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On Writing Fan Fiction (Rules & Advice)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Fozzie Bear, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. AlittleMayhem

    AlittleMayhem Well-Known Member

    Great! I'll try and sort something out later when it is not so late in my timezone.
  2. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Yeah, just send me a message whenever you get things all set and we can go from there.
  3. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    On the subject of death...

    Death is permanent, and very serious. It should not be treated lightly. This ain't a video game, where defeated sprites blink and then vanish; every death is the end of a world.

    That said, I don't believe it's a "thou shalt not". There are reasons for death. It obviously occurs, even in the Muppet world. Wasn't it mentioned that J.P. Grosse died? And in the Fraggle world death is very definitely part of their lives. Gobo, Red, and Junior grieved when they mistakenly believed Mokey had been killed; Red and Boober faced the very real possibility of their own deaths in a cave-in; and Mudwell the Mudbunny died on-camera, right in front of Wembley, in an episode about grieving.

    I believe the problem comes in when death is trivialized. Killing someone off unnecessarily, for the sake of histrionics, isn't good writing. It's manipulative. When I read things like that I feel like the author is trying to jerk me around.

    For specific examples I'll cite my own works, as I'm not comfortable criticizing others' works. At the end of "The Minstrel's Path" Cantus died, because he's had a long life, and when people get old enough they tend to stop living. It was the end of his song, and he was ready to let go--and yet, part of him lived on in the form of music. In "Runt" Boober's mother died in childbirth between chapters, traumatizing Boober and causing him to run away from his home colony. It was part of my explanation for why Boober was so paranoid and obsessive about luck; he'd experienced life-shattering calamity before, and he would do anything if he thought it might lessen the chances of it happening again. And at the end of "A Wandering Heart," in an alternate ending, Janken died of hypothermia in unmapped tunnels and ended up feeding and providing bedding for cave critters.

    I'd argue that the first two are examples of justified deaths in fanfic. However, I'd be hard pressed to defend the third, which was pretty unnecessary. All I can say is that at least it was in an alternate ending, thus it didn't "really" happen. Still, I wrote it, so I have to take responsibility. I'd be interested in hearing other opinions from those who have read these bits.
  4. scooterfan360

    scooterfan360 Well-Known Member

    um i know the muppets sometimes cover some famous songs like kokomo by the beach boys and i had the charactors cover some famous songs in my fan fic is it alright if i use those songs ?
  5. WebMistressGina

    WebMistressGina Well-Known Member

    Always late to the party...

    Seeing as I basically freaked everyone out with Accident on Monday, I guess I could chime in here.

    I'm with Slackbot here - it's one thing when the death is natural, like with JP Grosse dying or Fozzie's mom dying; that's a natural progression of life. It's when an author kills off a character just because - I know Slacks seen in RB and I've seen it in other places too, where a fan girl (or guy) kills off a main character so they can be the hero or get the girl/guy.

    That's the epitome of a Mary Stu/Sue. It be like one of us killing off Kermit or Piggy because our character wants to be with the other; that makes no sense. I think we've gotten the sense that Muppets are pretty resilient, so they probably live a crazy long time. The stories like mine, where a character gets injured, is usually done for character arc reasons - how does this character react? How do they others react? But we aren't the first to do this - the Muppets themselves did it in MTM, when Kermit was hit by the car and lost his memory (though at the time they were just looking for him).

    There has to be a purpose for character to be hurt or *le gasp* die and as Slackbot said, to just do for shock purposes or no real reason is like a slap to the reader.

    You're fine. It's fan fiction and I guess you could do the standard, "the characters, songs, and situations are copyright to the people who did them, blah blah" We all know that you don't own the rights to Kokomo; the issue would be if you claimed you did. When you start claiming that you own stuff you don't, then there's a problem.

