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Writing Excellent MLP Fanfiction


SCS
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I've always loved creative writing, and I've been planning to get into writing MLP fanfiction for some time.  I've written a few, but they were rather short and more in the way of practice and experimentation than substantial effort.
 
I understand that perspectives regarding this matter will vary widely, but I'd like to get a feel for what people look for in an MLP fanfiction specifically. About how long should it be? How much dialogue would you expect? What critical elements would you want to see? How much should it vary from content/themes present in the actual Friendship is Magic show?
 
More specifically, I'm thinking about writing adventure and slife-of-life fanfictions. Advice specific to either of those genres would be welcome as well.
 
Also, I plan to approach the writing of some fanfiction from a more traditional perspective, while I might employ some form of experimental narration in others. If you have read any fanfictions that strayed off the beaten path, what worked, and what didn't?
 
Thanks!

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Well, my opinion on the matter,

 

Length: for a one-shot story, maybe about 5000-6000 words (dependant on genre). For a story with chapters, I like about 3000-4000 words per chapter. This is mostly give and take depenadant on how much detail is being used, but for chaptered stories, too much text in a chapter could be more of a turnoff than not.

 

Dialogue: this is one aspect I am a bit ambivalent about — I personally don't mind lots of dialogue if it doesn't prevent the story from moving along (like if a big revelation is being lead up to, or if character development or character relationships are being discussed).

 

Critical elements and how far the story strays from FiM elements is completely up to you as a writer and where you want to take the reader.

 

A good adventure (IMO): decent length with a good balance of story progression, character/relationship development and action. I don't know if Fallout: Equestria is used as a baseline much, but the pacing was great overall, in addition to being a great work.

 

A good SoL (IMO): character/relationship development (not to say there couldn't be action) is the best way I could say it, with a fair bit of dialgue interspersed within.

 

And in regards to narration style, experimentation can lead to innovation :)

 

And as a final note: I look forward to reading your stories ^_^ (and sorry if this seems a bit rushed, I'm tired at the moment :P ).

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Isn't writing a joy? It lets us classify ourselves as artists despite how we lack the patience to draw. Or maybe it's just me.

 

In terms of a story's length, I feel that any experienced writer of anything would tell you not to care; it all depends on the story you're trying to get out. Personally, I'd rather read 2,000 inspired words than 60,000 forced ones. So it kinda falls to the writer to just set themselves down the path and see for themselves where it naturally ends. As long as you're in control of your words, you should know where that point lies, and if you wrap up there, chances are you'll come up with something worth reading. This definitely applies to high-quality horsefics, in my view!

 

I prefer plenty of dialogue personally, but I've always liked MLP fanfics that sometimes get criticized as being overly-wordy. Dialogue is simply the best way to emphasize that your characters have personalities (assuming you've given them some) and also that they're living creatures with thoughts, not just two-dimensional virtual beings. Basically, as long as the conversations in an mlp fanfic aren't just plot-related, don't serve as padding, aren't dull or pointless and don't either dominate the text or be virtually nonexistent, they should be fine. And critical elements are up in the air, for me. Whatever the writer sees fit works.

 

The question of FiM content is highly subjective, but personally, the short of it is that I don't like substantial deviations from the canonical material of the original show. That's why I was never a huge fan of the Fallout Equestria sub-universe, on account of the content (100% opinion). Why even make the characters ponies and utilize the world they live in if absolutely everything about them is so un-ponylike? I can see why putting them in graphic situations and making them say graphic things is metaphorically and emotionally powerful, but I have too much respect for the idea of a world where the values of innocence, benevolence and universal good will are upheld to condone fanfics that do an exceptionally good job of corrupting it all for the sake of gratification. But hey, readers should read what makes them happy. And no-one has the justification to stop that, or try.

 

For adventure, I guess just make sure that your story has a consistent tone. I've read a few great adventure fics that began strongly but ended up feeling thin and stretched as the writer ran out of ideas. So if you've finished exploring the mystical chimera temple and feel like a break from action, pad it with something interesting, like a hot springs "episode" or a sidekick going off on their own minor adventure so that interesting stuff continually happens, and your readers don't notice a quality dip. Sharp eyes, they have.

 

And for slice of life, you've got to really let your characters speak for themselves. Because there aren't any pony apocalypses or dragon invasions to distract readers, they'll be focusing on your characters 110%. So I like to think out every personality in advance and figure out small things like how to make them talk differently and react differently to things; it's this web of complex relationships that gives slice of life its wonderful flavour. You can do this as you go or prior, whatever works.

 

As far as experimental narration goes, SeraphStar said it nicely. If you're feeling worried about it though, maybe research some unorthodox methods and use something that another author already came up with for your fanfic. Just for the reassurance of not being the first to try something!

 

So, hope my "tips" weren't too obvious and best of luck with your writing! 

Edited by Smokie-Horse
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I've read tvtropes.org a lot, and from what I can tell, it's not what you write about, or how long the work is---in fact, there are a lot of measurable things that don't really help or hinder the work.  It's about how well you use the viewer's time and how you use the material you're writing about.

 

I expect there are some measurable elements, like how deep or believable the characters or their reactions are, that can affect a story's work---for instance, one of the things that drew me to FiM in the first place was the story of Celestia and Luna being separated for 1000 years.  The show portrayed the characters' emotional reactions to that pretty realistically, and it portrayed the consequences of 1000 years of absence realistically, too (that's one of the things I liked about Nightmare Night).  That realistic portrayal, how much it made sense, and the sheer impact of 1000 years of separation from and waiting for your only real family really struck a chord in me.

 

Of course...I'm saying all this based on what I like; I'm not a professional writer and never got that far in writing classes in school to know more than that about what makes a story good or bad.

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@SCS as I am an evil evil man I formally invite you to join in with and I in NaNoWriMo in November. 

 

Seriously though, you still interested in writing and storytelling technique? 

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@SCS as I am an evil evil man I formally invite you to join in with and I in NaNoWriMo in November.

 

Seriously though, you still interested in writing and storytelling technique?

SCS DO DA THING. IT IMPROVES YOUR WRITING SKILL PLUS IT HELP WITH YOUR CREATIVE THINKING.

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