'Your story is ready, please drive through', Is Fast food Fan fic a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by DarthBreezy, May 26, 2005.

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  1. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    I've noticed that lately (perhaps with the release of the film) that the 'Epic' is becoming a thing of the past. There are fewer and fewer 'New Epics' in the works, replaced with 'drabbles' and one or two vignets (a good many of which I read could soooooo be expanded into full blown works insted of feeling like appitizers.)

    Yes I know there are 'Epic fics' on the boards, but a good chumk of them are either reposts or carry overs from ongoing months ago... there's so little in the way of 'new major works', especially from established authors (you know who you are, and if you think I'm talking about you I probably am. ;) )

    What happened to richly woven tapastries? Painting with the broad strokes of words and imagery? Post longer than 2 paragraphs and stories longer than three posts?

    Agree? Disagree? (Don't plug your fic here, but please feel free to discuss)


    Your total is $.02, Please drive through...
  2. flowerbee Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2004
    star 5
    I like a drabble ocassionaly, but dozens upon dozens of them get rather annoying. I like a good, long story that I can sink my teeth into, as it were.

    There are so many possibilities thrown out by RotS. There are many AU possibilties... and if AUs not your thing, what about the Jedi Purges... or Empire stories...

    Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed.
  3. ZebulaNebula Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 5
    Decent fanfic is fading into formulaic pieces using the same stale plots and characterizations. I look at some of these and think: formula piece. What happened to fresh, sweeping epics?

    Edit: I have only started two fics. One was a songfic that had to get out, the other, the start of a grand five-part series. The great fics of the old days are wrapping faster than new epics start. Look at any given page (at 50 TpP) of any era at any time. Chances are, you'll see ~5 drabbles, ~25 Vignettes/songfics, ~15 short stories and only ~5 longer pieces.
  4. CommanderConrad Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2003
    star 4
    I don't mind the occasional vignette, especially when I'm not in a mood to read something longer, but I'm kind of tired of seeing the boards cluttered with them. Especially when they're all about the same three characters. If you've ever taken so much as a glance at Beyond, you know just what three characters I'm talking about.

    Decent fanfic is fading into formulaic pieces using the same stale plots and characterizations.

    A-men.
  5. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    I have to admit that I'm very fond of stories with a plot. Even a quite short story can "go" somewhere, or have a new and fresh idea or twist. Purely introspective viggies are quite hard to pull off without going over the same ground again and again.
  6. ZebulaNebula Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 5
    And the fact remains that "Those Three" have not been utterly consumed by the cliche side of the Force. There's originality in them still - I can feel it. ;) I use "Those three" but actually do what I can to make them fresh again.
  7. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    ZebulaNebula posted on 5/26/05 8:24pm

    />


    Ahhhh, but Which three young Padawan? In each era of of fanodm, we have sets of three.../>/>
  8. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    It is getting harder to find quality, longer fics. I feel like I grew up with Beethoven and am now listening to Britney Spears at times. Where did the age of epics go? Am I like Obi-Wan Kenobi and my sad devotion to the ancient religion of 400-page fics cannot conjure up a decent fanbase? I know we have the epic writers' club, but why are there so few of us? Why are the 12,000 post threads Days of Our Lives remakes? Long bubblegum is still bubblegum.
  9. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Well, this IS Star Wars fanfiction. And there ARE a limited number of canon characters. So the odds of writing about the same characters that everyone else is writing about are pretty good, wouldn't you say? Hence the need for an original treatment, I guess...
  10. Lt_Jaina_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 5
    Well, to go from the other side, Breezy, I've posted exactly one long epic length fic here. I've been working on others, but due to time constraints or DWB or temporary loss of interest, I find myself putting them aside to work on something fresh that'll get the writing juices flowing: i.e. a vignette. Which is why I've posted about twenty vignettes in the last two years and no epics :p

    For a lot of people (well, maybe not, but for me at least), a lot of planning goes into the epic long fics. I've been planning one for at least eight months, and another for six, and I have yet to get past the first twenty pages written before I've been disgusted with it and rewritten. (I have a little thing with perfection of my own work :p ). So perhaps the reason we're seeing so many "fast-food" fics is that authors feel a bit lazy and just want to post something that they know will be read/commented on and will help them get the writing juices flowing for the other fics :D

