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On Writing Fan Fiction (Rules & Advice)

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

  1. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    I'm sure ALL of you (okay, maybe it's just dorky me) like to know where and when certain idiomatic phrases and words came into use.
    Sal: What's idio-whatsis mean?
    Johnny Fiama: I dunno, Sal. Sounds kinda sexy.
    Sam the Eagle: Out! Out of this thread!
    Ru: (ahem) Thank you, Sam. The best sight I've found for this is etymonline.come, and you can put in words of phrases to find out what they used to mean, or what they really mean, or why they mean what they mean. You get my drift.

    Also, when writing for Pepe, there are several good translation sites, so you don't have to bug your kids or friends for a Spanish textbook.
  2. BeakerSqueedom

    BeakerSqueedom Well-Known Member

    A good warning on translation sites.
    Not all of them provide an exact meaning.
    Such as da Thesaurus...they offer synonyms which aren't exact in meaning.

    :) *Has seen it a lot in fanfiction*

    And when I read it, it seems like...O_O Huh? That makes nooo sense!

    But like Ruh said, you don't need to bother your pals/friends ect.
    on just how to say something in spanish.

    But it's better if you do. ;D

    Or, or, you could probably ask Eddie with ze spanish...
    He's usually helpful and offers his help most of the time with some of his fanfic picks. <3 YAY EDDIE!


    Eh, that's all for now.
  3. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I'm sure there are Spanish speaking members here that would not mind helping with Pepe. The trouble with writing in Spanish is to not do it too much in case there are some readers who don't speak it...
  4. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Here's something good I've learned:
    No matter if a character in a story is canon or an OC, don't forget to add detail about what they look like within the story. It draws in a reader better if they don't have to look up profiles somewhere, and it adds richness to a story.
    If a character is worth writing about, they are worth describing, even in simple ways :)
  5. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone,

    this thread is fantastic! I have been writing fan fiction for over 15 years, mostly in other universes, but there are so many great tips here that it would make most people's head spin. I think that you folks have a great grasp of it, and when I eventually write a Fraggle Rock fan fiction, I will most definitely be consulting this thread for suggestions and reminders.

    The basic things I can only add is that all writers should pay attention to grammar, spelling, and formatting. I am a regular at a fan fiction site and I see so many people posting stories and they are poorly edited and formatted that it's not even funny. :( Many stories instead of looking like stories, either look like scripts, or (at best) outlines. This becomes very trying when one tries to read something and literally sits with a red marker making corrections of the work. I have actually been asked to beta read for people and I have spent hours (bordering on days) just fixing and polishing these people's work. I finally had to suggest that they run spell and grammar check before sending it to me, because of the fact that it is massively time consuming.

    Research and description are big things with my writing and reading, but it's not just visually stimulating, but the other senses are also a good thing to toss in. The best way I can describe what I mean about this is as follows: I once read a fan fiction where the writer was writing about a blind person. That is, said writer had her blind character doing all sorts of things that blind people could not do but that those with sight take for granted every day. When I suggested research, I got a not so nice response back about it being fan fiction and I shouldn't be so picky. Perhaps not, but I don't think the rule just applies about places, but it could also apply to the overall human condition.

    This gives me an idea for a Fraggle story, so I'm going to go and work on it, or at least try and compose a workable outline for it.

    All of that just for tossing out a few ideas here. :excited:

    But, again, this is really a great thread and a very useful one to boot.
  6. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    The same goes with writing people with leg disables. I have cerebral palsy and it is written so badly most of the time, as are other leg troubles. They normally act like it ether: 1) Doesn't 'count' as a disability unless you are in a wheelchair or can't get out of bed or are totally blind, or 2) Act like it is something you can be 'cured' of, normally within a year at that : P.
    One of my fraggle fics has a bit of a counter to these ideas in it (it is not cp but still). I actually don't think there are enough fanfics (or normal fiction for that matter) out there really that shows the balance of good and bad that having a disability really is...
  7. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    ... Well... what if you're writing a script?
  8. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, I think Yva's complaining of fics that look like scripts when it's not obvious that's what they were going for. Some fics seem to go out of their way not to go over 2 lines of text.

    And, sadly, they seem to be popular.

    I like the challenge of writing scripts. My fic has a couple as chapters as scripts, but it fits because an infomercial guy is the main character of the chapter.

