A Story Involves More Than Just Words...

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by katha, May 12, 2003.

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  1. katha

    katha Jedi Master star 2

    Jan 30, 2002
    it also involves charaters and their backgrounds.

    First of this is not an advertisment for my website, but I'd like for you to look at [link=]this page[/link] (if you haven't read my story Betrayal From the Past I suggest you just look at the index for now so you don't spoil yourself).

    My point for this post is, what kind of research do you do for your stories. Do you have a few desriptions of people and places in mind, or do you have extensive notes about your characters and their surroundings?

    As you can see I've done quite a bit of research (and hardly any of it is online). This is because I created a planet with a culture attached to it. Also, I wanted a different nemesis than the Empire, something more along the lines of Black Sun in Shadows of the Empire, so I decided to look at Offworld from the Jedi Apprentice series. So, that also had to be researched.

    Anyway, I'll stop babbling.. so as I asked before:
    How extensive is the research you do for your stories?
  2. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2001
    Ooh, neat website, Katha. That's what I've wanted to do with my OC-centric series. :)

    As for the research... well, I don't have everything actually written down yet, even though I should. After all, it would be helpful for the other authors writing in the series if they could go look things up instead of having to ask me... :p

    My most recent project has been to develop the culture of Naboo. I've done a lot about the arts of the planet, mostly because fine arts have always been of interest to me. Next was the political system, which is rather AU in my series, and then there was figuring out weddings. ;) Right now I'm working on the educational system. My attempt in all of this is to make it not Earth. I know that there's probably a source book out there somewhere with all this stuff written out already, but I'm having much more fun with it by doing it all myself. ;)

    However, I do have a timeline of this series written down, mostly because it spans over eighty years and five generations. It was becoming difficult to keep up with how old everyone was. :p

    One of these days I am going to sit down and write everything down - there's just such a prodigious amount of it. Of course, when that happens I'll have sketches of all the OCs too... right... ;)

  3. Sabe126

    Sabe126 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 18, 2002
    I didn't do any research for my first one but have done quite a bit for my current one. It is set 2 years before the Phantom Menace and revolves around the Chosen One Prophecy, the return of the Sith and how Jedi will be able to become spirits.

    I had already read the PM and AOTC novelisations and I had a look at the visual dictionaries and the scripts to both films to cover most of what is known about the prophecy etc so far.
  4. SobiFan

    SobiFan Jedi Youngling star 3

    May 7, 2003
    Oh Gawd :D I didn't used to research at all. Just typed stupid stories with flat characters and empty paragraphs.

    I now plan my stories, develop characters in my notebooks, try and get into their world. It takes FOREVER to write something this way, but I know it will turn out stupendous :D
  5. Trickster_Jaina_Fel

    Trickster_Jaina_Fel Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 3, 2002
    i don't do too much research -- i try to write what i know really well. however, if i create an OC, i make a Word document where i keep all the information i create on them or their planet/government (if it's unique), that way i don't contradict myself (too much :p)

  6. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I don't usually do a lot of research ahead of time because I've read all of the SW books (usually a couple of times). For my latest fic, I needed some information on slavery issues so I did some online research to make it more realistic.

    I also was thrilled when the SW Insider published a comprehesive Galaxy map a couple of issues ago so that I could make sure that the planets I used were near one another! The books had the maps but weren't as accurate and didn't list nearly the number of planets that this map did.

  7. Spike2002

    Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 4, 2002
    The villains in my story (featured in the link below) were already established villains in a story already written before I got the internet. So research wasn't too extensive since I knew everything already.

    As for Star Wars research, I've looked through every reference I could find to make everything perfect.

    In relation to your title, a story involves a lot of emotion as well.
  8. katha

    katha Jedi Master star 2

    Jan 30, 2002
    Melyanna: Wow, that sounds fun.. hurry up and get that stuff up I'd like to read it ;)

    However, I do have a timeline of this series written down, mostly because it spans over eighty years and five generations. It was becoming difficult to keep up with how old everyone was.

    That reminds me of a Family tree I attempted to do for a Phantom of the Opera story I started... boy that was a nightmare..yet so much fun.

    Sabe126: I haven't looked at the prophecy much since I haven't written anythign involving Anakin, but I have been looking into everything I can find on the Force and the Jedi Code.

    SobiFan: hehehe.. it would probably be better if I did mine in notebooks but I change so much stuff that I like the ability to remove a loose leaf page and rewrite that one part. I have one of those case expanable file things filled with my research just for Betrayal From the Past.

    What's you're record number of notebooks for one story? ;)

    Trickster_Jaina_Fel: Definately always a good idea to make sure you don't do that :)

    dianethx: Oh yes that map is wonderful. I marked where my planet Epona would be.. and each of the planets used in my story. Unfortunately I've misplaced mine...somewhere.. I'll find it one of these days.

    Spike2002: Indeed.. I grab every book I can get...wish I had a million dollars just ot spend on research books ;)
  9. KrystalBlaze

    KrystalBlaze Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 3, 2002
    If I have a fic which deals with a dilogue, mostly viginetts, then I look up the words. I'm a medical junkie, so whenever I have to hurt a character I look up what would be done to treat a wound and how long it would that. Besides, I don't really research, unless I have to invovle some drink or something I don't know. Then I just come here and ask y'all.
  10. the_jedi_princess

    the_jedi_princess Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 26, 2002
    Research... accursed word that, but unfortunatly, its necessary. I collect the Star Wars Fact Files, plus all the books, as well as digging through internet sites for anything that might be helpful.

