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Do you have fanfic red lines?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Taure, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    We all have ideas that we dislike when we see them in fanfic, and we have plenty of pet peeve threads to discuss those.

    A red line is different. A red line is an idea that will 100% make you stop reading a story, regardless of context. If you dislike an idea, but would conceivably read a fic containing that idea if the fic was sufficiently well-written, that's not a red line.

    Red lines are ideas you consider so bad that there is no way you think they can be executed well, no matter how talented the author (excluding fics which parody the idea in question).

    I have tons of fanfic pet hates, but just five red lines:

    1. Nerfing magic. Stuff like magical exhaustion, temporary transfiguration, the possibility of anti-magic fields.

    2. Mugglewank. Technology able to overcome or circumvent magic, Muggle science being relevant to the use or understanding of magic, wizarding society criticised for its practices in a way which does not account for the existence of magic.

    3. Super Hermione. Any depiction of Hermione with a level of magical competence higher than "Snape tier".

    4. Weak Harry. That is, a Harry who is weaker than his canon self. That includes his magical ability, his intelligence, and (most relevant to fanfic) his level of emotional resilience. If Harry has a panic attack, I'm quitting the fic.

    5. Pairing Harry romantically with someone I would consider unattractive. Includes Harry slash, but also includes stuff like Harry/Millicent.
     
  2. Download

    Download Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Enemy pairings where enemy has done inexcusable crimes or there is no conceivable way that the enemy would change their views. Bellatrix before she became a raging psycho and stops being a pure-blood supremacist? Ok. Bellatrix after she's killed some people? Nope Voldemort? Never.

    Main characters that are unlikeable cunts. It's okay to have unlikable characters, but I have no interest in reading chapter after chapter about them. Characters that are awful with little redeeming traits fall into this category. Case in point a Joffrey!SI I read a few days ago who decided to be a smarter but somehow more nasty version of his canon self and start a religious fuelled genocide. No thanks.

    "Ye olde pureblood law" is another hard nope for me now.

    Stories that treat magic as something other that an (un)natural force. I have zero interest in stories where magic gives a damn about magical politics such as the theory that the taboo was some sort of political meta where total political control allowed them to cast it or holding some political office gave them some control over some aspect of magic. I know someone here in DLP suggested the concept and I felt revulsion just reading it. Usually though the trash is just used for some sort of "magic itself recognises the righteousness of Harry's cause" when engaged in some boring as shit and cringy "political" debating. Magic "in the wild" doesn't care about people, it doesn't care about lines drawn on a map by people, it doesn't care about human squabbles. It can be shaped, crafted, wielded, used, but it itself doesn't care, or even have an "itself" at all.
     
  3. Kevizoid

    Kevizoid Seventh Year

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    Wow Taure, ugly chicks deserve love too you know.

    Some red lines:

    Disability/Disfigurement. I hate anytime a protagonist loses a limb / becomes crippled in some fashion. I mind it less if it's part of the initial premise or background in the story but having it crop up midway is a definite no-no. It's either done well and thus I hate the role in the story it must inevitably play, or its done poorly and its either gratuitous or its circumvented easily. In either case it was unnecessary.

    Martial Arts or a Katana - Seriously get the fuck out. Guns are allowed in dystopian settings, by non-magic users, in magic dominated societies only.

    A student having knowledge of magic a competent teacher doesn't have. 2nd year Harry schooling McGonagall in transfiguration ain't gonna fly.

    Sexual Abuse or rape as a means of conflict or character development. I don't want to spend my time reading about a miserable world where main characters have to keep dodging sexual assault. It's a major reason I never liked reading GoT.

    Panic attacks are also close to a red line. Stop foisting your anxious neurosis on characters who don't suffer from them. Emotion based panic attacks are the intolerable ones - like Harry freaking out over love or some other innocuous basic social interaction. Harry as a 12 year old freaking out over Voldemort possessing a student and going around murdering children is more reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    Obi
  4. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    Bashing of the characters that are good in the canon. I'm not against evil Dumbledore, but make him a respectable villain, not a caricature of one.
     
  5. Mystery

    Mystery Squib

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    I don't usually have fanfic "red lines", as I prefer to believe in the ability of a writer to present the story in a way that engages and grabs the reader. It's a different matter that few have that ability. Writing (and reading) wouldn't be nearly as fun if all you could write was about certain tropes and ideas.

