Fanfic in AU, a galaxy how far away?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JeremyJon, Feb 20, 2013.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum, but a SW fan since I saw RoTJ and ESB as a kid, when they first came to theaters (yes, I'm dating myself by that), and well versed in all the Lucas movies, watched the animated TCWs, read only a few EU novels, no games or comics really, and a smattering of Fanfics online

    This thread isn't to discuss about my own Fanfic ideas or writing, nor because I'm worried about response to such of anything I write (I write for myself), but instead to get an impression on Fan attitudes, that I haven't yet found in threads which I've read through

    Most of the Fanfic I've perused, to some degree ties into the extensive EU, and for the most part avoids writing to close to the cardinal trilogys

    My questions for you guys are simply;

    When it comes to alternative universe Fanfic, is there an over all impression that AU "shouldn't go there"? or is it like myself, open to stories that don't tie themselves down to the EU or Fan-dom world?

    Also, despite there being a Fanfic section dedicated here, would it be said that a majority (or minority) of SW fans shun Fanfic because it's furthest from canon?

    I'm just curious to understand and candid perspective about the community overall on these?
    Thanks
    Last edited by JeremyJon, Feb 21, 2013
  2. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Also, despite there being a Fanfic section dedicated here, would it be said that a majority (or minority) of SW fans shun Fanfic because it's furthest from canon?

    Personal opinion...yes, a large chunk of SW fans will avoid fanfic if it doesn't stick to canon. I have no idea why other than it's something that feels comfortable. There are readers for AU fanfic, but it does help if the fic doesn't stray too far away from canon. "What if" scenarios are usually the most acceptable for readers as long as it doesn't go too far out there. This becomes a huge issue in the post-ROTJ universe. In those stories, it has to be EU only or you won't get read and will probably get flamed for doing so.
    JeremyJon likes this.
  3. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I classify fanfics as "AU" no matter what they are. To me, the fanfic universe is an alternate universe. Everything that happens in it is a "what if" story. Elseworlds, if you will. Though, for a fic to deserve the tag of "AU," it would need to deviate from the norm in some fashion. Not just a small deviation, but some overall aspect must be different. Steampunk technology would be AU. The change must be big enough to affect the whole of the media. But, it still must retain a definite connection with its source material. Otherwise, it becomes an original story that merely shares some common elements.

    Personally, when I write fanfics, I try to adhere to canon, and thus I merely tackle stuff that most writers overlook. The Big Three main characters are off-limits. I refuse to touch them. They have far too much baggage.
    Game3525 and JeremyJon like this.
  4. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Thanks Leiamoddy
    I got that feeling somewhat in the boards and threads I've read through, and I do understand it to a point
    For myself personally, the whole EU universe is a bit much to take in, and pretty filled in
    As I said, I'm not really worried about what people think of anything might I write, I write for myself, and will probably never post most of it anywhere, it's just ideas that come, and you think to youself how an idea would make a reat story, at least which you would enjoy :)
    To put in perspective, my girlfriend is a published writer, so I don't pretend I'm anything at all, just a Sci-fi fan and have got to put (type) my ideas down, otherwise they will drive me buggy! In her words, "if you (me) completed at least one full story for every 10 you start..." :D
  5. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Excellent points TrakNar
    I agree, really Fanfic is inherently AU in some degree
    Supposedly one could write Fanfic that ties into "all" cannon and EU?
    My personal interest in writing SW Fanfic is to disregard all EU, which is really one's own EU created
    I'm not interested in writing about Vader/Luke/Leia, but then it always does intrgiue me to see well done Fanfic that creates an entirely differnt EU expanding out from the Lucas original materials, even if only in context
    I suppose what I like in Fanfic over EU stories, is that EU seems to take on more of a technical pattern to me, to "fill in the EU universe", and only a few so far have been truly creative in thier own standing, then again I haven't read t a ton of EU (yet)
    I'm also considering not reading more EU material, in order to keep my creativity open for any Fanfic I write for myself?!
  6. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Welcome!

