|Table of contents: |
1. Admit that you need help.
2. Don’t be a fangirl (anymore).
3. Ideas: Clean the spiderweb off your brain.
4. How to build a dialogue.
5. How to use the verbs after a dialogue.
7. Types of fics.
8. For the love of God, choose a language!
9. Character development.
10. Pacing: Everything at its time.
11. Character bashing.
12. SI, ACC and Mary-Sue
13. Differences in words, notice them!
14. Sentence structure.
16. Word is your friend- Its useful tools.
17. Writer’s block.
18. Useful links.
|Ooh, boy. An increasing number of crapfics that
are turning up on the Net nowadays are becoming very headache-inducing.
Now, Crimson Goddess and I believe that any category of Anime Fanfiction
can become wonderful, but it's hard. For a controversial
masterpiece like Evangelion, it's especially hard because each
viewer/author interprets things differently and that may influence them
into poor writing. We want to change that trend (which will include having
to change ourselves as well, since we need improvement… Refer to “Admit
that you need help”). We have seen many great, powerful fics in the
Evangelion section, but the amount of poor fics are by far outnumbering
those masterpieces. We want to change that and reduce the amount of stress
that people will gain by reading the weak pieces of work. How will we do
that? By writing this manual.|
These instructions, by no means, are all the rules for writing good fics and the lines that one must follow. None of this is written in stone, as there are exceptions, points we have forgotten, or points we feel are important but to others are irrelevant. This is merely a project of our opinion; a way to state what we think is (somewhat) decent. However, we believe that many other authors will support (most of) our ideas and thoughts.
Hopefully, by the time that we have finished writing this, we will become better fanfiction authors ourselves, and when you have finished reading this, you will improve as well. We’ve tossed in our two cents, now pitch in yours and change the fanfiction community from a place where people rip out hair in frustration to the paradise God has promised us.
|Part 1: Admit that you need
By Crimson Goddess
|Sounds like something about Alcoholics Anonymous,
doesn’t it? Well, that’s just the first step when you enter the fanfiction
world as a writer. Admitting that you need help. You’re not perfect, and
not even the best writer of fanfiction is. All of the best writers have
pre-readers that check their work and give them advice on what they need,
what they lack, what they have wrong and what they should fix. |
One of the most apparent symptoms that you suffer this problem is the typical phrase ‘Don’t like it, don’t read it’. No, no, no. If you really want to do something for yourself and for your work, never say that. A writer can’t write only for himself/herself, but to the rest of the people who are going to read it and criticize it. And if you didn’t care about their opinions, why did you post it publicly in the first place? Stop lying to yourself.
You can’t expect always to get praise if you just write a fanfic and toss it in the first page that will allow you to post the little piece of crap in the first place. Go look for someone who will pre-read for you (and that has at least a piece of common sense, mind you) and check over your work before you decide to make it public. Sooner or later, you’ll get used to the techniques your pre-reader teaches you, and your mistakes will start to be less and less each time.
So let me put some of the most frequent cases:
A) I didn’t use any pre-readers, and posted my work at once: And you still ask yourself why you have such a miserable existence? You will only get very bad consequences out of this. First, most authors (that means you!) no matter how careful, will make mistakes that he/she will miss. This has happened to me. Even if it’s only a typo, you won’t notice it since you already know what you wrote. The pre-readers will spot those for you. Second, you’ll only get flames. It will sound like: “D00d, get a spell check and a brain before you keep writing”, “You couldn’t write if your life depended on it”, “The characters are so OOC their names could be changed and it wouldn’t be Eva anymore”, and so many others. This will create a terrible reputation for you as a writer, and when you post something decent, or even a great piece, no one will even bother to give it a look since they already know the kind of writer you are.
B) I’m looking for a pre-reader, but no one has offered to work on my fic: Jeez, there’s something called fanfiction community. There are people who want to help you make your fic better. If you send an e-mail to someone that doesn’t reply, it doesn’t mean the whole community doesn’t give a damn about your calls for help. Find a real author and ask him/her for help. If he/she can’t pre-read for you, he/she’ll sure tell you whom you can contact about it.
C) My pre-reader is flaming my fic: No. Pre-readers don’t flame your fic. If you’re asking for help, it means you have at least one brain cell to know that you need it. Now, use that one brain cell so you understand that they do it for your own good. Some of them may be rude (there are a lot of exceptions, but the rude ones sometimes make the best pre-readers) but they just want to help you so you don’t post a piece of shit and get flamed for it. If you want a pre-reader who kisses your ass, go buy a hamster. That’s all I’ll say.
D) My fanfic is good enough. I don’t need your stupid manual or any pre-readers to know that: Then why do you read this in the first place? That attitude won’t get you anywhere. One of the many things that will differentiate a writer from an author is that a writer feels that what he/she’s doing is enough. An author is certain that he will always have something to improve, and will accept the flames as a confirmation that he’s yet far from perfection.
E) My fic’s been flamed so much that I don’t have confidence to go on: Yes, it happens constantly. Flames are not easy to accept, and they make you feel like crap. But at some point (when you have calmed down. Take a moment where you can breathe and pass the anger) you have to try and take those tiny parts of constructive criticism in all the flames. It will help you so you know what is wrong.
And I could spend all my night sitting here and writing many others. But if you read the complete guide, hopefully you won’t have any of these problems. And if you have come this far, my dear friend, it means that there’s still a salvation for you. Now repeat ‘I need help and assistance to improve my writing skills’ out loud a couple times.
Now for the hard part: To turn you from a writer to an author.
|Part 2: Don't be a fangirl
|First off, DON'T ACT LIKE A
FANGIRL!!!!! Chances are, good stories are
ruined by author's notes saying “I JUST LUUUUUV ASUKA/SHINJI!! THEY'RE
SOOOOO KYUUUUUUUUTE!!!! KAWAII DESU KA!!!!” (I'm an A/S fan, so
don't go thinking that this is bashing other A/S fans, okay?) or stories
that have masses of OOC in Asuka and Shinji just so that they'll be
together. Plus, the thing is, fangirls have almost no taste in writing.
They'll love anything, good or bad, if it's about what they like. For
example, if you love Hikari/Touji (I do too, so once again- not bashing
anyone!), then you'll like any fic concerning them despite all the
tremendous errors. When fangirls write, they tend to write as a fan and
not an author, resulting in either crap-crapfics, or
crapfics-that-could've-been-good. My pre-reader, Shinagami, had told me
something that can best describe what I mean. He said (this is quoted from
memory), “A fan can write what he/she wants and think it’s like heaven,
but an author will look at his/her own work critically and find the flaws
before others”. I highly respect that. It's one of the things that changed
my views away from Fangirlism and into Authorism. I used to be one of them
freaky things too, so I KNOW what's going on in the fangirls'
Honestly speaking, though, when I first started writing about half a year ago, I always looked at my work and thought, “Ooh, this is so wonderful! Ooh, it’s the best!” Ha. If only that was the truth. I’d see a typo in my fic, I’d say, “Ah, well, they know what I’m talking about. I’ll just leave it!” but now I know that it’s the tiny details like fixing a typo that can make a whole whack of difference. Thank God I had some sense knocked into me. Now, I’d fix all of those little things that normally I wouldn’t take the time to, and take it from me- it makes it a lot less annoying to read. If I can do it, so can you.
|Part 3: Ideas: Clean the spiderweb off your
By Crimson Goddess
|An idea. You can’t ever start writing a fic if you
don’t have an idea of what you’re writing. First off, think of a plot. How
much plot-less shit don’t we see around these days...|
Remember we’re talking about Evangelion fanfiction. The plot is extremely important when it comes to this. Please don’t put Gendo starting an attack on the Children because he’s jealous that Shinji and Asuka are starting a relationship and he can’t do anything but wait for Yui to come back. NO! Those are the kind of plots that will send any respect the reader might have for you down the hill. And if a fangirl actually uses that idea we’re seriously going to have an ugly, ugly flamewar. (Chare’s side notes: “Ugly”?! Hello, understatement! “One that looks like it fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on its way down” is more like it.)
