Writer’s Block?

A topic that’s been coming up in many of my fan fiction posts recently has been how slow the Chuck activity has been at fanfiction.net recently.  Well that, and the large number of stories that never seem to get finished. Recently, while e-mailing a fan fiction writer whose work I’ve recommended here many times, ersk4, we got on this same topic.  He offered an article he had written on this topic.  Many of you may be familiar with his work, he was most active during season two.  Like many of us, he was discouraged by season three, which led to him not writing for a while.  But he’s recently been active again with the excellent “Chuck vs The Jill Ride”.  What you all may not know is that he was a journalist by education and profession for many years, and has been published in newspapers and magazines.  Fan Fiction is his only foray into fiction, but his background and writing experience give him some interesting insights.

So here, in its entirety, is “Why We Don’t Write” by ersk4.

You find a good story in Fan Fiction. You can’t wait for a new chapter to get posted. Those postings come regularly. Then, the chapter postings lessen and take longer. Then those postings stop. Weeks, months pass and no updates. That story that you enjoyed so much never gets an ending and you are left hanging there, wondering how the story would have ended, how it all would have turned out for your favorite characters.

What happened? Why did that writer abandon the story? Why didn’t the writer finish it? How could that writer leave that story in the Fan Fiction Unfinished Limbo?

Well, the sad fact is that the odds of a Fan Fiction story getting finished are really low.

Why?

Lots of reasons.

For one thing:

WRITING IS WORK

So many people think that writing is easy.

It isn’t. It’s a lot of hard work.

One of my favorite examples of explaining how writing is work are the words of author John MacDonald, probably most famous for writing the Travis McGee detective series, who said in the introduction to Stephen King’s “Night Shift”:

“I am often given the big smiling handshake at parties (which I avoid attending whenever possible) by someone who then, with an air of gleeful conspiracy, will say, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to write.’

“I used to try to be polite.

“These days I reply with the same jubilant excitement: ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon.’

“They look puzzled. It doesn’t matter. There are a lot of puzzled people wandering around lately.

“If you want to write, you write.”

MacDonald is exactly right. Becoming a brain surgeon takes a lot of work. Becoming a writer takes a lot of work.

You don’t believe me? You think writing is easy?

OK, then do this. You have an idea for a Chuck fan fiction story? Sit down at your computer, load up your word processing program and write chapter one to that great idea for your Chuck fan fiction story.

See how far you get into that one chapter. See how long it takes you to write that one chapter. See if you think writing is easy after that.

A lot of people say that they’re going to write a story. And it sounds easy. But to actually sit down at the computer and WRITE IT? That’s work. Hard work!

Which brings us into another reason why fan fiction writers sometimes give up on a story. It’s because there can be little reward.

WHAT REWARD?

You have a job. You get paid to work at that job. Writing Fan Fiction is work. And it would be great if you got paid money for writing Fan Fiction. But you don’t. It would be great if you won Oscars, Tonys or Emmys for writing Fan Fiction. But you don’t. It would be great if the people who work on “Chuck” or any other series that you write Fan Fiction for noticed and praised your work. But they don’t.

You do get reviews IF someone reads your story and takes the time to post a review. I don’t know the percentage of people who read Fan Fiction and take the time to review. But I bet it’s not a high percentage.

So you have a lot of work to do in writing a story. That can wear on you. And if you’re lucky enough to get reviews, there can be some reward.

But as far as some payment or great reward for writing Fan Fiction, not likely. So, going through the work of writing without any big reward can wear down on you. And then you may not be so motivated or inspired to finish that story.

And speaking of reviews….

Another reason why Fan Fiction writers don’t finish their stories….

WE HAVE FEELINGS (OR BAD REVIEWS HURT!)

One time I wrote a Chuck story and eagerly posted the first chapter. I was excited about the story. I thought I had a really good story and eagerly awaited the praise and accolades that were sure to come. The next day, I had about 10 reviews to the first chapter. I opened the first review. Negative and critical. I opened the second review. Also negative and critical.

Boy did my ego and self-esteem take a blow. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed. The rest of the reviews were positive and complimentary but those two negatives still hurt.

Haunted by those two bad reviews, I questioned what I had done. Should I have done this story differently? Should I have done this chapter differently? Should I have changed this? Should I do something different in the next chapter? Should I even finish this story?

I changed my plans for future chapter postings. The story originally had more and shorter chapters. I changed it all by combining chapters. That way I could get this story all posted and done and out of my life a lot quicker than originally planned. Those bad reviews bothered me that much.

I didn’t get any more bad reviews from future postings for that story. But those two haunted and bothered me.

And bad reviews haunt and bother all Fan Fiction writers. I’ve seen some writers even quit a story after getting some bad or negative or critical reviews.

And yes, any Fan Fiction writer can expect bad reviews. Sure it’s part of the game. And yes, if a Fan Fiction writer can’t take it, then that Fan Fiction writer shouldn’t do it. All true.

And that’s exactly what some Fan Fiction writers did. They couldn’t take the heat, so they got out of the kitchen.

Am I saying, don’t post bad reviews? No, not at all. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

But bad reviews can hurt.

And for some Fan Fiction unfinished stories, it’s all about planning. Or more specifically, a lack of planning. Meaning:

YOU NEED A PLAN

One time, another Fan Fiction writer sent me chapter one for a Chuck story he wanted to do. Now, to avoid embarrassing anyone, I will not mention his name and I will make up the plot of this Chuck story for this example. So, any resemblance to any Chuck story in this example is purely coincidental. This is all made up on my part.

In this first chapter of his story, Chuck woke up in a room in which there was nothing in it. He was alone in the room and there wasn’t any furniture or anything. And the walls, floor and ceiling were painted white. And Chuck couldn’t find any entrance or exit or any way in or out of the room.

It was a good, mysterious, and suspenseful opening to a story, I thought and told the writer that.

“Great!” he responded. “I’ll post it on the Fan Fiction site.”

“Wait a minute. What about the rest of the story? Have you figured it out yet?” I asked.

“Oh, I’ll figure it out as I write it,” he replied.

“Wait a minute. Do you know how this story is going to end? Do you know why Chuck is in that room? How he got there? How he is going to escape or be found?”

“I’ll figure it out as I write,” he repeated.

“No, no, no, NO! Do not, not, NOT write and post a story until you have outlined it, mapped it out, figured out how it ends!”

When you are writing a story, you need to know how it ends, where your characters are going and what is going to happen BEFORE you start writing.

OK, in this story, Chuck wakes up alone in this room. How did Chuck get into that room? Did the RING or the government put him in there? Why did they put him in there? How is he going to get out? Sarah will rescue him? OK, how is Sarah going to find out where this room is? And what is going to happen after she rescues Chuck from the room?

You need to figure out all of this before you start writing. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up with nowhere to go and no idea how to do it. Planning your story is just as important as writing your story. If you don’t have a plan, you may not have any idea what you’re going to do in the story and then abandon it because of that. Before you tie up Chuck and Sarah and suspend them over a pool of sharks, you need to figure out how they are going to escape!

I cringed when I’m reading a Fan Fiction story that has a note from the writer saying that he/she hasn’t figured out yet how to end the story or they haven’t figured out what they’re going to do.

They didn’t make a plan to the story. They just started writing and putting in all of these scenes and difficulties and then they painted themselves into a corner and now have no idea how to get Chuck and Sarah out of the mess they are in. And then we end up with an unfinished story.

And another reason, a story never gets finished? Simple?

WE HAVE A LIFE

When we’re not writing Fan Fiction, we’re at school, we’re at our jobs or doing other things. Writing Fan Fiction is not our main purpose in life. It would be nice to be able to spend our time writing Fan Fiction but unfortunately we have to pay our bills, we have to put food on the table, we have to do our homework and our assignments, we spend time with our significant others….

You get the idea. Writing Fan Fiction doesn’t help us with any of those or other real life tasks. We have to write Fan Fiction in our free and spare time and sometimes we don’t have as much free and spare time as we used to. Sometimes a new job, new addition to the family or something else spells doom for our doing any more Fan Fictions.

And still another reason, a story never gets finished. We get discouraged because…

SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE SHOW

During season three of Chuck, with Shaw and other things happening, I found “Chuck” depressing and a downer for about the first 2/3 of season three. What happened to this fun show? This is so depressing, I lamented frequently. And as a result, my enthusiasm for writing Chuck Fan Fiction plummeted. Sure something can happen on the show that will inspire Fan Fiction. But something can happen on the show that will retire Fan Fiction!

Or Fan Fiction writers cease because…

A NEW LOVE COMES ALONG

Back when the show the X-Files was on, I knew a Fan Fiction writer who was doing an epic time travel story with the characters. She started the story and then the TV show “Smallville” started. This writer got hooked on that show and the Clark-Lana relationship. And with that, her allegiance switched. Clark-Lana occupied her mind and interests and Mulder-Scully faded away. Her X-Files story took a backseat to Smallville stories. And eventually, Smallville replaced X-Files entirely for her and she wrote Smallville Fan Fiction solely. She never finished that X-Files story. She was too into Smallville to go back it.

So sometimes, our interests change.

Or…

WE GET DISTRACTED

You’re writing a story. You’ve been working on this one story for a while and as the weeks pass and the chapters get posted, slowly but surely, the level of fun in writing that story lowers and the level of work in writing that story rises. It kind of becomes more work than fun. And while writing, an idea for another story takes shape in your mind. And then you start to get more ideas for that other story. That other story sounds much neater and much better than the one you’re currently working on. Why not take a moment and write a chapter or two on that new idea and why not post those chapters?

And if you’re not careful, you may just stop writing that first story entirely and then concentrate on the new story. And then while you’re writing that new story, you get a great idea for another story. Hey, this idea for a new story is even better than the last one. So why not take a break from the second story and write a chapter or two on this new one.

You get the idea. I call it “Inspiration Illness.” You’d be surprised at how ideas for other stories just pop up like crazy while working on one story. It happens. The inspiration for that other story just gets too great to ignore and the writer ditches the one story and starts writing the other story. It can be a vicious cycle because I’ve seen many fan fiction writers do this repeatedly and have multiple unfinished stories.

It can get tough to ignore that tempting call of what you think is a better idea for another story and stick to writing and finishing the first story.

And that goes back to what I said earlier: writing is work. It takes work and discipline to write and finish a story.

So you see that there are a lot things going against Fan Fiction writers and their stories. And that really lowers the odds of a Fan Fiction story getting completed, especially a long epic story. So the next time you read a completed story by a Fan Fiction writer, consider all of these things that they have going against them and that they overcame to finish it. Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

THE “TOP THREE LIST” OF THINGS YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR FROM A FAN FICTION WRITER.

Number 3:

“I’m sorry for the long delay in updating. But things are now back on track and I should be able to update quicker and more frequently now.”

Translation: I fully intended to update regularly but by posting a note saying this, I have just now jinxed myself and won’t be able to do that. Because now real life or something else I didn’t anticipate is going to interfere.

Number 2:

“I haven’t figured out how I’m going to end this.”

Translation: I didn’t plan nor do an outline for this story and I’m winging as I go along. So I have no idea where I’m going with this and I have no idea what to do next. I’m stuck!

Number 1:

“I promise that I will finish this story.”

Translation: WE’RE DOOMED!

Dave Again

Ersk was kind enough to answer some of my questions about this article.  For starters, he is of course well aware no list can ever be comprehensive.  Each writer will likely have some of their own issues and circumstance when their writing slows down.  I know from my own experience here that writing is often like work.  Some of you old-time visitors to this site may remember the early days when we often had no schedule or agenda and each of us sort of wrote whatever we wanted.  That was fun, but erratic and not very organized.  As we got our act together, and started scheduling certain types of posts and assigning duties (Joe is a tough master!) it has become even more like work.  We all still love what we do here, but sometimes the actual writing is far more about discipline and not letting each other down than it is about fun.  

We talked some about the season three issue in particular.  While ersk, and some other writers lost inspiration at that time, others were clearly more motivated to write.  The desire to “fix” what was happening on screen may have influenced many.  I know as a reader, and ersk acknowledged the same feeling, I was more motivated than ever to find fun Chuck stories to my liking.  I can still think of several that I wish were canon instead of what actually is. 

As far as why fan fiction is slowing down now?  Well the biggest issue would seem to be that Chuck and Sarah are now together.  That was a central theme of most fan fiction written through season three, but for any story going AU after “Chuck vs Other Guy” its already a done deal.  Perhaps its not surprising that so many stories that have started in the last year and a half are either complete AUs or set prior to episode 3.13 (Just like ersk’s current story “Jill Ride” is set mid-season two).

