Author Topic: Author's voice in fan fiction  (Read 4539 times)

desertwind

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Author's voice in fan fiction
« on: December 14, 2012, 12:47:46 am »
I've been thinking about the process of writing fan fiction. I've never gotten around to writing any before now, but I've certainly had musings and adventures with other people's characters while reading their books. Putting it down on paper is a very different process than imagining, though. In my imaginings, the characters are simply people, having experiences and doing things. But in a piece of fiction, the characters go through a translation process, where the story is told through the lens of the author. (And, in certain perspectives, through the lens of a particular character, as well.)

As a writer, I have a very strong, identifiable voice in my fiction. Obviously, so does Lindsey. If I were to go about writing a piece of EE fan fiction in my voice, it would crash and burn - they aren't my characters, and this isn't the type of world I build or story I tell. So the challenge is to attempt to write, as best I can, in the style of LB. This is a fascinating exercise. Because I'm the compulsive sort, I find myself going back to the text, asking questions, modifying my text - does Sicarius use contractions? etc. And if the content isn't something she would write (eg physical intimacy), will I be able to figure out how to merge the voice with the content?

If you write fanfic, how has your experience been with figuring out what sort of voice/language to use? And for people who read fanfic, is it noticeable to you what sort of choices the writer makes? Does it alter your experience of the story?

Um... Thanks for reading all the way through my ramblings.  :D

Kitty

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 03:33:33 am »
interesting concept.  I've never ever written fanfic before reading EE, but then it all kinda went to hell in a handcart and i caught a bad case of Sicarius.

I find trying to imitate the way Lindsay writes to be near impossible. At the end of the day its her personality that is telling us the story.  if i write the fic then i spin the details and storytelling in my voice, but I try and imitate Lindsays way of writing the characters voices.  if i didn't then they wouldn't be the EE characters, merely my take on them.

Not the easiest thing to do , writing fanfic, but i think Lindsay is very forgiving of us all and she knows we just love the series so much she could never satiate our hunger for more, so we do it for her :)
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Mana

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 05:58:57 am »
I never wrote FanFic before EE. I really just try to keep the tone of the characters as I see them.

I can "see" the different styles of the authors on our site. But it doesn't bother me to have the FanFic filtered through an author doing their best to mimic the voice of the characters they are expanding on.

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Carradee

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 06:45:46 am »
Voice is malleable. Look at ghostwriters.

When I was an active fanfic author as a teen, I endeavored to write in the style of the original stories in whatever fandom I wrote. Fans told me I did a good job at it. Imitating another writer's voice is perfectly possible, if you practice at it and pay attention. (Now you're making me want to write a fanfic to prove it. :D )

That playing with styles affected my original fiction, too: I can change my writing style to suit the story, enough so that I could get folks thinking two different stories of mine had two completely different authors.

Can you write fanfic in your own style? Yes.

Must you? No.
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K2N2

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 08:07:24 am »
I, like Kitty, had never written fan fic before Lindsay's characters moved into my head and refused to be evicted.  I was not trying for any particular voice.  I was just trying to get the images out of my head by putting them down on "paper".  Most of my concerns were factual.  How does this event "fit" in with the canon type questions.

Cael

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 09:21:02 am »
I don't really think about it, probably because my fanfic process is pretty painful sometimes. I'm attacked by ideas and spend months percolating, creating scenes in my mind and building the story. But when I go to put it on paper (or in type), there are a lot of false starts... Then there's that magic moment where the characters take over and suddenly it's 2 am, I've been typing for 4 hours and there's a respectable story on my screen.
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Moondreamer

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 09:30:56 am »
Hmmm... that's an interesting question. EE is the first fandom for which I've ever written. I get the added difficulty in that English isn't my first language. It's got both its advantages and disadvantages. My grammar and punctuation is probably more formal because of the way I learned English, and I tend to get my expressions and sentence structure all over the place (from american English, to Canadaian, to British and Australian, with some badly translate french structures thrown in). When it got to writing about the EE gang, I tried to keep my own voice, while integrating some of the particularity of Lindsay's writing, like her love of synonyms and vocabulary in general. I also try to keep up with each character's own voice. I'm not sure I always succeed, and I'm difinitely not as funny as she is, but in the end, it's a really good writing pratice :)
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riamachia

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 01:16:24 pm »
I confess that, over a decade ago, I did in fact write Sailor Moon fanfiction.  And way before I knew what fanfiction was, I wrote stories about Wendy's adventures in Neverland.  :) 
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judy

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 05:41:42 pm »
desertwind, I do the same thing you do. Including checking for contractions in speech: I have the impression that Sicarius uses them sparingly (though he does use them) and so I tried to imitate that as I wrote in his voice. There's a sort of stiff formality he has that is extremely difficult to get, because nearly as often you get his bone-dry sense of humor. The tricky thing about EE is that within the stories, we have heard six different voices so far (Amaranthe, Sespian, Books, Basilard, Akstyr and Maldynado). So when I write EE fanfic, I try to be aware of whose voice I'm using, as well as the overall style. This is much easier to do immediately after (re-)reading or listening to EE. It's really amazing how the brain will naturally generate thoughts and expressions in the style of whatever you've been reading, particularly if you read it a lot.

