10 Dialogue Verbs that Only Work in Parodies

After finishing my previous post about said bookisms, I was suddenly overwhelmed with ideas for further said-bookism-related writings. Thus, I determined to set out another, lighter list. The verbs here are bad, but they are in a special category of bad, one where the only response to such ridiculous wording is to burst out laughing.

When used seriously, these words kill the mood. But if used in a parody, they could be hilarious.

#10: Questioned

I put this one on the bottom of the list because it seems a bit subjective, but I do think it could be very funny if handled correctly. The thing about this word as a dialogue tag is that even though it’s technically a valid grammatical option, it reads like the author didn’t know any interrogative verbs and thus turned “question” into a verb to compensate. I know that that is in no way what it is, but for some reason that interpretation has stuck with me, and it makes me giggle a little every time I see this word in a dialogue tag. It could be pretty funny if someone wrote a parody of poor writing where they pretended it was the case by adding some bizarre malapropisms like “exclamationed” and “speeched.”

#9: Cajoled

I wasn’t really sure whether to include this one at first, because I thought it might be possible to use it effectively. Then I remembered that every time I’ve seen it used and not winced, it was in the prose rather than the dialogue tags. Even people with chronic cases of Thesaurus Syndrome seem to avoid having characters “cajole” their lines. Combined with the funny sound of the word, it makes for good parody material. Ideally, the writer would completely ignore all connotations of the word and just use it as a synonym for “said,” alongside several other bizarre and obscure words with funny phonemes.

#8: Verbalized

In contrast to the “it just sounds kind of funny” feel of the previous two entries, this one has more of a “so stilted and clinical that it’s funny” appeal to it. I can just imagine someone writing a parody of overly-technical styles where characters “verbalize,” “vocalize,” “communicate,” and “pronounce” their lines. For best results, combine with overly-verbose and bizarrely specific descriptions, such as calling puzzle pieces “interlocking cardboard chips” and giving a precise measurement of each character’s hair length.

#7: Dribbled

I have never seen this word in a dialogue tag, but thinking about it makes me picture the character melting. Perhaps it’s a mark of how strange my mind is that I find that funny. Since the connotations of the word are rather sappy, I think it would work well in a romance pastiche, mocking the drippy dialogue between the main couple. Just make sure to only apply it to really, really saccharine lines.

#6: Yakked

Oddly enough, I have seen this word used in a dialogue tag… in the infamously bad fanfic My Immortal. This may be a very strong argument for the “troll” side of the “real vs. trollfic” debate, because “yakked” is a silly verb, and I’m pretty sure that not even an incompetent fanfiction writer would use it seriously. It does have a really funny sound to it, though. Yakked. Yak yak yak! Say it with me, guys: yak! Yak yak yak! Yak yak yakkity yak yak yakked! Yak! Yak yak yak! You have now lost the ability to register “yak” as a legitimate word.

#5: Blubbered

In a bizarre twist of language, a great number of crying-related verbs sound kind of funny to me, largely because of their present-tense homonyms or homophones. “Bawl” sounds like “ball,” “wail” sounds like “whale,” and “blubber” is, of course… blubber. I think this one stands out to me because I register the noun “blubber” as a “sortamatopoeia”; that is, if whale blubber made a sound, “blubber” would be it.

#4: Exploded

In my previous post, I mentioned how the dialogue tag “burst out” made me picture the words bursting gruesomely from the character’s chest. This word is similar. Whenever a character “explodes” a line, I picture them literally exploding, often to hilarious effect. Seeing that effect used consciously in a parody would make me laugh my ass off.

#3: Enunciated

Though similar to “verbalized,” this word has a particular feel to it that I find inexplicably humorous. Just sit back from your computer for a moment and enunciate the word “enunciated.” For best results, make sure to overemphasize the stress a little more than strictly necessary. It sounds funny, right? Come on, this cannot be just me.

#2: Ululated

Ululation was a favorite joke of Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman in How NOT to Write a Novel, though even there it never ended up in a dialogue tag. Personally, I think this would be a great parody of the “sound” tags, e.g. “hissed” and “snarled.” While it is technically possible to hiss, snarl, moan, or sigh a line if the wording and length are suitable, I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to ululate a line… and since both the act of ululation and the word “ululate” seem to be funny in and of themselves, well, bonus!

#1: Ejaculated

Admit it: you knew this one was coming. Oddly enough, I’ve seen “ejaculated” in dialogue tags more than any other word on this list, except perhaps “questioned.” This is probably because some works can actually get away with it; that is, older ones, written before the word “ejaculated” was associated with, er, penile emission. However, despite its drop in commonality in the present day, it does make its way into modern stories; for example, I recall one particularly hilarious example from Harry Potter, where Professor Slughorn “ejaculated” Snape’s name. I love J. K. Rowling, but that was ridiculous. I suppose it just goes to show that even great writers can make the occasional goof. Really, the only place you should see “ejaculated” in the modern day is in a parody, especially a parody sex scene. Of course, if you aren’t writing parody, never use this verb anywhere close to the sex scene if you value your reader’s immersion.

10 of My Least Favorite Dialogue Verbs

Allow me to set a scene. A young aspiring novelist sits in their single-digit-grade classroom, listening intently to their teacher’s advice on writing effectively. One thing in particular stands out to them: the idea that they should vary their word choices. After all, who wants to read a piece full of generic terms like “really big” or “very bad?” Better by far to use interesting, attention-grabbing descriptions, like “enormous” or “terrible.”

Some time later, our young writer sits down to write a story. Eventually, they get to a section of dialogue and notice that the word “said” occurs pretty much every line. “This will not do!” they think, and begin coming up with ways to weed out the “said”s. By the end of the night, their dialogue looks something like this:

“But what if they catch us?” Amanda wondered.

Todd shrugged. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he remarked.

“That’s just like you to say,” groaned Izzy. She twiddled her thumbs for a second, then added, “Amanda’s right. If the monitors catch us in the secret passage, we need a plan.”

Todd rolled his eyes, but mumbled, “Okay.”

“I think we should split up,” Amanda stated. “They’ll have a harder time following more than one —”

“Bad idea,” interrupted Kevin, looking up briefly from his Rubik’s cube. “That just gives them more chances to catch one of us.”

This, of course, is poor writing. Dialogue tags are not meant to draw the reader’s attention, but to point out who is speaking. The word “said,” which goes largely unnoticed by most readers, performs this job admirably, and its replacement often has unpleasant results. By placing attention-grabbing words in their dialogue tags, the writer essentially takes the reader’s focus away from their characters and puts them on the writing, and by extension themselves. Eventually, this adds up to make the writing look overwrought and the author pretentious.

In literary circles, such verbs are known as “said bookisms,” and generally regarded as a red flag for an amateur writer. Of course, the presence of said bookisms doesn’t mean a work is bad, but it usually indicates that the text is in need of an editor. There are, of course, places where unconventional verbs can be used effectively, but they should still be used sparingly… and some particular verbs should never be used at all.

So here, I present ten of my least favorite verbs to see in a dialogue tag. While the category of said bookisms also delves into adverbs and the occasional accompanying action, the verbs are usually the ones that slap me in the face.

#10:  Uttered

Hello, pretension. I seriously cannot read this word in a dialogue tag without rolling my eyes. I think the problem with it is that it’s always used to make whatever a character says IMPORTANT or DRAMATIC, which in turn makes me picture the characters chewing the scenery and milking the giant cow. If an author needs to force drama by putting “uttered” in the dialogue tags, they clearly aren’t doing their job right; and if the dialogue would be dramatic without the “uttered,” then there’s no reason for it to be there. “Stated” is similarly unnecessary, but somewhat less pretentious, as are “spoke” and “told.”

#9: Grunted

It was difficult to figure out which “noise” dialogue tag to put here. “Hissed” is a common example of a much-abused dialogue tag, but there are at least cases of it being used appropriately. “Snorted” is roughly the same, although it is much more difficult to find its good instances. “Grunted,” on the other hand, is one that I don’t think I’ve ever seen used well, because how exactly does one “grunt” a line? Like “gasped,” “grunted” could only really work on a monosyllable; however, the act of grunting seems like it would drown out pretty much anything.

#8: Burst Out

I actually read this in a published work once. The resulting facepalm left my forehead aching for several minutes. “Blurted out” and “forced out” are bad enough, but they at least sound like something you could do with dialogue, and could be okay in the right circumstances. “Burst out,” on the other hand, makes me picture the words erupting from the character’s chest in a shower of gore, like the xenomorph in Alien. It’s pretty much impossible to take it seriously.

#7: Proclaimed

Pop quiz: is your character a political figure enacting a new law or making an important announcement? If not, don’t use “proclaimed,” and if so, no, the answer is still “don’t use ‘proclaimed.'” This fits in with “uttered” as a word often used to force drama, but has the added benefit of making your dialogue sound like a legal brief. Other words with the same effect include “disclosed,” “alleged,” “attested,” and “notified.” “Announced” is in a similar category, but as much as I hate it, there is very occasionally at least some excuse for that one.

#6: Trilled

This particular bookism may be somewhat subjective, because for me, it comes with an association. I have almost always seen this verb used for dialogue from a character type I absolutely despise: the annoyingly perky girl whose author was aiming for The Pollyanna or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but missed the mark and created a caricature straight out of the Valley of Saccharine Hell. Trilling one’s lines seems to be a symptom. Other verbs to watch out for include “chirped,” “chimed,” and “lilted.”

#5: Chortled

I considered several “laughing your lines” verbs for this slot. I’m not entirely sure how one goes about laughing, chuckling, chortling, giggling, cackling, or snickering a line, especially if said line is longer than a few words and still easily understood by the surrounding characters. I think the factor that made “chortled” stand out is the fact that it’s just a weird, unappealing word. This is the kind of word that won’t just pull a reader out of the scene to roll their eyes at the over-embellished dialogue tags; this is the kind of word that will make a reader cringe.

#4: Realized

If your character realizes things out loud, that’s fine, but please don’t state it outright like this. Using “realized” as a line of dialogue is basically a sneaky way of telling rather than showing. Give us a facial expression or a character tic: a flash of the eyes, a sudden smile, or a wave of one hand as the realization hits. The same goes for tags like “remembered” or “recalled.”

#3: Averred

This one represents the category of “words that at least 90% of your readers will have to look up in the dictionary.” It’s annoying enough when an author uses such words in their prose; using them in the dialogue tags as well is just crass. Other words in this category include “demurred,” “asseverated,” “expostulated,” “descanted,” “promulgated,” “hectored,” “expatiated,” “adduced,” “propounded,” and “remonstrated.”

#2: Smirked

Nobody can smirk a line of dialogue. They also cannot sneer, grin, flutter, smile, frown, cringe, grimace, or shrug said line. If you’re going to use an unconventional verb in your dialogue tag, it should at least be a verb that can be used for speech. At least “chortled” and “grunted” are sounds.

#1: Hesitated

At this point, I wish to make a statement: while not all of the “other examples” I have mentioned are things I have seen in published works, the headliners are. So yes, I have seen this dialogue tag “in the wild,” and not just in a published novel, but in a bestselling one. I suppose that goes to show that “bestselling” does not mean “best quality,” because I’m pretty sure that this became a dialogue tag on account of a typo… or at least, I would like to think it did. The fact that it happened more than once might throw a wrench in that theory. Regardless, I don’t think anyone reading this has to be told why “hesitated” is a terrible dialogue tag. To add to the horror, I have seen this same mistake made with “paused.”

Last Month in Spam: Wow, England. Wow.

Hey guys! I’m finally back to regular blog writing. I honestly did not realize how long it had been since I made a post. I suppose that’s what happens when I get really into writing my novel, then get horrid writer’s block and hit my head against a wall for a bit, then go on a trip to England, then rediscover an old favorite game.

Since my last post, I’ve received no fewer than 13 spam comments. Most of them are fairly generic, but the real stand-outs are the four latest ones, which all occurred during said trip to England. I was only there for a week, with hotel wifi as my computer’s only option for Internet connection. I didn’t get to use it much, but somehow, this ended up getting spambots from the UK to message me.

They were all escort services.

I kid you not. The names of the spam accounts were, in order, “Nottingham Escorts,” “Escorts in Leicester,” “Bristol Escort,” and “escorts in bristol.”

