A COMPANION TO WRITING SAILORMOON FANFICS - Part III
Continuity within a fan-fiction can be
maintained with some effort -- namely planning, and
outline-creation. An outline serves as a template for
writing, a 'map' of sorts that makes sure that your ideas
are coherent and you don't leave obvious as well as smaller
gaps. Outlines also serve their purpose when you have more
than one creative project on the go. It is not often that a
writer will stick with just one piece of writing for the
time that it takes...sometimes months at a time. It's good
to keep a copy of your ideas lying around...just in case
Jackie Chiang summarizes quite neatly in
her Author's notes:
I suppose saying you get bored of your fics means to some
people that you love writing fics or you pour less love into
your fics than someone else. That's just total BS, I'm happy
to say. First off, finishing a very long fic with not quite
such a crappy ending means you're extremely dedicated.
Finishing a long series means you're pretty dedicated too.
Second, putting it up means that you want people to judge
your work, so it means you're also ready to face criticsm.
Third, being bored doesn't mean you don't love your fic; it
sometimes means that you would like to speed up and work on
other things that you'd like to do too. Any author that
totally loves their fic throughout the entire thing without
one drop of tiredness or boredom must A) Really, really be
inspired, B) Must have written one SHORT fic, or C) Have a
major ego inflated there. I'm not sure if I've met one
author that hasn't suffered at all in the process of writing
their fics, whether from writer's block [ick, the horror],
tiredness, boredom, frustration, et cetera.
I temper the 'don't serialize' tip with:
unless you've got most of the story planned out. Better yet,
don't start releasing the series until most of the story is
written (or entirely finished). You won't be flooding the
archives with multiple parts on any given day if you release
a part every week (if weekly serialization) or maybe even
three to four parts every week to finish the entire series
in a month. Levar Bouyer himself has
serialized the stories Bishoujo Senshi
Orion, as well the BSSO 3xx series. His method has
been to release an episode/chapter a week to the newsgroup
as well as to the main archives. Most of his sixteen
episodes have already been written, which means that there
aren't any major issues with regards to 'suddenly' running
dry for ideas or else, losing direction of the story
Other successful examples of
serialization or sequential release: Ken Wolfe's
Secrets was released in sixteen chapters over a
month's time - four chapters every week. Some of the most
successful serial releases would include Jeffrey Hosmer and John Biles'
Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon Z. Currently working on
chapter 15, the story is episodic in nature, meaning that
there is enough of a cliffhanger to lure the reader back.
Yet, because of the gaps between stories released, it is
fun to re-read what they've released so far.
Other serials include: College Life by Amanda 'Greenbeans'
Anderson has reached the fifteenth part. For the first
eleven parts, the release was fairly regular. Following that
though, the writing has slowed down and at times, has
stopped. This doesn't mean that College Life has been
abandoned to the wayside; on the contrary, Anderson has been
working on other stories and ideas during this hiatus.
- You aren't
required to be in the fanfic.
Anderson sees self-insertion fan-fiction
This also leads up to probably my biggest
mistake as a fanfic writer. At the time, I had recently
Oh! My God!! and saw a very good example of how
to make a self-inserted character work. I have been very
lucky in that it has worked for me as well. It wasn't until
around part 8 that I realized just how much I had limited
myself story wise by doing that when I had ideas I wanted to
write but couldn't.
Tim Nolan advises: "Avoid 'author
inclusion' stories at all costs UNLESS the focus of the
story is going to be light-hearted and/or humorous." I agree
with him. I have never read a self-inclusion fanfic that
did work that wasn't a comedy of some type. Apologies
if that upsets anyone, but stories where you insert yourself
so that you can lead the Senshi to victory have not worked
out well for the most part.
Ultimately, self-insertion fan-fiction
has tended to fall into the categories of ANC
(Annoying New Character) Syndrome as described by Taleswapper.
Self-insertion in both regular as well as
lemon/hentai fiction have the easiest times of scaring away
readers -- vis-a-vis the infamous lemon-fiction: Artemis'
Lover -- both a self-insertion [pardon the pun] and
lemon fiction involving beastiality.
Anderson has managed to avoid the
All-Powerful Character/Otaku type-casting by
separating the writer from the character Greenbeans.
