Page 686 - Self Publishing

15th Dec 2015, 5:00 AM in The Last Roundup
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Self Publishing
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 15th Dec 2015, 5:00 AM edit delete
It's easy to go full-tilt Mary Sue when it comes to parodying this kind of subject matter, but there's so many more bad practices to explore, I think.

Of course, this could very well be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I've been writing fanfiction since I started high school. Roleplaying even way before that. I'm guilty of a lot of these mistakes and more. The best case scenario is to keep at it until you gradually suck less. And besides: Most of the time, if you're making something people like at a basic level, no one actually cares too much.

Still, you develop a pet peeve or two after a while.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



j-eagle12212012 15th Dec 2015, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
So the plan is becoming clearer, Pinkie will drive the DM crazy with her "fanfic" till the DM breaks and promises to tell them the truth
Digo Dragon 15th Dec 2015, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
This sounds like it would fall under 'crimes against humanity'. The poor GM, the PCs are really giving a hard time this session. XD
Mykin 15th Dec 2015, 8:44 AM edit delete reply
And this is all assuming that the DM hasn't been telling the truth this entire time. *Sigh* This is going to get ugly when AJ returns and finds out about all of this. I mean, I'm curious about things and I've bugged my GM about minute things that I thought might be important but actually weren't before. But I'd like to think that even I know when to stop. Especially when it's obvious that there really isn't anything more to gain with pestering the GM about a particular subject.

Having said that, this plan is rather good if a bit insidious. I'm looking forward to seeing how the DM reacts once the DM has had enough of this.
j-eagle12212012 15th Dec 2015, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
I think it would be funny if the DM cracks and agrees to tell them everything, the next day, and calls it a session and promises pinkie's player that the next day when AJ's player is there she will explain everything. Then AJ's player gets thrown into this scene and decides to skip town. ^_^ I may be onto something actualy, have to wait and see.
Digo Dragon 15th Dec 2015, 9:51 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Hmm, maybe you are. XD
Winged Cat 15th Dec 2015, 10:18 AM edit delete reply
Or alternately, this is a crazy plan to keep the DM from actually playing AJ any more, instead stalling for time in epic fashion until AJ's player can arrive or the session ends.

You know, the "just crazy enough to work" type. Bonus points if at least one other player has read PP's player's writings and knows she can do much better than this.
Specter 15th Dec 2015, 2:48 PM edit delete reply
I think the DM needs a break, specifically before his mind beats him to it.
Greenhornet 15th Dec 2015, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
Having the other players or DM play your character can get hairy:
"Welcome back. Just FYI, you'll have to take a perception penalty for having one eye from now on."
"What? How did my character lose an eye?"
"Oh calm down. It's not as bad as the wooden leg."
"WOODEN LEG? What did you do to Storm Shadow?"
"Oh, her."
Digo Dragon 16th Dec 2015, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Okay, the punchline sells this as awesome. :D
ANW 15th Dec 2015, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
Time to talk about Meta
I didn't mean you. Kirby, take care of this will you.
What has got to be the most weirdest form you have ever saw?
Pablo360 15th Dec 2015, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
I didn't "see" it per se, but in one session a friend of mine was in, the bard had a "tome of Bardic knowledge." It was composed of bits of the DMG, the player's handbook, and the monster manual. And nobody had any problems with this.
Digo Dragon 15th Dec 2015, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
This page reminds me about just how hard it is for me to come up with really good character names. XD
aerion111 15th Dec 2015, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
I just use and search for either a culture or meaning vaguely related to the character.
'Aerion' doesn't count, even though it apparently does have a meaning; It's one of three names I've invented myself, if perhaps after someone else already invented them elsewhere.
I find it amusing to have characters have obscured in-jokes in their names in general - like the cat-man scientist called 'Fahd Zaki', making him 'Panther' from the 'Smart' family :P
Digo Dragon 15th Dec 2015, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Websites are fine for pre-planning, but on-the-spot names for otherwise throw-away NPCs you didn't expect players to latch on to and want to get more details on?

