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On Writing Fan Fiction (Discussion)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Redsonga, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I noticed that there was no topic to just talk about our writing one way or another, so I decided to start one :). This should be better than trying to talk about writing things within our stories at least :).

    So here people can talk about writing overall, rant about their stories, or ask questions about certain fanfics and get answers :excited:.

    Rant: My newest flashback wants to be set to Moody Blues music. I love them, and I love 80's music, but it is funny how sometimes a scene wants to be set to a certain song no matter who the character is *lol*
    However, it does fit my one rule for fraggle fic: The songs must be from the 80's or earlier, unless it is a future or ending scene :3
  2. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Generalized rant: I tried so hard to complete my fic so I could study during the fall semester ... but now I've got a Dinosaurs story in my head and it's driving me nuts. I don't want to study. It's like an obsession. That's how the FIRST fic started! And look how long and drawn out THAT turned out to be....

    (sigh) I need therapy.

    The hardest part was writing the added SS stuff in my first fic. I've spent HOURS watching SS clips on youtube (particularly Grover-Waiter clips). I spent a long time watching Muppet Babies when I wrote Skeeter.

    But the biggest rant was how I start off with a story that should have been done in 10 chapters (and was, kinda, since the different acts all started off as single fics) ... but grew into a narrative monster that burrowed into my head and ...

    ... just ...

    ... won't ...

    go away....

    I keep reading and re-reading it, coming up with plots to new fics based on some throw-away line I wrote.


    I'm sorry if that came off as kinda sad: I can't help it. I feel the Muse burning a fire under me ... but if I get started on it now, my grades might suffer.

    This stinks... :boo:
  3. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    The sad thing is for many of us writing is that therapy, for better or worst :p.

    It's weird that my one idea now wants a story set after Midnight Place to, to do with that pesty gorg crown and everything...When I actually have this thing against fanfics starring the children of main characters but...Hmmm..that is an idea, who says it always has to focus on them? I hardly ever see fics where the main characters are married and have children but the storyline is still focused on them (in something besides a family focused plot)...
  4. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I could not really feel one way or another about her because I never felt like the story gave a clear picture of her within it..I still don't really know who she is or what she looked like honestly... and I tried to :(
  5. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I usually don't read OC fics for precisely the problem of lack of detail and characterization.

    There are two ways (I can think of) to handle it: 1. Start off with canon characters and mention the new OC in dialogue or flashbacks maybe once or twice a chapter. That way, when we get to the OC's introduction, the reader already knows a little something about them, including what others think of them. Several shows have done it. I think Tosh and Lou of FR were mentioned long before they ever showed up, and Spike of Dinosaurs was mentioned long before he showed up. 2. Start off with the OC, but keep the first couple of chapters slow-paced so we can get time to learn about the characters. Start off as they wake up in their room, or after they've suffered a calamity and they're trapped or something ... anything that allows for a little reminiscing time.

    Now, it's not right to assume that an OC needs to be fully realized before a story gets written. Even Karen Prell noted that she didn't really "get" Red until "I Wanna Be You". But, that can actually work to one's advantage: the author and the reader can explore a character together.
  6. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    I think OC's are fine and I have been writing them since day 1. But, as was suggested, it's really a good idea to put something into your other characters. Don't get stuck into this trap of making your original characters Mary Sues. That annoys a lot of readers and makes them want to leave the story screaming.

    A professional writer actually gave me the following tip for writing Original Characters. She suggested to me during the time when I was writing my novel to write down certain aspects or characteristics of my characters in an outline form and never diverge away from them when writing the plot. Give them positive and negative character traits, don't make them too perfect or with too many problems (the damsel in distress syndrome). If you want to write effective OC's, try something like the following outline. (Just for the sake of example, I am tossing in one of my own OCs, a minor character from my novel.)

