Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Briannakin
, Jun 18, 2017.
Oh oké thank you for your information.
Oh, I have been remiss in my replies, but better late than never, right?
So glad that you found this to be a wonderful idea! I think as writers in can become all to easy to focus only on what we do wrong in our writing. What our weaknesses are and how we can improve. It is great and noble that we are so dedicated to improving, but sometimes we can end up shortchanging ourselves and selling ourselves short as writers. We can forget that we have strengths that can be focused on and celebrated. So this was my attempt to have us flip the script for a bit and really focus on our strengths and what unique qualities we bring to the table as writers. Since I do believe every writer has their unique voice and special combination of strengths that deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated.
I know that I could always use a confidence boost when it comes to my writing, and I agree that it is all too easy to get discouraged in our line of work as fanfic writers! So if this exercise/thought experiment could give anyone encouragement and a confidence boost I am truly delighted!
Ooh. Yes, I think it is an incredible gift to be able to create and describe immersive settings. So is being able to write introspective scenes that can delve into a character's thoughts and feelings! Being able to balance humor and seriousness is a delicate art and what an awesome one to have in your writing. Alien characters and cultures are such an integral part of Star Wars and a great way to make a galaxy far, far away feel like a galaxy far, far away, so to be able to make alien characters and cultures suitably alien but still relatable to audiences is a magnificent talent for a Star Wars fanfic author.
I'm with you in that I've loved seeing the range of responses to this question, so, yes, keep them coming, everyone! Let the inspiration flow through you
Oh, yay! I am so happy that you thought this was a great question and a good opportunity to remember the positive aspects of our writing! I am with you in that self-doubts can definitely effect and cloud my writing process, so if this question can help dispel those clouds of self-doubt for my fellow writers, I am thrilled.
I can totally relate to what you say about things never turning our quite like you planned. And I love how you are able to reframe that source of frustration as a point of pride. I do believe that flexibility and willingness to adapt and travel down alternate paths is a huge advantage in a creative endeavor like writing. It is sort of like Tolkien says. Not all who wander are lost. Sometimes we writers like to wander but that does not mean we are lost, and sometimes our wanderings take our stories to wonderful places we wouldn't have imagined at the start of our writing journey! Those sorts of surprises can definitely be part of the joy and discovery of writing.
I, too, have a soft-spot for the offbeat and the "strange" perhaps because I'm a bit quirky myself, so it is so nice to see you highlight that aspect of writing here! And I do think it is appreciated by many readers!
That is also truly a gift--what you mention about having an eye for details that can be used in interesting ways. What a potential wellspring for inspiration as well!
Don't worry. This is a party you can never be late to, and that is part of the free-spirited fun
Ooh, what a compliment that your dialogue in a group of characters doesn't need tags because that really shows that you have nailed their voices perfectly
Hey guys, just thought I'd pop in here because I saw a video today that might be helpful or inspiring for anyone who is struggling with the motivation or confidence to write. With the caveat that the intended audience of this video is people who are pursuing creative writing as a career, as opposed to amateur and hobby writers like most of us here, I still think it has a lot of great advice that can apply not only to writing, but to other areas of our lives as well.
As for the things about my writing that I like most (or would consider a strength)... I'd say I'm pretty good at finding the humanity in characters and situations that we naturally shy away from, and I do a good job of giving voice to some of our more uncomfortable and/or darker emotions. I also do well with psychological horror, which I never would have considered to be my forte until recently.
Wow, I need to think of a strength that doesn't sound so creepy... um, I write really good arguments? Still pretty angsty, let's try that again... I think there's a good flow to my prose, and I put effort into eliminating wording that is awkward or stilted.
And I know we're focusing on writing strengths, but I also think it's interesting to read how people deal with their own shortcomings. For example, I don't consider myself to be great at writing action scenes. I don't think I'm bad, and sometimes I really like the action I write, but I wouldn't say it comes as naturally to me. I'm also not adept at writing politics, or detailed descriptions of settings, clothing, food, etc. One of the ways I try to improve in these areas is by emulating other writers who I do see as possessing these skills, both fanfic and professional writers alike. And the other main way I deal with my deficiencies is by leaning into my strengths. I usually write from a tightly-focused third person limited POV, so if the character doesn't see or notice something, then it doesn't show up in the narrative. I don't have to map out every detail of a space battle or know every detail of a political situation, because most characters don't see all those things. (And the ones that do, I tend not to write anyway. ) I try to let the characters' emotions and dialogue do the heavy lifting for me, because that's what I'm good at.
