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Posted on Friday 10 November 2006 at 7:03 pm

Fanfic Writer Meme


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It's the fanfic meme the flist created.

1. Why did you decide to write your first fan fic story? How was it received?
I was procrastinating and trying to avoid HW, of course. More specifically, I had reread a Star Wars comic and there was a particular line of dialog that I thought needed elaboration. I wrote about five pages of back-story for this one throwaway line. I posted it on a community where I had been reading and reviewing fics for a bit. No one would believe it was my first fanfic and requested more. I've been a bit stuck (understatement of the year) on HP and R/T and haven't delivered very much more SW stuff, but I will sometime.

2. Why do you choose to write the pairing(s) you do? What's the attraction about those characters?
R/T: I've loved Remus from his first appearance. He is such a complicated character. When Tonks came along, I was excited because she was actually an equal for him. I couldn't imagine someone better for him, both in their differences and similarities. They complete each other and I love exploring that relationship since we have so little canon for it.
I also like Harry/Ginny (though I'm not a big fan of the way JKR threw them together) but I haven't written that much with them, largely because there is so little you can do. Their relationship is explored more fully in canon so there aren't as many fun gaps to fill. I've dabbled in some stuff with them grown, but I'm waiting to get too deep in that until after book 7.
In Star Wars, my favorite couple is Luke Skywalker and his (eventual) wife Mara Jade. I love them for much of the same reasons as R/T. Who else could stand up to the most powerful man in the galaxy except a woman whose primary mission in life was to kill him (and she came pretty close a few times)?

3. Do you think it's easier to write fan fiction for a book fandom than it would be to write for a TV show or movie?
I sort of write for a movie fandom with Star Wars, but I write more about the books and comics than the movies. I think books generally give you more of the characters' personalities, internal thoughts (at least for some characters), etc. than do movies. This is both a good and a bad thing if you want to be canonical with your writing. It's good in that you have more to work with but bad in that there is more you could accidentally contradict or violate.

4. If you write original stories as well, how does your fan fic differ from it, or do they have many things in common?
I have some ideas but no time to sit down and write original stuff. I keep thinking that will be my break from researching and writing my dissertation when I'm done with classes.

5. If you could ask the creator of your fandom one question pertaining to something you've written, what would it be?
How broad of a question can it be? Does "Can I see all of your background notes on Remus, Tonks, werewolves, and Metamorphmagi?" count as one question?

6. If someone involved in the creation of your fandom (eg JKR) read your fan fic, how would you feel about it? How do you think they would?
Me: freak out, die of embarrassment, freak out some more
Creator: Mild amusement at the cute little kid playing in his/her sandbox
Of course, if the creator genuinely liked my nonsense, embarrassment above would have to be changed to happiness. Everything else could stay the same.

7. What's the largest amount of time you've spent researching background info for a story, and was it worthwhile?
I have this three chapter WIP (written and posted chapter 1, written chapter 3, don't ask about chapter 2) that I spent weeks researching. I did JKR canon research, English countryside research, architectural research that resulted in me drawing floor plans for a house, etc. I think it was worthwhile and fun, but I'll let you know for sure when I've finished it.

8. How important is it to you to get canon facts spot on, and does it annoy you if others don't?
I want to be 100% canon compliant. I enjoy reading some explicitly AU stories and it doesn't bother me enough to stop reading a fic if minor details are wrong in a supposedly canon compliant story, but I prefer if it is all correct. To me, that shows that the author cared enough to do the research.

9. Do you read other fan fic stories besides those featuring your chosen pairing? If not, why not? If you do, do you enjoy them as much?
I do read other stories besides my favorite ships. I'm probably not as in to them, but I do enjoy them. I'm less forgiving if they violate one of my ships, but all my ships are canonical so that's not an issue in most gen fics or other ship fics.

10. Have you ever based a love scene or anything else on a real life encounter?
Love scene: no
Anything else: Sometimes I base bits and pieces of stories on RL. Usually this is just odd snatches of dialog, but I have done a couple of stories (i.e. the Nymphadora of the Week piece) where the entire premise came from reality.

11. Who's your favourite original character from your stories?
I had fun with the idea of Fritz and Gunther, but they're really just one-shot characters. I would probably have to go with the youngest kid I created for Harry and Ginny. I really want to do more with all three of the kids I gave them, especially him, but I'm waiting for book 7 to know everyone's fates so I can hopefully do something canon compliant. I really would like to know who all lives!

12. Do you let your own moral or religious beliefs filter through into your stories and/or your interpretation of the characters?
I don't think so…

13. Which power would you rather have conferred on you: Animagus transformation or Metamorphosis, and why?
I think general morphing has more potential than the Animagus transformation. I know we've only see Tonks do human bodies, but she has done a pig snout nose. Maybe she could morph an animal with enough concentration and pain tolerance since I think JKR said in an interview that changing shape, no matter how it is done (Animagus, morphing, werewolf, polyjuice), always hurts. Even if a Metamorphmagus can only do primarily human morphs, I still think that is more versatile than one animal.

