Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

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jjm152
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by jjm152 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:30 pm

LorSquirrel wrote:
Silentcook wrote: :evil:
*Jumps into car and drive at full speed to mexico* See ya!

Anyway. Another tip I would give is perhaps write out a rough skeleton of the story, or perhaps even write out an entire act before you post the chapter. With the first one it gives you a clear idea of what you want to do and can keep you focused. With the second one I would recommend staggering out the release date of the chapters by about a week for each one. Why? So in case there happens to be a some big problem that occurs with a chapter or if you put something in that just doesn't work for the reader you can go in and easily change it without too much hassle.
Following on from that, here is my "fool proof" 5 ACT Drama/Romance plot template.

ACT ONE
  • Introduce Lead Characters
  • Introduce Setting
  • Describe Action leading up to first plot point
ACT TWO
  • Establish First Plot Point
  • Establish Character Motivations
  • Set Overall Theme
  • First Romantic Encounter
ACT THREE
  • Describe Pursuit of Goals Relevant to Plot
  • Introduce Minor Reversals
  • Describe Correction of Reversal
  • End with Romantic Encounter and/or Major Reversal
ACT FOUR
  • Introduce Second Plot Point or Twist
  • Describe Rising Conflict
  • Reinforce Thematic Elements
  • Victory of Protagonist(s)
ACT FIVE
  • Denouement for Characters
  • Tie Up Loose Ends
  • Final Romantic Scene.
I like to go through first and bullet point the major issues under each heading, sticking to the formula, then go back later and describe each act as scenes, usually one paragraph or two paragraphs per scene. Generally speaking, 2-3 scenes will eventually turn into a chapter (my chapters are approximately 5k to 6k words).

If I ever write a chapter that doesn't advance the plot, I throw it away and slap myself. There's no excuse to not keep things moving if you use a simple template like this one.

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LorSquirrel
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by LorSquirrel » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:56 pm

Also, something else to note is that if you are doing a short little one-shot, or side story that doesn't involve your fic's MC it's okay to switches from first to third person, or even switch the first person narrative over to a character who is involved with the story just as long as you specify that it is a one-shot/side story and don't make a habit of doing it in the main chapters.

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Eurobeatjester
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:17 pm

If writing a route, or a longer piece of fiction where Hisao interacts with an original character, remember that for the most part, Hisao is an original character too. Hisao changes drastically over the course of each route. While he's not a blank slate, it's very easy to see a "canon" version of Hisao in your head, and it can cause problems because you don't know how he would interact with your OC that you spent so much time on fleshing out.

This is one that you won't notice right away, but it can really come back and bite you in the ass.
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Oddball » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:07 am

Eurobeatjester wrote:If writing a route, or a longer piece of fiction where Hisao interacts with an original character, remember that for the most part, Hisao is an original character too. Hisao changes drastically over the course of each route. While he's not a blank slate, it's very easy to see a "canon" version of Hisao in your head, and it can cause problems because you don't know how he would interact with your OC that you spent so much time on fleshing out.

This is one that you won't notice right away, but it can really come back and bite you in the ass.
On that note, I've noticed a tendency for writers that want to expand the story past school to focus heavily on the girls family and problems and situations with them, while Hisao's family never seems to get any real development or challenges.
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LorSquirrel
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by LorSquirrel » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:27 am

I think it may have something to do with the fact that we get so little information on his relationship with them and what little information we do get it somewhat vague. I think Rin's route mentions that he was usually left home by himself but that's one of the few things I'm a hundred percent sure of, so basically the reason why fics don't focus on Hisao's parents is because most people, myself included, don't really know anything about them.

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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Steinherz » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:36 pm

LorSquirrel wrote:I think it may have something to do with the fact that we get so little information on his relationship with them and what little information we do get it somewhat vague. I think Rin's route mentions that he was usually left home by himself but that's one of the few things I'm a hundred percent sure of, so basically the reason why fics don't focus on Hisao's parents is because most people, myself included, don't really know anything about them.
Pretty much.

Like, we don't even know their names :lol:
I mean, we've had the devs state the names of most of the other parents, but not Hisao's.
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:41 pm

On Spacing:

The problem just came up back again in a recent fic, and it seems we didn't cover this topic in this thread yet - or I've been using the wrong keywords...

Anyway, for better readability a story posted to the forum should use paragraphs rather than simply one giant wall of text.

To be more precise one should use a double line break every time the speaking/acting character changes. You don't really need single line breaks at all.

