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For This Week’s Blog Post: We Need YOU!

One of our long-term projects at Duck Prints Press – something we’ve been working on on-and-off for a while but haven’t made public yet – is a Fandom Lexicon. There are a lot of websites and blog posts that include parts of a list of fandom-specific language, but we’ve not been able to find just a simple glossary, so we decided to put one together. (We’re not saying such websites don’t exist…they surely do…but we also wanted to do our own!)

There are many challenges in making such a list (one of the most obvious being what to include – how general a term is “too” general for inclusion?) but we’ve been doing our best, casting a wide net, and picking the collective brains of people involved in the Press.

And…we’ve basically exhausted our own knowledge/memories/ideas, which is where you, yes YOU, come in!

We want your terminology! What are fandom words you’ve encountered and said “wait, what does that mean?” What’s old fandom slang you used to use that you don’t see anymore and know that some newbie would be confused by? What are words you wish you could have found on a list when you first joined fandom?

We’ve already put together a list of 222 general fandom terms and abbreviations (some definitely “fandom specific,” others more “internet general slang”) and 29 fandom-specific abbreviations (this list is, obviously, much more nascent). You can see the entire list here. (note: there is citrusy terminology on this list, both literally the citrus scale is on there, but also things like A/B/O, BDSM, etc. – it’s a lexicon, after all.)

Currently, we are looking for:

general fandom terms/online terms that would be confusing to people out of context; and

over-arching fandom abbreviations (e.g., MCYT = Minecraft Youtuber, but we don’t want every single abbreviation for every sub-part of the fandom – just the level that if someone saw the abbreviation “in the wild” they’d have at least some frame of reference).

Long term, we’d love to do fandom-specific lexicons as well (NOT wikis, mind you, literally just “this abbreviation often means this” with links to resources that can give more information) but that’s a much larger project that would require recruiting people with enough fandom-specific knowledge for each fandom, and is not our current aim, so please don’t send us stuff like that.

Have you been in fandom a long time? Do you just HATE when people use the word “drabble” wrong? Have you got a list of words you wish fandom still used, or a list of newer terms you regularly look at and go “wait wtf does THAT one mean?”? Send us your words, so we can incorporate them into our list!

You can add a comment! Add your words to the tags! Drop us an ask! However you feel like sending the words our way, go for it.

You can see everything currently on our list HERE. (reminder: lemon text at this link)

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Now Live: Duck Prints Press’s Third Crowd-funding Campaign!

Duck Prints Press LLC is over the moon to share our next to anthologies with you: She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars!

These two anthologies share a common theme – masquerades – and each features different kinds of relationships. She Wears the Midnight Crown contains 18 wlw stories; He Bears the Cape of Stars contains 18 mlm stories. Both collections tell myriad stories exploring how these characters’ relationships develop, grow, and change while they attend or participate in masquerades!

Our 36 contributors have stretched their imaginations to present innovative stories exploring what a masquerade can be…and, of course, tell rich, engaging tales of wonderful queer folk finding love, companionship, acceptance, the queer platonic relationship of their dreams, or the found family they deserve. The collected works feature characters in all the colors of the Pride rainbow, queer and genderqueer, and these diverse individuals inhabit worlds ranging from science fiction settings where everyone must be masked to breathe, to fantasies where no one wears a literal mask but everyone shows the world a false guise, to iterations of the real world where some people lean into deception.

You’re definitely not going to want to miss it – you can buy one book or both books, some merch, or all merch – we’ve got 8 backer levels to help you get exactly what you want!

We’d love for you to attend the masquerade! Don your mask and read on…

The Seed&Spark Campaign for She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars runs from now through July 14th, 2022!

Go Forth, and Back It Now!

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Celebrate Pride by Learning About Ten Queer Independent Publishers!

This week, we’re spotlighting other queer, independent presses out there – some queer-owned, some focusing on publishing queer stories, some both. Take a look below – and if you know another press that’s not on the list, add it in the reblogs! The more queer publishers, the better. 😀

Brown Recluse Zine Distro is a collectively run organization created to support and center zines by queer and trans people of color. Check out their shop for zines on dozens of topics, from personal reflection to political organizing.

Zombies Need Brains has been publishing themed anthologies for 10 years, and, this summer, they’re expanding to publish two short stories per month through their Patreon. Their next anthology’s theme will be announced in July; in the meantime, you can also pick up their previous anthologies and other ebooks in their store

Interlude Press and their YA imprint, Duet Books, have published more than 90 works of LGBTQ+ fiction across genres. Their catalog is full of award-winners, and with the plethora of genres, they offer something for everyone.

All Worlds Wayfarer, a quarterly speculative literary magazine, has recently started producing themed anthologies as well. Their latest, Prismatic Dreams, contains 30 sci-fi, fantasy, and horror short stories with queer protagonists.

Speculatively Queer “publishes speculative stories about queer hope, joy, love, affirmation, and community.” It Gets Even Better: Stories About Queer Possibility is available now, and Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth is available for preorder.

Renaissance Press publishes diverse Canadian voices across genres. Their latest release is AfriCANthology: Perspectives of Black Canadian Poets. 

Microcosm Publishing is a Portland-based publisher founded in 1996 to focus “on … the experiences of what it is like to be a marginalized person.” They especially focus on publishing work by women. They’ve currently got a Kickstarter running for their next title, “Unf*ck Your Grief.”

OFIC Mag is a small, new press focused on publishing a quarterly anthology featuring original stories and art by fanauthors and fanartists. They recently opened their third edition to submissions.

Ylva Publishing focusing on stories about women loving women, with an emphasis on diversity. They’re woman-owned and cross-genre, releasing everything from mysteries to romance to historical to erotica. They also publish YA titles!

Atthis Arts Indie Publishing is a small press named after a character from Sappho’s poetry. They are especially interested in publishing works by members of underrepresented groups.