    @Redsonga: A lot of my fics have characters with neuroses or even psychoses ... does that count?
  9. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Nope, not for what I was ranting about at least:coy:. I've had this bee in my bonnet for many years now *lol*

    Some parts of my fics are scripty as that was the only way I could see them being:o..My fraggle fics are meant to be more than a bit movie like by nature :sympathy: ...Of course I do write more than two lines as well, so I would hope that makes up for it but...

    I dislike scripts fics where there are just people talking and you can't tell what they are doing or where they are doing it : p
  10. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    Yes, exactly! I have a friend who writes scripts, and attended film school to boot. I know what a script is supposed to look like and I've actually read a few. What I am seeing in some places is not even good scriptwriting, it's just an informal outline that looks likes a script, just doesn't read like one.

    What I have seen at some fan fiction places is sort of a mish-mash between trying to write a script and prose. The fan fiction site where I write and post does not allow scripts, and yet, there are people writing stuff that vaguely look like scripts and are posting it.

    And yes, you're absolutely right about some of the most poorly written stuff being the most popular. Sometimes that grates on my very last nerve. ;)

    I'm not saying that script writing is bad, but it is something that people either can or cannot do. I'm one of those unfortunates who cannot write scripts to save my life because I thrive on description. The thing is, scripts have to be written in such a way that a director would be able to decide where the dialogue was to take place. In some of these quasi-scripts I have seen, I couldn't figure out where the setting was, much less how to place the characters. So there are some scripts that are poorly written.

    So, thanks RedPiggy for catching on to what I was trying to say. :) I'm not complaining about scripts as that is an area of writing that I think takes a great deal of practice and time to get good at. My friend prefers scriptwriting, and I prefer prose, but we do talk about writing rather frequently.
  11. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Well, I know my take on this is probably off-center, because I rarely seem to find myself on the "typical side of things, but I don't usualy want a lot of description for characters I already know, and I don't necessarily want a lot of description for a character that is original--unless it's relevant to the story. Sometimes a little goes a long way. With fanfic, unlike any other type of fiction writing, there is already a known character (or several)--a character that doesn't belong to the author of the fanfic. As such, that character already has a look--either from the actor who portrays the character, or the created object (like a muppet or puppet) or from some other visual representation, such as comic book characters. Therefore, I don't need someone to tell me that Kermit is, for exampe, a GREEN frog--I'd much prefer they describe him to me in term of personality, i.e., "Kermit the Frog had not yet reached the level of arm-waving hysteria, but his scrunchy face and snarky tone said he wasn't far from it." Because I know Kermit, this is enough for me. If someone uses a character that I don't know very well, I don't mind looking them up--I'm two clicks away from where the story is posted if I feel like I NEED to see what they look like. If the author creates a character, then a bit more description in necessary, but I want just enough to create a picture of them in my own mind. I HAVE a good imagination--I don't mind to use it.

    With original characters, it's a little more problematic, isn't it? The author is often VERY interested in telling the reader ALL ABOUT the character created. The reader is not always as interested. I've seen many a Star Trek fanfic screech to a halt while someone took waaay too many paragraphs to describe what a character looked like, what they wore, etc., when those things weren't relevant to the story. I like it better when a character is slowly unveiled through action and interaction--I'm much more interested in whether their step is brisk or their tone firm than whether or not the OC has long, honey-blond hair falling in ringlets down her slim tan back that perfectly accentuated the cut of her jib, not to mentioned her state-of-the-art space suit that perfectly set off the irridescent silver eye-shadow that so complimented the dark grey of her eyes--except when she was angry, in which case they were VERY dark grey. Um, where was I?

    Oh! Oh yes. A good story-teller--especially one who does so with WRITTEN words, does research on the character and the character's individual traits so that they can inhabit the character believably. A GREAT story-teller can avoid boring the audience with everything they know, until and unless it becomes relevant to the story.

    That's my take on it--or at least my preference. Everyone else is cordially invited to express their own opinion!
  12. Yva Minstrel

    Yva Minstrel Well-Known Member

    I just want to clarify that when I said I get into description, I don't mean that I write the characters in such a way that one can grow quickly aggravated by the description. However, when I introduce a character into the story, I do describe the canon characters a tiny bit. Of course, I loved your Kermit description, that was a brilliant way to describe him. I could actually see him in my mind's eye as I was reading that one sentence. So, yes, very effective storytelling there. Frogs are generally green in color, so I also see the 'useless' description there.