    When it comes to alternative universe Fanfic, is there an over all impression that AU "shouldn't go there"? or is it like myself, open to stories that don't tie themselves down to the EU or Fan-dom world?

    Here, AU's are both welcome and encouraged. I'd like to think we are a very open community when it comes to AU's and whatnot. I think there actually may be more AU's than 'canon-compatible' (as I like to call them) fics.

    Also, despite there being a Fanfic section dedicated here, would it be said that a majority (or minority) of SW fans shun Fanfic because it's furthest from canon?

    I don't think it's any different than any other fandom like Harry Potter or Star Trek. Some people look down on it, but for the most part people that don't participate just let us be.

    If you have any other questions, I'd post them in the Fanfic Writer's Desk.
    Lady_Misty and JeremyJon like this.
  7. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Thanks Briannikan
    Good link, for any specific questions on content, etc, I'll be sure to use that
    I do enjoy the conversation of perspectives, in just these 3 replies, there is already some differing or varying POV, which is great IMO
    Often (for myself) discussion on an open subject is the more valuable, then just answers for specifics, so is reason why my questions are more broad range perhaps
    I agree, from what I've read thus far here, is an open atmosphere, I have read some on other forums, where hardliner POV spamming was abundant (closed minds) toward Fanfic, unfortunate that
    I use to do much tecnical writing, and so many ST based writing and drawings before, but that can get old
  8. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah - but there are some of us who outright do say 'Screw the 'EU'" as IMHO, unless it's GL, it's ALL fan fic.

    Thankfully, I've never been flamed outright - fairly limited readership, yes, flamed no - but as has been stated, I don't write for anyone but me and the characters who tell me their stories.

    I'm happy that in my 'Breezyverse' (a colloquial term that was gifted on me many years ago) Luke's path took a very different turn from the books after Jedi, and it wasn't shoehorned into someone else's vision and is not bound by it. I freely admit from borrowing a cup of flour or two from the EU on occasion (place names, the odd background character or item) but overall, it's a big galaxy out there - room for everyone.
    J_Girl and JeremyJon like this.
  9. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    When I was actively writing my own little AU several years ago, I said "Screw Thee" to the EU as well. It took me forever to get readers and I kept wanting to throw in the towel because of it. Eventually I picked up a certain amount of regulars who liked my stuff. But then I started getting "criticized" for my non-EU compliance. No, it was more like active flames from a small group who decided that I was writing was wrong somehow. I had a small list of stories over on FF.N that I pulled because of it. I've put a few back up in the last couple years under another version of my username, but those are petty little vignettes that don't have much to offend anyone's sensibilities. I've been trying to get back into fanfic again, but I would have to start all over with getting readers, which isn't likely now because the people who used to read my stuff have gone elsewhere. Plus it seems like the flaming thing has gotten worse on FF.N, judging by the complaints in the Pet Peeves thread. I'm not sure I want to go through that again.
    JeremyJon likes this.
  10. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Funny, I don't even see reviews on FF.N anymore, and almost as few as I see here these days (but quite a few hits - I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse!)

    I can't make myself like/write the EU, and I refuse to compromise my characters to fit someone else's mold, otherwise, they'd no longer be themselves. Does it get disheartening? Of COURSE it does, and discouraging as well, and I freely admit it bites into the desire to write at all at times, even when a plot 'bunny' nips because it's very easy to slip into the 'why bother?' frame of mind...
    JeremyJon likes this.
  11. Alexis_Wingstar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2006
    star 4
    Most of us fanfic writers chew on a little of the "What if?" stories. Some go further than others. Most of the writers on these boards are good at keeping the characters true to themselves even in the "What if this happened instead" of AU's. There are also "cannon speculation" stories out there which mostly dwell on minor characters, speculating on their back stories or what happened to them after the scene (or in the case of Clone Wars, episode) they were in.

