Home > Writing Tips > A bit of fanfiction writer wisdom I thought worth spreading around.

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In response to both posts above, yes, and yes. :) 'What if' scenarios are great, and it's true that a new situation presented in a fic can bend a character in a new way. The problem is that most fanfics aren't long enough to delve into that large backstory needed to 'make it so'.

In short... fics are just too short. So they skip vital aspects. Or just skip the whole thing altogether.

Part of that comes from time-commitment. Writing is hard and dirty work, and there's no compensation other than the satisfaction of a job well done and, if you're lucky, a few reviews along the way. So backstories seem to get short shrift.

I think the itch to "get to the end" so a fic can be posted becomes a little overwhelming. That 'itch to post' favors the shorter stories. The shorter stories, in turn, do not favor the 'what if' scenarios. It's a bit of a viscious circle.
It mostly depends on how you see the definition of IC. I see it not as strictly canon, but writing a character in a way that is consistent with the personality shown in canon. There's a difference. It is possible to make a character become the complete opposite of what he is and still have him be IC, if you give him reasons to change and show it well. Personalities are dynamic, and if you can show how a character changes and make it believable, I do not consider that to be OOC. On the other hand, if the character suddenly becomes the total opposite of what he is in canon, that's OOC.

And the points about short fics are certainly quite valid. I really hate those romantic oneshots about two characters who are not a canon couple, even if it's a pairing I like. I'll only like those two together if it's shown how they get together, otherwise I'm just reading about two random people who are being sweet to each other and who just happen to have, through some strange coincidence, have the same names as two canon character.

As a writer of mostly short stories, I don't concentrate on "what if" scenarios, but like to expand on a certain detail, feeling or idea I got from the canon source.
"It mostly depends on how you see the definition of IC. I see it not as strictly canon, but writing a character in a way that is consistent with the personality shown in canon."

Exactly. If you're not fond of a character as he or she is portrayed in canon, write a new character. Borrow the universe, if you like.

I do love seeing character exploration fics. But the point is entirely lost, IMO, if you do not keep the character consistant with the canon character. Canon only shows you so much of a character, after all, and to burrow into the _whys_ - that's fanfiction love, for me.

That's one of the things I love about Red Dwarf. The characters are multifaceted, and we often see just what they do in canon, not why they do it. The great RD fic I've read has been getting into the heads of canon characters, or plopping them into interesting situations and seeing what happens - keeping them in-character.
Hey, you wanna hear a character that's really easy to keep in-character? Daisuke Niwa from D.N Angel. Right, we all know he loves art, loves Riku, may possibly have a gay fantasy about Satoshi or Dark, grudgingly accepts his position as a thief, and has a heart of gold... but what else is there?

Does he have a passionate heart? Is he meek? Rebellious? Spiritual? What kind of music does he like? Is he secretly afflicted with something? Does he have a deep, dark secret? Is he aware of something no one else is aware of? Is he Lucifer or Mr. Spock in disguise?

That's where the fan-fiction author comes in. I noticed how Yukiru has developed Dark and Daisuke as main characters, but that Daisuke is a teensy bit less developed than Dark.

That's why I find him to be a very easy character to deal and write with. And so is Wiz/With. So far, I like this question the most: is he secretly trying to take over Earth? Well... guess someone will guess that one day.

Anyway, God bless
Gabi Texi