Within this grouping, two in particular were rather interesting. “Bristol Escort” did something I’d never seen before: give a spambot attempt at concrit. I quote:

However, consider this, what if you were to write a awesome title?

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attention? … You should glance at Yahoo’s home
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viewers to open the links. You might add a video
or a related pic or two to grab people interested about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it could make
your posts a little bit more interesting.

Apparently, UK spambots have figured out that humans usually share some negative opinions along with the positives. Adding to the weirdness is the fact that the writing style here is actually relatively lucid, as compared to the bizarre misspelling-ridden and grammatically poor comments left by American spambots. The British even do spambots better, guys.

The other standout was… well, it was when someone had apparently managed to fuck with the spambot’s algorithm. I really can’t do anything but post the entire text of the comment, just so you can see it.

Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this
information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting.
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Now if only “wanker” were spelled correctly.

Why I Won’t Self-Publish

With the sudden proliferation of ebooks in the past decade, the doors have been opened wide to authors who wish to self-publish. Many who could never afford to have their book physically printed have been able to publish their books with minimal difficulty. Adding to the appeal of online self-publishing is the fact that most companies, such as Amazon and CreateSpace, offer the authors a much higher percentage of the royalties than traditional publishing companies.

There are, of course, success stories. The Martian started out as a series of posts on the author’s blog, which was later compiled into an ebook and released online. It was then picked up by a publishing company, and went on to inspire a big-budget movie that raked in over 500 million dollars in profits. Fifty Shades of Grey began life as Twilight fanfiction, until its writer changed the names, self-published it as an ebook, and was, again, later picked up by a mainstream company. While its reception was notably cooler (and, in my opinion, for good reason), it still pulled in a ridiculous amount of cash. The Inheritance Cycle began with Christopher Paolini’s parents creating their own publishing company to self-publish his book, before it was, yet again, picked up by a big-name mainstream publishing company. Its movie was, er, less lucrative, but nonetheless got made.

However, when it comes to my writing, I absolutely refuse to self-publish.

What I want to make absolutely clear at the outset is that this is not a simple case of garden-variety snobbery. I don’t consider myself above self-publishing, nor do I consider self-published works to be automatically bad. I may detest Fifty Shades of Grey, its sequels, and its movies with the burning intensity of an O-type blue supergiant, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Martian, both the book and the movie. Heck, did you guys know that The Joy of Cooking was originally self-published? My family and I make recipes out of that book all the time; it’s fantastic.

That said, there is a correlation between self-publishing and a noticeable lack of polishing. Self-published works often hit print without getting the attention of a professional editor. At best, the author gets beta readers and takes their suggestions to heart. At worst, the book is almost completely unedited, and tumbles forth into the world seething with errors.

In many cases, such books were largely unsalvageable even before you factored in the grammatical errors: hackneyed plots, aimless author tirades, etc. However, the examples of self-publishing that really make me sad are the ones that had potential. These are writers who have laid out an interesting plot with distinctive characters and a well-thought-out world, but lack the technical ability to bring it to life without a thousand grammatical errors along the way. With a bit of help from a professional editor and a good few rounds of rewriting, these books could be really good, and that’s what makes me sad.

Basically, this kind of book is the literary equivalent of a premature baby.

I actually happened upon one of these earlier this month. I had recently become acquainted with the YouTube channel Terrible Writing Advice, which I absolutely loved. I highly recommend it; the guy clearly knows his tropes, and it’s fun to watch him mercilessly mock overused characters, settings, and plot devices.

The guy who made the channel, J.P. Beaubien, self-published his book. Out of curiosity, I bought it. I had not been aware of the book’s self-published nature beforehand, but as soon as I opened up the Kindle edition and started reading, I could see it clearly as day.

Aeon Legion: Labyrinth is a book that I desperately want to love. It has interesting themes, a rather good plot, some nice Take Thats at overused tropes, female characters who are actually written as people rather than “x type female character,” and freaking Ancient Greece references everywhere. It hits all my soft spots dead-on! But it has not been sufficiently edited, and it shows.

I want to love this book, but I can’t, because every time I read it the grammatical errors jump out of the page and slap me in the face. One thing that particularly annoys me is Beaubien’s apparent aversion to hyphens, which results in such constructions as “clean shaven” rather than “clean-shaven,” and “pear shaped” rather than “pear-shaped.” I suppose this wouldn’t be such a problem for people who don’t have the same grammar hang-ups as I do, but the point here is that if this book had gone through the editing and rewriting process inherent in traditional publishing, these mistakes would not be there.

Ultimately, most of my reluctance to self-publish comes from the fact that I want my books to get all the professional polishing they need before releasing them to the reading public. I know that I’m a good writer. I’ve been told such by friends, family, teachers, and peers alike, and my history of high scores on tests of writing ability back all of them up. I scored 800 on the verbal and writing sections of the SAT, for Athena’s sake. But that does not give me license to let my book pass into the world unedited. If anything, it means that I should be even more cautious, because overconfidence can be truly fatal to one’s prospects for success.

Another reason I’d like to avoid self-publishing has to do with marketing. I am good at writing and coming up with ideas. I can spend hours in my room coming up with languages and sketching out minutely detailed maps of my fantasy nations. However, I am not good at marketing. My brief attempt at being a Let’s Player is proof enough of that; I never broke twenty subscribers. Publishing my book through a company would not only ensure that it gets professionally edited, but that it gets marketed by people who know what they’re doing. To me, that’s worth a chunk off the royalties.

If you’ve written a book and you want to self-publish it, I won’t stop you. I would, however, encourage you to think long and hard about whether it’s the best thing for your book. Sometimes, we really do need the company’s help.

I’m Pretty Sure Rowling Didn’t Read “Cursed Child”

It’s the only way I can preserve my opinion of her as a good writer, really. I know she outlined the thing, but there’s no way she gave it a once-over after the playwrites were done with it.

Considering how much I loved Harry Potter throughout my child- and teenhood, I suppose it’s somewhat surprising that I haven’t looked into Harry Potter and the Cursed Child until recently. I only had the vague ideas of “it’s a play,” and “Rowling didn’t actually write it herself.” At this point, I know that she provided an outline, which the playwrites used to write… this. I can only assume that the outline was very bare-bones, because the story of this play is utterly confused, and a lot of the plot points and reveals are bizarre in the extreme.

I think I’ll break down some of my issues with this into parts. Yes, this will contain spoilers.

How Many Plots Can You Have?

Go read a summary of this play, if you think you have the plot-discerning abilities. I’ll wait.

Right. You’re done? Okay, on a scale of one to ten, please rate how convoluted that plot was. Personally, I’ll give it about an eight. It’s not on the level of Lost, but it’s pretty bizarre.

This is quite inherent in time-travel plots, but it goes beyond that. We have, besides the time-travel, plots about school politics, family dynamics in the Potter household, family dynamics in the Malfoy household, Harry and Draco interacting as adults, a new Death Eater plot, and a completely unforeshadowed and canon-breaking character who I cannot imagine J.K. Rowling ever thinking was a good idea.

All these plots would be confusing enough in a novel, but in a play they are absolutely insane. Forget the whole “part one” and “part two” issue; I’m surprised there aren’t at least five “parts” to this thing!

Harry Potter + Play = Highly Impractical

Building off of the point above, I am utterly confused as to how you could go about portraying Harry Potter onstage. I’ve heard that the tickets to the original London show cost about £800, which, while exorbitant, isn’t exactly surprising, because the special effects budget for this play must be absolutely massive.

Sorting That Makes No Sense

Scorpius Malfoy should be a Ravenclaw. I know that a significant part of the plot is dismantling the house stereotypes, and that not everyone bookish goes into Ravenclaw (just look at Hermione Granger!), but I cannot see any traditionally-Slytherin traits in this kid. I can, however, see a metric shit-ton of Ravenclaw. Any character who says the line “my geekness is a-quivering,” as absolutely cringe-worthy as that line is, has no business being anywhere BUT Ravenclaw. Sure, he’s a Malfoy, but blood doesn’t have to dictate your house. Heck, just look where Albus ends up.

Not that that makes any more sense, though. Remember that epilogue in Deathly Hallows, where Albus was telling James “no, no, I won’t be in Slytherin”? That bit  He sounded utterly horrified. Now, consider how much the Sorting Hat considered putting Harry in Slytherin. Harry said “not Slytherin, not Slytherin,” and the hat listened. It does take the student’s choice into account. So, with the idea of his family’s disapproval hanging over him, how the hell did Albus not end up requesting “not Slytherin,” and if he did, why would the Sorting Hat ignore him?

Heck, I’m Just Gonna Blockquote This…

“Albus Severus,” Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, “you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin, and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

“But just say —”

“— then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”


“It did for me,” said Harry.

*stares pointedly at Cursed Child*

The Dialogue Is So Bad

Remember that “my geekness is a-quivering” line I mentioned earlier? It’s not the worst line in the play. The dialogue here is clunky and bizarre, and I can only hope that the actors ad-lib a bit when they perform this.

What Have You Done To Hermione?

I’m actually fairly okay with Hermione in the main timeline. I’m not a huge fan of the Hermione/Ron ship, but I’m not a Harmonian either, so as long as it makes some sense, I don’t really have a vested interest in who she ends up with. I love the idea of her becoming Minister of Magic, because she absolutely could, and a damn good one at that.

One thing I am quite surprised by is the idea that she would have children before the age of thirty. I understand that wizards come of age at seventeen, but that’s only one year before the rest of us, and the average age at first birth is somewhere in the late twenties. I can’t really picture Hermione being an early mom, even if she is married to a Weasley. Still, that’s more of a quibble with the epilogue, and we’re not here to quibble with the epilogue, we’re here to quibble with Cursed Child.

In the first alternate timeline, Hermione goes from being Minister of Magic to being a grumpy, student-hating Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I cannot picture this at all. I could picture Hermione becoming a professor, but there is absolutely no way that she would be that mean, and even less way that she would be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. That was her worst class, for fuck’s sake! It was the only O.W.L. on which she didn’t get an “Outstanding” grade. If Hermione became a professor, I would expect her to teach Charms or Arithmancy, which are her favorite subjects in the books, or perhaps Transfiguration.

What makes it worse, though, is that the reason given for this change of future is that she didn’t marry Ron and have Rose and Hugo. This is just utterly baffling to me, not to mention how ridiculously sexist it sounds. Hermione Granger is perfectly capable of pursuing her goals on her own. Furthermore, as you may have garnered from my above comments, I never got the impression that marriage and family were anywhere near her first priorities. This is absolutely out of character, and I cannot stand it.

This kind of thing makes me wonder whether the playwrites have actually read the Harry Potter books. It also is one of my reasons for believing that Rowling didn’t edit Cursed Child, because if she did, why the bloody hell would she leave THIS BULLSHIT in?

Speaking of Careers…

Harry being an Auror makes a bit more sense. However, I honestly would have liked to see him become a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Remember how awesome he was at teaching Dumbledore’s Army back in Order of the Phoenix? He’s clearly got a great deal of talent as an educator; it’s a pity to see that go to waste. Oh well, maybe he’ll go back to teaching once he’s got some Auror-ing under his belt.

Ron, though… I’m not sure exactly what they were doing with his career history. I suppose I can understand him going to work at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes somewhat, but it still seems kind of odd to me.

Honestly, I think a Ronald Weasley career progression that would have made me happy would be if he overcame his stage fright/performance anxiety and went on to play Keeper for the Chudley Cannons, especially if his mad skills brought them their first win since 1892. Harry might have better prospects in professional Quidditch, considering how talented he was as a Seeker, but I honestly can’t see him going for that as a career choice. Ron, though… I could absolutely see it.

Literally Everything To Do With Delphi

Here it is, folks. The moment you’ve all probably been waiting for. The moment when I discuss the character who made thousands of fans slam the book shut with an enraged cry of “BULLSHIT” and proclaim Cursed Child to be nothing more than glorified fanfiction.

Delphi Diggory/The Augurey/Delphini Riddle is the daughter of Bellatrix Lestrange and Lord Voldemort. That already sounds like the description of a character from a fanfic. The livejournal community Pottersues lists a staggering 153 fics involving a Sue who is related to Voldemort, most of which are rated “Toxic” on the Sue-O-Meter. Further cementing Delphini’s Sue-ness is her unusual hair (silver and blue) and her apparent irresistibility to certain male characters. She pretty much comes off as a poorly-written Villain Sue that should be languishing unread in a fanfiction.net portfolio that hasn’t been opened since the writer was thirteen years old.