Yeah, those moments are trouble. :D
Someone 15th Dec 2015, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
That's why I keep a list of random names and surnames.
you know that guy 15th Dec 2015, 1:08 PM edit delete reply
Something I've been doing in my current campaign: at the beginning of each session, I hand the players notecards and ask them to create NPCs for me. They are encouraged to write a name, a few words of description, a few words of motivation, and a few words of ability. It's been working really well, especially since I change whatever doesn't work for my purposes.
FanOfMostEverything 15th Dec 2015, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
I'm in the same boat when it comes to humans. Ponies are easy; just pick a reasonable sounding noun phrase.
aylatrigger 15th Dec 2015, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
You guessed one of my irst ponyfinder game PC's names. Noun Phrase was our tank-Monk.
aylatrigger 15th Dec 2015, 8:29 PM edit delete reply
I use 20,000 Names... For a bunch of games, I figure out which languages match what actual language, and then can use it for random names. Keep a list or keep the website up. Also, on the spot names can be based on people you know or really simplistic names. Maybe an entire town is named 'Bob'. Yes, even the women. Especially the women.

For Ponyfinder, there's a decent name generator here:
Dusk Raven 17th Dec 2015, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
Ah yes, I always have problems with names of all sort, including pony names.

It occurs to me that my most common username would actually be a decent pony name, which I have not taken advantage of (mostly for Mary-Sue purposes). I have, however, seen a "Dusk Falcon" in a disappointing fanfic, so perhaps that's another reason...
KiraFan05 15th Dec 2015, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
You know, I think I've figured out what they're all doing. I don't know why, but I think the entire group (minus AJ of course) decided that today, they were going to do everything they could to annoy the DM.There doesn't really seem to be a reason I can guess as to why else they would be doing all this.
Other Guest 15th Dec 2015, 7:10 AM edit delete reply
Took me a moment to realize this was her interpretation of their first adventure.
Kaze Koichi 15th Dec 2015, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
... And then Prismatic Speed came to me and wispered: "Hi, sweetie. Care for a couple of drinks tonight?"
Mykin 15th Dec 2015, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
Part of me is terrified that the comic above might actually become a reality for me.

See, my only real experience with writing comes from certain rpg forums and the few years I've spend roleplaying in Furcadia. Fanfiction wasn't something I was actively interested in outside of the one or two good ones I would bump into on the internet (Fallout: Equestria being the first one I actually sought out, if only so I could understand what was going on in Spud's FID game). So when the dust settled after EFNW and I found myself saddled with the promise of having to write an FOE Fanfic and get it published on FimFiction, I did what I usually do with a new experience: I panicked.

Then I decided to seek out advice from people who actually knew what they were doing. That caused me to nearly have a heart attack when I learned about the myriad of ways I could screw up. It took one of the people I met at EFNW to tell me to get on with it that I actually started actually writing. Then it took a verbal shove from him before I moved past the second chapter because I kept editing and re-editing it so much.

I just want my first work to be the best that it can be and, after reading what Spud said, I'm starting to realize that maybe I'm setting the bar a bit too high for myself. If most of the time people don't care too much because they like something at a basic level, then I guess I should just keep writing the story I have in my head and stop worrying so much about if I'm accidentally making a mary sue character or if the story is too random or stuff like that.

As for pet peeves, I have a nasty habit of switching between past and present tense in the middle of sentences. It's bad enough that I have a tab open to a tense guide to refer to when I'm writing so I can easily correct myself when it happens.
ksclaw 15th Dec 2015, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Well one good first step is to have a Beta reader, especially a person you know and trust when it comes to writing and who shares your interest in this. They can work as a good soundboard for ideas and especially when it comes to tense. I learned that myself, when I threw myself into writing fanfics, after not having done it for a long while.
Winged Cat 15th Dec 2015, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
Ah, if this is your first, just "something that gets more likes than dislikes, and at least 10 views" is a high enough bar. (Though on the tense specifically, you might also want to reread your work after you have it written down, inspecting your tenses closely.)

