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Has your fanfic ever gone off the rails and become more of an original work?


Setesh
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So for a very long time now, I had an idea for an extremely extensive Sailor Moon work, spanning at least every single arc. I had a trillion ideas that I worked through in my head, but it was just a back burner pet project. So I finally decided I should sit down and start writing out outlines for characters, arcs and my changes. I even figured out ways I could work in whole new arcs, and even started working on those. Then I began a timeline of events.

It was when my timeline reached page 30 and I wasn’t even a tenth of the way done that it came to me; this wasn’t just off the rails, it had jumped from and then off multiple sets and was now running across the ocean floor, well on its way to Europe. I had completely lost sight of this being a fanfic and it was becoming an original work sometimes featuring plot elements, vaguely, from an old magical girl series.

Am I alone in this? If not, did you just make it into an original work?

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For me it wasn’t one story, it was more gradual. Like eventually my fan fics started getting more and more distant from the canon and I couldn’t quite bend the characters the way I wanted to without making them completely out of character. I think I kept trying to steer things back into the fandom (It was a while ago, so my memory of it isn’t all that clear). And I tried jumping from fandom to fandom, because though working within someone else’s universe is somewhat limiting, I found it very comforting. It comes with its own fanbase already installed that you don’t necessarily get with originals. It comes with people who know and understand the characters, and those limits it imposes make planning just a little easier (That’s my experience, I can’t speak for others.) 

But I did eventually give in and start chasing those plotbunnies down the proverbial rabbit hole. For me it was scary, but it was the right move. I’ve never looked back. 

Honestly I think you should follow your inspiration wherever it needs to take you. If you’re pumped for this, and it sounds like you are because wtf, 30 page timeline?! Bring that world to life! 

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Oh absolutely, I wrote like 5 books of a series that was originally a fanfiction. It basically stopped being one about a few chapters in because there were SOOOO many OCs and new plotlines. And honestly? I was cool with that. It was all very organic; it felt like a graduation. I went back later and changed whatever fandom vestiges remained to make it truly original. An original series that I could potentially sell one day? Hell to the YES! 

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7 minutes ago, GeorgeGlass said:

Actually, that has never happened to me. Most of my ideas for fanfics are so specific to a particular fandom (in terms of character dialogue, plot devices, etc) that they wouldn’t work as original stories. 

For me, the structure of having a fandom to play in gave me the courage to try to write the worlds in my head. I made my mistakes playing in someone else’s universe, which is not to say I’m not making mistakes in my own little worlds, but it feels rather nice to have them out there, warts and all.

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7 minutes ago, BronxWench said:

For me, the structure of having a fandom to play in gave me the courage to try to write the worlds in my head. I made my mistakes playing in someone else’s universe, which is not to say I’m not making mistakes in my own little worlds, but it feels rather nice to have them out there, warts and all.

Oh, yes, writing fanfic certainly encouraged me to write original stories, too. I’ve just never had a fanfic idea evolve into an idea for an original story.

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  • 1 year later...

Yes. As a fellow “Moonie”, I have written SM fanfics for a long time. It got to a point where my characters were starting to be OOC and the plot lines were becoming more intense that I stepped back and decided I needed to charge the direction of my work. While I enjoy working with the canons I grew to love, sometimes it’s nice to leave the nest and fly. If you’re still around, I’d love to know how your development continued and if you’re going to start a magic girl series.

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  • 3 years later...
On 5/2/2018 at 10:36 AM, BronxWench said:

I think one of the most overlooked benefits of writing fan fiction is how often it leads to incredible original fiction. 

Writing fanfiction was the “gateway drug” that got me hooked on the fun creative writing, which did lead to creating original works.  Now that I’ve returned to fanfiction (with the explicit goal of finishing my unfinished fanfic) my experience with originals has allowed me to make that fanfic better.  As an example, I’ve added some extra characters that are really better rounded IMO than canon, and allow me to have a viewpoint that was missing before.  (Also the willingness to dabble more in smut helps :) )

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Pretty much everything I write has gone off the rails.

My first story I just started writing and couldn’t stop until there was a trilogy. One that I have recently turned into a quadrilogy and will probably have future sequels as well. In part because to finish off my obsession with the story, I wrote an epilogue set 10 years after the events of the third story. Then I started writing a completely unconnected story… until I realized that I wanted to connect it to the original trilogy, and the new story became a 5 part story in order to make that work.

Some of the stuff I’ve posted here also were intended to be one shots, only to decide that I should write it as a series of one shots featuring various characters. Now I’m working on similar one shot series for other fandoms as well (Riverdale, TVD, PLL). Plus, I am in the middle of writing a one shot for the main fandom (Buffy) and being towards the end, I had the idea to do a “spinoff” one shot. I’m also debating another “spinoff” of sorts based on one that I’ve already finished. I debated adding a fun little comment at the end of one of them which would allow for new one shots connected to this other one shot in the same fandom. Ultimately I decided to not include the comment but every so often while writing other stuff it comes into my head and I want to add it. Mainly because I haven’t posted it here thanks to the site being read only.

So… yeah… I tend to go off the rails.

Edited by Deadman
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On 1/26/2023 at 7:14 PM, Deadman said:

Pretty much everything I write has gone off the rails.

Some of the stuff I’ve posted here also were intended to be one shots...

If we wade into originals… mine started off as a oneshot, meant as a pwp, way later than posted stories… and then my mind rebelled, where the creation of the particular society became way more interesting, so now I’ve got a suite of stories, some complete, some works in progress, others light skeletons.

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On 1/28/2023 at 7:11 PM, Desiderius Price said:

If we wade into originals… mine started off as a oneshot, meant as a pwp, way later than posted stories… and then my mind rebelled, where the creation of the particular society became way more interesting, so now I’ve got a suite of stories, some complete, some works in progress, others light skeletons.

Totally get that. It’s why I never get into original one off stories generally. After writing fanfic for many years, I got into writing originals and had a similar problem. I could never just write a short story. I had to write the pilot for an original TV show and plan out like 5 seasons of content. There’s basically only one story I’ve ever written that was meant to be a short story. And even that went from a short story to what could be a feature film.

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6 hours ago, Deadman said:

Totally get that. It’s why I never get into original one off stories generally. After writing fanfic for many years, I got into writing originals and had a similar problem. I could never just write a short story. I had to write the pilot for an original TV show and plan out like 5 seasons of content. There’s basically only one story I’ve ever written that was meant to be a short story. And even that went from a short story to what could be a feature film.

Originals are challenging, because you’ve got to create the world, you’ve got to introduce characters.  And in order to do that, you need to create them yourself – and once created, to simply scrap and move onto another project is...well, off putting.  Writing up oneshots in the same world help with development, backstory.  This is all stuff fanfiction doesn’t necessarily need.  However, having delved into originals, when I came back to my fanfiction, I’ve been able to drum up some interesting new characters.

For my current potter fanfic, it’s uses GoF as canon (because this story predates the release of OotP), but it covers Harry’s years six & seven.  Having original experience on this rewrite, I wanted a foil for Harry helping Oliver Wood with flying lessons for first years.  So, I created this boy with issues, introverted, shy, and smart, but doesn’t really know his own father (solicitor trying to get out of his moral obligations), so that Harry spends the entire lesson helping this one boy rather than helping Oliver with any of the other students.  Ash, the boy, kept poking his head back into the story, and has become an invaluable insight with a better Hogwarts perspective than I could in the previous iterations of the story, as Harry’s progressively more and more isolated from both Hogwarts and the wizarding world.  Overall, Ash was a “happy little accident” that’s made the story better.

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