    And then there is the OC stuff;

    1. I have created several generations of the Maganna family, including their Jedi Masters, friends, and enemies

    2. I created a new race: The Cathern'wins

    3. I've created an entire new region of space within the Unknown, called 'The Domain'. It's where my characters took Thrawn's map and made a government.

    And the list goes on I'm afraid.

    Everything is on computer, plus pages and pages of handwritten notes. I have folders by my bed where everything lives. I have, after all, been working on my fan fiction since 1998. That's a lot of notes. ;)

    Currently building my internet site. So far, there are only links up to most of my stories, and the character sheets is still in progress (25 pages in a word document, and still got 6 characters to go).

    I'm just glad I'm not the only one. [face_blush]
  11. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001
    This probably doesn?t relate to the topic, but when I saw the subject line, I instantly thought of this fic I had come across months ago. Does anyone remember this story that used still-frames (caps) from ANH, and someone had written a story around the images? I believe the piece was about Han running from the stormtroopers in the Death Star, with Chewie close behind.

    Anyway, getting back on topic, very impressive website, katha! :D The most research I?ve done for a piece of fanfiction was when I decided to write my first Stargate SG1 fic. I had to go searching through a couple of ancient history sites to locate information about Atlantis, and the myths/theories behind that. It was fun ? and educational! ;)

    jedi-princess, I collect the fact files, too :). I have five issues lying around my bedroom waiting for me to organise them into the folder, in their proper section and alphabetically. It takes me so long that I often procrastinate before completing the task :p.

    Am [face_love]
  12. the_jedi_princess

    the_jedi_princess Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 26, 2002
    I have five issues lying around my bedroom waiting for me to organise them into the folder, in their proper section and alphabetically.

    I've only got two lying around, three once I get the one tomorrow. We're hopeless, aren't we. But it takes so long...
  13. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001
    Precisely. I love Star Wars, but heck, I don?t organise my collectables ;).

    Am [face_love]
  14. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2001
    Thanks, katha! I'm working on the family trees right now - five generations of Naberries is a lot to code into trees. ;)

    For me, the research is the fun part. I get nearly all my ideas these days from looking at something in my research and taking it on a tangent. Two characters in the story liked dancing, and that turned into a whole snapshot about folk dancing on Naboo.... ;)

    Anyway, my research for SW fan fiction is nothing to my "research" for original fiction. I'm currently working on a fantasy novel, and the amount of stuff I've come up with for it is crazy. :p

  15. Aunecah_Skywalker

    Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 25, 2002
    I haven't done much research for my first couple of stories, but then again I didn't particularly write them for anything other than to pass time. [face_blush]

    My three or four recent stories all came with a lot of research, actually. For example, in my most recently completed novel-length 'fic, I had a lot going on about black holes - naturally, as you might have guessed, I have around a fifty-paged notebook on black holes lying around somewhere in my bedroom. Of course, I also never looked at my notes again while I was writing the story.... 8-}

    I guess, I'd have to follow Mel on her comments about research for original fics. I'm currently writing a SF story - well, I have the 10-paged plot written anyway. I've been accumulating books (yes - books) and books of notes for it for the past year and a half and probably will be for the next year and a half. I'm driving myself nuts. Sometimes, I just feel like burning all of my cupboard in a huge bonfire - and simply sitting down at the computer and writing the novel. I never actually managed the feat. ;)

  16. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 2, 2003
    About Research : My very first story was about Adventurers invading Jabba's Palace (the term under which we know it), after his death.

    The story died down, because I couldn't find any plans of the Palace.

    Has anybody seen any ? (I know there exist some in RPG books, but I don't know much more.)

    I surely on't go on with it without knowing what's possible in the Palace - and in buildings in general. I need exact coordinations, o to say. ;)

    When it comes to building a whole new world, I can be very detail-driven. I mean - I need details to describe a whole world. Unfortunately, I would end up like JRR Tolkien ... ;)
    That's why I have to make a compromise ...
  17. padawan lunetta

    padawan lunetta Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 15, 1999
    I'm a very disorganized person, so I mainly rely on my memory when it comes to my own characters. (Yes, I sometimes have to read back into my fics a lot to find stuff I forgot... ;)

    But when it comes to canon characters, if I haven't written someone in awhile I usually read the books that I feel represent the character the best to remind me of their personalities.

    I'm a medical junkie as well, I've taken EMT and just plain first aid, so I can usually rely on my knowledge of basic injuries. But things I've forgotten or haven't heard about I look up, because I hate being wrong. ;)

    I also look up fighting techniques for action, particularly lightsaber combat. (In which I refer to, and haven't had anyone tell me I've gotten something wrong yet. ;))

    Lastly I look up dances for obligatory balls and what not. ;)

    Basically I look up what I don't understand, and makeup everything else. ;)

  18. rogue11lovesjag

    rogue11lovesjag Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 13, 2002
    For fanfiction, I really don't research that much. I've read the books so many times for the era I work in, that I have most of the information that I need in my head. Occasionally, I'll look something up, and I do make good use of the map of the galaxy that was in the Star Wars Insider, to make my military campaigns feasible. Like, right now, the NR military is "island-hopping" from a planet of my own devising, Rosarian, to Kubindi, then Kessel, then Bimmisaari. The map of the galaxy is enormously helpful.

    For other fiction, I have pages and pages and pages of notes. Not notes about the background, just scraps and ideas, and I try to fit them together like a puzzle, and build a coherant society from that. I try to write down the bare bones of the story, and as I go back into it and revise, I'm able to add in the societal quirks and bit and pieces that really make up a society. I never write all this stuff that I think up down, though...somehow I manage to keep it all in my head.

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