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  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. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Mods' Dare 2nd Place & Mods' Choice Dare Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Since we're half-way through the year, I thought I'd go back and check on my resolutions.
    On item #1, I'm giving myself 10/10 so far, although that's a resolution I might break in August when we go on holiday.

    On item #3, I'm also giving myself a 10/10. I did post several stories that weren't current challenge entries, but they were mostly written already and lurking in the bowels of my computer. Plus, all but one of those were unfinished entries for old challenges, so it's fair to say that I didn't "start new stories". Also, this made me realise that I have a bajillion half-written stories in stock, and I need to finish and post at least some of them.

    On item #2 though... it's a big fat zero so far [face_worried] I could pretend that finishing my 2022 Kessel Run counts as completing a WIP, but what I had in mind is multi-chapter WIPs, of which I have NINE, and I haven't written a single line for any of those. Somehow I feel like I've been using the great challenge prompts we've had since January as a pretext to not work on them 8-}

    So. Updated resolutions for the second half of 2023:
    1. Not to disappear from the face of the galaxy for more than a week at a time.
    2. To finish at least one of the multi-chapter WIPs I have on these boards. To make progress on at least 2 more.
    3. To finish at least 3 of the half-written one-shots that are in deep hibernation in my hard drive.
    4. To sign up for new challenges only if the story fits in one of my on-going threads.
    5. I'll allow two exceptions to resolution #4, in case inspiration bites particularly hard, and only for vignettes. Two, do you hear me? Or I'll go without cookies.

    *runs off to the kitchen and grabs all the cookies while she still can*
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Chyntuck You have 9 WIPs? [face_dancing] Wow LOL I felt personally uninspired and didn't think I would ever be able to come up with story ideas but the KR/FF Olympics challenges have just been varied enough and have the best of both worlds: the thread is connected but each entry doesn't have to be ultra-long although if it is ... ;) And because there are a wide variety of prompts for the KR and FF Olympics you can pick the ones that feel doable. :cool: So, my takeaway is that even the KR and other challenges still counts as creativity and the quality is off the chain as well. :D
     
  3. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 29, 2016
    I have one fanfiction that I am still working to complete, and I also have an outline written for a Non Star Wars fanfiction as well. I also want to rewrite an old story of mine on here, but I would like to significantly tweak the plot and conflict (also non-Star Wars).


    For my current story, I am facing my two biggest weakness- large scope battle scenes and transitions from a slow pace focusing on characters’ internal thoughts to a fast action packed pace. I am also at the emotional climax of my story, so that makes it trickier to get just right.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2023
  4. order_67

    order_67 Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2022
    Does anyone have a tendency to get ahead of themselves while outlining and end up with an entire clutch of scenes fully written out then lose the motivation to write the more important and timely stuff? I like to at least have a rough draft of big important scenes wayyyy in advanced but I just keep finding myself adding to the later stuff’s outlines lol
     
    Vialco, Dark Ferus, pronker and 7 others like this.
  5. Happy Sando

    Happy Sando Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2023
    This. So much this.
     
  6. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 29, 2016
    I've had both that problem and the opposite as well- sometimes I decide the sequence of events without entirely thinking through how to transition from one setting to another; especially when I am writing a story where the main characters are split up and need to reunite somehow.
     
    pronker and order_67 like this.
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    So, because the Jewish new year starts tonight, and because this is a time of year I often think of such things, I took a look back at the new years’ fic resolutions discussion started by my awesome colleague @devilinthedetails back in January, and checked in on the resolutions I made for myself back then:

    And wow, you know, this turned out to be the year I actually managed to do this! It’s not just “back on my writing radar”—I finished part 3 and am now well into part 4.

    Now, as for this one…
    This one is always a toughie for me, but I think I’m doing a bit better than I was, and it’s partly thanks to being back to working on a multichapter story. Once I finish a chapter, I try to turn immediately to writing even just a few opening words of the next, or blatting down some kind of rough outline, before taking too much of a break. That gives me a bit of a “hook” for when I’m refreshed and more ready to come back to it. I am talking specifically about chapters of the same story here, but I think the same technique could be useful in going from story to another, too. Just a thought! :D

    And now I’m wondering if anyone else has revisited their resolutions since the start of the civil year, and if so, how they’ve been going? Do share, and let us know what we can to do be of help! :)
     
    Kahara, Gamiel, Chyntuck and 8 others like this.
  8. devilinthedetails

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

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @Findswoman The happiest of New Year's to you and your family[face_party]

    I definitely understand looking back at your resolutions from January as the start of a new year approaches. New years always make great milestones for looking at progress!

