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On Writing Fan Fiction (Rules & Advice)

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

  1. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    It's considered polite to ask another fan's permission before using their characters. Not that fans are likely to sue each other, but failing to do so could create bad blood within the fandom, and who needs that? I haven't used others' characters, but when I had one of the people here make a cameo I made sure that it would be okay, and that the portrayal would be accurate, first.

    It surprised me when someone asked to use one of my OCs in a Darkwing Duck fic. (A DWD OC, of course.) I talked with her a little about how she wanted to use the character, and it looked like she had some good stories planned, so I gave her the go-ahead. I haven't read the stories, though, 'cause I don't speak German. Someone has used another of my DWD OCs without permission, and that did annoy me. I didn't make a fuss because, frankly, the writing was so terrible, I doubt anyone actually read it. (And someone stuck me into a fic on this board, and got me terribly wrong, but, again, not worth making noise over. Eh.)
    The Count and scooterfan360 like this.
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yep, so long as you ask the creator of an original character here first, people are tolerable of having their characters used in other authors' fics. Crossover or references from one story to another used to be a fun little game we had going back in the 2004 boom when fanfics started getting posted at this forum, that's how we ended up developing the town of Hensonville. :)

    *Brownie squares for Slackbot and Janken are left on the counter.
    :insatiable: Me still have no idea where he keep getting goodies from.
  3. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Hi Scooterfan360,

    Most of the folks here know me as Ru or Auntie Ru, and I mostly hang out here on MC because of the fanfiction board. I wanted to respond to your comment (and a little to the thinking that went into the comment).

    Whether an author uses someone else's character ought to be a matter between those two authors. I can't see anything to be gained by making an arbitrary rule that it should not happen. As Slackbot said above, it is considered polite to ask before using someone else's original character in your own story, and most people do, but again--that's an author thing. Readers get to "vote" on things like this by reading or not reading a story. Readers don't get to decide what a writer writes or does not write.

    I will use myself as an example (so as not to implicate others), but I use lots of OCs in my stories. I don't use OCs in EVERY story, but--lilke most authors--I have my own particular view about the muppet universe and I try to stay pretty consistent. For example. in MOST of my stories, Kermit and Piggy are (and have been) happily married, Scooter is completely indispensable and Kermit is a little technology-challenged. I'm not bound by that worldview in any way--I also write stories in which Kermit and Piggy are NOT married. Sometimes I write stories in which the muppets all live in the Muppet Boarding House, but I don't actually believe in the Muppet Boarding House--not really, so I use is when I want ("The Wearing O' the Green" and "That's the Spirit!") and ignore it when I want. My story--my choice.

    in MOST of my stories, Scooter is either single or has a relationship with Sara Vines. Sara is not only an OC--she's a real (awesome) person who is a fan/fan writer here. I liked her as a "character" and asked to use her in my own stories. To make things REALLY weird, MY version of Sara and Scooter doesn't even always jibe up with HER version of Sara and Scooter. Likewise, (with permission) I co-opted Lisa's (TogetherAgain's) character Maggie--Kermit's sister--and I used the names she (and others) used for Kermit's parents, James and Jane (well, duh), but brought my own characterizations to those characters.U have also written other fans into the story--sometimes I asked THEM to include them, and sometimes they asked ME to be included. Again, that's between me (the author) and them.

    As I said before, readers get to have a say when they read (or don't read) stories that I (or another author) writes. If you hate my OCs or my muppet universe, you can stop reading my stories--you are not required to read/like anything here. You are even allowed to comment (respectfully, one hopes) on a story you did read, i.e., I found your story "Somebody's Getting Married?" interesting (or horrible) but I don't believe Kermit and Piggy are really married. I think Kermit still has a thing for Miss Mousy and.... Like that. You (or any reader) DOESN'T get to say, "You should stop writing stories about this character or stop assuming that Janice is in a relationship with Floyd--she soooo ditched his butt, like, years ago.... so you have to not write that. The writer decides what he/she will write--the audience (or lack of one) doesn't get to choose that. Again, your choices are to read or not read, or comment (respectfully) or not.

    We're pretty good-natured here--our goal is to be supportive of new writers (and old) and to promote more fanfiction about the muppets. (Again, duh). We do expect everyone (old and new) to use their nice manners and to keep in mind the audience here, but creativity is king. As Kermit would say, "write your OWN ending."

