A Writer's Journey

June 8, 2011

Another Story

In another blog post, I talked about an old fan fiction story I wrote many years ago. I wrote it thinking it would be my piece de resistance. As I said in the other blog, it was a mixture of Phantom of the Opera, Moulin Rouge, Rent, and my seventeen-years-old knowledge of 19th century Europe. I wish to give another thank you to my Global History II teacher. She didn’t just teach us the history needed to pass the New York State regents exam. She taught us how history impacted culture and the arts. She gave me the foundation of my knowledge and I am ready to build on it.

I was looking over the story recently. While rereading passages, I shudder. The writing is relatively weak and is more telling than showing. However, there is promise. I believe I can salvage it. It’ll take some work and quite a few steps.

1. The main characters. My main female protagonist is a complete Mary Sue. I decided to run her through the Universal Mary Sue litmus test (recommended for all original characters) and got the “Kill it dead” result. So, I’ll have to pull out the interesting bits of her backstory and fix what may have made her a Mary Sue. I may also change her name. Her name, Caroline, is the same as the female protagonist in the novel I’m working on now. While there is no law saying I can’t use the same name, I may want to differentiate.

My main male protagonist most likely can be saved, but his story will need to be tweaked a bit. Erik, Raoul and Christine are from the Phantom of the Opera. They will need to be removed and replaced with new characters. Which shouldn’t be too hard as I took them far out of character during the story. I am not sure what role I would give Erik. Let me rephrase that. He was Guilliame’s mentor and will remain as such. Why he is Guilliame’s mentor and how he came to be so will be changed, naturally. Raoul’s and Christine’s roles do not require much changing. The cheating upper crust cad and his naïve, trusting opera star fiancée. 

2. The dialogue. It is entirely too modern. I probably thought I was being old-fashioned at the time, but it isn’t. I also introduce characters from various countries and I do nothing to reflect accents. Any foreign language I include comes from my limited knowledge.

3. The formatting. Oh, the formatting! I shudder at the paragraphs of doom I encountered while rereading. I also read some of my reviews for this story again. A few, including two I could identify as accounts belonging to friends, cited my sentence variation as a problem. And it probably was. I’ll need to do a major read through. I may even MST it. It helps me review stories. It should help me decide what’s wrong with my old story.

4. Research. I need to do a lot more of it. Fortunately, I set Le Cirque Boheme in an interesting time period. That will make research a bit easier. And I am now writing a straight historical fiction. So that means I can add some historical figures from the time, such as Henri Toulouse and other artists known to frequent the nightclubs of Paris. I may find others in my research as well!

So, that’s something to look forward to!

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