This is a guide that will aid new and older users with creating and developing concepts for Ben 10 fanfiction series. It will cover the common errors, logical fallacies, and cliches to avoid for three types of series: Kid with Omnitrix, Ben 10 Continuation, and Alien with Omnitrix. It will walk through the creation and fleshing out of one of each of these series types. Also, it will go through the types of twists you can add to a series and make suggestions of what to change to make a show unique.
Okay, so you have the bestest idea for a series EVAH!!!! Here it is: "A 10-15 year old boy gets the ______matrix and uses it to fight evil aliens!"
Hate to break it to you, but that isn't exactly what I'd call the bestest idea EVAH!!!!. :/
There's nothing wrong with a series being about this. It's the basic formula which most of the series on this website are based. But there is something wrong with a series that's just about this. It's nothing new. We've seen it before, in the official show. And, honestly, the chances of you doing it better than the official series are minimal, as the people who write that one are professionals. Oh, you have another, you say? Even better? What is it?
“Ben turns 17 and gets a new Omnitrix called the _______matrix which has all new aliens and cool new _______ forms!”
...I'm sorry, but no. The chances of getting a further evolution of the Ultimates is slim to none.
“Wait, let's go back to the first one. That but with an alien wielding the ______matrix! That's never happened in the show.”
You're right, it hasn't. While this is a step up, it's not too much. Underneath, it's still the same show, just with a different looking main character. Now, this model does have a lot of potential when done right. Taking place on a different planet with different species and different social dynamics and whatnot can make for interesting and unique adventures that will set your series apart. But if you make the planet an Earth clone in culture and the characters act like human in alien costumes, it's not going to cut it.
“But what's left to write? Minus Comedies, that's all the types of shows in the menu bar!”
What I said with the first example applies to all of these. There's nothing inherently wrong with using these formulas for the basis of your show. But you can't just use these alone. It's like putting a box of cake mix on the birthday boy/girl's table, sticking a candle in it, and expecting them to eat it. They won't, because it's bland and boring and pretty disgusting to boot. It's not finished.
So how do you finish it, you ask? Well, the first thing you gotta do, and the most important, is give the concept some substance. A main idea which you can build plot arcs and episodes and everything else on top of. Something that will make your series rise high above the dozens of others and shine. You need TWISTS.
Bad Kid With Omnitrix
Howard is a thirteen year old boy that was almost hit by a meteor falling from the sky. Inside it was the Epicitrix, created by Azmuth, which allowed him to turn into ten different aliens. Now, with his sister Lily, who is half Anodite, and his best friend Todd, who is an Human-Osmosian-Megawatt-Pyronite-Celestialsapien hybrid, he fights evil aliens such as Vilgax and Aggregor.
The Problems with This
- By changing three words in the first two sentences, you can turn it into the plot of the original series. Not a good start.
- Don't make your character get his/her Omnitrix from a meteor or whatnot. Please. This is way too overused of a beginning.
- Why would Azmuth ever create another Omnitrix, other than the one he's aiming to give to Ben? He has absolutely no reason to! And what ever happened to the whole “there can only be one Omnitrix [active at a time]” philosophy? I'm sorry, but this is just plain out of character for him. When you make a series, your Omnitrix needs a more creative and sensible origin story.
- All three of the characters are painfully obvious parallels to Ben's team. The fact that Lily is Howard's sister instead of cousin and is ½ Anodite instead of ¼ doesn't make her any less of a Gwen clone. Even if she wasn't related to him, she would still be.
- Anodites aren't the only beings in the universe that can manipulate mana. There are Ledgerdamians, usually gifted humans for reason other than alien heritage, Terraspin's species whose name is slipping my mind... And of course, you can make one up. There are a million aliens on the Omnitrix, and that's just the Milky Way. The possibilities are endless.
- I don't care how many random aliens you tacked on to the end, Todd's still an Osmosian. Actually, those extra hybridizations make it even worse. He's 1/5 all of those things up there, can you imagine what his family tree must look like? It's impossible unless you go back like three generations or something and have all of that stuff on both the mom and dad's side. This just doesn't happen. Use your heads, people, and I don't mean headbutts.
- Celestialsapien hybrids often aren't a very good way to go, especially such a small part. Think of it this way, how would the voices of a Celestialsapien agree for long enough to have an actual conversation with another being, let alone fall in love and have kids with them?
- Vilgax. Okay. Maybe. He could maybe be going after Howard because he has a device just as powerful as the Ultimatrix and protected by someone with much less experience, but I doubt that was even considered when this was written. But Aggregor? He couldn't care less about the Epicitrix. And if he ever escaped, they would call in Ben, not Howard.
How to Fix it
- Make the origin story different from Ben's while still making sense.
- Optional, break away from the two boys, one girl team thing. But if you do decided to go with this structure, don't make Ben/Gwen/Kevin clones.
- The species you use shouldn't exactly mimic the teams, but still be a good balance and “realistic”.
- If they absolutely have to fight villains from the canon series, put a reason behind why, not just “because it's cool”.
- Rule of thumb: LOGIC. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure that it makes sense.
Bad Ben 10 Continuation
Ben, now 17, is given the Fantastrix by Azmuth. This new Omnitrix has all of Ben's old aliens, plus some, as well as giving him access to his dormant Anodite powers. It also has Fantastic Forms. Now Ben and his teammates Gwen and Kevin, along with their new friends, Iron Man and Carly Shay, must band together to fight evil!
The Problems with This
- While this isn't really a problem, a lot of series skip to Ben being 17. There's nothing wrong with this since it's the logical next step, but if you want to be really different you can make it take place when he's 19 or 21 or something.
- Fantastrix? Fantastic Forms? Please tell me how this is different from Ultimatrix/Ultimate Forms. That's right, it's not. Gimmick has been taken, I'm sorry to say. Besides, didn't Azmuth say himself that the evolutionary features were “begging for trouble”? Why would he add them into his own? He's more likely to remove the Ultimates altogether.
- So now Ben's an Anodite too? I'm sorry, but this is not a good idea in my opinion. Why? Because it officially cancels out Gwen's usefulness as a character. She becomes unnecessary, and just there. And what's the fun in that? What I personally consider even worse is when Ben unlocks an Anodite form on the Omnitrix, because it has been specifically stated by the creators that Anodites have no DNA and can't be scanned.
- Wait. Hold up. Iron Man and... Carly Shay? WTH?!? I'm sorry, but NO. First of all, random crossover characters with no explanation are not a good idea, especially as major recurring roles. Second of all, when you do crossovers with other series, make them make sense. Iron Man, kinda, he's at least a superhero. But Carly, from iCarly? Nuh-uh. She can't fight.
How to Fix it
- Give this new Fantastrix another gimmick, one that isn't an evolutionary function.
- Make sure that Ben's upgrades don't negate the effectiveness of either of his teammates, Gwen or Kevin. Even better, have them improve as he does. Perhaps Gwen gets a new spellbook that teaches her hundreds of advanced, more efficient spells, and Kevin invents a device that allows him to absorb electricity with his natural Osmosian powers without it passing through and affecting his brain.
- Avoid crossover main characters as much as possible. Unless your entire cast is from another show, you should keep yours as Ben 10 people for the majority of it. Crossovers are fun special events, but shouldn't be overdone.
- Again, I cannot stress the importance of LOGIC. Do your research on the canon show, make sure your idea wasn't canceled out by something that was already stated.