    I am so proud of you for finishing Part 3 of your epic Book of Gand, and for continuing to chip away at Part 4[:D] That is amazing!

    It's also great to hear that you are making progress with your second goal. That transition between writing projects or between chapters in the same writing project can be super difficult to manage, and I love your technique of trying to write immediately after finishing a chapter whether it be a rough outline or the opening words of the next chapter. That's so genius.

    I really think I might experiment with this technique. Especially with writing out a sentence or two for the next chapter for my WIPs. I really think having that "hook" could be super helpful for me as a bit of a discovery type writer (where outlining doesn't always work for me). A lot of times when I am wrapping up one chapter, I will believe that I have that "hook" for the next chapter all set in my head (that I know exactly where and how the next chapter will begin, because that's what I've discovered writing this previous chapter), but then when I get around to actually trying to write out that next chapter, it can all too often feel like I am going back to the drawing board. Scratching my head and going, "Err, what was I going to write again?"[face_thinking] And sometimes it can be super daunting to be staring at that blank page, not knowing where to begin, so having that "hook" already written could go a long way to combatting that. And if I'm already in a writing mood and flow, why not extend that mood and flow for a few more minutes to provide myself with that "hook" for my next writing session. Yes, I think this is something I will try to add to my writing toolkit going forward!

    As far as my resolutions from January, they were:

    1) To experiment more in my writing

    and

    2) To improve at finishing my multi-chapter works and works in progress.

    I am super satisfied with my experimenting this year. I've had such fun with it, doing things like writing a soliloquy, writing in second person, and writing from the point of view a charmingly smug cat. The many challenges on this site have given me a wonderful opportunity to continue to stretch my creative writing muscles in ways I never could have predicted or devised for myself. The challenges hosted by the many fantastic people on our small corner of the Internet are excellent for providing me with the motivation and the inspiration to experiment and grow as a writer. So that is one of the big advantages that comes from being part of this fabulous community of writers in my opinion! :D

    In terms of my second goal, I would say my results have been more of a mixed bag. Like I am super proud of myself for finishing the Kessel Run Challenge this year when last year my flighty muse decided to go MIA on me midway through the challenge, much to my chagrin. And I have continued to make some progress chipping away at some of the works in progress I have left over from last year and years before that, and that is good, since it's hard to finish WIP's without making progress on them.

    But I also haven't managed to finish as many works in progress as I would like, so I would say that I would still like to continue to improve at finishing my multi-chapter works and works in progress. In a sense, I remain a work in progress just like my WIP's:p

    I think WIP month could provide excellent inspiration and motivation to continue to chip away at my WIP's and maybe even (le gasp) finish one or two of them. And I am also excited for the Angstober event that Viari announced over in the Angstmongers Anonymous thread. It could be an ideal opportunity for me to finish a multi-chapter work, and if I finished both the Angstober and Kessel Run Challenges this year, I'd be patting myself on the back with pride at my dedication and focus[face_dancing]

    So fingers crossed for me as WIP month continues and Angstober approaches in all its angsty glory!
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Mods' Dare 2nd Place & Mods' Choice Dare Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Shanah tovah @Findswoman ! May this new year be one of joy, happiness and creativity @};-

    I already updated my goals once at the end of June (copied below) and I'm pleased to say that I'm most of the way there [face_party] I didn't drop off the face of the galaxy, I completed a (short) multi-chapter WIP just this morning and I've already been working on two more, and I already posted two of the three-half-written one-shots I had in the works. Oh, and I also refrained from signing up for a gazillion new challenge prompts, although I make no promises for what will happen when I have officially achieved all my 2023 goals, which should happen by the end of this month if DRL doesn't interfere too much.

    Of course, the best part of all this isn't that I achieved my goals (even though that's a first) but that I'm still allowed to eat cookies =P~
     
  10. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Me accomplishing my goals:

    [​IMG]

    I'm hoping to use what's left of WIP Month to be a less-silent reader and leave some more comments at least. We'll see how that goes. :p

    Congratulations to everyone who's made progress on or achieved their goals! =D= And wishing you a very Happy New Year @Findswoman! [:D]
     
  11. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Sorry for the double post, I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice or suggestions for the following situation.

    So I've started a few fics for WIP Month and Angstober, which is progress for me and I'm very grateful for that. But I can't seem to get anywhere with them. I'll write out a very rough first draft that's not much more than an outline but when it comes to expanding on that or adding detail I'm just drawing a blank.

