The it's a loooong story thread version 2.0 - announcement 7/30 - pg6 - blue

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by spiritgurl, Jun 19, 2005.

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  1. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Actually, I've never even thought of that. I just use existing wars and planets. Most of my characers are human, and all of my OCs are human or humaniod. I usually just hold everything in my head, but for the next epic I'm planning I've started writing it all down.
  2. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    I'll jump in. Shades of Green started out a trilogy, but now that I'm halfway through the second book, my characters won't let me stop where I plan to. So far, one prequel bunny has bitten, and one after-trilogy bunny has bitten as well. I feed it and it keeps growing! So count me as one of your number. ;)
  3. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
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    Yes!! I'm not the only one who gets sequel-trilogy bunnies!!
  4. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    LOL, of course not! Though this one came courtesy of Luney, when she told me how adorable my OC would be paired with another character, and before I could stop it, the bunny bit. ;)

    All you people talking about how long it took your stories to get written...I have you all beaten! This is just proof of how Darth Real Life, Darth Writer's Block, and their legion of Sith underlings are out to get me.

    The first SoG story was supposed to be a somewhat angsty, yet otherwise sweet little love story. Easy, right? WRONG. Darth High School was my Master at the time, and such a demanding Master was he that it took me FOUR YEARS to write Shades of Green: Beloved Companion. And that story is only fifty pages long. Thankfully, now that my muse and I have graduated high school and transcended to a more mature standard of living, the words are coming a bit faster. And time yields progress of style, too, so the quality is better. Woohoo!
  5. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    For this first round, I've chosen what I think is the cornerstone of any epic: World Creation, starting with History. Do you imagine your histories, of planets, wars, ships, species, before you begin or as you go? Do you write them down or hold them in your head? What impact do those histories have on your story?


    Oh good Lord. I've been having a tough time with this one. I was planning on writing the next episode of my series involving Obi-Wan's parents, then in the process of trying to figure out backstory for them and the planet (since there's nothing set really on Obi-Wan's parentage or homeworld) I got a little lost. :( I was trying to figure out how different people there would interact, and what the planets like, etc... Anyway, long story short I've pretty much rethought that episode since then and although I've kept some aspects of what I originally was excited about, I've gotten rid of a lot more because it just seemed to complicated to deal with. *sigh* Did anyone else who has created their own "worlds" have this much frustration?

    Onto the other questions: I tend to think things out a lot, sort of daydream I guess I have a boring job so I can get away with it. :p I have a recorder now so when I'm driving around for my work I can talk into it and take notes on some of the ideas.

    What impacts do those histories have, well... I think thinking about the histories both of made up worlds and characters can help bring up plot bunnies for your epic that one might not have come up with if that history had already been written.

    sg
  6. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    For this first round, I've chosen what I think is the cornerstone of any epic: World Creation, starting with History. Do you imagine your histories, of planets, wars, ships, species, before you begin or as you go? Do you write them down or hold them in your head? What impact do those histories have on your story?

    I don't really have any custom worlds in Shades of Green (yet), but there is always the process of making up details and histories to go along with existing worlds. For example, in the SoG universe, it is custom on Tatooine for parents or guardians to arrange marriages for their children as soon as their children are able to reproduce themselves. This is a result of the often meager resources available on Tatooine--a child married off is one less mouth to feed.

    Another example would be the Coruscant underworld that is featured in most of SoG 3. It involves a mafia-esque network of gangs that rule a sealed-off level of lower Coruscant.

    I write things down, sometimes, but there are also things that are simply understood as fact. Other things just come to me right off the bat--like just now. I knew that the network of gangs ruled something, but I didn't know that they ruled a sealed level of Coruscant until I typed that just now. A lot of the time it's less like creating and more like discovering details that were already there--it just clicks.

    As for impact...well, the idea that arranged marriages were commonplace on Tatooine was the foundation of the SoG series. The story is impossible without it. The other things, small things that come to me at very odd times, I think are what gives the story a sense of reality.
  7. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    Hey Cantador :D

    For this first round, I've chosen what I think is the cornerstone of any epic: World Creation, starting with History. Do you imagine your histories, of planets, wars, ships, species, before you begin or as you go? Do you write them down or hold them in your head? What impact do those histories have on your story?

    You're right when you say that world creation is the cornerstone of a fic. When I sat down to figure out a sequel to my first novel, I was stuck for ideas for a long, long time. All I knew was that it had to feature alot of new OC's, a few Canon Characters, and needed to be a looooong and involved story. That was when I discovered a really handy shortcut to world creation: The CUSWE.

