View Full Version : The Fanfiction Forum E-zine ~ November 2008

1st November 2008, 01:52 PM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine
November 2008

Whose E-zine is it Anyway?

Conversations with the Stars – Cadmus
Lady Vulpix

To Be A Master

Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block

The Grammar Nazi – 1337

Whose E-zine is it Anyway?

Welcome to another issue of the FanFiction E-zine, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter! That’s right, they matter just as much as a plotline in a porno.

We’re in the midst of exciting times here on TPM, with the huge Website Revival Project (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=55) in full swing and the old Unown Awards (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17780) back once again. Things are happening here in Fanfic, as well, from the obvious ones like PancaKe’s return to a couple of major events in the next few months. We're keeping a tight lid on certain things for now, but keep your eyes peeled. They’re not all what you think.

We’ve got a great issue ready for you this month, so let’s get started!

Conversations with the Stars – Cadmus
Lady Vulpix

Lady Vulpix: How long have you been writing?
Cadmus: I've truly started writing when I was 12 or so. I wrote in copybooks. Sometimes whenever I had some time at school, I scribble down a few things as well.

Lady Vulpix: What kind of things?
Cadmus: Ideas mostly, or sometimes scenes that I have in my head. I always play stuff in my head. Scenes from a story I would like to write one day, or scenes from a story I'm currently working on. So back then, I'd write down whatever was going through my mind. My friends sometimes would read them and say 'that's cool'. Maybe they were being polite and doing their 'friends' job, but that was still---
---nice to hear.

Lady Vulpix: Have you ever read anything written by one of your friends?
Cadmus: No, they weren't into that sort of thing. They were mostly 'let's play ball when we have free time' and not much into 'arts'. I've only come across 'writers' when I went to University. So during classes and such, I've read a few of my classmates' works.

Lady Vulpix: And what kind of feedback did you give them?
Cadmus: Honest feedback. That's the best one you can give. Though it's hard to criticize a piece when you haven't done much. Usually, I'd focus on characters for my criticism and then the plot. My classmates were talented, and of course, on some level, it made me wonder if I could compete with them.

Lady Vulpix: Why compete with them? Why not just do your best?
Cadmus: I forgot to mention that the classes I was in, most of the time, for my writing units were for "screen writing". In screen writing, there's competition. Talent isn't necessarily a must, but it does help. But these guys didn't just have talent, they knew how to sell their ideas. I'm good at talking with people and everything, but seeing those guys in action, so to speak, made me realize that---
---breaking into that industry wouldn't be as easy as I thought.

Lady Vulpix: Oh... so you're trying to become a professional script writer?
Cadmus: Yes, that's my dream/goal. At first I thought I'd be a conventional writer, as in you know, prose writing. Novelist. That was when I was 15 or so. Then I thought more and more about it, and realized I wanted more. I wanted to create a story and see it come alive on screen. Hear the dialogue, see the characters, and all that.

Lady Vulpix: Have you read any television or movie scripts?
Cadmus: Yeah. In classes we were given a few copies of a few different things to read and we were also encouraged to read as much as we could. So I've read quite a few screenplays (TV shows, movies). It's quite interesting. Quentin Tarantino doesn't write much details about his characters, but his writing is excellent. He knows how to hook the reader even though, you know, scripts aren't meant to be---
---read like fiction but like blueprints. They're plans with instructions on how to construct the film. The screen writer writes the plan and the director directs it. If it's the same person, then that's great. If not, then the director can sometimes have his take on the story, vision-wise and so on.

Lady Vulpix: But you're still writing prose too. How do you handle both things?
Cadmus: Prose is more of a fun thing for me. I mean, I'm still learning how to write better prose and all, but at the end of the day, it's more for fun than as a preparation to write manuscripts to be sent to publishers. I'm not saying that won't ever happen, but it's not my priority. I love writing stories, I'm a storyteller, and right now, prose writing is the thing I can write and share with others---
---and if I'm lucky, heh, I get some feedback or I just have the pleasure to read comments that says 'I'm enjoying this'. That's always cool.

