How to Train a Writer
A forum for all things pertaining to the writing of fanfiction. Share writing tips and challenges. Bounce ideas off people. Perfect your characterizations and help others do the same!
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Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

They handle emotional torture well after everything is said and done. Now I need to write some happy extras to make it up for them :)

9/10/2010 #61
Backroads
I can't wait to read those! Yay for happy fics!
9/10/2010 #62
Sunbitten
Yeah, I finished that chapter not too long ago. Meanness!!!
9/10/2010 #63
Random-StoryKeeper

Honestly, I don't know where to start. So I'll answer the same previous questions, if that's okay with you, because I feel like answering questions.

8. Who is your favorite character (or characters) to write about?

Hiccup, Astrid and Toothless. Actually I love writing about all the teenage Vikings; after all, I am a teenager!

9. How would you describe your style?

I like to use simple language, I guess. I try to be different (or more different) with my ideas, and not go for obvious plotbunnies and such.

10. What great cliches have you noticed in fics? What strikingly original ideas?

I used to notice a lot of fics that involved an angry Toothless. I don't think Toothless is always angry at Hiccup and the other Vikings. I always considered they would be in peace by now.

11. What "audience" do you write for?

I don't know. I appeal to anyone who's interested in my fic.

12. What do you think of mature themes? What mature themes are most appropriate for HTTYD?

Mature themes? I never really read them. And HTTYD is a kid's film; I don't think mature themes really suit it. But they probably just don't appeal to me, and I'm fine with them being on the site; it's just that I don't read them.

Any theme is fine for HTTYD as long as it is written well.

13. Alternate Universes and Original Characters. Share your thoughts.

Again, as long as something is written well, it shouldn't matter. I don't really spend time readin Alternate Universe fics, how do those work out?

There's nothing wrong with Original Characters. Frankly, I hate how much people disown them. I think they are great for adding more plot ideas and strengthening imagination. And people are too prejudice against them. Of course if they're too outlandish, maybe that's another story.

14. What are your writing bad habits?

Either I focus too much on one little thing in my story, and get too wordy. Other times I lack words. Sometimes I can be awkward with language, choosing the wrong words to describe certain things.

15. What turns you off faster from reading something: bad storytelling or bad technical writing (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc)?

Bad technical writing, I guess; if it makes my eyes sore, I don't want to read it. If it's a bad story, that's an opinion that varies from person to person. I could try to see things in that person's point of view if they tell a story in a weird way. But bad technical writing shows that the author doesn't care about their story.

16: What writing style do you stick to or do you ever switch it up? [i.e. past tense vs. present tense, first person vs. omniscient, dialogue vs description]

For fanfiction, it's usually third person point of view, with description, then dialogue, and past tense verbs. I find present tense more suitable for poetry, if that's what this question means.

17. Do you rework posted chapters/stories or is what is up is up?

I removed the author's notes in one of my stories, and that was pretty much it for fanfiction. Probably I will rework certain stories in the future when I have nothing else to write.

18. How long do you like your chapters to be?

I keep them to about 1000 words. I find if I write all the chapters at once they only reach out to about 400 words or something which is why I write them one at a time.

19. What should go into the ideal HTTYD fanfiction review?

I dunno, just your honest opinions. They can really help strengthen a writer if you give constructive criticism and not just flowery or vague reviews. Highlight their strengths and weaknesses, this helps the writers to know what to work on and what they excel at in writing. And for extra bits, maybe even say how you feel about the character in their situation that the author has put them in ("i sure hope Hiccup can get out of that mess!"). Oh, and always encourage an author to continue writing!

20. Where do you get inspiration for your HTTYD fics?

Hmmmm........... most of it comes from, believe it or not, me being alone, in bed, or in the shower, maybe. Some ideas just seem to come out of nowhere and I go, "Hey, why not try that?" and write it.

21. What goes into making a ship/pairing work?

Showing their affection, perhaps. I'm not certain about that.

22. Short stories/One-shots vs. Longer Fics. Why?

I like oneshots, both writing and reading them. They take less time to read, so I can check out lots more of them in a day. Besides, most long fics don't appeal to me.

23. What should be taken from criticism/compliments? How do you work it into your work?

Focus on what to work on when writing. With compliments, they make you smile and let you think, "Perhaps I am good at writing."

24. Do you stick to the world of Berk or do you ever venture into other areas? If so, what goes into designing those areas?

I stick to Berk. I wouldn't take the crew to Mars or anything, but if the Vikings venture out, they would go places, of course. I haven't tried it yet, but will consider...one day.

25. If you're ever used an Original Character, what goes into designing that character?

Haven't used an Original Character for one plain reason: I don't like to name them!

26. Do you ever "copy" styles from things you've read?

Well, there's only so many styles in this world to use for writing. I must have copied someone's, even though right now I can't recall.

