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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. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Not sure I totally agree with that post though. In my opinion, if you understand the English language and can convey and communicate stories legibly somehow through a bunch of words stuck together, then, yes, you're a good writer (or have potential to be a good writer). Nobody is a bad writer. You may not be good at maybe expressing certain things, but there's always room for improvement.

    And was that message really sent to that person as, "You're Not a Good Writer?" Like...with ALL capitals? :p Wow, yeah. Okay then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
  2. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    [​IMG]

    Sorry it's so big, but thought it would be appreciated here. I think so many people look down on fanfic because "it cant be monetized"... but that's not the point.
     
  3. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I think the term "Good Writer" implies that you don't have anything else to learn from practice. That you are enough as is. I also think it's limiting in the other way too. As in if you are only 'good' then you can't get better - you are stuck at 'good' and nothing else matters.

    I once had a conversation with a published author at a writer's workshop who opined that writers were 'born not made' and that fanfic didn't produce anything. She was, like I said, a published author. What she wrote were licensed Star Gate novels. You know, the things that are essentially paid fanfic. Apart from the astounding hypocrisy, what she said is patently false. I raised my marks in high school from a C- to an A- mostly because I had a good teacher AND more because I wrote every day because of these boards. Fanfic is what helped me pass English. Was I a good writer? No. I was an improving writer, an enthusiastic writer, a dedicated writer. I was/am still learning the craft.

    And that's okay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  4. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Wow. Yeah, the hypocrisy of some people hurts my brain. Sure, no matter how much practice you put in... most people aren't going to be able to write something to the likes of CS Lewis or Agatha Christie. And some people don't have creative minds period. But everyone is going to improve if they are passionate about something, practice lots, and enjoy doing it.

    I had a pretty sub-par English education in High School and I took 1 English course in all of uni. But despite this, many people have complimented me on my ability to write clearly AND with a lot of expression. Some of it probably comes from just how my brain is wired to work, but a lot of that comes from my fanfic!
     
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Ooh, lots of interesting and great conversation going on here.

    "Good writer" always feels a bit like a moving target to me. I had people tell me I was a good writer on the first fanfic I wrote back when I was a junior in high school, and I have people telling me that I'm a good writer now. Yet I'm not the same writer I was back in my junior year of high school. I feel I've matured a lot as a writer since then same as I have matured as a person. I feel like I'm a better writer now than I was back then, but obviously some people thought I was a good writer back then. It's nice to be called a good writer like getting any compliment is lovely, but I actually do prefer comments from readers that show the story had an emotional or intellectual impact on them or otherwise resonated and connected with them. Good writer almost seems bland and generic. Like anyone can be that or not be that.

    Since I think that is converse. That anyone can be considered a bad writer by some random reader. For example, I consider Guy Gavriel Kay to be the best contemporary fantasy writer in the genre today in terms of quality prose that is lyrical, poetic, and profound. I even recommend his stuff to non-fantasy fans because I think his writing is beautiful and powerful enough that it transcends genre. Yet, you'll still find reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever who will tell you that he is a bad writer because of this or that tendency that he has. I guess I look at it as no matter who you are as a writer, no matter what popularity you attain or accolades you achieve, there is always going to be someone who thinks you're bad as a writer and will want to announce that publicly on the Internet. So, good and bad, a lot of that depends on the person doing the judging, and their personal tastes.

    I also think that perspective of if what you write impacts or touches or otherwise resonates with even one reader is super important at least for me to maintain. I really treasure every review that I get. I get a special glow when a person is overjoyed that I focused on this or that minor character that doesn't get much attention or that I developed a backstory to a character they had never considered or I examined some theme in a way that felt really realistic. I know that my fanfic will never be the most popular out there, but the fact that it does connect to some readers out there and that they leave thoughtful reviews on it really means the world to me. It is so rewarding to get even a single comment that engages with what I was saying or trying to say in my story in a thoughtful way. That sort of continues the discussion that I was hoping to have with a reader or readers. And sometimes the comments help me see my own writing and story in a new way. I can share my perspective with readers and they can share their back at me. A sort of dual reflection that is very cool and immensely satisfying for me.

