|Susan Mesler-Evans, regular contributor|
LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL WRITING UNIT
In the online literature community, writing based offenses are considered especially heinous. Online, the dedicated flamers who point out these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Only Sane People on the Internet. These are th
There are some writing mistakes I see online that really get under my skin. In a perfect world, these mistakes would be illegal and the perpetrators would be brought to justice immediately. Painfully. But there’s this thing called a “don’t go killing anyone” law, so writing a column about what I would do if I if I were in charge of this sort of thing will have to do.
LAWS OF SUSIE
- Any person who fails to understand that a direct quote ends in a comma will be shot.
- Any person who fails to capitalize when capitalization is called for will be shot.
- Any person who fails to use the correct form of “to/too/two” will be shot.
- Any person who fails to use the correct for of “there/they’re/their” will be impaled upon a ruler and then shot.
- Any person who uses a foreign language where a foreign language should not be used will be smacked upside the head and then shot.
- If said foreign language is used incorrectly, the offender will be forced to apologize to each and every one of the language’s native speakers personally. They will then be shot.
- Any person who has a Mary Sue protagonist without a trace of irony shall be run over by a bulldozer. Their corpse shall be shot.
- Any person who starts NaNoWriMo and quits for no legitimate reason (“my mother died” is a legit reason. “I can’t do it” is not.) will be yelled at by NaNo winners everywhere until they give in and keep writing until they finally hit 50k. Once they do so, they will be shot.
- Any fanfiction writer who makes the canon characters act horribly out of character for no legitimate reason (“mind control” is a legit reason. “True love changes you” is not..) shall be beaten over the head with a Harry Potter book and then shot.
- Any person who gives their characters new powers and abilities for no legitimate reason (“training and hard work” is a legit reason. “The plot demands it” is not.) shall be shot, shot again, and shot one more time just to be sure they’re really dead.
- Any person who spends more than a couple of sentences describing what their character is wearing will be strangled with a designer sweater. The sweater’s bloodstained remains will be shot.
- Any person who has their character use an old-fashioned weapon (like, say, a sword) in a modern or futuristic setting for no legitimate reason (“the sword was the only thing on hand” is a legit reason. “Swords are soooo cool oh my God” is not.) will be run over by a stampede of medieval knights who have been transported through time. If they survive, they’ll just be shot.
- Any person who introduces an interesting subplot and doesn’t give it the conclusion it deserves will be pitied by Mr. T and then shot.
- Any person who introduces a romantic subplot when a romantic subplot is not necessary or desired will be forced to watch the Twilight movies on an infinite loop, but will also be given a gun with one bullet in it. Oh, and the movie screen and DVD player are protected by bulletproof glass.
- Any person who has their villain make a half-assed, badly written, illogical return to the good side will be locked in a room while wearing a shirt that says “STAR WARS PREQUELS ROCK” with a bunch of Star Wars fanboys who have loaded guns.
- Any person who creates their own language for their story must have a glossary for themselves so they can remain consistent in what each word means. If they fail to comply, they will be given a red shirt and transported to the Star Trek universe. Should they become a major character, like Scotty, and thus relatively safe from being killed off, they’ll be brought home and shot.
- Any person who fails to create a real, sympathetic, flawed-but-still-likable protagonist shall be forced to accept all calls from telemarketers for the rest of their lives. They will be shot once they start contemplating suicide.
- Any person who fails to create a real, believable, enjoyable villain shall be forced to wear body glitter and shout “TWILIGHT RULES!” at a Harry Potter convention. If they refuse to do this, they will be shot.
- Any person who makes typos in their stories shall be taunted by the French and then shot.
- Any person who refuses to listen to constructive criticism will be locked in a room and forced to listen to crappy pop songs on an infinite loop for all eternity. The only books are trashy romance novels. The only TV show is G3 My Little Pony. The only window is locked, with a good view of people listening to classic Beatles, reading epic fantasy novels, and watching the Big Bang Theory and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.