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Monday Madness: Original Fic

Hello everyone! It's been a couple of months since I last posted for Original Fic, and for that I can only apologise, but here I am now, and hopefully I'll be on track for the rest of this year!



If anyone else wants to host one of our monthly posts on Original Fic, I'd be happy to have you here to share any aspect of original writing that you like. Either comment here or PM me and we'll set it up!

In the meantime, for today's post, I'm wondering: What sets you off and running with an original idea? What sort of stories and characters are you interested in writing about that push you to write your own stories rather than fanfic?



I'll see something in the news, or read/watch something in a book/on TV and think 'What if character X saw Y doing Z and then they...' or more generally, I'll respond with a 'What would happen if the world we know was changed by A happening' or 'What would a world with only B in it be like?' and then I open a document, and I'm away and laughing. As many of you know, much of what I write has a gay angle - there's plenty of straight fiction around anyway, and I'm interested in things that are slightly off the beaten track - and I adore sci-fi and fantasy, so I most often go there.

Currently, I have some older WIPs that have been long neglected, as follows:

1. Part Two of a teen coming-out series: the followup is ten years on, featuring my two main male protagonists after ten years. Summary: Jimmy feels like things haven't changed much in his life since he and Doug were separated ten years earlier, but Doug seems to have found something very different to what he - or anyone else - expected for his future.

2. A coming of age story set in a British public school, possibly set in the eighties, but not certain yet. Summary: Oscar insists he's in love with Damian though he won't push Damian more than he'll allow. Damian isn't even sure he likes boys yet, but he's drawn to Oscar and his mysterious past. The school they attend has it's share of queers and Damian can't understand why Oscar doesn't just choose someone else to fool around with. He agrees to go home with Oscar for his brother's 21st birthday where Oscar is reunited with someone who seems to hold some kind of sway over him that Damian can't quite figure out.

3. 21 year old Paul is alone on a farm in New Zealand after a fatal flu decimates the planet's population. Summary: People turn up at the farm every so often and Paul gladly welcomes them in at first. James is the teenage son of an older couple who take over running the increasingly organised community, and Paul falls for him hard. James's parents don't approve and life gets quite complicated, especially when a pair of teenage brothers and some unusual adults turn up and cause problems that almost prove Paul's undoing.

4. Teenage angst between friends, featuring an abusive relationship between an adult and a teenager, so a little dark in places; set in NZ. Summary: David discovers his friend Mark has been abused, and not just by being beaten. He's horrified, to say the least, and wants to help. What he didn't count on was that Mark is gay, and that maybe his own feelings for Mark go beyond friendship.

5. Futuristic story set 200 years after an apocalyptic event on Earth known as 'The Undoing'. Women are scarce and protected; men in the two known countries have set things up in very different ways in order to survive. Summary: A delegation from Guaya arrives in Aumethia to discuss exchanges of ideas and materials in order to progress both countries beyond the sometimes primitive methods they've both had to adopt to survive in a dry and resources-limited world. The Guayans are shocked by the liberal lifestyle they encounter, but they're not without a few surprising secrets of their own. An Aumethian expedition to find necessary minerals in wasteland outside the cities - which includes a couple of the Guayan visitors - encounters something unexpected. While this is going on, in the Aumethian women's city a girl learns about men firsthand for the first time, and dreams of a life without the pressure to reproduce, hoping that one day she'll get outside of the protected walls.

6. Vampire prostitute story set in early 1900's Britain. Summary: Bertie's a working boy of 18 when he's turned by a very foolish vampire, who promptly goes on to incinerate himself without telling Bertie anything. However, soon he's paid a visit by none other than the Keeper of London, who wants to teach Bertie more than how to find pleasure now sex is no longer his main source of satisfaction. Bertie's not about to stop letting men screw him though, and it appears he knows something the keeper doesn't.

Now, I'd love to make something of these stories, but I am a hopeless procrastinator and have issues committing to one story at a time - new ideas that pop into my head keep dragging me onwards... and even then, there's a bunch of other ideas I've wanted to write but have managed to put off by writing up a brief synopsis or else by telling myself the story in my head (never committing more than the idea to paper) and thereby fooling myself into believing I was 'done' with that particular story.

So, here's another question for you: How do you keep on the track of writing just one fic at a time so that you manage to finish it, or don't you?

I'd also love to hear about some of what you are working on, or have in your WIP folders! And on that theme - if anyone thinks any of the above WIPs seems interesting or you have ideas on what will get me back on track with any of them, I'm all ears!

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
mesmerising
May. 25th, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
Whoa, seems like you have loads of ideas for original stories, but eep, making the time to work on them is always super tough!

For me, I tend to set aside blocks of time to work on my stories (either original or fic--I kinda place them in the same category these days, because they're all creative). My schedule doesn't really allow for everyday writing, so when I do have a break of at least a fortnight, I aim to get quite a bit done then. I also write professionally for an iPhone RPG/interactive, and I follow a similar guideline when setting deadlines/timeframes for that.