As an example I'll post an exerpt from one of my stories (pretend the red text is an empty line:
It starts with Lilly.
I check my watch. It is almost time for departure. Mr. Nomiya asked me to make sure everyone was ready in time, but I am going to need a little help... I strain my ears to hear a familiar voice and after finding one, turn in that direction. „Hisao?“
Still Lilly, but there's a pause, so another double line break.
A short pause, then I hear two sets of steps coming my way. One is the mechanic clicking of prosthetics. That would be Emi then.
Changing to Hisao
„What is it Lilly?“ Hisao sounds like he is in good spirits.
Changing to Lilly
„Mr. Nomiya asked me to make sure everyone was here in time. Could you please do a headcount for me? I do not want to shout to get everyone's attention. There should be sixteen students here.“
Changing to Hisao
Another pause while Hisao is counting. „I'm sorry, Lilly, counting us, there are only twelve people here.“
Changing to Emi
„Thirteen. There's Nanami over there,“ Emi chirps in.
Changing to Lilly. Not specifically mentioned since she's the only one who would need to ask
„Right. So who is missing?“
Changing to Hisao
„Well, first of all Kenji, and I can't see Hanako anywhere.“ Hisao ponders for a while. „I'm not sure who else was going to come.“
Changing to Emi
„Oh, I know! Mai is still missing. She probably has problems with her luggage. I'll go and help her.“ Quickly retreating steps tell me that Emi is heading for the girl's dorm.
Changing to Lilly
I turn back to Hisao. „Hanako is going to be here in time. She already brought her luggage, but she went back for a while to avoid the crowd. Could I ask you to go look for Kenji?“
Changing to Hisao
Hisao groans slightly, but he doesn't complain. „Sure. I'll be right back.“
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Gajzla
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Gajzla » Mon May 04, 2015 7:23 pm

On Music

So having pushed out 7K words (Good for me, not much for others, go figure) this bank holiday, I thought I would try and share some of the choices I make as per to sound track. Whenever I do anything creative I struggle to do so in silence, be this painting Warhammer to constructing magic the gathering decks, or indeed writing fan fiction.

I’ve been told that for a consist feel throughout an entire novel you should stick to one piece of music or album, however I can’t do this, I would go insane. (If you are one of the people who can hear the same music on repeat more power to you)

So I split it soundtracks into different emotional states or actions within a story, but before I get into that a few basic tips.

1) Avoid music with lyrics, you’ll end up focusing on someone else’s words and not your own.

2) Avoid music with extreme variations, for example if you have a play list in mind try and avoid having classical followed by death metal. This can create problems in your tone half way through a scene.

3) Avoid Audio-books - Do I really need to say why?

Examples.

This is how I chose my music based on the mood of the scene, this is of course the music I enjoy so find what works for you.

Sad/Romantic
Example 1 Example 2 Example 3

Banter/friendship
Example 1 Example 2 Example 3

Action/Adventure
Example 1 Example 2

Hope this helps at least some of you, I can’t be the only one who can’t write in silence, right?

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue May 05, 2015 3:09 am

On Music:
If you want to use it, make it as unobtrusive as possible - some people will want to read the story without it.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by NekoDude » Mon May 11, 2015 6:52 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:On Spacing:

The problem just came up back again in a recent fic, and it seems we didn't cover this topic in this thread yet - or I've been using the wrong keywords...

Anyway, for better readability a story posted to the forum should use paragraphs rather than simply one giant wall of text.

To be more precise one should use a double line break every time the speaking/acting character changes. You don't really need single line breaks at all.
        I have another solution to the same problem, one I was forced to come up with because in my current format, blank lines mean something. In particular, they mean the "single-focus omniscient narrator" is about to leap from one character's shoulder to another. The solution is to format the way I'd format a normal document: with an indent at the beginning of each paragraph.
        Now there's an inherent problem, in that the board software strips out what it perceives as extraneous spaces, and it doesn't honor tabs either. Those are the two normal ways to indent. I tried non-breaking spaces. Oddly, that worked on the first line after a double break, but not in a continuous form such as this. My initial solution was to create a transparent graphic of the proper size and insert it at the beginning of every paragraph. Since this required hosting said graphic somewhere else, this method was less than reliable for me, and impossible for some. It took me quite a while to come up with an idea that should have hit me long before.

        Thin spaces. Unicode U+2009.

        The forum software doesn't recognize these as spaces, so it doesn't try to strip them out. Also, it does not seem that they have issues with variable pitch fonts (which is pretty much everything you'd want to use) unless you're justifying text on both the left and right — and if you could do that here, you could also do proper indents. The down side is that because they are thin spaces, you need to chain up a fair number of them to accomplish your goal. All of these paragraphs, for example, are preceded by eight of them.

This line is flush left (not indented).
 This is indented with just one ThSp.
  Two ThSp.
This line is flush left (not indented).
    Four ThSp. Now we're actually getting somewhere.
        Eight ThSp, like are all the paragraphs above. I consider this the equivalent of a quarter-inch indent.
This line is flush left (not indented).
            Twelve.
                Sixteen. I consider this the equivalent of a half-inch indent.
This line is flush left (not indented).

