1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Discussion The Scribble Pad (Fanfic Writing Discussions)

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

  1. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    So I'm just going to say I'm very skeptical of any sort of armchair trends analysis that cites no data whatsoever. The reality is it's very difficult right now to determine what's happening in media because there's both so much of it and the quality of data available about things like popularity has actually decreased significantly due the proliferation of streaming (which mostly doesn't publish ratings/streams) and ebook only book publication (which is a black hole, Amazon's publication stats in general are garbage).

    Some things to consider:
    1. For a variety of reasons there has been a distinct decoupling between 'media attention' and viewership with regard to many forms of media over the past couple of decades. Many shows that are extremely popular receive little to no media attention - the Big Bang Theory was the #1 show on television for years, no one talked about it. While certain shows, especially high-concept shows on premium networks like HBOs Sucession receive media attention vastly out of proportion to their viewership (which isn't to say that those shows aren't worth talking about, it's just they are surprisingly niche). If the media ecosystem has a preference for 'dark and gritty' - which it is arguable that it does - then those shows get over emphasized compared to more popular but lighter fare.
    2. Game of Thrones was a massive outlier in terms of popularity and influence in the Anglophone entertainment sphere. Now it certainly says something about media consumption that such a show could reach the heights of popularity that it did, but a single massive outlier does not make a trend and in fact is liable to distort matters if considered heavily.
    3. Star Trek is also an outlier. Trek, especially the Trek of the 90s (TNG, DS9, and Voyager) represent one of the most utopian settings to ever acquire a mass market audience in history. Consider that Babylon 5, a contemporary of 90s Trek is much, much darker despite still being an overwhelmingly hopeful and positive show in terms of overall themes. The Star Trek bar is an impossibly high one to judge another era of media by, since it was an outlier even among shows of the 1990s.

    It's also worth mentioning that the operational extent of some of these sub-genres is tiny. 'Live-action space shows of the 2010s' for example is not even ten US programs. There simply aren't enough shows to form a tend. There aren't even that many novels either, at least not notable ones. Amazon's list of best selling science fiction is dominated by Golden Age classics written decades earlier (Foundation just spiked due to Apple), and the handful of modern notables aren't exactly drowning in darkness. The best selling science fiction novel of 2021 is the relentlessly positive Project Hail Mary (its by Andy Weir of The Martian fame, and it's basically The Martian + alien friend).

    Fantasy is all over the place. TV is mostly novel adaptations and I wouldn't call them particularly dark. Honestly, romance is the dominant theme in modern fantasy adaptations, since paranormal romance has rather significantly flooded the zone in recent years and tends to be cheap to adapt (Netflix loves hiring groups of attractive 20-somethings to run around in Lower Mainland BC and/or Metro Atlanta while CGI-ing up the backdrops) compared to major fantasy epics.

    The one sub-genre that could really be labelled as consistently dark is near future science fiction, but then it kind of always has been, and if it has gotten darker that's arguably a reaction to real world trends (or perhaps a perception of real world trends, since aside from the environment the data suggests most things are getting better).

    There are plenty of positive and uplifting stories out there, even famous ones, found with a little looking. I mean, the 2020 Hugo went to A Memory Called Empire, in which poetry saved civilization (and a piece of space opera I'd recommend to any Star Wars fan). And indulgence in hyper-violent cynicism doesn't always last forever. Joe Abercrombie, who was sitting at the absolute pinnacle of that zone in fantasy appears to have slammed hard into diminishing returns with his Age of Madness trilogy (count me among the many who stopped reading).
  2. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Using the article as a sort of springboard for my thoughts and ramblings about art and literature:

    I think writing with hope can be valuable but that writing and art in general can be a sort of pressure valve for society and for the individual writer and artist. A way to wrestle with negative emotions, ideas, and situations. To confront fears. To deal with death and loss. To face traumas. To acknowledge horror and grief. The negative emotions are as much a part of the human experience as the positive ones.After the Black Death swept through Europe, for example, we see the development of the Danse Macabre (or Dance with Death) in the Late Middle Ages, that was basically intended to show the universality of death. How it struck everyone regardless of station. The Black Death killed people of all stations so no wonder this theme got so much exploration in the art of the Late Middle Ages. Similarly, memento moris (reminders of death) also crop up in the artwork of the Late Middle Ages and effigies of nobles/royalty began really emphasizing the horror of death (depicting skeletons or decaying bodies) instead of idealistic portrayals of the dead as if they were alive as was more of the style in the High Middle Ages. The Black Death was one of the most traumatic events in human history, so people wrestled with that trauma in art. And we can still see that wrestling in art in cathedrals today and in other places. So, if there is a big surge in dark art, I think it behooves us to ask why that would be. Why the mood of the time is so pessimistic. If dark art is speaking more to people in a certain age or era, why is that? What trauma are they facing? What horror are they confronting? It'll be there in the art. The art that is speaking to the people and to their fears. Their traumas.

