[identity profile] verushka70.livejournal.com
Firstly, my apologies on the tardiness of this piece. I was supposed to go a week or two after [livejournal.com profile] nos4a2no9. Riiiight. *sigh* Anyway, here we go!

The original question was:

“What's the best way to structure a story that doesn't use a conventional A-B-C plotline? I want (desperately) to write a story that manipulates time and incorporates a lot of flashbacks/flash-forwards but I'm not sure how to go about it, or what to avoid. Can someone help?”

I've broken up the answer into parts, including
Why this question took so frakkin’ long to answer

Writing a story vs. Telling a story, and about the DS stories, and movies, analyzed here

Learning the rules so you can break them: Chronological narratives with causally dependent plot events—the conventional story narrative

How to write chronological narrative stories

“Post-modern” plots which are actually narratives, underneath all their fancy dress: Pulp Fiction, Memento, Run Lola Run

Non-narrative/non-chronological plots that actually are narrative/chronological, Part I: Examples in DS fanfic (“Tell Me A Story”; “More Than You Know”; “After”)

Non-narrative/non-chronological plots that actually are narrative/chronological, Part II: Examples in DS fanfic: (untitled Post-It notes story; At The Time Of Writing)

Complicated or multiple narratives within the same story: DS fanfic example (“Acharnement”)

How to write a truly non-chronological, non-narrative story

A note on truly non-narrative, non-chronological “plotless” stories (and DS fic comparison: The Fraser Record (Excerpts))

Finally, complicated or multiple narratives within the same story, with flashbacks and/or flashforwards (DS story examples: Stop Me If You've Heard This One; Thus Every Feather Obeys The Wind)

In summary

Kindly head this way for the workshop piece and plot analyses! )
[identity profile] nos4a2no9.livejournal.com
Hi everyone!

I promised ages ago to write a follow-up post to my first workshop piece on Life In Northern Canada. [livejournal.com profile] sageness and a few other folks had specific questions they wanted me to address, hence the sequel. If you're looking for more general topics about northern Canada, such as landscape and geography, weather, the role of the RCMP, shopping and dining, education and healthcare, I covered a lot of that material in the original post. However, I'm always happy to answer any questions you might have, or go into more specific explanations if you need them for a post-"Call of the Wild" story.

Again, I should make the caveat that I'm not an expert in Canadiana, and a lot of my knowledge is anecdotal. I grew up in a fairly large city in northern British Columbia, and so most of my observations come from spending summers in the communities further north, or taking trips around the region with my parents. Don't take anything I say as gospel, in other words, and if something doesn't sound right or you want me to clarify, please feel free to ask in the comments, or shoot me an email at nos4a2no9@gmail.com

Alright, on to the questions! Most of these are from [livejournal.com profile] sageness, because her brain is shiny like that.

1. Fraser's childhood: Canada in the 1950s and 1960s )

2. Teens and free time: what are the kids are doing? )

Which brings us to possibly the best question ever...

3. What about the sex industry? )

4. Is there a stigma of any kind attributed to being from the far north? )

5. What about the oil industry? )

6. How much racism, segregation, and integration is there between First Nations and whites in the community off the reservations? )

I wish I had something a little cheerier to end on. If you have a question that I haven't yet addressed, or you'd like to discuss some of these issues in more detail, please feel free to comment here. I hope some of this is useful for those of you trying to compose a post-CotW story. Or we could, y'know, talk in person at [livejournal.com profile] bitchinparty!
sage: Still of Natasha Romanova from Iron Man 2 (zombie joe and paul gross)
[personal profile] sage
Several people seconded an off-handed mention of doing a post on writing villains -- and LOTS of us are doing either Due South Seekrit Santa and/or Yuletide this holiday season, so this is hopefully a very timely and relevant post. Feel free to pimp this far and wide because I'd love to get a good range of discussion going in the comments.

First I'm going to share my meandering thoughts, and then I've got a bunch of questions for us to consider.

wherein I think about bad guys )

So let's talk about how to present well-drawn bad guys. What awesome bad guys have you read or seen onscreen? Name some -- from fic, novels, movies, television, comics, pop culture, whatever. What makes them effective villains?