You get the point.

        Now how do you enter these? I have my keyboard layout mapping AltGr + Space to Thin Space, but the only standard layout that does this natively, I believe, is Swedish/Finnish. On a Windows machine, you could hold down Alt and punch out '2009' on the keypad, then release Alt. This gets you one of them. This is obviously a pain in the ass. You could copypaste them from another document, including this one. I've found that overall, the easiest solution is to substitute something else until you are ready to post, then do a Find-and-Replace operation. If you are typing purely in English, this puts the `~ key to good use. Just start every paragraph with ` and replace them at the end. If you have `~ set as a dead key, or don't have one at all (as would be the case in most other language layouts), you'll have to figure out something that works for you. If you have the paragraph symbol available, that seems like an obvious candidate. It also doesn't have to be just one character. You could start every paragraph with =! if you wanted, provided you have no other reason to ever type =! in the course of your work.
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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue May 12, 2015 4:52 pm

That does work with paperbacks... On today's large monitors - and especially in dialogue heavy scenes - the effect is that 75% of all lines are indented, and a few lines start a bit further right^^°

In effect it still looks like a wall of text without the free lines in between.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by NekoDude » Tue May 12, 2015 7:26 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:That does work with paperbacks... On today's large monitors - and especially in dialogue heavy scenes - the effect is that 75% of all lines are indented, and a few lines start a bit further right^^°

In effect it still looks like a wall of text without the free lines in between.
First, I'm writing in paperback form, and also posting it here. Formatting decisions have been made with the paper (or e-Paper) format in mind first. Second, since I assigned the blank line a value (the same value it was given in the Mars Trilogy back in the 1990s), I simply cannot use it to separate paragraphs any longer. It's used in a cinematic sense, as if to denote a camera angle change. Third, if someone has their browser throwing tiny text across a 1920-pixel-wide screen, that's their own lookout. I have 2048 pixels across myself (4096 across both monitors) but keep the browser to a bit more than half the screen because it's easier to read text in a page-like column than it is to read the same text in a banner, not to mention the difficulty of line tracking when the eyes have to scan that far. The reader should set the width of the browser window to a value that makes it comfortable for them. I cannot and will not assume what this value is, only that it is at least the width of my paperback page.
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by LorSquirrel » Wed May 13, 2015 3:23 pm

Hey. It's me again! You know, that guy who starts writing something half decent and then wanders off for a couple month because he has the attention span of a half baked cheeto? Yeah. That guy.

Anyway. I personally never really have a problem with the wall of text, but I just do the double space for other people. I personally have never liked the look of the indentation, don't know why it's just how I am, although maybe a single space could work? Just an idea.

Tips:
-For the love of God don't be like me and only have a vague idea of what you want to do in the story and just go from there. You WILL hit a wall at some point and just lose your confidence.

-Think out character motivation, and personalities. Do it before you start with anything else, except maybe the basic outline of the plot. You'll just end up making every character feel the same otherwise.

-Don't just think out how a character feels about another character. Reason out why, and ask yourself what that other character feel about the first character. It will help you make better rounded characters.

-Don't try and write five hours after midnight. Especially if you haven't slept for three days. I am speaking from experience here when I say that whatever you write will be complete shit (Apologies for the harsh language).

-If you aren't confident in your grammar skills, then find an editor, or try to improve the. Do I really need to say why this would be helpful?

-Don't try to write main character from the games unless you have done a decent bit of research on them and played through their route one or two times while taking notes.

-For God's sake, please don't write your MC like how I did in A Painful Past. Give them some actual fucking flaws (Again. Apologies for the language). Give them tons of the things. Give them more flaws then positives. It will make it five times more interesting to watch someone who is a complete wreck then someone who is so perfect that they might as well be in a super hero comic.

-Finally. Don't mix ketchup and maple syrup. Common sense really. Not sure how this relates to writing but I apparently wrote it down on a napkin last night, so it's probably good advice none the less.

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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Leaty » Mon May 18, 2015 2:06 pm

This came up on a deaf blog I follow, and I thought the forums might find it useful/insightful, given our particular subject matter.
mirverse wrote: Image
this short guide brought to you by an actual disabled person.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

This one should be obvious, right? Don’t write without researching what you are writing about. Disability is a complicated and complex issue and you shouldn’t operate on assumptions.

But here’s the thing: reading Wikipedia doesn’t count as research. Go beyond that.

