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.

Moderators: Mira_Jade, NYCitygurl
  1. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    When I first started writing, coming up with names was easy. I just used names which I thought was interesting which I come across in life. In one of my stories I have a character called Nova and while I was at college (many years ago now - (College doesn't have the same meaning that it does in the US. In the UK, colleges (if they aren't attached to a university like Oxford) are just places where people go to get A-levels, do vocational courses, etc,) and I was doing A-level Biology at the time.) I knew someone called Nova in one of my classes.

    Other times, I've just used a name which I liked. One of my characters was inspired by the name of a breed of dog. I've used parts of dinosaur names (for Wookiees, because they have such complex ones), stars, constellations, names of people who have discovered animals. I once even named one of my characters after a structure that forms during cell division (I changed the spelling, but not the pronunciation of the name). Other times a name has come about because of a slight miss pronunciation of a real name. Some just came about because I messed around with parts of words.

    The problem now though is that I don't get a lot of inspiration for new names spontaneously like I used to, so I now mess around with name generators. It can take a while to find something which I like the sound of, though, and sometimes I've made new names by combining parts of names that these generators come up with.

    I don't really look for meaning in words a lot of the time. I just use them if I like the way they sound.
  2. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    The one thing I find fascinating is the etymology of names. I spend a lot of free time researching names and tracing their history; that allows me to file a lot of names away in my head, so when I'm naming characters, I usually just have to do a bit of thinking and eventually I land on one that clicks with the character.
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  3. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    June 2014's Topic: Rewrites

    "More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn't say I have a talent that's special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina." ~ John Irving

    The Discussion


    I have had this mentioned in a few different conversations this last week, so I figured that this would be the perfect place to bring up this topic. The rewrite! Once your work is finished, is it every truly finished? Do you re-work vast segments when your plot improves in your mind, are you constantly going back to improve grammar or phrasing or little nitpicky odds and ends that won't just let you be? Are you the type of author who can re-read your work without stress, or does that instantly trigger the need to make everything over? Especially with original work, do you often have to re-do whole passages or chapters to come up with the best product possible? When does enough become enough, and you finally have to call the final product finished?

    The Exercise

    There is no exercise, just feel free to discuss. :)
  4. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Why, what perfect timing you have, Mira. 13 drafts of a certain thing comes to mind... :p

    I unfortunately don't have the time to go on my full-out talk about re-writing, but I will say that it is (a) a lot of work and (b) very important and (c) usually pretty frustrating. But it will make your writing better. It will help you develop scope to your story and characters and a fundamental understanding of your craft. The first draft is never the final one, and you can always tell when a piece of writing is a first draft (even from the professionals). The idiom about "all writing is re-writing" rings very true.
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  5. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    I can't ever tell when a piece is a first draft.

    I usually don't have drafts of my work as I'm a constant revisionist. I have learned never to call a tale done until my heart says it is. I am glad that my work stays in the personal realm because I have no restrictions on length or time or revisions. It is quite liberating to at last truly be returning to where Cushy's heart lies in writing meaningful tales! :D
    Last edited by Cushing's Admirer, Jun 1, 2014
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  6. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I start with hand-written drafts, which I reread and adjust while still working on them. Before they even make it to the typing stage, they've been heavily revised, with parts rewritten in the margins and the pages becoming an absolute mess. Then, when I type them up, they're changed even more.

    However, once they're typed, aside from basic editing, I tend to say that they're done. Once they're posted, the story is done and I refuse to touch it anymore, aside from bits of editing that I may have missed. So, basically, I just get to a point where I abandon it entirely.

    It's much the same way as I treat my art. I work on it to a certain point, and then I abandon it and call it done. If I keep tweaking it, it'll never be finished and I'll end up making things worse. The best example of this that comes to mind is a drawing of a baby chick my mom was doodling.

    She kept trying to make the chick cuter and cuter, but each time, it just kept looking angrier and angrier. Finally, she gave up and we had a very well-drawn chick... but it was pissed as hell.

