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Author Topic: FS for January: Something Beautiful by Pengi  (Read 2017 times)
mare
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« on: December 31, 2010, 11:29:04 PM »

With 2011 comes a new working of the featured story. This time, I'm picking an author and they will choose which story they would like to discuss. That means that to be picked, you have to be active on the forum, otherwise I will have no contact with you.
 
We start the year off with Pengi and a story that many of you fell in love with this summer. It was all everyone was talking about on Twitter and the fanfic related message boards. Her story Something Beautiful touched everyone that read it and it ended up winning a Felix for Best Drama and Best Team/Couple
 
Pengi also was runner up as Best author. Congrats to her!!
 
Hannah will be here this entire month to answer your questions and comment on various chapters etc...
 
Hope you enjoy the story:
 
Something Beautiful
 
http://absolutechaos.net/viewstory.php?sid=10154
 
There are 63 chapters to Something Beautiful so if you are reading it or re-reading let's say this first week we should tackle
 
Chapters 1 - 15.
 
If you'd like to comment on the first 15 chapters or have questions for Hannah about those first 15 chapters, post them this week!

I will be back later with a few questions for Hannah.

Happy New Year!! and enjoy!!

Smiley
 
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mare
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2010, 11:33:28 PM »

So what are some of your thoughts about the first fifteen chapters of this story?

Hannah: My focus during the first 15 chapters was to set up the story and get the readers attached to the characters in specific ways. I wanted the readers to know Nick and Brian had a secret and that Amanda wanted to know what it was.

The hardest part of the beginning was trying to weave the reactions and conversations about the secret into the story without giving away what the secret was just yet. That had to come directly from Brian himself in a later chapter or it would've lost it's punch. It was really tempting a couple times to reveal it a different way, so I struggled with staying focused on keeping it a secret until that magic time when Brian could reveal it himself.

When I started this story, I knew everything about the storyline except the stops they were going to make on their trip. I thought those up as I went along to each stop. I guess Nick didn't want to tell ME all the stops, either, he kept them a secret until it was time to get the characters there! LOL

When you wrote Amanda, did you intend oon her being a villian or did you always have other intentions for her?

Hannah: Amanda was ALWAYS going to turn out the way she did. She wasn't intended to be a villain at any point - even when she technically WAS being the villain. Amanda's identity as a reporter was only her motivation for being with the Boys until a certain point. Like anyone who really watches and gets to know these Boys, Amanda quickly fell for them and lost vision for her story. Amanda's position was a hard one to be in when you really break her apart and analyze her (which the more you get to know her the more you'll see her rock-and-a-hard-place position).

She fell for Brian first. The whole thing in the last couple chapters here with Piper and the eagle were key elements that made her feel for Brian faster than she felt for Nick. The relationship with Nick was developing from the very start of the story, she's always felt something for him but she didn't realize it until - well, she hasn't yet as of now. Of course now she's only just realizing it with Brian.

I think the reason she realized it faster with Brian was because Brian was more aware of her struggling - though he didn't know what the struggle was. Nick's perception of it was clouded by his concern for Brian, so he was less aware of something bothering Amanda than he normally would've been. Brian also had that personality in this story that drew people to him emotionally. He drew Amanda - the "real" Amanda - out of the persona of Pop Stuff Online reporter to being just Amanda.

But I knew from Day One where Amanda's character stood and what she was going to do with herself throughout the story.

What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Hannah: The story was a long time developing in my mind. It initially was inspired by a journal entry I wrote in January of 2008, when my mom was in the hospital just before she died of Leukemia.

I was very close to her and I was so scared of losing her, I was trying to predict my reactions or to plan a way to escape it. My plan was to drive to visit my friend in Texas. I'd decided if my mom died I was going to get in my car and drive and drive and drive. Driving always made me feel better.
When she actually died, I didn't follow through with my plan, and - well, I wished I had. So instead of doing it, I wrote about it. I wrote stories about driving to escape that. And slowly over the course of time the stories developed and morphed their way into being a road trip like the one Nick planned for the purpose that the Boys had for going, and I'd been playing with the idea of a paparazzi in disguise being a love interest in a fan fic story for a LONG time... and voila. The plot was born.

Why did you chose Brian and Nick as the main guys?

I chose Nick and Brian because they've always been my favorites. But also because they're close in real life. In my perception -and IDK if this is real or not, but from what I've seen in interviews and concerts and meet and greets and everything- the Boys kind of pair off naturally. Nick and Brian, AJ and Howie. Kevin was kind of the dad overlording the whole thing.
But Nick and Brian go together - they always have, that's why they're Frick and Frack, right? So when it came time to write this story, I knew Brian had to be the main character just because of the storyline itself. It wouldn't have worked as well with any other combination of the Boys...
Eventually I may write a similar story about other combinations of the Boys, but this story was an exploration of a relationship, and Brian and Nick's relationship has always been endeared by fans.