    Name of character: Julius Birmingham (Brother Benedict)
    Age of character: 30
    Physical Description: Light brown / blonde wavy hair, blue eyes, youthful expressive face. Julius is shorter than the other monks. He is about 160cm tall, somewhat heavier, close to 70kg, has dimples when he smiles and freckles.
    Personality: energetic, agile, contemplative, curious, friendly, but has moments when he can be very stern and to the point. He doesn’t trust people as much as he should, but is still learning. He is also fairly new to the Order.
    Title / Status (if any): Monk / Brother Benedict

    This isn't exactly what you should use, but it does give you a rough idea as to how to incorporate original characters into a story. It was also the same concept I used when writing my novel. Since you are a younger writer, it is vitally important for you to try different kinds of things or tips to see what specifically works for you. The more concise and real you make the OCs, the better your chances of getting a consistent audience.

    One of the challenges I see with a lot of younger writers (that is writers in their teens) is the entrapment of saying 'oh well, it's only fan fiction, I don't need to focus on spelling, grammar, or even research. It's too time consuming.'

    Many readers, specifically older readers want to read something that is not only grammatically correct, but also realistic. Even Muppet pieces have to have elements of realism in them, otherwise the chracters risk going out of character. Kermit would not go and karate chop Animal anymore than Piggy might start singing 'Kumbaya' in the swamp.

    As for getting people interested in your work, I don't really know what it is I can suggest you do. My experiences are with just about every story I have ever written and posted somewhere, the number of reviews always tends to go on a downward spiral after chapter 3 or 4. I get my steady readers, the ones who read and review each installment and then I am pleased with the specific details they put into their comments. The thing that I think you need is to find the motivation to write something and not to worry about how the response is going to be. I know that that is really hard, but sometimes the people who are not the most popular can really go and crank out some of the best writing I've ever seen. It's been done, and amazing writers are constantly blowing my mind with their works.

    The bottom line is, write for yourself, and enjoy the act of taking an idea and going with it.

    When I started writing fan fiction some 15-20 years ago, the thing that I fell into was this idea that I had to do what everyone else told me. I had a story idea that was AU (Alternate Universe) and someone came to me and said 'you can't do that, Yva, it contradicts the universe you're writing'. I heeded those words and today, some 14 years later, I have gone back to the story and have actually completed it. The story is presently being posted at fan fiction net and it is probably one of my proudest efforts, because it takes a bit of the past and is encased in the present. The point to that digression is, don't sacrifice too much of yourself for the sake of keeping readers. Write whatever may work for you and savor the joy of it. :)
  7. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

  8. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Sometimes a story can't help but have a OC that no one has heard about until that story is all I can say, most of all if the only people that know about that character are very private or people that the main characters don't interact with much. I think as long as it is a one shot story, and not a long drawn out fic that goes on and on about how one of a kind the OC is, it is okay in my book :).

    And if the OCs are children of the main characters, as long as the main characters are still very important to the plot and still stay true to themselves even if parenthood has changed some parts of them, I will read it :)

    I am a Peach/Bowser shipper, I admit it :)
  9. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    First of all, Yva, I MUST stand up and applaud every last word you said-- ESPECIALLY about writing what YOU want to write. A few times, I've started to change a story because of what my readers wanted, or what I thought they wanted... I have regretted it every time. ...Well, with the exception of the time Beauregard told me to stop cutting whole scenes out of my stories, but that was honest constructive criticism, which is truly lacking on this forum. We tend to either heap on loads of praise-- deserved or not-- or ignore a story altogether, and we have a nasty habit of ignoring the good ones!

    As for getting noticed... Well, I personally started writing fanfic here in the summer of '05, which I'm pretty sure we called-- at the time-- something of a golden summer for fanfic. There were lots of good stories, and lots of devoted readers. Basically ANYONE who wrote was noticed, and for some reason, some people liked my stories enough to call me the Queen of Fanfic (hence, I call myself "the queen" in my current signature), and I haven't had much trouble getting readers since then. ...That's a long, conceited way of saying that I don't really know what the trick is; it just sorta happens to me. I do know that some people (myself included now) link their stories in their signature. How much that actually does, I'm not sure. A catchy title is usually helpful, but those are SO hard to think of!

