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The Fan Fiction Mafia

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JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
Club thread moves fast; that's nice!

Haha, ikr?

Anyway, no prob! Currently, Serebii's still saying a nebulous October 2013, so I can add that to the deadline list for now until we get a more solid date for you.

Also, as a general note! Yep, I have indeed been updating the first post these past couple of days. Sorry about the zero response, guys. Failed miserably at the whole "having energy" bit, but hopefully, now that we've passed Wednesday, I'll be a little more active. b)'')b But! If you see your name in the members' list (which, yes, is actually totally intended on being punctuated that way, by the by), you can consider yourself in.

That being said, probably will end up replying to the topics I've missed in length, but I at least want to get a crack at this latest one because it's completely irresistible (because hell yes character building).

How do you portay romance correctly in your stories?
By remembering that characters are people, not relationships. *le nod*

That being said, to start things off, I'd like to say that I agree with a lot of what's already been said about romance. Lots of people these days tend to hear the word "romance" and instantly think "kissy kissy heart heart heart" kind of thing. Or worse, they think of whatever Twilight thinks love is. But romance is about more than just love, and there's more than one type of love anyway. Granted, I have a tendency to think there's more types of love out there than what Kutie Pie's brought up, although she's definitely correct in saying that it's possible to be friends and consider that a type of love itself. It's just that there's also different levels, and then the whole shebang becomes a massively complex mess of emotions and varying shades of loyalty. There's of course a difference between a love and loyalty you have towards a friend and a love and loyalty you have towards someone who's more than your best friend but still completely platonic. I guess you would say it's the difference between bros and regular ol' drinking buddies? And hey, depending on your time period, different levels really were a thing.

Rambling aside, what I'm trying to say is there's different ways of going about portraying love, but the main thing to keep in mind is that people are very rarely consumed by their relationships. It's a trap a lot of romance authors fall into, but the secret is really that simple. Keep reminding yourself that these characters should exist outside of their relationships. They should be their own realized individuals, with their own personalities, interests, and so forth. Sure, there are couples in media that aren't like that (How I Met Your Mother's Marshall and Lily, anyone?), but these... tend to be seen more as parodies of couples than of actual couples. If you have that kind of relationship up front and center and serious, then you come off as more than a little cheesy.

Once you remember that these characters are separate entities from each other, then you start getting into building the way they would interact with one another by taking their separate personalities and interests and figuring out where they fit together. Like a puzzle, basically. Or... like any other interaction you write in a fic. Not to mean that bitingly, of course. It's just that there's a lot you can learn just by comparing the romance to every other relationship in your fic. Figuring out how your characters would interact with someone they don't maintain a strong bond with will help you figure out how they'd interact with someone who does have that strong bond with them.

Really, in general, looking at the characters as individual entities solves so many problems... for me, anyway. Writing the characters separate encourages one to think about their place in the overall web of the plot, rather than hone in on the fact that they're a couple first. That dodges the "plot takes a backseat" issue, but it also obviously helps solve the "characters become an amorphous blob of hormones" issue as well. 'Course, if the characters want to be amorphous blobs of hormones, you'll at least have enough on their separate personalities to figure out how that would work.

'Course, remembering that not all relationships have to be about eros probably helps too. You can, for example, be in a "friends with benefits" relationship. Or a significant-other-to-an-asexual relationship. Personally, though? I'm all for philia myself. Or to be more accurate, that weird, hazy, nebulous kind of relationship that we don't seem to have an accurate word for these days. Y'know, the one where you have two people who are incredibly close to one another to the point where "best friend" doesn't even really adequately define the strength and closeness of the relationship, but it's still totally platonic. I like to think "romantic friendship" might actually be the closest thing to what I'm talking about but that's more accurately a homosexual relationship in a time when that was a massive taboo.

Blargh, English. You and your complete failure to have words for finely defined concepts.

And one last note: I openly acknowledge that Butler was the best part of the Artemis Fowl series. *nods* Well, okay, to be fair, so was Artemis. When he wasn't being used as a mouthpiece for environmentalism, anyway. (Admittedly, I haven't read that lovely book with the love interest, so I'm not sure how hard I'd eat those words if/when I do. But I'll also give you that the slow death sounds incredible and creative, and I may or may not be thinking about powering through the series to get to that installment in general.)
 