I'm not sure if any of this helps--I know writers have all sorts of preferences and quirks, but in the last couple of years, I've seemed to have gotten better at compartmentalising, so if need be, I can just write creatively for an hour or two before going back to my "day job" (academic research/writing).

(Also, I'm not sure what hosting a monthly post entails, but would be happy to share my experiences if you think it might be of interest!)
asphaltcowgrrl
May. 26th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
I've never been good at compartmentalizing, but I get what you mean. I'll often work on fic during my lunch break and then go right back to writing change orders and permit applications and whatever else the day job requires. The downside to this is that I wind up calling my co-workers by my characters' names. WHOOOPS. :D
(no subject) - mesmerising - May. 27th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Jun. 3rd, 2015 09:54 am (UTC) - Expand
agdhani
May. 25th, 2015 07:24 pm (UTC)
original works...most of what I write is that...and I've no set idea where the bunnies come from. I'm on book 6 in a series that looks like it'll be 7 books long...plus a prequel that spun off when I was planning details for book 6. I've no idea if the prequel material will fit into one book or not.

I've another fantasy story in progress, but its dragging and I'm not sure why. at the moment I think its mainly because my head is stuck in the fantasy world of the first series, so separating the two has been difficult.

for bunnies...I have 2 other sequels to do...one involving angels/demons/and Native American lore, centered on a brother and sister (twins) who have the gift of communicating with angels. the first book (centered on the brother) is finished, so I have the sister's tale to do.

the other sequel is part of a steampunk/noir/sci-fi thing I did. It's not a necessary sequel...but sending my MC back in to rescue a friend he thought was lost is a tale that wants to be pursued in my head ;)

There's a modern romance that keeps bumping around in my head...something totally out of my normal focus of writing. I'm not sure how cliche the idea is, but it sounds worth writing in my head, so I may give it a shot.

the other project, that is likely to be this year's NaNo, is a post-apocalyptic type story involving werewolves...its a relatively new plot bunny that hasn't developed very far, but it is the loudest voice and biggest interference in my current WIP ;)

Normally I have 1-2 hours before work to write; it seems to be my most productive time since I have no dogs bugging me and no work stuff weighing on my mind. Work tends to drain my mind, so I don't always have much luck in the evenings. Weekends I usually have one day for writing and the other for house work and catching up on the shows I've not watched all week...
asphaltcowgrrl
May. 26th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC)
Wow, you have some serious WIPs/bunnies going on there. I love fantasy, but don't think that I'm nearly organized enough to write something like that. I've read enough of it to know that it's beyond complicated. :D

Good luck with your Nano idea, it sounds pretty interesting.
(no subject) - agdhani - May. 26th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agdhani - May. 27th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 09:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agdhani - May. 27th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 28th, 2015 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agdhani - May. 27th, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
mesmerising
May. 27th, 2015 05:26 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, I love your writing schedule with those hours before work--that's pretty much what I do when I need to write creatively, and I find it's basically awesome for churning out stuff before the rest of the day has properly begun.

All the best with your kazillion awesome projects! :D
(no subject) - agdhani - May. 27th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
haldoor
Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:02 am (UTC)
You have a bunch of interesting things on the go there, but then you're always so productive, so I'm not surprised really. It's fantastic when things just pop into your head that way, isn't it? Good luck with all of them - knowing your ability to get the words down, I'm confident you'll churn through them all eventually!

You're very lucky to have that couple of hours before work to write in; that's fantastic! Do you start work particularly late in the day or are you just a super-early riser? Are you working full or part-time hours? I work full-time and have a couple of school age children to get lunches for in the mornings before I start, so I'd be getting up even earlier than I already do to fit in pre-work writing, so I find I'm writing mainly at night, which has it's difficulties too - running kids around places after school, getting dinner organised (thankfully not every night as I have others to share duties with), and all the TV I want to watch... oh man, too many excuses, really! I just need a little more discipline and to make myself put aside some time, I guess (the trouble is I then get behind on answering comments at the comm, let alone on my flist!!!).

Anyway, thanks for sharing - it's good to hear how others make things work for them. ;-)
(no subject) - agdhani - Jun. 3rd, 2015 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
asphaltcowgrrl
May. 26th, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC)
You know what? I have always felt the opposite. I feel like it's so much harder to take someone else's characters, worlds, and storylines and turn them into something of my own creation. For that reason, I never even wrote my first fanfic until 2012!

That said, there's nothing wrong or 'cheating' about taking established characters and turning them into something that's more of your own. It'll get easier to move away from those established characters the more you work with your own creations. :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mesmerising - May. 27th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haldoor - Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:15 am (UTC) - Expand
starry_wolf
May. 26th, 2015 03:33 am (UTC)
Wow, original fiction... is not really my forte. I tend to stick more to fanfiction, even though sometimes the "fanfic" I end up writing is so different from the original work that I could just change the character's names and end up with an original work.

