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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

    In my opinion, the act of posting a story qualifies as publishing it. When you post a story, you are asking others to spend their time and resources reading your work. I'm not quibbling over the definition here--I'm stating that a story should be taken seriously even though it's not typeset on dead trees.
    In the words of Larry Niven, one of my three all-time favorite authors and the one who has been the strongest influence on my writing style, "It is a sin to waste the reader's time." I'd also apply that to unfinished stories, another pet peeve of mine. (And, no, not looking at anyone in specific, so let's not go off on a tangent. It's irritated me since I first got on the 'net in '94.)
    In the words of Mark Twain, "Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream." Paint vivid pictures! Relevant details and sensory data will bring a story to life in the mind if the reader.
  2. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I'll admit there are some huge gaps in how often I update my fanfics, while others I get done in only half a year. But I have to say at least lately, at least I have learnt how to make a story that can, at sometime or another, actually finally get an ending. I'm finally growing that ability to tell a whole story that is at least half as good as the one in my head at the ripe old age of 27. I think that should count for something..shouldn't it?
  3. beatnikchick300

    beatnikchick300 Well-Known Member

    Just for y'all's information, the actual title of my fanfiction is in fact "Super Muppets", not "Supper Muppets" (though that might make an interesting fanfiction to write closer to Thanksgiving).
  4. Fraggline

    Fraggline Well-Known Member

    Is it alright if I post a "trial story"? That is to say, I don't know yet if the dialogue really conforms to the characters or if any of them do things that aren't in their character. I'm not sure if I followed all of the qualifications (though I must say it's really good fanfic advice! I hope I followed it!:D).
    And on this story, if it's a bad piece, I'll just delete it from the forum (if I can). I would actually really like criticism by anybody who reads it so I can know what I'm doing wrong!
    ...so is that okay?
  5. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    It is my opinion to write the full story in advance and then do weekly updates by posting your chapters then.

    As long as you write the story as a fan and keep the characters in their personalities, you should be okay.
  6. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    I think it's okay to not have a fanfiction totally written in advanced. However, you should have it specifically outlined and know exactly where the story is going to go, and you should definitely have chapters already written before you post the first one, just so you'll have back up ones to post as you work on the future chapters. Just my personal opinion. :D
  7. Fraggline

    Fraggline Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice, everyone! Which reminds me, I oughta stop lagging behind on posting more chapters.
  8. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I had mine completely written and then posted them a chapter at a time. Short stories are good, too.
  9. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, for me, I find it easier to type it out in Word or some other program first, with 8pt Veranda as the default font. That way, if the connection crashes, you won't hit the roof 'cause the net lost your fic, LOL. Once you do that and have proofread it to your heart's content, you can start a new thread, with the title of the fic being the title of the thread. Then, all you have to do is select all your text, cut or copy the text, and paste the text into the post. Preview just to make extra sure the thing came out okay, and press submit or post or whatever the button is. Voila! Thy fic is on the way to greatness. :D
  10. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    Or 12 pt NTR font if you enjoy reading/typing without killing your eyes like I do ^.^.
  11. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, every time I try using anything but 8pt Veranda, I get tons of formatting errors when I try to post. So, I gave up. I use 12pt New Times Roman at ff.net, though.
  12. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Heh. I paste it in, then switch to code mode and copy and paste that into another Word documen. I do a search-and replace on all font codes, replacing them with nothing, then paste that back into the post. Presto, all the font codes are stripped out, and the rest--like bold, italics, etc--remain.
  13. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Hi--I'm guess what I'm really looking for here is a conversation about writing thoughts. (Translation: I'd like to hear ideas and opinion--not laws.) If anyone interested in writing muppet stuff would like to comment/join in the conversation on any of the following points, I'd love some creative give-and-take here.
    Point 1: How do you feel about the characters aging? Does no one age? Robin's still a child. Piggy's still looking fabulous. Kermit's not wrinkling. Scooter's still wearing a school jacket.... What do you think? What are some ways--or what are YOUR ways--of dealing with this issue?
    Point 2: Do you have a single consistent worldview of the muppet family? And if you do, do you deviate from it to tell other stories that don't fit into that cannon. (I do.) Does it give you continuity whiplash, or do you find it freeing to try out other scenarios? I'd just like to hear from others.
    Point 3: What do you do about food? I mean, in a world of singing cabbages, steering wheel fricassee and an out of control chef, do you put much thought into what you have them put in their mouths? Do you avoid the topic of what (or who) they eat?
    Point 3½: Does anyone else find it, er, weeird to cook/eat common foods while writing with frogs and pigs and bears and The Linguini Brothers? (Looks around guiltily after our Fourth of July picnic...) Just asking.
  14. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I age them, but I explain that as a species or whatever Muppets could be classified as (including Muppet humanoids), they age far slower than the creatures they're based on (if they're based on creatures anyway). For me, I tend to see Robin as an older child, maybe not quite a tween yet. I thought Piggy explained her looks as "plastic surgery", LOL. I don't see why Scooter can't wear his favorite jacket so long as it's not tattered and still fits. Normal humans should be so lucky, LOL.