    During the Cold War, the apocalypse often came from the fallout of nuclear warfare. This is society confronting the fact that humans now possess the power to destroy the world many times over. Even works that some might consider optimistic wrestle with the reality and implication of world destroying weapons. The OT, for example, features not one but two Death Stars. Two weapons that can destroy worlds with a single push of a button. The Chronicles of Narnia feature Charn, a world destroyed by a single Deplorable Word, and a warning from Aslan to Polly and Diggory that soon there world will have weapons capable of destroying it. Basically, a warning that nuclear weapons will exist in the lifetimes of Polly and Diggory. An acknowledgment that we humans can absolutely destroy our world in a children's book series that I don't think anyone would classify as particularly dark or pessimistic. In fact, most would probably consider the Chronicles of Narnia fairly innocent and idealistic in its outlook. In more modern works, the apocalypse often comes from environmental disaster. Makes sense for a world confronting global warming and climate change and the implications thereof. Society asks its big questions and confronts its big fears through art.

    Moving on a bit from that point, I don't think it is fair for works that deal in the more hopeful, optimistic end of the spectrum to be dismissed as lacking depth or being meaningless fluff or whatever. At the same time, though, I don't think it is fair to dismiss works that may deal with darker emotions as just being jaded, cynical, and not enjoyable, etc. (Especially since not all fiction is meant to be enjoyable or happy. For example, Macbeth is one of my favorite plays, but I don't know that I'd define it as enjoyable and I certainly wouldn't consider it happy. It's tragedy. It puts me through an emotional wringer. But I'm not sure that it is happy. It's still worth watching and reading, though.)

    All that isn't to say that I think it is wrong to have personal preferences and tastes about what one enjoys in any type of art (music, painting, literature, theater, movies, TV shows), etc. Everyone will have their own personal preferences and tastes, and to me each person's preferences and tastes are worthy of respect. The problem for me is just when an individual person acts like his or her preferences and tastes are the standard for what constitutes good or worthwhile art, or acts as if the only art that should be produced is art that happens to align with his or her preferences and tastes. Using myself as an example again, I think it's perfectly fine that I prefer to watch historical dramas and period pieces than action/adventure films, but it wouldn't really be fair of me to act like the only TV shows that should be made are historical dramas and period pieces. Or it's fine for me to prefer to look at the paintings of the Impressionists rather than most modern art but that doesn't mean I should be dismissive of modern art or people who have different taste than me and prefer modern art. Or it's fine that I don't tend to buy a lot of romance novels (I prefer fantasy, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc.) but it'd be wrong of me to act like bookstores and libraries shouldn't sell or offer these books for borrowing. All different arts to suit all different palettes can coexist and appeal to different audiences. And there can sometimes even be crossover between audiences.

    I would also say that there are a lot of great creators that can't be pigeonholed into one type or style of writing/art. The poet William Blake gives us the Songs of Innocence but also the Songs of Experience. Shakespeare gives us the lightness and humor of Much Ado about Nothing but also the darkness and tragedy of Hamlet and Othello. C.S. Lewis gives us the Narnia books but also A Grief Observed. J.R.R. Tolkien introduces us to the wonderful world of the Shire but also shows us the scouring of the Shire, and we may get the heroes of Frodo and Aragorn, but we also come to know Gollum and Boromir. Some of the best creators seem to want to explore a range of ideas. A range of emotions and experiences. So, my inclination is to give them that space and scope. That freedom to explore the highs and lows of what it means to be human.

    Let the man who wrote Surprised by Joy also be the one to wrestle with the Problem of Pain if he so chooses (if he chooses not to do that, that is fine too). Both can be worth writing and reading. I have both in my Audible and Kindle libraries. Both speak to me when I am in different moods. It can be good to be Surprised by Joy but also to confront the Problem of Pain. And C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, so I enjoy doing that with him. Joy can be transcendent. So can grief and pain. And if I want anything in my art, it tends to be a sense of transcendence that I long for most. I would say that it is wrong to tell William Blake he can't write Songs of Innocence because it sounds too much like sparkling rainbows and dancing unicorns. At the same time, though, I think it'd be wrong to tell William Blake that Songs of Experience shouldn't be written because, well, it is just too bleak and depressing. My stance is both should exist so people can be moved by reading and writing them if they so choose. And if they don't so choose that is fine as well. (Unless it's for a school assignment. Then it just has to be done, lol.)

    I do think "grim, dark" became something of a trend in adult fantasy after the popularity of the TV show Game of Thrones, but I would be reluctant to even label all of George RR. Martin's Westeros fantasy as "grim, dark." The short stories collected into A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms following the knight, Sir Duncan (often called Dunk) and his squire Aegon (affectionately known as Egg) are more innocent and light-hearted in tone. (And the audiobook version is read by the guy who plays Viserys in the Game of Thrones TV show). Those who are intrigued by A Song of Ice and Fire but want a finished series with a less dark tone might want to check out The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams. If they find themselves falling in love with Osten Ard, Tad Williams is still publishing novels and novellas set in that world, whereas it is looking increasingly likely that the A Song of Ice and Fire series won't ever get finished. I will also take a moment to plug my absolute favorite fantasy author of all time and recommend Guy Gavriel Kay whose writing offers a poignant mix of the beautiful and the melancholy. He is not as prolific as some other fantasy authors, but he is still active in publishing and usually writes books that be read as standalone or part of a duology, which is nice for those that don't want a commitment to a super long series that may never be finished a la George RR Martin. I understand not liking "grim, dark" fantasy (it's not for everyone) or getting tired of it when it seems that the market is oversaturated with it, but then I would just recommend doing the research to seek out alternative series or authors. George RR Martin not your cup of tea? Well, maybe Tad Williams will be more up your alley. Or maybe he won't be. Who knows? It's a matter of checking out different authors to see what styles and stories resonate with you.