    Thus, while I may hold disdain for things like Heir to Hogwarts Founders and Merlin Harry or evil Dumbledore, I also believe that a sufficiently talented writer could write about them in a way that would be gripping. The reason such tropes have a bad repute is because they are almost always used by 12 year olds with mediocre grasp of English to mentally masturbate to a power fantasy.

    Hence why I don't have fanfic "red lines", with the exception of:

    Snape as Harry's father being a central part of the story. I love the characterisation of Snape in canon, and love hating him. Reconciling the idea of canon Snape being affectionate "father" all of a sudden, to Harry Potter is revolting.

    Ravenclaw Harry. Ravenclaw is such an insufferably boring house. Nobody wants to read a boring story.

    The only exception to this was a story in which the prologue was Lily leaving her bastard son at an orphanage, which was well written, and I didn't have to read 7 years of Harry in Ravenclaw. The author did a time skip and main part of the story started at a function where Harry piques Voldemort's interest.

    Oh and canon rehashes where Harry gets sorted into Slytherin or something, and the plot remains for the most part, same.

    As a matter of curiosity though, why do you dislike the idea of magical exhaustion?
     
  6. LT2000

    LT2000 Heir

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    These are specifically Naruto things, but him getting hunted and beaten by mob of angry villagers. Also, the Evil Council. Both of those will make me nope out in a hurry.

    In a more general sense, my biggest one is canon rehash. No, I don't want to read the exact same shit I've read/watched/played through in the source material. If I get a good ways into a series and I'm seeing the canon plot with nothing but a thin veneer of inconsequential changes then I'll quit it, no matter how good the writing it in other respects.
     
  7. Leo1980s

    Leo1980s Squib

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    Run for the hills red line; you'd think it wouldn't need saying but it seems disturbingly popular to "pedo pair" i.e. Harry/Snape, Hermione/Snape.

    Soul bonds - a really poor plot device to create a relationship because the author is too shit to write one properly

    Indy!Harry where the 11 year old lives alone independently & that is ok with everyone
     
  8. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I try to hold to the idea that there is no idea that is so bad it can't be made acceptable with good writing. So I'll give just about anything a go, although there are things that need really good writing to get me to accept them.
     
  9. Steelbadger

    Steelbadger Unspeakable

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    See, I can kinda see that, but even then there are things that I wouldn't even want to read if they were done well.

    Take the earlier example of 'pedo!pairings' where a child is paired with an adult (who ever they may be). Now it's possible to write that well, such that you end up with something that draws from Lolita. A character study that describes the internal logic of such a character and doesn't attempt to romanticize the relationship (the characters may try to romanticize it, but there's no need for the narrative you be a shipper on deck).

    Thing is, though, that I have no interest in reading that story even if it's the pinnacle of literature. That's not what I read fanfiction for.
     
  10. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

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    There is no idea that you can't make a great movie out of it, and likewise a fanfic.
    But that doesn't mean I want to read:
    1. Explicit torture. If it's a small enough section I may his skip and resume, but most times I'm out.
    2. Rape as a plot device. It's just not good.
     
  11. Mordac

    Mordac Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    This. Anything to do with Lords and Ladies, Marriage contracts, and the like gets a strong no from me.

    Children lecturing adults about the problems of the wizarding world or Hogwarts is another one. Regardless of whether they are right or not, no adult is going to sit to a teenager (or worse, tweenager) lecturing them on shit.

    Gratuitous changes to canon that are made due to rule of cool. It's fine if there's a reason to change canon in a way that enhances the story. We all kind of do that to one degree or other. But things that serve no purpose annoy me.
     
  12. HPFicFan

    HPFicFan Squib

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    Meek Harry
    I absolutely cannot continue reading if I encounter a Harry who keeps flinching at anything and everything around him, which is essentially what most Angst stories I've read seem to specialize in.

    Teenage Marriage Contracts
    Marriage contracts are somewhat palatable when they are presented in a story featuring adults, but otherwise make me drop the story instantly.

    Misunderstood Pure-bloods/Good Voldemort
    These kinds of stories is usually feature Dumbledore bashing, Poor Bullied Sweetheart Snape and handsome, misunderstood Malfoy.