What characters still creep you out, months or years later? Why?

What different sorts of villains are there? How can a writer use different sorts of villains in the same story?

Do you like villains better when we understand their motivation all along (and can maybe empathize) or when they're faceless blanks to be revealed at the end? What kind of story is served by each format?

What experience have you had writing bad guys in your own fic, and what pitfalls did you have to deal with? What do you know now that you wish you'd known then?

Obviously, no one has to answer everything, but I'd love for this to be a round table discussion. Please jump in with whatever grabs you, whether your examples are Due South-related or not.

Thanks! :D
[identity profile] texasbek.livejournal.com
In "Seeing is Believing", when Ray K reveals that he wanted to be a father, I saw him in a whole new light. I certainly know a lot of men who want to be fathers, but probably not any who would end a marriage over it. So this strong desire of his to have children says interesting things about his personality. At the very least it gives you a canon lead in to writing him as a father. For the most part I read F/K and there is certainly something appealing about a post-COTW happily-ever-after that includes fatherhood. Kidfic, due South style )
ext_3190: Red icon with logo "I drink Nozz-a-la- Cola" in cursive. (dS: fraser hallelujah)
[identity profile] primroseburrows.livejournal.com
Hello, all. First time here, hi!

I'm a little late posting, mostly because my uploads were on the slow side and Windows Movie Maker kept crapping out on me. Also, a caveat: I'm really wordy. I'm trying to cut down. Please forgive me if I ramble or go on too long.

When I volunteered to talk about writing Fraser I had no idea what I was going to write and for a while there I thought I'd never come up with anything. I know Fraser is really hard to write for some authors but I wasn't sure how to try to make it less frustrating because Fraser comes really easy to me. It's like he lives in my head or something. I'm not as articulate in speaking as he is, but my writing style is a lot like Fraser's spoken conversation. It's actually the inverse with me: sometimes I have to really work at making my other characters NOT sound like Fraser. We also have similar issues around politeness and hurting people's feelings, and I get the part about a lonely childhood (although I'll argue that huge parts of Fraser's childhood weren't lonely at all).

So anyway, here goes:

First thing, and I do mean FIRST THING: Don't forget about canon. )

With a good base in canon, it's not only fine to read fic for inspiration, it's encouraged. There are some amazing authors out there who get Fraser so well it's like reading an episode of the show. I don't have room or time to rec them all here. You all know what your favourite Frasercentric fics are (or even other-centric; Fraser's voice and personality can be shown off really well by another character).

So. We have canon and fic to inspire and inform us. Now it's time to make a list (mental or written; written works better for me because I'm good at forgetting things): What makes Fraser, well. Fraser? )
[identity profile] nos4a2no9.livejournal.com
Hi all,

A little while ago [livejournal.com profile] ximeria posted about writing fanfiction from different cultural/linguistic perspectives. [livejournal.com profile] ximeria is a fan from the Netherlands, and her post addressed some of the challenges she's encountered when writing American or Canadian characters for whom she has few cultural reference points. In my reply to her post I'd said that as a northern Canadian, I experience the dS fandom a little differently than folks from, say, Texas or California (or even Toronto or Halifax ). Our fearless leader [livejournal.com profile] sageness then asked if I'd discuss some of the less obvious aspects authors might want to consider when writing post-Call of the Wild stories set in Freezerland. So here we are! Consider this your primer post on writing post-Call of the Wild stories for due South!

But First, Some Qualifications )

The Culture of Northern Canada )

The Economy, Shopping, and Dining )

The Weather )

Education )

Healthcare and Emergency Services )

The RCMP and the North )

I've included some links below to blogs and other firsthand accounts of life in the Canadian north, as well as some handy research sites behind the cuts.

Blogs )

Other Resources )

Well, that does it for [livejournal.com profile] ds_workshop this week. I hope I've provided some useful information about various aspects of life in northern Canada, and I'm ready and willing to answer any questions you may have to the best of my limited ability. I'd like to do a second workshop post on northern Canada soon, and so if you have a question, a comment or you want me to explain something further please let me know and I'll include the answer in the next post. Good luck with those post-Call of the Wild stories, and please feel free to post questions or comments below.
[identity profile] brynnmck.livejournal.com
Hi! This is my first time, so please forgive any lack of expertise/finesse. ;)

I'm here to blather at you regarding the following question: "How do you manage to keep the guys in character when they keep wanting to develop personalities of their own?" (I'm going to focus primarily on the characters' behavior here, since the lovely [livejournal.com profile] sageness already covered the character voice side of things quite well.)

