Considering writing my own fanfiction?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by bobjuh, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. bobjuh

    bobjuh Ensign Newbie

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    For a while now I had an idea, years ago I saw something about a Wallace Class ship, it is not canon but I do like it a lot. It is a very small ship, 2,5 deck and a crew of at most 14 people, 2 of which are offficer the rest are noncoms and enlisted. Any tips and tricks for a newcomer? I have an idea for the crew compliment but the characters themselves I am still working on. I want to make to diverse with no or only a few human characters.

    [​IMG]

    Also thought about rotation and shifts, many of the crew are cross-trained which you probably need with such a small crew.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

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    This from a character-driven author, so take with a grain of salt: Know your technical, but focus on your personal. Make people care about these people, make them want to know more. And ask around for a beta-reader, someone who can give you hints or suggestions and double-check your writing and grammar. Plus, having a beta helps in that period while you're writing, but not yet posting, so you don't feel like you're writing into the void.

    Most of all? Go for it. Write it. Have fun, because that's the whole purpose of this in the end. And good luck with it, too!
     
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  3. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    This is absolutely right.

    This can be useful but it's not a requirement. You're not getting paid for this so you don't need content review before you publish. It's perfectly all right to let your audience be your beta. Put the stories out there and pay attention to the feedback. some will be helpful, some will be mindless trolling, but the only way to know which is which is to post and read the resulting comments. Hey, even if all you get for feedback is a bunch of "likes" you'll know you did something right.

    And this is where I usually diverge from people around here, because too often i've seen newcomers misinterpret "Make it about the characters" as "Figure out exactly how many people are going to be on the ship and prepare dossiers on each and every one so detailed the audience will know which hand they wipe with in the bathroom" before they even write a single word of actual narrative. Outlines, timelines, character bios and tragic backstories are all interesting creative exercises, but none of them are necessary before actually writing stories. You can make characters interesting, likable and people readers care about while you're writing the stories. You can pick their races and ranks and figure out their histories as you write the stories.

    Remember, the people who created Star Trek didn't develop the characters we consider iconic before they started making the show. It took two pilots and at least the first TOS season before we got the Kirk, Spock and McCoy we know as Kirk, Spock and McCoy. They didn't wait until the characters were perfect before they started creating stories using them.
     
  4. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, it's easy to get too caught up in detailed minutiae of a character, to the point that it takes away from compelling characterization.

    Kor
     
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  5. Danja

    Danja Captain Captain

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    Don't pay any attention to the nerds (Read: the people who are fixated on how wide the seats are on the Enterprise-E :rolleyes: ).

    Humanize your characters. What makes them tick? Why do they do what they do?
     
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  6. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

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    Oh, yeah. I don't mean sit down and know every possible point of backstory ahead of time. It helps to know the broad strokes, but really, the thing I'm trying to say is get your audience to empathize. Two of my favorite OCs were just born of the need for an outside POV character to the canon character; both of them had maybe three then I knew when I started writing them, but quickly grabbed the narrative and the audience and became popular just because I kept writing them. And they became fully-realized in their own time, through the stories I was telling. (I GOT ONE CANONIZED ON AO3, I AM STILL PROUD OF THAT-- ahem. Anyway.)

    No, you don't need to know which hand someone wipes with, but you do have to make your characters engaging enough that your audience wants to read more. And often the best way to do that is to start with yourself. What kind of characters grab you? Start with the archetypes that resonate with you, and then you can build on as the story goes. Pick one or two traits and build on those, maybe. Like-- I knew both my OCs had some mischief in them.

    And yes, what Danja says above. Even if you're writing non-humans, you're still a human yourself (right? XD) so make us empathize with them.
     
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  7. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    Ooh! Ooh! I get to do some more divergin'!

    True, fanfic writers can overthink the hero ship just as much as or even more than the individual characters, but there can be at least one benefit to having a clear picture of how a ship looks and how it's supposed to function: if you make it robust enough, stupid technobabble shit doesn't happen.

    F'rinstance, the Enterprise in my AU Trek series was created according to a principle I call Matt Jefferies' Original Intent, which is essentially how Matt Jefferies said the original Enterprise was supposed to work before other creators wrote their stories and ended up evolving starships into what's canon today. As such, MyWayPrise doesn't have an engine room, is mostly featureless on the outside, most of the living and working space is in the saucer, and the secondary hull is mostly for storage, while the warp engines operate independently of each other and are the things you dump in the event of a problem, instead of separating the saucer. I keep all this in mind when I'm writing those stories.

    Why bother? Focus. Out of all the story ideas I came up with for the series, not one revolves around some technobabble particle snaking into a Bussard Collector or a vent somewhere and causing a technobabble malfunction, because I know my ship doesn't operate in a way that that can happen.

    My point is, if the goal is to write character driven stories, then they can't be about the ship the characters are on, but that's exactly what you make the story about with one of these technobabble malfunctions, something even canon writers couldn't keep themselves from doing (across all the series, though TNG made it an art form). Of course, there are plenty of ways to avoid this in stories, but the way I've found works great: simply know what your ship can and can't do and what can and can't happen to it so that you won't be tempted to write a story where some frinxabibble particles infiltrate through the ramistat manifold and cause a matter/antimatter infarction in the core that shuts down the Einstein/Rosen coil in the holodeck driver matrix and makes the ship have a baby, 'cause as soon as you form that thought the little Engineering Continuity voice in your brain will say, "Wait a second...that shit can't happen."

