Wanted: Writing Advice

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by quietlunatic, Oct 23, 2001.

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  1. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    Hi, Fanfic Writers:

    My first fanfic, A Return to Arms, is in need of some input and/or honest criticism.

    Two people, Artemis_Silverbow and The Butler, have replied to it, and even though the story stretches to about 12 pages on Microsoft Word, there are about 1.5 replies to 1 story update; probably nowhere near the 8:1 or 9:1 you guys are getting.

    If you have a couple minutes to read through it and post something, It'd be really appreciated. :)

    Thanks,
    Samuel
  2. Jane Jinn Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 5
    One thing you have to remember is that the vast majority of people on the fanfic boards are fans first and readers second. They have their favourite heros and want to read more about the adventures of those heros. Some are looking for romance, some for action/adventure, some even for (dare I say it) torture, but the hero has to be in the story somewhere.

    Stories that involve original characters or lesser-known canon characters generally have a hard time here on the boards, no matter how well they are written. I've read quite a few, and for the most part, they stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of excellent writing, characterization, and plotting, but they only get a few replies from adventurous souls who can see beyond the lack of labels such as "Ani/Ami" or "JA".

    It's easy to get discouraged, but don't think about the fact that you have only one or two fans. Remind yourself how discerning they are, and what good taste they have, and keep writing!

  3. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    I needed to hear that, too, Jane Jinn. :)
  4. Melyanna Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2001
    star 4
    You should also remember, those of us who have lots of readers typically aren't working on our first fics. My first wasn't very successful, and it's been abandoned for the time being. I didn't really start getting a reader base until my third story. Don't give up hope on your first try. Sometimes it's tough to find where your audience is.

    Oh, as much as we love to hate them, you probably have lurkers too. I know of at least one lurker in my stories who happens to also be my brother...

    :D
  5. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    Thanks, Jane Jinn. Yes, what good taste my readers have... :)

    Daughter_Of_TheForce, you might want to check your Destiny Awaits thread. That was a good read.

    Melyanna, with my luck, the day after I quit posting, one of the super-authors will come up with a Kyle & Jan story. You're right, I probably have some lurkers.

    Thanks for your advice.
    Samuel
  6. DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I agree with everyone's assessment of the response volume. While original characters are fantastic and I love to include them, they don't draw as much attention as the ones with titles like "OBI-WAN SHIRTLESS AND SCREAMING! QUI-GON DEAD! ANGST! TORTURE! Oh, and the story's called Just Another Obific." Just remember that, though people are fans first and readers second, you are both a writer and a fan. Anything you do is a labor of love and no matter if you have a cast of thousands or a few loyal readers, it doesn't matter as long as you're doing it for you.
  7. Vergere Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    I admit that i favor OT character fics over any other genre, and tend to overlook the titles that don't have these characters included.

    It's very true that no matter what genre, a first fic is rarely as successful as what you see being posted (you know...the 1000+ posts fics). But the more you become known, the more people will stop by simply on your reputation.

    What you might want to do is get yourself a beta reader or two to go in depth with your fic and comment on even the tiniest details. Even authors with an 8:1 ratio of response don't recieve constructive feedback (it's more like, "That was soooo good post more soon!"). A beta reader can also help you to develop your story and characters much further than you ever thought possible...the key is simply finding a good one.

    Try e-mailing the TFN fanfic archive's beta readers list if you'd like to find a beta reader.
  8. Fluke_Groundwalker Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2001
    star 5
    My story didn't start getting readers until the 2nd page. And even now, that story is on hiatus.
  9. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    DarthIshtar, thanks. This last month has taught me more about writing than the last semester of Composition.

    Vergere, I guess I'm either shallow or a newbie, because usually any kind of feedback is fine with me. I'll find a beta reader when I'm about half done. Thanks for the link!

    Fluke_Groundwalker, it could be something with our names that scares away the audience. ?[face_plain] Just kidding, of course. When you get that story going again, though, PM me.

    Thanks for the well-reasoned advice.
    Samuel
  10. DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Vergere, good advice on the beta thing. I have my BiPolarBeta Society because the only thing I seem to get are emotions on every end of the spectrum. People think I'm crazy when I "beg for flames", but the truth is, no matter how good everyone thinks you are, you still need constructive criticism to make you better.
  11. Vergere Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    you're not shallow! (though you do qualify as a newbie...;)) i think i understand what you mean: you just want to know that someone--anyone--is reading your fic! if so, we've all been there. always keep in mind the lurker factor :D there are always those people that read and don't post.
  12. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    How about writing action? Is there a "better" style to use per story type? Today I've experimented using first person, but what are the thoughts of the "9:1 crew"?