(this is mostly backstory right now cuz I have to flush out background characters)
Right now I'm writing a story about a tapestry worker (part-time sex worker because it pays enough for basic utilities like food because the tapestry gig doesn't pay enough to survive but a bit more income could make it's so that she'll have enough access income for a little nest should she go under)
(She's also working to unionize the tapestry gig,)
Essentially she falls in love with a rich heir to a robber baron Fortune. that Heir is a black sheep to his family, yes he's the first and only son, but he deeply despises the wealth and how they achieved it.
Here's the thing they meet because he's into some kinky stuff but inexperienced, he wanted to hire a professional.(she was a professional)
The problem is I don't know how far until TOS gets me,
Discussing the intricacies of Nabooian sex work(before the battle of naboo,)
I can't write actual smut scenes(honestly I just break up giggling anytime I try).
I want to show this fic to this community
But I don't know who to get a good beta reader. (Because Lore building the red light district is difficult on a for kids site, the actual sex I can't write but the interactions, the subtle humorous things the humane part.
I could always go with the "rent a cuddler service"or "rent a girlfriend angle"to keep it PG but frank honest discussions are always my favorite.
Technically it's only side description and could be left out entirely but then you'll be missing a vital part of their back story
I'm in a bind here.
@AnarchistMando Welcome to the fanfic boards! This thread contains information on permissable content in fanfic on this site in terms of violence, sexuality, and profanity that could be a helpful guide to you. Post #4 from Briannkin in particular seems to address many of the questions you are asking. For more specific questions, I would recommend sending any of the fanfic mods a private message and they can tell you what is allowed or not allowed. The mods for the fanfic boards are Mira_Jade, Briannakin, and mavjade so that would who to contact.
@ViariSkywalker Thanks for sharing that video! It was an inspiring watch as you say.
Psychological horror and an ability to give voice to humanity's darker, more uncomfortable emotions are great strengths to have. Being able to write good arguments and good angst are also great strengths from my point of view since I love reading some good arguments and angst. I must just love drama and having my heart ripped out
Flow is so important in prose, and I am sure that your readers appreciate the effort you put into elmininating awkward or stilted wording.
How writers deal with their shortcomings is an interesting topic to explore as well, and I'm glad that you brought it up. I have various ways of dealing with my shortcomings as a writer.
I am like you in that I don't consider writing action sequences to be one of my strengths as a writer. A main reason why that is probably the case is that action sequences in books often are boring to me and the parts that I am most likely to skim through so as a writer I think I just don't find action super appealing to write. It just interests me less than pretty much anything else. So the simple truth boils down to I just don't write a lot of action. I acutally don't worry too much about my weakness in writing action because I suspect that readers who are super interested in action either don't click on my stuff or back out of it pretty quickly when they realize that action is not on the menu. My stories aren't action-oriented so I don't think they have much appeal to an action-oriented type reader. I feel like as I've accepted both as a reader and a writer that there are lots of different types of stories that aim to do lots of different types of things I have become more inclined to believe that every story has strengths that will appeal to certain types or profiles of readers and also weaknesses that won't matter or even register as a weakness to some readers. For instance, some readers more into action than me might claim a book is slow, but I often won't care too much unless I am reading a book particularly for the plot like a thriller or suspense book. But for something like epic fantasy if someone wants to worldbuild for the first 250 pages, I am down for it. I guess I have honestly come to believe that I am probably writing for people with similiar tastes to me. People who are probably interested in similiar types of stories and that's why they clicked on my fic in this first place. So the kind of reader I usually writing for will end up appreciating how I develop settings and characters and try to thoughtfully explore themes rather than wondering why there is so little action going on here.
So, I guess that is my long-winded way of saying that I too lean into my strengths.
I also, like you, tend to emulate other (whether fanfic or professional) writers who do seem to have strengths that I lack. I particularly do this with things like dialogue or humor. I am not super confident in my ability to write dialogue and humor but those are some of my favorite parts of books and fanfic when I read so I am always trying to learn from those more accomplished and wittier than me. I am but a humble Padawan in these arts clunking away at my keyboard. Hoping to become a master in due time.
I also just try to remind myself that I am doing this for fun and that I am not getting paid to do this so I shouldn't sweat the small stuff too much.
Basically, I look at it as individual readers will either like how I write or they won't, and I can't please everyone. So I will just going on writing what interests me as best I can. Those who like my works can appreciate the strengths. Those who just see the weaknesses are invited to click back and read something else that will satisfy them more. I don't mind people not reading my work, though I have reached the point where I don't appreciate negative comments on what I just do as a hobby.