14. How do you get inspiration for your stories?
Anywhere and everywhere. My first way is still my favorite. I love to take seemingly insignificant lines or moments from canon and give them some kind of backstory or expand them beyond what is seen. Finding gaps and filling them in, especially the gaps no one else has really thought about, is so much fun. A lot of my stuff, though, I really don't know where it comes from. Since I do as many prompt/challenge based writing things as I can, a lot of the time I just sit staring at a prompt and a blank sheet of paper, waiting for something to hit. Or I might start free flowing words from a prompt until something seems to work for a story.

15. Do you think talking to other writers about writing and/or swapping plot/character ideas with them helps, or do you prefer to keep your own counsel? What's the most useful thing you've learnt from another writer - either by talking to them or reading their work?
It really depends, for me. If I'm stuck, the input of other writers can be invaluable. But if I'm rolling, I don't share much about what I'm doing until it's essentially done. I do like to have someone else check stories for grammar/typos and to make sure the ideas make sense to someone else (no plot holes, etc.) before submitting my work to the judgment of the world at large.

I was talking to a RL friend the other day about what has helped me the most as a writer. In a lot of ways, I think it's reviewing other peoples' stuff. As I explained to him: it is very easy to walk away from a story saying "I enjoyed that" or "That just didn't work for me." It is much more difficult, for me at least, to put into words that make sense to someone else why I liked or didn't like the story, to explain what particular aspects worked or didn't work. Thinking about stories in order to leave coherent comments for the author has pushed me to think about my own writing in more depth, which has, I think, made me a better writer.

16. What are you looking to get out of fan fic writing?
* Break from school
* Outlet for creativity that brings me a great deal of joy
* Improve my writing skills in case I do get around to one of those novel ideas bouncing around in my head
* Community of friends (not necessarily what I was expecting to get out of writing fanfic but I'm digging it!)

17. How important to you is it to get reviews, and what are your favourite type of reviews? Have you got favourite reviewers who you look forward to seeing comment on your work, and would you be upset if they didn't, or if they gave it a "thumbs-down?"
I love getting reviews but would keep writing without them. I really like thoughtful reviews that point to strengths and weaknesses.
I enjoy getting reviews from the entire flist, a complete stranger, whomever. I'm a review slut, I suppose. I think it would be beyond hypocritical for me to get upset if everyone didn't review every one of my stories since I can be somewhat hit or miss on leaving reviews myself (sorry). If someone, no matter how well I know them, has an issue with something I've written or doesn't like something. I would never be upset about them telling me. As long as it is done respectfully, anyway, and that person realizes that I might still respectfully disagree. I try to take everything into consideration and let other opinions inform my own, even if they don't change it.

18. Does the fact that you may know a writer well through LJ have an effect on the type of reviews you leave them? Would you tell them if you felt a story wasn't up to their usual standard?
I'm really not sure. I might be a bit more willing to point out little things that niggle at me if I know the person and know she (the whole flist is female) will take it as concrit and not a flame. I'm not certain about telling someone something wasn't up to her usual standard. The only way I could see something even close to that coming up would be if she were trying something new and I wasn't sure her voice/style/whatever meshed with whatever she was trying. I guess I might let her know that I thought she wasn't playing on her talents but encourage her and give any advice I might have if she wanted to keep trying since you can't develop any new talents without trying and practicing.

19. Do you enjoy taking part in jumbles, ficathons, challenges? What do you aim to get out of them?
I love them for many reasons.
* Help me practice writing under pressure/deadline (though RL has to take priority)
* Opportunities/prodding to try new things and stretch new/beef up old authorial muscles
* General conversation and exchange (largely through leaving, reading, and responding to reviews) with other authors' with similar interests
* Lots of good stories to read from the other authors

20. If you had to recommend one of your stories to someone who is not familiar with your work, which would it be and why?
That would really depend on what the person wanted. The most generic answer would have to be Boys' Night Out, my MWPP fic. It was my first HP story, and I still love it. It has a decent mix of character, plot, and humor, IMHO. I really want to do more MWPP stuff, but I need some good prank ideas and my practical joker is on vacation. I'm hoping to get some inspiration at Christmas. My dad is a sarcastic twit (yes, that is where I get it) and being around him might help.

21. How seriously do you take writing fan fic?
More than I should and less than I want to due to time constraints. The mere fact that I'm filling out this meme says I take it more seriously than 90% of the planet (and probably over half the authors at FF.net) would be able to understand.

22. What's the best tip you could give someone about to write their first fan fic?
Know what you want to accomplish with a fic (and possibly outline it if is going to be long) before you start writing. If you don't know what you want to tell your readers, they will never figure it out. If you just start writing, you are much more likely to end up with randomness that doesn't hang together in a coherent piece and that rambles forever with no clear stopping point than you are to get a good story. Of course, sometimes you know exactly what you want to accomplish, do it, and then not have a good ending so you still don't know where you're going (*grumbles at current project*).

