Discussion The Scribble Pad (Fanfic Writing Discussions)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Briannakin, Jun 18, 2017.

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  1. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager

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    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Hello and welcome to the scribble pad, a place to discuss aspects of fanfic writing, ideas, and to complain about writer’s block!

    This thread is a bit of a mix of the social thread and the help thread. Here you can discuss specific stories you are currently working on, any challenges you may be facing with writing in general, or just different approaches to writing and posting fanfic.

    While this thread is similar to the Writer's Desk, this is more of a place for conversation rather than specific help. In the Writer's Desk you could ask "What's a Star Wars way to say 'It was his cross to bear'?" whereas in the Scribble Pad, you could talk about "Is it okay to use Earth idioms and how often is too often? Does it get confusing if you make too many SW equivalent idioms up?"



    Different topics could include:

    - experimenting with an “unreliable narrator”
    - warnings – when are they needed and when are they unnecessary spoilers?
    - what info to give at the opening of a story?
    - when does “breaking the rules of points of view” become sloppy writing?
    - keeping vignettes together in one thread VS creating a single thread for every story you write


    The Rules:

    1. TOS apply
    2. Talking about current works in progress is okay, as well as “thinking out loud,” but no shameless pimping (IE posting “READ MY STORY!!”) and for specific help, go to the Writer’s Desk.
    3. Linking to stories is allowed, but must be reasonably on topic or as an example.
    4. Stay positive – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
    5. Remain open – if you decide to “think out loud”/brainstorm here, be open to input, but also be understanding if someone doesn’t want to take your ideas as part of their story.
  2. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager

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    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    So, feel free to bring up topics that you would like to discuss [I have one about sequels floating in my brain as I am currently plotting out two sequels to my Bail/Breha fic (also, I am using this post as an example of how this is the thread where you can talk about/discuss what fics you are currently writing)] but I'm going to start us off with an interesting tangent that came up in the OC thread (curtesy of Findswoman).

    Content warnings. Obviously, the FAQ and TOS require some content to be prefaced with warnings (specifically Interspecies romantic relationships), and some content, no matter if it is prefaced with a warning or not, will be removed (IE content deemed above our PG limits). However, some writers will preface other content perfectly within our guidelines, such as character deaths, with warnings. When should these warnings be used? Are such warnings spoilers?
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  3. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Didn't know that some things needed to be pre-warned.
  4. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    I want to ask the main difference between here and the "advice and discussion" thread.

    But to get everything started.
    I have been told my chapters are "confusing"
    I have been putting in POV character name at the front of chapters a la GRR Martin like Chapter VIII Hamelie Mintensega.
    The chapter is written in Grand Admiral Hamelie Mintensega's viewpoint.
    Why might a reader get confused? Not enough backstory? I was counting on people to continue to read until they get the aha! moment and now I'm afraid I'm losing readers because everything wasn't in the first chapter.
  5. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Are you using different POVs each chapter, or staying consistent with one person throughout the story?
  6. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    different POV each chapter.
  7. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    That would be where it gets confusing.

    The human brain will skim some details whilst reading, and I for one would probably skip over chapter titles as meaning something to the author, but not to me.

    For instance, I find it more of a strain to read on screen, than a physical book, so I will take steps to confine myself to the 'meat and potatoes' of a thing, rather than absorbing all the ancilliary data as well, eg. I'll ignore most of @Ewok Poet's additional Sacorran data, and just dive into one of her stories.

    I suppose this means, that despite you putting POV etc at the start of each chapter, some readers might not understand the significance.
  8. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager

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    Feb 25, 2010
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    Perhaps a review of the FAQ might help. However it is only ISRR that needs to be specifically pre-warned.

    The other thread is more for help. For example, if you have a specific issue or question. The other thread was originally made for discussions as well, however, as there are often multiple questions going on at once over there, I'd thought I would try a specific place for more discussions, like for throwing ideas out, getting feedback, and just talking about ideas and approaches in general.


    This could go in either thread, but might be better for the other thread as you are asking for help. You could post it here, but make it more of an open question, for which you too have an answer. For example: how do you feel about changing 1st person points of view with each chapter?