I hope you all found this topic as interesting as I did.  And thanks so much to ersk4 for taking the time to comment on this and answer my many questions.  I expect to post again in a couple weeks, right about the time Chuck returns for season five, with one of my more normal fan fiction review articles.

 ~ Dave

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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147 Responses to Writer’s Block?

  1. joe says:

    Ersk4, I can’t thank you enough for contributing this (and Dave, thanks for the initiative on it).

    If you’re reading, I’m not in this league – I’m not a professional writer, and indeed, do it just for fun. For that, I can agree with most everything you said.

    But there is one thing. For me, it’s not rocket science. I’ve been a rocket scientist (of sorts!) so I know. I find that it’s actually very easy to write something (I hope, something of quality) when I have found something that’s true. And that’s the hard part. If I can’t find that truth, something I believe in to write about, then I’m just rambling and it comes out that way.

    Boy, I’ve done lots of rambling! Really, I’ve thrown away more posts than I’ve publish, or at least, close to it. In the process I’ve garnered a lot a respect for the craft of writing and for those who do it well. Perhaps I’ll never be a pro, but I’ve learned a lot.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Joe I’ve also thrown away a few, and a lot of comments, and wish I’d thrown away a few more! Obviously the sort of writing we do is a little different than a carefully plotted story. But there’s two things we do I find most difficult; the first is trying to explain something complex and controversial. I’ve had so many times staring at the screen trying to think how to craft the next thought.. And also quite a few times I wound up deleting a half hours work (ouch!).
      The other really hard thing to me is writing on assignment. Even when I know and love the episode or topic. That is where I completely relate to idea the writing is work. And I doubt I’ll ever be very good at it.

      • joe says:

        Oh, I grok that.

        I’m not too bad at writing on assignment. It’s the deadlines that get to me. Sooner or later I generally come up with something to say for a given topic. But it’s usually later! 😉

    • Nervert says:

      I hear you on writing what’s true. When you really feel what you’re writing it just writes itself (though, with me, there’s endless tweaking after it’s all out on the page).

      • joe says:

        I’m getting better at the tweeking! Usually, I find that I completely throw away the first version and write something worth keeping on the second or even third. Then when I go back and re-read, I see all the typos, misspellings, incorrect homonyms, inconsistent tenses, repetitions and just plain lousy structure that I want to correct.

        I use the word “I” waaaayyyy too many times. I understand the preference for active voice, vs. passive now.

        At least I’m getting better with all that stuff earlier in the process, though.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the tweaking has to be one of the big issues for a fiction writer that we don’t have here. I mean sure, we proof read and pay attention to how we sound (ummm, ideally!) But I think the style here is more casual and conversational, so our level of craftsmanship is often lower; or at least lower than good fiction writers’.

      • Nervert says:

        Yeah, I can see that, Dave, though I bet there’s a different kind of tweaking that goes on for this kind of writing. Mainly, “How are people going to read what I just wrote?” People seem pretty civilized here but man, in some places people can really go off the rails when they get it in their head that you’re saying something you are not.

      • joe says:

        Really? Well, possibly. We do keep it conversational here.

        I can’t imagine what the job of planning out a story line is like, the way the FF writers do it. I mean, the line itself is just the beginning. Then you have to think about the role each actor will play, and then write it in their own words and voice. I don’t have have the knack for that.

        But at the same time, what we’ve been doing, I think, is to dig into the story to find how it’s connected to the Chuck universe. We try to find the relationships with things that happened earlier, the consistencies (the inconsistencies! – that’s where the surprises and left turns are, after all) and even the philosophical underpinnings. Heh! I think we’ve picked Fedak’s and Schwartz’s brains apart by now!

        I guess in general, I’ve been exploring the universe that’s been presented. My tastes being what they are, it tends to be the moral universe of Chuck; how boy treats girl, how father treats son and how friend treats friend. It’s work (in the sense that expend time and energy on it), but of a different kind than the FF writers do.

      • joe says:

        Nervert, I’ve heard it said that writing is rewriting. Sure has been true for me!

      • Nervert says:

        Sorry, Joe. I meant to say in some OTHER places people go off. Not here. At least, not so much that I’ve seen.

      • joe says:

        Oh no, Nervert. I understood.
        My first response was actually to ATCDave’s comment, and you beat me.

        Now there’s a problem FF writers don’t have! We have to worry about making sure that a comment is directed to the right person. We create such jumbles of conversations sometimes!

      • atcDave says:

        No doubt Joe! one of our challenges is juggling three conversations in one thread! I didn’t mean to belittle the energy, commitment, or depth of thought in what we’re doing. I was mainly thinking just of the craftsmanship of the writing itself (is that wordsmithing? maybe that’s the word I’m looking for?). While we certainly work at being understood and explaining our thoughts, I don’t think we invest as much in the actual form or structure of our writing. Casual or conversational (colloquial) are the best terms I can think of; while fan fiction is often more formal and “correct.”

      • Nervert says:

        Heh. True, Joe. It’s very nice that we don’t have to go searching through multiple authors’ pages to find each update for a single story.

        Regarding writing being rewriting, that’s more than a little true for me, Joe. Usually when I read fiction of any kind, I edit and editorialize, almost as a reflex. When I go about my own writing I have no idea how to get something across until I read it, so I put some splatter down on the page and then read it and tear it to pieces. I have no idea if that’s normal or not, though boy, if that isn’t a great example of how the brain is collection of modules that only somewhat talk to each other.

  2. Nervert says:

    Thanks for writing this, Ersk4, and Dave for putting it up there for all to see. I can identify with quite a few things in that list, especially the intrusion of real life and lack of reward (though thank you so, so, so much to those who regularly review *cough*Daveforinstance*cough*).

    I have to say, regarding planning, that, while it has been an issue for several of the stories I’ve seen unfold and it’s good public service that you mention it here, there should still be a certain amount of balance between planning and inspiration (particularly if you find that the planning aspect squashes your inspiration). For instance, I began one of my stories with a line comparing fireworks to sea anemones. That was the only line and from it, somehow, the first chapter came around. Then the first spawned the second (no idea where it was going at that point). It wasn’t until sometime in the fourth chapter that I came around to planning things out. With the current story I’m writing, for a long time the plan was so bare bones it could have gone just about any direction (until I got to chapter seven or so). What I’m saying is, yes, at some point the planning will absolutely have to happen (and Ersk4, you are absolutely right that there are a lot of people writing Fan Fiction who need to do more prep work) but don’t let it crowd out fun ideas and inspired diversions, especially early on.

    • atcDave says:

      Hey I figure the review is about the only tangible reward I can offer you guys. That and its an exciting exorcise for me to see how many ways I can say “great chapter!” Okay, sort of kidding; but I have so much fun reading fan fiction, and I am often at a complete loss on what to say about a good chapter.

      • Nervert says:

        If you ever mention actual aspects of the story that you liked (which you do pretty consistently) then it’s a great review and much appreciated.

        Not that I’d turn down a review of any kind … ever.

        No that’s not a dare.

      • joe says:

        That’s a real good point, Nervert.

        It’s a lot easier to say “I liked it.” or “I didn’t like it.” and stop there than it is to question yourself and answer the question “why”.

  3. armysfc says:

    well i’m on board with all of the reasons, except for the one where something happens on the show. the worse i think it is the more i want to write to make it more what i wanted. i do think the reason for the slow down also stems from c/s getting together on the show. thinkling said it a while ago most stories (fairy tales) end with the couples getting married then happily ever after so they don’t know what to do.

    add to that the majority of fics, even the highly reviewed ones, follow the seasons to some extent. some people may not write as well with out that as a guide, while others like to go outside the box and do very well. that goes to your point of making sure you have the fic mapped out.

    touching on reviews for a second. bad ones don’t bother me at all. the ones that bug me are when i tell the reader what the story will be like and won’t contain, and readers review and beg for what i have no intention of doing.

    these issues you bring up about unfinished fics are common to all fandoms, not just chuck. i have several i may never finish and the reason is simple, people aren’t reading. so i’m doing the network thing and canceling do to poor ratings.

    • Nervert says:

      Heh heh. I can see canceling due to low readership but what if the fan base, while small, is extremely passionate. 😀 😀

      I’ve wondered about the drop off with the lead characters getting together. Do you think, demographically, that a lot of FF writers are younger? That could explain it, as many of them may not have the experience of very long term committed relationships and raising families, etc.

      • atcDave says:

        Nervert I suspect college age is most typical for fan fiction writers. I also suspect older writers are more likely to finish what they start.
        I mentioned modeling below, but my other major time sink is wargaming; and speaking as a major US Navy fanboy, gaming battles where the US Navy didn’t do so well and trying to get a better result is a MAJOR motivator for me in the hobby. (of course I’m also a bit of a Flying Tiger fanboy, but that mainly just comes down to destroying whole formations of enemy bombers like they actually did!)
        So it wouldn’t seem unusual to me if a desire to achieve a better outcome than what happened in canon was a major motivator for many writers. Given that the central relationship is THE major emotional hook for the show it only seems natural that once it is satisfactorily resolved many hobbyists would loose some of their drive in telling alternate stories.
        Now I still find the setting and characters compelling, and its obvious many fan fiction writers still do too. But I think we may have lost a few with the mostly happy events of late S3 and S4.

    • atcDave says:

      I guess though I’d say Chuck and Sarah getting together is an example of what happens on the show effecting the writing. But I think when we reach an emotional and very unpopular story like S3 it will have a strong effect, in one way or another, on most writers. As ersk says, he was discouraged and was less motivated to write, while what you discribe army is also a strong, if opposite reaction. That is you get more motivated to “fix” something that went wrong on the show.
      I don’t have hard numbers on it, but my feeling is that fan fiction was coming fast and furious in S2 and S3; while some complacency set in after S3 and the pace of writing slowed down. Bummer, but probably completely normal.
      And I do get that the unfinished hobby is a problem in much of fan fiction. I do scale models and see a lot of the same thing (not from me, I’m really anal about finishing what I start) and unfinished model kits live in many homes worldwide.

      • joe says:

        I’m guessing that the idea of C&S getting together at the end of S2 was a lot more fun to write about than the idea of them struggling with, like, everything the way they did in S3.

        I know my imagination really got carried away in Barstow.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Joe I think late S2 led to a real explosion of writing. Of course, that’s about when I was just getting into reading it so my perception my be quite off.

      • armysfc says:

        dave, what you said is very true. i’ll give another example of what i mean. i read JAG FF long before chuck. the greatest number of stories during a period of say 2 years was a rewrite of seasons 6/7 from the episode adrift. on the show they didn’t get together, in most fics they did. people wanted to fix what they thought was broke. on site actually did “summer episodes” that were written after each season aired. each fic was another episode to hold them over for the summer. the same fixing applies to chuck during season 2. how many people wanted them together and wrote about it?

        now season 4 comes along and everything for shippers is rosy. from what i remember most of the stories written during 3 tried to fix the relationship mess, heck people still do it now. most fics on chuck seem to be written by hard core shippers, now that that part is clear there really is not a lot to write about.

        in response to the vocal fan base i agree but when it comes to FF chuck falls way short. there was at one time close to 100 sites that featured Jag FF, most by individual authors. now there are about 30 still active. other shows have the same type following buffy is still huge ad so are others. i think that the events of s4 slowed the writing because it was so uplifting to most.

    • Nervert says:

      That’s a good point, Dave. I took a class about the basic template of the human brain (the lowest common denominator stuff that we all share, regardless of culture) and the things that all humans react to the most strongly are the three f’s: food, fear, and … ahem … sex, plus a fourth interest which is human narrative (i.e. how people move up or down in status, confront conflict, and hook up). In stories, movies and TV, getting the two leads together covers two of those four things, so it’s certainly going to catch a much larger part of the population than sort of stuff that comes later in a relationship.

      • Nervert says:

        And this comment was intended to address Dave’s point four posts above. Gah! Haven’t completely mastered the reply tree.

      • atcDave says:

        Its funny though Nervert, because there certainly have been a number of successful stories (in every medium) that involved a happy, committed couple. So the burning question becomes, how does one make that transition within a given setting? (How do Chuck and Sarah become Nick and Nora Charles or Jonathon and Jennifer Hart?) It seems to me the same two basic interests are at play in the interaction of a happy couple that were there during the courtship (from your list above; the sex and human narrative should still be in play).
        You know I’m well established here as saying I think the problem for 30 years has been that Hollywood doesn’t even try to tell that story. Chuck is a rare and special show for what they’ve done. But even so, we seem to have lost some viewers (and fan fiction writers!) in making the transition. Can that be fixed? (I sure hope so!) or are the potential audiences for those type of stories so different that its hopeless? (perhaps I should sell my TV?)