    I have, I think, about four canons. There's my Comeback King Saga canon, which is an attempt to merge just about every Henson property I've seen. There's Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Farscape, Dinosaurs, Labyrinth, and Dark Crystal. I've always been a fan of the Muppet Family Christmas, but by having an almost-complete universe (heck, I even included Tinseltown), I can happily imagine what an updated one might be like. And the weird thing is that most of the important plot points should've started by now, since I don't really get down to business in the plot until the year 2011, which it now is. There's my current canon that's in my signature, which is a troubled alternate universe to the above canon. I also have a "video game" canon, where I tried to write Fraggle Rock and Labyrinth (specifically, an adaptation of Forbes' Return to Labyrinth comic, which I sadly didn't finish) as video games. I also have a Kingdom Hearts: Dinosaurs story that fits in that general universe. Finally, I was going to write my own movie scripts. I have a Dinosaurs movie I wrote, Spring Forward, I think. At any rate, the first two canons are obsessively detailed, the first more than the second, I admit. I spent MANY hours watching DVDs, youtube, and reading Muppetwiki to create a uniform timeline as much as humanly possible.

    In my usual canon, I've noted a theory (I don't know if anyone else shares it) that from Dinosaurs to the modern Muppetverse, it appears that "singing cabbages" are relatively new. I tend to waffle or wemble between such things as being natural evolutions or the products of magic. For example, in Dinosaurs, you'd most likely have, say, a "real" dog (and indeed we see that real Labs exist there). You now have "real" dogs, "creature" dogs, "semi-Muppet" dogs (such as Sprocket, who can't speak human well), and "Muppet" dogs, such as Rowlf, who speaks human perfectly. So, I tend to have most eat "regular" food and have "Muppet food" be considered sentient beings in their own right, though naturally predatory creatures wouldn't care very much.

    Not really. To mostly quote Spike, "She's an animal, you're an animal, so act like an animal." I am a member of an omnivorous species. I'm not likely to eat frog, but it's certainly not because I associate with Kermit ... I just think it's icky.
  15. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    My approach is that time passes, and characters do mature and age. However, in the world of the Muppets, time is as squishy as continuity, so the Muppets may not have actually aged 30 years since TMS. One could argue that Muppets are a subspecies of Toon, and Toons stick at whatever age is convenient. It's convenient for Miss Piggy to remain the same but for the Fraggle Five to reach adulthood, so that's the way I roll.
    I have one continuity for all my Muppet/Fraggle fanfics, not because I want to restrict myself, but because it is the one made up of the opinions that I believe in. Fraggles and Muppets live in the same world and are about the same average size. Scooter is now a young adult but somehow Robin is still teeny-weeny; the Fraggle Five have a few whelps of their own, but otherwise are pretty much the same, just a tad mellower. Gonzo is an alien--or not, depending on your definition of alien--and he and Camilla have tied the knot and had a kid, not necessarily in that order. And so on and so forth. I don't have to make myself stick to my own assumptions; those are simply the boundaries that make sense to me.
    The characters eat nonsentient food. If it has a face and/or talks, ya don't eat it in real life. You just pretend to treat it as eatin' food on the stage. And Fraggles are vegetarians.
  16. Collgoff