If you’re writing a one-shot, try not making it too long. Don’t make a four-hundred page-long one-shot. The reader will get annoyed and lose interest. In those cases, either remove at least three hundred pages that are basically crap, or turn the fic into a series.
Now, now, when it comes to series, you need to have even a clearer idea of what you’re doing or trying to do. Take a piece of paper and put it beside your bed, where you can reach it even if it’s in the middle of the night. Some of the most important ideas pop off just then. Try to sit down and concentrate, dividing your fic in various pieces. When you feel like you’ve advanced at least a bit, make summaries of what you have in mind.
Completing a summary is probably the best help you’ll ever have when it comes to getting rid of a writer’s block. Even though those can still come in the middle of a chapter, once you get through it you already have an idea of what you’re going to do next.
Now, back to getting an idea. If it pops up and you think it’s the stupidest thing in the world (which it is, most likely...), just write it down and look for a moment in your free time when you can make some sense with it. If you do find a use for it, then perhaps consulting with your pre-readers will be good before you start writing in vain. But if the idea ends up turning great, just start writing and let the rest flow as you write.
That’s another part. Sometimes you can have a scene in mind, and though you know what it’s supposed to happen (i.e. Shinji running out of the room) you don’t have a clue of how to do the rest. Don’t get frustrated by this. It amazes me how you can have only a single room in your mind’s eye, and it comes out like half a page where you describe how beautiful the day is. Before you notice, the dialogue is written and Shinji has walked out of the room. Wow, it seems to be a masterpiece. Just have the hope that something will flow as your fingers type what you’re thinking about.
Then there are the original ideas. Please, don’t add more clichés to the world of fanfiction. Asuka is in coma, Asuka dreams about Shinji, Asuka wakes up suddenly loving Shinji. End of story. No, no, no. Think up about something original and something we don’t see everyday when we’re reading Eva fanfics. I personally don’t enjoy reading the same thing over and over again, only described with different words.
To avoid doing this without knowing what are the most clichéd Eva fics, go on and take your time to read before you decide to write. If you had an idea and read something really, really similar to what you had in mind, don’t get angry because of it. Rather than that, be thankful that you could find it before you posted it and got several flames about stealing other people’s ideas.
Even if it takes days, try to clear up your mind about your idea for the fic. The time doesn’t matter while the story is well planned and executed.
|Part 4: How to build a
|Oo-kay, dialogue is what makes a fiction have
depth- it puts the characters in interaction with one another. However it
may also be the source of all our headaches. Now, I don’t mean to
sound like a bloody English teacher, but I have to for the sake of
this. Now, to make my points easier to understand, I will make a
dialogue with every mistake I know of, then correct it. The
corrections will be explained in brackets. (I must warn you before
proceeding… I was shocked to see how anyone could’ve thought up some
of those mistakes in the following example, but they did. I applaud
them in receiving the award for most creative mistakes.)|
“ What’ll we do now? “ Asuka asked. “ Well “ responded Shinji. “ I don’t really know. “ . “ What do you mean, you don’t know? “ Asuka exclaimed. “ Sorry”
Ooh, boy… Now, the revised.
(Remove the space between the quotation marks and the first/last letter) “What’ll we do now?” Asuka asked.
(Remove the space between the quotation marks and the first/last letter) “Well,” (comma before the quotes end) responded Shinji, “I don’t really know.” (No period after quotes)
(Remove the space between the quotation marks and the first/last letter) “What do you mean, you don’t know?” Asuka exclaimed.
(Remove the space between the quotation marks and the first/last letter) “Sorry.” (Don’t finish off a quote without putting punctuation before it)
First off, you start a new paragraph every time the speaker changes. I don’t care if it’s two people going back-and-forth, skip a line and indent. Please.
Secondly, no spaces after the 66-looking quotes and before the 99-looking quotes. I never thought that it was possible for anyone to make this mistake, but apparently, I was wrong.
Thirdly, put a comma if you plan to de-capitalize the dialogue tag, and a comma after the dialogue tag if what the speaker is saying isn’t supposed to sound like, “Well, ::pause:: I don’t really know.” It’s hard to explain, so I’ll give you more examples right now. This is what a correct dialogue would be if you decided not to use comma.
“There isn’t anything we can do.” Misato looked warily at the others. “I’m sorry.”
“There isn’t anything we can do” and “I’m sorry” were two separate sentences. Normally, I’d put a “Misato said,” with a comma, but since “Misato looked warily at the others” is a sentence by itself, I put a period. See what I mean?
Fourthly, don’t put a period outside of the quotes. Yes, it’s true, that whole thing is one sentence, but the period inside the quotes does the trick quite nicely.
Lastly, you always put some kind of punctuation before the end of the quotes! Be it a period (if you use a period, remember to capitalize the next word), a comma (this, I find, is the best. It’s good for when you’re breaking a sentence in half where there isn’t punctuation, or if there’s already a comma present in the sentence, you can just use that one and end the quotes there!), an ellipse (remember to de-capitalize the next word. An ellipse is a series of periods, yes, but it is not a period and thus doesn’t function like one), an exclamation mark (again, de-capitalize) or a question mark (once again, no capitals), find a way to end the quote! An example is as follows:
“What?” Maya had a stunned look plastered on her face. “Sir,” she began, “are you sure?”
Notice the comma after the ‘sir’.
Now, here’s a common mix-up that I didn’t find a way to mingle into the first example way-up-there. In the example given last, the one with Maya, how do you know if you will capitalize “are you sure?” or not? Easy. Is “Sir” a part of a different sentence than “are you sure”? If so, then you capitalize. If they’re a part of the same sentence, then you don’t. If you’ll kindly scroll down to the example, I’ll explain.
“Sir!” she began, “Are you sure?”
“Sir” and “Are you sure” are two separate sentences. How do I know? Well, let’s see. If we were to remove the “she began”, it’d show as two separate sentences.
“Sir! Are you sure?”
Getting confused yet? Yes? I’ll back up.
When we had “Sir” and “Are you sure” in the same sentence, if we were to take out “she began”, it would read, “Sir, are you sure?” as opposed to “Sir! Are you sure?”
Yes, it was this confusing when I first learned it, but after a while it just becomes as easy as pie. To make this simpler, I’ve included a few other examples and their revised versions below.
“I don’t get it.” mumbled Hikari, “I just don’t get it.”
Revised: “I don’t get it,” mumbled Hikari, “I just don’t get it.” (I’m adding a comma to replace the period)
“Aah!” Touji’s eyes widened as he cried out. “Shinji and… The Devil!”
Revised: “Aah!” Touji’s eyes widened as he cried out, “Shinji and… The Devil!” (Touji cried out, “Shinji and… The Devil”, so that’s why it’s a comma. If Touji just let out a cry and then said, “Shinji and… The Devil!” then it’d be a period.)
Kaji winked, “Good luck.”
Revised: Kaji winked. “Good luck.” (you can’t “wink” good luck unless you’re implying it. He can wink and then say, “Good luck.” That’s why I replaced the comma with a period.)
|Part 5: How to use the verbs after a
By Crimson Goddess
|It does sound stupid, but you have no idea of how
many writers/authors tend to have lots of mistakes when it comes to this.