Lady Vulpix: Was the writing sprint for fun too? (Since there was hardly any feedback there.)
Cadmus: Yeah, definitely. I wanted to write and finish by the deadline set. And also, it was cool to just write a one-shot piece. I had quite a lot of fun with that. Feedback is always nice, but I've done this long enough to know you barely get any at all even if you have some readers. The pleasure, for the most part, comes from writing and publishing it.

Lady Vulpix: :)
Are you reading anything online?
Cadmus: Yeah. There's this cool fanfic of Harry Potter that I enjoy reading. It's interesting and focus a lot on the characters without making them 'out of character', if that makes sense. Also a few more, but I've been a bit lazy with keeping up lately. And on the forum, I'm catching up on "Lisa The Legend".

Lady Vulpix: I think it does make sense. Isn't that the hardest part of using someone else's characters?
Cadmus: It is. And fanfic readers, a lot of them anyway, are very harsh critics. If they don't see the characters as they should be, they stop reading and move on. Fanfics die really easily when it's done in a rush. When the characters suddenly have different personalities just to fit the 'fanfic' vision, it's not really the same characters anymore. They're different people with the same names. ---
---Of course, Fanficcers write to actually give a new alternative to the canon story, but for it to work, the reader has to see those familiar faces and recognize them. If they're too different, then they're not who they're supposed to be.

Lady Vulpix: Indeed. By the way, where did you learn to use "---" to indicate that the message continues?
Cadmus: I've always done that. I can't remember when I first saw it. Probably in a writing piece when a character is saying something and is interrupted or cut by something or someone else.

Lady Vulpix: Have you taken/learnt other things from writing pieces you've read?
Cadmus: I think I always do. Usually, I learn new words and terms, things like that. Or sometimes I read a bit in a story focused on 'action' (and others like a dramatic moment, how dialogue is written), and I see how they do it, how they write it. It's a known technique, "The only way to better your writing is to keep reading". I try to always keep that in mind.

Lady Vulpix: What else are you reading these days (outside the Internet)?
Cadmus: The last book I bought was "Through The Storm" by Lynne Spears, which is a memoir. Great read. The last 'fiction' book I bought was Stephen King's "Different Seasons". I really enjoyed that book. Stephen King is an author I enjoy reading. "Different Seasons" is a collection of his earlier novels (they're in between short stories and long stories - so a novella), some of which have since become---
---major films like the "Shawshank Redemption". His writing style is gripping and I get sucked in very easily when I read his stuff.

Lady Vulpix: Why did you put 'fiction' between inverted commas?
Cadmus: Oh sorry I tend to put a lot of things between commas, if you hadn't noticed already, heh. I didn't mean anything particular by it. Just to emphasize that it was a fiction book, not a bio or anything else.

Lady Vulpix: Ah... Do you have a favorite genre among fiction?
Cadmus: Hmm, that's a bit of a tough one. I like different genres the same, though, if I had to pick one in particular, I would say drama is a genre I really enjoy. Period pieces I also love, if written in english I can understand (english is my second language, so old english is not that easy for me). Thrillers are always good. War pieces would probably be my least favourite but I'd still read them if---
---the story is appealing to me.

