'Earthisms' to be avoided, and their alternatives

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by solojones, May 2, 2004.

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  1. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Have you ever found yourself reading a fic and suddenly a word or phrase jumps out at you and screams 'Reality!' and pulls you out of the story? ;) Many authors, myself included, have struggled with getting around phrases and slangs that we're so used to saying we don't realise they only make sense in an 'Earth' setting, not a GFFA setting. I thought it would be helpful for us to try to compile a list of these 'Earthisms' to remind ourselves what not to write, as well as offering some helpful alternatives.

    I've come up with a few off the top of my head...

    Who/What/When/Where/Why/How on Earth?: This is probably the most obvious one I've noticed ;) I find myself wanting to have characters say this and then immediately realising it would make no sense. You could use '...in the galaxy', as long as it doesn't sound too silly to you.

    Off the bat: I hadn't even considered how much I use this phrase until I said it at a ballgame recently. I suddenly realised the origin of it. I've since made it a point not to use it in SW fics, because, barring them having a sport that also uses bats (likely, but probably not as galaxy-wide), it might sound a little odd for someone in the GFFA to use this phrase. Perhaps simply immediately would work.

    Ticked (off): Now I don't even know the origin of this phrase, but it sounds decisively un-SW to me. I was trying to find a GFFA equivalent for a fic once and I just couldn't do it. Anyone have any ideas?



    Please add any ones that come to mind, or any other alternatives you can think of :)

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  2. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Earth names irritate the bejesus out of me. Luke and Han are fairly "earthy" but please, don't name one of your characters "Billy" or "Susie". There are sites out there that will help you generate more SW-ish names: The Star Wars Random Name Generator is one of them.
  3. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    "hell" and "angel" seem a little too Earthy to use but... ehhh... what can you do? lol

    sg
  4. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Han says Hell, Padme is an Angel... don't get too nit picky or you'll go overboard trying to avoid euphanisms.

    I've seen fics that are so desperate to avoid ANY possible 'earth isms' and end up being more convoluted for it.


    Bit of trivia for you...

    You've seen it on Star Trek,

    Scotty: Captain! The Irrideum crystal flux capasitor that drives the warp field generators is runing at 4.9867 percent above the danger zone! If it goes, we won't have the ability to regenate the yesily warp field at full capacity!!

    Capt Kirk: Do what you can!

    Scotty: I'm doing the best I can Captain! But the enee-meenie drive is degrading fast!

    In the script;

    Scotty: Captain! Tech

    Capt Kirk: Do what you can!

    Scotty: I'm doing the Best I can Captain! Tech
  5. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Yeah, really--I'm pretty sure every universe has a "hell" in it somewhere, and Anakin explained that "angels" live on the moons of Iego.
  6. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    I was kidding, just so you know. :p I know it was already used in the saga, just pointing that out that even the saga has "earthisms". Wasn't there something about "sitting ducks" in PM too?

    sg
  7. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    There are ducks in the Star Wars universe, though. In the novelization of A New Hope, Ben says "Even a duck must be taught to swim." and Luke says "What's a duck?"

    Things also to be avoided are "wristwatch" (replaced by "chrono") and "glass" (replaced by "transparisteel").
  8. Dev_Binks Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2003
    star 6
    Or 'paper' when it'd be flimsiplast, or elevator when it's turbo-lift. One thing that really pulls me out is when a character uses Earth actions. Like flicking someone off, sure the GFFA would have such and signs, but the middle finger meaning F*** you probably wouldn't mean that there. Personally I think Han's finger in Leia's face was supposed to be an insult from how she acted.
  9. NarundiJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 6
    Whenever someone is giving a vulgar gesture to someone else I usually just represent it as a 'vulgar gesture' because the middle finger wouldn't mean anything in the GFFA, I'm sure. I'm also pretty sure that each planet has their own vulgar gestures, which is why I specify that curses or gestures are from certain planets, like a Corellian swear or gesture for example.

    Jae Angel

    ED: Oh, and the middle finger means "up yours", not "**** you" ;)
  10. zaphod_beeblebrox Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2001
    star 1
  11. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    Narundi... Dev_Binks is right on the finger thing - at least when I grew up. It may have morphed into something else (just like a lot of gestures and words) depending on age of the person doing it and the location the person grew up in. And you might think about what "Up yours" used to mean... LOL.

    Some gestures appear to be almost universal whereas others are strictly cultural. Same with words.

    Things that kick me right out of fan fic are everyday Earth names (Luke is an obvious exception but Han is not a everyday English-speaking name, at least in my neck of the woods). Even names that aren't English but are recognizable as from other languages can make me pause. However, it is easy enough to make Earth names into GFFA names using apostophes or dividing them up with spaces.... Smith could be Sm'i Th for example.

