Yet another fanfiction-writing related entry for you today, friends! It’s a bit more light-hearted and less critical. I’ll discuss my writing method!
The first thing I do is look at my overall story outline. That’s a file in my Wayward Son folder that goes through revisions constantly and is pretty short. Stuff gets added and deleted all the time, but it’s still a decent guide to how the story will progress. For reference, here’s how it looks at the moment I’m working on my present chapter (chapter 80):
Ch. 77: Seekers Continuing pilgrimage: 982 A.S, Renault is centuries old but realizes its not time to die yet. Pilgrims to Ilia, meets Canas before his death (Supports with Canas) (The Seeker of Knowledge), learns about Nino, few years later. Western Isles: Meets Bartre (maybe as a father with Karla), supports. (The Seeker of Strength) Meets Isadora (married to Harken) in Lycia, supports with her (The Seeker of Faith), also in Lycia, meets Jaffar and gives the letter to Nino (The Seeker of Love), after visiting Jaffar and Isadora, has a vision of Braddock standing in front of a red star in Bern and heads to a Synod in Etruria, preparing for his journey to Bern. Perhaps guides some morphs to a monastery.
Ch. 78: On his way to Bern, passes through Lycia, Araphen and meets Lucius. Has C-A supports helping him run an orphanage. Give Varlago’s letter to Ray and Lugh, Nino’s sons. “Destiny can wait.” (The Seeker of Salvation)
Ch. 79: Cont. 78, says goodbye to Lucius, meets the Deathrose again, maybe visit Diotica Abbey and Par Massino?
Ch. 80: Solves problems in Bern and becomes close to the royal family
You’ll notice a few things about this–the chapter descriptions are very brief and tenative, with lots of “maybe X happens?” in them. There also aren’t descriptions for the earlier chapters; usually a few months after I complete a chapter I remove it from my outline. On the other hand, there are brief “summaries” for chapters that have yet to be published, like chapter 80, which is being worked on now. I also have equally brief outlines for the next three chapters, but those are in my head to avoid too many spoilers 😉
Most notable, however, is how greatly the chapter outline differs from the actual fic. While I worked in all the support conversations from Fire Emblem 7 into chapter 77, I didn’t include Renault meeting with Nino; in fact I had her and Jaffar go MIA (as according to the game) some time before Renault managed to find her children. I also removed the plot line about Renault meeting some more of Nergal’s morphs, wandering around after the death of their master, and showing them to a monastery, as well as the plot point about Renault attending a Synod in Etruria and being sent to Bern as a part of it. All the plot points and revisions of Wayward Son that got cut out or reformed will be the subject of another post, though. 😉
That is, I believe, a demonstration of a vague outline’s strengths. While it still gives me enough guidance to know where my story is going, what the chapters are supposed to be doing, and keep me from getting lost, it’s also flexible enough to give me a great deal of leeway in reorganizing my writing and removing (or adding) things as I see fit. 😀
So anyways, after consulting the fic outline as a whole, I get to start on the individual chapter itself. I make a rough chapter outline that usually looks like this example from chapter 79:
Renault says goodbye to Lucius
Renault visits Deathrose
Renault visits Par Massino
Renault visits Diotica Abbey
Renault visits Bern
Then I start filling in the scenes themselves. As you can see in all my chapters, they’re separated by the -X- symbol, so it’s already preorganized for me 😀 The actual process of writing is pretty much what you would imagine: I plop myself down in front of my laptop and type type type. I almost always start in order, i.e I never start working on the last section before the first. It’s harder for me to describe the actual process of writing, though (as in, how I actually fill in these scenes, the second by second decisions of how to make my characters speak, etc.). Maybe that will be a subject for another post, Sometimes when I’m really “feeling it” I can get 2000 words an hour written, but most of the time if I get distracted and such I can only get 1000 or so. For academic writing where I have to do a lot of citation and source consultation it’s about half of that. But for fanfiction where everything comes straight from my own imagination, I find I can write super quickly 😀
Now, in the process of writing, sometimes I diverge from the chapter outline quite a bit. Sometimes sections get merged, or chopped out completely, as is happening with the chapter I’m working on now. Again, as you’ll note if you compare the outline for chapter 79 to that of the actual chapter, I eventually cut out the “return to Diotica Abbey and Par Massino” bits because, as I mentioned in my last blog entry, I’m worried about my fic’s size at this point, and also because I couldn’t really figure out a way to incorporate them into the narrative in a way that made sense. I also moved the “Renault visits Bern” part to the next chapter, you’ll see what happens to it when I release #80. 😉
That’s really it! XD Maybe next week I’ll make an entry about my favorite writing places and times. Until then, see ya around 😀