I am typically not one to enjoy fan fiction, especially where it pertains to a video or board game universe. Fan fictions of such mediums tend to run awfully and painstakingly similar to the gameplay of the world it is written for, effectively choking out the story craft or at least making it negligible at best. While stories modeled thus are capable of tickling the fancy of hard-core fans, those of us who can comprehend what is and is not a sufferable 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 of our souls. (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 (including a 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 instead of blandly being told, respectively. With these things, a work of fiction acts as a powerful tool to whisper a melodic harmony into our souls, and to let our imaginations dance with creativity. Without these things, a work of fiction is missing a cog or shorting at a broken circuit: it just isn’t doing anything for us. I know that storytelling is an art, but it can be as much a science as an art. One missing element can mean the guillotine. Not always, but can.
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 to produce something palatable. One without the other just won’t work–not commercially, anyway. 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 from which it was born.
To all of you who have done and are doing this successfully, kudos. You have given me hope. To those of you who aren’t, well, keep trying. The only way you won’t get it is of you give up.