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If you write fanfiction or original fic, do you make outlines? Why or why not? Do you always do it? What do they look like? How are they organized? How extensive are they? What info does your outline give you? What doesn't it give you? Do you like doing it, or does it feel like a lot of work? Are you willing to post one of your outlines, and will you drop a link? Tell me about this part of your process!

Here are those questions for easy answerability. If you post answers in your journal, could you drop me a link? So we can get discussy, if you like. Or you can answer in comments. You don't have to answer them all! Pick and choose.

For answering with ease!


Okay, here I'll discuss it a little. Okay or a lot. Knowing me. Me me me! This has outlines for The Boy Who Only Lived Twice, Silver Tongues, and Hope Has Wings (But Faith Has A Broadsword), as well as a discussion about the shape of stories, a bit on multiple timelines within one story. And it has a graph. IDK you guys. )
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I finished writing The Way Down!

I have all these things I want to say about endings to stories, but this post is specifically about The Way Down, what it is and why I wrote it. I think the process of writing is fascinating; the process of writing this story in particular is fascinating to me. For the few people in the world reading that fic, there are slight spoilers for it, but nothing big. Did I mention it has no plot? For everyone else, I have no idea whether this will be interesting to you. But I wanted to say it.

Writing process, when real life enters your writing, writing as therapy and catharsis, when writing changes with you, mental health, me, my navel, etc )
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When I write, I do it because something in my gut needs to say something. Often with fanfic, it's saying, "I need to get these characters together!" or "I need to see what happens next!" But whatever the need is, I always get to a point in the writing where I start thinking about it. Lots of time the thinky thoughts--analysis of the need, thoughts about why this should exist, ideas about purpose--stymie my process. I suddenly have to rehaul everything I've written, because it's become more. It's not just my need to fulfill intensely personal desires any more, it is a need to say something about universal desire, about our world and myself.

To put it in fanfic terms, I start out writing crack. Then I get caught up in meta. Sometimes I start over so I can just write more crack. Sometimes I start over and just write meta. In rare instances I keep what I have and manage to turn the crack into something meta.

I've often been frustrated by this meta impulse when it comes to fanfic. It is for some people, but for me, fanfic is not that much SRS BIZNESS. It's a chance to satisfy crack impulses, which often involve porn, while my higher brain can be engaged in say, writing original fic. But that's never actually true. Fanfic always turns into SRS BIZNESS for me, whether I like it or not. As I said in my rec of One Thousand Kisses Deep by [livejournal.com profile] seraphcelene, the thinkyness is fun. Fandom isn't always just about getting off; it's about analysis and our need to express our own thoughts on the thoughts of others that we consume.

I've been talking a lot to [livejournal.com profile] my_daroga about this. We both feel we have Things To Say, which are thoughtful and important and could produce impressive works of well, art. But at the same time we're in this to get our rocks off--I don't even mean we're in it for the porn, but for those intensely personal needs I was talking about. It seems to me like we're both having difficulty reconciling that latter impulse with broader ideals. Which is interesting, because in the end both of these drives are still to satisfy ourselves.

So, has this ever happened to you? Start out writing "for funsies" and have it turn wicked serious? What did you do with that? Did you stop yourself from getting too serious because it's supposed to be "fun"? Or did you start something else that was more serious, or did you allow it to organically become serious? And what was your reaction to the fic changing on you like that? Is this something that only happens with fanfic? What are some links to fic you've written that turned serious somewhere in the process, and is the "transition" visible? Does it happen the other way around--you want to write something poetic and thinky, and it turns out a lark? AM I CRAZY?
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Whenever I think of first lines I think of Melanie in the Gone With The Wind movie. At one point she starts reading David Copperfield, and it goes something like this: "To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I am born."

That's actually the second line. The actual first line of David Copperfield is this: "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

I bring this up because one of my actual favorite first lines is: "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probablywant to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." Which is from Catcher In The Rye. I quite like Catcher, but it is not my favorite book. But I do love this line, and remember very distinctly picking up the book in the bookstore and reading this line. This was my reaction:

1. I did not know you were allowed to start a book in that way!
2. He said crap!
3. Geez I really want to read this now.
4. Geez, I also really want to read David Copperfield.

. . . I was a conflicted child.

Anyway, here are some questions I thought up, because I'm interested in first lines, and want to know what first lines people think of when they think of first lines, and what first lines people like!

What are some first lines to novels/stories/fanfic that you like?
What are some first lines to novels/stories/fanfic that you remember off the top of your head?
What's your favorite first line you've written?
What's the first line you've spent the most time on?
What's your least favorite first line you've written?

Also, here is a first lines of English "classics" quiz!

There are more similar quizzes for other genres here. Which ones did you pick? How did you do?

