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therapeutic thump

i like your moxie, sassafras!

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Ben/Dean and writing and randomalia
dean loves ben
Hi, everybody!

I'm working from home today because I did something to my back, and of course they're jackhammering in the basement, so I can barely hear myself think. Awesome.

The last Ben-and-Dean scene is going up on Sunday morning, and if I can get all my little duckies in a row, a bonus surprise either that evening or soon after. You won't want to miss the bonus surprise, as people with incredible talents have done some great work.

What else? Um, any Gilmore Girls fans on my flist? Lauren Graham is starring in Guys and Dolls on Broadway soon; she's playing Miss Adelaide (Oliver Platt is her Nathan Detroit).

I'm reading the most extraordinary book, which pretty much offers fodder for Supernatural fanfics on every other page. Did you know Lysol was marketed as a douche? Now you do! And you can never unknow it! Mwa-ha-ha!

I've got a problem, and I'm hoping you can help me. I'm trying to write my story for spn_j2_bigbang (which I have never once typed properly - it always comes out as bigband, just like storyfinders comes out as storyfingers), and I'm having a rough time with it. Without giving too much away, here's what I think the problems are.

  • First, it's not a story that I'm dying to tell (the way that most of my stories have been, particularly the Ben/Dean series and the way the stories I tend to come up with are, like "Generation"). This idea was one of those "wouldn't it be neat if someone wrote X?" kind of deals, and I wasn't necessarily thinking of myself as the proper person to write it. I do think the story is interesting, but again, I don't know if I'm the best person to put it on paper, you know?

  • Second, I don't know if the story really does have a natural life of at least 20,000 words (bigbang minimum). It was the only idea I had that could plausibly be stretched that far, but now that I'm actually writing it, it feels like a much shorter story.

  • Third, and most importantly, I feel very uncertain of myself with this story. While I have written a few plotty stories, mostly I've written character-driven pieces. This story is kind of a mishmash, and juggling the two is very difficult for me. With my character-driven pieces, I've always felt like I knew why I was adding in certain details and certain scenes, that I knew what each piece would contribute to the finished whole. I'm missing that certainty here. And with the plotty pieces, I do have a framework that says "these are the necessary pieces of background info that will help make sense of the ending" and I can write in linear fashion. But, again, here, I'm kind of coming up with things on the fly, and then having to go back and write things into parts of the story that I thought were already finished, so I'm ending up with messy patchwork rather than clean lines.

  • Man, for all the complaining I'm doing, you'd think I'd have more written than just under 3500 words, wouldn't you? Can any of you help me out, offer suggestions on how to figure out how to write this story, stuff you tried, etc.? I'd very much appreciate it.

    Thanks! I hope you're all doing well!

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    I would love to help you but i'm not really sure what it is you're asking. I never know where my stories are going to end up, other than 'good/happy/not angsty' so not really knowing where i'm going 100 percent of the time is my default, really.

    I guess....what has to happen in order for the story to make sense? What has to happen in order for it to end like you want it to? What has to happen to advance your plotty bits, and in between plot you smish in all the character stuff.

    I'm being so, so, so unhelpful, aren't i? Sheesh. Maybe in this instance, an outline would help....

    You're actually being super-helpful, so thanks! What I was trying to get at was that, since neither of my usual techniques (one for character-driven fics, one for plot-driven fics) is working, I was open to suggestions. But you're right, that the plotty stuff has to be the framework, and the character stuff can be more easily squished.

    I have actually tried to outline the story, but since I haven't got a good grasp of a lot of it, it's kind of like "Sam needs to say X. Then Dean goes to Kentucky." You know? It's beyond stupid.

    That sounds so much like how i write. I'll get an idea - usually a couple of lines, a event or incident, or a scene in my head. Like a little movie or a promo for something. And then i'm like 'omg, must write!!'

    But if i write it, then i'm done, so i have to figure out *why*, and how, and how come, and where. So then start constructing the framework that will support this little snippet, heh.

    I'm glad i helped! I feel like whenever i try to talk about writing, or how i write, i come across as a total air-head or something, because it's really difficult for me to put it into words. So - yay! Coherency, ftw!

    *dean has sympathy*

    With regard to the third part, it sounds like you and me are having opposite problems! I can't find the emotional thread for my sncross_bigbang story even though I have most of a plot.

    For me with plot driven stories I need to know where I'm going before I can comfortably write it. Plot stories take more planning for me because I need to know how to seed the beginning for what I know is coming up and it's not as easy to do as for a more character driven story. After I've started I do an outline of some sort, usually a series of paragraphs about what happens next and the character motivations that ends up reading like a point by point summary or review. It's half brainstorming and often the story wont really resemble it in the end but it's a place to start organizing my thoughts. It gets the ideas out there and lets me have something to look at when new ideas pop up or I need to go back and change something. I usually go through about four or five outlines in vary degrees of detail, from vague "or something" statements to detailing how I want the scene to happen, that change as I'm writing.

    The other thing that may help you is finding the character story within the plot story. As both a reader and a writer, I find that if I have the characters going through an arc of some sort, the story works better. It sounds like you have something like this in mind but now you need to figure out how to integrate them. How do the plot elements impact the character story and vice-versa. If possible, try to make each scene serve both purposes, either directly or indirectly in the details. If you do an outline, maybe make one column for the plot and one for the character thread and see where and how they line up and then maybe you'll have a better idea of what kinds of scenes to use to pull them together.

    Without knowing more, I'm not sure what to add. If you want me to take a look ever, or bounce ideas, just let me know. I'd be happy to.

    Ah, your outline ideas - particularly the two-column idea - are fantastic. As I was saying to tabaqui, my outlining attempts thus far have failed miserably. But this new way might work. So thank you very much!

    I hope you get what you need for your crossover bigbang! Let me know if I can help, okay? (Fandoms I know tend to be in my icons.)

    The trick I've learned about outlining for me is not to get wedded to it. Its an iterative process. I hope it helps you out.

    My story's coming along. I think I figured out today one of storylines that I need to go back and add in. It's a Jericho crossover but I want to make it accessible to people who don't know that canon so I may take you up on your offer!

    Good luck!

    Since this sounds like the way I usually write, I don't have any advice, except, keep going? Because I've found that with the plotty stories, I will either write myself into a corner and have to have someone with some distance point out how I can get out of it, or it will click and I will realize why I've done the things I've been doing.

    I also wouldn't worry about having to go back and seed things in, but then again, that is how I write - every time I open a story to work on, I reread it from the beginning and add things, so it starts out as kind of a sketch but by the time I'm done, all the pertinent details are hopefully filled in.

    And as always, if you need to bounce some ideas off someone, I'm here.

    Hey, you! How was your first day?

    (And I might take you up on that offer, especially since this style of writing is familiar to you. I'm much more of a "get everything right, then move on" type, and it's just not working with this story.)

    It was good. Long, and I forgot to bring the lunch I went to the trouble of making with me, so I kind of didn't eat lunch, which was a mistake. But work-wise, things went well. I wish I could just skip over the adjustment period and be settled in and know what I'm supposed to do and how I'm supposed to do it.

    And I might take you up on that offer, especially since this style of writing is familiar to you. I'm much more of a "get everything right, then move on" type, and it's just not working with this story.

    Well, I am always happy to help, especially since it sounds like an interesting story. I mean, given my track record with plot, I'm probably not the best person to help there, but I totally am a proponent of trying to push forward and then going back to fill in.

    I'm a HUGE Gilmore fan. I love Lauren Graham. And I love Oliver Platt. So yeah Guys and Dolls is something I would be interested in seeing onstage with those 2. Thanks for the info!!!

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