What am I referring to with these ‘verbs after a dialogue’? Let me make it
clear to you. |
A dialogue. Not bad, simple and concrete. What is the problem? The writer doesn’t know another word that expresses a character communicating with one another that is not ‘said’. Dear God, this is the phrase I have seen more times in the whole fanfiction world ever. There are lots and lots of words you can use after a dialogue, and you only need to learn how to use them so you can put them to practice. Let us start with them.
A) To say: This is my worst nightmare. It is painful to see how much times you can see this word in five lines. It breaks the flow being so repetitive, so try not using this one too much, unless none of the others work for you. It expresses a character talking with another. Doesn’t specify the tone, mean or mood until you add an adjective after it.
B) To reply: Great substitute for the verb ‘to say’. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re going to start repeating this more than you repeated the latter. Also, you can’t use it when the character you’re putting it to is saying the first words of the dialogue. Only when he/she/it is responding to a statement that has already been spoken.
C) To ask: Used when the dialogue has interrogative intentions. This is one of the others that are often repetitive, so use them wisely.
D) To inquire: This is what I use as a replacement for ‘ask’. However, most of the times ‘inquire’ is asking for an explanation more than an answer.
E) To retort/To snap back at: These ones mean to reply something angrily. If any of them becomes repetitive, replace it with the other. Doesn’t happen too often, though.
F) To comment: Truly useful for me. It works perfectly when a character is making an occasional comment, or when he starts a conversation casually, with no emotions implied unless you add an adjective after it. In some cases it’s a good replacement for ‘say’ and ‘reply’, but there are exceptions.
G) To opine: Used when a character is giving his/her/its opinion about certain subject. Pretty simple, and like the above, replaces in some cases ‘say’ and ‘reply’.
H) To inform: A character is giving information to the other. Try to use ‘him’, ‘her’ and ‘it’ after you write it.
I) To report: Used as a substitute for ‘inform’. Also used when the character is doing an official report (with all the details) orally.
J) To contradict: When a character does not agree with the other, and gives the opposite opinion. In general, in a stubborn way.
K) To agree/disagree: Antonymous from one another, very good replacements for ‘say’, ‘comment’, ‘reply’ and ‘contradict’. Used when a character has the same/the opposite opinion about a matter.
L) To conclude: When used after a dialogue, it means you’re finishing a conversation. You can also use it to describe that the character has reached a conclusion.
M) To confess: Use it when a character finally communicates something that he/she/it has been wanting to say, but hasn’t been able to for one reason or another, and when a character finally admits something someone has been wanting to hear or know.
N) To admit: When a character accepts the statement or assumption another one has been pressuring him/her/it to. Efficient replacement for ‘confess’.
O) To accept: The character is agreeing to a pact, deal or even a statement. Works when they are saying ‘yes’, ‘of course’ and similar cases.
P) To warn: Use it when the character is cautioning another one of some kind of inconvenient or problem that might present in the way or in the plan.
Q) To shout/To yell: Both mean basically the same- a character is communicating with other using a loud tone of voice. Yell is used more when it comes to the offensive part, but both of them can perfectly replace the other.
R) To interrupt/To cut him/her/it off: Used when a character is making a speech, and another one intervenes while the other hasn’t finished yet. Capable of replacing each other.
S) To think: Often used repeatedly. It’s when you use words to express what the character’s mind is going through.
T) To wonder: Very good replacement for ‘think’, although the former implies more considering and wanting to know something.
U) To pause: This is more part of expressions that of dialogue, but sometimes necessary. When a dialogue is stopped by the one doing the speech. In most cases it continues afterwards.
V) To trail off: The tone of voice starts dropping until it’s barely audible, then it fades. Sometimes the character resumes his/her/its talking, but not always.
W) To explain: One of my personal favorites. Principally used when a character is making a long speech or making an explanation so the other(s) understand what he/she/it means.
X) To complain: When a character protests about his/her/its surroundings, dialogue from the other, weather, etc. The intention is often making the character look annoying.
Y) To whine: A variant of complain, but much more annoying. Could replace it in various occasions.
Z) To declare: When a character is making a firm statement. Gives the impression that he/she/it won’t change his/her/its mind about the matter, or that he/she/it is seriously planning to reach the goal.
Well, that’s most of what I can say. Mostly because there are lots you can practice with having those (and because the alphabet is finished...). Try to look for the right word before you write it, and using the synonymous will help keep the repetition away from your fic. It makes it much more comfortable for the reader to see a variation of words.
Shall we move on, then?
|Part 6: Description.|
By Crimson Goddess
|Description: one of the most important tools to
develop in your writing. They are the principal resource a writer uses
when he/she is putting what’s on her/his mind’s eye, and translating it
into a piece of paper. How to handle it can come more because of
experience than of theory, but if you practice you’ll get better each
What makes good description is using words and references that truly help the reader to picture the image in their minds. How they see it will obviously be very different from what you express because everyone perceives things differently, but given more details they can make a better and clearer scene.
When used in a fanfic the description gets more complicated. Why? Let me give you an example. We already know Asuka’s hair is red, and her eyes are blue. Let’s put an action to her and describe how she develops it.
Asuka moved her hair away from her shoulders, annoyed. “When do we leave?”
Asuka reached up with her hand and moved a strand of her scarlet, soft hair away from her shoulders so it would fall on her back. Her slight frown and the way she tapped her foot on the floor clearly showed the annoyance she felt, having to stay in a place that she found herself uncomfortable in.
“When do we leave?” she asked Misato, trying to keep her tone calm so she didn’t hurt the Major’s feelings.
First, even if it sounds stupid to you, add movement to the parts of her body. Asuka couldn’t have moved her hair back from her shoulders magically, could she? She had to use her hand to do it. Well, there you have some territory to start with. Explain how her beautiful hand comes up to her soft, red hair. Adjectives, people, adjectives. Even if the reader already knows her hair is soft (or at least it looks soft), it will help you with the pacing and the development of the scene.
Second, as Chare has said before, don’t tell us she’s annoyed, but show us. (Another side note by Chare: Er, I said that? I guess I’ll say it now, then, if I didn’t… “Karina Kineshi had once told me to ‘show, don’t tell’. Although I’m still working on developing my description skills, I believe that this may very well be the best piece of advice one could give.) (Crimson’s side notes: It seems that due to an author’s revolution here, we have to give the proper credits to the makers of the phrase. Ryoma was the one who started the ‘show, don’t tell’ school of fiction. Then we have to say that the true creator of it all was Rhine when he was pre-reading ‘Renaissance’.) My pre-reader Ghola has given me exactly the same advice. The reader isn’t exactly feeling any annoyance on her part more than the word you gave him, so how do you expect him to get in the story and start feeling the characters emotions? I’ll try to explain how to show the reader instead of simply stating her status.
Why is Asuka annoyed? She’s annoyed because she’s in a place she doesn’t want to be. Thus, she feels uncomfortable. Try to put the body expressions first and then the psychological expressions. What kind of body expressions does a person do when he/she is annoyed? Depends on the level of annoyance. Here, Asuka is trying to control her emotions so she doesn’t hurt Misato. How can we express a dissimulated annoyance? With a slight frown. You can get creative and add the tapping of the foot too.
Then, the tagging after the dialogue. This is another target you can use description in. How? Well, describe her tone of voice, and even her posture. In this case, I described her tone and the reason why she’s keeping it calm.
Another note, put the dialogue in a different paragraph when you put a description that is this long. What do I mean? The description was at least three lines long, so you use another paragraph so it looks better organized. However, there is a ‘warning’ flag here.
When you use simple words to describe an action, don’t bother in leaving a line. I’ll explain what I mean.
Asuka grunted. “But I don’t want to stay here for so long! I’ll wait for you in the car.”