    Other than that, you're probably good to go.
  6. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm late to the party, but I would like to chime in here. I think it depends on what you mean by beta reader. If you're talking about someone to proofread, then I think that's a splendid idea. Before anyone laughs out loud, let me own the fact that I am not great at catching my own typos and other mind-working-faster-than-fingers or fingers-working-faster-than-mind problems, like using the ing form when I changed the rest of the sentence to ed and typing "are" instead of "our" because my brain was already 2 scenes ahead. But I can and do proofread for others--I've actually worked as an editor before, although now I teach Reading. Having someone to read your stuff pre-post to help catch those sorts of things is lovely, and if you don't catch them pre-post, then Ed (The Count) is marvelous at fixing little problems, although that's really not his job. He is not required to bat clean-up after any of us, even though he sometimes does because he's a sweetie.
    But if you are talking about finding someone to actually give feedback on your story such as plot suggestions and things like that, I think that is better done on a more personal note. For many fan writers, having someone make suggestions about how their story should/might be different is like having someone suggest their child might want to have plastic surgery because of an unfortunate family resemblance. Although I have done this for hire also, it is not especially fun for either the one who edits or the one who gets edited.
    Once a story is posted, anyone here can and may offer feedback which we hope is positive and useful. It doesn't do any good to say, for example, that you don't like the story because the person wrote in a love interest for Scooter and you already wrote in a love interest of your own in your story...blah, blah, blah. (Plus, it's rather rude.) But sometimes people will say things like, "Oh! I hope they can save the theater!" or "Please don't make me hurt you for writing a story in which someone destroys all of Gonzo's cheese collection!" Those are pretty much allowed. And sometimes people will say, "I never really saw Fozzie as a kleptomaniac. What made you decide to write a story about his stealing things and doing hard time at the penitentiary?" which just might be polite-speak for "What were you thinking??!!" The goal here is to support and promote fan-written fiction for the entertainment and enjoyment of those who wish to read it. None of us own any of the rights to anything except our original characters (OCs) and nothing we do or write is binding on anyone or anything else.
    All that said, having a good friend who will edit for you is like having Scooter to your Kermit--it's awesome beyond compare. Good luck!
    AlittleMayhem and The Count like this.
  7. mostlikemokey

    mostlikemokey Well-Known Member

    I have a fan fiction account and have specifically stated on my profile that any readers are welcome to bring typos to my attention. I use voice recognition software to type (pretty common knowledge on here by now) but that doesn't make me any better at proofreading. In fact, if it doesn't recognize a word, my software will often replace it with a similar sounding word... With interesting results.
    As for content, I again agree with Ru. While this kind of feedback can help with characterization and continuity, in my opinion it isn't always useful. To give an example, I absolutely can't stand when OC's are perfect and monopolize the story, but I'm okay with them taking a noticeable role (IE, serving a purpose that the characters wouldn't be able to get elsewhere or creating conflicts that wouldn't otherwise come up) and who hasn't come up with a cool character out of the blue one day and did not try to fit them and their stories somewhere? The key is to give them flaws, a purpose, and to control their screen time. But I'm getting off topic. My point is that even though I have a somewhat lenient attitude towards original characters, others may be much stricter, and however well my story is written, this difference in how we write will cause conflict when they try to edit my story. Just because you have different ideas on fanfic doesn't mean your story is bad, (in fact I'm told mine are all right)
    the OC thing was just an example illustrating that in the end you are your last and best source, not an editor. You should pay attention to feedback , but it's best to go with your gut, and if it fails, you learn and will do better next time.
  8. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Lately a lot of songfics have been posted here. I'm using the term "songfic" very loosely, as songfics are usually fics alternating prose sections with song lyrics. These are not highly regarded for the same reason as original characters.

    I can understand including songs within fanfiction, if there's an actual place within the story for it. However, it's my opinion that it's clearly crossing the line to post copied-and-pasted song lyrics with nothing more than tiny bits of bookend prose and/or attributions to indicate who sings which parts. That's not fanfic, that's just "wouldn't it be cool if these guys sang this song?"
    MissMusical12 likes this.
  9. MissMusical12

    MissMusical12 Well-Known Member

    I agree completely. On a personal note, as a person who used to write "songfics," I should've been a little more careful in the "songfics" I was writing. I was one of those fanfiction writers who were sorta like "Oh wouldn't it be cool if they sang this?" However, what I did was that I gave leeway into the song and after (with description of the situation of WHY that character is singing it), but not putting in the lyrics and "having us pretend" the other characters are singing it without a legitimate reason, or at least background. That's what really ticked me off about these "songfics" that are written on here lately. People just putting in the lyrics, having us "pretend" they're singing it, and calling it a fanfiction. There's no legitimate purpose and no background as to why.

    I should've written my later songfics more like my first songfic, "I Don't Wanna Be A Bride." No one's singing it; its just the song's lyrics cast in the background, like it should be, to give the story some umph in giving it its purpose.

