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something about storytelling

There’s something I’ve been doing for quite a while now with a work-in-progress Sonic fan fiction of mine, but found it hard to describe when asked about it. It's been almost entirely intuitive for me until very recently, and every time I tried to explain what I was doing, it sounded much more complicated than it really is.
But it’s about cutting to the core of what you’re writing, so you can maintain plot and character cohesion over time /story progress while keeping the flow and making characters appear "alive" /like real people.

I found a Tumblr post that described it much better than I can, very to-the-point.

...To be able to improvise, invent and compromise right, I have to have a solid idea of what the core premise of the story (and by recursion, each character) is. It's tricky when it's a fan fic - because I already have the "who, where and when"! - but I grew to feel that I can go back and "bypass" the latter two, defining that core-of-story, and then go ”outward" from it and decide what surface detail (such as locations and order of events) I want to keep, and which don't really matter.

This goes for characters as well; once the core is set, some specific traits can be dropped without hurting the character (quite the contrary; too many arbitrary cute /cool quirks make a character a walking pile of gimmicks rather than a person).

And I can play around a lot with the WHY, leading to new thoughts. That’s my ”deeper” reason for loving fan works, I guess. The new perspectives you can get from watching the core ideas through someone else’s eyes.

...I’ve lately cut a whole lot of ideas that were in the way and added a heap of conditions that didn't add to the story. For those of you who have wondered what the heck is taking so long with the prep for the draft of that fic, this is what. Even when I thought I was being systematic about it, I was STILL keeping ideas in that were holding the story back, just because I had once gotten hung up on including them.

I’m right up in the middle of axing all that, and it’s kinda focus-consuming. Plus I am doing much the same thing with my own life, to break out of a depression and deal with some long-standing anxiety issues. Which is why I’m not too communicative because phrasing myself is really hard for me when I’m doing this stuff. Sorry ’bout that. ^^;

Sorry about the way I ramble when I finally give a life sign, too. :p
~ Gecko
Viewed: 11 times
Added: 6 years, 8 months ago
6 years, 8 months ago
I know exactly what you mean, I took down my fan-fiction for pretty much all of those reasons there. I'm still working on it of course, but I'm gonna be re-uploading it back up once I know it's a good and solid piece of work.
6 years, 8 months ago
Yeah, I have this dim memory of when you announced that, and that I felt somehow supported in my own decision to wait with posting my own, because of it.
It's not that it has to be perfect the first go-around, it'll still be a WIP when I post it!... But I didn't even know what story I really wanted to tell. Also there was much of both "take thats" and fanservice that was bogging the story itself down and obscuring it. :c

...There were things that I kind of tried to shoehorn in, and it was predictably hard to get working on those plots, or mesh them with the rest of the story. (Like how I tried to write a story that took Sally et al to the Little Planet, just because there may have been a pitch for that idea at some point at Sega Technical Institute.) In fact they were so many, it was impossible for me to get a good idea of the story as a whole because it just ran 100 directions at once.

On a friend's suggestion, I gave up on the Black Arms and other such characters. No alien invasions, no Wisps, no "negaverse". It did wonders for the focus. Also ignoring the canon order of events, and leaving some games out entirely. Re-writing some game storylines and merging others into one. Stuff like that. :p
6 years, 8 months ago
Nothing wrong with doing some extensive levels of planning.

Don't worry too much about taking too long. I spent over a year planning for my flagship story, and even before that I worked on early versions and drafts for a decade until I was totally pleased with what I wanted to do. Writing (especially fan works) is kind of a thing all it's own; there's no set way to go about your own stories, you just kind of have to do your thing until you get what you want, and not worry about the time.
6 years, 8 months ago
I think I’ve spent at least five years doing (now scrapped) versions of this story, and before that, the stories that are now becoming parts of it. (And that's not counting the decade before that, of making up other stories and indirectly going at what I'm deliberately digging for now...)
There are several relationship ideas I wanted to explore, a bunch of ideas around the old games (or my associations around them) and some for the new... And I ended up throwing all that in the same story, so in retrospect it’s only natural that I need to re-model things a lot.
I only really started consciously, methodically planning it this year. Before that, I knew I needed to, but wasn't ready to let go of the ideas that were "in the way", so I kept putting it off /never getting far when I tried.

you just kind of have to do your thing until you get what you want
That's the truth, if weirdly easy to forget. And at least for me, fan fiction is indeed its own beast. For one thing, it's a stronger therapy tool than other writing, and it can, funny enough, be more personal for me than some of my "own" stories.
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