    I don't need my audience to be the biggest (I know it is not, and that is okay with me), or for my audience to think that I am perfect (I make tons of mistakes in my writing as with everything else because I am a human). All I hope is that my writing can communicate some meaning and something about what it means to be a human in terms of the sublime, the funny, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly and depressing. The full range of human emotion and experience as worthy of writing about and exploring. Not in one single story but in hundreds of different ones that all try to communicate their own unique truths and messages.

    I will also say that I love the message @Briannakin posted and it is really hitting home for me right now. I currently just finished listening on my morning commute an audiobook about burnout. And one of the causes of burnout mentioned in the book was the erosion of leisure and downtime that occurs when there is the need or perceived need to monetize what was originally a hobby. Because anything we monetize (even if it is a passion or starts as a passion) becomes work and with that added level of responsibility, pressure, and accountability that is associated with work. Basically, if you carve a table because it is your hobby, you can have more of a pure sense of enjoyment in the process of building the table just because you love experimenting with carpentry than if you intend to sell the table and you have to worry about any little imperfections that might drive down the market value of your product. I've even experienced that myself. As a librarian, I do read some books for work so I can review them or for some other purpose, and I'm always cognizant at least at the back of my mind that I am reading for work. So I can produce some tangible work product like a review. Which does change the experience from reading just for my pure leisure and enjoyment when there isn't the pressure to construct a review for my job. The very fact of reading that book for my job, connecting it to my income and my financial stability, adds pressure to the equation that doesn't exist with books that I just read for my own entertainment or personal edification. I feel freer reading when reading is connected to straight up leisure than to work. I love to read and it is one of my passions (along with writing) but when a passion is monetized, that is on the job time rather than leisure time and needs to be acknowledged as such or it can lead to burnout.

    I would say that professional writers don't tend to write for leisure (they probably have other hobbies and spend time with their families/friends as well) whereas for us fanfic writers fanfic writing is the leisure activity. The chance to write freely without it having to be tied to our financial welfare.

    And I would also say that we should resist the idea that the only things that are valuable are things that make us money. As if the value of ourselves and of our time and of our joy and of our passion can only be measured in dollars and cents.

    It's okay to enjoy writing as a hobby and not to want to pursue it as a career. Same as it is okay to enjoy going for a jog and not aspire to be an elite athlete. Not everything has to be a for profit enterprise. Some things can just be done for satisfaction or for joy. And we don't have to be the best writers or "born" writers or whatever to find joy and satisfaction in writing or sharing our work with an audience who can hopefully find something meaningful and resonant in it.

    Sorry for getting rambly again and thanks for attending my impromptu TED talk.
     
  6. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    That sounds downright arrogant. Writers/artists/anyone are made not born, unless you're exceptionally gifted or something. It's the result of years of practice and experience, learning from mistakes, etc, and learning from others who are accomplished who probably weren't as good as when they started. And it's also about persistence, passion and having a creative side you want to tap into. And yeah, I know I might never be like CS Lewis or Agatha Christie or even J.R.R Tolkien, but I would never want to be like them. I want to be like me.
     
  7. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I agree that if there's even one person who enjoys my writing and I engaged with in comments, then that makes my writing worth it.
    I've been doing this for 16 years and I couldn't tell you whether I've improved because I've been doing pretty much the same thing for the whole time. there are times that I want to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself specifically, but my wheelhouse is the work I like doing. there are people who like it and that keeps me going. That doesn't mean that a bad review doesn't sting, especially if it's one that is it is posted in a vacuum to be hurtful. However the reviews of the many outweigh the reviews of the few.
    Am I a good writer? In this medium, if my readers think I am then that's all that matters.
    Jerks can be jerks but those that have been on these boards long enough have learned properly how to engage a writer. At least I hope they have. If a lesson is needed,I'm sure there are plenty of us who would be willing to supply it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
    pronker, Mira_Jade , Tarsier and 4 others like this.
  8. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    From my experience there are two types of "bad reviews":
    1) people who give a bad comment to be a jerk and probably have insecurity issues
    2) people who give constructive criticism that, while may sting and may be hard to take, is actually helpful if you reflect upon it but must have positive aspects and suggestions for improvement. Like, if they think a character is OOC, WHY do they think so? and HOW can the author improve here?

    #2 is valuable even if not totally positive but #1 is literally why the hell are you even reading this story!? Go write your own if you don't like mine.
     