    I will also say that I think there has been a tendency to equate "grim, dark" with "realism" and that is a bit of a mistake. "Grim, dark" is often not realistic in the same ways that many happily ever after stories aren't realistic. To use Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire as an example a quasi medieval world with a feudal society structured around agriculture could not realistically sustain itself with winters that last years and come about on a random, unpredictable basis. That's "grim, dark" world building for sure, but it isn't exactly realistic world building. The Dothraki are also an unrealistic culture (just compare them to the Mongols who are probably their closest real world inspiration). The Dothraki are "grim, dark" and arguably a stereotyped portrayal of a nomadic people but they aren't exactly realistic. It's okay that a world with dragons and ice zombies isn't realistic (it's fantastical) but it does show that "grim, dark" and realistic may not be the same thing despite the tendency many people have to equate them. More realistic would be historical fiction like that by Bernard Cornwell and Elizabeth Chadwick. Bernard Cornwall's works can be quite dark and bloody; Elizabeth Chadwick's less so. But both are fairly realistic (Bernard Cornwall's for the Dark Ages and sometimes for the medieval era; Elizabeth Chadwick for the High Middle Ages). Even more realistic still would be works of non-fiction like The Great Mortality by John Kelly or A Distant Mirror: The Calmatious Fourteenth Century by Barbara Tuchman.So, again, if someone is seeking realism, I wouldn't recommend A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. It simply isn't realistic. It's grim dark fantasy. Which is fine but an entirely different kettle of fish than realism in my opinion.

    I do think that in general many readers of fiction want likable characters, but people's definitions of likable characters may differ. Some may love the classic hero archetype and find those types of characters very likable. Others might found those types of characters very boring. Some will prefer the Han Solo to the Luke Skywalker.

    What people will want in fantasy world building will also differ. Some will want a world they long to live in or visit. Others will want a world that frightens or disturbs them. Some will want a world with a richly developed history. Others won't want to hear or read so much lore. Some will want a complex magic system. Others might prefer only a little sprinkling of magic in their fantasy. All have their fans and devotees, and some people will appreciate different types of fantasy world building depending on the story being told or on their mood, etc.

    Moments of joy can be moving to see on screen or read about on the page, but I also think other moments and moods are worthwhile and important.

    I guess I wouldn't want joy or hope forced on creators or audiences (is it really joy or hope if it's forced, anyway?) but I also don't think that "grim, dark" is the only meaningful or important art, and certainly I have my qualms about equating realism with "grim, dark" because "grim, dark" is often not very realistic at all. There's nothing inherently wrong with "grim, dark" or realism or happily ever after or anything in between. I can appreciate them all depending on my mood and the story or art.

    I think the biggest thing I like to celebrate in art and writing is just the difference and range of what is being created. The huge variety of emotions and experiences captured.

    That being said, I do like the exercises suggested in that article in terms of writing likable but flawed characters who have friends and creating a world where you'd want to live is good advice for many who might be interested in writing in science fiction or fantasy genres.

    Bottom line is I don't suppose I agree with everything in the article or the perspective/position of the writer, but I do think that there is some good writing advice at least for certain writers in there.

    Basically, I am just like, "Give me mush, but also give me tragedy. Don't make me choose between them. I want both depending on my mood."

    Thank you for listening to my incoherent ramblings.
  3. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    100% basically this.

    I just watched an interesting YouTube video called the "Rise and Fall of Teen Dysopias". While it's an hour and a half video you probably don't need to watch, the creator basically theorizes that the genre of The Hunger Games and Divergent ended circa 2016 because American teens no longer wanted fiction about dictatorships when suddenly the person in charge of their country wanted to be one. But I think these things are a bit more trend-based. Sure our media is influenced by our political landscape and always has been - sometimes as a reactionary response and sometimes as an escape. Thesis and dissertations can be written on the subject matter and it isn't simple.

    My brain is still kinda tired mush right now but I have a tangentially related issue. My muse has been a bit frustrating lately but I got an idea from the latest OTP. Problem is, the idea deals with the death a character I don't want to kill. I know the writer's advice of not being so attached to characters that you aren't able to kill them... I just don't want to kill off this character, no matter how moving the prose would be. As I said previously, I am all for catharsis and dealing with difficult subjects... but life has been hard enough and I don't want to deal with killing a beloved OC right now. But I want to write and that's the best idea I've had in a long time.
  4. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    Mass market YA fiction is incredibly trendy, with the trends being actively chased by publishing houses. Divergent, for example, had novels that had yet to be written optioned for movies because everyone with in a rush to try and cash in. It's not clear why YA fiction (and the movie/TV adaptations that flow from it) function in this way, but I suspect it has to do with having a small but extremely voracious market to feed. Specifically, YA has become something of a gateway/replacement for traditional romance novels and the romance novel market is known to be a market with a relatively small overall readership, but at the same time the readers of romance novels read a truly astonishing amount (the go to example being how Scribd had to modify its user contracts because romance novel readers were chewing through offerings at a pace that cost them a lot of money). Romance novel readers have traditionally liked what they like and 'hit repeat' on the same idea over and over again, leading to famous romance novelists publishing novel after novel that differ from each other less than the average two episodes of 'Law & Order.' YA, and especially paranormal romance YA, seems to operate by fairly similar strategies, but, because the audience - mostly female teens - 'ages out' of the genre fairly rapidly, the trends chance on a sub-decade timescale rather than a generational one like traditional romance novels.

