Warmest welcome to all of my visitors. Feel free to comment on anything that piques your interest. As well as to browse through the archives and of course to visit the links to other great blogs for writers.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Differences Between Writing Fanfics and Novels

Oh boy, there are a ton of differences between these two. I will add to this list periodically as I discover even more of the major differences between the two styles.

First of all let me point out that nearly everyone I have asked, says that fanfiction is a great starting tool for a writer. You learn the basics of grammar, punctuations, timing, and plot making. So don't get discouraged.

Now I will touch briefly on some of the major differences between writing fanfics, and writing a novel.

The first and IMHO biggest difference is details. In fanfiction writing details are a must. The more detailed the better the scene is.

Not so in novel writing. When writing a novel you want to use the barest details. Just enough to impart the knowledge, without going into overkill. Too much detail slows down the pace and totally annoys the readers.

The second major difference is facts. When writing fanfics, no one ever complains if you use your imagination and use some off the wall totally impossible idea that has no basis in reality.

Not so in novel writing. Man oh man, every tiniest detail gets picked apart and if there isn't enough 'evidence' to prove its validity, no one will accept it. You have to research even the tiniest shred of a scene or an action so you can back up your ideas, before people will accept it, and even then it's chancy.

Third big difference is Adjectives and Adverbs. Now in fanfics you're encouraged to use these. In novel writing it's a big no no. and frowned upon, when used too often.

Fourth big difference is Repetition. In fanfics it's rarely if ever mentioned. But in novel writing, it's another big no no. That includes the 'he' and 'she' tags too. Now seriously you can't completely avoid it, but if it happens too much, it's one of the first things pointed out as being an 'echo'.

Fifth big difference is Randomness. In fanfics this is widely encouraged. Not so in novel writing. In novels, nothing is allowed to just 'happen' it has to have a significant part, or you are told to cut it.

The next one is Dead Words. In fanfics, this is never pointed out or even hinted at being bad. In Novel writing, words like and, but, and a ton more, are considered 'dead weight' and almost always need to be 'trimmed' or 'cut' from the writing.

Next is the ST or Story Timeline In fanfic writing, I have found this little tip invaluable. It saves me time, headaches, and more often than naught it saves me from having the dreadful 'writer's blocks' that all writers eventually experience. Thanks to my fanfic writing coach {Natsumi AKA SangOTkau6 on FFNet.} I leanred to drawn up a time line for the story of the fics.

In writing a novel, thanks to another author {Ceyxa from Critique Circle- one of my crit groups} ST now refers to a Story Treatment. It is like the Timeline, but even more detailed than that was. The main focus of this, is pacing the plot and determining if and where there are any major plot holes, character arcs, and any serious misconceptions.

A Story Treatment gets down to the smallest of details. Both are chapter by chapter outlines of the story. While the Timeline works on pacing of major and minor plots, the Treatment does the whole shebang - including character descriptions.

The final major difference I'm going to touch on is Beta's. In fanfics the people who read and assess you work are called betas. They do, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, plus the story as a whole. {fluidity}

In novel writing, they are called critique partners. or 'critters' They go through every aspect from facts, to story boarding, to pacing, and relevance. They are far more critical than even the toughest beta I've worked with. They are fellow published authors, or fellow aspiring writers. Though they can be very taxing, they are also far more encouraging as well. So it's the good and bad aspect in effect again.

I have found that critters are very helpful in answering a new writer's questions about agents, the publishing process, and the nitty-gritty aspects of writing. Some can be unbelievably harsh, while others are kind as can be.

The main downside to this is with betas you usually have someone who understands the genre you're writing inside and out. With crit partners even people who have little to no knowledge of a particular genre will try to sound like an expert on the genre. So you take crits with a grain of salt, say thank you and just use what you feel applies or can help to improve your stuff and then just pitch the rest. XD

Now these may be just typical writing rules, but no one in over 4 years of me writing fanfics, ever touched on any of the above listed differences. Not even the few college professors I've chatted with about my and their fanfics.

There are of course the minor things too such as each aspect of writing in general is scrutinized. Especially, pacing, plot, adaptability, and reality.


In conclusion, if you're brave enough to try to take the leap from writing fanfics, to writing novels - Good luck and try to keep an open mind and cool head. It's grueling and frustrating at times, but still fun for those who want to risk the adventure. Plus here is still a lot of enjoyment to be found in having others comment on all of your hard work.

A word of caution though. Writing novels requires a full blown commitment to the craft of writing and to your novel ideas. If you can't take criticism {even the harshest} without taking things personally, don't try to publish a book.

It also take a commitment of time and patience. You can eek out a first draft of 20 chapters in less than a few hours or days. The real time consuming part comes in when you start the revisions. I've revised my first chapter over 6 times now and still find more revising needs done. So as I said, good luck and happy adventuring.


Starting Out

Ever since I first started writing fanfiction back on 06-03-07 I've been told that Characterization is my strongest point in writing, so that's one hurdle crossed. Next is the overall flow, I'm good there too. I rarely have a choppy place in my writings. So that's a second hurdled crossed. I'm really good at taking even the harshest criticisms with a grain of salt, so there is a third hurdle crossed.