Bonus! An 11th Press

Space Wizard Science Fantasy, an indie press focused on queer sci-fi and fantasy, is just getting started. They’ve launched a Year 1 Kickstarter, featuring a number of titles they are working on, and they could really use more support. Back their current Kickstarter to purchase individual books or subscribe to the whole Year 1 slate of fiction!

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Writing Quick Tips: Quotation Marks + Punctuation

There are numerous quirky quotation mark placement + punctuation rules. For the common cases, such as basic dialog, most people know what to do, but we often see people get the less common cases incorrect, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help out!

Note that this post is written according to standard US English usage. The rules are different for other English dialects!

BasicPunctuation + Quotation Marks in Dialog:

When writing dialog, the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks in the vast majority of cases. (Almost always, but I know if I say “always” someone will find an exception, ‘cause there’s always an exception, because English, why?)

Ex. 1: “Thank you,” she said.

Ex. 2: “Thank you.” She reached out and shook my hand.

Ex. 3: “Thank you!” she said.

Ex. 4: “Thank you?” she said uncertainly.

Ex. 5: “Thank you…” she muttered.

Ex. 6: “Thank y—” A loud pop interrupted her.

Essentially: If the punctuation is part of what’s being said (is demonstrating some aspect of how the dialog has been said) then it goes inside the quotation marks. (The most common exception relates to em dashes—more on that below!)

IntermediatePunctuation + Quotation Marks in Narrative Text:

In narrative/descriptive text, the placement of punctuation depends on two factors:

a. Which punctuation is in question

b. The nature of the text within the quotation marks.

The basic rules are (this is paraphrased from CMoS 17th Ed.):

Periods: always inside the quotation marks

Ex.: The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold is called “kintsugi.”

Commas: always inside the quotation marks

Ex.: The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold is called “kintsugi,” and the practice originated in Japan.

Semi-colon: always outside the quotation marks

Ex.: The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold is called “kintsugi”; it is also called “kintsukuroi.”

Colon: always outside the quotation marks

Ex.: Other materials can be used for the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold, usually called “kintsugi”: silver and platinum are also sometimes utilized.

Question Marks: depends on what is in quotes. If the quoted material includes the question mark, then it goes inside of the quotes; otherwise, it goes outside the quotation marks.

Ex. 1: Is the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold called “kintsugi”?

Explanation: “kintsugi” isn’t a question, the entire phrase is the question, so the question mark goes outside the quotation marks.

Ex. 2: The article is entitled “Do you have questions about repairing cracked pottery with gold?”

Explanation: the title of the article is itself a question—the question mark is part of the quoted material, and therefore goes inside the quotation marks.

Exclamation Points: work the same way as Question Marks.

Ex. 1: I just learned that the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold is called “kintsugi”!

Ex. 2: The article is entitled “Everything you ever wanted to know about ‘kintsugi’ but hadn’t thought to ask!”

Em Dash: depends on what is in the quotes. If the purpose of the em dash is to denote that the words themselves are being interrupted, the em dash goes inside the quotation marks. If the purpose of the em dash is to mark that a specific action (sans dialog tag!) is interrupting the dialog, then the em dashes go outside. (Sorry this is a little challenging to describe, hopefully the examples help make it clear.)

Ex. 1: “The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold is called—” She broke off when she saw I was holding up a sign that said “kintsugi,” indicating that I already knew.

Explanation: the dialog itself is what is breaking off—in this case because the speaker is being interrupted—so the em dash goes inside the quotation marks.

Ex. 2: “The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold”—she held up a beautiful bowl that appeared to have once been broken, a tracery of gleaming gilding showing where the fault lines once were—“is called ‘kintsugi.’”

Explanation: when an action is interjected into the middle of a line of dialog, the em dashes go on the outside of the quotes.

Ex. 3: “The art of repairing cracked pottery with gold,” she explained as she held up a beautiful bowl, “is called ‘kintsugi.’”

Explanation: this instance has a dialog tag, so commas are used instead of em dashes. The first comma goes within the quotation marks, the second outside.

AdvancedPunctuation + Nested Quotation Marks in Dialog:

Sometimes, a character quotes something they’ve heard. In cases like this, the writer needs to use nested quotation marks (in standard US English, that’s double quotes “” for the first “layer” of dialog and single quotes ‘’ for the second “layer”). The relationship of the punctuation to the nested quote depends on what’s being said. When the dialog is nested, where the punctuation goes follows the same rules as in the “Intermediate—Punctuation + Quotation Marks in Narrative Text” section just above.

Ex. 1: “Did she say ‘Thank you’?” she asked.

Ex. 2: “Did he say ‘Thank you’ to you?” she asked

Ex. 3: “Did he say ‘Thank you,’ or did he say ‘tanks for you’?” she asked

Ex. 4: “How dare he say ‘Thank you’!” she exclaimed.

Ex. 5: “He said ‘Thank you,’” she replied.

Ex. 6: “He said ‘Thank you,’ I think?” she replied.

Ex. 7: “He said ‘Thanks’ and also ‘good luck.’” She nodded as she explained.

Ex. 8: “Actually, he said ‘Thanks!’” she replied.

Ex. 9: “Actually, he asked ‘Should I thank them?’” she replied.

Other Uses of Quotation Marks

Quotation marks can also be used when identifying the titles of works, scare quotes, defining words in foreign languages, etc. Regardless of the uses, the above rules about punctuation placement apply.

So, now you know. 😀

Go forth and Write All The Things!

*

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How to Read Manhua on Bilibili: Legal, Free, and in English

This is a repost of a tutorial I wrote for a fandom art side blog I run on Tumblr. As it’s fairly fandom-general and goes into a lot of detail on ways that readers can access original queer manhua (Chinese comic) titles for free, we feel that it’s of wide enough interest to be relevant to the Duck Prints Press blogs, too. It includes information on accessing Bilibili and some specific titles I’ve enjoyed that I thought might be a good starting place for someone interested in reading manhua this way.


