Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reasons Prefer Writing Original

Reasons I Prefer Writing Original.


I got my start writing fan fiction, and I have no problem with it. I (not so) secretly look forward to the day when I get to read the fan fiction people write based on my own work. And I do still read some of it, when I'm trying to get more fluff on my favorite characters.

I think it's a great way for young writers to get started. Working in someone else's world helps you learn the ropes of writing – establishing your own voice, finding what works and what doesn't – without having to build from the ground up. Your characters come premade, as does the world.

But eventually, those same safe guards become a constriction and a hindrance.

Recently I tried to write a one-shot fanfic. And I felt as though I was an adult trying to play in a child sized playground. The swings, always my favorite, were too small and low. It reminded me why I moved on from fan fiction. (Well, one of the reasons.)

So, I decided to make a list of reasons I prefer writing original fiction, as opposed to writing fan fiction.

1. You're In Control

Well, that honestly sums up everything I have to say. But for the sake of this list, and hopefully to make a few of you laugh, I'll elaborate.

2. No One Complains About OCs

OCs, (Original Characters), no matter how cool or well developed, are generally frowned on in the world of fanfiction. If you're reading fanfiction, it's because you want more of the characters you already know. So it was explained to me.

I, however, seem to be incapable of writing anything without an OC. Try as I might, at least one always tried to slip in. Whether they're needed or not, they always turn up out of no where and try to steal the show.

Well, there was one introspective one I wrote without OCs. The last one I wrote, with a pairing that made no sense. But that leads me to my next point...

3. No One Says You're OOC

OOC stands for Out Of Character. (I was in fan fiction more than long enough to learn all the jargon.)

The above story (without the OCs) lead to an interesting experience that still strikes me to this day – more than three years later.

After I posted the story, a friend from my writer's group told me she felt the main character didn't read right. He sounded like a completely different character that the one she knew.

But someone else told me I'd penned him exactly in character.

I remember thinking about those two reviews, wondering how two people could get such a different impression of the same character. (I had temporarily forgotten that I was dealing with human beings.)

With fanfiction, people come in with a preconceived opinion of the character. With original fiction, your readers have no such prior opinions.

Like I said – You're In Control
4. You Don't Have To Worry About OOC Characters

On the flip side of point 3, I never thought I did a very good job of other people's characters.

Part of why I say I "tried" to write a fanfic recently is because I couldn't get the right character voice.

That's probably why I need to have an OC, because I need a voice in my head, telling me the story.

I bugged me to no end that I couldn't get the main character's voice.

Also, something that annoys me when reading fanfics is when a normally stoic character, whose handle on romance is rough at best, suddenly starts spouting poetry to his girlfriend, or cries watching High School Musical and decides to serenade said girlfriend. (I couldn't even read that last one...)

In my own stories, however, if I want to give the heart of a romantic to a character who's normally stoic, I can. And it's perfectly in character, because it's my character. Excuse me while I laugh manically... and descend into a fit of coughing.

Recently, one of my own characters started changing – almost morphing – into an entirely different character. His calm, laid back romanticism became more jaded, almost bitter. Since he's mine, I don't have to worry about people telling me he's out of character.

Like I said: You're In Control.

5. It's Your World

"It never snows in that city."
"Inter-world travel doesn't work like that."
"Japanese houses don't have lawns."
"This is wrong."
...

I've heard all of these, and they annoyed me to varying degrees.

With original fiction, I don't have to worry about that.

I have the responsibility of following logic (excuse me while I shoot myself in the foot) in the creation of my worlds, and how my characters interact with the world around them.

Of course, there's currently an on-going debate as to whether or not I can have computers and swords in the same world without guns. But let's not go there...

But if I say it snows four months of the year in LaKish, it does.

If I say the Sapphire islands have an average temperature of 80°, except during monsoon season when you can't make the eastern crossing, but the western crossing is find, it is.

Na na.

You can do that a little in fan fiction, but only so much. And if you moves the lines just a fraction, there'll likely be someone there to rant at you (Woodstock style) about how and why you're wrong.

Like I said: You're In Control

6. Pairings

Let me give you a free piece of advice.

Never, ever – EVER – get between a fangirl and her chosen pairing. (Especially if it's a gay pairing, which is just sad...) But if you value your life, just don't do it.

I once had a conversation where I said that, if I showed up in a crowded convention room and declared that I despised a certain pairing, they would probably attack me with cosplay props. And while I'm sure papier-mâché doesn't get too sharp, it wouldn't be a pleasant experience. She agreed.

