'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. Lt_Jaina_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 5
    Like ZebulaNebula, a good beta who sticks with me is a luxury I have yet to enjoy. I've had several who have popped in and out over the course of my story writing, but all five for my first story, which was an epic. And the best one? She didn't even read Star Wars; she was a friend I'd bullied into getting a TFN account and enjoyed writing.

    But now I have two betas, each for different stories that I'm planning. Maybe I've found some with sticking power (which I hope/think/believe :p ).

    LJS @};-
  2. SapphireBloom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 2
    As a newbie I've just been trying to write viggies to try and get my feet wet so to speak. I have an epic started (I have an outline and the first chapter is written), but to be honest right now it's too overwhelming a task. There's research that needs to be done, more planning, etc. I read constantly and love the epics these fantastic writers have posted. However, I like the short vignettes that I can finish in a few minutes as well. Like someone said before, it's the mixture that keeps it interesting.
    My $.02 for today.
    Thanks for a great non-flammable thread DarthBreezy!
  3. ZebulaNebula Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 5
    Yeah thanks. For once we have a jumper that I don't have to bring a fire hose.
  4. lurker2209 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2005
    star 2
    The general rule around here is write canon characters until you are established enough that people will read about your OCs.

    Dang! I must have missed that memo! O well!

    I write epics because they draw me in, give me something to think about, something to occupy my mind while I drive to work or do the dishes. A short story just doesn't grab my attention the same way. I'm not sure that longer equals better, pacing in particular is a problem for an epic. I think the best piece of writing was a 9,000 word short story I wrote in another fandom. It's good, but it's gone and it doesn't really have a hold on my anymore. Whereas my novelette OC (or probably MS!) story in the same fandom still sparks the occasional sequel bunny.


    I think those who have said that RotS is inspiring mostly short stories are very right. Epics, in my mind at least, have to gel for some time in my head. I'll get an idea, and maybe a scene or two. Often as not, they're scenes that would have to be set near the end or the middle of the fic. Maybe I'll jot it down, do some research, write three or four outlines that I will subsequently abandon. I'll wonder if it's really worth writing, but one of the relationships or characters will just grab me and I'll be doing some pedantic task like laundry and going over a scene in my mind. Eventually, if I still like the idea after a few months, I'll try to figure out where the story ought to begin, and start writing it. My current epic, just started, has existed, in one form or another, for two years before I posted it. I have scenes and a plot drafted for the sequel and a few rought characters and ideas for the installment after that.

    Now, while I suspect my thought processes are somewhat unusual, I think it is a fairly general rule that it takes time to develop an epic. A vignette can spring to mind fully formed. It's not always easy to write, but it usually doesn't require the same amount of time and planning.

    On another note, the Beyond board is probably in something of a transition because the Dark Nest trilogy hasn't been published, but the NJO arc has wrapped up. That's probably affecting the fic balance there.

    ~Lurker
  5. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    The general rule around here is write canon characters until you are established enough that people will read about your OCs.

    Dang! I must have missed that memo! O well!


    LOL. I used to write nothing but ocs, but then got bit hard by an A/A plot bunny.
  6. ZebulaNebula Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 5
    Yeah, Lurker, you're probably right about that. People may be afraid to start an epic because Dark Nest will likely wreck it's canonicity. As for mine, I said "I'm gonna make this Canon only as far as TUF, and to Sith with worrying about anything after it."
  7. Kaylle Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 1
    As a relative newbie to these boards but not fanfic in general, I can only agree with what everyone else here has said. Epics are exhausting, both physically and mentally. I love starting them, but in my entire life I've finished only one ;) (and I think I only managed to finish that one because my...erm, "adoring" public was ready to disembowel me if I didn't! What violent creatures fanfic readers can be! [face_beatup]). And after I finished it, I didn't even want to think about another epic anytime soon. (It's been 2.5 years and I'm still not sure I'm ready ;))

    One of the reasons I don't write many fanfic epics is that I hate coming up with the action part of the plot. I like character development and introspection and exploring how they think and grow. I don't like coming up with Imperial plots or alien invasions, and as a reader I tend to gloss over them in other stories as well. So I'm never really sure anyone wants to read about my latest OC bad guy's plot to take over the galaxy. Does anyone else feel that way, or is it just me?