I honestly have no idea how this character ended up in canon. If Rowling thought her up, then what the bloody hell was she thinking? All evidence in the novels suggests that though Bellatrix is completely obsessed with Voldemort, the Dark Lord himself has no interest in sex or reproduction. That’s a good thing, too, because who the fuck wants to think about the words “sex” and “Voldemort” in the same sentence? I guess you might if you have a kink for noseless guys, or if you’re in a very specific niche of the “scaly” section of the furry fandom, but for most people, this is… NO. Just… NO.

I’m not saying that there is no circumstance in which this character might work, but all of them would involve radically changing her backstory. For instance, if she wasn’t actually Voldemort and Bellatrix’s daughter, but had been raised to think she was by Death Eaters in need of a figurehead, that would be absolutely fascinating. It wouldn’t break canon, and it would show off exactly how insane the Death Eaters who raised her were, that they took this kid and built her up as the heir to their leader’s legacy, making her think that all these horrible things that Voldemort did were good and that she should aspire to continue his work.

Likewise, if Bellatrix had actually had a child with her husband Rodolphus, but presented the child as Voldemort’s out of her twisted love for him, that could have been interesting as well. It would have shown how deep her insane obsession went.

Alternately, if you really wanted to stick with Voldemort and Bellatrix as her actual biological parents, why not have this be entirely Bellatrix’s idea? Since Voldemort is completely uninterested in things like children and *gag* sex, have Bellatrix impregnate herself via magic. It’d be bizarre and creepy, but since when is Bellatrix Lestrange anything other than bizarre and creepy? Plus, the magical nature of Delphi’s conception could then be used to explain her odd hair color. It would make far more sense! Heck, this one could even work with the plot of the play, where the clinching factor in establishing Delphini as Voldemort’s daughter is the fact that she speaks Parseltongue.

Moving on, we can also discuss the fact that Delphi’s bizarre backstory not only breaks canon in terms of warping characters OOC, but also in terms of raising a rather inconvenient question: when the fuck was Bellatrix pregnant?

Bellatrix Lestrange escaped from Azkaban in January of 1996, and died in the Battle of Hogwarts on May 2, 1998. The fanmade Harry Potter wiki further notes that Delphini was conceived after the battle of the Department of Mysteries, which occurred in mid-June of 1996. This gives us a window just shy of two years.

Now, we must factor in Bellatrix’s stated positions and in-text appearances. Her appearance with Narcissa early in Half-Blood Prince is irrelevant; it occurred in July of 1996, so if she was pregnant at the time, she certainly wouldn’t have been showing. Bellatrix apparently taught Draco Malfoy Occlumency for the rest of that summer, as evidenced by Snape and Malfoy’s conversation on Christmas. Bellatrix’s next appearance comes in Book 7, where she joins her master and fellow Death Eaters in attempting to attack Harry while he is moved out of the Dursleys’ house. She is not visibly pregnant during this battle. She does not appear again until the trio are brought to Malfoy Manor in March of 1988, at which point she is, again, not visibly pregnant.

Thus, we have something of a window: Bellatrix must have been pregnant at some point during Book 6, where we don’t see her. The problem with this is that she spends most of this time in Malfoy Manor, where Draco and Lucius would have noticed her becoming pregnant and giving birth. I would be willing to accept an explanation that has her magically hiding her pregnancy, but if that’s the case, I would really like to know about it. Yes, I do complain about writers leading their audiences by the nose, but there is a certain point of “you can infer it” that just gets really annoying, and “to patch a Fridge Logic hole” is right about it.

I could also touch on Bellatrix’s age (mid-to-late forties), but that seems unnecessary at this point. Plus, it’s entirely possible for a woman to not enter menopause until her fifties… even if she did spend a lot of time in Azkaban, where the terrible conditions could wreak havoc with one’s reproductive system.

Back to the other side of the family, I’m not sure why Voldemort would allow his child to exist, even if he did have any interest in creating one. Voldemort wants power and immortality. Having a person walking around who could reasonably claim to be his heir would thus be extremely counterproductive to everything he aspires to. If Voldemort was trying to rule the world with Delphini running around, he would constantly have to worry about her attempting to gain some of his power, or even usurp it if she got ambitious enough. From Voldemort’s sociopathic perspective, it would be far better to just kill her.

Finally, I want to take a moment to quibble with this character’s name. I suppose “Delphini” is fine; going with the Black family theme naming, it’s a shortening of the constellation Delphinius. However, her nickname of “Delphi” is utterly bizarre. I understand that there’s the connection with future-telling, which connects her to her alter ego of “the Augurey,” but the name “Delphi” actually comes from the ancient Greek word “δελφύς,” which means “womb.” It may only be a nickname, but having a female character whose name literally means “womb” makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

In Conclusion

Remember that godawful Spider-Man musical? The one that gave several actors injuries and was pretty much a laughingstock of Broadway? This feels like the Harry Potter equivalent of that, although perhaps less of a disaster physically.

I don’t think I’ll ever see this play performed.

Grammatical Analysis of Trump Tweets


In what is perhaps an ill-advised action, I just spent a little bit of time scrolling through Donald Turpis’s twitter page. It was a bizarre experience, kind of like looking into the mind of someone who can only think in the language of advertisements and possesses views that could be charitably described as “archaic.” Of course, I do not tend to be charitable when discussing the Terrible Toupee-Beast, so I would characterize them as “stupid, ill-informed, racist, misogynistic, bigoted, and generally horrible.” The poor grammar is basically the piss icing on a cake of shit.

A quick disclaimer before we begin: as I find it impossible to combine the words “Trump” and “President” without becoming violently ill, I will be referring to Donald Turpis by a variety of creative euphemisms throughout this piece. (Turpis, by the way, is a wonderful Latin word meaning “foul, ugly, base, and/or shameful.” It’s basically a catch-all negative that catches all of Trump’s identifiable traits. If you want to be particularly uncharitable, consider swapping it out for the superlative, “Turpissimus.”)

One annoying tendency of this offspring of the Annoying Orange and a Troll doll is that he loves to end his Tweets with an exclamation point. I’m not going to go through his entire Twitter page to do an exact count, because that would take aeons, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably just over half of them. Often, the exclamation is applied to a single word, which appears like an extra hashtag at the end of the Tweet. “Jobs!” he shoves in, after rambling about his economic policy. This, of course, results in some of the hallmarks of Trump tweets, e.g. “Sad!” and the recent staple “FAKE NEWS!”

America’s least intelligent half-domesticated orangutan also hits on one of my personal pet peeves: rampant misuse of the em-dash, often using a hyphen in its place. I have already written about my distaste for the em-dash, but in that post, I neglected to mention how doubly annoying it is when a hyphen or en-dash is incorrectly substituted for an em-dash. It effectively takes one of my grammatical Berserk Buttons and multiplies, no, exponentiates it.

Of course, these aren’t the only grammar failures that America’s number one racist grandpa commits regularly. He bifurcates words, sometimes with a space (e.g. “main stream” instead of “mainstream,” “business women” instead of “businesswomen”) and sometimes with a hyphen (e.g. “non-sense” instead of “nonsense”). He often leaves out spaces after ellipses, sometimes leaves them out before or after his hyphen-dashes, and occasionally even misses them between words… only to have them show up in other tweets, where there are extra spaces. Speaking of ellipses, some of his have extra dots. Worst of all, though, is the way he will occasionally seem to shift subjects in the middle of a sentence. These particular lapses in grammar are to the point where I’m not entirely sure what, precisely, went wrong. Perhaps he had to edit the thought to keep it within the character limit and clarity suffered for it… or perhaps he lost his train of thought halfway through, like he always does when he talks.

Finally, the style of his tweets can only be described as “advert-esque.” Emphasis is dropped haphazardly with no regard for how its overuse will dull its effect, and description is confined to generalities and superlatives. In the world of America’s sentient sack of crooked money, nothing is ever “kind of bad.” It’s either just generally “bad” or “A DISASTER.”

As an illustration of Donald Turpis’s terrible grammar and bizarre style, I present you with the text of this tweet, posted on February 20th. To avoid popping a blood vessel, I’ll just focus on the grammar and do my best to ignore the atrocious content.

Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!

This gem does not contain all of our first Cheeto president’s grammatical failings, but it does contain a good number of them, and could benefit greatly from a good look by an editor. So, let’s pick it apart!

Firstly, “give the public a break” is an odd turn of phrase. I understand what he was trying to do here, but when you say something similar to a common saying, you run the risk of sounding like you don’t speak English. Plus, I’m pretty sure that most of the public would like a break from YOU, Donald, not from the “fake news media.”

We then get a hyphen-dash. This should, of course, be an em-dash, though my own personal idiosyncrasy would lead me to recommend an exclamation point, ending the sentence without the need for said em-dash. That would also eliminate the need to get rid of that capitalization on “the,” because it would at least be beginning a new sentence. As-is, it’s a random and ungrammatical capitalization.

Of course, then we get the entirely-capitalized “FAKE NEWS.” This is intended to be for emphasis, but considering how often Mr. Monopoly’s tacky uncle uses CAPSLOCK in his tweets, it really isn’t that emphatic. Overuse of capslock just makes one look like a blowhard, which in this case is fair, since the Drumpf is a blowhard.

The rest of the sentence is largely okay grammar-wise. Then, of course, the bloated orange sea cucumber goes and tacks on a “NOT!”

These guys have, like, the BEST hair compared to Donald Toupee.
Very hip with the kids, Donald.

Yeah, I think that speaks for itself.

My conclusion? Before anyone runs for president, they should be tested for grammatical competence. Any leader of our country ought to have far better communication skills than Donald Turpis has displayed.

Novel Progress: F*** Yeah, Five Chapters!

The draft is now five chapters and over 29,000 words long, and I’m starting on Chapter Six. Chapter Four is probably going to need some significant editing, but I’m pretty confident that what I have now generally represents how the early stages of the plot will look in the finished work. Confidence continues to build.

I have been getting feedback from a few friends and family members as I go, of course. My mom provides most of the early editorial, and has me rethinking plot devices and word uses that make more sense to me than they do to her. One of my friends is very good at hacking magic systems, so I have workshopped mine with him to make sure that it won’t create plot holes or be open to obvious system cheats.

One thing I’ve been doing that may be counterproductive is comparing myself to authors I liked as a kid, whether favorably or unfavorably. It may be fun to learn that I use fewer said bookisms than someone whose writing I have grown disillusioned with, but counting the unconventional verbs takes up time that I could be spending writing. On the other side of that equation, comparing myself to authors I still love can be both inspiring and entirely disheartening.

My biggest problem area right now is probably transitions. I sometimes have trouble figuring out how to get to the next scene I have planned, and end up rushing through the process to get there. Sometimes this is acceptable, of course; if getting to the next scene involves traveling and not much happens on the way, it’s only natural to condense that as much as possible. Other times, it leads to rushing through potentially important information.

Alongside my writing, I have been working on my setting’s conlangs. Freithan and Astarian, the nearly-identical languages spoken by the main character and her father, are taking shape rather nicely: I’ve mapped out five declensions (one of which is unique to Freithan) in singular and plural, decided on possible verb stems, and invented an odd way of using the vocative that I don’t think occurs in any real-world languages. I’m not sure how much of the conlang will actually make it into the book, but I do find it immensely useful to have just for the sake of naming. People in the main characters’ culture are typically named using a noun or adjective combined with one of a few “endings” that indicate personal names; for example, Andreva (andar, “birch tree” + -eva), Rinna (rin, “river” + -na), Kelric (keli, “blond” + -ric), Cathrenna (cathre, “summer”+ -na), and Garron (garre, “stormcloud” + -on). Places tend to be named after geographical features, particularly bodies of water in the Freithan region.

Speaking of place names, I’m often unsure of whether to translate them. In the draft I have, I’ve pretty much been adhering to the Rule of Cool and occasionally to what will give the reader the impression I want to give. For example, “Rivermeet” gets translated because it sounds better and is more evocative than “Rinnausva.” Giving this particular place a fantasy name would utterly erase the picture that you get from its literal translation, which is important, because to the characters, it does have a descriptive name. It’s built on the intersection of two rivers, and is pretty much everything that implies: a trade hub, a center of travel, etc. Meanwhile, “Ilsevand” remains untranslated because its translated name, “Clearlake,” isn’t particularly interesting.

