Category Archives: Cliche Five
Hello BCF world! FicSlayerMcG here, and it feels good to be back!
We’ve had some drama llamas on the site lately, which started me thinking about this particular topic. There are PLENTY of very talented writers writing fanfiction for Castle and other fandoms out there, but for every one of those talented writers, there are at least three who pretend they are that talented.
Writing is not an overnight process. In fact, when you write, you’re never really DONE. There’s always editing, always another direction you can take your story, always another point of view to find.
Look at your favorite paperback. (Or, if you’re like me, grab your e-reader and open it up to the story you’re currently reading.) The author probably went through at least four or five different drafts before the final manuscript that turned into that story you’re holding in your hands.
I hate to bring Twilight into this, but, as an example to illustrate my previous point, if Little, Brown and Company had published Stephanie Meyer’s first draft of Twilight, Taylor Lautner wouldn’t be famous. That’s right, Jacob Black didn’t make it into the book until the third draft.
I know I’m not the only one tired of seeing crappy story after crappy story pop up on fanfiction.net. Want to know how to make sure you never see a fic of yours pop up on BCF? Here’s just six quick ways you can improve your odds.
1. Use Grammar and Spell Check
This is by far the easiest way to make sure you don’t look like an idiot when you post your story for world to see. No matter WHAT word processor you use, even if it’s free OpenOffice, they have a built-in grammar and spell check. You can even make it learn words it may think are misspelled!
If you’re still in high school like so many of you are, start paying attention in English class. Not only will your writing improve, but when you pay attention in class, I hear your odds of going to college go up.
Helpful hint 1: If you have words underlined in red, and you didn’t do it yourself, that means IT IS SPELLED WRONG.
Helpful hint 2: If you have words underlined in green, and you didn’t do it yourself, it’s trying to tell you that something is grammatically wrong with whatever is written. Change it.
2. Find a Friend
No, I’m not talking about your friends in Algebra or the person you talk to at Starbucks. I’m talking about a Twitter buddy, someone you know on ff.net, just SOMEONE you’ve met online in regards to this fandom. Who hasn’t made a hundred friends because of this show? I’m one of the weirdest people I’ve ever met and I’ve met some of the greatest people. In my hour of need when I couldn’t figure out what kind of title I should put on my latest story, I had people DM’ing me on Twitter, willing to help me out.
3. Get a Beta
If you’re one of the seven people who, for some reason, haven’t made at least one friend in this fandom, there is a growing group of people at ff.net, who, for some reason, are willing to donate their spare time and read most anything that comes their way. Equating them to the real publishing industry, it’s like having your own online editor!
Personally, I don’t endorse this way, unless you’ve thoroughly checked out your beta reviewer. Make sure they’re someone you admire, or can at least get the names of characters in your show/movie/book/whatever right.
4. Actually THINK about Plot and Characterization
When I started writing this, I was going to split up plot and characterization, but then realized that would be rather stupid of me, considering they go hand in hand. We’ve had some fics with some truly OUTLANDISH plots mocked on this site. I could list them all, but these three are three of the worst offenders in my opinion.
-Kate staying with an abusive Demming
-Kate getting into an accident and turning into a sex-crazed Nikki Heat
-A fic revolving around a wet t-shirt (Honestly, I have no idea what that story is about. There are apparently sharks in inland New York too, or something like that.)
I know from experience how hard it can be to craft a decent murder case for a story to revolve around. Honestly, there are times when I don’t know how the Castle writers do it.
5. Write In Your Age Group
If you’re underage, please, just please, for the LOVE OF GOD, stay away from writing M-rated material. I don’t care if your parents let you watch R-rated movies and True Blood on HBO, just stay away. Stick to doing your Algebra homework, watching Glee, and writing T-rated fics.
You make think your M-rated fics are the greatest thing in the world and you’re so excited because you’re being all grown up, but you’re making yourself look like a fool.
6. Sleep On It
I’m guilty of this one. I finished my first piece of fanfiction one night when I couldn’t sleep, and uploaded it right away to ff.net. No editing, no grammar and spell check, no nothing.
And boy, did I regret it. I’ll never forget some of the reviews I got; in fact, I was so embarrassed, I quit writing. When I finally got the balls to get back on and write more, it had been so long that I had to choose a new name and everything.