Dragonfree

Just me
Personally, though? I'm all for philia myself. Or to be more accurate, that weird, hazy, nebulous kind of relationship that we don't seem to have an accurate word for these days. Y'know, the one where you have two people who are incredibly close to one another to the point where "best friend" doesn't even really adequately define the strength and closeness of the relationship, but it's still totally platonic. I like to think "romantic friendship" might actually be the closest thing to what I'm talking about but that's more accurately a homosexual relationship in a time when that was a massive taboo.
So, in other words (TV Tropes to the rescue!), Platonic Life Partners/Heterosexual Life Partners? (If TV Tropes scares you, the basic gist of the definition is that it's a completely platonic relationship that's stronger and more important for the characters than any other relationship in their lives, including romance.)

That is incidentally one of my absolute favorite tropes, so I'm totally with you there. :D I've been a huge sucker for fiction about people being willing to go to the ends of the earth for someone who's "just" their friend (or some other kind of non-romantic relation, anyway) since I was little - I think it's something to do with the fact that since the cultural narrative of romance holds that you're supposed to care about the person you're in love with more than anything else, it tends to not seem quite as meaningful when romantic couples live up to that expectation as when characters who don't have anything to prove do it anyway. That and how there are a lot of shortcuts taken in writing romantic relationships that tend to make their emotional connection not seem quite as well developed. When writers want to show that a romantic couple love each other, they'll usually give each other flowers/kiss/have sex/tell each other how beautiful they are/propose/decide to have a kid, but since friends usually aren't going to do any of that, the writers have to put in more effort to actually show that they really care about each other in a meaningful way when they want to establish the closeness of a friendship. Obviously not all romantic couples suffer from that lazy writing thing, but overall, platonic relationships ironically tend to come off as being closer and more genuinely meaningful than most romantic relationships in fiction to me. Occasionally I get pretty into a romance, but the fictional relationships I'm most invested in are all platonic.

(Trying to express my preference for platonic relationships has gotten people angrily accusing me of being anti-sex or thinking romantic partners can't also be friends or something, but that's not it at all. D: It's just that usually, notable fictional platonic relationships are more interesting and moving by my standards of interesting and moving than romantic ones.)
 
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Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
That is incidentally one of my absolute favorite tropes, so I'm totally with you there. :D I've been a huge sucker for fiction about people being willing to go to the ends of the earth for someone who's "just" their friend (or some other kind of non-romantic relation, anyway) since I was little - I think it's something to do with the fact that since the cultural narrative of romance holds that you're supposed to care about the person you're in love with more than anything else, it tends to not seem quite as meaningful when romantic couples live up to that expectation as when characters who don't have anything to prove do it anyway. That and how there are a lot of shortcuts taken in writing romantic relationships that tend to make their emotional connection not seem quite as well developed. When writers want to show that a romantic couple love each other, they'll usually give each other flowers/kiss/have sex/tell each other how beautiful they are/propose/decide to have a kid, but since friends usually aren't going to do any of that, the writers have to put in more effort to actually show that they really care about each other in a meaningful way when they want to establish the closeness of a friendship. Obviously not all romantic couples suffer from that lazy writing thing, but overall, platonic relationships ironically tend to come off as being closer and more genuinely meaningful than most romantic relationships in fiction to me. Occasionally I get pretty into a romance, but the fictional relationships I'm most invested in are all platonic.

I have to agree with you on that point. I always find close, platonic friendships/bromances/romantic friendships/etc. the most compelling. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's reactionary to how common romantic relationships are in the media and how they're usually uninteresting or most peoples' tendency to categorize relationships as "romantic" ones. I think all of my fanfics have at least one strong friendship/complicated-interpersonal-not-necessarily-romantic-but-extremely-deep-relationship in them. Some of the relationships don't fall under one particular label or another.

How do you portray romance correctly in your stories?

The important thing for me is letting the romance happen naturally. Never force it or else it will come off as forced. Let your characters be themselves and, as others have said already, keep them in character and let them be themselves inside and outside the relationship.
 

