Writers Anonymous
Writers, come in. Talk about your stories, problems, any advice you need, critique, etc. You don't have to be good, you just need to want to write! Fanfic or original fic writers, all are welcome. Read the rules before posting or risk Rhea's displeasure.
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Yuli Ban

Should you 'glorify' one of your works? Elaborating, for one of my stories I felt as if there was little chance anyone could truly feel a few of the scenes that appear in the fic. So I made a video, an OST if you will, of BGM that I have yet to post to YouTube (since I have yet to post the story). That was last July. Since then, I thought "Gee, what an a*** I am, thinking that a story needs an OST like a movie or a TV show." But it kind of made sense. Sure, FFN uses words and never pictures (although I made a rather primitive mushroom cloud out of the word "boom" in Meteor Flurry!) or sound and, if an author genuinely wants a particular song to help create a mood, there's nothing stopping him/her, but it just feels like you're taking it too far. I guess, by glorifying fanfiction, I mean 'pushing it past words.'

(If you're looking for the song, just look up 'Perfect Dark Zero OST- River Extraction' on YouTube if you get the chance.)

5/17/2012 #1
Corinne Tate

I've seen a lot in my fandom who use banners, and I think if you've got the skill, why not. But there are those who take it much further than that, and they've got links to every song in the fic, and every outfit, and piece of jewelry the characters wear. I never look at those, as I prefer my imagination. It also irritates me when the writer spends so much effort on these things when they should be writing it into the story. To me this is a sign of a poorly written story.

I would avoid this, unless there is something so obscure that I cannot imagine it, and it's integral to the story. A good example is the story I briefly beta'd. She had some photos from Venice, and Carnivale -- costumes and specific locations, that played a role in her story. She did write them in, but the visual really did help. She didn't make the mistake of advising her readers mid-story where to look either.

When Shades of Grey was still Masters of the Universe, the author had a song play list, and someone had made a movie clip for her as well -- they were on her blog. She also had photos of some of the BDSM things mentioned in her story, photos of the penthouse where the characters lived, the helicopter he flew, the cars they drove, and the yacht he owned.

For this particular author, it was all fan made. I think with so much hype, it might have been too much ego boost. With so much hoopla, the writing was glossed over -- as her critics have pointed out. But she's the one who's making all the money now. I think the question becomes, do you want the story to get a lot of attention, or do you want the story to be well written?

Then again, there are stories that lend themselves to visual formats. I'm just not sure this is the site to jump into that.

5/17/2012 #2
JadedPhoenixBurning

I agree with Corinne. Never underestimate the imagination of the reader. Giving a few interesting details is one thing but I don't need you to describe everything to me. For instance, I write a lot of Dukes of Hazzard fics. My readers know that they wear cowboy boots. So if I said that Bo grabbed his boots I don't have to describe those boots in great detail. He grabbed the boots, enough said. I don't need to go in and describe some intricate design on them or even the fact that they are caked with (shall we say) droppings since it is common knowledge that if you wear boots on a farm they won't stay pristine.

Now if I had Daisy shopping for a new pair of pumps I could add just a few more details but such as color or how she planned to wear them with a certain outfit but I don't need to drag that out really either. Let the reader decide just what drew Daisy to that particular pair of pumps. However, we've all seen shoes here so there is no reason to explain the shoes on an elementary level. Nor do I need a picture to see it in my head.

5/17/2012 . Edited 5/18/2012 #3
The Lauderdale

I've seen people make those OST things. I think the idea of playlists is kind of fun, and there are certainly songs or pieces of music that I have thought particularly fit a scene or a character, but I've never made one myself.

Re: entertaining extras for my stories, I did write a "trailer" one time for OB in response to a challenge on the Henneth Annun Story Archive, which asking people to make trailers. (http://www.oocities.org/thelauderdale/Orcbrat/Orc-brat_trailer.htm (Delete this link if it is not appropriate.) I made little avatars for two of the characters, and a "skin" for one of my Uruk-hai that I used in Second Life. Why did I do it? Because it was fun: navel-gazing certainly, but fun. ;)

I used to have a little web page of artwork that people had done for my characters. It bit the dust when Geocities closed back in 2009, though it still exists in archived/cached format, and a number of the pieces show up in Google Images. It may have come off as glorifying the story, but honestly, I loved and appreciated the artwork and thought the artists deserved the recognition. At some point I want to put them up again, along with the pictures I've received since, but I think that I should write more chapters before that happens. My present hiatus has gone on long enough as it is.

5/17/2012 #4
Ragnelle

I'm not sure what you mean by an OST, could you explain?

