Fan Art: How do you write?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Matrixbeast, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Matrixbeast

    Matrixbeast Here comes a thought

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    Hello. I have a quick question. How do you write a fan fic, or a story in general. I have several ideas in my head that could lead to some good stories (As well as some admittedly dumb stories rattling around in there too...). But the biggest problem is how to write the story in a feasible sense. I get the ideas, and I can arrange them in the order of how and when the events (In what would be the story) would occur. But I cannot pull off a transition between list of events and such to an actual story.

    Its not a problem coming up with a story. I just can't put it all together for an end product. Any tips?
     
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  2. John_Force

    John_Force 16xNHRA Funny Car Champ TFW2005 Supporter

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    Good Question.
    The basic idea is you want to take your idea's, arrange them in a order you think makes sense, and then throw in a bunch of adjectives and describing words. If you've got 2 seperate story lines, balance between them, so the reader doesn't get 100% robot action.
    It may seem hard at first, but once you get the flow of the story going, the sheet you wrote your ideas on should become obsolute.
     
  3. gestalt

    gestalt Well-Known Member

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    There is no golden rule to writing. Every author approaches a new story in his/her style. That being said, here some general advice.

    • Read.
    • Read some more.
    • If you think you're ready, read more.
    • If you have an idea, but don't think you can do it. You might be ready. ;)  (Overconfidence is often a problem in writing.)
    • Write about things you know.
    • Take a piece of paper and write down an outline of your story.
    • Have a piece of paper for every character (piece of technology), where you write down bios/traits, likes/dislikes. Even if they are well known characters.
    • Write down ideas. Flesh them out, when inspiration strikes.
    • Not every idea/scene you have in mind has to be used. Sometimes it's better to discard/rewrite scenes/ideas in favor of your story.
    • Use a spellchecker.
    • (Proof)Read what you write.
    • Give your story to someone else to read. (Fanfiction.net, has a forum of beta-readers, and people around here wouldn't mind either I guess.)
    • You don't have to start with the beginning. Write what comes to mind.
    • Did I mention to spellcheck?

    Recommended Reading:
    I collected the above links back in 2004. If you search around I'm sure you'll find more (recent) articles.
     
  4. Matrixbeast

    Matrixbeast Here comes a thought

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    Well, I do read a lot, but not much of Tranformers fanfiction. Anyway, I tend to keep bios and traits of characters in my head, mainly because I never think to write those down...I don't use every idea. Essentially, I "test" ideas by playing them out in my head, and seeing if it works. And most of the time, when an idea strikes, it's in the middle of a 'story' anyway. I usually have to come up with a beginning and origin story (Ex: Recently I've been creating a superhero story. The thought came from some random picture I saw on the internet. I already have huge battles and plenty of characters, allies, villains, and the like. But I'm still trying to build up on the hero's own background...) And I always spellcheck :D 

    On of the biggest problems I run into is that I usually create my own characters in their own universe, usually because I don't have the restriction of what an existing character would/would not do. Such as when I created the thread, I was trying to create the Transformers fan fic. But now, hardly a day later, I'm having trouble keeping interest because I don't really have control without completely changing the characters (Such as having Cliffjumper shoot Bumblebee in the face, which is something I don't think Cliffjumper would ever do). I get this feeling that I am merely guiding the characters along, rather than writing them myself. Or am I the only one who feels like this at times?

    Also, does anyone want to try a...co-op fan fic? I know that in order to get writing experience, I'm gonna have to, well, write. However, I have, what I believe are, two good storylines (set in the Animated Universe). I want to write with someone before I attempt a fic on my own for three reasons.
    • I believe that this story could work, and I don't want my first attempt (Which I know won't go down so well) to ruin it.
    • I consider this something of a 'weening' from ideas on a paper to a coherent story.
    • To see how well I can work with others on an original idea of mine.

    That last reason is for me ;)  but yeah, anyone up for it?
     
  5. Lupis Convoy

    Lupis Convoy Paw Prince Veteran

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    MB... I have to say first off, NEVER do a co-op project. It's more hassle than it's worth for both parties.

    Okay, as a writer, I would have to echo some of what's been said, read a lot.

    If you get ideas, jot them down on note cards and keep them filed away for later.

    You can use separate word files for each character to keep the straight. That way you can always reference them, edit if need be.

    After you write things out, read them ALOUD to yourself first.

    Look up writeordie for motivation. I can pump out 2k an hour with that thing.

    The most important thing when writing, is to jsut get the words to page/screen.

    There's one rule I learned from Mur Lafferty, and that's the important rule of "You are allowed to suck." Your first drafts are just drafts.. they can suck. That's what editing is for.

    If you are doing a fanfic, it is important to do your research on the characters. BUT don't feel that you have to actually stick with those characters. Feel free to use your own int he same universe as a side plot. I worked on a fanfic in the serenity/firefly world once that used new characters that only had fringe connections to side characters and places. Worked out fairly well.

    Just write. If you want to just write a scene, do the scene. Save it as a different file, and then just weave the scenes together later.
     
  6. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I really like all of the advice given here so far. I think you guys are right on the money!

    One thing I'd like to pass on that I heard another writer say is don't write embellishment for the sake of it. I think that's some of the best advice I've heard from an established writer (aside from what's given). I was listening to a speaker at a college on night on TV. The education channels can have some cool things on sometimes :)  I especially love this one show that's essentially an art history class on tv, but I digress.