In my posts on this blog, I keep sharing screen caps from manhua I’ve read on Bilibili, along with the link to read it yourself, but I know:

This blog doesn’t have all that many followers.

It’s one thing for me to post the link and quite another for people to realize just how easy this is to do.

Considering how often I see English-speaking MXTX/c-novel/c-drama/donghua fandom peeps screaming and begging for more content, I’m now begging you in return:

STOP SLEEPING ON THE BILIBILI APP!

If you want more danmei content, fully legal, entirely free, already translated, you literally c.a.n.n.o.t. do better than using the Bilibili app to read manhua. That’s not to say this is a perfect method – their translations are…um…wanting sometimes? (Shout out to the four pages in a row I recently read where someone broke in to a residence and every time the breaker-inner was mentioned they were called “the intrud”) But it’s still ALL THERE, FOR US, ANYTIME, and the more eyes the manhua in the apps gets, the more content we’ll get, so please, PLEASE, if you’re out there thirsting for danmei content, DO THIS.

Wondering how?

Well, I’ve got you covered.

WAY 1: The Bilibili Manhua Website

I know I said “get the app” but honestly you don’t even need an app to do this! You can read on Bilibili using any web browser.

The website is Bilibilicomics.com.

It looks like this: 

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Yes, you’re reading that right: there’s an entire section of BL.

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There’s also an entire section of GL!

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There are 38 titles in GL and 121 titles, yes ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE titles, in BL.

AND there’s het stuff, and non-romance stuff too!

New episodes general come out weekly or biweekly, though a few things are daily. The website is often a few chapters ahead of the app (which I actually didn’t realize until just now – Chapter 55 of Legend of Exorcism, for example, came out today on the app, but it lists 60 episodes as available on the website. Which, considering the cliffhanger I just read… *eyes emoji*…though apparently in other cases there are more chapters on the app than on the website, so ymmv.)

The best-known title available (again: FOR FREE. OFFICIALLY. LEGALLY. IN ENGLISH) is Tian Guan Ci Fu. When you go to a specific title’s page, you get this…

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…and reading it is as simple as selecting the chapter you want, clicking it, and et voila! Just scroll down and read to your heart’s content!!

NOTE: SOME CHAPTERS WILL HAVE WAIT TIMES. More on this shortly.

WAY 2: The Bilibili App for Android

I personally have been reading primarily from the Android app, since I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and a lot of time sprawled on my couch while my kids watch cartoons.

You can download the app from the Play store – here’s a link, for what that’s worth.

It looks, essentially, like this (I’m logged in so mine looks a little different than non-logged-in, I made an account even tho you don’t actually need one):

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If you don’t want to make an account, you don’t have to. If you choose to, as you see it’ll try to guess what other titles you might like. tbh I have no idea how good these recommendations may be; I’m still reading/catching up on the specific titles I wanted to read so I haven’t had to try their recommendations yet. But, there’s definitely some stuff that looks interesting (that top middle one definitely looks up my alley…)

You can also “favorite” things (again: EVEN WITHOUT AN ACCOUNT) and it’ll store them in your library and make a red dot (like you can see on the above screen cap) when something has an update you haven’t read yet. For example, here’s my Favorite list, which helps me keep track of what I’m reading and enjoying (or, well, in one case I’m more “wtfing” than “enjoying” but hey that still counts).

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There’s even a weird, like, “dress up” side game??? So like, every chapter you read there’s a chance the app will drop a “card” and you can use the cards to dress your avatar up, and there’s a whole crafting system built in? It’s. A little odd. But, considering I recently quit my Love Nikki addiction after 3+ years, it’s nice to get a small hit of pointless dress up.

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Yes, my avatar is currently wearing San Lang’s shirt.

The point is, again: this app is free to download, and incredibly easy to use, and even has a fun pointless side game.

BUT. There is one “but” here. See the Coins: 0 Top Up right below my randomly assigned username?

There is an optional pay system. What does it do? It reduces wait times.

Some titles, but not ALL, have a “built in delay” that kicks in at some point. On some, it seems to start when you’re “within 5 chapters of the most recent” (that’s what’s happened with Global Examination and TGCF, for example). For others, it seems to be arbitrary – for A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, it kicked in at chapter 40 even tho there are, like, 80 something chapters up. Regardless, it always works the same.

The system functions using wait times, and it has 5 tiers that are always the same.

Tier 1: You must wait one minute before you can read the next chapter. This tier is rarely an issue; the count down sometimes (but not always??? it’s weird) starts when you start a new chapter, and it almost always takes more than one minute to read a full chapter, so this tier is often “satisfied” before you even get to the next chapter.

Tier 2: You must wait six minutes before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 3: You must wait one hour before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 4: You must wait six hours before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 5: You must wait twenty-four hours before you can read the next chapter.

I initially thought this system functioned as “once you reach Tier 5, you’re just stuck there and can only read a chapter a day” but it’s turned out that’s not the case – A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost having 40+ semi-locked chapters has given me the chance to actually test this a bit. In fact, what happens is:

The first time you hit a “wait delay” chapter, it puts you at Tier 1 and you have to wait a minute. The next chapter, you up to Tier 2, the next to Tier 3, then Tier 4, then Tier 5…and then it cycles back to Tier 1. So, with a little care and planning (which I almost always fail at) I can time reading something with many wait-delayed chapters such that I can read 5 chapters in one day, then I have to wait a full day, then I can read 5 more chapters.