Here's text to put in comments so you can answer more quickly:
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So I finished my IWRY fic. Do I know why I am posting, since I will be posting about it again when it gets posted on my day? No. Do I care? Not really.

It was nice to write Buffy people again. Even if it was really only four Buffy people, one of which was actually an Angel people. I'm surprised I actually remember how to spell Buffy.

Anyway, I do have discussion points for you all. Don't collectively groan. Or do; I can't hear you so it doesn't matter. Here it is: I find it remarkably easier to write fanfic when I'm not knee-deep in the fandom it pertains to. I'll always love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel, but it's not my "thing" right now, and therefore it's easier to write. Remember Man's Best Friend? Which is one of my favorite fics I've written (and yes, I still plan on finishing, so sorry!)? I was not "in" the fandom when I wrote that. I still wanted to write Angel fanfic, obviously, but Angel was not my every waking thought, you know?

I think this is the case because I have So Serious Syndrome. More about SSS, and what YOU can do to prevent it. )
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S. Hotmail doesn't seem to be working for me. I can't get to any of my email. (eta: working now. It was down for hours!)
A. My brain hurts from trying to write too many concepts and not enough plot.
D. I'm at work, I have no laptop, and I can't think.

!. I always have a billion fandom, meta, fic thoughts that I just don't post about because I want to Think Them Out and present them in an orderly fashion, so we can have real, big discussions about them. See S.-D. for why I'm not about to do that.

Instead, I brain-dump all at once.

Closed vs. Open Canon, Writing AUs. )
Dark!fics: definition, and the endless 'vs. fluff' debate. )
Unpopular Fannish Opinion #1: Fandom, I owe you nothing. )
Liking characters as people vs. liking them as characters. )
Fanfic as the fulfillment which canon lacks. )
List of fictional unkinks. )
What's so intimidating about the blank page/screen? )
Interconnectivity of Jossverse. )
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There are things that happen in fiction that just don't happen in real life. Harry Potter turns out to be a wizard, Horatio Hornblower raids a fort with six guys and a grappling hook, and kicks ass, and in a fanfic, Xander Harris gets pregnant and has Clem's babies. But that's not the kind of don't happen I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the little things, the little fantasies of *all* fiction, everywhere. Particularly about the little, everyday fantasies that pertain to communication, to interpreting our fellow (wo)man. And how even these tiny, everyday fantasies address a need in the audience. And in humanity. It's all very very hearts and stars and flowers. *sniffs* )
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Let's talk about metaphor. )

Okay, so that, all that, is how I think about metaphor. It's what I bring to writing, to a fic, when I sit down and start thinking about how to describe things. I hope it didn't come off as too lecturey or lessony or "look at me," because what I really want to talk about is how you think about metaphor. What do you think it is, what do you think it does, how do you think about it, in what way? What's your process for writing them, coming up with them, thinking about them? How long does it take you, do you experiment, do you make the noises to hear what you might compare them to, do you go outside and look around for an object to which to parallel Spike's eyes? What are your favorite metaphors, similes, descriptions of this sort, in fic or profic, what are the ones that stick in your head? Have you thought about this the way I think about this, does this strike a chord with you, do you have anything to add, do you think I'm nuts, do you like to look at light fixtures? Let's get into the ooshy gooshy of writing. Because it's fun.
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Ask me a question! Because I missed you.

* * *


So, recently a couple people have got me thinking about the concept of "imagined audience." Let me say first that I hope if you write, fanfic or original, you do it for yourself. It's great to get fb, praise, and a dialogue going with readers, but seriously if the writing itself doesn't please you, go do something else forgodsakes. Mmmkay, now that that's over with, what is this imagined audience? Well, I'm defining it as a specific person or group about whom you're thinking when you write, and whose fb makes you feel you've accomplished your goal.

Because that definition feels a. amorphous and r. really really wrong for some reason, let me give an example. )

-What fics have you written with imaginary audiences in mind? Why?
-What's a group that's been your imaginary audience?
-Who's a person who's been your imaginary audience? (and name names, people. I was shy to say [livejournal.com profile] germaine_pet at first because for a moment she was an imaginary audience for this post, and I imagined her saying, "Dude, that TKP is a suck up! Plus she stalks me and I think she smells. Also now if I don't fb does that make me a bad person? WHAT IS HER CHILDHOOD TRAUMA?" But I totally sucked it up, and suspected Lynne could handle it, too.)
-Is there a particular person or group who is often your imaginary audience, and if so, who are they?
-Who's that person who's fb you often or always think about when you write, and against your better judgment and confidence in yourself, feel kinda vindicated when you get?
-Who's your imagined unaudience? Who have you hoped would never read what you've written? Besides your mom and that skeevy guy you saw once at Wal-Mart who followed you for a full ten minutes and got some of his guano on your shoe, are there sometimes people on lj who you hope might skip on by such and such fic? Ever write something knowing so and so will dislike it, and hope they don't read it and think less of your writing for it?
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Once upon a time there was a wank on it, but for the life of me I can't remember what the life threatening issues were (it might've been something about tentacles and Hermione), or I'd link it for your snorting things up your nose pleasure (within was the link to THE most HI-larious bad!fic I have EVER read). But wanks come around about every 7 months, 4 days, and 3.2 hours, so don't worry your noggins, kids; you'll be seeing it soon enough. Anyway, we are only concerned with the end result, which was really nothing like the following, but it's how most wanks end up looking to me, so here you go:

