How to Write a Mst (and Make it Funny)
 
 

"So, you wanna mst, eh Punk? Well, you gotta ask yourself one thing?  Do I feell witty? Well? Do ya?"

[Sorry. No idea why I put that in; guess it was a good idea at the time? (Why not take it out? Because I'm lazy, garn it!)]

Now that bad fanfiction rules the net, msting has a new home; online and lately "msting" has stood for "Mary Sue Torture". Who's Mary Sue? (Stupid question; especially on this site.) So, msts are in every fandom that you can think of... whether they are done well or not is another matter, but I am hoping that I can raise that quality of msting with this little bit of insight.

Let the msting instructions begin!!!
 

Things you will need:
- a fanfiction
- text program to mst said fanfiction
- a strange sense of humour (not completely needed, but by golly it sure helps!)
 

What you should do:

You can mst anything: good OR bad fanfiction; I've done it before and it works both ways.

Sometimes it can be harder to mst good fiction cause it's not stupid; with stupid things, comments come faster and better. But with good fanfiction, you know what is being said and what is being implied. There are times when bad fanfiction is so bad, it msts itself; those are the hardest to do.

Your about to find our

(They wait for the complete sentence.)

By Divana

Legolas: Whoa... did we miss something?
AW: (looks closer) Ahhhh, it's a typo. I think that's suppose to be "You're about to find out".
Legolas: Oh.
AW: (rubs temples) This is going to be one difficult read.
 

What you should NOT do:

Some bad fanfiction shouldn't be touched, because it's not worth your time. If it's too stupid and it msts' itself, it's done your job for you. Go onto other "victims".

Normally, I wouldn't have touched a fic like "Traning Time" because it's so stupid and very fangirl and "tween-like" (I hate those), but since it was a favour to Miss Cam (as dictated in the mst), I did it and finished it. I never want to touch one of those again; that one was painful.

For the most part, I like fics like "Chosen" where things are checked (like spelling and grammar) and thoughts, plot and speech are coherent; you know what's going on.
 

What you should do:

Use anything that's funny!

Grab lines from anywhere: movies, tv, comedy stand-ups, famous quotes, books, writers, music, life, anywhere!! For example, The Simpsons are good because they have a line for almost any situation that you can think of.

“Me and my big mouth,” she complained.

AW: Yes, you stupid Sue! Shut up. I can't believe you do not shut up!

But I also use lines from other movies, such as Sixth Sense, Monty Python, Lion King, Wizard of Oz, and tv shows like Freakazoid and Animainiacs (two very good shows for humour), The Muppets, etc... But you don't always have to use direct quotes from movies and whatnot. You can change quotes slightly to fit your purposes...

Frodo shook his head and hurried to catch up with the Company.

AW: (warning) It's never just a caaat....!

I got this idea from an email a few years ago about things that you learn from the movies. One of the listed topics was "It's never just a cat."

Or use personal experience:

He turned sharply around and saw two gleams of light behind him.

AW: (Frodo) Raugh! TRUCK!

This was originally from my cousin years ago when he told me of a funny joke that you could play on parents in the middle of the night; get two flashlights, go into their room, and yell "Truck!". (I've never done it, mind you, but it's always stuck with me and now it's shared with all of you.)

Even cyber comics can give you quotes (1. Penny Arcade  2. MacHall), and if they're from the punch-lines, more power to you!

(1) I believe that you really need to see a shrink and learn to get out more,

Legolas: (worried) You mean.... outside?
AW: (worried) ...Aren't there bears outside?

(2)   She saw Bev hides the laptop,

Gimli: Up her shirt.
AW: *bwrooonng* (Cassandra) Did your stomach just boot up?

Basically, anything funny, you can use as a riff. Don't be worried if some people don't get your riff; not everyone will have seen the same movies, read the same books, watched the same shows as you have, but there is a good chance that someone has. Also, the more you see/read/educate yourself with, the more material you have! Go out and read a few books! Watch movies! Get msting fodder!
 

What you should NOT do:

Do not use inside jokes that only you and your friends would get. If you do use an inside joke, make sure that others would find the obscure reference funny as well; like my obsession of cheese.

He remembered Gandalf saying how powerful Saruman could be at destroying one’s will.

AW: He also mentioned something about liking cheese.

It's such a stupid comment that people could (and do) find it funny.
 

What you should do:

Have fun with your comments. Sometimes you can use the wording of the sentence against itself.

Aragorn shushed them both, dropping his ear to the ground.

AW: (Aragorn) I won't be needing this any more.

“I don’t hear any movement,” he said softly.

AW: That's because you just dropped you ear, genius!

Of course, Aragorn didn't literally drop his ear to the ground and the author didn't intend it to be read like that, but mst comments like this get the biggest laughs because it is so unexpected. Don't always use the sentence for it's face value, that's boring. Have fun with the sentence... if there is a way that you to twist it into another meaning (and keeping the comment clean makes it funnier) go for it.

Jay heaved, Acacia heaved,

AW: Yeah, the hot dog vendor heaved too. It's kinda starting to really smell now.

