Welcome to the profile of Opera and Cynic! Also known as Xela and TC. Skip the next few paragraphs to get to the guide.
Hello I'm Opera, but just call me Xela. My goal on the site is to find the best Phantom phanfic. Unfortunately the process is very slow, primarily because the IQ of the average writer is lower then that of a rotting corpse. (TC: Or George W. Bush. It's all the same. Did Xela mention we're a Republicans worst nightmare? With the exception of being gay. We're straight.) The Phantom movies I've seen are:
1. The original 1925 version starring Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin
2. The 1962 version starring Heather Sears and Herbert Lom
3. The 1974 parody The Phantom of the Paradise
4. The 1990 version starring Charles Dance and Teri Polo
5. The 2004 version starring Emmy Rossum and the incredibly hot Gerard Butler
(TC: Come on! Okay, he's hot, I guess, but he's so OLD!)
(Xela: Yes, TC, I am aware that there's a substantial age difference between us)
(TC: It's more like you and a 2 month old! Probably more like you and a kid that hasn't even been born yet. EWWWWWWW!)
(Xela: A therapist, TC, you really want to consider one)
(TC: I'd ask you but I think, if you like Gerard Butler that much, you need one more.)
6. The incredibly bizarre Dario Argento version where Erik doesn't have a mask but was instead raised by telepathic rats. It is also known as Il Fantasma dell'Opera.
(TC: We will often refer to this movie, and the phantom will simply be known as Rat boy. You really don't want to know why.)
7. The 2000 Disney movie The Phantom of the Megaplex.
8. The 1989 version starring Robert Englund and Jill Schoelen.
9. The 1943 version starring some people that I am currently too lazy to look up.
There are other versions that I hope to eventually watch, but for now I'll stay content with whatever Netflix has to offer.
Naturally I've read Gaston Leroux's novel and the Susan Kay version. I have also read Masquerade by Terry Pratchett, Phantoms don't Drive Sports Cars (Yes, I am aware that it's a children's book) by Debbie Dadey and Angel of the Opera by Sam Siciliano.
About me in general:
I'm in high school... And I want to be a psychiatrist, specializing in sexual disorders, when I get older. I love musicals, my favorites being Phantom of the Opera (of course), Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate and Starlight Express (A very entertaining musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber). I cannot stand High School Musical, Vanessa Anne Hudgens' voice makes me want to drive a nail through my eardrum. I actually enjoy opera (TC: How many of those are left in the world?) and I'm currently in the middle of watching Carmen.
And now for the person you're actually interested in. (TC: Of course, I am awesome. Just kidding... well, not really. My ego isn't the necessarily size of Texas...but it's pretty close on my bad days.)
Okay, well I'm in high school as well, and the elder of us. So...I guess I should tell you my interests. I enjoy acting. I've had several speaking roles in a variety of plays, my favorite ones were in Oliver and Peter Pan where I began to cultivate my English accent. I love to read. So, seriously, if you need a beta, Xela and I will work some time into our schedules and take a look. Or if you want to chat about a book, email us. I can make some recommendations and I'm certainly eager to take some.
My favorite genres are:
Science Fiction (Mercedes Lackey type-stuff)
Historical Fiction (The crusades, very early history, and, my favorite, Elizabethan era.)
Fiction (Susan Kay or Terry Prachet type-stuff.)
Anyway, back to the actual fanfiction related stuff!
I warn you though, if Xela or I read a story that... well... sucks (Sorry, no way to put tact into that.) Xela and I will most likely review it. She'll probably be the nicer with constructive criticism, while I will be the one to flame. Just a little if you made an effort, a lot if you're a total butt face. That is why I'm the cynic in operacynic. My words of wisdom: GET USED TO IT! (Xela: I apologize, she forgot to take her Midol this morning )
(TC: Well, I didn't have chocolate either, that's probably most of it. Or I'm just like this. Your choice.)
Anyway, I want to be an editor but I really enjoy debating. But, be warned, if you insult Xela or I be prepared for some mental pain.
But I'm usually not that bad. I don't initiate confrontations. I finish them.
So, that's us! If you want to talk, email. (TC: I promise not to be mean right away!) So if you need a beta, you just want to chat, or you want to rant about the stupidity of authors that give up originality and get the main character pregnant. (TC: It's very annoying. Some people need to learn to think outside the box.)
