You can call me Hal.

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The taller man, the younger man, the redhead, and the Slytherin.
Quick writing question for you. I don't actually use epithets like "the younger man" and "the Slytherin" when I write. I stick with names: Mulder, Draco, Kaidoh, Jack. It sometimes sounds a little funny to me, since you have to use names a lot more often in slash to get around the pronoun problem. But I think it sounds less funny than all the odd ways to get around it.

Where I get confused, though, is when a character has more than one commonly used version of their name. Not given and family names -- I choose one. But sometimes you have "Wesley" and "Wes". Or "Momoshiro" and "Momo". "Daniel" and "Danny". Is it best to pick one of those and stick with it? Or does it sound OK to vary them? What would you do?

And what about the epithets? Do you like them? (I confess, while I don't like them in general, I have a bit of a kink for reading about Skinner kissing/fucking/beating up "his agent". Mmm.)

What's the best one you ever heard? I recall reading a PoT story which kept referring to Oishi as "the former fuko-bucho" and Momo as "the dunk-smash specialist".

If you have no opinion on that, do you prefer your apple pie with ice cream or cheddar cheese?

When the character has more than one version of his/her name, I stick with the one the viewpoint character would usually use in the body of the text, but sometimes vary it in dialogue, when appropriate.

Epithets generally annoy me.

I like apple crisp better than apple pie, 'cos I'm not too fond of pie crust, and preferably plain either way, but if I have to choose, definitely ice cream over cheese (but I like cheese better than pie, if it's good cheese. Just not with pie).

I second this -- I have a long thing I'm working on where one character is usually referred to as Virginia, except from the pov of one person who thinks/refers to her as Ginger, primarily because it annoys her. So, from his pov she's Ginger. Everyone else, Virginia.

My dad liked cheddar cheese. Me -- I like my apple pie double-crusted and with sour cream on top.

And I use epithets when the pov character in question is regarding the other person as that epithet. Maybe no one else does it, but I do think of people by their roles, sometimes.

I loathe the epithets. Particularly, "the werewolf" (only Snape or someone who didn't like him would refer to Remus like that; certainly never Sirius or James and likely never himself, either).

As for Wes and Wesley etc. I think it depends - When I write Remus/Hermione, if it's from her POV, I generally have her start out calling him Lupin or Professor Lupin, and then becoming more informal as the relationship progresses, to where she'll call him Remus in narration and speech (sometimes in one or the other, but not both, depending).

I'm also picky about when MWPP used their nicknames, or, rather, Remus rarely calls the others by their nicknames, Sirius and James call each other Padfoot and Prongs (why the hell do people short it to Pads? It's already a nickname) all the time, because they think they're clever, and they call Remus "Moony" when they want something from him (and my Sirius still does use it as a cajoling technique in the narrative present; he's the only one allowed to use it). Peter likes when they call him Wormtail because it means he's included, but he hates the name.

Of course, once he's in service to Voldemort, he's always Wormtail to the DEs, but I can't quite decide if Sirius and Remus would consider "Peter" or "Wormtail" the more affectionate name or think of Peter as the boy they knew and use Wormtail as a epithet for the betrayer...

Otherwise, though, unless it's done on the show (people call Dan Rydell both Dan and Danny, depending on their relationship; same with Cordelia-Cordy), I stick with one name unless there's a compelling reason not to (dialogue, of course, sometimes requires more or less formality - Rupert v. Ripper v. Giles, for example).

I wonder *why* Voldemort called Peter "Wormtail". How did he know that was P's nickname? I guess Voldemort could have ripped it from his mind.

It always makes me think of Saruman and Wormtongue. "Worm, Worm..."

i think the question mightbe related to your preference for beating up *his* agent...if you're in someone's pov it might be appropriate to use the nick name whereas it is not when you're in an outside omniscient pov. like, you can't switch back between first and last name either. he's draco to the narrator or malfoy, ben or fraser. switching signals some central shift in thinking, i'd argue.

so *his* agent is a completely different ball game than *the* agent and thus there should be an epithet exclusion rule (i mean, we can see molly say my oldest son whereas such a term would drive most readers up the wall...the oldest son entered the house??? not really.

can i have some crackers and grapes with the cheese???

