Discussion Feeling Competent to Write the Fandom

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by brodiew, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    I'm really srtuggling in writing any fandoms outside of Star Wars. The problem I'm facing is confidence in correctly or appropriately relaying the character in a fic. Star Wars has been such a part of my being since childhood that I have no problem writing the characters because I know them back and forth. The plot is burned on my brain.

    When attempting to write a fic for a newer fandom, something with a much larger volume of content, I get lost and overwhelmed.

    Does this happend to you? What is a good way to overcome it? Are there any techniques for moving forward from here?

    Help.
  2. Drabbi-Wan_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2005
    star 4
    It depends on how much I'm doing. As for getting the characters' voices, that requires relatively little -- just how much depends on how distinctively they're written in the source material, but it's still rarely more than a fraction of the whole. On the other hand, getting the details right takes more; the only way to be certain is to see everything, but that's not always feasible (especially if there's a time factor). See what you can, and, if you can, look up any details you're uncertain of (online research can help but is not a perfect substitute). Sometimes you might make a mistake, and sometimes you'll get lucky. Here's an example: I bought a few Nero Wolfe books (novels and collections of shorter pieces) to read before writing a drabble in the fandom. I got the voices quickly and came up with an idea involving Wolfe being upset when his new pajamas arrive and are bright yellow. I wrote the drabble (not yet posting), but kept reading since I'd already bought the books. The very next short story I read made several mentions of Wolfe's PJs, which were bright yellow. I went back and pretty much replaced the last third or so of that drabble. Even with research, though, I do worry about missing things or, especially with some sitcom drabbles, duplicating things that already happened in the source.

    EDIT: As for a fandom that's ongoing, I wouldn't necessarily consider that an issue if you're writing a one-shot. Sure, it might get Jossed somewhere down the road, possibly quite soon, but that's just part of the game. If you're writing something longer, then there's the risk of it happening while you're still posting chapters, and yeah, that can be more of a bother.
  3. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 8
    It really depends on the fandom. Although I understand a few other major franchises, I find it more difficult to write than SW for some reason.
  4. Draconarius Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2005
    star 4
    Same here. I honestly don't know why, but it is far easier to write SW than any of the other franchises I like.
  5. MsLanna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    star 6
    I know what you mena, brodiew. Different fandoms can be scary and the bigger they are the more intimidating it is. So the easy way would be to chose a relatively small fandom because it's easy to get comfortable in. I did this once with Chobits. You can get away with just reading 8 manga volumes...[face_mischief]

    But another point I found difficult is fiudning a story that works in the other fandom. SW is very much anything goes, it has space for everything, but almost any story I could think of was just not feasible for Nolanverse Batman. :eek:

    I think of films/books/games in terms of space they offer me to fill in. Very tight stories don't offer much and I feel incapable to add anything. That migh be completely different if you want to go AU, though.

    You could also try a fandom that was so messed up that it didn't really matter what you did because there'd be one way or another to fit it in anyway...
  6. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Like others said, it depends on the fandom. Some I feel more inspired to write than SW, others I won't touch because I couldn't them justice.
  7. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    I've written for probably thirty different fandoms when it comes down to it. Some I've posted, some I've just kept for myself. And I've found that my relation to the fandom makes a big difference in my ability to write it.

    There are certain fandoms I obsess over. Current example happens to be Heir Series by Cinda Williams Chima. I can't get enough of it. I've read the books multiple times in the last week(s), it's constantly in my head and the characters won't leave me alone. So I write about it.

    Then there are other fandoms that I enjoy and always will enjoy, and I'll write the odd piece here and there (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Tamora Pierce), but I'm not obsessed. There will be a few weeks after initially reading the latest book where I will be overjoyed. But eventually it dies down.

    There are also the staples of fan fiction: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dragonball Z, etc- fandoms that I can always write about. They might not be my favorites (anymore), but I can nearly always come up with a plot to scratch an itch, or there's enough fiction around to read.

    I also have fandoms I read in, but don't write in (Bleach being a current example). I love the fandom, I've come up with plots, but nothing has made me go "I need to get this down now" and suddenly start writing. I'm content to let other people do the work, so to speak.

