Tips for writing a great Star Trek fanfiction story or series.

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by surak-toc, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    You fail to see the point. Forget about the specifics of giant amobea, or ghosts. It's about how real world humans would react when they are confronted with things like that. Are the character's motivations to do something believable? Etc...

    And again, just because there are examples how sometimes they didn't follow the advice, doesn't mean it's wrong advice.
     
  2. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Langley
    The objection comes when you couch this particular bit of advice in terms of "This is what Gene would do" or "This is what Gene said to do" when in fact Gene can-x-ed his own advice on a regular basis, starting with the original pilot, and he didn't really give a damn if his writers ignored his advice either. His basic criteria for approving a story - whether he ever admitted it or not - was "Is the girl in it hot?" and "Will I get all the money and credit for producing it?" Every other comment of his on the subject is Hollywood Boilerplate.

    I didn't say the advice was wrong. What's horseshit is that Gene Roddenberry or any canon writers killed themselves trying to follow it.
     
  3. surak-toc

    surak-toc Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    That's the end of the topic, back to tips, what would you say is a good tip for creating a ship
     
  4. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Less is more. Don't go into the fanboyish stuff of "it has 70 phaser banks and 500 torpedo tubes and a dozen warp nacelles". They did that even in Star Trek Nemesis, it was cringe worthy.

    Take a look at the TMP Enterprise and the TNG Enterprise. Those are thorough designs, for both interior and exterior.

    I'd also look at contemporary ship designs, like aircraft carriers, to get some idea on why things are designed this or that way in the real world.
     
  5. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Langley
    Make the design goal-oriented. Decide what you need the ship to do before you try to figure out what it looks like. Also, ignore the word "fanboy." It's shorthand for "I'm a more enlightened Trekkie than you." If your ship needs 70 phaser banks to accomplish the mission you set for the crew, put 'em in. Those who object don't have to read the story.
     
    DarKush likes this.
  6. Smokncatfood

    Smokncatfood Cadet Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    With regard to ship design, I like to read about existing ship classes (I.e. - Constitution class, Galaxy class, Miranda class, etc.). They can be modified, but I like being able to look up what the base ship looks like on Google, etc. thoughts?
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Unless you have your heart set on a certain class or type of ship, firstly devise interesting and engaging characters and think about what stories you want to tell about them, then select a ship to match.

    If they're explorers go for a Nebula-Class, soldiers go for an Akira-Class, scientists a Nova, workhorses a Miranda, etc. Also try to be practical. If a ship has 70 phaser arrays and 500 torpedo launchers then there aren't many hostiles they'll come across that will be a threat--unless they have 100 phasers and 800 torpedo tubes, in which case the UFP would be pretty screwed. They don't have to be on the best ship there is, when something a little more average will help ramp up the tension and make readers ask, 'how are they going to get out of this?'

    The class of ship will also have a lot to do with your Captain. NuTrek notwithstanding, it is doubtful a newly promoted 30 year old captain would get command of a Galaxy-Class ship. Ships of that size and complexity would go to older, more experienced and seasoned officers. Such an officer might get a Sabre-Class or possibly even a Miranda, until they gain more time in the big chair and prove themselves capable of greater responsibilities. Look at Picard, he made Captain at 28 and commanded the Stargazer for two decades before he was eventually given the E-D.
     
    SolarisOne and DarKush like this.
  8. NinjaRaiden2005

    NinjaRaiden2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    Rather than make a whole new thread going over the exact same thing, I'll just post this here. The Captain of my story is in her late 20s with her First Officer slightly older, and both come from a tactical background. I agree with you that those have been deciding factors in what ships I look at, but I also figured that since she's still at the rank of Commander that she would be running an older vessel. The original Excelsior seemed to be a good fit for that since it appears to be a workhorse in TNG and on, and I need an older vessel for the story. I know that's much larger than the Sabre or Miranda you mentioned, however being old and a tried-and-true design means it can be more easily maintained for a crew that's still learning. The way I figure is that they're the furthest thing from being the flagship making cargo runs, charter flights, doing border patrol, and the odd bits of space exploration here and there. I know in a future story I'd like to upgrade them to a newer ship like the Defiant or even an Intrepid (that way I can keep my science officers for story possibilities). So do you think I've made a good choice here given the things I've thought up or do I need to do some more work?
     
  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Since posting that I've since written my short shorts (a small number of short stories) about the crew of the U.S.S. Orion, a retired Constellation-Class ship dragged out of mothballs, brought up to minimal operational status and put to work as a support ship during the Dominion War. Her Captain, Reihyn, was 30 when wartime losses saw him promoted to CO of a Sabre-Class ship for a few weeks before she was lost in an ambush. After which he was given the choice: command of the Orion or demotion to Commander and an XO billet somewhere.
     