We laughed while we talked about it, but I was more than a little serious.

Many of the pairings I personally like tend to be more obscure pairings. And sometimes, it's couples that never even meet in the canon, but they're too compatible to resist.

It's nice that I can pair the characters I want, and I make them canon just by putting pen to paper.

Like I said: You're In Control

7. Money

If you're going to invest time into writing a story (and especially if you're going to put in the work to make it a GOOD story) you might as well put that effort into a story you can make money from!

I'm not saying all the fanfiction I've read has been worth publishing. Only a few out of every hundred (if that) is near publishing level. Some of them make a write cringe, others are just in need of a little polish.

Like I said – if I'm going to put in all that effort, I hope to actually make something from it.

8. You're In Control

Like I said before: That pretty much sums up everything.

Monday, February 27, 2012

When I'm not Writing...

Hey guys,

So, now that I look back, it was inevitable for me to do something like this eventually.

Recently, I started coming up with eye shadow combinations based on/inspired by my favorite super heroes. Mostly, I've been wearing one inspired by classic Robin The Boy Wonder, of Batman fame.

As soon as I first put it on, the idea to make a video tutorial started nagging at the back of my mind. So, after checking that there was nothing else like this on youtube, and putting aside my inhibitions, I did it. The result is:


So, as I said in the video, I have more tutorials planned. The next will probably be up next week, if all goes according to schedule.

Please take a look, and let me know what you think!

Next post will be a writing article! And it will be within the week1

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunglasses

Hey everyone,

I'm doing a really bad job updating this blog, and a large part of it is because I don't know what to say.

So what I'm going to do for awhile is just post some of my writing. Short clips, snippets, the results of writing challenges.

Last summer I attended a writing workshop where I had to choose an everyday item from off the table and writing something about it. The result was Sunglasses.

I've had the character Vanessa floating in my mind for awhile. She's a pop star going through an emotional breakdown. I've never come up with an extended plot for her, so mostly it's random scenes and ideas. This one was well received. Since I just typed it up, I thought I'd post it here.

To anyone still reading this blog: Please let me know what you think.

Sunglasses
by M. S. Steed

Vanessa picked up the pair of sunglasses from her vanity. One of many pairs she owned.



This pair was white, diamond studded around the lenses and partially up the arms. The lenses were large, round and dark.


She vaguely remembered buying them when she was on the islands, recording something. It might have been a music video.


Neither did she remember her much she'd paid for them. But the brand name etched on the side told her it had been a lot of money.


Not that she looked at them, the memory started to come back.


She'd been on Sapphire Island filming her Sunset music video, and doing the photo shoot for the liner notes. It had been the middle of her Daze tour, and she'd taken two days off for the shoot.


The first day, bright and hot, like every other day on the islands, she'd realized she'd forgotten sunglasses. No, she hadn't forgotten them. Now she remembered she'd had her red ones, but they hadn't matched the outfit she wore that day.


She bought the white ones on her way to the shoot. When she'd gotten there, her wardrobe for the shoot had included a pair.


She'd spent more than a hundred dollars on a pair of glasses she'd worn for an hour, and had never worn again.


Robin was right.


She was spoiled.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frozen

The snow just won't stop!

It's been snowing for almost 3 days straight, and it doesn't show any sign of letting up. And this house is void of hot chocolate for me to enjoy while looking out the window! (But I may have to draw that, because I really like the image.)

I have today off work (I moved, so now I'm working as a receptionist in my mother's hair salon), which is nice. BUT I CAN'T GO ANYWHERE!! The virtual world doesn't count.

So, in writing news:

Justice is going nowhere very fast. I'm stuck at chapter 21, and I can't seem to move beyond the wall that is the chapter break. (Actually, it might be 22, I don't remember.)

But that doesn't mean I haven't been writing.

Oh, no. I've written an article on chapter breaks (which may turn into an article on cliff hangers), two short stories, scenes from future stories, and a whole lot of random stuf.

And drawing. I've been drawing like crazy. Which is why I want to go to the library. They have a scanner I could use to scan my inked drawings. And, once they're scanned, I can print extra copies of the line arts, and I can attempt to color one digitally.

Which, of course, brings me back to the snow.

But, since I have things I would like to get done (including writing, and drawing, and laundry), I'm going to sign off and go get those things done.

THE SNOW ISN'T STOPPING!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Since I temporarily have a scanner, I'm taking advantage of it. And that starts with actually putting a picture up here on the blog.