  9. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Another aspect of monetizing your hobby—now you’re making a product and you have to think about what will sell. Which isn’t always the same as what you love. I’ve been working with a partner to turn some of my art into enamel pins, and overall, it’s been a nice little sideline. But it’s also meant doing art of characters I’m not that fond of (looking at you, Maul) and having designs I love sell all of 15 pieces when we usually order in lots of 100 (my poor unappreciated Kaz). So while it’s nice to make a few extra bucks, it does add another layer of complexity to think of “would this make a good pin” vs. doing whatever I like.

    So…I’m in kind of a weird situation right now with my writing. I’m trying to do my fanfic Olympics as a set of linked short stories in which Hera and Kanan meet as youngsters before Order 66. And it would seem to be a perfect story for me—it’s got two of my favorite characters, spunky kids, an AU…I should love this story, I want to love this story. But I don’t. At all. Writing it is a struggle and it feels flat to me. My ideas for their initial meeting don’t seem to make any sense any more, and I almost wish I hadn’t posted my prologue because it’s gotten more comments than usual for my stories, so I feel this weird obligation to keep trying to make this story work even though I’m “meh” about it. I think part of it has to do with young Hera appearing in The Bad Batch recently; suddenly there’s a canon version of her, and now some formerly canon compliant aspects of my story aren’t. :p

    I feel like my creativity has taken a massive hit over the past couple months. I keep looking for an “easy win” to help me get back in the groove, but even the things that should be easy aren’t.
     
  10. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I know for me, the Disney take over kinda killed my SW muse and one of the reasons - I think - was how much content has been thrown at us (and there have been good aspects of that) and eventually even minor characters (for me it was Bail and Breha) became "unsafe". I know there are AUs and stuff like that, but I found it distracting and discouraging to the muse. Trying to keep things "canon complacent" (if that was the goal) or even an original idea I think in your Hera case (and by "original" I mean not done by the profic writers) has become so much more difficult.

    There's always rumours swirling about a West Wing reboot and the original creator has said he is open to the idea if he ever gets a good enough idea (and pretty much all the actors have said if it ever happens, they would do it) and as AMAZING as that would be, I also know it would probably kill my muse.


    Not that my muse has been cooperating. It's doing an annoying thing where it is giving me the first half of stories (all vignettes) and while I am super happy to have ideas to work on (I mainly use writing as a way to unwind and relax and escape) it's also annoying because I am putting physical work into stories (some are really good!) I cant finish and post.
     
  11. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I totally sympathize.
    Before the Disney takeover, I made backstories for some favourite characters that didn't have any, and suddenly some "paid" fanfiction comes along, makes some stuff up, and suddenly this is the "canon" version and it feels like I just wasted time expanding on this character because my stuff feels invalid and pointless to work on now. This can really just kill the muse. I think there's this risk when playing with high-profile characters (or really any minor ones that may seem "safe")--they are not yours, their story can change at any time, and whatever happens to them might make you unhappy.

    That said... maybe you can also work around this? Yes, there is a young canon Hera BUT this doesn't mean she can't meet Kanan at some point. Disney can't follow her around 24/7, right?
     
  12. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    You know, I'm not sure why this thing with Young Hera bugs me so much. I've built a whole multi-generational universe where S4 of Rebels doesn't happen, Kanan lives and has three children with Hera, and Ezra marries an alternate Mara Jade. :p This is minor compared to those changes. I guess because I pride myself in keeping the Rebels in character whatever AU I put them in, and now that there's Canon Young Hera for mine to possibly be OOC. For instance, it never occurred to me that she would speak with a French Rylothean accent as a girl, but she apparently does... I guess it comes down to this
    It may just be that this is the cherry on top of all the RL issues that have been wearing away at my creativity lately.
     
  13. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    I also sympathize. It's not quite the same, but Wedge is my favorite character from the OT, and I remember when Disney Nucanon came along and completely changed his backstory from what had been established in Legends. I was like Nope Nope Nope GAAAAHHHHHH. Still am, honestly.

