Friday, December 21

Fanfiction Writers' Toolbox - For Pirates!

With the third part of A SURVIVOR'S WORD posted, the fourth being processed, and the fifth being revised by myself, I've been getting a few questions regarding how I get my pieces written. I thought I'd make it into a nice e-mail to be repeated to whoever asks, but - what the heck! - I can just post and get away with not writing about my adventures, or a guide, or something. Though this post will be helpful to writers and aspiring writers alike, I thought that it would make sense to those I socialize with, too - pirates! So, there we have it - the Fanfiction Writers' Toolbox, for pirates. Yarr...?

Before I start a long description of my late-night adventures with my trusty pal OpenOffice, spell-checker, and my NaNoWriMo buddies, I'll rattle out a list of things that I use to write my fanfiction, but pirate style.

Logbook - When your teacher said "write what you know", they were just trying to positively say that it's very hard to write about something you don't have the faintest idea about. For instance, my next novel premise is placed around Native American legends, but I have no clue where to start or what to stick closer to - Wampanoag, Wichita, Tulalip, or Zuni? Since those tribes are around the USA in different places, the legends and folklore would most likely be entirely different. Before I was more gung-ho on writing, I kept my own little "logbook" which I wrote every morning (and I still use it when I have time), just writing about everything that I see. For instance, an entry from a few weeks ago.
I should have brought a coat, it's really cold in here [the cafeteria at 6 AM]. I don't understand why people aren't here yet, maybe the buses are late from the storm. Maybe I'm just really early (again). Now I'm sucking on a peppermint. I like these things, and they satisfy my hunger while I wait for the kiosk line to open. I think they have churros today, and - oh look, here omes Mr. Stookey, maybe he can lend me a bag of Fritos, or something...I'm so hungry!! I think the cold is making me hungrier. 
From that entry, I would be able to write a scene where (for instance) Destiny is without food on her ship and she still has a long way to go. It's really cold and she only gets hungrier, even though she has something like a peppermint to help satisfy her hunger. From writing about what you know, and perhaps what you recorded before, you can get a nice visual on what the characters are thinking and feeling. I don't mean to fly them off to New York City, only to get stuck in a flash hailstorm like I did a few years ago, but perhaps to lodge them in a situation where the weather rapidly changes, no matter where they are.

Personal Swabbie - This applies to fan-fiction, mainly, but your swabbie is someone happy to clean up after your messier scenes, or maybe the controversial scenes. In noveling terms, they're called your Inner Editor, but when I write my P101 fanfiction, well, here's the deal.
P101 fan-fiction has to appeal to all ages of people. Little kids, teenagers, adults, and our beloved elders should be able to like what is posted, or at least approve of it. That's a challenge that I imagine many P101/W101 fan-fiction writers face, because swords generally hurt people and splatter stuff, and a storm shark probably hurts as much as a real shark (with real teeth). does. However, you wouldn't necessarily picture someone very young and rather scaredy reading about someone imaginary getting attacked head-first by a stormshark, or fighting to the death with a cutthroat. This is where the swabbie comes in. Here, meet mine. I call him Kirby Swabb. Kirby is a able-bodied sailor about the height of a P101 pirate (if I am as tall as one, too) and is armed with a mop. His clothes are a little mangled, and his hands and arms have been through a lot of wear from getting in between the battle scenes to mop up anything that could break the guidelines. He was there in scene one, in the rowboat, picking up the pieces of that barrel - ee-yuck! - and is secretly wandering in scene five, cleaning away. What a brave guy, scene five makes me shiver a bit. I wouldn't go there myself. Thanks to our dear swabbies, our scene-fives have been saved. I will not be offering the raw version of scene five, due to a little bit of demand already. 

Gangway Plank for World-Crossing - Even in the land of fanfiction, world-building is a very important concept. To me, it's one of the hardest things to execute in any bit of my writing. Still, I manage to write about things semi-normally, just taking a lot of log-notes. In my IRL noveling adventures, I can base a lot of my trailhiking scenes or camping scenes in a national park that I visit once or twice a year. It's a great spot for hiking and camping out, and I it's plenty of fun to describe and drop my characters in. You might see a little bit of it in A SWASHBUCKLER'S PROMISE. Still, worldbuilding skills are very important to your writing, the literal gangway to another ship, to another adventure. There's plenty of Skull Island that hasn't been described - do troggies sing? Is the sand very warm? Do the little crustaceans in the tidepools pinch wandering toes? If you have your gangway and the guts to get across and start fighting, then you can worldbuild. Once again, refer to your logbook for any ideas.

Compass - This is also called your plot. While some are A.O.K. with just going along with the plot as it goes, and thinking about their scenes as they happen, and others like to write down the details of every scene before they write it. However, you can easily just plan your ideas out for the first parts or even go along with it until you get a plan, which is what I normally do. Having a semi-plan is place, however, if very helpful, you know how certain scenes tie into your plot, or how different things will fill in space while you get to another character's ideas. Another nice method of plotting is screaming it out to the world. Whenever I'm stuck on my plots, I chat or talk to people, and eventually I can explain my own plot without even thinking - a few of you are witnesses! Of course, you have to at least mildly trust whoever you're bouncing ideas off of, and contrary to that, I've posted my ideas on a page of this blog to anybody who wants to read, in hopes that nobody will step in, write everything on that plot before I do, and claim it's theirs. I hate it when that happens.

Now that you have a few tools to get you going, let's talk about one more. It's very important. Your sword. Really, what got me through the Buffaloon fights earlier was the fact that my weapon was very shiny and rather impressive, and was my motive to get through - I wanted to hear that wonderful clink of metal and have a good time battling with them! This last thing is called your motive. Your motive is what gets you started, keeps your going strong, and helps you write on until you get through that plot! Really, the motive is the one thing keeping these fan-fics going, and my motive is all of you! Every single one of you, no matter if we've been in contact or not, remind me that there are more words to be written, more scenes to be explained and more posts to...post...! I'm not kidding, you're all amazing in that way.

I hope that this post has helped you out in one way or another, whether it's the lessons or the analogies making your day or documents.

Keep Traveling!

D.S.D.

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