Yeah, I'm pretty clear except for when someones's got two versions of the name that people use.

I suppose that since we're taught that when writing in English, we shouldn't re-use the same word too often, people think that ought to apply to names as well.

And what about the epithets? Do you like them?
Personally, I loathe epithets. I find them to be confusing and very irritating -- I'd rather read the character's name over and over than deal with "the green-eyed boy". I used to think that "the Slytherin" and "the blond" bad, but after getting into PoT, I was bombarded with even more ridiculous epithets (I mean, c'mon, "the violet-eyed boy"?? And continous referral to Ryoma as "boy wonder" drove me nuts).
As you can see, I have much hatred towards epithets (and I've actually wrote a few rants about them *facepalms*. ^^;;

Is it best to pick one of those and stick with it? Or does it sound OK to vary them? What would you do?
Hmm, I think I might switch if I changed POVs in the middle of the fic (depending on the character and the situation). Otherwise, I'd stick to just on.

Apple pie and cheddar cheese? Give me chocolate ice cream any day. ;)

Oops, and I apparently have no concept of grammar -- I meant "...I've actually written...". *more facepalms*

from The Big List of Fanfic Peeves:

The little thief fucked the burly rebel so hard that he screamed as he came, waking up the emotionless computer expert. The Auron telepath had been awake for some time, and she nudged the blonde pilot, who woke with a big jerk. The big jerk grumbled, "My limiter is killing me."

In fact, use (and overuse) of epithets are Peeve One.

(Or should that be "is"?)

Hee! Thanks for posting the link! Très amusant!

there once was a good post about epithets and how overdone usage might make you think 5 people are involved when really you are only writing about two. i think you should go with your gut feeling. depending on your pov, "the younger man" or "the Slytherin/Potions master/werewolf" can throw the reader, but if written in longer paragraphs i also try to find other descriptions to use than just the names.

we are not even in the habbit, but i think i like pie with cream. the cheddar cheese thing i had not even heard of until recently.

It's an epithet orgy! That would be good for badfic, methinks.

I don't mind epithets, and I use them and no one has ever complained--but I think that's because I'm careful about it.

I only use epithets that I think are appropriate, as opposed to just factual. For instance, don't use "the younger boy" or "the man"/"the boy" unless you want to emphasise the age difference. WORD on the use of "the werewolf" for Remus. Not only would it be used by someone who didn't like him, but it produces a mental image of his partner actually fucking the werewolf, not human!Remus. "The Potions Master" cracks me up--excuse me, is he making potions in bed?

I think a lot of people use epithets without really thinking about what they actually mean, and that's sloppy writing, so of course you notice it.

Yeah, so long as you're careful, it can be OK. I recall I used both "Percy" and "the boy" when I was writing Snape/Percy from Snape's POV, so I could emphasize that Snape was fucking his student.

I stick with names: Mulder, Draco, Kaidoh, Jack. It sometimes sounds a little funny to me, since you have to use names a lot more often in slash to get around the pronoun problem.

I hear that, though I honestly think it's more of a problem for the writer than the reader. Names in a narrative tend to be more like identifiers than something the brain needs to process before it is absorbed, likesay, in the manner of an epithet. I compare it to using the word 'said' as opposed to, say, 'ejaculated'. You wouldn't really need to linger over 'said', whereas with 'ejaculated' you're gonna go, 'Oh, wow, okay. He just ejaculated that sentence.' Same thing with names. I think you're just hyper-aware of your words as you're writing, so the names can stand out to you, whereas the epithets stand out to the reader. I once had a relative tell me that when he is finished reading a book, he can very rarely remember the names of the characters, because his brain processes them as identifiers (which epithets are attempting and failing to achieve) and not a word-choice.

Also, I think this is particularly a problem when writing smut because of the obvious logistics involved, but if I feel that pronoun/name placement is getting difficult, it's usually a good sign that I'm focusing too much on the physicality ('this goes here, he's doing this') of the moment and should try a different tactic.

