Discussion NSWFF Writer's Support Group - December's Topic: Action Scenes

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    I have actually done cosmic horror (although not for fan fic). Long time ago... turned out to not really be my thing.

    Mira, I've done all three of those as well, although I could re-visit the spy story (I've only ever written one of those) or the high seas adventure. Hmm... [face_thinking]
  2. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Spy story! Spy story!

    PF, that was great! You should totally post more stories here :D
  3. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    How about I do a cosmic horror spy story that takes place on the high seas with lawyers as the main characters? :p
  4. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Let's green-light that bad boy!
  5. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Do iiitttttt! :p Have any of you ever read the Braken Starblaster stories? The_Face posted them years ago in Saga. They're hilarious (and remind me of that idea :p ).
  6. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    [face_hypnotized]Thiiiiiiiiiiiis. It must be written, Idri. It must.

    . . . and why am I not surprised that you have written for all of those genres? Of course you have. ;) [:D]
  7. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    Are you going to do this whacky piece as original work or a fan fic? It sounds quite diverse. :D
  8. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    The genres I find that I write the most are romances, comedy (to some extent) and action. One of the things I like about Science Fiction and Fantasy is that you can include just about any genre or theme you want to in the story. A lot of people make the mistake that Science Fiction is just about technology - it isn't - I find that as a rule, it is the most complex of all the genres there are because it can comment on social and political issues without it siding with one or the other. I like it because it can be used to explore these things. I've never written a techno Sci-Fi story even though I am a scientist myself (a Zoologist, to be exact) because to me, the technology is just a backdrop to the story. If there are any science themes, then it tends to be either environmental, or animal behaviour based (which is why most of the characters I write tend not to be human). Losing family, being orphaned is a common theme in my stories and it is because I have experienced that myself and I think I write stories like that to get my own grief out of my system. I do sometimes have hints of depression in my stories but I don't go into it too much because I've known people who suffer from bad depression (in fact, if there was a true Horror, then that would be it...) and I use writing to escape from real life (and plus, I don't know if I'll ever do it justice or worse, perpetuate misconceptions - I don't want to put across I know what it is like for a person suffering from depression and say this is how they feel because everyone's experience of it is different.). Politics always creeps in somewhere and I don't think I could ever write a story without that. I think that one of the reasons why I write the type of stories that I do is because I want to know if it is possible to overcome challenges in life and to rebuild when things go wrong.
    Nyota's Heart and Mira_Jade like this.
  9. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    @Space_Wolf that's quite lovely! And a very interesting take on sci-fi, particularly coming from a scientist.
  10. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    star 4
    @Space_Wolf - That was a wonderful way to put it - on all accounts. =D=[:D] And I am doubly interested about your work creeping into your stories - once again, real life plays a huge part in what we write, even if it's fiction. Little bits and pieces show up all over the place, and it is fascinating. :)
  11. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    March 2014's Topic: Themes in Writing

    “All stories interest me, and some haunt me until I end up writing them. Certain themes keep coming up: justice, loyalty, violence, death, political and social issues, freedom.” ~ Isabel Allende



    The Discussion

    Based on some of the discussion that popped up last time around, I figured that we would just make an official topic of it here: Themes.

    When you write, what does your writing say? Is your writing more about your plot and characters, or is there something larger operating in the overall tale you are telling? Do you find themes creeping in without you even realize it, or do you include such things on purpose? Do you view it as important to have themes in fan fiction as opposed to published work, or is fan fiction a light hearted form of stretching your writer's muscles and finding escape? When you do try to incorporate themes in your work, are they 'love conquers all' or 'good triumphs over evil'? Is friendship your theme, or do you have something to say about war and life changing events? Do you write coming of age tales, where growing up is your theme? Do you view your writing as a way to tackle the heavy and weighty subjects plaguing our society? How do you handle difficult and sensitive themes, like violence, torture, rape, and death? Do you include depression; mental illness; physical and mental disabilities; race and racial discrimination; gender identity and sexual orientation - and discrimination due to such things, in your writing? Religion, morals, ethics, government, philosophy - our writing can touch on each, in small ways and large ways. What have your experiences been with writing about such themes, and why did you choose to include them in your story? Were they the focal point, or something acknowledged in the background?

    The forum is yours, fellow writers. Take it away! :)



    The Exercise

    Pick three themes, and write a thousand words or so with each theme specifically in mind. What do you find different when trying to write with a specific message to impart on your readers? Does much change? What stays the same? Some themes, like love and loss and family, are themes that we unconsciously incorporate, but what about the more difficult themes? What changes do you make in your approach to more sensitive subjects, if any at all? Give us your thoughts!
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Mar 4, 2014
  12. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    The theme of my stories are usually just a very condensed and bare-bones reiteration of the plot. I don't put too much thought into my themes. Sometimes, other themes will creep in, and sometimes those other themes may overtake my original theme, which might actually be a good thing. I just write to write.

