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Discussion The Scribble Pad (Fanfic Writing Discussions)

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

  1. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I have to look and see what I did but I think I did convert them to human still working with their shapes and sizes and distinctive features.
     
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  2. Gamiel

    Gamiel Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    One way you could do it would be making it space-wester or space pirates.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    @Raissa Baiard, If you are wanting to write still feeling the urge do something short don't think that it has to be something larger.
     
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  4. Starith

    Starith Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2020
    @Raissa Baiard: For non-humans, maybe consider pulling from folklore to whatever relates to the time period/ setting? Like instead of a Lasat, the character can be a gargoyle, or an oni, or a werewolf, etc.
     
  5. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Fair warning, I'm gonna ramble a bit here, so lots of this might not apply to what you're experiencing. I hope some little piece might help, though.

    To start with, I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a break from a story. I have a bunch in various stages, most of them nowhere near completion. I'll get motivated to work on one for a while, get bored and move on to another, and on and on. When I end up going back to one, usually it's with fresher eyes and a bit of a break that let things percolate in my subconscious. Sometimes that helps with solving issues I had with it. As an example, I have a pretty long fic I'm about 95% done with that I've been working on off-and-on for several years. It's gone through several drastic rewrites, but at least now most of it is written. I have to go back and add in some scenes I skipped. Skipping around and writing scenes that interest me more in a given moment (versus the next scene that should come in the story) help me keep motivated when my interest starts waning.

    With that said, a couple things stuck out to me in your post: that you feel your story doesn't seem in-character and it makes you go "meh." Those sound like two potentially different issues to me that might have different solutions.

    If it doesn't seem in-character, the characters might be resisting what you're trying to do, making the act of writing feel like pulling teeth to get a sentence out. Why doesn't it seem in-character? I'd recommend really drilling deep into that and keep asking "why?". Kinda like this: Bobby has to steal that car for the plot to work, but he doesn't want to. Why doesn't he want to steal the car? Because he's afraid he'll get in trouble. Why is he afraid he'll get in trouble? Because he's not confident in his abilities to get away unnoticed. Why isn't he confident in his abilities? Because he messed up last time and got his friend arrested. Keep asking "why?" until you can't anymore, and then use that final "why" as a springboard. Knowing that baseline answer, maybe Bobby will try to find a way around stealing the car while still accomplishing his goals. This opens up new options, maybe even new pathways. Maybe something else has to happen earlier in the story to give him the confidence needed to steal that car. Maybe his lack of confidence means he can't steal the car, and that causes other consequences to explore as a result.

    By drilling down as far as you can, see if you can pinpoint where things first start to feel out-of-character, and go from there. Let them make different choices, even if it's just to play around and explore where they might take things if you let the characters run amok unsupervised. They might surprise you with something different. And that, at least for me, is the hardest part of this approach: letting go of what I think "ought to" happen and just allowing something else to happen instead. It's not a waste of time, or a waste of the writing you've already put in. That long fic I mentioned above? It's been rewritten about five times because I couldn't let go of some plot aspects and tried to force them in. It wasn't until I really gave the characters more permission to be themselves (for better or for worse) and let go of the really cool plot that I thought I wanted to write that it finally started falling into place.

    Another thing that has helped me was drilling down to really understand what the story was about. Especially with longer fics, I tend to throw in a bunch of themes and ideas because they're fun to explore, but then I lose focus of what I'm actually trying to say in the story, and every message ends up getting lost in the confusion. I've had stories I've needed to scale back because they were too busy, too garbled thematically. Keeping it focused this way means I exclude fun little subplots that don't advance the story, which is annoying, but then I write them as independent fun blurbs for my own enjoyment. :p

    For your other concern, that the story makes you go "meh," that might be an issue involving the stakes your characters are facing. Some of it might play into the in-character-ness as well. Your main character wants something in the story. Something is going to be preventing him/her from obtaining it. There will be consequences (good or bad) if the character obtains or does not obtain what they want. Those are the stakes the character faces. It doesn't need to be high-stakes in terms of the world ending or something, and they objectively could be pretty minor (maybe someone they care about is sad and they're trying get them to smile. Maybe they're trying to return a lost wallet to its rightful owner, etc.) but the stakes should be important to your character on a personal level. If they're not important, the character won't care. If the character doesn't care, you probably won't either. I'm not sure if that's what you're experiencing, but when I'm deep in my "so what?" phases, that's usually why I feel that way.

    Good luck, and remember it's okay to be stuck in a rut sometimes. You'll get unstuck. :) (FYI, this is coming from someone who is definitely a niche writer and feels bad for not doing NaNo in what should be a good, no-schedule-conflict-year for it because the muse has completely vacated the premises for a while now.)
     
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  6. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Have you considered trying to write a nature documentary style fan fic?


    Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
     
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  7. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    This sounds modest and appealing. Something a character puts great import upon but in the grand scheme of galactic things doesn't amount to much. There's a story on the departed TFN archive about *prods memory* a post-ROTS homeless person saying "This is my spot, see?" meaning their spot on a street corner for begging or whatnot. Then an Imperial procession comes along to prompt Person's memories of Jedi and how they did good, weren't perfect and died for it. The whole fic was, I believe, 1st person to demonstrate how important the spot was to the character.:cool:
     
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  8. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2015
    My further glib suggestion is to cut out the bits you find fake or boring.
    Just skip them or figure out simpler, different path for your story from A to B.
    Delete characters that you aren't interested in writing.