Hey random question, does anybody know what the kriff was used under the crinoline?
Edwardian, Victorian, I don't really care I just want to know about the undergarments so I could have a better more accurate description.
Because I already got an idea for a ballroomscene Outfit idea.
Spoiler: Articles of clothing I already decided on keeping
Victorian styled buttoned long sleeved high collar blouse (more poofy around the shoulder area) maybe an ascot
Probably flats shoes
Black corset (I want to take pot shots at the fashion industry, and seeing how men utterly stigmatized corset as a viable means of shapewear and as a practicality of being a stronger more secure bra.)
Handmade crinolines (synthetic materials but still weaving and crafting the crinolines by hand
(I was going to have a multicolored array of petticoats from Violet all the way to Red in the color spectrum. Like 12 ish, then I realized it would likely be too hindering.
The main petticoat that rests above the would be a multi-colored tapestry of various logos and embroidered on symbols of the unions/co-ops/soviets (worker councils) that she helped in the solidization of the garment and craft working industry. several hidden pockets on that main skirt
Two large attachable pockets/cloth things for the siding.(and what I say large I mean able to hold a bottle of wine and bread easily),(I don't know if I want them under the crinoline with a compartment hole for the main or have it be above.
A main coat suit like Edwardian coat to go over the
Probably one of those big hats that required a large hatpin (large enough that it could be used to stab someone), Practicality, self-defense
Probably gloves I don't know
Winama (yeah still using padme's grandmother, because I think she's perfect for having as juxtaposition. A woman who lived her life primarily under the Republic worrying more about her planet and the abuses there then the outer Galaxy.(because this is a god-dang planet,)
I know from Wikipedia these main things
She was a famous as one of Theed's best cloth weavers.
She was planning on arranged marriaging her son Ruwee, to her best friend's daughter jobal(her best friend was also in on the action)
Turns out jobal and Ruwee fell in love in secret without their parents mingling
In 33 BBY, she passed away when Padmé was elected Monarch of Naboo.
Padmé described her as a humorous woman who gave her the feeling that she could have done anything.
That's all it says on the Wookipedia
Here's our things I got
I upgraded her Fame to planetary instead of citywide.
She's not going to die at 33 BBY because their family are a Sith coven not unlike the green Jedi or the order of the breath.
A lot more Union shenanigans going on (because her son joined the refugee relief movement, at 10 her son also became a scholar and a builder.
I think having her craft her own dress would be a show of her skill. This is a gala like event.
Anyway I don't know what historically went under the crinoline (at least what it's called).
When I think crinoline, I think of ruffled pantalettes underneath. The outfit described sounds like a good way for her to show off her skills.
See how I write my stuff I ensure that those details could be added or removed at a moment's notice but still be mostly legible this just adds in character depth
I was going to post this in the "You Know You're A Fan Fiction Writer" thread but I decided to put it here instead because I'm curious if anyone else has had an experience like this, or if I'm just weird and overthinking everything (yes).
So I found out someone IRL has some of the same fandoms and ships that I do. I was so excited to learn this but also completely, totally nervous. Like, I know that there are real people behind computer screens but this is real life.
I guess what I'm wondering is, has this ever happened to anyone else? How do you feel about sharing fandom things in real life? Or do I just need to go outside and stop overthinking every single little thing 24/7?
Good discussion topic, @amidalachick! I can definitely relate to that sort of confusing mixture of excitement and anxiety. Certainly for me there is a good deal of physiological and psychological overlap between excitement and anxiety. So sometimes it can be hard for me to know which emotion I am experiencing at any given time or if I'm experiencing the deluxe package of both!
I don't believe you are overthinking things (but then this is coming from me, a chronic overthinks, so I suppose you could take my words with big old grain of salt).
In real life, I am very big on compartmentalization and have developed a quite protective outer shell when it comes to my fanfiction, my writing in general, and my "fannish" hobbies as I like to call them. In terms of compartmentalization, when I am in a professional setting, I will tend to reveal very little about my personal life--my friendships, the constant source of drama that is my family, my hobbies, what I like to do on weekends, etc. I'll be pleasant and talk about trivial things like the weather or little fun facts about me like I have a rescue dog but not too much of substance. Basically, I'll be friendly in a professional setting, but if the main connection between another person and myself is primarily that we work together, then I ultimately don't see them as a true friend. So I will be unlikely to discuss anything fandom related with them beyond the super generic like, "Oh, yeah, I did go to see Rise of Skywalker," when we are chatting in a moment of downtime.
