Monthly Archives: March 2011
So last week, I got sucked into a universe in which I seemingly could not escape. It’s happened before, when I go looking for answers to questions I have, especially when working on fan fiction. While I love my fan fiction and thus, my shows that I write for, I don’t know everything. Therefore, I do some research.
Last week’s research started by looking up something on TV Tropes. If you have never been to TV Tropes, I suggest you basically kiss the rest of today and tomorrow goodbye, because this is the universe in which I fell and then could not escape. TV Tropes is a Wiki offshoot and I think we know how addicting Wikipedia can be, so take Wikipedia and combine it with everything you want to know about television, movies, and video games is thus here.
So there I was, on TV Tropes, looking for I don’t even remember at this point and of course, as I was reading, one particular story kept popping. It’s mentioned in nearly every single tropes page, not just in relation to the fan fiction that it is, but for…well…perhaps I should explain. I’ve talked about fan fiction before and you may think this is another fan fiction post (it’s not, actually) and certainly I’ve spoken about good fiction and bad fiction.
As a freelance aspiring wanna be writer, I made this blog to talk about being a writer and help other writers, though this is also for the point of freelancers too. As a writer of course, there are those stories that live in infamy; the proverbial Ed Wood movies of the creative writing world. As fan fiction is a creative writing outlet, there are of course those fan fictions of Ed Wood magnitude.
For instance, there’s the Get Smart porn fic (a true treasure for everyone on the Get Smart mailing list, especially when someone knew stumbles across it) and then there’s the Crystal Matrix series for ReBoot. I have yet to find the pinnacle for KOTOR or Ninja Turtles or TNG, but I’m sure they are out there.
And then…there’s the work that not only trumps all of these, but is almost like the reigning king (queen) of a fandom gone wrong. Two words, my friends –
I’m not even going to attempt to explain the story to you, only that if you are a true Harry Potter fan and love HP fan fiction and you have not read this…I’m going to ruin your childhood. In thinking about this post, I almost did want to explain the reasons why this fic is considered the worse possible offense to ever hit the Harry Potter fan fiction fandom.
And then I thought…there are some things in this world that can not be explained; only experienced.
Getting back to my point, this isn’t about bad fan fiction, this about bad writing in itself. As writers, we all assume that other writers such as ourselves know the very importance of character, backstory, important information that can be proven or at least summed to the point of making actual sense.
Writers, we are wrong.
Yes, there are some of us who spend years working on getting the right tone of something, getting the right voice for our characters. Obsessive? Probably. Maniacal? Most definitely, but there is a method to our madness, really. Take myself for example. The reason I fall into the ‘researching hole of darkness’ is because I’m spending more time researching than actual writing. Again, there’s a reason why I found fan fiction so great in the aftermath of creative writer syndrome.
Some writers however throw caution to the wind, not caring if they are single-handedly responsible for destroying the very fabric of what a good book or novel should be. Remember that post about how Glen Beck and Snookie topped the New York Times best-seller list? There you go.
What does a horrible fan fic have to do with writing in the real world? Perhaps you should go and read the story. It’s okay, I’ll wait for you. It won’t take you long, unless of course the absolute horror of it keeps you reading. It’s a train wreck on top of an auto accident on top of a murder scene. You won’t be able to take your eyes away, I promise you that.
All done? Did you manage to finish? Yeah, me either. But I think you’ll see what I mean. Constant misspellings, unrealistic settings or places, and what TV Tropes calls ‘purple prose’. And it’s not just fan fiction; there are actual published novels (though many are the online, self published ones) that are filled with the author just failing everything from history, to biology, to sex ed (and these are adults, mind you. Exceptions are made for the teeny boppers writing fan fic).
When good writers go wrong, their very stories go wrong, and thus can cause a backlash against them. There are some things so very basic that should come to a writer while in the midst of their writing, especially now with the use of the Internet. There really is no reason to not spell check your work nor is there reason to just not do the research. Real authors do this – claiming that their work of fiction is a case of true life (in the case that it’s fiction) and then are either exposed as a fraud (some count the Amityville Horror as example) or just dismiss the craziness of their detractors.
Every writer should know at least one story gone wrong. They should have read it and cried, “My eyes! Oh God, my eyes!” for the spelling mistakes or had their inner editor and writer die a little at each implausible plot point or encounter or whatever else. Why?
Because it makes you a better writer. It makes you, as the reader, wonder why this was allowed to be published and makes you think, “Oh…snap. Are my works like this?” Now, I will state that every writer has their “I suck” phase, which is usually discovered years after they’ve written their greatest works and look at their beginnings and go, “wow.” I’ve done this, with both my original stories and fan fics. And it’s okay to let those go, as long as you have improved.
The great thing about writing and creativity in general, is that we are always still learning and improving. And as long as we get better, that’s the best way to keep ourselves from going off the deep of end of shitty.
PS. Just in case my words have scared you, here’s the TV Tropes article on My Immortal, with links to the original, as well as the dramatic reading on YouTube (which is hilarious in itself, so if you want to spare your eyes, torture your ears)
At the end of last year, I started this blog mainly for the reason that it’s something that a freelance writer should have. Yeah. But the idea for say, making a blog from the start of someone who is just beginning to freelance I thought was new. Even if not, my experience is probably not the same as someone else’s.
