Greetings, Klaroliners! Ask an Author is an exciting new feature we have here at the magazine. For anyone wondering what exactly that entails, it simply means you can an author anything in relation to Klaroline and fanfiction. If you have questions about how to develop a character or what you as an author can do to capture more readers’ attention, our writing gurus are here for you. Keep reading to see this week’s questions.
Laura- It’s so painful to watch TO and TVD (honestly, I’ve stopped watching both) these days since my favorite couple aren’t even on the same show any longer. How do you stay inspired?
Mary : Well, first of all, I’d say that it is not easy. As for me, I can find inspiration in other people’s work, such as paintings, or music, sometimes just quotes. Inspiration can come to me at like 3 AM, suddenly when I’m just trying to sleep, or maybe just when I’m having a walk outside and enjoying fresh air.
When you know that so many people are waiting for your edits/fics to be published/updated and you know that it really helps them too to get through those hard times when our OTP can’t be together, it just comes naturally. It’s hard to stay positive on a daily, and weekly basis, but we chose to somehow contribute to our fandom, and those people are the reason we are inspired. You are the reason 🙂
Cristy: I don’t blame you Laura, we all feel that way! I agree with what Mary has said wholeheartedly.
I definitely find the inspiration from other Klaroliners, like the amazing videos and beautiful graphics and fanart as well as all the brilliant drabbles and stories we have to devour.
Having such a wonderful and dedicated fandom helps keeps the dream alive, whether it be via tumblr, twitter, or fanfiction. Everyone keeps everyone else inspired and that is what I love. We also have a lot of projects throughout the year that definitely keep me motivated including the gift exchanges, Klaroline Gives Back, 25 Days of Klaroline, Klaroline Positivity Week, and Klaroline AU Week just to name a few.
One other thing I like to do to keep inspired is to rewatch all of my favourite Klaroline episodes on a regular basis just to remind me of what we had and how good it will be when we have it again, however long it takes!
Angie: I agree with Cristy and Mary. For me, it’s fandom participation, reviews, and coffee.
Cristy: Oh yes Angie, the coffee and possibly the diet coke too hehe…
Anonymous- How do you plan out a multi chapter fanfic? Do you write an outline or I’ve heard of idea webs… How about own characters, should you plan out their backstory before you add them or can you make it up later?
Angie: I usually do an outline. I’ll do a freewrite to sort of figure out where I want to go with it and then construct a specific outline by chapter. I try to be pretty flexible about how long each thing should be, but I try to think about where I want to end the sections. That way, I won’t get halfway through and realize that I forgot a huge piece of necessary foreshadowing or background information. I’m a planner, and I like knowing where everything’s going to go, so my outlines are always very detailed. It usually helps later in the process.
As for original characters, it depends on how important they are to the story. I think if you know that they have a significant role to play, you should at least know what their goals are and their main aspects of characterization. It’s more important for them to make sense to your reader, because they can fill in the blanks themselves with headcanons.
Mary: Hey there, interesting question. Personally I love making plans, and I love when everything is in order. But somehow I can never plan a multi-chapter fanfiction. The ideas just hit me, everything at once, so I am more comfortable with keeping it in my head. Usually, when I start writing down any idea, it suddenly goes away and I don’t feel inspired anymore until I start writing it in a word document.
But on the other hand, I can’t do anything with it, so when I’m out of ideas, I start to doubt myself and the direction where the story is going, so it becomes a mess. Once I started writing an outline, and then I didn’t like it and threw it in the bin. But the other day every idea seemed pretty cool on my computer.
As a known fact, we all try to write characters and their stories just as the show has written them. We try to keep them in character, but of course always change the histories, even in the slightest. Main characters always hold a similar story, for example how Klaus is a bastard, or that Elijah is a bad ass original vampire, and Kol is a bit irritating, you get me? So usually the characters I work with don’t require me to create a backstory but in case it’s needed, I always try to have it written in a subtle way, so a reader won’t feel hit with a lot of information at once. Delivering information about a character in bits is way more interesting than at once.
Jess: It depends for me. I usually have a general idea of where I want the story to go and end up (some parts more fleshed out than others), so I have a basic outline that I add to as I write chapters. I keep separate docs just for the outline and any specific world/character building aspects I want to use or keep track of just so I don’t lose track of anything and it’s easy to pull up.
Sometimes the plot changes direction with each new chapter, sometimes it stays how I had planned for the entire story. I think it’s important to be flexible and go where the story takes you; if it goes somewhere you didn’t expect, change your end accordingly and don’t try and force it to go the original route- otherwise you end up with HIMYM syndrome, and no one wants that.
For OCs, if they’re throw away characters, like someone’s meal, the audience doesn’t need to know much about them, so you can get away with just giving them some minor physical and personality characteristics and be done with it. If you’re going to keep them around and have them be involved in the plot, it’s best to come up with some backstory beforehand- that way you aren’t scrambling to shoehorn in new aspects of the OC that may or may not fit with what you’ve already written about them in previous chapters. How much the reader needs to know about them is up to you and your story, but it’s generally less stressful to have at least a basic idea for them before you introduce them.
Of course, if you prefer to complete a story in its entirety before publishing any of it- like some magical fandom unicorns out there- then you don’t need to worry too much about continuity of outlines or OCs, since you can go back and edit as you please. It’s definitely a less stressful way to write if you can keep the motivation going for a multi chap story without any feedback as you go.
Cristy: I think it depends on what works best for you. I always have an initial plan about the setting and how all the pairings meet and their proposed storyline (side pairings are important to me, just as much as Klaroline). However, it tends to change as the story develops. There have been many occasions in my fics where I have completely changed my mind and thrown a plot twist into the mix (I have many examples) but for me this keeps things flexible and interesting. I believe everyone needs to plot their own path depending on their strengths and personality but don’t be afraid to take a chance and open yourself up to the creativity and possibilities you might not have considered initially. Unpredictability can have its merits.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Ask an Author and that you found it informative! Have any questions of your own you’re dying to ask? Always wanted to ask about the writing process or pick an author’s brain? Then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our tumblr for all your Klaroline related needs.
Meet this month’s Authors: