mijan: (To Boldly Go...)
[personal profile] mijan
So... I'm back at it.  Writing, that is.  Yep, up to my eyeballs in yet another novel-length Academy fic.  As of right now, I'm planning on this being the last in the big trilogy, but we'll see.

As I'm getting the ball rolling, I've got to get the groundwork set up.  I know some people go piecemeal and throw stuff around as they go, but for me, I like to get things solidly cemented (fermented?) in my brain before I really kick off the wagon train.  It makes sure my plot is rock-solid so that I don't find myself scrambling to fix a dozen things after I've written 100K or more of story, and hoping I found all the glitches before I post.  It also lets me make the plot more detailed and rich.  If you know everything solidly in your mind, you can paint a clearer picture.  Example - In my mind, I KNOW the layout of Starfleet Academy.  I know where everything is, how the buildings are arranged, what the architecture looks like, and the general feel of the campus.  I've also been to San Francisco and took a bit of time to put my mental image of Starfleet Academy into my real-life experience of being there, so I know what the wind feels like, the air smells like, and the surroundings look like.  Therefore, when I write it, it just feels natural.

Okay, I'm getting off-track.  Here's why I'm posting:

1. Kirk said to Pike, as be boarded the shuttle, "I'll do it in three."  We of the fandom seem to assume that because he SAID he would, that he actually did.  Is it fair for a fanfic author to assume that Kirk will work his ass off, take extra courses, and manage to graduate in three years?  Is that canon, GOOD fanon, accepted fanon, or bad fanon?

2. Original characters!  Love 'em or hate 'em... in Star Trek, we've gotta have 'em.  Unless you want to write nothing but short vignettes about what happens on the bridge of the Enterprise, or locked away in Kirk's quarters, there needs to be a good cast of OC's.  And I do try.  I really do.  My view of the Star Trek universe demands a wholly diverse cast of characters... all races and cultures, genders and appearances.  In the case of Star Trek, we even get different species.  Without that, it doesn't look like Star Trek to me.  In my last Academy fic, we had an Andorian (who makes a cameo in the upcoming one, btw).  We've got a Betazoid with a semi-major role in the one I'm working on now.  Nothing more fun than having a guy like Leonard McCoy working in close quarters with a telepath.  *grins*

Anyway, I've been looking over my cast of OC's from the entire course of the Academy series... from minor characters to more prominent OC's... and I'm trying to figure out who should come next.  Obviously, the details (personalities, quirks, "good guy/bad guy," abilities, and so on) are vital when it comes to plot, but what about the things that paint the broader picture of the Federation?  What alien species?  What Terran ethnicities?  If you have been following my writing, who hasn't shown up enough?  The Federation is an interplanetary organization.  At the point in history 200 years in the future, EARTH is represented within the Federation... not just a tiny fraction of our planet. 

Then, of course, there's also the question of HOW we represent the cultures of people within Starfleet.  As an ex-military officer, I can say that when we're doing our jobs, the details of our cultural differences often get pushed aside, and then become more obvious off-duty.  In the future, is the human race more homogeneous?  Does the event of "World War III" (which we hope will never happen) cause changes in global cultural exchange?  Increased globalization?  The use of "Federation Standard" as a common language?  (NOTE: We *hear* Standard as English when we see Star Trek, but I actually believe that Standard is NOT English.  Star Trek just happened to be filmed in English.)  Where's the line between GOOD treatment of the concept of culture in OC's, and becoming heavy-handed and distracting? 

Thus far, to be completely honest, I've mostly tried to model my portrayal of ethnicity, Terran culture, and non-human species, on what I saw in ST:TNG, while still trying to show this as the TOS era.  I want to show this vision without being heavy-handed.  How am I doing?  Have I screwed up in my endeavor to be true to this vision of the future?  Or am I hitting fairly close to the mark?

Who's missing?  I've already pinned down a few minor characters, and have already written them in.  I need three cadets who will be working on a team with Kirk (not the flight team), a couple of nurses and one junior doctor who will be working with Bones (I've already got the CMO and one nurse), and a few senior officers.

If you haven't read my Academy series, feel free to chime in with thoughts and suggestions about who we need to see represented (and how they should be respectfully represented) in Star Trek fanfiction.  If you HAVE read my Academy series, don't hesitate to let me know who you feel is missing from the picture.  I'm only human (regretfully), and am still trying to wrap my 21st-century brain around 23rd-century social science and culture while not being insulting or insensitive to our current problems.

Enough rambling from me.  You get what I'm trying to ask.  Go for it.
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