‘Grunted’ is a simple verb. There’s not much description you can add to it, so it’s okay if you leave it like that. Just don’t put more than four consecutive dialogues without description, or it will look very description-lacking.
Now we go for the description of the scenario. I’ll use something simple: the Eva cages. You don’t find much description you can put to that, do you? Well, let me show you what you can do when you learn how to use description properly.
The wide room that held the Eva cages was very silent that night. The technicians left a while ago, and without their presence, the place felt empty. Or it would have felt empty to the rest of the people that didn’t know what the Evas were, or what they contained inside. Unit-01 stood proudly with its head completely still. It yellow eyes were looking intently at the young fourteen-year-old boy that stood before it, waiting for something to happen. The LCL surrounded the rest of its body, coming to a limit at the start of its brown neck.
Shinji Ikari stood there, staring motionless at the beast in front of his eyes. His arms leaned uncomfortably against the railing, and the barely noticeable red marks that were impressed on them were evidence of the time he had been resting in that position. He had stopped looking at the Evangelion’s face long ago, and now his look was focused on the LCL that was below. His reflection stared back at him blankly, and only the small waves that passed impeded that it took its complete form.
He sighed. “I better get home now,” the boy whispered out loud to no one in particular, as his body separated from the railing and his feet made the effort of dragging him out of the room.
See? A simple scene, but the description makes the reader feel inside the story. If you find the right words to express what you’re seeing in your mind, you’ll be doing a better job making your readers approach what you have in mind. The words may get repetitive, but there’s a way to fix that using synonyms. It will be explained with detail in further chapters.
|Part 7: Types of fics.|
By Crimson Goddess
|Please, do whatever you do, always put your fic into the
right category. Honestly, I’ve seen fanfics in the WAFF or drama section
that are so crappy it only makes me laugh (or curse the writer for making
me waste my time on it). That only makes me wish the writer had brains
enough to put it in the humor section so we can laugh our asses off with
their stupidity. How are we going to help you with this? Teaching you the
type of fanfics there are, and their characteristics. |
WAFF: Simple. Warm And Fuzzy Feeling. In this category you read a fic that leaves you with a small smile and feeling warm and fuzzy inside. In most of them there is a relationship between two characters, similar to romance. Example of a good WAFF fic: “A Beautiful Day for Piggyback Rides”, by Karina Kineshi.
Romance: This is like WAFF, but it is always a love relationship. (Note: In WAFF a love relationship isn’t necessary, the only requirement is that it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. It can be friendship too). The content about that relationship is more extended, corny and cheesy. Example of a good romance fic: “Holding Hands”, by Strike Fiss.
Drama: Contents a little of everything- romance, conflicts, solving trouble, psychological issues and WAFF. Example of a good drama fic: “To my dearest honey”, by Karina Kineshi.
Humor: A fic that is meant to make you laugh. Craziness, OOC-ness, insanity, odd situations and funny dialogues and behavior, all included. As long as you develop it correctly, of course. Example of a good humor fic: “The Best Laid Plans”, by Ryoma.
Fantasy: In the case of Eva fiction, it will most likely (and hopefully) be AU (Alternate Universe). Unless you’re trying to insert some kind of odd plot that will give super powers to the characters and end up being crap. Example of a good fantasy fic (AU): “Blood of the Ancients”, by NegativeZero.
Action: Movement, battles, fights and well… action. In most cases the action is done by the Evas, but in others it is made by the characters. Example of a good action fic: “The Game”, by Red Horseman.
General: Contains most of the categories on itself. Has so many of them that it’s better to generalize. Example of a good general fic: “Eva-R”, by Maher Al-Samraki.
|Part 8: For the love of God, choose a
By Crimson Goddess
|This pisses off Chare and I big
time. When you start writing a fanfic in English, keep
it in English! Don’t start putting Japanese names, phrases or anything
else to it. It’s very annoying when you do that. You do it to prove how
much you know of Japanese? Well, don’t! If you love Japanese so much,
start writing your fics in that language. First, let
me show you the occasions where you never, ever should put anything
in Japanese. |
There’s all this about the Evas. Don’t put the name of the Evas in Japanese. That’s why they have been translated! Then comes the stupid note at the end: Shogoki is the Japanese for Unit-01. Stop showing off your Japanese skills (or lack thereof), and show us your English ones with the rest of your work. Another typical one: “Tadaima!”, followed by the stupid note: Tadaima is Japanese for ‘I’m home’. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enter my house yelling in Japanese when we speak English at home (which we don’t, but that’s not the point).
When you’re making the characters speak in English you’re not translating any Japanese. You already assume that the language they are speaking is English. You’ll never find any English words in the middle of the dialogues in the original Japanese version, will you? Then don’t do the same with the English one.
Your question: What’s acceptable, if you’ve already bashed me and my Japanese enough?
Most of the Japanese phrases annoy me, but there are some I can stand. Stand, not like. When you use the endings –chan, –kun, –san, –sempai, etc. It does bother me, but not as much as the rest. It’s more of if you’re used to writing the endings or not.
The other part, that I stand and come to the point of even linking, is the use of German. Correct, neat, well-written German, mind you. This does not mean that you’re going to write the whole fic in German since you can’t write it in Japanese. Maybe a sentence, a word, or a thought. Just don’t abuse it. And if you don’t speak the language, talk to someone who does instead of running to Babelfish at once. Sometimes the words aren’t exactly what you meant them to be.
The last part I accept is when it comes to food or special Japanese/German plates, but it doesn’t happen too often.
|Part 9: Character
By Crimson Goddess
|Oh, glory to the IC-ness in a fanfic! Is there
something better than reading a fanfic that apart from being wonderful in
plot, grammar and format (yes, I’m dreaming...) keeps the characters IC
(In Character)? It is difficult to find, I have to say. Neon Genesis
Evangelion has the best character development I have ever seen in any
anime series, thus you should keep it like that when you write fanfiction
about it. If you change the behavior of a character completely, or do the
opposite and exaggerate, it will never feel like it’s right. A fic must
feel natural to the reader, like it was really a part, continuation
or deviation of the genuine anime. It is hard, but possible. While it’s
possible, there’s a way to do it, so ready your brain to capture the
1) Shinji Ikari: The main character in the series. I’d give him a level of difficulty of 3 out of 5. Shinji is shy, introverted and has a very low self-esteem. He prefers to say ‘sorry’ instead of following the flow of events that would normally lead to a confrontation. He tries to stay away from people for fear of being hurt by others, caused by the trauma of his childhood. However, he often tries to be accepted by those around him, specially his father (until the accident with Unit-03). When he’s angry he tends to lose control of his senses and talks without thinking twice. The most annoying OOC characteristics are when you give him a spine for no apparent reason (jeez, at least have a decent, greatly justified and logical development of his behavior before you do this!), turning him into a suicidal freak (he has one hell of a life, but he’s too coward to commit suicide), and turning him into a maniac-insane-crazy-mad and helpless boy (he’s got psychological problems, but it’s not to that point!).
2) Asuka Langley Sohryu: Dear God, why? Why is she the main target of all the OOC-ness in the world?! She has, obviously, a difficulty of 5 out of 5. I really can’t believe why so much people tend to over-super-hyper exaggerate her personality and turn her into the über bitch. Asuka is arrogant, very intelligent, brave, decided, strong and short-tempered. The shape her personality has taken is due to the traumatic childhood she has gone through. After being abandoned by various people, she has built a barrier around herself not to let anyone in so they don’t abandon her. She’s buried her past deep into her mind, so the memories don’t torment her. When they surface again, she has a mental breakdown due to the extreme emotions she has suffered in the last days. The idea of being surpassed by others is not of her liking, and she tends to take it as a challenge. Please, even if you hate her, don’t bash her or make her a complete bitch! She has her reasons to be like she is, so have the decency to respect her. Often I see in many fics (OOC as hell) where almost all of Asuka’s dialogues are written in caps. Asuka doesn’t go everywhere yelling at people! She only yells when she has a good reason to. If not, she uses mostly a teasing or mocking tone. She is not insulting Shinji all the damn day. If you’ll notice episode 15, she enters the house talking like a civilized person without rising the tone of her voice. And please, don’t make Asuka cry in every chapter of your fic. She cries in rare occasions, unless she’s already suffered the attack of the fifteenth angel (even after that, I think she would start recovering and her no-crying attitude would come back eventually).
