Okay, maybe a dumb question... but when you say you hate epithets in fics, what do you mean?
hi anon! i don’t think it’s a dumb question. so, just in case you didn’t know: epithets are when you use descriptions of people to refer to them instead of their name or pronoun. it’s a literary device that’s essentially only found in fanfiction.
the problem with epithets are that they are confusing and they take you out of the narrative and are not true to how real people relate to others. for example, if you’re talking to your friend about another one of your mutual friends; would you refer to them by name or as ‘the brown haired woman’ or ‘the blue eyed boy’? i’m going to guess you’ll refer to them by name and not epithet. so don’t use an epithet in writing.
it’s a common trap that beginners fall into because as you write you keep repeating ‘he and ‘him’’ and ‘harry’ and ‘louis’ and then you’re like, “wow….that’s so repetitive? people are gonna get tired of reading those same words! i have to mix it up by saying, ‘harry said hello to his boyfriend when he came home’!” but in reality you’re disturbing the reader. readers gloss over names and pronouns as we read. we absorb them, in the way that we know who is performing what action to whom, but beyond that it doesn’t bother us.
and then… it’s a trap that even experienced fic writers fall into because they’re constantly reading fics and what do they see? epithets. so it just seems par for the course. but it shouldn’t be, and it’s incredibly disruptive to readers.
i personally think one of the most important things when you’re a writer is to be clear (and also concise, but that’s another issue). you muddle things up when you use epithets. and! you reduce people to a single attribute which is just not how people think of others that they know intimately and by name. here’s my favourite quote on the issue:
A name encompasses everything about a person. The more you learn about someone, the more their name represents for you. You don’t need to use his first name sometimes, and his last name other times, to remind yourself who he is; you don’t need to describe him (by his looks, his emotional state, or his occupation), either. All you need is the name you default to when you think of him. x
Current work cargo: external hard drive by Glyph in a zippered pouch (barely visible here), brown Midori Traveler’s Notebook, black Lihit Lab pencil case, Filofax Malden Personal Ochre with Field Notes memo book tucked in the back pocket, makeup case (red vinyl case in the shape of lips, purchased at Ricky’s here in New York) and last but not least: the DAY DESIGNER with daily pages, serving as an extension to the Filofax and solely for my brand development work. About this $20 DD, can I just say WOW! I loved the layout in photos I had scene on Instagram, but holding it, turning the pages, writing in it, the thought process it encourages, all the details, wow. With one year’s use, if I find it indispensable to my work, I will purchase their standard Flagship model next year as I read the paper quality and additional details are outstanding. I believe it! The brown leather tote is an ooooooold bag from Banana Republic, weathered from all the years of use; it’s my Old Faithful. ;)
So this is kinda old now and I was on the fence about posting it, but I felt like I should. It was my entry for disruptionzine last year. Sign language is hard to convey in comics, but I’m glad I chose to go ahead with it. :)
I considered reworking some parts of this but opening the files for formatting reasons alone was painful enough on my RAM. (never working at 600dpi again)