    Can I toss an idea out? Feel free to pay it no heed, as it's worth exactly what you paid for it. :p

    You work with AUs, which is great. :) From what you wrote above, it looks like you start with the in-character-ness of the Rebels crew during the show (or thereabouts), and from there you splinter into your AUs while keeping the characters IC. Why not move the AU label to the beginning instead of to the end? You would have a variation on "official canon" (as shown in Bad Batch), and your AU (what you were planning on writing with Hera and Kanan meeting) would then lead into the in-character-ness of the Rebels crew during the show. It's putting the AU portion first and having it lead into your own core canon characterization instead of the other way around.

    I don't know if that made any sense. Otherwise... maybe the accent was a phase she was going through as a kid? Trying things out to find her identity, and then deciding later to do something different? (I haven't seen the episode, so I have no clue what I'm talking about.)
     
  14. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I was about to suggest this, too.
    There's also this clip from an episode I found where Thrawn interrogates her and she has that French/Rylothean accent and then changes to her real voice. I think it would be so cool maybe working with this accent thing and headcanoning (is that a word?) that she had this accent as a kid because everyone else did and then said, "screw it, I don't need an accent! I'm going to be me." :p That would be an awesome addition to a story!

    (Note: also,@Raissa Baiard , please choose to ignore this advice if you wish. I always resort to finding evidence against things I don't like or headcanoning as an alternative that makes sense to me when something comes up I disagree with.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  15. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Late to share my perspective, but I used to be a lot more focused on making every detail in my stories one-hundred perfectly canon compliant unless it was explicitly marked as AU, but then I reached the point first with Star Wars and then with other fandoms where there was just so much canon and new amounts of canon being published all the time, that it just made sense for me to loosen up. I try to make my stories and characterizations fit with canon as best I can, but I also acknowledge that I might contradict what is canon because there is just so much canon to keep track of so I just can't worry about it too much if I want to be able to write Star Wars fic. And I anyway, I would argue that Star Wars canon itself has contradictions and retcons, so it is not like canon creates one smooth narrative.

    I think the possibility that new canon could come along and upend my head canon and the stories I've written for some of my favorite characters exists in basically all my fandoms, but I try not to worry about that and say that canon can never truly take away my headcanon, and that if there were readers who loved my version of a character and a story, they will still likely be interested in what I write about the character and their story regardless of canon.

    So, increasingly, I am taking the philosophy of trying to never let canon get in the way of a good fanfic! Or of a fanfic that I want to write even if it's not good!

    If I like the canon, it can be inspiration for new fic. If I don't like it, it can be ignored or used as a springboard for "fix it" fic. Basically, canon is made the servant of fanfic in my mind. Which to me is as it should be.

    Fanfic first. Canon second. That is my mantra now.

    And that somehow makes me a happier person since I have more confidence in liking my own head canon than whatever will be canon in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  16. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I love this mantra. I think in the past before the Disney takeout, I was very fixed on the current 'canon' and all my stories needed to be 100% canon compliant, etc, and this was just causing unneeded stress. And then there's the whole "what if the canon changes tomorrow thing", that, after reading your post, honestly shouldn't even be the least of anyone's worries.

    Once The Expanded Universe essentially became "fanfiction" seemingly overnight, it really made me realize how dynamic this whole canon business was and that it doesn't matter what someone higher up decides one day and then someone else retcons it the next day--all of this is just difficult to keep track of and is tedious to work with.

    If you can engage your readers with a great story using the established canon, but not worrying how it's not 100% complaint, that's more important. In the end, it's all ideas and ideas change all the time.
     
  17. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Feel free to ignore this post because it's just a bit of whining and self-pity that's been nagging at me and that I want to get out of my head.

    There were about five fandom events (both here and offsite) that I was looking forward to participating in this summer. But real life's been nasty, and now it's already August and I've written hardly anything since around April or May. Most days my mind feels like literal mush, and I can't write (or even read) at all and end up just listening to music or mindlessly watching Youtube videos. But even when I am able to get something down, it's just crap and I don't like it.

    The thing is, I totally agree with a lot of what's been discussed recently - that we're always growing and changing as writers and as people, that 'good' is subjective, that it's okay to do something just for fun, that (and I'm quoting because @devilinthedetails said it perfectly):

    I just can't apply any of that to myself and my writing, if that makes sense. And it's all just so frustrating and so discouraging.

