Reflections on Writing a Long Fanfic
Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hi, everyone. Thanks to everyone who wrote comments on my fanfics and images. Hope I made you laugh a little. I started out here on this site about a month ago now with my first entry, a long fanfic called "Shadow of Doubt". I had started it out as a two hour movie sequel to Serenity, just my idea of what I think would have happened next.

I've been writing screenplays for about ten years now and have had a small success with one, which went straight to video, and hardly anyone saw it. I made a bit of money and I'm still owed some (which I'll never see) but it didn't do anything for my career in screenwriting. So I started out "Shadow of Doubt" with the idea that it would be about 120 pages, which is industry standard two hours, a minute to a page. Well, that idea went out the window when I got to 80 pages and was only at the middle, or just before the middle. I was going to give up but decided to post it here to see what the reaction would be. Well, it was very positive so I slogged on, trying to keep family and work going at the same time. I realize I had three things against me:

1. Time. The first 80 pages took about two months to write with lots of editing and re-writing. I felt some pressure to continue quickly based on the positive fan reaction so I wrote the next 30 pages in two weeks and when I fit them together, I felt it wasn't quite right and wanted to change some things, which I will do later after I finish the whole thing.

2. Plot. I have a basic plot outlined but as I am writing I'm finding myself going down little alleys and side streets to explore other things related to the story, so I kind of get away from the main idea a bit.

3. Lenght. This thing is turing into a monster and may be enough for two or three movies by the time I finish, sometime before Chirstmas I hope. So its going to take more time and effort, which I will do, just for my personal satisfaction.

So that being said, here's my advice for those wanting to write a long fanfic.

1. Plot out the whole thing, scene by scene, before you begin. You will have to change some things as you go, but the basic skeleton will be there.

2. Write the whole thing first, and then put it on this site, all at once, or in little chunks, with appropriate cliffhanger marks to keep the audience wanting more.

3. Don't start unless you can finish. Nothing worse than the tease of an idea we never get to see finished. Hmmm that kinda sounds like a little show called..Firefly!

There you have it. I'm no expert but that's my advice for anyone who wants to write a long fanfic. I'm sure lots of others who have written them here have some good advice, too.

By the way, if you have ideas to be a screenwriter, make sure you have a good regular job, too. Screenwriters are a dime a dozen and Hollywood gets about 40,000 screenplays a year to make about 350 movies. You have a better chance getting a book published before a screenplay you wrote hits the movie theaters.

Long Live the Browncoats!


Monday, August 13, 2007 4:44 AM


Hey keep it up:0 Maybe you'll be in on the writing of Serenity 2

Sunday, August 12, 2007 1:24 PM


Hah, I find your rules very true. (O.o" I wrote 14 pages of a fic in one night once, edit/reedit, and er... spazzed out 'cos I've only got to chapter 6 up here, and have at least 9 working on on the Micron laptop... O_O")

Sunday, August 12, 2007 8:50 AM


Sheesh! Well, if it's any consolation to you, Uncle Joss ran into the same things when he was first writing the BDM. Everything that made up the original draft would easily have completed the TV season - and God knows that would have been even shinier than just one movie, but anyway...Yeah, when you really really want to tell a story, it's hard to restrain yourself from posting as you write instead of completing it first. I find that with Firefly writing, with all the complexities of character and plot, you almost have to write the entire thing and review it constantly to make sure you've got everything and everyone down pat.

But, there's nothing wrong with writing an epic. ;) I've done much the same thing in many a fandom and just wound up making it into a miniseries instead of trying to tell the whole thing in one sitting - esp. since I get so many standalone ideas! And, as far as the little alleys and side streets go, ask yourself: Do they really, really need to be included in the story? Are they necessary to tie other plot elements together in the end? Or can you skip them, and just get away with making a passing reference to keep everything sensical?

BTW, are you in the market for a beta reader? They're pretty hard to come by around here, but there might be a willing so-and-so about.


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