Matori

THE QUEEN IS BACK
How do you portray romance correctly in your stories?

I'm not much of a shipping fic writer outside of my Diamondshipping stuff, but I've found unless you're writing shipping stuff, the relationship shouldn't be the main aspect of the characters- it's a detail.

Relationships should be viewed as just another facet of the characters, another variable affecting their interactions with each other and the world, in my opinion. Otherwise you risk defining the characters by who they love and not by who they are.
 

Dilasc

Boip!
You guys all know me... right? Right? Maybe not, as I sometimes forget I even write.

Why I like writ... well I, oddly don't enjoy it as much as I should. What I DO enjoy is entertaining, which should be great but the size of my audiences tends to tell me I'm not that entertaining and I try. I paint vivid imagery and snarky, sarcastic comedy. It's not that I don't like writing, I DO, but as an entertainer.

Which authors do you look up to? I don't... is that a sane thing to say? I mean, I haven't picked up a book in a long time. I'm a heretic/fool: a writer who doesn't read paper books. My nearest library is over a tolled bridge... but mostly I don't want my style to be 'corrupted' or altered by someone else's style. Copout answer? Maybe, but I just don't want to pedestalize writers or else being a writer becomes an impossible goal.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!


Did you ever write a story to tell a story, or to make a point about whatever, or both? How subtle were you? Did it go well, or did you slip? This is a weird/loaded question. Any story without a 'point' or plot is going to be a mess unless it's a stylistic choice, usually for comedic purposes. Otherwise, all stories have aspects of our ideals and/or cynical beliefs. If they didn't, we'd be detached and wouldn't enjoy it... and so too would our audiences.

How did you get an idea for a fic? Does it come to you? Or if you get inspired? Usually I get inspired by the idea that I might make someone's day. I'm not uninspired as I let the world itself give me ideas.

How do you portay romance correctly in your stories? I didn't know there was just one answer. I'm thrown off by the 'correctly' in that sentence because it implies that some ways are wrong. And while yes, there are bad romance writers, some of whom should NOT be looked up to by little girls, art IS subjective.

That said, I am driven by insatiability and, while I could be wrong about it, I like to think everyone else is too, right down to the nunnery girls. While romance won't consume the plot, it'll be clear that there's a sex drive going on in everyone's head. This may mean my writing can be a bit, well, crass and 'perverse.'



Anyways, if you want to possibly... maybe be entertained, I have two stories that I'm currently on.

Dust to Deceit: ReReduxed: If you remember years ago my first... erm, second attempt at Dust to Deceit it was decently popular yet all who may remember it with fond memory are not as present as they were years ago.

There be Fakemon in this tale of demons and moon crashing... but it, as of writing this, is still in its beginning phase. Phillip Molson's adventures through the region of Kertonmel will take him on a quest to see if he can find his MIA sister.. or is that simply an excuse?


Geas: Blue Storm If Fakemon aren't your thing, why not a Nuzlocke? Step back to your childhood with Blue version and a boy whose mind has taken on a psychic parasite... and with it the Nuzlocke... it's not a curse, not a permanent one anyway.



So I've got an idea: sort of a fun little thing to help sharpen everyone involved:

Post a little snippet, maybe a paragraph long. Perhaps its from an upcoming story or chapter of your latest work... and everyone else... picks it apart until it has no bones left. Leave no tiny error unnoticed!

If it's a bad idea... then woosh, I never said a word.




A new question to ask, if I may:

What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

Personally, I love em! I take tropes... and break as many of them as possible to ensure I'm doing something unique. Chosen One? No, there wasn't much choice.

Dirty old man predatory out for children? Quite the opposite, the seventy year old wants them older than himself.

Amnesia after waking up in a strange place? Not only will they NOT, but they'll mention how stupid it is to think they do.

Doing the cutaway gag? Someone's going to be confused about how they wound up in an entirely new scene when they weren't there an instant ago.

If it's impossible to go against the trope, I will subvert it as best as possible. It's not always easy to do.
 

Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

If you mean TV Tropes, I can't stand it.