    The only time when I think physical descriptions are vital are in crossovers when a reader perhaps knows one fandom and not the other, then it becomes hard for someone to read a story and actually follow what is going on without the description. That is, if I wrote a 'Fraggle Rock' crossover with 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolage Factory', then for the Wonka fans, I'd have to describe the fraggles, and for the fraggle fans I'd have to describe the characters from my chosen Wonkaverse. With original characters, unless you have some sort of description about them, then no one will be able to see into the writer's mind. Since I have written a novel, then I think that the original characters are sometimes easier than the canon characters. Of course, being someone who cannot tolerate Mary Sues (the perfect character with the flowing hair etc.), I can see wherre original characters can come off over the top. My rule of thumb is to describe the character a little, and as the story progresses, add small details about him/her. That generally helps with keeping the 'Sueisms' out of the story.

    I know that we don't need 2 pages of description about a character, but it also helps when we have more than just a brief overview. And when we can use description, your example is spot on as to how we can play with the language.

    So while I can see where you're coming from, and don't think it's off center in the least, I think that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

    In all honesty, when I was talking about description, I wasn't just referring to people or characters, but I was also referring to the places where they are. If two characters are sitting around 'chewing the fat', and there's no description as to where they are, then one could very easily assume that they are on a roller coaster, or at a loud disco, when the writer actually intended for them to be inside a church or sitting on the banks of a peaceful and quiet river. So, yeah, there can be too much description at times.

    Your words about keeping it relavant to the story is really well stated, btw.
  13. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, that, and I also try to write fics for my Mom, who knows very little about the characters I know about. So, no matter who is "canon", she just isn't going to get them if I don't manipulate the story to evoke their character. I consider it a challenge to write for non-fans. I also like taking one-note characters or background characters (I prefer it if they have a name but just wasn't a big part of the plot) and putting them in the foreground.
  14. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, look at the DC thing: whatever we all thought of it, the fact still remains that it just gave a fraction of a taste of the characters involved. It supposedly got some people interested. Some people probably also just shrugged and changed the channel. And I don't just mean the Muppet parts ... I don't watch the Tweens so I got a bare taste of them whereas non-Muppet fans got a bare taste of Muppets. The thing is, if you want to argue that a character is worth knowing, it helps if a story can back it up. I'm not saying stories that assume fandom are bad. I'm only saying that some stories (not naming names ... for the most part I find the fics here to be enjoyable ... but I'm a fan) perhaps assume too much, making it seem like an outline or a pitch rather than a story. Imagine if all of Harry Potter had been summed up (and it probably could have) in a short story. Would it have had the same emotional impact? Would the successes and failures of certain characters have the same emotional "oompf"? I doubt it. That's not to say a short story involving the characters wouldn't work ... but it's the difference between eating a protein bar and an actual meal. One might have the same amount of nutrition as the other (or it may not) ... but sometimes it feels better to get the meal.
  15. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I'm not a fan of the stories that are just outlines but as far as actual short stories go I think it might be a little hard on them to say that just because they aren't novel length they don't have true impact. Half of the later Harry Potter books, most of all the last two, could have been edited down and they would have been much better books for it IMHO (Argh, now I have scenes of Red and Gobo camping night after night after night after night after night running though my mind..and OMG... it's getting shippy :confused:! Down you two! Not in my imagination!:confused:!)
    I dunno, in the case of my own stories, I could make them longer, but good luck ever seeing an ending then :sympathy:. My style just does not like to be any longer than the story..and if it is forced to be it starts to go on for paragraphs and paragraphs of internal monologue (even though I love this story dearly, I have be writing it for five years now. Years. I think my inner Mokey is trying to tell me something :p) ...I guess that could be emotional to the reader, but not the sort of emotion that makes happy thoughts for a lot of them:coy:.
  16. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    As for length of stories, I think it depends on the story and what the author is comfortable with. Personally, I would love to write shorter stories... but my stories very strongly disagree with me on the matter. :p (My signature, "My mind's own mind has a mind of its own," is a rough explanation of about how much control I feel like I have over my stories.)

    As a reader, though, here's my issue with excessive amounts of description: I get so overwhelmed with details that I forget them and picture the scene or OC in a way that completely contradicts what the author intended. On the other hand, with too little description, a trait may come up halfway through the story that contradicts how I've been "seeing" the character-- What? She has LONG hair that has to be cut now because it got caught in the branches? And here I've been picturing her hair at about chin-length... (That's a random example that I don't think has ever actually happened to me as a reader, but as a writer I once tried to reveal a character's presence in a particular scene by describing him... only to realize that I'd never given any hint as to what he looked like!)