    Note: I'm using romance mostly as an example here because it's a well known one from the novel format, but money-chasing trend-following is found in many other areas. It's quite noticeable in East Asian publishing formats such as manga, manhwa, manhua, and the light novel industry.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  5. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
  6. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    What do you do when your muse wants to go on a murder spree but you don't want to write anything super depressing so your heart/brain really isn't into writing what the muse wants... let alone do it justice? Anyone else have this problem? I need a good cry but I dont want to.

    Pretty sure this is 100% a hormone issue that should resolve itself in a few days
    pronker and amidalachick like this.
  7. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    :oops:I hate my muse sometimes. I've spent the past 2 weeks working on plan B for my OTP challenge - I felt kinda meh about the idea but I wrote it anyway (or like 90% of it anyway). Then, last night, my muse comes up with a brilliant plot for plan A (satisfies the prompts, my need for angst, without a death). So it's back to a blank page. At least Monday is the start of NANO.
  8. amidalachick

    amidalachick FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 3, 2003
    I just want to complain for a minute. That's literally all this post is so you won't miss anything by skipping over it. :p

    I've been struggling with writing on and off for about a year, and really struggling for about six months now. All my ideas feel so phony and pointless and stupid, and I haven't even touched my stories since September. But I miss it and I still want to do it, and in the last two or three weeks there have finally been a few times where I've gotten inspired and almost made it to the point of actually writing.

    And something's happened every single time.

    Extra shifts at work, drama at home, health stuff, other stuff - something always comes up and by the time I've dealt with it I'm back to being too tired/depressed/anxious/etc. to write. It's so frustrating. Like, is it really asking too much of the universe to let me have just an hour or two blissfully ignoring the toxic trash fire known as real life? Apparently the answer is 'yes'.

    Okay, rant over now. :p
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021
  9. darkspine10

    darkspine10 Chosen One star 8

    Dec 7, 2014
    I've definitely been there before, many times. From February to October this year I wrote almost nothing, before finally deciding to crack on with a plot idea I'd been sitting on all that time (I'm now about 8/10ths done with it). It definitely takes a lot of willpower to sit down and start chugging along. That was what kept me from first earnestly writing back in 2019, before taking the plunge and letting out an avalanche of words.

    Impostor syndrome can certainly hit hard, especially in the early drafting phases (I find editing a blissfully peaceful process in comparison). Partly I find first drafts a matter of getting the important details down, then refining around them, almost like planting a seed, then coming back later to trim the grass around it or clip dirty weeds away to let the good stuff shine. There's a lot of really awkward stuff I find I always slip in during the early phases, so many 'he furrowed his brow', or having the teeth-pulling fun of describing mundane actions like crossing a room to talk to someone. Those are the bits that slow me down most often, even more so than big sweeping plot decisions (which are their own can of worms, but at least more stimulating to think about and ponder). I just hope in the editing sweep I can work with what I laid down, tweaking and nipping and tucking and so.

    Anyway, back to the initial point, I always find that once I start in earnest, even if in a small way by writing a small section of full prose, it's often enough to make myself invest in the story and want to see it thrive. I've found this is the way many times in the past, that by setting out with the intention to begin, it gives me the momentum to see things through. It isn't always a smooth process though, and often repeats in miniature for individual chapters or even tricky sections, where I leave it for a while, before coming back and storming through in no time.
    amidalachick and gizkaspice like this.
  10. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 27, 2013
    I hear you; actually I'm in that position now. I don't think your ideas are phony/stupid/pointless, but if you're too tired/depressed/anxious, it certainly can feel like your ideas are phony/stupid/pointless. I know that because sometimes I have a spark of inspiration to do a thing and then I'm all "why bother?" When life sucks, it sucks all your energy to care about your hobbies.

    I agree with @darkspine10 to start small..that's what I've been doing lately. Even a paragraph every 2 weeks is an achievement or in the moment of inspiration. You will see your process and hopefully the momentum stays to continue!

    One of the problems I'm currently having is I think about story ideas a lot but I have no motivation to write them down. After work, I'm just tired of life and want to sleep and not care or think or anything like that or I have other problems clouding my mindset. I've been trying to take even 5 minutes on a weekend to JUST write a sentence and it's been helping a bit (I know that may sound ridiculous but to me it's an achievement :p)
    amidalachick and darkspine10 like this.
  11. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    Sometimes I wonder if it's just me which is why it is so cool to come to the forums and thread like this to see if I'm right. Of late, I've notice that I tend to start my fics with an expositional preamble to set the scene, I guess, or at least get into the head of the narrator. I have found that once I notice this I have trouble transitioning into the action and the wind leaves my sails for the fic pretty quickly. It could be a case of I just don't have the energy or 'want to' to write at that moment, but I also wondered if its the transitional barrier between exposition (introspection) and dialogue-action that follows. What do you make of this nonsense?
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I get it because I think I have the exact opposite. I get right into the action and dialogue without ever really 'setting the scene' well.