    Theme is a good thing to focus on, as without any clear theme, your story tends to meander. But, the theme itself doesn't need to be some deep message or looming meaning; it just needs to help keep everything in your story from becoming screeching tangents into brick walls. If you want to write a story with a deeper message, with something you want to tell the world, great. If your theme is your plot's Cliff Notes, that works just as well as any broader meaning.
  13. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Thanks for the feedback, @TrakNar! I can't believe that it took me that long to reply. :oops: [:D] I have to agree with you, with fan fiction, at least, deeper themes creep up on accident more often than not - while others, like good vs. evil, love triumphing over all and things like that are more broadly presented in order to keep the story focused. :)

    Alrighty, there will be another topic up in just a few. :D
  14. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    April 2014's Topic: Titles

    “Writers fish for the right words like fishermen fish for, um, whatever those aquatic creatures with fins and gills are called.” ~ Jarod Kintz



    The Discussion

    One of the most important aspects of our writing is the name we give to our work. It is the first thing to catch our reader's eye, and it summarizes your story as a whole with just a few select words. What process do you go through when you choose titles? What do you look for in other titles? Do you have short titles, or long titles? Do you hate picking titles, or is it something you enjoy? The forum is yours, fellow writers - give us your thoughts!



    The Exercise

    There is no exercise for this one, just feel free to discuss. :)
  15. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    Most of the time, I sit there, mind-blank, until I find a random quote or something, put it there as a placeholder to replace the "Title" placeholder, then laugh at its randomness and go back to the "Title" placeholder.
    For example, I briefly used "Flare and Fade Forever" as a title for one story, before I realized it didn't actually mean anything to the story.
    Sometimes, I do hit upon a title I like, but it often takes a while.
    For example, "A Gallifreyan Night's Dream," (Yay, Shakespeare!) or "The Empty Lady" (Yay, Moffat!)

    Sometimes, I don't actually come up with a proper title, and just leave it saved as "Time War Story" or "Series 2 Finale."

    And sometimes, the title is fairly obvious, as in "The Diary of the Doctor."

    But picking titles has a tendency to be painful for me.
  16. Padawan Fangirl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2013
    star 3
    I basically just try to think of a title from the theme of my story. It's a pain in the ***, but it's a necessary pain in the ***.

    Sometimes titles write themselves, like "The Chosen One's Padawan: Ahsoka Tano's Diary". Others I had to think of a little bit like "The Girl Who Loved the Bounty Hunter, or Jango and I". I'm still driving myself nuts trying to think of a title for my OC's daughter's diary(which won't start til next year, but still).

    Sent from my stupid little astro droid using TapaTalk 2.
  17. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    A title will usually hit me about three-fourths the way through a story. Sometimes, I end up sticking to my working title, which is either a topic or a theme or whatever. Other times, a title never comes to me, so I seek outside help.

    I hate forcing a title. Whatever doesn't come to me while showering or otherwise naturally will usually be garbage.
  18. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    It's basically the same for me. Most of the time, the title pops into my head when I'm working on the story, and it'll usually be related to whatever inspired the story, or the story itself. But those times when the title doesn't reveal itself are so frustrating, because no matter how many different things you try, nothing sounds right.

    *glares at current nameless fic* :p
  19. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    I'm with TrakNar. If I force it it's garbage. It has to come naturally. A tale is not 'real' for me until I have a title. Sometimes I use a placeholder if I'm struggling but usually my titles encapsulate my core theme or focus. The title length varies with me. Often I change elements of the tale even very late on and that can include titles.
  20. Master_Jaina1011 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 4
    I hate title. Mine usually are inspired by either quotes or song titles. Usually I change it if it doesn't fit the story.
  21. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I agree with TrakNar and others -- picking a title is hard! I usually start writing a story and then pull a phrase that just seems to fit to make the title.
  22. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Titles are interesting creatures. I sometimes find it difficult to start a story without a title, yet at the same time, I can't discover a good title until I have the story. It's a writer's paradox.

    The writing I do in Real Life usually requires me to know the title before the story is done. When you apply for an arts festival, you have to have a title for your show, even if your show is still in its origin phase - and most of the time, you aren't allowed to change the title, because as soon as you are accepted, promotional/marketing stuff starts going out and that is all attached to your show title. That kind of experience has drilled certain tactics into me when it comes to choosing titles.

    Titles have to be specific, IMO. They need to reflect the work as a whole. I'm not really a fan of the "phrase" as a title trend (even though I have used it in the past) because it has a certain air to it I don't like. I put a lot of thought into my titles, and they always are usually inspired by the main thematic strands of the story.

