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Fan Adventures? How do.
Online 11-27-2016, 06:16 PM
Reply: #1
Fan Adventures? How do.
I figured that this would be more suitable for Tips and Tricks than for the Fan Adventures board, but if it's not, I suppose I'll simply move it. Whatever, that's not the point of this memo. What the point of this memo is, is that I really want to reach out to other board members who make fan adventures, because I'm really curious as to what kind of work goes into making a fan adventure. I have no actual experience making a full-on narrative, and honestly I'm not even sure where I'd even start. And hey! Maybe other people can find this memo and get some neat little pointers from people with actual experience.

You know, things like, 'how much planning should one do before diving into such a task?', 'what kind of resources should one have prepared before starting?', 'how much creative control should the readers have?', that kind of stuff. Is it the kind of thing you can just start on a whim and be able to keep up with? Or should I spend a while slowly building up to it?

Thanks in advance!
I'm totally not planning on doing anything with this information. ;^)

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Offline 11-27-2016, 11:36 PM
Reply: #2
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
First of all, there is no universally "right" way and the "wrong" way. Just the more optimised ways and the less optimized ones. As long as you AND your readers enjoy it, even the less optimized ways work.

Now, onto the questions:

What kind of resources should one have prepared before starting?

Many fan adventures just go with texts and that's it. Albeit I have a feeling yours is going to have some pretty pictures. Having sprites helps in this case because you can just put sprites on a background, add a pesterlog and ta-dah! Your fanventure post is there! And then again, you do have some panels already drawn, should you need to use them in your fanventure.

How much planning should one do before diving into such a task?

Okay, that is one very interesting question. Here we have two most basic approaches. You know, like in several videogames, where you have two possible paths and choose accordingly.

Making it on the fly.

This is one wild ride. You decide to start and you start (way to go, Mr. State-The-Obvious). In this approach you start right away, consequences be damned.
PROS:
- in this approach you have momentum. you start and you keep going instead of reconsidering possible ideas;
- the readers give you suggestions and you can find some neat ideas from them;
- some people enjoy seeing their characters actually forming during the narrative

CONS:
- this fanventure is easy to start but not easy to finish. since you don't have a big plot to start with you'll have to be making one as you are advancing. Some people find it an unreliable way of writing;
- starting with literally nothing might lose its steam quickly;
-some people get nervous when they have no tricks up their sleeves

Planning in advance.

Instead of blind leaps you plan ahead. You create characters with personalities, you do worldbuilding, you plan plot points.

PROS:
-you are prepared. You always have more than slight idea of what is supposed to be going on in your story;
- you have resources. you already know some plot points and characters who will interact in interesting ways

CONS:
- unexpected reader's prompt might throw you off, either accidentally or deliberately;
- you lose momentum. you need a lot of time to plan, after all. you might spend so much time and effort on planning you might end up without enough energy to start: just pplanning over, over and over, fixing all the possible plot holes and anticipating all the possible outsomes. so one might end up with the story that is full of ideas and possibilities but it never actually starts.

Of course, this is real life,(citation needed) not a videogame. There are seldom times when the "pure" ways are possible. Mr. Hussie himself started Homestuck with an idea of how it should end but for a while, it was the interactive story (that's where such commands as "shit on your deck and squawk like an imbecile" come from). but after he got the story developed, he closed the reader prompts. which brings us to the next point.

How much creative control should the readers have?

Reader input is tied with preparation/improvisation thingie. If you have lots of things prepared, then letting readers roam freely will disrupt your ideas because even Doc Scratch wasn't able to predict EVERYONE, despite being as omniscient as he could be. We, people(citation needed) do not posess the gift/curse of omniscience and will never be able to fully predict what the readers are going to suggest. If you are ready to make things on the fly, however, you will be able to get some neat ideas from readers' prompts. Essentially, the readers will be helping you build a story if you let them.

Another canon example: Mr Hussie has not named a single Homestuck troll. All their names are suggestions from the readers.

Basically, a good model that was observed in homestuck and several fanventures is the following: you start with readers prompts and then, if you have a solid plot idea, you temporarily lock the prompts.

Mind the open prompts. Sometimes they are neat but also discouraging. E.g., if you already want Terezi to troll Sollux and leave an open prompt, people won't usually be able to read your mind and post "Terezi: troll Sollux". But who knows, maybe the reraders will suddenly ask Terezi to find Gamzee and these two will end up with some funny banter that you haven't anticipated.

The safe way would be to leave two or three possible commands AND a custom command. Like,

What will you do now?
>Terezi: troll Sollux
>Terezi: install the game
>CUSTOM COMMAND
(reader's prompt: "Terezi: write a steamy fic about your lusus and Vriska's Ancestor")


Fraymotifs for strifing Writer's Block

There is a possibility of running out of steam or getting RL in the way or losing the mood or such. It happens. and you can deal with it the following ways:

- use readers' prompts. They can bring you the new perspective and show you some possibility you overlooked.
- use ready material. If you already have characters developed then you can make them just interact about anythiing, including weather. Perhaps you will find a plot point during the course of their conversation.
- do NOT write in a linear manner. Even famous book aouthors admitted to writing their narrative in a hectic place. Let me elaborate: in a book we have (mostly) linear narratives, e.g., the hero wakes up (step 1), the hero goes to school(step 2), the hero comes home and falls into an open manhole and then teleports into a fantasy world(step 3), the hero learns that he is a chosen one(step 4), the hero defeats the princess and marries the dragon(step 5), the hero realises that he might have mixed something up(step 6). But when WRITING the book it is possible to write hero's journey to the school(step 2) first, then write him learning that he is the chosen one(step 4), then the process of waking up (step 1) and so on.
What does it have to do with fanventures updated in real time? the fact that you do not have to write in a linear fashion here either. If you aren't feeling like advancing the plot where Terezi and Sollux discuss something you can cut it out in a middle of their convo (also providing a neat cliffhanger to make people interested) and go to Gamzee writing some Slam Poetry.