With real life friends, I feel like when I was a teenager, I used to talk about fandom stuff and writing more with them, but now that I am an adult, I hardly ever talk about fandom stuff or writing with my friends. (Who are really a completely different set of friends than I had in middle or high school at this point.) Now that I'm an adult stuff conversation tends to be dominated by topics like how is your boyfriend/husband doing, how is your job going, how crazy are the prices of everything, etc. All the stuff teenage me would probably have found so boring. But that adult me is interested in or needs to vent about to a trusted person.
I shared a fan fiction username I used in the past on another fan fiction site with a friend of mine but they never really read or reviewed too much of my stuff, which I think in hindsight might have been a good thing for my muse, since it might've made me uncomfortable if they had. Nothing really went bad or wrong with that per se, but I'm glad I've abandoned that account and don't use that username any more. Currently, no friend I knew first in real life knows that I am devilinthedetails online or that I write fanfic under that name. And I'm kind of happy keeping it that way. Not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed of what I write but just because I kind of like that boundary between real life me and online devilinthedetails me. I don't know that I'd necessarily refuse outright a real life friend who asked for my fan fiction username (because I really don't like to refuse friends anything) but there is sort of a reason why I don't tend to talk about fanfic or my writing with friends I knew first in real life. That reason being primarily that I like my privacy and space in creative endeavors.
It is probably more of an emotional than a rational boundary given that the reverse boundary doesn't exist so much for me. To people I've gotten to know online (my "online" friends), I will be willing to disclose my real life name them if I reach a point in the relationship where I would want to exchange emails with them or chat with them on Zoom. Somehow I don't mind as much if they read my fanfic and know who devilinthedetails is in real life. Maybe because at that point they are also often trusting me with their real life name so it feels like we are both opening up and making ourselves vulnerable in the same way. So the balance of power feels more equal to me. I don't really know. But sometimes I do have less shyness and inhibitions about disclosing certain things online than in real life. This goes for a lot of things like my struggles with generalized anxiety disorder, being asexual, or being on the autism spectrum. Sometimes I feel more comfortable revealing certain facets of me on an online platform than in a real life setting. I don't always know why I do, but I do think deep down there is probably some reason why I've set these boundaries for myself so I try to have respect for my own boundaries and what makes me comfortable. Same as I try to respect the boundaries and comfort of other people. Both in real life and online.
With real life family, I am never comfortable discussing my fan fiction or my writing in general with them. If they ever do try to discuss those things with me, I do shut down and become quite defensive. Feeling very much as if my privacy is not being respected and that my boundaries are being violated. I do know the reasons behind why I feel that way. When I was a teenager, my parents dismissed my fan fiction writing hobby as stupid and pointless because I couldn't make money off it (as if profit were the point of writing or creative pursuits in general). So I felt very discouraged and as if I couldn't trust them to be positive and cheer me on about something I was passionate about. Also, my siblings had a habit of stealing my notebooks and mocking my writing, which registered as bullying in my mind, and again made me reluctant to want to share my writing with them ever again. For me, my writing is really my soul laid bare. So it being mocked will cut very deep with me.
I think because for me writing is my soul laid bare--poured out on a page to be seen and judged--I don't like to share it with people I primarily know in real life and I am very hesitant and selective about how I link real life me to fanfic and writing me. Right now, I am happy to have fanfic me be devilinthedetails without being connected with my real life self. I also suspect that if I ever write and publish any original stories, it will be under a pen name that will allow me to hopefully remain more anonymous and fly under the radar in real life.
Really I believe it is the fact that writing is my soul laid bare that makes me so self-conscious and uncomfortable about showing my writing to people who know me primarily in a real life because I feel that it could reveal aspects of my history and identity--like the fact that I was abused as a child or that I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder--that I am selective about to whom and when I disclose this information in real life.
So I guess in that way compartmentalization truly is key to me for preserving my sanity both as a person in real life and as a creative online. I am always the same person, but people who know me in different contexts (online versus in real life) might see different sides of me depending on how we know one another and how close we become.
This is definitely a very rambly response, but hopefully some of it will be helpful, interesting, or insightful!
I have very specific friends who are just as geeky as we ever were, even into middle age and having families, and so I get to reserve those discussions for that handful of friends. We get together and basically talk geekery for hours on end and then all go back to our other friends to do adulting and homeowner woebegoning with.