    So personally, I like to see (and like to think that I write) a general overview of the scene or character that has as much to do with the feel as the look, (I don't need to know whether or not there's crown molding, but is the room dark and dusty, or bright and clean? I don't need to know which cheek has more freckles than the other, but is the character slouching or standing tall?) and then mention other details as they come up. (Oh, there's a stack of dishes on the table? Okie dokie.)
  17. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    When posting a new Fan Fiction, please start the title with:

    FF: Gonzo's Nose

    This will keep the titles from being confused as other articles on the forum.
  18. Gonzo14

    Gonzo14 Well-Known Member

    I've got a very very basic outline of a fanfic that i've had for over a year now, i've got bits and pieces figured out, just gotta get them all organized sometime, i'll let you all know if i figure it out
  19. Muppetfan44

    Muppetfan44 Well-Known Member

    My take on this topic

    I finally have had the chance to read this thread the whole way through and wanted to offer my take on the subject. After reading tons and tons of wonderful stories and writing a few myself, there are things I look for when reading every fanfic and things I wish I didn't see. Most of everything I'll say has been posted previously on this thread, but I hope I offer a different take on it:

    I completely agree with everyone who said that character integrity is one of the most important things to keep in mind when writing fan fiction. If you are not true to the character and have them doing all sorts of things that all of us die-hard fans know that they would never do, the story loses quality, credibility, and interest all at the same time.

  20. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    LOL, and the funny thing is ... even if I wanted to write a fanfic parody where I forced all of that in there ... it'd still sound wrong. :)
    Well, I think I've only written Grover as Super Grover and Red as Princess Gwenalot ... but it's clear that they're just dressing up, though technically I could argue that Grover can actually fly when in costume, since it happens on the show and in FTB. However, I write them more as just LARPing (thank you, Nostalgia Chick, for teaching me a new word, LOL).
    Personally, while I'll read and be nice to stories that are ... rather ... bare in the description department, I prefer stories written as though publishing was honestly a thought that crossed their minds. I like stories where it would seem plausible it could be a book in real bookstores. I truly despise "script" stories, namely because they aren't really written as script but just lines of dialogue that assumes you can read the author's mind about what is going on, as the dialogue is rarely helpful. Now, I'll give a favorable review anyway if I can see a wonderful story concept ... but to me, they are ONLY a concept, not a "real" story. And don't get me started on "outlines" ... those have to be the most pointless things ever (no offense to those who post them). In my opinion, those aren't even close to stories ... those are what you write on sticky notes thinking about what to write as an actual story. On fanfiction.net, I got a nitpicky review (one of my few) on my Comeback King Saga, griping about all my description. I felt like shaking this person and saying, "YOU'VE GOTTEN SPOILED BY A BUNCH OF CHEAP FANFICS WHERE IT'S JUST REALLY AN OUTLINE IN PARAGRAPH FORM!" Well, that, and I explained that I was writing that way because some of my readers are visually impaired and ... even if they weren't ... good description helps set mood as well as move the plot. I could say that Jenny's office was cluttered with stuff ... or I could show the reader what was actually in her office, so that we would know some more about her character. What is better, saying Jenny's walls are covered in Broadway posters -- OR -- saying that Manhattan Melodies was slightly faded but framed on the wall? One will get the plot moving along barely, BUT ... the latter shows how Jenny feels about a moment in her past. There are too many fanfics in the world where we are forced to imagine what was in the author's head. I don't want to play telepath. I want to be in their world, not catch the Viewmaster version.
    I admit my second act to Comeback lost a bit of "epicness" from the first act. Partly, it's due to the original stories being stand-alone instead of included in a "box set". The second act was meant to focus more on the Muppet side of the story that followed up what happened in Act One. However, admittedly, I wasn't satisfied with it completely and it's why I'm writing Skeeter Rock, to "fix" some issues, LOL. It's still using Skeeter to talk about choosing one's life, but I don't feel I explored her storyline adequately in Comeback.
    I can't stand making up my own characters. I prefer, at the most, just taking a background character and deepening them out a bit. I work best when there's something to go on. I've only invented a couple of Muppet characters (Crooner Fraggle, the ancestor to Cantus and John, is my personal favorite) because I like exploring existing stuff (admittedly, because it's easier for me to write, LOL).

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