What does this translate into? Don’t publish ANYTHING the moment you finish typing the last word. Edit, run a spell check, and READ IT a few times over, even out loud, to see if it makes sense. As I’ve said before, you’re just making yourself look like a complete tool if you post something riddle with spelling errors, missing punctuation, and formatting issues.
Moral of the Story
Your writing is a reflection of YOU. That will never change. It’s like that in high school, and even more like that in college and in the workplace. Do I judge you if you repeatedly don’t use punctuation correctly, spell names wrong, and throw characters into absurd situations and turn them into completely different people? You’d better believe it. Deep down, I’m willing to bet you do too.
(And for all the trolls out there, I was doing this LONG before BCF came around.)
Peace out, BCF’ers! Keep up the mocks!
Oh Richard Castle. So far on this blog, you’ve remained fairly unscathed when it comes to BadCastleFic coming down on authors way of portraying him. But alas, his time has come, and I shall now nitpick every single thing that fanfic authors do that bug the hell out of me regarding to writing about him. While I understand it’s harder to make him into a Mary Sue since most authors are woman and don’t portray him as themselves. Sadly pretty much all of the Richard Castle clichés find themselves rooted in an episode from season one. For some reasons, authors seem to ignore the almost two years of personal growth that Richard Castle has had and only uses those pesky season one characterizations.
Richard Castle Clichés.
1. Richard Castle is nothing but a nine-year old child stuck in a man’s body and is on a constant sugar rush.
I’ve lost count of how many times some variation of this shows up in a story. It seems to be everyone’s favorite way of describing Richard Castle. It’s a quote that comes from the pilot ‘Flowers for Your Grave’ when Kate Beckett protests against Richard Castle helping her on the case. “He’s like a nine-year old on a sugar rush. Totally incapable of taking anything seriously.” While yes, this was a great way for Andrew Marlowe to introduce viewers to Richard Castle, but it’s not a great way to introduce him to readers. We all know Castle. We all have watched him grow up since season one. While yes, he does have his tendency to revert to being a kid at times. I do remember the utter glee he had on his face as he was going to bust into his loft with the antique pistol he had purchased in ‘Punked.’ But correct me if I am wrong, I haven’t seen him running around the precinct, flailing his arms above his head, jumping on desks, and acting like a hyperactive kid. Sure, at time he’s been distracted by his phone, but who hasn’t? And if you haven’t been able to tell, during the last half of season three, Castle seems to have matured considerably by leaps and bounds. Since Castle has learned how to mature, let’s all learn from his example and discover a new way to describe him. Sure you can use kid at heart, but let’s all stay away from the sugar high nine-year old stuck in a man’s body description.
2. When the occasion calls for going under cover with Kate Beckett, Richard Castle will always buy her an expensive dress to wear.
Once again, another season one cliché. This goes back to one of my favorite episodes, ‘Home is Where the Heart Stops’ where Castle and Beckett go to a fundraiser in order to have access to their donors in hopes of catching the home invasion jewel thieves. In the course of the episode, when Castle presents Beckett the tickets for the fundraiser, he reminds her its black tie and she would need a fancy dress. Not one to miss a beat, Castle catches Beckett’s momentarily surprised look and lie that it wouldn’t be a problem. So thus, he buys her a fancy dress and has it sent over to her apartment. It’s such a sweet, and invasive moment for the two. Sweet that he would know she wouldn’t have the fanciest dress needed for the party and buys her one, but invasive that he knew her size and what to buy her. Don’t know about anyone else, but this is sort of creepy stalkerish move. And whenever I see it pop up in fanfic world, it really makes me cringe. Ladies, I can assure you that 98% percent of men, unless they are gay, or your personal stylist, won’t know your dress size. Sure, they probably know what size of t-shirt to buy you, but dress size? Doubt it. Buying a dress is way more complicated than buying a t-shirt. You’re more likely to be handed money to go buy one instead of them buying one for you.