27. Taboos. Is there anything that should just never be done in an How to Train Your Dragon fanfic?

Never bold all of your story. Or underline all of it. Or italicize. Wait, that's storywise.

Don't keep echoing what's been done in the movie. I mean, like when Astrid punches Hiccup, don't make her do that throughout the entire fic. The characters do more than just punch each other and stuff.

28. If you edit stuff you've already written, what sort of things do you edit?

Adding and removing sentences, to make things make sense.

29. Broad question: What "weird" things have you ever done with characters?

Apparently, I make Hiccup giggle way too much! =D Oh, and I think my "Tomorrow for the Better" story was a little strange. And when I incorporated jellied meat and cheesy pickup lines into my little Hiccup/Astrid fic. I'll admit, I like to weave weird things into my fics sometimes.

30. Do you feel your writing has "grown" over the fics you've written? How?

Hehe. I think so. Through reading the opinions of other ff users and whatnots to do in fics, I feel I've become a little more...safer in my writing.

31. What do you do when you have writer's block or other writing frustrations?

I put the pen down and go off on normal life. Maybe I would go back to the work I'm writing about for reference (ex. watching Httyd). I think writer's block is a result of overthinking, and relaxing your brain may just help.

32. What's the worst fic you've ever written? (any fandom)

Dark Ace Bangs: an Alternate Ending to Velocity is pretty much the only story with hate comments. I barely edited it, and all the characters were quite OOC. I thought it was funny, back in the days. And I admit, some of my other Storm Hawks fandoms aren't the greatest, and I'm not so positive about my HTTYD ones as well.

33. Do you use a beta? Do you beta anyone?

I don't. I do have a beta profile, but that really was just to show people my writing strengths and weaknesses. If anyone needs beta help, though, I'd be willing.

34. What things from the movie are you most fond of expanding on?

Actually, it seems to be the little details that I focus on in my writing: dragon names, Hiccup's amputated leg. I'd expand anything...

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

9/11/2010 #64
Duchess Delanie

underwaterwriter, these are good questions!!!

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

No. I don't think I've ever stuck in a major book plot. So far, the only book things I've used was putting in a cat and a couple of names. And I read the books years ago before I heard about the movie because my little brother was into them. The thing is, they're a British kid series, so I really don't know how big they are in America--though with the movie I imagine there might be some more readers. So I don't assume people know the books very well.

The thing is, the book and the movie have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with each other. So to me it actually seems really hard to bring in lots of book elements because they really don't fit with the movie canon and vise versa.

Here's how I see it: A few details from the books are fine. I don't think they really surprise or confuse anyone. Which is acceptable to me. It's probably no more than anyone adding their own details would do, so I don't know why a few minor details wouldn't be acceptable. Especially when some of the book stuff was originally considered for the movie and put in places (like the art book) where movie fans might get stuff for fics.

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

No. If I see something that looks like it was written by a fifth grader (which is how I define amateur) I won't bother reading it and therefore won't bother reviewing it to give pointers. If it interests me enough to read it, and I have pointers to give, I will. Just because it's not amateur doesn't mean it can't handle a few tips.

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

To me, there is a huge difference between legitimate harsh criticism and flaming. Harsh and brutally honest criticism is helpful. It says what is wrong with a fic, and sometimes even gives tips on how to improve it.

Flaming, on the other hand, exists simply to be mean. It's "this is the worst fic ever" with no reason. It's criticism that goes beyond being honest to merely get a reaction from the author.

I know there are a lot of people on the site who consider themselves flamers, but then again, they also say theyr'e out to stop bad fics. That, I don't consider flaming. Unless they're being really mean about it. But if they're only doing it to fics that are truly bad, well, I think those fics might deserve it.

Flaming is going to an okay fic and saying terrible things about it for no reason.

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

To me, a Mary Sue character is the author's ideal. The character is there to steal the thunder of the story.

A non-Mary Sue character is a character who has realistic flaws and a definite personality. They are not there to be the main characters of stories, but to enrich the story. A Mary Sue is usually the main character. People come to fanfiction to read about what they already know. They don't want a new character absorbing all the plots that an established character should be absorbing. A good OC enriches, but rarely is the main one.

No, canon characters don't fall under that because they're already established, and a Mary Sue by definition is author-created. Though if a fanfic author is trying to make the canon character "perfect" they are putting in some Mary Sue qualities.

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

Anything I didn't want to do but would still be cool!

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

Things that have a touch of romance to them. Not full-on romance, but the touch is nice.

9/12/2010 #65
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

I've stumbled upon ones that I found the writing having great potential but I will make a few notes on what I liked and what could be improved, minor suggestions, etc. However, the only way to get me into a fic is by synopsis-if the synopsis is not intriguing I will not read the story.

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

I've never actually received a flame but I've seen examples and I agree, it's a mean review with no reason or rhyme.