I don't feel the need to include images, or songlists, though. I never saw the point of songlists, but then I don't read or write while listening to music. Writing is one art-form, photographs or painting/drawing is another, and performative arts are different again (including both cinema/recordings and live performances in that sack). And the graphic novel and/or comic-books are yet another. Links to pictures, or 'role-sheats' for characters (finding an actor, or just the picture of a person, that 'plays' the characters so that people can know how they look), etc, I find unnecessary, and even a bit strange. Why is it so important that the reader picture this particularly actor as the character? I prefer to make my own images, thank you. If not, I'll watch a movie or read a graphic novel. Or see a play. Not read a book. The creation of my own images is at least half the point.

Images can be useful for myself, though, helping me get a clearer picture and a better description. But I would not link it. Drawn illustrations... A little different. I'm not opposed to illustrations, but I don't think it necessary, and I prefer drawn illustrations above photos for my own part. Perhaps because I find them less constricting.

Maps are a little different, though I would not like a story where I had to consult a map all the time.

The kind 'pushing past words' I would do, is adaption to a different media, first and foremost podfic. And in that media I would consider using music-- depending on the story. But writing stories is all about using words to convey the story. The reason I write is because I want to work with words, so I fear the concept is a bit alien to me when it comes to writing.

5/17/2012 #5
The Lauderdale

OST = Original Sound Track, I believe. There are some commercial authors who have produced and released songs for their books. "Sing You Home" by Jodi Piccoult was actually sold with an accompanying CD, which I didn't have a chance to hear because I read the book secondhand from a friend, and Mercedes Lackey published several albums for her Velgarth books. Some of the pieces for which I still have a fondness. Her song "Three Things" (AKA: "Deep Into the Stony Hills") is a great ballad, and has an appeal that does not depend on knowing her books. Indeed, I think she wrote the song before she ever wrote the storyline that it was supposed to be based on.

As a general rule, though, OST, when used in connection with fanfiction, is not a real OST: it is more of a suggested song- or playlist for a story. (ETA: Which I haven't done and don't plan to provide myself, even if I may think, "Hmm, this character would probably like Eva Cassidy," or that "Kotiteollisuus's song "Kaksonen" has a creepy relevance to this particular storyline.")

The kind 'pushing past words' I would do, is adaption to a different media, first and foremost podfic. And in that media I would consider using music-- depending on the story. But writing stories is all about using words to convey the story. The reason I write is because I want to work with words, so I fear the concept is a bit alien to me when it comes to writing.

I didn't mention my interested in creating podfics for other people's stories and eventually mine, but I will steer clear of music when I do! Quite aside from the more mundane question of whether it is a good idea or not (in terms of people being able to listen to more than one thing at a time) I was rather awed by the way you did that, and the obvious work that went into it, having the music playing throughout, and coordinating the words with the changes in the music. I don't think I can do that, and I don't think I will try, though I take my hat off to you. Is this something you have done in your experience as an oral storyteller? I mean, telling a story with music accompaniment to an actual audience?

5/17/2012 . Edited 5/17/2012 #6
Yuli Ban

You guys hit the nail on the head pretty well!

By OST, The Lauderdale definitely explained it. I actually even created a "album cover" (neither poorly nor something to talk about) that stated which 'part' of the story the song would be introduced in. However, when creating OSTs, I tend to make it less of a 'suggested song' and more of an actual OST. To someone who thought I was going to use Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Three Days Grace in the OST (make for decent AMVs, not OSTs) , I had to force them them to listen to the 30-odd songs I've OST'd since then. None of them are vocals. Instead, they tend to be bgm from other media (such as from video games and movies and whatnot) and thus serve only atmospheric roles.

To glorify it further, I planned to upload said story onto multiple sites, including one that actually does allow pictures (mainly because its server is made for a forum). However, I don't find it worthwhile to pimp a fic if the work itself is utterly subpar- in fact, the only reason I wanted to promote it was because I felt it was way above average. I'd never go post 10,000 Dramatic Readings and OSTs to, say, SBDR: Sonic and Blaze Do Russia, a story I feel almost doesn't deserve to waste space on the site.