Anyway, to be fair, this blog was actually the result of another blog, that of my seldom updated blog based on my website. As I wrote yesterday, I don’t really talk about my website much, which I guess as it’s not a professional site, in terms of my freelancing ‘business’, this is kinda like free press, you know? And really – this is a blog about a freelance writer and this writer had a start somewhere.
Early in this blog, I gave you a little overview about how I got started writing. Well, at some point, real life started to take a bigger focus, pushing my writing – and any career associated with it – to the back burner. What got me back?
I am a big proponent of fan fiction, that is to say that I think it’s a good side avenue for a writer. Let’s be honest – writing is not easy. If it was, then the entire world would be writers. I got into fan fiction for the simple thought that a Get Smart fan fic that I read, I thought I could do better.
That was fourteen years ago.
I have noticed in all of that time, that many writers did what I did – that is, turn to fan fiction as a means to write something. Real life happens, there’s really no way to get around that and for many writers, we haven’t been discovered yet. So that means working the 9 to 5 job or taking a full semester of classes or taking care of the kids. That’s a full day and a half right there and sometimes, there isn’t time to work on the Great American Novel.
Let me make this easier to understand, from a fan fic writer point of view.
Fan fic is easy, for me at least. When I was coming up with stories or ideas, I’d spend time doing the characters, their bios, their looks, their relationships before I moved on to the series of stories they would feature in, etc. On the really good days, I’d actually write down the plot of the thing; bad days…well, let’s just say I have a whole box of original stories that have a host of characters with no plot. Or rather, I can’t remember the plot to save my life.
Fan fiction, however, easy. I just have to come up with a plot. I don’t have to worry about the hours or days coming up with names for the main characters or their relationships to one another; I don’t have to worry about their backgrounds or their personalities because fans already know it.
*EDIT – I went off on a tangent and started talking about good and bad fan fiction and then remembered this was supposed to be about my website. Ha. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog post*
So in 1997, I tried my hand at writing a fan fic based on Get Smart, one of the first classic TV shows I watched with the launch of Nickelodeon’s Nick @ Nite. It was a show I hadn’t seen since junior high and trying out this new thing – for me at least – called the Internet, on a lark, I looked up Get Smart. Which is how I found the GS mailing list.
I started with the Get Smart scripts – script form storylines that followed the horrible 1995 revival series made by Fox; however, I basically did what fans wished Fox had done – included the ‘missing twin’ sister of Zachary Smart, made Zach not Andy Dick, and brought back favorite villains. I even gave the Mister and Misses a few cases of their own.
Pretty soon, story length ideas started hitting me, which I wrote. I was starting to get a ton of stories going, but without a place to actually put them. Hence came the idea of a website and thus My Favorite Shows was created. The first site was a tribute to Get Smart, The Monkees, Danger Mouse, and of course Scooby-Doo. Trying my hand at building a website, even I can admit the first few tries were crappy. I only wished that I had a picture or something to show the progression.
Fast forward to the Great Recession and it looked like the MFS would be down for good. Since the initial site, I had branched out and made some changes. The Monkees and DM had to go and the addition of my new fandom, that of the CGI cartoon show ReBoot, was added. ReBoot, I have to admit, was a great breaking ground for me. I’m a mystery writer at heart, but RB allowed me to branch into action/adventure, a genre I have always felt I lacked in.
Then…came Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
A friend had ended up buying the second game when we were all still roommates and gave me the lowdown on the first game. I have been a lover of the original and the mythos before it ever since. As a fan of Star Wars, the whole history that has been laid out in this world 4,000 years before the original trilogy is fascinating and until I played the sequel, I hadn’t planned on writing anything for the series.
If you’ve played the second game, you’ll understand the compulsion I had to finding a worthy ending.
SPANTENNA is or rather was, the true force behind that of the MFS website. Using ‘fan fiction’ as a cover, a mysterious faction of agents are trying to get the word out about what’s going on in their futuristic timeline, with the hope that we won’t make the same decisions they made in regards to trusting those that seem like saviors.
The new site still has Get Smart and is the only place where anyone can find all the stuff I’ve done for GS; ReBoot also has a home here, so does my dabbles with KOTOR, and my love of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The site will also have the background story and history in regards to these renegades, as well as a place to host all that stuff in the ‘writing box’.
So far, updates are scheduled on the weekends, usually Saturday, though you can sometimes expect a Sunday update. Each week, I try and do something different – last week was a GS update, while the week before was both KOTOR and Turtles.
You can find SPANTENNA with the link.
If you’re wondering if I have stuff else where, I do, hence why the site is to bring all of that together. You can find the link to myself at fanfiction.net at the site, however I no longer post there. But you can leave comments and I can reply to you.
Hey wait about that TNG fic you said you were doing?
Haven’t decided on that yet. I’d like to actually finish at least one before I decide where to put it. Not sure. If you got ideas, leave them in the comments.
- Where is Your Domain Name Registered? (brighthub.com)