    Glad to have you here.
    Harleena, Katzi428, Slackbot and 2 others like this.
  4. Revriley

    Revriley Member

    Well, I'm going to throw in my two cents here and say that another thing writers should try to be mindful of is consistency in a story. One of the most important types of consistency has happily already been addressed earlier in this thread--staying in-character--but I'd like to bring up the equally important need for writers to figure out the time and setting of their fic and stick to said time and setting throughout it.

    After all, the Muppets have found themselves in different circumstances in their media. In the Muppet Show (from what I understood), the Muppets are individual actors who have their own homes (for instance, Fozzie says he lives in a small apartment). In some of the movies, the Muppets all live together (boarding house/Happiness Hotel). In the 2011 movie, they disbanded.

    This connects with the plea for writers to do their research, of course. Before Beauregard there was George the Janitor, Wayne and Wanda were prominent only for the first season and then later Wayne appeared by himself in Seasons 3 and 4, etc. An author who is writing with strict chronological parameters in mind should try and be accurate to the time period.
    Outta curiosity, what do you all do with your basic worldbuilding ideas? Do you envision the Muppets as living together in a boarding house, like the movies, or do you go with the individual homes as shown in the Muppet Show? Or does it depend on the story? I can't make up my mind--I'm leaning towards the Muppet Show path, because it seems more 'real-world' to me (and I like the idea of Fozzie living in a small apartment) but at the same time I love the idea of them all in a boarding house.
  5. Revriley

    Revriley Member

    Also, how do you approach the show itself in your fics? I know some writers depict the show as televised--that is, the Muppets' performances in the theater are televised and the Muppets do their acts with this in mind (a good example of this would be Slackbot's fics, in which there are cameramen and backstage dramas are actually scripted), and other writers do not--the Muppets are simply an acting troupe and nothing more. Do you have the Muppets performing once per week, twice a week, daily?

    I think about worldbuilding details like these a lot. Worldbuilding is fun but making executive decisions isn't easy.
  6. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of a shared house because it offers more comedic potential, having all the Muppets having to share a space and work together, so that's how I've set it up in my stories, them all sharing a mansion out in Los Angeles. However, I think either way is fine, since (if you're writing them as successful TV/movie stars, of course) they could clearly afford their own spots.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  7. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Given our fanfic bredth and wealth, it's really up to you as to which choice suits your story best: whether individual homes for the performers, communal boarding house, or something in between.

    As far as world-building... A bunch of us wrote fics in 2006 that led to coming together creating Hensonville City. Yes, it's the current encarnation of the original RPG Muppet Central Dorms from back in 2004, but it also serves as the backdrop for shared stories from time to time like The Best Neighbor by Convincing John or redBoobergurl's Rowlf's Stories series. Of course, you can go and create your own interpretation of how the Muppet characters live when not filming the show, perhaps inspired by any of WebMistressGina's fic series.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Revriley

    Revriley Member

    Oh absolutely--the comedic potential of the boarding house is endless. The concept of the Muppets living together has frankly endless potential, which is why I've been dithering around trying to decide which road to take. I think I may end up simply going both ways (of course not in the same story) because I think there are interesting stories to be found in both directions.

    I'm also interested in establishing the nature of the theatre--I automatically assume that the Muppets aren't the exclusive users of the theatre and that other troupes perform there too, meaning that rehearsal time is limited for the Muppets, etc. After all, in TMS they didn't own the theatre, J.P. Grosse did. I've never sat down and worked out how exactly it all worked, though.
  9. Revriley

    Revriley Member

    Oh, and on the topic of staying in-character--this applies to 'celebrity guest stars' too. I myself am a bit uncomfortable with the idea of taking a real-life person and using them in a story (though I should try and overcome this as the guest-stars are integral to TMS), and if you are going to have a guest-star in your story, please, please remember that they are real people and be respectful of that. Research them extensively, and write them as they would act in real life. It can be tempting to 'make' a favorite actor act a certain way, but if they wouldn't do it in real life don't have them do it in your fic.

    Oh, and do try and establish when your story is taking place. If you're writing about TMS, which aired in the late 70s and early 80s, make sure you alert the readers to any time change (say, that the show continued to run in the modern day). It wouldn't make sense, for instance, to have Johnny Depp or NPH appear on the show without properly defining the time period. There are plenty of celebrities of the 70s-80s who weren't on the show--you don't have to resort to 21st century actors for want of guest-stars.
  10. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    The Count likes this.
  11. Revriley

    Revriley Member

    (Just a heads up--Ruahnna's post is included in the quote, if you're wondering where it is).