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

Non MS's are OC's with a developed personality/characterization meaning a) They have flaws b) There's something unique abut who they are besides the obvious weird eye color/weird name. Those kind of OC's are hard to find probably because for a lot of writers, young ones especially - it is hard to create a believable character to insert into the canon world that meshes effortlessly.

I agree with Duchess more than less about her take on the canon characters being Mary Sue's. I've seen people morph Astrid into a perfect little Viking and any character that is perfect just isn't believable and it's kind of boring because it's so cliche.

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

Ones that I wouldn't developed but would like to see developed if that makes sense. Details to expand on--like I think there was a few neat suggestions in the ispiration thread about expanding on the Village elder, the Twins' tooth pendants, and Nidhogger-a dragon in norse mythology.

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

Character-driven fics are what inspire me at the moment. I love drama, searching themes and always touched with humor and romance. Yes, like Duchess said, a touch is nice ;)

9/12/2010 #66
Backroads

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

I don't assume anything. But I do put book elements in some fics because I think they're cool, or explain something in the movie that wasn't explained. But, like Duchess Delanie said, there are so many things from movie and books that just don't mesh, so it's not like we can bring in lots of things. I would actually want to know what popular book details confuse people. For awhile I was a little annoyed that all these fics would use the full name that I thought was only mentioned in the books--but then I found out the name was on the official movie site. Let's see... I've used the name of Hiccup's mother, I've used Berserker!Fishlegs, I've used the name of Tuffnut's dad, I've assumed Hiccup and Snotlout were cousins. As there is only so much one can use from the books, a lot of the stuff doesn't seem too major, at least to me.

I'd like to see an argument against it, if anyone has one. I'm curious.

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

Amateur as opposed to professional? There are very few people on this site that never need an occasional critique, and I've been on the this site for way too many years. I think it depends on how amateur. If the writing is horrible or the story awful, I turn away from the fic. But if something catches my eye and gets me to read all the way down to the bottom where the review button is, I'm happy to give pointers as well as say what made me like the story. And I think I can give pointers in some things.

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

I still am not very sure about the difference between flames and a brutally honest criticism. It's kind of a grey area. I have received many critical reviews--and I thought those were great and very helpful. I don't know if I have received actual flames. Years and years ago I attempted to write a "Two Princesses of Bamarre" fanfic and I did get a review that said "this is the worst story ever". And that was the entire review. I think I would define something that as a flame because that's the only feedback I got. To the reviewer's credit, the story did suck. It took place in modern America with a character that was probably a Mary Sue and I can't even remember what it had to do with Bamarre. I think that review made me get rid of the story, actually. I've also gotten reviews that were really mean but were really off-topic and didn't have much to do with my story at all. I guess those could have been flames because they were so ridiculous. I just deleted them, figuring "psycho". I also once got a review that was what I will call "half-flaming". There was some legitimate points on the story, but half the review was bashing my religion, which I thought was a little uncalled for. I actually responded to it a long time after the fact and the girl sincerely apologized, saying she had grown up a lot since the review.

So I guess I define a flame as a super-mean review that does not focus on the actual problems of the story.

I think a lot of mean reviews are perfectly fine, if they tell what is wrong. But if they're going off on other things without addressing problems, they become flames.

And I like the definition that they exist to get a reaction from the author, but I think they can also be just plain misguided.

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

Before I go off on Mary Sues, I want to concede that Mary Sues are very common and that they may in fact be a developmental period in writing. I got in a gigantic fanfiction conversation with a coworker a few weekends back at an office retreat that lasted the better part of "Avatar". She's very new to fanfiction... and she writes Mary Sues, crossovers, self-insertions, and all these other things that are just fanfic-taboo to me. Other than that, she has great prose. We were very cordial and get along great, but I did say my fanfiction opinions and she said hers. When I brought up the Mary Sue stuff, she said it was a good way to explore fanfiction when you had no idea what you were doing. I myself wrote Mary Sues in the beginning, and I thought the idea of character-in-our-world or us-in-their-world were the neatest. I like to think my coworker will eventually grow in her fanfiction writing.

That being said, I hate Mary Sues. I don't think they are even necessarily "perfect" anymore. Some go the opposite way to become the most miserable, awful, most tormented individual you can imagine. To me, that's just as bad and misses the point of making a complete and realistic character. A Mary Sue is basically the author sticking everything she or he feels into a character... which makes the character way too much and therefore unbelievable and annoying.

A non-Mary Sue character fits seamlessly into the world. While there might be something extra interesting about this character, it is nothing terribly outlandish. The name works in the world! When I was in jr. high and writing Animorphs fanfiction (not on this site, thank goodness) I had a terrible, terrible Mary Sue. She was tragic and beautiful and had the most bizarre back story and had relationships with not one but two canon characters, but by golly, I still defend that her name fit the world perfectly.