In any case, I should probably wrap this up and go back to writing — this draft isn’t going to finish itself! Plus, if I keep going, I’ll start spilling far more of the plot and setting than I should.


After last week’s near-drought, of course this week would be absolutely chock full of spam.

Since last Wednesday, I have received no fewer than twelve spam comments, which is rather surprising considering that I doubt many people read this blog yet. Then again, my dad still hasn’t helped me install the Analytics plugin, so I can’t actually tell how many people are reading. I should probably stop before I start getting ridiculously self-conscious.

A bunch of these spam comments came from “education tips” or variants thereof, which is kind of interesting. I guess this means that the spambots consider my blog to be educational. I don’t know whether that should be a facepalm-inducer or an unexpected milestone.

Perhaps this occurred because all of these comments were on my post about em-dashes. In fact, every single spam comment with even marginally passable grammar was on that particular post.

Besides that, I got more of the cspan spammers, and a few financial advice things. Most of them were generic compliments with varying degrees of grammatical incompetence. A couple of them were actually grammatically correct, which was pretty nice. Unfortunately, it’s still spam, so there was no choir of angels or anything like that.

Two of the spam comments were in German. I don’t speak German. They came from the same spambot, but were promoting different websites. I wonder if it’s a spambot-for-hire or something.

I really hope that no such thing exists.

The Skit

The DVD case is a jarring shade of translucent pink, though against the dark wood of the bookshelf, it looks blood red. Clumsy writing, only just recognizable as my own, scrawls across it in silver gel pen. The words are smudged by years, some to the point of illegibility, but that matters little. I know exactly what they say.

This is it. This is the silly dance and weird little skit that my elementary school best friend and I put together during a sleepover one night.

I can at least remember the dance fondly. Blissfully unaware of the true form of The Chicken Dance, my friend came up with a “chicken dance” of her own, accompanied by a song composed entirely of exaggerated bawking. I don’t appear onscreen at all during this; it was her creation, and she pulls it off better than I ever could, then or now. My rhythm extends only to my brain, lungs, and vocal cords.

No, it is definitely the skit whose memory makes me wince. My brain has already generated a list of explanations for this abomination. We were, like, ten, it reminds me. We were in elementary school. This was back in the mythical time before the iPhone; you can’t be counted upon to have good acting skills. Or writing skills. Or taste.

The skit is half-roleplay, half-fanfiction, inspired largely by the Inheritance Cycle, though at that point it was still called a trilogy and only comprised one published book and one in progress. I play a Dragon Rider, while my friend takes on the role of a lynx-person. Not a werecat, mind you, a lynx-person. Her pretend name is literally “lynx” with some extra letters tacked onto the end.

I contemplate watching the DVD’s contents, just to see precisely how bad it was, but decide against it. This was not meant for human eyes. Not even mine.

I deposit it in a box of my old projects and shudder.

Eating Pasta with Sporks: Jeff the Killer

I am often unsure what to think of the online phenomenon known as “creepypasta.” On the one hand, it’s great to know that there are a lot of other horror fans sitting around on the Internet and wanting to write short stories. On the other, a lot of the stories that actually get popular are, quite frankly, crap.

Jeff the Killer is one of those stories.

I know a lot of people like Jeff, and many consider him truly creepy. To those people, I must ask: have you actually read the creepypasta that he comes from, or is your opinion of Jeff as creepy based solely on this image?


Because if I’m being honest, that picture is the creepiest thing this pasta has, unless you consider terrible writing skills to be creepy.

So without any further ado, let’s grab our sporks and dig into this big plate of pasta!

Excerpt from a local Newspaper:

Why is “newspaper” capitalized?


Not a promising start. “Ominous Unknown Killer”? They haven’t given him some nickname yet? And no, “Ominous Unknown Killer” is not a good serial killer nickname. Why not just say that he’s a serial killer? Or, given the victim we’re presented with in the next line, “Serial Child Killer”? I don’t think any newspaper worth the pulp it’s printed on would call a killer “Ominous Unknown Killer.”

After weeks of unexplained murders, the ominous unknown killer is still on the rise.

Again with the “Ominous Unknown Killer” bit, although not with the caps, which proves it’s not the killer’s press nickname. “Unknown killer” would probably be fine, actually, but what’s with the “ominous”? You can’t build an ominous atmosphere by calling your monster ominous. That’s like writing a scene where a character gives a really shitty speech and then saying, “everyone applauded their eloquence.”

After little evidence has been found, a young boy states that he survived one of the killer’s attacks and bravely tells his story.

That sentence would have been so much better if that “after” was a “though.”

“I had a bad dream and I woke up in the middle of the night,” says the boy, “I saw that for some reason the window was open, even though I remember it being closed before I went to bed.

When you begin another sentence of dialogue after the dialogue tag, you put a period after the dialogue tag. At least there’s no said bookism.

I got up and shut it once more. Afterwards, I simply crawled under my covers and tried to get back to sleep. That’s when I had a strange feeling, like someone was watching me.

Time out, time out. This is supposed to be a “young boy” talking? “Young boys,” or young people in general, don’t typically say “once more,” even if they’re in an interview. The “afterwards” is also weird. This character is speaking in the voice of the surrounding prose with no regard to how the character should actually sound; that’s bad writing, plain and simple.

I looked up, and nearly jumped out of my bed. There, in the little ray of light, illuminating from between my curtains, were a pair of two eyes.

PAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPARTMENT! Yes, pairs generally come in twos. Only one of those was necessary, writer. A pair of eyes, or two eyes. Not “a pair of two eyes.”

Also, “illuminating from between my curtains”? Illuminating? I am surprised your thesaurus isn’t pressing sexual assault charges. To make matters worse, the punctuation makes it impossible to tell whether the ray of light or the eyes are doing the illuminating. Either way, it’s wrong, and not just because it’s a dangling participle.

These weren’t regular eyes; they were dark, ominous eyes.

Again with the ominous. Really, creepypasta writer, if you keep doing this, the word “ominous” is going to register about as much as the word “the.”

They were bordered in black and… just plain out terrified me. That’s when I saw his mouth. A long, horrendous smile that made every hair on my body stand up.

That ellipsis is highly unnecessary.

So, this is the description of our killer: a Joker wannabe wearing eyeliner. Also, how is that “when you saw his mouth?” Your last action was seeing his eyes. So you saw his eyes, and that was also when you saw his mouth. There’s no tension at all there! If you wanted to make that intense and creepy, you should have had something happen in between, like having the boy stare at the eyes for what felt like hours. Heck, I’m going to come back to this in a second, because what comes next could easily have led to that.

The figure stood there, watching me. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he said it. A simple phrase, but said in a way only a mad man could speak.

“He said, ‘Go To Sleep.’ I let out a scream,

The kid stares at the eyes, then the killer says “go to sleep,” which makes the kid finally notice his Glasgow Grin. He screams. That is a natural progression, and could have been effective.

This grammar is still atrocious, by the way. “Go To Sleep,” capitalized? And right before that, a sentence fragment, and “madman” split into two words? You didn’t get a beta, did you, pasta writer?

that’s what sent him at me. He pulled up a knife; aiming at my heart.

How can you tell that he’s aiming the knife at your heart? How can you misuse a semicolon that badly? HOW?!?

He jumped on top of my bed.

I think you mean “onto my bed.”

I fought him back; I kicked, I punched, I rolled around, trying to knock him off me. That’s when my dad busted in.

That sounds more like “the figure” is trying to molest this kid than trying to kill him. If the kid is fighting for his life, he should be trying to keep the knife the hell away from him. Punching and kicking won’t do jack squat when there’s a knife coming at your chest.

And again, no good transition for a “that’s when.” “Then” probably would have been a better connector.

The man threw the knife, it went into my dad’s shoulder.

Throwing Your Knife Always Works! Not.

Wait. That comma. That should be a semicolon. If that comma was a semicolon, the sentence would work perfectly fine; it would be one short but complete sentence connected to another, related sentence and it would be perfectly natural. What do we get instead? A comma splice that makes me want to steal Jeff’s knife to gouge my eyes out!

The man probably would’ve finished him off, if one of the neighbors hadn’t alerted the police.

Okay, the dad bursting into the room just in time, I can see. He heard his son screaming and then, presumably, the sound of a struggle. That’s a primal fear right there; he’s immediately up and running on adrenaline, because he heard his kid scream in terror and he wants to save him.

Once this comes in, though, that all breaks down. For the neighbors to call the police and the police to intervene, three things have to happen:

  1. The neighbors have to wake up and notice something is wrong
  2. The neighbors have to actually call the police and tell them about the situation
  3. The police have to drive out to this neighborhood

Even if we assume the police had someone in the area (not unreasonable if there have been random serial murders going on in people’s homes), and that the neighbors called 911 immediately, that still leaves some delay. So either Jeff wasted a lot of time walking toward the dad in order to finish him off, allowing the police to finally get there, or the dad wasted a bunch of time between hearing his kid screaming and running into his room to protect him. Either way, we have a nice, tall glass of Fridge Logic, and it doesn’t taste very good. Or realistic.

“They drove into the parking lot, and ran towards the door. The man turned and ran down the hallway. I heard a smash, like glass breaking. As I came out of my room, I saw the window that was pointing towards the back of my house was broken.

I actually wasn’t going to break here at first, but then I noticed two details: “parking lot” and “house.”

Houses don’t typically have parking lots. The presence of a parking lot would seem to suggest that the boy telling this story lives in an apartment, but all other details seem pretty consistent with his home actually being a house. Details that agree with each other? What are those?

Also, what’s wrong with saying “the back window?” Do you really need to beef up your wordcount, pasta writer?

I looked out it to see him vanish into the distance.

Ignoring the awkwardness of “I looked out it,” I don’t think this kid would be able to see Jeff “vanish into the distance.” It’s night, and the fact that he has neighbors indicates that he lives in an urban or suburban setting, i.e. one with buildings everywhere, as well as all sorts of other obstacles (fences, shrubbery, the like). If he can see Jeff in the darkness, which I suppose isn’t that unreasonable, as Jeff wears a white hoodie, he should be losing track of Jeff behind a tree or a shed, not just “in the distance.”

I can tell you one thing, I will never forget that face. Those cold, evil eyes, and that psychotic smile. They will never leave my head.”

Again, kind of a weird tone for a young child. Heck, it’s a weird tone for anyone suffering from recent trauma. I would expect this kid to be, say, afraid of sleeping in his own bed, or to say that he’s always going to check the window from now on, not to give some bland description of how creepy his would-be killer’s face was.

Police are still on the look for this man.

“On the look?” Really? “Look” is not a verb that you can use like that, pasta writer. Try “on the hunt.”

Ignoring that, though, why wouldn’t they be? He broke into a house, threatened a kid, and stabbed a guy in the shoulder. Obviously, they would be looking for him.

If you see anyone that fits the description in this story, please contact your local police department.

Here, the “excerpt from a local newspaper” ends, though the story doesn’t say so.

I honestly cannot believe that they would only interview the kid for this article. What about the dad? He saw the killer too; he got stabbed by the guy. As an adult, he’d also be more credible than the child, and probably give a more accurate description. Children are not considered reliable witnesses in court, and for good reason: they are very impressionable, and can get all kinds of crazy ideas in their head surrounding a crime, since they’re not yet equipped to distinguish between fantasy and reality. If this kid saw a pale guy with dark eyes in his room, he could easily blow it out of proportion for any number of reasons. He could identify the killer with the monster in his closet, thus adding monstrous traits to an otherwise normal-looking person; or he could modify his mental image to something non-human after hearing a relative describe the killer as “inhuman.”

To sum up, neither the police nor the press are going to go to the kid for reliable, accurate details. Yes, the press might be interested in telling the kid’s story for sensationalist purposes, but they’re not going to say that what the kid saw is exactly what people should be looking for. It would be much more realistic if the article also listed some description given by the father, and then told the reader to look for someone matching that description.

But no, that would be silly, because Jeff the Killer actually does look like that! Just wait until you see the reasons for that…

Jeff and his family had just moved into a new neighborhood.

And here we start our “Origin Story.” Our pointless, pointless origin story.

This is pretty terribly formatted. There is no transition whatsoever from the excerpt beyond the paragraph break. No horizontal line, no “x years earlier,” not even an extra bit of space before the story of Jeff and his family begins.