    You might say something like you don't find it confusing as long as it is clear who is talking, whereas I would disagree. Though I am currently doing a diary from the POV of two different people, and I laid out in their first entries/chapters their backstory, I don't think changing POVs works as it is jarring for the reader. Once I am finished this diary that I am working on for this year's DDC, I'll probably never again play with changing narrators. Readers get to know their narrator and when that changes, it can be confusing and people lose interest in trying to follow what is going on because their narrator - their guide through the story - has changed. If I want to get multiple views, just stick with 3rd person. But I'm a huge fan of both reading and writing in 3rd person.
  9. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 5
    I think it depends on how many POVs you have going. I can usually follow 1 or 2, 3 maybe, especially if they all have different 'voices.' More than that can be hard to keep track of.
  10. MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2017
    star 3
    oh, so game of thrones and the expanse novels are generally not people here's cup of tea?
  11. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    There is/was a GOT type roleplay game on the RPG forum, and I have a vague memory of that being to get around a ban on either GOT or G R R Martin fan works.

    There is a Disallowed Works thread which lists where creators and copyright holders don't allow fan-created stuff; you may have to change names to protect the innocent.

    EDIT: Okay, here ya go: Disallowed Works List.

    If you find elsewhere that Mr Martin has changed his mind, and allows fanfiction now, that list will be updated, and you'll be good to go.
    Last edited by Sith-I-5, Jun 20, 2017
  12. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    ARRGHJ!

    I was talking about the fact that in GRR Martin and Janes SA Coreys works they change POV every chapter and every book have at least 7 POV characters.

    confusion strikes again! <Dexter S02E01> I am cursed </Dexter S02E01>
  13. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Ah right. You are fine then.

    I think @Briannakin 's response with using / reading multiple narrators answered your query the best.
  14. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager

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    Er. So in an effort not to let this thread die, perhaps a new discussion topic?

    Unreliable Narrator! Link to the trope page, but an unreliable narrator is when a story is written so that the reader questions the "truth" of the story. It's sorta rare, but typically done in first person, or when a character is telling a tale and they embellish (or lie) about events.

    Have you ever played with an unreliable narrator? If so, how did it work? Did readers get what was going on?


    I haven't played with an "unreliable" narrator, but in my diaries, I often like to present a clear bias towards the characters "writing" the diary. If they have a bit of an ego (for example my OC Lukia), of course they will leave out events that make them look bad or if they are embarrassed about something. I'm not sure if readers quite got it, I think I tend to do it a bit subtlety. But it was (and is) fun to write.
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  15. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 9, 2000
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    Certainly, every character tells their story from their own point of view. I don't think I've ever tried one. But it's a delicate line... are you having your narrator keep the truth from the reader deliberately so you can have a cool plot twist later, which can make the reader feel cheated and manipulated if you're not careful, or does the narrator genuinely believe the falsehood themself? I was thinking of Phillippa Gregory's Boleyn Inheritance, which has three narrators. One of them is Jane Rochford, sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and widow of her brother George, who accused Anne of marital infidelity. Her testimony ensured that both Anne and her brother would be executed. In Gregory's book, she has convinced herself that she did it to 'save' her husband and his inheritance, and that once he confessed, he'd be pardoned and come back to her.

    That would not make a bad future challenge at some point...write something with an unreliable narrator.
    Last edited by Mistress_Renata, Jun 23, 2017
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  16. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 4
    I believe one of Timothy Zahn's non-Star Wars stories, I think it is The Icarus Hunt, does this. Otherwise I thought it was a good read, but I definitely felt cheated when the truth was revealed. My reaction was something like, So the narrator's been misleading us this whole time? Why, exactly? I think it might have worked better if it was third person story. In this particular case, I didn't see any reason why the narrator would be hiding anything, except so the author could have a plot twist at the end.

