Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

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Zykes
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Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Zykes » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:00 pm

Having been around for a while, reading several fan fictions. I have wondered what others thought about these two concepts when reading stories.

In some stories, from the title of the thread or just in obvious writing, you know what is going to happen (If it be relationships or basic plot events)

Other stories, however, do not bring up what their plot can be and leaves it to be discovered throughout the reading.

Which do you think is better and/or where do you think each is appropriate?

I personally find plot discovery to be something better to read, as I'm more invested in finding out what is going to happen or what path the story will take, though this works best with longer stories more than anything.

Those that doesn't mean I feel like knowing what I'm getting into is bad either, but I feel it's a type that sticks well with short stories and one shots, where there isn't a build up to anything.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by SpunkySix » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:50 am

I feel like a mix is best. A catchy title that grabs the reader's attention and gives a broad idea of the subject, but doesn't give away the details or full direction, allowing development and surprises that go beyond the name of the story.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by brythain » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:09 am

SpunkySix wrote:I feel like a mix is best. A catchy title that grabs the reader's attention and gives a broad idea of the subject, but doesn't give away the details or full direction, allowing development and surprises that go beyond the name of the story.
I'm a fan of this approach. For example, 'Developments' by dewelar is one of the best. Full of surprises, although the 'developments' of the title are sometimes convoluted to my mind. It's a very hotly-discussed piece because it 'doesn't give away the details or full direction' and we're still rooting for different people and outcomes. :)
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Leaty » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:14 am

The thing is, your mileage can vary. I felt like Mean Time to Breakdown was a really opaque title for my story, and the role reversal between Iwanako and Hisao was intended to be a twist, but based on reader responses, everybody who clicked on the link immediately knew what it was going to be about.

I'm still a bit sore about that.

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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by brythain » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:22 am

Leaty wrote:The thing is, your mileage can vary. I felt like Mean Time to Breakdown was a really opaque title for my story, and the role reversal between Iwanako and Hisao was intended to be a twist, but based on reader responses, everybody who clicked on the link immediately knew what it was going to be about.

I'm still a bit sore about that.
I think that MTB as a title worked fine: I wasn't sure in what sense 'mean', 'mean time' or 'breakdown' meant at first. But in a sense the one-for-one substitution made it reasonably clear what it would be about. If it's any consolation, since it's not a perfect one-to-one substitution, that means all your readers are still wondering what will happen and are eagerly awaiting unforeseen (or even dimly foreseen or blatantly foreshadowed) outcomes. :) Also, good writing!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by SpunkySix » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:33 am

Leaty wrote:The thing is, your mileage can vary. I felt like Mean Time to Breakdown was a really opaque title for my story, and the role reversal between Iwanako and Hisao was intended to be a twist, but based on reader responses, everybody who clicked on the link immediately knew what it was going to be about.

I'm still a bit sore about that.
If it makes you feel any better, I didn't realize that's what it was about. I haven't read it yet, but to me, the title wasn't a giveaway.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by dewelar » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:20 am

brythain wrote:
SpunkySix wrote:I feel like a mix is best. A catchy title that grabs the reader's attention and gives a broad idea of the subject, but doesn't give away the details or full direction, allowing development and surprises that go beyond the name of the story.
I'm a fan of this approach. For example, 'Developments' by dewelar is one of the best. Full of surprises, although the 'developments' of the title are sometimes convoluted to my mind. It's a very hotly-discussed piece because it 'doesn't give away the details or full direction' and we're still rooting for different people and outcomes. :)
I have to agree with Spunky's original post as well. I never thought "Developments" was all that catchy as a title, but it does accurately convey the general theme of the story. Actually, it was originally meant to have a double meaning, because my outline included a subplot involving Hanako taking an interest in photography. I just never found a way to fit that into the story as it flowed, but there are still one or two artifacts of it in the early chapters.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:17 pm

I also prefer stories I don't know the ending of after the first chapter.
In that sense I like MTB a lot, because I still don't know how it's going to end.
And to me the title wasn't a giveaway, since I wasn't familiar with that technical term - and I doubt I would have gotten the reference if I had been familiar with it.
I wouldn't fret over it, though, since it's not a huge spoiler - that part of the story becomes obvious less than a page in.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Oddball » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:14 pm

I usually prefer discovery.

There's nothing wrong with a known plot. Sometimes you just want something light, although it does tend to work best in shorter stories. Long multi-chapter fics it tends to wear out it's welcome.

Myself, I like to give titles to stories that capture people's attention without really letting them know exactly what's going to happen or how. Whether the readers like it or not, I'm not sure, but I have some fun with being unpredictable.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by SpunkySix » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:14 pm

Oddball wrote:Whether the readers like it or not, I'm not sure, but I have some fun with being unpredictable.
That's actually a really important aspect here too. Obviously you try to write for an audience, but you have to be able to stand behind what you write personally too, so it comes down partially just to author's preference.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by brythain » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:05 pm

Oddball wrote:I usually prefer discovery.
*snip*
Whether the readers like it or not, I'm not sure, but I have some fun with being unpredictable.
That's for sure. :)

On my end, I do like writing unpredictability that grows out logically from what we already know. Life is like that—people do things for reasons, even if they are odd reasons. Especially a population full of people on various drugs. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by ParagonTerminus » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:34 pm

I prefer an air of mystery but also a bit of a setup. Take for example, my fanfiction.

The Orion Project.

Okay, so Orion probably means it's gonna have some aspect relating to sci-fi. Project? Indicates that someone is working on something in that sci-fi environment, and if general fiction is to be trusted, anything with "project" in the title indicates evildoings.

And yet you can't grasp anything more than absolute basic setup from that.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Zykes » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:53 pm

It does make me wonder if this either preference gives any insight on a person's view on things.

I can only speak for myself, as my preference is always discovery, I've always enjoyed the journey of a story (If it came from Movies, Books or video games). This kind of reflects on my interactions with other people, and what I reveal about myself. I'd rather let them learn as time goes on, rather than be an open book.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by Guest Poster » Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:46 am

What about bait-and-switch titles that seem obvious at the start, but then turn out to have a second, more important, meaning? FluffAndCrunch's "Scar Tissue" was a fine example. It's subtitled "a Hanako story" so the reader's immediate response is to assume the title refers to Hanako's burns. Except it doesn't and it leads to an "Ahah"-moment on part of the reader later in the story.
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Re: Fanfics - Known Plot vs Plot Discovery?

Post by SpunkySix » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:22 am

Guest Poster wrote:What about bait-and-switch titles that seem obvious at the start, but then turn out to have a second, more important, meaning? FluffAndCrunch's "Scar Tissue" was a fine example. It's subtitled "a Hanako story" so the reader's immediate response is to assume the title refers to Hanako's burns. Except it doesn't and it leads to an "Ahah"-moment on part of the reader later in the story.
Ooooh, I like that.
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