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Don't be offended at the title. "Teenagers" is just my way of saying "people who write unprofessional/shallow stories." Not all teenagers write shallow stories, it just sounds catchier.... Anyway.

The first thing I want to make clear is: I'm not talking about anything mechanical in this deviation. Grammar/spelling is important (obviously), but that point has been beaten to death by people on the internet already. My purpose, as always, is to talk about the stories themselves, regardless of the way they are communicated. Whether it be through written word or on-the-spot narration, I believe there are certain tricks to telling good stories. Not rules, mind you. Tricks.

I don't believe that telling good stories is about what you "should" do, rather than what you shouldn't. Example: people generally hate Mary Sues, right? Well, sometimes I notice things that are "like" Mary Sues, in the sense that they're equally as shallow/unprofessional ways of telling stories. The purpose of this deviation is to point them out. I won't be talking about Mary Sues or self inserts in this deviation. This is about things that tend to go more unnoticed (I already have deviations about those anyway).

1. Thinking that "most" = best

Sometimes people who write think they're making "the best story ever," because it's the MOST dramatic, MOST dark, MOST romantic MOST (insert your choice of adjective here). Having the most of something doesn't equate to it being the best. Think of it like salt.

2. Unbalance

Do you ever read a story, and it feels like there was a big hole in it? Maybe it was a tragedy that focused on nothing but tragic events. The author got carried away in their emotions and didn't create a well-rounded world for us to care about while the sad things take place. Sure, sad things are sad, but that is no accomplishment of the author. It would be MORE sad if the audience had a well-created world to be sad about in the first place.
In fanfiction, the writers have the advantage of writing about something that people already care about. That's how a lot of people with barely any imagination can get so many people to like their fanfiction stories. "Hey! Let's take the Once-ler and find a way to drench him in blood! It sure took talent to think of that!"
Never judge someone's imagination by how popular their fanfiction is. Never...

3. Narcissism

Sometimes people consider themselves to be a certain way. They write certain genres or about certain themes for the sake of adding to their self-proclaimed image. They use their stories as stepping stones (a lot of times without even realizing it) to show off in front of other people. A lot of times it's in the little things, strategically placed to look innocent or humble. "The woman shook her head in admiration at *insert-person-that's-supposed-to-be-like-them's-name.* 'That girl sure is *insert-their-choice-of-adjective!* We may never understand her!"

4. Abusing character roles (sort of a Part 2 of Narcissism)

I want you to think about Belle from Beauty in the Beast for a minute (the Disney version). If you're familiar with it, think of the song sung by the villagers about her in the beginning. Has anyone else ever noticed something...odd about it? The villagers are singing about how different (or "weird") she is, all because she reads books and acts like... well, the average girl you'd meet every day on DeviantArt. Meanwhile, if you met one of those villagers in real life, you'd probably think of THEM as the strange ones (first of all, they're abnormally nosy, all bothering to sing a big song about a perfectly normal girl whose personal life they REALLY bothered to have apparently looked so much into... o_O).
Okay. I understand that can be a strategy in story telling (using the background to add to the general effect of a certain thing... i.e Belle wanting a break from her boring life).
I bring this up however, mostly as a warning. I don't know how...um... healthy it is, that a lot of teenager girls these days really seem to think they're sooo great that they write stories about themselves and use other people as tools to look good. They make people (sometimes fake, sometimes real) in their stories impressed far too easily by themselves (or certain things) sometimes to the point even of contradiction. It falls into the same attitude as the narcissism example.
Sometimes it goes beyond, "Oh, a cute little Disney story," and gets really narcissistic and vain.
A story will suffer if it's written for anything besides the pure pleasure of writing it. Ulterior motives distract from making it the best it possibly can be. Not to mention, nobody likes being used as an audience for people who can't stop shining the spotlight on themselves. (It needed to be said).
Furthermore, Disney movies are corny. It's a fact. That's why we like them. The point is simple: if you are writing a CORNY story, feel free to use their little trick of making the whole world conform to one character/theme (heck, make everyone burst into song about them!) If you're NOT writing a corny story, avoid it at all costs. It's a cheap trick, and it's no substitute for actually making there be something special about whatever character/thing you're trying to make something special about.

Fun fact: "Bully" characters are possibly the biggest form of abuse to story-telling. This can be in the form of a snooty, popular girl at school who picks on the main-character we're supposed to feel sorry for, or in the form of unreasonably/obsessively cruel bullies who are far from even borderline realistic. They're the classic example of cheating in a story; the cheapest way to make other characters seem special or victim-ly.



5. Pretty feelings

Did you ever put on an Owl City song while you were writing/drawing and think something like: Lalalalalala, beautifulness, and the dreams and the beautifullness of the wonderful outerspace, flying through the sky and the shooting stars lalala!
Yeah, we could tell.
No, seriously, it's fine to get your inspiration from wherever you want. Just make sure that while you're getting all into the music that you don't let the emotions that the song brings you be your only guide.
Sometimes people get REALLY excited about their characters or a story they're making up and draw all this beautiful art of it, and you're like, "Hey! That's an amazing picture of the main character on a shooting star! So... when can I read this?!" Then you see the story, and think, "...this is it?"
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your emotions are the story. A lot of people who listen to music while they write make this mistake, though that isn't to say that listening to music when you write is always automatically bad.



To conclude this, there's really only one thing I want to say. Write because you like to. Write about things you like no matter what they are and force them to fit together. Write about things that you like and wouldn't be too ashamed to show your friends or family. Odds are, if you're too embarrassed to show it to the people you know best, it's not coming from the heart. I don't mean "your emotions" as your heart. It's not really YOU if it's something you're embarrassed of. Embarrassment can be a sign that you know deep down your story might be a wee bit... well, stupid.
And then there are the people with no dignity.......

