28 August 2008

It's not midnight yet, suckas~

Guys, I’m going to make this one short because honestly, this trend is so dumb it’s not worth a long rant.

If your only knowledge of Japan comes from anime and manga, do not EVER write a story about Japan.
Anime should not in any way be considered an accurate depiction of Japanese culture or life, end of story.

So there.

26 August 2008


Today we will talk about naming your characters.

Here's the rule: Use REAL NAMES.

I’m especially looking at you, anime community! I’m tired of your Hoshis and Sakuras and Soras and Sakuras.
I know I said Sakura twice. I just see it THAT MUCH.
Those names are lame-ass. Would you go naming your character Star? Cherry Blossom? Sky?
… well, actually, you probably would. BECAUSE I SEE LOTS OF THAT TOO.
God, I’m sick of it.

Furthermore, stop with the Japanese names altogether. The exception to this, of course, is for anime fanfiction, since obviously there’s a good chance that your story will take place in Japan. But I’m sick of seeing Sakuras in Invader Zim, or Hoshis in Danny Phantom. It’s so out of place I can’t even… ugh… guys why do I even have to tell you this?!
And names like “Twila” and “Star” and shit like that is stupid too.
Like I said before. Use real names.

You don’t have to use boring everyday names, but please use real names. You want the name to mean something, fine. Go to Google. Type in “Baby name lists” or something to that effect. There are lots of sites out there to help potential mothers name their babies.
Your characters are your brain babies, so guess what? Baby name websites are your best friend.
With them, you can look up names by meaning, language of origin, initial letter, what have you! There are thousands of names to choose from, names from all over the world. Take the time to find some nice-sounding, meaningful names. Write down a list of names you like. Think about it for a while. Come up with something that not only suits your character, but sounds like a name that a mother might reasonably name their child.

I assure you, a good name will make your character not only more believable, but also more memorable to your readers. So please put a little more thought into it.

(A bit unrelated, but still has to do with names: if you’re going to follow the Invader Zim three-letter-name pattern and you see another character with the same name as yours, don’t accuse the author of name theft. There are only so many pronounceable three-letter combinations out there and coincidences do happen.)

21 August 2008


(hey hey I'm going to try to stick to a Tuesday/Thursday update schedule, okay? So you know exactly when to check over here!)

Guys can I ask you something?
What the fuck is this trend among fanfiction writers to write fanfiction that’s a carbon copy of something else?

Ugh, that’s an awful way to describe it. Lemme try and rephrase that…

It’s like, I’ll go on Fanfiction.net, and I’m thinking I wanna read some Super Mario fanfiction, you know? So I go there, but the Mario category is chock-full of fanfiction that’s just a transcription of what’s been going on in the latest season of Big Brother, but with Mario characters names written in instead of, I dunno, Jake or John or whoever the hell is on that show.
So I go to see if there’s any good Invader Zim fanfiction instead. But I go to the Zim page and find all these fics based on Final Destination. And not just one, either, but a lot of them. And every one just the same story, but with different deaths or something.
So I’m annoyed now. I head on over to the Danny Phantom category to find about five fics based on… gulp… the “Know Your Stars” skit from the newer seasons of All That.
At this point, I give up on reading anything and have to leave the site, lest I go on some sort of flame-rampage.

Look, these sorts of fanfiction are just lazy. Someone sits down and decides that they want to write a fanfic, realizes they don’t have a good idea, and then decides that copying something they saw on TV is just as good.
No, guys, it’s not just as good.
Guys, you know what I do when I don’t have any good ideas? I JUST DON’T WRITE A FANFIC.
Damn, people.

The “Know Your Stars” ones annoy me the most. I don’t understand why people even find this formula funny. The skit has only ever made me chuckle ONCE, and that was the first time I saw it. The first time, there was a bit of comedy that came from the fact that I didn’t expect the narrator to start insulting the guest. Then the next time I saw one of these, I was like, “This… is the same as last time.” And my response the third time was “Damn, Nickelodeon, come up with another joke already.”
(Actually, that’s my reaction to most everything on The Amanda Show, as well as several other skits from the newer All That seasons.)
So fanfiction based on this premise just fills me with an unspeakable rage.

Guys, “Know Your Stars” isn’t funny. So just stop it. PLEASE.

19 August 2008

Bad weather post!

(Uguuu, hurricanes that turn out to not be hurricanes make Selan annoyed.)

So, about spellcheck.
It’s a trap.

Spellcheck is like the greatest thing ever. You spell a word wrong, it tells you and, if it knows what word you were trying to spell, it offers a correction. How great is that? I mean, I’m pretty good at spelling, but I make mistakes too and spellcheck fixes them all for me, like a loyal friend.
But it’s not a loyal friend. Because a loyal friend is human (excluding pets and aliens, I suppose), and a human can understand context.
Context is spellcheck’s worst enemy.
For example, the word “great” is very common. People use it quite a bit. However, it sounds just like the word “grate”. Furthermore, because the two words are spelled with the same letters, just mixed around a bit, it’s easy for someone who does know the correct spelling to accidentally mistype it if they aren’t paying attention. However, since “grate” is also a word, spellcheck won’t catch it. As far as spellcheck knows, you might actually be talking about grates. It’s not about to tell you you’re wrong just because you like to talk about grates.

