I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm rolling through the area. I snuggled in bed and listened to the rain and the thunder, interrupted periodically by the snooze alarm. It had stopped by the time I went to work, but the air was saturated with the moisture. Once the clouds have moved on, it was like a sauna out there.
Everyone keeps complaining that we moved from winter directly into summer. It isn't just my co-workers. I heard it on the radio this morning as well. I think this is another case where growing up in New England warped my perceptions. Now, I acknowledge freely that going from highs in the 60s one week to highs around 90 the next is rather abrupt. However, to me, several weeks of highs in the low sixties does in fact qualify as spring. I had been rather enjoying the nice long spring, in fact.
Meanwhile, indoors, I've been reading fanfic again. This time it's been for several of the TV shows I watch. I find it to be almost a form of masochism - some of them are really that painful, but I just can't stop. I'm coming up with a list of things that make a bad fanfic for me.
- Grammar and usage errors. This covers many different types of mistakes. My current vote for worst offense is dialogue within a paragraph. Simple grammatical rule: if a new person starts speaking, you need a new paragraph. There are times and places that I find this forgivable (every rule has exceptions), but they are few and far between. I make allowances for grammar and usage errors, if the story is good enough, but too many mistakes will make me start editing instead of reading. That is true for any sort of writing, as several of my friends have learned.
- Bad characterization. Again, I make allowances for different perceptions. But, just as an example, let's consider Greg Sanders of CSI. Greg is, without a doubt, bizarre, erratic, and sometimes immature. He doesn't have enough experience to keep from screwing up, at times in spectacular ways. However, he is not twelve, and he is not stupid. He's a single male in his late twenties, which accounts for most of the behavior by itself. He is also extremely intelligent. He learns from his mistakes, he has a wide range of hobbies and interests, he has an impressive store of trivia, and when he thinks, he usually thinks logically and clearly. So, any fic that depicts Greg as a brain-damaged adolescent loses my interest.
- Adults having teenage relationships without being embarrassed by it. I know that a large number of fanfic authors are 14-16. Some of them are even younger. If they write well, for the most part that's not a problem. In Harry Potter fanfic, it can add to the realism, as it makes them about the right age to tune into the characters. However, if you tell me that in present-day US, a 50-year-old man is going to a) start calling a woman he's known for years his girlfriend after asking her to dinner, once, even before they go, and b) get insanely jealous when he catches her talking to Another Man ten minutes later, when said other man is a friend and co-worker of both, I am going to assume that either he is headed for a mental institution, or you are 15 and don't understand what's wrong with that picture.
- The whole world is gay. I don't mind slash, per se. It's not my thing and I usually skip the stories it's in, but if I run across some that makes sense within the context of the story and is plausible for the characters involved, I'm fine with it. In Potterfic, some slash pairings just make sense. Some just don't. (And please, let's not think about what Hagrid is attracted to.) However, looking back to CSI - all of the major characters have mentioned hetero relationships, and many of them have even been onscreen. I could believe a couple of characters might well be bisexual, but all of them? There is a limit to my suspension of disbelief.
- River and Jayne. Just plain wrong. I try, really hard, to look at pairings that I don't like, and I've gotten over a couple of them. River and Jayne still just shouldn't be going there. At least not together.
And yet, I keep reading. Slogging through endless character pregnancies and marriage proposals (usually in that order), and all the things I listed above. Every so often, there's one good enough to make me happy.