5/17/2012 . Edited 5/17/2012 #7
Ragnelle

Thanks for the explanation. I might be too old-fashioned to see the point, though having music to Tolkien's songs is pretty cool. And it would be for songs from other stories too. I just don't see it as important. In some ways I think I would not have had half as much fun as a child if I had had music for the songs in The Hobbit-- I would not have made any up for myself then. But works both ways: I am not a composer, so knowing the music/being able to hear it would probably give better melodies ;)

And thanks for the compliment, Laud. I have done performances with music (live audience), though not as often as I would like. I need to work with a musician for it to work well live, and it is not always easy to find some to work with. I use song often, but then I am singing myself. And for some stories I use a drum, which takes a bit of practice. I can't do anything complicated, because talking and drumming at the same time is difficult. Working with a musician or musicians can be difficult, though, depending on the musician. Some are good musicians, but are not able to melt story and music together. Then it becomes a story with some music while the story pauses, or a concert with some story to spice it up, depending on who wins the fight. Not good.

But it can also work very well. I've worked with a guitar-player for one performance who was really good to work with. He wrote his Mayor on film-music, and on how to use the music to help tell the story, which is exactly how I would want to use music. And he could improvise a bit as well, so that he could feel his way trough the performance. Also important as I don't tell the story exactly the same each time. He had to work without word-perfect clues a lot of the time, but it also made the story live.

I did attend a workshop on music/rhythm in storytelling some years ago, which really inspired me. We trained at both telling with and agains a rhythm, for instance.

5/17/2012 #8
Hippothestrowl

All my fics have title banners at fidcal. com/misc/fanfics. htm and included in the fics at a couple of other websites. This was why I was interested in the FFN news - New image management system similar in spirit to Document Manager will be introduced. I'm hoping (but not really expecting) it to provide some means to put them into the fics here. I'm no artist but its fun to put them together from processed scraps.

5/17/2012 #9
The Lauderdale

However, when creating OSTs, I tend to make it less of a 'suggested song' and more of an actual OST. To someone who thought I was going to use Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Three Days Grace in the OST (make for decent AMVs, not OSTs) , I had to force them them to listen to the 30-odd songs I've OST'd since then. None of them are vocals. Instead, they tend to be bgm from other media (such as from video games and movies and whatnot) and thus serve only atmospheric roles.

They're still coming from other places, though, is what I meant: ie. you did not create them yourself, which is why they can't really be called an Original Sound Track. Buuut...I guess that's true of most movies as well. 0_o For example, The Watchmen used songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and that glorious, glorious "Koyaanisqatsi" track by Philip Glass.

This term, OST. I tried to define it, but I do not think it means what I think it means. -_-;

...For what it's worth, I don't tend to pay attention to people's suggested song lists, but occasionally I will look up a song if I think it sounds interesting. I tend to be rather musically illiterate, so I've discovered some good songs that way that everyone else probably knew about years before. Off the top of my head: "Prison Sex" by Tool, "Broken" by Seether, and "I Hate Everything About You" by Three Days Grace were each songs that I came to because of fanfic song suggestions.

5/17/2012 . Edited 5/17/2012 #10
cathrl

I don't. If I thought people couldn't get part of my story from my writing, I'd rewrite it. Maybe this is because I grew up in an era before the internet, before personal music players, before video recorders, and largely before tie-in movies. It simply doesn't occur to me to need, want or look for extra input beyond the words of the story.

I did like the old fanlib system where each story had its own "avatar". I used to like choosing a relevant picture for that. Not an illustration of the story itself, but more the sort of thing I might have put on a book cover. For instance, for my fic about Gordon swimming competitively, I had a photo of an empty swimming pool, and for my fic about Mark's implant malfunctioning I found a close-up image of circuitry on a computer chip.

5/18/2012 #11
Saccharine Melody

Just like what I just said in the 50 shades of gray one. I always aspired to see a Fanfiction dot Net where the site was decked out with improvements that could maximizes hits and visitors and reviews. At the same time I kind of felt a bit elitist.

Think about it! if FF.N followed my ideas, we could post images and fanart in fics, put little music sound bits in different places, change the background color of stories beyond black and white, post many different fonts instead of just a limited few, and even put a video here and there. On top of that there would be a place where you could score a story. But if all that were put in place what happens to the fics who are humble and awesome in their own right ? They get ignored while the flashiest ones (i.e. the troll fics and rule breakers that are "ask a character a question" or "Edward had sex with Bella AND Jacob" etc.) get hundreds of thousands of reviews and millions of visitors.

Wait has there ever been a story with more than a hundred thousand reviews and more than a million hits? IF not there would be. It's like you have to choose between the lesser of two evils. No matter what, internet fiction just can't always be the same as a book where you just get a page with words and that's it (especially not on places where there's a massive teen population), but where do you draw the line between fanfiction and fan multi-media?