Same here. I talk the geek stuff with my fellow geek friends, and the other friends get the adulting discussions. I actually don't talk fanfic with the geek friends either, but that's only because none of them are fanficcers. If they were, I'd discuss it. (I have tried to get them to cosplay with me, but to no avail thus far, sigh)
A potentially interesting avenue of discussion and reflection: how would you define or describe your relationship with your past works of fanfiction or other writing? Do you revisit them on a regular basis or do you tend to forget about them once you have finished writing them? Do you move right onto the next project, challenge, or piece of inspiration when you have completed a story or do you take a little longer to pause and appreciate what you have accomplished? If you do revisit stories, how do you feel when you re-read them? What is that experience like for you?
For me, I must admit that I am often a charge onto the next bit of inspiration from my flighty muse kind of gal. I do not often look back at my finished stories unless they are part of the same series and I want to verify something for continuity's sake. When I do reread, I tend to veer between the extremes of "Wow, I can't believe I wrote something this good," and "Yikes, I can't believe I thought this drivel was worth inflicting on the rest of the interwebs."
So, how about you? What is your relationship with your past works like?
It takes a very long time for me to forget about them, probably because I have to be very picky about details in the process of writing them. I don't tend to visualize spaces that well, so I have to check and re-check to ensure that the environment is consistent. I'm trying to do a little less dialogue and more communication via body language, which is also challenging, because of the many things people do that I don't have phrases for. There are so many different ways to facepalm!
As for revisiting completed stories... I can barely complete grocery lists(actually true), let alone stories! I guess I'll tell you about it when it happens? But for my one-shots, I veer between being giddy-happy that people liked it and too stressed to click on the link out of anticipated embarrassment.
My relationship with my past works is best described as "fluid." Or maybe, in Facebook terms, "It's complicated."
The vast majority of what I write is interconnected in one large series, and I try to hold myself to my internal canon as well as I can, so I don't feel like I can ever completely forget about/ignore something I wrote in the past. Beyond that, everything mostly comes down to whims and moods. I'll go for months or years without reading a particular fic, then a random song lyric or piece of conversation will remind me of it and I'll think, "I should read that again," and I do. Sometimes it's been long enough since I've read it that I've forgotten entire scenes-- not just as in "Oh, ha, I forgot about that!" but as in "I honestly don't remember ever typing those words or how I came up with it. When did I even add that?" But hey, that almost makes it like a whole new story. Yeah, I wrote it, but it's new to me! I have no idea what word I'm going to stumble across next!
My attitude toward any given story or even any given scene is highly variable and dependent on those aforementioned whims and moods, though. I could re-read a five-year-old scene on Monday and love it, and read the same thing on Tuesday and want to scrap it.
This is best illustrated with this excellent graphic that I pilfered from the depths of the Internet long ago and kept for its accuracy, tagged for aesthetics/size:
With that said, there are past stories that I generally favor more and am more apt to re-read more frequently and feel more positivity toward, and some that I really don't have a desire to re-read and are actually on my list of stories to completely overhaul.
I tend to bounce around projects. Some I finish fairly quickly, others stay a WIP for a long time, especially if I'm not planning on posting it. I have a bunch of WIPs that I rotate between as the mood and muse cooperates (or doesn't).
I'm fond of reading my works back again, from time to time (there are quite a lot of long, interconnected ones, so I leave quite a while before doing so, as with any major work beyond my own). While there are parts I'm not as fond as when I re-evaluate my writing, for the most part I get quite swept up, combined with some admiration for work that, with the light of hindsight, seems more impressive than I feel up to writing in the present sometimes.
I think it's partly because what first inspired me to write fanfic was a sense of filling a void. There were concepts swirling around I really liked reading about, but when those wells ran dry as they inevitably do, I went out to fill that creative niche myself. Thus the finished work represents in many ways exactly what I wanted to see reflected in the fandom space.
Onto to another interesting topic of discussion, the planning. My sisters often tell me they find my way of planning baffling. They do outlines in advance of course, but entirely as a structural skeleton. They write thin synopses of where the plot will go, filling out the prose in chronologically. Whereas my preferred method often stems from the minutiae of scene detail upwards. I get flashes of ideas for dialogue snippets, certain scenes or concepts that might work in a longer form, then work outwards from them.
So, right now for example, my current draft goes: Intro text, snippets of dialogue, outline of scene movement, more dialogue, some back and forth action tags for dialogue to be filled in around, then an outline of the plot's ending. It means whenever I have a stray thought about dialogue, even at the level of a single sentence, I can place it in pre-emptively before working on the skeleton later, which allows for more freedom in reordering material, but can lead to more work to stitch things into a coherent order. Generally once the plan reaches a certain critical mass of ideas, I start writing full sections of prose in order from the start. In multi-chapter fics I've also been known to write whole chapters completely out of order (one 'production order' as I like to think of it started as: Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, before looping back to 1 & 2 and then others as concepts came to mind). This is much easier in more episodic fics I readily acknowledge. When things are more linear, having a solid idea of the foundation can be a big help.