    The lesson here is to know when to stop picking at your piece, otherwise it just angers it. :p
    Last edited by TrakNar, Jun 3, 2014
  7. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I have to agree with the not having drafts - but constantly revising. :) I find that rather than constantly rewriting something, per say, I am always tweaking and pruning and adding. The editing process takes a long time for me, and I feel like I am constantly already written things rather than purely writing from scratch. For fanfiction I try not to look over a piece more than three times - but then it seems like every time I reread something, even if it is already posted, I am constantly finding typos to fix and phrases I would like to reword - I then have to force myself to let it be. I try not to completely re-write fanfiction, just because it is fanfiction - it is something to unwind and relax with, and I do not want to put too much work into something that is, at its heart, a hobby. Even still, it's a struggle to let things be, that's for sure. :p

    Now, for original work, it is even worse, because I want everything to be just so, and every time a new idea hits I am constantly reworking chunks of my writing to include that plot element or character arch. Actually, a few weeks ago was the first time I have ever completely scrapped something and rewrote a huge portion of my work - once again, for my original novel, and that's actually what brought this topic on. (Along with your 14 drafts, Idri. ;) Wow! 8-}:eek: ). I am much happier with the flow and the plot now that I have rewritten it - so, for all of the pains that come with re-writing, it does seem to bring the best fruits as a result - I do agree with that. [face_love]

    EDIT: I envy you your longhand abilities @TrakNar! I can only outline and do basic scripts on paper. Afterwards, my brain moves faster than my hand, and I have to start typing the complete story out. Even still, the outline on paper is a crazy mess of arrows and notes in the margins and snippets of conversation and little details I want to add. I do love my story notes for that.

    The chick example was perfectly phrased too! It's very true. :)
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Jun 3, 2014
  8. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    @TrakNar - I also start with handwritten drafts. It's very rare for me to not handwrite something first, and then type it up. I tend to do all of my revising and editing on hardcopies as well, since it makes it easier for me to track my changes. Plus, there's the added bonus of the liberating feeling of slashing out large sections of text when you know you're working against a page limit (or in my case, a page limit that is controlled by a time limit, since I write plays :p ).

    I do have a tendency of killing a miniature forest because I do so much handwriting. This is the result of seven months of writing and revising:

    [IMG]

    The pile of paper is over half a foot high (not including the TARDIS paperweight on top). 8-}

    By the time I get around to typing up a piece for the first time, I've looked at it around three times and made notes and small revisions in the margins. That's usually where I stop when it comes to fan fiction. Fan fiction is where I write for pure enjoyment, so I set aside all of the nitpickyness. However, I do get a lot of enjoyment out of revising my work. I love looking at the flow of words and phrasing and speaking the text I read aloud. Sometimes the simplest adjustment can make all the difference between a line that is good and a line that just rings true.

    As for drafts...

    For fan fic, I don't do drafts. I have a four-step process -- handwrite, revise the handwritten pages, type it up (and make revisions as I go) and publish. I rarely go back and re-write my own fan fic, especially after posting (although I have done that a couple of times in the past with some old Star Wars fan fic where I got to a point in the story, lost inspiration, then decided to tackle it again after making some significant revisions to the plot and character development - in that case, I started re-posting the revised version of the story as a new story).

    For original novels or short stories, I will probably do a couple of re-writes. Editing takes a very long time and I approach it with care. Usually revisions on certain lines and certain moments will lead me into choosing to do a complete re-write, while flagging certain moments or paragraphs to keep from the original draft.

    For plays... this is where it gets interesting (for me at least :p ) since there are a lot of layers to consider.

    When I do a draft of a play, it is usually an incomplete draft. I save all of my work so I have a reference point to go back to, in case I want to re-incorporate an old idea I was working with. I save my work as a new draft when I have changed the style or content of the piece so significantly that the text doesn't flow in the same way anymore. Plays are weird, because there is more than one way to tell a story onstage and some texts end up being more theatrical than others. Style and tone are very important for playwriting and there are so, so, so many ways to work that. The other thing is that plays are usually written in the middle of a whirlwind of feedback from actors who do readings of the text. Sometimes you hear a passage aloud and it just doesn't work onstage the way you envisioned it in your head. You also have to be very conscious of your page count and running time, because sometimes you are working with time restrictions. One page of text in font 11 Times New Roman equals around 1-2 minutes of stage time (sometimes more if there's a monologue, sometimes less if it's a page of rapid-fire, short dialogue). However, you also have to take into account stage directions and how long a piece of action may take when translated onto the stage... there's a lot of back-and-forth guesswork and you have to always double-check your word count. (For example, my current show has a running time of 55 minutes, is 40 pages long with a ~10,300 word count and I had to work my butt off to find a way to get the scenes to flow seamlessly in order to get the word/page count down to give us a 55 minute run time)