Other common mistakes I see are:

Minutes / minuets. A minute is a measure of time. A minuet is a type of dance (or a song that goes with said dance).

Definitely / defiantly. If you’re definitely going to do something, you’re absolutely going to do it. If you’re defiantly going to do something, you’re going to do it to defy someone.

So the lesson here is to just be careful. Spellcheck is useful but it isn’t a replacement for careful proofreading.

16 August 2008


Hey guys, who loves anime?

Those of you who don’t can probably skip this post, since I rarely see the following issue in fiction written by non-weaboos. However, you can feel free to read on if you really want to.

Anime fans, sit tight and stay with me.
This is important.

I have to break something to you. You might not want to hear it, but listen to me:
You… can’t… speak… Japanese.

(Unless you actually can. But shhh, this is for the ones who can’t.)

Furthermore, most of your readers can’t read Japanese. And even if they CAN, they still wouldn’t appreciate reading a story with random Japanese words sprinkled throughout.
It’s annoying.
If you’re writing fanfiction, it makes you look like an insane weaboo. If you’re writing an original fiction that you want to get published, it’s a sure way to get your manuscript thrown right out.

Now, I know that in anime, certain phrases may be used frequently and a fan might want to use them in their fanfic in order to properly capture a character’s personality. Let me say now that some Japanese is acceptable. For example, honorifics are okay… if they are the exact honorifics used by those characters. Pay attention, get it right, you’re in the clear.
Also, depending on the anime, words like “sensei” or “senpai” may be acceptable. Other words may work too, but please take the time to think about whether the English equivalent might not be just as effective.

But please, refrain from words like “baka”, “kawaii”, “kuso”, and so on. Please do not randomly replace English words with Japanese words. It’s so painfully annoying, you have no idea.
The same goes for phrases. I don’t want to see someone say, “Watashi wa Asako desu. Let’s go fight evil!” Not only is it disorienting and confusing even to someone who CAN understand that, but to someone who doesn’t understand it’s absolutely incomprehensible. What this character just said was “I’m Asako,” but your readers didn’t understand that. Congratulations, your readers have no idea what your character’s name is.

Now, you might have an original character that’s Japanese, who speaks Japanese and who may conceivably use Japanese words or phrases in their otherwise English dialogue. I’ve seen it done, and I’ve seen it done well. However, due to frequent abuses of this excuse, I’m going to put some restrictions on this right now.
Do NOT use this excuse if:
- You are a little kid. (Below the age of 15, I’d say?)
- You haven’t taken the time to study the language. (Anime doesn’t count!)
- You’re just doing it because you’ve been watching too much anime.

Also, before you have your Japanese character spout lots of Japanese all over the place, try to think about why they’re mixing their languages so much. Do they not speak English very well? Maybe they don’t always remember how to say what they want to in English. Perhaps they might have an accent and/or say awkward sentences due to their inexperience with English. Take some time to think about what sort of accent and speech quirks this character might have as a result of their mother language not being English. You might actually have fun coming up with a believable dialect for the character!

Also, perhaps consider if it might not be just as cool to have your character be, you know, NOT Japanese. Chinese, perhaps? Korean? Laotian? Or maybe they could be from any OTHER continent, besides Asia?
Just a thought.

Not that I have anything against Japan or the Japanese language. I’ve been studying it, myself, and I’ll admit that it’s a really fun language. I do, however, have something against annoying non-Japanese kids pretending to speak (or be) Japanese because they think it’s cool. I’m also really sick of everyone making their original characters Japanese just because they’ve been watching a lot of anime lately. Yes, Japan is pretty cool. Yes, they have a cool culture. But hey, lots of other countries and cultures are cool too! Just because, say, Russia or India doesn’t make Naruto doesn’t mean they don’t have rich histories and cool languages.

15 August 2008

First post, woo!

My fellow English-speakers:
I don’t know what the hell your problem is.
I mean, really. Really.

I know that there, their and they’re sound like the same word, but they aren’t. They aren’t interchangeable, either, yet I keep seeing people acting like they are.

Here’s the rundown:

There. This is for spatial description. Someone asks where the toilet is, you point and say it’s over there.
- ”The death beam was over there.”

They’re. This is a contraction meaning “they are”.
- ”They’re going to take the death beam.”

Their. This is the possessive form of “they”. If you’re talking about something that belongs to them, use their.
- ”It wasn’t their death beam, but they figured, you know, what the hell.”

It really isn’t that hard.
Likewise, your and you’re aren’t interchangeable either. Check it!

Your. This is the possessive form of you.
- ”What, that was your death beam?”

You’re. This is a contraction meaning “you are”.
- ”Well, you’re going to have to fight us for it, then.

While I can forgive this mistake in an IM conversation or something, there’s absolutely no excuse for this in a story, essay, what have you. You should always proofread what you write, and when you’re proofreading this is definitely one of the things you should be keeping an eye out for. Find your mistakes, fix them. Get someone to help you, if you need it. Just please, for the love of God, stop posting stories online with such inane little mistakes in them.