Previously a significant part of my profile, I figured that this rave would do more good as an essay. The below tirade was originally written for writers/readers of fanfiction, but some of the points that I have made apply to original works as well. More than anything else, this is a mixture of advice and my personal pet hates as a consumer of fiction. If you wish to understand my motivation in writing anything, be it review or work that ends up on this site, then please read the rave below.

SOME COMMENTS ON FICTION IN GENERAL, (and some pointers about what I think about some aspects in particular)

I review most of what I read, and try to be as honest as possible... if I don't like your story, I'll tell you straight out, no bars held, and If I love it, likewise.

I have no problems with works of Slash or Yaoi, unless they are particularly tasteless. It is possible to make something erotic without it being simply filthy, (I'm talking to YOU writers of Godawful porn disguised as Fanfiction, with no storyline and no point,) and even violent sex scenes can be written in such a way so as to be realistic, as opposed to melodramatic and gratuitous... Rape is a very real issue, and should be treated as such, not used as a tool to create an instant Stockholme's syndrome between aggressor and victim...

And while I'm commenting on this, sometimes less is more as far as details go. Whilst I'm sure some of you have quite elaborate fantasies surrounding some characters, most of us don't necessarily want to read an entire chapter dedicated to how your Mary Sue ravaged some poor canon-character's left nipple. In saying that, for those of you who CAN write a decent lemon, be it heterosexual or not, keep up the good work!

Non-canon characters and Mary Sues/Gary Stu's are not synonymous. Let's keep it that way, cherubs, so that the letters OC don't send shivers down the spine of every reader. In saying that, there is a way to write above characters AND keep out gratuitousness. If you want an example, just look at James Bond, Superman, etc. Keep in mind however, that the difference between a good writer and a bad writer is simply how credible they can make the situations and characters that travel the pages of their works. Even the impossible can be believable if the right rules and conventions are followed, i.e. time, the fact that any major change to a character/characters is going to be gradual, even with a catalyst, and that the aforementioned catalyst must be reasonable.

For example, claiming that Logan (from Xmen, duh) will fall out of love with Jean the instant he claps eyes on your charming Mary Sue, does not a good catalyst make. Claiming that Logan falls out of love with Jean through a series of angsty, complaint-ridden events, during which he meets an imperfect character, whom he seems to sort of relate to, and then the friendship slowly solidifies, before almost imperceptibly becoming something more, will be far better received, as there are events and emotions to back it all up. SOME (note here that I did not say ALL) humorous stories can work outside of this paradigm but generally, if you want your story to be taken seriously, you need to have a solid foundation on which to erect your dream castle.

And whilst a happy ending can be nice for all around, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T RUSH IT! And don't resolve ALL of the issues perfectly, with everyone, including the rivals, happy as clams. It saps the life from the story, and ends up feeling cliched and pointless, as though the characters were merely dolls, and now that you've finished playing with them, they can all go back to their neat, pristine packaging.

And while I'm at it, some cliches are cliches because they are good, and likewise, some stereotypes are there because they are (in general) true.

HOWEVER. This does not for one second mean that a reliance upon these things will get you, or your characters far. Originality is often found in the little details, and reasons for specific character traits get you extra marks in the eyes of the reader, SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT GO OVERBOARD. If you are going to shatter cliches and stereotypes, don't do it in a cliched way, please, it gets so tiresome hearing characters play the victim. Even if they are, they are far more likeable if they transcend the boundaries imposed by self and their society when they don't forever WHINGE about it, and do so in a non-superficial way. Unless of course that is the point of said character, in which case, nice work, you've done your job.

If you're still reading this, then thank you for bearing with me, as I say three last things.

1. NEVER rely on the spellchecker as your sole editor. And the opposite of win is spelt "lose" not "loose" and the same thing goes in relation to when characters go crazy, they "lose" their mind. Unless they have some sort of buried personality, or can have out of body experiences, generally, they cannot "loose" it, without you the author looking like an idiot. For those who are now confused, on most planets that speak English, "Loose" means not tight or restrained.

2. If you leave a review, make it constructive, please. And use English, damnit, not some sort of fanbrat / instant messenger slang... there is nothing more degrading than being critiqued by someone who doesn't even condescend to spell "love" with more than three letters... If you want to use terms like lol and LMAO, then do so, but at least have the mental stability to suggest why you "luv da story, LMAO".

3. If you are an author, then please say when you are going to put your story on extended hiati. It can be really frustrating for the reader, particularly if you've moved on, and have no intention of ever finishing the story, leaving us forever in a kind of cliff-hanging limbo...

Thankyou, and goodnight.