    When you have those kinds of restrictions on your work, you are forced to do edits. You have to figure out what you can cut, what you can shorten, how you can condense the action of three scenes into one scene while still making it flow fluidly. Cutting sections out of your work is very painful - it's easy to get attached to certain lines, phrases and moments. Eventually you have to decide what's the most important thing for you to tell a good story and prioritize the moments. There's always something that has to be cut that you wish you didn't. And then, there comes a point when you've cut too much and the scene doesn't make sense anymore. That's usually when a re-write will happen - there's only so much you can do with cuts. The same amount of information can be given to the audience in a shorter amount of time if you go back and re-write instead of relying on cutting sections of dialogue out.

    Sometimes, a new draft will be one that is really similar to an old draft, it just has a lot of tweaks and revisions. And then there are times when a new draft is actually an entirely new play, with 95% new text, even though the plot and characters are pretty much the same. Revising and editing is always a rollercoaster ride, but it's where the majority of the work is done. It gets easier the more you work at it and also an understanding that while your initial ideas may be good, there is room for improvement.

    That being said - there comes a time when revisions and re-writes will negatively impact the work, especially when you start playing with the very miniscule ideas that the majority of people you're sharing the work with won't catch. I've gotten myself into some trouble with how flexible I am when it comes to revisions. There is a time and a place for constructive criticism and feedback. There's a learning curve to understanding when to consider an outside eye's opinion and when to stand your ground and say, "This is my work and my vision, not yours." I know writers who are completely inflexible when it comes to considering constructive feedback, but I also know writers on the other side of the spectrum (I'm really talking about myself here) who are too willing to take everyone's opinion into account and end up in the middle of a mess of conflicting ideas.
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  9. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Wow, Idri! [face_hypnotized]

    I treat fanfic and non-fanfic pretty differently. For fanfic, I write as I type, then reread to make sure I like it. Then, before I post, I read it again to make sure I don't have anything else to add. After that, all I fix is typing/coding. And as an editor, I can say that you've never going to catch everything in your own writing. And I have used some amazing betas here, but not very often. I'm much closer to @TrakNar's style than Idri's.

    For stuff away from here, everything goes through a strict editing process (wit multiple editors), and usually some rewriting between edits.

    You guys are way dedicated to write stuff out! I just type; I'm much faster (and it's easier to make changes as I go along :p ). The one story I wrote out in full never made it to my computer 8-}
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  10. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    I'm pretty close to Mira. Writing a story takes years because I'm constantly editing. I haven't done too many fan-related writings but I don't treat them differently to personal or tribute works. I have to write my heart. If it's against it, it feels forced and I feel like I'm being dishonest.

    However anytime I review what I have written I will tweak it, Cushy is always learning, always refining. I find that having a few trustworthy sounding boards does wonders to provide the structure and feedback I need as well. My tribute which I am just starting will actually merge and combine elements of two aborted stories. Yet, now, Cushy feels she will do the words she is meant to. :D

    I nearly only type but it's due to my CP causing spastic muscles and my grasp of things in my hands including pencils/pens is very tense and can lead to aching hence I don't write long hand much but if I didn't have this issue I probably would. :)
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  11. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I have been stewing for a few days now for something thoughtful and insightful to add to that, @Idrelle_Miocovani, but I feel that all I can really say in the end is: my, what a lovely TARDIS that is! [face_laugh] ;) And it is keeping an insane amount of paper in line at that. Just . . . wow. :eek: Thank-you for sharing your process, that was very fascinating! [:D]

    @Cushing's Admirer: I have to agree on having a few soundboards for ideas and helping you choose a direction to go in. A good beta is a writer's best friend at times. (That said, @NYCitygurl, I did not know that you are an editor! How useful for your writing is that?? :p :cool:) That said, I'm thrilled that you are able to write as an outlet in any form. Thank goodness for keyboards, then! :)
  12. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I have come to one point in my story which I have rewritten about three or four times now. I tried to get it to fit in with both the books and the films, trying to find a common ground with them. In the end, though, the events of the books had to take priority so I wrote it more from that stand point.