    But I agree with what you said. I don't read many vignettes here (probably should, since that's the way I've been writing mostly), but I've stuck with a couple epic-length stories that are absolutely fabulous. Which reminds me- should probably get working on either my American Lit paper or one of the aforementioned "epics" ;)

    LJS @};-
  11. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I usually have been planning epic ones for several months, even years. My The Ties that Bind got 184 pages into it before I decided to do a massive rewrite. I did that because for the 19 months I was absent from the boards, I was plotting the nuances of that fic.
  12. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    While it is true that the viggies have expanded quite a bit, you forget that time is of the essence in many cases. The readers may not be able to invest time in reading a really long story. I know I have very little time these days to read anything other than short stories and viggies. In addition, my one epic has languished for the same reason - time.

    I think you can get wonderful plots and lots of character development in relatively short stories. It all depends on the writer and how well he/she can weave a tale.
  13. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    A while ago I wrote an "Unofficial Fanfic Archive FAQ" that has a "Never Asked Questions" section which more or less deals with this topic. The archive isn't the same thing as the boards, but archive submissions tend to reflect board content. From the "NAQ" section:
      What is the most commonly-rejected type of story?

      Probably the internal-monologue vignette, in part because it's the most common type in general, and in part because these stories have a tendency to devolve into all telling and no showing. Having Padmé think, "I love him," isn't as affecting as having her refuse to leave Anakin's side during some disaster that she could easily survive if she ran immediately.

      These vignettes tend to get especially problematic when they're set during a scene in one of the movies, as told by a character who?s a major participant in that scene. Such fics often turn into blow-by-blow reports of everything that happens in the scene-?which we know about already, because we?ve seen the movie. Inserting a slow, ruminative internal monologue into an action scene seems to work especially poorly.

      It?s not that this form *can?t* work-?probably my favorite piece in the archive is red rose knight?s ?A Day Long Remembered,? which is everything described above?except I wouldn?t really call Vader?s thoughts slow and ruminative. However, an unusually high proportion of these stories seem not to work very well.

      What kinds of stories are most commonly submitted?

      Angst vignettes and romance vignettes, pretty much in that order. Most of them are presented as a kind of script of a character's thoughts. These stories make up the bulk of what gets submitted.

      The "big three" characters are Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé, currently followed by Vader. Lots of Vader stuff since the "Lord Vader . . . rise" ad came out. Before the RotS stuff really started coming fast and heavy, the next-most-common set of characters after the PT heroes was probably Jaina, Jag, and Kyp. We get a certain amount of Luke/Mara and Han/Leia stuff too.

      What kinds of stories do you see very few of?

      We don't get many long stories or novels; even mid-length stories are fairly rare compared with vignettes. We also don't get many stories with a full plot arc (problem, complications, climax, resolution)--probably because of the shortness of most submissions. There is a small, consistent stream of action and humor stories, but other genres almost never show up: mystery, suspense, stories that explore Star Wars' more mythic aspects, etc.

      Stories set during the OT era are rare compared with those set in the PT and post-ROTJ EU eras. We see comparatively few OC's or film/EU characters not in the "gang of seven" listed above. We get JA stories now and then, but almost no JQ stories. What did Anakin do with his life before he was legal to chase after Padmé? Other than sit around wishing he was legal to chase after Padmé? We don't see a lot of Star Wars historical, far future, or Jedi/Sith philosophy stories, either.

      We did once get a very nice recipe for caramel brownies, though.
    That said, I can't judge authors for not writing epics. Epics hurt. Epics are like being chained to a big, mean plot bunny for months and months. I just had to post this on my epic:

    [image=http://members.aol.com/opheliamac/3000000words.gif]

    I have sworn that after this, I will write nothing but one-shots until I die.

    Edit: Just for the record, both the volume and the diversity of stories has really increased since RotS came out.
  14. ZebulaNebula Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 5
    The particular "Those Three" I was referring to are the Solo kids, although I could see other "Big Three's". I do my damnedest to stay original - no mean feat - and post 10-20 paragraphs of material every week or two. On the first part of a five story cycle with a projected grand total of ~200,000 words ~1,000 pages and ~1,500 chapters. It ain't easy.

