I am typically not one to enjoy fan fiction, especially of the video or board game genre. Fan fictions of such medium tend to run awfully and painstakingly similar to the gameplay of its particular universe. While stories modeled thus are capable of tickling the fancy of hard-core fans, those of us who can comprehend a workable and sufficient plotline will, for the most part, gag when we hit about page thirty, when the redundancy of dialogue and the flat-lining of the non-existent conflict cause us to wheel the story out to the morgue. (Then we must immediately return to our favorite authors and reread some of their works in an attempt to wash the gunk out of our minds’ eyes!) I have recently discovered, however, that fan fiction need not be so bland or illegitimate in terms of its short fallen attempt at actual storytelling.
Storycraft: rising action or hook, climax, falling action, resolution. “Conflict, action, resolution.” Some add “emotion” and “showing,” terms indicative of the character’s revealed emotional states and the scene’s plot revealed as it happens, respectively. Without these things, a work of fiction acts as a power tool with a missing cog or shorting fuse: it just doesn’t work. I know that storytelling is an art, but it can be as much a science as an art. One missed element can mean the guillotine.
No, science isn’t the right word. Technique is. Technique is the fiction writer’s brush strokes on the canvas of his or her medium as they attempt to create drama, usually using the above outline. Technique must be learned and utilized along with inherent creativity in order to produce something grandeur, or in the very least palatable. One without the other won’t work. In many of these fan fiction works, there is an immense amount of creativity; but with no technique to guide that creativity down the right path, all possibility for a story line to emerge is eliminated.
Anyway, it has recently come to my attention that even “fan fiction” genre stories can be put together in such a way as to have a dramatic, non-bland plotline full of all the necessary elements of a story arc while at the same time not diminishing the homage it pays to its original universe and that universe’s authors.
To all of you who have done and are doing this successfully, kudos. You have given me hope.