    However, I do love investigating title trends. One kind of title I find really interesting is the "major character name as the title" trend. It's kind of cool when the titular character turns out to not be the main character, but someone who shapes the journey of the main character (like Julius Caesar or Dracula).

    Probably one of the best titles I have ever come across in fiction is "A Game of Thrones". Good job, GRRM. I find it really gives a good idea of what the book is about and the kind of world it is set in. Plus, it has a really nice sound to it.
    Last edited by Idrelle_Miocovani, Apr 2, 2014
  23. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Oooh, wonderful feedback everyone. =D=[face_thinking]

    Personally, I love giving stories titles. A title says so much; it has to both summarize your story and snare your reader's interest at first glance - and while I can't say I always succeed with that, I sure enjoy the process. :p For me, it's all about what is being given a title that shapes what kind of title I will give it. For example, for shorter pieces, I will use the 'phrase titles' to name my work, simply because I view them as an extension of the piece itself, not as a title, so much. That's why I will even leave out the capitalization in those instances. (Although, that said, I have had some 'short' pieces spiral out of control, and there the long elaborate title stays! :oops: [face_whistling]) For a longer piece, I think that the title has to be more concise, to convey your theme and act as an 'exclamation point' to your story - yet, even then, I like to get as unique as I can. I love using lines from poetry or song lyrics for my titles, that said - I drawn from Pablo Neruda and e. e. cummings something ridiculous. [face_love]) I love lilting titles that fit the feeling of a story.

    Now, that said, there is something to be said about simplicity - especially if you were naming a television show or a movie. You can't throw in too much of your 'purple' titles there, and you have an even shorter window in which to grab your viewers attention, so your titles have to say a lot about your theme and subject in only a few words. Titles like Frozen and Tangled were just strokes of genius, I think - because of the traditional fairy tale names, you gave them something a little more quirky and creative. Another title I always liked was How I Met Your Mother - it is cute and quirky, and it sells itself without a summary or a preview. Game of Thrones, like Idri said, just hits you for the sound of it, along with the story it conveys. I am all about the sound and feel a title conveys. If a title 'feels' right to me, I normally run with it. :)

    The name-titles, always have their place too. I don't like using them myself, simply because I like playing with words in my titles, and name-titles, once again, lack the 'feel' I want to try and capture, but there is no denying that they fit when they fit. I can't imagine Harry Potter being called anything else, for example. I usually tend to associate name-titles with classics, too - Emma, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, etc. and unless I am writing about a well known figure, I probably wouldn't use them myself. Interesting too was what was mentioned about the misleading titles - like with Dracula and Julius Caesar. Both were very clever, I think, and, once again, couldn't imagine them being called anything else.
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Apr 3, 2014
    Idrelle_Miocovani likes this.
  24. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    The story I am currently working on didn't even have a title when I first posted it, so I just called it untitled. (I was even tempted to leave it that way because diaries and journals don't usually have titles anyway. They are just things people write.) A lot of the time, a title comes to me before I even start writing the story. Occasionally it doesn't - then I'm stuck.

    What I do have difficulty with now is coming up for names for characters. There was a point, very early on, when I didn't have a problem with them, but now I find looking on name generators helps (at least, it does when it comes up with something I like - if it doesn't, then I'm stuck.) I like to give most of the people in my stories a name, so that I can refer to them if they come into the story again because sometimes I don't know if the character is just going to be for that once scene they're in, or if they're going to show up again later and it is easier if I know what I'm calling them. I think it's important that when you come up with names for your characters that you like the name because if you don't like it, it will probably affect how you write the character. Going back to titles, I suspect it's the same thing.
  25. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I used to rely heavily on a character naming sourcebook, as I would choose names with certain meanings. That was in my Cringe Era. Now, I tend to choose names based on how they sound, and even make up names based on sound. Soft characters get soft names, while hard characters get hard names.

    One of my methods is to open a book at a random page and take the first two or three letters from a word and combine it with the first letter, two letters, or three (depending on the amount of syllables) of another word. Granted, I'll sometimes end up with names like Actrol Woart, but not everything will be golden. It usually takes a few dozen tries until I come up with something.

    Another method is the "Karen Traviss Method," which uses a random-typing consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant system (with varieties in that), where I'll end up with stuff like Gecin Degain. I find myself defaulting to that more often, as I've had more luck with getting half-decent names.

    In terms of titles, one thing I find myself doing is trying to make a bad pun out of the title. I'll take a phrase and alter it for the sake of a joke. Sometimes I go straight for the alliteration. Other times, I'll use a chunk of a phrase that has something to do with my story. And then there's the rare occasion that a title will simply hit me out of nowhere.
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