    I think it's that balance between entertaining the reader/'hooking' them in, and giving them all the exposition bits. The infamous fiction writing advice is 'show; don't tell but there's only so much you can show, you know, especially at the beginning of a story.

    One thing I try to remember is explaining things as they are relevant. Try to get into the action/plot fairly quickly and then sprinkle in that backstory. It's not easy sometimes.
  13. amidalachick

    amidalachick FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 3, 2003
    It definitely can be tricky to get that balance, and it definitely can be really frustrating.

    I'm not quite sure this is the same thing you're talking about but there are a couple tumblr posts from ao3commentoftheday that, IMO, address this a bit and make some really good points:

    Write the scene you want to write (a couple naughty words in this one)
    Consider not writing that thing

    The gist of it is, it's okay to write the scene/scenes you want without delving into a backstory or exposition or details at all. Or sometimes Palpatine just returns somehow. :p And that's okay. I have trouble internalizing this with my own writing, but I have tried it and it has worked to get me past something I've been stuck on. So maybe it's something that'll help you too.

    I don't know if any of that was useful at all, but in any case, best of luck and happy writing!
  14. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @brodiew, I'm sorry to hear about your struggle transitioning from exposition to action/dialogue and about feeling the wind is being taken out of your sails for the story after that initial burst of exposition! Transitioning from exposition to action/dialogue can be super difficult, and it is so frustrating when inspiration for a fic just seems to vanish.

    I do think there can be a real barrier and struggle to pivot as it were from exposition to action/dialogue even for published, professional authors. I also think whenever a struggle like that occurs it can easily create a feeling of writer's block or a feeling of being uninspired or frustrated. So I definitely think you are not alone and in good company when it comes to facing this problem, though, of course, when confronted with the problem in one's own stories, it can be hard not to feel very alone in the fight to write.

    If I could offer some ideas, I might suggest the following options and techniques you could try to see if any are helpful to you and your situation:

    1.If you feel that you might be leaning too far into exposition to start your stories, you could try to start the story in media res with an action sequence or bit of dialogue that you might have planned for later on in the story if it is a oneshot or that you envision happening in the first chapter for a multi-chapter fic. You could then provide more exposition after that initial action/dialogue, or you might even find that some of the exposition came through in the dialogue and the action itself. Sometimes I just find it helpful to shake things up in my writing and try a totally different approach if my usual approach isn't working with a particular story.

    2. You could always write your exposition as part of a story outline/notes or as a character-building exercise to get into the mind of the character and keep that as a separate document that you could always integrate into your story once you've written more of the action/dialogue that is giving you trouble, and since they are in separate documents, the challenge of integrating them can come later on in the writing process, once all the words are out and things can more easily be deleted or re-arranged.

    3. You can also always try turning off your inner editor and inner critic while you write the beginning of your stories. Maybe don't worry too much if you are writing too much exposition and not enough dialogue/action. If you want to write the exposition, write the exposition, because it is better to have too much of it than too little. You can much more easily delete the exposition if you decide that you don't want it than write it later when the inspiration to write the exposition may be gone. So if you feel inspired to write the exposition, write exposition without guilt or shame.

    4. I also wouldn't obsess too much over finding the perfect balance for action/dialogue v.s. exposition because I feel like individual readers will differ about what is the perfect amount of exposition v.s. action/dialogue. Plus, how much exposition v.s. action/dialogue is appropriate can depend on a variety of factors like the length of the story, genre of the story, and style of the author. So I would just ultimately advise approaching each story as unique and finding the best way for you to tell it as an author in your own voice and with your own style. Whatever amount of exposition you ultimately find working for the story you want to tell is really the perfect balance for that story, at least as determined by you the author. So at the end of the day, don't sweat things too much and trust in your instincts as a writer. They will guide you into telling the story you want to tell how you want to tell it.

    I think the key is just having faith in yourself and finding the method that works for you and gives you confidence and inspiration from story to story.

    Best of luck with all aspects of your writing!
  15. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Weird observation but I'm wondering if other people feel like this.

    I finished a book - fairly standard 300 page/12-hour audiobook stand-alone novel - and I feel like I have to re-read the book before I can really get into writing fanfic for these characters. I have ideas for plots percolating in my head but I don't think I know the characters well enough to write them. Like for (most) SW media there are at least a few hours of movies and/or dozens of books/comics to get into the main characters heads - and with side characters, there's likely less 'fleshed out' about them so you can let your creativity go at it and no one can tell you 'your characterization of XYZ person is wrong."

    But my feeling of NEEDING to re-read it also comes from the fact that, in the beginning, I really wasnt reading from the lense of "I want to write fanfic of these characters". I rarely get fanfic bunnies from most of the media I consume (is anyone else like this? this is probably a whole different conversation topic - what media/fandoms do our muse's latch onto and why?), so I wasnt catching all those character quirks and introduction basic details.

    AND THEN there's the fact that I'm coming off of 4+ years of MAINLY writing OCs - and even before that, writing SW as long as I did, I did get kinda comfortable and confident with my writing of the characters I focused on. Writing new (to me) established characters is scary!

    (for the record, I don't mind re-reading books - I love it as it helps me sleep - it's just weird that my muse is like demanding another read, even though I just read it and it wasn't that hard of a read.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2021
  16. darkspine10

    darkspine10 Chosen One star 8

    Dec 7, 2014
    That doesn't sound too unusual to me. I primarily write Gravity Falls fanfic, and in the course of writing those fics I must have rewatched the series at least 5 or more times just to study characterisation and the little details that make up the setting, all so I had the highest level of verisimilitude possible.

