Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun, news that David Gaider, lead writer at Bioware, recently judged a Dragon Age fanfiction contest and posted a blog entry with some advice for prospective fanfictioneers. All very nice, but for *real* insight you can hardly beat the KiaSA team: Melmoth once talked to someone who was fairly sure they’d once known someone who’d thought about writing some fanfic, and Zoso managed to read almost a paragraph and a half of the Wikipedia entry on fanfiction before he got distracted, clicked on “Star Trek”, and spent the rest of the afternoon looking up Appearances of Tribbles in Popular Culture. With such unrivalled pedigree, we humbly present The KiaSA Guide To Fanfiction.
The first golden rule is to ensure your stories respect any intellectual property they use; Verant banned an EverQuest player, at least partially over a fan fiction story. To avoid legal issues it’s best not to have an established game character engage in atypically perverse or deviant behaviour; if using Bioware’s Hawke or Shepard, for example, for heaven’s sake don’t portray them as abstinent and chiefly concerned about saving the world rather than snogging the face off the rest of their team.
The second golden rule is that, contrary to wider media portrayals, fan fiction isn’t limited to badly written sexual fantasies and borderline pathological wish fulfilment. It’s much easier to get a cheap laugh by pretending it is, though.
A good structure to use for your story is Campbell’s Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey:
Hero’s Journey Overview
- Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD
- they receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE
- They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but
- are encouraged by a MENTOR to
- CROSS THE THRESHOLD and enter the Special World, where
- they encounter TEST, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.
- They APPROACH THE IN-MOST CAVE, cross a second threshold
- where they endure the ORDEAL
- They take possession of their REWARD and
- are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.
- They cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION, and are transformed by the experience.
- They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the ORDINARY WORLD.
Although this has been subject to numerous criticisms, it’s easy to copy and paste. It also needs some slight adaptation for proper fanfic:
Stages of the Journey
1. THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma, generally by making the story a blatant parallel to Harry Potter or Twilight at every opportunity. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress (that’s ‘furious masturbation injuries’ to you and me)
2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. “Hey, Ma! Pa! I gots them there urges to go a-shagging!”
3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternatively, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. “Have you ever, you know… *done it*?” “No, you?” “No” “I’m scared of doing it.” “I’m scared too.” “Hold me” [They shag]
4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveller of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. “Now, take hold of my equipment, and I shall begin your training”. Or the hero reaches within (their underpants) to a source of courage and wisdom.
5. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. Let the incestuous inter-species shagging begin!
6. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World. You wouldn’t believe that there’s a lot of shagging in this part, but there is. Involving both the allies and the enemies. Mostly the enemies, for some reason.
7. APPROACH TO THE IN-MOST CAVE. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. And when we say ‘prepare’ we mean ‘get naked and shag’. And when we say ‘the major challenge’ we mean ‘turning the evil emo overlord to the side of Good, and then shagging them’. The KiaSA Team thinks that we all know what is meant by “Approach to the in-most cave” – can we get a ‘Giggity Giggity Giggity Goo’?!
8. THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World (fnarr!) and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear (wearing clothes, not getting to watch Harry and Ron double-team Hermione, a complete lack of sparkle, no double-hermaphrodite option in Bioware’s character creator, that sort of thing) Out of the moment of death comes a new life (because nobody ever uses a condom in fanfic for some reason).
9. THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death – victory shag! There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again – my character shagged too much and their peepee parts fell off. :( <- 'Peepee parts fell off' sad face.
10. THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, because the author is bored now that they’ve written out all of their shagging fantasies. Leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home (although this withdrawal method can work, the KiaSA Team still recommends the use of a condom). Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission, although the urgency and danger often quickly disappear once the protagonists have had several rounds of ‘urgent danger’ sex.
11. THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home — nnnnn-o, nope, sorry but we’re at a loss to find any innuendo in that previous sentence. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice (by having to choose not to shag at least one major character in the story). Another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level: the hero picks their favourite companion and shags them extra good. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved – i.e. if the hero has any peepee parts left at all, they’re certainly no longer in any condition to allow for furious masturbation.
12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed — always leave the hero with some love juice in reserve, in case you get horny again and need to write a sequel.
So there you have it, the KiaSA Team’s basic guide to writing fanfic. We hope you enjoyed this light-hearted spoof, which in no way reflects the realities of fan fiction on the Internet.
And now we’re off to kiss with tongues.