We're currently betaing for MJ MOD's The Science of Love . We also are going to be Aphroditebehindthemask's betas, but so far she hasn't sent us anything to correct. Last, we will soon be beta-ing for the very intelligent K.J. Briseis. However, despite all this we're very much open to other jobs if you need two excellent betas (TC: HINT HINT).
(Xela: TC, full of yourself at all?)
(TC: What? Me? Never. What are you on? The noxious gases in that telepathic rat Phantom movie?)
(Xela: Is that a cover up for your own drug addiction?)
(TC: You'd think I'd do drugs? You are on something!)
(Xela: Okay, TC, I give up)
(TC: Seriously, you should've learned by now not to mess with a to-be lawyer. Now back to you Xela, with the weather!)
Um, okay, thanks. Now, when most people start an account they use their profile to talk about themselves, talk about their writing or simply bitch about the things that irk them. Our goal, however, is for anyone who views this profile to use it as a guide. We will address certain issues in fan fiction, and tell you exactly what to avoid.
(TC: Once we get it up and running. That might take awhile since I'm going to add a lot of awesome html to make it pretty :) )
We're currently in the process of e-mailing a few very good authors on this website for reading and writing tips. A big thanks to the authors who've e-mailed us back: MJ MOD, ToryD, DonJuanTriumphs, Kat097, JustBFree and EverspringNative.
This guide will be told mostly in first person point of view, so when I say 'I', I am referring to me, Xela. When I say 'we' I am referring to both TC and I. TC will interject comments every once in awhile.
(TC: Don't worry, it'll always be in parenthesis. You'll be able to tell. Also there, will be my trademark, never-use-any-EVER sarcasm)
Thank you once again, TC. Now, let us begin!
A GUIDE TO FANFICTION
KNOW THE LINGO
These are terms that you'll want to know before you begin reading fan fiction.
Slash= A homosexual pairing. The term is generally used for male/male pairings but can also be used for female/female pairings. These stories can be written by anyone with an open mind.
Femslash and/or yaoi= A homosexual pairing between two women. These stories tend to be written by fifteen-year-old boys "with only one hand on the keyboard". (TC: Um, ew. Seriously.)
Lemon= Simply means a story with sex scenes in it. Usually they're very smutty and detailed.
Lime= A story with sex scenes in it, but these tend to be a lot cleaner and less smutty.
Incest= Short for incestuous, which means pairings between family members. I honestly don't really know what type of people write these stories, but I hope that they'll get psychiatric help as soon as possible.
Mary Sue= A character with absolutely no faults. Authors love their Sues while all readers want to see them ripped in multiple directions by wild mustangs. Sues tend to be a disgusting mixture of what the author is like and wants to look like. In Phantom fan fiction they are sometimes referred to as Maria Suzettes. Something similar is a Tough Mary Sue, which is a Sue that's even more annoying than the first. These Mary Sues have had hard lives and know how to defend themselves. They also tend to lack manners, use language that would make even the Hell's Angels blush and are HUGE know-it-alls. All authors think that their Sues are really cool and secretly want to be like them. Readers, on the other hand, want to see them bitch-slapped and then disemboweled.
(TC: Well. Xela OBVIOUSLY doesn't have any issues with Mary Sues)
Mpreg= This is an abbreviation for "Male pregnancy" and it means exactly what it looks like. Yes, you may laugh. This tends to be the product of an author who can't tell the difference between a human being and a sea horse.
OOC= This is a word used for when characters aren't behaving like themselves, or in other words "Out of Character". It's usually a product of an unintelligent author. IC is when a character is "In Character."
OC= Original characters thought up by the author and brought into the plot. They tend to turn into Mary Sues and rarely will you find a reader who actually likes them. A similar word would be OW, which means original woman.
Ship= To support a certain pairing between certain characters. A Shipper a someone who strongly supports a pairing.
(TC: Like Xela, for example, strongly supports almost any phanfics with an Erik/Christine pairing.)
First letter of a character's name/first letter of another character's name= This refers to the pairing within the story. For example: EC and/or E/C means Erik and Christine pairing.
Combining the first letters of a title with the word "fan"= This means what you are a fan of. For example: A Phantom of the Opera fan is called a "Phan" while a V for Vendetta fan is called a "Van". This can also apply to other words besides "fan".
CONDUCTING YOUR RESEARCH
Obviously before reading and especially writing, you must know the subject.
(TC: Well, obviously. Only a total impulsive and/or stupid person wouldn't do research!)
To do this, we recommend reading two books.
(TC: At least!)
First, most definitely, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. This is the novel that started it all.