Plus imagine being Amanda in this situation? Holy HEATWAVE Batman! Surrounded by sexysexy boys! OMG!!  Just saying.
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Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it. ~ John Green

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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 11:56:54 PM »

Aww, I LOVE "Something Beautiful," Hannah, and it was interesting to read your answers to Mare's questions.  I'm so sorry about your mom.  I'm sure she would be proud if she knew the impact she had on inspiring you to write this story, even though it's a sad one.
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Uh oh! We lost Nick again...


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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 12:06:54 AM »

Awwww this story Hannah, was the first in a long time to make me cry. And that says something. I adored this story, and while the inspiration was sad, the product of it was beautiful. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2011, 06:56:55 AM »

Awe, thanks you guys. It means a lot that you enjoyed the story (even the tears, Rose!! LOL). It's my favorite story that I've written on AC, that's why I chose it as my featured story.

I'm planning on adapting it to be an original fiction.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2011, 11:47:44 AM »

It would be great as an original fiction!
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~Julie

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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 11:56:42 AM »

Congrats Hannah! This one has always been on my to-read list, I've heard nothing but really great things about it. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 11:59:21 AM »

I absolutely loved this story!  Not many stories make me cry, but this one did.  It was a real rollercoaster of a story and so beautifully written.  It would be great as original fiction too.  Sorry to hear about your Mum though, that must've been tough Sad
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 12:56:02 PM »

Seriously, this story reminded me why I love fanfic so much.  It brought me back to the days of waiting desperately for updates on the stories I was reading.  Luckily, you never kept me waiting long, with your multiple updates a day and how fast you churned this one out LOL.  The last story I found myself checking several times a day to see if it had been updated was Swollen Issues II, and that was back in like 2003.  I read a lot of great, new stories in 2010, but in terms of addicting, Something Beautiful takes the cake!  It's the perfect story for me, though... Frick 'n' Frack, tearjerker drama, but with lots of comic relief, a little mystery/intrigue, and a bit of romance.  If I had to give a recipe for the perfect fanfic in my world, that would probably be it.
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~Julie

"Sometimes writers and sociopaths are hard to tell apart." -J.K. Rowling

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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2011, 12:09:45 PM »

Losing my mom was really hard, but like they say - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I feel like her death really motivated me to get moving to do the things I wanted/needed to do in MY life that I just wasn't doing when I was in the "comfort zone" before. Like writing and going to college and many other things.

The original fiction version of Something Beautiful is something I've been kicking around for awhile now. I might post it as I write it, if anyone's interested in checking it out. The thing is, I'd want to keep the name Nick for the main character -  the character that is written as Brian in the story, so it might get a little confusing for those that've already read the story.  LOL The character Nick (not Nick Carter, but my original fiction character Nick) is one that's been in my heart for a very, very long time, waiting for his story to be written... It was really rough writing Something Beautiful and using that character type but saying "BRIAN" every time!! In fact, I bet if a couple beta-readers combed the story, they'd find a couple flub ups where I wrote the wrong name! LOL

I'm so very glad that so many people enjoyed the story. It was really exciting to write it and to experience the reaction that people had to it. I love the reviews I've gotten for the story and everyone's comments. It means a lot to me! Thank you so much.
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mare
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 09:19:40 AM »

This week let's read chapters 16 - 30.

Don't forget to post your questions and comments as you read along. :O)

Some more questions for you Hannah!

Because the story is taken from such a personal place, was there ever a time when you felt like it was too difficult to write? How important was it for you to finish this story and did you get some kind of sense of closure?

Set up this set of chapters for us, where they difficult to write? What was your favorite chapter out of this set and why? What about your favorite moment or scene?

Do any of the characters resemble your mom in any way?
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 03:48:12 PM »

Because the story is taken from such a personal place, was there ever a time when you felt like it was too difficult to write? How important was it for you to finish this story and did you get some kind of sense of closure?
I think the hardest part was writing the scene in the hospital when Amanda went to see Brian. There was a lot of that cut out, which I included in the companion story There's Us. That scene was hard because I had a similar one with my mom, where she was talking about wanting to go home instead of being in the hospital - when she went home, she ended up catching strep throat and that's what ended up being what killed her. I think something similar happened here, with Brian, but I never really put that much detail into what caused it to happen, just that it happened. I think I left that detail out because it was too personal/too difficult. This whole story is kind of what I wish I'd done with my Mom - helping her see all the things she wanted to see before she died.

