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On Writing Fan Fiction (Rules & Advice)

Fozzie Bear

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UPDATE! 9/20/2009

I love creativity and do not think it should be hindered, but there are a few rules that need to be designed for Fan Fics.

CHARACTER INTEGRITY
The first big rule is: Character integrity must remain intact. You wouldn't buy an ugly Muppet doll or other merchandise, right? In other words, write the Muppets saying things they would say on TV or in their movies, and have them act and perform the same way. Do not go out on a lim and use Fan Fiction to promote a personal agenda. There have been stories in which some light bashing of lifestyles has occurred or even Muppets accepting the Christian faith. I am Christian, but I cannot condone Muppet characters doing something they wouldn’t do in a movie or any other media. If you forget what a Muppet’s personality is, or what he/she may do in a situation, I suggest going back to watch an episode of The Muppet Show or one of the three Muppet movies that Jim Henson was a part of.

Keep in mind, as with my moderating, anything is allowed that The Muppets or any other JHC associated work has done or said.

I understand it is the author’s way of living up to his fantasy of the things the characters may do in his mind, however the quality of the characters as we know them is what is expected.

STORY QUALITY
In the following posts of this thread, you’ll see that there are suggestions for making strong prose. Stories should have a beginning, middle and end. Grammar needs to exist properly to make Fan Fics interesting. As I mentioned in the original post of this thread: Write your story in FULL in a Word Document which will help you correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence fragments.

Writing in FULL in a Word Document will also allow you to get a complete plot, and you can begin posting a chapter per day, or as I did once two chapters per week.

Any stories that do not get completed will be locked, so PLEASE don’t abandon your story unless you allow a moderator to know why.

Do not write stories in script form.

Script form is allowed for The Muppet Show Outline fan fictions.

Do not write in texting or instant messaging formats such as: LOL or U r L8, unless it is a character sending a text which I don’t know that a Muppet would do that.

If anything else occurs, I’ll update here, so check back often and read all the following posts as they are beneficial.

======================
Originally posted a LONG time ago...
Hey, gang!

Just some helpful tips that we all probably know anyhow.

First up, just something I do when I decide to write fan fiction: I write in a word document program first (Microsoft Word on my computer). This helps me to eliminate spelling errorz :smile: and also keeps me in check on sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. I highly recommmend this as spelling errors can cause a reader to lose his mind and do something drastic like, say, pick his nose or something.

Secondly, if you write in a word document program on your computer, you have an option to post chapter-by-chapter in the forums of your choice OR! (as I do) get it completed and THEN post it chapter by chapter--that way, you aren't rushed to get the next segment done and can do like I did once with the Pigs In Space fan fic and release one chapter twice a week. The other good thing about this is that you aren't suddenly stricken with writer's block and can't finish the story, or you aren't trapped by continuity (you can go back and change information to make your plot work if you complete it before posting it). The final good thing about this is that it's already completed so you can post the story in chapters at your whim without the rush of writing the next chapter, and life won't get in your way to keep you from it.

Artistic License: It's your story, run with it--just keep it clean. I'm nuts about character integrity.

Finally, in my portion of this advice, have fun.

Anybody else got something to add to advice?
 

redBoobergurl

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Great advice Kevin! The other thing I'd recommend, although I don't see anyone doing this here, is to not write in script format (example: Kermit: Piggy, I can't help you right now. Piggy: Kermie, I need you). Most people here aren't doing this though, so it's not a problem, but thought I'd mention it because I've seen it other places and it just makes the story too choppy. The other thing that was recommended to me in my first fan fic is to make sure there is a space between each new person's line. Again, it helps the flow for the reader.

We have some unbelievably talented writers here, I love everyone's fan fictions and look forward to reading them each day. Keep up the good work everyone!
 

Fozzie Bear

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Another writing tip: Description. One of the reasons I needed to re-write my Pigs in Space fiction: I didn't have enough descriptions about the places they were going into. I didn't have to describe the interior of the Swinetrek to fellow fans, but for someone else I would need to, so I am adding that description, too. Describing air, scents, visuals...all the things that the 6 senses need to operate by need description in a story and I left that out of a lot of my story.
 

ryhoyarbie

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I'll add descriptions of places that are not people aren't familar with. However, people already know the Muppet theater, the Electric Mayhem bus, the Muppet boarding house, and Fozzies car from the Muppet Movie.

But good advice Kevin. I'll be sure to do that.

ryan
 

Beauregard

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Another piece of advice, for those who are critiquing the work (and we do that really well here) it's nice if you don't just say, "Wow, I loved that." But pick out even jsut one really meaningfull sentence and say why you loved it. "I liked this sentence, "I sneezed" because you really picture the color and the sound and....gross! lol" You see?