    AU can go just about anywhere, IMO as long as the characters are recognizable as the characters in the movies/series/pro-books (though in the pro books, Jacen became unrecognizable :mad:starting with the Swarm Wars)
    Last edited by Alexis_Wingstar, Feb 21, 2013
  12. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Lots of great insight, and much appreciated!
    Unless a writer is making up an entirely fresh fiction, then I feel it's important - for my own self - to learn and be respectful of the genre and its fans, I dont think that's too contrary to 'writing for myself'.
    The official SW EU universe is so extensive, and I'm not well versed in the stories, so I find I'm conflicted, between wanting to avoid that and not hinder my creative thought, and reading as much as I can, so to help any future work not be in conflict, or perhaps gain inspiration from there?
    Of course, there is definitely that part of creative writing which craves acknowledgement, and which each writer experiences to some degree.
    Last edited by JeremyJon, Feb 22, 2013
  13. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I noticed that reviews usually only appear with works in progress. For some reason people don't like reviewing an old fic. It happens occassionally, but not often.
  14. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Regarding AUs, a problem is that, once they get beyond a simple 'what if?' scenario they can become extremely difficult to follow. There ends up being too many authorial assumptions between the AU and the extant canon material that the reader simply can't get into. This becomes worse as AU's become progressively lengthy and start referencing their own events. Jumping into 'book two' of any large-scale AU rapidly becomes effectively impossible.

    Professional Star Wars material can do this too, of course, the transition from The Thrawn Trilogy to Dark Empire is rather like entering an alternate universe, it just has retconns and supplemental material to pull everything back into place.
  15. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    A stand alone AU shouldn't matter if it doesn't refer to 'existing canon', whether it be pro-fic or fan fic - that's like saying 'Well you have to start with book 1 of these 20 to know what's going on' - that means the either author has failed to write a good story that stands alone on it's own merits, or the reader has so many expectations that they should write their own story.

    For example:

    Anakin stopped mid mouthful, staring at his friend incredulously. Even after spending nearly two years at the Jedi Temple, Anakin still found it difficult to comprehend how food was always in abundance. Under normal circumstances, once he started he rarely stopped for anything, but in this instance…

    "You're kidding, aren't you, Schurke?" He mumbled around a mouthful of nerf. "You didn't really believe that touching Master Windu's head – rubbing it even! – would bring you good luck?"

    "He tripped over his robe because he was staring at the girls, he means!" Gris Chavel shook her white haired head with a snort. "Master Windu was sitting down with some of the other younglings – every Master does it at least once – and when he fell…"

    "I call it a failed attempt at levitation!" Kampher broke in, he brown eyes dancing merrily, while the object of the laughter looked on indignantly.

    "I'll have you know it is lucky!" Schurke added, his good humor returning. "At least on Alderaan!"

    "Like you've even been to Alderaan!" Kampher giggled. "I thought Master Nu had you on perpetual archive duty!"

    "I've been to Alderaan once," Anakin said quietly. "Master Obi-wan took me there to meet with a friend of his. A guy named Bail Organa…"


    **


    And Another:

    Sighing to himself, Wedge slipped through the doors leading to the hangar where Rogue Squadron's starfighters were parked.

    Instantly he noticed something was amiss. A small crew of deck hands were working on his starfighter. One of them were placing protective storage covers over the four engines' intakes and thrusters. A fuel siphoning hose had been attached to a side port on the hull, drawing out the tibanna gas that powered the drive system. For a long moment, Wedge stood completely still as he tried to process what he was seeing.

    They were preparing his X-Wing to go into cold storage.

    As realization dawned on him he stormed towards the deck hands, "What the hell are you doing?"

    "Sir?" the young starfighter mechanic was clearly started. "We got orders about two hours ago to prep this ship for long-term moorage."

    "Who issued that order?" Wedge demanded. "I sure didn't!"

    He felt a hand on his shoulder. Spinning around on the hells of his boots, Wedge saw General Rieekan standing in front of him.

    "Alliance High Command asked for your X-Wing," the grey-haired General said.

    Wedge was incredulous, "What for? We're not exactly in a position to be putting starfighters into storage right now!"