This first line could easily be part of the previous article. It would be all too easy to assume that the kid who had been menaced was named Jeff and that his family were recent arrivals in town; it would just be the writer of the newspaper adding background. It would be an awkward place to add background, yes, but considering what we saw up there? Not exactly out of character for whatever fictional journalist wrote that abomination.

His dad had gotten a promotion at work, and they thought it would be best to live in one of those “fancy” neighborhoods. Jeff and his brother Liu couldn’t complain though. A new, better house. What was not to love? As they were getting unpacked, one of their neighbors came by.

To be fair, we would probably realize that this wasn’t newspaper pretty quickly, because that sounds very much like narration. To be more specific, it sounds like piss-poor narration.

Jeff the Killer, the story of two brothers unwittingly forced into the world of neighborhood politics! Brace yourselves, dear readers. Brace yourselves for the incoming tidal wave of stupid.

“Hello,” she said, “I’m Barbara; I live across the street from you. Well, I just wanted to introduce my self and to introduce my son.” She turns around and calls her son over.

That tense shift gave me whiplash, and the splitting up of “myself” into “my self” made my eyes bleed.

Also, Barbara is my stepmom’s name.

“Billy, these are our new neighbors.” Billy said hi and ran back to play in his yard.

Billy’s actions should be in a separate paragraph. As-is, he looks pretty much like an afterthought. That’s probably because he is. Well, maybe he’s important enough to merit the status of “plot device,” considering what’s coming… but he’s really not that vital to the scene, and the writer clearly doesn’t give a shit about him.

“Well,” said Jeff’s mom, “I’m Margaret, and this is my husband Peter, and my two sons, Jeff and Liu.”

Okay. Hold the phone.

The dad is named Peter, the mom is named Margaret, and the sons are Jeff… and Liu.

Why does Liu have a Chinese name?

Considering Jeff’s description later in the story, it’s probably safe to say that he’s white, and not just after he gets bleached to shit. So really, there are two possible explanations for this.

One is that Liu is adopted. This is never mentioned or even hinted at in the story beyond his name, but I could probably accept it. It would be nice to actually explain this a little, though.

The other is that Jeff and Liu’s parents are culturally appropriative fuckwads who gave their son a Chinese name for the hell of it. Outside of the story, that would probably be the author just not giving a shit or using a name they thought was cool and not realizing how it might make their characters look.

Now that that rant is over, I’ll move on, after I point out how weird Margaret’s dialogue sounds. “Well?” Really? Not “it’s nice to meet you,” or some other typical pleasantry?

They each introduced themselves,

We just saw that.

and then Barbara invited them to her son’s birthday. Jeff and his brother were about to object, when their mother said that they would love to.

I guess this constitutes evidence that Jeff and Liu are teenagers. Who else would object to going to a birthday party? FREE CAKE, guys!

When Jeff and his family are done packing, Jeff went up to his mom.

Again with the horrible tense shifts. My neck hurts from that whiplash.

Also, packing? They just got here! I think pasta writer meant to say “unpacking.”

“Mom, why would you invite us to some kid’s party? If you haven’t noticed, I’m not some dumb kid.”

Jeff is apparently not just a teenager, but an asshole, and this is before he becomes a psychotic killer.

This could probably be remedied if we were told how big the age difference is between Billy and Jeff, and if Jeff phrased that a little more diplomatically, e.g. “I’m not a little kid anymore.” As-is, though, he just looks like a jerk.

“Jeff,” said his mother, “We just moved here; we should show that we want to spend time with our neighbors. Now, we’re going to that party, and that’s final.” Jeff started to talk, but stopped himself, knowing that he couldn’t do anything. Whenever his mom said something, it was final.

He knows it’s final… because she just said it was final. Seriously, the pasta writer is a shoo-in for a job at the Department of Redundancy Department. Currently accepting applications now in a local location near you!

He walked up to his room and plopped down on his bed. He sat there looking at his ceiling when suddenly, he got a weird feeling. Not so much a pain, but… a weird feeling.

The writer does not know how to describe feelings.

He dismissed it as just some random feeling.

Jeff needs to be more in touch with his emotions!

He heard his mother call him down to get his stuff, and he walked down to get it.

The next day, Jeff walked down stairs to get breakfast and got ready for school.

Pasta writer, you really don’t need to tell us every time Jeff goes down the stairs. Especially not twice in a row, even if it is different times.

Wait a minute. When Jeff went to his room, it just said he “walked up to his room,” not that he “walked up” or “walked upstairs.” Heck, I just did a Ctrl+F for “walked up,” “upstairs,” and “up stairs,” and the only result I got was from a sentence where he isn’t walking. Why does the pasta writer have such a fascination with walking down stairs as opposed to walking up them? That’s kind of a bizarre fixation to have.

As he sat there, eating his breakfast, he once again got that feeling. This time it was stronger. It gave him a slight tugging pain, but he once again dismissed it.

This “feeling” never gets explained, by the way. The pasta writer probably thinks that it does, and I will point out the attempt, but they really never justify it.

As he and Liu finished breakfast, they walked down to the bus stop. They sat there waiting for the bus, and then, all of a sudden, some kid on a skateboard jumped over them, only inches above their laps.

Their… laps? The kid decided to jump over the bench right above their laps? Why not jump over their heads? That would be far more impressive.

They both jumped back in surprise. “Hey, what the hell?”

The kid landed and turned back to them. He kicked his skate board up and caught it with his hands. The kid seems to be about twelve; one year younger than Jeff. He wears a Aeropostale shirt and ripped blue jeans.


Also, hey, we finally got some character ages! Bummer we only get them for Jeff and Sk8er Boi there, though I guess we could extrapolate that Sk8er Boi’s flunkies are around the same age.

“Well, well, well. It looks like we got some new meat.” Suddenly, two other kids appeared. One was super skinny and the other was huge.

There really should be a paragraph break after that line of dialogue.

“Well, since you’re new here, I’d like to introduce ourselves, over there is Keith.” Jeff and Liu looked over to the skinny kid. He had a dopey face that you would expect a sidekick to have.

“I’d like to introduce ourselves.” Apparently number agreement between subject and reflexive pronoun is for suckers who aren’t X-TREME enough.


“And he’s Troy.” They looked over at the fat kid. Talk about a tub of lard. This kid looked like he hadn’t exercised since he was crawling.

The Fat Joke: guaranteed to alienate readers and make you look like either a bully or a self-hating fat person since “skinny” became desirable!

“And I,” said the first kid, “am Randy.

I’m still gonna call you Sk8er Boi.

Now, for all the kids in this neighborhood there is a small price for bus fare, if you catch my drift.” Liu stood up, ready to punch the lights out of the kid’s eyes when one of his friends pulled a knife on him.

‘90s Bullies: too X-TREME for age restrictions on buying knives!

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, I had hoped you would be more cooperative, but it seems we must do this the hard way.” The kid walked up to Liu and took his wallet out of his pocket. Jeff got that feeling again. Now, it was truly strong; a burning sensation.

Depending on where that sensation is, you should either take some Tums or see a doctor.

He stood up, but Liu gestured him to sit down. Jeff ignored him and walked up to the kid.

“Listen here you little punk, give back my bro’s wallet or else.” Randy put the wallet in his pocket and pulled out his own knife.

Is a thirteen-year-old really going to call his brother his “bro” in a stressful situation? I submit that he would not.

Also, at this point I must ask: which one is older, Jeff or Liu? It’s pretty much impossible to tell from the text, and knowing might help us understand certain bits of the story (e.g. the dynamics in Jeff and Liu’s relationship as brothers, which ends up being pretty central to a lot of this ridiculous horror-less shit). I guess the author didn’t think it was important.

“Oh? And what will you do?” Just as he finished the sentence, Jeff popped the kid in the nose. As Randy reached for his face, Jeff grabbed the kid’s wrist and broke it.

Sk8er Boi should get checked for osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). That’s not normal.

But hey, we might actually get Jeff being a killer!

Randy screamed and Jeff grabbed the knife from his hand. Troy and Keith rushed Jeff, but Jeff was too quick. He threw Randy to the ground. Keith lashed out at him, but Jeff ducked and stabbed him in the arm. Keith dropped his knife and fell to the ground screaming.

If this is Jeff’s killing rage, which I’m pretty sure was what the author was going for, why isn’t he, you know, killing? The writer would probably point to a thing later… so I guess we’ll get to that.

Troy rushd him too,

Blatant typos that could be easily fixed by spellcheck! Clearly this is a polished work of horror fiction worthy of its widespread fame and memetic status.

but Jeff didn’t even need the knife. He just punched Troy straight in the stomach and Troy went down. As he fell, he puked all over.

Vomit Indiscretion Shot from the fat kid. Stay classy, Jeff the Killer…

Liu could do nothing but look in amazement at Jeff.

I think if a member of my family flipped out and beat up some knife-wielding muggers, I would have a little more to do than stare in amazement at them.

“Jeff how’d you?” that was all he said.

That may be the worst dialogue tag I’ve ever seen. I mean… look at that. Just look at it. Let it burn into your eyes until you, like me, feel the creeping urge to reach through the screen and slap the writer of this creepypasta with a book of basic grammatical rules.

They saw the bus coming and knew they’d be blamed for the whole thing. So they started running as fast as they could. As they ran, they looked back and saw the bus driver rushing over to Randy and the others.

Way to look even guiltier and not be able to defend yourself to the bus driver, guys!

As Jeff and Liu made it to school, they didn’t dare tell what happened.

How did they manage that? If they weren’t on the bus, chances are they arrived pretty damn late, and since they were running, they’d be panting and tired. Their teachers are probably going to question them about that.

All they did was sit and listen. Liu just thought of that as his brother beating up a few kids, but Jeff knew it was more. It was something, scary.

Something so scary that he had to add an unnecessary comma!

As he got that feeling he felt how powerful it was, the urge to just, hurt someone. He didn’t like how it sounded, but he couldn’t help feeling happy.

This is supposed to be where Jeff starts to unwillingly embrace his psychopathic nature. Instead, readers with any knowledge of grammar are going to be annoyed by yet another poorly-placed comma.

He felt that strange feeling go away, and stay away for the entire day of school.

And the author immediately destroys all tension by having “that feeling” just go away. Wait, pff, what am I thinking? Like there was actually any tension to begin with.

Even as he walked home due to the whole thing near the bus stop, and how now he probably wouldn’t be taking the bus anymore, he felt happy. When he got home his parents asked him how his day was, and he said, in a somewhat ominous voice, “It was a wonderful day.”

Hey look, he said it! Ominous! It’s coming full circle!

Really, though, I have to point something out here. This whole attempt at building something up is completely wasted, because we already know that Jeff is going to become the “Ominous Unknown Killer” from the start of the story. Why? BECAUSE YOU NAMED THE STORY “JEFF THE KILLER,” PASTA WRITER!

Seriously, this is worse than Twilight spoiling the “vampire” reveal on the back cover. It’s in the goddamn title!

Next morning, he heard a knock at his front door. He walked down to find two police officers at the door, his mother looking back at him with an angry look.

…and no conjunctions!

“Jeff, these officers tell me that you attacked three kids. That it wasn’t regular fighting, and that they were stabbed. Stabbed, son!” Jeff’s gaze fell to the floor, showing his mother that it was true.

Again, missing paragraph break. Heck, the last part of this paragraph probably should go with the next line:

“Mom, they were the ones who pulled the knives on me and Liu.”

Which you could have told the bus driver if you’d stayed at the bus stop.

“Son,” said one of the cops,” We found three kids, two stabbed, one having a bruise on his stomach, and we have witnesses proving that you fled the scene.

*points up at previous comment*

Now, what does that tell us?” Jeff knew it was no use. He could say him and Liu had been attacked, but then there was no proof it was not them who attacked first. They couldn’t say that they weren’t fleeing, because truth be told they were. So Jeff couldn’t defend himself or Liu.

All unnecessary, because, well… you know why, because I just explained it, and honestly, you probably figured it out on your own too.

“Son, call down your brother.” Jeff couldn’t do it, since it was him who beat up all the kids.

“Sir, it…it was me.

Honest for a psycho, isn’t he?

I was the one who beat up the kids. Liu tried to hold me back, but he couldn’t stop me.” The cop looked at his partner and they both nod.