Person With Anime Name A: *mocks* The words you use are too big for your fics!
Person With Clever Apathetic Phrase For Name B: You just aren't smart enough to read me! [*is emo*]
FANDOM_WANK: Person With Anime Name A's wee!vocabulary! *mockety-mock*
FANDOM_WANK: Shitmanfuck, Person A's one of ours!
Person A: Yes, the words Person B uses sound too intellectual for the average intellect of her fic, mock her, mock her!
FANDOM_WANK: Wait, we're mocking people who use big words now?
FANDOM_WANK: OMG, WHAT ARE WE MOCKING? LET'S GET IT STRAIGHT, PEOPLE!
FANDOM_WANK: Or not. *mock mock mocking*, which occasionally ends in smocking, after which we all end up with cute little pinafores.

[Transcriber's Note: was that a place for emo? Did I get it right?]

So anyway the wank is not the point; the point isn't even those crazy kids at F_W, nor even their smocking needles.

The point is word choice. Not the Whiz Closet, or even the Water Closet, nor the Watcher's Council )
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I once had a teleplay writing class in which we each had to write a script for Law and Order. You had to research, not only your crime, but odd details dealing with biology or David Bowie or NYC. Up 'til then, I'd never really researched for a story. Right after that class I had a creative writing class in which we had to write a fiction short story based on a subject we researched. I noticed the research stories were significantly better than the stories we wrote first, which were non-researched based.

So, I'd learned my lesson. Research, even when you don't use it, can be felt. The weight of it can be there, making your story feel more real and you as an author more knowledgeable and thus, trustworthy. (The downside of it is research can be over-used, and the paragraphs about how chariots work feel like, "look I did research!". Or misused: spotty research on some stuff - good writing + sensational best seller techniques - making sense = Dan Brown.)

But apparently, I had not yet learned research = good for ALL writing. My first Jossverse fic was set in NYC, and although I did some spot-checking type research, my research wasn't thorough enough to make sense to . . . say, someone who'd actually been to NYC ([livejournal.com profile] alleynyc pointed that out and helped, and [livejournal.com profile] a2zmom still is). I've found since I've started researching for fic, though, that the research is almost as fun as the writing. Doing the canon research necessary just brings back my love for the shows, and doing other kinds of research makes me feel all smart and know-y. So I figure hey, maybe other people feel the same way. Or not.

Research, what I do, how I do it, how do you do it? Do you like it? Do you want another ticky box? Clickety-click! )

That's it. Discuss.
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G. TKP: I shaved my arm-pits.
TKMom: Cool. Let me see.
TKP: Look. (hooks index in t-shirt sleeve to reveal self.)
TKMom: They're so sparkly!
R. Got 4th rejection letter. Am waiting to get rejected to 3 more grad schools. Go me.
A. Writing month! It's a time to discuss how we write, why we write, what we write. DISCUSSION, it squeezes me up out of defjection from rejection (marvel at my rhyme) like a tight hug or one of those stress things, the ones you squeeze and have to keep grabbing hand over fist lest they slip from your hands entirely. It's about being constructive, and possibly positive, and gazing at our navels with shining, dewy eyes and wondering words that tumble from our mazed-parted lips in the form of, "I'm beautiful; I'm really beautiful!"

V. Er, the point of this post...Word emphasis in fic. Italics? Bold?--or is it bolded? *Astrisks*, /slashes/, _these thingies_, CAPSLOCK, etc in text, how I use them and why do you? )
Anyway, I've seen excellent authors I admire use many of these styles, especially boldface, CAPSLOCK, and *astrisks*. No matter who's writing it, it throws me out of the text. But that's me, my opinion, my way of writing, and my way of reading. What're your thoughts on the matter? How do you use these tools, if you use them? What do you think when you see them in text?
Y. "Cheekbones so unreal they must be sparkled with god-dust"...The lovechild of Kiera Knightly and James Marsters could split atoms with his cheekbones.
!. Mmm. Brains.

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It's Lion Turtles all the way down

January 2015

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