et alia: So you want to write RAcy fan fiction? Don’t be SAD…

I knew it had been a while since I’d posted a chapter update to my AU John Porter fan fiction effort, Recovery.  When I logged into the DreamerFiction today, I was horrified to see just how long it has really been.  My last update, Chapter 23, was posted on March 20…that’s two months ago!  Good grief!  I don’t think I’m alone in having felt the frustration of becoming invested in a multi chapter, complex story, only to find that the author abandoned it for one reason or another.    Fear not lectores, I will finish Recovery, and soon, but in the meantime, I’ve been thinking a little about what the hold up has been.

Just a regular day...

Just a regular day…

No doubt part of the problem is the ordinary average chaos that is my life.  Since mid March, there have been numerous additions to the regular mayhem.  First, my husband started a new job which required the Human Resources Manager (that would be me) to fill out a gogillion forms for various and sundry benefits and submit proof of the valid existence of myself and my children as related to the covered employee…my husband, their father.  (This process necessitated a visit to the courthouse to replace a missing birth certificate – I opted for the multiple copy bargain rate – just in case)  Also new to me was the intensive rehearsal and performance schedule of the in house thespian that occupied the theatrical agent and principle chauffeur (also me) for the first half of April.  Factor in the end of the academic year, grading and most recently a bout with some unspecified pestilence that first transformed Mini Me into a feverish, coughing semi invalid and has since left me with a largely inaudible squeak in place of a voice, and my lack of progress comes into focus.

I can’t credit my schedule for all of it though.  My life isn’t that much busier than it was when I started writing the story.  I found a way to shuffle things around before so that I was updating about every two weeks…what is the problem now?

Drafts...

Drafts…

Another part of the equation lies in my writing method.  Apart from blog posts, which I compose at the computer, my other writing all begins in handwritten form.  I’ve written like this forever.  If I try to sit down and compose from scratch at the computer, I end up drawing a complete blank and staring at the screen in a daze.  It’s a different story with paper and pen.  I usually sit down and start to outline…the bullet points at some stage broaden into paragraphs and dialogue.  Maybe it’s a tactile thing…I love the feel of fine paper and scratch of the pen across it’s surface.  I’ve found that I prefer gel pens since the ink dries quickly and doesn’t blob or smudge, and using a variety of colors allows me to make notes and edit as I go.  I have several notebooks, that I now carry along in my bookbag to keep them away from the curious,  which contain various chapters, chapter outlines and research notes.  I am much more productive when I can disconnect from everything for a couple of hours and just lose myself in the cadence of penning the story to paper.  I make corrections as I go along, but the transcription onto the computer serves as another stage of the editing process.    I’ve been writing like this for so long (since before the dawn of time…or at least the ubiquitous personal computer) that I didn’t realize that it was at all noteworthy until the subject came up in a conversation about gel pens between Servetus and me.  So there you go…my archaic little secret!   Interestingly, my son, a burgeoning writer himself, reports that he writes the same way – the nosy mother in me wonders where he keeps his notebooks stashed!

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

While the opportunity and means to write certainly play a large part in my foot dragging end to Recovery, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain that there’s another factor in the mix.  I honestly think I’m suffering from a preemptive case of separation anxiety (SAD…not to be confused with SAD – Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Honestly acronym makers!)  I think that a part of me is reluctant to bring this story to a close because I’ve become really attached to the characters and I don’t want to let them go.  Be that as it may, I fully intend to finish Recovery.  My dear pal Guylty has helped me out with my missing SB DVD, so I have plenty of renewed inspiRAtion.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised though,  if there aren’t a few holiday vignettes in the hopper for John Porter and Lindsey Tate.

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et alia: So you want to write RAcy fanfiction? Sexy vs Plotty…

As I was fighting my way through the latest chapters of my first long fan fiction, Recovery I realized that it is much harder to write a coherent, interesting plot, than it is to piece together a series of sexy vignettes.

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

When I first started thinking about how to write a fan fiction that would incorporate elements of John Porter’s life as an SAS operative with the life that I had created for him, it was actually my husband who gave me a number of interesting avenues to follow about mercenaries and proprietary military technology.  I really enjoyed laying out this plot, unfolding it slowly, introducing twists here and there to keep it interesting, but it takes a lot more time and mental energy to keep it all straight, not to mention research.  A look at my browser history will find info on Blackwater operations, automatic weapons, fiber optic cabling, Syrian insurgents, British fleet movements, fatal knife wounds, etc….an uninformed eye might seriously question what type of mischief I’m up to!  In a summer when I had difficulty carving out an hour or two here and there to write at all, it often took me two or more weeks to piece together a 2000-3000 word chapter.  One RA friend and reader remarked that the majority of people reading on DreamerFiction probably don’t care all that much about plot…although I doubt I’m completely alone in enjoying a number of longer fics with developed plot lines, looking at the readership of the story, it’s pretty clear that the chapters with “sexy times” are read (or re-read) a lot more often.

Recovery is now at a point where much of the plot has been resolved (I still have a few surprises up my sleeve though), and some RAcy chapters have resumed.   What kind of research do I need to do to write these?  Well…there’s this

John Porter (Richard Armitage) in a moment of rest Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikback S1E4
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Or this…

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com (my crop)

A quick double check of this for variety…

cosmosutra

and then a little more of this…or maybe a lot of this…

and most definitely this…

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth...S1 E2 Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth…S1 E2
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

A little John Porter-style inspiRAtion and I am off and running…2000 word of steamy scene written, edited and posted in less time than it took to figure out the difference between a Tech-9 and a 45.

I wouldn’t have written this story any differently, but I have to admit, sexy does win out over plotty in certain instances.  🙂