Author has written 38 stories for Weiss Kreuz, Transformers/Beast Wars, Gundam Wing/AC, Big O, Harry Potter, M*A*S*H, Dark City, Godzilla, Cyborg 009, 9, Samurai 7, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tsubasa Chronicle, Minecraft, MiyukiChan in Wonderland, xxxHOLiC, and Kuroshitsuji.
I'm a mathematician, programmer, and fan of anime. I'm also the husband and primary beta-reader of user Sybil Rowan. I write a lot more code than fanfaction (a relatively recent hobby, thanks to my wife). What I've discovered is that I enjoy finding the interesting things that people don't seem to be interested in. How does a maniac think? What is arithmancy? What's it like to know the future? These types of questions prick at my brain. Some of my stories will have more obvious math/programming influences than others. I think I tend to view the world a bit oddly. If you like my stories, leave a review. If you don't, leave one anyway. I tend to read stories of those who review mine.
For those who want to know more about me, there are two easy ways. 1) You can browse over to the CodeCall programming forum. 2) you can wander over to my blog at WordPress or at LiveJournal. I didn't have to use 73 to make it unique. At CodeCall you'll see what I think about coding and technology. At WordPress you'll see what I think about religion and politics. Here, you'll see my thoughts on stories. If you want to see my random thoughts, many political, you can check out my Twitter account: @WingedPanther73. I've also set up an irc channel, #fanfiction, on irc.rizon.net. PM me if you're interested in connecting, but need help.
Oh, the 73 is because I was born in 1973. I keep running into other people who somehow found the great ID of "WingedPanther". Rather than give up when it's taken, I append my birth year to it. Depending on your age as you read this I could be anything from an old square to a young whipper-snapper. Regardless, I remember when you didn't have to be 18 to watch good movies and "horror" didn't mean "mindless, slightly boring gore-fest".
And if you're reading this, my darling Sybil Rowan, I love you with all my heart.
For those wondering where I play MC, it's at 198 . 12 . 64 . 238 : 25565
Sybil Rowan and WingedPanther's tips for writing GOOD fanfiction.
1) Get a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. This has all the latest tips for smooth writing. It also contains up-to-date grammar rules.
2) Sybil always reads everything out loud. It's amazing how much you catch that way. Awkward phrases, incorrect pronouns, and missing commas.
3) Get to know your characters. The whole point of fanfiction is to put the characters you know and love in unique plots and/or settings. If you don't feel comfortable with a character, Winged recommends that you take a scene from your fandom and write it from that character's point of view. It's amazing how much insight you can gain from simply forcing yourself to understand why a character did and said the things he/she did in the fandom. Sybil was able to give Trowa Barton (from Gundam Wing) amnesia without changing his personality. That's why we know this can and should be done. This will also help you avoid problems with #9 below.
4) Always remain in the point of view of the character you're working with. It's never OK to switch from one character's point of view to another's in the middle of a scene. You must either break the scene or make the character with privileged information reveal it either through dialogue or actions (if you're lucky, your character's a telepath, thank goodness for Schuldig and Ivan!).
5) Sybil is a firm believer that you can never have too few “that”s. That is her firm belief. If you say “that” all the time, you get the feeling that you're being repetitive. That gets boring for the reader. That's a really good way to slow down the pacing as well. Don't do that. Winged is a little more lenient, but he also wrote the preceding to make the point, got that?
6) Always eliminate as many state of being verbs and modals as possible. In other words, eliminate “was”, “were”, “should”, “could”, etc. Make the verb active and past tense (unless in dialogue). It's OK to use modals in dialogue, because that's how people speak.
7) Have a point. No one wants to read your stream-of-consciousness experiments. Have a plot. Have a goal. Even a two page story should at least convey something about the characters. You can do experimental stuff (Winged certainly does) and you don't have to plan it all out (Winged doesn't), but you should have a purpose for putting your fingers to the keyboard.
8) Eliminate extraneous words. “Less is more.” This means that you don't have to go into extreme detail about the luxurient, honey-blonde, wavy, shoulder-length hair with red highlights and neatly trimmed bangs on your original character. She's blond. You can mention the highlights later. Nobody really cares. Your goal is to tell a story, not to take a photograph.