“Well kid, looks like a year in Juvy…”

That’s “juvie” to you. And what, no trial? Not even a hint of investigation? Nothing?

“Wait!” says Liu. They all looked up to see him holding a knife. The officers pulled their guns and locked them on Liu.

“It was me, I beat up those little punks. Have the marks to prove it.” He lifted up his sleeves to reveal cuts and bruises, as if he was in a struggle.

TENSE SHIFT! OMGWTFBBQ! Kill it with fire.

Is the implication there that Liu cut and bruised himself to protect Jeff? That’s… disturbing. The writer would probably try to say that he feels grateful to Jeff for standing up for him, but for fuck’s sake, it was a wallet, and I don’t think they even got the wallet back! That’s not worth “a year in juvie!”

“Son, just put the knife down,” said the officer. Liu held up the knife and dropped it to the ground. He put his hands up and walked over to the cops.

“No Liu, it was me! I did it!” Jeff had tears running down his face.

“Huh, poor bro. Trying to take the blame for what I did. Well, take me away.” The police led Liu out to the patrol car.

Again with the “bro,” which probably bothers me more than it should, but is still completely obnoxious and should be called out regardless. I mean, seriously? Did kids in the ‘90s really talk like this? My age was a single digit in the ‘90s, but I don’t recall anyone ever saying “bro.”

As for the police, why are they so willing to believe Liu? He’s clearly got an ulterior motive for saying that it was him; namely, he wants to protect his brother. The witnesses might not have actually named Jeff as the attacker, but they probably would have given some description of the kid who beat up and stabbed the X-TREME ’90s Bully Gang, which would necessarily match Jeff more than Liu. And yet, Liu stands at the top of the stairs with bruises, cuts, and a knife and says that he did it, and they’re all ready to take him to juvie (which I must again point out that they are doing without due process)? Did this town’s police department put out an ad that said “Incompetent Help Wanted,” or something like that? Heck, Liu’s willingness to be taken away alone should give them pause. He is way too eager to actually be the culprit.

“Liu, tell them it was me! Tell them! I was the one who beat up those kids!” Jeff’s mother put her hands on his shoulders.

“Jeff please, you don’t have to lie. We know it’s Liu, you can stop.”

Less than a page ago, she was convinced that Jeff did it based on his guilty look. Why does she believe Liu? Is Liu the Unfavorite?

Jeff watched helplessly as the cop car speeds off with Liu inside.

I wonder how many horrible tense shifts there have to be before I can sue the pasta writer for whiplash.

A few minutes later Jeff’s dad pulled into the driveway, seeing Jeff’s face and knowing something was wrong.

“Son, son what is it?” Jeff couldn’t answer. His vocal cords were strained from crying. Instead, Jeff’s mother walked his father inside to break the bad news to him as Jeff wept in the driveway.

Okay, what kind of thirteen-year-old who refuses to go to a birthday party on the grounds of “I’m not some dumb kid” weeps openly in the driveway? Jeff should be crying in his room, or in the hall where he was when Liu got taken away. The writer just put him in the driveway so that his dad could see him and go “what’s wrong?”

Which brings up another point: the police didn’t tell the dad? What the hell?

Wait… Jeff was just coming down the stairs (AGAIN) in the morning right before all this happened… and then a few minutes later, his dad comes home? Unless the dad works the graveyard shift, which I highly doubt considering the promotion at the beginning of this ridiculous origin story, that’s some seriously bad continuity.

Pasta writer, you need help. Perhaps an English tutor.

After an hour or so Jeff walked back in to the house,

That’s one word, pasta writer. “Into.” ONE. WORD.

seeing that his parents were both shocked, sad, and disappointed. He couldn’t look at them. He couldn’t see how they thought of Liu when it was his fault.

Again, pretty empathetic for a psychopath. Oh, wait, according to the stuff that comes later, he isn’t a psychopath yet… *sigh* We’ll take it as it comes.

He just went to sleep, trying to get the whole thing off his mind.

Seriously, Jeff? You’re not even going to TRY to get the police to investigate it again?

Two days went by, with no word from Liu at JDC. No friends to hang out with. Nothing but sadness and guilt. That is until Saturday, when Jeff is woke up by his mother, with a happy, sunshiny face.

“Jeff, it’s the day.” she said as she opened up the curtains and let light flood into his room.

Well, she sure got over having a son taken to juvie without due process quickly. I think someone should call child protective services…

“What, what’s today?” asked Jeff as he stirs awake.


“Why, it’s Billy’s party.” He was now fully awake.

“Mom, you’re joking, right? You don’t expect me to go to some kid’s party after…” There was a long pause.

“Jeff, we both know what happened. I think this party could be the thing that brightens up the past days.

Lady, your son is telling you that he doesn’t want to go to a party because he feels sad about his brother being taken to juvie. It’s not “I’m not a dumb kid” anymore; it’s “I would rather not because I’m still upset.” Let him process things. I’m surprised you still want to go, since it’ll no doubt involve explaining why Liu isn’t there. Having a son get taken to juvie will not make you popular with the neighborhood moms.

Now, get dressed.” Jeff’s mother walked out of the room and downstairs to get ready herself.

Honestly, pasta writer, the only thing that would make your walking-down-stairs fascination acceptable would be if you were setting up a scene where someone falls or is tripped down the stairs. Even then, though, this is really getting annoying.

He fought himself to get up.

*sigh* Why did I decide to snark this?

He picked out a random shirt and pair of jeans and walked down stairs.

Oh god, the writer can’t even keep “downstairs” as one word anymore? ABANDON SPORK! ABANDON SPORK! *jumps out the window*

*bursts in through the other window* Fuck. I forgot I constructed this reality so that I couldn’t leave until the allotted snarking was done.

He saw his mother and father all dressed up; his mother in a dress and his father in a suit. He thought, why they would ever wear such fancy clothes to a kid’s party?

Concurrent adult party, perhaps? I don’t know. I just don’t want to look at that horrible use of a semicolon.

“Son, is that all your going to wear?” said Jeff’s mom.

Hey, would you look at that! A your/you’re error! Kill me.

“Better than wearing too much.” he said. His mother pushed down the feeling to yell at him and hid it with a smile.

I think you mean “urge,” and there should be a paragraph break after “he said.”

“Now Jeff, we may be over-dressed, but this is how you go if you want to make an impression.” said his father. Jeff grunted and went back up to his room.

“Overdressed” doesn’t need a hyphen. At least the pasta writer didn’t completely rip the word into its component parts this time.

“I don’t have any fancy clothes!” he yelled down stairs.

“Just pick out something.” called his mother.

This is a patently obvious way to get your character into his signature outfit. Really, why do we need this? We don’t.

He looked around in his closet for what he would call fancy. He found a pair of black dress pants he had for special occasions and an undershirt. He couldn’t find a shirt to go with it though. He looked around, and found only striped and patterned shirts. None of which go with dress pants. Finally he found a white hoodie and put it on.

Missing commas and sentence fragments, oh my!

“You’re wearing that?” they both said. His mother looked at her watch. “Oh, no time to change. Let’s just go.” She said

If your dialogue tag is “she said,” put a comma at the end of the preceding dialogue. The stuff in the quotation marks functions as the direct object of “said.” When you punctuate it like this, you get a sentence fragment.

as she herded Jeff and his father out the door. They crossed the street over to Barbara and Billy’s house. They knocked on the door and at it appeared that Barbara, just like his parents, way over-dressed.

“And at it appeared that.” Fuck, the grammatical mistakes are getting so bad that I’m starting to just not care anymore. I mean… what is that sentence? What is it?

As they walked inside all Jeff could see were adults, no kids.

Again with the redundancy. If all he could see was a bunch of adults, then it’s obvious that there are no kids; you don’t need to tack that on and abuse another comma to do so.

“The kids are out in the yard. Jeff, how about you go and meet some of them?” said Barbara.

Jeff walked outside to a yard full of kids. They were running around in weird cowboy costumes and shooting each other with plastic guns.

So, cowboy-themed birthday party. Fair enough. I thought parents in the ‘90s were really strict about gun stuff, though. My parents didn’t even like me to make “gun signs” with my hands. School was even stricter about that; we weren’t even supposed to say “gun.”

He might as well be standing in a Toys R Us.

Toys”R”Us has a lot more variety in their toys than we see here, and typically isn’t filled with kids playing with the toys. Instead, it’s full of kids screaming at their parents to buy them toys. Unless it’s the holiday season, in which case it’s full of desperate parents fighting over the best gifts.

Suddenly a kid came up to him and handed him a toy gun and hat.

“Hey. Wanna pway?” he said.

That is cloying, annoying, and awful.

I completely loathe the device of transcribing small children’s lisps. It comes across as the writer trying to be cute and detouring somewhere in the Valley of Saccharine Hell.

Now that we’ve established that Billy and his friends are very young children, though, I have to point something out. Barbara, why on earth did you invite young teens to your toddler’s birthday party? It would have been much more reasonable to invite the neighbors over to dinner sometime, or to a neighborhood barbecue, or some other mixed-age social function where the teens won’t stick out like sore thumbs in a mass of tiny children. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t have turned down a birthday party when I was a teenager (see “FREE CAKE”), but seriously. That’s just bizarre.

“Ah, no kid. I’m way too old for this stuff.” The kid looked at him with that weird puppydog face.

“Pwease?” said the kid. “Fine,” said Jeff.

Again with the cloying, plus an omitted comma and two more places where there should have been a paragraph break. Also, “puppy-dog” should be hyphenated.

He put on the hat and started to pretend shoot at the kids. At first he thought it was totally ridiculous, but then he started to actually have fun. It might not have been super cool, but it was the first time he had done something that took his mind off of Liu.

Well, you sure got your mind off your wrongfully-incarcerated brother easily.

So he played with the kids for a while, until he heard a noise. A weird rolling noise.

It’s Sk8er Boi. Obviously. We could see that coming miles away, pasta writer.

Then it hit him. Randy, Troy, and Keith all jumped over the fence on their skateboards.

Even Troy? Come on, pasta writer, you missed an opportunity for another fat joke!

Jeff dropped the fake gun and ripped off the hat. Randy looked at Jeff with a burning hatred.

“Hello, Jeff, is it?” he said. “We have some unfinished business.” Jeff saw his bruised nose.” I think we’re even. I beat the crap out of you, and you get my brother sent to JDC.”

The poor paragraph breaks, so neglected, so unused…

Those quotation marks need to be attached to the dialogue they’re quoting, dammit. This pasta was clearly not proofread, or if it was, it was proofread very poorly.

I also have to point out that last time Jeff and Sk8er Boi fought, Jeff broke Sk8er Boi’s wrist. It’s been only a few days, not even close to the amount of time a broken bone needs to heal. He should have a cast. Yet here he is with only a bruised nose and a grudge.

Randy got an angry look in his eyes. “Oh no, I don’t go for even, I go for winning.

Stereotype bullies are stereotype.

You may have kicked our asses that one day, but not today.” As he said that Randy rushed at Jeff. They both fell to the ground. Randy punched Jeff in the nose, and Jeff grabbed him by the ears and head butted him.

Aw, come on, guys. Not in front of the kids.

Jeff pushed Randy off of him and both rose to their feet. Kids were screaming and parents were running out of the house. Troy and Keith both pulled guns out of their pockets.

Wait, what? Okay, the knives, maybe I could buy. The bullies could have stolen them from their parents. But guns? Seriously? Pasta writer, do you honestly expect me to believe that these twelve-year-old barely-pubescent kids somehow got their hands on guns? No matter how X-TREME your ‘90s bullies are, pasta writer, there are limits. Twelve-year-olds are not going to have access to guns.

Not to mention that putting guns in pockets is horrible gun safety and would probably have resulted in at least one of these kids shooting himself in the leg while skateboarding, because I seriously doubt that these kids know what the safety is, let alone how to use it.

“No one interrupts or guts will fly!” they said. Randy pulled a knife on Jeff and stabbed it into his shoulder.

At this point, the parents should be calling 911.

Jeff screamed and fell to his knees. Randy started kicking him in the face. After three kicks Jeff grabs his foot and twists it, causing Randy to fall to the ground. Jeff stood up and walked towards the back door. Troy grabbed him.

Again with the random present tense. Bloody hell, I’m already running out of typical American swear words to the point where I have to dip into the British ones.

