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Converting fanfiction to original fiction

Discussion in 'Author's Roundtable' started by imaginepageant, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. imaginepageant

    imaginepageant Slytherin Alumni

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    I've been thinking of converting my fanfiction to original (or, originalish at least) fiction once it's completed. Has anyone here done this before, specifically with Skyrim fanfiction, and have any advice? I'd like to kick some general ideas around and see what you guys think.

    I spent some time yesterday thinking about what aspects of the game storylines I consider important to the story I'm telling, and therefore would want to keep.

    The first issue would, obviously, be the matter of dragons, and the Dragonborn. There are several aspects I want to keep:

    - Legendary mythical creatures that have suddenly returned to the world.
    - The ability of the protagonist to steal and use the power of said creatures.
    - The element of magic in said power.

    I tossed around a few ideas of different mythical creatures that could replace dragons, but the third point kept tripping me up, until I thought of using elemental beings made up of one of four elements: fire, water, earth, and air. After slaying one of these creatures, the protagonist would be able to use its form of magic herself. To make this meaningful, magic would be very rare in the world. Perhaps it was once very prevalent, but with the supposed extinction of the elementals, magic itself faded from the world, and now only a few are able to wield it, and only with years of intense training. I would still use the prophecy of the return of these creatures, and of a "messiah" figure whose destiny is to destroy them and save the world. The antagonist could potentially be an all-powerful amalgamation of the four elements.

    In terms of the plot itself, I would need to take out certain elements and events that are deeply rooted in the Elder Scrolls world... like the Elder Scrolls, the Blades, and Sovngarde. I think a majority of the game's main storyline would need to be reworked into something A. much more original, and B. more suited to literature than gameplay.

    The second issue is the civil war. I would want to keep:

    - The existence of an Empire that ties together the separate kingdoms.
    - The Empire's betrayal of one or more of these kingdoms.
    - The uprising of one or more of these kingdoms against the Empire.
    - A civil war in the kingdom in which the story is set.

    I'm not sure what I want the Empire's betrayal to have been, though; religious oppression isn't necessarily integral to my plot, but it should be some sort of oppression. I might look into true history for inspiration for this.

    I'm looking forward to worldbuilding, since I've never created a completely different world before, though I probably won't go into too much detail, since the story takes place in a single kingdom, and most of the others don't play any role in the story. But I will need to think about different cultures, countries, and possibly pantheons.

    I don't think I'll need to change much of the civil war storyline, since it's fairly basic to begin with and certainly isn't exclusive to Elder Scrolls, and I've already made a few big changes to it in my fanfic. The background of the civil war will need to be tweaked, though -- the politics of the world, and the history that led to the uprising. I'll also need to think a lot about that.

    The third integral part to my story is already original, in my protagonist's backstory and current goals, and her relationships with the other characters, so I won't need to change that at all. That was easy!

    So, this turned out to be me rambling about my thoughts more than anything, but if you've gotten this far, and have any other ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
     
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    Start Dale: 11 Points (I've been thinking about this too... Now the long scroll down and read till I can share my thoughts.) Jan 22, 2014
  2. Delusional

    Delusional Connoisseur of Hallucinations

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    That sounds like a really cool idea, iPag. I don't think I've seen anyone attempt to transform their Skyrim fan fiction into an original work, but that doesn't mean you can't try. You've got some excellent ideas and thoughts already down, and I'm not sure how much I could offer, as I have never attempted to turn a fan fiction into an original fiction (heh, much less actually finish a fan fiction :p), but hey, might as well try to give some thoughts or ideas.

    I really like the concept of the elementals. I think you've got a lot of options when it comes to creating what these elementals will be, what they will look like, and what kind of properties they will have. If it were me, I would make these elementals present in different locations across this world you will create, and have different behaviors. That being said, I think it might be interesting to experiment with the individual traits of these elementals. It might be worth sitting down and brainstorming a list of diverse properties and traits you want to incorporate into these beings, and then begin assigning different traits to different elementals. If each of these four types of beings were rather diverse in their behaviors, aggression, living style, etc. it would make encountering them or battling them much more interesting. Perhaps you have a water elemental who hangs out around the coasts and water bodies of your world, and is very territorial, meaning that since these beings reappeared, almost all the coastal towns have been obliterated, but takes little to no interest to anything outside its territory; then you could have a fire being who is extremely aggressive and spends most of its time traveling across the world, wreaking havoc. If each of these elementals behaved differently, encounters would be different every time.

    As for the magic, I like everything you've already put down in regards to it. If the magic is more generic - fire, water, air, earth - then it would only make sense that this magic is very rarely practiced or mastered, and there are mythic and prophetic characters who can wield it easily - much like the Thu'um, which I would assume you based the magic off of. Of course, with making magic as a whole rare comes a significant change in this world. With magic an almost nonexistent force, that eliminates any sort of mage or magic-wielder in Skyrim from this original fiction, which, in my opinion, is a rather large change, as there is quite a lot of mages in Skyrim.

    And in regards to the plot, I feel like you should pretty much completely rework the main plot. Most of the prominent forces, factions and objects involved in Skyrim's plotline are closely tied into the Elder Scrolls series and would have to be removed anyways, so why not just rework the entire main plotline? You could have a lot of fun using your own creative genius to think up your own plot that more closely fits with the world you will build.