3) Rei Ayanami: Okay, here’s another one. Somehow, keeping Rei in character for me seems more difficult than keeping Asuka. Her difficulty level would be 5 out of 5. Rei is a person who has a very proper vocabulary, is introverted and doesn’t like to act if she hasn’t been ordered officially. She has a superior level of understanding when it comes to NERV topics, since her mind is very analytic psychologically. The only person she can communicate comfortably with is Commander Ikari, the closest person to her (either as a parental figure or as more, that depends on the perspective of the person you ask). Doesn’t show a lot of apparent emotions (body or facial language), unless it is a special occasion. Problems with her? You make her too much of a robot. Many people say she doesn’t have a character they can keep her in, but she does. Being Rei instantly makes her own a character. She won’t stay looking at the front all the time. And she will smile eventually too, you know (Commander Ikari, episode 5, Shinji, episode 6). The other problem is that sometimes you make her too much not of a robot. Jeez, I once read a fic where Rei pouted!!! To the trash of doom! Rei does not, by any means, develop such a movement as a pout, understood?! If you’re going to add expressions, make then very slight, soft, delicate. She also keeps the level of her voice moderate, because there is no need for her to use a higher one so others understand her. Going to make her smile? Once per chapter, up to three per a sixty-page one-shot. Remember to make the language she uses appropriate.
4) Misato Katsuragi: NERV’s Director of Operations. Difficulty would be 2 out of 5, considering I haven’t seen her OOC in almost any fic. She’s expressive, communicative and cheerful (in most occasions). Loves beer and is always trying to help Shinji, persuading him to see her as a mother figure. Very serious when it comes to work, and efficient as a Director of Operations. No biggies when it comes to handling her in a fic.
5) Gendo Ikari: NERV’s Commander. His level of difficulty is 3 out of 5. He’s decided, firm, cruel, sly, manipulative, smart and not very talkative. He tries to make all of his work perfect so everything goes according to his scenario. Manipulates people at his own convenience, and uses them only for his own means before he gets disposed of them. What’s with this? Yes, he’s a cold-hearted bastard. This does not mean that you can bash him because you don’t like him. He may be like he is, but as the other characters, he has a reason to act the way he does. And don’t use such a character in those lame plots like the one I mentioned before: ‘He starts an attack on the Children because he’s jealous that they’re developing a relationship’. NO! Gendo is a busy, smart and conscious man not to do such childish things as worrying about fourteen-year-olds and their love lives. Also, don’t make him go to Misato’s apartment and sit down beside Shinji crying his heart out so he forgives him. There’s no way in hell he’d do that, so don’t even think about it.
6) Ritsuko Akagi: Difficulty would be 2 out of 5. Intelligent, decided and extroverted are some of her attributes. She may look like a psycho after she shows Misato and Shinji the secrets of Terminal Dogma, but she isn’t. She’s been hiding that inside, thus she knows how to control it. Don’t make her unstable mentally, and you’ll keep her very much IC.
7) Ryoji Kaji: SEELE’s spy. Difficulty 1 out of 5. He’s charming, likes to joke and has a playful attitude except when it comes to serious business. I haven’t seen any OOC-ness regarding this man, so there are no complaints on my part.
These are the principal characters you should watch out for. What about Pen-Pen? Keep him inside his fridge and we’ll have no trouble… Another important note I have to make is regarding the pairings or relationships you may want to execute in a fic.
When it comes to pairing two of the Children, always remember that they aren’t normal kids. They’ve had very hard lives, and that creates barriers and problems in the personalities that must be broken before they can proceed and step to a new level. I’d suggest always take your time to develop these relationships. Start by the start, and don’t rush things. Working with these Children is quite difficult and requires a lot of thinking and effort on your side.
If it’s yuri/yaoi don’t even ask me about it. There is none of the characters in this anime I’m able to see in any of these categories (not that I would read them either, no offense). Rei/Asuka is pretty impossible seeing the kind of relationship they have through the story. Asuka hates Rei, and Rei dislikes Asuka’s way of acting and being. Shinji/Kaworu I have no eyes for that. It is to my understanding that the only fics about these two are written (horribly) by fangirls, and have no development or explanation whatsoever. Besides, it is clear to me that the way Kaworu says he loves Shinji is a divine and pure one, instead of something romantic. Ritsuko/Maya, I can’t say much. Just that I have never seen them as a pairing but as a teacher and an apprentice who admires her superior a lot. The fact that I have a role-model doesn’t mean that I’m in love with her.
That’s pretty much what I can tell you about the characters. Keeping them IC and making our reads pleasant is only up to you now.
|Part 10: Pacing: Everything at its
|A problem that almost every author will stumble
across at one point or another is pacing. When a story is rushed, it
seems as if the author is sick of the story and wants to get it over
with. When a story is too slow, it quickly puts the readers to
sleep. So how will you make the flow just right?|
Karina Kineshi had told me once that using descriptions and details help slow the pace down. I couldn’t agree more (although I’m still trying to improve myself on that factor). It’s a multi-beneficial thing to describe- it slows things down, yet holds reader interest, and not only that, it helps develop the story and scenario. Refer to “Descriptions” for more on how you can do that.
However, sometimes descriptions aren’t enough to slow things down. Despite all that you’ve done to enhance the setting, there’s just something that makes it feel like the fic is being fast-forwarded. My suggestion to that is to have less scene switches (what I mean by “scene switches” is that there aren’t as many ***’s in between different scenes). Try to make it flow. Perhaps instead of using two separate scenes for the end of school to when Shinji and Asuka get home, make it one by having them talk or interact with each other while walking to the apartment.
But what if the pace is too slow? I still have yet to see a fic that paces at a speed equivalent to a snail’s, but I know it exists out there so I will mention it. How to fix that problem? Don’t bore us with unnecessary details. Using the example given above, maybe you have basically spent half a page on description already, and yet you’re still going to write a scene that consists of nothing except for “Did you fall asleep?” and a “Yes…” in it? That’s just going to make the readers want to bash their head in for putting up with something like this! Take out all the unnecessary stuff. If you are to have a dialogue between Shinji and Asuka, make it so that it shows what they’re thinking at the moment, even if it’s very, very subtle, so that it’s not irrelevant. If the dialogue shows nothing about their thoughts, nor does it contribute to the plot, take it out. This goes for everything else- why use two paragraphs to describe how Hikari looks at Touji when the story is centered on Rei? (Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated, but I’m sure you get what I mean) One sentence would’ve been enough, and even then, is it necessary? Also, don’t put too much description in fics… That may disrupt the flow and the readers will get bored. Very bored.