Does this affect how I read fanfic? Well, I do tend to appreciate when someone imitates the style successfully, and that can be a joy to read. (Would Amelia Anne Martin please come back and write something???) But I've enjoyed just about everything that's been posted on the forum, even the decidedly out-of-character works.

Or maybe you were asking if this affects how I read the actual books? Absolutely. After the first frenzied read to find out what happened, the second (and later) reads are with a fine-tooth comb.

This discussion tangentially gets at the question of why we write fanfic in the first place. Yes, it's to have more EE stuff to read between books, but I think there's more to it. Writing in someone else's voice is a skill, and fanfic is an exercise to develop that skill. Instead of having to develop characters and setting, you can draw on an assumed knowledge and just get on with the story. Whether this will ever translate to skills for writing original fiction remains to be seen.
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desertwind

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 08:20:25 pm »
Lots of awesome thoughts here.  Let's see if I can use the quote utility right and do some responding...
I try and imitate Lindsays way of writing the characters voices.  if i didn't then they wouldn't be the EE characters, merely my take on them.

I can "see" the different styles of the authors on our site. But it doesn't bother me to have the FanFic filtered through an author doing their best to mimic the voice of the characters they are expanding on.



I definitely have the experience that characters are people - my favorite writing is when my characters start doing things in spite of my best efforts, and I just have to go along for the ride.  :) So I agree with the idea of having the characters speak with the voices Lindsey has given them.  It makes sense what Mana says about liking fic where the author dose their best to mimic this voice.


desertwind

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 08:29:24 pm »
Sounds like Carradee, Moondreamer, and Judy use fanfic like I do, in part as a way of building our writing muscles.  I agree that it's a cool exercise to stretch yourself in working on this kind of thing.  I'm now thinking that this is an interesting way to practice writing through the eyes/voice of a perspective character.  It's just got layers in this situation.  I'm telling a story as if Lindsey is telling it through Amaranthe's eyes.  :o Kinda makes my brain hurt.

EVERYBODY who has ideas in their heads that they allow to bounce around until they fall out onto paper, and especially Cael who reports a writing process involving a lot of dedication, and more attention span than I have - thank you for writing wonderful stuff and sharing it!

desertwind

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 08:55:57 pm »
This discussion tangentially gets at the question of why we write fanfic in the first place. Yes, it's to have more EE stuff to read between books, but I think there's more to it. Writing in someone else's voice is a skill, and fanfic is an exercise to develop that skill. Instead of having to develop characters and setting, you can draw on an assumed knowledge and just get on with the story. Whether this will ever translate to skills for writing original fiction remains to be seen.

Yeah, why *do* we do this? From the answers on this thread alone, it sounds like there are a lot of first time fanfic writers here.  Yeah, sure, I like to work on my skills, but my time may or may not be better spent working on random short fiction with my own characters.  *ducks projectiles from the gallery of fanfic demanders* But here I am.  And here you are.  So here are some proposed reasons.

1) The characters are rich, engaging people, who we would like to hang out with.
2) There is a lot of "open space" within the story.  I have a favorite novel where all of the action, in a densely written novel, takes place in three days.  It's super engaging, but there is no open space where you can insert other stories.  EE is leisurely in comparison - there are breaks of weeks between sub-stories, each individual character has plenty of time when the focus is on someone else, and it's easy to imagine the characters' lives before and after the action.
3) The number of official books and short stories is, sadly, finite.  In addition, our taste for what kinds of stories we would be interested in reading exceeds the variety of stories Lindsey is interested in writing.
4) Lindsey's prose is accessible enough for us to not feel like we couldn't possibly write something that fits in.

What have I missed?

Mana

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 10:52:09 am »
desertwind, I do the same thing you do. Including checking for contractions in speech: I have the impression that Sicarius uses them sparingly (though he does use them) and so I tried to imitate that as I wrote in his voice. There's a sort of stiff formality he has that is extremely difficult to get, because nearly as often you get his bone-dry sense of humor. The tricky thing about EE is that within the stories, we have heard six different voices so far (Amaranthe, Sespian, Books, Basilard, Akstyr and Maldynado). So when I write EE fanfic, I try to be aware of whose voice I'm using, as well as the overall style. This is much easier to do immediately after (re-)reading or listening to EE. It's really amazing how the brain will naturally generate thoughts and expressions in the style of whatever you've been reading, particularly if you read it a lot.

