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Part III

  • Think, then write.

    Continuity within a fan-fiction can be maintained with some effort -- namely planning, and outline-creation. An outline serves as a template for writing, a 'map' of sorts that makes sure that your ideas are coherent and you don't leave obvious as well as smaller gaps. Outlines also serve their purpose when you have more than one creative project on the go. It is not often that a writer will stick with just one piece of writing for the time that it takes...sometimes months at a time. It's good to keep a copy of your ideas lying around...just in case ^_^.

    Jackie Chiang summarizes quite neatly in her Author's notes:

    I suppose saying you get bored of your fics means to some people that you love writing fics or you pour less love into your fics than someone else. That's just total BS, I'm happy to say. First off, finishing a very long fic with not quite such a crappy ending means you're extremely dedicated. Finishing a long series means you're pretty dedicated too. Second, putting it up means that you want people to judge your work, so it means you're also ready to face criticsm. Third, being bored doesn't mean you don't love your fic; it sometimes means that you would like to speed up and work on other things that you'd like to do too. Any author that totally loves their fic throughout the entire thing without one drop of tiredness or boredom must A) Really, really be inspired, B) Must have written one SHORT fic, or C) Have a major ego inflated there. I'm not sure if I've met one author that hasn't suffered at all in the process of writing their fics, whether from writer's block [ick, the horror], tiredness, boredom, frustration, et cetera.

  • DON'T SERIALIZE!

    I temper the 'don't serialize' tip with: unless you've got most of the story planned out. Better yet, don't start releasing the series until most of the story is written (or entirely finished). You won't be flooding the archives with multiple parts on any given day if you release a part every week (if weekly serialization) or maybe even three to four parts every week to finish the entire series in a month. Levar Bouyer himself has serialized the stories Bishoujo Senshi Orion, as well the BSSO 3xx series. His method has been to release an episode/chapter a week to the newsgroup as well as to the main archives. Most of his sixteen episodes have already been written, which means that there aren't any major issues with regards to 'suddenly' running dry for ideas or else, losing direction of the story either.

    Other successful examples of serialization or sequential release: Ken Wolfe's Secrets was released in sixteen chapters over a month's time - four chapters every week. Some of the most successful serial releases would include Jeffrey Hosmer and John Biles' Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon Z. Currently working on chapter 15, the story is episodic in nature, meaning that there is enough of a cliffhanger to lure the reader back. Yet, because of the gaps between stories released, it is fun to re-read what they've released so far.

    Other serials include: College Life by Amanda 'Greenbeans' Anderson has reached the fifteenth part. For the first eleven parts, the release was fairly regular. Following that though, the writing has slowed down and at times, has stopped. This doesn't mean that College Life has been abandoned to the wayside; on the contrary, Anderson has been working on other stories and ideas during this hiatus.

  • You aren't required to be in the fanfic.

    Anderson sees self-insertion fan-fiction as:

    This also leads up to probably my biggest mistake as a fanfic writer. At the time, I had recently finished reading Oh! My God!! and saw a very good example of how to make a self-inserted character work. I have been very lucky in that it has worked for me as well. It wasn't until around part 8 that I realized just how much I had limited myself story wise by doing that when I had ideas I wanted to write but couldn't.

    Tim Nolan advises: "Avoid 'author inclusion' stories at all costs UNLESS the focus of the story is going to be light-hearted and/or humorous." I agree with him. I have never read a self-inclusion fanfic that did work that wasn't a comedy of some type. Apologies if that upsets anyone, but stories where you insert yourself so that you can lead the Senshi to victory have not worked out well for the most part.

    Ultimately, self-insertion fan-fiction has tended to fall into the categories of ANC (Annoying New Character) Syndrome as described by Taleswapper. Self-insertion in both regular as well as lemon/hentai fiction have the easiest times of scaring away readers -- vis-a-vis the infamous lemon-fiction: Artemis' Lover -- both a self-insertion [pardon the pun] and lemon fiction involving beastiality.