2. DO NOT DEPEND ON MEDICAL JOURNALS AND SYMPTOM LISTS

While it’s a good idea to consult medical literature, remember that - especially when it comes to invisible disabilities and neurodivergence - doctors can only tell you what the disease looks like, not what it feels like. While you should most certainly know how the disability in question presents, you should not rely on the word of medical practitioners alone.

3. LISTEN TO ACTUAL DISABLED PEOPLE

To write authentically, with an understanding of what you’re writing, you will need to talk to and listen to disabled people. You will not be able to gain an understanding of what it feels like to be disabled, to have a particular condition, without talking to people who have it. Do not ignore this step or you risk writing a shallow (and often inaccurate) stereotype.

Of course, when approaching someone for information, remember to be respectful and not voyeuristic. Be prepared to be told to get lost - not everyone likes to be a source of information for the abled.

4. DO NOT WRITE STEREOTYPES

There are many condition-specific stereotypes and I can’t really cover them all in a short guide. However, there are two broad stereotypes that are applied to the vast majority of disabled people and you should work to avoid both:

The Saintly Inspiration

Do not write disabled people who suffer without a single complaint, who Strive Hard to Overcome their Limitations and Succeed. Disabled people do not exist to inspire you. Disabled people do not “fail” if they do not reach abled standards of “success”.

Certainly, there are struggles when one is disabled. Do not frame them as overcoming the disability: often, the real obstacle is not the disability but the lack of accommodation, understanding and support.

The Bitter Cripple[1]

Do not write disabled people who are portrayed as unrelentingly negative, bitter and cynical and are cast in a bad light because of this. Disability is tough and some develop coping methods that may seem harsh to abled people, but it is what must be done to survive.

5. DO NOT EMPLOY MIRACULOUS CURES

Disability shapes and moulds a person in many ways. Miraculous cures erase a part of a disabled character for a cheap happy end. It is an insulting and belittling tactic that tells disabled readers that they, too, need to be fixed, instead of being accepted and supported as they are.

[1] If you’re not physically disabled, you shouldn’t use “cripple”. Characters may self-describe as such, depending on their attitude to their disability, but outside of fiction, the able-bodied should not use this term.
andreashettle wrote:6. Use disabilityinkidlit and its Wordpress counterpart, http://disabilityinkidlit.wordpress.com as resources. These sister blogs (particularly the reviews at at the Wordpress version) are a way to learn more detail about the kind of tropes and stereotypes that often annoy many disabled readers the most.

7. Consider joining the Disabookability Facebook group. It’s not all people with disabilities, and it’s not all people who necessarily share the same disabilities as the characters they are reading. But following along with this ongoing conversation about disability in books, film, TV, plays, etc. could give you more of an idea the kinds of things readers are hoping for when they read a book featuring a disabled character.

An addendum to #3 I just thought of:

A good starting point, before looking for disabled people to have a conversation with or as beta readers, would be to first seek out public blogs written by people who share the same condition(s) as your character and are clearly written for public audiences (not one of the semi-private blogs that clearly seem written on the assumption that it is mostly close friends or relatives following along). Some of them may talk about their disability at least in occasional passing as one factor that may have an impact on their daily activities. Some will spend more time talking about their disability and its impact than others–if you find enough blogs by people sharing that condition you can be choosy on that basis.

These blogs can be a way to learn more about the lived experience of disability without bugging strangers with questions. On one hand, reading someone else’s idea of what information is worth sharing via their blog may not help answer some highly specific questions you have that are idiosyncratic for your particular character or story line. But on the other hand, they may answer a dozen questions you didn’t even realize should be asked. For example, I didn’t know until seeing the occasional blog discussion that some fashion-minded wheelchair riders are frustrated by how most clothing is designed to look good on a person who is standing or walking–but not necessarily to look good on a person who is always sitting. Not being fashion-minded myself, most related discussion flies over my head and tends to mystify more than enlighten me – but if I ever write a wheelchair using character and decide to make her much, MUCH more fashion oriented than I am (you would have to be, in order to even notice that fashion exists!), then my past experience in reading blogs has informed me enough to realize that wheelchair riding clothes fashion is something I would want to research.

One way to find disability bloggers is to check out listings of disability-themed blogs or blog posts, like the annual Blogging Against Disableism Day event which collected posts on ableism/disablism in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Once you find a few bloggers you like, see if they have a listing of more disability blogs they like to follow.

When you’re ready to talk to live people, try diversitycrosscheck which is a blog site where writers wanting to talk with people from diverse backgrounds can look for people who have identified themselves as being comfortable answering questions from writers about their backgrounds. Check the disability tags there.

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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Razoredge » Mon May 18, 2015 2:55 pm

Books with descriptions of symptoms of disabilities are a good way for a search or not?
Kenji > Lilly = Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Misha is a MOAB, she's out of the competition.

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