    On the other hand, if you write an entire epic based only on relationships, you're basically writing a romance novel, and I've promised myself I'm not going to do that ;). And I'm not sure it would be well-received in this fandom, anyway.

    I do, somewhere in the ancient and cobwebbed depths of my hard drive, have the bones of an epic a friend and I scripted out in high school. A dark and sweeping tale of angst and melodrama [face_laugh]. Perhaps someday I'll get her permission to finish it, or we'll collaborate, and we'll pound it into something workable. But for now I'll stick to shorter fare.

    (Although, whoever said vignettes should take only a day or so needs to talk to my muse. I can work on a short story for years! College has killed my ability to write quickly :()

    Kaylle
  8. YodaKenobi VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 27, 2003
    star 6
    I just wanted to add, with people talking about continuity problems and meandering plots as why epics sometimes don't work, that it is possible to write an entire epic start to finish before posting it. I've done it 3 times, one of the stories was more than a 1000 handwritten pages before I posted because I wanted to make sure things worked. This also keeps from stringing it out for years and years. I was able to post it in 6 months, about two posts a week.
  9. Lt_Jaina_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 5
    YodaKenobi: That's what I've started doing. Unfortunately, that means I have much mor latitude when it comes to rewriting parts I don't like, so I haven't gotten very far. Hopefully, come summer, I'll be able to sit down and just write.

    The only problem with writing it all out is that you can still run into the same problems you would have if you wrote it as you posted it- only the only people who would know would be you (and the beta). It can still end up being very drawn out and agonizing. For one story that I've ended up putting on the backburner because I couldn't figure out a way to write it the way I liked, I've written over a hundred and twenty story pages, fifty outline pages, and seven versions of the story. It's can get to be just a tad insane. :p

    LJS @};-
  10. Kynstar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2004
    star 5
    Viggies are more fun ;) song fics even more so :D Don't have to go into all that 'long term thought process.' Specially song fics. Hear a song...idea pops in and wallah! Well for me it's that easy. [face_blush]

    Though epics... [face_thinking] I always get those mixed up as to 'when' to call one an actual 'epic'. Though I have one that is juz over 300 pages long (MS Word) dunno if that is considered 'epic'. [face_laugh]

    Writing has always been a relaxing thing for me, believe it or not. I've been writing stories (so to speak) since 1990 - though mainly fantasy. Juz last year I attempted my hand at Star Wars. But I truly have to admit that writing Star Wars has been an eye awakening for me due to most of the characters are already 'set' and going by their guidelines are a challenge. (Unless one does an AU...but folks still usually look for that 'set' guide line of that particular character) Obi is proving to be my worse one... and Shroud of Darkness is showing me that.

    Most know who my fave one is to write! [face_love] (Speaking of which it is Mr. Lee's b-day today he's 83 :D)

    Love the title btw Breezy! [face_love] So have any new PM'able tales you can send my way? I so enjoyed your past ones! :D

  11. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    We seem to be getting away from the middle ground here, so I'll pick on a writer whom I have infinate respect for Geo3 as my vict... I mean, example. A story doesn't have to be EPIC!!!11!! to counter the 'fast food' line of thought.

    Take Brother Mine, a 'snippet' at seven chapters but a fine example of a well crafted story (which, not withstanding, revolves around an OC). It's a meaty, stick with you for ages peice that took all of three pages (around about 150 posts with replies and all). You can read it in all of half an hour, probably less... but it has teeth. You end up hungering for more (only because it's such a good piece of work), yet it still has a very satisfying conclusion... heart... life... It's not just a quick 'sugar rush', nor is it a five course meal with desert... it just is.

    I guess I want more *like* this... fics like Brother Mine, To Absent freinds (GunraysLawyer), 'Redemption', (Marnie) ...

    Stuff like that...

  12. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    My ears are burning here... thanks for the laurel wreath for "Brother, Mine," DB!

    The intersting thing about this "short story" is that it took me a whole summer to write - about the same length of time as 1/4 of the last epic novel, which took me about a year. It was HARD and SLOW - a completely different animal. Whereas in an epic you can get into depth and explore character and events almost to your heart's content, I found the short story form required the same level of depth and insight but rendered in a way that every word, every action counts double or triple. It was an interesting, and tough, excercise.

    Anybody else have the same experience?

