For example, I was just reading a Naruto fic. The first couple chapters held promise so I saved the rest of the story for later, offline viewing at work (I don’t have a wireless connection but I can still use my laptop). It was very well written. I could find no real grammar errors and only one or two typos for 20 chapter stories are forgivable. There was a plot and the author really took the time to get introspective with the characters. The only problem being the characters weren’t really in-character. Or they were unrecognizable as the characters from Naruto. Some things were the same, but the fundamental base elements were not there.
(Example: Sakura. She is defined by the fact that she loves Sasuke. Its cannon. It’s what shapes her whole being and her actions. Normally, that kind of motivation doesn’t make for a very good character, but I love her for it. To take that away, or to diminish it, makes her practically a stranger to me - although, you seem to see that very thing being done to her a lot in of stories. I know that a lot of people in the fandom don’t like her. Unfortunately for them, she is an important part of team seven, and most times can’t be ignored in longer fics focusing on Naruto or Sasuke. So in these instances, writers take her character and do a sort of mind/body switch thing and just mold her character into something fitting their needs. Sometimes this is intentional; sometimes the author just doesn’t seem to know what to do with her. I believe that the author of this story falls under the heading of the latter. Sorry, I really went off on a tangent there, didn’t I?)
The plot also was confusing and uninteresting. The best way I can think of to describe it is as a blurry word picture. I mean, you kind of got the idea of what was going on, but sometimes the dialogue made no sense. Or sometimes it was like there was a current running under the words and only the author knew what it was. It was also very boring. The slow pace the story began at never picked up. There was absolutely no urgency at all, even when the characters were in trouble of some sorts, the consequences was always two or three weeks around the bend.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a long way from being stupid, so I know that I wasn’t losing something in comprehension. On the other hand, a lot of it is personal tastes. I’m sure there are a lot of people who really like this fic. There were things I did like about it too. (Sasuke was badass, so that’s always cool with me.) The whole thing just makes me sad. There was so much effort already put into this fic, and just a little more would have made it amazing. Sharpen the plot, focus on what the characters are instead of who they are wanted to be. (Artistic license is great, character debasement is not.) And before you ask, no I did not review nor will I tell the name of the fic. In this instance, I think I had better keep my opinions vague and unknown to the author.
On the other hand, I did find a really good fic to read today. I don’t have the link on me now, but if you click the little links to your right, you’ll see it under my favorites on my ff.net profile. It’s called Deep River and it is a marvelous look at a character that had little to no time on screen, Uchiha Mikoto, Sasuke’s Mother. I love finding fics like this. Really, they inspire me to write. I just love it when people take the time to really look at characters like her. Ones who are not necessarily important to the plot, but are really important to the characters that are. For this reason, a lot of the fic is speculation, but it is beautiful speculation. Any way, the fic follows Lady Uchiha from childhood to adult hood, to finally parenthood. It is interesting to watch how she relates a lot of her life to the water, particularly to the Nakano River. There are spoilers in it so don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.
In other news: I think Japan is conspiring against me. There was no new Naruto this week, and there will be no new Bleach next week! I know I’ve read well past these episodes in the manga but that’s frustrating me now too. Seriously, did anyone else read Naruto 345 and scream their lungs out?