    For some reason GF is one of the only shows that motivates me to write fanfic, and has provided me hundreds of thousands of words of ideas that nothing else remotely comes close to. I'm still not one hundred percent clear on why it's this show in particular (besides it being a damn good show). Maybe it's the way it deals with some heavy themes and ideas, but only lightly touches on them at times, leaving room for more focus on it in fanworks, maybe it's just cause I find the characters have very distinctive voices that appeal to me specifically. Who can tell, but my latest 30000 word project speaks for my level of obsession for itself :p
  17. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Okay, a couple of discussion questions that I was musing on last night. Thought it might be a fun discussion or even lead those who are looking to change it up and expand their fanfic fandoms on a journey of self-discovery.

    1. What mediums best suit your muse (IE do you get ideas primarily from reading books, TV shows, movies, etc).

    2. What elements of a potential fandom lead itself to your muse wanting to write fanfic about it?

    3. How do you consume (or re-consume) a piece of media differently after your muse decides it wants to write in that fandom?

    Here are my thoughts:

    1. I don't think my muse prefers one particular medium over another. I think it just prefers fandoms that are (relatively) unchanging with a lot of material. Of course, those aren't hard and fast rules (my muse's current obsession is a stand-alone novel, though I guess the "unchanging" element applies), but in general, SW had 30+ years of content but when I got into writing fanfic in 2010, there might have been a few novels a year or a TV season for the Clone Wars, but nothing ridiculous that an average person couldn't keep up with; or a TV series that had been off the air for awhile but with 7 seasons of 22 45-minute episodes. Movies generally don't cut it out for my muse (not that there are many stand-alone movies these days) but I need to be with characters/stories for more than 2.5 hours before I can write anything. So, yeah, I think for me in general, tv-series are often the best, but I can see now why books (with like a 12-hour audio run time) are a lot more conducive to my muse than just a movie.

    2. I think a number of factors go into why my muse clings onto something (two being what I touched on above). None are 100% required but all I think play a role.
    -Genre - I love serial killer shows like Dexter, or heavy action packed Marvel universe media... but I don't like writing those things so my muse isn't going to decide it wants a Dexter fanfic. I like writing politics and romance but that isn't exclusively what I watch or read.

    - good endings with a potential for more. I'm a sucker for a good ending but I think my muse also needs that potential for further stories (it might be continuing on the character's journeys, a prequel to exploring backstory, or just even missing scenes). West Wing is a great example of this because the finale wrapped up so many character arcs and many of the characters flew off into the sunset for their (presumable) retirement... but the finale also saw a new administration with several characters, just ripe for new stories

    - great characters - I'm a character driven author so I need characters I love or room to create characters I love. Going back to the example of Dexter: love the show, but the main character is a monster who I don't want to spend hours writing about.

    there's probably others given that my muse is so picky that I cant think of.

    3. Maybe part of what killed my enjoyment of the most recent SW movies was the feeling like I NEEDED to write fics from them, rather than seeing if plot bunnies organically bit (or maybe I just didn't like the movies). I've been trying to get better at consuming media for the sake of entertainment, the going back to rewatch if it strikes my muse's fancy. If I am consuming (or recosuming) for the purposes of creating, I pay less attention to the story line and more attention to details and characteristics.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
  18. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Ooh. Some great topics for discussion so thank you for that, @Briannakin!:)

    My two cents (or two dollars worth as it were since I love to babble as I'm sure everyone on this site knows by now[face_laugh]):

    1. My main fandoms that I've written for are Star Wars (I will count that as movie series because it's first and primary media format is movies though I draw inspiration from books and TV shows as well), Narnia (I will count as books since its first and primary media is books though I draw inspiration from the movies as well), Harry Potter (I will count as books since it was first published as books and I really only draw inspiration from the books in terms of fanfic), Tamora Pierce (book series of YA fantasy), and Avatar the Last Airbender (TV show though sometimes I draw inspiration from the comics/graphic novels for fanfic purposes). So, based on that data, I'd say that I have a preference for writing based on material from books. However, I do feel like that result might be a bit skewed because I tend to be a very book-obsessed person in general. I normally average about an hour or two spent reading across multiple formats a day (I'm currently at 164 books read this year) and don't tend to watch as many movies and TV shows so it could simply be that because I read so much, I am more likely to end up writing about books that have been long time favorites of mine and where I feel like I know both the source material and the overall fandom culture like the back of my hand. Because I don't tend to approach the process of writing fanfic inspired by a TV show or movie much differently than fanfic inspired by a book series. It tends to be a similar process either way (and maybe calling it a process is elevating it too much and being very generous with the terminology since it is mostly a product of the random inspirations of my very fickle and flighty muse who does not like to be pegged down on anything). So equally random and prone to mess regardless of the original source material is maybe the perfect way to describe the situation for me.