    Different fandoms can be challenging or scary. But the best way I figure is to just plunge right in. Sure I get nervous right before and after posting a fic in a new fandom. But I'm confident in my skills as a writer and the basics don't change. You might have new characters, new plots, new worlds. But the mechanics stay the same. And practice makes perfect. If you're uncomfortable in a new fandom, get a beta-reader for that fandom. Then you'll not only have a reader, but someone who can help you if you end up writing, say, Harry Potter completely OOC.
  8. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    For me, it's just familiarity. I'd been in love with Star Wars for about three years before I started writing in it, and I've been doing that for 6 years. It's gotten comfortable. Normal. Somewhat ditto HP - I've read the books a million times, I've played the House Cup game. But something I'm not as familiar with feels imtimidating.
  9. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    That's really what it boils down to, Nat. If I'm not there from the start, say with a TV show, I get intimidated when trying to write, even in the present. I don't have a deep rooted history with the source.
  10. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    What in particular are you having trouble with? (I mean what fandom.) And your local library might have TV shows on DVD - both the one at home and the one in my college town do.
  11. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    I tried LOST once and think I might be able to do it again, but I recently realized how much I love NCIS. It's not genre show, but I'd like to try something. I think I could write Heroes as well, but I'm not inspired there. I just don't know where to start with NCIS.
  12. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I love NCIS. And if you're having trouble, maybe trying to watch a few episodes will help.
  13. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Start with Vigs. I find those always help. They're not big commitments but allow you to play with the characters to get a feel for them and see how you like the characterization. :)
  14. JediXManSerenaKenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 2007
    star 4
    I've actually written stories about fandoms that I'd never even seen or read about. Twilight, for example. I heard so much about it that I started to write a story. But when I actually read the book, I didn't like the characters so much, so I decided to drop it.

    But I'm getting off-subject. I agree with Nat - watching episodes of NCIS is a great way to get to know the characters. Ideally, a season would be best, but episodes is great, too.

    I once had to write about a TV series that I'd never even seen before for a contest. So I downloaded a few episodes - only three, and wrote about it. I didn't win the contest because I really didn't get a feel for the characters.


    Good luck with your writing! :)

    - Serena
  15. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    How can you write fan fic for a series/book/movie you've never watched/read? Seriously, I'm curious. I don't dare write fan fic until I've read/watched the entire source material, because I'm not able to judge their characters until I do. I want to write my interpretations of them, not someone else's. So I'm always confused on how people can just write about a series they've never seen before...
  16. Drabbi-Wan_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2005
    star 4
    I'm confused how you would write for something if you've never seen it or read about it. I'll admit that I've written based on a couple episodes and a bit of research (or twenty-five-year-old memories and a bit of research), but there's always something.
  17. JadeSolo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 6
    I suppose if someone described the fandom to you in great detail, that might work. I'm curious, too - and it might not be a bad way to jump into a fandom.

    For me, I felt like I could SW because I'd immersed myself in it for so many years and was able to keep up with the new books. Now, I wouldn't feel comfortable writing during certain sections of the GFFA timeline without slapping a big "I don't completely know what I'm talking about" disclaimer on the story. Same goes for other fandoms. I feel like I know Supernatural in and out, but I haven't obsessed about it enough to attempt a story (yet). That, and there's something about Dean's charm that's very hard to capture with written words. :p
  18. Drabbi-Wan_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2005
    star 4
    Then don't try a long story; start with a drabble.






    Drabble, drabble, one of us, one of us.
  19. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I actually kind of second this. It seems that it would be hard to get to know a fandom just through fanfic. I prefer it the other way around.
  20. Lord_Riven Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 4
    2 tips I think are useful for writing newer fandoms which you aren't so familiar with:

    1. Various Fandom Wikis provide good background information to writing various fandoms that you might not be intimately familiar with like Star Wars. It can provide a good starting point for information. Sometimes you are inspired by watching one or two episodes of a series - like my latest Avatar fanfic was inspired by me simply watching the finale - and then I decided to go from there with a post-finale Fic, so I did research on the Avatarwiki...and then began to weave my idea into continuity. Or one can write an AU-fic.

    2. Also think about non-main characters of the series as your own fanfic main characters. They are a much easier slate to work with, because they aren't fully explored, it gives you as a writer a chance to be fully creative, and to explore characters and their motivations which I think a good fic (fanfic or not) should do. Main characters can obviously feature, prominently or not, but they require much more work to write I find because I have to keep to their character. Or if you are ambitious, you can throw the main characters a big curve ball and change/develop their character from there.
  21. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Someone said in another thread that minor characters/OCs are easier to write because you don't have to screw with their personalities to make them original, and I agree.

    Actually, Wookiepedia is great for SW fanfic, too. It's sooooooo big and if you haven't read all the books or comics or played all the games then it can be difficult to keep up.
  22. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    You just have to be careful that you don't choose a character that has a rabid fan base...
  23. Drabbi-Wan_Kenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2005
    star 4
    That can also be problematic because such a character will likely have an accretion of fanon.
  24. Opal Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2003
    star 4
    I'd have to agree with those who said to start small. It's always best to get a feel for the characters and the new sandbox you're playing in before making a big committment. The feedback you get will let you know if you got the characters down, or if there's something missing.

    Most importantly, however, is just going for it. If you write for your own enjoyment you can't go wrong, and you might be surprised by the results. I never thought I'd be able to write a fandom other than SW, but as it turns out the most popular piece I ever wrote is one where I was just dipping my toes in the water elsewhere.
  25. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Absoluetly (I was actually referring to reading more than writing in the second part of my post, I just tend to leave stuff out and assume everyone knows what I'm talking about . . . 8-} ).
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