      • atcDave says:

        No problem about the reply issues Nervert, the listed authors here have a special editing tool that lets us see where you meant to reply instead of where you actually did (no really! I wouldn’t make a thing like that up!)

      • Nervert says:

        You’ll find no argument from me that Hollywood has a creativity problem though demographics might also be an issue. Isn’t Hollywood trying to sell to the young’ns more so than us? If so, that would affect the type of stories studios like to see. For me (and I think this may apply to many) the stories I really like are the ones that resonate as being true and the way they do this is by matching up with what I know from experience (The Wire and Breaking Bad are favorites of mine because of this). If the young’ns haven’t had much experience with all the work involved in relationships, then maybe stories about married or long-term committed people won’t resonate with them. Drives me nuts though because I like stories that start after happily-ever-after.

      • armysfc says:

        dave i think you answered your own question, lol. the 2 show you keep bringing up have a major difference than most on TV. they started out that way, there is no need to bring them together.

        look at a few topics that are talked about here alot. the hero’s journey and the belief by some that when a person suffers and reaches his/her goal it makes it all the better for the viewer or reader. if a show starts out with a happy couple you need to keep it that way or it becomes a soap opera.

        how would chuck have received if they were a couple and both good at what they did like in the shows you mentioned? would it have done better or worse? where would the growth come from that is often talked about here? you can’t grow whats already there. i feel if a show starts out like that it would do well, but as thinkling said when you start apart and get together the happy ever after mentality kicks in an people think the story is over.

        i’m like you in a way, i don’t like dark story’s but our definition is different. i pay no attention to the relationship stuff so the rest better be what i like. a good crime solving team is at the top of my list, as are competent and strong men (not only in a physical way). playful banter is also good.

        is it hopeless, i don’t think so. it will take a brave network to take the plunge and see what happens.

      • thinkling says:

        Always an interesting discussion to me … getting the leads together and telling the rest of the story. We are conditioned to expect the wedding to be the end (fairy tales, romantic comedies, and the like). But that template gets ridiculous when stretched over multiple seasons. Instead of fixing the problem, story tellers exacerbate it by dragging it out. By the time some leads get together, even the wt/wt is boring (for some of us sooner than others). At the same time, they have begun to run low on story ideas for the show (shows and story lines have a shelf-life)… without doing radical things. Thankfully Chuck has done some radical things. Typically, by the time most TV shows get the leads together, they have dragged out the wt/wt to the point that the relationship has become boring, and they have no more story ideas. Then they blame it all on having gotten the leads together.

        So, I think there are a couple of things that need to be done to avoid the shark syndrome. First, the story has to be more than a vehicle to get the leads together. In a romcom and a fairytale, the story is nothing more than a vehicle to get the leads together. That done, there’s nothing left. The rest of the story has to already be in place, running parallel, and germinating the whole time, like why Chuck and Ellie’s parents disappeared, Chuck becoming a spy, villains to fight, mysteries to solve, CIA conspiracy plots, and a real life to live … characters that keep on growing. When the leads get together, the other parts of the story can’t skip any beats.

        The second thing that perpetuates the problem is reinforcing the idea that the wedding is the end, by putting it at the end. If the wedding isn’t supposed to be the end, then it shouldn’t be placed at the end of the season. Thanks to an unexpected renewal and a bold decision by Schwedak, Chuck did this. Other Guy and Honeymooners turned out not to be the end. We still had more story left and some exciting action after Chuck and Sarah got together.

        I loved S4 … unequivocally. Some people didn’t, and I think perhaps that’s partly because, in a small way, TPTB reintroduced a wt/wt flavor by stretching out the proposal arc (making us fear that the proposal might not happen) and then trying to float the notion that the wedding was uncertain. They returned to the wt/wt template of focusing on the relationship and putting its resolution (in this case proposal and wedding) at the end. I say break the mold. Put the wedding toward the front of the season and let it kick off a heart-pounding story arc. Don’t let it be the end. Force it to be the beginning. Let the couple hit the ground running to face new villains and bigger adventures. (In some ways Chuck did this with the CIA conspiracy twist and the huge changes at the end of Cliffhanger. But I still say don’t give people a three month break after the wedding to become satisfied with the “happy ending.” Come back the next week with their lives turned upside down by the next adventure. Anyway that’s the way I would do it. If the wedding isn’t the end, then don’t put it at the end, and by all means don’t wait until you’ve run out of story ideas. If there’s more story to tell, don’t skip a beat … tell it.

        Again that’s more for the TV format than ff. As to why there’s less ff now that CS are together, I think it’s the combination of the popularity of the fairytale/romcom model, the challenge of writing a married couple/ mature relationship story, and the fact that dissatisfaction inspires more ff than satisfaction does (or that’s my theory as a reader of ff). Like Dave said, a lot of people write to fix what’s broken (as in S3) or to accelerate the story they want to see.

      • Crumby says:

        Typically, by the time most TV shows get the leads together, they have dragged out the wt/wt to the point that the relationship has become boring, and they have no more story ideas. Then they blame it all on having gotten the leads together.

        Thinkling, you’re really spot on this. 🙂

        In Chuck’s case, the show still had stories to tell by the time CS got together, with Orion, whether Chuck was a spy without the Intersect or not, Sarah’s backstory, Mama B, etc.

        But they did drag out the WT/WT and considered Other Guy as an objective, so much so, that once CS got together, well, they were together. There was no dates, no period of discovering each other, etc. They were moving in together the episode right after Honeymooners, and people were already expecting the engagement at the beginning of S4, only 6 episodes after they’d officially gotten together.

      • atcDave says:

        Some excellent points Thinkling. I do think that is a very common problem; that is the leads finally coming together so late in the series that the core mythology is already running out of steam.

        And Crumby it was an interesting dynamic the way Chuck and Sarah came together and we were instantly ready for more maturity and commitment from them. I think that was due to two main issues; first we knew they were mostly “together” long before they were actually together. The other thing was the S3 story was such an offensive manipulation where most ‘shippers were concerned that we were eager to just wash it away.

      • Crumby says:

        That’s what I meant Dave, it’s because of the way the WT/WT was written that people were ready for CS to get together really seriously so soon.

        But it also make the transition between WT/WT and happy couple more difficult. Had Chuck and Sarah started dating in S3.0, not necessarily Pink Slip but say Mask for example, the transition would have been smoother IMO.

        And it’s because of what Thinkling said about the getting together, engagement, or wedding being considered has the final step or objective of the story. It’s like the couple need to figure everything out before they get together. Once they have, the show becomes something different in a radical way. If they figured things out progressively while being together, the change would be less obvious.

        Look at Bones for example. Spoiler alert for those that aren’t up to date. The WT/WT lasted 6 seasons. Now, they just got together and are already expecting a child! That’s quite the change. Sure there will be conflict etc. and I don’t necessarily mind the direction, but I still find it quite weird…

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with all of that Crumby. I know I’m on record many times over of saying I would have liked to see Chuck and Sarah working out what it meant to be together with Chuck becoming a spy as the main S3 story. It would have been a much smoother story.

  4. Crumby says:

    Interesting article. 🙂 Thank you ersk4 and Dave.

    I agree that Chuck and Sarah getting together have had an incidence on FF, although I would argue that Colonel could have had the same impact. Where do you go from there other than putting Chuck and Sarah together? The S2 finale created new conflict in that regard with the Intersect 2.0 and the Ring.
     
    Which lead me to a thought, and I have no data to back this up, it’s just my theory, but I think that part of the reason of less FF is also due to mythology.
     
    In S1/2, you could go in a lot of different directions with the Intersect, Fulcrum, Jill, Bryce, Orion, Sarah & Casey’s backstory, etc. 
     
    Now you’re really more limited. The show has answered (successfully or not) those questions, or at least give some limitations around it.
     
    I don’t think S4 helped on that point, probably ruining inspiration on the spy stories. On the other hand, it created a wave of really fluffy stories with Chuck and Sarah together, and certain readers seem to not be able to take a story that dare keep Chuck and Sarah apart, or just not having sex every two minutes. The effect of S3/4 wasn’t just on writers I think, the audience changed as well.

    • Crumby says:

      Hmm, there seems to be missing part on my post. Sorry about that. Here’s what I was saying in the second paragraph:

      I agree that Chuck and Sarah getting together have had an incidence on FF, although I would argue that Colonel could have had the same impact. Where do you go from there other than putting Chuck and Sarah together? The S2 finale created new conflict in that regard with the Intersect 2.0 and the Ring.

    • Fogh says:

      I love what you said about the audience wanting Chuck/Sarah together, and practically demanding them to have sex every other scene. If I look at one of my own stories, Rome Assignment it received a review after the last chapter saying they should have sex, because they had waited long enough, while they just got together after all the Shaw stuff, there is still so much left hanging in the air, traumatic experiences are piling up, and did I mention that only a few weeks have passed in that story? That Charah have only been together for at most two weeks? Hell there were even people that wanted me to let them have sex the day after Chuck’s most traumatic experience of his life, but sure let them screw each others brains out, that is so like Chuck. I will not have characters get together in the most intimate way if I don’t think they are ready, no hair on my head that even contemplates that.

      I do think that it isn’t just the show that has created that atmosphere though. There are certain writers that are adament on having them have sex in every chapter, or have every Charah talk result in a conversation that is heavily laced with sexual innuendo. I don’t know, but to me that’s a childish and cheap way of portraying a mature couple. Not like all people talk about is sex, at least I don’t when it comes to being in a relationship with someone. It’s just too easy and to cheap to score that way IMO. It’s not too much to ask to have them come across things that are actually worth discussing. Seriously if something in a story happens that doesn’t progress the storylines in some way, it’s a waste of the digital paper it was written and published on, but that’s just my opinion. And that’s what I love about Frea’s work, sure she can do some sexual teasing, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but all the there are so many things her characters talk about, in sin such ingenius and clever ways, that I feel that they are real people, and not just people that an author wants them to be.

      • Fogh says:

        Btw sorry for the typo’s at the end of that message, the bottom line kept disappearing so I practically wrote the end blind.

      • joe says:

        Sorry ’bout the disappearing lines, Fogh. It’s a WordPress bug, and I find it annoying too.

        You’re quite right about the fan hunger for C&S #SexyTimes. It’s insatiable. It’s a symptom of the fan’s humanity, though. We want C&S to be together in the most immediate way possible because we actually care for their happiness.

        It shows how successful the show creators and talent have actually been. We care for them like they were real people, our friends and relatives, and that caring is expressed every day in comments on the blogs and boards, on twitter and in the fan fiction.

      • Fogh says:

        I figured it was something like that Joe.

        As for humanity, I understand why people want them to be happy, but when it comes to myself, and I think also to someone like frea(though if not, then she can slap me), we want to write a story that develops naturally, and is believable, not just somethiing that is focused on the easy way to make someone happy. I’m in the business of telling a story, and a story needs to be full of different emotions to be succesfull. To me a story that keeps doing the same thing over and over again, just have them talk about sex over and over again is quickly boring. It’s why I don’t read certain popular works. And yes I consciously don’t mention those authors names, this has to do with me, and not with their skills as writers. I just want to write and read something that feels real, even if things like the intersect are sci-fi. And ignoring all kinds of things, just for the quick make me feel happy writing of having them have sex to me does not feel real.

      • Nervert says:

        Joe, I think another big reason why fans care so much about those two characters is that the actors put so much into them. Plenty has been said about the chemistry between them and it’s true. Some of the younger fans have been so wrapped up in that chemistry that they get disappointed when they find out that the Y & Z are just friends in real life.

      • atcDave says:

        Fogh I’m quite sure I know exactly the stories and writers you mean; and I guess the only explanation (excuse!) I can offer is to say I see some stories as McDonalds and some as fine dining. I really do enjoy an Egg McMuffin on occasion, but I will never confuse it with prime rib.

      • Fogh says:

        Dave that’s why I would never mention names like this. It’s my opinion that I don’t enjoy them, and bashing people over it has little use and it wasn’t meant as an attack anyway, it’s just not something that I agree with or enjoy, the only reason I even mentioned is because I feel that they are part of what influences the fandom. It is every persons right, both from the author side, and from the readers side to write/read whatever they want. But if people expect me to frog leap to just have Charah have sex they better read another story, and it annoys me when people start demanding me to ignore the road that characters need to stay on to for me stay believable.

      • Nervert says:

        Fogh, I definitely see your point that people want to get C&S together as quickly as possible despite how realistic it is for that to happen. I leave stories as fast as I’d leave a burning building when I see that happen. If it isn’t earned, I agree, it just feels cheap. That’s just a personal preference though, as I don’t want to judge others on what they enjoy.