A non-Mary Sue character does not take away from the canon characters--though this may be an opinion thing as I guess some people do like reading about an Original Character as the main character. Generally, a non-Mary Sue should not have any romantic entanglements with a major canon character. I say generally because there can be some amazing exceptions to this where it just works. I've done this a couple of times, actually--usually where there is no one in the canon world to already go with such-and-such canon character. And I keep it from being the main thing in the story and no one has complained yet.

Mary Sues generally should not have super powers, horrible pasts, evil parents, weird-colored eyes, be related to the main character, be a reincarnation of someone important to the canon story, mechanical implants, be from another planet, see ghosts, etc. I say generally because again there are probably excellent exceptions to each one of these.

Most importantly, a non-Mary Sue character has a distinct personality. Mary Sues tend to be very extreme in characterization--and not in a good extreme.

The best way I heard to write an OC character is to write the character as if it's not for a fanfic, as if the whole HttYD world or whatever is in fact yours and the OC character was just another character.

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

I have to be honest, I'm selfish with my plot ideas. I keep them around and don't say anything about them. They're mine!!! Mine!!!

Though bits and pieces of concepts I'm happy to dish out.

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

*stares at list of fanfics* All sorts, apparently. I like ghostly, supernatural stuff. I also like to do humorous things. If you can't poke fun at a fandom, where's the fun? There's some angst in there, some character-focused pieces. I also have a fascination with family relationships. I enjoy slipping in romance where I can. I write a lot of fairy tales, and those as a rule have to have romance. All sorts, I guess.

9/12/2010 #67
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

I realized my Copy Paste missed out on the first of the new batch:

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

All in all I'm writing for movie verse and never assume all readers are familiar with the books. I've never read the books but I'm certainly not opposed to slipping bits of those learned elements into my stories like Backroads explains - names, Berserker!Fishlegs, the cousin thing of Snotlout/Hiccup does not really harm anything in the movie verse and so can be added. If a reader only familliar with the movie stumbles onto them - it doesn't mean anything special to them and that's fine but to those familliar with the books it adds a little more dimension and they get a bit more excited about it so it's just a win-win kind of situation.

9/12/2010 #68
Hell's Fiery Belle

28. If you edit stuff you've already written, what sort of things do you edit?

Simple answer: things I didn't like before.

29. Broad question: What "weird" things have you ever done with characters?

Nothing yet, but I have a few fic ideas (finally) in mind.

30. Do you feel your writing has "grown" over the fics you've written? How?

I hope it will! I hope I have better connections with the characters, more description, less reliance on just dialogue and maybe a mix of all elements.

31. What do you do when you have writer's block or other writing frustrations?

Read other fics, hoping something will inspire me.

32. What's the worst fic you've ever written? (any fandom)

I only have one fic, so I guess it's the worst fic by default.

33. Do you use a beta? Do you beta anyone?

No and no. But I like the idea. Instant-editor.

34. What things from the movie are you most fond of expanding on?

Relationship, character connections, characterizations, funny things said.

9/14/2010 #69
Calico

Well I haven't done this in a while.

20. Where do you get inspiration for your HTTYD fics?

Just crazy things that pop into my head. I'm fresh out at the moment, sadly :(

21. What goes into making a ship/pairing work?

Realism, especially realistic dialogue. I've just read some stuff that's made my eyes cross and I wonder if the writers ever say the lines out loud? Other than that, real ups and downs, honest reactions to circumstances.

22. Short stories/One-shots vs. Longer Fics. Why?

To write, I've done them all. I'm not going to press for something really long if the idea doesn't hold up to it, though I've been criticized for not expanding on certain ideas. I've got a few one shots and one story that's over 50 chapters with several sequels. To read, no preference. If someone is a great writer, I'll follow them for as long as they keep publishing. Reading an existing long fic may take a few sittings, but it's worth it for good stuff.

23. What should be taken from criticism/compliments? How do you work it into your work?

I can't say I really change much from feedback (not that I've never, in my last story I actually did make a small change based on some opinions that were expressed), but I evaluate everything equally and if it's something that makes me go "Oh yeah!" I'll take it for what it's worth.

24. Do you stick to the world of Berk or do you ever venture into other areas? If so, what goes into designing those areas?

I've ventured out a few times, but mostly still very Berk-centered.

25. If you're ever used an Original Character, what goes into designing that character?

Other than ancillary characters, I've only really created one important OC, who was a villain, so I mostly focused on what he was doing in the story rather than personal details. Honestly I didn't even have a very clear picture of his face in my mind, but his voice was very distinctive. It was just important that his words were very cutting, not threatening per se, but malicious.

26. Do you ever "copy" styles from things you've read?

Probably subconsciously.

