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Posted on Monday 11 February 2008 at 11:04 am

Pondering Fanfic inspiration


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I really enjoy fanfic/fanart community challenges. All the new fics popping up at once are great for me as a reader and I love the challenges to provide inspiration for me as a writer. The problem is scheduling. I never know in advance when I'm going to have a lot of free time and it often just seems to work out that the months when I have the most free time there's nothing going on that I want to do and the months when I'm busiest there is invariably a challenge I'd love to do. Also, deadlines are great motivators somedays but there are other times when I'll get a great idea, realize I can't finish it by the deadline no matter what I do, and just give up. It's a problem.

Since I'm really trying to get myself remotivated to do fanfic, I've been contemplating all this a lot lately. I decided I need a perpetual challenge with no specific deadline. Just prompts to get my creativity flowing when I have the time. Of course, there are such beasts out there but most of them are true monsters. The biggest and baddest that I know of is the fanfic100. You claim a character, pairing, groups or whatever from any fandom, swipe the table of 100 prompts, and write a fic for each whenever the mood strikes. Intriguing, but if burnout was part of my problem before I'm not sure committing to 100 fics on one character, pairing, whatever is in my best interest. An alternative is varietypack100. You just take the table of 100 prompts and write something for each without any constraints. Your 100 fics don't even have to all be from the same fandom. The is slightly more appealing, but committing in advance to 100 fics still sounds rather daunting. fanfic50 cuts the number in half but again I'm back to one character, pairing, whatever. There are even smaller options. alphabetasoup only requires that you commit to 26 fics, and you have a choice among four tables. The mythology one could be quite the challenge. There is also 7_deadly_sins_ and 7_virtues which are small enough to be useful testing grounds for the entire concept but the community of writers there leans heavily toward slash so I'm not sure. I swear I've seen one with prompt tables of only animals and only food before but I've no idea where.

If I decide to do this, I'm leaning toward the alphabetasoup one but I'm still rather undecided. So, flisters, do any of you have any experience with these types of claims communities? Have you ever considered signing up for one? Have any thoughts on the subject at all?

EDIT: I found another one, 100 moods. Their userinfo has the biggest set of links to the other communities of this type I've seen anyplace. Including 25_foods, thus proving I didn't just imagine the existence of such a community.

EDIT 2: I checked the alphabetasoup claim entry. The community is still active and people are still posting stories but it looks like the mods may be MIA. The last time a claim request appears to have been approved was in June. That makes it rather difficult for me to join. Also, should have mentioned this the first time, some of these communities do accept fanart as well as fanfic and there is a fanart100. The R/T artist had some decent stuff going for a bit but hasn't posted anything new in over a year.

Comments:

JD
lady_bracknell at 4:37 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Have considered it, but never really taken the plunge. The one I really fancy is 1sentence, because that sounds fiendishly challenging - but my problem with prompts tends to be that I either find them wildly inspiring, or they leave me utterly cold, and so whether I get 100 prompts, 7, one assigned to me, however people choose to do it, there's always the chance that I'll end up with something I don't really want to write, and then I'll feel obliged to write it anyway because I hate people who claim prompts and never use them, and end up writing something I've got no interest in, just for the sake of writing it.

I tend to like challenges where you can pick your own prompts - there are rolling challenges at omniocular - one a month (although there's no deadline) - which works like that, and I've dipped in and out and found prompts that really inspired me to try new things.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 4:58 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
That 1sentence one is pretty cool looking. I read over some of the Star Wars (no completed Remus/Tonks HP one for me to skim) ones and they were pretty well done. At first I wasn't sure what could be done in one sentence. Most of them seem to rely on using one or two words to place a presumably knowledgeable reader in a canon or popular fanon moment and then add an emotion or comment or something not seen in canon.
JD
lady_bracknell at 8:25 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
There was a really good Sirius/James one posted a while ago that blew me away, even though I don't usually like them together, and when I saw there was no Remus/Tonks there yet, I was quite tempted.... I think what I liked about it was that it's such a simple idea, but so hard to do with real flair and emotion. I thought I might have a go at a mini one, maybe, see howit goes....
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 8:31 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. It could be interesting. Since I'm trying to branch out, I'd probably want to do a Star Wars one. My favorite couple is taken but there are a couple of other possibilities.

You like flowers and the meanings behind them, right? Or am I confusing friends again? Anywho, one of these communities is based on flowers. They have a list of about 100 flowers and their meanings and you pick your own 30 from the list.

Oh, I edited the post right about the time you were commenting to note that alphabetasoup may bot be a good idea, which is a shame because I was seriously considering it.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 11:22 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
I did stagesoflove once and had a really good time with it. The theme when I did it was the five senses, but every month or so they do a different theme and you write five related drabbles or ficlets. It's laid-back, no pressure, and basically you have tons of freedom. The one drawback is that since it's multifandom you get little feedback from within the community, but you can post/pimp at your own journal so that didn't bother me!
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:38 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
I think I remember the ficlets you did for that. You might have posted them around the same time I was first getting into LJ. Maybe.

Looks like it could be an interesting challenge community. It appears to have been defunct for about six months but has a new mod post at the end of January asking for challenges so hopefully it will be back up soon.

I'm noticing a common pattern: the bigger they are, the less I'm interested. The smaller they are, the more I'm interested and the more likely they are to be defunct comms.

EDIT: typo.

Edited at 2008-02-11 11:38 pm (UTC)
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 11:43 pm on 11 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
"When Remus Met Tonks" is what I wrote for that -- five ficlets.

You could always go back and do some of the old challenges in the meantime if you liked the idea of it.
gilpin25
gilpin25 at 2:55 pm on 12 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Haven't really got anything very helpful to add, except that I'd never seen 1sentence until recently, and have now decided I must try an R/T one for my own (dis)satisfaction at some point. It just looks so intriguing and a challenge.

When I did discover that community, I also found 15_minute_fic. Which is hopeless for someone like me, who would spend the fifteen minutes dreaming about what she was going to write and not actually write a word, but I was thinking if you never know when you're going to have spare time, and just wanted something quick to get you going again - I think they give a word a week, you can link it to your journal and it's any fandom you want a go at. Plus if what you've written in fifteen minutes really grabs you, then there's nothing to stop you carrying on?
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 3:22 pm on 12 February 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm... 15 minutes could be interesting. I'm not sure what I could do in 15 minutes but being able to post it with the disclaimer of "This was written in exactly 15 minutes for the purpose of being written in 15 minutes!" would take off some of the pressure I would think. And as you said, if the product of the 15 minutes is inspiring, there is nothing preventing going back and revising and expanding on the initial idea.


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