a 28-year-old male from before they made you forget.

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"Someone's a little up on the slowtake."

Updated Thursday, July the 1st, 2010

I am here for the collaborations. I rarely ever post or read solo works.








Hello, and welcome to my profile! Name's is Aaron, though 'Dys' will suffice. I live in a city on the west side of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I'm writing this section so that you can better understand where my writing comes from, as well as to state who and what I am.

First, my alias. A dysphemism is not some nonsensical word I made up, rather it is a literary term. It's the antonym of euphemism. Thus, it is the substitution of an offensive, disparaging or otherwise negatively connotated expression in place of something comparatively inoffensive. I chose it because at its core, it refers to something good disguised as something bad. That was how I felt about myself, at the time.

Stigma be damned, I guess that's my cue to open up about why I felt that way. Depression and anxiety, and a little PTSD. It's been a hindrance in establishing an adult life for myself and finishing my education.

This isn't so obvious about me. One in five people will struggle with depression at some point in their lifetime. So, if you passed me on a street, I'd probably look like any other ordinary person. That's because I hide it. But here, in my writing, a lot of it comes out, freeing me.

I'm a creative person; as such, I like to escape from the real world all too often. But that's not very noble either. Self-expression belongs in a diary -- it's personal. So, I always try and make sure that anything I write on here, even if it doesn't get read, has a plausible audience other than my own two eyes. Maybe I don't always succeed.

I try to write with clever subtlety, a deeper meaning, and insight into the human condition. But that's not always necessary or appropriate. Fluff is fluff.

As a reader, I believe that sympathy is a true and tested emotional hook. It helps us relate to characters. As a writer, I try to draw upon the reader's empathy. And I think my mental health issues have helped me with that, as it's taught me a lot about pain; emotional, physical and spiritual pain.

Spiritually, I'm an agnostic... on most days. I believed in God as a child, and I believed in a higher power again for a time, later in life, when I was in love... or close to it. That relationship ended, and so too did my faith. Maybe something will ignite that spark again.

My father is a clergyman, and was once a religion columnist for the Hamilton Spectator. However, he's liberal-minded. And I'm pretty sure that, like me, he's an evolutionist - not that that makes him any less of a believer.

Furthermore, I don't condone using holy scriptures of any kind to justify social norms. For the most part, religious texts are written by people rather than by God through people. And those people were not enlightened quite enough to put aside their cultural frame of reference. Religion is all too often a fountain of discrimination and conflict, and in that regard it scares me.

I was taught tolerance and acceptance of other religions, faiths, ethnicities, ideologies and sexual orientations. I also believe in climate change, and accept it as fact.

Politically, I favour democratic socialism. Canada runs itself like a social democracy, even though its most prominent parties aren't nearly as left-wing as the system itself.

People often tell me that I have a strong notion of justice, ethics and morality. I don't know if that makes its way into my writing as much as it could, but it comes from being parented by a lawyer and a minister, and also from three and a half years of being heavily bullied in middle school, effectively a social pariah. That left me with more psychological baggage than I'd care to admit.

I tend to write a lot of medieval fantasy, and a lot of my stories portray characters with supernatural abilities. I think that's rooted in my old hobbies. I play fantasy and sci-fi video games, mostly roleplaying and strategy. I've even worked on amateur online game design projects with friends. And in terms of living vicariously through fictitious characters, the prospect of magic and clairvoyant or psychic abilities is always comfortingly empowering to me. I'm also a fan of mythical creatures, and ancient weaponry, so that works its way into my stories as well sometimes.

Other themes I'm drawn to writing about include various kinds of love, romance, affection and, in some cases, lust. Because it's a natural part of being human, mating and such, so I feel a need for it, to some degree, in most of the things I write. It makes the characters real, and gives the story some more vivid emotional content. I'm not afraid to let a story get extremely intimate with its characters, and sometimes that's a flaw. I often restrain myself, in that respect. Sometimes, certain things like that just aren't relevant or are better left unspecified.

From time to time, I also write about non-heterosexual and sometimes even non-cisgendered characters. Regardless of my own sexuality, this stems from being a liberal-minded person who recognizes that a ubiquitous minority of the world's population is under the LGBTQQ umbrella. That minority is significantly under-represented and poorly represented in fictitious narratives in television and literature.

My greatest collaborative work on this site is Abstinence, a finished, 80,000 word collaboration with Robyn Brees (jdxx).


  • Dune (and its many sequels) by Frank Herbert
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer



Want to get a five from me? I'm tougher to please than most. With poetry, my judgments often depend on a lot of complicated, technical factors. But with prose, I think I can give some reasoning. Here's a list of  common potential flaws I'd rather we all avoid as best we can with our prose:

  • Bad spelling.
  • Bad grammar.
  • Capitalizing entire words or phrases for emphasis more often than is tasteful, especially when italicizing makes more sense. Capitalizing is usually good for dialogue at high volume from time to time, but not when you could change the verb from said to shouted/yelled/whatever.
  • Not separating often enough into paragraphs.
  • Paragraphing that does not convey a semblance of organized thought.
  • Improper or non-conventional dialogue punctuation. See this website for help: http://mrbraiman.home.att.net/page25.html I benefited so much from that site, and I know a lot of really great writers on this site that still haven't fully grasped the standard rules.
  • Clichés that aren't justifiable, scarce and tactful.
  • Consecutive question marks, exclamation marks or combinations there of, though I condone the occasional use of '!?' and '?!'. Just don't overdo it.
  • In collaborative pieces, when no attempt was made to remotely emulate the style established by the initial author(s) in the first chapter(s), if applicable to the context.



I'm not perfect. And hopefully I don't come across as a badgering perfectionist. Nobody on a high horse ever wears a seatbelt. All I have is two years of experience on the site (2008-2010), and an average rating that has been in decline when this became a glorified popularity contest, and the site shifted user demographics, becoming inundated with amateurs and solo writers. But it pays the bills. Most of these tips at one time were copied from my profile, with my permission, by the administration (nickb) and put in one of the help sections.

  • Tags provide a greatly ignored service to your work. Please add as many relevant tags as possible.
  • Always split big chunks of prose into paragraphs, no matter how disorganized. People will be unwilling to read huge blocks of text.
  • Ratings will rarely ever tell you anything worthwhile about a writer, story, branch or chapter. Comments and readings tell far more.
  • Giving constructive criticism and well-thought praise is far more useful than a rating.
  • When branching, please consider any pre-established level of formality, narrative mode, style and themes. Always read the author guidance, as well. Otherwise, you may be irreparably damaging something dear to someone else.
  • Ending branches and chapters on 'cliff-hangers' is a common and effective technique to keep the reader's interest.
  • Be as gentle as possible when giving advice and critiques.
  • If all you usually give out for ratings is ranged from 4 to 5 or 4.5 to 5, you're not doing nearly as much of a service to the system as you could be.



You may, or may not, have noticed that almost all of my stories and some of my friends' stories are tagged with 'red fire truck'. This is somewhat of an inside-joke. It dates back to the original tag examples Nick Bouton wrote for the site, which included "red fire truck". There are 68 stories and counting, tagged with it. Furthermore, an actual red fire truck makes the occasional cameo, sometimes completely at random, in a few of the many stories with the tag. It's a wierd little joke, and I guess I started it because I was frustrated at how badly other users tag their works. Anyways, that's what the RFT joke is about. Sometimes I even put one in my profile picture. Who knows, someday it might be the name of a publishing company. ;-)



Contact E-mail, all one word, no brackets: (ac) (bassoonist) (at) (g mail) (dot) (calm)

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