Besides, why would Castle need to buy Beckett a new dress these days? Have you seen her wardrobe lately? I’m still trying to figure out how a Detective is able to afford expensive Burberry shirts, let alone the $700 Bric duffle bag she had in ‘To Love and Die in LA.’ But that’s beside the point, she doesn’t need him to buy her an expensive dress just to go undercover. I think she’s got that under control right now. So if you are going to go down that clichéd road of going undercover, then do something new and have Kate buy her own dress, and Castle’s tie to match.
3. Richard Castle only writes books at night.
I really have no clue where this cliché comes from. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the pilot since that’s where the screen capture came from. I’m also thinking this goes along with the thought that Richard Castle spends all his time at the precinct, thus goes home and writes at all hours of the night. I think we’ve seen many times that Richard Castle doesn’t live at the precinct. He does spend time at home and has even gone on vacation to finish writing his book. Remember fans, we only get to see the side of Richard Castle when he’s about to get a call regarding a murder. We never see what Castle does whenever he isn’t solving crimes with the team. He may write for all we know on Saturdays and Sundays. Or even tell Kate he’s busy writing and passes on solving the crime of the week. We don’t know since the show is called Castle and he must be in every episode. I’m still waiting anxiously for that one fanfic to pop up where he turns down Kate’s call because he wants to finish writing instead.
4. Whenever Richard Castle and Kate Beckett go to the loft, Alexis and Martha are away at someone else’s place.
This one comes from one of my twitter followers, @EmilieVitnux. The premises of this cliché is that whenever Castle and Beckett ether go on a date, or he invites her to go home with her after a rough case, the loft is conveniently empty with Alexis staying the night at a friend’s, and Martha is ether on tour or staying the night with her beloved dead Chet. Never fails that the loft is always empty. Wow, why does this never happen to me when I want my house to be empty from my roommates? I’m sorry authors, but rarely will your loft be empty if you share it with other people-especially if one is your daughter, and the other one is your mother. I’d say this is more like a tv trope that you need to hang a lantern on rather than a cliché. Do authors find it wrong that Castle would ever bring Beckett over when Alexis or his mother would be home? They do live on two different levels of the loft, I think it’s okay if he sneaks her into her bedroom while everyone else is asleep.
5. Richard Castle’s Bedroom is located upstairs.
Okay this is a cliché that drives me nuts. While it’s never been shown on-screen where Castle’s bedroom is located, it is however noted in pictures where Castle’s bedroom is located. Here is a link to one picture that shows the side view of his office with the doorway open and showing a peak of his bedroom. Here’s another one showing into his bedroom from his office. I think it’s safe to say his bedroom is off the side of his office. Another example that further reinstate this is during the episode ‘Boom,’ Beckett is seen cooking food in the kitchen and talking to Martha. At the angle the camera is at, you can see where the stairway comes in place to the side of the screen. When Castle comes and joins the conversation, he comes from the opposite side, the same side from where is office is, and not the side Alexis comes from when she comes barreling down the stairs. Another great example is ‘Vampire Weekend,’ you see him getting dressed next to his bed, then the next shot is of him busting out his Malcolm Reynolds impression outside from his office doors. I think that seals the deal that his bedroom is located off the side of his office. So unless Castle does a huge renovating of his loft, and he turns his bedroom into a bigger office, then let’s just keep his bedroom downstairs where it belongs. Besides, if it’s downstairs, then he can safely bring Kate Beckett to visit whenever everyone else is upstairs and not have to worry about being busted.
(Note, thanks to Castle-Fans.org for all the great set pictures to help denounce the myth of Castle’s bedroom location.)
Castle fanfic clichés. I know this is something I’ve covered many times. However, it is a topic that never seems to go away. Thus I bring you part two of my Castle Five Cliché Series- this time the Kate Beckett Clichés.
1. Kate Beckett is like an onion – This is a cliché that has roots in the season one episode “Home is Where the Heart Stops.” The quote references how Kate Beckett reads book reviews, which surprises Castle, leaving her to reply, “Oh, so many layers to the Beckett onion. How will you peel them all?” Sure, it was a great way to describe Beckett to an audience who, just like Castle, were getting to know who she is outside of her badge and gun persona. Since this is from season one, a season that only had 10 episodes, I will give all fanfic writers a free pass on using this if you wrote your fic before October 2009. Before that point we didn’t know a whole lot of info about her, but if you wrote your fic after that point, then shame on you for using this cliché. Why October of 2009? Because after that point, the second, and less used cliché was used to describe herself as a book. I don’t know about anyone else when you think of onion layers, but I think of Shrek. Ogres are like onions, and Kate Beckett is no ogre.