    In the most recent story I published here I had 3 characters instead of two, but I just couldn't make an effective purpose for that third one. So I murdered him. It took a bit of shuffling about. His words were reassigned to the focus character of the story. I had vague plans for the character, but I just couldn't quite turn them into detailed prose. The story wasn't about him anyway. So he had to un-exist.

    And I had a clear introduction and a climatic scene. I also had intended to write an extended middle section and an epilogue, but honestly they weren't the point of the story. Writing them was going to be a slog. "What am I going to do here?" So they both got yadda-yadda'd. Reduced to a couple of paragraphs.

    Kill your babies, as they say.

    (Lady Misty, you have an iPod Touch? Awesome!)
     
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  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    @Raissa Baiard, there is always the option of using an art prompt.

    [​IMG]
    What if Ronen had his pants stolen at the watering hole? Was Noemi there?

    [​IMG]
    What if Ronen had to take pet to the vet. Did Hera got with him or Noemi? They don't have to be kids.
     
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions; I apologize for not replying sooner but DRL decided that 2020 hadn't already sucked enough and sent a plague of mice to my house :p Because I didn't have enough cleaning to do.

    I managed to salvage that story that I felt "meh" about by doing this. I had a bunch of stuff about the main character, Kaz, and his father and what they were doing when the story opened--all of which was in character, but not relevant to the story of how he was feeling when he met a particular girl. I need to do this with my story "All Our Yesterdays", because I think it's too overstuffed with cool things about wolves and beastwardens when the story is supposed to be about an amnesiac trying to recover his sense of self :p

    This, too. The dad's presence in my story was cut down to a a couple sentences, mostly to tell Kaz to quit moping.
    I'm pondering this! I can see where they'd work really well in a fantasy setting (wizard Kanan, ship captain Hera) but I think it would also be fun to put them in a dieselpunk setting, something like TaleSpin; the Ghost would be pretty cool as an airplane/airship.
    "Now that's the real trick, isn't it"--Han Solo My vignettes have a way of turning into long multiparts [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh]
    Oh, the mortification...
    Filing this idea away for further thought, too. GFFA wildlife can be quite wild, indeed ("And here is the rancor in its natural-----aaaaaaaaah!" *crunch* Video cuts out.)
     
  11. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Have you ever had a story you just couldn't let go off? Like the bad ex-boyfriend of fics--you've really tried to make it work, but every time you do, it ends in frustration. But you keep coming back to it because this time things will totally be different. This is me with "All Our Yesterdays". A couple months ago, I swore I was never touching it again because it was just too frustrating and painful to keep running into dead ends on it. Now, I have this Brilliant Idea (TM) for retooling it by mashing it up with another one of my stories....and I have to wonder why the heck I am doing this when I've crashed and burned on it so many times. I'm afraid to get too invested in this new idea because I'm afraid that I'm setting myself up for disappointment again.

    Has this ever happened to anyone else? Were you ever able to make anything of the story or did you finally just let it go? Am I crazy for even considering working on a story that's given me so much frustration? Do I ask too many questions? :p
     
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  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    [​IMG]

    I have so many vignettes in my draft folder that I try to go back to and finish. Since they are vignette theres (obviously) no pressure to ever finish them because none of it is posted, but I still can't let go of them because they are really fun ideas that I just have no idea how to continue and end them. They are kinda nice to have around to try to finish if I'm ever in the mood to write and have no new ideas. And occasionally - especially if they have sat around long enough for me to forget them - I'll re-read them and have a breakthrough. But some just linger and are never finished. [face_dunno]

    I get both sides - both wanting to finish it because you've invested so much time into it - and wanting to just let it go. This might not apply, but I once had a plot bunny that would not leave me alone. I wrote and posted the first 4(?) chapters before my muse said, nope. But the dang nagging idea would not leave me alone, so I did a massive time skip and summarized 80% of the story and posted a really bad ending. Was it a really bad fic? oh yes. But it also gave my brain closure so I could move onto other things. Maybe just force an ending on it like all bad boyfriends need?
     
  13. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Same! This entire paragraph is basically me. :p

    I don't typically do multi-chapter fics, but I do have tons of oneshot WIPs and ideas that for a variety of reasons never get finished. But I keep them around because you never know when inspiration might hit. And it's actually happened twice recently that I've been able to use an idea that's sometimes literally years old. One was a ficlet for the Fanfic Olympics that was a revised version of a ficlet I jotted down and never posted anywhere after the House MD series finale, so it's been kicking around my computer since at least 2012 (which is a bit scary, thinking how long ago that was! :eek:).

    Then I had an idea during the drabble challenge that I really liked and wanted to use, and I tried it with about three different prompts and I just could not get it to work. But this month I was able to expand it a bit and use it as the backbone for a 2000+-word rough draft of a vignette (whether it will ever get finished and posted, well, who knows, but I don't totally hate how the draft turned out, so I'm hopeful lol).

