A mini is a creature created by a misspelling usually, though not always, made in fanfics. A mini may be adopted, though if it is part of an Official Fanfiction University, one has to ask permission from the university head. Minis, unfortunately, cannot accompany agents on missions, but they're good for chasing off intruders and disposing of the body of your latest Mary Sue.
Minis vary according to fandom. For example, The Lord of the Rings has mini-Balrogs, Harry Potter has mini-Aragogs, Pirates of the Caribbean has Misspelled Monkeys, etc. Mini-Balrogs were the original minis, debuting in Miss Cam's Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth.
Each mini is unique. If an already-discovered mini is mentioned again in another badfic (in other words, if the same typo is made), the original mini will be called into the new mission. It will then have to be returned to the OFU or response center it was living in prior. Since the existence of minis is ensured by continued misspellings, they can't be killed. If they are fatally injured, they'll pop up again the next time their name-mistake is mentioned, and they'll have no memory of dying.
What Makes a Mini? Edit
Broadly speaking, minis are created by misspellings of proper nouns: the names of people, places, and things. These are generally words that are capitalized, but may also include other special words in the continuum, such as species names or the terms for special abilities, especially if they are words from a fictional language. Per OFUM, mini names are typically capitalized, regardless.
Failing to capitalize the initial letter of a name alone does not necessarily generate a mini, since it is not, strictly speaking, a spelling error. Also, doing this may result in two minis with the exact same name, which is confusing, and expecting people who are generally conscientious about their SPaG to not capitalize the proper names of their minis can be grating. Some writers do count initial capitalization errors as minis, however.
Failing to capitalize or wrongly capitalizing internal letters of a name certainly generates a mini.
Leaving off diacritical marks does not create minis, since not all word processors and fanfic hosting platforms can handle them. If a letter with a diacritical gets butchered and it's not fixed, however, that's a mini. Spacing and hyphenation errors definitely make minis. Inserting special characters where they don't belong also creates minis.
Creating New Mini Types Edit
The creation of new mini types is reserved for either a) the creator of the OFU in that continuum, or b) if there is no OFU, the first person to write about them in a mission to that continuum. The reason for this is that, while it's fun to dream up mini types, it isn't fair to the people actually writing in a new continuum if the perks of doing so are gone when they get there.
There are probably some instances in which minis were named before this rule was agreed upon. In that case, if the original mini-namer can't be found and there are no instances of that type of mini anywhere, it's probably okay to petition the Board to make them something different if you want to.
When possible, mini types are created according to the following criteria:
- They should be based on a type of monstrous creature in the continuum, preferably an enemy to the protagonists.
- They should make good OFU guards.
- They should be unique to that continuum.
- Minis may be nicknamed after a notable example of their type (e.g. mini-Aragogs), but they should not be based on a particular character.
- Minis based on humans or humanoids should be especially avoided. They look like small children, and because they are treated as pets, this creeps some people out.
Sometimes, however, it is not possible to hit any of those criteria, in which case exceptions are made. In realistic, all-human continua, picking an otherwise inanimate object (e.g. mini-telescreens) is one solution to the problem of the creep-out factor.