    So, I think as far as a preference goes for me it's not so much about the form of media as it is about the genre. In that I tend to lean heavily toward what can be classified in the fantasy genre. Star Wars could be defined as space fantasy as much as it could be considered sci-fi in my opinion. Narnia is classic portal fantasy. Harry Potter and Tamora Pierce are YA/middle grade fantasy. And Avatar the Last Airbender is an animated fantasy TV show with a variety of Asian and Inuit influences that I appreciate. The fact that I'm drawn to writing fantasy fanfic is notable to me because I read and consume media in a lot of other genres. Such as non-fiction/documentaries/memoirs, historical fiction, historical dramas, etc. Yet it only seems to be fantasy that I'm drawn to writing fanfic about even if I definitely do borrow from real world history and culture for inspiration for my fanfic. Fantasy seems to light my imagination and spark my creativity in a way that other genres don't. Like I don't know if I've ever written a fanfic that wasn't for a book, movie, or TV show that couldn't be classified under the fantasy genre. Unless we are being very determined to classify Star Wars as sci-fi and not space fantasy. In that case, I branch out to sci-fi as well, which is like the sister genre of fantasy and often gets filed with fantasy in libraries and bookstores anyway. So not exactly roaming too far from my fantasy comfort zone if at all.

    2. I think there are a number of factors that can influence how likely I am to write a fanfic inspired by a particular work (whether book, TV series, movie, etc.) and a lot of them are really more rooted in the subjectivity of my fickle muse than in anything objective and concrete.Apart from the genre consideration of me apparently being drawn to writing fantasy like a moth to flame that I discussed in the above paragraph, I think that there absolutely has to be something in the world building and setting that draws me in and makes me want to explore the nuances and richness of that setting in more depth. It has to to a world that I want to engage with in my own mind and writing. It has to really hook me and make me feel like there are some complex elements for me to delve into because as a writer I seem to thrive off complicated. It could be the world through the wardrobe of Narnia or the magical boarding school of Harry Potter or the different cultures and types of bending in Avatar or the Jedi/Force and galaxy far, far away of Star Wars. Different cultures, places, and philosophies can also help pull me into the world and give me something to sink my teeth into when it comes to fanfic writing.

    I would also say that I am like you, @Briannakin, in terms of being inspired to write fanfic for a fandom by the characters in the source material. For me, I could fall in love with the personality of a major character and want to explore that character and personality in more depth or just go on more adventures with that character. Or it could be something in that character's backstory that is really relatable or moving to me, and I just want to dive into it more than canon could and create a story about that. Or it could be a minor character who has a neat little detail given about them that I feel the urge to write a story about or a minor character that seems to have a cool personality and I want to write a whole story where they can be the center of attention and get some time in the spotlight. Or the characters in canon could be dealing with a ton of drama, tragedy, or trauma, and I just want to engage with that drama, tragedy, or trauma. And there often tend to be certain characters in each fandom that I will focus a lot of attention on because I will tend to fall in love with certain characters or really want to explore certain characters more.

    This probably connects to both world building and character, but I also have to have the sense of things going on off-screen or off-page that I can explore more. Something has to strike me as a story that needs to be told in connection to this original source material. There needs to be that lightning bolt of inspiration that makes me go, "Ah, there is a story there, and I just need to tell it!"

    I think some of it is also a level of comfort. When I have been writing in certain fandoms for awhile (and often with certain favorite characters or elements of world building), I can feel like I know the characters and world really well, and so slipping into that world when I write can feel like sliding into a pair of shoes that fit just right rather than risking blisters by putting on a new pair of shoes. Basically, jumping into a new fandom does require some courage on my part, and some anxiety about not capturing the world or the characters well or wondering about how I might be received by readers and other writers in whatever new fandom I'm tackling.

    Another element of it for me is I think the community aspects of fanfic writing. With some fandoms, I have become involved with fanfic communities in terms of writing for challenges, prompts, and gift exchanges and just gotten to know other members of the fandom as readers and authors, so writing fanfic for that community becomes a way of connecting with a community that I care about. Community is part of the appeal with fanfic for me, so when I am engaged with a particular fanfic community, that tends to keep me involved in writing fanfic about that fandom for years and years at a time. It becomes more than just a personal hobby and is transformed into something that I can share with others, and that is motivating for me. So writing for a new fandom can raise that question of, "Well, how will I be perceived by this community in this fandom? Will they welcome me as the new kid on the block or will they think my writing is terrible and offensive?" Whereas writing for a fandom I know, I feel like I have an established audience of readers with whom I have some street cred. So they won't be like, "What's devilinthedetails doing writing a Star Wars fic?" Which is probably my own insecurity as a writer and a person talking:pSo for those with more confidence than me this may not be an issue at all.

    3. I think that when I start writing fanfic in a particular fandom, it totally changes the way I interact with the source material (whether it is a book, TV show, or movie). It's almost like when I read or watch that book, show, or movie, that I put on my "creator" hat rather than my "consumer" hat if that makes sense. When I have my "consumer" hat on, the focus is very much on enjoying the story--including the world building and characters--and while some amount of analysis is part of that process for me (because I am just a very nerdy and cerebral person, haha), the thoughts I have will be more like, "Why did the author make that choice? What is the author trying to say here? What are the themes emerging? What are the nuances of that particular word choice?" Etc. Like the questions a student of literature would ask and answer in an English class. Whereas when my "creator" hat is on, I am more thinking about the stories I could spin involving the world and the characters and what details and drama could appear in my story. I'm on the hunt for inspiration in a way.