Even though the character is based upon Anderson, a gradual division
has occured that allows the reader to understand that the
writer and character are no longer one and the same. This
has happened through a variety of plot devices, including a
shifting of focus from the events surrounding Greenbeans to
the events surrounding the two Senshi: Haruka and Michiru.
As readers, we read fan-fiction not to find out what's
happening within Beans' life, but what's happening within
the Senshi's lives. Occasionally we are shown glimpses of
what's going on within the character's life, keeping us
aware that Beans is still around and involved within the
Professor Washuu will be giving a brief
explanation of terms mentioned:
We've covered: lemon/hentai and otaku.
There are two main categories of fan-fiction (with multiple
subdivisions following): lemon and regular fan-fiction.
Lemon fan-fictions involve sex, regular fan-fiction usually
don't. Why do I use the qualifier: usually? Within
regular fan-fiction, there are stories which might be termed
lime, stories that hint at sexual activity, but the
'camera' veers away when the heat is turned up. But why are
lemons lemons? One description of a lemon story is derived
Stanton's By The New Moon's Light:
Lita chuckled knowingly. "Let me
guess. The over-ripe lemon effect?"
Ami blushed. "You could say
Mina was confused. "Over-ripe lemon
effect?" she echoed.
Ami opened her mouth to say
something, but Lita interrupted her before she could start.
"She doesn't need a textbook answer, Ami. I'm not surprised
that you don't know what we mean, Mina, since you're still
rather inexperienced in these matters. What happens when you
squeeze an over-ripe lemon?"
"The lemon squishes and juice goes
"Now what happens to you when you
think of dating Jack Silver?" Lita said, referring to a
hunky soap opera superstar that Mina had been drooling over
for the past three months.
Mina blushed lightly. "Well.... my
pulse starts to race, and...." Her blush deepened to an
impressive shade of crimson as she made the connections
between hormonal excitement and over-ripe lemons. "I see,"
was all she could manage to say.
Other explanations offered for the use of
the term: Lemon, for such stories include allusions to the
adult anime: Cream Lemon (from which Project A-ko was
derived). Lately, there has been a trend towards writing:
"Sekkushiaru Roman" a term literally meaning "sexual
romance." The term coined by Sailor Mac is derived from the book
"Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and
Sex in Contemporary Japan" by Nicholas
Bornoff, and it is considered to be the "perfect phrase to
describe the types of stories I [Sailor Mac] write (and
those by writers like Mark Berger, Lady M. Harris, Ivana B. Anonymous and Sailor Star
The difference between a hentai
fic, and a Sekkushiaru Roman is not clear, however,
most accepted as hentai lemon fics are usually: 1)
without a plot; 2) without in-character behaviour; and 3)
unrelenting sex between (the usually two, but sometimes
more) characters. Sekkushiaru Roman are also known as
Otaku is a word that has gained notoriety
within the Sailormoon world for its overuse as well as
misuse. Otaku, within the original Japanese meaning, carries
negative connotations of fanatics and anti-social behaviour.
Within the animé context, otaku has taken an entirely
different meaning -- usually meaning a 'fan' of the series
or character. Otaku within fan-fiction have usually been
with the form of self-insertion type or else, the otaku will
have created a new character that suffers from the Annoying New
Character syndrome. The only real place for
otaku within fictional writing is the Otaku Wars (OW!R)
thread on the alt.fan.sailor-moon newsgroup.
The alt.fan.sailor-moon newsgroup is one
of the few forums where all things related to Sailormoon
(and other off-topic discussions) are held for public
perusal. Stories that are posted to the newsgroup not only
carry time and date stamps [important when claiming
authorship], they will encourage discussion of the stories.
For example, Levar Bouyer's Bishoujo Senshi
Sailor Orion stories 3xx have been released to the
newsgroup. Not only have the stories been well recieved, but
the newsgroup generates discussion upon both the content and
foreshadowing present within the story. Levar's stories and
characters have the dubious honour of having their own otaku
following: Jen-Eileen otaku ^_^;. Other authors that have
released stories to the newsgroup: Ken Wolfe,Tim Nolan, Diane Pandora Waldron, Amanda 'Greenbeans'
Anderson, Ysabet as well as, Elisabeth 'Ophelia'
Continue to Part 4 »