a thousand petals, a thousand paths

This handy-dandy guide began as a joke on livejournal between me and Fairyglass. We were reading just some incredibly horrible, execrable fic, and the many, many, MANY faux pas overwhelmed us. We started listing and commenting on what one Should and Should Not do when writing fic, and …

A Fan Fic Writer’s Dos & Don’ts by the Lulus was born. We hope you enjoy. Please note that these Dos and Don’ts are written MOSTLY tongue in cheek. But sort of not. ;)


If you’re going to write fanfic - hell, if you’re going to write anything - please adhere to the following rules:

.:. Lose/Loose .:. If you’re losing your mind, there’s no way in hell you’re loosing your mind, unless you’ve just shot it out of a cannon.

.:. Lay/Laid/Etc. .:. You lay the book upon the table; you take the lay of the land; you’re lying in wait; the platter was laid upon the table; the linguine was just lying there on the table; you get laid; you lie like a rug. You do not lie the book on the table, you do not take the lie of the land, you’re not laying in wait, the platter was not lain upon the table, the linguine is not just laying there, you’re not getting laid if you can’t figure this shit out, and you lie like a rug if you say you understand how to apply these rules. (This tirade is not meant for those of you, i.e., OUR FRIENDS WITH BRAINS, who actually understand these differences and apply them. NB: verbally fucking up the rules is usually allowable - heat of the conversation, and all that. But if you’re going to write something and put it out there for the WORLD TO READ, for the love of all that is grand and beautiful, FUCKING PROOF READ AND KNOW YOUR FUCKING TENSES.)

.:. Commas .:. Commas are your friends.

.:. Quotation Marks .:. Quotation marks are your friends.

.:. Commas .:. Commas are still your friends.

.:. Semicolons .:. Semicolons can also be good acquaintances.

.:. Prepositions .:. Correcting dangling prepositions may be awkward, but, ultimately, fulfilling. reading dangling prepositions “is something up with which I will not put.” (Winston Churchill said that, btw. And we know, dangling prepositions are sometimes hard to avoid, but REALLY, if you’re going to make the effort to write something, how ’bout trying to write it so the rest of us can READ IT WITHOUT NEEDING A FUCKING DECODER RING?)

.:. Paragraph Breaks .:. Paragraph breaks will ensure that your readers won’t go FUCKING BLIND, which means, THEREFORE, that they might, MIGHT, come back again to read your execrable, deathless prose.

.:. Giggling .:. Daniel does not giggle. Jack does not giggle. Unless they’re stoned, drunk off their asses, under alien influence, or have just undergone a lobotomy, they do not giggle. They may break up, burst, cachinnate, chortle, chuckle, convulse, crack up, crow, die, die laughing, fracture, grin, guffaw, howl, roar, scream, shout, smile, snicker, snigger, snort, split, or whoop with laughter, or some variation thereon, but they do not, we repeat, do NOT, GIGGLE. They are grown men. They do not giggle when they’re eating pie, they do not giggle when they’re going whacko with their P-90s, they do not giggle when they’re riding the elevator, they do not giggle when they’re about to fuck their partner through the mattress. They just. Don’t. Giggle.

.:. Smirking .:. Smirking is done. Smirking is over. Lose the smirking, because you’re using smirking inappropriately, and using it often. Smirking means: “To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner.” So when Jack, Daniel or Cameron are smirking right before they kiss Jack, Daniel or Cameron, it seems to us that they’re disrespecting their partner in a fashion that suggests insincerity and conceit. Suffice it to say, we wouldn’t want their lips anywhere NEAR ours if they were gonna cop THAT kind of attitude. Just, ew. SO, do you REALLY think Jack, Daniel or Cameron are going to smirk just when they’re about to plant one on the lips of the love of their life? WE. DON’T. THINK. SO.

.:. Moot/Mute .:. IT’S A MOOT POINT, NOT A MUTE POINT, you FUCKING morons.

.:. Character Cliches .:. It is NOT so very, very necessary to the success of your story to have Jack say “Yeahsureyoubetcha.” It’s not, trust us on this. Really, it doesn’t need to be included just so you can prove to us that a) you’ve seen the show, and b) you MUST have Jack’s personality down to a T if he says “Yeahsureyoubetcha.” SURELY there are some other Minnesotan idioms you can scare up and use? How ’bout you do a little research and listen to “A Prairie Home Companion”? Just for shits ‘n’ novel giggles? Mind you, this is NOT to say that it’s inappropriate to USE “Yeahsureyoubetcha.” It’s charming. It’s Jack. But if it appears in every single one of a writer’s fic, WITHOUT FAIL, then there is a PROBLEM. With your imagination, or lack thereof.


.:. Beware the Homonym .:. That there are such things as HOMONYMS. You know, words that sound like the word you’re trying to use, but are NOT that word. For instance, it’s not a HOARD of aliens chasing after your heroes, it’s a HORDE.

.:. Dictionaries .:. The dictionary is your friend. Double-check those words you wouldn’t normally use. You cannot have someone’s back crisscrossed with whelps, those are WELTS. Unless there’s a HORDE of squirming puppies Superglued to your hero’s back, those are WELTS. Okay?

.:. Imaginary Word .:. There is no such word as IRREGARDLESS. It’s redundant. It makes you look incredibly stupid. Stop it. Right now.

.:. Lose/Loose .:. Loose and lose, redux. YOU CANNOT LOOSE YOUR MIND. YOU CANNOT BE A LOOSER. You can only be a loser when you let loose your mind and lose your pants in a crowded bar. Are we clear? PLEASE?