    Also, newer expressions such as "D'oh" or swear words from tv shows like Farscape or Battlestar Galactica (frell, frak) shouldn't really be used - unless it's a cross-over. They just don't seem to fit in the SW universe.
  12. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    One thing I really dislike is when a character mutters "damn" under their breath. For some reason, this particular thing just seems very American to me. The word is used in the GFFA ('damned fool idealistic crusade', 'cloners, damn good ones'), but when I see it used as a simple explitive, it pulls me out of the SW mode.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  13. NarundiJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 6
    Diane, I was pretty certain that the '**** you' connotation came just because it was a very harsh gesture that was used when people were pissed off. Also, in my case, I do tend to combine the gesture with those words when another driver does something so outrageous that it warrants it. :p

    But to say that it doesn't also mean "up your rear end"? Why else would people start using the finger in the first place if you weren't supposed to stick it somewhere? :p

    In New York City, they tend to alternate between the finger and flicking all four fingers at a person from under the chin. Don't ask me about this one, because I don't know. But I still assert that gestures vary from place to place, and so do their meanings. Therefore, we're both right, depending on your point of view (location). ;)

    Jae Angel
  14. Vampi_Digitalwytch Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2004
    star 3
    In New York City, they tend to alternate between the finger and flicking all four fingers at a person from under the chin

    The fingers under the chin flick I thought was an Italian thing along with the thumb flicked out from the teeth. Both meaning you've had enough of the comments or situation.

    From what I've picked up with Star Wars is that there's no plain tools like wrenches and such, they're hydrospanners and so on.
  15. Dev_Binks Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2003
    star 6
    NJ, 'Up yours' means pretty much F*** You, if you think about what F***ing is.
  16. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    Who/What/When/Where/Why/How on Earth?: This is probably the most obvious one I've noticed I find myself wanting to have characters say this and then immediately realising it would make no sense. You could use '...in the galaxy', as long as it doesn't sound too silly to you.

    In some cases, substituting in the current planet can work, especially from the mouth of a native.



    A lot of foods can be given a more GFFA feel by just tacking the name of an appropriate world in front of them. :p
  17. NarundiJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 6
    Dev, you gotta star out the whole word and you can't put the "ing" at the end. :p

    And only if you're different does ******* mean putting it up there. ;) Usually, when regular sex occurs between a man and a woman, you don't put it up there. :p

    Seriously, we're both right, and we're derailing this thread with this discussion. I refuse to believe I'm wrong since I'm not the only person I know who interprets this gesture to mean 'stick it up your arse'. A friend from across the globe told me it means 'sit on this and rotate' so you're going to have to accept that each one of us is right depending on where we come from. :p

    Jae Angel
  18. AERYN_SUN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2001
    star 5
    I read a SW fic one time where the Backstreet Boys were mentioned. I cannot stand BB at all and the fact that they were mentioned in a SW fic totally erked me :( But that was the most obvious "Earthly" mention in a SW fanfic I had ever read before.

    It's just wrong to mention any type of pop/boy band in Star Wars.

    ~aeryn
  19. Vampi_Digitalwytch Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2004
    star 3
    I read a SW fic one time where the Backstreet Boys were mentioned.

    *eyetwitches* Dare I ask how that one actually happened?
  20. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    i wrote a fic where nsync visits star wars and I'm an nsync fan, but it was mostly a making fun of them in a fun way. It won't ever be posted cause I know a lot of people hate them. But I loved poking fun at JC's star wars fanism and Joey's problems with flirting with everyone (he flirts with Jaina and gets hit in the face by Jag). It was all in good fun.

    but its hard to avoid SOME earth things sometimes.....like kitchen (what's an alternative name?) I know that refresher is often used in place of bathroom.
  21. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    I am a BB fan, (most def. not NSYNC, though), and that is one thing that is DEFINETLY to be avoided. If I see that, I usually don't read ANYTHING that author writes, because it just screams "I'm eleven years old! Isn't Nick sooooooooooo hotn'stuff? Isn't he sosososososososo coooooooooooool?"

    I hate that.

    But anyway...more earthisms to be avoided...how about food names?
  22. Rose_Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4


    I always wonder what they have for pets in the star wars universe. On occassion i want my character to have a pet, like a dog or a cat. What do you use instead? I started just creating my own species similar to dog or cats to use.
  23. Daughter_of_Yubyub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 6
    Hmm...

    Hambley mentions "pittins", but what you made up is probably less cheesy. :p
  24. AlrikFassbauer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2003
    star 4
    Who/What/When/Where/Why/How on Earth?

    Who/What/When/Where/Why/How on Corellia ? :p

  25. NarundiJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 6
    Can anybody tell me if there's a GFFA equivalent of ultrasound technology? Or is this a topic for the readers information thread? :p

    Jae Angel
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