The line art is... okay. This is actually the second version of this picture. In the original version her face and her shoulders were broader. When I traced it, I really wanted to narrow it out. It could be better, but it could also be much worse.

I was trying out a new coloring style. What am I saying? I don't HAVE a coloring style.

Her hair came out well.

Her shirt, however, is nowhere NEAR dark enough. It's supposed to be black. Don't know why I didn't actually use more of my black pencil. I was being conservative with shadows.

Her skin came out well. Actually, this is the best skin color I think I've ever done. I love this skin colorings.

I used so many pencils I haven't used before.

At some point I may have to go back and retrace it, fixing the details. Her arms need toning. Definately.

For the record, her hair is in a state of transition. Sometimes I draw her with wavy hair, which is what she's had since the beginning. Lately, however, she seems to have gotten her hands on a hair straightener. Since, in the first book, her hair is short, I'm not in too much of a rush to figure it out. But I will need to at some point in the very near future.

Well, it's 2:10, I'm not pleased with my writing style, and my cat is telling me it's time to go to bed.

I also have another picture I need to finish before I play with my scanner anymore.

It's a picture of my friend's favorite character (of my characters, of course), and I want to give her a print before I move next week. I just have to draw the book case... and ink it... and color it... I detest inking.

That bears repeating.

I DETEST INKING.

I want Photoshop, or Corel Painter, or Open Canvas. SOMETHING! Just something where I can hit a button and my pencil lines will turn black, so I won't have to try recreating my smooth pencil lines. (Must save money. Must save money.)

This new way of coloring may be very helpful, though.

Okay,
I'm done now.

Until next time,
~M

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It Happened...

M: Here's your order.
Customer: Did you get my add on at the end?
M: -blink-
Customer: The two egg rolls.
M: Oh, yeah. They're there.

Yeah, okay. And, um, how was I supposed to know that?

All I knw is that I was handed a bag of food and a ticket telling me it held a gyoza plate, a chicken teriyaki, a spicy chicken teriyaki and two egg rolls. How was I supposed to know the egg rolls were a last minute addition?

Couldn't she have been grateful she was being waited on by the aqmazing M. S. Steed? (Kidding, kidding, don't kill me.)

Seriously, though.

Yes, I understand why she asked the question the way she did. But I would have appreciated if she'd just asked me if the egg rolls were there.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Waiting for...

Sometimes I feel as though I live release date to release date.

Over the years, I have waited anywhere from a few weeks to a few years for movies I wanted to see. Movies like Star Wars III (what a let down), Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3, Captain America, Tangled. Right now I'm waiting for The Avengers.

I've waited for books. Comic books (can't tell you how much I dropped on comic books I don't even have anymore), Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie (review here). I waited for X-Men Legacy 259, and am now very glad I didn't try to buy it. I was hoping for one outcome, but had a feeling a different situation would happen. I know Marvel too well, and what I dreaded was exactly what happened.

And CDs!! I've waited for Paramore's Brand New Eyes, OWL CITY's All Things Bright and Beautiful (you guys remember that, right?). I'm pretty sure there are more, but I don't remember at the moment.

And now, NOW, I'm watching the TV show Once Upon A Time. I don't watch many TV shows. Most of what I do watch is old shows that are finished, or ones that don't have much continuity. If it does have continuity, it's probably older than I am. There's not much waiting for release dates.

But I came to Once Upon A Time when they were three episodes in. Actually, it was the night the fourth episode came out. I watched the first three back to back online. I watched the fourth episode the next day.

I was excited waiting for the next Sunday. But no, the AMAs meant that the fifth episode was delayed.

Finally, tonight, I got to watch the new episode. This was the first time I got to watch a premier on TV. (It might be the last time, too. But that's another story.)

And I realized something about watching TV shows. You get a week of build up, waiting for the next episode. Finally, after a week (two in my case), you get the relief of the new episode. But the moment the episode ends, you start waiting for the next one.

Oi!

It was like my experiance with Ally Condie's Crossed. I read the book in about four hours, and didn't even think about slowing down. I just couldn't wait to find out what happened next!

Then, I closed the book and realized: Oh shoot! Now I have to wait a whole year for the third book!

This is the problem with series!

So, I get to keep waiting for te third Matched book next year. Thankfully, I have a new episode of Once Upon A Time.

Yeah, that's so comforting.

Sigh.

Until next time,
~M