This is kind of a difficult question to answer, since there is no real concrete "This Is Character X" checklist out there; the unique beast of fic means we're all writing in the same world, but none of us created it, and therefore we all see it a little bit differently. (I mean, think about this: effectively, we're writing a massive, ever-changing collaboration with hundreds of different authors. It's a miracle we manage to get to the same place at all! GO US. \o/) So there's a fair amount of room for interpretation going on before we even sit down at the computer or the notebook. Which can be a good thing; there are many times when I've read a fic where I think the voices or off or the characters aren't quite how I see them, but there is a line or a moment or an overall feeling that's just so dead-on perfect it goes right to my heart and makes me willing to be flexible about the rest. Finding an author who portrays the characters exactly as I see them, note for note, reaction for reaction, is pretty rare (though awesome for me when it happens), so we've all got a little bit of wiggle room.

That said, though, if I'm reading along and I get to a passage that involves Fraser, say, kicking a puppy, it's probably going to make me scratch my head. Or laugh and close the tab. Or both. So there are some basic objective characteristics that make these characters who they are, and sometimes it's easy to lose those in the ebb and flow of the writing process, so here are a few things I use to keep myself honest when it comes to characterization.

A short characterization checklist )

So those are my thoughts.* What works for you? How do you tell when your characters are wandering away from you? How have you fixed it? What signs do you keep an eye out for? What do you do when the canon isn't consistent (besides cry a little on the inside)? Please school me in the comments!

*I would also like to congratulate myself on getting through this entire essay without ONCE exhorting anyone to "check yourself before you wreck yourself." I assure you, this has not been easy, but I have DONE IT for the benefit of EVERYONE. You're welcome!
[identity profile] chesamus.livejournal.com
How can you write a convincing narrative voice from RayK's POV, and balance his canonical plain talk with the needs of your story?

RaySpeak )
sage: Still of Natasha Romanova from Iron Man 2 (canada flag by c_regalis)
[personal profile] sage
Several people requested a post on how successful foreshadowing works, so here goes!

Dropping Hints: keys to effective foreshadowing )

Also, a brief admin note: The next volunteer call post will go up shortly. Please sign up if you can! :D
omphale: (aspen)
[personal profile] omphale
So. I'm a tiny bit late.

Okay, a lot late, and I'm very, very sorry. There were things, and then more things, and...well. It doesn't much matter, does it? Suffice to say that, once I stopped looking at this as an assignment and started looking at it as something fun, everything got a lot easier.

Hi. I'm [profile] omphale23, and I'll be your slightly-nervous (okay, seriously petrified) guide to the wacky world of narrators you can't trust. Pull up a keyboard and tell me I'm wrong. Or tell me I'm right. Whichever.

[Fair warning. I'm pretty sure all of my examples are slash, because that's what I read. And probably F/K, for the same reason. The bullet points, though, are good for whatever pairing (or lack thereof) you prefer.]

ext_31419: (DS - My fandom is unhinged)
[identity profile] ximeria.livejournal.com
How do you imagine what goes on inside a Mountie's head? Or how do you get inside the mind of a Chicago Flatfoot with experimental hair style? Or even worse, how do you even begin to write Diefenbaker, when your native language isn't Wolf, let alone English?

Let's start off easy: Hello, my penname is Ximeria, to many people simply known as 'Xim'. I'm here to ponder a topic that should have made me run for the hills back in 2001 when I first started writing fanfic.

See, I was born, and I still live, in a small country in Scandinavia (Denmark for those who are geography nerds or simply curious). For those who don't know, the language here is Danish, not English. Location wise, we're half-way around the globe from Chicago (give or take a bit).

So, what am I yammering about? Let's just say there are a few things that can seriously pull the writing experience to a grinding halt.