Overall, there are two solutions to deal with pacing problems. If it is too fast, you slap in some description and interaction. If it’s too slow, you clean it up and toss out the junk. That’s all I can think of for now.
|Part 11: Character
|It’s not uncommon that some of us slip into a mode
where we tend to diss our worst favorite character, or in a romance fic,
the character that gets in between the couple. This is not good, unless it
can be justified. What I mean by ‘justified’, is that perhaps you’re
writing in Asuka’s POV about Rei, or in this case, ‘Wondergirl’, or Shinji
expressing his hatred for Gendou abandoning him. In most cases, however,
this is not the case. |
Point is, character bashings will only result in major flames for the author and major headaches for the reader. Personally, I am not a great fan of Rei, but I will try to give her the amount of respect she deserves. Either that, or I will just stay on the safe side and leave her out of my fics. Don’t let your bias get in the way and make you start writing nonsense about Shinji finally having the guts to can Gendou then get Rei to join his side and slap him to oblivion or something. Please, that’s the kind of stuff that makes me wonder why I bothered to read it in the first place.
I guess the thing that helped me get rid of my bashings, or at least attempt to avoid them, is that I realized that all antagonists have a reason for their behavior. Gendou’s got a reason for being a cold-hearted bastard, Asuka’s got a reason for being proud and stuck-up. Rei is not truly an emotionless doll. One must learn to understand and respect these reasons. If you don’t, then at least say, “Ah, well, it’s how he/she/it is. Nothin’ I can do,” and just make like you do understand. That helps with the getting-rid-of-the-bias part.
Why am I making such a bit emphasis on biases? Because everyone has a bias. Come on, don’t tell me that you don’t have a favorite character; you must like some characters over others. Even if you like them all, there are some that stand out above the crowd, right? Right. Now, it’s impossible to be completely unbiased, but one can put that bias aside and treat each character like an equal and just write as if you had no favorites. True, your story will most likely be about your favorite character, but think of it this way- in real life, you try to treat your peers as equals, right? Even those that you dislike, you’re civil to, right? At least, I hope you are…
Refer to the “Character development” section for more tips on how to stop with dissing a character. To keep a character IC helps a lot with getting rid of unjustified bashings.
|Part 12: AAC, SI and
|So you love the storyline, but you just wished
that you could get someone else in the storyline? Sure, go ahead- but I
must warn you, there are lots of things one must go over before
successfully bringing in a new character to the plot.|
First, what are SI’s and ACC’s? ACC stands for Author-Created-Character, meaning the author instead just creates a character from thin air and slaps him/her/it into a fic. SI stands for Self-Insertion, meaning the author makes his/herself the new character.
In general, there are a few mistakes that make an ACC or SI quite painful to read. One is that the author will make this new character as a projection of his/herself and just be real awful to the character he/she dislikes the most (refer to Character bashings). Second is that the author will outwit, out-smart, out-smart-ass, out-talk, out-whatever a main character. Bad. That will imply that you have something against a certain character, or if the ACC/SI is like that to everyone, that you have a grudge against the whole cast itself. This, again, is similar to character bashing.
Now, let’s talk about SI’s. Firstly, don’t make yourself the main character. It just makes you seem like an egoistic freak that seems incapable of seeing the world outside the little imaginary walls that surround you. And please, if you are to put yourself into a fic, stay true to your character. Don’t make yourself someone you’re not. If you know that you wouldn’t bother with your hair, but decided to make it gelled and all that so that you’ll sound cool in your fic, don’t. That would just make it an ACC under the title of ::insert author name::. Not good. And don’t make yourself seem greater-than-all, or the hero that saves everyone or whatever… More on this later. Right now, let’s move onto Author-Created-Characters.
Okay, ACC’s. Personally, I try to avoid writing these as each time that I do, my story transforms from the Eva casts’ POV to my ACC’s POV and that’s never good. Why is it never good? Well, for a simple reason- we, as the readers, don’t want to see some character we know next-to-nothing about taking up all the close-ups, while the real heroes are in the shadows. The story gets stale easily. If you’re to make some random person, despite all the thought you may have put into creating his/her background and personality, the main character of a story, star him/her in an original story. Over in the original section, you’ll have all the space you need for ACC goodness! In the fanfiction section, though, most of us take more pleasure in reading about Shinji’s success in defeating Angels, not the Sixth Children posing a rivalry to the other Children. I remember reading a fic where it’s obvious the author did not like Asuka too much. The author had created a girl to be a new pilot, who had seemed like the perfect goody-two-shoes that is so smart-ass-like that she just poses as a frustrating and argumentative rival to everyone’s favorite redhead. This goody-two-shoes stuff brings me to my next point.
Mary-Sue. Please, don’t make your character become Miss/Mister/Missus Perfect, because no one is perfect, especially in a series like Evangelion where the character development is at its finest. Do not make this new character better than the children, do not make this new character pose a rivalry to any of the original cast’s position, do not make this new character seem like teacher’s pet! It gets really annoying! None of this my-character-can-do-something-the-original-cast-can’t-so-he/she-must-be-better crap! The character is only human, and even though he/she will have strengths, don’t put all your emphasis on that. In fact, in my opinion, I personally find it more pleasant to read if the author makes the flaws of the character more obvious. It gives depth to the character. We know there’s a good side, courtesy of common sense, but is there a bad side? Yes? Cool! What is it?
However, if your character is an antagonist, don’t just show all of his/her flaws and keep the spotlight from shining on the good traits. Every antagonist has a reason for being, even ACC’s/SI’s. Respect that.
Personally, my own suggestions to those who plan on doing SI’s and ACC’s are to save them for DarkScribes fics or original stories, where SI’s and ACC’s are the original characters. Until you have mastered the skill of creating a decent character, don’t make the same mistake I did and introduce him/her into an Eva fic. Sure, you get points for trying, but trying sometimes just isn’t good enough.
|Part 13: Difference in words- Notice
|One of the most annoying things (along with
everything else in this manual) is when people mix up words. People,
“were” not in kindergarten! Ha. That was supposed to be
“we’re”, meaning “we are”. Now, just so that no one can ever say, “I
never knew that this word was supposed to be that!” whenever we tell them
to correct it, I will list up all those words that people get mixed up
with. In no particular order, here they are.|
1) Its <-> It’s: “Its” means “belonging to it”, while “it’s” means “it is”.
2) Were <-> Where <-> We’re <-> Wear: “Were” as in “You were, she was, blah-blah”, “where” as in asking the location of something, “we’re” as in “we are”, and “wear” as in you’re not naked.
3) There <-> They’re <-> Their: “There” as in you’re answering where something is, “they’re” meaning “they are”, and “their” meaning the possessive form of “they”.
4) Who’s <-> Whose: “Who’s” means “who is”, and “whose” means asking, “Whose is this?” or something.
5) You’re <-> Your: “You’re” means “you are”, “your” is the possessive form of “you”.
6) Alright <-> All right: “Alright” as in “Are you alright?” and “All right” as in “Correct, your answers were all right.”
7) Affect <-> Effect: This question was brought up in class, and yours truly gave the best response ever: “Something will affect something else, and the result is the effect.”
8) Loose <-> Lose: “Loose” means that it’s loose fitting or something, while “lose” means to discard accidentally or whatever.
9) Lets <-> Let’s: “Lets” as in “She lets him do this-and-that”, while “let’s” means “let us”, as in “Let’s go!”
10) Two <-> Too <-> To: “One, two, buckle my shoe…” is “two”, “too” as in “too much”, and “to” as in “to do something”.
11) Through <-> Threw: “I went through the tunnel”, and “I threw the ball”. Now, sometimes people spell “through” as “thought” or “though”, and I don’t know how that works, but “thought” is the past tense of “think” and “though” means something along the lines of “although”.
12) Then <-> Than: “Then” as in “And then, he wrapped up his lunch”, while “than” is used to compare two or more objects, i.e.: “Five is greater than three”.