    I based my entire fic on this excerpt from the Unofficial Encyclopedia:

    Andasala
    a planet which was a haven for criminals and other underworld operatives. During the early years of the New Republic, the planet was under the control of Valis Lorn. Andasala was originally a mining settlement established by Gesenix Mining. Promising because of the wealth of natural resources available, Andasala became a booming world by virtue of its proximity to Svivren. Its location also brought into direct contact with the Galactic Civil War, as both the Empire and the Alliance fought battles for control of the space lanes around it. These battles continued well after the Battle of Yavin, until Valis Lorn arrived. He nationalized the planet through the use of his criminal henchmen, establishing a "safe" world for its natives. The average day on Andasala lasts 25 standard hours, and its year encompasses 370 local days. (GG11)


    Needless to say I became hooked on the idea of telling the story of how this "Valis Lorn" would come to nationalise a planet with the Empire and the Rebellion breathing down his neck. I followed up all the links in the excerpt - looked up "Valis Lorn" and "Gesenix Mining". It didnt turn up much information, but really got the ball rolling. Before I knew it, I had a loose plot in my head of just how a thing like that could happen, with my OC's in starring roles. Soon enough, I came to some plot holes and needed OTHER ideas for different sections of the story - an established criminal organisation, etc etc. A quick search for just this thing turned up an entry for the Benelex Bounty Hunter's Guild, and before I knew it I was in full flight with a backstory half-provided and plenty of room for emebellishment.

    I guess this method isn't foolproof and is probably very unappealing to many, many authors. But the advantages it gives you are twofold: One, as mentioned, you get ideas for backstory that would never otherwise have occured. And Two: All of your backstory is now tied with events that have taken place in Canon. Bliss for any of you out there that aren't AU fans :p

    That is, of course, just one method - but one that i've found handy on several occasions ;)

    As for writing down the histories of the worlds, I have a seperate method to figure out just how much of this world i'm going to need to create. I have written on the computer a twenty-odd page summary of all the major plot points in the story, chapter by chapter. From that, I can get a good picture of what is going to happen that requires world history/world development. So, if I know that in chapter Eight I'm going to need to explain the coup of Andasala to the readers, I can have that fleshed out and written down well in advance of writing the actual chapter :) It keeps the plot pretty coherent with itself, which is always a good thing, hehe. The same thing goes for character backstories - They always have a story to tell. Some of them, like Wedge Antilles, have established Backstories and are pretty easy to dabble in. Anything more complex, I can have the connection made in the outline prior in general terms and sort out the fine details as the chapter is being written.

    Wow, that sounded convoluted to me :p Sorry about that!
  8. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    I like to use the CUSWE and the OS's database, as well as various books to look up stuff as well, the only problem I have with that though is there are times I swear I spend more time trying to reserach some minor thing in EU than actually writing. It winds up being a major sidetracking for me, and for one who gets easily sidetracked, that's not good. :( Like with your planet suggestion, there are so many entries there, I could literally spend the day trying to pick one out when I could have been working on something else. Sometimes it's easier to just make stuff up. :p As for it being AU, well it's a big universe, isn't it? Whose to say there aren't more planets that even Expanded Universe hasn't covered yet ;) I doubt if you make a planet up, someone's going to come along and in their best Jocasta Nu voice tell you that "if a planet is not in the EU, it doesn't exist" :p

    sg
  9. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    I doubt if you make a planet up, someone's going to come along and in their best Jocasta Nu voice tell you that "if a planet is not in the EU, it doesn't exist"

    [face_laugh] Good point well made, Spiritgurl!

    Like I said, researching obscure particulars in the CUSWE isn't a foolproof way of doing things - its definitely something to do only when you've got a big cup of coffee and a few hours to spare to follow up the leads :p But it can provide interesting options. For me, it sprouted an entire plot that might otherwise have been less interesting. Credit where it's due, hehe.

    Ah, and re: AU stories - all fanfic is AU to some degree, it can be argued ;) You're totally right - the EU and other canon don't even begin to cover every planet/minor character/historic event that happens in the big, wide GFFA :D Making stuff up is 100% as viable as recycling something else. More creative, some might say ;)

    EDIT: Bad, bad spelling.
  10. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    Oh, I defintely understand what you're saying. That's pretty much what I do, as well.
  11. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    EmilieDarklighter

    I knew I couldn't be the only one :D

    To go back to what you said a few posts ago:

    A lot of the time it's less like creating and more like discovering details that were already there--it just clicks.