Writing from a different language or culture than the characters. )
china_shop: Neal, Peter and Elizabeth smiling (Dangerous with gun)
[personal profile] china_shop
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sageness for beta, to Miriam for her substantial input to this, and to both of them for hundreds of betas over the years, which have taught me heaps.

So what do you mean by “action scene”, anyway?
When we talk about action scenes, we’re looking at anything from hand-to-hand fights and shoot outs, to car chases. And Due South canonically has a lot of them, so if you want to evoke the flavour and feel of canon, consider adding one or two into your story.

I chose to discuss action scenes because they’re not my forte: watching movies, I often zone out when the dialogue stops, and only tune back in when the main character says, “Phew! We made it!” (And then I have to figure out who died and whether I care.) I’ve been known to write [insert action scene here] in my first drafts, and then I either come up with something in the rewrite -- making it as quirky as possible -- or get help from my betas.

And there’ve been several action scenes where I’ve had to rewrite them half a dozen times, changing the setting on each rewrite because logistically they just don’t work. But when I nail an action scene, when it does work? It’s satisfying, it adds depth and scale to the story, it emphasizes that I’m writing about cops, and that they live in a big complex world that encompasses more than Kowalski’s apartment, his couch and his bed. ;-) And I always feel like I learned something.

So, what makes action scenes tick? )
sage: close up of a red poppy (poppy)
[personal profile] sage
For ease of organization, I'm dividing questions into thematic groups. You'll see that I'm NOT deleting multiple instances of a question because in general, each of these questions addresses a HUGE topic and there's a lot more room for discussion than can be covered in a single Answer Post. For example, [livejournal.com profile] sprat's awesome first post addressed some techniques for writing sex scenes, but we could probably talk about writing sex every week and not explore everything. So, if you have an idea for a post that covers similar-but-not-identical turf as one already done, you can totally claim it!

For guidelines on what makes an appropriate question about craft, please see the series' introductory post.


Please add new questions in the comments of THIS post, and I will edit them in. To volunteer to tackle any of these questions, please do so at the newest Volunteer Call post. Thank you!! :D
[identity profile] llassah.livejournal.com

This is a response to the question posted by [personal profile] bathsweaver about AU fics,

Oh, I've got questions about setting up/casting AUs, what's kosher or not (given the assumption that everything is acceptable, but some things are more acceptable than others).

Names, for example. If you're setting up an AU in--ah, bah--the Irish Potato Famine (examples are hard!), does it really make sense to have characters with Italian and Polish surnames? And familial relationships--is splitting up/fusing characters' families (Vecchio and Smithbauer are brothers! Frobisher is RayK's dad! Turnbull and Thatcher are siblings!) simply not done?

Or a better question, is there a way to make it work, without asking too much indulgence from your readers?

Notes: I have cited a fair few Alternate Universe fics in this essay. I am aware that the list is incomplete- there are fics I have not touched on, mainly due to time and space (I need a tardis). However, I might not have come across them, and would be very grateful if you could chip in with aus you have enjoyed. It is due to a peculiar cross between research and masochism at this point that I want to read them, for reasons that will become clear below. This essay should also possibly be called a meandering…chip in, correct, interact- I am in a position as far from knowledge as the original questioner. Enormous thanks go to [personal profile] eledhwenlin for her amazing powers of finding a fic based on a few vague phrases, and enormouser thanks go to [personal profile] lamentables for an amazingly fast, amazingly insightful beta on this thing. Errors are mine, the good things are hers *g*.

The Au: Trials, Tribulations, and…other things that begin with ‘T’

[identity profile] sprat.livejournal.com
(Hi, yes, me again. I'm snagging another question for selfish reasons--I really want to hear what you guys have to say about this one. *waves*)

I like writing. Mostly I do, anyway--there are those times when I hate hate hate writing and I want to kick writing's stupid ass because it is stupid. But for the most part, I like it. It's satisfying and absorbing and occasionally giddy-making. I can't imagine any activity that could possibly take its place in my life. It's something I've always done.

But for as long as I've been writing, I've been dreading those moments when it's time to think up a name for the story. Every single thing I come up with seems cheesy, or pretentious, or totally not related to the story in any way I can fathom; I could overthink the decision for hours, if I let myself.