    Come to think of it, maybe that's why I enjoy reading short stories so much. They're as intense as viggies, but with a "story" experience akin to epics...
  13. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    My medium story, called Out of the Depths, is that sort of thing. It's Jedi Purges, but I'm keeping the psychology in the style of concentration camps, Nazi propaganda, and Episode III, so it is very hard to get things out.
  14. Darth_Lex Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4
    Breezy

    You know I agree about Brother Mine. ;)

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, although I do think there are some qualities only a long story, or an epic, can really possess. Intricate plots, complex webs of intrigue or deception, watching the long-term development of a character?s personality, realizing a clue left 100,000 words ago is finally hitting its massive payoff? Those aren?t possible in short stories, at least to anything like the same degree. To me, that?s part of what makes epics so satisfying to write, and to read.

    You can read it in all of half an hour, probably less... but it has teeth. You end up hungering for more (only because it's such a good piece of work), yet it still has a very satisfying conclusion... heart... life... It's not just a quick 'sugar rush', nor is it a five course meal with desert... it just is.
    I?ve read any number of vignettes that fit this description. I?ve read vignettes that got me thinking for hours, if not days, about the themes and characters they portrayed. True, those weren?t eight-paragraph viggies either; but is it really about one post or three or seven or twelve or even twenty? ?

    When it comes down to it, then, your description ? and it?s spot on to how great writing makes me feel (where are the next 400 pages of the ROTS novelization? :_| ) ? isn?t really about length. It?s about? breadth, and depth. Heft, maybe.

    Making ?thin? stories longer won?t make them any ?thicker??
  15. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5


    The issue with short stories--for me at least--is that I actually find them harder to write than vignettes or epics. When I wrote my epics I had really lengthy, meaty plots, and an epic allows you to sort of meander and have lots of subplots and cliff hangers and even though it requires more effort in time commitment it still allows you to take your time to tell a story. Vignettes, of course, are just short little snapshots and don't require much by way of time or commitment.

    Short stories, however, seem to really require the author be a disciplined writer in order to create a story with a definite beginning, middle and end but which manages to pack a punch with more economy of words.
  16. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I agree. Close Quarters, which is about 50 pages, was one of my hardest writing things for those exact reasons. I had to explain, plot, develop, throw in humor, and have a plausible ending with an objective fulfilled.
  17. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Darth Lex:

    (where are the next 400 pages of the ROTS novelization? cry )

    When I saw Matthew Stover speak he said he'd sign on instnatly if someone asked him to write the death of Luke Skywalker... "a great Jedi should not die in bed," he said. If only someone would ask him! If only!

    ? It isn?t really about length. It?s about? breadth, and depth. Heft, maybe.

    Heft. What a good word for this! Heft. Absolutely. Like just about every paragraph of "Shatterpoint"....

    Making ?thin? stories longer won?t make them any ?thicker??

    Sooooooo true....
  18. Sara_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 7
    I just finished writing a two-part vignette. I found that to be something very difficult to write. It's not easy fitting everything together that you wish to get across in only a couple of posts.
  19. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Darth_Lex posted on 5/27/05 1:56pm
    Breezy


    When it comes down to it, then, your description ? and it?s spot on to how great writing makes me feel (where are the next 400 pages of the ROTS novelization? :_| ) ? isn?t really about length. It?s about? breadth, and depth. Heft, maybe.

    Making ?thin? stories longer won?t make them any ?thicker??


    />

    And there in lies the very root of the issue... fast food fic verses 'heft'... =D= />/>
  20. sidious618 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    Funny that I saw this thread. I was considering having a KOTOR Epic that would tie up some of my ungoing plotlines and be a story that could also stand alone.

    Meditate on this I will. :)
  21. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    My favorite type of story to write is the short story. Vignettes are fun to write and read but usually just whet my hunger for more. Epics take just too much time. Short stories give you enough time for character development, plot and twists on a theme without sucking up your entire life for weeks/months/years on end.