9) This brings us to the infamous Mary Sue phenomenon. If you don't know, a “Mary Sue” story is a story with an original character that overshadows the canon characters. You can read Winged's Mary Sue and Gary Stu stories for some parodies on this. Basically, there is nothing wrong with an original character, but that character cannot warp the other characters in order to be the star. For example, if you're writing a Star Wars fan fic, you cannot CANNOT CANNOT have an original character that makes Yoda look like a wimp. Sybil's working with a Battleship Yamato fanfic author who has done a wonderful job creating an original character and blending her into the existing canon. It can be done. You know you're on the wrong track if the most stoic male in canon starts gushing and sending roses and writing love letters. Think Han Solo as a hopeless romantic as something to avoid. See also #3 above.
10) Always have another set of eyes look over your stuff before posting it. You don't want to embarrass yourself. Granted, we find flaws in our stories after posting them, but we keep the errors to a minimum.
11) Your spell checker is your FRIEND! Use it. If you have a grammar checker, use that too. This doesn't replace having another person read your story, but will make things easier on that person. If your proof-reader opens the file and sees a bunch of red squiggly lines, it doesn't make him/her feel respected. That is not how you want to treat someone who's doing you a favor.
12) Eliminate speech tags. These are things like “he said”, “she exclaimed”, “he bemoaned”. Usually, they simply aren't necessary. You should always be able to tell who's speaking by the words being used. If need be, have the appropriate character DO something to keep the reader oriented. A useful experiment is to write a scene as pure dialog, and do it in a way that makes it clear who's speaking at all times. See also #3 above.
13) One of the keys to keeping the story moving is to use short sentences. “Bob hit Joe. Joe collapsed with a sore jaw.” is much better than “Bob struck out at Joe's chin. Flailing wildly, he managed to connect with a loud, crisp smack that sent Joe stumbling backwards, arms windmilling wildly, collapsing despite his best efforts to remain upright.” Unless your scene needs a little drama or comedy, avoid the second. Short, punchy sentences communicate action and speed. Long sentences slow down the action.
14) Find your own voice. If you think one of us has a great writing style, thanks! However, you'll notice that our writing styles are very different. Winged tends to write longer sentences and more analytic stories. Sybil focuses heavily on characters, with shorter sentences and longer, more detailed stories. Winged focuses on scenes, Sybil focuses on action. Your voice will be different from both of ours. Always write from your heart/gut, first. Then worry about editing. A good book to help get you inspired is Zen and the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury.
15) Read a lot. Not just modern novels, but older literature as well. Shakespeare, for example, can give you a lot of inspiration. Knowing the old Greek legends can provide you with lots of ideas. Reading Like A Writer, by Francine Prose, gives a lot of examples of how to pull ideas from other writers and use them to improve your own. This is a particularly important tip for people writing Cartoon/Anime fanfics. You are NOT directing an episode! You are working with a very different medium from the original story. Don't use chibi gimmicks, for example. It works visually, it fails literarily.
16) One other thing: comedy. Don't fool yourself, it is HARD to write. Winged generally avoids this. Sybil enjoys it. The key is word choice. Look at the two examples in #13 above. Notice the great difference in the choice of words, details, etc. Any David Sedaris essay will show you how word choice can make the difference between a slightly dull story and a side-splittingly funny story. You may have to use a few extra words, but it's usually a matter of opening your thesaurus and picking a substitute with a slightly more specific connotation.
17) Use specific language. Don't say things like “The nondescript person walked down the nondescript corridor to an ordinary, somewhat triangular door.” Don't use contradictory or confusing descriptions either. “The masculine girl strolled down the exciting, unadorned passageway towards the oblong, circular door.” It leaves your reader wondering what to believe. Have a consistent message, say it, and move on.
18) Please, learn a few, basic comma rules. You can find them with a simple google search, but once again, make sure you've picked up Elements of Style (only about 10). They're all in there, and they matter.