2. Kate Beckett smells like cherries – Once again, we have a phrase that was said once in one episode, and it has exploded beyond control in fanfics. Yes, we are all aware that Castle smelled her hair/neck area and commented that she smelled like cherries, and ever since then fanfic writers have been trying new ways of making sure that all fans are aware that Kate Beckett smells like cherries. Just what every girl wants to smell like, a walking fruit salad. There are two good examples of Kate Beckett smelling like cherries in fanfic. Example number one: Kate Beckett smells like cherries because it’s what her mother smelled like. Oh yes, every girl wants to smell like their dead mom every day. I know her mom’s death is very much part of the Kate Beckett persona, but she doesn’t need to smell like her. That’s creepy. Does her dad get turned on when his daughter is around because she smells like his deceased wife? Example number two: after having sex, Castle makes a comment telling her that she smells like cherries. This one puts a whole new meaning to the Marcy Playground song: Sex and Candy. I’m sorry, but after having sex, I truly doubt she still smells like cherries. And if she does, then it must not have been good sex.
3. Bitter Bitchy Beckett – I never understood why fanfic authors seem to make Kate Beckett bitter, and bitchy. Authors seem to be hooked on the Kate Beckett we saw in season one episode “Nanny McDead.” Of course in that episode she was bitchy and bitter. She had just got saddled with a civilian who almost got himself killed on her previous case. Wouldn’t you be bitter too? But that Beckett has grown since then. She’s accepted her partnership with a civilian. Sure she cracks jokes about his theories, and gives him a hard time. I don’t understand why authors must make her act like she hates Castle with a burning passion that rivals the energy the sun produces. I’m just going to chalk this one up to being Mary Sue Beckett.
4. Kate Beckett lives at the precinct – I don’t know why authors think that Kate Beckett has no life and thus spends all her time at the precinct. This cliché comes in many different disguises. Sometimes it dresses up as Castle tries to take her on vacation and gets the Captain and the guys help by reminding them she hasn’t taken a vacation day, ever. Or some clever authors dress it up as she’s at the precinct during the weekend, working on paperwork. On a few rare occasions Kate Beckett is found asleep at her desk the next morning having not left the precinct the night before. Once again, this one comes from once again, season one. In the episode “A Death in the Family,” Kate Beckett has the gang come back to work on the weekend and is mentioned that she had been there since the wee hours of the morning. I’m sure we all would do the same if we felt responsible for our ex being shot. However, since that episode, we’ve discovered that Kate has used up all her vacation time hunting for a new place, and that she has planned to go on a vacation with then boyfriend Tom Demming. I think it’s safe to say, she doesn’t live at the precinct and does take advantage of her vacation time.
5. Kate Beckett only drinks vodka – Are you starting to see the trend? All but one of these clichés have origins that go back to a season one episode. Yes, we all know that Kate Beckett spent a semester in Russia. Yes, we all know Kate Beckett likes vodka. But those two doesn’t mean that she only drinks vodka. We saw her drink a beer in “A Deadly Affair,” which was also when we were told she could drink you under the table. We’ve also seen her drink wine in season 2, therefore I am sure she drinks other alcoholic drinks besides vodka. Let’s not forget that in “Last Call” that it was too early for vodka-which shows that for Kate Beckett, there is a time and place for vodka. So do us all a favor, learn a new drink and have her drink it. Hell, give her a margarita for all I care.
Clichés. As any reader of Bad Castle Fic will know, I hate clichés. Okay maybe I don’t hate all clichés; I hate it when a cliché is done improperly. For example, I can’t stand it when the only place Beckett and Castle ever eat at is Remy’s. Some people screamed at me after I wrote about Remy’s being clichéd that, “But BCF! It’s the only place that’s cannon in the series.” And your point to that is what again? Be original! That’s what being a writer is all about, originality. But Remy’s isn’t the only cliché I hate, so I decided to create a list of clichés that are commonly used in Castle fanfic. It’s a common trend on twitter to do a Friday Five, well here is my Friday Five of Clichés.