Also, if you have a sentence, sometimes put in a riff that has no connection to the situation at all!

With those last enraged words, the Lord of Rivendell left his daughter staring tearfully after him.

Aragorn: (Arwen, sniffing) He stepped on my foot.

In the fic, Arwen and Elrond have just had a heated confrontation and Arwen is tearing up because of that, but with the comment, it makes it appear as if she is crying for a whole different reason; again, another stupid reason that is unexpected.

OR use the sentence exactly with face value.

In her musings, she had forgotten the hobbits might hear her.

AW: You know... with them having ears and all.

And...

They had made good progress that day. The mountain was much larger now.

Legolas: Because they were walking towards it.
AW: (amazed) Wow.

Point out the blatantly obvious to the reader with your comments. This too gets big laughs; exactly why? I'm not sure. Guess it's just more stupid comments that aren't expected.
 

What you should NOT do:

You do not always have to have all of your msters make comments at every break. Have your msters take turns with their comments. It takes up less time and it makes the mst a lot less chatty. Sure you can occasionally do a multi-comment during a break, because there is nothing wrong with your msters interacting at all.

She got down on her stomach and peered over the edge of the Crack. Sure enough, clinging desperately to the side and swearing

Legolas: ...was Gandalf!
AW: (Gandalf, fuming) Twice in one year! I'm in Middle-earth for thousands of years and this happens twice!

If you have both of your msters making comments every single break, the story gets lost in the mst and just turns into a boring conversation; no one cares to hear your conversation, they want to read the mst.
 

What you should do:

Know about what you're msting. Yeah, I know that sounds stupidly obvious, but it's true. The more you know about the fandom that you're msting, the smarter you look!

She cursed the darkness, she cursed Mordor, she cursed Tolkien, his parents, Houghton-Mifflin, Peter Jackson, his parents, New Line Cinema, Middle-Earth, the rocks, the Ring,

Legolas: Fëanor, until remembered that he was already cursed and then she cursed him for being cursed.

Now, people who have just seen The Lord of the Rings movies wouldn't even have the first indication of who in Middle-earth Fëanor is. Why? Because he isn't in The Lord of the Rings at all; he's in the Silmarilion. They wouldn't know who Fëanor is, why he would be cursed and his role in the history of Middle-earth at all!

Sure, I've made some mistakes in the past with some comments, but I've learned from them (even though I have not deleted/changed them yet) and I am still reading the history to get even more references to use (books are my friends).
 

What you should NOT do:

Do not insult the author. The point of the mst is to mock what they wrote, not them themselves. Sure you can poke fun at the author, but do not insult.

Please r/r, I have GOT to know what others think of this insanity.

AW: (author) I need to know where to jam this fic after!

There's a line between insulting a piece of writing and the writer. Make sure you don't cross it... unless you have very good reason to. Even then, try not to; stick with only the text.
 

Things you should do:

Make sure you keep your characters in character. If you haven't noticed in Drew and my msts, both Drew and I do the modern references with Legolas and Aragorn with the general comments.

Chapter One - Finding the Ring

AW: After years of searching, it was actually in a Cracker Jack box.
Legolas: A what?
AW: Never mind, just keep reading.

Of course, Legolas wouldn't know what Cracker Jacks are, or who the Backstreet Boys or movie stars are, but he is the expert on things of Middle-earth, such as the Valar, elvish history and usually makes his comments (if he is starring in the fic) in first person without putting his own name in front of it.

“You’re taking children on a long and perilous journey?” she asked Legolas in disbelief.

Legolas: Yes. We run faster than them, so they get devoured by the wargs instead of us. Genius, yes?

And...

“When we get back to the others, there are things that you might not understand, as you seem to know only of Man’s world.

Legolas: Though elf, dwarf and man have shared Middle Earth since the Elves left the Valar.

I also make my character (AW) a little bit more wacky, slower and cruder than the Mirkwood prince... because I most likely am!

What you should NOT to do:

Do not over use a topic or reference. After you put a certain topic on a riff, move onto another topic for the next one. Occasionally, you can use one topic for a bit but do not kill the reference; too much is too much. But there's nothing wrong with having a running gag.

The green eyes stared at her. Phoenix scrambled out into the clearing, staring at the creature.

AW: (Phoenix) Are you my mother?

Use the running gag only if it works. In "Chosen", a lot of people would look at someone strangely, and the "Are you my mother?" line just fit. I have revisited that line a few times in the following msts, but just with one mention per mst.


For now, that is all the pointers that I can think of right now involved in msting, but I am not saying that this article is finished, no, not by a long road; this will always be in a work in progress until I say it isn't.

So, to sum up.

To do's:


Do not's:


How to format your mst:

There are several ways you can format your mst, so the reader can tell which is fic and which is comment...

Different font:
Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic

Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff
 

Different colours:
Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic

Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff
 

Different styles:
Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic

Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff
 

Different Indicators:
>Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic Fic

Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff Riff
 
 

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions about this, please give me a shout! alswaiter@rogers.com