    I think an unreliable narrator can work if the narrator is genuinely confused or doesn't understand things themselves, or if they have a reason to lie to the reader.
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  17. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    I can give an example

    In the fic I'm writing now, a character is written as a lightsaber specialist, very skilled in the blade work. In another chapter, Character B kills her. Describing their duel to the death as "the opponent's lightsaber skills are childish and amateurish and easy to defeat. Now which character is lying?

    Read wikipedia's summary of Rashomon (the Japanese film).
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  18. Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    There's also the idea behind the 'unreliable narrator' that narrator(s) are coloring their narration with their view and then we as the reader/viewer coloring the narration because of how we feel about the characters..

    Show Spoiler
    In The Force Awakens Han blames Ben's Fall on 'having too much Darkness in him' while Leia says it's Snoke's fault and that he took advantage of Ben's vulnerability and lured him to the Dark Side. Right here we have two different 'narrations' on why Ben went to the Dark Side. We then also get a snippet from an interview with Adam Driver and he says that just because Han and Leia were good people it doesn't mean that they were good parents (that's the gist of what he said). We also get from both Leia and Han that they argued a lot and, on more than one occasion, Han would leave for an undisclosed amount of time. So are we seeing things how they really are or are we seeing things the way we want to see them? No one wants to believe that Han and Leia were bad parents but what if they struggled like all parents and allowed things to become more important and their fears to rule them to the point they dropped the ball?
    Last edited by Lady_Misty, Jun 23, 2017
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  19. Tarsier Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 4
    To me, an "unreliable narrator" states, or at least strongly implies, that objective facts are different than they are. It's not just "a certain point of view" or an opinion. The narrator is not just telling us their side of the story, they're telling us a story that (purposely or not) does not align with reality.
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  20. Sith-I-5 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 6
    Personally, I cannot see anyone being happy, going from civilization, to the foresty, muddy, **** holes that EU Luke took his students to train them.

    Han and Leia might have had the best intentions, letting Luke take Ben away...but did they ever ask Ben?
  21. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

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    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Maybe Yavin 4 because the NR doesn't give the Jedi budget for building a temple? So Yavin 4 had the dormitories already there?
  22. Chyntuck Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2014
    star 5
    I love Keyser Söze stories :p There was an element of the unreliable narrator in the epic I finished last year because the POV protagonist was willingly ignoring the darker sides of the second protagonist, but it wasn't full Keyser Söze either. I've been toying with the idea of a multi-POV story for a while ( like @DARTH_MU described above -- you're not alone!) and what I'd really like to do is make it a story where *all* the narrators are unreliable. I started outlining it but I quickly lost track of who was telling which lie 8-} so it'll have to wait until I can dedicate my full attention to it.
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  23. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager

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    I love an unreliable narrator, I don't think I've ever done one though. Like Bri, in my diaries I try to make the character have a POV that might not always be the most accurate depiction because it makes them much more life like. We all think and do things that may not be accurate or rational, we may even know it's not rational, but that doesn't stop us. Sometimes we lie to ourselves. I want to say it makes us human, but we aren't always writing about humans and I don't want to be speciest, but I don't know how to say it otherwise. ;)

    I've always wanted to write an unreliable narrator story where that is part of the plot, but that would require more forethought and planning than I'm known to do. You can't pants that one!

    Also Chyn, an all unreliable narrator story would be amazing! It may also make someone's head explode (might be yours) but it would be amazing.
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  24. Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    We get the story from the narrator and their views and opinions are is what is presented to us. Imagine how we might think about the heroes of various stories if we were told the story from the point of view of the bad guys and it was that way from the beginning? The Rebels are terrorists, the United Federation of Planets would destroy our way of life if they were to cross our border, Batman puts innocent people in a mental hospital where they are tortured and so on. It happens in RL too: the victors write the history.

    All narrators are biased in some way but because they are heroes, or the rare case villains, we don't doubt the righteousness, or villainy, of their cause.

    We trust the writer to tell us who, what (where) and why and we then trust that we are being told the truth and not a lie.

    However, I doubt that too often we are deceived by narrators; but we are driven by our preconceived notions about the characters.
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  25. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    I agree Lady Misty. Lost Stars have convinced me the Imperials are the good guys.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
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