    I've watched videos and looked up advice but a lot of it is just "just write!" So does anyone have any tips beyond that for getting unstuck? How do you turn an idea into an actual story? Any advice would be very much appreciated! @};-
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2023
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Hey there, and thanks first of all for the new year wishes—I had a wonderful set of holidays! :)

    So, you are of course not alone! I would wager that 100% of us here at JCF Fanfic experience this problem at least sometimes. The idea-to-prose disconnect can be very real, especially on new projects. One thing that sometimes helps me in getting unstuck, or in shifting the gears from thinking to writing, is what one might call finding a hook—if I can come up with, say, just one pithy sentence for the story, or even just one phrase, more sentences often follow. And part of me thinks that when people advise "just write!," which by itself is almost too abstract a piece of advice to be useful, what they're really getting at is something like that.

    Sending good vibes your way—I've got faith in you! :)
     
  13. Happy Sando

    Happy Sando Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2023
    @amidalachick I also find that the common "Just write!" advice isn't as one-size-fits-all as people think. Sometimes I have to walk away and let my brain work in the background whilst I do other things, and I'll suddenly come up with a sentence or scenario that clicks, at which point I surrender to the impulse (although that's never always convenient). I've also fought against my preference for linear writing on occasion, and 'skipped ahead' to write a chapter's conclusion before I've even started it, or a particular scene or conversation that I've been intentionally building towards, knowing that I'll come back and bridge the gap later, when I'm in a better mood to... well, to "Just write!"

    Focus on the ideas themselves; like @Findswoman says, find their hooks, even if they're embedded in the halfway points. Do you have a specific location in mind, or a character, or an exchange of dialogue? Start with that, and the rest should hopefully follow.

    Some folks also try free-writing, where you just take a blank page and write whatever comes to mind, randomly, ignoring structure, style and tone, and just see where your train of thought takes you. Don't delete or correct anything, just keep going forward. Whilst it's often considered more of an academic tool, it might get you unstuck, to the point where you'll circle around to writing useful chunks of your stories without even realising it.

    Hope some of this helps, and best of luck developing your ideas!
     
  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Mods' Dare Challenge 3rd Place Winner star 4 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    @amidalachick something has helped me is to give myself a very small writing goal, like 100 words or even 50 or 10, depending on just how stuck I am. Sometimes doing just a tiny bit like this does two things: it gives me a sense of accomplishment (Yay! I met my goal) and it can help get the ball rolling on the story. It’s not foolproof, but it does help me get over the feeling that I have to write All the Words Right Now.
     
  15. devilinthedetails

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

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @amidalachick Yeah, sometimes that "just write" writing advice can feel very frustrating and bit like someone rubbing salt in a wound when one is struggling to write. It's like if I asked for help in solving an algebra problem (I'm notoriously terrible at math so this analogy springs immediately to mind) and got told, "Just solve the equation."

    I'd be like, "Uh, yeah, I got that, but how do I solve the equation?"

    Similarly, the follow-up question to the advice "just write" becomes how to "just write."

    I think for me, like many writers, I'm still tinkering and discovering the answer to that question. Especially because I am a discovery writer with a super fickle muse so ideas for my stories can tend to marinate in my mind for weeks, months, and even years before I manage to set them to paper. Because my mind is a strange and dusty place:p

    Sometimes it is helpful for me to try to write in a notebook rather than on my laptop (which is often my default). Sometimes I feel less pressure to get the words "right" the first time when I am writing in a notebook. And it can feel good to cross the words out with a big old line when I need to or scribble little arrows to indicate where I want to move things when I get around to typing them up properly and have my little carrots with my insertions when I get ideas for what I want to add in. It all just feels very flexible (if sloppy) when I write in my notebook rather than on my laptop. Writing on my laptop can feel more official or formal for some reason. And the very process of transliterating my writing from my notebook to my laptop can do a lot of the editing and refining process for me.

    Listening to music when I'm trying to write can also sometimes be helpful for me as long as I choose music that will fit the mood of whatever I'm trying to write. Like if it is something angsty and dark, I want to pick sad songs that will make me want to cry, but if I'm going to be writing a romance, I might want all the mushy songs that will make me see hearts everywhere. Music can sometimes help get my words flowing.