The only definite piece of original fiction I've written in recent years is an entry for a LGBTQIA+ magazine that publishes short stories. It's a what-if fantasy story where Greek mythos meets the modern world. In a nutshell, it's about an asexual woman who applied for and got a job aboard the Argo, which nowadays functions as the primary liaison between humans and non-humans. She's asexual because, well, that's the only way to communicate with sirens without needing earplugs.

There's also an alternate culture fantasy thing where I basically turned the ABO trope on its head and made it into a lifestyle D/S thing with several mythologies as inspiration. Basically, the world was created by taking every single ABO and modern gender-binary stereotype and ripping it systematically apart. And then I tossed this society in the equivalent of the RWBY Remnant world where monsters are the greatest threat to civilisation. Otherwise known as "Starrie Wolf should never be asked to write PWPs. Really. No one is surprised by this point."

For me, I use deadlines to stop myself from procrastinating. I have a very clear list of deadlines pinned up on my wall, and tick-marks. I like seeing numbers and tangible things, so I keep updating my word count on the 1-million-words post. I've been writing for long enough that I know what I'm capable of, and I try to arrange my writing schedule according to fandom - so, for instance, I'd re-read a really good fic in a fandom or check out my Tumblr fandom tag, and then write all the fics for this fandom. Rinse and repeat.

For all my epics, I put the word out and a few people sign up as cheerleaders to help me get through them. I also keep a physical notebook with the world-building, pre-production, post-production, random ideas and miscellaneous notes that I can refer to at a glance for each of them. For my longest epic (100k+ words right now, estimated ~400k total), I also re-read what I've already got to make sure I don't lose track of any of the plot threads.
asphaltcowgrrl
May. 26th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
I have to say that if you write fanfic and it strays so far from cannon that it can't even be called an AU, then that definitely qualifies as original. :D

I'm in awe of anyone who can write an epic fantasy or anything that includes massive worldbuilding. It's all way beyond me.
(no subject) - starry_wolf - May. 26th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
haldoor
Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:28 am (UTC)
Oh wow, there's some epic ideas right there! I wish you luck with them, even if you're not wishing you weren't asked to write PWPs!!!

You're also very organised, which is awesome! I love hearing how everyone gets things to work for them - such great ideas. I am semi-organised chaos most of the time, with a spreadsheet to help me count words, so everything is listed on there, but my so-called attempts at keeping a list of 'to-do' things on a whiteboard always seems to get hopelessly behind!!! Ah well, I do seem to make progress eventually though, even if it's slow.

Thanks so much for sharing what works for you - it's always great to get ideas on these things! ;-)

(no subject) - starry_wolf - Jun. 3rd, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
asphaltcowgrrl
May. 26th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
Where does the inspiration come from? Sometimes it's a song, or a comment, or a picture I see. And then, sometimes, I just think, wouldn't it be fun to send two detectives into a swinger's hotel to solve a string of robberies? WHERE did that even come from? I don't even know.

You seem to be as bad as I am with starting things and never finishing them. They all sound fascinating, but the vampire prostitute has me laughing. I feel your pain though. I'll do really well with working on one thing at a time and then I'll get a hundred plot bunnies and start fifty new things. So, I'm usually working on 2-3 things at any given time.

I've been accused of being ADHD (which I don't buy into) but sometimes, when it comes to my writing, it might actually apply to a point. I work on one thing until something else catches my attention. I give in and feed that new story because I know that I'm going to tire of it eventually and go back to the previous WIP. It's not an exact science, but it works for me probably a good 75-80% of the time.

What do I like to write about? Pretty much day-to-day life, as boring as that can be. But I've also dipped my toe in and wrote my first mystery this year. It's something I'd love to write more of.

What am I working on? A sequel to my mystery that probably won't have a mystery to it. LOL Also a wedding fic for my boys, Travis and Ethan. There are also two het contemp love stories that I really ought to get back to one of these days. :/
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
mesmerising
May. 27th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm totally with you on the inspiration thing! I find it so easy to spin stories out of...not much. I know some people have trouble being inspired, but I think we've got the opposite problem of having waaaaay too many ideas and no time to write all of them!
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - May. 27th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
haldoor
Jun. 3rd, 2015 10:35 am (UTC)
You do seem to be very like me with all the hopping about from story to story, but you're definitely more focused than I am these days! I never seem to feel like I have time to devote to things the way I want, and like you, a shiny new bunny will often demand attention so that older half-finished fics are suddenly abandoned halfway through with vague promises to return... and the longer I'm away, the harder it can be to pick them up again. I do try though, so sometimes I manage to fulfil a promise to myself! I really would like to get my WIP numbers down though so I'm making some attempt not to start too many new big things now, and since my brain seems to have taken a bit of a bunny-hiatus it's probably a good time to do it!

Thanks for sharing how you work and what you're currently working on - it's great that you're trying a different genre with the mystery - good luck with it, and with the different sequel to it too! Ah, Travis & Ethan... they are so cute together! As for the het love stories... go, you! I hope you get them done one day! ;-)

Edited at 2015-06-03 10:37 am (UTC)
(no subject) - asphaltcowgrrl - Jun. 3rd, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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