Remys—Remy’s. What the hell is Remy’s? So we know they have burger and shakes, but what else is it? Do they only serve burger and shakes? No fries? What happens if I want a salad? And where is Remys? Is it a diner, or dive? Please, can we go somewhere else, where I can get something other than a burger and a shake? As I’ve mentioned before, this is New York, why don’t you have them go to some trendy expensive restaurant? Or heck, McDonalds when in doubt. Besides, we all know Kate Beckett is surprisingly a good cook, use it. Have her cook them a meal. Just because the girl eats take out all the time doesn’t mean she won’t cook her friends a meal.
Surprise! Kate Beckett is pregnant!—I grumbled just writing that sentence. Why does all the Castle Baby stories have to pretty much focus around Kate Beckett surprisingly getting pregnant after a one time affair with Castle or in some cases, after breaking up with Demming. Really? That’s not how everyone gets pregnant! Why can’t her and Castle be trying to have a kid? Even better, why can’t she decide while being single that she wants a kid and goes through a sperm donor? You know, some women struggle to have a kid and aren’t sporting the goddess of fertility in their vagina, which seems to have made her home in Beckett’s. And why is it always after a one night stand? Does she always have to have sex with Castle, not talk about it for a month and then surprise, be pregnant?
Surprise! I’m having a daughter and her name is Johanna– In those said pregnancy stories, it always seems to be that Kate Beckett names her kid, which always turns out to be a girl, some variation of the name Johanna. We get it! She’s remembering her mom. That’s great and all, but that doesn’t mean she names her kid after her dead mother. This rarely happens in real life. My mom’s mom died when she was young, but that didn’t mean she named ether one of her two daughters the same name as her mom. It just doesn’t happen that often in real life. While touching as it may be, it only happens in fiction. And while we are at the naming cliché, why are all the kids’ girls? Can’t she have a boy? I have yet to see a single piece of fanfic that has Kate Beckett pregnant with a boy.
Castle’s bored and is watching Beckett do paperwork—Once again, this is something that happened once in an episode. ONCE! That doesn’t mean you need to keep your grubby little fan hands around it and use it in every little piece of fanfic. Why can’t he just be at the precinct to hang out with the guys to watch the game on the breakroom tv? He doesn’t have to just be there to watch her do paperwork let alone be there because she’s there. There can be other reasons for him to be at the precinct. Use them! Once again folks, you are a creative author, use that creativity.
- Castle and Beckett kiss, but Beckett has a breakdown—Where did the idea that Kate Beckett can’t handle her emotions come from? Never before in the history of Castle episodes have we seen Kate Beckett breakdown when it comes to romance. Sure she had problems making her mind up in the season 2 finale, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to break down and close everyone off. In all her other relationships we never got the hint that she was the weakling that couldn’t handle the emotions. If I’m not mistaken, she broke up the relationships each time. But just because she’s the dumper doesn’t mean that she’s emotionally damaged and can’t handle romancing Richard Castle. I know that we all have our relationship problems, but don’t put your relationship insecurities into Kate Beckett and Richard Castle’s fictional relationship.
Dear Fanfic writers,
Could you please, for the love of all things living, stop what you’re doing and think about what story you are writing, and how you are writing that said story. I ask this because it seems the more I visit fanfiction websites, the more I want to bang my head against my desk and hope that I will black out early. Here are some of my pointers on writing fanfiction.
Writing stories is like painting a picture, only with words. Some of the best stories around have the ability to paint a picture for their audience without having to actually use pictures. Don’t write your story as if you are telling it to a 10 year old. I don’t want you talking down to me as if I have a limited vocabulary. An example of this is has been taken and modified from a previous story I have mocked: “It was Sunday night, and she had just gone out with him, but it wasn’t really a date, it was more catch up date.” This does nothing to tell me about the date, all I know is it was just a catch up date. I feel ignorant for even having to read it, and stupid for not knowing what’s exactly going on. Remember writers, your audience is smart and generally don’t take kindly to you assuming their stupidity. While you don’t need to use a painting by Monet to tell me what’s happening in the story, but it never helps to have a good description. Please don’t hold your readers hand and give them every detail, but paint them the picture and let them put together the story. Read the rest of this entry