    What I tend to do is write a rough outline to begin with as this ensures that I have got all of my ideas down and that I do not loose them. It is way too easy to forget things that you come up with. However, I am not always entirely happy with my first draft and so rework it a bit as I type things up on to my computer. All we can do in the end is do the best that we can and I don't think that anyone ever writes the "perfect' story. There is always something that we could have done to make it better. (For instance, I learnt recently that Mirkwood, Dale, Dain and Beorn's people were involved in the War of the Ring, but Tolkien never properly included this in Lord of the Rings. It would have made improved Lord of the Rings greatly if it had been included, and would have made the elves and dwarves seem less isolationist when it came to standing up against Sauron.

    The worst disaster that ever happened to me as a writer was about 15 years ago now. I was writing an original fantasy series (it is what I have always considered to be my break through piece because everything before then was rubbish). I spent ages writing it out, then typing it up onto my computer only to loose it before I finished. Of course, I had hand written notes and such, but I had also written a significant portion of it on the computer alone and it was lost. I no longer have the notes, sadly and I probably won't be able to start it again.
    Last edited by Space_Wolf, Jun 7, 2014
  13. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    @Mira_Jade - well, hopefully I didn't talk everyone's ears off... that was a lot of explanatory text. [face_laugh]

    @Space_Wolf - I agree with that about no one ever writing the perfect story. A reader is always going to pick up on something that could have been done more effectively (in their opinion). Those insights are partially what inspires fan fic and/or constructive criticism. Revising is a never-ending cycle of writing, feedback and re-writing.

    I've lost stories before. Never in a computer crash (I back-up files like crazy - it's pretty handy having an external harddrive, it makes it easy to save my entire harddrive on a regular basis or after doing a lot of work on a particular story or play), but because I handwrite so many things, I have misplaced notes. I tend to write out pieces of dialogue in weird places, misplace the bit of paper I wrote it on, and then when I get around to the place where I want to insert that piece of dialogue, I can't find the note I wrote it on. :oops: At that point, either I tear my office apart looking for the note, or I give up and re-write the dialogue as long as I can remember the gist of it.

    It usually turns up three months later stuck between two pages and it's usually not quite as good as I thought it was. :p

    I've switched to doing conceptual notes in notebooks so I can have everything in one place. However, I still need lined paper to handwrite an actual story. Something about writing a story in a notebook drives me crazy (probably has to do with the size of the notebook and also I like being able to spread everything out).
  14. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I definitely agree with @Idrelle_Miocovani and @Space_Wolf about never writing the perfect story!

    To answer your question, @Mira_Jade -- it's helped in that I learned a lot about what not to do (though really, being here and reading amazing authors has played into that in a huge way), and I'm really good with grammar :p But I try to let my internal editor go when I'm writing, or I just drive myself nuts. Writing is just a hobby (much as I enjoy it, I don't intend to write a book; I just don't have that kind of patience), and if I let editing interfere with it, it will cease being fun.
  15. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    July 2014's Topic: Original Characters

    “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” ~ Earnest Hemingway

    The Discussion

    Even in the world of fanfiction, we supplement our plots and stories with our own characters, or we may even build entire worlds around an original character. Are you an author who enjoys using OCs? What is your process for creating an OC? What do you look for when reading about other OCs? How much OC in a story is too much - if there even is such a limit for you? The floor is yours!

    The Exercise

    There is no exercise in particular, but it you want to talk about an OC of yours, and some of your favourite aspects of the character you created, feel free to do so! :)
  16. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Oh, this is a fascinating topic for me, because my opinions on the matter have changed A LOT over the course of my writing years.

    When I first started writing fan fiction, I refused to write OCs, unless they were for minor characters. I wanted to take the chance to explore my thoughts and impressions of the canon characters. That's where the enjoyment lay. As I got a little older, for certain fandoms the worlds were just so large and intriguing and complex with so many possibilities that I began creating my own OCs that would occasionally interact with canon characters. I now enjoy a balance of playing with canon characters and OCs - it depends on the story and where I want to take it. Sometimes, if a minor canon character can serve a certain narrative purpose, I will use the canon character. Other times, I have a lot more flexibility in terms of story-telling if I create a new character to fulfill a narrative purpose, because I can then tailor their background and history to make it logical for them to take the actions I need them to take. If that makes any sense...

    I approach writing an OC no differently than I do a canon character. I find that when I start making a divide between "this is how OCs are written" and "this is how canon characters are written", that's where you run into trouble. But then I never was one for a checklist of things to do... As with all my characters, I think about their gathered experiences to date and I find a logical path for them to take in whatever situation they find themselves in based on action, reaction, and consequence. How I write canon characters and OCs comes from the same place, the only difference is that I have to learn how a canon speaks/thinks/acts while with an OC I have to create how a character speaks/thinks/acts. I find it takes a similar amount of energy and dedication to do either.