27. Taboos. Is there anything that should just never be done in an How to Train Your Dragon fanfic?

Break up Hiccup and Astrid - Kidding! Really, anyone can write anything they want and I have a right not to read it. Bashing a character unnecessarily causes me to swear up a blue streak though.

28. If you edit stuff you've already written, what sort of things do you edit?

Typos

29. Broad question: What "weird" things have you ever done with characters?

Giving Hiccup a random prophetic dream in 'Fair Trade' was a bit weird, I guess.

30. Do you feel your writing has "grown" over the fics you've written? How?

Sure, I've been doing this for almost ten years, I'd be worried if I haven't grown. Reading some of the old mistakes I used to make, or some of the OOC stuff I had characters do/say makes me cringe. Yikes. Now I make other mistakes and make new characters OOC yay!

31. What do you do when you have writer's block or other writing frustrations?

Weep pitiably. Haunt my favorite authors. Write really bad stuff that I will never post.

32. What's the worst fic you've ever written? (any fandom)

A horrible Mary Sue inserted into Stephen King's Dark Tower books. It's gone and shall never be spoken of again.

33. Do you use a beta? Do you beta anyone?

No. I'm old and cranky and I don't want anyone messing with my stuff. I've got the basics of the language down, and any typos that escape my reading and rereading must then be published to shame me. And I don't really like beta-ing for other people because it just feels like the same work I do eight hours a day.

34. What things from the movie are you most fond of expanding on?

Relationships. Just a little couple, maybe you've heard of them?

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

No, if it's that bad I can't even get into it. (Did I mention old and cranky?)

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

Personal attacks rather than objective commentary.

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

This is so subjective. But I think it's less about the character than how the author treats them.

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

I've given ideas before in the hopes that more stories would be written based on previous works of the author. I haven't given any major storylines up, because if I had any that I thought were viable I'd damn well be using them myself!

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

Mostly dramas that explore people's emotions, usually involving relationships.

9/15/2010 #70
Hell's Fiery Belle

Putting together things for a fic I want to write and thought of these...

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

9/17/2010 #71
Duchess Delanie

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

I originally watched the movie because I had read the book series, but as the movie and books are completely and utterly different, what drew me to the movie were the characters. I thought they were fun. I also thought the story was adorable. Also, the movie was visually stunning, so that was something. But I think it was the characters, namely Hiccup, that drew me in. But I also loved the rest! But the movie didn't do enough with them!

Which leads me into how I got into the fanfiction. I wanted to do something with the characters. So I did a dark one I need to work on that examined the characters. And I've told this story a million times, but I first saw the movie with a group of friends, and we all simultaneously realized that "Delanie! You're just like Ruffnut!" and "Delanie's husband Michael, you're just like Fishlegs!" Which led to me writing a fic to that effect.

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

The Art of Running and Hiding is meaningful to me because of the above story.

And I have a few funny incidents with my nieces and nephews for Disasters in Childrearing.

9/17/2010 #72
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

I was asked to go see it with two friends and was like 'Why not?' because back in December I saw this preview once and only once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHUhygdAZIw

not this one, which I think is far more epic that I found after I had seen the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKiYuIsPxYk

Trailers aside something in the movie caused it to become my crack-cocaine [Probably that moment in the 'Test Drive' scene where Hiccup and Toothless go into that downward flight towards the sea and sail through the rocks with seagulls above. amazing] whether it be the beautiful animation, the breathtaking music, the witty characters, the heartwarming message...I have no clue maybe all of those factored into it and suddenly I found myself going to the theater for nearly three weeks straight and dragging every friend I knew along with me to see it for a total of 10 views [THAT is why I know so much little detail about the movie] and NEVER getting tired of it. I'm 23 and really have never been so obsessed with a movie like this before, one aimed at kids no less. I'm betting I'm not the only one, lol.

Fan fic - Hm. Once the movie left my theater I had to get my high another way. it started with Fan art but then I broke and started a one shot just a one shot for Hiccup and Astrid because I wanted them to be really in love, not just the crushy teens they were whent he movie ended...and then you all know where it went from there...one one shot does not satiate the addiction of HTTYD.

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

Hmm...there's a few songs that I'd listen to as I was writing and try to incorporate the feelings into the chapters. 'Cosmic Love' By Florence and the Machine was a good emotional inspiration for Astrid's angst in my first couple seasons.'Talk' by Coldplay was also a good emotional song for digging into Astrid's feelings about her brother in my final chapter.'Good Riddance' by Greenday was the song used for Tuff's final chapter as he went away. The movie's soundtrack itself was great to listen to while thinking/writing and spurring on concepts.

'Second Chances' is loosely based on life experience.

9/17/2010 #73
Backroads

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

Hmm... I figured I would eventually see the movie because I adore animation and kiddie movies. My sister-in-law, who is a dragon fanatic, loved it and told me I would love it. So I went. And I did love it. And I dare say I have beaten Gumdrop Boo in viewings. It's at 13 viewings. That's right! The movie has FINALLY left my town. I know this because I was checking a movie time for date night tonight ("Devil") and this one really cool cheap theatre that kept holding it finally no longer displayed a time for it.