I love feedback. If anyone has anything interesting to add, I'd be glad to hear!
See my other posts about writing:
How Not to tell a Story makingfunofstuff.deviantart.co…
What really defines Mary Sue makingfunofstuff.deviantart.co…
A list of cliches in story-telling makingfunofstuff.deviantart.co…
Common problems with self-inserts makingfunofstuff.deviantart.co…
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  …Priscilla.

  I will keep you safe.

  I will keep you company.

  Do you remember all those years ago – when we first met? I remember it perfectly. I was so very close. So very, very close to my last shred of sanity snipping. And then I saw a peculiar little girl in white dress – you. Your left hand was occupied by a tattered doll. Your right was wet from wiping your tears. Your eyes began to water again, but I caught it for you that time. I still had a shred of humanity left, gnawing at my heart's strings to care for you, to pity, and to comfort. You were scared by my face, but I mustered a smile, and told you not to fear. You told me that you were lonely, that you were unloved.

  And from that point on, I never left your side.

  Do you remember all those years ago – when I saved your life? I remember it perfectly. The cursed fellow had threatened you, and I had intervened. You were bigger, but still, I needed to protect you. He chased you up the tower, calling you a monster, saying you needed to disappear. And then he drew his rapier. I had never moved faster in my life than I did grabbing that awful man by the brim of his ebony vestment. I had never acted as instinctively as I led him to the window. I had never whispered as softly as I did to you of reassuring, and to him of the pain of death. I had never been more deafened than by his scream as I cast him away.

  Take away upon your black wings, bishop, for your mistress commands it.

 Do you remember all those years ago – when you saw my face for the first time? I remember it perfectly. Soul of black I had retrieved, and offered it to the gentle flame I did. My flesh was deep and wrinkled no more. I turned to you, and you seemed shocked at my form. You were my height, and we were both exceedingly young. I could even remember a flicker of attraction…but no. I refused desire. My love for you was of parent to child, or of sibling to sister. And it was good that I refused, for you grew, oh so very fast. Soon, you towered above me, and regardless, I still guarded you with my life.

  I made a promise to you, Priscilla. I promised that I would never let you see darkness.

  Do you remember that short time ago – when the people gathered? I remember it perfectly. Ariamis gathered, and desired your pure blood. How shocked I was. How scared you were. They hurried to the theatre, where you and I often met. How ready I was. How well-hid you were. The crowd broke through, and I met them head-on. How ravenous I was. How aghast you were. Ariamis fell to my feet. How alive I was. How frightened you were. After I finished, I ran to you, and embraced you.

  I fell the entire city as the ax man does the forest. I was invincible.

  You would be safe forever.

  Do you remember that short time ago – when I found the red rock? I remember it perfectly. I had slain anyone that came near you. Everyone was a threat, as everyone was present at the theatre that fateful night. And then you began to cry, for you were lonely again. I did everything I could to comfort you. Yet you ran from me, from your sole friend, terrified. So I brought new friends. I tempted those with Lifedrain to pursue me, as their master tempted them with the very art they wielded. I brought many new friends for you to meet.

  I will do anything in my power to keep you safe, Priscilla.

  Do you remember the fall of Ariamis? I remember it perfectly. The city crumbled under the assault of the Crimson Ones. All through the onslaught, you sought me. You found me in the theatre, and I greeted you merrily. But then you turned your blade on me. Your beautiful scythe sliced the air beside my head flawlessly. I was blank. My only friend wanted me dead. I begged you to stop as I evaded cut after cut. You screamed at me, calling me a monster. You claimed I was nicer when I looked to be a monster. You called all humans monsters. And then I held my weapon to receive a blow from the elegant scythe.

  And that was perhaps the greatest mistake I ever made.

  Your immense size…It threw me an admirable distance.

  And then, you hooked your foot under my torso, and threw me off the edge with it.

  When I finally landed, tears fell from my eyes as I felt my body fade, and the fiery ring burn brighter…

  …I am back, Priscilla. I have come to fulfill my promise to you…

  …As long as it is within my power...

  …You will never see the Age of Dark…

  …My dear friend.
A short story about the Painted World of Ariamis, and it's fascinating inhabitant, Crossbreed Priscilla.

I say "fascinating" because unlike other bosses in Dark Souls, Priscilla lets you walk away without a scratch, only if you return the favor. Therefore, I made a little connection to the character and Priscilla.

*NOTE: This is in no way real Lore. Only a theory that was expanded into a writing.*
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The Empty Child

I hide
I hear everything too loudly
I am falling apart
I grew up too fast
I am still a child
I cannot stand still
I see every detail
I panic
I cannot remember what I'm doing
I talk about dinosaurs and doctors and darkrooms
I cry for no reason
I do not have the ability to cry now
I see the world differently
I wish you saw it like me
I have a puzzle to put together
I wonder if you'll help me
I hear a song and must sing it
I see a picture and must take it
I see a world, a broken world
I want to fix that, too
I want to play
I need to work
I close my eyes and fall asleep
I remember everything
I forget my head
I stand in blue light
I see the world in shades of blue
I am lost
I have been waiting for you
I am the empty child
Are you my mommy?
Another poem, this one about my life with autism.

UPDATE: As of 10/20/12, this is my most favorited piece! Thanks everyone!
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You smile,
And nobody else does.

You laugh,
And you're alone.

Your words
Go unnoticed.


You always look so happy-
But I guess the most broken do, huh?

