Nothing specific brought this on (it's more like a combination of many things I read recently) but I've been thinking a lot about fanfics and fandom in general. Between feedback on fics, thinking whether to just outright beg for feedback, thinking to post fics in million places but then chickening out as though I'm not good enough (I'm just too terribly shy to advertise my own work), I've come to a decision that I'm just different, as far as fanfics, and by extension, fandom, are concerned.
I like fanfics, both reading and writing (though I've been real lazy lately about this one). Stories by other people give me prospectives, reveal something (sometimes even crucial) to me that I might never otherwise consider. And that is good. I appreciate the differences in viewpoints. The world would be a real boring place if everyone exists in the exact same way.
OTOH, I myself tend to prefer more canon compliant stuff and not so much Alternate Universe (even though I myself wrote some AU, but my own stories get special treatments :P). I'm probably more happy re-writing episodes from different characters' point of views than constructing brand new stories. Part of that is a challenge, to see if I really understand the events in the episodes. Part of that is just plain fun, trying to get in different character's head (especially if said character is so night and day removed from me).
My author's note will usually excuse myself and sound like I put myself down (not to make myself be pitied; I simply don't have much confidence in my writing), and I never really have anyone given me serious critique (of course, I don't expect random readers to do the job for me (I'm honored that they read my story at all); that's probably what beta readers are for). I realize that with the internet, maybe you're still not sure who/what you are dealing with. Even though I say constructive criticisms are totally welcome, you would have no way to know that I really won't be upset if you actually write criticisms as I ask. (I don't feedback much, so that might be karma. But I just don't know what to say most of the time. And yeah, I sometimes am afraid to find out how authors would take it if I dare to point out something not so positive.)
To get back on track, there is this part of fandom I never quite get into: shipping. I posted something about it last year (yes, that was my first 'Fandom and me' post). Basically, it says I'm not really comfortable saying I'm a fan of this and that pairing. I'm not against shipping, though, and would most likely support canon (or almost canon) pairings (most likely because of the canon compliant thing). So, yes, I realize that it might not be easy to guess which ship I like and which ship I totally don't see, unless I say so in regular entries or comments. (Don't believe anything I write in fic. It usually doesn't mean my last opinion on anything.)
This time, I think I'll touch on one of the reasons I might be hesitant to identify myself with a particular ship: I usually don't care much for characters everyone loves, and I usually love characters people might not like so much. Part of it might be because I tend to see different things. Sometimes, I wonder if I watch the same show/read the same book, etc. as other fans when our characterizations of the same character have almost nothing in common. And that makes me worry, sometimes. My interpretation of the character is different, so is it wrong? I really have no way of knowing if no one tells me. And then I'll be in circle again, because I don't think it will be a very comfortable conversation to have, to say someone is wrong, if this conversation would exist at all.
I usually don't let looks/appearances effect me when liking or disliking characters from manga or anime (or book, because I can't see the characters anyway). Part of the reason is probably almost no one looks bad in those mediums, so it must have to do more with their personalities. However, my reason for liking (or disliking) a character from a life-action show can sometimes be pretty shallow: I like (or dislike) a particular actor's looks/appearances and/or voice to begin with. (For actors I like, I often don't care if they can't act and/or can't sing, as long as they don't ruin their characters. Though I think I'm fortunate that most of them can act. Or I am just a lot more forgiving because I like them to begin with.)
And the following case always puzzles me. If one hates the main character, and stays just for the secondary character(s), I don't understand why bother. If I really don't care for the main character, the whole story/series is ruined for me already. In other words, wonderful secondary characters would not save the show/series for me if I cannot stand the main character. I really can't think of any exception.
(As an aside, secondary characters usually stay secondary characters and hardly ever outshine main character(s) for me. But I guess it might be different for other people. Personally, I think part of secondary characters' appeals is the strength they play in contrast to/against the main character(s) and if they are removed from that canon to their own series/show (as some fans might like), I suspect they might not seem so mysterious and interesting. Well, or I just might be biased. Most of the time, I'm more of a main character* fan than a secondary character fan.
*even if sometimes they are 'boring do-gooders')
I think I might regret revealing this, but for me, I find an ordinary character, well, not so interesting. I want my characters to be larger than life, most of the time, even the ones who don't transform and/or normal humans. And the heroes, just because they can transform, doesn't mean they aren't ordinary, everyday characters and therefore a little boring to me. And by ordinary, I just mean someone who doesn't seem to have any particularly outstanding talent, positive or negative, and/or doesn't have exaggerated personality, one way or another. (To me, being able to transform in toku shows doesn't count as a talent: I attribute that to luck (being in the right time at the right place) most of the time.)
And this goes back to the canon-compliant thing: in a Japanese fandom (anime, manga, toku, drama and anything else I don't remember at the moment), I would prefer characters retain their honorifics in fics. I mean, if character B calls character A A-san in their original series, I would expect to see 'A-san' whenever B addresses/talks about or thinks about A (well, perhaps not always true here; you can show respect to someone in public but call them something else entirely in private; it goes the other way around too, actually). Basically, unless the fic develops a believable reason for different honorific use, I like to see consistency: please use whatever the canon characters use.
(Yeah, the characters A and B substitutions bother me, but I would rather not pick random names and have them coincidentally come from a series I don't watch.)
But then I'm hard to please, because I would rather not see Japanese for members of family such as jiichan, tousan, kaasan, obasan, etc., where there are perfectly good English words for them. (I'm guilty of putting those terms in, too, but I will try to catch myself.) Leaving them in Japanese actually doesn't bother me personally, because I know what they mean, but, well, when the fics are in English, I prefer to see as much English words as I can. This contradicts the paragraph above, of course, since -chan, -kun, -san, etc. are not English. But in those cases, I don't really feel there are good substitutes in English for them. (Well, there are Mr. or Ms./Mrs. for -san, but the rest don't seem to be very translatable to me.) Sure, leaving the suffix out altogether is one option, but then the subtlety, nuances between relationships kind of get lost, especially since anta, anata, kimi, omae would all just get translated to simply 'you' in English.
I think I might have more, but (not having any way to take notes at some point) I can't remember what it is, so I'll just end this here. Thanks for reading.
(Just to be clear, I'm not upset or anything. This is more of me wondering why.)