(TC: The Phantom looks a bit like Skeletor only with a smaller chest and a nicer voice)
Second, Phantom by Susan Kay. This is the novel authors commonly refer to when writing about Erik's past, in general, or with Nadir Khan.
(TC: Where the Phantom is uglier than Skeletor! This book actually made me cry. Scary isn't it?)
Yes, TC, it's terrifying.
(TC: Shut up! At least I have emotions. Your heart is a block of ice!)
I am going to ignore that, because it's true. We also recommend watching at least one movie, preferably the 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber version starring Emmy Rossum (Christine), Patrick Wilson (Raoul) and Gerard Butler (The Phantom, Erik).
(TC: Most phan-girls love the movie, because of Gerard Butler, if nothing else. Including ice-queen Xela)
Gerard Butler's characterization is commonly used in fan fiction, but you'll read about this a little later.
Now this can also apply to other areas of fan fiction as well. To make a long story short, if you're going to write a fanfic about a movie, check to see if there is a book first. If you're going to write a fanfic about a cartoon or TV show, watch as many episodes as possible and look up the shows on the Internet.
(TC: OKAY!!We get it! STOP!! You like emphasizing the obvious too much.)
I recommend http:/// for looking up shows. When writing for a book, make sure you have read the book more than once and also look it up on the Internet to get other people's opinions and interpretations on it. Forums can be very informative and there's almost always one crazy fan out there who has devoted an entire website to the subject that you're interested in.
(TC: What part of "STOP!!" do you not understand? No comprendes. Ella es muy estupida y loca, mas o menos. Take that, you Spanish 1/2 student! Go Spanish 3/4!)
Once again, I apologize. And don't worry, I'm almost done.
(TC: Yeah, sorry about the outburst. I had a veinte White Mocha. All that coffee and sugar...)
Last, and this is probably the most important thing to do, read the fan fiction for that subject! This shows you what fans want to read and also gives you a hint to see how original your ideas are.
(TC: Originality is a must. If I had a nickel for every time someone wrote out Raoul to be a bad guy... I would be richer than Bill Gates, Oprah, and Donald Trump combined! Don't do it, unless you have a KICK-ASS reason. Otherwise, well... it probably won't be pretty...)
Thank you, TC, but Raoul will be addressed later.
(TC: Well, they should have some idea, now. Before the un-originality begins its take over. I swear, it's like a disease...)
Oh, and I just remembered, if your going to address certain issues (e.g. rape, miscarriage, the pleasure principle, sexism, medical facts, etc.) in fan fiction that you don't 100 percent understand, LOOK IT UP. It's much better to be safe than sorry.
DonJuanTriumphs and Kat097 recommend: . Though don't trust wikipedia too much. Sometimes people purposely go on the website and change information (Xela: Hint, hint TC. Remember what tu novio stated).
CREATING AN ACCOUNT
This is actually very easy, but here are a few helpful suggestions:
1. Start a new e-mail account specifically for fan fiction. This way it helps protect your real identity. And trust me, people can easily figure out your identity from your e-mail address. To put a stop to that, simply click "Edit" and change, at the very least, your last name. Also, it helps in the event that you begin to have serious trouble with the people on fan fiction, so that you won't have to worry about having to start a new account and losing the information you had in the previous one.
(TC: I mean, do you really think that our email address is opera_cynic, on anything other then fanfic? Seriously.)
2. When writing your profile, click save every few lines. Fanfiction is difficult because the moment you click "back" everything is deleted. It's tiresome, but it's worth not having your work deleted. Trust me, we've learned from experience.
(TC: If I didn't have such a good memory, most of the original stuff we had would have been, well, toast)
3. Don't spend your time attempting to be funny/weird/smart because honestly, you're not. You can tell a lot about the author from their profile and if they can't take that seriously, how could they take their writing seriously? It doesn't necessarily matter what you use it for, but I'd recommend using it to explain your writing and the reasoning behind it, rather than what you look like and "clever" quotes that your friends sometimes say when they're pretending to be mentally insane.
(TC: Unless your being smart-ass/cynical. And you're aware of what your writing.)
AURTHUR VS. AUTHOR
The word "aurthur" has history, but do to our intense fear of being reported, we choose not to disclose it.
(TC: Let's just say the original word was a spelling mistake from an aurthur, in every sense of the word. That aurthur had grammar, punctuation, spelling, plot mistakes, as well as little or no research done on the subject. I digress, they meant to spell author and, failed miserably, just like their story.)