I believe that’s it, but if there’s anymore, contact us.
|Part 14: Sentence
|When I see a dependent clause making its own
sentence, and an independent clause right next to it that could easily be
combined with the dependent clause to make a proper sentence (I believe it
would be a complex sentence, but I’m not sure), it gets a little
frustrating to read, and I’m sure Crimson feels the same way. Or
when I see two dependent clauses slapped together, where the reader thinks
that two dependent clause equals one proper sentence. No!
Those are examples of poor sentence structure. First, let me explain
the different types of sentences.|
A typical simple sentence consists of one subject, and one predicate. A subject is what the sentence is about, a predicate is what the subject does or is or whatever. An example is as follows: “Asuka laid on the bed, fidgeting with strands of her hair.” “Asuka” would be the subject, and “laid on the bed, fidgeting with strands of her hair” is the predicate. One can mix up the order as to give more variety by doing something like, “Fidgeting with strands of her hair, Asuka laid on the bed.” Still a simple sentence, still subject and predicate, “Asuka” is still the subject, only difference is the order in which it’s presented. One could make a good paragraph or so just by using simple sentences and switching the order of them, provided you have a subject in your sentence and that the predicate is complete. Now, as for commands such as “Close that door”, it may not seem like there’s a subject, but there is- it’s called You-understood. It’s like you’re saying, “You- close that door!” There, that’s all I’ve gotta say about simple sentences. Now, let’s look at some simple sentence fragments (if that made sense).
Trembling, picked up a pen.
Revised: Trembling, “he” picked up a pen. It needs a subject.
Dribbling the ball, Touji.
Revised: Dribbling the ball, Touji “ran up the court”. It needs to complete the predicate.
Those are the only two types of errors I can think of regarding simple sentences. Now, let’s move on.
Compound sentences are basically two simple sentences with one of them coordinating conjunctions, commas, or semi-colons slapped in between them. An example is as follows: “Shinji’s SDAT was running out of power, yet he kept it on” or something like that. The two simple sentences in here are “Shinji’s SDAT was running out of power” and “he kept it on”. Simple sentences were already explained, so I think this should be a pretty easy concept to grasp. Moving on.
Complex sentences are composed of an independent clause and a dependent clause. An independent clause can just be a simple sentence, such as “I will get flamed.” A dependent clause is a phrase that needs an independent clause to fulfill it, such as “Because I am writing this”. Now, glue those two together and you have a complex sentence that will look something like this: “Because I am writing this, I will get flamed.” Another example of a complex sentence would be something like, “When Shinji felt like he needed a release, he would listen to music.” “When Shinji felt like he needed a release” is a dependent clause. When it stands by itself, it will be a fragment (hey, another complex sentence! “When it stands by itself” is a dependent clause and “it will be a fragment” is the independent clause!), and so it needs an independent clause to complete the thought. Let’s look at some more examples, shall we?
Since the fridge was empty, buy some beer.
Revised: Well, this could be classified as a you-understood, but it still sounds choppy, so perhaps change it to something like… Since the fridge was empty, “Shinji went to” buy some beer.
That is the only type of error I can think of at this moment, so let’s move on.
Oh, boy… Compound-complex sentences… Basically, it’s composed of one complex sentence, one coordinating conjunction (or semi-colon, or comma) and a simple sentence/independent clause. An example is as follows: “When Misato wanted beer, she got it, so Shinji went to buy some.” “When Misato wanted beer, she got it” is a complex sentence, “so” is the coordinating conjunction, and “Shinji went to buy some” is the simple sentence. All that was explained previously, so scroll up and read if you’re still confused.
Now, let’s tackle the problems.
What are fragments? Fragments are incomplete thoughts. If you just say the sentence by itself, and it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s a fragment. How to fix that? In simple and compound sentences, either add a subject or complete the predicate. In complex or compound-complex sentences, make sure you have enough independent clauses.
What are run-ons? Run-ons are when your sentence goes on-and-on-and-on when it could be broken into two or more sentences and the way to prevent them is to find where to break them off and execute it perfectly. That right there was a run-on. I could say something like, “Run-ons are when your sentences go on-and-on-and-on when it could be broken into two or more sentences. The way to etc-etc” and voila, I’ve fixed it.
Now, you could be following all these rules and you fic will still be bad because it’s as boring as hell. How to make it more interesting? Variation. Use short sentences for impact, long sentences for description and details. Change the order the subject and the predicate appear in, and change the types of sentences, too. Variety is the spice of life.
Think you can manage that? I hope so. There are only five things to make sentence structure a less of a pain- getting rid of fragments, getting rid of run-ons, vary sentence lengths, vary sentence beginnings and vary sentence types. It’s not that hard… I hope.
|Part 15: Solutions.|
|As a developing writer, I understand that it’s
difficult to change and correct ourselves. It’ll be hard to adjust,
and for a moment it will prove quite frustrating. That’s why I’ve
developed some ways to slowly improve skills so it’s not as overwhelming
to have all these aspects thrown at you.|
Method one: Read more fics. As you read them, be really nitpicky on its errors. Notice every single error- missing spaces, missing commas, missing periods, spelling mistakes, etc, etc. Say to yourself, “I won’t make the same mistakes as this guy did,” or something like that. Good motivation.
Method two: Keep some of your fics from a while ago, and read them over. Pretend you are using method one, even repeat to yourself, “I won’t make the same mistake as this guy did,” despite the fact that you are ‘that guy’. Think about why you made those mistakes, what you did wrong, and how you can improve. No better way to learn than from mistakes.
Method three: When you are working on a fic, after you’ve done the draft, read it over. Do that about twice or so, then leave it alone for a few weeks. After that period of time has passed, read it over again and edit mistakes. When one doesn’t think about something for a while, it basically gets erased off the mind, so it’s like you’re pre-reading someone else’s work when you edit. If you think it’s bad, or that you have trouble understanding it, chances are that other people will think worse and have even more trouble.
Method four: Refer to “Admit you need help”. That may very well be the best solution that I can think of; I’m just emphasizing our point.
|Part 16: Word is your friend- Its useful
By Crimson Goddess.
|So there you start, writing your fanfic in the
notepad or in WordPad. I don’t have a problem with this. What is the
problem really when you don’t write directly in Word? No spell check, the
format can be a mess and you won’t even notice. Why don’t you do something
more practical? Copy and paste the text you have already written, and Word
will make the rest of the work for you. However, I’d recommend you to
write it directly in the program. But the only way you can make it really
useful is learning how to use the tools it gives you so you can fix your
work. Shall we start, then?|
The most important tool you’ll find is spell check. Set it so it points out the mistake when it’s written, and you’ll have no major trouble when you get to the end. If you’re copying and pasting, you’ll have to check all the mistakes that are underlined in red. A small box with different suggestions pops up, and you choose the word you were trying to write in the first place. Check it intently, unless you want to end up putting a totally senseless word where it shouldn’t be.
Next use grammar check. You know that pretty key that’s planted in your keyboard, called F7? Well, when you’re done, press it. A new window will appear, pointing out various mistakes of grammar that the computer sees shouldn’t be there. They’ll be highlighted in green. See if that is what you meant, and if it wasn’t, change it. If it was, leave it like that but be sure it makes sense.
Now, the thesaurus is the tool. The most useful for me, and it can be for you if you learn how to use it properly. When you’re writing something and notice that you’re using a word too repeatedly (with highly annoys the reader), left-click on it (or select it and hit Shift F7). A box with multiple options will appear. In the last option, it says synonyms. Position the mouse over it, and another box appears beside it with different alternatives you can choose from so you turn one word into another without changing the meaning. There are certain points you need to take in account when your using this: first, the word must be in singular. If it’s in plural, the suggestion will be the same word in singular. Change it to singular even if it’s just to look for the synonyms, and if you can’t find the right word, turn it back to plural. Second, if it’s a verb, it must be in present form. Otherwise, it won’t offer any suggestions but the verb in present form. Third, never use a word if you don’t know what it means. Look for it in the dictionary in that case, or leave the original one. You may be talking more nonsense than you had imagined.
