Fanfics and writing?

Talk about issues around writing, and for fan fiction writers to ask technical questions.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Lycaea » 05 Jul 2013, 15:55

One of Sweden’s foremost authors (though not a favourite of mine), Jan Guillou, is rumoured to have said something along the lines of “I don’t do inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs. I’m a professional.” And the saying is that writing is 90 per cent hard work, and ten per cent inspiration.

Of course, without those ten per cent, it’s rather difficult to even get started. Personally, I like to have a decent idea of where I’m going, and to write quite a lot ahead before I publish. Bit it’s true that the best way is to just sit down and start writing. If you do that, you will get some pages done, even if it needs a bit of editing later on.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby SopwithCamel » 05 Jul 2013, 16:14

I generally start with an idea (like, "Biggles gets married"), write out the first chapter and then go from there. I don't usually do much what people would call "plotting", but I do have some fairly vague ideas as to what might happen later on, although sometimes those events don't really fit in so I have to give them up.

I don't really do much rewriting--usually I just type it all out onto the computer, read it through once after I'm done and try to catch the typos and weird phrasings (although anyone who's ever read anything of mine will be quick to point out that I very rarely catch all of them. :D )

The thing about my fics is I do like things to be moving so there tends to be more dialogue and people getting shot and dying or almost dying or whatnot rather than the sort of long descriptions that wej sometimes goes for (this is mostly due to the fact that I usually don't know about places or plants or history to write long descriptions)

I love doing dialogue--Biggles vs. Algy is always fantastic, and Bertie can be fun. I find Ginger a little trying at times because after he lost his gangster tone he got very plain in terms of "voice". I think listening to the audiobooks really help with writing dialogue as you can hear the voices in your head as you're writing them (well, I say "you", I mean "me")
"For goodness sake stop that Yankee drawl, or you'll have us all doing it before you've finished."
"OK baby - sorry - I mean, righto."
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby SopwithCamel » 05 Jul 2013, 16:17

Tommy Smith wrote:
I'm still trying to recover from when, during a conversation between Ginger, Bertie, Jeanette and Mme Ducoste, ALGY suddenly glances at Bertie and asks 'Where did this happen, Madame?'

Algy? Where did you pop up from?

Scared the daylights out of me.


Yes, that worried me too. I\m surprised none of the editors caught it. :evil:

I wonder what wej was doing during that chapter that he so very suddenly forgot the fact that Algy wasn't there. I think it was meant to be Ginger, but maybe wej had originally intended for Algy to be the one to fall in love with the girl or something and that was why he messed up?
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Tommy Smith » 05 Jul 2013, 17:03

That though has crossed my mind. I can't imagine if you are scripting a scene you would easily 'forget' who the characters involved are. I CAN imagine back editing a story and missing a name change. After all, it was Algy's show originally, and he ended up on the bicycle, whereas Ginger got all the action.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Tommy Smith » 05 Jul 2013, 17:08

No, forget that. Henri's sister was only ever going to be Gingers age range.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby SaintedAunt » 05 Jul 2013, 19:37

Let's face it - WEJ was just HOPELESS at remembering who had done what where, and what they looked like, and where they'd been, and when they'd been born, and whether they preferred curry to tearing a steak :twisted:

His only possible excuse was that he had to write enough books fast enough to keep himself and Doris in the manner they had become accustomed to living in, and also to look after (financially) his original wife and son.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Fairblue » 05 Jul 2013, 20:03

Tommy Smith wrote:
No, forget that. Henri's sister was only ever going to be Gingers age range.

Well, an older man can be more attractive 8-)
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Lycaea » 30 Jul 2013, 10:49

If you don’t mind that I return to the original topic... :oops:

I actually think researching a place is a great part of the fun. I amassed a weird collection of books on Malaya - textbooks on prehistory and travelogues - when I was writing South South East. Now I'm building up an equally odd collection of guide books, memoirs and travelogues about Burma in the 20-s and northern India in the 50-s (such as "The Raj and After. Memoirs of a Bihar civilian." Not a lot of help, I might add.) for new ideas.

And the size of my Wodehouse collection is nobody's business ;)
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Postby Jennifer » 30 Jul 2013, 11:04

Wodehouse? Are you a Bertie Wooster fan?
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:01 pm

by Lycaea » 30 Jul 2013, 11:36

Jennifer wrote:
Wodehouse? Are you a Bertie Wooster fan?


I can’t decide whether I prefer the Bertie Wooster series or the Blandings books - and Lord Ickenham isn’t half bad either. :cheers: But Bertie W is certainly great fun! I’m convinced Johns has borrowed a lot from Wodehouse for ”our” Bertie (check out for Towser further on in my latest yarn).

Anyone remember that there is an Honourable Algernon Wooster in "Something Fresh", by the way? And that book is from 1915, well before Biggles' time.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:01 pm

by Jennifer » 30 Jul 2013, 11:56

I do agree that WEJ borrowed a lot from Bertie Wooster for our Bertie which is one reason why I am convinced that our Bertie is Bertram.