I know I've been trying to figure out what appeals on that site. So far, my best received work (the one that got into the Popular box) was one half worldbuilding, one half almost-no-dialogue cuteness, set immediately after a then-recent episode (i.e., published within a few weeks of Hearthbreakers first airing, and taking place shortly after the episode). I'm still not entirely certain what lesson I should draw from that.

And don't worry too much about the editing. Just so long as you do move on with the rest. I've found that it can help to write out the entire story first, even if crappy, then go back and edit any obvious problems, then reread through and improve.

That last part is where a pre-reader/beta reader can help, and why FIMFiction has that "password for unpublished chapters" feature: specifically to allow sharing with said folks before you eventually publish. (So long as you do publish, and don't leave it in need-a-password state for a month or more, and especially don't "publish" by posting the password to a group or providing it along with a link on some Web page. When you want to share the story that widely, it's time to formally submit and publish for real if you haven't already; it doesn't matter if you think the story still needs tweaking at that point. Worst case, you can still edit post-publication; I've done a minor edit when someone pointed out that a new episode jossed an assumption in one of my fics.)
Zebasiz 15th Dec 2015, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
One of the best visual representations of being new at creating something is this picture:

One trap I've found myself falling into is trying to improve and strengthen the story while I'm still in the middle of writing it. This causes me to fix and alter scenes to have them flow smoother or make more logical sense in the context. But then I notice that this causes a slight plot hole or jarring in a later scene. So I go and edit that section. This goes back and forth and eventually, I've altered the first few scenes so much that I realize the ending I originally had in mind makes no sense for what's happened in the story. And now I either have to completely re-write it. Or find some way to warp it so it fits.

What I took from that is: Write out everything first. Even if you realize a way to strengthen or alter an earlier scene. Hold off on it. Just make a note and come back to that after you finish the whole thing.

At least, that's what works for me~
Evilbob 15th Dec 2015, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
Out of curiosity... who yelled at you at EFNW?
Truly Mad Moves 15th Dec 2015, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
Truly Mad Moves
How serendipitous, a thread about things that work on FimFiction. I've been wondering that myself.

Well, it's not limited to FimFiction, it's everywhere I go. I've searched far and wide, but never seen anything with fewer hits, nothing with a worse reviews-to-chapters ratio, than my work. Surely I don't suck THAT much. You'd be hard-pressed to find a spelling or grammar error in my work... I know that doesn't automatically make my stories good, but you'd think it would give me at least a little bit of a leg up.

Any thoughts on where I'm going wrong?

On a related note: I received an anonymous review last week on a certain chapter of my signature fic that made me realize it's a perfect chapter to share here among the gaming crowd. It's a shameless piece of filler, a bit of slice-of-life with only the barest reference to any of the story's overall plotlines, so maybe I can serve it up to y'all as a one-shot:

Sorry for plugging; the first one just seemed apropos, and the second was, well, something I've been wanting to do since last week when I got that review. Hope I haven't broken any protocols here.
Mykin 15th Dec 2015, 10:34 PM edit delete reply
I... wasn't really expecting advice when I posted this. After six months of working and not really saying anything, I guess I just took this as an opportunity to say my piece and move on. Thanks for reminding me why I love this community so much. Anyway, responses.

@ ksclaw: I've got three or four people that I've shared this with that seem interested in reading the stuff that I put out as I finish each chapter. I say "seem" mostly because the only response I got after showing them what I've got is that it's "very good" or "I like it", which is good but not really something I can work with. Then again, I haven't bothered to ask them for advice and stuff of that nature because I'm always worried that I'll end up bugging them about it and they'll stop talking to me or something silly like that. Maybe I should change that...