Here’s how it looks when you’ve done your waiting in purgatory and can now read on…

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…and here’s how it looks when the sad trombones play…

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Now, I mentioned I’d circle back to the coins? THE TIME HAS COME! Because, look – for 17 coins, you can read on instantly!! Alternatively, if you’re willing to share on social media, you can also skip (I have no if that’s something you can do over and over, or just once, cause I haven’t tried – you can skip the wait time once for free). This begs the question, then…is 17 coins a lot?

And the answer is…

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…eh not really, no. Ten bucks will get you the ability to pay 17 coins many, many times (58, to be precise), but honestly? I haven’t spent a penny yet and I’ve caught up on 7 different titles and am steadily reading through two more (one of which hasn’t had wait times kick in yet, I just can only read so fast).

All of which is to say: yes, there’s a pay system, and tbh, I’m probably going to throw them a few bucks not because I care about the wait times but because I’m getting so much enjoyment out of reading these titles and I want to support them a little (I also bought the print version of the TGCF vol. 1 and will likely buy the other volumes, and I once-upon-a-time paid to watch TGCF s. 1 streaming as they came out). With a little patience there is absolutely zero call for spending even one penny to read as much of this cornucopia as you want.

WAY 3: Download the Bilibili App on Apple

I don’t have access to an iPhone and don’t feel like grabbing my tablet rn and I’ve hit the Tumblr image limit anyway, but the Apple app looks about the same as the Android app, and you can download it HERE.

Basically: use the website, or download the app for whichever platform you’re using, and READ, READ, READ!

So, what is there to read?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

I’ve been reading on the app pretty regularly for like two months (prior to that I was only reading TGCF, and only when I remembered, which was rarely), but I’m juggling a lot AND reading other stuff too so I am far from having explored the wide range of options. I can, however, highlight a few I think are likely to be of interest to a danmei-reading audience. Note that of these, I’ve only read the novels for TGCF, TYQHM, and Daomu Biji, which means that I only know as far as the manhuas have covered for the rest – I haven’t read farther than that yet. 

A. Tian Guan Ci Fu by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. The one, the only – this is the official manhua with art by Starember. It tells the story of newly ascended god Xie Lian trying to navigate the intricacies of the heavenly bureaucracy, figure out his place in the world, and understand why a sexy guy in red keeps showing up in his life. (Worst synopsis ever award goes to: ME!). The English translation is currently on episode 77, which has Xie Lian and Hua Cheng in the gambler’s den. A volume just ended, which means it’s on hiatus temporarily – there’s usually a month or two break between volumes – so it’ll be back soon!

B. Global Examination by Mu Su Li. Based on the book Global University Entrance Examination, featuring art by E Zi. Global Examination is a story set in a dystopian near-future about a world where groups of people are randomly selected (read: kidnapped and forced) to participate in an “exam” where they have to answer extremely complex puzzles. If they succeed, they get to live and become one of the people who administer the exam. If they fail, they die. Despite the premise sounding dark, it’s really not been so bad and I’m reassured it won’t become so. The story itself focuses on You Huo, a recently selected examinee with amnesia, the other people in his examinee group, and Examiner 001, who clearly has some kind of history with You Huo. If only he didn’t also have amnesia, we might even know what that history is…

C. Dinghai Fusheng Records and Legend of Exorcism, both based on the books of the same names written by Fei Tian Ye Xiang. The art for Dinghai Fusheng Records is by Qianerbai (who has also done a lot of work for the Mo Dao Zu Shi audio drama) and Legend of Exorcism, it’s by Warp. These stories are set in the same ‘verse, at least several hundred years apart; it’s a xianxia high-fantasy setting, and the main enemies are demons (…or are they? dun dun duuuun). Dinghai Fusheng Records takes place, chronologically, first, and occurs a couple hundred years after a calamity caused all qi to fade from the world – there are only mortals, and no one can cultivate. It follows Chen Xing, a young man born with a gift, as he seeks his protector – Xiang Shu – and others, and they encounter (surprise!) unspeakable evil. Legend of Exorcism takes place in the “future” of Dinghai Fusheng Records, and focuses on Kong Hongjun, a half-demon boy who has received a summons to join the Exorcism Department, as he explores the mortal world for the first time and gets to know the others who have summoned to join the Department, especially the mortal leader Li Jinglong.

D. Daomu Biji titles, originally by Nanpai Sanshu. There are two DMBJ titles on Bilibili right now, though both only have a few chapters, and the website lists them as “on hiatus.” I’ve read them both, and am not entirely sure what’s up with one especially, but… Grave Robbers’ Chronicles starts where Book 1 starts, with changes of course but it’s quite recognizable as the initial “Wu Xie is brought a silk scroll and gets curious” plot line. The Grave Robbers’ Chronicles Seven Dreams is…odder…and as far as I can tell is an alternate canon/AU which starts with a “what if” of “what if the Zhang’s were incredibly abusive, raised child!Zhang Qiling themselves, and Wu Xie and he met as kids.” It’s. Um. Extremely weird. But I’m still hoping they’ll release more than 9 chapters, if only because I’m curious.

E. A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, based on the novel A Sword of Frost by Yu Xiao Lanshan. This one opens with the Prince Ji Yanran approaching Sect Master Yun Yifeng, who runs a sect of spies and information collectors, to ask for help finding an item that has been stolen from the palace. In exchange, he promises to give Yun Yifeng the cure to an ailment that plagues him. Problem 1: he doesn’t actually have this cure. Problem 2: everywhere they go people start dying. Problem 3: catching feels for the pretty Sect Master. Despite having the trappings of xianxia, this story has actually thus far been a sequence of murder mysteries with politics-related causes.