My weakest point is punctuation {mainly commas} I'm fair on the grammar and learning more each day. When I first started writing, action/battle scenes were my absolute weakest part. I've improved on those and even started incorporating some of my Martial Arts hands on experiences and knowledge into those, to keep them realistic.

But I'm far from done or 'safe' yet lol. Man oh man, who knew how grueling the craft of writing actually gets? I figured, 'hey I'm doing well in fanfics, maybe I'll try a novel now' Boy was that naive of me!

They are two completely different styles. But hey, what is life without a few challenges to spice things up, right? Writing is in my blood and I can't spend a day without writing at least something.

The point of this blog is start circulating my name and some examples of my works, but also {and IMHO more importantly} to help educate aspiring authors like myself.

So coming soon I will post another blog, all about the differences between fanfiction writing and novel writing. So tune in for that one. XD

Who Knew?

Who knew that it would be such a pain to classify a novel, or that every tiny aspect would be ripped apart?

Okay, I'm normally very good at accepting criticism, but give me a break! I'm writing a Erotica Fantasy, not a sci-fi, so must people rip apart every little detail about the MC's powers. It's called fantasy for a reason, and sci-fi is so boring to write.

The scientists nit pick even the components and the amounts. I thought the entire point in writing fantasy was to use your imagination. What do elixirs have to do with scientific compounds and molecular structure?

I'm told for Fantasy 'it must contain some element of Magic' Uh hello, elixir, not compound! Geeze, I have fixed the scientist's notes, I have researched proper components for the DNA altering aspect, and the elixir is something that can't be explained by science.

This is not a YA novel. YA doesn't allow erotica and probably doesn't even allow sex. Just because the heroine is a teenage junior agent who went undercover at 15, doesn't IMHO make it YA.

Erotica, means that 'the sexual relations must drive the plot forward.' That is what I'm doing.

Are they going to rip apart my Tiger-People Race for a different novel next? I mean come on already, I love getting feedback on my ideas, but this is ridiculous. Pay attention to the headings, please.

I'm told by others, that sci-fi must have some basis in reality. Okay what about the warp drive on the USS Enterprise. That isn't even possible right now, yet alone 40 years ago. Yet Star Trek is undeniably sci-fi.

Now I'm going to add a tiny rant here, but correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't the whole object behind writing for the author to use and 'exercise' their imagination? Why ruin the 'fun' of creativity by scrutinizing every single aspect, down to the scientific molecules, or the ingredients in a magic potion? It totally frustrates the writer who until then was enjoying their time writing.

I'm told 'It's supposed to be a compliment' While it is a compliment, it's also depressing and a real confidence smasher. Especially for new writers who aren't very confident whether it be in themselves or their craft, It can be rather daunting. And I think that the more experienced writers need to consider that from time to time. So, if you're going to pick everything apart, be sure to compliment a few things that came off well to you as well. That way the author won't feel overwhelmed by all the negative feedback.

This is the key reason I'm such a firm believer in my motto: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement." In my crits I do point out the bad. Let's face it, we're all out here to learn from our mistakes, right? But, I make it a point to let them know the good parts as well, to help balance the rest.

I'm so confused right now it's not even funny. The only thing classification factor that I 100% know about my novel is it is definitely erotica. So for now, I will just classify it as Erotica. I will figure out the secondary classification for it later.


Now for the second big complaint: My escape scenes. Originally I planned to have the MC {a trained assassin from child hood} use shuriken to take out the guards. That got shot down as 'unrealistic' because the guards have guns.

I beg to differ. An experienced Martial Artist could easily throw the shuriken in time and aim for vital places. Ever watched a martial arts movie? Shuriken are fast and accurate. The Martial Artist can read the body language of the guards before the bullets even fire, they can be moved out of the way.

Second idea was 'hey it's erotica, why not have her seduce them?' Now this was shot down for what I feel is a valid point. Time is of the essence here as she is escaping the compound and leading some soldiers out as well, So that one I will let slide.

I'm tired of guns. They are so over done in novels and movies - even laser guns. So this MC has an aversion to guns. She prefers her shuriken most times or a more hands on approach.

So I'm going back to the first option {shuriken} and throwing in a nice little twist. Wait until you see what I've come up with this time. XD

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ungrateful in the least. In fact, I deeply appreciate the tips and tricks and the multitude of advice I'm getting. I have learned so much from just the few pieces I've posted so far. It's just the nit picking to the tinniest of details is starting to grow old and my frustration is mounting, thus my need to start a blog where I can express myself.

Oh well I'm committed to getting this novel {Double Trouble} polished and published, so I shall grit my teeth and accept the crits with grace and maturity, and trudge on. You can't keep this country gal down for long!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Hello everyone. My name is Catrina, although pretty much everyone calls me Kitty. I'm an aspiring writer who hopes to one day be published. I'm currently polishing up the manuscript for my first novel Double Trouble. I may even add some tidbits about the story in the future.

The purpose of this blog is to tell of the adventures and misadventures I experience while polishing up my first novel, as well as to express my thoughts and experiences on writing in general. I'm planning to eventually post a list of links to other sites and blogs I find extremely helpful as well. I'm going to update this pretty regularly, so feel free to check back on a regular basis.