I think Algernon was a very upper class name in the early 1900s. It always surprises me that WEJ made Biggles' cousin much more upper class than Biggles himself. Algy obviously comes from a titled family where there is no mention of any title on Biggles' side of the family. Does it say anywhere in the WW1 stories where Algy went to school? Did he go to a bigger Public School than Biggles?
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:01 pm

by Lycaea » 30 Jul 2013, 12:09

No, no information about where Algy went to school. Or anything else about him besides Merioneth Towers, Merionethshire. Which is why you can spend time on the Forum guessing what title his dad has, if there is an elder brother etc. 8-)

I don’t think a contemporary writer would leave so much for the reader’s imagination, to be honest. I (almost) remember a quote from a book about ancient Greece. Funny enough, it’s about Shakespeare, so perhaps it was a quote in the book... It’s about the fact that Shakespeare didn’t tell the audience anything about Lady Macbeth; background, if she had any children etc. Back then it wasn’t considered essential to the story, but ”The modern audience would dearly like to know.”

I think that pretty well sums it up. ;)
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by Foolscap » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:34 pm

kylie_koyote wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:58 pm
Postby Tommy Smith » 02 Jul 2013, 11:59

What do you do?
Plot it all out first?
How many rewrites?
Do you know where its going when you start it?
How hard do you look for just the right word?
What else have I forgotten to ask?
I have come across a lot of talented writers here...fascinating to see the variety of methods and structures employed in telling a tale.

I usually start with a single line...can be first, middle, or end line, and try to fit the pattern of verse and subject around it. In my current project, it was two lines which I hope will fit in at the start of around the 15th chapter. I hope to plan things out ahead, more theme than plot, and that works for short pieces. But if working on a rarer longer narrative piece I post before working out plots too far ahead, and often veer in unintended directions. Or get totally lost...and wing it. Names can be a pain to add in comfortably.

Regarding the right word...yes, sometimes I have to unravel things if I cannot find the right word for the right place, or I put in spaces to fill in later. If I add a word in a rhyme position which has a variety of pronunciations, such as “lead”, or “Lestrade” then I tend to put it as the second rhyme...otherwise there can be a break in flow when reading. Rhyme can work for building up to a final line, a bit like a punchline, and cliches can be rearranged to fit and thoroughly exploited. And verse can work for describing short scenes. I read a finished bit aloud, over and over to check it sounds right, and words are not squished into place and I like the challenge of matching poem form and pattern to words, a bit like words to music...it can significantly affect tone and pace. And it does not always work, and I aim not to take the whole thing too seriously:-p And the rhyming dictionary...online or actual paper...is my best friend:-)
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by kylie_koyote » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:49 pm

I am in awe of your ability to put stories into verse, Foolscap. I think it's a remarkable talent.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by Foolscap » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:58 pm

That's kind of you, KK:-)
I enjoy the challenge, and appreciate the effort which goes into any type of story telling. Sharing tales upholds quite a long and important tradition, whether round a camp fire or on line...
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by id_ten_it » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:16 am

kylie_koyote wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:58 pm
I read a finished bit aloud, over and over to check it sounds right, and words are not squished into place and I like the challenge of matching poem form and pattern to words, a bit like words to music...it can significantly affect tone and pace. And it does not always work, and I aim not to take the whole thing too seriously:-p And the rhyming dictionary...online or actual paper...is my best friend:-)
I wonder how many people do read their things aloud - especially prose writers. Some of the things I read are just awkward and the little voice in my head (or my actual voice, if I am reading it aloud) struggles to gather meaning in amongst the jumble of everything else. I think the reading aloud check certainly helps make yours so fun to read!
Do you think some people write far more to read in silence than aloud?

I agree with your similarities between music and the written word, although I find one significantly easier than the other! I did attempt once trying to combine the two, when forced into a writing paper at university. Decided to write my poem set out like prose with the direction to read it in rhythm to 'Diademata' (a hymn tune). Needless to say I didn't do particularly well in said paper, but it made a lot more sense at the time! :lol:

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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by Kismet » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:51 pm

I read aloud sometimes. Mainly I skim read because I am desperate to find out what happens next, but if I don't quite follow what is happening, then I slow down and read it aloud.

Also, if I have written something - especially fiction, - I read it aloud as a final proof reading stage as that forces me to read the words actually on the page rather than what I think I've written. The two can be quite different and I pick up a number of mistakes that way.

I have quite a conversational style of writing, so, additionally, reading aloud lets me check the flow of the writing and that it feels right. I had early elocution lessons in how to read aloud and I think that also influences me as I have ideas on pauses and stresses and variable speeds.
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by Foolscap » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:37 pm

I do agree that prose writing has pattern and rhythm and pauses and natural breaks and the right or wrong words can make as much difference as in a poem. How you write something makes a difference to how it is read...if that makes sense and isn't simply stating the obvious:-)
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Re: Fanfics and writing?

Post by HostileCacti » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:55 pm

I read a lot of children's books at the moment and some of them are so well-written in that they are sooooo easy to read aloud! The words just flow, almost reading themselves. It's very obvious that the writer really has taken their time and worked with the text. But when reading translations I often find myself getting a bit stuck and having to go back and start again, or snickering about some weird choices in words or sentence structure. Despite knowing :twisted: that the poor translator probably didn't have a choice. They have a story they must tell a certain way, whether it works or not. :smoking2:
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