    The Alliance had lost a sizable portion of their single-man starship fleet in the battle to destroy the second Death Star. That was plainly evident in the hangar they stood in, where the durasteel floors were significantly emptier than they should have been. Only a small handful of ships were in flying condition. Others were in varying states of disrepair, from hull plating damage to lost weapons and thruster systems. How could Command remove a functioning starfighter now? How could they remove his functioning starfighter?

    "General I-"

    "Commander," Rieekan held up a hand, interrupting him, "I know it's not your job to consider the historical significance of things, and frankly it's not mine either, but you have to be aware that your X-Wing is buried to the forward viewports in it."

    He didn't respond as Rieekan continued to speak, "It- you, rather, piloted it through attacks on two Death Stars. There isn't another ship or pilot in the fleet who has that logged on their service records."

    "The Falcon was at Yavin and Endor," Wedge said bitterly. "I don't see anyone trying to take that away from Han."

    "The Falcon didn't make a trench run at Yavin," the General said as he heaved a sigh. "Wedge, if it were up to me you would get to keep it. I know how attached you flyboys get to your birds. Even so, High Command has made a reasonable request. As far as anyone is concerned this ship is now a historic artifact."

    Rieekan smiled faintly and squeezed Wedge's shoulder reassuringly, "We've got a batch of new fighters coming from Incom within the next few hours. You'll be first in line to have your pick of the litter."

    Wedge watached numbly as General Rieekan walked out of the hangar. He turned his attention back to his (for the time being) X-Wing. Slowly he walked towards it, pressing a hand against the cold, metallic hull. He looked over at one of the mechanics who had been preparing it for storage.

    "Are you finished?" Wedge asked.

    The mechanic nodded an affirmative, "Yes, sir. All that's left is to remove the internal batteries but we'll do that after it's been moved to storage."

    "I see," Wedge said, directing his attention back to his starfighter. "Could you…have your men clear off for a while?"

    Little more had to be said, for the mechanic knew what Wedge needed. Quietly, he ordered the other deckhands to vacate the premises, leaving the starfighter pilot alone with his ship.

    **

    The first is my own, a piece called "Polaroid" and can be found at my profile on FF.net (it's here on TFN but buried someplace in the old stories index) The second is "War Bird" by an author named LaneWinree51 (It's a single post, listed among my favorites and a really lovely work) -

    In my piece, this is just one of many stories that feature my OC's in their AU world - The second, I haven't read much of the EU, and indeed, had to look and see if one of the other featured characters were OC's or 'Book Canon' - but in the end it didn't matter because it was a well crafted story from a world I wasn't familiar with.

    I just really dislike the idea that "AU = bad" for as far as I'm concerned, anything post Jedi may as well be AU, whether it's popularized by being in print or not - and indeed, with E7-9 on the horizon, there's a very good chance that everything written after 'Jedi" will fall under that umbrella after all..
  16. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    It is true that AU can get confusing when you have three or four fanfics describing the adventures of an OC in an AU world, but usually the fanfic writer has a group of readers following the story. It is not impossible to write a stand-alone fanfic that is part four of an series, but there is so much that a writer can explain without the story getting boring to people who have been following the story. If somebody grabbed a book from FOTJ and he or she never read an EU book before I would dare say they would be a little confused. Who's this Admiral Daala? Who exactly was Ben Skywalker's mother? Who is Tahiri? Why does the Queen of Hapes missing an arm? I think it would be a little boring if the entire backstory needs to be explained. In my current fanfic I tried to make it stand alone, but I am explaining things as I go along. Otherwise I would need a character biography dump in the front of the story.
  17. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Yes, they would be, but that hypothetical reader could grab a copy of, say, the Essential Atlas and get brought up to speed on the intervening forty years of timeline in 30 pages including maps and pictures. Many AUs skip similar astonsihing periods of time, whether directly or by holding over a character from a previous period, like inserting Ahsoka into the Rebellion, era that produces a massive tumble of assumptions, and they don't have sourcebooks to point to.
  18. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Again, a good STORY shouldn't need that kind of crutch.