    To everyone having similar issues, my heart goes out to all of you. And to everyone who is still writing and sharing stories, thank you for sharing your work and I hope you all continue to find joy and inspiration in your writing. [:D]
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
  18. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I thought I might change the subject a bit ask what you guys think of absurdist writing. Now, I may not being using absurdist in the right way, but I do tend to like to read humorously offbeat stories with dialogue that is light and airy with clever banter and the occasional harsh sarcasm. I'm not sure if absurdist is exactly what I'm after, but offbeat humor with outlandish events and protagonist who is at once a fish out of water and yet uniquely qualified to succeed. Since my writing is mostly short form, I like to be silly once in a while and make the characters outrageous in a way that still fits in their canon character structure.

    What about about you? Absurdist much? Do you enjoy being silly in your writing every once in a while? How do you approach it, character-wise? How do you approach the dialogue? I would love to hear your responses?
     
  19. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I think my writing is absurdist? I dunno, I mean, most of it is pretty silly and offbeat humour is present I guess. I still like to keep canon characters in character as much as I can; it's just that I like to throw them into bizzare situations and now they have to deal with whatever :p I think in terms of dialogue for me, it would be: "what would the character say in this really stupid situation that's still somehow true to their character?"

    I hope something of that made sense.
     
  20. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    This post brings to mind the stories by Sith I-5, particularly those about Darth Enemy.
     
  21. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    I commit to love being silly and it's easy to do in writing for a funny animal cartoon canon. The main characters are profoundly serious in their attempts to protect Central Park Zoo, which is simple to lampoon when a menace is a snail invading from the park wanting revenge for an insult and using an Aliens-like exoskeleton to do so! I often experience trouble keeping a non-absurdist tone in a surrealistic canon such as this one, or maybe the task is impossible ... *ponders* At the back of my mind is the notion that I'm writing fiction about my entertainment (as opposed to practical writing such as copywriting to make money, or composing a serious email meant to inspire or comfort a friend).

    @};- Sith I-5.

    A meta-ish absurdist observation is that fanfictionDAHTNET and their stats page offers for years now various pings from "Czech Revar" and "Dominican Revar" and the widely encompassing "Europe." I like to think that "Europe" consists of teensy entities such as Liechtenstein, San Marino or Vatican City, but "Czech Revar"? Several Czech speakers commented in forums that there's no word in that language, though they understand that non-speakers think it means "river" or "republic." FictionPress even has a poem about it by East-0f-Eden.8-}
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  22. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    First, I want to say thanks to everyone for their suggestions on dealing with shifting canon and the feelings of disappointment and frustration it can cause. I’ve been plugging along on my Kanera pentathlon, trying to concentrate on telling the story and not getting caught up in canon vs. non-canon since it’s already an AU anyway. It’s been tough, especially because I’ve had a lot of interruptions and stuff going on at the same time. I almost finished the second part and hope to post it in a couple days. I don’t hate it anymore, but I still feel like I ought to like it more, if that makes sense. :confused:

    As for @brodiew ’s question—oh yeah, I love a good silly story every now and then! (I could use one now, but that’s a separate issue…) I think @gizkaspice is on point about thinking about how a given character would react in a silly situation. For instance, I’ve done a couple humorous stories featuring Zeb, but he is my straight man. He’s not the type to crack a lot of jokes or get too silly, but with his non-nonsense attitude he is great at reacting against the craziness. Ezra, on the other had, is a prankster who has no trouble spinning wild stories off the top of his head. Whatever the silliness is, you can bet he’s down for it and making snarky comments all the while (unless he happens to be the butt of the joke, then it’s So Not Funny). Dialogue is likewise about keeping with the character. Hondo’s penchant for hyperbole and malapropism make him a fun character to write. If the dialogue gets really silly, you can always have a character acknowledge the absurdity of it all: “I can't believe I’m saying this…”
     
  23. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @amidalachick I can definitely relate to that feeling of there being so many awesome fandom challenges that you want to participate in and then struggling to finish or post things for them. Currently, I have sort of the bad habit of starting a story for an event and not being able to finish it. Not being able to finish what I start sometimes makes me feel so guilty and unproductive.