Anyways...

I think what initially captured my attention was the music, then the look of the movie, then the characters... and it was all in this big mix and I left the theatre the first time in a happy daze, completely in love with the movie.

Fanfiction... now that's tricky. I am a huge bookworm and read all these series that have nice fandoms but that doesn't mean I necessarily write fanfiction for everything. There are so many things I would love to write fanfiction for... but I have no ideas. The fanfiction is... hard.

But it started with a few character examinations that did come to me, and I was able to branch out from there. I think it was the simplicity of the storyline and the fun characters that made the fanfiction come easy.

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

Oh, wow. Songs! I have been known to make playlists pertaining to things I'm writing. None of my HttYDs currently have an entire playlist to themselves, but I connect "Good Thing You're Already Dead" to my cute little twelve-year-old cousin who says he really enjoys and appreciates the fic, yet made fun of the first chapter. It's now our private joke, so I will always connect that fic with my adorable little cousin Jarom.

On "IHaSE", I did have a Rascal Flatts song I put with it... but then I heard it today and realized it didn't work at all. And I was sad.

Now that it's on my mind, I will natrually find another song. Or songs. And maybe it will get its own playlist.

9/17/2010 #74
Sunbitten

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

Most fics I see around usually advertise there are major book elements, and the rest are just details. It's acceptable.

36. Do you ever read a fic that you consider amateur, and give pointers to the person?

I don't go hunting for amateur fics to specifically give pointers to, but if I read a fic and get through it because I enjoy it and feel I have pointers to give, I will do so.

37. What is your definition of "flaming" or "flames"?

Going out of your way to insult a fic. You might be cruel while giving criticism, or maybe you stumbled upon a fic, read to the review button, and said what was on your mind. But flaming is looking for a bad fic for the purpose of insulting it, or going beyond helpful/critical nitpicking.

38. What is a non-MarySue character like? Wouldn't canon characters qualify in this category, too?

Has a believable personality for the story and its world, refrains from being the "tragic hero" in any way shape or form.

Canon characters qualify if given way too much drama they can't handle.

39. What sort of plot ideas would you give up to other people?

I get ideas, but don't always write... any I don't intend on using myself in the realistic future.

40. What kind of fics do you enjoy writing?

All sorts, but I lean toward the dramatic.

43. I know this has sort of been asked, but how much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

9/20/2010 . Edited 9/20/2010 #75
Sunbitten

ah! missed some!

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

Just an amazing movie! Charming, interesting, cute characters, sweet idea. I tend to at least examine fanfiction of things I really enjoy.

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

not presently

9/20/2010 #76
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

43. How much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

Review quantity doesn't matter, if I'm inspired, I'm inspired but reviews do add to the inspiration - to know people like what you write usually causes me to write more :)

The Seasonal Series for HTTYD alltogether have recieved the most reviews at 229 and I think that's because it's a bigger fandom and it has a good bunch of constant reviewers that lurk there.

Other than HTTYD, some other dragon story [I LOVE DRAGONS, obviously, lol] of mine for a different fandom racked up about 120 reviews for a single story but that is a limited fandom based on a book.

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

I'm bad for i have about four open right now and two I haven't updated in a lonnng time but waiting for my inspiration to strike back up. I have four unfinished and I'm planning on more HTTYD ones just because that inspiration is now an obsession and I feel bad for those other stories which I need to get back to and update. Though if I'm focused, I sure get focused for I completed 24 chapters in about four months for the Seasonal Series.

9/20/2010 #77
Backroads

First, I feel I must share my reading the email updates story! I was driving home from work when I was suddenly and randomly cursed with a bloody nose of respectable profusion. I attempted driving for a few minutes with a tissue held to my nose, but the flow of blood was indeed respectable and didn't seem to be stopping so I pulled over as not to be deemed a hypocrite in my rather conservative no-distracted-driving beliefs. And then I spent ten minutes on the side of the road with a bunch of tissues clenched against my nose reading emails from my phone mainly devoted to this particular forum while no less than two cops and a firefighter stopped to see if I had burst a blood vessel (I don't think I had and did not reach the twenty minute go-to-the-hospital-now time limit of my first aid training). But it was a good time to closely read everyone's latest thoughts on various topics.

43. How much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

I will admit, getting reviews is fun, but I have to be personally invested in the story more than any readers. And the fun reviews are the good, though-out reviews. Though at the same time, it's nice to have a fan/critic/reader. I had a fic a few years back that was quite popular in its fandom and had many reviews. But... I stopped caring about the story regardless of how much people loved it. I actually deleted it, then had a reader freak out that it was gone and ask if he could finish it. I said yes, sent him the files of the story... and he destroyed the ending by breaking one of my personal storytelling rules--but by then it was no longer just my fic so I didn't say anything. Anywho, the point of that story was that I can have lots of reviews and still not care about the story, so therefore review quantity apparently doesn't matter much.

