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  • #46
    To be honest I rarely if ever go through such exersises but I only really write one shots anyway and it's a lot easier to keep a character straight within a few thousand words than a series (I assume.).

    I do think it's important to avoid the usual pitfalls of Marysueness and important to ensure your character is suited to their role in your fic. I think sometimes names are important too. I've seen a few fics where a lot of characters have hugely unusual names and it has a tendency (For me anyway) to throw me out of the fic a little, to make them less believable.

    Writing existing characters is, for me both easier and harder at the same time. Take, for instance Buffy,. I feel I know Buffy pretty well, having accompanied her through her travels for a good long time so I think I've got a handle on her character and the way she moves, speaks and reacts. On the flip side of that I'm also aware that on the whole any Buffy I write is going to be scutinised by people who are equally as versed in her character so I know I need to be spot on.

    I think one thing that's vital with existing characters is their speech patterns. Spike, for instance tends to call Buffy 'luv' a lot in the later seasons so that's always a good little identifier. He doesn't, however say it in every sentence he says to her so a modicum of restraint is called for (and that's the same with Faith and 'B', Xander and 'Buff' etc)
    JUST ENOUGH KILL

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    • #47
      In my experience, the story often dictates where I take the characters. But there are some basics I need to understand first -

      What is their motivation? What do they want? What do they care about? Who do they care about?

      Basic physical construction, also.

      The character I've created the most backstory for in my long WIP "Thought You Should Know" is the Immortal. Granted, not an OC, but he's so mysterious that he requires a lot of delving into. In my mind, I know why he's called the Immortal, I know when he became immortal and I know what he wants. But this only guides his actions in the story, it doesn't become explicit in my dialogue. He doesn't sit down and go "this is what I want more than anything in the world" though it is hinted at. Subtle reveals that show his character. Add on to that that he's mysterious and charming, but in my story he's being deliberately provocative in order to accomplish his goal. If he wanted, he could charm Buffy. Instead, he provokes to meet his own end.

      I think in many ways, actions define characters. Once you understand how a person would act in a certain situation, you've begun to grasp your character. And often times, the story dictates how you need that person to act and so the story shapes the character initially. For me, character creation isn't just about filling out a list of personality facets and background. The story creates. And understanding grows as the story progresses.
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      • #48
        I really appreciate you all sharing your thoughts. I've taken them to heart. I think the names for your characters are important as well. Even if the names of my characters may seem odd or typical, there's always a reason behind it. All of the names of my characters were chosen carefully. The origins of first and last are important as well- you want to be true to the person's ethnicity. If a writer is stuck on a last name- you can not only refer to a surname website but a phonebook which is what I've done but I always make sure of the origin first.

        I agree- speech patterns are important. I take that into consideration when I write my characters. The main characters in my fanfic have the most developed backstory and of course it always changes. As for the recurring- its ongoing.

        Jo- I really enjoyed reading the strategy you shared with us. Its a technique I may use in the future.
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        • #49
          Our fanfic chat has died down of late, so I thought I'd share this link with you - it is an article on writing fanfiction put together by a regular long-term writer of fanfic, someone who has been around long enough to have seen it all and done it all.

          so you want to write fanfictions on the internets

          The conclusion pretty much sums it all up:
          Read moar. Read what you like so you know what you're for. Read what you don't like so you know what you're against. Read Beowulf, particularly the Seamus Heaney translation, for contained therein is everything you need to know about how language can move, dance, sing, leap, sleep, live and die. Read more fanfic. Not just your friends' fic. Click on random shit and see how other people do it. Read the newspaper. Read poetry. Read everything. It all has value. It all has something to teach.

          The only way to learn to write is to write. Do it a lot. Do it when you don't have to. Do it for the ****ing joy of it. People might have objective issues with the "quality" of what you're writing, but they can't take your joy from you unless you let them.

          If people hurt you – and they will – don't give up. Don't dwell on the hurt. Get mad. Prove them wrong. Keep writing.

          There'll be another story. The sun will rise tomorrow. Keep writing.
          I'll archive the link in the resources thread, for posterity.



          And while I'm on a roll, here's another really useful link: all your characters sound the same, and they're not a hive mind, a really interesting article on how to give original characters unique voices.

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          • #50
            Not sure if should post here- but I was wondering if there were any links re: how to describe hand gestures. I couldn't find anything that stood out to me.
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            • #51
              I don't know of any, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything that might help. If nothing else, paying attention to how such gestures are described in anything you read might give you some ideas.

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              • #52
                I was wondering if there was a site that gives suggestions as to how to balance a story. I am currently editing an episode but I wonder if I'm adding too many distractions while at the same I feel its needed for drama purposes. That's what I'm looking for...
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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Obsessed View Post
                  I was wondering if there was a site that gives suggestions as to how to balance a story. I am currently editing an episode but I wonder if I'm adding too many distractions while at the same I feel its needed for drama purposes. That's what I'm looking for...
                  I can't think of a site, but I do have some suggestions if you like? Basically, one very simple one...think for every event/bit of dialogue....does this slow/interfere with the pace of the story? If it does, lose it. If it doesn't slow things up, you can keep it. And if that means you've lost bits necessary to the drama, then find other ways to incorporate those elements.