Thanks again to gilpin25 for compiling all this!

Comments:

What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 2:08 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
How broad of a question can it be? Does "Can I see all of your background notes on Remus, Tonks, werewolves, and Metamorphmagi?" count as one question?

Seriously (I totally just typed siriusly on accident), if I could have an afternnon with her, the whole conversation would be about Remus and Tonks.

Can't believe I forgot to mention the social aspect of fic writing. One of the best parts. :)
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 2:16 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
I suspect we've all typed (or nearly typed) siriusly on occasion. Yet another symptom of HP obsession.

Do you think she would think we were nutters for just wanting to discuss Remus and Tonks? As opposed to, you know, the fate of the Wizarding world.

I love all the friends. I've been thinking, we should try to get the usual suspects into a chat room at some point. It would be such a blast to have everyone going at once (though we've come close with some of your more explosive comment threads). But I'm almost afraid the list of usual suspects is too big and it would get chaotic. Assuming we could ever find a time the majority of people could be online...
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 2:19 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I think she'd get a kick out of talking about it. She dropped the bait for that one interviewer at the Leaky, and then they didn't take it really. She seems quite fond of Remus, doesn't she?

We should have a chat sometime! The cross-continental thing would be tricky...
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 2:34 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
She seems quite fond of Remus, doesn't she?
She really does. He really is one of her favorites. And she created Tonks to make him happy because he deserved it after everything he's been through.

Those are the two facts that give me the most hope that Remus and Tonks will both survive book 7. With everything she's said in interviews about them, I just can't see her killing them.

We should have a chat sometime! The cross-continental thing would be tricky...
We could make it work. We just need someone to organize it *looks around hurriedly for someone to shove the responsibility off on*

Oh, I'll read your meme and comment later. I had a sudden thought for a bit of silliness and an ending to my current problem child and want to get the dialog out before the idea escapes me.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 3:28 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
No, I can't see her killing them off, either. Plus she thinks multicolored werepups are funny. ;)

I had a sudden thought for a bit of silliness and an ending to my current problem child and want to get the dialog out before the idea escapes me.

Oh, good! Hope the writing's going well, and that offer for a beta job is still open!
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 3:51 am on 11 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Hope the writing's going well, and that offer for a beta job is still open!

Wellish. I got the dialog I wanted scripted and I think I've got Tonks more blunt and outspoken (and in my mind OotP in character) then I usually manage. I'm still not 100% certain I can end it where I've now count them, though. I'm certain I'm much closer to something but I'm going to have to write it all out before I'll be able to decide if I can end it where the dialog currently has it stopping.
Raving Lunatic
molly_coddles at 2:32 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
5. Oh, I would love to see the background info and notes on R/T. I don't suppose we could get her to post that on her site... lol

14. "I love to take seemingly insignificant lines or moments from canon and give them some kind of backstory or expand them beyond what is seen. Finding gaps and filling them in, especially the gaps no one else has really thought about, is so much fun."
I agree! That's a great source of inspiration and ideas. And obviously works great for you! ;)

"I do like to have someone else check stories for grammar/typos and to make sure the ideas make sense to someone else (no plot holes, etc.)"
If you ever need someone in a pinch, I enjoy editing on that level. I'm probably not a lot of help with plot planning, but you seem to have a good grasp on that anyway. ;)

Rachael
bratty_jedi at 2:51 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
5. Probably not, but I can keep dreaming.

I agree! That's a great source of inspiration and ideas. And obviously works great for you! ;)
I'm probably not a lot of help with plot planning, but you seem to have a good grasp on that anyway. ;)
Thanks! Just out of curiosity, though, are you trying to butter me up for some reason? I mean, flattery will get you (just about) everywhere, but only if I know where you're trying to get.

At the moment, I'm doing monster plot planning, research, and general beating my head against a brick wall/my laptop keyboard. I've been debating this idea for weeks and seriously working on it for a few days now and I don't know if this project shall ever see the light of day...
Raving Lunatic
molly_coddles at 3:09 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
LOL, no I wasn't trying to butter you up. You put a lot of time planning and researching into your fics and it shows. I like reading your stuff. But now that you've mentioned butter, I'm thinking I could use a muffin or something...

Doing this meme has made me realize I'd probably prefer to help others edit or be a sounding board than work on writing. I can go for days/weeks without writing and not mind a bit, but I can't go a day without reading or start getting trembly from withdrawal. And spelling/grammar/homophone nit-pickiness is one of those irritating things about me that might actually be useful to others. ;)

You've made me curious about your head-beating project now...
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 3:11 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
You seriously want to be a sounding board and tell me if I should take this further or not?
Raving Lunatic
molly_coddles at 3:14 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Siriusly! ;)
Yes, absolutely! I am intrigued and excited about the idea already! :D
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 3:37 am on 15 November 2006 (UTC) (Link)
You've got mail.


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