Then there are these lovely buttons with the letters ‘i’, ‘u’ and ‘b’. Sound familiar? Of course they are. Italics, underlined and bold will make everything easier when it comes to special words you want to highlight over others in the text. There’s nothing like a good fic where you can find a varied use of these buttons. Let me tell you the best way you can use each of them so your fic looks neat and organized.
-Italics, or italics: Use these when you’re trying to make emphasis in a word. I prefer a hundred times if you use italics than if you use caps lock. It will have the same strong effect, and look much better. Also used when you’re expressing the thoughts of a character, though I generally use inverted commas for that.
-Bold, or bold: Not used often, but useful when it comes to writing text such as the one written in a computer inside the fic. For example:
Ritsuko turned on the computer and a black background appeared in the screen. Without hesitation, she started entering the right code.
Entering the system_
All passwords are correct_
-Underlined, or underlined: Not used very often. Only when it comes to titles, captions and perhaps when a letter is written in the story. Nothing else.
And last but not least, we have a special tool for pre-reading. Go to the ‘tools’ menu and choose ‘track changes’. A rectangular box appears, and you should click on the first two boxes that appear. The last one isn’t very important, since it’s only for when you’re going to print the document. Then you can choose the colors you want clicking in the ‘options’ button. When you’re correcting a fic, each word you write will appear underlined and in a different color. If you delete something, a strikethrough text will appear over the one that was written before. I’d suggest to use it the way my pre-reader Ghola does: when you delete something, write why the person should change it and what you suggest inside a parenthesis. If you have any extra comments, put them beside what you have the comments on in a parenthesis as well.
Those are some of the most important tools you can use when you’re writing in Microsoft Word. Much more useful, cleaner and easier to read and correct. Nothing better when it comes to writing a fic.
(Crimson’s side notes: Hey! Shouldn’t someone be paying me for advertising Word?)
|Part 17: Writer's block.|
By Crimson Goddess.
|So common, so annoying. There’s nothing like a
writer’s block to ruin your day. There you are, sitting in front of your
computer, knowing what you want to do but not being able to. It gets
frustrating, and you get stressed. It’s important to say that everyone has
different methods to get rid of a writer’s block, so these have a
fifty/fifty probability of working with you.|
First off, what’s a writer’s block? A writer’s block is when you have been writing a fic and suddenly come to a point where you get completely stuck. You have a clear idea of what you want to do, but no clue of how to get there. It may last minutes, hours, days, weeks or even years (yes, I know it’s scary, but it happens).
I can only give you a few tips of how to take a hammer and kick the hell out of the damn block. What works for me 99.9 percent of the times is music. Music can speak its own language if you learn how to understand it. Sit down, relax, and put some music in the radio. Any kind, as long as you like it, might work. Even if the lyrics (if it has lyrics) don’t have anything to do with your story, the melody can inspire a new scene. There are lots of types that have helped me, including rock. It is a very effective way if you can put your senses to relax.
Under the shower, when you’re taking some time to yourself. Think calmly about what you’re trying to achieve, and if it comes, it comes. Don’t get more frustrated over it and end up breaking the window with the bottle of shampoo only because the idea won’t come.
Looking at picture galleries is another way of helping the damn things disappear. Pick your favorite character, look at your favorite pics… detailing them may be a lot of the inspiration you need. If you’re a good drawer, try drawing too. If you’re not good with Eva characters, then try to draw something else, but do it. It will help you calm your body while you concentrate. (Another side note by Chare: You know what really helps? Drawing a picture of your muse being beaten up. I swear, drawing Cleo with bandages on her wings and a patch on her eye… Man, it puts masses of ideas into my head.)
Lastly, you can read more fics. NOTE: Reading more fics does not mean, in any way, that you should start copying other people’s ideas and only changing the words so it doesn’t look the same. That is bad. A desperate measure for someone without imagination, in my opinion. Now get on moving and break that block!
|Now, here are some links that may help you when it
comes to Evangelion. They’ll be useful in the development of your story,
so check them out when you need to make a fast consult of anything related
to the anime, language, or simply looking for a
DarkScribes: The best Evangelion fanfiction community. Visit the forums and meet us, we don’t bite (actually, we do. Just don’t get in our nerves and we won’t). A wide fanfic archive, and help everywhere you look (if you have some common sense and don’t annoy too much) when you need it. There are a couple articles in the Fanfic Yakuza section that might be helpful, such as the “Ten Commitments of Fanfiction” (<- If you don’t read these, don’t you dare start writing fanfiction!).
Babelfish: This is a multi-language translator. It includes languages such as English, German, Spanish, Chinese, French and Portuguese. Very easy to use, but if you’re going to make a long dialogue you need to translate, it’s better to look for someone and ask if what you got from this page is correct, just to be sure.
Absolute Evangelion Image Gallery: So you read previously that looking at images help break writer’s block. Now, to find the images that you need, come here. This may not have every picture of Eva in this world, but it’s pretty damn close.
Anipike: The Anime Web Turnpike: This site is the best place to go through if you want to find some kick-ass anime fan-site to get your brain cells working. Trust me, when you view some really wicked web layout, it boosts up your motivation a lot.
The Red Cross Book: Very helpful when it comes to consulting Evangelion’s characters, mysteries, religious details, and everything else of the series you don’t remember or know about.
EFO (Evafics.org): One of the best Evangelion fanfiction archives out there. The quality is controlled, so you don’t stumble with a lot of crap that shouldn’t be there. Trying to get inspiration or break that writer’s block? Reading will help that mind so it gets to work.
Otaku Central: Now this should be your God when it comes to secrets, truths, lies and mysteries. The best Evangelion consult page you can find, especially if you visit specifically the ‘NERV’ page (click on the Sephirotic tree picture). Very easy to use.
|Part 18: Useful links.|
By Crimson Goddess and KawaiiChare.
By Crimson Goddess and KawaiiChare.
Hmm… First off…
If any of you feel confused, lost, or want clarification, e-mail the writer of the part you’re having trouble with. Crimson Goddess’ e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and mine is email@example.com. We are also willing to spare some time to do some pre-reading.
Crimson brought this to my attention a while ago. “Child” and “Children”. I call ‘em “Children”, most people call ‘em “Child”. Last I checked, “Child” was the dubbed version while “Children” was the original, so technically they’re both right, just like how “Sohryu Asuka Langley” and “Asuka Langley Sohryu” are both correct. If anyone knows/thinks that I’m wrong, contact me.
Well, it’s been a great experience to co-author this manual with Chare. We didn’t think we’d finish so fast, but it has flowed wonderfully. I hope this becomes a lot of help for all those writers who are still starting in the world of fanfiction and don’t know about many of the things mentioned here. I know it would have been a great help for me if it had existed, and I would have saved a lot of work to my pre-readers. Don’t be afraid to contact us, but do it civilly. This contains a lot of opinions and our perspectives, and if you don’t agree with us in something, we’d be glad to discuss it as long as you do it in a civil way.
Chare already told you how to contact us, so there’s not much for me to say. Put a lot of effort in what you do so you’re giving your best, and you’ll see it comes out just fine. Don’t get frustrated if things aren’t going the way you planned, and instead work on your patience and always try again. It’s been a pleasure to bring this guide to you.
From both of us, huge thanks to our pre-readers Ryoma and Zero Yuy for working on this piece, correcting our grammar mistakes and giving us advice where we needed it.
Crimson Goddess and KawaiiChare, October 2002.