    I've also learned to make peace in a sort of strange way with the fact that there will be sometimes when I won't be able to bring myself to write. A lot of times now, instead of trying to force myself to write and getting frustrated or stressed, I'll do something else. Maybe go for a walk around the block or a nearby park with my dog. Read some of a book I'm enjoying. Watch a movie or tv show. And sometimes after I've done something else, I'm more in the mood to write.

    I think my greatest comfort when I am struggling to write are two things that I have largely found to be true 1) that I will eventually be able to write again even if I can't at the moment, and 2) even the ideas that have been marinating in my head for years, months, or weeks do tend to eventually emerge from my mind onto the paper at some point even though it might be more on their time than mine.

    So maybe those thoughts can be a comfort to you as well!

    Good luck in your writing[:D]
     
  16. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    This is very true, and something that I will definitely try to remind myself of when I'm feeling frustrated or discouraged.

    Thank you all for the advice and kind words! I appreciate it so much. [:D]
     
  17. Happy Sando

    Happy Sando Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2023
    I'll second that, wholeheartedly. Great advice for any and all creatives. =D=
     
  18. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    When you're looking to expand on your outline/rough draft, are you having trouble putting words to paper to flesh out your existing outlined ideas, or are you having trouble figuring out where you want the story to go and how you want it to develop?

    Others have already provided better ideas than I can for the former. If it's the latter, I can talk about something I do to help, though my massive amount of stuck WIPs is evidence that it's not foolproof.

    If I have a general idea but not much more, like no plot, no story, none of those writing elements like character change or conflict or theme or anything, I'll go to the last part of the idea, the place where things start stalling and I can't get any further forward traction. For me this is initially best as more of a daydream/brainstorming session without even writing anything down, but YMMV. I'll take that last idea and try to think of two ways things could go as a result of that idea or scenario. They don't even have to be realistic or "correct" results-- they could be silly or goofy or something that would be out-of-character, since this is just to get juices and ideas flowing. Sometimes OOC actions could actually be IC with proper foundation work ahead of time and are a good way to shake things up too.

    For example, if two characters are stuck in a room together and I don't know how to proceed from there, I'll wonder: what are two things that could happen with those characters stuck together in the room? Maybe one decides to start an argument with the other. Or maybe they MacGyver something together to call for help. Of those two possibilities, which do I like better? I'll choose one, then ask the same question for that situation. If they MacGyver something to call for help, what are two things that could happen as a result? Maybe their comm works but they reach the bad guys instead of the good guys. Or maybe a component breaks and releases a small amount of internal gas that makes one of the characters act weird when they inhale it. And so on.

    The downside I've run into with this strategy is that sometimes I find it a lot more fun to just daydream "what ifs" instead of actually writing them down, so the WIP stays a WIP indefinitely. I've also had one story where I didn't have a good enough grasp of the characters' motivations and every single decision they could make seemed plausible. This led to a "paralysis by analysis" situation where I couldn't decide which path to legitimately go down and I stalled out for a long time trying to narrow the choices and figure out what I wanted the story to be about.
     
  19. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I'm not sure if this is helpful but what I have been doing is writing the idea down (in its raw form and what's in your head) and then revising it multiple times until it resembles something like a story. Basically, get the foundation down and flesh out the details later.
     
  20. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Oh, I like that idea! :) It kind of reminds me of the improv "Yes, and..." method.

    Thank you again to everyone who's shared advice and suggestions! I will definitely try some of these. [:D]
     
  21. devilinthedetails

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

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    So, it's the fall where I live, and maybe that is why I am musing on endings. Which, for writers, can encompass endings for characters and endings for stories and storylines.

    How do you know, as a writer, that you have hit the end point for a particular character, story, or storyline? Do you plot and plan the endings for your characters, stories, and storylines in advance? Or do you take a more discovery style approach of uncovering the ending for your characters, story, and storylines as you reach it? If you are a discovery type writer for your endings, have you ever struggled to find that ending for a character, story, or storyline, and if so, how did you overcome that struggle? Or if you are more of a plan and plot in advance sort of writer, was there ever a time you had to alter your plans or decided to experiment with a more discovery approach, and if so, how did that situation go for you? How do you decide if an ending is satisfactory? And does your approach to writing endings change based on the length or genre of the piece or some other factor?

    I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts and approaches:D
     
  22. Theodore Hawkwood

    Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 17, 2014
    I’ve found my approach has changed over the years. Sometimes I’d just write ideas as they came, as I got older I had been more likely to plan out ideas at least somewhat. Nowadays I have a mix of discovery and planning approach.