Nobody would guess
That you tell yourself every night
How great it'd be
To never
Wake up

Because nobody would care, right?

Before you let those thoughts
Cloud your mind-
Listen.

You smile
And it's contagious

But you can't see that through the screen.

You laugh
And so do millions

But you closed your eyes and missed it.

Your words
Move hearts

But you can't hear them beating.

I promise you,
They care.

You just can't see that.
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the emptiness echoes
with each escape

this eluding energy
almost enough to end it all

do we try to educate?
or enable ethics?

have we encountered evil?
the easy elegance
the epic eclipse evermore

I envy the equality
the endless enigma
longing to be enamored
for eternity
EEEEEEEEEEEE
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His girlfriend just dumped him
some freshmen just jumped him
his life’s got him stumped and he’s so depressed
so now he wears makeup
to hide all his screwups
he says life is pain… we’re not impressed

same pain, different poem….

CHORUS:
We’re all being whiners
let’s put on eyeliner
your life’s on a timer in Emo 101
her converse, his girl pants
My Chemical Romance
so many depressed bands in Emo 101

mood: apathetic
he’s feeling poetic
but all those cosmetics can’t help him write
he’s drinking and cutting
with boys now he’s smutting
the world doesn’t get him so he cries all night

same pain, different poem…

We’re all being whiners
let’s put on eyeliner
your life’s on a timer in Emo 101
her converse, his girl pants
My Chemical Romance
so many depressed bands in Emo 101

don’t forget to scream out… on the very last note….

later that school year he’s not glad to be here
he’s pouting cause someone called him feminine
the story’s just begun, he’s not the only one
Like Chester and Mike, they’re all CRAWLING IN THEIR SKIN…

(I feel like tacos.)
I said

We’re all being whiners
let’s put on eyeliner
your life’s on a timer in Emo 101
her converse, his girl pants
My Chemical Romance
so many depressed bands in Emo 101

(chorus again once)

her converse, his girl pants (same pain, different poem)
My Chemical Romance (same pain, different poem)
so many depressed bands in Emo 101
Don’t be such a whiner (same pain, different poem)
take off that eyeliner (same pain, different poem)
you’re all shitty rhymers in Emo 101
Okay, so I looooove Bowling for Soup... especially the song Punk Rock 101. Sooooo.... I was bored and procrastinating and wrote a parody.

NOOOOTE!!1 I actually have nothing against emos... seriously I don't. I just... had to. ...um, sorry if I offended you? But I was making a joke. I make fun of things I like (including myself, quite often) so please don't take it personally...
And I know I make a comment about their rhyming skillz... I like emo poetry, okay? I only put that in there because it was one of the few sensible words that rhymed with timer. (yeah, so... iiiii'd be the shitty rhymer in this scenario. XD) It's from the point of view of someone who hates emos. AKA not me exactly. XD

Punk Rock 101 (and thus, the tune for this song) (C) Bowling for Soup. Go listen to it. NOW.
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Luffy vs. Popeye by Dimension-Dino

Ray: Alright, the combatants are set. Let’s settle this debate once and for all.

Steel: It’s time for a DEATH BATTLE!!!

--

All was calm as a massive galleon cruised across the ocean's surface, its lion-head bowsprit and straw-hat wearing Jolly Roger noticeable anywhere. From its deck, one could hear merry music from a fiddle, and the members of the crew either singing or dancing along to it.

Joining them in the festivities was the captain of this ship known to all as "Thousand Sunny". That captain was none other than the famed Straw-Hat Luffy.

The song came to an end and the skeletal fiddler took a bow, his art complete. If he had a proper face, he would have smiled at the cheers.

“WOW!” Luffy said with a broad smile, “Play it again!”

Yet as the crew celebrated, a simple-looking steamboat was coming across their path up ahead. At first, the crew paid no mind to it. That all changed because, just when the skeleton was about to draw his bow across the strings of his instrument, another tune cut across him, catching the immediate attention of the ship's captain.

The song in the distance sounded a little something like this...

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
Popeye the Sailor Man
I'm strong to the finich,
‘cause I eats me spinach
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man

I'm one tough Gazookus, which hates all Palookas.
Wot ain't on the up and square.
I biffs 'em and buffs 'em and always out roughs 'em
but none of 'em gets nowhere.

If anyone dares-es to risk me fist,
It's "Boff" an' it's "Wham" un'erstan'?
So keep "Good Be-hav-or", That's your one life saver
With Popeye the Sailor Man.

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm strong to the finich,
‘cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!


Luffy growled in frustration. Not only did he not like the music (for reasons beyond even the most brilliant mind in the world), but it had cut off a perfectly good song from Brook.

“HEY!” Luffy shouted, hoping the owner of the boat would hear him, “You’re interrupting our music!”

On receiving no response, Luffy was prepared to put an end to it personally. One of his crew, a gorgeous redheaded woman, seemed to sense this.

“Oh no,” Nami said, shaking her head furiously, “Don’t even think about it. Just leave the ship alone, it’s not even attacking or bothering us!”

Too late. Luffy had pulled back a fist and sent it rocketing at the ship, creating a massive hole in its side. It slowed and then slowly began to sink.

On the sinking ship’s deck, the man singing the song was not amused. His surprisingly-twisted face twisted even more as he looked around for what had caused his vessel damage. Popeye squinted and then spotted it: a massive galleon, the only one around for miles.

“Why those no good, stinkin’ pirates! I needs to teach ‘em a lesson they won’ts forget!” Popeye growled, then dove into the sea and swam towards the ship.

Back on the Thousand Sunny, Luffy nodded with satisfaction. “Good. I hated those guys.”

