentences.

  2. An example of lack of description: "He removed Chibimoon's power from her brooch and put it in a test tube" Let's just disregard the fact that this villain is putting the power of the silver crystal in a test tube. Don't you think the heavens would shake, Chibiusa would scream and the world would end if her power was being removed?

  3. Live action/anime crossover. This is just too weird. Why would anyone want to cross two shows when one is a cartoon?

  4. Spelling and grammar. Doesn't everyone complain about this? Nobody's going to kill you for spelling one word wrong or punctuation. For heaven's sake, at least know the difference between "right" and "write".

  5. Male senshi. I don't mind the random tuxedo mask, but whole groups of guys dressed in tight pants and jewels on their foreheads? I think not.

  6. Parallels of the original senshi. When you create a senshi, try very hard not to model her off one of your favorite original senshi. Especially in appearance. This is just too weird and not really creative.

  7. The long (straight) brown colored haired, blue eyed senshi. C'mon, this is anime people! You can do * anything * you want! Why look like every one else?
The Inhumanities

Ahhh, now these peeves featured here are down right inhumane and insulting. *shudder*

  1. Mixing the dub and the original. Do I even have to explain this one? Most of the time people are mixing the names and attacks. For example, if you're talking about Kunzite, make sure not to refer to him as Malachite in the same story.

  2. The Unbelievable Sailor Moon Conspiracy Theory. This is when someone takes a well known Sailor Moon Conspiracy, (Let's say why Chibiusa looks nothing like her parents) and slaps a REALLY stupid answer to it. Example: "How could you know that rei-rei was actually ma-ma? It was so sad- I was the only one who could wash your black hair with the pink shampoo. I cried when I had to meld the red contacts onto your purple eyes" Puh-lease. And yes, that is an actual fanfic/poem.

  3. Messing with the fates. Usagi and Mamoru. Haruka and Michiru. Those couples are meant to be together. A bit of trouble or a break up as the plot is fine, just as long as they get back together (or at least headed on the right track) Bring on the examples! Example1) "Princess Cesium was the lover of Prince Endymion back in the Silver Millennium. But he was meant for Princess Serenity, so after Neptune died in Crystal Tokyo, she became Uranus' lover." I swear, I'm not making this up! Example 2) "Haruka and Michiru break up in this season. Michiru gets a new boyfriend named Eric. Haruka joins her new boyfriend, Alec, in the crusade for world domination"

  4. [cm break] and [opening scene] Personally, this is my biggest peeve. We're not watching the show, it's a story, a S-T-O-R-Y! And that's after the fact that I hate commercials in general! (Well, except some of the beer commercials, those can be pretty funny)

  5. The slaughtering of the Japanese language. We all know how much the Sailor Moon community loves to use Japanese. This love also bridges over into the fanfics. First, spell the words right. Second, don't over use the language. Yes, you may have a dictionary, but flipping back and forth gets annoying.
In conclusion, I'd just like to say if you want to become a better writer - don't stop writing. Read more, take criticism, and have your friends and family proof read your stuff. In general, the most relevant peeve and biggest challenge for fanfic writers are flat, one-dimensional, stereotypical characters. If you can overcome this hump, you'll be ok. You don't have to take your fanfic seriously, have fun. "Setsuna entered Hotaru's room bringing her tea, wearing a T-shirt that read 'Time's a bitch', obviously a gift from Haruka." This is one of my favorite lines from a great fanfic that doesn't take itself seriously. Lastly, to all those fanfic writers out there - good luck!

Comments on this article can be sent to: Athena.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

  Current Lemures Top || Main || Email   
© 2002 AQ