the lesson for today, class, is when to use epithets rather than names or pronouns — andwhen not to.
- when the character’s name is unknown, so there’s really no other way to refer to them:
Two goons in suits blocked my way. “You ain’t going nowhere,” said the ugly mook. The even-uglier mook just grinned.
- to draw attention to the role or function described:
Bill was so excited to meet Obama, he was a little worried he’d end up remembering today as the day he threw up on the president.
- as in-character commentary to flesh out the POV’s voice:
You stand back and nudge the door open with your toe in case of falling buckets, but it seems the windy dipshit has given up on that particular tired prank.
(NOTE: use this last one SPARINGLY. consider your own internal monologue. how often do you think of people by anything but their names? too much of this trick breaks immersion.)
DO NOT USE EPITHETS:
- to avoid using pronouns.
- to avoid using names.
- to remind the reader of physical characteristics you should’ve described elsewhere.
- to remind the reader of physical characteristics they already know perfectly well because they wouldn’t even be reading your damn fanfic if they weren’t familiar with canon, come ON people.
- to try to sound erudite or poetic.
- for any other stupid reason. i’m serious. i will come over there and hit you.
- i’m not kidding.
- fucking stop.
Notes: 2674 Short URL: http://tmblr.co/Z1MT5yPHNMDd
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