    SolarisOne likes this.
  10. NinjaRaiden2005

    NinjaRaiden2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    My original idea back when the ship was named for Amelia Earhart, before I found out there was already a canon starbase named after her prompting the change, was that it would be a Constitution refit pulled back out as a PR stunt after Voyager made it back to Earth and the knowledge of her actually being alive would be shared. Janeway, who I presume would have been very inspired by someone like Amelia, would see fit to relaunch the ship in tribute using her recent promotion to Admiral. 20 or so years later hardly anyone even remembers this special ceremony and Starfleet has relegated it to a trainer for up and coming commanders and their crews. At the end it would wind up being either too damaged to salvage or destroyed in combat leaving the crew to get a new ship in a possible second story.

    But, uh....do you think I've got the right idea with my current set of ideas? This is my first Trek story and I'm really worried I'll screw up some detail somewhere. As a stickler for details this weighs heavily on my mind.
     
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Starbase Earhart was operational back in 2327, between then and the time Voyager returns there's nothing to say the base was still operational--maybe it was decommissioned or destroyed. Though I don't see a problem with calling a ship Earhart at the same time, I'm sure most in the Fleet would be able to make the distinction (you could always name her the U.S.S. Amelia Earhart to further separate the two if you so wished).

    If I'm reading this right, your story would take place in 2398 (20 years after Voyager's return home). Depending on when the Constitution-Class ship was built that could make her around 150 years old (had she been among the first batch built) or closer to 100 if she was built at the end of the 23rd century (all these figures are based solely on the Prime Universe). The latter might be a little more believable, especially if the ship went through another extensive TMP-style overhaul in the late-2370s which could give her a new lease of life.

    @NinjaRaiden2005 I would say, so long as what is within your story makes sense and follows the same pattern (your own personal fanon) then most fanfic readers will go with you on the ride as you tell the story you want too. Keep the characters interesting, the story compelling and the reader guessing about what will happen, then you have the workings of a good tale to tell.
     
    DarKush likes this.
  12. NinjaRaiden2005

    NinjaRaiden2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    Hmmm. Those are very good points. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this is around the time of Star Trek Online. The way you talk about upgrades reminds me of this. http://www.starbase400.org/avalon/starship-constitutionrefitvariant2.htm I have just a couple more things to ask about.

    1) Being a newer or younger crew would it be at all realistic to say that there are more NCOs than officers? I like the idea of a Chief O'Brien type being in charge of Engineering since the main bridge crew are still relatively fresh-faced.

    2) Is there an easier way to understand naming conventions for races like Andorians and Romulans? This being a Federation ship I try to have more than just Humans and Vulcans aboard so I came up with an Andorian tactical officer. I'm just hung up on how their names work and the sites I found about it don't do a good enough job of explaining it to me. I found the Romulan conventions even more confusing even after reading it several times over, which is bad considering I want to use a Romulan character in the future.
     
  13. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Looks like a sensible progression of the Connie.

    Onboard any ship there will always be more non-coms than officers, we've just never been privy to them. An older, more experienced NCO would fit in to any role (other than CO, XO or CMO) or appoint one as the Chief of the Boat--though a Chief of Engineering works just as well.

    It depends what line you follow for Andorians, if their simply two sexes or the more complex four from the novelverse. I'd also say to look for other aliens out there that have been established as Federation members, there are the likes of the Bolians, Deltans, Saurians, Rhaandarite, Tiburonians, etc to choose from, plus also the opportunity to make one or two of your own. Memory's Alpha and Beta would be a good source for these, as well as any that have been named before on TV shows, in scripts, or in books/comics.
     
  14. NinjaRaiden2005

    NinjaRaiden2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    I've decided to break my own rule and not worry about all of the little details for now. If I didn't I would never get started. I kept the Andorian at tactical although you gave me the idea to change my Engineering Chief into another alien, so I changed him to a Saurian. I've also got a Bajoran science officer and was thinking of either a Rigelian or Tellarite crewman at Ops. Probably one of the best pieces of advice I read on here was to play around with race types to keep things fresh which is why I have a Bajoran doing science and the typical Vulcan as Chief Medical Officer, because Vulcans obviously have the best bedside manner.
     
  15. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Commodore Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    My advice is decide what kind of stories you want to tell and figure out your strengths as a writer. Me I prefer comedy and spoofs. You might prefer character banter or maybe hard science. Also you don't have to pay attention to canon if you don't want to. You can create your own take on a species or character that doesn't even match what you see in the shows if you want. You can even change established events if you want, kind of like how Tarantino killed Hitler in "Inglorious Bastards."