@ Winged Cat: If what I've read is true, FOE fanfics tend to get hit with small bit of dislikes right off the bad from people that won't even read the thing. I don't know if that is true and I've already mentally prepared myself for that if it happens, but my goal right now is "as long as people enjoy reading it and it doesn't turn into another 'what not to do in fan-fiction' example, I'm happy". I don't care to be popular or anything like that. Heck, I'd probably have a heart attack and abandon the internet entirely if that happened.

As for site appeal, screw it I say. I'm writing what I want to write and I hope I write it well enough that other people will like it as well. I've already gone through the part of my life where I tried to make everyone happy and was miserable the entire time. I don't need to do that with something that is, admittedly, a fun side project for me.

Finally... so wait, I can post stuff on FIMFiction without actually having to publish it first? Really? Huh, I know someone mentioned that that was a feature, but we weren't really sure. I guess I'll have to figure out how that all works and see if it's worth moving all of my work away from Google Docs to this.

@ Zebasiz: Yeah, that picture pretty much sums it up.

Anyway, yeah, I've fallen into that trap once. Though, as I said, I got out it when someone verbally whacked some sense into my head and I've had to build a mental wall to keep myself from doing it again. And yeah, I'm already with both you and Winged Cat that I should get it written out first before going back to fix and edit things that don't work. Doesn't hurt to hear it from someone else, though.

@ Evilbob: Shimmercoat. He was one of the people I was volunteering with at Tabletop. He also didn't yell so much as verbally shoved me along when I'd lose all confidence in myself. I think I'll go ahead and edit that in the main comment.

Also, it seems that you were right about there being an option to privately post stuff on FIMFiction. Kudos.

...Also I guess I should ask you on your thought about my story so far as you're one of the people that have read it so far... I think. Preferably over Skype and somewhere where I can drag our GM into it as well.

@ Truly Mad Moves: *Shrug* I'm probably the worst person to ask to judge any piece of work, but I'll take a look at it at least.
Malroth 15th Dec 2015, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
I'd have just sung the gypsy bard song myself.
Truly Mad Moves 15th Dec 2015, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Truly Mad Moves
It just came to me out of nowhere just how brilliant it is, the way this comic now veers from one episode to another instead of straight-up adapting episodes like it did at the beginning. Kind of like how Darths & Droids gets less and less faithful to Star Wars with each passing arc, only you can go even *more* off the rails 'cause you've got a lot of episodes to work with...

It's genius, truly. 'Cause me, I can't figure it out. I've spent the last few days sloshing around ideas for parody musicals, a la the works of Team StarKid, and realizing I just can't do it. I've come up with some fairly solid jokes, but to actually mess around with the events and concepts and personalities... I can't figure it out. So, kudos. You're Mel Brooks and I'm friggin' Seltzer and Friedberg.
Raxon 15th Dec 2015, 11:24 PM edit delete reply
Bad storytelling, eh? I might have a few excepts for you from a few of my in story stories. You know, the stuff you trot out when a character is reading some trite schlock.

"Zorelda's bosom heaved with excitement as the dashing rogue smiled at her. Her heart fluttered, and she grew faint as he took her hand. 'But sir, what shall I tell my parents?' The rogue laughed to himself as he whispered, 'don't worry about it, girl. They don't need to know.'"

And my favorite shlocky sci fi series from my stories, the Stryker Cocksure series. A sci fi series that's basically Kirk mixed with Han Solo. A renegade rogue who beds women from all over the galaxy. It includes this horrifying gem.

"Stryker pinned the young venusian up against the wall. Her cheeks tinted greenish in a blush as her acidic bodily fluids dissolved her panties. 'Be gentle. It's my first time.'"

So basically, I just ratchet up the stupid in the pulp stories my characters read. I also have a pulp detective series, Bourbon Mick, a romance series, Ageless Romance, and an erotic series, Barn Door Sluts. If I need a new genre, I'll make a new series and write some drivel for it for use in later stories.
Specter 16th Dec 2015, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
I can't help but think certain events in the future will get the DM to possibly go completely overkill, and with the perfect story to back them up.

... I don't know if that would be a good thing, or bad.