I'm a 30-year-old male college student majoring in computer science and quite possibly the best creative writer with Asperger's Syndrome that you'll ever find.
I specialize in "Ranma 1/2" fan fics for the following reasons: It contains a brilliant mix of action, comedy, and romance that allows fan fiction to go with any combination of those aspects; Ranma and Akane are one of my favorite fictional couples; and the open ending works perfectly with fan fiction.
Of course, this means that I'm in heavy favor of the Ranma/Akane pairing, and I refuse to write anything that doesn't have them already together or eventually get together, while most of my stories go so far as to focus on their romance.
I've also now been reading "Inuyasha" and "Rurouni Kenshin" fan fiction, two more of my favorite mangas/animé. In those stories, I stick to the canon couples of Inuyasha/Kagome, Miroku/Sango, Kenshin/Kaoru, and Yahiko/Tsubame. (I also think Aoshi and Misao make a good couple, but the end of the manga was ambiguous as to whether or not they ever got together romatically.)
Inuyasha's Top 9 Reasons Why Being a Half-Demon Is Better Than Being a Full-Blooded Demon
9. Human compassion comes naturally to me.
8. I can fit in with humans during the New Moon.
7. I get the cute doggie ears instead of the stupid elf-like ears. (Huh? What's a Vulcan, Kagome?)
6. I don't need to waste energy maintaing a humanoid form.
5. If necessary, I can be temporarily purified without biting the dust nor turning into it.
4. As an infertile hybrid, I have natural 100% birth control, yet Kagome and I will still be able to conceive kids on the night of the New Moon once we're ready.
3. I can wield Tessaiga, the most powerful weapon in Feudal Japan.
2. I'm not figuratively nor literally a "son of a bitch" like Sesshomaru is.
1. I've got a smokin' hot wife (or mate, whatever) instead of a little girl and an annoying, sarcastic toad following me around everywhere.
Compucles's Guide to Japanese Honorifics
I personally prefer not to use them in my stories, but for those of you who do in an attempt to maintain Japanese culture in your stories, I've now got a pretty good handle on how they work with all the fan fiction and manga I've read and some subbed Japanese animé I've watched. Disclaimer: I'm an American who does not speak Japanese and has never been to Japan, so it's possible that I've still made mistakes. Do not take this guide as the definitive word on the subject.
First of all, remember than unlike most English honorifics, all Japanese honorifics are gender neutral and can be applied to either gender, although there are a couple of cases where it is more commonly used for one of the genders over the other. Second, Japanese honorifics attach to the end of a name by a hyphen, as opposed to being an extra word at the beginning of the name in English. Third, the Japanese list their full names as family name first, given name last as opposed to the reverse in English and most other Western languages. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes some writers to confuse the names of some characters. Additional given name(s) are still listed in the middle, although I believe that practice is a lot less common in Japan.
given name (no honorific)
This state of address is only used for immediate family members (other than parents) and very close, personal friends. Such usage is a lot stricter than in English.
English equivalent: same
Used in a professional sense for doctors (both kinds), teachers, and other instructors. Either the given or family name may be used depending on personal familiarity.
English equivalents: "Dr." for doctors (both kinds), "Professor" for college teachers and some PhD's, "Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms." for primary and secondary teachers, "-sensei" itself for Japanese-style martial arts and kendo instructors
Used to address dieties, the Emperor, other governments officials/nobles (depending on the time period), employers (especially by servants to their masters), and anyone else to whom the speaker wishes to show respect. This is always used with the family name unless the character doesn't have one.
English equivalents: No honorifics for most Western dieties, "Lord/Lady" and various other noble titles in the U.K., "President/Senator/Representative/Congress(wo)man" for government officials in the U.S., "Master/Mistress" by servants, various titles for military and police officers and religious leaders depending on rank, "Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms." for other employers and respectable individuals.