As for actual tropes, I don't like to say "I'm going to use this, this, and this in my story". It feels too... I don't know, like it staunches the natural progression of the story building process. Tropes feel too constricting and limiting because it makes one think in terms of categories and checkboxes. I'm sure I use tropes subconsciously or something. I don't know though.
 

Colt45

Cobalt
What exactly are tropes? I'll edit in my thoughts on them once I learn what they are lol..

Edit: Ah, so trope is another word for cliche? Well then, I guess my thoughts on tropes are that they are sometimes necessary, given the fact that there are what... perhaps billions of works of fiction out there, making it harder and harder to include original content. However, there are some cliches that are genre specific, and thus easier to avoid, and I think that you should try to avoid those types of cliches if possible.

However, if your story makes a good use of a trope, then by all means you should use it. Personally, I feel unpredictability is more important than originality.
 
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TheGreatGigInTheSky

The Jimmy Rustler
This place looks fine! I guess I'll join:

Why I like fan fiction and writing: Writing really allows me to just dump my imagination onto a computer screen or piece of paper. And is imagination not fun? I personally think it is wonderful. After hearing about the fan fiction library here at SPPf, he announcement for Gen 6 and several other factors, I have been inspired to start my first fanfic, The Horns of Xerneas (as you probably have seen or will see in my sig). So far, I'm working on making the last few touches to the prologue and in the process of writing Chapter One. Once the whole thing is started, a magical thing called a "link" will appear in my sig. Writing the story is very fun so far, an I hope it will be suitable for SPPf soon.
 

OceanicLanturn

Non non non!
What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

Cliches, eh? Hmm *le thought*

Well, before I answer the question, there's this thread called unpopular opinions about ... in the anime and manga thread respectively. I've commented in both already. Anyways, there are so many people that agree on a certain 'unpopular opinion' that it actually becomes a popular opinion to have, in the thread of course. I'm not sure who uses cliches in their stories (like overuse it, small dosages are okay) ON serebii, because I don't really read much of the fics on here, and the ones I read are by good authors :S. So I'm start to think that the 'cliche' stuff aren't actually that 'cliche' because I don't see many people use it. Anyone gets my drift?

Anyways, some usage are fine. I tend to throw in a few cliche from time to time. However, stuff like 'walks into the sunset *dramatic music*' is too cliche for me to take. So goes for 'once upon a time' or 'happily ever after'. That's why I laugh when I look at the books I read when I was young. I guess I don't enjoy simple plots like 'A solves Problem B for C, A and C are happy. The end!' type of plot. I'm going off topic. So yeah, cliche stuff here and there occasionally are fine, but if a story starts with once upon a time, I get a '50% off' in my interest rate :3

---

I have a quick question that doesn't warrant a topic: I just wrote a 7-page chapter about capturing Sentret and a battle between Sentret and Ledyba (two trainers). I'm wondering if that's too much? My chapters are starting to be 7 pages long now... I wonder if that's a problem. Please reply, I need halp :(
 
Good points on romance and how it should be portaryed. And on tropes, as I am a Fanfic Critic, I deal with the worst ones, and I improve on the right ones.

And I think most can agree to this: No matter what character you don't likem just for existing in said series, at least be the mature one and devleop she or he. And yes, I am referring to the boy whose name I can't say because most of site hates him. And I never a fan of character bashing or hating becuse they are a fighter and they shouldn't.
 

OceanicLanturn

Non non non!
Good points on romance and how it should be portaryed. And on tropes, as I am a Fanfic Critic, I deal with the worst ones, and I improve on the right ones.

And I think most can agree to this: No matter what character you don't likem just for existing in said series, at least be the mature one and devleop she or he. And yes, I am referring to the boy whose name I can't say because most of site hates him. And I never a fan of character bashing or hating becuse they are a fighter and they shouldn't.

You mean Ash? Lol. He was pretty mature during Sinnoh saga if you ask me... Anyways never mind on that.

I'm a bit confused about 'love' here. Love includes friendship right? So what's the difference between a love-friendship fic with specific pairings in shipping and a shipping fic? I'm asking this because the shipping fics I saw are all like 'character x, I love you' or something. So if you have a friendship-love in a specific pairing, would that be counted as shipping?