        Having said that I’m trying desperately to not remember the number of times I’ve mentioned C&S having sex in my most recent story. Such a hypocrite. In my defense, part of the plan of my story was to have C&S in the middle of the honeymoon part of their relationship at the same time that both have the specter of death hanging over them. Wait, the fact that I planned it that way makes it worse, doesn’t it?

      • atcDave says:

        Nervert you did an outstanding job of showing an “earned” relationship. In “Pacific Northwest” we got one the best and most mature treatments of Chuck and Sarah talking through the issues that I’ve seen. It’s entirely fitting to have them in a happy place afterwards, and it’s a pointed contrast to the life and death part of the story, it makes it easy to understand what they are fighting for.

      • Fogh says:

        Nervert, I don’t have a problem with there being some sex in a story, granted personally I’m a traditional guy, in the sense of like Dave said ‘safe it for marriage’ but I’m not writing me, I’m writing the characters, who clearly have a different moral code, so that changes things. If it’s handled well, if it isn’t every 200words oh let’s do it on the kitchen table, or whatever, if it’s not every chapter, if it’s not just to have an easy score with readers, and it’s earned, truly and rightfully earned, and we as readers can feel characters are in the right place at the right time, then having two characters have sex is fine. But it’s the combination of the plot and the characters that determine that moment, not the fact that readers are eager to have a relationship validated. Honestly if a relationship needs sex to be a relationship, I’m not interested, I’m just not. There are so so many dynamics to a loving relationship, but we hardly get anything else than sex.

        If I’m completely honest, it has taken a way a bit of the fun of writing Rome Assignment for me, but I’m not going to compromise the story I want to tell, just to please people that read my stuff.

      • atcDave says:

        fogh I would have to say the way you’ve handled the relationship so far in Rome Assignment has been very satisfying. It makes me a little sad if some readers are pressuring you to write things in a way contrary to your vision. All I can say is follow your own judgement on it. I like that you’ve shown Chuck and Sarah developing other sorts of trust and intimacy. It strikes me as very powerful when the main characters discover the different ways they need each other and can help each other.

        Now we have seen writers who actually solicit the readers and ask “what do you want to happen next?” To me, that does cheapen the story, it becomes more about pandering than any sort of truth or integrity. That doesn’t mean such a story is no fun at all, but it definitely becomes a “McDonalds” experience. I can honestly say I would be disappointed if you took that approach.

    • atcDave says:

      Very good point about the impact of overall mythology Crumby. As more plot issues are resolved there’s less directions for a perspective fan fiction writer to run off from the original story. Although S4 ended with some juicy possibilities, we may be approaching the point where we are almost mor constrained by what’s out there than we are curious about it.

    • Crumby says:

      I agree Joe, I think it’s natural to wanna see CS together, happy, etc. I myself mostly read stories that have a CS component to it. I don’t consider it a problem on itself. The issue IMO, is that some readers have become so demanding on the matter that it could get discouraging for someone who’d want to write something else than CS having sex, again and again and again.

      I personally got tired of the fluff at some point, but I didn’t go to every fluffy story to review on how I think it’s annoying that every paragraphs seems dedicated to explain where and how Chuck and Sarah are gonna go at it next.

      It comes back to what ersk4 was saying about bad reviews, and what Fogh said about Rome Assignment, that kind of reviews IMO are more annoying than motivating. Considering the only reward an author gets from FF is feedback, that’s a problem.

      • atcDave says:

        To be fair though, I think many of us are very tired of certain sorts of angst and contrivance be used to keep Charah apart. So while it may be completely reasonable to have Sarah bring up the “impropriety” of an asset/handler relationship on a story set during S2, we the audience are completely sick of it. I’m not saying at all that it can’t be done, only that another 22 episodes worth of it will not be easily tolerated by most readers.
        And for the record, I do NOT advocate a sex scene every chapter (!). In fact, I’m a very traditional “save it for marriage” sort of guy. But I do understand many fans desire for a tangible indicater Chuck and Sarah are really together. And I think many writers (and probably readers too) equate with sex. It would likely require quite a bit more thought and creativity to write an intimate and committed relationship without using the sex shortcut. And I for one would LOVE to see it.

      • Nervert says:

        Good point, Crumby. It’s in the feedback where that compulsive need for fluff gets the most annoying. Even though it’s a bit annoying to have to wade through lots of fluff to find an interesting story, that’s just the nature of FF, but when you see good authors and good stories getting dinged for not doing what everyone is doing it’s really frustrating and discouraging.

      • joe says:

        Oh yeah. And that’s the common thread in everyone’s thoughts, Dave. The sex part is cheap and relatively easy. It does get boring quickly. That’s why porn is not art, and it’s to their credit that most of the FF writers are striving for something better.

        I was just trying to get across the (minor) idea above that it’s human, though, and maybe even starts from a good place.

      • armysfc says:

        dave thats what i did in my last fic, had them get together, go to dinner movies, family time with ellie. i had many requests for them to jump in bed, i even had one that said it was unreasonable for them to be dating for so long and not do it. i found them interesting since i said that would not be a major part of the fic.

      • atcDave says:

        You know army that’s getting to be pretty sad social commentary!

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah Dave, I agree, what I meant was: do you have to go to that new asset/handler relationship story and tell the author at every chapter that you’re sick of it?

        If you don’t like a story because CS aren’t having sex enough, just go read one where they do. It’s not like there aren’t many choices for that.

        It comes back to the debate of a vocal part of a fandom being potentially disruptive. People that need CS together right away want what they want and it’s fine, but it doesn’t mean they should complain at every steps when a story attempts to be something else than that. When they do it hurts other part of the fandom.

      • ArmySFC says:

        hey i’m jusy saying what i got. all you need to do is look at movies any more. how many times do the leads get together and jump in bed. it’s almost expected even if it doesn’t hold true in real life. in many shows i watch you hear about the three date rule all the time. you know three dates and it means sex. just like people are conditioned that marriage is the end of the story, people are conditioned that people getting together have sex.

      • Fogh says:

        True words there Army.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        When I first started writing my story I was unemployed, and then I got a job where I could write at the job. Now I’m working a bunch of hours, and my wifes tolerance has gotten much less, I enjoy writing, but man its hard to do when your busy.
        Between forshadowing, characterization, making sure that I don’t use the same word more than twice in a paragraph, making sure that it makes sense to more than just me it is more than just
        typing a chapter.

        As a person who has been married for a while, I wanted to have the couple dealing with stress as a couple would. I don’t mind the couple making like bunnies when they fiirsr get together. The question do we need to see it? Probably not.
        Nervert has done a great job on the ballence. Also how fogh has done setting up a mature sober relationship.
        I enjoy mickey D’s, but a great meal stays with you a lot longer.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Crumby there are so many stories out there in the fandom I really don’t see the need in trying to get every writer to tell the story the same way. Now I’m not claiming to be completely open to every variation, I’m pointedly not. I’m completely not interested in alternate pairings, very dark themes, or OCs as main characters. I’ve skipped many stories based purely on the synopsis, and many more after reading a chapter or two. Yet anyone who frequents this site will know I still find A LOT of fan fiction to read. I really like the number of different variants out there involving the characters, settings, and themes I love.
        Now to be fair, a separate issue might be to say, not all criticism means something needs to be changed. Sometimes it may just be an observation of something that wasn’t liked; that maybe we weren’t supposed to like. Maybe its something that is being addressed as the story unfolds. Its something that always makes me nervous to comment on in a review; “gee, I didn’t like the way Chuck acted in this scene.” It doesn’t automatically mean I think it was a flaw in the story-telling. It might even be considered a compliment if I wasn’t SUPPOSED to like the way Chuck acted in that scene.
        That all can be a fine line. Obviously if a story delivers too many moments I don’t like without proper resolution I will eventually give it up, even if it is in chapter 7.

      • Crumby says:

        I definitely didn’t mean to imply you should never comment negatively or be critical or just states how something made you feel. I do it too.

        I just try not to make it sound like a complaint and repeat it over and over.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I wasn’t accusing you of anything Crumby, just trying to cover all the bases!

      • Crumby says:

        Oh I know Dave! 😉 I just wanted to clarify what I was saying. I’m no perfect reviewer. I’ve probably been guilty myself of what I’m saying a few times.

        In the end though, my main point is that I find it sad to hear Fogh say that part of the fun have been taken away by some reviewers. And it’s a big trend those days on ff.net, I think.

      • Fogh, I’m sad to hear a lot of the fun has been taken out of it for you by reviews…but not particularly surprised. I’m a firm believer of characters needing to go at their own paces, as I feel the same way you do about characters being forced to follow plots. Because of that, I’ve refused to put my agoraphobic main character with his very interested love interest just because of Hollywood conventions. And I have a feeling that Crumby is talking about some of my reviewers that are outright claiming I’m anti-Charah or chicken because I haven’t had them hop into bed together right away.

        And even if you really should ignore those people, you can’t help it. Sometimes their words get through in some way and trip you up. When you don’t have anything to go on but feedback and your own enjoyment, it can be rough to get past that. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t write, it’s that you just plain don’t want to when it’s for people like that. I usually take a step back and remind myself of the other people I’m writing for in that case.

        To fit with this topic, amusingly, when Chuck and Sarah got together in Other Guy, I had dual reactions. My first was sheer, “Oh, thank God, that’s over.” And the other was, “Oh, crap. Now they’re going to be happy and people are going to push even harder for them to know each other biblically in Fates, even if it makes no sense.”

        I kind of predicted this would happen and specifically didn’t bill Fates as a romance because of it. Good plan, eh? Too bad it didn’t work. 🙂

        To those who are sure a story will never get finished if it’s six months dead or longer: it ain’t over til the fat lady sings, and maybe she’s got laryngitis. Chin up.

      • atcDave says:

        Frea I’ve certainly been pleasantly surprised by some long dormant stories that started updating again. Just recently we saw a chapter of the long idle “Pond”, and of course fogh himself has started updating “Rome Assignment” more rapidly. But I think in most cases, if six months have passed the tale is likely done. I always hope to be wrong, and I sure would love to see “Fates” get finished too; but no offense, I’m not holding my breath for it. I don’t actually read your reviews, and I don’t know what complaints some readers my have offered about your story or characters; but I would say the way your version of Sarah has been helpful to Chuck is exactly the sort of relationship strength I like seeing most.
        One thing “Other Guy” did change in the realm of fan fiction, I think it made the silly sort of wt/wt that TV shows (including Chuck) have used for decades even less easy to be patient with in a Chuck story. But “Fates” has mostly shown a strong relationship based on support and affection in a way that is most appealing. I never need an gratuitous sex scene to make the point; at a certain level of commitment I’ll assume the rest (certainly if they’re saying “I Do” I can fill in the blanks!)

      • Fogh says:

        Thanks for the encouragement and advice Frea.

        I for one absolutely love the pace, and the integrity you have given to the relationship in Fates. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy that story, because it’s something we as readers can relate to. We can truly follow that journey, which Chuck takes from the guy that had nothing but his bunker, his parka, and his disgusting food, to what he’s slowly becoming now. And I for one am glad you never compromised yourself as a writer, because that’s what they want, they want, no they demand us to betray what we believe in as writers.

        Now I don’t have nearly such a high amount of readers as you do, so I don’t even want to imagine what you go through, but it is so annoying that people don’t care about a good story anymore, all they care about is what they want to see. That’s the problem you’ve encountered with not naming Fates a romance. They don’t care, because all they want to see is a romance, and the distorted Hollywood version of it at that, I honestly think they’d rather have two people screwing each other’s brains out, rather than a serious committed relationship with real depth to it. It’s like they don’t know what love is. TPTB encountered the same thing, okay they handled things wrongly, but I honestly don’t think there would have been much difference between the response they got now, and the one they would have had had they handled things better.

        For me, it drove me to nearly quit writing Rome Assignment. I was so tired of people pm’ing me, oh dude you need to write this or that, or Chuck should just kill Shaw without remorse, or whatever, while I knew that it didn’t fit with his character, and I want to write a story that is relatable. It was just this constant demand of, betray yourself, betray yourself, betray yourself, and of course betray your story. And that’s just it, it’s our story, and it’s a journey, not instant wish fulfillment.

        Then I had the idea for a different story, and it returned the fun in writing for me. I think that’s the same for you when it comes to things like That Which Is Greater, at least it seems like you have a lot of fun writing those, and I know I’ve had a lot of fun reading them. And it made me understand why some really good writers, have so many stories going at the same time. It’s just so nice to write, without demands, without constant expectations, but to just write what you feel the characters should do.