An even more respectful version of "-sama," this honorific is no longer used in modern Japan. It is notable for being the form of address used by Kenshin Himura towards most of the female characters he meets (such as Kaoru-dono, Megumi-dono, and Misao-dono) in "Rurouri Kenshin."
Basically meaning "little," this honorific is used by older speakers (or occasionally those around the same age) to address little kids, teenage girls, and small pets. It also sometimes indicates a close relationship of some kind, especially when used with a given name rather than a family name. While more commonly used with girls, it can still be applied to boys as well.
English equivalents: "Miss" occasionally for young girls/women, simply "little," or no honorific at all.
Used for male classmates, I have no idea where else this might be used, although I assume it's not strictly for boys as with all other Japanese honorifics. Keep in mind that unlike American classrooms, Japanese schoolmates refer to each other by their family names unless they are close friends. (Judging from the "Harry Potter" books, this also appears to be the case in the U.K. I have no idea about the other English speaking countries like Canada, Ireland, Austrailia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, etc.)
American equivanlent: Given name, no honorific
The basic Japanese honorific, this is used for any random person you might meet, more distant friends and acquaintances, female classmates, or anyone else for whom one of the other honorifics wouldn't be more appropriate. This is usually used with a family name, even among some people who would be on a first name basis with each other in the West, although it can still be used with a given name for some of those whom are friends but not close enough friends to drop the honorific altogether. It is also used among family members when referring to them just by their family relationship (mother, father, aunt, uncle, big sister, little brother, etc.).
English equivalents: "Mr." for men, "Mrs." for married women, "Miss" for unmarried women," "Ms." for women with an unknown marital status, no honorifics for those on a first name basis.
The Ten Commandments of Good "Ranma 1/2" Fan Fiction
1. Thou shalt have no other pairings for Ranma nor Akane. Ranma and Akane are the One True Couple of the entire manga. If the Saffron Arc didn't convince you, the author herself has directly confirmed it. They should not be paired with anyone else without a very good reason (Genma's Daughter, Destiny's Child).
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any grave treatment of Kasumi. Let's face it; Kasumi Tendo is a saint. Despite all of the chaos around her, the only time she ever got mad in the entire manga, all she did was poke Ranma's forehead and give him a stern one-liner. Even when possessed by a demon, the worse it could make her do was play some mostly harmless practical jokes. It just isn't right to treat her too harshly, even in an alternate universe. It's not to say she can't be made to suffer at all, but there need to be limits where she's considered, and you'd have to be some kind of sadist to actually kill her off young.
3. Thou shalt not write Akane in vain. Akane Tendo is a difficult character with whom to do justice to her characterization. Not that there aren't other difficult characters to write, but the problem with Akane is compounded with her being the second most prominent character after Ranma. She is neither a cold-hearted b!$%& nor a completely sweet and innocent victim but somewhere in between with room for character growth towards the sweet end of the spectrum. As Kasumi once said, "She's actually a very sweet girl. She's just a violent maniac." Akane definitely has several notable character flaws, but so do practically every other major character. As implied above, she and Ranma really do love each other, but for several different reasons they have a hard time showing it.
4. Remember the sexual orientation, to keep it holy. Despite two gender-benders (Ranma, Herb), three crossdressers (Ukyo, Tsubasa, Konatsu), and the tragedy of Pantyhose Taro, there is ironically not a single homosexual character in the entire manga. Unless you're writing some kind of joke fic, please respect that and avoid gay and lesbian pairings without a really good reason. The one exception is of course pairing a locked girl-type Ranma with Akane.