    You have my sympathy for finding yourself unable to write and feeling like your brain is mush[:D]I sometimes feel that need to listen to music or watch YouTube videos just to sort of recharge myself or because I'm too tired/unmotivated to do anything else. I think I'm trying to be a bit more forgiving of myself for those times. I'm trying to remind myself that I do have the right not to write all the time and to let myself rest and recover and enjoy other things, and even not be productive every moment of my day. Like trying to see that as one of the differences between being a professional writer and a fanfic writer. If I was a professional writer, I would have professional obligations and deadlines since it would be my career and at least part of how I supported myself. With fanfic, the deadlines are ultimately much more fluid and I am making no profit from anything I write. So really the pressure I put on myself is not necessary or helpful.

    Sorry to hear of your frustration and discouragement! I hope your muse returns soon!

    With absurdist writing, I tend to be more likely to read an explicitly absurdist story when it is a fanfic than a published book, and I have to be in the mood to want to read something humorous. I do like reading humorous stuff with that touch of the absurd, and I admire people who are capable of writing absurdist stuff well.

    I do try to inject some amount of humor, levity, or irony into my stories, but I am not super confident in my abilities to write humor, and overall I don't necessarily see myself as a funny person. I try to be fairly cheerful and positive, but I am not sure that I am truly funny.

    I probably don't write that much that can be considered truly absurdist. If I do write something absurdist, it is usually inspired by a particular challenge or by a sudden desire on my part to just write something that is totally out there and crazy but hopefully in a good way.

    I do enjoy being silly (or what I like to think is silly:p) in my writing from time to time. It can make me smile and chuckle as I'm writing and I hope it'll have a similar impact on my audience when they read my work. Character-wise, I try to retain some things that are recognizably that character in terms of their thought processes or their reactions to events. Even just having characters sometimes be aware of the absurdity of the situation they are trapped in can work in my opinion. We could say it is breaking the fourth wall but the absurdist story seems a perfect place to break the fourth wall, and, anyway, when crazy things happen in my life, I often am aware of the absurdity of the situation. So I don't see it as impossible that my characters would be. Dialogue-wise, a lot depends on the characters I'm writing. Whether they have a dry sense of humor, a more light-hearted and laugh-out-loud sense of humor, or even somebody with no real sense of humor plopped down in a situation that is just absurd. Because sometimes that clash between someone who is very rigid and no-nonsense and a situation that is crazy and zany is a great absurdist combination.

    I will also say that Jon Scieszka has an interesting and insightful article on humor The Horn Book | What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka? — The Zena Sutherland Lecture
    (hbook.com)
    that is worth reading in full. But I'll quote some of the most relevant parts:

    "I believe funny is good. I believe funny is important. And I may just be rationalizing the path I chose back in fifth grade, but I also believe funny is never given the respect it deserves.

    Scholars and historians more learned than I have pondered this problem for ages. Why is tragedy seen as being more substantial than comedy? Why do we believe sadness is a more valid and a deeper emotion than happiness? Why is it that funny stuff never wins the awards? (What was the last funny movie to win an Academy Award? Or, closer to home, in our world of children’s books — what was the last funny book to win a Newbery?)"


    To me, this is a good reminder that comedy and absurd writing can be just as deep and full of insight as tragedy. Comedy can be a powerful commentator on the human condition and on human society. Humor is just as important and valid an emotion as sorrow. If a story makes a reader laugh, that is just as powerful a response in its own way as a story that provokes a reader to tears. And maybe the very best stories can draw both from us.

    "It’s much more difficult to explain or discuss what’s so funny about anything. The very nature of humor works against explanation. In many cases, the old adage is true — you either “get it” or you don’t."

    I think this sort of hits the nail on the head about the difficulty of discussing humor in writing. It is hard to explain what is funny and why, especially since individual tastes about what is funny and why can vary so extensively. What is funny to one person may not be funny to the next person, and may indeed actually be hurtful or offensive. Explaining the joke also has a nasty way of removing all the humor from a joke like a popped balloon.

    So, as a reader, I sometimes feel limited in commenting on humor beyond to say that I personally found it funny, and as a writer, I am never sure if my jokes are funny to anyone else but myself.

    All literature and art is to a degree a matter of personal taste, but that seems doubly true for something as nuanced and subjective as humor. I use the example of how I find Monty Python and the Holy Grail to be a film where I just never stop laughing when I watch it, but my little brother watched it and didn't find it funny at all.

