Monday, 27 July 2009

Because I haven't done one of these in a while...

Fanfic. I loathe it (most of it, there are a few rare exceptions), but it's like the crack-cocaine of the internet, or reality TV, or a 23 car pile up: you know you shouldn't stare, but YOU CANNOT LOOK AWAY. That said, I still read it. Even though it's mostly awful and disappointing and leaves me with a sour taste (not unlike arsenic) in my mouth mostly because, even though I ought to know that it's going to disappoint me, it still annoys me when my literary sensibilities are offended in the most violent manner imaginable.

Suffice to say, I have a whole bunch of pet peeves... enough for more than one post... this is the merely the beginning.

Top 10 Things I NEVER Want to See Again in Fanfic

10. The words "Will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend?" No one says this. Unless they are thirteen. You ask someone out to dinner for god sake. Or to a movie. Anyone with half a brain or more than sixteen years life experience knows this.

9. Continuity errors. This really deserves a post of its own. Seriously. Is it so hard to keep track of the day of the week it's supposed to be in your story?

8. The shifting from the past tense to the present tense WITHIN A FUCKING SENTENCE. How on Earth did you pass ninth grade if you do not know that this is a BIG, FAT structural no-no? Oh, you're IN ninth grade? Well, stop fucking writing and go study for that English test you're bound to fail. If you've over fifteen and still doing this, you are going to fail in university. Seriously. And if, God forbid (really, GOD should forbid this...) you have a BA and you are still doing this, I am certain those profs appreciated the sexual favours... but you're still an idiot.

7. Names like Faren, Ellysia, Rachella, Portia, Catheryne, et cetera (and et cetera is two effing words, just so you know. It's Latin. Look it up, it means "and all that follows" or "and other things"). Unless there is a very good reason why your character's idiot parents would curse your character with a unpronoucable/unspellable name, NAME THEM SOMETHING FUCKING NORMAL. Like Christina, or Emily, or Lauren, or Melissa.

6. People do not say what they mean. Why do your characters? It's MUCH more fun to have them be bumbling idiots like normal human beings.

5. Do not have your character proclaim to be the type of girl who isn't friends with a lot of girls because she hates the drama, only to have said character blow up in someone's face at the slightest provacation. And certainly do not have her profess this "no-drama character trait" at top volume in a screaming match proving just how drama-drama she really is. Unless you mean for her to be a gigantic, bloody hypocrite. Then go right ahead.

4. Misuse of homonyms. They're, there and their: not the same thing. Not interchangable. I am devoting an entire post to this (at a later date)... it's THAT BAD. What the fuck do they teach in school? Seriously. This makes me mourn for the seemingly terminally-ill future of American literature.

3. Is it so hard to edit? Proof-read? USE SPELL CHECK??? For the love of all that is sacred, YOU JUST NEED TO CLICK AN EFFING BUTTON IN MICROSOFT WORD!!! When you fail to do this, you look like an idiot.

2. Would it kill you to write in the third person? Even the limited third? It would? Oh, sorry. Please, go die a premature literary death.

1. If I read the words "deepen the kiss" (or any temporal variation of these words) ever again, I WILL gouge my eyes out with a rusty spork. I'm not joking. It's the stupidest thing I've ever read. Find a better way of saying this. The word "deepen" makes me think of things like holes in the ground to China. Or suffocating. Or snakes. Pits of them, like in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just stop.

This is not all I have to say... there will be a post up soon about misusing homonyms and horrifically common misspellings... and pretty much any other etymological faux-pas I feel like ranting about.


Val said...

Thank you for addressing what a lot of people probably feel when reading various fanfics out there...

Favorite phrase in the entire rant though has to be "rusty spork" - as usual, you rock, Mer!

Susan said...

I have also grown to hate the phrase "lips crashing down". Sound painful to me. Spelling seems to be a lost art in a lot of the fanfic that I read.
I love this rant! As usual, you hit the nail on the head.

ali said...

Fanfic is most definitely some of the "crack" on the internet. It's kind of like blingee. Sometimes you just don't realize you spent that much time there. haha

That said... I should have never started reading it. It's so bad, but you just keep doing it.

I think you should send this post to every single fanfic writer out there. It would make the world a better place.

Clare said...

Mer, Ellen would you like you to make sure that in your post about homonyms that you add the difference between your and you're. The director of special eds. secretary always says:

Your welcome

It drives her crazy.

Jess said...

What really gets my grammar goat is 'I seen'.

Bitch, you didn't seen anything.

You saw something. And it was some messed up shit.

lauren said...

Thank you for this post. The copy editor in me wants to hug you.

Meredith said...

Good call on all of this. Unfortunately, most university profs don't mark spelling or grammar any more (not enough time, usually, although there is an element of trying to pass as many as possible to keep making money) so there are many people who have BAs who commonly make all those mistakes.

My top two common spelling error pet peeves:


mer said...

@ Meredith - All of mine do. Maybe it's just part of the psychotic SFUness...

Meredith said...


I want to come to your school!

I think it gets overlooked in the courses I TA because they are "health science" courses and so therefore the students are not expected to know how to spell.

Although other arts courses I've done you can only lose up to 5% for spelling and grammar.....

Either way, they have something to learn from SFU because it's shameful for someone to earn a BA and still not know how to spell.