F. Saved the Public Enemy By Mistake by Liu Muqiao. If this is based on a novel, I haven’t been able to track it down. It’s xianxia; demon immortal cultivator Liu Jianghe shows up, nearly dead, on the doorstep of Lu Jiu. Not knowing who he is, Lu Jiu saves him, and finds a mess of politics on his doorstep…but nothing is actually how it seems, there’s amnesia and hidden back stories galore, there’s a heavy side plot of sword lesbians, and honestly I’ve read like 50 chapters I’m still a little lost but the art is pretty and I really need to read the reveal on the the two MCs history together so I’m sticking with it. Warning that it’s got a fair amount of blood and gore.

G. Those Years in Quest of Honor Mine by Man Man He Qi Duo. A historical (non-cultivation) setting focused on politics, machinations, and the long history and deep love between Zhong Wan – former top-scorer on the national exam who lost his position when his adopted father was accused of treason – and Yu She, of dubious parentage and believed by most people to be the bastard son of the Emperor. I loved the book for this, and finding out that the manhua was on Bilibili is a lot of what drove me to download the app.

So – that’s everything I’m currently reading: 6 titles inspired by explicitly BL danmei titles, 2 based on other books I like that aren’t BL, and 1 BL that just looked interesting and my taste.

There’s SO MUCH MORE, seriously. I’m going to be reading on this app for months and still finding more, I’m positive of it.

But unforth, I hear you say, there’s some other manhua I want to read! What about Mo Dao Zu Shi? What about Erha? Are those on Bilibili? Can I read them? And the answer, sadly, is no. Those two are published by Kuaikan, which does not offer free legal English translations at this time. But! I am holding out hope that if the audience for Bilibili grows, other manhua publishers will see the profitability in emulating them. I cannot guarantee that anything we do will result in this happening, but I do feel pretty confident that if we don’t read with the options currently available, we sure ain’t likely to get more options.

SO. GO FORTH. READ THE THINGS I’VE MENTIONED. READ OTHER THINGS. COME BACK AND TELL ME WHAT YOU LOVED SO I HAVE SOME IDEA WHAT TO READ NEXT.

PLEASE.

I’m begging. GO READ MANHUA!!!

RIGHT NOW.

ON BILIBILI.

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How to Spot Art Reposts

Note: this is a post I wrote last year for a side blog I run from my personal Tumblr account. You can see the original post here. Given the popularity of the post I did about the Wayback Machine, I thought perhaps x-posting more of my fandom-general posts written outside of my ownership of Duck Prints Press might be useful/of interest to people. This post was originally written in March, 2021.

Umpteen months ago I asked if followers of this blog would like my take on art reposting, how to recognize reposts, and what to do when you find them, and today, I finally wrote it.

I am deliberately NOT putting this behind a read more. It’s long, but it’s important. If you want to support creators and avoid reposts, please, please read it!

What is an art repost?

An art repost is any instance where a piece of art is re-uploaded from the platform where it was originally posted to any other platform (such as Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Discord, etc.). This is not the same as reblogging/retweeting/sharing posts. Any instance where the social media account of the creator is still the originating source for the post is not a repost, and in general creators strongly encourage people to interact with their own work that they’ve posted – that’s why they’ve posted it!Please, we’re begging you, reblog artwork from creators! By contrast, a repost is a brand-new post made by any other account owner. 

Reposts can be authorized or unauthorized.

What is an authorized repost?

Many artists allow reposting provided they’re informed first. Others have blanket statements in their profiles that allow reposting. No matter what, an authorized repost should always include the artist’s name and, ideally, link(s) to platforms where they regularly post.

What is an unauthorized repost?

An unauthorized repost is any instance where an artist has not been explicitly given, and is especially inappropriate if the artist has asked that people not repost their work. The majority of artists do not allow reposts, and it’s usually stated in their bios, in their pinned posts, in their caption, or in their watermark, or sometimes all four and then some. Unauthorized reposts can also include remixing existing gifs into new sets, making photo montages with images you don’t own, creating tiktok or youtube videos with artwork you don’t have the rights to use, and much much more. Basically, if you are taking someone’s work, and posting it or modifying it without their permission…don’t.

What about instances where it’s not clear if explicit permission has been given for a repost?

This is a gray area, one on which even well-meaning netizens disagree. For me, personally? If I’m not positive the repost was created with permission, I don’t reblog it, even if the artist is named and linked on the post. I don’t have time to track down if permission has been granted or if the person has given blanket permission in their bio, and I’d rather be sure than risk reblogging something they’ve forbidden. However, many others feel that as long as an artist is thoroughly credited, it’s okay to post or reblog a piece in the absence of explicit indications that the artist would disapprove of that usage of their work. Which approach you take is ultimately up to you. None of us have the time to investigate every single piece of art we see on Tumblr. To some extent, we have to trust that people have the permission they say they have, or that when they’ve reposted and linked to other platforms, they’ve done so either with the artist’s knowledge or after having checked that the author’s bio on that platform allows for such reposting. 

My own uncertainty that I trust people to do that appropriately is why I, personally, only reblog works that have either been posted by the artist or that explicitly indicate that permission was obtained for the repost.

What if someone lies about having permission?

None of us can control what other people do on the internet. All we can control is our own behavior. It’s totally okay for us to assume that others who say they have permission are acting in good faith – but it’s also our responsibility that, if we find out that we’ve been mistaken, we remove the reblog and spread the word that someone has violated that good faith trust. That’s the best we can do.

Why is reposting bad?

Artists own the copyright to their own work. Yes, even fanartists. Just because something is posted on the internet doesn’t mean it’s fair game for anyone to download, upload, and use as they will. Many artists need the money they earn from selling prints, commissions, merch, etc., to supplement their income or earn a living. Everytime their work is reposted without their permission, you’re potentially taking money out of their pockets. This goes double if the work is posted without even their name attached to it. Many artists also find this intensely disheartening: they’ve slaved over an image, whether that be a piece of artwork or a gif they’ve edited or a photograph they’ve taken. When people just come along and act entitled to take that work and behave as if there’s no one behind the computer screen on the other end, it leaves artists deflated. I know multiple artists who have literally left fandom because having their work stolen and reposted was that upsetting to them. Even if you (generic you, who is not a creator) thinks that reposts don’t hurt anyone…artists almost universally say reposting DOES hurt them, so don’t fucking do it.