    Edit: I broke my epic into five chunks to make things easier on us all. My style writing it has been fluid, tweaking things as I go along. Almost Lucas-esque in it's improvisionality. I enjoy the stability of working on an epic. Like a rock, it's there. Vignettes are fleeting, transient creatures; written, read, enjoyed, and forgotten. I think of my Renewal arc as being like a weekly TV series: long term run with a regular influx of new material. And the reruns are strung behind the new stuff for those playing catch-up to enjoy without disturbing those caught up. Frankly, I say it's . . . refreshing.
  15. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    As a *gasp* Viggie (snapshot) writer, I have to say that it comes down to a number of things, and the main one of these is time. I don't have the time any more to devote to one long epic fic, let alone the energy to sustain it. Ic an however, (I hope) wrap a lot of humor, sadness and emotion into one snapshot piece and link these together...it's simpler and faster then writing a big long piece and episodic stories (think Buffy) that have a main thread but you only see fragments can be much more fun and entertaining.

    Kithera

    P.S: So saying, I am planning on completeing an epic fic sometime in the future that I started a year or two (or three) ago.

    P.P.S: I could apply what people have been saying to "Where have all the Round Robins" gone too :(
  16. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ophelia, your post rocks! Thanks so much for that incredibly interesting insight into what is and isn't being written and submitted. It gets the plot bunnies jumping right there.

    That said, I can't judge authors for not writing epics. Epics hurt. Epics are like being chained to a big, mean plot bunny for months and months.

    Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes!!!!!
  17. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    That said, I can't judge authors for not writing epics. Epics hurt. Epics are like being chained to a big, mean plot bunny for months and months.

    Try years...


    Edit: As for the Archives and long fics, it's hard enough finding beta readers for short things... forget the long stories.
  18. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    dianethx posted on 5/26/05 8:44pm
    That said, I can't judge authors for not writing epics. Epics hurt. Epics are like being chained to a big, mean plot bunny for months and months.

    Try years...

    />

    But if the story demands it... "CHAIN AWAY!"/>/>
  19. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Try years...

    Yeah . . . I know. My current story has been on the boards in *some* form or other as long as I've been registered here. Truly.

    I was just ashamed to admit it. [face_blush]
  20. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Isn't there a middle ground, though, between one-shots and epics? I LIKE short stories, (which actually can vary in length quite a lot) but I rarely see them. A well-crafted short story is a real work of art - enough to get your teeth into as a reader, but not a year-long committment.
  21. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    But the problem becomes, if you are chained to one story and you only have time to do one, all those other plot bunnies die a horrible, awful, disgusting death. And, frankly, I get a lot more feedback from viggies than I ever do from my epic.
  22. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    I think you've hit on it, dianeTHX - feedback. The ratio of feedback to effort in viggies is defintely more favorable...
  23. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    Same with me. I found that I wrote one long epic (broken into three stories) plus USJS and it has taken me literally two years to recover. There is about a year period that I didn't write anything (when I was a mod) and the plot bunnies have only now started to flow again.

    I agree, Epics hurt...they really, really do.

    Kithera

    Edit: I don't get a whole lot of feedback for my viggies (although what I do get is most appreciated like people wouldn't believe) but that could be to do with where I post them and the fact that because I haven't written for such a long time that people don't 'know' me anymore *end sad, pathetic violin noise*
  24. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah--what dianethx said. Epics are definitely a labor of love . . . the toil-to-gratification ratio is not especially favorable. Edit: Ahhh!! Jinx, geo3, jinx! I didn't even see your post before I posted that!

    And yes, I certainly can write mid-length stories, and probably will. I'm just dreaming longingly of little 1,500 word one posts. :p :[face_sigh]:
  25. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5


    Well, one thing I've noticed is that there is a huge influx of newbies. For a newer writer, I would think that short stories and vignettes are easier to do just to get your feet wet. The first SW fanfiction I did was a short story, and I definitely liked getting practice that way.

    The second thing is, unless you've read the novelization, the movie is only a week old, and I think a lot of people are very excited about the movie and want to write stories related to it, but they're getting into the feel of the new order of canon with this new movie, and are using vignettes and short stories to get used to it. My guess is that it will take longer for more complicated plot bunnies to evolve based on what we've seen in the movies, so my guess is that by mid-summer, the boards will settle into a different dynamic of fics.
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