    ...So I guess I don't really have much in the way of advice here. But I do like the general direction of this thread! ...I think that's all I really had to say. (I'm much better at writing stories than general posts. :p)
  10. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    But it really might undercut the story being really their own, so it would be a hollow victory IMHO :(. There is nothing worst that being liked for something your wrote that is not truly something that comes from the heart of yourself...
    I learned that the hard way when I started writing online at fourteen...
  11. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    AGREED. Personally, stories just sort of come to me and DEMAND to be written, and it just feels so empty if I change it for anyone but me. If the story GROWS from something someone says, well, that's one thing. But CHANGING it-- rerouting the plot, switching scenes, changing a certain character's traits or appearance or name... That just takes away all the pleasure. You can't please everyone, and when it comes to writing, it's SO important to please YOURSELF. Because if you can't stand writing, then what's the point?

    <HUGS!> It's a tough lesson to learn, but sometimes it's one that each person has to learn for him/herself.

    On a random note, it feels so odd that I see fourteen as being so young to start posting stories, but I was only sixteen when I started. Funny how time and age can seem so warped sometimes. :p
  12. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Well, it's been over ten years for me, so it really has been a long time. I'm just glad I predate chat speak...We were the first group of teenagers to be on the internet after all, it was very exciting building up the roots of certain fandoms...It really has changed and gotten so big since then:eek:...
  13. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, but that is more like building upon the roots..the roots themselves were made by a handful of people to start with :)...I was around the roots of the Sailor Moon fandom for example, my poem was one of the first SM things on FF.net...
  14. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    ~bows humbly and blushes~ :flirt:

    Glad you liked what I wrote. I was a bit nervous that I was getting too verbose with it, but I tend to discuss with examples as that offers more clarification than going batty with ideas, which can happen with me. :batty:

    At any rate, I am an active original character writer, so I do feel the need in clarifying why I write them. I also love to develop my own characters in fan fiction pieces. Only writing canon characters sometimes has a way of going stagnant with me, so I have to have other characters to liven things up. Besides that, in the fandoms that I have written for (Touched by an Angel and Quantum Leap, to name only two), the necessity of having original characters is present. The thing is, it's a lot more fun for me, as a writer, to write some of my own thought out characters instead of just using canon characters. I guess with the muppets it's rather easy to just use canon characters because of the crop of wonderful characters, but with other stuff, which I write, I like to write my own characters.

    But, I have been told countless times that it's not about how many reviews one gets, but how much joy one finds in writing, so for me it's a lesson that was learned over time. :)
  15. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, though I'm not fond of writing OCs, I DO like writing more third-tier characters that never got a lot of "screen time". They're practically OCs, considering how undeveloped they are. That way, I get the best of both worlds, I get to develop characters that don't normally get it and they are canon so I don't have to come up with my own. :p
  16. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Huh. I've never really looked at third-tier characters that way. When I do try to write them, I'm usually paranoid about getting their "established" character right, which is difficult at best to do, since their established character isn't very established. I suppose my only real attempt at that was Miss Mousey in Flippersteps... People seemed to respond well. <Shrug> Anyway, I personally tend to be more comfortable bringing in OC's, because if it's my character, I know I'm right. :p But like we said, OC's can present their own challenges for readers... So I suppose it's a matter of perspective and opinion.

    To be honest, though, I suddenly feel so inexperienced as a writer. I've only really been writing for a little more than three years! :coy:
  17. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    Balderdash! I started reading one of your stories and you are anything but 'inexperienced'. Come on, don't sell yourself short. I didn't rattle off how many years I have been writing to make people feel that way.

    That was never my intention.
  18. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    <Blushy> Aw, thank ye! And also... that's a fun word there.

    And I do know it wasn't your intention. I just started thinking about it, and realized it's only been a little more than three years... and doesn't even feel that long! :p
  19. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Well, I won't say you're inexperienced, but I will say that you do get better the longer you write..Or at least you learn more things. I don't know if that is for better or worst :coy:
  20. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    What a WONDERFUL sentiment, Yva! That's just awesome right there--and very, very true.

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