        Another thing that annoys me is people thinking we as writers can’t take critical reviews. It has nothing to do with that. I think every writer is glad to get constructive criticism, but demanding two people to have sex every chapter, is not constructive criticism, it’s perversion, and a blatant attack on us as people, and as writers.

      • Fogh says:

        Just to add, I’d almost think it would be a fun thing to do if every FF author would update at the same time with a chapter in which every character has sex, except for Charah who do nothing but bicker. Just imagine the response the community would give to that.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow fogh, pretty bitter towards the readers!

        While I think show runners, as professional entertainers, do have some obligation towards keeping their audience happy, I don’t believe the amateur fiction writer has any such responsibility. But it does make sense for one’s own piece of mind to give readers a fair warning of what a story is about. As I’ve said many times, for me, the primary hook for all things Chuck IS Charah. So while I get that things aren’t always rosy, and other issues do matter and are of interest; if the story isn’t going to be a Charah story at all I’m not going to read it. I see no reason to get angry with anyone over it, some stories aren’t for me. I feel bad if some reviewers are treating you disrespectfully with regards to getting what they want, but let that get you down! From what I can tell most readers are enjoying your story and characterizations. I know I’ve liked it a lot, I hope you can keep it up!

      • Fogh says:

        It’s not so much about being bitter to all readers Dave, it’s about how annoying certain readers are. I love the fact that people like you read my stuff, and I understand that you want Charah in a story so do I, but I’ve always read stories/novels because I want to feel something, and that’s what I want to have my readers experience. Besides, I don’t think two people having sex is an interesting part of a relationship. In fact, that is the least interesting aspect of a relationship to me. Like I said earlier, I want to see and convey what makes a couple special, and sex is just not that.

        Me contemplating at one point to quit writing Rome, had nothing to do with me hating readers, or being bitter towards people like you, but there just not being any real fun in the writing anymore at that point. Just like the part about betraying, I’m not saying every reader is like that, but I felt like certain people asked me to do that. And like i said, that sucked the fun out of it. It became more work than something I really enjoy doing. And as such it just wasn’t worth the effort anymore.

        Just like the suggestion to all write such a chapter, was more like showing certain people, that at one point or the other enough is enough. They are doing a lot more damage to the community than they realise.

      • atcDave says:

        Fogh as we were discussing the other day, the pushing from some for a sex scene in every chapter is just weird to me. There are some stories/writers who pretty much deliver that, not all such stories are terrible (and I don’t at all object to the idea of an amorous married couple!), but that aspect does get repetitive and boring. And I certainly don’t get why any reader would consider that a mandatory feature. Maybe you could just suggest they’re reading the wrong story?! But I do sympathize if you’re catching flak for something so silly.
        I would also comment on your suggestion this was a contemporary or Hollywood influenced problem. I believe it is a timeless problem with human nature. As a big ancient history buff I’ve seen this issue brought up many times; the ancient Egyptians accused the Romans of being sex obsessed, The Romans accused the Greeks of being sex obsessed, the Greeks accused the Persians of beings sex obsessed….
        I think anytime you deal with romantic relationships there will always be a certain portion of readers who equate that with sex and don’t understand (or want to understand) anything else.

      • Fogh says:

        You present some true points there Dave. And I would never judge a writer for putting a lot of sex in a story. There are some that are really popular, fine then, people enjoy them, and the writer enjoys writing it, so then that’s their choice, just like it’s my choice not to read it. But I would never slam a writer for it, or demand less of it. For me, like I said before, I like to focus on what sets a couple a part. Why should we root for them?

        What you said about ancient times is true to an extent, I just wonder if their mental depiction of a loving relationship involved mostly sex, like it seems to do for some FF readers. I mean most of the sexual aspects of those societies were not within wedlock, or even within romantic relationships. In stead, they were like wild orgies that had nothing to do with love and romance, but with lust and physical needs. There is a difference there.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree entirely that lust/sex is a different issue from love. And I would also agree modern depictions and imagery have a particular influence on it. I guess my point was just that people confusing the two issues is timeless; as is a certain segment’s desire for smut.

      • Fogh, you’re welcome. And thank you, by the way, for the wonderful compliments. Your comments here actually prove my point about remembering the people you’re writing for, something I’ve been floundering with since the summer. Hearing the word “integrity” used to describe my story just makes me blush siren red and preen a little.

        And you’re pretty much dead on about “That Which is Greater.” A lot of people have been knocking me for writing Greater and then not working on it for awhile, even though I warned them what Greater was up front.

        A couple of weeks ago, I had another great writer who’s received a lot of flak (Sharpasamarble, whom I adore, but who writes a very controversial Sarah and is therefore maligned quite often for it) give me a piece of advice to create a file of all of the good reviews, ones that point out things they like and why, or provide good constructive feedback (constructive feedback, by the way, doesn’t always have to be agreed with), and to save those in a file separate from your other reviews, and to read that whenever you start to feel down or like you’re dealing with too much entitlement. Crumby, for example, leaves great reviews, so I always save hers.

        Telling people they might want to read something else just gets people grumpy, so I don’t bother. 😉

  5. Chuck Fan says:

    Thanks for posting this! It was a really interesting read. I recently (finally) completed my one and only fan fiction story (Chuck versus the Liability). Though it was all planned out ahead of time, it still took almost a year to finish. I’m a perfectionist and I wanted to stick closely with both the spirit and general storylines of the show. It was a fun project, but it certainly wasn’t easy. I totally understand what ersk4 is saying. Life can quickly get in the way and sometime it can be frustrating spending weeks crafting a chapter, checking it over and over, releasing it the world and then wondering if anyone is even reading it. But I gotta say, I felt pretty proud when I finally finished the story because it’s not an easy thing to do. So thanks to all the authors who are able to finish (and to those who can’t, well believe me I understand!). 🙂

    • Nervert says:

      Cheers to a job well done and to finishing. It’s a lot of work crafting something like that. And I understand about taking your time and being a perfectionist, regardless of who’s going to read it. Sometimes you just want to do things right and it doesn’t matter if anyone else cares. When they do, though, it’s kinda awesome.

    • joe says:

      What Nervert said!

      And the Chuck fans owe all the FF writers this thanks too.

    • atcDave says:

      For the record Chuck Fan, I had previously missed your story, but I am reading it now (just finished chapter one, will likely finish tomorrow) and am enjoying it a lot. I don’t know sometimes how things slip through the cracks. But its exciting when you discover a story you hadn’t noticed before, and its GOOD (and complete, bonus!)

      • Crumby says:

        I enjoyed Chuck versus the Liability very much as well. I definitely recommend it. 🙂

      • Chuck Fan says:

        Awesome! Thanks for reading it. I think it’s one of those stories that started out quickly and then inevitably the updates slowed way down. Part of it was life, part of it was me getting pickier about each chapter as I realized from reviews that there were at least a few loyal people who were sticking with it until the end. You want to do your best to make it good for them. Anyway, moral to the story… it took a lot longer than I originally thought. So I’m sort of glad some people found it later in the game. I feel a little less guilty since they didn’t have to wait quite so long to see how it ended. J

        Anyway, hope it’s worth your time. I know some folks were scared off because I set it in the “dreaded” season three (even though Shaw’s name was only uttered once, maybe twice. J) Oh well, it’s the only place the story worked. Thanks for giving it a shot anyway! By the way, special shout out to Crumby! I saw your reviews along the way and they were always appreciated. Trust me, when you’re struggling with a chapter, it’s those kind of reviews that keep you going. So thanks again!

        By the way, I don’t think I mentioned it before, but I love this site. I’m a long time lurker who rarely posts comments. But it’s always great to come to a place and read other people’s thoughts on the show I love.

      • atcDave says:

        I did just finish it ChuckFan. Very well written, tense and exciting. There was a lot I liked about the resolution too. Although I would have preferred a more concrete resolution on several fronts; starting with Charah obviously (although it ended in a mostly good place, and if we assume it falls into a mid/late S3 timeline then better things are coming with less cr** than canon), but I was quite disappointed Ellie remained in the dark at the end (again, if we assume it ties back in to something like canon after this, we know she’ll be in on it soon. But it would have been nice to think something like the Justin situation could have been avoided by an earlier reveal). The ambiguity with the chip was sort of fun, I could see it being either way (Chuck was smart enough to make a copy when Jill was taken hostage; but he might not have been thinking as clearly with his sister. But I could easily see him taking a blank or somehow bogus and encrypted chip to the exchange).

        I would love if you wrote another story, maybe even a follow up to this one. You certainly managed to create one of the most despicable characters ever in Hoyt!

      • joe says:

        Chuck Fan, thanks. I enjoy seeing lurkers come in from the cold.

        You really shouldn’t worry that the time element will stop you from being read. I know that, for myself, I haven’t gotten to but a fraction of the stories I want to read. I will get to many of them, but probably later, after the show is over. It’ll be about then that I realize I’ll need another “Chuck fix”.

        The FFs will be the perfect solution to my withdrawal problems.

      • Crumby says:

        Chuck Fan, you’re very welcome. I’m glad my reviews could be of support. That’s really all a reader can do to thank an author for a great story. 🙂

  6. uplink2 says:

    Wow how did I miss this discussion? Oh yeah I was trying to write Chapter 10. lol. There are so many interesting elements to this discussion. As a new writer I have found myself doing a mix of a lot of things discussed here. I have a basic story idea planned out, an ending and the traditional 3 act structure. But it isn’t locked in stone. Some chapters have written themselves and ended up going a direction I had not entirely intended and never thought of until the keys were pressed on the keyboard. So I like to keep an open structure and try to let inspiration happen.

    But there can be a trap to that. I have already had an unintended mistake in my story create a need to resolve an issue at some point in the future. It’s a minor thing but it has also opened up another area I didn’t expect to go into. I’m never going to create a rigid plan for my stories as that simply isn’t me. I have an idea that begins the story and hopefully the ending I want to get to but the journey finds itself with just a little help. I may know the highway I want to take but I love taking little side roads along the way.

    Hey in my crappy story I never intended to keep them apart as long as I have and its getting harder to write them apart as they are simply more fun working together. The “we’re better as a team” idea is central to how I see them. But to make the story real and work I had to put in all the elements that needed to be there to make the idea for each chapter work. That is where having someone else take a look at the story before posting has helped me a great deal. Esardi has found many a plot hole that needed to be fixed before I let anyone else read it.

    One thing I didn’t expect was that the last chapter I posted was the hardest to write by far. It took me a lot longer and I had hit basically a writers block. I wanted to be writing them together but I was still too far away and it was frustrating me. But plowing through it and re-reading and editing it a number of times made what a few folks I respect have told me was my best chapter yet. So in some respects a “writers block” is there for a reason and plowing through it can actually be a very positive thing for the story. At least it was for me in my limited time doing this.

    On the sex in stories idea I think part of it is just normal human interests. Hey the 2 lead actors are very attractive people, Yvonne is one of the most beautiful women in the world and the idea of Sarah as represented by Yvonne in my head having sex is very appealing to my basic male instincts. Its the old I may be older and married but I’m not dead. But I don’t plan on writing it or featuring it in my stories. They will have it at some point but I plan on respecting their privacy. Now I do enjoy reading some of the M rated stories I won’t deny that but it isn’t really where my interests lie as a writer or as a reader.

    As far as the overpowering need by some readers and reviewers to ask when the fluff will start I can only say that it will come when their ready. But I do respect and appreciate every review I get. One thing that has bothered me a great deal is reading comments from writers on Twitter and other places bashing and dissing their readers and reviewers. Now I can understand some that may become annoying or demanding or even insulting bothering you but to me at least you have to rise above it. Learn from the critical reviews as much as you can and get better but ignore the irrelevant and disrespectful ones. It serves no positive purpose to publicly expose the dirty laundry. We certainly have seen too much of that lately in this community and it served no positive purpose IMO. We all need to take a breath and realize its just FanFiction and nothing more than that.

    I also make it a point to answer every review even the “good chapter” ones. If someone takes the time out of their lives to read and review my dribble than they deserve to be shown the appreciation I feel they deserve. I was thought to say please AND thank you. By posting my stories I am saying PLEASE read it and when they do they deserve to have me say THANK YOU in return. Personally I will never understand FF writers that don’t reply to reviews especially when a lot of thought has been put into them. Maybe they don’t feel the need to reply to the good chapter ones but a well thought out, respectful and constructive review even if you completely disagree with it is the holy grail of FF for me and deserves a response.

    Anyway lots of great ideas and thoughts in this thread. Thanks as always Dave for posting it and getting me into this hobby.

    • atcDave says:

      Great to have you weigh in Uplink, and thanks for a detailed and thoughtful comment.