To my sisters this whole method crazy, but my cousin writes in a very similar manner. So I'm curious what the split will be like here.
Of course, there's also the other method I've occasionally used, which is to have absolutely no larger idea besides an intro prompt, and just write the damn thing in full without a plan, but I haven't done that in quite a while. My critical editing process and the way I write have crystalised over time so I don't work like that much anymore
Oh, and one last thing I'm curious about: release schedules. Sure, with some fics it's a 'publish once they're done' kind of thing, but with longer ones do people 'build up a reserve' and then start publishing, or do you prefer to publish in-situ while the later chapters are up in the air? I've dabbled with both methods, once saving up a whole 26 chapter epic to publish regularly once it was complete, while with another I was less certain about the early chapters so started publishing while the ending was being worked on to gauge some reaction.
This sounds very similar to how I write. I just finished up a long fic that I'd been working on in some shape or form for thirteen years, give or take, and even though I did create an outline in the earlier stages, most of it was built around snippets of dialogue and fragments of scenes that I knew I wanted to include. My notebooks and story documents are littered with one-off sentences that don't have a set place in the narrative of whatever fics I'm working on, but they come to me at random and I have to write them down or lose them. And I'm pretty sure I couldn't write in chronological order to save my life.
So I would love to have the discipline to finish a story first and then publish the chapters on a consistent schedule. The best I ever did was with the aforementioned long fic: I wrote the first five or six chapters and outlined the next six pretty thoroughly (with more of a vague outline for the remaining ten or so) before finally caving and starting to post the fic. I posted somewhat consistently for the first few months, and then the waits grew to be several months to a year... and then after ch. 11 I didn't post an update for eight years. I skipped over a couple of chapters and wrote several more, so by the time I started posting again, I had a reserve of a chapter or two, but I ended up editing and changing the remaining drafted chapters quite a bit, which meant I would post a few updates within weeks of each other, and then nothing for several months. I lost a lot of readers because of that eight year hiatus, but honestly? I don't know that I'd do it any differently, because I'm a better writer now than I was back then, and the finished story is a far better story than it would have been if I'd finished it years ago. And sure, I could have waited to start posting the story... but then I wouldn't be posting it until now, and I don't know, I'm not sure it would have been as good if I hadn't had the feedback I received years ago, plus the feedback and support I've received since I returned to posting it. It was a lot of fun to be sort of "in it" with my readers, letting their energy buoy me when I was having doubts, seeing my story through their eyes and appreciating it all the more because of that.
Then again, I'm currently writing a quasi-sequel to that fic, and I'm determined to finish it completely (or come pretty darn close) before I start posting it, because I don't want this one to drag on unfinished for years. So... wish me luck, I guess?
I actually read back over my past and finished works fairly often, essentially because I'm writing the stories I want to read. Which is not to say that those are the only stories I want to read - far from it. But part of what drives me to write fanfic - especially these last couple of years - is filling a niche that I haven't seen explored fully, or maybe not the way I would want to see it done, or maybe not with the characters I'm interested in reading; so basically like @darkspine10 said above, my finished works represent the sorts of stories I crave, which means I want to keep reading them.
In addition to that, most of my recent works are interconnected, so reading back over them helps keep certain details fresh in my head for when I want to work on another connected story. Maybe I want to pick up and expand a metaphor that I used in one of the earlier fics, or maybe I want to double check that I'm being consistent with my timeline, or maybe I'm looking for pockets in the existing story that I can fill with new ideas and give more depth to what was already there. Sometimes I see areas where I think "eh, that could have used a bit more editing," but other times I think "dang, that was pretty awesome, how am I ever going to achieve that again?" (Yes, sometimes I also think I've written absolute garbage and everyone is going to realize there's nothing special about my writing or my ideas, but thankfully those periods don't usually last too long... though @Gabri_Jade can tell you that they're still annoyingly frequent. )
So accurate it hurts!
It depends how far into the past I go.
For me, there's a time-based split on how I feel about my fics. I'll go back and look at stuff I wrote 8-10+ years ago, and think it's actually pretty decent. There are a few fics from back then that I'm still proud of today. I wasn't afraid to run with wacky ideas or try different things, and while they're not the greatest technically, damn it, they're fun.