                  Hope that's helpful! Basically, be quite brutal with yourself is my advice. If it doesn't pull its weight (the bit of writing, I mean), chuck it out!


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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                    I can't think of a site, but I do have some suggestions if you like? Basically, one very simple one...think for every event/bit of dialogue....does this slow/interfere with the pace of the story? If it does, lose it. If it doesn't slow things up, you can keep it. And if that means you've lost bits necessary to the drama, then find other ways to incorporate those elements.

                    Hope that's helpful! Basically, be quite brutal with yourself is my advice. If it doesn't pull its weight (the bit of writing, I mean), chuck it out!
                    This helps. Thanks. My thing is though- if I keep the extra bits (I don't think they slow down the story for this particular episode), I have to carry it over into the next episode or two which can slow down the story (I'm not sure yet). That's why I wonder if I need the extra weight at all. Does that make sense?

                    Also- I've written one episode and then included this one scene that's unexpected (out of left field) but I don't know where to put it. This scene can really go anywhere because it has nothing to do with the main story. So I'm dealing with that.
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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Obsessed View Post
                      This helps. Thanks. My thing is though- if I keep the extra bits (I don't think they slow down the story for this particular episode), I have to carry it over into the next episode or two which can slow down the story (I'm not sure yet). That's why I wonder if I need the extra weight at all. Does that make sense?
                      For me I rather have a story that has some meat to it so to speak that's a little slower. Something that fleshes out the overall story-line without horribly bogging the story down isn't a bad thing.

                      Wispr

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Wispr View Post
                        For me I rather have a story that has some meat to it so to speak that's a little slower. Something that fleshes out the overall story-line without horribly bogging the story down isn't a bad thing.

                        Wispr
                        Yeah I understand. Its just that for me- I'm unsure how to carry over I guess you'd could say "leftovers" into the next episode without it taking way from the main story. Ya know? That's my concern. So I wondered if maybe I had too many distractions and wanted to know how to balance it.
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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Obsessed View Post
                          Yeah I understand. Its just that for me- I'm unsure how to carry over I guess you'd could say "leftovers" into the next episode without it taking way from the main story. Ya know? That's my concern. So I wondered if maybe I had too many distractions and wanted to know how to balance it.
                          Ahh... I see what you mean. If you really feel that there are to many distractions then I would follow your instincts and trim things. Now what I have done in the past is if a scene doesn't seem to fit or such but I like it, I'll save it in a separate document and maybe later can use it as a template in a later chapter or such.

                          Hope this helps...

                          Wispr

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                          • #58
                            Agreed with what's been said above, Beth - often it is going to be a very subjective, intuitive process, deciding what fits in a story and what doesn't, and you just have to feel your way through that process. Keep drafting and re-drafting, get second opinions where possible - taking some time out from the story and then returning to it afresh later also helps a lot, as that space will help you to be more objective about what does or doesn't work. Sometimes you have to be ruthless, and that can hurt - but absolutely do what Wispr says and collect together all those little fragments that you cut out of a story. You never know when they might be useful somewhere else. Sometimes, even, all you have to do is re-work a scene if a fragment of it doesn't seem to fit - sometimes it's just a case of adjusting the flow and balance, rather than chopping something out completely. Other times you might need to shuffle the scenes around so that the story flows better. At the end of the day, it is always going to be a judgement call - finding a balance between providing the kind of detail that enrichens a story and not letting it get too bogged down in that detail.

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                            • #59
                              Something else is check into finding a full time beta, this way you can get the second opinion as mention by Llywela and having the person betaing full time they can get a better feel for your story and writing style.

                              I understand where you're coming from about to much details and such slowing your story, I'm bloody awful about putting to much stuff in, for example I've sent my beta a 5,000 word plus chapter and gotten it back cut down to just under 4,000 words and I wont talk about all the editing she has to do due to my very poor grammar...

                              If you and your beta are using MS Word that has Track Changes that would be a huge help. With Tack Changes you can actually see the changes the beta thinks needs to be done and either Accept or Reject them. Also your beta can put along side of the page Comments that are linked to a specific sentence or word, this allows your beta to explain their thoughts and reasoning.

                              Take care...

                              Wispr

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                              • #60
                                Thank you guys for your very helpful feedback. I appreciate it. I'm going back to the episode I had concerned with and will consider your thoughts/feedback.

                                Wispr- I have an editor. Everything you mentioned about MS/track changes- we do that. Thanks for mentioning it. I'm ahead by a few episodes but I often go back and re-read/edit them while the editor focues on one at a time. That's why the questions as he has not seen 'em yet.
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