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Or: How Not To Write Fan Fiction Salutations! Since my return to these parts, I've noticed that this section of the site is appallingly neglected. I aim to fix this. During my original run here and in my absence, I have fervently pursued the art of writing fiction. It began with fan fiction when I was 13; since I was 16, I have known that I would like nothing more in this life than to be a published author. To accomplish this, I shall pen work of my own making. I used fan fiction to build up my skill level and enthusiasm; an already established universe is a decent starting point for those interested in the craft. You'll be pleased to hear that the majority of my fan fiction has been set in one particular universe: Grand Theft Auto. Specifically, the GTAIII-'verse encompassing Liberty, Vice and San Andreas. Way back in 2005, over the course of two weeks in April/May, I pumped out what was, in retrospect, an eye-gougingly awful story wherein Cesar and Kendl had a daughter who was subjected to a dastardly ransom plot by a man seeking vengeance against Carl Johnson for an encounter back in Liberty City. He chose to get to him through Cesar...who he somehow knew about...because... Well, the young mind has never been particularly gifted at inventing logical plots. Still, whilst it was posted up on FanFiction.Net, I did get a review from another young man who proclaimed it one of the best stories he'd read on the site's GTA section (which should indicate the section's general quality to you all), and he has become a close friend of mine. Months later, I decided to do a complete re-write of the thing. It followed the same basic plotline, but expanded on original characters and subplots. It was written over the course of 20 months, from approximately September 2005 to May 2007. The final chapters were written during my dark days of 2006-7. Such was my mental state that I wrote a climax so mind-bendingly stupid that even the thickest Hollywood executive would vomit with rage, and replaced it completely with the ending I originally had in mind in April 2008. Still being the product of a young, immature mind, it's not the greatest thing in the world, but people seemed to like it. I suppose, for my age, it counted as well-written junk. The events of that story are in some ways helpful for understanding those of the story you will see below, and if you're morbidly curious there is a link to the original included for reference here. Almost immediately after I had finished that, I began thinking of what form a sequel could take. My thoughts remained static for most of the rest of the year, with something concrete only beginning to form in early 2008. You see, during the writing of the previous story, I had done something thoughtless and incredibly stupid: I had mentioned in passing dialogue that Sean 'Sweet' Johnson had been murdered. It was so casual that I still do not have any idea who would have killed him. Still, working from that, it gave me a foundation: with Sweet's death, the overall control of Grove Street would pass to Carl, who would deal with matters in his own way Ultimately, however, the situation would eventually deterioate beyond his control and the authorities would move in. On paper, the basic plot was thus: March 2010: The Grove Street syndicate is on the verge of total collapse; a once-mighty empire stares into the abyss. In the ghettoes, various street gangs announce their bitter resentment at the organisation's long rule, bringing gang warfare back to the streets as a parade of dealers and con artists slip through the cracks. Drugs and guns make an unwelcome return. At the centre of the emerging chaos is Carl Johnson, tired and bitter from years of stressful leadership. He grows weaker, and it does not go unnoticed. Seizing the chance, the LSPD breaks free of its leash and summons the FBI to help bring him in and punish his two decades of criminal excess. Elsewhere, Carl's friends and family face problems of their own. Four years on, intensive therapy hasn't vanquished Mercedes' post-traumatic stress disorder; the lure of sex and drugs is alienating the rebellious Juan Vialpando from his family, and angering his friends. The rift between the twins will be tested to the limit as, over the course of thirty days, events in the city threaten all they have ever known. Sounds like a nice epic crime thriller/drama, right? Indeed it was. It was also, crucially, doable. After a miserable false start with NaNoWriMo 2008, I began anew in August 2009. It went well enough at first. And then, somewhere, somehow, it all went so very wrong. I got distracted by other writing projects, other means of entertainment and life in geneal. The subplots began to get out of hand, especially with regards to the various relationships between the young protagonists, including sexual relations and identities. Fatally, the plot shifted away from the adults and towards the teenagers, giving the latter more emphasis and ignoring the former when they were originally supposed to run parallel to each other. It probably reached the point of no return when I assigned a sexual fetish to a particular character with no real justification (it appears nowhere within the story itself - it's just background information). Moreover, I lost my enthusiasm: I could not find a way to bring the story to its conclusion from where it was. So, on 5 August, after two years, I finally gave up. I felt it just wasn't worth it anymore and that I could be spending the time putting the same level of effort into my own original work. I post this here because I want to showcase my work to you all and receive feedback; I post this and you read it in the full knowledge that it will never be completed in its current form, and that I have decided to leave fan fiction behind. It's a part of my past, but it can't continue. This is a story of how not to write fan fiction in our beloved fictional universe: when it all goes terribly wrong. And with that said, I present the putrid corpse of... ~ Legal disclaimer: I have written this purely as a creative exercise and for my personal enjoyment; I have not penned it for, nor have I sought, profit. All canonical characters, locations and vehicles featured herein are the intellectual property of Rockstar North and Rockstar Games; original characters are my own. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious; any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Liberties are taken for artistic and dramatic effect. All social and political opinions expressed herein are purely the views of the characters presented and in no way reflect the views of the author. I do not support, condone or encourage any of the illicit activities depicted in this work. 'Thirty Days' Prelude Vinewood, Los Santos The mansion was completely surrounded: squad cars and vans blocked the roads; barriers and burly officers with shotguns and rifles cordoned off the far ends of the street. Helicopters circled overhead, their glaring searchlights scanning the rooftop and perimeter for any signs of figures who might have thought escape was even remotely possible. Snipers lay hidden in bushes and on the rooftops and balconies of the homes opposite; their wealthy owners were in no position to complain or resist such firepower. It was midnight; more vans screeched to a halt at the edge of the roadblock, their backdoors swinging open and a flood of SWAT officers emerging in full combat gear, clutching their Heckler & Koch UMPs firmly as they promptly took positions amidst the sea of red and blue lights. Dozens of police officers crouched behind their cars, their pistols and shotguns fixed on the faded splendour before them. Leaning tautly against the hood of his patrol car, a stern-faced man in a brown leather jacket sighed despondently; there was impatience in his disappointment. Hopping off the vehicle spryly, he strode quickly over to another officer. “Well…” he said soberly, pulling back his sleeve and peering at the glowing face of his watch. “Time’s up.” The officer looked at his superior apprehensively. “Do we give the order, sir?” The older man nodded. He took the two-way radio from him, pressed down a button, and spoke firmly. “All units move in.” Battering rams made short work of the main gates; two dozen officers charged down the winding driveway, patrol cars moving in behind them to barricade the road. Iron clanged dully against the grass as circular saws cut an entrance into the upper veranda; the SWAT team charged into the breach with battering rams as their fellows above leapt from their aircraft and slid down their lines to secure the roof and its helipad. The back doors were unceremoniously forced open, each one slamming against the inner walls with a resounding bang. A team of five men took up their weapons and entered the dark backroom, fanning out; their eyes darted into every corner, their guns swinging to and fro. Gesturing to each other, they moved into the long hallway, crouching and moving forward rapidly. They went from door to door, kicking them open under the weight of their boots and lobbing in gas grenades. They secured the hall quickly, advancing to the stairs. The leader of the small group edged out into the open corridor, putting one foot on the edge of the uppermost stair. A metal cylinder clinked down the stairway, followed by another. There was a soft bang and a flash of light followed by the hissing of teargas. Shots rang out randomly, punctuated by fits of coughing and wheezing. The team charged down the stairs, slamming the butts of their weapons into the figures in the mist. At the main entrance, another small team had already spread out around the swimming pool, slowly advancing further down the corridor; bodies were strewn about in the halls, blood trickling down the walls and into the pool. Another team came up behind them, entering the gym as the others swept into the en suite bar, cleaning up any last, futile resistance. The two men standing back to back barely had time to aim before they collapsed from pre-emptive stun grenades; they rolled weakly on the floor, momentarily incapacitated as the team quickly secured the room. A haggard man in a dishevelled two-piece suit emerged from behind the bar. He was put at gunpoint in an instant. “Freeze!” “Drop the weapon!” “Hands up!” Utterly defeated, the man had no choice but to obey. The magazine of his CZ-75 dropped to the floor with a soft thud, followed by the weapon itself. He emerged from behind the bar with his hands behind his head, too crestfallen and disgraced to give any remark. The steady clicking of shoes against marble sounded in the hall; from behind the SWAT team, a tall blond man with a tousled fringe entered the room. He looked around with fascination, running a hand through his hair; a ghost of a smile appeared on his rugged countenance. He walked past the team unopposed, striding up to the defeated man. The blond tilted his head peculiarly. “Good evening,” he said with a faux cheeriness. The dishevelled man lurched over from a swift knee to the gut, then an elbow to the back. As he collapsed to the floor, his hands were held firmly behind his back, the blond man straddling him. There was the clink of cold iron on his wrists. “On behalf of the LSPD and FBI,” he said coolly, “Carl Johnson, you are under arrest.” ~