“Wha?! You didn’t even know them!” Nami snapped, trying not to scream at her captain. Sometimes what went through his mind was beyond any of his crew.

Something tapped him on the shoulder and Luffy turned around…only to have a fist nail him in the chin. The resulting impact sent him careening into the air and he sailed in a massive arc to land with a “thud” and a dust cloud on an island off in the distance.

“Don’t get yer hopes up, kid, ‘cuz I ain’t through with ya!” Popeye added, then dove back into the sea and swam after him.

Nami was shocked at what she had seen. She had been through some crazy stuff, but this was new even to her.

(meanwhile…)

Luffy pulled himself out of the sandy shore of the island and looked around. “Where am I? And what just happened? Last thing I remember is this fist coming into my face…”

“Hey! You!”

Luffy turned to see Popeye storming towards him, stopping a few yards away, his fists clenched. Not quite sure what to make of this guy, Luffy tilted his head to the side curiously.

“Who are you?” the Straw-Hat captain asked.

“I’m Popeye the Sailor man.” Popeye answered, tooting his pipe like a whistle twice, then asked, “Who are you?”

“My name is Luffy, and I’m gonna be the King of the Pirates.” Luffy answered with a smile.

“Pirate,huh?Guessitmakessensewhyhesunkmyboat…” Popeye muttered (without even moving his lips at that), then returned to his normal voice, “Well, for wreckin’ my boat, I gotta hurt ya, kid.”

“You wanna fight?” Luffy asked, then put up a fist and smiled again, “Well, bring it on! I don’t plan on dying today!”

“Bring it on, ya little squirt! It’s time for me to roughs ya up!” Popeye said, hunching forward ready for battle.

The time had come for a showdown for the world’s most powerful pirate and the most powerful sailor: a battle to determine the King of the Seas.

FIGHT!

“Gum-Gum…” Luffy pulled back a fist, then threw it at Popeye on an elongated arm, “Pistol!”

The fist flew forward like a bullet and Popeye only just managed to sidestep it. As Luffy retracted his arm, Popeye actually followed it, pulled back a fist of his own and slammed it into Luffy’s visage.

Luffy’s neck stretched backward, taking his head with it and snapped back into place…only to meet Popeye’s fist yet again, resulting in the same event again, and again, and again in a comedic fashion.

Luffy had had enough and, the next time his head stretched back on his neck, he saw a nearby palm tree, opened his mouth, and latched his teeth into its bark. After a moment of tension, in which Popeye wondered just why Luffy’s head wasn’t coming back for a good “biffin’ and boffin’” as he put it, Luffy’s body shot backward so fast that it seemed to teleport.

Luffy let the recoil of his body returning wear off, then launched his rubbery fist at Popeye again. Popeye evaded yet again, but this was not Luffy’s intention. He actually opened his hand to latch onto a boulder behind Popeye, pulled himself back a bit, then let go.

“Gum-Gum…” Luffy said, extending his free arm, “SICKLE!” Popeye’s eyes widened as Luffy’s arm slammed into his neck at high speed, sending Popeye into the rock behind him.

Popeye hit the rock with enough force to leave an imprint of himself, yet the groan he emitted as he peeled off it gave an indication that he survived. Luffy was not going to let up, though, and latched onto Popeye, his rubbery arms and legs wrapping around the cockeyed sailor’s limbs.

“Gum-Gum…” Luffy said, pulling back his head, stretching his elastic neck to gain momentum, “BELL!”

Moments before Luffy’s head rocketed back, Popeye had an idea. He pulled back his own head (not as far as Luffy’s, though) and the two craniums collided. The vibrations form the impact coursed through both of their bodies and, while Luffy didn’t complain in the slightest, all Popeye did was grumble at the pain…and showed no sign of injury.

“Okay, ya little runt, how’s about I heat things up?” Popeye said, then turned his corncob pipe upside down, took a deep breath, then blew into the pipe.

Rather than emit a huge cloud of smoke, the corncob pipe emitted a small flame akin to a welding torch. The flame jetted out, striking Luffy right on the shirt. The part that was struck quickly burst into flame and Luffy, with a yelp, sprang off and began trying to put it out.

Popeye shook himself loose, then charged Luffy and sprang into the unlikeliest place one would imagine: right under Luffy’s shirt…where he seemed to disappear. Luffy stared, wide-eyed, at what the sailor accomplished and searched under his article of clothing wildly for his opponent, yet he was nowhere to be seen.

Tap, tap…

Luffy turned to his right, feeling someone tap him on the shoulder…and was met with a fist to his face from a familiar, anchor-tattooed arm. Mentioned arm then retreated back to where it came from: just under the right part of his collar. Luffy grabbed at it, but only found empty space. Yet, as he pulled back after grabbing thin air, the same muscular arm popped out from under his sleeve and pinched his nose, as though honking a bike horn.

After a split-second of surprise, Luffy quickly got the idea and grabbed the arm. “A-ha! I gotcha!” he exclaimed in triumph.

“Oh, no ya don’t.” Popeye replied from inside Luffy’s shirt, “I’ve got YOU.”

Luffy raised a brow, then attempted to pull the legendary sailor out of his shirt. One could imagine his shock, though, when he stopped for a second and an even stronger force pulled his arm further down his shirt. Luffy gritted his teeth and pulled with all his might, yet couldn’t dislodge Popeye.

Luffy’s straining halted when, suddenly, he lost his grip on Popeye’s wrist like he was holding a greased eel and, comically, fell flat out on his back from the change of force. Popeye hopped out, then prepared to sock it to Luffy from above only to see his rubbery adversary roll backward and stretch both his arms behind him.