What kind of works can be reposted?

All types of artwork and graphic work can be reposted, with or without permission. Don’t assume photographs that are on Google can just be taken and reposted! Someone took that photograph, and someone owns the rights, and unless the image is in the Creative Commons, it’s not for free use. The same goes for all forms of artwork, animated gifs, even fonts. Behind every single graphic you see is a real live human who put effort into creating it, and reposting that work without permission or without identifying the creator is at minimum highly disrespectful and at the extreme can literally endanger people’s livelihoods. It’s theft, flat out. If you wouldn’t rob from a mom-and-pop store, don’t repost the work of an artist without permission!

…but (insert excuse of choice here).

Honestly, I could put in a list of excuses I’ve heard, but I’m not going to, because I don’t want to fucking bother dignifying all that bullshit. There is no excuse. Either reblog from the original creator, or get permission from a creator to repost, or DON’T POST IT. You (person making excuses!) are not entitled. You are an asshole. Stop.

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Alright – now that I’ve gone through the basics of what a repost is – and isn’t – and why reposting is often bad – now for the main part. How can you, as a random person on this hellsite, know if a work is a repost, and what should you do if you find one?

The first thing to remember is that if a post is a permitted repost, it should be obvious. Most people who are making a good-faith effort to share artworks from other websites will include text that makes it clear that the work is a repost, that it’s been shared with permission, and provide the name of the artist and links for where to find them. People who do those kinds of posts are not doing anything wrong (unless they’re found to be lying…but I personally have yet to hear of an instance where they were). 

This is a post about the other kind of repost – those cases where, due to ignorance or malicious intent, people intentionally post artworks that they haven’t created themselves while providing no credit to the original creator, or inadequate credit.

Signs that a Post May be an Unauthorized Repost:

1. There’s no caption. Most, but not all, artists write something to go with their posts. The lack of a caption is absolutely not an instant “gotcha,” but it’s a warning bell. Also, a lot of people on Tumblr intentionally or accidentally remove captions, so it’s not uncommon to go back to an original post and discover there actually was a caption when it was first posted. If you find that, make sure you reblog a version that includes the caption! The artist put that information there for a reason!

2. Alternatively, the caption says something like, “credit to the artist.” Credit to the artist isn’t credit, and is basically instant proof that something is a repost. The artist has a name, and their own social media, and at the barest minimum a repost (even if it’s unauthorized) should include their name and link. To do any less than that is to be a huge asshole and if you do that, I’m judging you.

3. You think you recognize the art style but it doesn’t match the username. Anyone around fandom long enough who likes art learns the style of some popular artists. If you see a piece you recognize the style of, and the username of the person who posted it is unfamiliar to you, that can be a sign. Then again, people change their usernames a lot, so if you’re not sure it’s better to keep poking than assume.

4. The dimensions are wonky, the resolution seems very low, or parts of the image are distorted in ways that aren’t part of the artwork. Obviously, this is subjective to some extent, and we all know that Tumblr can mess with image resolutions, especially on mobile, but if the dimensions of the image seem unusual or if parts of the image are distorted that can be a sign that the image has been cropped to remove a signature or watermark. Likewise, very low resolution can be a sign that people couldn’t download a high-res image and so posted a thumbnail, or that they cropped an image so much that it looks like crap. As yet another way this may show, if a part of the background or even of a character seems very detailed – like the artist devoted a lot of time to it – but it’s cut off and/or only part of it is visible, that’s another sign that the image may have been cropped. If you see something like this, and the image seems off, that would be a reason to keep digging.

5. The artwork has a watermark or signature that bears no resemblance to the URL of the poster. If you see a work with a signature that says, for example, “by daisydoesart” (disclaimer I just made that up and if someone actually has that username I’m sorry I don’t mean you) and the URL of the poster you’ve seen is rando1211, that’s a pretty bad sign. It’s not a 100% guarantee – some people use different usernames on different websites, and it’s not unheard of for those urls to be pretty different – but the more generic the reposter’s username is, and the more different it is from the signature, the more suspicious you should be. If “daisydoes” posts something signed “daisydoesart,” that’s probably fine. Heck, even if “ddeesartblog” does, that’s promising, but probably still worth double checking. But if there’s zero resemblance…look into it, and don’t assume. Yes, I have literally seen reposts where the correct Tumblr username was in the watermark, and it didn’t match, and people still reblogged it…but I’ve also seen posts where the correct Tumblr username was in the watermark…and the person had since changed their username. So. That’s why all of these are warning signs, not proof.

6. When you check the post’s notes, there are other people who have said it’s a repost. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and there are people (like me) who will call out other people if we see a repost. While there’s a chance that those people will be wrong…honestly? I’ve never personally known them to be. So it’s a fairly reliable indication.

7. When you go to the original post, the tags are generic. Again, most, but not all, artists will use tags to make it easier for people to find their works. They’ll often have a personal tag – “my art” is a common one – and other signs that an actual caring person is behind the account. At the extreme, I’ve seen reposters use tags like “not mine” or “from (platform)” – those can be a good hint that you’re looking at a repost. Yes, there are reposters who feel so entitled that they literally say, “I’m reposting this” or “credit to artist” in their post. No, that’s not credit, and yes, they should be stopped.

