An update, because it's Valentine's Day and I love my readers! ^_^

I know I said I would be revisiting early topics, but when I thought of this topic, I decided that I just had to write about it. I can't believe I didn't think of it until now! I call this set of problems:

100 Ways to Annoy Your Audience

In which a list was written

Hey guys, read my great Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, "100 Ways to Annoy Metal Sonic!"

1. Paint him purple and call him "Barney."

2. Force-feed him subway sandwiches.

3. Tell him the only way he can best Sonic is through a ribbon dancing competition.

(This continues for several pages much in the same vein)

I'll admit that I've read some of these "lists of things characters wouldn't like you to do them" fanfics and laughed a few times, but that doesn't mean I don't have a right to be critical of them. First of all, I did not pick those three silly points in my parody example randomly. Each of these three examples illustrate different problems commonly seen in these types of fanfics. I'll analyze each point in depth:

1. Paint him purple and call him Barney.

This example illustrates two different problems. The first problem here is that this particular "way to annoy Metal Sonic" would pretty much annoy any character in any series. The second problem, linked with that one, is that it illuminates nothing regarding that character's... well... character! In a lot of these fanfics, authors don't bother to make their points relevant to the characters at hand. Next:

2. Force-feed him subway sandwiches.

I have a feeling anybody reading this guide who knows about Sonic knows what's wrong with this one! The problem here is that this "way to annoy Metal Sonic" totally contradicts something about Metal Sonic. He has no mouth and can't eat. XD So not only does it not have anything to do with the character, it also disregards an important canon point, and not really in the name of parody, either. It isn't really based on anything concrete. This problem doesn't occur quite as often as the first ones I mentioned.

3. Tell him the only way he can best Sonic is through a ribbon dancing competition.

I chose this example carefully. It's a reference to a party game in the Sonic franchise, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, where ribbon dancing is an available sport to compete in (and yes, Metal Sonic is playable), so this is actually a joke about something actually in the series, and it linked to the character is question. So what's the problem? Well... it's a problem that these fanfics share with all list fanfics. Basically, it sounds funny, but it's left to the reader to imagine everything. These fanfictions tend to be simple lists and nothing more, and while imagining a scenario can be fun, I personally feel like it is more amusing when a fanfiction author goes a step further and actually writes short scenes following each point.

Note that while the problems I discussed are often in this type of fanfic, they are not always there. These fics can be done well!