    Collgoff Well-Known Member

    Oh right!
  17. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Even Muppet movies have OCs in them. Max, Ms. Bitterman, Gary, Mary and Walter are all OCs when we meet them. The difference is that they appear to serve a particular function in (mostly) well-plotted stories and they come into the lives of those characters, serve their function/role and then depart, leaving our core characters pretty much intact. We'll have to see what becomes of Walter, and whether or not his time with the muppets will "take." I would like to see that, because I think Walter's function extends beyond his movie role and could continue to be a vital part of the muppets.

    I think the objection most folks have to OCs is that they usually end up receiving a disproportionate amount of attention in the story, which leaves less time for Kermit and Fozzie and Robin and Gonzo to do what we want to see them do. Also, many OCs are instantaneously (and often, inexplicably--to the audience) fallen in love with, or begged to perform a spotlight/solo act at a critical event or cure cancer...you get the drift. (Walter is actually a pretty good example of what usually doesn't work, but--somehow--he manages to pull it off and be lovable and endearing.)

    OCs should be like side dishes, and the muppets should be like the main dish. (We will ignore, for the moment, that many of the muppets have often been threatened with being turned into a main dish!) Keep your stories well-balanced and you'll have a healthier audience. Keep in mind that--even in the "real" stories, movies, etc.--it will sometimes be necessary for an OC to take center stage (figuratively or literally) in order to move the plot along, but the focus always returns (or should return) to our lovable felt friends.

    Also, and I'll say it here in the fan-fic board where it won't bother the majority of the fans here at MC--MOST fans don't read the fan-fic. Sorry. It's true. Most fans aren't really interested in anything that isn't commercially produced, and many fans don't come onto the fan-fic section at all. Even old-timers (like Beau) who used to write fan-fic here don't drop in and read unless something unusual happens. Some places make a point of not allowing anything "original," Those of us who write are pretty much the ones who read, with some exceptions. (There are always exceptions.)

    Write the story that you want to write--that's the beginning of your creativity. Write a story your chosen readership wants to read--that's the other part. Good luck! And post happy!
  18. Your Worship

    Your Worship Active Member

    Just chiming in with my two cents--you guys should really post this stuff on ff.net. I know it's not a perfect site, but when it comes to archives, it's the most comprehensive, organized, and easy to use site out there. Plus, it lets you search by pairings and gives the reader a synopsis before you open the link. I admit, when looking for muppet fic, I looked there first and found a dearth of muppety hijinks. We should fix that!
    miss kermie likes this.
  19. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I'm batting around some ideas for a Muppet fic, and had a few character-specific questions I wanted to ask before I proceeded with the story. They are fairly obscure and random, but hey that's why we're on this board, right? ;)

    1). Does Sweetums, in any Muppet production of any kind, have an age, implied or otherwise?

    2). What episode of The Muppet Show perhaps best shows off Beauregard's personality?

    3). Has anybody on this board ever written a story that features Nigel as part of the cast of characters?

    4). Did Sam the Eagle's family get mentioned anywhere else aside from the Andy Williams episode of The Muppet Show?

  20. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    1. Hard to tell. Monsters seem to have, on average, a very reduced and halting way of speaking. However, everyone from Elmo to Thog can sound alike, so it's difficult to use speech mannerisms as a clue. Size also doesn't really help. I can imagine a toddling Junior Gorg might be around Sweetum's size. Unless you see what "kid Sweetums-like monster" and "senior citizen Sweetums-like monster", you can't really gauge off of that either. Just on his interactions alone, I would be hard-pressed to consider him much younger than what for humans would be late 20's-early 30's, and that is my bare minimum. His clothes don't just get that way overnight, too.

    2. Personally, I liked the closet gag in the movie, myself, LOL. He just sorta assumes the basics. He's either really, really uneducated about even elementary-school stuff or the "actor" Beauregard is a genius who loves to play that kind of role. :p

    3. I know I've seen him somewhere in fanfics.

    4. Dunno.

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