Friday, October 10, 2014

Writing/Plot Mistakes I See Far Too Often

If, like me, you wander into the realms of independant RPG's and amateur writers, or you're one of the many fanfiction goers, you've probably seen the same mistakes over and over again.  In writing and plot.  And it probably drives you insane.  You probably have your own set of pet peeves and "WOULD YOU STOP?!"  The fact of the matter is?  These mistakes are far too easily avoidable.  With a little bit of research.

First step to writing anything: research.  I know that elicited several groans, but research is honestly amazing.  And I don't care if it's in your own made-up world with flying bubbles, you still need to research things.  Maybe how gravity works in this universe; maybe how other people have played this or that plot point.  Research.  It will help you make ten times less mistakes.  I promise.

My biggest pet peeve, in that vein, is seeing the improper use of language.  Probably one of the most common I see is the use of the Japanese word "neko" to mean "human (usually girl) with cat ears and tail".  Neko actually means "cat".  It bugs the ever-living crap out of me.  Spend five seconds Googling the meaning and you'll learn that.  The term people probably mean is "bakeneko", a direct translation of "cat demon".  If you look into Japanese lore, it's easy to realize that adapting "cat demon" into what we English speakers mean takes about much work as cutting a piece of cake.  (In that same vein, "Inuyasha", a popular anime, means "dog demon", and look at his appearance.  Oh my gosh, it's what we mean by "Neko" for dogs!!!!)
Another example is placing in a foreign word in the middle of a sentence when trying to play someone from another country.  That in itself is fine - I have a character (from my baby story <3) who often uses Spanish words when she's stressed or upset.  However, sometimes these words translate to something in English we'd NEVER use.  From what I know of foreign languages (read: very little), they do say some things that may not make sense to an English speaker... but are more likely to call a friend by their name instead of saying "friend", even in a foreign language.  Unless your character regularly refers to their friend as "friend" in English, they probably aren't going to do it in whatever other language they speak.

Thirdly, you're going to want to be realistic.  This realism is so important, I can't emphasis it enough.  Even in fantasy, you want to be realistic.  You want nice, flowing dialogue, a magic system that makes sense, and relatable characters.  You can save the most terrible plots with this.

Speaking of terrible plots...
Enough with the high school drama or the vampire romance or --- gaaahhh.  Holy crap.  Stop.  Stahp.  I just.
Twilight.  TWILIGHT is the disaster that this has caused.
And stop copying Harry Potter.
It's time for new plots people!  Please!
Continuing on that vein, it's especially terrible in role play when there's another 'gifted school'.
Now, if you're writing a realistic fiction slice of life, that's fine.  Do it wherever.  If you're using fantasy and your setting happens to be a high school, that's fine too.
But when it's ALL ABOUT the magical high school and stuff that goes on there, turn away from that and try something else.  I beg of you.

Anyway, I've spent like six months off-and-on writing this, so it's not as good as it could be.  And maybe a little moody.
Enough. xD

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