5. Honor the English language, that thy days may be long in which thou art respected by thy readers. There is little more frustrating in the world of fanfiction than an otherwise good story being ruined by a massive amount of capitalization, grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling errors. Anyone who's made it past middle school / junior high in an English speaking country should be capable of writing decently. Spelling errors are especially unforgivable with spellcheck available in every major word processor these days. If English isn't your first language or you're somehow incapable of learning how to write, then ask someone to proofread or get a beta reader. The beta reader option is there for a reason, so use it. Three specific notes: 1. Do not confuse "lie" (lying, lay) with "lay" (laying, laid). Basically, "lying" is something that someone/thing does to him/her/itself, while "laying" is something that someone/thing does to someone/thing else. 2. Most writers are good enough to follow the rule that the speaker goes last when referenced in compound with someone/thing else. (Ex. Ranma and I are going out on a date.) However, special care needs to be taken as to recognize whether it's a compound subject or a compound object. A compound object requires the pronoun "me" instead of "I." (Ex. It's all up to Akane and me.) 3. The correct saying is that you "couldn't care less" about someone/thing. If you "could care less," that means that you do care at least a little bit, which contradicts the entire point of the message. For further details, see the music video to "Word Crimes" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, which should be required viewing material for fan fiction writers in English.
6. Thou shalt not kill off previously existing characters without good reason. You can kill off your original characters all you want (especially the villians). You can even kill off Takahashi's characters if there's a good plot-related reason for it, or if you've turned one of the less honorable characters into a nasty villian. However, don't kill off any Takahashi characters just because you feel like it or to provide a tragic ending. "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet" may be treasured classics, but aspiring Shakespeares have better things to write than fan fiction.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery against the manga. The manga is the only true canon of "Ranma 1/2." The animé is an apocryphal work. There are several differences between the manga and animé, most notably the fact that the animé never got anywhere near finishing adapting the manga. (Anyone else think the Saffron Arc would make an awesome movie?) You should be careful to respect the manga as your primary source. Where there are differences between the two, use the manga version. If you want, you can make references to some of the filler episodes and movies as a secondary source (although I prefer to stick strictly to the manga), but please avoid using filler references for major plot points, and whatever you do, do NOT use the animé as your only source.
8. Thou shalt not steal heavily from other fanfic writers. Of course, there's no legal recourse possible, as we're all technically stealing from Rumiko Takahashi in the first place. However, you should still respect your fellow writers. Don't rip off major plot elements, large chunks of text, or other major ideas and call it your own work. If you want to "borrow" a minor idea, or make a reference or tribute to someone else's story, then give credit where credit is due.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness by encouraging fanon misconceptions. Kuno has never accused Ranma of sorcery in the manga (and only once in the English dub of the animé). The Amazons do not consider Ranma and Shampoo already married. Shampoo's signature weapons are called chui, not bonbori. The flooding of Jusenkyo during the Saffron Arc was only temporary. Akane does not always use a mallet as her blunt weapon of choice. Ranma's cursed form is not identical to the girl who drowned at Jusenkyo to become the template of the Nyannichuan. Ranma has fought plenty of girls (Shampoo, Cologne, Kodachi, Azusa, Mariko, Pink, Link, Rouge, Konatsu's stepfamily, Keema); he just doesn't fight girls he likes (Akane, Ukyo once her gender was revealed) or noncombatants (Nabiki). These are all proven facts. Do not write otherwise.
10. Thou shalt not covet gratuitous Japanese. Most technique names are left untranslated even in the English dub (Hiryu Shoten Ha, Bakusai Tenketsu). Some words have no easy English translation (katana, dojo). Other words are often felt to lose some important context in translation (baka, hentai). Some terms specific to the series are often felt to be best left untranslated to better preserve the original flavor (Nekoken, Nekohanten). Many authors like to include the Japanese honorifics (-chan, -san, -kun, -sama, -sempai, -sensei) to better preserve the Japanese culture. Anything else should be translated into English. It would possibly be different if these are translations of Japanese works like the actual manga and animé, but these stories are being originally written in English for an English reading audience. I don't want to read, "Hai, onee-chan," when it can easily be translated to "Yes, big sister," or even "Yes, sis." Also, Japanese honorifics are gender neutral (P-chan and Kuno-chan are both male, after all), so it makes no sense to refer to Ranma's female form as "Ranma-chan," especially when you have perfectly acceptable alternatives like "female Ranma," "girl Ranma," and "girl-type Ranma."