.:. Capitalizing Honorifics .:. “Sir” is only capitalized if it’s at the beginning of a sentence. It isn’t a rank, it’s only an acknowledgment of a rank, and usually one above your own but not always. Nothing more, just an acknowledgment. Do you capitalize the ‘you’ in Hey, you? Your answer should be ‘no’. Baby Jesuses the world over cry every time the line “Yes, Sir,” said Carter” is written. It’s: “Yes, sir.” I swear. I in fact promise.

.:. Story Summaries .:. Please, please, please, please, pllllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaase be kind and put a summary in your “look I wrote this thing!” post. If you’re going to go to the trouble of listing all eleventeen places you’ve archived your story, the least — LEAST — you can do is give me a bit of a run down. And don’t just quote a single, out of context line like that makes it okay. “Rodney looked at the screen, “Oh, God!” <--- See how not a summary? Not really saying anything important? Pretty much expected from the Rodney Character anyway so not exactly news? We'd like some idea of what it is you think is so awesometastic about your work.

.:. Young and Old .:. Some writers should have the ability to call Daniel “the younger man” stricken from their vocabulary. Really. Please. We KNOW he’s younger then Jack. Find another descriptor. You don’t need to tell us in every other line.

.:. Sam’s Panties & Bras .:. We Lulus are tired of seeing this. We’re talkin’ about the Discussion of Sam’s Underwear. In almost every “aliens made them do it” story we’ve read, SOMEONE has to make some pithy, snarky comment on Carter’s “grandma” panties or as one writer put it, a “bra that Stalin would have been proud of”. Dude. Stalinesque underwear? Boggle.

Just… man. Here’s the LAST place for slinky, sassy Victoria’s Secret: ON THE FREAKING BATTLE FIELD. And please, least you forget: on a FREAKING BATTLE FIELD that is THOUSANDS OF LIGHT YEARS FROM EARTH. Yeah. We’d like something that’s going to give us some comfort and support and not ride the hell up our ass or cut into our shoulder with its cleavage enhancing properties, thanks. Do you really think that that push up demi-cup is the best thing for crawling through tall grass to gather intel on Jaffa? How about some high, French cut panties when plotting the destruction of a Supergate? The answer to these and any other question even remotely similar is NO. N. O. And, just to wax practical for a second, if Sam is captured by less then polite individuals - does she want to give them any “ideas”? Yeah, didn’t think so.

We get that most of it is “prep” for the Jack and Daniel slash and there needs to be some sort of explanation why neither man is attracted to the Smokin’ Hot that is Samantha Carter and apparently attacking the poor woman’s military issue underwear is the way to go (of course, it’s just blithely ignored that Jack and Daniel are wearing less then sexy shorts themselves). But, hello — be less obvious? Hell, be less dumb. 99.9% of slashers are women. Are they trying to tell us that when they set a Saturday aside to finally tackle the monstrosity that is their garage then waltz in in their matching bikini briefs and front-clasping corset and expect to work comfortably? We laugh - HA HA - at the very idea.

.:. Biting .:. Recently one of us Lulus has become obsessed fascinated with “Absolute Power” episode tags, and the other Lulu has found much validity in her argument. You’d be amazed how many are out there! People like them their Naughty Daniel. Naughty Daniel tends to bite a lot. Which’s fine, we like us the biting. It’s all sexy and rough and grrr and territory marking. Excepting for when Daniel bites hard enough to break the skin. Uhm. Do you know how HARD you have to bite to break skin? Go on, try it. Gnaw a bit on your arm. If you want a more sensitive location, try nibbling right on the underside just before your armpit. Skin’s very thin there.

See how HARD you have to clamp down? See how much it HURTS? There’s nothing sexy here. We really don’t care how cold-hearted you write Daniel and how deep he is in his passions: if you’re biting down hard enough to break skin while pounding into someone, consensual or not, dude. Dude. Your partner isn’t going to be appreciative. Unless they themselves were previously very seriously into some Hard Core Lifestyle Situations, which is rarely the case. Usually Daniel’s partner is all “oh, that’s so fantastic, yes, more!” And as we’ve all demonstrated by our Biting Our Arm Tests, that ain’t gonna be the case, now is it.

And let us not forget poor Daniel. We imagine that if he’s in bed with his One True IngĂ©nue, he’s got better things to do with them then nearly dislocate his jaw.

We understand people are trying to draw a very clear distinction between Sweet & Gentle Daniel vs. World Dictator Daniel, but unless dictatorship suddenly comes with lockjaw, we honestly don’t see all this skin-breaking biting in the throws of passion. Biting, sure. Gnawing into someone’s shoulder, not so much.

Verisimilitude, people. It’s a Good Thing.

.:. How to Play Hockey .:. So Jack likes hockey. Gotcha. But you know what? If you’re going to write about it in any sort of terms, use any sort of detail, make it a point of interest to the story — you should REALLY know how hockey works. We’re not saying you should make yourself some sort of expert on the sport, but at least get yourself a working vocabulary. Google is a wonderful thing.

Hockey is played in periods, not quarters. And there are three of them, each 20mins long. It’s a puck; saying over and over “the black disk”, while poetic, makes it sound like you don’t know it’s a puck. If one player trips another player with his stick, it’s usually called “hooking” or “holding”, not “sticking”. The penalty called “sticking” is actually when you bring your stick up over the waist of another player (usually up by their face) and is usually referred to anyway as “high-sticking”. A “hat trick” means someone - the SAME someone - has scored three or more goals in a game. Not necessarily three in a row, and not three different guys on the same team but in a row.

Lulu of the Fairyglass likes hockey (Lulu of the Blue Lotus Petals is fairly eh on the whole subject). Lulu of the Fairyglass follows hockey and watches a lot of hockey. Ironically, she skates like a beached whale, but c’est la vie. If you’re going to have Jack recount a game to a (bored) Daniel, at least let Jack sound like he actually knows the sport he’s supposed to be so infatuated with.