I have 0 experience with love fics. I prefer adventure to be honest. I was reading this book where the sequel just turned all love, don't leave, blah blah blah and it made me cringe so hard. It has really degraded from the adventure it had in the original series.
 

Ysavvryl

Pokedex Researcher
Torpes? I love tropes. They're like the threads in a piece of cloth; they form the fabric of a story and you can't really make a story entirely without them. Or they're like Legos, where you can take the simple basic pieces and build then up into anything you can imagine. And then blow them up and rebuild them into something new. (clearly, I have been playing too much Lego Star Wars lately).

Actually, tropes are better than Legos because you can change the form of the trope, twist it about, and reinterpret it. Sometimes I start writing with a trope as part of the skeleton, building up on it so that it's more than just that idea. Othertimes, I just write whatever, go back and pick out what tropes are in effect, then modify things so that the story is smoother.


@OceanicLanturn: My chapters usually run 10 pages. I just posted one yesterday that's 14. I usually don't get complaints in reviews with that. Chapter length is mostly personal preference. But basically, chapter length should be somewhat consistent within a story. Doesn't have to be. If I have a chapter that's particularly dense with information, I might keep that one short. If I have a particularly long sequence or scene, I try to keep it all to one chapter. Breaking up a long scene with a chapter break can be used for great dramatic effect, on the other hand.

Sorry if that's confusing. It's a case-by-case basis, I find.
 
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Meeker

It needs a fence.
How did you get an idea for a fic? Does it come to you? Or if you get inspired?
I normally get inspired by something, and want to portray my own version of it. The entire idea for my original story came from a compilation of post-apocalyptic video games and a some other things.

How do you portray romance correctly in your stories?
I'm just starting out with the entire romance thing in my Pokemon fic, which I just started a month ago. So I don't really know ho to do this all to well, it'll come mainly with experience.
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

I really don't have too much thoughts on tropes/cliches. Pretty much I'm okay with them as long as the writer is not purposely trying to cram every trope because "I love that trope and going to use it in my story!". With TV Tropes at least, the purpose of that is seeing which tropes have been used often in several media.

To OceanicLanturn, your first question considering chapter length I'll worry less about length and more if the scenes with the capture and battle serves a purpose for character/plot and if you rushed it or not.

I'm a bit confused about 'love' here. Love includes friendship right? So what's the difference between a love-friendship fic with specific pairings in shipping and a shipping fic? I'm asking this because the shipping fics I saw are all like 'character x, I love you' or something. So if you have a friendship-love in a specific pairing, would that be counted as shipping?

As others mentioned, friendship can be another type of love, just not romantically involved. If you're asking the difference between love-friendship and romantic love in shipping fic, pretty much one will have the characters acknowledge their friendship on a deep level without the romance and romantic love will have the characters be lovey dovey. I would count friendship love as shipping since sometimes I ship characters more as awesome bros, but yeah most shipping fics you'll see the romantic love kind of interaction between the characters. Hope this makes sense.
 

Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
And on tropes, as I am a Fanfic Critic, I deal with the worst ones, and I improve on the right ones.

Megan, is that you? If you're not, and you're just a critic, sorry about that. When you capitalized that, it makes me think that you're the actual FanFic Critic xD.

What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

TV Tropes ruined my life, what'd you expect :3? I love tropes, and while I don't plan on using every little trope out there, TV Tropes has actually helped me with ideas, and brought out some fridge brilliance in my stories. I feel I'm a better writer for understanding about a lot of these clichés, and being told on the very front page of the site, "We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them."

I love that mentality.

Obviously, I'm still running into new tropes each time I surf the website (and I've gotten lost over and over again), and I'm just loving every minute of it. While I said I'm not planning on using every little trope out there, it's still a goal of mine to use some of these tropes in a way that makes it feel a little different, a little more interesting, in a way. Even when I've actually used some of these tropes myself, I get really excited when I recognize them and go, "I used it without knowing what it was, oh my gosh!" Like I think the last recent one that made me really happy was the Window Love trope, if not the Redemption in the Rain trope.

