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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 07:10 pm
I have no idea if anyone actually HAS these types of questions, but... what the hell. (And I swear I'm going to stop with these memes and come out with maor fan fiction real soon.)


Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] strawberryburst 


I think it would be fun to talk about stories, but the usual memes are like, "What happens next?" "Tell me about Character A?" Which isn't so much talking about stories as it is writing more of a story. But you know how sometimes you read something and you're like, "I got ___ out of this story, I wonder if I have that right?" or "What on earth was ____ supposed to be?" and it's too awkward to ask the author? Now you could totally ask!

I've heard people say that writing is hard because you have to make decisions, but we never really talk about the decisions we make with stories or why we make them. We talk about plot bunnies, but not about how we actually turn them into a story.

And it seems like a lot more fun to do that than to do working.

So, if you wanted, ask me questions! (Or use this to ask your flist to ask you questions).

What were you trying to do [here]? Why did you decide to ____? This is what I thought about xyz, is that what you were going for? What made you write ____? Why did you decide to do this? And so on.
Tags:
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
I have to know -- where did the idea for Another Brother come from?
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
Let's see... I was writing a scene in In His Shoes. The part in *squints* chapter 8 where Sokka and Jin are in the cell and Sokka, in Zuko's body, is telling Jin about the South Pole. The original concept was going to be Sokka and Zuko separately thinking about moments in their lives... anyway, I fell in love with over-describing the South Pole in Sokka's memories (which I believe was his first hunting trip with his father).

THEN I thought "Wouldn't it be cool if Zuko could see this somehow... or how about if Zuko was somehow there?" And then it sprouted and grew.

The original idea for Another Brother was supposed to be this airy, fairy tail-esque thing that was maybe 5 chapters AT THE MOST. It grew. Blah.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
Beat me to it. That's pretty much the only question I had.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC)
I'm also curious about AB, and about why you decided Zuko couldn't learn from Jeong Jeong.

Also, how did you decide on Lu Ten's characterization in "The Problem with Zuko"?

What has been the most challenging scene in any fic to write and why?

You said as a reply to one of the comments on "Apple Falls Far" that you could write pages of reasons why the Water Tribe acted the way they did. Could you elaborate? (yeah, I know).

Why did you choose to write a genderswap het fic? (I love genderswap so much, and I'm hoping to get someone else explain the appeal better than I can)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Wow. These questions really had me thinking. (And I had to put it in two parts!)

The AB question is hard for me to answer, because I don't want to give away any plotty stuff that is sure to come up. But from an authoress standpoint there were several reasons: I wanted to show in a real, definable way, that something has shifted deep inside WT Zuko – it's more than he lost his memories. Jeong Jeong encountered young Zuko in the past and barely acknowledged him. He saw him as an unremarkable firebender. When he sees him later with Aang (and especially after he diverts Aang's fire instead of blocking it), he realizes that he's no longer dealing with that firebender mentality/soul/whatever. Jeong Jeong loathes his own firebending—part of him doesn't want to "poison" Zuko with his own method. Mostly, though, when he says, "Even the greatest river can change its course to the ocean." He's basically saying that Zuko has to find another path to become a firebending master. Jeong Jeong cannot teach a waterbender firebending.





Problem Lu Ten's characterization came from many sources. I've always labored under the belief that Iroh went a major personality shift after Lu Ten's death, and that as a young man he was quite popular with the ladies (and the drinking. I could totally see him trading the hard stuff for a more mellow tea after he came back from the spirit world).

I've also had a LOT of conversations with dungeon_writer, and in all AU scenarios either one of us can think of where Lu Ten somehow lives… it doesn't bode well for Zuko and Aang. SO I had to create a scenario where I had this young, carousing Irohish character, but with some real weaknesses of character his father never had. I think Problem Lu Ten really did honestly care for Zuko (prior to his defection of course), but he was really flawed in his core.



The most challenging fic so far has been The Problem With Zuko. I've never tried anything remotely close to political intrigue (and it could easily be argued that the fic is light on that – it's for a reason. I don't know what I'm doing.). But there were other factors. I'm not used to writing a long, involved plot from beginning to end without breaking it up into chapters and posting it along the way. It was a scary, scary thing to go 25,000 words or so without basically checking in with others to see how I was doing. I was also feeling a more little pressure because, as the mod, I felt I had to set an example for others and NOT fail to turn something in and manage NOT to make it a shitty, half-assed piece of writing. Not to mention I take steps to avoid writing original characters in my fic for fear they'll take over the spotlight. Lu Ten was pretty much an OC and he had to be in the thick of it all for the sake of plot. So the challenge was to try to make him not annoying and at least somewhat believable. It was all really hard, and there were so many times I felt like giving up. I'm very pleased with the final draft, though.


Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Apple Falls Far….
Okay, s in my, er, Junior year, we did a unit on ethics. Our teacher showed us a video on a classroom study on totalitarianism in Nazi Germany and how normal German citizens could have been seduced into following Nazi policies (and you may be already aware of this already. Apparently it's well known). My memory might be a little off, but if I remember right the teacher basically empowered half of his students and disciplined the other half. Basically, the experiment worked a little too well with the teacher himself feeling a little seduced by his new sense of power. It got scary. And it showed how even good people can really fall victim to a totalitarianism mentality when the circumstances were right.

I was thinking about that phenomenon when writing The Apple Falls far. The Water Tribe men, who are really decent human beings (really), justified their treatment of Zuko among themselves. It mutated and grew and…well, poor Zuko.

So yeah, not _pages_ of insight, but there you go. ;D



Genderswap: I think I've always been fascinated about men and women's roles and how they could change according to personality. (And yeah, I'll admit… I thought of man!Katara as a huge sort of guy who would dwarf his younger brother in size, but who wants to be a gentle healer instead of a warrior. He has to deal with hot tempered Princess Zuka. Yum.). I think a major draw for that fic was thinking of how Zuka would deal with Azula who dwarfs her in talent, and Sokka who has Katarr who dwarfs him in physical prowess. Would Sokka and Katarr be as close?

I think that's also why I would like to explore male!Mai and male!Zuko, one day. I would love to see how that would effect their friendship/love. Also, a potential love triangle with Azula would be hilarious.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
I now really really want to see a fic in which canon!Jeong Jeong and canon!Iroh get together, and Iroh teaches him to rediscover the joys of firebending.

Heh, the only way I managed it was to leave Lu Ten so damaged and twitchy that he was out of commission. I'm asking mostly, because parts two and three of Ice Flows Through have Lu Ten showing his vicious streak, and developing profound isolationist tendencies, which show him as deeply flawed in kind of the opposite direction. I do like the idea of Lu Ten as like his father in all the worst ways.

I feel like I should reciprocate and tell you what the most challenging fic I've ever written is, but... See, my favorite part of fantasy is the potential for political intrigue, and the second and third books in a trilogy I'm writing are just about nothing but that. (and character drama, but POLITICS!)

Oh the joys of being a leader. I just felt like a horrible slacker period.

Yeah, we had a positively traumatizing unit about that in 8th grade. There's a documentary that I watched recently about a project a bunch of middleschoolers did for their Holocaust unit, and among other things a pair of German reporters came to report it, and the kids were surprised to see that Germans looked like normal people. There have been several teacher demonstrations/experiments to show the appeal of Fascism/Nazism, and they have a disturbing tendency to be a little too effective. Then there's the Zimbardo Prison experiment. Only look into it if you don't mind not being able to look your fellow humans in the eye for a long time. The experimenter got caught up in it, too.

Hah, lair...

I confess, I desperately want to see girl!Zuko and girl!Azula interacting.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'm asking mostly, because parts two and three of Ice Flows Through have Lu Ten showing his vicious streak, and developing profound isolationist tendencies, which show him as deeply flawed in kind of the opposite direction. I do like the idea of Lu Ten as like his father in all the worst ways.

... I can't wait to see that. Do I have to start another round of Big Bang again to get you to write those parts more quickly, or do you have a timeline when those are to come out? *hopeful*

And your book! Are you about done with your first? Inquiring minds want to know.

I gotta admit that while I might read about the Zimbardo Prison Experiment, it probably won't be in depth. Maybe I'm a coward, but I'd like to keep my optimism in the good of the human spirit largely intact.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Re my book: I took a break to write fanfic. That break keeps getting longer. *sigh*. So no. Well, I've finished my first two, but they're drawer novels. What I want to do is write Xenolith and post it slowly while I finish Children of Mars and Good People and Death Eaters, and then post them slowly while I finish the current novel. And somewhere in there, write two and three of Ice Flows Through.

Speaking of Ice Flows Through, you know, what? It would be a great BB theme. I could write the other two parts for each of the BBs. Which means yes, you need to run another. *puppy eyes*
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
I think that's also why I would like to explore male!Mai and male!Zuko, one day. I would love to see how that would effect their friendship/love. Also, a potential love triangle with Azula would be hilarious.

This.