But things I've written within the past 4 years or so? Completely different. At best I think those fics are mediocre, but usually I feel like they're complete garbage. I reread them, and they're so dull and boring and lifeless. There's none of that creative spark, no energy, no fun. Sometimes I'll reread an early draft of something I abandoned and think it's a cool idea, but I don't have the skill or energy to carry it out. Sometimes I'll write something and impulsively post it, then reread it and just cringe because it's awful and I wonder why I ever thought this trash was worth wasting time on, and I can't take it down fast enough. Sometimes I'll reread a fic I was working on and initially excited about, but it's tainted by whatever made me stop working on it in the first place so I still don't like it.
I've never been good at WIPs, or even finishing one-shots, and it's even rarer now that I do actually finish a story. I just tend to hop around, jotting down an idea when I get it, and going through my docs periodically to see if something catches my eye. If I do manage to finish something and post it, I try to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. Otherwise I go back and reread, see all the flaws, and either feel embarrassed that I put this garbage out into the world or guilty because people are nice enough to say they liked it and I don't know what to do with that.
I guess I just keep trying because I hope someday the fun will come back, and maybe ten years from now I'll look back at these fics and say to myself, "These are actually pretty decent", too.
@SupermassiveUbersue Welcome to the fanfiction section and to the Scribble Pad! So glad that you found your way here to join us friendly fanfiction folks
That makes sense that it would take you a long time to forget about your past works because you spend so long ironing out the details when you write them! It shows some amazing dedication on your part to check and re-check that you are creating a consistent environment for your readers to enjoy.
I sympathize with your struggles to depict communication via body language. There are so many nuances of body language that it is hard to convey through words alone. Especially if I don't want to provide an overload of vague adjectives. You're right that there are so many different ways to facepalm. And smile. And everything else.
I can also totally relate to your difficulties with finishing multi-chapter stories! My fickle muse has a bad habit of abandoning me or leading me into other projects in the middle of my multi-chapter works. So I am probably pretty notorious for not finishing my multi-chapter stories around here, but so far everyone has been really nice about not throwing too many rotten tomatoes at meBut, yeah, like you, I tend to specialize in oneshots or oneshots that can fit together in a series since that seems to work better with my flighty muse. And I can totally relate to that feeling of veering between giddy happiness that people liked a story and fear of embarrassment by clicking on the link. There are just so many contradictory emotions involved in this writing business. What an emotional rollercoaster!
@Thumper09 Oh, yes, complicated and fluid are excellent ways of describing relationships with past works! That image so aptly describes my own feelings when I do re-read my works It is so accurate, it's scary. And it's from one of my favorite modern Disney movies, so bonus points for that! I also think I am like you in that there are past works I seem more likely to revisit and also that I tend to bounce around between projects as my muse and mood dictate.
@darkspine10 That is wonderful that you do get so much satisfaction out of re-reading your works and that you are able to get swept up in them! Your description of being first inspired to write fanfic by a sense of a void and a desire to create what you wanted to read would probably ring true for many fanfic writers
You bring up a great question about planning. I must admit that I am quite a "discovery" writer so I tend to be very sparse with my outlining if I outline at all. My outlining if it exists at all might only consist of a couple of bullet point sentences to describe what will occur in an entire chapter, for example, although something like notes for a world or a society that I am building might be more extensive and stored on a Google Doc for quick reference as I write. I do tend to "outline" the story in my head a bit. That sort of outlining can consist of big picture stuff--like what I picture the main conflict being or how I envision the climax to unfold or what I imagine will be the resolution--as well as the finer details of things like lines of dialogue that I want to include or key phrases I hope to work into the narration at various points.
So, the outline does tend to exist in some form in my head. It just doesn't tend to get written down outside my head until it gets translated into story form. I feel like there are upsides and downsides to this. The downsides to this is that I'm sure that sometimes I forget things that could've been brilliant to include in my stories but the upside is that I do feel like I have a great deal of flexibility in writing my story and I don't feel any pressure to follow an outline or diagramed structure exactly. I can be more free flowing in my writing. Letting the story go where it needs to go. Letting my characters lead me as I write. And so I can end up genuinely surprised by the twists and turns of my own stories as I write.
I always feel like outlining and planning is a very personal thing for any writer and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Whatever works for the writer and the story, and a writer can always feel free to experiment with different forms of outlining if the writer thinks it could be beneficial to the story.