      I can certainly understand where a story might take detours, even from a carefully planned outline. And speaking for myself, even though I loved creative writing in high school and college, its making all the details work and filling all the plot holes that is precisely why I don’t have the patience to write myself. But I sure do appreciate those who take the time to make all the details just right. We were talking just the other day about all the difficulties of using the language right and making yourself understood in writing; well details and plot holes are another big issue in fan fiction that we hardly have to worry about here. I’ve seen any number of stories with an interesting idea or two that ultimately fail because of what was left undone. It might not be such a big deal in a one-shot, but longer stories absolutely need to be thorough.
      And that is something that is so far working very well in your story. Even though I would say Chuck and Sarah together is the main hook for the entire Chuckiverse to me, a hard struggle to get there can ultimately be very rewarding. Especially if its done in such a way that highlights the strength and noble qualities of both characters (meaning it works in your story, but wouldn’t work when OLIs are brought in!).

    • uplink2 says:

      Thanks Dave. I do agree that for the most part Charah is the ultimate hook of Chuck FF. I am not really a fan of Charina or Channah stories in the least. And don’t get me started on Sham stories. But conflict and drama are key elements to making an enjoyable longer story. Pure fluff pieces work in oneshots and small 2-5 chapter stories but beyond that there needs to be some dramatic component to it to push the story forward. I enjoy Army’s stories as he doesn’t really focus on the Charah but its there enough and the spy elements of the stories are intriguing enough to draw me in and keep me interested.

      What I don’t like are angsty stories that go on and on and on and on with chapter after chapter of angst and many times trashing of the characters especially Sarah to prolong it. I think we all know those stories. But some stories that are really dark and angsty I really enjoy. I always cite Sarah VS the Collapse as an example. It is as dark and depressing a story as they come in parts but it works because it is justified, each element is worked through appropriately and has a great ending of redemption.

      I like the use of other characters from the show but sometimes writers expand their role too much. Carina for example. She has a terrific role in the show and works well in that role but expanding her to become an LI just to trash Sarah simply doesn’t work for me. Same thing when folks completely change the characters so that the only thing that remains is the name. If you want a completely different character than what is in canon, use a new name. If its an OC you want create one and just don’t give it the name of an existing one. Bryce, Jill, Carina are all used in that role sometimes and to me those stories don’t work because of it. The name of the character sets up an expectation in my brain that at least some part of who I know them as remains. Throwing all of that out and still using the name is simply being lazy in my book.

    • Fogh says:

      Thanks for the insights uplink. One thing I want to say first, a good story is driven by the characters. Any time IMO that a writer forces his/her characters in a situation, a story fails, it becomes flat. Characters need to face real struggles, and they need to face it in a real way. It doesn’t matter if the situation is realistic or not, they are humans, so they need to react as humans, and they need to react in a way that first a person with a certain character. So that means things need to be fleshed out, and things need to be gritty and real.

      I noticed the same time thing in my planned out ideas when I started Rome, now I know how it’s going to end, I thought I knew, but both the baddies and the good guys evolved in such a way, that on both sides things have become so different. Not to mention my chapter ideas from the beginning have been left mostly discarded, not because they sucked, but because they didn’t fit certain responses that a person, the characters, should have. A character needs to be relatable, if they are not, we don’t care about them. You want us to care? Let them go through those struggles that make them real, and make them earn their rewards. That makes us go like NICE. That’s why I never plan things beyond the chapter I’m writing, that chapter, and the character responses in that chapter determine the route the story takes. I think that creates a more natural flow for me personally.

      As for the sex, I still think it’s a cheap way to score kudo’s. I don’t care about that side of a relationship at all. Fine it happens in real life, but that’s not what’s interesting, that’s not what makes a difference between different couples. What makes a great couple is the way they rely on each other and help each other through things, the way they are dependant on one another. That to me is interesting storylines, and I for one as a heterosexual man am not that interested in reading about some schnook doing Yvonne, Yvonne’s beauty not withstanding.

      I don’t agree about not being allowed to say something about unfair requests. People tend to slam you for not giving in to those requests, then I have the right as a person that gets slammed to say something about it, in a respectful manner. And if some demands take away the fun in writing for me, because they are not just unfair, but completely at the wrong time and place in the story, then I’m sorry but I am going to voice that. You can say yeah we should be grateful for the reviews we get, and we should, but that doesn’t mean we can’t criticize those. After all they should be grateful for the work we put into writing what we write, and still they see a chance to whine and
      demand things that are basically not fitting in the story. That doesn’t mean btw that I am against critical reviews, but the critical side of it should be fair, and just, and not just a demand of wish fullfillment(ChuckReader is someone who writes great reviews, and he’s not one to shy away from being critical).

      As far as thanking for reviews go, I do like to do it, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say, or I forget, so I always thank before each chapter, just to cover the bases.

      • uplink2 says:

        Fogh, I understand what you are saying and I do address critical reviews much of the time. I actually like them and have taken suggestions and added them to the next chapter. What I’m talking about more are flaming reviews that really have no point to them. “This story sucks” “The characters are unbelievable” with no explanation why. If someone wants make a point that’s critical then tell me why and if you can’t then me feeling it simply should be ignored. I got into a PM discussion with a fairly well know reviewer and as it was going nowhere I simply stopped responding. Nothing I said was going to make any difference so from now on I’ve simply decided to say I see things differently thanks for the review.

        Another thing I want to bring up is perceptions of the reader. I got into a discussion with another writer about a reader, me, seeing things differently than the writer did. Reading things into characters that the writer believed weren’t there. I’ve thought a lot about this and can see things from different POV’s. Part of me feels that if the writer wants only one idea from a particular scene for the reader to take with them then it is the obligation of that writer to write it well enough that there is only one conclusion to take. But if you leave things up to interpretation you can’t argue that a different person’s interpretation of a scene or character is wrong. They just took something completely different from it. To me that is a plus and I like discussing those different interpretations. The reader isn’t inside the writers head but in their own and neither POV is necessarily right or necessarily wrong.

        Discussion and reactions to reviews are fine as long as they stay respectful I just choose to ignore much of the drama associated with it as this is simply about fun for me and after all it really is just FanFiction

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Hey Uplink,

      I’ve been enjoying your story very much. More please.

      I do believe that you are telegraphing the Mitchell character a little bit since it is plainly obvious to me that he is Sh**’s boyfriend. 😀 **he says jokingly**

    • ArmySFC says:

      the key for me when i write is keeping it simple. i try and keep the things that need to be explained simple so i can’t forget to fill in the blanks as it were. as dave said the more you bring up the more you need to explain. i mostly write for fun when the inspiration hits. i can turn out between 3-5k a day when i have the ideas. keeping it simple helps.

      dave i full understand what you mean about making it perfect, but i found out that people don’t want perfect, that most readers really don’t care. they want a story that entertains them for a while and mostly gives them charah. which follows how many view the show itself. people overlook the plot holes, bad writing, time lapses, things that make no sense and pretty much everything if the story itself entertains them. for me that’s the goal, to entertain the reader.

      i can use my last story as an example, i don’t think it was my best work but you know what? i got more reviews on that one than any other story i did. my better ones got hardly any at all. this one is simple compared to the others. i had a few twists and all but the number of characters was less, the background was simple and the baddies pretty decent. sometime the saying less is more.

      • atcDave says:

        I get all that army. Perhaps I was too strong in my comments. The truth of the characters is probably more important than a lot of plot details are. To me, the Charah fluff is important in a way, but its far from the only thing that matters. I’ve read many excellent stories with fairly understated relationship details that were very satisfying because the characters felt right, they worked together well, and we never doubted the strength that underlay the relationship. Other stories, that feature a lot more fluff (or just plain sex) may be less satisfying because the characters act like immature teenagers and put each other through emotional hell in the course of the story.
        I would also add its a bit of a sliding scale based on the time frame of the story. There are challenges that may make sense in the early seasons that don’t make sense in a later one. Reassignment being a popular one that comes to mind; in an S1 story we can imagine Sarah reallly struggling with a possible reassignment, but in an S2 story we would expect her to fight to stay with Chuck. By late S3 its not even a good dramatic hook anymore, the only drama is how much she would hate having to quit and find a new job.

      • Crumby says:

        Personally, I’ll take a quality story over a popular story any day, and I know the stories that have stuck with me and that I’ve reread are the ones that I considered the best.

        I read “pop corn” stories or whatever the name we should give them, but it will never be as engaging for me that a story where the author has taken the time to think everything through. Not to mention, it’s really easier to put your trust in a writer if you know he/she cares about the quality of the story.

        There’s nothing wrong with “popular” entertainment, but frankly I always find it sad to hear someone say that he doesn’t aim for quality, just entertainment. Why does entertainment can’t go along with a story without plot holes or nonsense? There are people out there that appreciate a story that make sense and is thorough, and yes they’re probably not as numerous as those that don’t.

        And since you’ve mentioned it, that’s actually one of my problem with the show itself. The writers like cool stuff, and game changers, and all that, even when it doesn’t make any sense. And that’s exactly why Season 4 completely disappointed me, and I’m going into Season 5, with really low expectations.

        Most readers really don’t care. they want a story that entertains them for a while and mostly gives them charah.

        I guess the question really is what are you writing for? And should you always give readers what they supposedly want?

      • atcDave says:

        Crumby I think you’re selling short the value of entertainment. Some stories, sometimes even the show itself, are meant to be fun and amusing. Other stories (and other times on the show) we will see better craftsmanship, better plotting, and more depth of emotion. To some extent we need to evaluate things on what they set out to be, not just what we want them to be. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re never required to like or tolerate everything. We each have our own range of likes that determine what we will enjoy, what we will hate, and what we can overlook.
        Things like the sex issue I can overlook, if the story has other redeeming features. I’ve seen some extremely good stories that got a bit more graphic than I would have preferred; maybe that very fact draws in other readers. The stories that feature hooking up every chapter to get a bit boring, especially when the sex comes to dominate all other content.
        On the other hand I have VERY limited patience with non-Charah pairings. To the point of saying I almost have none at all. I’ll never even open chapter one of something that bills itself as Charina, Channah, or Sham. The only real purpose a broken Charah serves to me is how long it lasts and how well it gets fixed.
        But I guess my point in all of this goes back the McDonalds comments I made the other day. I do appreciate when a writer goes the extra mile and turns out something really special; but sometimes its okay when something is just lite fun too. And generally, the lightweight stuff is easier to produce, which means a faster updating story that moves along at a good pace. Ultimately the writer needs to write something they themselves enjoy. That’s the first step in producing something readers will enjoy too.

      • ArmySFC says:

        crumby, intersecting question. i try to write quality, well as best i can. for me anyway that means keeping it simple, not having to much to deal with during the mapping out part of the story. the more things i try to add it means i have to do more work to make it stay true to what i want. like i said and you echoed season 4 was like that for me.

        as for giving the reader what they want? it should be a consideration shouldn’t it? it’s how they come up with shows and movies. what do people want to see? i can’t remember any network saying were gonna make a show that we feel no one will like but were gonna do it anyway.

        as for why i write, well to get better at it for one, to fix things about the show i don’t really care for, and to give people something they like to read. it’s like why i still come here and post even though i no longer watch the show. dave still can’t grasp that, lol. if you ever read my work you’ll notice i don’t follow canon very much if at all.

      • atcDave says:

        Excellent point army about why you write. I do believe there are folks out there who can write solely and purely for their own amusement and don’t care what anyone else thinks of their work.

        But then why even post?

        I suspect the vast majority of writers are doing it with entertainment at least somewhere among their priorities. As long as that’s true, its reasonable to have at least some concern for what your audience thinks of the story.

      • jason says:

        I never read or write fanfic, but I sometimes lurk on the blog when Dave writes something about fanfic – I want to jump in on this one topic. Crumby asked:

        “And should you always give readers what they supposedly want?”

        My take on this, the writer does not have to deliver what the fan wants, but the writer MUST take RESPONSIBILITY for what the reader ‘supposedly’ wants. Then, how the writer deals with that responsibility determines the success or failure of the work. The ultimate answer may be to give the fan what they want, or to create something new that hopefully is even better. But the flaw is not in the fan for what they want, the flaw is in the writer if they create a want, then fail to tell a compelling story when delivering a ‘twist’ to the story which delays or eliminates the original fan desire.

      • Crumby says:

        I can’t remember any network saying we’re gonna make a show that we feel no one will like but were gonna do it anyway.

        Except network do things for money. It’s a business. If reality TV is what brings ratings then that’s what network do regardless of “quality.” Which is a subjective thing anyway.