8. When you go to the account of the original poster, there’s no information there. The vast majority of creators will have a bio that indicates that they make art, or take photos, or create graphics, or do gif sets, etc. Alternatively, some artists will have a pinned post up that makes it clear they’re a creator, even if their bio doesn’t. Yes, there are exceptions – especially when the creator isn’t an English speaker or when they’re using an automated tool to repost from another platform – but those are the minority. If you’re on account that has no bio, or the bio is just a couple generic words, that’s a huge red flag. Here are some examples of bios from reposters I’m aware of in the MDZS fandom:

Image

For contrast, here are some legit creator accounts:

@/candicewright

@/purgatory-jar

@/fengqing

@/cobaltmoony

@/kakinkead

Notice how… a. they talk about themselves; b. they use their own work as their header; c. they have a pinned post with their own work; d. advertise their shops, art side blogs, commissions, and other specific platforms; e. they’ve signed and/or watermarked their own work, and the names match or are traceable to their account; f. never themselves post reposts! Not every creator will hit all of these, but most creators will do at least one of them!

9. Specifically for Chinese fandoms, if there’s a Weibo symbol and then Chinese, Korean or Japanese characters after it, that’s a Weibo watermark and if the work isn’t credited odds are very high it’s a repost. Here’s an example of what the watermark looks like:

10. When you’ve seen the previous signs and you’re getting suspicious, a good next step is to scroll through the poster’s blog. People who don’t do captions, don’t tag thoroughly or at all, and/or don’t have a bio up, still maybe an artist, and the easiest way to tell at that point is to see what else they’ve put up. If they’re an artist, odds are, their blog feed will contain other images done in a similar art style, and no images that are in a radically different art style. Obviously, there are exceptions, and you’re only an outsider coming in and you can only do your best. But if the art all looks similar, and if there’s only original art posts up, odds are decent that the person in question is the original poster. For example, I was suspicious of @elfinfen based on all the previously mentioned signs, but I’m now thoroughly convinced they’re the original artist of their works, and an extremely skilled one whose work I love at that – and part of why I’m convinced is that their art is distinct, stylized, and dominates their blog. If, on the other hand, there’s a lot of random art (especially if each piece has different signatures/watermarks) or a miscellaneous assortment of content, it’s more likely to be a repost.

11. In the end you can rarely be positive. Use your best judgement. If you don’t have time to check and you’ve seen signs that make you suspicious, then it’s better to not reblog. It’s much easier to wait until you get evidence one way or the other and then act accordingly then to clean up after you’ve reblogged something you shouldn’t have and it’s gotten spread around even more.

12. An exemption to all of this! While it might be a little blech, in general it is standard fandom etiquette that reposts of official art (network photoshoots, cover art, merchandise imagery, etc.) are okay. Ideally, these would at least also include credit to the creator, but general attitude is, it’s acceptable to repost these unless the person who reposts them is claiming they’re the creator.

Okay, I found a repost. Now what? 

Choose from the below list, as much or as little as you have the cope for. Don’t stress if you can’t do all of them. No one of us is responsible for fixing this massive, internet-wide problem, but we can do the bare minimum at least, and the bare minimum is number 1 on this list. If you’ve done that much, and you can’t do more, then you’ve done enough. If you CAN do more, though, here are some suggestions.

  1. Don’t reblog the repost.
  2. No, seriously. Don’t reblog the repost. 
  3. Tell the person whose blog you saw it on that it’s a repost; most people care and would want to know, and will delete it if informed. If you tell them and they don’t delete it or don’t understand why they should, feel free to send them this post.
  4. If you can find the original artist and art on Tumblr, reblog that as well.
  5. If you know or can identify the original creator, let them know so they can file a DCMA on the appropriate website.
  6. If you think the person who posted it made a mistake out of ignorance, politely let them know that reposts are generally frowned on and they shouldn’t post artwork without the permission of the original creator.
  7. Spread the word that you’ve found a reposter and ask others to help identify the stolen works.
  8. If you really, really want to reblog the post…ultimately, I can’t stop you, but please don’t do so without at least adding credit…or at ABSOLUTE MINIMUM saying, “this is a repost, can anyone help find the original creator?”
  9. A lot of Discords and other groups have channels for posting art, and people in those will also often have places and people willing to help track down originals, so you can throw the artwork up and say, “this is a repost and I’m trying to find the creator, please help.”
  10. If a Discord you’re in DOES allow reposts (…I’ve left servers over this, literally…) point out to them how inappropriate that is.
  11. Ask someone like me (hi, I’m @unforth​) who has a lot of experience with this stuff, and see if we’ve got time to help.
  12. If you reblog something, and someone comes into your DMs or asks to let you know it’s a repost, don’t get pissy about it. Delete the reblog. Or, if you’re the original poster…learn not to repost ffs and delete the post and apologize.

Want more information? There are a lot of excellent resources on the @dont-repost-art blog.

So, this has been my (again, hi, I’m @unforth​) tutorial on how to recognize reposts and what to do about them.

Please for fuck’s sake DO NOT repost art.

And I swear to god if anything I wrote in here is ever used to harass actual creators I will hunt you down and make your life hell. Just Don’t.

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Capitalization and Em Dashes and Parentheses and Dialog, Oh My!

Two weeks ago when we posted our “Formatting Tweaks to Help Your Typesetter Have a Great Day” post we mentioned that the “Capitalization Quirks” section became so long that we decided to break it out into a separate post. That didn’t get put up last week cause of debuting May Trope Mayhem, but the time is NOW!

Capitalization Quirks, or: How to Get More Capitals and Lowercase Letters Right So Your Editor Has One Fewer Thing To Do!

At the most technical, literal, simplistic level, all sentences in English should start with a capital letter. If you google “should I always start a sentence with a capital letter,” all the top results say yes. But! That’s overly simplistic. For example:

“I was just saying—”

“—That you’re tired.”

That’s wrong, because it’s not a new sentence. The “—t” needs to be lowercase. Thus, this should read:

“I was just saying—”

“—that you’re tired.”

Then, there’s sentences that “trail in” with an ellipse. For example: 

“…when did you say that?” 

