DISCUSSION: Shiny Pokemon in Fan Fiction

Does your story have shiny pokemon?


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The Vulture Queen
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I read a lot of fan fic and something I've noticed over the years is that the ratio of shiny pokemon to normal pokemon is definitely not 4000-1. And it doesn't follow any pattern where "new" users use it and older ones don't. @diamondpearl876 is a workshop champion and the head moderator of the forum and they use one.

I'm curious why, exactly, it keeps getting used so much? Is it to denote a pokemon's rarity, because in that case it's sort of failed when 1/10 important fan fic mons are shiny (ballpark)? Is it for aesthetics? I know @Emma Prescott and I use alt color schemes sometimes, albeit for different reasons.

So, um, if you use them maybe tell us why you felt it was important that mon was shiny. If you don't and have thoughts, feel free to give them. Attaching a poll so answers like "I don't use them" or "I use them, my main character in [link] is" are unnecessary without more expansion.
 
Princess of Dorkness
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In my own little interpretation of the franchise, both shiny and alternate colorations exist. Alternate colorations are far, far more common than shinies (yet still rarer than the standard), and I'm not sure if a shiny has ever actually appeared yet across either Storm Island or Land of the Roses. Regional variants, such as the diamondback Arbok and the orca Lapras are also common.

Why? I find it hard to imagine that there's only one definitive coloration of a specific Pokemon. In real life, there's color differences all over, even within the same species (and in the cases of domestic animals, even within specific breeds), so why shouldn't that apply to Pokemon as well? Eevee always being brown, Mightyena always being black, Charmander always being safety orange... Boring. A black Charmander that blends in with his volcanic environment makes sense, as does an Eevee that's been bred to have red fur with stripes, swirls or patterns for contests. A brighter Mightyena to with intermittent darker spots blend in with a birch forest also makes sense.

No particular thought ever went into the only alternate colored Pokemon I used for a main character, such as cool factor or being special or anything. It was just another detail of the world I wanted to try that I eventually grew to like.
 
Swimming through the air and sea!
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I like to use different color schemes every once and a while because, especially in cases like Meowth and Lillipup, I find it hard to believe 99% of said Pokemon are the same color based on the multiples of different colorations on real life animals, like Emma Prescott said. Shinies however I try to stay away from.
 
shame personified
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To be fair, I had decided to use a shiny pokemon in my first long running fic ever (Survival Project), which I started when I was, oh, thirteen years old? Fourteen? At any rate, I didn't have a single clue how I was gonna use a shiny pokemon at the time, but I wanted one in there anyway. Stubbornly, I shrugged at the thought of it being a cliche.

In the end, it took many years for Survival Project to get off the ground, and I was able to come up with a plan for said shiny pokemon in that time. He started as a rufflet who had always received a lot of attention from trainers for reasons he didn't quite understand. He originally thought trainers wanted to catch him all the time because he was a foreign pokemon, but he discovered during the course of the fic that no, it was because he was a shiny, a rare type of pokemon collectors and the like sought after. Given how the rufflet had a lot of identity issues, I was able to use this discovery to my advantage in the character development department. Also, he rather does love attention, but him not wanting attention from the trainers trying to catch him was able to help me subtly discern that he only cares for attention under certain circumstances.

Color variants would have been much more realistic and would've made more sense overall. So I can't say I'd venture into shiny pokemon territory again without trying to delve into it more from a worldbuilding standpoint, but I'm perfectly happy with what I came up with in Survival Project and, by extension, Phantom Project. Honestly, it's not too late to implement color variants in the latter, now that I think about it. :p

Why? I find it hard to imagine that there's only one definitive coloration of a specific Pokemon. In real life, there's color differences all over, even within the same species (and in the cases of domestic animals, even within specific breeds), so why shouldn't that apply to Pokemon as well? Eevee always being brown, Mightyena always being black, Charmander always being safety orange... Boring. A black Charmander that blends in with his volcanic environment makes sense, as does an Eevee that's been bred to have red fur with stripes, swirls or patterns for contests.
See, I think a fic featuring breeders/breeding has a lot of potential when these ideas come into the mix. I always imagined breeders raising young pokemon for regional professors to give to new trainers, and I guess you can make an argument for EV/IV breeding in more realistic terms, but color variants can add a whole new spin on things.
 
Thesaurus rex
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There is a certain degree of double-standards when it comes to "shinies". There's no one mechanic people get hung up on more than this - it seems you can bend or ignore any other game mechanic, but shiny pokémon must be earned with blood, sweat and tears.

It's telling that no-one seems to remember that I use them, along with a lot of alternate colourations (Josh's Bulbasaur is mostly the standard "shiny" version, Eve's Meowth is black, etc). The reason is pretty much the same as Emma's: I think it's more realistic and more interesting for variations among species to exist. I'm not making a game, I'm not bound by budget, so there's really no reason that a mechanic specific to one medium should have to be followed in another.