    While I love exploring canon characters, the thing I love about OCs is the freedom to create and explore storylines that may be closed to you if you use a canon character. OCs help enrich the canon world and they're one of the reasons I still stick around various fan fic communities.

    I have no idea whether that made any sense at all, but there you go. 8-}
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  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Hi!!!!!

    Lands sakes, am I coming in late to this party!!!

    Let me go by topic cluster, rather than chronologically [face_rofl]

    Characters I love canon characters. I love writing about them and showing their growth and relationships.

    Titles I love the ones that make the reader go: What's that about? LOL I love titles that convey growth or discovery, literally and otherwise.

    @Mira_Jade -- your titles rock! :)

    Story Length :D I love drabbles and ficlet-sized for my own writing. I have written chaptered thingies, ;) but like keeping them shortish. Which is not to say I am averse to the MJ-sized fics. Not a bit! =D= pregnantpadme's Fragile on the SW side got me used to loooong chapters. ;)

    POV I love writing in the I format. I also tend to write in third, he/she. You is one I've recently discovered and find wonderful -- it has the warmth of I. :cool:

    DWB What breaks me out of this mostly is music -- jazz LOL and also writing dialogue. Once I write the interaction between characters, I can fill in the narrative parts. :)

    What Draws me In and What I love to Write Characters learning and loving and celebrating sweet and pivotal moments. I love writing missing moments and introspection. I like characters who display the same traits I love in the ones I choose as friends: compassion, humor, wisdom, courage. [face_love]

    @RX_Sith love your comments on Ny/Spock, the curmudgeonly McCoy and the amazing Jim Kirk. [face_love]

    @serendipityaey -- what insane person could not or would not define you as a writer of amazing talent? [face_love]





    Current Topic--I love OCs. laloga's Brenna Damaris and Ceillean's Eliziya are two of my all-time faves, as is divapilot's Alida Maritin. [face_love]

    When I read of an OC, I have to ask myself: Is this someone the other characters would like/respect, besides the readers? Does this person feel like they fit in the fandom universe?

    :D
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Jul 29, 2014
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I love writing OC's They are here in my Star trek story and in the stories I write on the Star wars forum. First I was writing canon characters (Obi-Wan mostly) but I had to add OC's and from that came more and more
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  19. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I feel much the same as Idri does -- I avoided (with a couple notible exceptions) writing OCs and OC-centric stories, but as time has gone on, I've enjoyed exploring universes with characters that are totally my own (I've gotten into the "kids of the first generation" thong lately).

    I would say my biggest fear is that the characters will turn into Mary Sues, to the point where I often pair them (I'd qualify that with a "when I write romantic stuff," but let's be real, anything I write longer than a vignette is going to have a little romance :p ) with other OCs or with minor characters whose personalities aren't very developed in canon.
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  20. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    @Nyota's Heart - Deb!!!!!!! Welcome to the thread!! I was so happy when I clicked on and saw you posting in here!! [:D][face_dancing]

    I can empathize with that completely. When I first started writing, I only dabbled with OCs as a way to flesh out canon characters. Or, I have dabbled with such minor characters in canon that they may as well be OCs (especially with my Tolkien stuff lately, but anywho. :p). I think that the biggest error with OCs is the dreaded Mary Sue - and the easiest way I have found to get around that is to not be afraid to give your character a character. Give them flaws, give them uncertainties, and let them grow from there. I agree with Idri about there being no difference between writing OCs and canon characters - except in one instance, you have to develop how they would react/their personality, instead of dealing with the template your source material provides you with. [face_thinking]


    And those are great checkpoints to follow. Wonderfully said! =D=
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Jul 30, 2014
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  21. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I have always preferred to write original characters than canon ones, mainly because I find them much easier to write. I don't have to know a character's back story intimately to write an OC which is what I would need for most canons, espeaically if they are a main character and have a lot written about them already. Sometimes you need original characters in a story for completeness, especially in the one I am doing at the moment. (For instance, virtually ALL female dwarves will be OCs...) What I don't like are original characters that seem to have only been created for a romance with a canon character and the story which I am working on at the moment is really unusual for me, since I don't normally pair up canons and OCs, I usually only pair up OCs with each other. If a minor character intrigues me enough then I will write fan fiction about them because I feel like their story needs to be told and I am usually a bit more liberal with them in my writing than say, I would be if I attempted to write a story with Luke Skywalker as the main lead (but I must point out that main canon characters don't usually interest me that much when it comes to fan fiction since I prefer to work with characters which are more of an enigma...) Tolkien's dwarves seem to be an exception to what characters I usually write about because he didn't fill them out much in the Hobbit and I feel more comfortable working with them.