    Seriously, though...the seats on the Ent-E could be a little wider. :shifty: Just sayin'...
     
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  8. Danja

    Danja Captain Captain

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    Then there's Voyager having a collective cow over the "Omega Particle". :shifty:


    :guffaw::guffaw::guffaw:
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'll echo what others here have said about characters and plot driving the story. Regardless of the Trek era you're setting the tale in or the kind of ship you're writing about, if your characters aren't interesting or your plot is stale/convoluted, people won't tend to continue reading it.

    I'd add that the Roddenberry TNG idea of no conflict between characters is nonsense. Humans (and I would imagine all sentients in a multi-worlds franchise) experience conflict due to differing ideas, morals, traditions, etc. How the characters address, resolve (or don't) such friction points can generate fantastic stories, or add flavor to them.
     
  10. SLWatson

    SLWatson Captain Captain

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    Speaking the truth all the way. XD As ever.
     
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  11. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    It was the reverse for TOS. He only wanted internal conflict. The Klingons exist because Gene Coon realized a TV show with no external conflict would be boring.
     
  12. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    If the ship is supposed to be fully operational 24/7 for weeks / months at a time, in my opinion you'll need at least 25 to 30 crew. Flying in space isn't like crab boats on Deadliest Catch where you can put one guy on wheel watch and hope he doesn't fall asleep. For a warship, I'd want 5 people on the Bridge and another 5 in Engineering at all times, with at least 3 teams for shift rotation. For a civilian cargo ship, you can go with 2 or 3 on the bridge and 2 or 3 in the engine room. Just my opinion.
     
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  13. bobjuh

    bobjuh Ensign Newbie

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    Thanks for all the replies, I do agree that with what is, in general, said about the characters, I do think that conflict between characters will be a thing, especially in such a small cramped ship there surely must be some conflict between characters.
     
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  14. bobjuh

    bobjuh Ensign Newbie

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    I strongly disagree that you need 25 to 30 to run the ship 24/7 especially with such a small ship there is no need nor any space for so many people. It is really a small ship with only 2 decks bit bigger than a runabout and smaller than a defiant class ship. As I said in my OP I made a rotation for shifts and people do 2 shifts of 6 hours a day. There are 4 people on the bridge and 2 in engineering. I don't think that in such a small ship you can have 5 engineers at all time on duty in engineering that just probably won't fit and there is not enough to do for so many engineers
     
  15. bobjuh

    bobjuh Ensign Newbie

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    I strongly disagree that you need 25 to 30 to run the ship 24/7 especially with such a small ship there is no need nor any space for so many people. It is really a small ship with only 2 decks bit bigger than a runabout and smaller than a defiant class ship. As I said in my OP I made a rotation for shifts and people do 2 shifts of 6 hours a day. There are 4 people on the bridge and 2 in engineering. I don't think that in such a small ship you can have 5 engineers at all time on duty in engineering that just probably won't fit and there is not enough to do for so many engineers
     
  16. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, so we're doing some ship obsessing now. Fine.

    So, this is the Wallace-class bobjuh was talking about:

    It's a patrol ship, and its job, according to the page, is to support larger bases. If that's true, then you don't even need the number of crew it specifies, much less twenty or thirty, because you don't need to operate it 24/7 and all your crew members are crosstrained. You don't need 6-hour shift rotations and you don't need more than one medical corpsman or one engineer, because it operates from a parent base. Its missions should only last a handful of hours at a time (a day or two at most) and then it goes back to base. It's a riverine patrol boat, not a dreadnought. When you start crafting stories for it, craft them from that perspective.

    If however, you really want to do the classic one-ship-one-crew thing, then pick a ship. Don't try to overman/overwork a boat. There are plenty of ships of all shapes and sizes in canon. Pick one and fill it with the crew you want.
     
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  17. Danja

    Danja Captain Captain

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    It depends upon the story (What if we're dealing with a post-apocalyptic scenario where the big boys aren't available and that "little ship" may be all that's LEFT simply because it was overlooked?)

    Ours is a world of "do more with less". The average person is tasked with doing the ridiculous every single day.
     
  18. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    Well then they're f***ed.

    No, seriously, we're talking about a TNG-era vessel here. TNG-era ships are ridiculously automated and magically stocked. As long as the computers and food replicator are working even this scenario doesn't require a full platoon to get through. It's likely the control room is the size of a large cockpit and the Engine room is a walk-in closet. You can automate some functions and do two hour watches wth one person each in control, engineering and medical during transit times, and only do all hands during emergencies (you know, like how ships work anyway).

    If the replicator isn't working the first thing they need to do is get to a Class-M planet with possible sources of edible food and potable water and set up a base there until they can get the replicator working. Or they can tour the remains of Starfleet bases and scavenge them for parts they need. All of the above is fertile ground for storytelling.
     
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  19. bobjuh

    bobjuh Ensign Newbie

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    I am not sure why you cannot do a one ship one crew thing on a ship like this. Yes, this ship is normally a support ship that goes on temporary missions with a temporary crew but there is no reason as to why they can go on more long term missions and have a more permanent crew. There are ships in all shapes and sizes but many the size of this one the smallest in cannon really being the Defiant which is still a whole lot bigger. I am crafting my own story, my own perspective and my own narrative it is fiction and it is for my own pleasure and as such it would be better to write something that I enjoy writing and not be limited in the way I want to craft my fiction
     
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  20. Danja

    Danja Captain Captain

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    That's how Voyager started out (a short little hop turned into a seven-year odyssey).