This is the small free-writing that inspired my Dragon Age Origins fanfic. Written January 23rd. Not sure where the idea came from, but it popped up, I wrote it and here it is, unedited. [ For better or for worse.]
The five of them huddled over the papers, all with slight frowns on their faces. Three of the papers were ancient beyond belief. It was a wonder that they were still intact. Indeed, none of them wanted to touch the documents more than they had to. A map sat next to the treaties, and they were staring at them in silence until one of them finally spoke up.“I think… We should find the Dalish first.” The woman suggested with a frown, four pairs of eyes turned to her as she pointed at a spot on the map.The reactions were varied. Alistair, a former Templar and the senior Grey Warden, pouted a little bit. He had been adamant in his desire to go to Redcliffe first. Neria, the elven mage, nodded thoughtfully, though her decision may have been rooted in her desire to see the Dalish. Daveth, the cutpurse and pick-pocket, nodded despite looking a bit skeptical, as if anywhere was good enough, but it was Aedan, the human nobleman whose home she had come from, was giving her an amused, patronizing sort of look. He still didn’t trust her judgement.“Care to explain?” He asked in what was very likely his least patronizing tone. She shot a glare up at him before she spoke.“I think that we should go with the hardest to convince to the easiest to convince.” She said shortly. This recieved another questioning look as the man raised an eyebrow.“And why will the Dalish be hardest to convince?” He asked. For a moment, she said nothing, grinding her teeth a little before she let out a sigh.“First off, the Dalish will be the hardest to find.” She explained carefully, making sure they all heard her, “Second of all, since they’re wanderers, since we’re, well, a group of largely humans…” She indicated towards everyone except for Neria, who nodded a little, “They could easily cast it off as a human problem. Third? They’re wanderers, why should they help us instead of simply leaving Fereldan for now?”“You think they would abandon us?” Neria asked, slightly disbelieving now. Beatrix shook her head slightly.“No, but out of all of them, they have the least to lose if they do not join us. Since the Dales fell, they have no one homeland. They’re wanderers.” She explained, before moving on, bringing her finger to rest on the Frostback Mountains. “The Dwarves will be easier to convince, though only slightly. They’ll be more willing to believe that it’s a Blight since the Deep Roads clear out a bit during them, and they hate the Darkspawn. It will be more convincing them to come to the surface to fight than anything else.“The Mages already -had- forces at Ostagar, their Fereldan, and if we come with the promises of the other two groups, it’s only a matter of seeing how many forces we can get.” She moved her finger to Lake Calenhad where the Circle lay before finally resting it on Redcliffe, “And from what Alistair is saying, Arl Eamon will fairly easy to convince.”She looked up at the group and noted the change in expression. Alistair was still pouting, but he seemed to agree with her. Neria had the look as if it had already been decided. Daveth wore a similiar look, but with a small smirk in her direction, and Aedan’s was an appraising look that rested firmly between a scowl and a smirk. Eventually, however, he nodded. It was decided, and she repressed the satisfied smile that tugged at her lips.Aeden, she knew, would always be the hardest to convince in their group. She had spent too much time as his servant and she winced slightly at the thought- in his bed. After the first night they had fled Highever, and Duncan had likely heard their previous’ nights endeavors (and the story of how she had joined their little group), he had suggested that they should not sleep together anymore. In a way that had all but forbidden it. He had explained to her, later on, that he had done so for her benefit. It did not matter who she slept with, he had said, but if they were both to be Grey Wardens, he needed to see her in a different light. Not as his servant. It was working, somewhat. She knew that he still didn’t see her as an equal, she doubted he ever would.
When I write, there is usually no real structure behind the process. The moment takes me and within seconds I’m scribbling (or typing) away a wonderful scene. Most of my writing is done this way. I get a general idea of a plot, I only begin to develop characters, and soon I’m running with it.
But I suppose I can only sprint for so long?
So I’m testing something, with one of my most recent fanfiction. Actually writing with an outline. Since it’s based on a video game (Dragon Age II), I already know the basic timeline of events, but I’m also trying to fill in the gaps in the game. (There are two three year ‘gaps’ that will be featured in the story that I’ll be filling.)
So I have a pretty solid structure already set up. Then I decided to outline the chapters. I want to make sure I keep a regular updating schedule for this fanfiction. So I decided there are two things I should do in order to achieve that: Have a minimum of 10 chapters ready before posting the story online, and then I decided that it might just be a good idea to have a vague outline.
For a lot of them, they have the in-game quest name(s) listed and nothing else. Others have a small note. Such as “Ch. 6: A New Home? The Hawkes reclaim the Amell Estate,” which is the chapter I’m on right now. While some chapters are up to a full paragraph of summary.
So far, I have up to Chapter 30 outlined in this way, and the next 10-15 are after the first ‘gap’, and it’s more decided if I want to include more before ACT II and what I want to include during that time. Then the ‘Champion’ gap, and ACT III. Epilogue may end up being its separate story.
I’ve never done outlines before, although many people swear by them. So, I’m giving it a try. In the mean time, here’s a “deleted scene” from the story…
“You know, Ophelia, with how you skulk about, you could get just about as much info in this town as I do.” Varric teased as the woman stepped out of the shadows, the door closing to his private room. Damian, she noted, had the sense this time not to jump when she appeared. He had done so many times when they were growing up that she would scare him easily. She smirked slightly as she sank into a chair at his table, not even waiting for them to be seated.
“It’s served me well so far.” She answered breezily, shrugging simply as her brother took another seat at the table.
“I am curious how you got to be so good at it, though.” The dwarf asked as he sat down at ‘his’ seat, indicating Damian with one hand, “Your siblings are no where near as quiet as you.”
“You can hear Carver from a mile away, however…” Her brother muttered.
“I had to be the one to sneak up and find out what the Templars were doing, even when we were young.” She explained, “I had no magic, so the Templars couldn’t sense me. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t hear me though. When I was young, they simply assumed I was a curious child, but they’d insist on bringing me back to my parents. So I learned to hide better. I’m so good at it, as you say, because I’ve been doing it my whole life. Shadowing Templars to make sure they didn’t know we were a family of apostates…”
“I still always chuckled when you call us a family of apostates, sis.” Damian said with a wide grin, she shrugged, having heard it before, but Varric raised a brow at the mage, so he explained, “Technically, according to the Chantry, only half of us would be considered apostate. Mother just calls us a family, never mentioning apostate, and rarely mage. She doesn’t care, but Carver likes to differentiate himself. He’s not an apostate, just related to a couple.”
This also means that I can write whatever scene I want to in the mean time. So let’s see how this works out.