I've seen all variations of Maiko genderswaps done except for boy/boy, so that'd be cool, but the love triangle aspect is really neat. All the possibilities of it make me want to rub my hands together while crackling manically.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Oh I am SO glad to hear that. I considered doing a male Mai genderswap before. But when I joked that it was the only way I could write a Maiko, I was told that in doing so I was fetishsizing m/m couples and.... *deep breath* Well, I dropped it.

'though the plot I have in mind now would have more to do with Mai and Zuko's friendship. How would Zuko react in having a male friend around when he was young who was *still* under Azula's control? Would Male!Mai still side with Zuko in the boiling rock? Would Azula have feelings for male!Mai? And if so, how would that contribute to her downfall at the end of S3.

Darn you, plot bunnies!!!! :D
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
You may be thinking of the Zimbardo.stafford prison experiment*. Where the professor divided students into two groups, prisoners and guards. That said there are some serious questions about it validity**.

Overall, I woudl say it's valid, but people have a tendency to exagerate these claims. It's understandable, we want to emphasis the danger of groupthink/demonization, and make people understood why it happens. But that doesn't mean that that's all. It is notable that not all, or even the majority, of the guards acted abusive. It was still a significant minority, but a minority it was.

The stafford prison experiement shows that enviorment influences behavior. And that people tend to have trouble objecting to that behavior, but it should not be mistaken for showing it is the sole, or even most significant determinate.

(sorry for the TL-DR, just studied in in reaserach methods class)


*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
**http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4102
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
There's also Jane Elliott's blue eyes/brown eyes demonstration. In her class, she treated her students differently and gave them power over each other based on eye color to teach them about racism.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I had heard about that as well. *Shivers* It's a scary thing because we all like to think that we are working to put ourselves above that sort of behavior, but these types of experiments show it's so easy to backslide.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Actually I was speaking of The Third Wave Experiment.

http://www.ajarnforum.net/vb/the-tv-lounge/34263-the-wave-a-classroom-experiment-in-fascism.html

or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave

Granted, these were kids who presumably had trust in their instructor and hadn't really thought to question his motives, but it's still an interesting examination into how people can come to follow fascism.

I don't think I've heard of the Zimbardo Stafford experiment, but I'll check it out!
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
What makes you go into darker and more mature directions when writing your fics? ATLA is a kids' show, usually held up by themes that are lighthearted. What inspires you to explore darker themes?
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
This is a very good question.

I think that ATLA has such potential in its canon to be dark, which the creators don't go into for some very good reasons. Mainly, that it's a kid's show. But when I'm fleshing it out and doing my best to make it feel realistic to me (and hopefully the reader), a lot of that unsaid darkness sorta... creeps on in. That's one reason.

The second reason probably has to do with a bizarre part of my psyche: I would much rather read about, say, Aang leading what remains of the Gaang (some of them presumed captured and/or killed) in a desperate pitched battle against Ozai's forces... rather than Aang, Momo and Appa on a light-hearted adventure to find the last of the season's blackberry-apples before the first frost comes. Or something.

And I usually end up writing something I've been wanting to read. I guess I just have dark tastes. :D
Thursday, November 18th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
In many ways, I'm the same way. Reading dark stories is usually a fascination of mine, although it can be construed as perverse - and yet I don't think it's so. It's said that when you respect and take the sad things to heart, you can learn to appreciate them for what they are - reminders that there are good things, and they will happen eventually. I also highly respect authors who can intertwine those dark and mature aspects while keeping the initial spirit of the show (you, and a couple of others).
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Where'd you come up with the idea for Time Traveling Monk?
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
*Cough*

Wellll... I had this half-baked idea one time of an AU where Aang was woken up by young Kya and Hakoda. Then they had all sorts of adventures whilst running away from evil Prince Ozai and not-so-evil Prince Iroh. Aang would learn the elements, but at a slower pace, like most Avatar's. The comet wouldn't be due for some years, after all. Eventually I scrapped it because I felt it just wouldn't be as interesting without the Gaang. It was a little sad knowing that Katara, Sokka, Zuko and Toph wouldn't be part of the adventure. Also, I didn't have the time.

Then ATLA Land's AU challenge came up and I thought I'd incorporate that bunny, somehow. I added Stargate SG-1's quantum mirror into it, and that's how Time Traveling Monk came about. :D
Edited 2010-11-17 09:49 pm (UTC)
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
what inspires your writing?

What do you think are the most important things for a fic to have?

stealing your question to suzukiblu "If there was any scene you wished you could have gone a different way, in hindsight, what would it be?"

why Toph and Zuko for the stargate/avatar crossover?