    Anderson has managed to avoid the All-Powerful Character/Otaku type-casting by separating the writer from the character Greenbeans. Even though the character is based upon Anderson, a gradual division has occured that allows the reader to understand that the writer and character are no longer one and the same. This has happened through a variety of plot devices, including a shifting of focus from the events surrounding Greenbeans to the events surrounding the two Senshi: Haruka and Michiru. As readers, we read fan-fiction not to find out what's happening within Beans' life, but what's happening within the Senshi's lives. Occasionally we are shown glimpses of what's going on within the character's life, keeping us aware that Beans is still around and involved within the campus life.

    Professor Washuu will be giving a brief explanation of terms mentioned:

    We've covered: lemon/hentai and otaku. There are two main categories of fan-fiction (with multiple subdivisions following): lemon and regular fan-fiction. Lemon fan-fictions involve sex, regular fan-fiction usually don't. Why do I use the qualifier: usually? Within regular fan-fiction, there are stories which might be termed lime, stories that hint at sexual activity, but the 'camera' veers away when the heat is turned up. But why are lemons lemons? One description of a lemon story is derived from Troy Stanton's By The New Moon's Light:

    Lita chuckled knowingly. "Let me guess. The over-ripe lemon effect?"

    Ami blushed. "You could say that."

    Mina was confused. "Over-ripe lemon effect?" she echoed.

    Ami opened her mouth to say something, but Lita interrupted her before she could start. "She doesn't need a textbook answer, Ami. I'm not surprised that you don't know what we mean, Mina, since you're still rather inexperienced in these matters. What happens when you squeeze an over-ripe lemon?"

    "The lemon squishes and juice goes everywhere."

    "Now what happens to you when you think of dating Jack Silver?" Lita said, referring to a hunky soap opera superstar that Mina had been drooling over for the past three months.

    Mina blushed lightly. "Well.... my pulse starts to race, and...." Her blush deepened to an impressive shade of crimson as she made the connections between hormonal excitement and over-ripe lemons. "I see," was all she could manage to say.

    Other explanations offered for the use of the term: Lemon, for such stories include allusions to the adult anime: Cream Lemon (from which Project A-ko was derived). Lately, there has been a trend towards writing: "Sekkushiaru Roman" a term literally meaning "sexual romance." The term coined by Sailor Mac is derived from the book "Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and Sex in Contemporary Japan" by Nicholas Bornoff, and it is considered to be the "perfect phrase to describe the types of stories I [Sailor Mac] write (and those by writers like Mark Berger, Lady M. Harris, Ivana B. Anonymous and Sailor Star Love)."

    The difference between a hentai fic, and a Sekkushiaru Roman is not clear, however, most accepted as hentai lemon fics are usually: 1) without a plot; 2) without in-character behaviour; and 3) unrelenting sex between (the usually two, but sometimes more) characters. Sekkushiaru Roman are also known as sweet lemons.

    Otaku is a word that has gained notoriety within the Sailormoon world for its overuse as well as misuse. Otaku, within the original Japanese meaning, carries negative connotations of fanatics and anti-social behaviour. Within the animé context, otaku has taken an entirely different meaning -- usually meaning a 'fan' of the series or character. Otaku within fan-fiction have usually been with the form of self-insertion type or else, the otaku will have created a new character that suffers from the Annoying New Character syndrome. The only real place for otaku within fictional writing is the Otaku Wars (OW!R) thread on the alt.fan.sailor-moon newsgroup.

    The alt.fan.sailor-moon newsgroup is one of the few forums where all things related to Sailormoon (and other off-topic discussions) are held for public perusal. Stories that are posted to the newsgroup not only carry time and date stamps [important when claiming authorship], they will encourage discussion of the stories. For example, Levar Bouyer's Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Orion stories 3xx have been released to the newsgroup. Not only have the stories been well recieved, but the newsgroup generates discussion upon both the content and foreshadowing present within the story. Levar's stories and characters have the dubious honour of having their own otaku following: Jen-Eileen otaku ^_^;. Other authors that have released stories to the newsgroup: Ken Wolfe,Tim Nolan, Diane Pandora Waldron, Amanda 'Greenbeans' Anderson, Ysabet as well as, Elisabeth 'Ophelia' Hegerat.


    <= Go Back to Part II || Continue to Part IV =>


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