“Need some help?” He picks Jeff up by the back of the collar and throws him through the patio door. As Jeff tries to stand he is kicked down to the ground. Randy repeatedly starts kicking Jeff, until he starts to cough up blood.

It seems the present-tense hiccups have grown powerful enough to consume the story and make it entirely present tense. I do not approve of this, for two reasons. First, we know that this is a flashback, since this is the origin story of our creepypasta killer. Second, present tense is incredibly hard to do right, and with an incompetent writer like this? Yeah, it’s not gonna go well.

“Come on Jeff, fight me!” He picks Jeff up and throws him into the kitchen. Randy sees a bottle of vodka on the counter and smashes the glass over Jeff’s head.

Wait, the adults have vodka just standing out at a birthday party? Barbara, I know the kids are outside, but you could at least try to hide your alcoholism, especially with your neighbors over.

“Fight!” He throws Jeff back into the living room.

Jeff must be anorexic, or these kids must be fucking Superman-level strong, because I sure as hell couldn’t throw another kid around like a ragdoll when I was twelve. Plus, I could only imagine how much harder it must be to throw someone with a broken wrist.

“Come on Jeff, look at me!” Jeff glances up, his face riddled with blood. “I was the one who got your brother sent to JDC!

I didn’t really point this out when Jeff said it, because I had horrible proofreading errors to focus on, but I need to say it: why are they suddenly calling juvie “JDC?” “Juvie” is a perfectly fine way to say it, and in fact it takes fewer syllables, so it sounds much more natural in conversation than “JDC,” especially in a heated situation like a fight. Plus, when you use “JDC,” you’re abbreviating “Juvenile Detention Center,” which I’m pretty sure means you need a “the.”

And now you’re just gonna sit here and let him rot in there for a whole year!

Under normal circumstances, I would say that there’s no way Liu is gonna stay in juvie with you yelling like this and pretty much telling everyone in this house that Jeff was the one who beat you up, but considering how this town is apparently patrolled by the Complete Incompetence Police, I’m just not sure anymore. We are too divorced from reality for me to apply that kind of logic.

You should be ashamed!” Jeff starts to get up.

Again, lack of a paragraph break. Ffffffffff…

“Oh, finally! you stand and fight!” Jeff is now to his feet, blood and vodka on his face. Once again he gets that strange feeling, the one in which he hasn’t felt for a while. “Finally. He’s up!” says Randy as he runs at Jeff. That’s when it happens. Something inside Jeff snaps.

It was his ribs. He had brittle bone disease too.

His psyche is destroyed, all rational thinking is gone, all he can do, is kill.

This is your big “Jeff becomes Jeff the Killer” moment, and you go and ruin it with poorly-placed psychobabble and an ungrammatical comma.

That is just sad.

Don’t get up and leave yet, guys, because this demands a lot more analysis. The pasta writer pretty much just said that Jeff became a psychopath because he was unrealistically beaten up by X-TREME ‘90s bullies. Um, pasta writer? Psychopathy doesn’t work that way. Getting horribly beaten up by bullies can result in all sorts of problems, yes, but psychopathy is not one of them. Anxiety, depression, maybe even PTSD given the extreme danger that these kids are pushing on their victims by using actual lethal weapons, but not psychopathy.

At this point, the pasta writer would probably bring up something that I mentioned a while ago: that the “weird feeling” was foreshadowing that Jeff would respond to stress like this, i.e. by becoming a psychopath. To that I say, bullshit. The beginnings of psychopathy are not random quasi-supernatural premonitions that can be dismissed as a “weird feeling.” If you are going to portray a “crazy” character, do it in a way that indicates that you actually know something about human psychology, for fuck’s sake. Not doing your research into psychological disorders is the very best way to end up writing something wholly unrealistic, blatantly inaccurate, and offensive to people who know about human psychology and/or struggle with a disorder themselves — simply put, it’s one of the very fastest ways up your own ass.

Jeff’s psychotic break here is completely unrealistic, on a level with Sk8er Boi and his gang having access to guns. It is complete and utter fail.

He grabs Randy and pile drives him to the ground. He gets on top of him and punches him straight in the heart. The punch causes Randy’s heart to stop.

This is kind of interesting, because a heart stopping because of a blow to the chest actually is something that can happen. It’s called commotio cordis, and it most often happens in teenage boys and young men, usually when they’re playing sports. Sk8er Boi is on the young side of that range, but it’s actually fairly plausible that he could get commotio cordis from being punched hard enough in the chest. Such a pity that this random accuracy is pretty much an accident. I’m convinced at this point that the pasta writer just wrote it because it sounded cool, scary, and near-supernatural.

As Randy gasps for breath. Jeff hammers down on him. Punch after punch, blood gushes from Randy’s body, until he takes one final breath, and dies.

This, however… in contrast to the commotio cordis above, this is just inexcusable. This reeks of the pasta writer watching too many bad horror movies. I could see punches resulting in some blood from Sk8er Boi’s mouth, if the punches broke some ribs that punctured the lungs, or if a few ended up on his face, but he wouldn’t have blood “gushing from his body.” That’s just ridiculous.

Everyone is looking at Jeff now. The parents, the crying kids, even Troy and Keith. Although they easily break from their gaze and point their guns at Jeff.

Why are Troy and Keith introduced with an “even?” That implies that it wouldn’t be expected for them to be looking at Jeff. Jeff just killed their friend; I would be surprised if they weren’t looking at him!

Training their guns on him, though? Probably a bad move, and I don’t think it’s quite in-character for the X-TREME ‘90s Bully Flunkies. When the leader goes down, the flunkies tend to drop everything and run like hell.

Jeff see’s

The only time that there should be an apostrophe between “see” and an S is when you’re talking about See’s Candies.

the guns trained on him and runs for the stairs. As he runs Troy and Keith let out fire on him,

The guns were actually flamethrowers? Cool!

That, or the pasta writer messed up the phrase “opened fire.”

each shot missing. Jeff runs up the stairs. He hears Troy and Keith follow up behind. As they let out their final rounds of bullets Jeff ducks into the bathroom.

It seems like commas mysteriously vanish from places in this story where they’re needed, and show up where they aren’t. This is, sadly, typical in amateur writing. Heck, sometimes it’s typical in published writing. I’m looking at you, E.L. James. *brandishes a riding crop*

He grabs the towel rack and rips it off the wall. Troy and Keith race in, knives ready.

Troy swings his knife at Jeff, who backs away and bangs the towel rack into Troy’s face. Troy goes down hard and now all that’s left is Keith. He is more agile than Troy though, and ducks when Jeff swings the towel rack. He dropped the knife

…which was a stupid move, considering that his opponent was armed, angry, and bigger than he was.

Also, hey, the past tense is back! Kick that present tense back into the abyss, past tense!

and grabbed Jeff by the neck. He pushed him into the wall. A thing of bleach fell down on top of him from the top shelf.

It cracked his skull open, because liquids are fucking heavy.

It burnt both of them and they both started to scream.

Bleach doesn’t usually burn you right away. It takes a while for it to start really stinging. Of course, stronger bleach solutions burn faster, but in that case, what the fuck is Barbara doing with industrial-strength bleach in her bathroom? And why is it open?

Also, that’s “burned,” pasta writer, not “burnt.” “Burnt” is the adjective.

Jeff wiped his eyes as best as he could.

Now, that actually should burn. In fact, Jeff should be sustaining permanent eye damage right now, especially if the bleach is strong enough to burn his skin immediately upon contact.

He pulled back the towel rack and swung it straight into Keith’s head. As he lay there, bleeding to death, he let out an ominous smile.

How does a towel rack make someone start bleeding to death? You’d think it would just bash Keith’s head open, killing him before he even hit the floor. That’s one sharp towel rack you’ve got there, Barbara.

“What’s so funny?” asked Jeff. Keith pulled out a lighter and switched it on. “What’s funny,” he said, “Is that you’re covered in bleach and alcohol.” Jeff’s eyes widened as Keith threw the lighter at him.

Bleach isn’t flammable.

Okay, it can be, but not on its own. Bleach is pretty much just a solution of chlorine in water; it won’t be flammable unless you mix it with something that reacts with the chlorine to become something flammable. Alcohol is not on that list.

Actually, bleach and alcohol mixed together make chloroform, which you may recognize from those rags that people in movies use to knock each other out. If Jeff is suffering any ill effects from what’s been dumped on him, those effects should be some skin bleaching, severe drowsiness, possible fainting, and organ damage if he inhales too much chloroform for too long.

Chloroform, by the way, isn’t flammable either.

As for the alcohol, it should pretty much all be used up by the reaction with the bleach. Vodka is usually about 35% to 50% alcohol, which is kind of a lot, but when you consider that the ratio here is one bottle of vodka to a whole “thing” of bleach? Yeah, there should be a whole lot more bleach than vodka. The amount of alcohol on Jeff should be totally negligible.

So of course this works out exactly as Keith intended.

As soon as the flame made contact with him, the flames ignited the alcohol in the vodka. While the alcohol burned him, the bleach bleached his skin. Jeff let out a terrible screech as he caught on fire.


The bleach should already be bleaching him. Bloody hell. This is just made of fail.

Wait. Wasn’t Keith supposed to be the stupid one? How come he’s the one who does the “clever” trick of throwing a lighter on Jeff? I guess it must be because he’s the only one left.

He tried to roll out the fire but it was no use, the alcohol had made him a walking inferno.

Which, again, it shouldn’t have done, because it would have mostly evaporated already or reacted with the bleach to make non-flammable chloroform. This is stupid.

Also, “roll out the fire?” What is that? He tried to stop, drop, and roll? There were, like, a million better ways to say that, pasta writer.

He ran down the hall, and fell down the stairs. Everybody started screaming as they saw Jeff, now a man on fire, drop to the ground, nearly dead.

I wouldn’t exactly call a burning thirteen-year-old boy a man on fire, pasta writer.

Shouldn’t these people have been screaming earlier? Hell, shouldn’t they be doing something? The way it’s written, it looks like the people were just standing around and watching as Jeff brutally murdered two boys. Sure, they were threatened at gunpoint to get them to stay out of it, but Troy and Keith were pretty focused on Jeff once the fight with Sk8er Boi started, and they’re fucking twelve; even if they have guns, an adult jumping on one of them from behind is gonna overpower them. Even allowing for the guns, which I am still not ready to accept at all, this story pretty much relies on the bystanders being unrealistically stupid and useless.

The last thing Jeff saw was his mother and the other parents trying to extinguish the flame. That’s when he passed out.

Another “that’s when” that would have been much better as a “then!” Joy of fucking joys.

How exactly can Jeff see all this? I mentioned earlier that he should have sustained permanent eye damage from the bleach. Add the fact that he’s currently on fire, and he shouldn’t really be registering much of anything, especially not images. His eyes should be totally fucked to shit.

When Jeff woke he had a cast wrapped around his face. He couldn’t see anything, but he felt a cast on his shoulder, and stitches all over his body. He tried to stand up, but he realized that there was some tube in his arm, and when he tried to get up it fell out, and a nurse rushed in.

Since this is apparently close third person and he just registered what is clearly an IV as “some tube,” I’d like to know how Jeff knew that “a nurse rushed in.” Of course, considering the general ineptitude we’ve seen thus far (random tense swaps, anyone?), I shouldn’t really be surprised that the pasta writer couldn’t keep the point of view consistent.

“I don’t think you can get out of bed just yet.” she said

Again with the period at the end of dialogue where there should be a comma. At least the dialogue tag isn’t capitalized. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by the lack of said bookisms, although that’s probably more of a symptom of the writer’s, er, lack of advancement in the field of writing than a positive point. It doesn’t really seem to be the writer’s style, either; the prose here is really quite beige.

as she put him back in his bed and re-inserted the tube.

Speaking of the tube, how did that fall out? I don’t think IV’s fall out that easily. I guess the tube attached to the needle got dislodged, but in that case, how did Jeff feel that?

Jeff sat there, with no vision, no idea of what his surroundings were.

Jeff was very dull; any other kid would assume that he was in the hospital.

Finally, after hours, he heard his mother.

“Honey, are you okay?” she asked. Jeff couldn’t answer though, his face was covered, and he was unable to speak.

I guess we can see where he gets it. Seriously, Margaret, your son is covered in bandages. Of course he can’t answer you.

“Oh honey, I have great news. After all the witnesses told the police that Randy confessed of trying to attack you, they decided to let Liu go.”

