Far-out concepts
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Thread: Far-out concepts

  1. #1
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Far-out concepts

    Firstly, let's set quality of writing aside, including any presuppositions you may or may not have as to the 'usual' quality of journeyfics, for example. Now that that's disposed with, let me ask you a question:

    Do you find fics with 'far-out' concepts easier/more fun to read?

    By 'far-out', I mean those kinds of fics where the author is clearly going out of his or her way to do everything different and unexpected, up to and including plot elements that sound as if they couldn't have been dreamt up by anybody short of Lewis Carroll. On crack.

    I'm asking because it was puzzling me today at school. Of course, my initial reaction is 'Yeah, duh? The more original, the better!', but I've been thinking it over. Is there such a thing as too original? At what point does originality become silliness, silliness become randomness, randomness become craziness for craziness' sake?

    There's an ever-present danger of the fic flying too far off into territory that should be trespassed on cautiously, if at all. There's always a risk that an 'original' concept can devolve into 'throwing in random plot elements for the sake of being more 'original' than the last chapter'. Bob finds a jersey that allows him to control any Pokemon he meets? That's nothing! In chapter six, he is drafted into the Secret Service thanks to his newfound powers! But wait! In chapter eight, he accidentally stows away on a rocket bound for the moon with a talking Electrike for company! In chapter thirteen, he meets moon aliens who happen to have been monitoring him for . . . Yeah, and so on.

    (Note: Not talking crackfic here. That's deliberate. I mean those fics that try to play it straight. Where's the breaking point for you?)
    Last edited by Seizon Senryaku; 16th July 2011 at 07:05 PM. Reason: question marrrrrrrk
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  2. #2
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Far-out concepts?

    It's a very thin line between "Oh wow, this is such a great concept!" and "It's so different, it's bad!"

    In one case, you have the very original concept that works. It's the one where the plot elements fit together, and keeps the readers hooked and guessing at every turn, since it is a new thing that is mostly devoid of clichés. But the most important part as I see it is that it is supposed to follow a logical order.

    The badly different concept doesn't follow a logical order. The main character is falling, then in the next chapter we get the revelation of them having the power to open a hole in the earth, come out of the other side, and fly to the moon. It could be a logical progression had there been some indication or foreshadowing, but it could also be a sign of a badly-planner story, if it was even planned. In this case, the writer is just out to shock their readers.

    In the logical progression example, the main character is falling, and they hit the floor, but they aren't hurt or anything. Oh wait, the Darkrai from 2 chapters back! The main character is in a nightmare, and has been in one for the past 2 chapter! It's not exactly the most original plot twist, but the readers are left with the "2 Chapters didn't happen?!" effect, especially when something really crucial happened in those chapters, and we then see the main character neglecting the character development that happened in the dream.

    That's my take on it.

  3. #3
    Let's get funky! Gama's Avatar Former Head Administrator
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    Default Re: Far-out concepts?

    I have a little bit of a problem with the question that you've posed, Misheard.

    My problem is that you say disregarding the varying quality of writing how crazy is too crazy?

    The thing is I think the limit of how crazy is too crazy depends entirely on the quality of writing. You cited Lewis Carroll as an example and he is, indeed, the perfect example. Alice in Wonderland is the only story by him that I know and it is insane. He can be this insane precisely because he is a fantastic writer. If a very young or otherwise very inexperienced writer tried to write the exact same plot, I think it would probably come off as too silly and wouldn't work.

  4. #4
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Far-out concepts?

    Gama has a point. However, while original concepts are great regardless, I think my breaking point is the moment where most of the factors that preserve the suspension of disbelief begin to fade.

    As a matter of fact, I think that even with good writing, sometimes an original concept can still seem a little too far-out to believe. For some, at least. Or at least something in the story might do it that wouldn't occur in another media. As an example, say you have a character from an animated series that's rather Sueish but you don't mind because it's so fun to watch them work for the most part. In a visual medium like that, it's easier to actually make them fun to watch, whereas in a written medium like fanfiction, you have to be a damn good writer to acquire that effect on the audience.

    My advice for those who want to stretch concepts is to try and make them something that could be at least remotely possible within the universe you're writing in.

    In my fic, for example, the premise would seem insane, offensive, bashing, and completely impossible. However, given the fact that Kingdom Hearts is like some kind of multiverse with countless worlds, I could easily pick one world to use as a setting and make it a bit easier to stomach.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

  5. #5
    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Far-out concepts?

    Hmm, I see what you mean there. Maybe I could have worded that better. I meant something along the lines of, um . . . If you were faced with two stories that were of essentially comparable quality in terms of writing, would you find the crazier one easier/more fun to read? I put that little bit in there essentially to preclude people saying 'oh, but crazy fanfics are usually written really badly, so I prefer ones that take the safer route.'
    The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game

    'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
    'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own

  6. #6
    I feel so much spring... Cabaret's Avatar
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    Default Re: Far-out concepts?

    Well I think there's a difference between far out concepts in an established format, and far out concepts in a original type story.

    My writing is shit, but I do know that it's always good to balance out how different you decide to go with a piece. I don't mind storied that take a format, such as the journey fic, and change them and make them original and far out. That'd what you should do to keep your readers from falling asleep.

    Some formats don't always need to be "crazy" or original to work. Shipping fics are always original in their own right.

    As far as farout original concepts in stories that don't fall under any type of format, it's really risky. Lettuce just say I'm borderlining that in my next story. It's really bad. No, it's really really bad.

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