Personal recommendations.
Do understand that I am biased. I definitely prefer making a story on the fly. It works for me but I have no idea whether it'll work for you.

Have at least some characters prepared. If you don't have some characters ready then don't reveal them until you have some ideas for them.
Have some plot points ready, but only points, not entire plotlines. So instead of "john wakes up, gets a birthday present, starts the game, connects to Rose, Rose connects to Dave, Dave accidentally connects to Karkat due to weird plot shit" have a bullet point list like: "the kids learn about the game; the kida are contacted by trolls, Bec Noir raises hell" and so on.

And, do not worry about not answering fast enough and getting prompts fast enough. Some fanventures were taking months-long hiatuses due to many things. Hell, yours truly has a fanventure he is updating like once a month or two months even due to this year being very work-heavy.

My fan adventures:

Troll Jailbreak

Trolls but no SGRUB

A kid in some strange world
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Online 11-28-2016, 07:34 AM
Reply: #3
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
(11-27-2016 11:36 PM)Fubar Wrote:  What kind of resources should one have prepared before starting?

Many fan adventures just go with texts and that's it. Albeit I have a feeling yours is going to have some pretty pictures.
You know me too well, m8. ;^)

This was a super interesting read, thank you so much for your contribution! I'll definitely keep all of this in mind.

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Online 12-02-2016, 09:11 AM
Reply: #4
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
(Quiet little bump.)

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Offline 12-02-2016, 10:07 AM
Reply: #5
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
Honestly, all I can offer is to plan shit out.

[Image: 9bb7pc.gif]

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Offline 02-26-2017, 10:34 AM (This reply was last modified: 02-26-2017 10:40 AM by Trusty McCoolguy.)(Edited by Trusty McCoolguy.)
Reply: #6
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
The way that I'm going with Breath of Creation right now, I've basically been doing it on the fly. I have an overarching plot in my mind, but sometimes people don't react much right now, which may be because I accidentally let it slip briefly. So I've been waiting a while for more replies but I need to get off of my butt and post. For the most part, readers entirely control the story.

Basically, try to set everything up so that you have a regular time by which you post, which gives you enough time to get everything together, and gives your readers enough time to react if they feel like it. I haven't quite done that which is biting me in the butt.

One other piece of advice would be to decide on a visual template for your posts. Making each of the actual posts for the fanventure look visually similar helps tie it together into a cohesive whole, and helps people pick them out from the other posts if they just want to read the updates. You don't have to do much; you could just slap a font color on there, or just center the text. Whatever you want. Just do your best to, if you do use a style for the posts, to keep it very similar between them, if not identical.

For instance, here's BoC's template:


Knowing you, whatever you make is going to be hella cool and I'm gonna want to keep up with it.

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Offline 03-02-2017, 01:03 PM
Reply: #7
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
honestly i had two writing experiments on this forum:

One story with 100% user control and freedom, meaning that I had no plan whatsoever and just rolled along with what the readers said, with little to no planning ahead.

It didn't end that well, kinda fizzled out after a while.

Then I had something I had completely planned out.
I also got bored of that, it went too slowly.

So, tip: try and find a good balance between freedom and planning.

I think including a couple defined commands and a custom command is a good way to go about it.


don't talk to me unless you relate to this on a spiritual level
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Offline 03-03-2017, 11:42 PM
Reply: #8
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
Have an idea of an end goal as well as several pit stops but let the readers' prompts guide you there.

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Offline 03-15-2017, 01:21 PM
Reply: #9
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
Well. My fanventure is actually canon-based, so its a little different for me. I spent a while planning things out, but I didn't have every single detail mapped out from the beginning. I made sure the beginning of the story was ironed out, and I keep filling in bits of the later script as I go along. Always with the broad strokes and important story beats already planned ahead of time, but with wiggle room to change how we might get from beat to beat.

That being said...the art side of things is not insignificant. I highly suggest owning Photoshop and learning how to use it. I wish I could go in-depth here, but...I have to work on Act Omega! Hah. (My fanventure.)
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Online 03-15-2017, 01:50 PM
Reply: #10
RE: Fan Adventures? How do.
(03-15-2017 01:21 PM)joyfulldreams Wrote:  Well. My fanventure is actually canon-based, so its a little different for me. I spent a while planning things out, but I didn't have every single detail mapped out from the beginning. I made sure the beginning of the story was ironed out, and I keep filling in bits of the later script as I go along. Always with the broad strokes and important story beats already planned ahead of time, but with wiggle room to change how we might get from beat to beat.

That being said...the art side of things is not insignificant. I highly suggest owning Photoshop and learning how to use it. I wish I could go in-depth here, but...I have to work on Act Omega! Hah. (My fanventure.)

As someone that reads Act Omega, I'm absolutely stoked to hear from you! I'm mostly responding to this particularly to let you guys know that Act Omega is a thing and it's totally freaking baller. Check it out.

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