Additionally, there was a scene that I cut out of the story that I'd written - mainly because it didn't really fit in with the rest of their adventures and because it was too hard to write it - where they went on a plane to Alaska. When they lost the rig, that was originally why- because they'd dropped it off and flown between those two stops. I ended up not doing that because like I said it didn't really fit with the rest of their adventures, and also because it was my mom's dream to see Alaska before she died. So it was just too hard writing about it, since she didn't end up getting to see it.

I was going to put Piper's eagle into the Alaskan scene as well, had it been included, rather than at the Grand Canyon.

Set up this set of chapters for us, where they difficult to write? What was your favorite chapter out of this set and why? What about your favorite moment or scene?
Let's see... hmm... Well, my favorite things about these chapters were definitely Nick's grilled pancakes (Chapter 18) and Brian finally telling Amanda what was going on (Chapter 20).
This is one of my favorite bits of any of my stories:
Quote
Nick frowned, waving a spatula at Brian and standing by the grill, "It seemed like a good idea," he defended himself.

"What seemed like a good idea?" Amanda asked, inching toward Nick and the grill.

Brian held up a box of Bisquick.

"Oh Nick," Amanda said, peering into the grill, where a pile of pale goo was smoldering on the briquettes below the grate. "You didn't."

Nick's cheeks burned as Brian bust out in more laughing, dropping into one of the patio chairs and putting his head down to his knees. "It would've been cool if it'd worked," he said, his voice sounding deflated.
I just can SO picture Nick trying it and the look on his face in this scene. LOL.... It's so something I would do, too. I suck at cooking.

The way Brian tells Amanda was very carefully planned out, too. I couldn't just have him blurt it out, it had to be drawn out - yet he had to volunteer it, and she couldn't have suspected it. Brian, don't forget, was the one that Amanda "fell for" first, he was the one she'd opened up to and trusted and become closest to. His revelation was devastating. It also is what pushed her even more into depending on Nick. It was a key scene, probably the hinge of the entire story.

Do any of the characters resemble your mom in any way?
Brian's character in many ways was written to resemble my mom - his faith through the suffering and his bravery reflected hers 100% of the way. My mom was very strong the entire time she was in the hospital undergoing the treatment. If she'd had the chance, I know she would've had as much fun on an adventure like this as he did.
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mare
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »

Thanks for all the honestly in your answers Hannah.

I know one of the hardest decisions for someone is whether or not to die at home or in the hospital one of my best friend's had that same dilemma with her husband and the same kind of thing happened to him as well. He caught an infection at home and died.

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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2011, 04:52:49 PM »

I loved the pancakes on the grill scene too, Hannah LOL.  That was hilarious and such a clueless Nick thing to do.

I remember when you first started the story, I could guess what the secret was, but I wasn't sure at first if it was Brian or Nick who was sick.  It seemed like it was Brian, but then there was that scene where Amanda went to Nick's apartment and saw the bottles of pills in his medicine cabinet that made me think for awhile it might be him.  I just wanted to say I'm glad you made it Brian because I think he fits that role in the story a lot better.  Because of his faith, I could see him reacting that way and just wanting to live out the rest of his life doing all the things he wants to do, knowing that when it's over, he'll be in a better place.  I think you did such a great job writing his character.  And Nick, wanting to deny it and avoid it and fight it all while showing Brian the time of his life, really fit, too.  The characterizati on was perfect.
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2011, 11:41:29 PM »

Yeah, Nick's character definitely wouldn't have worked as the one who was ill. I did actually plant the medicine in that scene purposely, just in case anyone had caught on early what the secret might have been. I tried to leave everything very ambiguous about who the secret was about - Nick or Brian - throughout the entire first 20 chapters so that it would still be somewhat of a surprise when the secret did actually come out. Like when AJ, Howie and Kevin are talking after Kevin finds out that Frick & Frack left, I used a lot of male pronouns to keep anyone from knowing which of the two they were more worried about, etc.

Nick's character in this story very much reflected my role in the time spent with my mom. I very much denied anything was happening or that she could die. Even the day she DID die, I was still denying that it could happen -- as Nick was doing in the story. I wrote Nick's reactions from my own experience, I think that's why his responses were so realistic and so truly capable of being deep-seeded in denial - because I really was myself.

Amanda, I suppose, is the only character that wasn't particlarly based on anyone in my real life. She was entirely fictional, and perhaps that's why I had such a hard time developing her character in a way that everyone could like. It seems like a lot of readers didn't particularly like Amanda.

I will say though that in the original fiction version, I was planning on having the character that wolud be replacing Nick's character be the one that is dying. The OF would work differently than Something Beautiful did, though, to accomodate the change. The FF had to work this way because of the Boys' personalities, and... well, I dunno, the story just kind of came from some place other than where most stories come from. Something Beautiful certainly morphed itself out of my finger tips and took on a life of its own.. in every way.

I can't believe even now how much reaction it's gotten! Craaaaazy.
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