Not trying to discourage you tho. If you really want to make your fic with fanart every other word, sound for every action, dramatic readings, and whatever else, go right on ahead. Yeah we'll call you a narcissistic b*** behind your back while secretly envying you but its your story to do everything but claim it's your own original stuff. And there might be a chance it could go the way of 50 Shades of Gray. When you have 50 shades of gray, the first shade anyone is going to notice is the one that stands out as the brightest or darkest, whether its actually a good shade or not. You can argue all you want that the title or the summary or the genre is what most people take into count when choosing which story to read, but like I said this is a teen nest. They want to read the stuff everyone else is reading and that means they pay the most attention to reviews.

I can confirm this. Two years ago one of my writer pals looked at her own stats on FFN when she had 4 fics posted. They were each in different 'classes'- one had about 300 reviews (if you dont count the 10,000 review stories, that's upper class to me) another had 70 or so, another had 25, and the fourth had 2. They all had great summaries, no "i sux at summeries" or noob stuff like that, and good titles as well- except the one with 300, that one was her "aces low" fic, but it was the upper crust fic that got the most hits. The one with two reviews was probably her best and didn't exactly fail hits wise either.

But the flashier the better. If you want more readers, make it as flashy as possible unless the flashes give them permanent blindness. But for goodness's sake, make sure the story's good first. Crowning a turd king doesn't make the fact it's a turd any more acceptable.

5/23/2012 . Edited 5/23/2012 #12
Ventisquear

I have a story at devArt, which is complement to my main multichapter here on FFN. It has the same characters and follows the same plot, but from different POV and in different (lighter and more sarcastic tone). But the main difference is that it combines pictures (heavily edited screenshots from the game) with the text. I don't know if that counts as 'glorifying'. I don't do it to advertise my story - I do it because it's a lot of fun. And sometimes looking at things from different perspective helps me when I have a writer's block... or rather writer's attack of laziness.

Some artists did fanart for me. When they do, I put it in my favourites on devArt and put a link in the AN of the next chapter/story at FFN - to glorify, not the story, but the work of those artists. Because I think they deserve it and it's the least I can do to thank them. I also make fanart for others, sometimes - and yes, it's because I want to glorify their story. I always put the llink to their FFN account into the description... but I doubt it had any huge effect on the number of their hits xD

5/24/2012 #13
warriorfist

I post most of my fics at a couple of other sites, and since mostly they are forums, I have a lot more liberty about what I want to add to the core content. It's a bit of a recent practice, but I put in embedded youtube links to songs/background music in certain parts of my stories. They are not really glorification as much as me acknowledging certain influences in my mood/mindset etc. at the time of writing those particular pieces. In a sense, they are more homages, you could say. For example, I was stuck with a nasty writer's block with this Superman story that I am doing, and it lasted for like three/four months. I scraped 10-15 pages of stuff I was doing twice, and was starting to get frustrated when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. It just blew my mind and got the cogs rolling again, and I was so grateful that I literally began the new chapter with a bunch of scientists watching a 2001 screening. It just flowed from there and I thought, why not put bits of Also Sprach Zarathustra and The Blue Danube to accompany those scenes? And that's how it went.

With this other fic, I was doing a prologue where a bunch of explorers are journeying through the protagonist's brain and something really unexpected happens that puts them all in danger, and for these high stakes sequences I used bits of music from Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, as I found some thematic resonance with the threat of the unknown represented by the bat virus in that movie. Couple sub-plots of this story deals with transhumanist themes, so there are some Deus Ex: Human Revolution tracks I plan to use in future chapters of that particular fic. Then there's this other story I am doing that has metatextual overtones and the cyclical nature of certain fictions, so I used music from the Fountain, which kind of featured the power of stories to affect reality.

And so on and so forth...I suppose I will run out of relevant material at some point in the near future and just resort to using more generic tracks, but for the moment I am having a lot of fun picking this kind of stuff. I have put the stories concerned here in FFN without any of those extra goodies, and the writing still stands up pretty well. So it's more like the extra features on a DVD, like director's commentary, I suppose.

There's also the fact that these stories are for comic fandoms, so I do tend to occasionally create custom title banners and covers if I have too much time on my hands.

5/26/2012 #14
astarisborn94

When I originally made my Stardust Warrior fanfiction (which was a cross-over of Dragon Ball (the original), Kirby, Mega Man, Metroid, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Crono Trigger (I never completed it)), one thing I did was put music in the middle of the story and I put music at the beginning and ending of a chapter. I then realized that it took away from the fanfiction as I was forcing my own vision of the music into the audience, not letting the audience interpret their own.