        Sometimes, people just don’t know what they want, or don’t know what they’ll like. That’s just what I’m saying. They demand for certain things, but it doesn’t mean the author should give them. That’s my point of view anyway.

        There’s a difference between what a reader demand and what they’ll like.

        Finally, if your objective is to please your readers rather than write the story the way you envisioned it, it’s fine too. And there can be middle ground as well.

        I just wanted to say that in my case, I like to know that the writer aims to write the story the way he/she envisioned it, and maybe it will take time, but that’s okay. Like Fogh and Lucky47 have said it. I appreciate that in a story and its author, even if most readers don’t care, they just want things to get going. Ideally, with CS together.

        I was just saying that yeah, sometimes network or studios do a movie or a TV show that doesn’t appeal to the masses, and I’m glad it happens. I think as Chuck fans we’re all glad.

      • ArmySFC says:

        crumby that makes more sense. i do write what i want but do it in a way that i think the readers will enjoy. trust me i have been through the “why isn’t there more charah or they should do this.” i understand completely that i can’t please everyone and i accept that. i have some that i won’t post because they will not appeal to many. in the end i still try to stay true to what i want to write and give the readers what they want, as you said a middle ground.

        for most authors i feel they do it because they want to share their ideas and their like of chuck or whatever fandom they follow.

      • Crumby says:

        I’m glad I clarified what I meant Army. 🙂

        I think the most important thing is for everybody to enjoy what they’re doing. So when reviews/demands/requests get in the way of that for a writer, and by extension the other readers that are just fine with the way the story goes, I just think it’s sad, and most of the time, annoying.

        Because, say you change a few things about a story because some readers have pointed out that they’d like to see this or that. Maybe other readers actually liked that aspect of the story. So as a reader, I’m just more comfortable knowing the author goes where he wants to go, and do what he thinks is right for the story and the characters.

        It doesn’t mean authors shouldn’t take reviews into account, but in the end it’s their story and their vision. And I just hate to hear an author say that readers have taken the fun out of the experience. That’s the opposite of what should happen, IMO.

        As for those stories you’ve written and haven’t published, that was kind of my point as well. Certain stories might not get many readers or reviews, but the few that will read and enjoy them will sometimes really cherish them because there aren’t that many stories like that out there.

      • Crumby says:

        @Jason

        I agree with that in general, but in the case of fanfiction the want for certain things isn’t always created by the author himself.

        To stick with the example of CS getting together, that want is there even before you start the story. If you listen to some readers, just because the characters are called Chuck and Sarah, they should totally hook up.

        Nevermind that the setting is different from the show’s, nevermind that they’re in the middle of a battle to save their lives, or that they are in an emotional place that absolutely does not call for sex.

        In that case, you have zero responsibility to please those readers, IMO.

      • atcDave says:

        Crumby I don’t mean to make too big a thing of this, but I don’t think it’s a completely unreasonable expectation that if a writer is calling something a Chuck story that fans will look forward to certain key elements. Charah being a biggie. That doesn’t mean sex or marriage necessarily has to be involved in any given story. But the idea of who Chuck and Sarah are to each other is kind of a core element of the mythos. Much like the Intersect, the CIA, and other significant characters from the show. If a particular story is not going to involve one or more of these elements I think it’s reasonable to expect that to be made clear in the synopsis or initial author’s notes. So if an AU is set in the 19 th century, or it’s going to be a Chill story, the reader has some clue what to expect and can decide accordingly if they want to spend their time on it.
        Now for the record, I would never dream of telling a fan fiction writer what they can or cannot write about; but I appreciate common courtesy as a reader too, and would like to know if I will even be interested in the writer’s vision.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah, Dave, I guess, I wasn’t clear enough in what I was saying.

        For the record, I rarely read stories that doesn’t have a CS aspect to it. Unless they’re one-shots, but that’s different. And yes, considering who the characters are, obviously Chuck and Sarah as a couple is to be expected. That’s a reasonable expectation, I think.

        Making clear that a story won’t be this or that so that readers wouldn’t be disappointed is completely different than having to make something happen just because some readers consider it essential in a Chuck story, though.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Crumby, I’d say it’s pretty rude to insist a story be told in a particular way.

    • atcDave says:

      Speaking as a reader only I can’t imagine being too critical in a review unless my goal is to actually STOP you from writing. That doesn’t mean I won’t say anything critical; but given that I won’t even read a story I don’t care for, I’m careful to couch the criticism in such a way to emphasize the things I actually DO like about the story.

      Or at least that’s my intent. A few times I’ve got responses from writers indicating they took something I said wrong, or far more seriously than I meant it to be. So all I can really say is, if I’m reviewing, I liked the story! I may have a few detail concerns or dislike a specific chapter, but I liked the story.

      But then I’d also say on the review reply I’d like to know if you were upset by my comments. That gives me a chance to either explain myself better or try a different angle. I would hate for a writer to think I was really unhappy about something when I’m not!

    • Crumby says:

      Uplink, we’ve had this talk before and I understand what you’re saying about gratitude for readers and reviewers.

      However, that gratitude goes both ways. Reading and reviewing a story does NOT give you the right to be an ass, and even if we’re not talking about rude reviewers, it does not give you the right to be a crying baby, a whiner or to make demands either.

      I’m not sure why an author should say thank you to someone that is complaining about the story more than anything else, sometimes in disrespectful manners.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with that Crumby! I think the writers are doing the lion’s share of the work. It is a privilege for us readers to be able to share the story they’ve created. If someone really has serious problems with a story, DON’T READ IT. Don’t ruin the writer’s hobby and suck all the fun out of it for them! I see reviews primarily as an opportunity to encourage. If I really have serious criticism in a story I mostly like I’ll PM it to the author.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh I agree Crumby. I guess my point is that I have found that those type reviews are pointless to address and it is better to simply ignore them. I’ll admit that I’ve been lucky and not had many of those, 1 actually, but to engage in drama over it I have no use for. Ultimately I find that if you respond to that kind of review or drama then you get the stench of it on you as well.

        Maybe its just who I am but a simple “Thank you for the review, I simply disagree” is a much better way to deal with it for me. You are rarely wrong taking the high road.

      • Fogh says:

        The most ridiculous review I’ve ever received was, “If you wanted me to take this story seriously, you should have kept out Morgan.” That review was so weird, I only laughed at it.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Fogh i got one saying i had chuck weight wrong because zac was skinny. it was an AU of course and chuck had been a spy and was constantly working out. i politely explained that in my response.

      • Fogh says:

        Oh wow army, that one is priceless. I just simply told him Morgan had a function in certain ways, and that I felt he was supposed to be there, but that he was free to enjoy other stories, and that I hoped he would find one that he would thoroughly enjoy.

      • Crumby says:

        Oh I definitely agree with that Uplink. 😉 I just can’t blame anybody for getting frustrated over certain comments.

        As a reader, I sometimes read certain reviews and think “WTH are you complaining about? That’s *exactly* what I love about this story.” In those moments, I’d hate to think that those reviews get in the way of the fun for the author.

      • atcDave says:

        I really would have expected Chuck fans to be a liitle more imaginative than that army! I mean, I know people who can’t grasp anything that strays from reality; but you would think anyone who follows Chuck in the first place could grasp the concept of an AU.

        Fogh very funny about Morgan. Maybe it was someone with severe Morgansect phobia. I hear that can be treated with professional help…

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave here ya go…”I’m not sure you really are gauging size right. Zachary Levi probably weighs, at most, 190 pounds. And I think that’s being generous.”
        some fans will nit pick at anything.

      • Fogh says:

        Morgansect didn’t even exist back then, so it must have been one hell of a phobia haha. It was the first Fanfiction Chapter I ever wrote, he hadn’t even read past the word Morgan I think. It’s so strange people judging it on one little chapter, not even bothering to see if a writer has an idea behind keeping a character in a story. Nope just run for the hills lol.

      • atcDave says:

        You know it is a little funny to me how many writers completely ignore Morgan. Even funnier that reader would consider it a requirement. I think I have one tagged on my favorites list that’s completely told from Morgan’s point of view, I guess we know one reader who wouldn’t be reading that one!

      • Fogh says:

        Lol he definitely wouldn’t like that one. I don’t know about Morgan, I know I probably could have used him a little better so far, especially when they were in Rome, but if used right, it isn’t a bad idea to use him.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, its not a surprise to me that writers ignore morgan. look at the crap storm morgansect caused. he is not that well liked. even here it said many times he’s good in small doses. if FF is any indication of what the fans like morgan is at the bottom of the list. i think more authors would include him if he was well liked.

      • luckygirl says:

        Morgan is also used frequently for exposition purposes on the show that aren’t needed in fanfiction.

      • atcDave says:

        I know he’s not popular army, and I’m not saying I have a problem with him being ignored, I just find it funny that he is. I mean there are entire AUs that never even mention him. As I’ve said many times, I have no problem with Morgan as occasional comic relief, and I really enjoy when a writer finds an appropriate way to work him in. Like in “Sound of Music” Morgan is perfect… he mostly plays with the kids (!) The Morgan story on my favorites list is “Morgan vs the Truth” which is clearly narrated by an ADHD individual (and thankfully for my sanity, the story is fairly short!)

        Luckygirl you make an excellent point about Morgan as a story telling device. Although I think he’s actually needed on the show far less than they use him.

        He’s just an interesting aspect of the mythology. An element fan writers and viewers alike don’t know what to make of and have VERY mixed feelings towards. Even among the most fanatical of Chuck fans (hey, that’s us!), Morgan gets a mixed reaction.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave while its true morgan does have a purpose my point was unclear. imagine a writer who does not believe in same sex relationships or like them trying to write about them. if you truly don’t like him its real hard to write him in. i tend to ignore him or make his stupidity have an adverse affect on him, but i can’t write him in a good light. for example if i wrote the season 4 finale he would have put the glasses on and gone crazy never to be seen from again or died vs having him be able use it.

      • Nervert says:

        I’ll just out myself as one of the people that likes Morgan, at least the way they used him in season 1 and season 2 and some of season 3. Because of the fact that I liked him in these two seasons (but not as much in the later ones) I don’t seem to be able to use him for more than comic relief and occasionally for guy talk between him and Chuck.

  7. lucky47 says:

    So . . . this has been an interesting read. A conversation I’m slightly timid to become involved with, mainly because I’m two+ years into my story with lengths between updates. A lot of that does have to do with life. It’s hard to write between everything going on plus I’m a big sufferer of writer’s block. Writing is a skill that certainly does not come naturally to me and I’ve had to plow through a lot of chapters. English was always my worst subject in school and something I’ve always wanted to improve in so having something like fanfiction has been a fun way to work at it and practice the language I speak everyday. As much as I’d like to be quicker and have more frequent updates, it’s a work in progress but I’m grateful to those that have stuck around to give their feedback. Harsh or not, it’s needed for improvement.

    From the article, I know we’re not supposed to but I’m going to anyway. I can promise that Family Matters will be finished. In college, I had to take a small business management class and the teacher’s first words to the class about starting a business is to begin with the end in sight. I’m a first time author to a story of this magnitude so I took the same advice and applied it here. The ending has been written. It’s just getting there to be able to post it. My goal is before the last episode of Chuck. Hopefully, readers will want to stick with it for that long since it started forever and a decade ago it seems =)

    I’m with uplink. Despite the end being written, there’s never been a solidified outline to FM. There should be some leeway for creative inspiration in stores but a lot of it is learning how not to let those moments take over and become bigger than intended so I think, should I chose to do more, I’d go in a little more prepared than with FM.

    • atcDave says:

      Lucky in a lot of ways you’re the exception that proves the rule. At least as long as I’ve been following Family Matters (I started it about a year ago?) your updates have always come slowly, but you have clearly taken the time to craft something special and wonderful. I do hope you push through to finish, you’ve certainly created some of my favorite ff moments ever, and one of the very best OCs.
      I think its a little easier as a reader to accept a slower pace when a) the quality is very high, and b) the pacing has always been slow.

      And as far as what you’re supposed to do… ersk was just having fun with some of that. I know I’ve even heard ersk himself PROMISE to finish his stories. And guess what, he always does, so we’re not always doomed!

      By the way, its great to have your comments on this. Its been really fun how many fan fiction writers have visited here and put in their 2 cents worth the last few days. This exactly the sort of thing that makes this site so much fun.

    • joe says:

      Let me echo Dave’s sentiment, Lucky. This thread has been tremendous fun, thanks to all the FF writers who visit here.

      I hope you continue to do so, and I promise to return the favor!

    • uplink2 says:

      Lucky, let me reiterate how much I enjoy FM it has been a great ride and I’m really glad you are going to finish it.

