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TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry 5

Posted January 17th, 2018 at 03:47 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
Updated February 14th, 2018 at 05:03 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
FFC #5 - What I've been missing

It is my opinion that my fan fiction writing peaked with The River that was Red, back in early 2015. I believe the primary reason is, ironically, not due to any great change in how I wrote. Instead, I think Red was the result of a true and undying interest in what I was writing, and what I was writing about.

A lot of things contribute to my desire to write fan fiction, but Red is the only fiction so far to have as many sources as it did which I was - to give it a name - passionate about. And that passion didn't die down until I had completed Red. I've always said that to turn out something great, you really, really need to believe in it. Up until Red, I hadn't been taking my own advice.

The trouble is, finding things you are really passionate about is a lot harder than I thought. As I've found out. Following Red, I wrote Apocalypse: Valhalla's Darkest Hour. Despite the promising title, it had several major flaws, including one where the hero did the most unheroic - if understandable - thing he could have. AV was probably one of my worst fan fictions.

I tried to get the ball rolling with A Chance of Success. It was definitely more successful than AV, but it was nowhere near Red. During the proofreading process, Bigga noted that he would have liked to see more development for the side characters, and get to know them better. They were kind of tacked on, fulfilling their purpose in relation to the heroine and doing nothing else.

And that was my problem. I've known for awhile that something I was missing was development of side characters, and my answer was to start actually developing them in the first place, and begin incorporating subplots into my fictions. Horizon in Sight will be the first fan fiction to include both.

However, until now, I hadn't really heard what Bigga was talking about. I've hit a bit of a slump with writing interest lately, and earlier today I was struggling through one of the nine-or-so subplots which make up HiS. After staring at my screen blankly for about a minute or two, I asked myself if the subplot was really necessary. The answer was no.

Up until now, my automatic response has been to label the subplot as a 'deviant' (something not related to the central plot, or 'deviating' away from it), scrap it, and move on. Fortunately, in a moment of clear-headedness I didn't think possible in my current state of stupor, I didn't scrap the subplot straight away, and instead thought about it.

The truth is that a lot of the subplots in HiS are unnecessary. The story could be told just fine without them. But as I sat there, I realized that kind of thinking was my problem. It was what Bigga had been telling me since Red itself: more focus on the meat surrounding the story; less on the backbone.

My philosophy up to this point has always been that you have a central core, a message, a journey of some sort. Everything revolves around that core, supporting it and moving it along. But I had never before considered that things which don't directly add to the story are actually good and useful, rather than unnecessary and therefore unwanted.

Development of side characters (or any other outlying part) isn't necessary to the story, but it does add something to it. It adds depth and richness, neither of which are necessary, but both of which infinitely help a story. For some reason, I hadn't properly realized that simple fact.

And that's what I've been missing: the meat, the flesh on the bones of the story which allow the story to fill all avenues open to it, not just remain focused entirely on the narrow path of its core.

I'm not downplaying my focus on theme in the least; that isn't changing. What is changing is how I treat everything on the side. Up to now, I've been giving you fan fictions consisting almost entirely of the main course. From now on, I will attempt to create the whole meal, side dishes included.

~TGRF, who is also dangerously close to being fired up about By Any Other Path.
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The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
On that note, it looks like book three just got blown up into several separate stories, only one of which has Dan as a PoV. Far from being set in stone, but that's the direction it's taking. I know things like that are jarring, so it won't be a path I'll take without a lot of consideration.
Posted January 17th, 2018 at 03:52 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar

Oh my.

I just blew this out of the water. 1.5 subplots just went up in flames. The ending of the third book fell apart. The ending of the fourth book is in complete uncertainty. A central subcharacter - no, two central subcharacters just got drastically changed. The potential for several more just opened up.

THIS, my friends, is why you make absolutely sure you know every little detail of the protagonist's goal before you move on. Because when you finally piece together what's driving him to complete that goal, it changes everything. In a good way.

I'll have to asses where this new realization leaves me before picking up the pieces and proceeding.


UPDATE: Back in business.
Posted January 18th, 2018 at 08:58 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
Updated January 19th, 2018 at 04:41 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
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