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FFC #107 - June Update

Posted June 14th, 2023 at 03:11 PM by TGRF
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #107

It's been exactly a month since my last update, thanks mostly to the site going down for an extended period of time. During that time, quite a bit has changed with my writing. I'll get the small update out of the way first.

Progress with my novels remains slow but steady. The fact that the whole thing hasn't imploded yet is a big win, and I'm taking that to mean I'm on the right track.

The magic system needs a bit of refinement, but the important parts are in place, and I know the basics of how the plot will unfold for the first story. Now that I know that, I can worldbuild for real, letting the setting develop naturally as the plot fleshes out in the background. Chat GPT is helping immensely in the speculation department of how the world would adapt to the magic system.

My plan for my novels is to write the first story as a standalone with series potential. Assuming it is successful, I'll be able to dive right into two or three sequels, which will hopefully solidify the world as somewhere I can put all my future stories.

If the series is successful, I plan on releasing more series set in the same world. That could change: future series could be on different worlds, or the first story/series could be unsuccessful, in which case I'll need to start over with a different story/world. But progress is being made.

Dawn of Darkness:
DoD was very close to being written. The outline was about 80-90% complete. However, as usually happens at some point while developing a fan fiction, I began to feel that something was wrong the more I outlined.

I had included a steady build up of tension in the first half of the story, but then the thing the tension had been building towards actually happened, and the second half felt deflated as a result (how I didn't see that coming, I have no idea).

The end result is that I have started DoD over completely. Normally this would mean about six months before I can think about starting to write again, but I am able to reuse a lot of material from the original outline, so the process should be sped up considerably. The development is already over 60 pages in, and the rough outline is begun.

I did of course consider why DoD failed the way it did, and it comes back to an issue I noted in Dilmir 4, but which I know has been there since HiS (and probably before).

When I develope a story - and if the development continues for a long time - things start to change. I can often start development with an idea of how things turn out, and by the time I reach the outline, it's completely different.

The development for HiS started out with Dan as a soulborg. The story built towards a climax where he battles Prime, the soulborg central command. Dilmir 4 originally had Eltuthar in a coma, Felnir dying at Aranthar's hands instead of Endir, and Aranthar being slain by Eltuthar.

Obviously both of those stories worked out. However, I think that was largely due to luck. Such was not the case with DoD.

Here's the issue: when things change during development, I often fail to redo everything connected to whatever just got scrapped. This results in left over pieces which really have no business being included. For example, even after I changed Dilmir 4 so that Dilmir won the day instead of Eltuthar, I was still assuming Eltuthar was in a coma for most of the story. It was a holdover from Eltuthar winning the day, but I failed to remove it until much later.

The same thing happened to DoD. I created character arcs and a central plot all around what I thought the main focus of the story would be. Then, as the story took shape, that focus shifted. I failed to shift everything along with it. Thus, as I began to outline, things didn't line up. It was like the story was fighting itself, everything which made it up going against what it was trying to be. If that makes any sense.

There isn't an easy way to handle this problem that I'm aware of, aside from just tracking where every piece of development comes from. Which I am now doing. If something changes (assuming I realize it has changed), I should be able to trace down to everything connected to it, and change them accordingly. Such is my hope.

So what does this mean for DoD? At the moment, it is progressing. Interest in it - in all writing actually - is low at the moment, so progress is quite slow. At my current pace, I would guess you can see something of note around September or October. If I actually get with the program and move through the development like I know I can, August could be a better guess.

There will of course be a year-long pause when TAF releases Apostle's Creed.

Until then though, keep reading.

~TGRF, who will soon release a review on Words of Radiance.
Posted in FFC
Comments 3
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TheAverageFan's Avatar
I'm curious how using ChatGPT for workbuilding testing looks and is working. Using AI to help with some of the heavy lifting of setting writing seems like an interesting idea, I'd like to know more

~TAF, who remains at a snail's pace
Posted June 14th, 2023 at 05:26 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
TGRF's Avatar

Well GPT can of course be wrong and occasionally contradict itself, so I have to take everything it says and evaluate it. But it is useful for thinking up consequences I would never have considered.

What I'm doing is describing the magic to GPT, telling it exactly what the magic can and cannot do, and then asking it 'what would be the effects of this magic on X' where X can be any aspect of the world: warfare, politics, every day life, healing, tech level, building techniques, whatever I can think of.

GPT will give me a bullet list of changes. The great thing is that I can keep asking it about different aspects of the world, and it will remember the magic system I'm talking about without me having to reiterate it every time.

It can be really hard to completely anticipate every way a world/civilization would adapt to the presence of a given magic, especially if the magic is super original, so having GPT speculate on it is great.

I'm not using it to actually write anything. I'm copying the answers, and plan to go through them in more detail when my interest permits. But out of the 40-something points it's given me, only one or two seemed a bit sketch.

Posted June 14th, 2023 at 05:42 PM by TGRF TGRF is offline
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Sounds neat. Obviously using it to do the actual writing would be sus, but it sounds like a useful tool for the kind of speculating from another perspective that is often necessary for picking up on flaws in the system you the writer can overlook when on your own. I may have to give it a try sometime for that purpose

Posted June 14th, 2023 at 06:30 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
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