    This happens very frequently when you take the Jocasta Nu route and go trawling through the SW archives ;) It becomes a bit like trying to assemble a gigantic jigsaw puzzle - you have pieces of information that you then get to tie together in as creative a way as you can. More often than not, once you've got a starting point (or an end point, for that matter), the finer details just seem to emerge of their own accord :)

    EDIT: markups, this time.
  12. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    all fanfic is AU to some degree, it can be argued

    Oh, definitely. :) And some might say at least some EU is actually AU too. ;) lol I'm of the opinion that only what I see on film is "canon" so that's all I really worry about when it comes down to writing the story I'm working on. And as far as the movies go I think there's only a dozen or so planets that have been seen/spoken of over the course of the 6 films. That's a lot of "space" left to cover.

    Researching EU can be helpful though as far as helping you come up with names for ships, guns, planets. It's also interesting to see how EU winds up explaining what happened to make a certain character how he is, or how a planet wound up with the problems it did and those things can certainly inspire more plot bunnies for you to work with in your epic.

    I will say this, the search function on the CUSWE site is extremely useful when researching. Another thing I've done is go to Google.com and do searches on my subject from there. Quite often I actually come up with threads at the JC that are related to my topic (the search function on google is actually better than the one here too)

    sg
  13. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    This happens very frequently when you take the Jocasta Nu route and go trawling through the SW archives. It becomes a bit like trying to assemble a gigantic jigsaw puzzle - you have pieces of information that you then get to tie together in as creative a way as you can. More often than not, once you've got a starting point (or an end point, for that matter), the finer details just seem to emerge of their own accord.

    Defintely. Plot details often emerge in the oddest places. I feel like I've got all the edge pieces of the puzzle hemmed in, but a huge chunk of the middle is missing. I haven't actually gone through the UE for SoG yet, but I think I'm due for a visit. *hops off* I let you know if I find anything. ;)
  14. Arin_Atona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 4
    My problem was that I couldn't even find a planet in the EU to fit my needs, so I had to create one.

    Initially, I gave it a bit of history and a wee bit of culture, but then later I came back and expanded on the history and culture based on characters and events in my stories. I found that world-building is very much like character-building.

    Each world has its own culture, architecture, history, religions, weird customs, and food. Where it's situated in the galaxy can help determine its disposition toward other worlds (are its neighbors allies or enemies) and what things are important to it. Those things can and do change over time.

    Sometimes you can even work these things into your stories without your readers drowning in it. The most important thing is to not open your story with a detailed biography of your world or character. Yeah, I did that once, and it turned out okay... but I still recommend against it, because people don't want to read history, they want to experience it. Give them details a little bit at a time, or bring it up when it's needed.

    So, I ended up with a planet (Ardiese) near the Tion cluster, which isn't terribly far from Yavin or Hutt Space. I gave it four moons, and then during the very first use of the planet, I had a nighttime scene... so I tried to decide what kind of effect having four moons would have on evenings. I decided that having four "full" moons at the same time would be a rare event, as well as having four "new" moons. Yay! I had a basis for a religion of lunar-worship.

    I gave the planet a system of self-government and let everything else work itself out. In one scene, I had people from the planet make a big deal out of needing to know somebody's name when preparing food for them. I gave that little custom a history tied into the religion and *poof*, my planet has an even more robust culture.

    You don't have to create *everything* on the front end, just a framework and let other things come in over time.

    Of course, I've also been known to take somewhat obscure stuff out of the EU and make something of it. Like Asmeru, for example. It's a planet made up of outcast slaves. I figured their own history would serve to temper their outlook on life, and so after the NJO series when there are billions upon billions of refugees without homeworlds roaming the galaxy... I assumed a planet founded by refugees might be welcoming of other refugees. Little details that I don't think I've ever mentioned in my story, but for which there is a reason... just in case it ever comes up later.
  15. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4

    Sometimes you can even work these things into your stories without your readers drowning in it. The most important thing is to not open your story with a detailed biography of your world or character. Yeah, I did that once, and it turned out okay... but I still recommend against it, because people don't want to read history, they want to experience it. Give them details a little bit at a time, or bring it up when it's needed.


    that's an excellent, excellent point Arin. The added info should be used to enhance the story not slow it down to a grinding hault.

    sg
  16. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    Sometimes you can even work these things into your stories without your readers drowning in it. The most important thing is to not open your story with a detailed biography of your world or character. Yeah, I did that once, and it turned out okay... but I still recommend against it, because people don't want to read history, they want to experience it. Give them details a little bit at a time, or bring it up when it's needed.