    One other point, as well, I tend to ignore the Mary-Sue argument when writing original characters. I find it to be an unfair judgement on original characters - you need to give them a background, stuff needs to happen to them, good or bad, and they need to participate properly in the story for them to be a "real" character that readers will care about. Inexperienced writers will make Mary-Sues by accident, but don't be afraid to give your original character a staring role in the story, if that is the point of you writing it.
    Last edited by Space_Wolf, Jul 31, 2014
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  22. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    August 2014's Topic: Perception vs. Intent

    "Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret." ~ Matthew Arnold

    The Discussion

    This was inspired by a comment @Viridian-Maiden made in the Tolkien discussion thread, and I thought it the perfect thing to bring it up here, as it was not the first time I've heard authors muse on this topic, and I wanted to get your guys' thoughts. :)

    When writing - whether it be twists in the plot, character development, or speaking on an overall theme - how subtle is too subtle? While you do not want to hit your readers over the head with your meanings, you want them to grasp what you are trying to say nonetheless. At times, that can be a fine line to walk. When developing characters, only you know the twists and turns, and you know that this character has growth coming - but how do you hook your audience into staying along for that ride and trust the author? Have you ever dealt with a problem similar to this? How did you resolve that in your writing? Have you ever tried to say something in your writing, only to have your reader come away with something else entirely - as often can be the nature of the writer/reader relationship? [face_thinking] The floor is yours, folks.

    The Exercise

    There is no exercise for this month. There will be one next month, I promise. ;)
  23. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Oooh, I love this topic. I haven't encountered OOC or "how can they write that way?" in ff. The authors love the characters and know them so well, that any puzzlement I might initially have over reasons a character is thinking or acting a particular way usually is explained through the plot or their back-story. I do love personal growth and nuances in stories and will give an author leeway if I've read their stuff before and trust their craftsmanship to satisfy. :)

    What I do not like is when a character suddenly breaks out of their personality for no reason. As an example, they always get clear what another person is doing instead of going off of suppositions or they express their pain or their tender feelings honestly without thinking the other persons will 'read their mind'. Then, out of the blue, they do just that! Leave a situation without clearing the air. Shutting off without any clear rationale. [face_frustrated]
    amidalachick and Mira_Jade like this.
  24. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I generally encounter this with my art, particularly if the piece is a bit on the abstract side or the audience is unfamiliar with the fandom. People will ascribe a meaning to an image and debate ad nauseum about what that meaning is and what I say the meaning is, and then finally ask me what I meant and be shocked when I simply say "I thought it'd look cool."

    If there is a meaning behind an image, it's usually a scene. It's generally part of a story. Many of my sketches are part of an ongoing story that generally goes on within the sketchbook or in an RP, or in fanfic vignettes. Otherwise, there's no meaning behind any of my images. I draw stuff because I think it's cool. I draw stuff to visualize things. There is no deeper meaning.

    When others attach a meaning, it amuses me to see what all they can see in an image.
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  25. serendipityaey Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2004
    star 4
    Thanks @Nyota's Heart That means so much to me [:D]You are one of the best with sweet, heartfelt mush, and you've inspired me more than I can say - you are a big reason I've kept going, so thank you [face_love] and with @Mira_Jade 's support and wonderful, amazing writing as well, it's been a tremendous inspiration, especially after some incredibly difficult to overcome hardships from last year. Hopefully when my busy summer is over I can post more!

    I do love OC's - I love creating characters, ups and downs, rises and falls, and love - and especially finding new ways to challenge the canon characters inter-personally :)

    This topic: I love writing things subtly and I Love being able to read things in the writing that way - most especially because it makes repeat readings fun, so I think it's a good thing. Readers coming away with something different can sometimes be the most beautiful things about getting to tell stories :D I think we want the reader to be able to incorporate it into their own experiences and make it their own, I think that's how we know we've truly touched them. Of course it's not always that way, but sometimes.
    Mira_Jade and Nyota's Heart like this.
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