    But writing AU's is walking a very fine line - the 'known' characters should still behave like 'themselves' or at least keep recognizable elements of themselves - I sincerely doubt Han would ever utter the phrase 'Yippeee!' (unless it was followed by something like 'and Ky-yi-ay Mother *****!!' or the SW equivalent) or Leia would never start guffawing like Gomer Pyle - at that point you might as well be writing purely original fiction. It's the situation, the STORY that matters....*


    *Of course the opposite can apply if you're writing an outright parody, or a silly piece, but then it's the 'place' that's the common element, which can serve as the 'character of familiarity' - the thing that ties you to the universe...
  19. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Would it work for an AU to have links to relevant story notes so the readers can get some more background about the story if they want? Instead of info dumping in the narrative itself, the notes could supply the necessary details that would make it easier to understand the universe. Or is that too presumptous?
  20. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    On FF.Net, it's easier because my profile has a basic outline of my Galaxy, and almost every story starts out with a very bare bones warning that this is an AU story. 'In the Garden' has the preface:

    Just another "Breezyverse' story.

    Probably helps if you’ve read “The Seventh Hymn of Tiresias” but this is a little stand alone moment between Luke and Healer Toa.

    and within a paragraph or two, a quick simple exposition of what brought us here:

    Luke nodded, almost imperceptivity. It had only been a few weeks since that terrible confrontation where her brother, Kay’leb had nearly killed her (Aube) in a fit of madness, brought on by the Dark side. She had very nearly bled to death, despite the intervention of the other Healers and his own channeling of the Force. It wasn't something he cared to dwell on – what might have happened…

    It's mostly a simple character story - Through Luke (someone we 'know') we (and I include myself here, as even though as his 'creator', I know Toa, but...) we get to know a bit about Toa and how he sees his world - indeed a bit about Luke and HIS relationship with people and the 'world' as well...

    A reader doesn't need to know the whole history of the galaxy to understand what's going on here - it's just a simple moment between two people, and a story in and of itself...

  21. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    In my story Sacrifices which references two other AU stories that came before it--I did give a one or two paragraph Author's Notes summary before the start of the story and the readers are pointed to my other stories. It has the main characters of the the EU, but there are almost as many OC's having lead roles. I guess it is not too confusing. I started the story three months ago and I have over 6000 views here on TFN. Somebody is reading it.
  22. JeremyJon Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 20, 2013
    I dont see why it would be confusing, everything SW I've watched does the same afterall, a summary of preceding events before the lead in.
  23. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    If I'm working with characters with whom people are unfamiliar, I'll sprinkle some exposition here and there to fill out a general gist of a backstory, usually where relevant. A character's musings could bring up a brief mention of some event that had happened before, due to its similarity with something that was happening to them in the story; something another character says could trigger a memory; another character is doing some research, etc. Though, I try to avoid dumping it into the story in one big block, as I feel that it stalls the plot to make way for it.

    Though, this could vary depending on the format I'm using. For example, in my Dear Diary Challenge, I kicked it off with a big block of exposition and backstory. Though, it was written as a case history, and within the "found documents" format I'm using, it fits in just fine. This sort of format would not work with my other stories, for example a general narrative. For regular stories... I love my exposition in small doses, splattered around like a Jackson Pollack painting.

    The above methods could work for AU, too. After all, you're still employing basically the same storytelling methods with AU as you are with your other fanfiction. Aside from background, history, scene, character, and other aesthetic aspects... How you write it compared to how you write your non-AU stories would generally be the same... Unless you like to experiment with formats, like I sometimes do.
  24. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    That is what I am trying to do. When you have a story with a lot of OC's and ever second generation OC's you have to give more background than you would a canon figure.
  25. Commander-DWH Shiny Costuming & Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    This is good practice in any case, especially if you ever want to branch out into writing something original. We as fanficcers can sometimes lean too heavily on a reader's previous familiarity with a character, and while we can do that because Star Wars is heavily embedded in the cultural consciousness, it doesn't actually make us better writers.
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