Lady Vulpix: Subject change again (sorry)... How do you go about writing a script?
Cadmus: No need to apologize, heh. Writing a script is a little bit different than writing prose. In prose, you have no limitations in your vision. By that I mean, you can have your characters go in a thousand locations, have towers that reach the clouds, monster robots and whatnot... but when you write a script, you're writing to sell it. Sell the ideas. So if you've done your homework, you know you---
---can't write about an Empire State Building sized robot going all over the world destroying places and send the finished script to an independent film production company. It will never work. So before you even start writing, you ask yourself who are you going to send the draft to, and what kind of projects would they be inclined to be interested in. That's of course, if you want to earn a---
living doing that sort of thing. Nothing stops a screen writer to write whatever he wants. But it might never come to life on the big screen or even the small screen. Screen writers are still storytellers, but they tend to have more limitations. ---
The way you write a script after all that research, is pretty much the same as prose writing, you plan out your story, flesh out your characters, write their bios and whatnot, know your story inside out and then, you start writing. You usually write the final scene first, so you know where you're going. Where your characters are supposed to end. Then you write the rest.

Lady Vulpix: That's interesting. Do you think that writing the last scene first works for prose too?
Cadmus: Yeah, I do. Sometimes a writer can lose track of where he's going if he writes his story in a linear fashion. I mean, he can go out and suddenly decide that his character should do this instead of that, and before you know it, you hit a dead end where you can't finish the story. That's the gloomy scenario. The changes don't always make things go bad, but if you do have a final scene already---
---written, then you know where you wanted the characters and story to end in the first place. It can help the writer decide if the changes he wants to do to his story will be good or bad.

Lady Vulpix: Right.
Ok, is there anything else you'd like to say? Closing words, advice, or whatever comes to your mind?
Cadmus: Hmm. Let's see... I guess I'll thank you for interviewing me, that was very cool. Also thank the guys (and gals) on the forum for welcoming me like they did. As advice, I'd say, as cheesy as it may sound, never give up on telling your stories. If that's what you wanna do then, do it. Having regrets isn't fun at all. And finally, a shout out to Gavin Luper, who's always giving me great feedback---
---on my story.

Lady Vulpix: ^_^ Thank you.
Cadmus: :)
You're welcome

To Be A Master


All screenshots courtesy of Pokémon Nightmare (http://www.pokenightmare.com).

Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Ever come across a situation whereby you sit on your desk in front of a computer or a piece of paper and wonder what should you type or write next for your story? The next moment, you realize that you sat at that very same position an hour ago and nothing is written or typed yet. Nothing goes through your mind; there is nothing except blankness. Fear not, though. You are not suffering from any mental distress. You are undergoing what every writer has undergone countless times in their writing history and profession. That very syndrome that you encounter is called writer’s block.

There are many proposed measures in which one could put into place to avoid undergoing a writer’s block. However, none of these proposed measures could be done up in a simplified way as what Mohan (2004) suggested. Mohan, in his ‘Communicating as Professionals’ text, broke down general communication into 3 parts. These 3 parts include writing, speech and signing. The one that the Fanficcers are concerned with is the part on writing.

Mohan made it simple by simply narrowing down the strategies of overcoming a writer’s block to two, 4Ps and 5Ws. Both strategies may be used to overcome two types of fan fiction writings, Report and Freestyle, respectively.

The 4Ps strategy

Mohan’s 4Ps strategy has nothing to do with the Marketing Mix that also uses 4Ps. Mohan’s 4Ps deals primarily with report styled writings and it consists of the following aspects:

• Present Situation
• Problem
• Possible Solution
• Proposal

Present Situation accounts for the general picture. What event prompts the writer to write? Problem refers mainly to the troubles encountered from the present situation. Multiple possible solutions are made to combat these troubles and each of these solutions has their own pros and cons. And finally the writer has to decide on one of the solutions and put up specific measures and actions to take under the section on proposal.

By using the 4Ps strategy, the writer is assured at least he/she is on the right track and the report styled writing is done at a minimal level. Further improvements can be added into the 4Ps strategy by emphasizing the cause and effect relationship of each possible solution. The writer can then conclude everything with recommendations of either combining several solutions or choosing one overall solution to work with.

The 5Ws strategy

Writer’s block for freestyle writings are a little more difficult to overcome. The main reason is that they are not structured and the ideas tend to flow in all directions. To deal with it, Mohan suggested using 5Ws with the inclusion of a 1H.