And, as I said, we are already quite good at doing this, so don't worry about it.
 

Skeeter Muppet

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All good advice, guys. Fozzie Bear, I second what you said about spelling and grammar. I would also like to extend that advice to a friend of mine known as "the paragraph". In the world of fanfiction, the poor paragraph is abused almost as much as spelling and grammar. Some authors just can't be bothered to use them, and so post their stories in huge blocks of text, thus killing the reader's eyeballs.

A new paragraph should begin when someone new is speaking, when there's a slight change in the action, a change in subject or when there's a change in scene (during which case the line break is also helpful). As I've said before, you could write the best story ever, with an excellent plot, well-rounded original characters, in-character canon characters and clear of spelling and technical errors, but not as many people would want to read it if it were clumped into one huge block of text.

Another important part of fanfiction, believe it or not, is research. Say you're writing a Fraggle Rock fanfic, and Gobo is reading a postcard his Uncle Matt sent him from Shanghai, China. But you've never been to China before, so what do you do? Wing it and make stuff up as you go along? No. You research what Shanghai is like, finding out some sights that Matt might write to Gobo about. With the Internet research is ridiculously simple; just type what you're looking for into a search engine and you're halfway there.

And now we get to publishing, posting your work in a public arena such as a message board (like this one), your blog or an online fanfiction website. Keep in mind that you've put your fanfic out there for anyone and everyone to see and read. Nearly all of us here in the fanfic forum have nothing but praise for each other's work; I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that, just that not everyone's going to receive what you write with praise. There will be people who will critique your work.

That said, learn to tell the difference between constructive criticism and a flame. Con crit may seem harsh, depending on who its coming from (I know a couple reviewers at FF.Net who don't pull any punches), but it's advice that is intended to help you become a better author. Constructive criticism is not a flame; flames are abusive towards you and your story, and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Constructive criticism is also not suggestions from other reviewers who want you to stick their original character into your story or write your story a certain way because they can't be bothered to write their own story. Constructive criticism nothing less than what an editor would do to a manuscript you were intending to publish. The reviewer who gave you con crit did not do it because they hate you or your story.

So, the proper way to respond to constructive criticism is to take the advice of whoever left you the con crit, implementing it either in your next chapter or your next story. Don't ignore it or take it as a personal attack against you and your story, and don't flame a person because he or she gave you con crit.

-Kim
 

Boober_Gorg

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TogetherAgain

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While writing fanfiction, I have found that one of my best friends is the "Preview Post" button. It lets me check that I have all the brackets and dashes I need and all in the right places, so I get "Moi am a bit hungry" instead of "Moi am[/i] a bit hungry," "Moi {i]am[/i] a bit hungry," "Moi am a bit hungry" or "Moi ]i[am[/i] a bit hungry."

It also comes in hand for quoting and commenting on other people's work. For example, If I want my post to read like this:

"Uncle Kermit." Robin said. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay Robin." Kermit comforted him. "It's okay."
Ok, I surrender to the heart-wrenching! Hand me a tissue and my teddy bear!
"No, don't split me! I like my body whole!" Beauregard cried.
<applause> That's just some perfect Beauregard right there.
Then I have to be careful that it doesn't turn out like this:


"Uncle Kermit." Robin said. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay Robin." Kermit comforted him. "It's okay."
Ok, I surrender to the heart-wrenching! Hand me a tissue and my teddy bear!
"No, don't split me! I like my body whole!" Beauregard cried.
<applause> That's just some perfect Beauregard right there.
And if you intend to hit "Preview Post" halfway through your critique and you hit "Submit Reply" instead, just edit your post to say "Hit the wrong button!" at the end, and then edit it again to finish.
 

theprawncracker

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Fozzie Bear said:
Artistic License: It's your story, run with it--just keep it clean. I like the "Elmo's Revenge" story, even though I'm nuts about character integrity...but, for a story, it's awesome.
Aww thanks Kev! Great advice by the way. Especially like Beau's advice.
 

Harvey Towers

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Show don't tell

I have commented on this is a couple of fanfics themselves but I may as well post it here too. One important thing to remeber when writing any descriptive story is the principle of "show don't tell."

There isn't that much beauty or poetic meaning in jut using a simple verb in a sentence like "Sweetums is tall." Try instead to demonstrate the character trait by showing how the character has to deal wiht it: "Sweetums ducked through the doorway of the guest stars dressing room." That is a basic example but you get the picture.

Another cardinal sin falling under this rule is saying something like "Fozzie told a joke while Statler and Waldorf heckeled" when what all us Muppet fams really wnat to hear is a particular joke Fozzie might say and how our old box-buddies react to it. You'll also probably get a laugh from your reader.

I'll try and post some more general tips as they come to me. By the way, I think making this thread a sticky wouldn't be a bad move...
 
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