    Oh, absolutely right Arin :) Infodumping on the history of anything is hard to do without sounding like a lecturer. For all this world building that we do, it astounds me just how little of it actually ends up being included in the fic. Only the facts pertinent to the particular plot point can be mentioned, hopefully in some subtle and believeable way :p I think world building is more a process for the writer than the reader. Something to give an author a definitive picture of how characters came to be who they are to keep their characterisation in line. Something to fall back on whenever some talk of planetary politics is brought up. More a tool for cohesion than a literary device :)
  17. JDH3 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2003
    star 4
    First, I?m just checking in. I dropped by the old thread, but DRL kept me from getting too involved. :( Anyway, my current epic is updated weekly and is up to 50 chapters as we speak. The end is in sight, sort of...

    For this first round, I've chosen what I think is the cornerstone of any epic: World Creation, starting with History. Do you imagine your histories, of planets, wars, ships, species, before you begin or as you go? Do you write them down or hold them in your head? What impact do those histories have on your story?

    I have two created worlds in my current epic, The Sith Insurrection, Bothsidal and Granicus. However, Granicus is only sort of mine. The name doesn?t belong to me, as it was one of the proposed names for Coruscant. However, the rest of its backstory is mine. Bothsidal is mine though, and it?s the one that has gotten the most attention. But moving on...

    Do I imagine histories for my worlds before I begin? Absolutely! Where do I store all their history? In my head, as I do with most things concerning my ?fics. I only keep notes when I have a strong belief that something I?ve thought up might be forgotten. What impact do their histories have on my story? In the case of Granicus, it?s pretty large. Bothsidal?s history is important, but not so you?d notice right away, and I?m already 50 chapters in.

    Overall, I try to stick with canon worlds as much as possible, but this story called for something just a little different. Also, in the case of Bothsidal, the name was very important to me as the author. Bothsidal?s name translates in my head to ?both sides always?, which is my way of looking at the story. I?d explain that, but it would entail me spoiling key elements of the ?fic itself. ;)


    JD.
  18. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    I've only created one world, and it was for another story entirely. I have trouble starting from scratch sometimes. The world is called Visad, and it's native people are the Atriksa. I haven't quite determined how the people look yet, but I do know their religion. They worship something they call the Holy Triumvirate, three Jedi who defected during the Jedi Civil War with Darth Revan that the Atriksa elevated to divine status. I also have a naming language that I use for them, but that's as far as I've gotten.

    Any tips on starting from scratch? I'm not very good at it, I'm afraid--I'm much better at adding details to things that already exist.
  19. maderic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2004
    star 3
    I'm still going strong on The Fallen Shroud and I'm about four hundred words from the fifty thousand mark.
  20. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    Emilie: one tip for creating the look for your people is to just sketch them as best you can. GL does sort of the same thing by having artists come up with ideas for creatures (as seen in film documentaries) and then he comes along and approves the ones that appeal to him. Depending on what species they are you could use the looks of people all across our world for possible inspiration, or if the people are sort of animal based start looking at pictures of different animals, possibly check out shows on Animal Planet or Discovery and see if you are inspired by something there. Even if you aren't a good artist, just sketching them can help you figure out a look that you like and you can keep it for reference when you describe them in the fic.

    sg
  21. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Interesting. Now, the naming language is a cool idea--how does it relate to the rest of the culture? What are common meanings? What would any given person know about them? What are the misunderstandings?
  22. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Why, what a timely subject for my epic. With my series, I've tried to do something different with each episode so as to challenge myself and hopefully not bore the readers :p This episode I decided quite a while back that the challenge should be to set it on a completely original world.

    So, to begin with history...

    Personally, I like to plan things out rather meticulously before I write a story. That goes for outline and any kind of important background on locations and OCs. Now, having said that, some things change or just get discarded along the way in favour of other things. But I personally need a roadmap to know where I'm going.

    For my current story, 'The Cure', the backstory of the planet and specifically the focus culture was important because it relates directly to why everyone's favourite Jedi team is there ;) So in this case, the history is absolutely important because it's what the whole plot revolves around.

    I found that once I had the core history in place, it shaped the other aspects of the society (their knowledge of the Jedi, their technology level, recent cultural changes, etc). In this case, the society has been gradually preparing for this important meeting with the Jedi about their force-sensitivity and kind of a recruitment session. So I had to kind of think of what the society was like before they knew about this meeting and try to incorporate how it's changed in response to that.

    All very boring, I know :p I just hope it works.

    ...lovely topic. I assume we might get to languages sometime? :) A certain linguist here would love you for it [face_batting]

    -sj loves kevin spacey

  23. Commander-DWH Shiny Costuming & Props Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2003
    star 4
    Hi, I thought I'd drop in since I'm working on a fic that is shaping up to be very, very long... 12 pages in MS word and I've barely started. It revolves mainly around an OC that was involved in the events of the KOTOR games, starting with the second. Then she decided she was going to show up in the first, too. And I want to get both of those done before I start writing my story about her on Corellia between the games, in addition to the biography of Aiden Star, which is working up to be a lengthy piece in and of itself (which is ironic, considering none of Aiden's memories are even real).