It also makes watching movies/cartoons that much more interesting to me. While I can enjoy the characters and story, I feel very proud of myself when I can identify various tropes throughout it all. I'm still working on identifying things while reading (since I have to stop and think on it/look it up), but I've had a few moments. So to answer the questions, I feel strongly about tropes in general, and I look forward to new trope inventions in the future.
 
Megan, is that you? If you're not, and you're just a critic, sorry about that. When you capitalized that, it makes me think that you're the actual FanFic Critic xD.

What is your thoughts with 'tropes?'

TV Tropes ruined my life, what'd you expect :3? I love tropes, and while I don't plan on using every little trope out there, TV Tropes has actually helped me with ideas, and brought out some fridge brilliance in my stories. I feel I'm a better writer for understanding about a lot of these clichés, and being told on the very front page of the site, "We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them."

I love that mentality.

Obviously, I'm still running into new tropes each time I surf the website (and I've gotten lost over and over again), and I'm just loving every minute of it. While I said I'm not planning on using every little trope out there, it's still a goal of mine to use some of these tropes in a way that makes it feel a little different, a little more interesting, in a way. Even when I've actually used some of these tropes myself, I get really excited when I recognize them and go, "I used it without knowing what it was, oh my gosh!" Like I think the last recent one that made me really happy was the Window Love trope, if not the Redemption in the Rain trope.

It also makes watching movies/cartoons that much more interesting to me. While I can enjoy the characters and story, I feel very proud of myself when I can identify various tropes throughout it all. I'm still working on identifying things while reading (since I have to stop and think on it/look it up), but I've had a few moments. So to answer the questions, I feel strongly about tropes in general, and I look forward to new trope inventions in the future.

Well me and friends do the same thing Fanfic Critic and others do and read bad stories and point out the flaws that makes this fic not as good as people give it. I mean, there's a reason I have no ego, I go after stories I and my friends know are bad. Plus Pokemon and FT are the worse to find bad stories.
 

Dragonfree

Just me
Tropes and clichés aren't quite the same thing. What makes a cliché is that it's become stale and predictable through overuse, but tropes include all kinds of elements that, while they're used in many works of fiction, don't make you roll your eyes on sight because they're not the kind of thing that inherently stops being interesting when you've seen it a few times. Like, flashbacks are a trope, but it would be hard to call flashbacks in general a cliché, because there's nothing stale or predictable about flashbacks by their very nature simply because we've seen other works with flashbacks - it's what's actually shown in the flashback that can be clichéd.

As I see it, TV Tropes is (or rather should be) descriptive, not prescriptive - when you have an existing work you can identify tropes in it, but trying to construct a story by deciding it's going to use this and that trope is generally a terrible idea. Sure, you can start with an idea that is or amounts to "What if I subverted (trope that isn't commonly subverted)?" or "What if I combined (some tropes that create an unusual combination)?", but in order for your story to end up having any soul at all, you'll have to run from there with some genuine originality and heart. Characters should have real personalities, not just a collection of a couple of character tropes you like, and do things because it's what they would do in this situation, not because doing that is yet another trope you like.
 

elyvorg

somewhat backwards.
Hi there! I haven't been part of the last several fanfiction clubs largely due to having been horribly lazy with fic-related stuff for the past ages, but I'm intending to start rectifying that (honest!), and this club looks especially awesome and might help, so count me in.

I'm elyvorg, and although I haven't done so much for the past morethantwoyearsohgod, I write stuff. In my sig: Lost Evolution, in which a prehistoric alternate Grovyle evolution escapes into the modern world and various people chase after it for various reasons; Foregone Conclusion, in which there is genocide and inevitable death and characters attempting to deal with the horror thereof in their own different ways; and a one-shot about a Dodrio that won some contest thingy or other.

Why do you like writing?
Because I love stories. One of my favourite things to do with my time is to immerse myself in fictional worlds - of pretty much any medium, not just written - and experience all the delightful varieties and complexities of characters and plot, particularly characters. Writing them myself is yet another way for me to experience stories - potentially the best way, since the stories I write are likely to be disproportionately full of the specific things I like to read about compared to those written by other people. (That Neil Gaiman quote that someone posted, although I'd never heard it before seeing it in here, sums up what I'm saying here rather well.)