    It may also have to do with comfort level in your writing. I know writers that can't seem to stop the words (not that I'm objecting :p), others write very short things and don't go beyond a few pages. My comfort zone is 10-50 pages long. Just a thought.
  22. Hans_Highnessness Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Personally, I like vignettes. Though a good short story can always win me over. :D
  23. JadeSolo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 6
    I think a vig has succeeded when it leaves the readers wanting more. How many times have you read something and gone, "HEY! Where's the rest of that?!?!" And I think that's great. :D Because while the author could indeed expand that into a story of several posts, or even an epic AU or canon novel, there's just something so wonderfully evil about leaving the "end" - or maybe "aftermath" - up to the imaginations of the readers. That is, there's an end to the vig, but the aftermath - that's for everyone, including the author, to ponder.

    I think epics are very hard for some people, because you want to make sure that even though the story is an epic, it's still very tight and concise. That is, you don't want 100K words of a subplot that drags on. You want 100K words of substance. But that can be exhausting for the author to keep up, and also exhausting for the readers to stick with. Especially if they're being forced to, you know, think and stuff. :p

    But there's that same challenge with vigs and drabbles - you have to convey your point through a limited amount of words. Sure, you could expand the vig into a short story or epic, but do you really want to? Is it going to take away from the story's punch?

    I think that sometimes there's also the pressure to have a certain length to vigs and short stories. I used to think that I needed 1,000 - 2,000 words for a vig, but if you don't need that much to get the story's point across, why waste the words? Maybe 500 is considered only a "snapshot," but I don't think it's any less entertaining that something that's 2,000 words. :)

    I think "episodes" are the most interesting - short stories that fit into a series. Because you could have everything fit into one big long epic story, but there's a reason the author chose to put a break in the story and start a new episode. Maybe because a certain amount of time passes in the story? Maybe it just needs a break in the plot? Cliffhangers?

    Or maybe it's not even a series, but more like a TV show - there's a common thread with the recurring characters, but the plot for each one is unrelated, save for the occasional two- or three-parter. And yet over the episodes, you still get a slow progression of time. If that makes sense. :p

    Such as Alias - each episode is a trip, and I really have to pay attention to understand what's going on. There's a little bit of a subplot running through each one, plus a recurring plotline that seems to surface often - Rimbaldi, Irena, etc etc etc. Translate that into fanfic, and wow. It's not quite an epic, because there's a clear resolution to each episode/story, but it requires the same amount of planning, if you're going to have those recurring plotlines and little hints to the future.

    I would love to see someone do that here. :D
  24. Knight_Dilettante Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 4
    I think, Jade, that that was what Ty-Gon was planning to do with his X-esh Files story/stories but he sort of fell off the edge of the earth there and while he came back and made one post theres been a decided lack of further story posts there.

    Pity because I was really looking forward to it.

    I write viggies to slay the plot bunny (some of which end up sounding like they belong in the leper scene from MP&THG with their "I'm not dead yet" calls) so that I can concentrate on the longer stories. The one I am currently posting will probably end up between short story and novella length but I don' really know since I am posting as I go. (Repeated note to self, never start without the story finished ever again.) And then I have a very long epic-ish fic I am doing which has some secondary stories that will go along with it that will range in size from vignettes to short stories I think.

    I also have another story which at least in time period would qualify as epic but I am not really sure there will be that much story there. It's really more like a set of short stories.

    My biggest problem is I let my muse lead the way I think. There are good and bad things about that of course. I end up with random length stories and I rarely know what is going to happen next or how it will all turn out in the end. Which means I really should be a get it all written before posting person.

    As to the level of fast foodness - well, sometimes I just really crave a Big Mac and sometimes I really want to enjoy a really amazingly crafted combination of flavors in a small appetizer. And sometimes (well, not often but mostly because I wouldn't know how to find one) I would like to experience one of those fancy six course dinners with two removes that one reads about in certain subsets of fiction.

    KD
  25. LuvEwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    My biggest problem is I let my muse lead the way I think. There are good and bad things about that of course. I end up with random length stories and I rarely know what is going to happen next or how it will all turn out in the end. Which means I really should be a get it all written before posting person.

    That's the same way I think, KD. I don't set out to write a long or short story. I just set out to say what I want to say. And I read things that appeal to me based on character and writing style, not length. I'll read about anything, as long as it has a little something that catches my eye, or is written by someone's work I'm addicted to.

    Like dianethx. I love her long story, Betrayal to pieces, but I've loved her short Xanatos/Qui-Gon story, and the little vignettes she's done as well. As long as great style and characterization is there, readers will want to be there too. :)
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