    Samuel
  13. Ginger_Jedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 6
    quietlunatic I apologise for not reading your fic only I'm not quite up to date yet on NJO books. Sorry! :)
  14. Melyanna Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2001
    star 4
    quietlunatic, I've written an entire story in first person. I managed to keep it up for seventy pages before getting completely bored with only being able to write from one point of view. Some people can write it very well, but I found it extremely limiting. I don't know how Stackpole kept it up for an entire novel.
  15. Vergere Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    first person is a great tool...it's used very nicely in I, Jedi imho. i think it's just fun for a change, but i rarely write novel-length fics in first person. like Melyanna said, it becomes frustrating to be so limited.

    I don't exactly understand what you're asking about action. the style really depends on the person, but i think the biggest mistake most people make is forgetting about description and rushing through the scene with just the action. first off, the scene seems very bare of emotion and connection to the story line. second, it quickly becomes boring to me. and third, if there is no emotion or thought behind the action the point of the scene doesn't come across to me. obi-wan didn't simple attack Darth Maul to sharpen his sith-fighting skills...what fueled such a strong defense was the threat of his Master's death, and the threat of his own death.
  16. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    Two last [if stupid] questions...

    One: Has anyone here created a description of the GFFA's "afterlife"? Didn't want to tread on anyone's toes.

    Two: Would anyone object if I just turned this into a general questions thread for fanfic writing? I was thinking about just locking it [does anyone know how to do that?], but I just want to keep word about Return to Arms circulating.

    Thanks again. :p
    Samuel
  17. Fluke_Groundwalker Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2001
    star 5
    My story is written in the 1st person POV. It is a challenge, particularly for high action scenes, as the pronoun "I" always seems to be overused, even if you cut back on using it.

    Anyway, I've got quite a few stories, and all of them are on hiatus now. Once and a while, RL takes over. But I think I'll go write now.
  18. Vergere Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    One: Has anyone here created a description of the GFFA's "afterlife"? Didn't want to tread on anyone's toes.

    i haven't seen a serious one...though i think there was a humor version floating around. you could try it anyway, there's always different interpretations :)

    Two: Would anyone object if I just turned this into a general questions thread for fanfic writing?

    i wouldn't, but there's already a thread for that! :) link: The new and improved fanfic question thread

  19. DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Check out Clarus' "Of Burdens and Choices" and I deal with it several times in "The Other Half." Both on the Boards.
  20. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    Okay. Thanks for all the answers.

    Well, if you don't mind, I'll still ask a couple questions every now and then, so please bear with me; the newbie author's teething. [face_laugh]
  21. thegreatyoda Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2001
    star 4
    The most popular idea of the SW afterlife [at least for force users] is that they exist as spirits. They are able to communicate with the other spirits and have a grand old time. There is no Heaven or Hell type thing they just exist. As any SW fan knows Force users also pop up from time to time as shimmering figures to give advice. Timothy Zhan says that after a while they lose their ability to make apperances as "Force Ghosts" but I don't buy it.
  22. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    What about the "all-consuming chaos" that usually claims servants of the Dark Side following their demise?
  23. Vergere Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    hmm...are you referring to palpy's big "blast" as vader threw him down the reactor shaft? if so, that was just a physical release of all the dark power that he weilded--a sort of "dark side force storm" as his body became unable to contain it. as far as i know, since the sith and dark side jedi are not correctly using the Force's gifts, there is no chance for them to have an "afterlife". They can transfer their essence before they die, but once they're dead they'll stay that way.
  24. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I'm fond of ghost stories. So I have ghosts. But I "follow the rules" of so-called "real" ghosts... they tend to stick around only because they have a reason, or unfinished business. When that's done, they "go into the light." ;) I don't make distinctions between Jedi ghosts vs. non-Force sensitive ghosts. A ghost is a ghost. Though my Jedi characters say that "Jedi don't believe in ghosts." Which doesn't stop the haints from showing up! :D

    Bear in mind that our GFFA is a big place, with many species & cultures. Each one no doubt has their own conception of the afterlife.

    So, since we don't know about how the blue, glowing guys come to be, (though from rumors I've heard, GL is planning to explain sometime before the end of EpIII) I'd say use whatever works for you!

  25. quietlunatic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2001
    star 3
    A final question...

    Can you lock your own thread, or is that right reserved for the mods? If you can lock your own thread, how do you do it?

    Thanks!
    ql :D
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