I don't use the term shiny in-universe, though, because again, it's a term specific to a particular game and wouldn't make much sense in the context of what are real creatures to my characters
 
shame personified
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There is a certain degree of double-standards when it comes to "shinies". There's no one mechanic people get hung up on more than this - it seems you can bend or ignore any other game mechanic, but shiny pokémon must be earned with blood, sweat and tears.
This could be a byproduct of how the game mechanics portray shiny pokemon as rare. I've found that people don't generally care about seeing levels or items or defense/attack/etc stats in fics not only because they're uninspired in a story setting, but because they're not made a big deal of in the games themselves. I've heard some rather... interesting things from people who collect shinies recently - namely, that Nintendo seems to actively discourage shiny hunting and that with each game the experience becomes more and more ruined. When I was actively shiny hunting back in the Diamond/Pearl era, there were some people super hardcore about making sure any shiny trade was 100% legit. It was all rather hysterical, in the annoying kind of way.

Basically, it just seems like one of those topics that you don't hear about too often but when you do, you get some pretty strong opinions on the matter because of all the hoopla surrounding it. :p
 
This is the Monado's power!
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Personally, I think there's room for both natural alternate colors for Pokémon and shinies. Just have them be pretty much the same thing, but shinies would be an extreme change. For a couple of examples, let's look at Growlithe and Lillipup. With Growlithe, the "normal" coloration is orange with black stripes, while a natural alternate would be a different shade of orange (like more red or more yellow) and can even have different stripe patterns. A shiny Growlithe would be something like all black or like a deep blue or green.

For Lillipup, any natural color would be like any fur color of real-life dogs. The shiny variant would be something drastically different like a hot pink.

Basically, a slightly different color from the standard would be something believable that you wouldn't bat an eye at, whereas a shiny is so drastically different that it draws a ton of attention.
 
Let's get funky!
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As many people have said, I think Pokemon with slightly different colouring to the usual is a good and realistic thing to have within stories, and it's also a useful way to distinguish between multiple Pokemon of the same species. In my current mini-series, Agatha has 3 Gengar and one of them is referred to as "almost black".

I think that's a different thing to shiny Pokemon, which I use very rarely. Within the games these Pokemon sparkle when they are brought into battle, so it's not simply a case of being a different colour, and I wouldn't assume that every Pokemon referred to as having an unusual colouration is shiny. I have in my current mini-series made brief reference to shiny Pokemon existing, but haven't featured any. Off the top of my head I can't recall having featured a shiny Pokemon in any of my stories, though I'm not confident enough to make that statement as an absolute.
 
Brock's Pikachu
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In my imagined Pokeworld, shiny Pokemon have been seen as divine or god-like, often because of their rarity. The most famous of these is Epona, (which is what Link's faithful steed in the Pokeworld's version of Zelda is named for), the god-Ponyta that features in many folktales. At the very least, Epona can talk, and have divine speed, but she may have more powers besides these from story to story and even teller to teller.
 
Active Member
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There is only one shiny Pokémon in the tale I am constructing and that's one of the leading characters, the shiny Pikachu of the main character. The two meet in the prologue (or first chapter, depending on my choice of subject for that part) where Pikachu chooses the main character to be her trainer (a faithful encounter? I think so.). I have several reasons for the deviant appearance of this Pokémon, primarily to encourage other people, particularly those with low moral, to steal or otherwise obtain the Pokémon that can fetch a fortune on the black market. This forces her cowardly trainer to protect the young female that has no idea why everyone makes such a big fuss over the colour of her fur or the bright pink eyes she has. All she knows is that she is a very young little Pikachu with a big trauma. Through various methods (inability to perform in battle, massive sums of money, withering bond, ect.) will the main character be tempted, and very strongly too, to relinquish her. Yet the boy stands by his decision to keep her; not out of friendship but out of a promise he made to his father that matters more to him than words can express. A secondary reason is to clearly distinguish her among the other Pikachus that have been featured as companions to the trainers in the anime and manga. To my knowing, none of them had a shiny Pikachu.
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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As a writer, I've recently imposed a rule upon myself to use one and only one shiny in any individual fanfic to try and respect their general rarity. I've since written up one shiny for a story in the works, though he's a relatively minor character overall. Alternate colourations are something I may be more liberal about but never enough to be the majority.
 
The #1 Deerling Fan!
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Shinies in fan fiction are popular because people who want them but can't find them in the games if they wanted to can easily write about them. It's basically easy wish fulfillment. If done wrong, it can definitely be cringey and annoying, especially if the shiny Pokemon, compared to the normal colored Pokemon, are written as ridiculously special and overpowered and awesome at everything. It takes a lot of work to try and get it right, and for my current Pokemon fan fic, I'm trying to make sure my usage of shiny Pokemon doesn't fall into the common pitfalls that most writers throw themselves into when writing shiny Pokemon. For example, my MC's shiny Pikachu, Hikaru, was disliked by her family and later abandoned because of her odd coloring, fearing that it'll attract predators and increase their chances of getting hunted down or killed. Not only that, although she is strong, she does lose her fair share of battles, so she isn't overpowered by any means. Plus, as a Pichu, whenever she uses her electric attacks, not once did she ever accidentally shock herself, whereas normal Pichu wind up doing so, and this isn't because she's shiny, but because she was raised by a legendary Pokemon, Raikou, and several other electric Pokemon. All of them taught her how to manage and develop her ability to use and control electric attacks without shocking herself in the process.
 