“Gum-Gum…BAZOOKA!”

At the peak of their back-stretch, both of Luffy’s hands sprang forward and slammed into Popeye’s midsection. The sailor bent forward, the wind getting blasted from his lungs, then rocketed backward into the lightly-wooded area further inland.

Popeye landed, noggin-first, into the trunk of a palm tree then fell to the ground like a plank of wood being dropped. He picked himself up, then jumped slightly as a pair of hands grabbed a pair of trees not far from him.

“Gum-Gum ROCKET!!!”

Popeye wound up a punch just as the arms retracted, slinging Luffy at Popeye like a bullet. Before Luffy came too close, a fist planted itself firmly into his chin. Luffy flew up in an arc before falling back to the ground, his still-elongated arms comically falling onto him in a rubbery heap.

Luffy freed himself of the tangled mess of his arms, then pulled back his right leg like he was ready to kick a soccer ball. “Gum-Gum STAMP!” When Luffy threw his leg forward, everything from the calf down extended forward like a spear, Luffy’s sandal-clad foot nailing Popeye right in the chest.

Popeye’s back slammed into a rock and, when he looked down, he saw a very distinctive footprint in his chest. After mumbling something about how expensive it would be to get removed, he jumped into the air and came back down, spinning in a reverse-pirouette to drill into the ground below him.

Luffy stared, wide-eyed in wonder, at what Popeye had just accomplished. “WOW! What kind of fruit did he eat?” he asked in astonishment.
Luffy felt something coming, then hopped out of the way just as Popeye burst from the ground beneath him. Popeye’s fist hit air as he sprang out, leaving him open.

“Gum-Gum SHOTGUN!” Luffy said, throwing out a fist, then twanging it. It looked like multiple fists had struck from just one arm.

Popeye merely reached out and seized Luffy around the wrist, halting the twanging. “You’re a slick one, rubber-boy, but let’s have us a little fun now.” With that said, Popeye raised Luffy’s arm, then brought it sharply back down like a whip, sending a wave right down the length of the arm.

The resulting force flipped Luffy on his back with a yelp in surprise. The next moment, he was tugged right at Popeye, who proceeded to twirl Luffy around like a lasso (even going to the liberty of performing a few tricks worthy of wild-west cowboys) and tossing him away.

Luffy landed, cat-footed, on his feet and made the conclusion that, in his current condition, he wasn’t going to win. He closed his eyes in focus, then snapped them open as steam began to flow from his legs. In the blink of an eye, he was right in front of Popeye and before the mighty sailor could comprehend it.

“Gum-Gum Jet Stamp!”

Popeye rocketed backward, his eyes not even catching just what had happened. All he knew was that he felt like he had been hit full in the chest by a charging train. As he tumbled to a halt, he only had time to get up before he caught sight of something.

His corncob pipe almost fell out of his mouth as a giant fist, comparable in size to a massive tree trunk, raised itself high into the air. “Gum-Gum GIANT PISTOL!”

Popeye yelped in surprise, then ran as fast as he could to the side just as the giant fist flew at him. The fist smashed through the ground like it was cheap glass, then retracted. Popeye took quick advantage of his opponent’s need to retract and, as the giant arm deflated and retracted back to its owner, Popeye held on tightly, hitching a ride to his rubbery opponent.

Popeye hopped off the appendage as soon as Luffy was in sight, then threw a flurry of punches at Luffy. Much to his frustration, Luffy sidestepped each attack as if he knew it was coming.

Luffy decided to put an end to Popeye’s assault and shouted, “Gum-Gum BALLOON!” With that, Luffy’s entire torso inflated into a giant, flesh-colored ball. The minute Popeye’s fist made contact with it, it bounced off. The recoil sent Popeye stumbling backward, and Luffy seized his chance.

“Gum-Gum JET GATLING!” Luffy leaned forward and his arms were suddenly a blur that began to pummel Popeye, who could only put up his arms to shield himself…if only a little bit.

“I can’t stands no more!” Popeye managed to get out before the punches broke past his defense and sent him flying backward.

Popeye skidded to a halt and now knew that, if there ever was a situation for his trump card, that situation was “NOW”. “Alright, you got a few circus acts. Guess what? I gots a few, too.” Popeye said, ready to meet this challenge with one of his own.

Popeye reached into his abnormally-deep pants pocket and pulled out a large tin can labeled “Spinach”. He gave the can a good squeeze until it burst open at the top, its green contents flying into the air. It came back down right into Popeye’s gaping mouth.

After munching down on the spinach for a brief moment, Popeye swallowed and the effects of eating his greens were instantaneous. His whole body flowed with a new energy and he flexed his muscle, forcing a bicep up to preposterous levels.

As for the metaphorical image you see in that muscle every time Popeye eats spinach? It was Goku firing off a Kamehameha.

Anyhoo, Popeye saw a pair of hands had reached just behind him and seize two trees behind him and had a good idea as to what was coming. He braced himself, his whole body composition morphing to resemble a Popeye statue made entirely of brick.

“Gum-Gum Jet Rocket!”

Luffy collided with Popeye at sonic-speeds, intent on finishing him off here and now with a powerful headbutt. One could imagine his surprise when, rather than send Popeye into agony and/or death, he ricocheted off with a bell-like “dong”. Popeye seemed completely unscathed while Luffy lay on his back, clutching his now-aching skull.

It was truly odd to him. Most of Popeye’s previous blows hadn’t even hurt him at all, yet he just now withstood one of Luffy’s stronger attacks AND did something that managed to hurt him.

