Title: Writing AUs
Description: How do you do it?
-thor- - April 19, 2008 02:48 PM (GMT)
I don't like the LotF books. No big secret. I find the plots to be implausible, the characters to be off, in fact off-the-scale-kind-of-off, and I never had the feeling the author team really thought things through to the end. Now when I bothered to write down what was bouncing through the vacuum between my ears, commonly known as my very own ideas on how the LotF timeframe should be and what should be going on (instead of that "let's rehash the underlying theme of the prequels and resurrect figures dead and buried for decades" :frustrated: ), I found myself doing something all-too familiar - I was trying to create a whole world around it.
I mean I know I'm thinking about a really, really big AU, one that requires me to actually create an alternative line of events up to the starting point of the fic (i.e. because the Vong never came [probably took a wrong turn and ended up in a cluster of black holes :whistling: ], because Anakin Solo is alive, because the GA is not what it is in LotF ...), but I also realized that I was micro-thinking, i.e. trying to dissect every single potential plotline and to come up with a plausible chain of events to make the things I want to see happen. That's the main thing here for me (for any fic or book) - it has to be plausible, even if it's "just" a space opera in a fictious galaxy. And let me tell you I've got pretty high standards for what is plausible.
The catch here is that I'm completely unsure if all these trains of thoughts will even appear in the fic and if yes I don't know how to incorporate them. How do you manage your thoughts, your ideas and potential plotlines? I was thinking about some kind of puzzle or a really large sheet of paper to draw coherences between events and/or keep track of all the sub-plots. However I'm also beginning to wonder if I'm not merely torturing myself with all these details. :worried:
Jesina Dreis - April 19, 2008 03:33 PM (GMT)
FYI, thor, I'm moving this to Writer's Resource because that's really where it belongs.
I'm rather a large fan of whiteboards. I have an AU fic of my own that's rather complex. Suffice to say that the way in which peace is achieved between the NR and the Empire is rather different. Things up til Thrawn are pretty much the same; after that it's all quite AU.
For that fic I pulled out a whiteboard and basically did the style of plotting (can't recall its name) they taught us in middle school - you have a central idea and then everything branches off from that - literally. Lines and bubbles of ideas and such.
I eventually translated all that into a rough outline--not a chronological outline but a detail of ideas. For example, an AU off of SoA, in which things blow up in everyone's faces more than they did (and I'm pulling this from my head, not my fic)...
- Iella refuses to help Wedge
- What's-his-name (NRI agent I can't remember) does not turn out to be a traitor even though everyone thinks he is
- Iella reports to Cracken on what the Rogues are doing
- Tycho reacts badly to Wedge meeting with the Imps
- Hobbie takes Tycho's side while Janson sides with Wedge
- Tycho is seriously injured in the world war
- Wedge is eventually arrested by the NR & court-martialed. Tycho testifies against him
- Wedge attempts to patch things up with her about Qwi and it doesn't work
- Wedge finds out she went to Cracken and can't forgive her
- Winter doesn't end things with Tycho but she's not happy that he's acting the way he is
- Winter has issues with Iella
- Corran, law-abiding citizen that he is, denounces Wedge's actions in dealing with Imps
- Mirax is less than pleased with him and spends as much time as she can with her father
- Corran is even lower on Booster's list
And so on....
But some advice. Think about it. You explain Anakin's being alive and the GA not being what it is simply by the fact that the Vong war hasn't happened. My first thoughts when someone says that they consider the Vong war outside their personal canon are that they're seeing Chewie, Anakin, et al. still alive.
-thor- - April 19, 2008 04:29 PM (GMT)
:doh!: Thx, Jes ... I'm not the most clever person today. :hypnotized:
As I said I'm still in the collecting stage of things so nothing's set in stone. But as it is I do have a very central role for Anakin in my mind. Not having read the NJO I can work with the characters as I like and portray them as I see fit - I just don't know how they were in the books and so I'm not in danger of being "influenced".
Myri Antilles - April 19, 2008 04:47 PM (GMT)
I didn't use it for my SW fics, but for the original fic I was writing, I got one of those poster boards and a gazillion different colors of sharpies. I like to organize things by pretty colors. :P
I agree with you on the plausibility issue... I always tend to overthink things like that.
This sounds really interesting... I can't wait to read it! :)
-thor- - April 19, 2008 06:55 PM (GMT)
Don't wait for that, Myri. It will certainly take months or years for me to get anywhere - especially since I have to concentrate on a totally different task until at least summer/autumn.
Jesina Dreis - April 19, 2008 08:43 PM (GMT)
That's how I am with my AU. Hell, that's how I am with the next part of the Jesina series--and Shades is just about wrapped.
When I do my whiteboard thing, I use different color markers to represent different groups or characters or what-not. Like I might have lines that lead off to Rogue Squadron, the Empire, and Wedge & Iella but anywhere Wedge would impact any of those things, I'll write him in red. Anywhere, say, Cracken impacts I might use blue, and so forth.
Selina - April 19, 2008 09:59 PM (GMT)
Everyone's so organized while I just write whatever comes to mind. Though that approach isn't working as well as it used to. LOL
I use Word files and throw my notes into it, trying to organize my ideas and putting scenes that I've written in some sort of order. It used to work, but now, I think a better method is needed.
Jesina Dreis - April 19, 2008 11:28 PM (GMT)
I use Word and, occasionally, Excel files.
-thor- - April 20, 2008 07:44 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Selina @ Apr 19 2008, 11:59 PM)|
| Everyone's so organized while I just write whatever comes to mind. Though that approach isn't working as well as it used to. LOL |
Which is exactly what I usually do. However as the fic I have in mind is essentially stuff for a trilogy - as in 3 full-blown books :blink: - this is not going to work. I mean of course there will be flashes of inspiration in the middle of the writing process, but I quite frankly never attempted to write such an extensive fic with so many characters, plotlines and planned conflicts and I just don't see this "ad-lib style" working (this time).
Myri Antilles - April 20, 2008 06:52 PM (GMT)
I am really bad about organizing... I found that if I organize too much, the story becomes boring, because I already know what's going to happen... I think I give English teachers nightmares. :P
Jesina Dreis - April 20, 2008 11:26 PM (GMT)
Says the English major....
I usually start out organizing and then lose track.
I had one ill-fated original that was a political book. Because it required a lot of characters, even just for the purposes of name dropping (it's hard to have conversations in a political setting without being able to mention a wide variety of people, even harder when you're dealing with a campaign).
I ended up with an Excel file with three different tabs with over a hundred names and positions. It was the only way I could keep things straight.