• Who
• What
• When
• Where
• Why
• How

The ‘Who’ element is linked to your characters, the people in which you are going to portray in your fan fiction story. You can ask yourself questions like,

Who is the main character?
Who is the villain?
Who slayed the dragon and saved the day?

Both ‘Where’ and ‘When’ elements describe your settings, the environment and time period of where your story is going to take place in. The following questions would usually be asked:

Where is the plot going to take place next?
When is the hero going to save the beauty?
Where on earth are the characters going to next?

The trio elements of ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ will make up your plot and how your story is going to develop. Examples of questions asked would be as follows:

What is the villain going to do next?
Why hasn’t the knight in shining armour appeared yet?
How is the hero’s party going to survive in this disaster?

A good practice would be to develop a concept map before writing out your story. The writer can begin writing the topic in the centre and the 5Ws on the edge of the paper/ monitor. Create questions using these 5Ws and answer those questions. Repeat the entire process until you are short of ideas.

The next step would be to try to find linkages between each question. You will have to determine which ideas are major ideas and which of them are secondary. Differentiate the major ideas by circling them and in the meantime visualize on how your ideas are going to link into a plot.

Once we have done all those, a new dimension will eventually open up. Your ideas will take shape once the foundations have been laid out.


Whether you employ 4Ps or 5Ws, you should have no problem overcoming your writer’s block.


Mohan, T., McGregor, H., Saunders, S. & Archee, R. 2004, Communicating as professionals, Thomson Learning, Melbourne.

The Grammar Nazi – 1337

(The Grammar Nazi is not affiliated in any way with Nazi Germany or Adolf Hitler.)

Those of you who have been around the virtual block a few times have probably already guessed the topic of this article. Yes, it’s time to take a look at the terrifying subject of netspeak. One could also call it leetspeak, 1337sp33k, or any number of other names. It matters little for practical purposes, though, as they’re all just variations of one another.

Most fanficcers don’t use netspeak in their work, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, its use in other venues still affects the writing process as a whole.

Now, you’re probably expecting a long, virulent rant against the very existence of such language. True, netspeak creates more than its share of trouble, and I have a personal problem with it. You’ll see a diatribe against it here.

However, I’m not entirely insensitive to the whole purpose behind netspeak. The basis behind a lot of it is the idea of efficient communication. In writing, one of the hardest things to do is convey your thoughts effectively while being concise. As such, you have to admire a system that takes such common phrases as “I’ll be right back” and condenses it into three letters. The same goes for “laughing out loud,” “good game,” “I don’t know,” and so forth.

Not all netspeak emphasizes efficiency, of course. Consider such words as 1337sp33k. Most people, especially those who typically spend more type typing on the keyboard’s letters than the numbers, probably find that the shortening takes longer to type than “elite speak” despite having eliminated two of the characters. Going back and forth between the two is time consuming. Far more obtuse for audiences are the uses of !’s and 1’s interchangeably as well as all-caps typing (or, worse yet, AlTeRnAtInG CaPs).

In general, though, the meaning and tone of your message isn’t lost if you use these methods in, say, an AIM chat. You generally know the person with whom you’re communicating well enough to know whether or not they’ll understand and appreciate these derivations, so there’s no problem. If, on the other hand, you’re posting on 4chan, you likely don’t care what the other people think – and rightly so.

This brings us to the use of netspeak in traditional public communities. Picture this: you’re giving a speech to a class, such as a book report. Instead of speaking normally, however, you say that, “Like, O-M-G! This book was all W-T-F and stuff. I lawled at the end. Seriously, L-M-A-O. It was totally just all O-M-G-W-T-F-B-B-Q!”

What grade would you get for that report? Yes, I thought so.

Clearly, you wouldn’t use netspeak in class, for a serious report. Yet many use it online to varying degrees. If you respond to a comment with a simple “LOL,” nobody will raise an eyebrow at the acronym. It’s generally accepted in the community. Why shouldn’t it be?