Names in a narrative tend to be more like identifiers than something the brain needs to process before it is absorbed, likesay, in the manner of an epithet.

Yes! I think this is a great explanation. Like your relative, I have problems remembering names of characters, and I dislike epithets; they are very distracting.

I also weigh in on the anti-epithets side. That really only works if you have an intrusive narrator with a voice of her own, a la the nineteenth century novel. Very occasionally I will use something like 'the other man' when it's a matter of the vp character, say, reflecting on a moment of male bonding over how confusing women are. As has been pointed out above, it's all about the point of view--the same is true of the name forms. Thus, Ryouma might think Momo and say Momo-senpai out loud, but Tezuka would almost certainly both think and say Momoshiro. I second Cathexys on the his vs the thing.

mjj puts the epithet issue very pithily, about half way down The Editor From Hell's Hit List. The whole thing is an amusing read, actually.

And I prefer apple pie with ice cream, because I love chedder cheese straight.

Thanks for linking -- that was a great site. :) And I agree about the POV character. It also depends on how strong the POV voice is, I think. Sometimes it's really like the character is almost narrating, and sometimes it's more reserved than that.

With ice cream, please.

As for Momo(shiro) and Wes(ley), I think it depends on whose POV you're writing from. If your POV is Inui, say, and you stick with him, it'd probably always be Momoshiro. Obviously, if you switched from Inui POV to Horio POV, Momo would be Momo-chan. If you're writing from nobody's POV at all, I think it's permissable to change it as it comes naturally to you.

Epithets - only in some cases. Tezuka buchou will always be Tezuka buchou, but the Rikkai players often seem to refer to Yukimura as Yukimura, not buchou. (But my memory may be faulty, please don't quote me on it!) When it comes to bad ones, if the phrase repeats over and over again like that, the fic is usually so bad in respect to plot and style that I stop reading anyway. Once in a chapter is okay, especially if it makes sense within the context. E.g.: "Atobe had made sure Jiroh always had enough money. The always sleepy boy had now become his personal assistant, and despite the fact that he still tended to nod off whenever he could, the arrangement worked well."

But if it becomes too much it's one of those things that makes me leave.

And now I crave apple pie. Sssssss.

Ah, Horio POV. That would be a fun thing to try. (I just *adore* him.)

I admit that I despise those epithets. One or two will not turn me off a fic, but they will distract me, and a fic that is littered with them throughout will send me running as fast as my stubby little fingers can take me.

I think the multiple versions of name could work, though, as long as it fit the voice of the narrative. Hm. I've never considered the question before, I suppose. Well, that's not true. I've done that when writing from a particular POV to match that character's changing perception of another character. I think it worked out.

I wonder what our own personal epithets would be, if we were all writing bad fanfic about each other!

It varies.

Writing BadFic, I never use a name where an epithet (the longer the better) will do.

There are characters who have acquired epithets through their actions, and someties the other characters will refer to that. "Skywalker? The Butcher of Yavin? In my holding cell?"

If a character thinks of the other as something other than his name. Luke is almost always "the kid" when Han's thinking about him. "No air, no light, no wonder the kid was sick."

But as a general rule, I steer clear of "the blond" "the older man" etc.

And cinnamon ice cream on that apple pie for me, please.

Just wanted to say I love this icon! :D

"Moo" for Remus Lupin is my all-time favorite bad nickname. Remus the werecow! Though I think it can be fine to use nicknames or multiple versions of a name in a fic. If a friend has a nickname, I don't use it 100% of the time. Sometimes I do, sometimes I use their real name.

My brother bakes a great apple pie. Unfortunately he lives about 1,000 miles from here.

I ... I'm trying to figure out how someone got "Moo" from ... oh, I get it. I'm appalled by it, but I get it. Good grief, he's got a first name and a canonical nickname, plus being "Lupin" and "Professor Lupin" to various people. Why must people come up with more nicknames for the poor man?

Ice cream, "the other man", Skinner for fucking, Walter for the romantic crap, Mulder's always Mulder, unless Skinner's calling him Puppy....

(Deleted comment)
See, that's just a case of mixing things that should not be mixed. Apple pie with cheese. Margaritas without.


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