Clearly that would be crazy behaviour, though, so I've had to come up with a few strategies to prevent my weird brain from getting in its own way.

1. Pick out some word from the body of the story that sounds pretty! Add bonus points if the word means two things at once, because then you can kinda imply that you had deeper things in mind than the hotness of Fraser licking Ray's hip.

2. Steal lines from songs you like! I did this with The Best Parts of Lonely (which is from Left and Leaving, by The Weakerthans) and also with April After All (which is a song by Ron Sexsmith). Again with the bonus points if you can kind of draw parallels between the subject matter of the story and the song.

3. When all else fails, panic and call it whatever stupid thing pops into your head when you close your eyes! I, uh, don't actually recommend this. Just, sometimes, for me, it's this or not posting a story at all. Which is how I end up with gems like Untitled Ficlets 1, 2 and 3! Or, you know, Auralphilia. *g*

4. While I was putting this post together, I found this here amazing little script by someone called Maygra, who is maybe or maybe not the same as the LJ maygra, and anyway, it is an automatic title generator! Seriously! I don't know how well it would work in a practical sense, especially for dS fic, but I kind of love it anyway. It gave me "The Silky Thief"! And "The Academy of the Slaves"! Tell me those are not great titles for pretty much anything.

All right, that's what I've got. Obviously, I am in desperate need of some better ideas, and since there are lots of very good story titles out there, I know you guys can help. How do you come up with titles for your stories? How do you tell if it's a title that works? Link us to your favourite resources! GIVE US YOUR SECRETSESSSS!!
[identity profile] dkwilliams.livejournal.com
So you’re reading a wonderfully written story. You've been expertly seduced by the beginning, your interest and imagination have been skillfully played by the storyline, and you’ve been teased by plot twists until you’re breathless with anticipation. The climax of the story finally comes, and it’s perfect and you’re shaking from the intensity, laughing aloud from the joy of it – and then the writer just ends the story, rolls over and goes to sleep, leaving you lying there in the virtual wet spot, feeling vaguely unsatisfied about the whole thing but not exactly sure why.

Put that way, it gives you a whole new perspective on your writing, doesn't it?
Read more... )
[identity profile] vienna-waits.livejournal.com
Exposition, or “I first came to Chicago...”

Hi, folks. My name’s [livejournal.com profile] vienna_waits, and my topic is exposition and how to gracefully work it into a story. After a general discussion of the key elements driving your use of exposition, I’ll outline several strategies and show they can be used effectively with examples from both canon and fic. (Please note I will only be pulling good, Paul-Gross-arms-worthy stuff from people’s fic here. Yay for well-done exposition!) For the purposes of this post, I’m going to define exposition as “background information that references a) things that happened before the story began, or b) things that happened during the story but are not shown on-screen.”
Step right this way for more... )
[identity profile] sprat.livejournal.com
Hi. I'm here to talk to you about writing kissing and/or sex. I volunteered for this question because I write a lot of stories about kissing and/or sex; kissing and/or sex are some of my favourite things. I don't feel like I'm any kind of expert on the matter, though. This is not so much a compilation of Rules You Should Follow as it is a collection of things I think I do myself. You might not find this helpful at all, or maybe you'll like parts of it and completely disagree with me about other parts. That's cool. You will almost certainly have helpful hints of your own that aren't included here. In both cases, please feel free to add to this in the comments.

Start small

I usually start writing because there's one small, particular thing I want to see some character doing or saying--Ray K wrapping Ray Vecchio's fingers around a crossbar in their headboard, for example, then giving him a look that dares him to keep them there.* Then I try to figure out what the characters are feeling in that little scenelet, and then why they’re feeling like that, and then I build up the context and backstory from there. This means that my stories are generally pretty lacking in traditional A plot (like, crime stuff and action and whatnot) because I usually only add that stuff later, as a frame for the character interaction to hang out inside of. I’m okay with that, personally. YMMV.

(Sometimes my small, particular thing (SPT™) is not part of a story in which there is smut. Sometimes it doesn’t involve kissing, even. As distressing as this can be, I’ve found that the story I’m writing usually turns out better if I focus my attention on building it around whatever the SPT is and, if necessary, leave the smut out of the picture altogether. It is a sacrifice, but it is for ART, yo.)

continued... )

Okay! The end! That's all the rambling I'm up to tonight. It's your turn, now--tell me what you do to make your kissing scenes more kissingful or your sex scenes sexier. What's your trick?