    Jason
     
  16. Dulak

    Dulak Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Find yourself used copies of the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek "Narrator Guides." Yes, they are for an rpg, but they are about story telling, and actually go on about adventure (read: story) design in a good amount of detail. There is one for the original era, one for the next generation and one for DS-9, each with a slightly different take, and extrapolations can be made. Plus, last time I checked they weren't too expensive when you can find them.
     
  17. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    Hey, I might be reading your story! Is that the Voyager one?
     
  18. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    Okay, here are my dos and don'ts for writing a serious "Star Trek" fanfiction. Note: if you're writing a parody or trollfic these rules are obviously irrelevant.

    Do NOT:
    • Have main characters call each other by made up nicknames: No one ever called B'Elanna "Bell." The Doctor was never called "Holo-Doc" by anyone but the fans. And it's probably not a good idea to call Chakotay "chief." Granted, any of these nicknames could work under certain circumstances, like an alternate universe, or them getting that nickname somewhere else.
    • Bland human OCs: Sorry, but I'm not interested in your OC if she's an average, Earth-born human from mainland USA. We've seen TONS of these. If you want to give us a new character, give us something NEW.
    • Fixer fics for a series you're only on Season 2 of: Hai gaiz! I started to watch "Deep Space Nine" but it was SOO BAD I couldn't get past Season 1! SO I am writing a fixer fic to fix all of its problems! In this fic, Dax with get more development, I'll add Worf to the cast, Dr. Bashir will turn out to have a dark secret, and Sisko will shave his head and grow a goatee! Would I be so miuch better at this than the real writers?
    • The Captain's Daughter: What if Janeway had a teenage daughter on board? I'm gonna re-write ALL the episodes of the WHOLE SERIES with me -- I mean Janeway's daughter--there to save the day!
    • Demonize someone for the sake of your fanfic ship: Will Riker falls in love with Ro LIKE HE SHOULD OF CUZ THEY R MEANT 2B! and Troi is EVUL and tries to steal Will but then she dies!!!!2!
    • Long AUs that don't change enough: A minor deviation from canon is fine in a minor story. But do you really think anyone wants to read your ENTIRE re-write of how the ENTIRE series of "Voyager" would be different if Chakotay was the captain and Janeway was the first officer? Maybe some people would be into that, but I personally think that how long an AU is should directly reflect how much it differs from canon.

      DO:
    • Keep everyone in character: Duh.
    • Give us OCs built within the world of "Star Trek," whose adventures don't conflict with canon: I'll never forget that rare, well-done OC/canon character romance story I read a few years back. A Hispanic ensign, who'd lived in various countries on Earth, falls in love with Vorik (a recuring character who had no canon love interest, and wasn't seen too often onscreen), who had a small scale adventure that was compelling to read, but still "small" enough that we can believe it "really" happened in canon despite the main characters never mentioning it to us.
    • Develop neglected characters: Not only will this make your story more appealing and meaningful to more people, but it's a great way to practice character development of a more original nature.
    • Fill in Plotholes: Instead of b*tching about the fact that we never saw the Borg baby or the Equinox five after their episodes, some writers postulated that Marla Gilmore adopted the Borg baby. (I've made this my head-canon after reading those fics.)
    • Fix the problematic stuff: Maybe the miniskirts of the early days of Starfleet were a statement made by women to show that their femininity was not at odds with being smart or brave. Maybe Chakotay's tribe are just some New Age group that deliberately took elements from different cultures and made others up from scratch. Maybe "Code Of Honor" was all just a radiation-induced fever-dream that Wesley had after trying Romulan Ale for the first time.
    • Develop the universe they live in: What fiction is popular in the 24th Century? What kinds of jobs exist outside of Starfleet? How has the holodeck affected the acting industry? Are all Bajorans really the same religion?
    • AUs that explore "real" possibilities: What if Picard hadn't been rescued from the Borg? What if the Dominion had won the War? What if Voyager had given up and settled on a planet? What if Archer HAD watered their trees? (Sorry, that's the only possibility of "Enterprise" that has me vaguely curious.) Also, any story exploring an alternate timeline we saw onscreen, like "Yesterday's Enterprise," "Before and After," "Year of Hell," etc.
    • New Crews! I'm always starving to meet a new Star Trek ship and crew. But as with OCs, try to do something at least a little different. If your crew is eight humans and one Vulcan, I'm probably not going to read.
    • And finally......sigh....DON'T BE LIKE ME: do one chapter story at a time. Don't try to write multiple chapter stories at once. Just....don't.

    That's just my two cents.
     
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  19. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    I wanna read that!
     
  20. NinjaRaiden2005

    NinjaRaiden2005 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2017
    I choose to believe this from now on. Great tips, too. Thanks!
     
    WarpTenLizard likes this.