An "aurthur" is a writer who is so painfully pathetic/stupid-
(TC: There's really no other word for it. Some of them should...well, I don't want to say anything I shouldn't...but I'm tempted to.)
-at what they are attempting to do, that the only possible way to redeem themselves would be to pull all of their stories from the website and never touch a keyboard again.-
(TC: Whoa, there Xela. You don't want to get us reported. I don't want to type this up from memory. Again. So, fan fiction writers, you should grasp that aurthur is NOT a term to be taken lightly or bandied about. It's pretty harsh. The only reason I'm letting Xela type the next line is because it ties into Ray Bradbury, so is not entirely random/weird)
-So horrible is their work, that should it ever be published, Ray Bradbury himself would strike the first match.
(TC: Ouch. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is from the nice one. Get on my bad side, and it will be much more painful. So just know if you start an insult war, well, it will not end in your favor.)
However, there is good news. It is not easy to become an aurthur. You would have to make constant mistakes, ignore advice given to your and overreact to bad reviews. Making a few mistakes does not make you an aurthur.
(TC: In conclusion, you would have to be born as unintelligent as George W. Bush, who makes constant mistakes, ignores advice, and overreacts to criticism. And believe me, very few people are that stupid. As of January 4th, 2007 we've only encountered one. Who started an insult war. She hasn't replied to our last retort.)
GRAMMAR, SPELLING, PUNCTUATION: WHY YOU NEED A BETA
Basically a beta is someone who corrects your mistakes, offers ideas, and gives advice.
(TC: So, to summarize, an editor.)
Unfortunately, some authors actually think that they don't need a beta. Do not be fooled by this! Betas are extremely important, because they prevent you from making an ass out of yourself.
However, not everyone can be a beta. Betas have to be able to spell correctly, use excellent grammar and know what punctuation mark to use.
(TC: So a beta is used to prevent yourself from becoming an aurthur. And a beta cannot be an aurthur...what twisted, deformed mind would even THINK THAT?)
Thank you, TC. Though finding a beta is not difficult. Here is what you should do:
1. Type up your first chapter. Go over it until you can't find any mistakes.(TC: Make it perfect, you can even ask friends and family for help.)
2. In the author's note (TC: It looks like this: A/N) state that you are looking for a beta (TC: Or two...hint hint).
3. Wait for responses. People love being betas, simply because it means that they're second-in-command.
4. Do not give up hope if no one offers. Simply post another "perfect" chapter (TC: If no one responds after the second perfect chapter, email us. We'll look it over.)
5. When you receive your offers, look into their profiles. Choose the one one who is, in your opinion, the most literate/intelligent/ knows what the hell they're talking and writing about.
6. Send them an e-mail, accepting their offer, and then once you are done with the next chapter, send it to your beta. They'll correct it and send it back to you.
7. Keep in mind, betas can't catch everything. It's up to both of you to do your best.
8. Don't expect your chapter back immediately. Betas do not have super powers, they cannot take one look at it, correct it, then send it back to you in five minutes. Give them plenty of time.(TC: Yeah. I'd estimate 1-3 days for fast betas. Well, if it's over 3-4 pages.)
As for the Betas: Remember, it is not your story! It is your job to help the author, not be the author!
Now, everyone forgets grammar rules sometimes, so here's a website just in case:
(TC: 9. Good luck! In a completely non-sarcastic way : )
(TC: Utilize an expansive lexicon! Maximize your locution choice, and keep a thesaurus in close proximity at all times!)
Folks, she's like that without a thesaurus.
Okay, there really isn't much to say about this section, except for, USE BIG WORDS. Why? They make you seem more intelligent, and when you seem more intelligent, people write off your mistakes as typos. All you need is a thesaurus.
We recommend these internet addresses:
PICK AN ALW CAST
This section is actually quite pointless, but if you do it correctly, you seem smarter.
Simply, pick your favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber cast, and make sure that it is not the 2004 movie cast.
Who's your favorite singer for Erik? Christine? Raoul? Carlotta? Some random dude?
For some inexplicable reason, you are looked down upon if you believe that the 2004 cast is the best cast ever. To say that Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum are the best Erik and Christine EVER means that you clearly haven't done enough research to hear any other casts.
(TC: It's okay to have the appearance of someone in one cast and the voice of someone in a different cast. For example you can have Gerrard Butler as Erik, but with Michael Crawford's voice. I have a feeling there are a lot of Gerik stories, so you're in good company.)