Luffy roared back to his feet and unleashed another “Gum-Gum Jet Gatling” on Popeye, hoping to pummel him again. Popeye’s response was to wind up both of his fists and actually MIRROR him. The sailor man’s fists were now also blurs and met Luffy fist-for-fist.

Luffy, now really starting to get ticked that this guy was matching him, pulled back his fists and called off the attack. He then twisted his right arm like a corkscrew and shouted “Gum-Gum JET RIFLE!”

The Jet Rifle flew at Popeye…who merely reached up and caught his fist without wavering. The energy behind the arm’s now-spiraling form was suddenly released, resulting in Luffy spinning around like a propeller before sailing off to his right when Popeye let go.

Luffy landed on his feet, then forced as much air into his arms as he could. “Gum-Gum GIANT GATLING!”

Popeye put both of his thumbs in his mouth, took a deep breath, then actually mirrored Luffy again. In seconds, both his anchor-tattooed arms were the same size as Luffy’s. Again, Popeye had the Strawhat Captain matched move-for-move.

Then Popeye opened one of his hands and caught Luffy’s own by the wrist. With a “flick”, Luffy was catapulted high into the air before slamming back down on the ground. Next thing he knew, he was jerked towards Popeye and before he could put up any adequate defense, Popeye’s other gigantic fist slammed into him.

The resulting impact sent Luffy tumbling across the ground, skidding to a halt on a sandy beach. If his Gears wouldn’t work, then he’d have to use his ultimate techniques. It was time for using some Armament Haki.

Luffy stretched back an arm, the area from his fist down to his forearm turning the color of a cannonball, then shouted “Gum-Gum BULLET!”

Both of Popeye’s eyes widened as a pitch-black fist slammed into his visage, sending him rocketing into the air. Yet, as Popeye flew above the treetops, he was readying a counterattack. He twirled his pipe around until it faced his feet, took a deep breath, then exhaled out his smoking utensil as hard as he could.

A jet of flame erupted from the rather small object and, within seconds, Popeye had halted his backward-going momentum and flew forward like a rocket. Luffy shrieked in surprise as Popeye came at him with a barrage of punches to the pirate’s face. Normally, this would be no threat, but the Observation Haki seemed oddly ineffective. This was because of Luffy being completely caught by surprise and the fact that Popeye (and every punch he threw) was, somehow, moving far too fast for that particular form to be effective. Worse still, just like the last time, Popeye was somehow managing to hurt Luffy with pure blunt force alone…without Haki, no less.

Popeye only halted his barrage of punches only to sock Luffy full into the air with a sharp uppercut. While waiting for Luffy to come down, Popeye took his right wrist in his left hand and twisted his whole arm until it resembled a large piece of rope. Then, as Luffy came down, he slammed it into the pirate captain’s midsection, pinning Luffy to a tree. As an added effect, his twisted arm untwisted, spinning Luffy fast enough to buff the bark off the tree…and eventually splinter it under the force.

Luffy hit the ground, but was back on his feet, fuming with rage. “Gum-Gum…” Luffy’s fist grew to giant proportions yet again, only this time it was pitch-black with the Armament Haki, “ELEPHANT PISTOL!” With that exclamation, Luffy threw his fist forward. He'd like to see the anchor-armed sailor top THIS.

Popeye spotted the giant, obsidian hand coming at him like a gigantic cannonball, ready to blow him away, yet did not attempt to move out of the way in the slightest. He wound up a fist, spinning it fast enough that it could have been a propeller. When he was fully wound up, and Luffy’s fist was inches away from splattering him all over the island, Popeye launched his fist forward, making contact with the black surface.

A tremor went down the entire length of the arm and, for a split second, nothing appeared to have happened. Then the black surface of the arm actually cracked like an eggshell. Just a few appeared at first, then it spread and spread quickly until the Armament Haki literally shattered like glass.

The force of the impact jarred Luffy to the point that he fell on his seat. He then charged Popeye, his legs pumping him as fast as he could go. As he ran, he stretched an arm behind him that started out pitch-black, but quickly turned bright gold before being completely engulfed in flames.

“Gum-Gum REDHAWK!”

Too late.  Popeye spotted him, saw his flaming appendage, then took a deep breath and blew as hard as he could. The resulting flow of air was comparable to a hurricane wind…if it was much, MUCH stronger. Not only did the winds slow Luffy to a crawl, they also extinguished the fire on his arm like he was blowing out a birthday candle.

“Yes,birthdaywishesandall.Timetofinishyaoff,squirt.” Popeye grumbled, then socked the oncoming boy in the chin again, sending him up into the air once more.

This time, he made sure this would be the last time.

When Popeye spotted Luffy coming back down, he dug his fingers into the ground and pulled as hard as he could. At first glance, one would think that he was going to pull open a crevice in the ground.

WRONG.

Popeye pulled and pulled when, with a paper-like ripping sound, the very page you are reading this fight on tore right across the page. “Let’s see ya come back from THIS, ‘soon-to-be King of Pirates’.”

Luffy was just coming back down when he spotted oblivion awaiting him where he intended to land. He yelped as he fell down the crevice, then reached up with an elongated arm and just grabbed the edge of the tear.

Popeye spotted him and emitted a disgruntled growl, but then rubbed his hands together as an idea came to him. “Oh, look! Piggies!”

Popeye walked over to Luffy’s fingers, then wedged his thumb under his index finger. “This little piggy went to market…” With a “twang”, he pried the finger loose and Luffy’s eyes widened.

“Gum-Gum Pistol!” Luffy shot his other arm in an attempt to dislodge Popeye or get another grip to help himself up.