Does this affect how I read fanfic? Well, I do tend to appreciate when someone imitates the style successfully, and that can be a joy to read. (Would Amelia Anne Martin please come back and write something???) But I've enjoyed just about everything that's been posted on the forum, even the decidedly out-of-character works.

Or maybe you were asking if this affects how I read the actual books? Absolutely. After the first frenzied read to find out what happened, the second (and later) reads are with a fine-tooth comb.

This discussion tangentially gets at the question of why we write fanfic in the first place. Yes, it's to have more EE stuff to read between books, but I think there's more to it. Writing in someone else's voice is a skill, and fanfic is an exercise to develop that skill. Instead of having to develop characters and setting, you can draw on an assumed knowledge and just get on with the story. Whether this will ever translate to skills for writing original fiction remains to be seen.

You'll have to beta Moon and my original piece, and let us know if we transitioned from FanFic to our own works OK.
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judy

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2012, 12:37:42 pm »
desertwind, I do the same thing you do. Including checking for contractions in speech: I have the impression that Sicarius uses them sparingly (though he does use them) and so I tried to imitate that as I wrote in his voice. There's a sort of stiff formality he has that is extremely difficult to get, because nearly as often you get his bone-dry sense of humor. The tricky thing about EE is that within the stories, we have heard six different voices so far (Amaranthe, Sespian, Books, Basilard, Akstyr and Maldynado). So when I write EE fanfic, I try to be aware of whose voice I'm using, as well as the overall style. This is much easier to do immediately after (re-)reading or listening to EE. It's really amazing how the brain will naturally generate thoughts and expressions in the style of whatever you've been reading, particularly if you read it a lot.

Does this affect how I read fanfic? Well, I do tend to appreciate when someone imitates the style successfully, and that can be a joy to read. (Would Amelia Anne Martin please come back and write something???) But I've enjoyed just about everything that's been posted on the forum, even the decidedly out-of-character works.

Or maybe you were asking if this affects how I read the actual books? Absolutely. After the first frenzied read to find out what happened, the second (and later) reads are with a fine-tooth comb.

This discussion tangentially gets at the question of why we write fanfic in the first place. Yes, it's to have more EE stuff to read between books, but I think there's more to it. Writing in someone else's voice is a skill, and fanfic is an exercise to develop that skill. Instead of having to develop characters and setting, you can draw on an assumed knowledge and just get on with the story. Whether this will ever translate to skills for writing original fiction remains to be seen.

You'll have to beta Moon and my original piece, and let us know if we transitioned from FanFic to our own works OK.

I'm always happy to beta! Though honestly, I'm a total amateur. My Nano novel made it completely obvious to me that any skill I may have been acquiring with fanfic was completely lost when I had to actually write something original...
It's possible we remember the events a little differently.

Sara M.

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Re: Author's voice in fan fiction
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2012, 11:20:10 pm »
Yeah, why *do* we do this? From the answers on this thread alone, it sounds like there are a lot of first time fanfic writers here.  Yeah, sure, I like to work on my skills, but my time may or may not be better spent working on random short fiction with my own characters.  *ducks projectiles from the gallery of fanfic demanders* But here I am.  And here you are.  So here are some proposed reasons.

1) The characters are rich, engaging people, who we would like to hang out with.
2) There is a lot of "open space" within the story.  I have a favorite novel where all of the action, in a densely written novel, takes place in three days.  It's super engaging, but there is no open space where you can insert other stories.  EE is leisurely in comparison - there are breaks of weeks between sub-stories, each individual character has plenty of time when the focus is on someone else, and it's easy to imagine the characters' lives before and after the action.
3) The number of official books and short stories is, sadly, finite.  In addition, our taste for what kinds of stories we would be interested in reading exceeds the variety of stories Lindsey is interested in writing.
4) Lindsey's prose is accessible enough for us to not feel like we couldn't possibly write something that fits in.

What have I missed?

I've only written one fanfic, so take this with a grain of salt, but I found it to be an excellent writing exercise made much, much easier by the fact that the characters were established already. You don't have to craft believable characters with histories, voices of their own, tics -- it's all there for you, and all you have to do is supply the story.

Some of the fanfic authors on this site are excellent at mimicking Lindsay's style, but it doesn't hinder my enjoyment of a fanfic when the writing doesn't match up with hers. None of them are official EE stories, after all.


I'm always happy to beta! Though honestly, I'm a total amateur. My Nano novel made it completely obvious to me that any skill I may have been acquiring with fanfic was completely lost when I had to actually write something original...

I think you give yourself too little credit here. It's always harder to judge one of your pieces than someone else's, I think. I just finished my first NaNo, and while I "won," it drove home how difficult it is to write a story. Mine is a mess of scenes right now more than a finished piece. :) Are you going to do anything with yours?