These are some of the frequently, or at least occasionally, asked questions, or, in some cases, complaints that should have been questions and have been charitably translated. If your question is not answered here, feel free to post your question via the comment form at the bottom of the page.

Further information about names and titles can be found in the Glossary, an explanation of the stories’ genres and ratings are on the Labels page, and a brief explanation of the site’s license conditions is on the Legal page.

Q. How do you feel about feedback?

A. Comments are lovely, and I’m always glad to get them. Complaints tend to annoy me, and concrit is by invitation only, but if you want to (politely, please) discuss my interpretation of the characters or plot, that’s perfectly welcome. So are factual corrections, provided you’re very sure it’s actually a correct correction and not, for example, a difference in translation or version of the series or simply a stylistic choice on my part (see above re complaints and below re romanization systems).

Reviews, however, should please be kept to your own space. A review is something for the benefit of other readers, not the author, and talking past me while you’re in my space is annoying. Anyone now wishing to say anything about improving one’s art should see above re concrit by invitation only. I am not from one of the fandom states whose official faith is the Church of the Holy Concrit; no proselytizing, please.

And, for pity’s sake, if you come here by recommendation and feel that one of my stories is not what the rec promised you, complain to the recommender, not to me.

Q. Do you mind if I translate/do artwork for/remix this story or otherwise join in the fun?

A. I don’t mind in the slightest, please feel free! I would appreciate a link back to the story or arc in question, and I’d love it if you dropped me a line and let me know about your translation/remix/addition/etc., but all my work is totally up for further transformative grabs. (This does not include simple reposting, which I ask that you please not do, and certainly does not mean I will wink at plagiarism, but you knew that already.)

Q. When are you going to write more of fill-in-the-arc-here?

A. If the arc is marked with Arc Completed or Officially Unfinished, probably never. If it’s marked Incomplete or On Indefinite Hold, I have no idea. At this point I have enough characters and stories roaming around my brain that my writing slips unpredictably from one set to another. If I’ve marked it Incomplete or On Hold, that means I have some hope of coming back to it; it isn’t a dead idea. But I’ve never had any luck at all with forcing stories, or even with bribery. More’s the pity.

Q. Haven’t I seen this before somewhere else? Wasn’t it under a different name? Are you a plagiarist?!

A. Yes, yes and no. A good many of my early FMA stories were indeed posted under a different name, before I realized what a bad idea that was and changed my handle—as well as possible, anyway.

Q. Why did you spell Soandso’s name wrong?

A. This one always makes me rub my forehead and take a deep breath.

See, the only really correct way to spell Japanese names is with the alphabet(s) they come in originally: kanji and hiragana. When we write Japanese words in the Roman alphabet (the one you’re reading right now), that’s just an approximation; we’re trying to render the sounds as best we can, using a completely different system of writing. Over the years several different systems have been invented to try and standardize how we write those sounds with these letters. Some are more commonly used, now, than others, but all of them are equally correct—or incorrect, as the case may be. By and large, I use the Hepburn system, modified for long vowels because macrons and circumflexes are a pain to make html writers cough up. Hence, for example, Ryouma instead of Ryōma or Ryoma, Shuusuke instead of Syûsuke, and Tsuzuki instead of Tuduki.

Sometimes, of course, it’s even more complicated because the names may have been taken from some other language than Japanese. That means the approximation-of-sounds is taking place twice. No two languages have all the same sounds, so the name gets mangled on the way in and further mangled on the way out. Double your confusion, double your kerfuffles. Just to make things even more fun, many of the “official” publications, such as guides and posters, may never have been in shouting distance of the mangaka her or himself, but rather been done by a studio minion who doesn’t know French/Greek/English/Hindu/whatever any more than the US minions know Japanese. This is why, when I have reason to think the name is from a language I have some knowledge of, I trust my own reverse transliteration before the offical one. Hence, for example, Lisa instead of Riza and Arachnemon instead of Arukennymon.

Q. Why are you using fangirl Japanese?

A. Personally, I’d say I’m not. I define Fangirl Japanese as using demo in place of “but”—that is, substituting a simple and directly translatable Japanese word for an English one. Usually ungrammatically.

I do often preserve titles, in the dialogue of my characters, both the common honorifics like -san and -kun and the vocational titles like -taisa and -buchou, where a position is appended to the character’s name. This is mostly a function of the fact that I watch anime in subtitles, and my mind’s ear is habituated to hearing titles used as part of the name itself. In addition, I like to keep as much of the texture of Japanese as possible when writing in English, and preserving the use of that ingrained name-and-title combination goes some ways toward doing that in a reasonably integrated and readable way.

Q. Didn’t you used to have essays around here somewhere?

A. Yes, I did; sorry about that. I move things around a lot, and those essays, after some perambulation, eventually wound up on my journal(s). You can read them here. They are categorized under Writing and, occasionally, Thoughts.

Q. How do you get your site to work/look/act this way?

A. Some of it is plugins, some is my own coding. A bunch of my plugins are from this page, at least in their original form; I’ve tweaked them to the needs of this archive. The word search is the Relevanssi plugin, right out of the box; brilliant work, that one. The multiple terms search is based on Jeremy Duffy’s WordPress Multiple Categories, considerably modified, which has since been packaged up as a proper plugin. The images are run through the Lightbox 2 plugin, old but sturdy, and the font-size changer is the WP chgFontSize plugin. The folding series menu, the front page, the breadcrumbs, the variable excerpts for arc pages and story pages, the variable navigation on different types of pages, the way the tag-pages work, the multiple themes, the ebooks, all that is my own back-end work, customized to this particular site. Infuriating as WordPress sometimes is, I will say this for it: it’s pretty easy to modify.