    And let me say, oh my Gosh I am so sorry if anyone thought I was stating that things should be done only one particular way. That was in no way my intention and I will go back and reword what I said if necessary to better reflect what I was trying to say. Of course it is alright for one to include Rizzo or Clifford in TMS stories--I would never exclude Rizzo from a TMS fic myself.

    What I meant to say with the continuity plea (and I realize that it was ill-worded) was that you should at least be aware of certain characters' existence and use the 'official' timeline (which as you've said is very big and elastic and frankly I don't have a firm grasp of it entirely) as a frame of reference. For instance, in the case of "before Beauregard there was George the Janitor," I was thinking of writers potentially writing a fic with the assumption that Beauregard had always been the only janitor at the theater, which doesn't really sit right with me.

    I affirm again that there is positively no 'one correct way' to approach the muppets. Honestly, if we did stick only to what was shown in the show, some things simply wouldn't make sense in the story. It would be ridiculous to not acknowledge Gladys and the canteen's existence as part of the theater based on the absense of said muppet and location for certain lengths of the show. It would be frankly silly to not include Hilda as part of the staff in a fic just because she stopped showing up in the show during later seasons.

    What I said before was all muddled and unintended falsities and I apologize. The Mupept timeline is so large and confusing and occasionally inconsistent that it's natural for writers to explore and create new, exciting situations that don't need to be tied to any official sentiment. Of course it is reasonable to say that Scooter and Robin age, that maybe Gonzo and Camilla get married or what if and so on.

    This has been a very long post, and I'm afraid it may sound a little repetitive. One of the great things about the Muppets is the endless potential for stories of all varieties, what ifs and change. Such freedom and creativity should be celebrated and taken advantage of and I do not at all intend to bury such stories before they're even written.
  12. Harleena

    Harleena Well-Known Member

    That's why if I ever write a Muppet Show outline, I'm going to use someone who isn't exactly "real", like Hatsune Miku.
  13. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Couple of things that need pointing out here.

    First, if you're looking for someone to proofread your fic, don't post the entire chapter in this thread, that's what the respective fic's thread is for. Rather, put in a request for a Beta or someone to do the job and if someone agrees to do so, send them the chapter via PM or email (whichever option the person agreeing to proofread the chapter prefers).

    Second, there are already existing threads to post your fan-created original characters. Please post your OC's descripts there so people can comment accordingly. Or you could put in a request that you're looking for someone to help with developing your OC and if anyone agrees initiate a PM with them for that.

    This thread should be kept for discussing ways that you can make your fics more enjoyable for all here. Thanks and have a good day.
    AlittleMayhem and Slackbot like this.
  14. Harleena

    Harleena Well-Known Member

    Oh, okay. Thanks for letting me know!
  15. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    so i'm writing and posting a fanfiction on another site. I think I am doing pretty well with how the characters act but my only problem is the band lingo the electric mayhem speaks in, especially with dr. teeth and his flowering grammar. I just wish to know one thing.
    Is it okay if I don't get dr. teeth's stylish speaking 100% perfect? He's VERY hard to make speak accurately but I am doing my best to make him IN character even if I don't make his grammar/speaking style perfectly accurate.
  16. Harleena

    Harleena Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's usually fine. I think that he's kind of hard to write, so it's alright if you don't get him perfect.
  17. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    I get the feeling when jim created him he didn't even consider anyone using him in fanfictions. XD of course I don't think the net existed when he was made. But thanks for letting me know. ^^ I will probably post chapter 1 pretty soon. my only warning is the tory gets darker as it goes on and I don't want to get in trouble for writing dark fanfiction. and no it's NOT a creepypasta. Muppets and creepypasta don't mix.
  18. Harleena

    Harleena Well-Known Member

    Well, I suppose you could do some crappy lost episode, but it wouldn't be good. If you want a Muppets and creepy fandom crossover, go with Five Nights at Freddy's, or maybe Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. I'd personally pick FNAF since it seems easier.
  19. Ladywarrior

    Ladywarrior Well-Known Member

    LOL I'm not writing a crossover. it's just about the muppets and happens to get creepy.
  20. Harleena

    Harleena Well-Known Member

    Okay. That sounds cool! As long as it doesn't just get creepy out of nowhere.

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