    And I think the biggest thing is just to enjoy what you're doing. If that's reworking an old fic, great, if it's abandoning it, great, if it's starting twenty new WIPs that will never see the light of day, great. At the end of the day writing, especially fanfic, should be fun. And I know that sometimes that's the hardest thing in the world to convince yourself of, but it is true.

    I don't know if that actually answered any of your questions, but good luck with your writing and I hope you have fun whatever you decide to do! :)
     
  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    That may be part of the problem for me; this isn’t just a vignette. It’s my “what happened to Ezra, post-Rebels” fic, so I have between 5 and 10 years of story time to fill :p It’s always been meant to be a long multi-chapter. But I’m not sure if even with the New Idea that I’ll be able to sustain the momentum for that long.
    There’s this route...
    though technically, if I go with the new idea, the ending is already written in one of my “Things You Said” vignettes where Ezra reunites with Sabine, and a set of drabbles where they return to Lothal.

    In the words of Han Solo: “That’s the real trick, isn’t it?” :p I’m not sure this is fun. I get this feeling that I am morally obligated to finish what I’ve started and I don’t currently have any of those great ideas that need to be written. “All Our Yesterdays” used to be one of those ideas and now it’s...there on my hard drive, niggling at the back of my mind, trying to get back together. :p Maybe the fact that I am angsting over whether this will even work is a good indication that it’s not fun...
     
  15. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oh darn when we realize this and drop a fic like a hot potato! I hope the initial fun part of writing, which to me is getting the idea for a fic itself, sustains you through whatever decision you make. Random adage alert: there's fun and there's fulfilling.:-B
     
  16. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Point taken about the difference between the two. Perhaps I should wonder instead whether I’m likely to get any sort of emotional payoff from this story, because if I’m not, what’s the point?

    This is kind of frustrating to me, because I used to have all these plot bunnies just begging to be written, but lately I am going through long stretches of “yeah, I got nothin’...” So I’m looking back at all my half-written WIPs, partly in attempt to recapture some of that lost enthusiasm and partly out of a feeling of obligation to finish them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  17. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    I just feel that as adults we have just ages of our work ethic being pounded into us and go with the flow. Sometimes work is both fun and fulfilling. [face_good_luck] Alsoalso, now and then I tire of writing and do other fandom stuff, like crafting or sewing or drawing.:ahsoka:

    @devilinthedetails Maybe it would gain perspective and emotional payback if you revisited the very first fic you wrote and then the latest to see how you've polished your skills? I don't mean only characterization and plotting but little things like adverb usage and speling erros and stuff like that ...[face_good_luck]
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  18. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I have probably posted this before, but do any of you ever write cathartic posts simply to discharge some pent up pissed off-ness? I've been feeling this way yesterday and today, specifically and I'm not sure how to approach it. Part me want to listen to Christmas music and do my Holiday tropes entry and the other part want to maim, kill or write a nasty scene where some gets royally told off!

    What if your method of releasing pent up energy or anger in your writing?
     
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  19. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Let's think it through ... sometimes when something aggravating has happened in RL and I put it into a scene, I don't like it much. I realize that my ~space for being happy is violated. I might tone down the emotions of a character or perhaps place some words I used or heard in RL into a character's mouth. Really big issues upset me enough so I don't want to relive them by writing about them, if that makes sense?
     
  20. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I get that. I usually don't put the RL scene into a fic. In the past I have written and intense action scene or something snarky to get the feelings out. I'll probably set to work on my Christmas fic.
     
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  21. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I get sometimes just channeling a bad mood and putting all that negative energy into a fic. I distinctly remember once in high school having a really bad day and on the bus ride home thinking "I'm going to kill Luke Skywalker when I get home." It totally can be cathartic. Sometimes I want that catharsis when I'm angry, other times I just want to surround myself with happy ruff and forget about everything
     
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  22. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jan 28, 2007
    Welp, that was just me ... maybe others achieve catharsis through writing seriously RL subjects and putting their characters through deeper character arcs ... 8D
     
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  23. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I never directly take whatever is putting me in a bad mood and put it into a fic so I really wouldn't call it "taking RL and putting it into a scene." For me it's more like being in a bad mood so I just listen to some angsty screaming emo music, but it goes further into me writing generally angsty fic.
     
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  24. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I did this in a way last night. I didn't finish the entire fic, but I made myself sit down and finish the part that had been pestering me to write it. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, but it's written and I feel like I can move on now. Will it lead to anything that will ever get posted? Who knows, but it's out of my system, at least for the moment.
    I kind of wish I could do this, but when I'm angry or depressed, I'm more likely to fall into the abyss of writer's block than to be able to channel my emotions into fic. I think I might feel better if I could just write it all out somehow instead of wallowing in misery :p. So if it makes you feel better, then go for it. It sounds like a perfectly reasonable way to vent those feelings.
     
  25. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Does hitting something help? Writing and music are effective and so is going into the physical, really smacking or kicking that pillow or whatever, IMHO. Once I made a voodoo doll of somebody I hated and stuck pins in it.