I have since made a pledge to not add any extra content in the story, unless it's for the purpose of advertising my fanfiction (not for a profit btw) or enhance the imagination of viewers. Meaning that soundtracks for fanfictions and images are off the table, although things that meet the two things I do like using a signature banner to advertise my upcoming "Rough and Tumble" fanficiton I consider acceptable as it is used for the purpose of advertisement and does not interfere with the imagination of people who will be reading my stories.

5/26/2012 #15
April Dawn Irene

Is that really what banners are seen as by other writers?

I seem to remember one site I went on that actually allowed people to upload a small banner to help catch the eye of readers. I've also been on forums where advertising what we're writing is allowed in a signature. It sometimes generates more readers. I am, however, guilty of creating a banner for my most recent stories, and I did make a soundtrack for one project a friend and I were working on together. I even made art for the soundtrack/playlist should I ever create a cd, and need art for the jewel case. We did share it, but it wasn't like we were shoving it down people's throats or anything. The title and summary always came first, and we always said that if people were interested, they could take a peek at the art.

Some fandoms already have a whole soundtrack, such as movies. I know I find it difficult to write my August Rush story without having the soundtrack or one or two pieces from it playing (My music storage drive died and I lost a whole lot of the years of music I'd collected and don't currently have the money to redownload or rebuy the disc because the original was too scratched to salvage.) in a loop.

I do have a friend who feels he needs to have a whole cast for his stories. I don't really get it but he is this huge fan of movies, and I guess it helps him visualize his characters to have such cast lists and a cover showing every single one of those cast members. I think that it is mostly for his own benefit.

I have even seen videos made for a particular story, or with an idea in mind (in a tv show based fandom) for one, that were amazing and really did further the enjoyment of the story for me, much like how nearly every popular book these days gets a flipping movie. The story if there was one already, could stand on it's own, but the art and the videos just made it somehow better.

I mean gosh, going out and saying that it's over the top for a fanfiction writer to create such things for their story is like saying that books should not be turned into movies at all. Granted, you lose a lot of detail in most, but most people still enjoy them all the same. Look at the Harry Potter universe or the Twilight Universe. Those were both very popular as books and now we see the Movies are just as popular amongst the respective fans of those fandoms despite all the obvious details that were either missed entirely or glossed over. I don't think I need to explain the details about that.

Yes, some people do seem to overdo it but if they enjoy looking for things that will add to the fantasy, then I will not complain so long as it does not distract me from the story itself.

6/1/2012 #16
xSweetBubbleTeax

This is an interesting topic. On Asianfanfics.com there are poster shops, that users use to create posters and trailer's for their stories. Well, I mean they request a poster or trailer for the story and it's all free as well I think having a poster or trailer definately helps advertise your story a bit and sometimes like a book cover; people will turn away though if the poster doesn't look good or the trailer.

I don't have the good software to make stuff like that; so I just send requests in ; That'd be pretty neat, if fanfiction could allow that.

6/1/2012 #17
Yuli Ban

What MageofPeace said actually does scare me slightly. Creating adverts for a fanfic could do more harm than good in some cases. This is a very image-oriented demographic that's using FFN- some may argue otherwise, but images speak louder than words. Have an average American fifteen year old come across three thousand words. Then have them come across a picture or two of what the words are trying to say. Which one is going to create the more immediate response? No matter what, we humans react more strongly to things we can see than things we read. It's probably one of the reasons FFN isn't as popular as it possibly could be- if there was an image board added to the site, the servers would be overloaded by the sheer numbers of people rushing to get in.

Unless FFN reinvented itself to make it more like Wattpad or whatnot.

6/1/2012 #18
xSweetBubbleTeax

Eh? How did what I say scare you? I'm sorry *sweatdrops a little* but anywho...I think it can be both a good and bad thing to have a poster or trailer or soundtrack for your fanfiction. That same site also has a featured stories part; where if the author gets enough karma points or a lot of subscriber's they get featured. Most author's use the karma points to get featured but me...I just like the site; because I can intteract with more writers and write stories. I couldn't care less, if I was featured or not :shrug:

Ah I think I'm rambling again...sorry folks heh heh.

6/1/2012 #19
April Dawn Irene

I think the concept of being able to get someone else to do the art, that you don't know is a bit scary. I took a look. Wow, that is some crazy art. Very... Over the top in my opinion. I keep the art small and simple. Like most book covers if not less than that and I do it myself. I do make art for friends, and because I have this thing for making very pretty backgrounds I often tell my friends that they are free to use the backgrounds I make and post online in a place they have access to. I just ask for credit where it is due. They don't complain, and it all works out.

6/1/2012 #20
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