This one, on a technical level, could go either way. Duck Prints Press goes with lowercase on this, using the same reasoning as the em dash case: it’s not a complete sentence, more of a fragment.

Some other examples where there shouldn’t be a capital (I’ll bold the letters that shouldn’t be capitalized).

Case 1: “In any event”—taking a deep breath, she flopped into her chair—“it is what it is.”

Case 2: After I got to the event (which took way longer than it should have, but that’s a different story!), we went to our seats together.

Case 3: Every time he thought he was finished—every time!!—he realized he’d made a mistake and had to start over.

Those cases are relatively simple and clear cut. Not all sentences will be. Often, when writing dialog, people use many permutations of sentences, not-sentences, ellipses, em dashes, and more. Keeping track of what needs to be capitalized and what doesn’t requires knowing a lot of quirky rules. People especially often end up confused about when text following quotes should have a capital letter and when it shouldn’t. The rule of thumb is, if the text in question is a dialog tag, it should be lowercase, even if the dialog before it ends in a question mark or exclamation mark.

(Again, bolding the lowercase/uppercase letter in spots where people most often get mixed up.)

“This example needs a lower case letter after it,” she explained.

“Does this—?” he started to ask.

“Yes!” she interrupted.

“What about this one?” he said.

“Yes, that one too…” she replied, sighing.

If, on the other hand, the narrative text after the dialog is an action (as in, not a direct dialog tag indicating how the thing was said), then it should be uppercase.

“I’m still confused how this works.” Rubbing his brow, he took a deep breath.

“I promise it’s not that hard.” She grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and started writing down examples.

To help keep clear when to do this: if what you write can be replaced with say/said and still make sense, then it’s a dialog tag. If it can’t be, then it’s not a dialog tag and it should be capitalized.

“I don’t know when what follows counts as a sentence and when it doesn’t,” he pointed out with a frown.

“It depends how you’re describing what the person said.” Her voice took on a frustrated tinge.

But! That’s not all!

“What about if I, I dunno…” He looked at the examples she’d written down. “What if there’s more dialog after the first thing said and the first batch of narrative description?”

“Then”—she grabbed the pen and started writing more sample sentences—“it depends. For example, if I’m interrupting my own dialog with an action and no dialog tag, then it should probably be between em dashes, and only the first letter of the first sentence is capitalized. But if instead I interrupt myself with a dialog tag,” she continued, “then that uses commas, and again, only the first sentence is capitalized.” She paused, took a deep breath, then added, “But because that’s not confusing enough, if I stop, then use a narrative line that ends with dialog tag and a comma, then keeps going as dialog, then both the narrative sentence and the start of the dialog sentence needs a capital.”

“What about if everything is a sentence?” He grabbed the pen from her hand and scrawled down a few notes. “Then is everything capitalized?”

She threw him a thumbs up, an unspoken “you’re getting it now!” implied by the gesture.

Aghast, he blinked at what she’d just demonstrated. Finally, after working his mouth in silence for at least a minute, he managed:

Does this ever make sense?”

“No,” she allowed, “but when you do it enough you start to get used to it.”

Yeah, I’m sorry. It’s the worst. I probably forgot at least two permutations, too, but I tried. Fixing capitalization on all of the above is a constant effort. Good luck?

All of these more-or-less follow the established rules of dialog capitalization, but there are some cases that simply don’t have a standard. For these, it will often depend on which style guide is being used, what editor is doing the work, what each individual publisher has decided, etc. Here’s some examples, with explanation of what they show.

“I don’t— Like, what am I supposed to do if there’s no standard?” Frustration was clearly starting to get the better of him. (This is: self-interruption to start a new sentence—we use: em dash + space + capital letter.)

“Hmm…probably your best bet is to just pick a way to handle each case and make sure you’re consistent.” (This is: self ellipse-marked pause/trail off that continues as the same thought—we use: ellipse + hair space + lowercase.)

“So if I…I don’t even know… What if I can’t remember what I did before?” (this is: trailing off, then continuing with a new sentence—we use: ellipse + space + capital.)

“Just—just—just figure it out! How am I—just a person trying to give a tutorial!—supposed to predict every kind of dialog you’re going to want to write?” she spluttered. (First part is: stutter/self-interruption, incomplete/continuing thoughts—we use: em dash + lowercase (no space). Second part is: em dash interjection in dialog, which uses the same rules as em dash interjections in narrative—we use: em dash + lowercase (no spaces).)

“Wh-wh-wh-what, that’s all you have to offer?” (This is: stuttering incomplete words—we use hyphen + lowercase (no spaces).)

Damn it… Do you really expect me to make all the decisions for you? she thought…but then she realized she should be kinder—this was hard stuff! “I guess I’d just suggest…make yourself a ‘personal formatting’ doc and write down how you did…whatever you did…when it came up?—that way, when it happens again, you’ll at least have a paper trail so you don’t have to scroll back to check what you did.” (This is: the same approaches as described above before, applied to thoughts and narrative text.)

And, that’s basically that! Did I miss any? Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

In conclusion…

“I hate English,” he grumbled, taking up a lighter and burning the paper on which she’d written her examples.

“Me too,” she agreed fervently.

Uh…happy writing? Or at least good luck!!!

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Announcing: The Contributors to “He Bears the Cape of Stars” and “She Wears the Midnight Crown”!

36 remarkable authors—18 for He Bears the Cape of Stars, 18 for She Wears the Midnight Crown—have come together for this project. These authors have been toiling away on their stories since February 1st, 2022, and we’re currently work with them on edits to get them publication-ready. We’re delighted to share their work with you!

Contributors to He Bears the Cape of Stars:

Contributors to She Wears the Midnight Crown:

You can read about them—in their own words!—see select author portraits, and more, by clicking this link: