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Questions about YOUR FANFIC that don't deserve their own thread...

Discussion in 'FanFic Discussion' started by CheddarTrek, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. DC

    DC Groundskeeper

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    Wow, and I thought Physics was confusing.
     
  2. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I have a question. I want to describe that a cloak looks... think cool and regal combined, on a person, but "cascade down his shoulders" doesn't seem to fit, especially since the person in question is Voldemort.

    I'm looking for a word or a phrase that will fit in there, both the description and the character, but not something so obscure that readers will have to consult a thesaurus to understand what I wrote.

    edit: Also, is it correct to write: "the ring sat on his finger".
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  3. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    At least in Physics you can test theories and do the math. In languages, what's wrong today may be absolutely half a century later. It's what happens when you have a written system of symbols and very few signs. The signifiers can change in many different ways. The pattern they take to signify and give meaning can therefore also change, based on language game. It's why "Ya'll head yonder to the park"; "You all head over to the park"; and "Yinz guys go to the park"; are all acceptable in different parts of the country. The people there have accepted the rules of the language game.

    If someone didn't, then the game changes and hence, the signifiers begin to change, as well as the way they are used together. And that leads us to poststructuralism and the infamous antanaclasis:

    Time (noun) flies (verb) like an arrow (adverb clause) = Time passes quickly.
    Time (verb) flies (object) like an arrow (adverb clause) = Get out your stopwatch and time the speed of flies as you would time an arrow's flight.
    Time flies (noun) like (verb) an arrow (object) = Time flies are fond of arrows (or at least of one particular arrow).*

    And at this point, I realize I'm answering questions that no one was even close to asking.

    *copied from here.

    ---------- Post automerged at 11:02 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:01 AM ----------

    No, it's: "The ring sat on my finger."

    And if you're asking about "sat," it's understandable, but not the best verb IMO.
     
  4. wordhammer

    wordhammer Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Taking this more from the poetry perspective than just grammar:

    In both cases you're ascribing activity to inanimate objects... unless they actually are animated, or the person is describing those objects as if they represented animate things.

    If Voldemort was in motion, or just in the process of putting on the cloak, it might move in a cascade from his shoulders. Else it drapes or hangs. It might help to consider whose viewpoint your coming from, as Harry might not recognize just how the cape makes him look but feels intimidated by the effect.

    If Harry was in the process of considering betraying the vows that the ring represents, maybe he'd feel like the weight was more prominent than a ring normally is, and it was 'sitting' on his finger almost in reminder of the vow.

    If it's loose, a ring hangs. If it's tight it squeezes. If it fits correctly, like any other well-fitting clothing, it slips into place to become part of the whole.
     
  5. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think we're overcomplicating it. I think the phrase "which one" in particular is causing problems. Let's simplify then return to the original sentence step by step.

    Draco Malfoy walks along and points out to a friend:

    He is Potter

    Subject: He
    Verb: is
    Predicate nominative: Potter

    Direct subject question: "Who is he?" (Potter)
    Indirect question: "Can I ask you who he is?" (Potter)
    I have no idea who he is.

    Do we agree that this is all correct? That "I have no idea who is he" is an incorrect form?

    I'm struggling to pin down why it is incorrect -- there are several competing ideas, and I'm not sure which one is right -- but I think everyone would agree that it's incorrect. The most obvious answer for why it's incorrect would be a word order issue: subject only goes after verb in a question with "to be", and this is not a question but an affirmation.

    Now, let's take a step closer to what we've been discussing. We should be able to just replace "who" with "which one". They're both relative pronouns.

    He is Potter

    Subject: "He"
    Verb: is
    Predicate nominative: Potter

    Direct question: "Which one is he?" (Potter)
    Indirect question: "Can I ask you which one he is?" (Potter)
    I have no idea which one he is.

    Again, this seems all correct. We wouldn't say "I have no idea which one is he", for the same reason as the first example. "Which one" seems a bit strange, but that's just because the situations in which these sentences could be said are more limited than the "who" example.

    Now we can take another step towards our goal. "He" is a pronoun, and we can replace it with the proper noun to which it refers: Harry Potter. To avoid the confusion of using the same name twice, let's use his forename.

    Harry is Potter.

    Subject: Harry
    Verb: is
    Predicate nominative: Potter

    Direct question: "Which one is Harry?" (Potter)
    Indirect question: "Can I ask you which one Harry is?" (Potter)
    I have no idea which one Harry is.

    This must be correct given that all we've done is replace a pronoun with a proper noun, which you can do.

    Now we change the setting and tense to match the original sentence.

    I have no idea which one Harry is.
    Shift into the past:
    I had no idea which one Harry was.
    Shift to third person:
    He had no idea which one Harry was.

    Ta-da! We have arrived at our correct form, step by step. I'm convinced that this is all correct. I'm not 100% why it's correct, but I'm sure that it is XD As I said above, I'm tempted to just say it's a question vs. affirmation word order issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  6. DC

    DC Groundskeeper

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    I'll just back away now and go write a fic about HeirofMerlin!Harry who has a soul bond with Ginerva, indulges in buttsecks with Malfoy and occasionally goes by the name of Vampire. And remembers who Griphook is.
     
  7. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Except that now, you have two nomitives and a verb, with out any accusative to receive the action (or, in this case, equalization).

    Even though "Harry" is a predicate nominative, it's still taking up the role of the predicate, and predicates, by definition in English, come after the verb (unless you're going for prosaic or difficult writing, or want to sound like Yoda).

    To your argument,
    Is correct, because he, in this case, is now being used as the nominative in a defining clause. What we've done is dropped the rest of the sentence and shoved the meaning all into "is." The full sentence should be, "I have no idea who he is defined to be."

    Note that there is an infinitive at the end, and that's the key. We've taken the present tense "is" and used it as a quasi-infinitive to contain the rest of the unspoken sentence.

    So, going back to "Which one Harry was/was Harry": "which one" does not signify a defining clause. Rather, it is choosing, so the above sentence cannot be equated to it.

    At least . . . that's how I see it now. To be honest, I've changed my mind and then changed it back again on this issue about three times.
     
  8. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, we've been debating it on IRC and have basically come to a point where we've decided there's no particular clear answer. Grammatical rules are artificial constructs and there are bound to be conflicts and ambiguities. The fact that identity statements can be reversed is making the issue stupidly complex.

    And anyway, common use probably says that both are correct.

    XD
     
  9. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I just came to this thread for some advice. Thanks btw, wordhammer.

    Way to make me feel uneducated, guys. :(
     
  10. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    I think you're right. Actually, I came to the exact same conclusion as I was heating up my lunch. Saturday morning and I'm debating English grammar. I need a life.
     
  11. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    As I said, the way I see it, it depends on what question you ask, and what the original sentence was. To make the above example comparable, you'd have to ask "Who is Potter" on the sentence "He is Potter".

    In this case, "He wondered which one was Harry" comes from asking "Which one is Harry?" on "That one is Harry", whereas "He wondered which one Harry was" comes from asking "Which one is Harry?" on "Harry is that one".

    In both sentences, the structure is Subject-Verb-Subject complement. But since the words are flipped around, if you keep asking "Which one is Harry?", first "which one" fills in for the subject ("That one is Harry"), and then it does not ("Harry is that one"). Thus, going strictly by the inversion rules, the first isn't inverted, and the second one is.

    And if you start with the indirect questions, since you can't tell without knowing the original sentence in which order the words were, both are possible, but perhaps not sounding great -- at least that's what I figured after doing some googling.
     
  12. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    The saddest thing about this entire discussion, in the end, at least for my fic, it was pointless.

    I replaced the entire line with one word. "Confusion!" Sigh.
     
  13. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Should the following be in quotes like I have it?
    The reason I'm questioning is because it's a perfect past tense, placed in the beginning of a short "tell" section (Transition). So it's a summary of direct speech, but it's also what she said.
     
  14. Uncle Stojil

    Uncle Stojil Auror

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    If it's also what she said, then you can also put it in quotes. If it's also a summary, then you can also not make it direct speech. So if it's both, you can use both (but it looks better as a quote, imo).

    One thing, though. "Find Potter" isn't a question, so you might as well change "she had asked" into "she had said/ordered/whatever", no?
     
  15. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Thanks. I'll have to give it some more thought and see which way I want to go with it.

    As for it being a question, it's more a matter of inflection, which I fully admit, doesn't always come through while reading (hence, the tag). I know it's different depending on which type of English a person speaks, but the way I learned it, inflecting the voice up at the end of a sentence means it's a question, even if it's given in a statement form.

    Which leads me to ask . . . is it mainly American English that inflects upward for questions?
     
  16. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Death Eater

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    German and French does too, as does British English I believe. In writing, inflection of the voice is mainly shown by the question mark. When I read a sentence and there's a '?' at the end of a sentence, I automatically inflect upward.

    So, what about: "Find Potter?" she had asked.

    Or maybe you could to leave out the quotation marks and write it like this: 'As it turned out, Pansy didn’t know much. The other witch had come to her for help, and had asked to find Potter.'
     
  17. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'm going to bump this, because I'm not sure where else to ask my questions. For those that have forgotten or are just now popping in...

    This thread was designed for minor brainstorming questions, essentially. Need to figure out something for a fanfic, but it's simple enough that you don't want a full thread for it? Ask in this thread, etc.

    Similar threads include: RL Questions and HP Canon Questions.
    So, my question... I don't want to go into all the backstory, but I swear that there used to be a generic humorous term for the "fifth house" that so many shitty fanfiction stories add. You know, it's usually the house of Merlin, or all four founders, or something else ridiculous to make Harry special. What's the generic term we use to make fun of said fifth house?

    I thought that the generic, in-use term was Sparklepony. I've thought this for years. If you're talking about a fic that does a shit job of adding a fifth house for special snowflakes, you just called it Sparklepony and moved on. Saves time from having to explain the concept in a review.

    Except now I can't find evidence of that. Did I make it up? Was it something that might have only been used once, but I saw it and assumed it was widespread?

    I'm trying to use the term to make a joke, but if it's not widespread among fanfiction readers then it will fall flat. In which case I'll use something else.
     
  18. BTT

    BTT Order Member

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    IIRC it's Sparklypoo, not Sparklepony.
     
  19. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    CheddarTrek this?

     
  20. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Perfect - Sparklypoo. That's close enough that's got to be it - I must have altered it in my head to something that sounded just slightly less ridiculous. Thanks guys!