    Thinking about it while writing, I think I'm starting to regret writing a lot of my fanfictions, especially my latter oneshots and songfics. To the me I was last year, I felt perfectly satisfied with my fan fictions. To the me I am this year, I just feel a lot of my fan fictions weren't that great, especially my latter ones. There are still quite a few I am proud of writing, but for the most part, I'm not really satisfied with the work I've written. :smirk:

    That's why I kinda gave up on writing fanfictions. All I could write were comedic, fluffy, and romantic stories. Nothing with a tiny sense of meaning that could grab the attention of the reader. Just pointless fluff. That's all I could write. :sigh:
  10. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    The offending partiy responsible for the reported songfics has been duely reported and informed such actions will no longer be tolerated.

    On the subject of songfics... To me, it's perfectly okay to have songs included in your fics, so long as there's some actual story to go along with it. Heck, the basis of most of my Calendar Oneshot series were each centered around a specific song. But to just copy and paste lyrics with minimal introduction and just post it as a fic? Nope, that's bad form.
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  11. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the official word on the subject, Ed. Hopefully this will head off future issues of this kind.

    My own thought on including songs in fics: it's nice to include acknowledgment of the source. I always do this in my copyright notices. Because another word for copying other people's words into your work without acknowledgment is plagiarism.
    MissMusical12 likes this.
  12. WebMistressGina

    WebMistressGina Well-Known Member

    I also agree with this. I have, in my fan fic career, done one songfic, which was a series of different stories set to lyrics by Sugar Ray. In my case, there was more story than actual song and the songs used were done to highlight the disfunction that Season 4 of ReBoot (which I'm sure Slackbot can attest was the weirdest thing ever).

    I have never liked song fics, as most writers just have a song or have a character singing a song, which is just out of place in shows in which characters do not sing. A simple, "X woke up that morning with a song in his heart and sang it" should surfice.

    EDIT - My bad: I did have a songfic like chapter in a story of mine, which had a character tell his version of events, starting with him waking up with a song (several) in his heart. But again, in my defense, there was more story than song and at least for the first song, he was using his own lyrics. Said story was a comedy, so it was done in a comedic fashion. Back to original thought -

    For a group like the Muppets, who sing and dance and everything under the sun, again there's no need to have the lyrics. I have to assume that anyone who can access this site and thus said story, can also access the Internet and thus the various song lyric websites or YouTube. As I've done with stories that feature Muppet covers, I just post the YouTube link and you're welcomed to check it out or not.
  13. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm... I think the problem we're having is that the fics posted by a certain member are nothing more than just fluff pieces that feature the song's lyrics with very little—if any—story intro. Because of that, they're being treated like any other piece of spam.
    Songs have been incorporated into fanfics in their entirety since the fanfic section got truly started back in 2004. Heck, I remember having to ask people for help with lyrics for particular fics of mine. So I don't want to discourage or chastize people for using song lyrics in their fics, just make sure there's an actual story to go with the song as the reason for using it in the first place.
  14. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    What about Muppets having babies? I just read a story about a young woman married to a Muppet, and her going into labor. Now from information I have gathered the lady in the story was a Muppet as well, but even so is this kind of story appropriate for a family friendly forum? Because I have also been informed that there are in fact several stories with Muppet's labor in them.
    Now don't get me wrong, I think child birth is a wonderful and blessed event. However I don't think that going into the details of having a child should be on a family friendly forum. Now if I am wrong please tell me, and I will reconsider the things I have said.
  15. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Well, that depends. There are some stories I can think of that feature Muppet birthings, such as the following:
    Book 5: The Next Step from Beth (redBoobergurl)'s Rowlf's Stories;
    Book 7: A Grand Adventure In Life! of Sara (ReneeLouvier)'s Sadie's Stories; and
    The Life Of A Frig by Wiseman.

    It should be noted that all of these handled the different situations in differing manners, but all in a way that should at least be okay for the readers.

    Then again, I kind of know why you're asking this Dwayne... And that certain person who refuses to stop fic spam has had and will keep having their threads deleted, even when they attempt to have it posted by another forum member. :(
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  16. scooterfan360

    scooterfan360 Well-Known Member

    i have a question can your fan fic be written in book form ?
  17. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    If as you mean with chapters, and things like that of course! Quite a few of the fic, are even longer then some books.
    scooterfan360 likes this.
  18. MikaelaMuppet

    MikaelaMuppet Well-Known Member

    Can fan fiction be non-Muppet?
  19. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Like how? Question unclear, ask again.
  20. MikaelaMuppet

    MikaelaMuppet Well-Known Member

    I want to do a story about Noggin and Nickelodeon fighting against each other.

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