I'll go and answer one of the old topics to which I have something to say that wouldn't just be approximately what everyone else has said. Mostly because it gives me an excuse to briefly ramble about one of my favourite book series, but shush.

Which authors do you look up to?
Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon book series (the one that the Dreamworks film is based on, but that's really neither here nor there because the books are pretty different from the film). I started reading it way back when the series was new and I was of its target age. I'm still avidly following it now because never mind the child target audience; the latest few books have been amazing. I don't get around to reading much published fiction these days, but of the few series that I am keeping up with, this one is my favourite. It's hard to put into words exactly why I find it so good except to say that it has such brilliant storytelling. Cressida Cowell's writing style really makes you feel like you're sitting by the fire being told a story by someone, rather than that you're having to read it for yourself. I think this is thanks to the excellent way it uses third person omniscient perspective; if I ever want to write a fic that requires third person omniscient (I usually write in limited), I'll most likely use her writing style as inspiration. Technically the books shouldn't even be written in omniscient due to their framing device, which is that the main character as an old man has written memoirs of his adventures as a child and feels so distanced from his child self that he wrote it in third person - so really it should be in third person limited. But the omniscient perspective is so good and such an integral part of why the books are great that I don't care.

Also I'm increasingly getting the feeling that Cressida Cowell rather enjoys writing about fear - which is pretty much by biggest fiction instalove button - as the most recent few books have been stuffed with it. This even includes the short extra £1-priced book written for World Book Day, which is half silliness with baby dragons and half a clearly-deliberate exploration of fear of the unknown, featuring among other things a brief but delightful moment where the main character genuinely believes his head is being removed from his body. (Yes, this is a children's book series.) So that's always a plus, if you happen to be me.

And then also a plus is the fact that its characters are adorable and the relationship between the main character and his best friend is especially so.


Which leads me into the discussion about platonic relationships. I'm not too late to add my own thoughts to that, am I?

I pretty much wholeheartedly agree with Dragonfree in that I find non-romantic relationships as a whole tend to involve more meaningful reasons for characters to care about one another than romantic ones. Romantic attraction always struck me as, well - forgive me for potentially sounding ignorant, as I've never personally been romantically attracted to anyone so far in my life - a rather arbitrary, almost superficial reason for a character to care about someone. That alone does nothing to make a relationship compelling to me; for me to like a romantic relationship, there have to be more meaningful reasons why the characters care about one another than just that. In fact, although a decent portion of the fictional relationships I'm invested in are canonically romantic, most of the time I find that the romantic aspects of them are kind of incidental to why I like the relationship - I'd probably like them just as much if the characters weren't romantically attracted to each other but otherwise interacted in the same way. I don't mind the romantic parts being there, as it's canon after all and I would never wish a character I liked to be different from what they canonically are, but it's everything else about the relationship that makes me like it.
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
As I see it, TV Tropes is (or rather should be) descriptive, not prescriptive - when you have an existing work you can identify tropes in it, but trying to construct a story by deciding it's going to use this and that trope is generally a terrible idea. Sure, you can start with an idea that is or amounts to "What if I subverted (trope that isn't commonly subverted)?" or "What if I combined (some tropes that create an unusual combination)?", but in order for your story to end up having any soul at all, you'll have to run from there with some genuine originality and heart. Characters should have real personalities, not just a collection of a couple of character tropes you like, and do things because it's what they would do in this situation, not because doing that is yet another trope you like.

Yeah that was what I was trying to say about tropes from my last reply but you said it better and in much detail. Pretty much don't force a trope in your work.

Why do you like writing?
Because I love stories. One of my favourite things to do with my time is to immerse myself in fictional worlds - of pretty much any medium, not just written - and experience all the delightful varieties and complexities of characters and plot, particularly characters. Writing them myself is yet another way for me to experience stories - potentially the best way, since the stories I write are likely to be disproportionately full of the specific things I like to read about compared to those written by other people. (That Neil Gaiman quote that someone posted, although I'd never heard it before seeing it in here, sums up what I'm saying here rather well.)

I was the one that posted that quote, haha. Found it a while back from Tumblr and thought it was an awesome one.
 
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