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail is probably the ultimate example of what I find humorous. But I could never obtain that level of humor in my own writing[face_laugh]
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Speaking as a reader of terrific fanfictions, @Raissa Baiard -- your Hera, Kanan, etc. will always be more likeable and relatable than ANYTHING that Disney puts out @};-

    I know fanfiction writers care enough and know about the characters to such an extent that they won't do something terrible with/to them. :rolleyes:

    I actually was tickled by reading about a young friendly dreamy Hera. =D=

    As for the silly, I do love reading stuff that's outlandish; I have certainly been hilariously tickled by stuff about penguins and cats [face_rofl] I like to write snark but I am not really gifted with the context being itself silly. [face_thinking]
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  25. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    @devilinthedetails Thank you for your supportive words! Self-compassion and just reminding yourself to relax and have fun is important, and I've been trying to work on that. And I hope your muse cooperates and lets you write and finish all the stories you want to as well! [:D]

    Warning: This ended up being super-long and rambling. I kind of just typed out my thoughts as I was thinking them so read at your own risk. :p

    Regarding absurdist writing and humor, I love reading a good humor fic, and I would agree with the opinions posted here that most absurdist writing tends to be putting characters in completely silly situations and imagining how they would react. It can be so entertaining to read and to think about. :D

    Humor's a really complicated and really interesting subject, though. I've always thought it's a lot like smut, to be honest. The writing doesn't have to be 'good' to be enjoyable (which is true for all fic, and all stories really, but I find it especially true for these genres). There's no formula you can follow that says 'this+this+this = guaranteed funny/sexy times!". It's all very personal and very subjective - something that one person absolutely loves and thinks is the best thing ever could be absolutely disgusting and a big NOPE to someone else.

    First, thank you for sharing that link! I find this whole topic fascinating, and I can't wait to read the whole article when I have more time.

    I think part of it is that with comedy and humor, it's harder to do it well and to make people feel something. It's relatively easy to make someone go "aww!" or to tug on their heartstrings (cute animals! Tragic backstory! A baby! First kiss! Etc.). A badly-done tragedy or drama can be funny, even if unintentionally. But a badly-done comedy is just boring or irritating and chances are no one's going to remember it or care.

    Then, the idea that sadness is more valid and deeper than happiness is just really interesting in itself. Maybe it's because we're so steeped in negative emotions, from real life interactions to media portrayals (both fictional and non-fictional). We're so used to things being dark and depressing that it just feels normal and natural. I also think (and this is just based on my own experiences and observations) there's almost a feeling of guilt around being happy. Like, with everything going on in the world, who am I to find joy in anything? And maybe that's also a reason why so much fictional material seems to have taken such a dark turn in the past few years, because how can we even pretend to find happy endings anymore?

    And I'll stop now before I ramble even farther off-topic. :p

    100% agree! In some ways comedy is one of the most powerful forms of expression. Like with music, you can say things that you couldn't say in other ways, and you can speak truths that people may not even be aware of at first, but that they might start to realize later as they think about the jokes and start to see the deeper ideas expressed in them. There's a reason comedians and comedy shows are so often banned, censored, and criticized (and I fully acknowledge there are times where the criticisms are valid, but I'm speaking generally here). When I listen to old recordings of George Carlin, he makes more sense and speaks more truth than any authority figure. I've been listening to Bo Burnham recently, and some of the things he says and sings just resonate with me in a way that nothing has in a while. There are quotes from The Simpsons that, to me, encapsulate entire life experiences in one or two lines. It really is powerful stuff.

    Again, I agree 100% and I love how you put it!

    There's a line in the song "I Take My Chances" by Mary Chapin Carpenter that goes:

    But I can cry until I laugh
    Or laugh until I cry

    I think it's a beautiful expression of the idea that they're two sides of the same coin. Crying with someone and laughing with someone are such strong bonding experiences, even between complete strangers. It's like, you've got a connection and you're sharing something with this person, and even if it's only for a moment, in that moment you're not alone. And I just think there's something so beautiful and so human about that. And as a creator, for your work to be able to elicit that response from a reader/viewer/whatever applies to your medium is one of the most powerful and amazing things you can achieve.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
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