    I really like all of the technical advice given here as well. I often find myself copy+pasting from im conversations with friends to .docs too :) 
     
  7. Matrixbeast

    Matrixbeast Here comes a thought

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    Wow! Thanks you all! I have just another question, is all...Recently, I've been reading more and more fics, and one big problem constantly arises. How do you make a conversation between characters (that is plot relevant, such as foreshadowing, revealing a major plot point, etc) sound like the two characters would actually say something like that? In a lot of the fics I've been reading, they usually outright just tell the reader what they need to know, not make it like a believable talk between the characters.
     
  8. gestalt

    gestalt Well-Known Member

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    A proven concept in art is theft. Read books/comics and do what they did. ;) 

    Now for the long answer.
    It all depends on who/how/when/where.
    • Empathy and imagination are important. Is your character shy or brash? Is he trying to say something, to get it done with, does he even know, that it is important. Imagine you are him/her/hir.
    • A good character sheet helps. Obvious Speech pattern? Talkative guy? Imagine cartoon Grimlock citing Shakespeare.
    • Take notes from real life. You are trying to sell it for real after all. I assume you have friends/family you interact with. Actually this should have been mentioned earlier:
      I've heard an author say, that a good author is a good observer. The same author (don't remember the name, sorry) also had a notebook, which he took everywhere. He'd use to write down inspirations, things he learned about technology, and to write about certain behavioral traits he observed. He sometimes even wrote down whole conversations he had or overheard.
    • Character (sometimes) counts. Plotpoints aren't always essential for a character. Every character has other priorities.
    • What's the situation.
      • Relationship: Friends, grunt<>Superior Officer
      • Situation: War/Front, Teatime.

    Read your dialog out loud. (It's been mentioned before).

    Steal. Art is often "stolen". Photos/Drawings are often traced to create new Drawings, for example. Authors also like to borrow ideas, or complete scenes or so I have heard.

    I guess this is all I could say without giving examples, which would make a long and unnecessary post.

    Hm. This doesn't answer your question at all, does it? :D 

    If you have more challenges (There are no problems, only challenges), I'll try to be of more use.
     
  9. Rhinox007

    Rhinox007 Liquid Fire

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    Just a minor tip I think which might help:
    One of thse days you'll come along this problem: the "staring at a blank sheet". Many writers once face this problem, they don't seem to find a proper begin or the words for it. But just start writing, it's best to have something that is utterly bad than to have nothing. Once you have got something on paper you can at least build further on that little piece of text. If it's bad, don't mind, you can always edit later when you're muse arrives.

    About your question with the conversations, a good tip(s) has already been given. But there is more than just that. Do you decide to give the reader much information so they feel like they're in the story, or do you want them to have an insatiable hunger for information which is not given? This all adds to the story appreciation, and fun for the writer as well. Remember, you are the master in your universe of writing.

    About your characters, even though they exisct(like if you write fanfiction about Tf's) you still have a bit of a freedom to do with them as you like, as long as you keep their basic characteristics. You can still make of them what you like as long as they are recognisable. For example: Animated Ironhide, I don't remember him being a bully. or animated Wasp... he wasn't the social and military failiur as he was in Beast Wars.

    I myself am trying to break through in the publisher/writing world with own books and now I'm co-opping with a friend of mine on a fantasy story, he's telling teh story from teh side of one race, I from teh side of the other race, we've got our problems and our advantages with these co-operation. It all depends with who you work with.

    I hope these can help you
     
  10. Matrixbeast

    Matrixbeast Here comes a thought

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    Thanks for the tips you guys! Currently I'm working on a story in the Animated Universe, about the creation of Bruticus. I'm working on the conversation thing, and for the most part, it's going great.

    But I've run into an odd situation. Whilst working on the character sheets for Onslaught and Brawl, I quickly realized that, what would've been their simple background, has turned into adventures themselves. I know that's not a problem, but damn...What would've been a single story is quickly turning into 4 different stories that just interconnect as the entity known as BRUTICUS! Has anyone else had something like that happen?
     
  11. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    as Neil Gaiman says, arrange 26 letters into a variety of words one after another until the story is told.
    I always recommend the book "story" by Robert McKee, it's very film based but gives an excellent breakdown of character and story layout. Invaluable read.
     
  12. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    And remember a story isn't finished when every word is down on paper, rather it is finished when every superfluous word is taken out of it.
     
  13. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Another tip I'd like to pass along is one I was thinking about myself when watching some of the Shout! Factory Special Features: learn the mechanics that others have used in the past that work well. Learn how writers who work for certain companies develop character sheets, for example. How are cartoon scripts written? Try to obtain a copy of an "official" one just to see how it was drafted.

    Generally speaking, DVD special features are a candyshop for those wanting to replicate or create things appreciated. :) 
     
  14. gestalt

    gestalt Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear you're making progress. :thumb 
    That's world-building (Remember you are trying to sell us your universe). It happens to a lot of authors, and some specialize in it. Take just about any romantasy series out their, for example.

    Write your ideas down. They flesh out the background of your characters and are important.

    See even Superquad7 tells you to steal. :wink:  Stealing is the right of all sentient artists. Stealing is good. Com on you can do it. Steal. :drunk 
     
  15. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I did? :dunce 
     
  16. Rhinox007

    Rhinox007 Liquid Fire

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    read books, copy the styles that you like, try to work with them to find out which style fits you. I think every writer here has stolen something from someone else. For example: I've stolen my detailed descriptions of environments and emotions style from Robert Jordan.
    I've practised with it and changed it into my own style which is very much appreaciated by now. And for you'problem' with the character sheets, don't worry, now you've got yourself an interesting story WITH character development... you're doing better than ROTF, and I myself would definetly read such a story, because I'm ineterested in character development, and like you're doing now, giving each individual an own story, your readers will get mroe attached to the characters.
     

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