At least the Complete Incompetence Police seem to have recognized their mistake. No mention of Sk8er Boi talking about it being Jeff that beat him up, though. Perhaps Margaret has grown a sense of tact and isn’t telling Jeff that he’s going to be tried as an adult for the murders of Sk8er Boi, Troy, and Keith… or perhaps the pasta writer simply forgot about that, because it would be inconvenient to this killer origin story.

Then again, considering that the X-TREME ’90s Bully Gang was threatening Jeff and everyone else at the party, Jeff probably could get off on self-defense, or at least have the charges downgraded to manslaughter.

This made Jeff almost bolt up, stopping halfway, remembering the tube coming out of his arm. “He’ll be out by tomorrow, and then you two will be able to be together again.”

Jeff’s mother hugs Jeff

Careful with that tube. And your tense.

and says her goodbyes. The next couple of weeks were those where Jeff was visited by his family. Then came the day where his bandages were to be removed.

Well, now the timeskips are giving me whiplash instead of the tense shifts. Progress? I don’t know.

His family were all there to see it, what he would look like.

Horrible grammar. Moving on.

As the doctors unwrapped the bandages from Jeff’s face everyone was on the edge of their seats. They waited until the last bandage holding the cover over his face was almost removed.

“Let’s hope for the best,” said the doctor. He quickly pulls the cloth; letting the rest fall from Jeff’s face.

He looks awful. He looks like the “Ominous Unknown Killer” in the “excerpt from a local newspaper.” We know this because, again, you titled this story “Jeff the Killer.” We know that Jeff is going to become the killer!

Jeff’s mother screams at the sight of his face. Liu and Jeff’s dad stare awe-struck at his face.

It is generally poor writing to end two sentences in a row with the same word, and even poorer writing to end them with the same two words. We also have yet another instance of the author bifurcating words into their components with the unnecessary hyphenation of “awestruck.” It’s getting to the point where I want to punch something every time I see it.

“What? What happened to my face?” Jeff said. He rushed out of bed and ran to the bathroom.

He slipped and fell on the way, because his muscles had atrophied and he wasn’t ready to get back on his feet yet.

He looked in the mirror and saw the cause of the distress. His face. It…it’s horrible.


His lips were burnt to a deep shade of red. His face was turned into a pure white color, and his hair singed from brown to black.

Uh. No. None of this is right.

The bleaching, I could kind of get, if not for all the burns. In real life, Jeff probably would have needed skin grafts. Considering the extent of the burns, they probably would have come from a donor; thus, they wouldn’t be bleached. It’d look pretty awful for a while, but it would not look like this.

The lips… would probably be mostly scar tissue. I’m not an expert on how lips heal from burns, but burned red? No. I am pretty sure that’s not how it would work.

As for the hair, the doctors probably would have had to shave him to get to his burned scalp, and then put skin grafts on it if it was really bad. So, whether temporarily or permanently, Jeff should be bald or have very, very, very short hair. Even if the doctors left his burned-up hair on for some unfathomable reason, the hair would still grow in brown — which means that he would have a tangled mess of burned black hair suspended on top of brown roots. Lovely.

(By the way, DON’T do an image search for “skin grafts.” That shit will haunt your nightmares.)

He slowly put his hand to his face. It had a sort of leathery feel to it now. He looked back at his family then back at the mirror.

“Jeff,” said Liu, “It’s not that bad….”

Behold, the mysterious and magical Four-Dot Ellipsis! Beware, for if you find it in your own writing, it signifies seven years of bad luck.

“Not that bad?” said Jeff,” It’s perfect!”

That comma after Jeff’s name should be a period.

His family were equally surprised.

Jeff does not seem very surprised. I think the pasta writer was trying to say that Peter, Margaret, and Liu were all surprised to the same degree, but that was a very poor way of writing that; as-is, it looks like their reactions are being compared to Jeff’s.

Jeff started laughing uncontrollably His parents noticed that his left eye and hand were twitching.

The pasta writer is clearly trying to speed through this and get to the gory details. What other excuse is there for missing a period?

Oh, wait. There’s no excuse. There’s no excuse for that, ever.

“Uh… Jeff, are you okay?”

“Okay? I’ve never felt more happy! Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaa,

I am not a fan of laughter being transcribed, especially since we’ve already established that he’s “laughing uncontrollably.”

look at me. This face goes perfectly with me!” He couldn’t stop laughing.

Again, pasta writer, you have established that he’s in the middle of a gigglefit. WE KNOW ALREADY.

He stroked his face feeling it. Looking at it in the mirror.

Another redundancy, seeing as he was doing this just a few lines of dialogue ago. Is it too much to hope that this piece was actually the pasta writer’s attempt to get hired by the Department of Redundancy Department?

What caused this?

Oh, hey, we’re about to get some hand-holding!

Well, you may recall that when Jeff was fighting Randy something in his mind, his sanity, snapped. Now he was left as a crazy killing machine,

I already went into how much fail this was when it happened. Goddammit, pasta writer, have some faith in your audience’s ability to remember things! We do not forget everything we just read every ten seconds.

that is, his parents didn’t know.

Why did you introduce this with a “that is?” It doesn’t follow with what came before it at all.

“Doctor,” said Jeff’s mom, “Is my son… alright, you know. In the head?”

Unnecessary capitalization and loss of a question mark. Also, Margaret? If you can’t tell that Jeff is fucked in the head, I have serious doubts about your ability to function as an adult.

“Oh yes, this behavior is typical for patients that have taken very large amounts of pain killers.


Someone fire this doctor.

If his behavior doesn’t change in a few weeks, bring him back here, and we’ll give him a psychological test.”

I think you mean “psychiatric.”

“Oh thank you doctor.” Jeff’s mother went over to Jeff.” Jeff, sweety. It’s time to go.”

Jeff looks away from the mirror, his face still formed into a crazy smile. “Kay mommy, ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Again with the annoyingly- and unnecessarily-transcribed elongated laughter, and also a lack of apostrophe to note that “‘kay” is a contraction of “okay.”

his mother took him by the shoulder and took him to get his clothes.

The capitalization seems to have taken a day off.

“This is what came in,” said the lady at the desk. Jeff’s mom looked down to see the black dress pants and white hoodie her son wore. Now they were clean of blood and now stitched together.

Uh, I’m pretty sure Jeff’s family should have brought in clothes for him. Like the scene where Jeff has to pick out fancy clothes, this is a baldly transparent way of getting the main character into his signature outfit, only this time, it’s all ~significant~ because the clothing has a ~history.~ Yes, it’s the hoodie and dress pants that he made his first kills in, whoop-dee-fucking-doo. It’s also unrealistic.

Plus, those clothes should look nothing like they did when he arrived at the party. Let’s recap what happened while Jeff was wearing that outfit, shall we? He was stabbed, he beat someone up, he got a bucket of bleach dumped on him, and he was burned severely. If we assume that they managed to get the bloodstains and soot out of the hoodie, which is a very charitable assumption, those clothes should have been burned beyond repair. Even if they did somehow manage to salvage them, the pants should no longer be fully black: the bleach would have removed the color.

Jeff’s mother led him to his room and made him put his clothes on. Then they left, not knowing that this was their final day of life.

And the pasta writer again spoils the story for us!

Now, to be fair, there are some published authors that do this. Stephen King himself is pretty well known for slapping in little comments of “they would be dead two hours later,” or the like. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it can be used to build tension. We know that a character is going to die, but we still don’t know how and when, and the anticipation can be wonderfully thrilling. Here, though, it just falls flat and just reads like the writer is desperately grasping for some kind of horror. There is zero doubt about how these characters are going to die, because the writer established very early in the story that Jeff is a psycho killer and his preferred method of killing appears to be stabbing. We know exactly what is going to happen to his family.

Later that night, Jeff’s mother woke to a sound coming from the bathroom. It sounded as if someone was crying. She slowly walked over to see what it was. When she looked into the bathroom she saw a horrendous sight. Jeff had taken a knife and carved a smile into his cheeks.

Jeff’s mother then ran down the stairs, locked herself in the other bathroom with a phone, and called 911. The police showed up, and Jeff was committed to a mental institution.

Or at least that would be how it ended if anyone in this story had a shred of fucking sense.

“Jeff, what are you doing?” asked his mother.

Jeff looked over to his mother. “I couldn’t keep smiling mommy. It hurt after awhile.

So to avoid your face hurting from smiling too much, you go and carve a Glasgow Grin into your cheeks, severely injuring yourself in a location with lots and lots of nice, sensitive nerve endings.

Flawless logic, Jeff.

Now, I can smile forever. Jeff’s mother noticed his eyes, ringed in black.

She was horrified: not only had the quotes taken an unexpected vacation, but her son was becoming an EMO!

“Jeff, your eyes!” His eyes were seemingly never closing.

This is just unfathomably awkward writing. Pasta writer, if you wanted her to be horrified at his eyes, why did you neglect to describe how horrifying they were in full before having her express that horror? Alternately, you could have her express horror at his eyes, and then describe exactly what prompted that response. But splitting up the description? That just makes the whole thing clunky and annoying.

“I couldn’t see my face. I got tired and my eyes started to close. I burned out the eyelids so I could forever see myself; my new face.”

Remember the ocular damage I mentioned when there was bleach in Jeff’s eyes? Remember how I said that his eyes should be pretty bad now?

Yeah, this just makes that a whole lot worse.

Jeff, you need your eyelids. You need them to wash ocular fluid over your eyes and keep them from drying out. Without your eyelids, your eyes are going to hurt like hell, your corneas are going to get inflamed, and you’ll develop all kinds of nasty problems. You’ll never be able to see your new face if your eyes dry up and rot out of their sockets, Jeff.

Again, flawless logic.

Jeff’s mother slowly started to back away, seeing that her son was going insane.

You only just now realized this? I find that very difficult to believe.

“What’s wrong mommy? Aren’t I beautiful?

The quotation marks really are taking a lot of vacations, aren’t they?

“Yes son,” she said, “Yes you are. L-let me go get daddy, so he can see your face.”

She ran into the room and shook Jeff’s dad from his sleep. “Honey, get the gun

“Get the gun.” Um, what about, you know, calling the police? I guess she realized after the Liu incident that they were the Complete Incompetence Police, so she and Peter have to take the law into their own hands.


Behold! The fabled Five-Dot Ellipsis, Harbinger of Horrid Writing! It only appears when the story is the most absolute bullshit ever! WEEP, DEAR READERS. FALL DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND DESPAIR.

She stopped as she saw Jeff in the doorway, holding a knife.

“Mommy, you lied.” That’s the last thing they hear as Jeff rushes them with the knife, gutting both of them.

Apparently Jeff is telekinetic, or else he would have to gut them after he rushed them instead of while he rushed them.

His brother Liu woke up, startled by some noise. He didn’t hear anything else, so he just shut his eyes and tried to go back to sleep. As he was on the border of slumber, he got the strangest feeling that someone was watching him. He looked up, before Jeff’s hand covered his mouth. He slowly raised the knife ready to plunge it into Liu. Liu thrashed here and there trying to escape Jeff’s grip.

“Shhhhhhh,” Jeff said,”Just go to sleep.”

The return of the catchphrase, and the end of our story, with a missing space and unnecessary capitalization. I guess that is a fitting way to wrap this up.

For all the flaws in the actual story, Jeff the Killer took the internet by storm. The photoshopped image referenced at the beginning of this post has achieved memetic status, along with the catchprhase “go to sleep.” Beyond that, the pasta has spawned fanart, YouTube videos, and even fan games.

Still, there is some hope. Phelan Porteous, better known by his internet handle of Phelous, dedicated the third episode of “Old Man Reads Creepypasta” to making fun of Jeff the Killer, and the Creepypasta Wiki has actually removed the Jeff the Killer story for not measuring up to their content standards. It’s good to know that at least there are some people who look at the story as well as the creepy image.

Speaking of the image, I must close this sporking by noting that since reading the accompanying story, I no longer find any depictions of Jeff creepy in the slightest. Sure, they might plug into the primal fears a bit with their gross mockery of a face, but that’s only a tiny component of being creepy, and knowing that the story behind that face is this poorly-written and nonsensical completely neutralizes that fear response. No matter how bizarre the image or how deep in the Uncanny Valley it falls, its ability to keep someone up at night can be killed with horrifying efficacy by some truly bad writing.