she's pulling the strings

she's playing with love

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In which I am daunted by the enormity of the task before me:
I've been considering for a while now taking a crack at proper fanfiction, complete with a plot and an arc and possibly a moral and actual events. There's this AU plot I've been toying around with forever and it's finally started to pour out of me, the way stories do when I finally find a voice and a rhythm and a direction. (Seems like that's always the most difficult part and the thing that will make or break a story.)

It's a couple thousand words now and I've yet to even introduce Bones, so I'm thinking it's going to be longish. The problem, for me, with writing long stories is that they're so time consuming and without a regular infusion of encouragement I tend to lose my nerve. I'm going to try valiantly not to let that happen this time around, because I believe it could be really good.

The research is a little daunting, and I didn't expect that. 

If someone wants to share any tricks of the trade, for writing a longer fanfiction work, I'm all ears. How do you get through it? What is your process? What are the pitfalls and what are your golden nuggets of truth?

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I wouldn't put myself up as any great expert but I wanted to offer you encouragement. I tend to just start writing but the times that I then stop myself and make a few notes, a grid of what's going to happen stage by stage makes a real difference to the story and how it works. Also, don't rush to post. Have something short on the go too so you can keep the buzz of posting going but don't post a wip too quickly. See, if you wait till you've written the whole thing then go back over the previous parts, it makes such a difference to the quality: you can do foreshadowing and develop themes etc.

Anyway, good luck with it!

Get an excellent beta too - mine kicked my ass over my big_bang fic.

Edited at 2010-01-08 09:24 pm (UTC)

mine kicked my ass over my big_bang fic.

I think you mean startrekbigbang and I didn't think I kicked, more patted and stroked. :-)

You see? What the hell would I do without you? *hugs you hard*

No, I most certainly will not post this as a WIP. (In fact, I'm against it in principle, and Angst o' Doom was really just a fluke and I shan't be making that mistake again.)

Thank you so much for the encouragement, though. I don't have many other short plots rattling around in my skull right now, but maybe I'll work something up so I don't go insane.

Excellent beta. Noted. Thanks so much!

My personal theory on long fanfiction is along the same as sangueuk's. Try to get it all done, or at least mostly done before posting. It makes all the difference (esp. for someone like me...who is a little flaky). But my personal thing with writing stories, especially in finding certain voices (which may seem really weird) is that I talk out loud to myself. I do certain dialogue and certain paragraphs aloud to make sure they flow properly. I don't know why it helps, but it just gets me excited about the story. Probably stupid, and I'm probably the only one who does it...but give it a try.

I also map out, but if I find that I'm looking forward to writing a certain scene I'll write my favorite line from that scene so that I have encouragement to get forward and actually write, if you know what I mean.

And don't be afraid to share with a few people. The more people who know I'm writing a story, and who can encourage me, and pretty much tell me that what I'm writing is actually a good idea, the more incentive I have to continue writing.

I hope that helped, and good luck. Can't wait to read what you're writing.

I also map out, but if I find that I'm looking forward to writing a certain scene I'll write my favorite line from that scene so that I have encouragement to get forward and actually write, if you know what I mean.

Oh God, do I know what you mean. I'm the absolute worst when it comes to marrying myself to a certain scene and writing everything out of continuity. I may give this method a shot and see if it helps. :)

I completely concur with what SangueUK's just said - definitely resist posting a WIP until the second edit. You can get your encouragement from your beta - if Thalia's up to it, the feedback you get will hopefully keep you going if you find yourself losing the will to live.

My longest story was a 125k word K/S story I wrote last summer (and despite the fact I've enjoyed your stories so much, mine's all schmoop and happy endings!) I found I was so enthused with the story idea, I had no trouble just writing and writing and it grew like crazy and as Sangue says, I was able to go back to add in the foreshadows and begin mini story arcs and stuff. What got me was doing the first edit. Then I sent it to my betas and then did the second edit, chapter by chapter, posting as I went, a process with all the lovely feedback that kept me going through what could have been a really tortuous process.

I totally agree with Sangue's idea of having little projects on the side just to give you a break, which allows you to step back and gain a useful perspective.

I know some writers also let a few close/trusted LJ friends in on the process, who become kind of cheerleaders that help keep spirits up, and sangue's definitely been that to me, on occasion.

The research is a little daunting, and I didn't expect that.

I think we've all been there -- Star Trek is is sci-fi. :-) Shipping primarily K/S and often writing from Spock's POV, I've had to research all sorts of sciency stuff to lend some authenticity to his characterisation and in more general terms, to create plausible story-lines. Writing Bones has had me researching medical information in way more detail than I would have imagined. :-)

I wish you lots of luck with your story - having read your last K/Mc series and seen the quality of your writing, I know it's going to be an enjoyable read. :-)

if you find yourself losing the will to live.

Ha ha, how did you know?

I appreciate this. I've been a longtime reader of fanfiction. Okay, maybe not SO longtime, but for nearly a decade now. But I was always strictly a reader and not really inside the culture that springs up around it. So there are a lot of things that might seem obvious to more experienced writers, but I'm left wondering if I'm being a weirdo about them.

It's cool to know people, I guess is what I'm saying. So thanks.

From what I can gather, talking to other writers, pretty much everyone has their own idiosyncratic way of writing and I'm guessing you're probably already finding things that work for you. When we do anything, we tend to play to our strengths, so it's good to figure out what yours are.

My personality type suggests I'm someone who enjoys detail and tends to do things or work through things sequentially and that absolutely shows in my writing. I enjoy plotty detail, have certain scenes mapped out in my head, but generally work in a sequential way towards them. What comes out first time is actually quite publishable, although I always do an edit even when I don't use a beta. I'm an extravert, which suggests in writing that I'd be action orientated - writing and describing what's visible, and that's true too. I find the internal stuff, like writing motivations, thoughts, emotions and emotional reactions much harder and have to work at it.

Introverts who are natually more inner-oriented, reflective and thoughtful, are more likely to find writing action-and interaction-oriented aspects of stories more challenging, but will likely find inner monologues and inner emotions easier.

More intuitive people I know write scenes here and there, completely out of sequence, and then figure out how to link them together later -- some don't even write the whole scene, just write bits of dialogue, or some imagery that will be central to that part of the story.

As you can probably tell, I find it really interesting finding out the processes people use to get to their end result. :-)

My initial instinct was to use your method, I must say. Write things sequentially with an idea of where I'm going. But since two of you wonderful LJers have now pointed out that I can write whatever I want whenever I want, I just write what I'm inspired to write at the time.

It's going SO much better. I don't know why my brain wouldn't allow me to do this before now, why I needed some oddball form of permission from somebody else, but I will save that for later introspection.

For now, just know you have totally helped.

Solution: contact Thalia for cheerleading purposes.


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