    I traditionally try to have 3-5 scenes in a chapter, though lately I’m experimenting with 2 scene chapters.
     
  23. Happy Sando

    Happy Sando Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 23, 2023
    I'm gonna be annoying and say "both" (sorry about that) but my approach has certainly changed over time. When I was younger, I almost exclusively made everything up as I went along. It was all instinctive, seat-of-my-pants kinda writing. Results were mixed. Nowadays I do a lot more planning, but I still try and retain an element of discovery to my writing process, because without that excitement and engagement, I'd get real bored, real fast.

    What works for me is to plan out the Who, What and Why in advance, but then leave the How, When and Where blank. This means I know the story I wanna tell, and can stay true to it throughout, but then I still get the page-by-page challenge of figuring out how to make it all happen.

    Roughly 80% of the time, this results in me knowing exactly where I want everybody / everything to end up, and I'm always aiming for that goal.

    Oh, heck yes! Back in my youth, I wrote my own Star Trek series, with its own original crew. This meant maintaining a regular cast of ten characters. Some were very important to me, and I took great care in making sure that their actions and arcs were consistent, logical and meaningful. Then there were a handful of obligatory post-fillers; every starship needs a Chief Medical Officer, a Helmsperson, etc. and I just didn't have good ideas for some of those roles, so I'm ashamed to say that I basically wrote them as 'Lieutenant Exposition' and 'Ensign Push-Buttons' and thought I'd get away with it. Figured I would "find" them along the way, but after I'd written a solid chunk of episodes, nothing was clicking.

    Problem was, some of my audience started to like them (despite their under-baked status) so I felt obliged to throw in the occasional detail here and there. Suddenly I had these relatively fleshed-out creations wandering around my pages, carrying all of these expectations. I got very lucky with one of them (some happenstance making me look a lot cleverer than I really was) but the other just ended up riding out the story. Hey, there were still buttons to push!

    So that's me split between "wait and see if you get lucky" and "sideline stuff that isn't working" but the common thread? Just keep writing. It'll shake out eventually.

    Also yes (again, sorry for being insufferable)! In fact, only recently, I realised I'd forgotten about a key piece of lore when developing a character, and had to scramble to alter some future exposition about them (whilst leaving my original error intact, as a reminder). I think I styled it out, but only just.

    When figuring out the How, there have also been plenty of instances where I've gotten stuck on an individual chapter's outcome, only to realise that the most logical ending for that specific moment would wreck the planned ending for my whole story. Whenever that happens, I admit that I'm happy to make small-scale sacrifices in service of the big picture, in the hopes that I'll be forgiven when folks eventually see where I was going.

    In addition, this might not be what you're looking for, but I enjoy the self-discovery part of the writing process, too. Every story makes me aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, some of which I might not have taken into account during the planning phase. For example, in an ideal world, I'd be capable of writing chaotic action set-pieces, but whenever I hit a bulletpoint which says "...and then they fight" I invariably chicken out, and go looking for an alternate route around the conflict. I'm still trying to reach the same outcome, though, so I guess this is why I stay flexible on the How.

    I trust my gut. If a conclusion feels right and natural, then chances are it is. These are your stories, after all, so ask yourself if you're satisfied. Have you said everything you wanted to say? Have you given your characters the send-off they deserve? Can you think of anything else you want them to do before they exit, stage left? Do you want to leave threads for a sequel, or tie everything up in a neat little bow? Either way, have you?

    These questions get more complicated the longer a story, of course, but I reckon they're pretty universal. Whether you've just expanded a planned ten chapters to thirty, or you've simply run out of story to tell, trust your instincts. You'll know when it's time to end.

    Hope this is the kinda response you wanted to generate! Apologies for rambling on. Maybe I'm not so great at sensing when to end things...! :oops:
     
  24. Theodore Hawkwood

    Theodore Hawkwood Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 17, 2014
    @Happy Sando, nice to meet another Star Trek fan. I actually am writing some Star Trek fanfics, to include one where I took Law and Order SVU's Olivia Benson and made her the captain of a starship post the Dominion War of DS9 Canon.
     
    Happy Sando likes this.
  25. Kit'

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

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I'm not sure whether to be thrilled or terrified about the idea of Benson being a starship captain! I might it'd be a tight run ship. Could also see her and Janeway being very good friends.

    *

    Currently writing a long scene fight between Namia and Kithera in which the verbal barbs hurt more than the lightsaber. Fight scenes are turning out to be stupid hard to write.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2023