tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

Rant: Enough Is Enough; or, Signs I've Read Too Much Fan Fiction

In other words: I've lost it, and it's time for another bitter, mean-spirited, entirely unnecessary rant. If you're still in the dewy-eyed phase of FF love - in other words, if you see nothing wrong with "Harry eagerly mouthed Snape's huge, aching, weeping cock, laving it with his tongue and nibbling it until Snape screamed with his gushing release" - don't look behind the cut.

Let's start with the three that commenters reminded me of after the last rant*.
  • Ghost. Very evocative, no doubt, of a sort of gentle, shivery, not-quite touch. But you can have too much of ghosting in a sex scene; we've reached a point where in some cases it seems to be not so much, say, Kowalski/Fraser as Kowalski/Fraser/Unusually Frisky Legions of the Undead.

  • Card. Again, a term that describes a certain behavior clearly, and we could all use clearer descriptions when it comes to FF. But, really, this one only works if one of the partners has long hair. Even then there should probably be a two-card limit in any given story. And please, folks, let us have no more carding of chest hair. This is only appropriate if one of the partners is a sheep. And no one should take that as an invitation to write sheepslash.

  • Shell of an ear. Unless your character has seashells attached to his head (and if he does, I love you), this phrase has extremely dubious utility. For one thing, it makes me mutter, "Your ears are like petals, Grace! Veritable petals!" And that kind of thing is really difficult to explain. For another, it has been done somewhere beyond being done to death. And, finally, the kicker: it isn't even that descriptive. Seriously. Go to a mirror. Look at your ear. Does it not look far more like a dried apricot or a prune than a shell? It does. So you should not use "he licked his shell of an ear" until you have used "he licked his prune of an ear" at least twice.
And now for the all-new ones, i.e., clear indications that I should be getting out more than I do. Or maybe meditating or something.
  • Sensitized. I happily read past this the first 3,000 times I saw it. The next 3,000, which seemed to pass in a matter of days, had me wincing slightly. I have now reached the point where I am so sensitized to "sensitized" that every time I see it I snap, "What, sensitive isn't good enough for you? Maybe you should try being sensitish or sensitic! Maybe you're suffering from sensitism! Maybe you're just too damn sensitiful and sensity and sensitianesque!"

  • Needful. Is there some Guide to Writing Good Hot Sex somewhere that says that "needful" is a sexy word and "needy" and "necessary" are not? Because even if there is, know that there's a lifetime limit on this word. And if you've written more than four thousand words of FF, you're probably over the limit already. Time to see what "needy" or "necessary" can do for you.

  • Fisting. Do I need to explain why this is a problem word? I do? OK. See, yes, this is a very evocative term to describe clenching, for example, the sheets, usually from sheer sexual ecstasy (but sometimes because your cock is sensitized, or because you're feeling needful). But it also describes a sex act, and, see...OK. I should not have to tell you about that sex act. If you're writing NC-17 FF, you should already know about it. So let me just say: it's a good word. In moderation. But maybe you want to think twice about it in certain contexts, and that goes triple if you're using it in the phrase "fisting his cock," which makes me recoil in horror every time I read it.

  • Flashing. This should be used exclusively to describe the activity involving a trenchcoat and a lack of underpants. The only appropriate use of the phrase "flashing eyes" is when one is describing Scott Summers without his glasses on. Also, tiny hint for you: if your original character has flashing eyes, you might want to ask someone for an unbiased opinion about whether she's a Mary Sue. Because the chance is there. More than there. I'm sorry, but it's better you know, right?

  • People are allowed to say things. Hell, I encourage it. In America, it's a right, written into the Constitution and everything. So no need to be shy about having your characters do it. Yes, "said" substitutes are occasionally nice, but if your characters routinely utter, wail, articulate, orate, hiss, declaim, or allow words to escape their lips, they're being drama queens. Annoying drama queens, if that isn't redundant. Someone needs to give them a good hearty smacking, and I would like to be the first to volunteer.

  • Random word mutations. "Never mind" is not one word. No, it isn't. No. It isn't. Neither is "all right." Neither is "shut up." Neither is "how come." This is not German, people. This is English, and we do not just randomly combine any damn words we feel like combining. We really don't. So stop writing as though we do.

  • Pleasure nubbins. Can we just say nipples? I can. Can we therefore skip nubs and buds and - please god no no no - nips? I definitely can, and I encourage you to give it a try.

  • Cunny, peach, box, yoni, ya-ya, and bunny. (Special thanks to norah for bringing up this one.) If you can't bring yourself to write "cunt," for god's sake don't think these words will let you off the hook. They will only put you on another hook - the one on which we hang people who use terrible, terrible synonyms for female genitals. It may be het, but that does not give you a free pass to write your sex scenes in language five-year-olds have given up as childish.

  • Towering, proud, generous, rampant, and jutting. Cocks do not tower, at least not in my world, and I am sincerely grateful for that. And while their owners may in fact be proud of them, cocks themselves typically do not have such high self-esteem. And, again, while their owners may be generous, cocks aren't usually all that philanthropic. (Yes, yes, I know the ones we read about do love men. It isn't the same thing at all. Trust me.) Rampant sounds like what a male bovine does on a hot day; cocks should not be rampant unless they are on a coat of arms (and if you've ever written about, say, Aragorn's coat of arms featuring nine cocks rampant, or whatever, know that I love you). And jutting is what piers do, for god's sake. Please, either find new adjectives or explore the world of adjective-free cocks. I'm begging.

  • Special note for Sentinel writers. "Hippie" is what Blair is. "Hippy" is what the women Blair dates (or, in your stories, probably doesn't date) are. When you say Blair is a hippy witchdoctor, what you're actually saying is that he's a curvaceous practitioner of traditional medicine. Which he isn't. Unless of course you want him to be - your story. But you should know what you're saying about the boy. (And please don't tell me the dictionary lists "hippy" as an alternate spelling for "hippie." I know that. It does that because people misuse the word so much. But when there's a choice between two spellings, and one spelling leads to confusion and one doesn't, do you know which one you should choose? That's right! The not-confusing one! We have enough trouble with pronouns in fan fiction without deliberately causing further confusion, y'know?)

  • Special note to Due South writers. "Mountie" is a noun. You can use it as an adjective, yes, but only with great caution. And be aware that phrases like "Mountie cock" and "Mountie ass" (especially if "hot, sweet" precedes "Mountie") can derail a sex scene like nothing else on this planet; yes, they can also work just fine, but if you're in any kind of doubt at all, you probably should just skip the whole Mountie thing. And while we're on the topic? I don't know what the hell a Mounty is, but he isn't a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. And please don't ever, ever, write a sentence thus: "The Mountie panted as he mounted Ray." Because those kinds of things can strike a person blind and insane.
Yes, I realize you're all thinking I need some kind of sedative, but these things needed to be said. They really did. Or, well, I needed to say them.


* Got one I didn't mention? I want to hear it. I encourage you to be as pedantic and difficult as possible; it will make me feel better about this rant, for one thing.
Tags: [rant]
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