“Quit it, ya little whelp!” Popeye said, casually swatting the rubbery limb away, “I’m tryin’ to count piggies! This little piggy stayed home…” He pried Luffy’s middle finger loose.

“Gum-Gum Rocket!” Luffy said, his arm retracting, ready to spring him up and headbutt the cockeyed sailor…only to be met with the same fate as his hand.

“I said ‘cut it out’!” Popeye said, grouchily, socking Luffy back down to dangle from his last two fingers. “THIS little piggy had roast beef…” Luffy was now dangling from his pinky and could only watch in horror as Popeye said the last six words he would ever hear.

“And this little piggy had NONE.”

Popeye dislodged Luffy’s final finger and the captain of the Strawhat Pirates fell off the page into the whiteness of oblivion. His screams died down as he fell…forever.

“Hey, author! Stop bein’ so grim!” Popeye shouted, “And patch this up, will ya?”

Oh! Certainly!

At that point, a human hand with a sewing needle and thread went to work. Within a few seconds, it had patched up the page. To make sure it was safe, Popeye set foot on it: sturdy as a rock.

Popeye sighed in relief, then dove into the water. A brief moment later, he had hauled the entire wreckage of his boat out of the water and set to work repairing it.

K.O.!!!

--

Steel: (pause) What the heck did I just see?

Ray: I’m not entirely sure, but at least we have a winner. While Luffy is, without a doubt, one of the strongest people to have ever taken to the sea, Popeye’s savvy, cartoon-level durability, and spinach ultimately triumphed.

Steel: Luffy would not likely make the connection of Popeye’s strength and spinach (even if he DOES sing it in his song) because Popeye saves it as a last resort. Plus, the entire thing played out like a Popeye cartoon.

Ray: Luffy would make short work of Popeye when he was in base form, Gears Second and Third and his Haki would ensure that. However, when Popeye ate his spinach, his strength, speed, durability, and powers exceed that of ANY One Piece character.

Steel: How do those stats hold up? For starters, Popeye was strong enough to move the entire EARTH, which (as “Goku vs. Superman” stated) means he can lift up to 6.6 quintillion tons, exceeding just about ANY of Luffy’s feats of strength. Taking into consideration that Armament Haki can be broken with enough force, this means that Popeye is MORE than strong enough to break through it.

Ray: Popeye also once flew from the moon to Earth in under five seconds. This means that his top speed is at least Mach 13, but it IS likely that he can go faster; fast enough to fight past the effects of Observation Haki. Popeye has also dealt with supernatural entities, like ghosts and genies, so the Devil Fruits would likely mean nothing to him when spinach-fueled.

Steel: And before you bring up the Conqueror’s Haki, Popeye has both a strong will and a power level equal to, or greater than, that of Luffy’s. Crack your own Dragonball Z joke here.

Ray: Now, we can argue about feats of strength, speed, and all that. In the end, it cannot decide what either Luffy or Popeye are capable of. They’re both great heroes known for getting out of dire situations with their fists alone. The difference is their character. Luffy is not, has not, and never will be invincible. He has limits, obvious weaknesses, and his story is partly him overcoming the problems to make himself stronger. Meanwhile, Popeye’s is different. When a situation is dire, he uses something to make him capable of doing whatever needs to be done. In short, Popeye is as strong as he needs to be.

Steel: Going “Goku vs. Superman” again?

Ray: What? Look at it and tell me if it isn’t similar.

Steel: I-(pause) Wow…you’re right.

Ray: So, what happens when you pit a guy known for pushing his limits against a guy who has no real limit as to what he can or can’t do? Well, only Luffy has limits to begin with.

Steel: It was a good fight, but victory was just too much of a stretch even for Luffy. Now let's prepare to clean our inbox of all the nasty e-mails we're, undoubtedly, going to get from the One Piece fans...

Ray: The winner is Popeye.

LUFFY…
+More than powerful enough to match Popeye in base form
+Harder to hurt as a whole
+Haki and Gears are formidable
-More exploitable weaknesses
-Even at best, cannot match spinach-fueled Popeye
-Sometimes reliant on crew/friends in dire situations (I stress the term “sometimes”)

POPEYE…
+A force to be reckoned with, even in base form
+Just plain hard to kill
+No truly-debilitating weaknesses to be taken advantage of
+Spinach…need I say more?
+Achieves the impossible on a day-to-day basis
+More used to getting himself out of situations
I'm going to keep on living because despite the chaos in the world, there is love and hope in the world. There is love and hope in myself. I've discovered my gifts, my special talents and I will use them to change the world for the better. My family has instilled in me lessons that are highly valuable and should not be wasted in Death. I could be living in the very dark times of the past but I'm here. I could be homeless and robbed of my senses but I'm not. I could have a careless family but I don't. The Divine has given me the gift of life and choice and I will respect, honor, and cherish those gifts.
The gift of life is precious even if it is a rollercoaster ride. As it states, why you should keep on living. It can be short or long. You don't even have to post it on Facebook. You can write it and keep it to yourself in a secret place. It's your choice; I wrote mine. Share this, tag people, do what you want. Maybe this can inspire and save some lives.

This idea was inspired by Aiyana Farber (member of one of the Facebook groups I'm in.)

Do it. Don't do it but if you participated in those Salt & Ice and Fire Challenges, you can do this T_T

If you want to, follow my Facebook fan page. I post a lot of inspiring memes and pictures here: www.facebook.com/KTB1990   The X3 emoticon 
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The Problem with Self Inserts



There is nothing wrong with inserting yourself into a story. Like anything, it can be well done or... not so well done. The fact is, the majority of people who tend to write about self inserts happen to be beginners. Naturally, that causes there to be a pattern of certain, specific mistakes that are frequently found whilst reading anything on the internet. The purpose of this deviation isn't to say that self inserts are bad. I'm simply going to point out the most common mistakes that we usually encounter.

