Author has written 60 stories for Stargate: SG-1, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Mutant X, Numb3rs, Unit, NCIS, and Hawaii Five-0.
OughtaKnowBetter is an author who ought to know better than to waste time writing fan fiction when there's a science fiction trilogy waiting to be finished. Look for The Haban Chronicles at your favorite bookstore.
Update: Who would have thought it? Wizard in Blue Jeans got out first. Just goes to show...
Some of you have asked where I come up with the ideas--you can do the same thing, too. I usually start with a single feeling or a situation, and then build from there (consider adding an interesting sub-plot; it's an easy way to make the story feel like an episode of the show). How did insert name get there, and how do they get out of it? This is the most frustrating time: once I know that, the story is ready to be written. If I don't know how the story approximately ends before I start writing, it never ends properly and I get bored with it. Those pieces that I don't spend enough upfront time on (and yes, I have them sitting in a dead file waiting to be re-written or erased all together) waste valuable ideas and energy and time. So I sit and think and muse over possible scenes until the general outline is clear, and then I can begin working on the keyboard, but not before. One of my pet peeves is a story that doesn't end; the writer is too lazy to write a complete story. Stories, by definition, have beginnings, middles, and ends. No end, no story. End of discussion.
You've also wondered how I can post so quickly. Again, easy answer: the first draft is completed before the postings begin. That way I know that the story can be completed. Then it's just a matter of the editing to make the words flow and be clear, making sure that the characterization rings as true as I can make it,and to insert a certain amount of the acerbic humor that I like. It also gives me time to use spell-check (hint, hint! I despise a story with misspellings and poor grammar. Take some pride in your work, people! Why should I bother to read your work when you don't care enough to proof read it?) and fine-tune the grammar. I make exceptions for when the site itself crunches the editing and I realize that none of us are perfect, but at least try!
And last--I really enjoy the feedback, and I listen to it. Some stories have been altered mid-way because someone asks for something that works better than what I had planned, or another chapter gets added when I really intended to finish the story a chapter earlier. Thanks, guys!
Update: I've gotten a lot of mail from people over the last few months about timely posting and finishing stories, and most have come down squarely on one side or the other. A lot of people agree with me: failure to post regularly and in a timely fashion until the story is complete is poor writing at best and discourteous to the reader at worst. My detractors have accused me of being arrogant and self-righteous toward those who do not adhere to my point of view. Perhaps I am arrogant, but not with regard to posting stories. The dictionary defines courtesy as 'being considerate of others'. Those who disagree with my position cite real world concerns that interfere with their writing: schoolwork, jobs, family pressures, all the very real priorities that prevent completion of stories. I don't disagree that real world issues should come before writing for pleasure, but what some people conveniently ignore is that while the writing needs to go at the author's pace, the posting should serve the readers. In other words, to be considerate of your audience you must complete enough of your story before beginning to post so that a) you are certain that you can complete it and b) you don't leave months to years in between postings. The writer can't always control how quickly the story is written but they can control the timing of the posting/publishing. That is being courteous to your audience. It is extraordinarily self-centered to assume that readers exist for the sole purpose of giving you compliments in the form of feedback, that they should hang on your every phrase merely because you took the few minutes to post it. Your posting exists for the purpose of giving pleasure to both you, the author, and more importantly: your audience. Treat them nicely!
I'd also like to acknowledge all the writers of those private emails who have thanked me for 'having the courage' to stand up for good writing. It is frightening to think that there are readers and writers out in cyberspace who have been jeered into silence by those who cannot accept responsibility for their thoughtlessness toward their audience. No one should have to apologize for holding themselves to reasonable standards. If you are going to post, then do it to the best of your ability and that means putting in the effort to make certain that both grammar and spelling are as correct as can be before the site munches it. Think about continuity: if your character's hair color changes from chapter to chapter, put in a small comment about hair dye. Read a book or two on writing techniques! Develop the technique that will draw your readers back to your work over and over. I appreciate critiques, even when I disagree with the content, but I dismiss insults and flames because they do nothing to improve my writing skills. Comments on plot development are useful; comments on my personality flaws say more about the email-er's character than my own. Thanks, guys!
Update: Sept. 12, 2010. I have been made aware of a group that is causing writers to be banned and their works removed from this site for what the group claims are violations of the TOS. Reading entries on the forum 'Literate Union' leads me to believe that they are using a computer program to assist them in their efforts. While I agree with their stated aims, better spelling and grammar as well as adherence to the ratings system, I believe that they are engaging in what could be called vigilantism. They have taken on the paternalistic role of site monitor, with no assurances that their interpretations of TOS match anyone else's. Some statements I have seen say that these actions are condoned by site administration but I have seen no official announcements to that effect. History suggests a sluggish response by site administration to allegations of abuse of others, so I do not expect any relief from that avenue. My concern is that this group is using the TOS much as the town curmudgeon would use local ordinances to harass his neighbors. Their techniques appear to have a very great potential for abuse; should you displease them in any way, retaliation in the form of being banned from this site, whether or not you have violated the TOS, could occur. Personally, I do not believe that I have violated the TOS. If I vanish from this site, please be aware that I will continue to write using other websites. 'Cal-Sci Library' comes to mind, and I am exploring 'Archive of Our Own'. As an American, I value my constitutional right of Freedom of Speech, and ethically I believe that this right ought to be extended to all. I prefer to do my own censoring of reading material; should I come across a piece that is badly written, it is my decision whether or not to use the 'back' arrow, and I do not approve of others attempting to steal this decision from me.
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