So, what is a MST?
A MST's most basic definition is that it is a humorous mocking of a piece of bad literature (fanfiction, spam email, flames, you get the picture). The mocking is done in play format by characters, or commentators on the piece. Interspersed within the bad piece of literature are "skits," where the commentators further discuss the fanfic or just do stupid things to alleviate and mark the reading of longer texts. These skits are usually written in play format.
How did MSTs come to be?
MST actually stands for "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3k, as it is termed for short) is a television show that focuses on riffers who poke fun at horrible movies.
Since much literature online is extremely goofy, it was only a small step to assume that a writer could mock literature as well.
What is MST3k like?
MST3k is a cult television show for a reason. The human actors are frightfully bad (with the sole exception of Dr. Forrester); the skits in the middle of the movie aren't very good as a general rule, and the sets and special effects are home-made. The strength of MST3k lies solely in making fun of the horrible movies... it's done wonderfully!
The character list consists of two robots (Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo) and one of two human characters (Joel or Mike). The humans were "shot into space" by scientist Dr. Forrester to watch the most horrible movies ever made. Joel made the robots for company and eventually escaped, and then Mike took over.
The movie that breaks the characters will be unleashed onto the public by Dr. Forrester. The idea is that the horrible movie will then turn all who watch it into zombies, and he will then rule the world somehow. I don't really know how he'd do that, but hey. You have to have a great excuse to sit down in order to watch such horrible flicks.
How do you read a MST?
The original text in a MST (the text being made fun of) is in bold with little arrows. The MST is in play format, regular unbolded (ah-ha! I have invented a new word!) font.
Where do you find the original text to MST?
It's more difficult to find stupid forum posts, flames, etc, for me... you just don't find them immediately and they're difficult to search for.
On the other hand, you can find bad fanfiction everywhere. It's not that hard to do. I generally google for small fanfiction galleries (you know, those types of galleries located solely on geocities.com and such) and peek about fanfiction.net. The next problem is finding the perfect bad fanfic... one that contains a million crossovers, perhaps, or run-on sentences that go forever, or implausible events, or odd romances, or strangely turned phrases, or Mary Sues, or a combination of all of these things. A fanfic that combines all of these things (plus some) is The Perfect Bad Fanfic, and I am always seeking it.
(In fact, if you know of The Perfect Bad Fanfic/Literature, please feel free to contact me by my email or IMs up above! I'd prefer email or a Note on DA if at all possible. Remember to give me the URL, the username of the writer, and their email, if available.)
What about the original writers?
I have my rules about the writers, and it is important to stress that I attempt to contact the writer to explain what I want to do.
I explain what a MST is. I then request the writer's permission to use the literature. If the writer says no, I leave the literature and the writer alone. If the writer says yes, I go ahead and MST the piece that they have allowed me to play with.
Sometimes I can't reach the writer, or when I email the writer/try to IM the writer it is impossible to reach them. I wait a month after sending the request email before I decide that nobody is going to answer me. In these cases, I go ahead and MST the literature. If the writer contacts me later and wishes for me to take down his story, I will comply.
Flames, strange reviews, and forum posts are a different bunch, and I don't email the writers of these things for permission.
Who Are the Characters You Use?
Since I name my series "ZST3k," or "Zelda Science Theater 3000" (in retrospect... it's a horrible name ) it should make sense that I use characters from The Legend of Zelda video games. I use Link, a blonde youth who is the Hero of Time; Nabooru, a desert-dwelling Gerudo who is the Sage of Spirit; and Navi, Link's annoying blue faerie.
I Don't Know Anything About Zelda...
For those who are not familiar with The Legend of Zelda, which this particular MST draws heavily upon, here are some terms you may run across:
Cucco: a chicken.
Ganon (or Ganondorf): Evil villain who is constantly attempting to take over Hyrule (i.e., the whole world.) He is a Gerudo.
Gerudo: A race consisting almost entirely of women. One male is born to them every 100 years.
Gossip Stone: A rock with an eye on it that tells you the time and, if you wear a special mask, will tell you something interesting about the game itself.
Kokiri: a race of children who never grow up living in a forest underneath the protection of the Deku Tree (and later, Saria).
Link: The hero of The Legend of Zelda. He grows up among the Kokiri, but is actually from the outside world. Eventually, he does grow up.
Malon: a farm girl who lives on a ranch and takes care of horses.
Talon: father of Malon; owns Lon Lon Ranch.
Nabooru: Sage of Spirit. Shes one of the Gerudo.
Navi: Links faerie. Shes a little ball of blue light who is one of the most annoying features in Ocarina of Time. This is mainly because she seems to know everything and yells HEY! at you whenever she has a clue to give. This may not sound very upsetting, but have a stupid faerie yelling at you throughout a very long game no matter where you go and youll understand why no one likes her.
Rauru: Sage of Light; old man who takes the shape of an owl when he feels so inclined.
Saria: One of the Kokirishe looks like she might be anywhere from 8-12 years old. She is a leader and the Sage of Forest, or one of the protectors of Hyrule.
Sheikah: A race of shadowy people who guard the royal family of Hyrule.
Zelda: Princess of Hyrule. Disguises herself as a male (Sheik) who is a Sheikah.
What are all of the MSTs you have done?
ZST3k0: Saria on Fire pt. 1/ZST3k1: Saria on Fire pt. 2
Warning... the fanfics MSTed here are limes, and this MST is rated R as a result. Material MSTed includes several flames (which include some very bad words) and two Saria limes, "A Saria story" by SwatChris and "Forest Passion" by Jedi007.
ZST3k1: Presley Party pt. 1/ZST3k1: Presley Party pt. 2
This MST is rated PG. Material MSTed includes an untitled piece about Legolas from LOTR by someone I assume is named Laura; a couple of odd Zelda fanfics; and 4 screenplays by Ron Presley, who was infamous for flooding the FFN Zelda genre with Link-hating fanfiction.
ZST3k1.5: Presley Party Bonus
MST of Ron Presley's "Raiders of the Lost Script." One of my poorest efforts, although the end is the best part.
MST: Email Forwards
MST of a forum post, email messages, and a weird short story about a girl turning into a wolf. No host segments; not ZST3k; features original cast of Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo.
There you have it: the basic FAQ about how I run my MSTing operation here. If you would like to notify me of bad literature anywhere (excepting yaoi/yuri/slash and push-button issues-- in other words, no homosexual literature and/or NC-17 stuff), please send me an email, which should be visible up above. Thanks a ton for visiting, and I hope you enjoy the MSTs!