1. Making ourselves better than we really are.

Don't be fooled by the word "better." This can be replaced with mysterious, deep, dark, tragic, romantic, lovable... anything we want. Maybe a mix of a few of those things. The point is, the version of ourselves will be biased.

2. Not making anything bad happen to yourself

Let's talk about the word "bad." Does this mean something, perhaps, like... getting a disease? No. It means anything that interferes with the biased image you want to portray (whatever that might be).

3. Getting big headed

Sometimes people who write about themselves start thinking about themselves waaayyy too much. They even begin to believe their own biased images of themselves (or worse. Think that everyone else falls for it too).

4. Falling into the trap

"I know! I purposely won't make myself perfect. I'll keep saying that I hate myself!"

C.S. Lewis said it the best: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

It's not about what you (or your character) would say when asked if they think they're special. "I'm the best!" "I'm the same as anyone else," and "I don't deserve to be here," are all irrelevant, meaningless phrases unless you, as the author, prove it in the way that you PORTRAY the character.

Nobody makes a Mary Sue on purpose. They are all unconscious. How many stories have you actually seen with a stereotypical Mary Sue in a pink princess gown who says, "I'm better than everyone!" and is supposed to be? Give me a big, fat break. Let me make this clear:
NOBODY IN THE WORLD WRITES THAT WAY.
That is a fake, stereotype of Mary Sue made up by dumb people to feel good about themselves for not being like nonexistent even dumber people. The same people who thought they were smart for saying the world wouldn't end in 2012 when NOBODY sincerely believed that.
I'd say 100% of Mary Sues are characters that the author believes is a good character.
But I'll leave it at that since I already have a rant about Mary Sues (see link in description).

EDIT: CLARIFICATION

I'll be honest. Most good characters ARE self-inserts. And this is what I mean by that:
ALL well-written characters we create, inevitably have parts of us inside of them. That is actually HOW characters are well-written: because the author could relate to them and knew what they were talking about.

I know from experience that it's possible to write about characters that are over your head, and that is usually when they are poorly written. When you have a character like this, it's best to try and find a part of them that you can relate to, or at least look to real people so you can do a kind of imitation. Just make them real.

A word of advice: if you don't understand your own character, nobody else is going to. If you can't get into their head, their head will never be worth getting into at all.

I have nothing against self-inserts. I think inserting parts of yourself into characters is actually *necessary* (well, as always, depending on the style of the story. Naturally in a picture book or something it isn't that important. Again, make things deep enough for whatever you're writing). In fact, I think it's your best (probably only) bet at making a good character at all.
List of most common cliches in stories: [link]
How not to Tell a Story: [link]
Mary Sue definition: [link]
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Names                    Meaning
Beelzebub               Lord of the Flies                                           2 Kings 1:2, Matthew 12:24
Belial                      Worthless                                                      2 Corinthians 6:15
Devil                       Slanderer, Accuser, Cutting through               Matthew 4:1, Ephesians 6:10
Ha Satan                 The Accuser, Adversary                               Job 1:6 Matthew 4:10
Lucifer                    Lightbearer                                                   Isaiah 14:12                     
Satan                     Accuser, Adversary                                      Job 1:6 Matthew 4:10

Titles
A great fiery red dragon                                                                      Revelation 12:3
A Liar                                                                                                 John 8:44
A Murderer                                                                                        John 8:44
A Roaring Lion                                                                                   I Peter 5:8
An Angel of Light                                                                               2 Corinthians 11:14
The Accuser of our Brethren                                                               Revelation 12:10
The Adversary                                                                                    1. Peter 5:8, I Timothy 5:14
The Deceiver                                                                                      Revelation 12:9
The Dragon                                                                                        Revelation 20:2
The Enemy                                                                                         Matthew. 13:39  
The Father of Liars                                                                             John 8:44
The god of Ekron                                                                               2 Kings 1:2
The god of this Age/World                                                                  2 Corinthians 4:4
The Great Dragon                                                                               Revelation 12:9
The King of Babylon                                                                           Isaiah. 14:4
The King of Tyre                                                                                 Ezekiel 28:11-17
The Prince/Ruler of Demons                                                                Matthew 12:24
The Prince of the power of the Air                                                       Ephesians 2:2
The Prince/Ruler of this World                                                             John 12:31
Satan who deceives the whole world                                                    Revelation 12:9
The Serpent of Old                                                                              Revelation 20:2
The Son of the Morning                                                                      Isaiah 14:12      
The Spirit that now works in the Children of Disobedience                   Ephesians 2:2
The Tempter                                                                                        Matthew 4:3
The Wicked one                                                                                  I John 5:19
This was not a pleasant list to make and I debated rather or not to post it.

Before anyone gets any ideas I am NOT promoting demons or trying to glorify them!

But everywhere one looks, including here on DA, one sees tons of pictures and stories about demons;
and hardly any of them are accurate and even less are Biblical. :(

Demons Do in fact exist and are not to be taken lightly!
They are evil deceiving spirits whose purpose is to deceive and destroy.

Their leader, the Devil, exists as well. He feels only one emotion, hate and he exists only to destroy.
And yet most people know nothing about him or else they treat him like a fairy tale, or even view
him as something positive.

As Christians we are called to take part in spiritual warfare, but in order to do that we need
to know our enemy and above all we need to now GOD’s Word!

Here then is a biblical list of some of the titles of Satan.
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