     
  13. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony ~ Prestige ~

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    I'd also say that while there are a lot of ideas that can be made to work with a good enough writer, one can usually get a pretty good sense of whether that author is good enough to pull it off before a hot-button issue comes up. If the story's been amazing up to this point, I'll stick with a plot revelation I'm not a huge fan of, just to see where the author is going with it. If it's been barely good enough for me to not put it down before we got to the pedo!pairing or torture porn scene...
     
  14. Silirt

    Silirt Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    1 Contempt for the source material
    2 Abandoned/updates unreliably
    3 Bad English
    4 Punching bag characters
    5 Author tract
    6 Bad guy just needed a hug
    With the exception of 1, where it doesn't apply, that's also my list for original fiction.
     
  15. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Yes, certainly, but it tends to be something along the lines of "well that's just damn stupid". Sometimes I'm offended, but that's very rare because I usually don't read stories that are likely to do so.
     
    Obi
  16. Othalan

    Othalan Order Member DLP Supporter

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    The Hermione/Ron pairing as a major part of the story is a definite redline. I actually like both characters, but I despise seeing them paired together and it drives me nuts that it's a canon pairing. Similarly, Harry/Ginny doesn't do it for me. I used to hate Ginny as a character, but I've since found that if a decent writer separates her from the pairing-zone and gives her character a bit of breathing room to develop, I actually kind of enjoy reading about her.

    While it's not exactly a redline for me, I really dislike the notion that a character's first girlfriend/boyfriend at age 14 or 15 is the person they wind up marrying and spending the rest of their boring, unrealistically monogamist lives together.

    If I see the either of the phrases "soul-bond" or "soul-mate", I run screaming for the big red X in the corner of the screen. The one solitary exception to this rule is a fic I read a couple of months ago where Harry and Hermione have a soul-bond, but it turns out that it's actually kind of horrible (they feel everything that the other does, physically and emotionally, and eventually start to hear each-other's thoughts), and everyone in the wizarding world knows that when a soul-bond forms, it's only a matter of time before the bonded pair comes to loathe one another.

    Pretty much all of the Indy!Harry cliches get a hard "no" from me. And I absolutely will not stand for the idea that Harry Potter, a teenager of mediocre intelligence and slightly above-average talent, can learn mysterious, powerful magic that absolutely stumps Dumbledore and Voldemort after doing some training over a single summer break.

    If a story features wandless magic being just as versatile and as powerful as wand-magic, but only Harry can figure it out, because (in best whiny goth-kid voice) "everyone else in the wizarding world is just, like, a bunch of conformist poseurs", I will stop reading immediately.

    More recently, I've come to dislike stories that portray the wizarding world as needlessly backward and anachronistic. There is a certain amount of that in canon, but I much prefer stories where the author comes up with reasons for that seeming backwardness that make their world make a bit more sense that it would appear to at first glance from a muggle perspective.

    Any fic that, as a central part of the story, gleefully exploits plot-holes in canon without the slightest effort to explain why those loopholes exist in the first place, and the related trope of handling such inconsistencies by handing a bunch of characters the idiot-ball are both deal-breakers for me.

    Basically the entire premise of Methods of Rationality is one HUGE redline.

    It's been said before in this thread, but I think it bears repeating that mugglewank is seriously annoying. If a fic features a gun-toting Harry taking down helpless Death Eaters who "just can't comprehend how dangerous muggle weaponry is", I'm out.

    Huh... Looking back at what I wrote, that sure seems like a lot of pet peeves, and it's not even a comprehensive list of all the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

    I blame you people. I was never this picky before I found DLP...
     
  17. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Self Inserts. To a slightly less universal degree, OC protagonists.
     
  18. 13thadaption

    13thadaption Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Modern/highschool/college/coffeshop AUs. I don't understand taking characters out of an interesting genre setting to drop them into one that is utterly mundane. Theoretically I understand wanting to write what you know, and exploring characters you like in that context, but I can't imagine wanting to read even an objectively well written fic like this.

    Works with a word count that averages out to less than 2k are usually a pass for me. Less than 1k is a definite no.
     
  19. fire

    fire Unspeakable

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    MPREG BABIES
     
  20. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    Any amount of preaching. Ideology, idea, religions any of it.
     
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