    And when I write fanfic I do find that I start to think of the world in which I'm writing and the characters I'm writing about (even though they aren't often OC's) as "mine" in a way that I don't tend to with works that I haven't written fanfic about. Like if I haven't written fanfic about it, the authors are totally in control of that story. But if I write fanfic about that story, then I totally feel empowered to write AU's or fix-it fics or to ignore canon that doesn't align with my head canon. Basically, I feel more at liberty to tinker and toy with the canon of works where I write fanfic. Whereas the canon of works I don't write fanfic for is largely just accepted as the canon for me and not overridden by my sometimes elaborate personal head canons.

    I also find that when I write fanfic for a particular fandom, I become very engaged in that world and those characters so even if I don't re-read or re-watch the original source material in awhile, it will remain quite fresh in my mind because I write so much in that fandom and read fanfic in that fandom and am immersed in the fandom community so that source material remains on my mind in a different way than stuff I consume but don't write fanfic for if that makes sense.

    So I do think writing fanfic and generally being part of a larger fan community changes how I interact with source materials. It's interesting to think about and how my view of things changes based on if I am wearing a "creator" or "consumer" lens when engaging with that source material.

    Thanks for sparking some excellent thought and discussion, @Briannakin!
  19. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Jul 29, 2016
    I notice that I have little patience for writing large-scale battle scenes, and I prefer smaller character interactions. It's also hard to write a future budding romance when the characters don't know each other all that well still.
  20. darkspine10

    darkspine10 Chosen One star 8

    Dec 7, 2014
    When you see a person on tv wearing a pair of aesthetically nice boots, spend half an hour struggling to remember where you saw those boots in fanart before, all the while wondering if you could describe them well for a character in your fic.

    Also when a character in a show you're watching speaks with a unique style of voice that's kinda similar to one of your character's, and think about rewriting some sections to make their type of character stand out more.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2021
  21. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Jul 29, 2016
    I have two different ideas for Episode IX.

    1. The established OC villain will be in possession of an army of Sith corpses, but doesn’t know how to revive them without the help of the new bad guy, who has been named in a Star Wars film in canon

    2. The introduced character, whose name might or might not rhyme with Lego Ramask, has a collection of Sith corpses, but chooses not to reanimate them until my OC Big Bad convinces him too.

    I lean towards option 2.

    Also, I am writing a Senate scene for Episode VIII and they are nearly as difficult as big space and land battle scenes. I much prefer smaller and more personal character interactions and duels.
    amidalachick and pronker like this.
  22. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    1. I started with movies. My first fanfic was a hand written Indiana Jones story when I was in middle school. I didn't do much after than until I found this site in 2005. I was primarily a Star Wars writer for 4 years or so until I saw Star Trek:2009. I also started writing for the Castle TV series. I was intimidated, at first, writing for a TV series because the level of content and history is so much broader. I feared incorrect settings or referencing interaction that only had my memory to rely on for accuracy. I finally got over than and have written for many other TV shows since. I have not written for books are plays, setting the Star Wars EU aside.

    2. Romance and angst have been most active genre's. I also love writing dialogue and find myself wring witty word play or sarcasm. As in many fandoms, there is the will they/won't they when there is any obvious chemistry between characters that start out platonically.

    I also periodically write angst or other introspection. Fanfic, or profic, for that matter, allows us inside the heads of characters we only see by their on screen actions and words. I have oftern gravitated toward angst in this type of writing because it is cathartic to share in the grief, self recrimination, and thoughts of writing wrongs.

    3. My fanfic and cannon are generally mutually exclusive. Cannon is cannon. What is there to do? However, fan fiction, head cannon and fix it fics are an extension of our love for cannon in the first place. As a fan I can agree or disagree with plot developments, or character arc, but there is still a base love that inspires me. That said, when I write doesn't really affect my ability to consume ot re-consume the source material.
  23. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Jul 29, 2016

    1. Movies, primarily. I can occasionally do a TV show if it doesn’t run for too long. With books, I could do, but I’ve only ever developed one story idea for a non-niche/nerdy book (a 25-years-later sequel to The Great Gatsby that I have yet to actually write).

    I would say the potential for alternatives to pivotal moments in canon, or when I want to fill in gaps before, during, or after events.

    3. Im usually good at separating my head canons and wishes from canon though- I don’t have any major headcanons that conflict with any of my fandom’s canons.

    On a different note, I had planned to introduce another, non-Force sensitive character who is a hindrance to the main heroes without actively siding with the villains. I have now decided to make him the father of one of my OCs who had a better arc planned for my Episode IX than he has so far, but he would still have been lacking backstory otherwise. I could make the new character said OCs mother instead, haven’t decided 100 percent yet on the new character’s gender.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
    brodiew, Briannakin and pronker like this.
  24. Darth_Erebus

    Darth_Erebus Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 19, 2013
    Hello there, I just wanted to introduce myself. I've just done a post, my first time writing in the Star Wars universe hehe. I've written fanfic before but it's all been Doctor Who. Got a bit of an idea at the end of March and finally finished it tonight. Anyway, just wanted to say hello and I'm gonna have a look see at what other stuff there is :)
    gizkaspice, Tarsier, brodiew and 4 others like this.
  25. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Hi, and welcome! I hope you find the fanfic forum fun and friendly.

    Also, alliteration apparently appears occasionally. As you can see.