Requiem Raver
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I think Shinies are a way for beginning writers to make their character more special. Sadly, this often comes off as Mary Suish.

But they can used to mark special pokémon. If I recall, Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky did it with a pink Celebi. Just take care not to fall into the Mary Sue trap with that though.
 
shame personified
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I've seen shinies be used by a lot of experienced authors, too. I don't think writing shinies is something someone should be afraid of, per se. No matter what anyone writes, there's going to be someone out there who thinks it's not their cup of tea or finds it "cliche" because many, many things have already been said before.

Kinda wondering what I could do with a whole cast of shiny Pokemon, to be honest... It sounds like good material for a crime thriller where they have to band together and keep from being sold on the black market or whatever. :p
 
Thesaurus rex
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I think what bugs me most is the muddling of real-world game culture with the world of the story. Shinies are collectors items rarely seen by chance by gamers, so for some reason they must have the same status in the fictional world. Which is in itself something of a contradiction because rare though they may be, there are plenty of people out there with plenty of shinies. Why shouldn't the same be true in the fictional world?

It's all just a bit tangled up. People are obsessed with pugs nowadays - animals that can barely breathe, can't run properly, and have no practical use whatsoever - but you won't find many people pissed off about them. It seems odd, therefore, for shinies to be such a matter of drama in-universe. How many Eevee do you think would be bred for the cute 'mon market? Some of them are going to pop out shiny
 
shame personified
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Letting shinies be the norm is just that - letting shinies be the norm. It seems simple enough. I agree with your reasoning behind it and don't have any issue with them being used that way; I'm only discussing the possibilities of using them in ways that don't have them as the norm.

Even in real life, certain types of mutations of dogs/cats/birds/whatever are worth more than others, so some level of differentiation seems warranted. The "collector" aspect seems to come in because trainers do just that - they collect Pokemon and use them for whatever purpose they're interested in, whether it be battling, coordinating, breeding, or otherwise. This goes for in-game and in most fics, even if characters aren't necessarily collecting Pokemon in the sense of showing them off as trophies or re-selling them for good money.

I remember reading almost a decade ago now about how lutino cockatiels have shorter lifespans because most of them are inbred and they pass genetic traits that leave their heads bald, which leaves them more susceptible to contracting diseases. Anyway, I remember being pretty pissed at the time because I had two lutino cockatiels and the thought of them having shorter lives because a breeder was stupid was awful. The idea of people not being upset about pugs living like that honestly is kind of surprising, but I'm kinda straying off topic at this point.
 
I was thinking it's time for some evil.
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I just find it unnecessary for the most part. Due in part, perhaps, to common perception of shinies being a noob trap for inexperienced authors, I've just always ignored them. I don't mind alternate colorations due to regional variation or just genetic diversity, but shiny Pokemon sort of strike me as being extra special. Even if they are a known and accepted part of the universe, they're still meant to be pretty rare - and would probably fetch a hefty premium among breeders and collectors etc - not the sort of thing your average trainer would own unless they got astronomically lucky in finding a wild one. They're certainly not starter Pokemon material.
 
Semper Vigilus
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I said screw it to shinies and made all pokemon come in MANY colors. See signature for my style.
 
Megalomaniacal toaster on a keyboard
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I subscribe to the "pokemon come in more colors than just regular and shiny" ideology

Sometimes it's subtle, like a zorua with orange highlights instead of red, grayer fur, and blue eyes
Other times it's a silver-furred, or red-furred eevee

Adds more variety and gives me an excuse to describe what they look like besides just "a [pokemon species]"
 
East Unova Resident
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I just realized I've never since I first started writing fics in 2000, ever, featured a shiny Pokémon.

I honestly never even considered it.

I'm not too concerned about it, I mean it can possibly seem forced or gratuitous, but of the fics I've read, I've never saw a shiny Pokémon that made me think "oh brother" or anything like that.

I guess I'm maybe over "forgiving", but I'll say this.

As far as the mainline Pokémon games go, we've seen hundreds and hundreds of Trainers living their lives in the Pokémon world between Read and Blue and Ultra Sun/Moon.

You could say that only maybe a total of 8 of those Trainers were actually tough enough to take the brunt of the work in dismantling the local evil organizations, and becoming Champion.

8 out of hundreds.

Yet like 70% of fics star a Trainer who is presumed to be a person capable of fulfilling this role.

So yeah in a fantasy sort of setting, of course main characters are likely to be "special" in some way, a Shiny Pokémon belonging to them is an easy way to do that, and since I imagine a lot of Pokémon fic writers may be on the less experienced end of storytelling, I really never thought too strongly about it, but if you're able to differentiate your Trainer and their Pokémon and make them special and memorable in a way unique to you or your character you'll have and even cooler character.
 
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