I have a story that has 846 reviews to 31 chapters, a Harry Potter fic. Why it has lots of reviews? I don't know. I wrote it some odd years ago when I was the nanny for my Harry Potter-obsessed cousins, so they were always telling me things I should put in it, so maybe it appealed to the desires of other fans. It's also well-written, if I do say so myself. I think the subject matter was fairly unusual, and I think it had plenty of heart. *shrug*

Then I have a single very short one-shot that managed to get 116 reviews. I have no idea why. Apparently people find it funny. Then I had a fairy tale that had the most reviews I think I've ever received. I took it down because I had enough mean critical people online and off tell me I should consider attempting professional publication with it it... so I'm currently tweaking it in hopes of trying to do so, however that will work out. *crosses fingers*

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

Quite a few, technically, but I usually am impassioned about and extra-focused on only one or two at a time. Right now, it's IHaSE because it's one of two I'm writing with a friend and it's the one that we're super-excited about and that means it gets the majority of my writing time. But I always have multiple fics in-progress.

9/20/2010 . Edited 9/20/2010 #78
Calico

35. When writing your fanfiction for HTTYD, do you assume that people know the book as well and combine the elements of it as well? Is it considered acceptable?

(I missed this one the first time around for some reason): I don't assume anything, but so many book details have seeped into fanfiction that it's kind of hard to keep them out these days, and I've started using many elements automatically, like Hiccup and Snotlout being cousins.

41. What drew you to HttYD in the first place? And then what drew you to the fanfiction?

I saw it the first time by accident when it was the second feature at a drive in (though I'd remembered being amused by the trailer). My first impression was, of course, just how awesome Toothless was. I started bugging my husband to go watch it in 3D, which wasn't easy considering his work schedule and the fact that it was on the way out of theaters, but we managed, and it was even more incredible. My husband even surprised me with a Toothless plushie :D As usual when I can't stop thinking about something I drift over to FF.N to see if there's anything worth while. I hadn't been around these parts in a long time, but I enjoyed many of the fics I found (and was deeply scarred by others O_o). Eventually my imagination got the better of me and I started to contribute. Since then my enthusiasm has drifted to more of the romantic side, but the entire moving is still charming and breathtaking and I can't wait for Oct. 15!

42. Do you have any little things you emotionally connect with one of your fics (i.e. a song, an incident)?

None of my HTTYD stories, but many of my older ones were heavily influenced by songs.

43. How much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

More than it probably should. I'm someone who's happy with even just a small "I liked it" review just to know it was read and found worthy, otherwise I just assumed the default response is "It sucked" :(

By a huge margin, the fic that has gotten the most reviews is "How to Retrain a Viking" (though not necessarily the most per chapter) which was mind-blowing to me, because it was so sparse in the beginning and I thought would be considered cliche and unimaginative. And compared to my other writing, it's fairly simple. Not that I'm complaining, I'm very appreciative that it resonated so widely.

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

Generally just one. I haven't been overly productive.

9/20/2010 #79
Duchess Delanie

43. I know this has sort of been asked, but how much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

Enough as it makes me feel that someone out there cares about my work enough to comment.

"Disasters in Childrearing" has the most reviews. I think it's because it's slightly uncommon in the fandom and I like to think it's funny and appeals to people. It also is a view not really seen in fandom or the movie.

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

Only a couple. I'm busy and can barely update that couple.

9/22/2010 #80
Hell's Fiery Belle

43. I know this has sort of been asked, but how much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

Not much. I guess I haven't had any experience with comparing fic quantity. I only have one fic so far, so n/a on the other questions.

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

So far, just one at a time. It's all I can process and give energy to.

9/23/2010 #81
Hell's Fiery Belle

45. What "setting" do you have to be in for writing? Do you have to be in a certain place? Do you have certain rituals?

9/23/2010 #82
Backroads

45. What "setting" do you have to be in for writing? Do you have to be in a certain place? Do you have certain rituals

I've written pretty much everywhere, but the place I usually wind up writing is on my couch with music playing (see aforementioned playlists") and no plans to associate with the outside world.

9/24/2010 #83
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

45. What "setting" do you have to be in for writing? Do you have to be in a certain place? Do you have certain rituals?

There is no setting. I write in my mind all the time and then when I happen to get near a computer I type it. I write in my sleep too, in those moments before you go completely uncontentious where you mix real-life time into dream time. Usually also when I'm doing mundane things I can turn my brain to auto-pilot for, I sink back into the other part and think of scenes to be written out and how'd they be worded.