    In short, this little galaxy just keeps growing. I'm hoping it doesn't explode.

    The way I plan things out is, well... I have a very specific set of visuals. Scenes, as it were. And I have to chart a course that makes sense between points A, B, and C. This is involving lots of sketching and random drafts for the K1 story, since I have to know how things got into place for K2. Especially since I'm throwing a whole extra person in there, which upsets the general balance of the game's story, since she's SO different from the other characters. But that's where the fun in writing it lies, since a straight-up account of the game has not only been done sooo many times, but wouldn't be as exciting to write.

    I mean, come on- I get to write a romance between a soldier and a tree-hugging, social-reforming, barefoot pacifist with purple hair. [face_love]

    But that's still in the future... right now I just have to write the next part. And there's the trick, I suppose. :p
  24. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    It's July 1st, so it's time to announce the "Epic of the Month!" This month we are featuring The Power Play Trilogy - Part 1: The Fool Who Follows by Sebulba2179. Check it out! =D= You may leave feedback in the story thread itself and/or in this thread (but you should not use feedback spoilery to the story here unless it's accompanied by a spoiler warning and spaces. ;))

    EPIC OF THE MONTH
    Title: The Power Play Trilogy - Part 1: The Fool Who Follows
    Author: Sebulba2179
    Characters: Jacen/Jaina/Anakin, Luke/Han/Leia, OCs, minor EU and NJO characters
    Era: Beyond the Saga
    Genre: AU, action/adventure, drama, political intrigue
    Summary: As the New Republic is threatened by a terrorist movement, the Solo kids are dispatched to search for a lost Old Republic cruiser. But when espionage rears its ugly head, the search turns deadly, engaging Jacen in a battle of wits against a merciless enemy...
    Status: Work in progress

    Story Excerpt:

    **********

    The elderly interstellar tramp freighter had been docked for less than a half hour, but already the small boy standing on its bridge was gazing longingly out the window at the planet below. It had been a thoroughly hellbent evening for him, a nightmare of rodent-infested quarters and harsh diatribes by the freighter's captain. As much as he loathed the man, the captain was the closest thing he had to a parent. And yet, he was nowhere to be seen, somewhere within the dock trying to hammer out a trade deal with the merchants on this planet that the boy couldn't pronounce.

    As he gazed through the viewport at the planet below, his nose rubbing a small trail down the transparisteel, the boy felt his right eye twitch as a sudden flash of motion caught his peripheral vision. He turned his head, his eyes widening, drawing a breath in a sharp gasp as a ship dropped out of hyperspace not a thousand kilometers away. It was long, slender, gleaming and silver, and it was making hasty tracks past the system, as if it was desperately trying to outrun a predator.

    What the boy saw next enraptured him like nothing ever before.

    Later in his life, a sighting like this one would be no less familiar to him than the simple lighting of a glowrod. But as of this moment, he knew he would never stare off into space the same way again.

    Indeed, the silver ship was outrunning a predator. Hyperspace reopened, this time gaping hugely, disgorging a gigantic Imperial Star Destroyer that made the other ship look like a paddle boat. A Star Destroyer could dwarf most any ship currently afloat in the heavens, the boy knew, but his attention was still drawn intently to the first ship. It was spewing a rapid stream of red laser fire backward at the Star Destroyer, which was answering with a massive eruption of green laser bolts that burst and flashed like king-sized thermal detonators.

    The boy found himself wondering why the first ship was on the run. Clearly it had been engaged in a desperate space battle for quite some time, and for some reason it was now stuck in normal space with the Star Destroyer bearing down on it, bent on disabling it if not destroying it outright. The boy couldn't care less about why the Empire was in pursuit of the small ship, but he still couldn't help considering what was going on within the sleek silver hull. How many of its crew were still alive? Was it running short of laser power, would it be utterly vulnerable to the Star Destroyer in a few scant minutes? Or was its captain about to unleash an eye-popping surprise?

    The others on the bridge, the distant flashes catching their peripheral vision, had turned to watch the spectacle with him. The design and the appearance of the first ship was a dead giveaway as to its origin, and thus it came as no surprise that it was being hounded by a Star Destroyer. The boy scarc
  25. emimar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2003
    star 3
    I think maybe Starchaser could qualify as a long fic...I think so far I've written around 50 pages for it, maybe just over.
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