      On your last point I agree with you completely. I have let inspiration take over at times and ended up writing myself into a corner and had to throw in 2 or 3 more scenes to deal with it. Its great to let the story take you where it wants to go but you do have to watch it that you don’t end up on a dead end with no way back. The show can ignore things that make the future story not work by either ignoring it or retconning it. An FF writer really can’t.

    • BDaddyDL says:

      I can’t believe I missed this post. Most of you know I have been fanboying this story since day one.
      Heck my Beckman characterization is an evolution from hers. Fates SOM and FM are my top 3 favorite stories in the fandom.
      Het story is also a pretty good example of the diffrence between angst and drama.
      I know the story has taken a while to update, but damn these last few chapters have been out of the park, and I still can’t wait for the violin payoff.

      I know this was a bit off topic but like I said I do fanboy a bit.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny thing about Sound of Music; I recently found myself motivated to re-watch the movie. It was just restored for Blu-Ray release (about 9 months ago); and it looks and sounds awesome. Its an absolutely beautiful movie, quite remarkable given its age. In fact, I also re-watched Star Wars Episode I recently, and I can honestly say, Sound of Music is passing the test of time A LOT better than Phantom Menace. I think 50 years from now, Sound of Music will still be considered a brilliant classic, while the Star Wars prequels will just be a footnote.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, i think a lot of the older movies (40-50’s) will hold their own over time vs almost anything new. actors had to act a lot better then than they do now. now its make a mistake fill it in electronically. i re-watched the original star wars on dvd and while ahead of its time when it came out in the day, it looks cheesy as heck now.

      • Fogh says:

        Dave there’s just a quality about The Sound of Music, that is rare to find these days. No small part of it is it’s purity, there is absolutely no problem in sitting down with your kids and just watching that movie, while it’s still, in my humble opinion, a really enjoyable experience for the grown ups to watch it as well.

      • atcDave says:

        fogh you are right about that quality, and its awesome to be able to watch a movie with any possible assortment of family and know everyone should have a great time.

        But army I think you’re selling short some of the newer classics. I’ve rewatched the whole Star Wars series (also just issued on Blu-Ray) and I really think the originals have held up quite well.
        It is often harder with more recent movies to identify those that will endure; I think some of it is just by being our own contemporary style its hard to sort out what will look good 20 or 50 years down the road from what will look silly or dated. But I can think of a few like Gladiator and Lord of the Rings that I think will be crowd pleasers for a long time to come.
        One big thing that’s changed though is that “whole family” entertainment has become much less common. A few animated movies in recent years have been as good as any, and make very good use of current technology, but those are typically aimed at younger viewers. The closest modern parallel to Sound of Music (clean family fun) may be something like “Night at the Museum” or “National Treasure”; but I think we need a few more years to know how well they will hold up.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave could be. but way down the road how nerdy will star wars really be? the appeal to us now is because we saw it, it was different, but show new young viewers the original and it doesn’t hold up so well, or so my sons tell me. just compare the effects in the originals to the new ones. big difference.

      • atcDave says:

        Well there’s some in every bunch!

        Of course teens and young adults are likely put off by anything called a “Classic!”

      • Nervert says:

        The three-year-old daughter of a good friend of mine is nearly addicted to Star Wars and Empire but she actually walked up to the Blue-Ray player and turned off Episode I (yeah, I know, what’s he doing showing those to a three-year-old; his wife actually had to intervene to prevent him from showing her the Evil Dead movies).

      • atcDave says:

        That three year old has very discerning taste!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        One of the funniest, saddest, and most interesting criticisms I’ve ever seen of the Star Wars franchise.

        Start at part 1

      • Nervert says:

        Yep. He’s proud.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Agreed DL. SOM wasn’t in my top 3 when we did our rankings recently (Fates and FM were) – but it might be there now! Just a wonderful story. And this from someone who hasn’t seen the movie in decades and can’t remember most of it!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Kev it’s a dynamite story with or without the gimmick. But when you’re more current with the original you see just clever it is. Quistie is obviously very well versed in all of her source material!

      • thinkling says:

        Agree, all. SOM is a great story, whether or not you’re familiar with the movie. If you are, it’s even better. Very, very clever.

        The movie is one of my all time favorites. I saw it countless times in the theatre (every time it recycled) way before any video recording devices/players were available. It’s hard to remember the old paradigm, where you watched in the theatre, or live on TV on one of 3 channels — that went to snow at midnight. And that was it … no DVD’s, no VHS, no pay per view, no Blockbuster. Heh.

  8. Faith says:

    Very interesting and informative insight into the world of FF writing. I must say though I knew some of this coming in, it still brings it home.

    This actually makes me wonder if someone should instead write the entire thing like a novel and then publish each chapter like a TV show. Obviously that’s not always feasible but it’s a thought.

    • BDaddyDL says:

      As an amateur writer the feedback I get is enormously helpful. For example in my latest arc I was not even going to have a character in it, but due to feedback she’s heavily there, and will completely steal a scene.

  9. Leigh says:

    Hmmmmmmm…

    I actually kind of disagree with the idea that you can’t write a story as you go along. Maybe writing is work (it is!) but it’s also fun work. And since you’re not getting paid for it, I feel like you should be able to use whatever writing process you see fit. I feel like there’s no wrong or right way to write fic. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m writing one that I’m literally just plotting as I go, because it’s fun. It’s hard, but it’s fun. 🙂

    I will say I wholeheartedly agree with being haunted by bad reviews. It’s kind of like getting stabbed.

  10. lucky47 says:

    @Dave- You have the ability to give people cavities with your sweet comments. Thank you kindly! It’s nice to be considered the exception =)

    @Joe- Thank you, too! And may I say I love your hat =)

    @uplink- I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the ride. By the way, I’ve also been enjoying your story. It’s been a fun read!

    • atcDave says:

      Lucky I’m quite certain not everyone finds me so cavity inducing! But I honestly love your work and can only say good things about it, so you’ve earned a trip to the dentist.

  11. ersk4 says:

    Hey everyone!

    ersk4 here and I have been enjoying all of your comments and remarks about “Why We Don’t Write.”

    First, I have noticed comments that disagree with some of the reasons why writers don’t finish stories. Well, certainly that happens. By my saying this reason or that reason caused an unfinished story does NOT mean that happen to EVERY unfinished story. It just means that is a reason in some or many cases. For example, yes, bad reviews do not affect every writer’s desire to finish a story. But bad reviews did cause some writers to quit. I know that for a fact because I have spoken with some who did not finish a Chuck story because some reviews made some bad comments. So any reason for not finishing a story in my article cannot be THE reason for everyone quitting. They are just true examples in some or many cases.

    Second, there have been a lot of comments about outlining or planning your story. Many have remarked that they have let inspiration guide them. Inspiration is absolutely vital and important and a key ingredient to writing. So if you plan or outline your story and figure out how you are going to end it, should you ignore a great idea that you suddenly get that is not part of your story outline? Absolutely NOT! Use that idea IF it fits!

    I’ll give an example. Say while writing my story “Chuck vs the Jill Ride,” I got the inspiration to have Chuck, Sarah and Jill encounter the Cullen vampire clan from the “Twilight” series. Is that a good idea for my story? Well, the way my story went and ended, I’d have to say no, that it is stupid and illogical idea. And I know that this idea is bad because I have planned out my story and know how it is going to end. Now, IF the story ended with Chuck and Sarah becoming vampires and living happily ever after in that fashion, THEN the trio encountering the Cullen family in the middle of the story would have been a logical and good idea.

    But by having outlined and planned my story in advance, I can be guided by inspiration IF it fits in with the story.

    Third, I think some people are confused with my using the word “outline.” That word may have people thinking of some formal list of events, scenes, dialogue, etc. When my writing professors emphasized outline and planning a story, I always pictured the outline as an official outline using Roman numerals, letters and numbers and such. It was a revelation to me when one professor explained that the story outline does NOT have to be anything formal or regimentally written. All it had to be was a collection of thoughts and stuff for your story. And it didn’t even be written out, it could all be in your head.

    I’ll give an example. Here is the original outline that I did for the “Pickles” chapter of my story “Chuck vs the Jill Ride.”

    The trio continue driving. Sarah is in the back seat of the car, pretending to be asleep and is upset and thinking about everything that she and Chuck talked about. She tries to figure out how to fix things with Chuck as she does not want Jill to get with Chuck. The trio stops for lunch at a hamburger place and gets hamburgers to go. Jill purposely orders a Sarah a hamburger without pickles. Jill and Sarah argue about this. Chuck drives the car back to the stand and gets Sarah pickles. Sarah is so touched by this. The trio stops for the night at a hotel. Chuck tries to apologize to Sarah but Sarah insists that they talk later when they are alone and won’t be interrupted. Sarah is also ready to fight for Chuck. How? She insists that he not sleep on the floor, that he sleeps with her.

    If you’ve read that chapter of “Jill Ride,” you can see that the outline just has the “bare bones.” it does not detail everything. You don’t see reference to Chuck/Sarah cuddling on the chair, you don’t see a list of what Sarah thought while pretending to be asleep in the car, etc. You don’t see any dialogue.

    This was just a guide so that I would know where to go and what to with my story before and after this chapter. And did I follow this outline religiously? NO! I got ideas and inspiration throughout the writing process. But by having an plan/outline, I knew if those ideas would be good and would fit in with the story and whether or not they would work.

    A professor in one of my writing classes once said:

    Think of the story outline/plan as a road map. You go on a vacation, you figure out how to get to your destination. Then you get into the car and follow the map. But along the way, you spot a sign saying “Pecan pralines for sale.” You deviate from your map and make a turn and get some pralines. But then you get back on that road to your destination. Because you knew where you were going, you knew whether or not it was OK to make that unexpected and unplanned side trip.

    Thus, if you have a plan/outline for your story, you know whether or not that sudden inspiration or great idea will work! That’s the advantage to having an outline or plan to your story.

    Fourth, inspiration is certainly a key factor to writing. But what you do with that inspiration is equally important. I’ll give another example. My story “Chuck vs the Jill Ride” all came about when one day, I was sitting around thinking about the TV series and I suddenly thought, “What if Chuck woke up in a motel room bed with Sarah on one side and Jill on the other side?”

    Very inspiring, don’t you think? OK, a great idea. But what do I do with that idea? I had to figure out how did Chuck get there? And how did Sarah and Jill get there? What the heck were they doing there? How come Chuck didn’t know how he got there? How did Jill get out of prison? Why would Sarah allow Jill anywhere near Chuck? And what the heck is going on that Chuck, Sarah and Jill are in a motel room bed? And what happens after Chuck wakes up?

    Inspiration and a great idea are one thing. But what do you do with that inspiration? Someone once said, “Writing is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.”

    But once again, don’t think of my “Why We Don’t Write” as the ultimate and complete guide. It’s just a list of some known reasons for some Fan Fiction writers. There are probably many other reasons why some people don’t finish those stories. And you could probably just as easily say that those reasons inspired people to finish their stories.

    And all of my notes and points about writing? Well, on that, let me quote one of my writing professors:

    “You can get a bunch of books that will tell you how to write, you can take a lot of classes that will tell you how to write and you can get a lot of advice from professional writers on how to write. But ultimately, the best way to write is WHATEVER works FOR YOU!”

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about my article and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to make comments and discuss it. I wish I could talk with each and everyone of you about Chuck and writing and everything else. And I hope that my long-winded comment here makes sense and does NOT sound like ranting or criticism. It’s just that a lot of comments have made me think I need to clarify things. If all of this doesn’t make sense, well, I have had to type REALLY quickly while a break here at work. Thank you!

    –ersk4

    • atcDave says:

      Awesome to have you pitch in ersk with that “little” note. Its been a fun discussion and your clarification with examples helps. I know I hate sometimes how work interferes with this hobby, what a pain!

    • Nervert says:

      “But ultimately, the best way to write is WHATEVER works FOR YOU!”
      This is excellent advice. Really, focusing on doing the things that keep making you come back to writing, whatever they are, is what is going to make you a better writer. Your writing can improve if you use the suggestions of other writers but ONLY IF YOU KEEP WRITING. That’s pretty much the key. Keep doing it, keep enjoying it, and you will get better.

      Having said that,
      I’m sorry for the long delay in updating. But things are now back on track and I should be able to update quicker and more frequently now. 😛 😀

      /No really. I have 7500 words so far on the current chapter and the rest are almost written.

      • atcDave says:

        I always follow similar wisdom on building models. I’ve seen and studied so many different techniques for things from handling parts, to filling seams, to weathering finishes; and yet everyone develops their own way of doing things. You study other hobbyists, learn what you can, and adapt it to what works for you.

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