The problem is when the use of netspeak around the internet affects writing quality elsewhere. This goes beyond, say, sending acronym-loaded E-mails to your instructors. (It does happen, believe me. I’ve received several in the last few months.)

The internet, you see, devalues such issues as spelling and grammar. Few people will mind if you say “liek” in your posts. They won’t care if you end a post without a period, swap semicolons and commas, or even capitalize the first letters in random words. As long as your message is decipherable without an extreme degree of effort, it’s okay.

What happens, though, when you grow accustomed to multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence? What happens when “u” looks just as natural as “you”? What happens when misplaced modifiers are easier to type because no one bothered to complain the last dozen times?

What happens when the wrong way of writing begins to look like the right way?

When you’re first writing those acronyms, you’re writing for people who know what you mean and accept the lingo. When you write fiction, however, your goal is to go well beyond the people you actually know and touch a wider audience. If you use special abbreviations in those cases, you’ll encounter two main problems: your audience won’t know what you mean, and those readers who do comprehend them may not respect you for being too lazy to write out your thoughts. Either way, you’re apt to lose readers very, very quickly.

I may be a Grammar Nazi, but I understand the use of netspeak. The key is to keep it separate from actual writing. Always be conscious, when you’re using a variant, of the correct way to speak your mind in serious writing. As long as you can keep netspeak and real speech separate, feel free to use each of them whenever appropriate. If you can’t keep them separate from one another, then gtfo.


(Apologies to Aeire for censorship.)

Lady Vulpix
2nd November 2008, 03:21 PM
That comic made me chuckle a few times. Especially the C.R.A.P. part. Subliminal message? :rolleyes:

The writer's block tips seemed interesting. I'll have to look at them in more detail later.

4th November 2008, 01:23 AM
LMAO the CRAP part killed my life. I laughed so hard. It totally summarises like every new trainer fic ever. (well, all the bad ones anyway!) Ahhhhh that was a good call. :D

And woo ! My comeback got a mention! *wipes a tear away* I love you guys!

Gavin Luper
4th November 2008, 07:06 AM
Great issue of the e-zine guys! Gabi's interview with Cadmus was really fresh and interesting - I don't think there are many of us who are screenwriters. Cool stuff. Ada's comic was great again, especially the CRAP acronym; I think I'm going to enjoy the series. Dark San's writer's block article was very good, in that it offered some new approaches to overcoming WB that I don't think I've seen before, but I think the ultimate conclusion ("Whether you employ 4Ps or 5Ws, you should have no problem overcoming your writer’s block.") was too simplistic. I don't think it's that easy: writer's block is not necessarily overcome by strategy or process - in a lot of cases it can just take time and perseverence. The Grammar Nazi column raised a valid point, as always, but the comic scared me :S.

Good job by all the contributors, and to Brian, for editing - this was a really good edition.


4th November 2008, 10:35 AM
Dark San's writer's block article was very good, in that it offered some new approaches to overcoming WB that I don't think I've seen before, but I think the ultimate conclusion ("Whether you employ 4Ps or 5Ws, you should have no problem overcoming your writer’s block.") was too simplistic. I don't think it's that easy: writer's block is not necessarily overcome by strategy or process - in a lot of cases it can just take time and perseverence.

Not sure about the 5Ws strategy but for most of the time a 4Ps strategy would work for Marketing reports. But Mohan's approach to writing would be more of nothing but an ABC guide to writing. His text is a compilation on general professional communication not a specialized text emphasizing just on writing.

I have a brother currently majoring in English Literature. He too believes that Mohan's approach is too simplistic. So yes with time and perseverance, you would definitely get over the writer's block.

5th November 2008, 03:19 AM
Nice issue! I realllly loved the comic!! xD And I agree, the interview was a great read too. ^_^ Interesting to learn about all the members!