9/27/2010 . Edited 9/27/2010 #84
Duchess Delanie

45. What "setting" do you have to be in for writing? Do you have to be in a certain place? Do you have certain rituals?

I'm best when no one is around... I prefer my bedroom or my parent's house, don't know why. But I can't have any distractions.

9/27/2010 #85
Random-StoryKeeper

43. I know this has sort of been asked, but how much does review quantity matter to you? What fics of yours have received the most reviews? Why do you think that is?

Yes, it used to matter to me the number of reviews I got. I always assumed that would be how popular your fic is.

But of course, there are some great fics out there that don't seem to get as many reviews, and some poorly written fics that get heaps of reviews. I think it matters of the content of the reviews, not necessarily the number. Although I do think reviews are love; at least the person took the time to give you a piece of feedback on how they think your story is like.

"Sometimes I Hiccup" is the fic that got me a lot of reviews, and I actually can't quite comprehend this reason. Perhaps it was because it was posted when "How to Train Your Dragon" was still in theaters, and a heavy stream of people visited that archive, and I just happened to have it up at the right time. It could also be because it was romance between Hiccup and Astrid, with Hiccup trying to find ways to tell Astrid that he loved her, and at that time, people were "all over" for Hiccup and Astrid, as well as romance. I got real excited over this fic because it was the first fic of mine that actually attracted the attention of many readers, and I got all happy about it.

44. How many fics do you focus on at a time?

I'd rather focus on two or three fics at a time. If I get all burned out just writing one, I can focus on the other, and still keep writing. But I don't think starting too many fics at once is a good idea.

45. What "setting" do you have to be in for writing? Do you have to be in a certain place? Do you have certain rituals?

Well, the noise should be kept to a minimum when I write, as it helps me concentrate better. Sometimes I listen to music, because this helps set an atmosphere for the story.

46. When writing a fic, do you tend to see words in your head or pictures that you try to describe in words? (I hope you understand what I mean.)

47. For multichapter stories, do you prefer to write the chapters as you post them or write out the entire story at once, then break it up into chapters?

48. Why does the How to Train Your Dragon archive have a ton of stories written for it, as opposed to the other archives for previous Dreamworks movies?

49. How did people react to the "worst fic you've ever posted"?

10/1/2010 #86
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

Underwater Writer, these are some fantastic questions!

46. When writing a fic, do you tend to see words in your head or pictures that you try to describe in words?

Yes. That is *all* I do for writing HTTYD fanfics. I think the word you want there is 'scene'. I have scenes in my head that I want other people to see and share with them so I do my best to weave it into a peice of comprehensible literature :)

47. For multichapter stories, do you prefer to write the chapters as you post them or write out the entire story at once, then break it up into chapters? That switches up a lot I *prefer* to have a good portion already written so people aren't waiting for updates as I think of something to write, a good buffer of chapters you might say. Though I do put up chapters with nothing else on the table as I post. It all depends on inspiration to which method happens.

48. Why does the How to Train Your Dragon archive have a ton of stories written for it, as opposed to the other archives for previous Dreamworks movies? HTTYD I think struck a LOT more people in terms of inspiration and creativity than any previous Dreamworks movie. The characters were fresh and the setting was new and exciting plus it appealed to all ages. I know myself and TONS of other college + age people just went crazy for it. It's quite a phenomenon but I'm glad because it attracted a lot of really amazing and mature writers to the fandom :D

49. How did people react to the "worst fic you've ever posted"

Hmm, pretty positively actually. My worst fic [technically it's just a mess, plotwise and characterization too] was a fairy story and it only has 12 reviews but they were all really nice and encouraging and someone wanted it to be published but they were probably really young to want that. If anyone didn't like it, they just didn't review.

10/1/2010 . Edited 10/1/2010 #87
Random-StoryKeeper

Mary Sues generally should not have super powers, horrible pasts, evil parents, weird-colored eyes, be related to the main character, be a reincarnation of someone important to the canon story, mechanical implants, be from another planet, see ghosts, etc. I say generally because again there are probably excellent exceptions to each one of these.

I just wanted to add something to this: don't people in real life, though have evil parents and horrible pasts? I mean, if you take all these things that a Mary Sue shouldn't be, you'd be left with a pile of dust in your fingers. You need some Sue-ish traits, do you not?

10/1/2010 #88
Gumdrop Boo - Ch4rms

Yes, you can have these traits as long as they are written tactfully and they aren't all grouped into one character. Then it's an OC. Just, in a majority of fics pegged with MAry Sue's, these traits are common. So they get annoying to read, so as an author you can think up of *other* difficulties or conflicts and not extreme pasts for a character. You get what I mean?

10/1/2010 #89
Random-StoryKeeper

Yep yep. =D

Finding other difficulties or conflicts, however, may just be a concern.

10/1/2010 #90
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