*[livejournal.com profile] pearl_os and other Ray/Ray oppositionists may mentally add a Fraser to this example; he can be on the other side of the bed, watching.

**The author is sleepy and therefore takes no responsibility for any mixed or unusual metaphors; continue reading at your own risk.
[identity profile] nos4a2no9.livejournal.com
or, How To Write Plotty Casefic Without (Entirely) Losing Your Mind

I'll begin with a small caveat: I haven't published any long, plotty case-based fics for this fandom. I'm working on several, but most of you who come here for advice or helpful hints will probably ask yourself, "Okay, who is [livejournal.com profile] nos4a2no9 to tell me how to write casefic when she hasn't published any?" And I guess the answer is that old chestnut, "Those who can't...teach." I have written epic casefic in the DCU comicsverse, and I think some of the hard lessons I learned over there will shed some light on the fraught process of crafting a long, detailed and realistic case-based story for the dS fandom.

I've broken this down into sections to make the process a little clearer. These are techniques that I've found work for me, and while everyone will have a different approach I think I've come up with some basics that will help get you started. Please add any tricks and tips you've come up with when you try to tackle the sometimes unwieldy and always challenging form of long fiction. It's not an easy process and you will, at points, want to tear your hair out in frustration, but rest assured that the end result is usually a very solid, intelligent and well-plotted story. It's as satisfying in its own way as the best-written novella or PWP and I think it's my favorite of all the genres this fandom has to offer. So that's my pitch. Let's get started!

Go Big or Go Home

The first question you want to ask yourself when you sit down to plan your casefic is, "What kind of story do I want to tell? How long do I think my story needs to be?" These are essential questions because a) it will help you figure why you're writing casefic to begin with instead of a shorter story about, say, grocery shopping, and b) the length question will help you determine exactly what kind of crime the characters should be investigating. Not all crimes are created equal and deciding early on how much space you'll be able to devote to the case-related elements will help you figure out how everything will come together, and when.

The vast majority of the fanfiction published in the due South fandom clocks in at roughly 1000-6000 words and usually focuses on Fraser and Ray (or Ray and Ray, or any other pairing) in a romantic relationship. Since the story is short there's usually only room for the 'A' romance/sex story but some authors make use of day-to-day details (Fraser and Ray's work at the 2-7, for example) in order to set the scene and create some tension and momentum in order to move the plot along. Minor crimes or funny, oblique references to wacky dS-style crimes (pickpockets! elderly vigilantes! evil Santas!) are probably safe to include in these shorter stories since the focus is on the relationship and not the crimes being investigated or solved. You can get away with a lot if your crime-related 'B' plot in a short story is just being used as background material: I like 'em because they're fun to set up and resolve, they don't take a lot of time or planning, and if done right the minor inclusion of case-related details can have a subtle effect on what you're trying to accomplish with your romance. Plus, a stakeout is always a good setting for a makeout. :-)

Longer stories (6000+ words) make use of a 'B' plot wherein Our Heroes investigate a crime that is integral to the plot and larger thematic elements of the story. Fraser and Ray might be tracking down a dangerous serial murderer, or they might be called upon to investigate an international terrorist. Along the way they'll probably grow closer, make discoveries about one another and their personal dynamic will change (that's the 'A' plot in long-story form). If you've plotted your story correctly there should be some correlation between the investigation and what's going on between the characters.

To wrap this so-obvious-it-hurts introduction to casefic, remember to always start by asking yourself, "What kind of story do I want to write?" If you're more interested writing an 'A'-plot romance that explores the character's sexual or emotional connection over a specific period of time, don't gum up the works with a lot of case-related detail. But if the story you want to tell is big with a capital "B" (Big Drama! Big Emotion! Big Angst! Big Humour! Big Big Big!) you'll probably get a lot of mileage out of the long, plotty casefic form.

So Where Do I Start )

The Devil's In the Details: Reference Materials You Can Count On )

Putting It All Together )


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