However, to save you time and energy, I'll give you the basic singers you should know about:
1. Sarah Brightman- She is the ORIGINAL Christine. In fact, when she was married to Mr. Webber, it is said that he wrote the music specifically for her voice. Here she sings "Think of Me": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWm36HAgk8U
2. Michael Crawford- He is the ORIGINAL Phantom (Erik). He tends to be everyone's favorite. Here he sings "Music of the Night": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqKuKqmcMIk
Together they sing "The Phantom of Opera": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REr5N3ZnefA
3. Rebecca Caine- She is the Canadian Christine, and probably has the most superior voice. She's my personal favorite. Here she sings "Think of Me": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoPD_g2b714
4. Colm Wilkinson- He's the Canadian Erik. We honestly cannot stand his singing and think that it's ironic that he's paired with the woman with the best voice. Alas, people like him, especially in Les Miserables. Here he sings (TC: In this mildly-okay quality video) "Music of the Night": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrIcKiQ3A1c
Together they sing "The Phantom of the Opera": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTya4eouSqA
5. Lisa Vroman- Considered one of the three best Christines, the other two being Sarah and Rebecca. She's really impresive during the cadenza at the end of "The Phantom of the Opera". My Science teacher actually met her! I couldn't find any good quality videos where she sings alone, so here she sings "The Phantom of the Opera" with Colm Wilkinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktLJYxv6vSA
6. Claire Moore- She's just good at what she does. However, her last note at the end of "The Phantom of the Opera" wasn't as... amazing as it could have been. Here she sings "Think of Me": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PQ8InX4VL8
7. Steve Barton- He is the ORIGINAL Raoul. Out of all of the Raouls we've heard, he is probably the best. Here he sings "All I Ask of You": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKAmUveubZw
That's basically it. Though, our favorite cast is the Italian 2004 movie cast. It stars Luca Velletri as Erik, Renata Fusco as Christine and Pietro Pignatelli as Raoul. Here are some Clips:
Renata Fusco- "Think of Me"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYTiS9hUthg
Luca Velletri- "Music of the Night"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1XDVIydASM
Luca Velletri and Renata Fusco- "Phantom of the Opera"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baG2IJM50S0
Renata Fusco and Pietro Pignatelli- "All I Ask of You"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiRs-o9YAJs
If you go to the person who posts these videos, GrobanPhreak11284's profile, you can find many more videos by this cast.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF AUTHORS
All authors tend to fall into certain categories, and here we've listed as many as possible.
Not an Aurthur but really close-
At least they got something right-
Ha! I actually thought that they were smart-
Pretty good, but could use some work-
They've got talent-
ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE VOCABULARY IN M-RATED FAN FICTION
(Warning: There's going to be some harsh and disgusting language used, and if you never read M-rated material and don't plan to, or you think you're too young to be reading this, please skip the following section. You've been warned.)
As we all should know, certain vocabulary should never be used in fan fiction. These words tend to fall into two categories; "slang" and "scientific terms".
Slang should never be used because it makes the author look unintelligent, as if stating that they couldn't think of any better words to use so they decided to take the easy way out and pray that no one would notice. When using slang it's also like a domino effect, for if you look unintelligent you look like a foul-mouthed pervert. And we doubt highly that you would want to seem that way.
(TC: And if you do...then why the hell are you reading this? You obviously don't care about your work)
The scientific terms should never be used because they remind the reader of what the characters are ACTUALLY DOING. When you use the scientific terms the act looks disgusting, when it should be romantic. You are NOT trying to write a term paper on the libido of fictional characters, you're trying to create a nostalgic setting in which your chosen characters consummate their love for one another.
(TC:Or something slightly less cliche)
Here are the words that should NEVER be used in your writing. As authors' mental calibers shrink the list will grow:
1. Penis/ Cock/ Dick/ Bratwurst/ Sword/ Giant Steel Rod/ Mr. Happy/ Prick
These phrases also shouldn't be used, and fall into the slang category:
(TC: Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, etc.)
These words and phrases are best used sparingly, and only when the time really calls for it:
(TC: Though, please try to avoid using it. It can really ruin a piece of writing)
We will state it once again. Do NOT use the above mentioned words when writing a sex scene, no matter what the situation. Even if it's a case of rape or someone cheating on their lover or one-night stand. Do NOT use them.
This list will be continued, because authors and aurthurs have the tendency to be even dumber than we thought possible.
(TC: Hey, it could be worse. They could be Bush.)
And no, I did not just get rid of every possible word you can use. There are plenty of others, you just have to be careful. And if you can't do that, then be incredibly vague.