I will admit that it always sort of rubs me the wrong way when people get superior about their methods of outlining. Acting like what works for them is objectively the best style for everyone and others are inferior for not having exactly the same outlining style in what is an immensely personal and creative endeavor. I think it is fine to share tips and offer advice, but not to do so in a judgmental or condescending fashion.
I know my planning methods or lack thereof wouldn't work for everyone (they don't even work for me all the time) but I don't like being judged or treated as a lesser writer just because I am cut more in the discovery mold.
Release schedules is also another great topic! With my oneshots, it's always a "publish when done" thing, obviously. With multi-chapter works, I normally publish when I am done with that particular chapter because I am so eager to share what I have created with the rest of the interwebs. I am always upfront that the multi-chapter works are works in progress so there is no set in stone guarantee that they will be completed and that I am very much on a journey of discovery with my dear readers. I do like that method because sometimes readers will have ideas or suggestions that I might never have thought of on my own until they reviewed, and their thoughts can inspire my story to go in new, different directions. In that sense, my multi-chapter works have the potential to be quite a collaborative endeavor between readers and myself as the author. And I figure that even if I don't finish my stories, readers can enjoy what I did manage to create.
@ViariSkywalker That's awesome that you do re-read your past and finished works so frequently because you write what you want to read! And that your stories can fill that craving for you! How wonderful!
Ooh, that is fascinating how interconnected your works are, and those are all excellent reasons to re-read and revisit. Checking the timeline, expanding on metaphors, and fleshing out ideas from existing stories. I have looked back for continuity sake in the past and sometimes to develop ideas, but I never thought to look back for things like extending and expanding metaphors or themes. I should consider doing that in the future since it is a magnificent idea! And this is why I love Scribble Pad so much
@amidalachick I know the feeling of struggling with WIPs and fighting against a flighty muse, so you are not alone! There are definitely times when I want to ignore something that I posted or forget I ever shared it with the entire Internet too so you are not alone in that feeling either. And it can be so difficult to re-read when you feel like you are only going to see the flaws. Nothing about this writing business is easy, that's for sure. There's so much heartbreak that goes into it
I do share your hope, though, that one day the fun spark in writing will return to you, and that at some point, you will be able to look back on your current writings with satisfaction, and for now know that you have lots of supporters around here to cheer you on and cheer you up when you need it
Okay, everyone, confession time: what's the last thing you looked up in a thesaurus? Because everyone writes fanfiction with one tab just constantly opened to thesaurus.com right? It can't just be me?
My last three are: blue, sharply, and menace.
I usually close my tabs when I'm done writing, so I don't remember for sure what it was, but I'm thinking the last one was "lessen"?
(I use Merriam-Webster, but sometimes I suspect it is lying to me or withholding information, which is when I seek out other sites... )
Googled Crème Brûlée last, but that was for the spelling more than meaning
I also searched weeped vs wept, checked if candle lighter was the proper term for the device, and made sure of the precise meaning of Détournement, though that was for a forum post, not a fic
I do in fact constantly have a tab open to thesaurus.com, yes Like Vi, I closed the tab, but I looked up at least half a dozen words last night. One of them was "rejoinder", but I don't remember the others
Good question about the last word we looked up in a thesaurus, @vader_incarnate! I don’t recall which word I looked up last exactly, but some of the words I look up most frequently are ones like “gently” and “softly” which I suppose shows how much I love to write fluff, mush, and hurt/comfort where voices and touches are gentle and soft.
Speaking of the thesaurus, what criteria does everyone use for deciding whether to use a particular suggested word or synonym from it or not?
For me, I tend to have the rule of thumb that I will not use a word that I do not know both the definitions and connotations of so basically it has to be a word I know and just forgot about. Needing a sort of memory jog from t thesaurus when I get into a repetitive word rut.
How about everybody else? Do you have certain guidelines and self-imposed rules about how you use a thesaurus?
It needs to have the correct definition and emotional nuance to convey my meaning. I'm very picky about the emotional nuances; "dismissively" has an entirely different feel than "breezily". But that's the sum of my limitations: accurate meaning and precise shade of emotion.
Edit: Hey, I had to go adult, but it's been bothering me that I may have been rude here. I'm having a very busy day and shouldn't have posted while I was in that rush-rush mentality, I think it made me abrupt (on a post where I talk about the importance of the specific emotional nuances of words, no less ). So I just wanted to say sorry for that
To be a little more open-ended toward an ongoing conversation than my original post was: I really am very picky about words when I'm writing. I'll look up the synonyms for every single word listed as a synonym in my original search until I find the one that has the right shade of meaning I'm looking for. So I spend a lot of time with my nose in a thesaurus