    Now, the civil war. Ah, the civil war. The civil war very closely relates to what kind of world you intend on making and actually do produce. For all you know, you may get carried away with the worldbuilding and end up with this massive geopolitical landscape, or you may end up with a relatively small world, a factor that can seriously affect the civil war and who is all involved. If you ended up with a larger world, you may want to veer off the path of Elder Scrolls and add in your own original factions from new powers, nations or territories who become involved in the civil war for whatever reason. Adding in different, new factions can result in either an interesting geopolitical landscape just within the territory in question, or conversely, you could end up with a confusing mess of factions. I suppose it all depends on what your personal wants and preferences are.

    In my personal opinion, you shouldn't limit yourself when it comes to worldbuilding. I personally love worldbuilding. It gives you a chance to make your own world to set a story in. Everything is your own; you don't have to work within the boundaries of another world. You can make the world look like anything, you can add in your own factions... really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to building your own world, and I recommend letting go a little and allowing your creative genius to take the wheel.

    And yes, the specific civil war storyline will have to be tweaked according to what you end up making the world like, of course. Though, don't feel like you need to follow the storyline. I'd suggest, like most everything else, to take liberties with it and shape the storyline to your liking. It is your world, after all, and you can do with it as you please.

    I hope some of those random thoughts prove helpful!
     
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  3. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    Hubby has been wanting me to re-work my fan fiction to be an original piece as well. Trouble is, there is so much of Skyrim engrained into it, I don't think it is worth my time as I have written nearly ninety thousand words. I would rather take elements from the fanfic and work it into a whole new story.

    More importantly, I feel if I tried to re-work my fanfic, it would be left a shell of itself and loose the love and passion I have poured into it. I just couldn't do it.

    So yes, a sucker for punishment, I am starting from scratch.
     
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  4. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    There is also a lot of actual Nordic culture and legend that could be drawn upon for ideas too. There is nothing new under the sun it has all been done before, its just a matter of how your creativity decides to arrange it. Ive seen more creativity in this community than Holly Wood can shake a stick at!
     
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  5. imaginepageant

    imaginepageant Slytherin Alumni

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    I love this idea. It would make the altercations much more dynamic, if she didn't know exactly what she would be facing with any given elemental. I was already thinking to have her manifest their powers in different ways (e.g. one water elemental may give her the power of healing, but another may give her the destructive power of ice) but I hadn't thought of the elementals behaving differently themselves.

    Indeed. Ulfric's ability to use the Thu'um plays sort of an important role in my fanfic, in terms of his parallel to and relationship with my protagonist, so I wanted some way to keep that in a conversion.

    Not a problem here, actually, since mages don't figure much in my fanfic. My protagonist can heal, but that's easily changed to a power she acquired through an elemental... or, perhaps, an innate ability that she's always had (since magic will still exist, just very rarely), which could serve as a sign of her destiny.

    I don't want to completely rework the main plot, since it is essentially a good versus evil story, which is a very basic archetype, and one very common to fantasy stories. I will be keeping the foundation of the hero being called to action against an evil entity; that's the important part. Other than that, I can, and will, make the story my own.

    (It's worth noting that the root of my story is the relationship between the two main characters, and the good versus evil plot and the civil war plot mostly serve to progress that relationship. Since the heart of my story is already original, I have a lot of freedom to change what I would about the secondary plots.)

    Absolutely did! Thank you for such a thoughtful and detailed reply!
     
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  6. imaginepageant

    imaginepageant Slytherin Alumni

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    I will likely steer away from Nordic influences, since they're so prevalent in Skyrim, but I would like to keep the setting a northern one, so that might be tricky! I'll probably look to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and take some inspiration from that; he has a wonderful northern culture that is very different from real-life Nordic culture.
     
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  7. Delusional

    Delusional Connoisseur of Hallucinations

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    I would love if you made a culture inspired by GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire. He indeed has a very unique northern culture, complete with its own separate customs and even gods than the southern culture. I feel like Elder Scrolls lacks huge diversity in religions, but that's something that GRRM expanded hugely on, and something I feel that you should expand on as well. Religion has played a colossal part in the history of the world, and something that many people don't take lightly. It could open some different doors and paths if you had some more significant religious conflict.
     
  8. Docta Corvina

    Docta Corvina Well-Known Member

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    This is something I've thought about as well. I've got a lot of love for my "Kathodos" characters and the associated themes. As someone else said, there is nothing new under the sun, so whatever I've done in my fic and whatever I will do in my original work (which I'm currently doing research for) won't be totally devoid of certain influences. But it is something I've bounced around in my head. It's an intriguing proposition, and I'd love to see what you do with it, iPag! <3
     
  9. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    No doubt! the sky's the limit, you have the Celts to the native Americans and everything in between! So much rich culture, lore and spiritual beliefs to build on! But I do enjoy the fan-fic stories I've read for the same reasons I watch movies and read books over again, when I have the background I can concentrate more on other details that I might have missed the first time. So all you writers keep up the good work no matter what it is!
     
  10. Start Dale

    Start Dale I got 99 problems but a Deadra ain't one.

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    During posting 'To Fall in Skyrim' the Fanfic I'm writing and discovering more about the process of building a world I have become interested in the concept of creating my own original work. In plotting out the Fanfic here I found myself wondering how it would be feasible to change the story to an original piece.
    The advice here I have found useful and have been toying with variations on some of the themes as already described.
    However I am finding it hard enough to write within an established worldscape. So while it is an aim to convert the fanfic towards something of an original world. My main aim is to finish the damn story first.

    The closest I have gotten to developing a method for the eventual creation process is to keep the personality of the characters intact and the overall plotline. But change everything else.

    Kinda basic now I see it written down.
     

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