Melancholic Nostalgia

This could also apply to any writer too, once they have developed their characters.

Fanfiction, as it sounds is fiction written by fans of a particular series, or even real life… If only you knew what young (and old) female fans write about Justin Beiber…

Anyway, onto my point.

The joy of fanfiction is that, in a way, you don’t have to work as hard to write the characters, since most of the work has been done for you by the original creators. Their personalities have been written, appearances drawn out, relationships established, and most importantly, their experiences throughout the series.

This means that they are fully fledged players by the end (the main characters at least), so you know exactly what they have gone through and how they have grown, or were allowed to grow by the creator.

This canon is something writers need to heed, regardless of where they take a story. If you’re going to set a story in a universe populated by people from a popular series, you’re not going to just destroy the characters and mould them into your own image within one chapter. This would be an instant turn-off to most people who watched the show or read the book, and grew to like the people.

Naturally, you must read the entire official book series, or television series, to fully grasp the characters. Research in their behavioural patterns and skills is paramount to making a good fanfic. Never try to guess how they would react without having seen them do everything already, and definitely never base this from fanon, or god forbid, other fanfics.

Take for example Friends, if somebody wanted Joey to end up with Monica, they’re going to suddenly make Joey all articulate, intelligent and suave. The way he developed was more or less the same bumbling Joey, a little bit sexist and a bit of a playboy. Writers need to keep this aspect in mind when trying to write out that character.

The more obvious cases where the personality is destroyed are the classic ‘hero gets sent back into the past, whether by choice or not, and goes out to set things right.’ These are the ‘epic’ fanfics whereby a writer goes back and rewrites the entire series from scratch by changing how the main character see things, given the previous knowledge he now knows about.

Harry Potter fandom goes into this area very often. The ‘ending’ the hero escapes from is either the canon one (which some people didn’t like because of the deaths and relationships), or some nightmarish one where everything was lost..

So, Harry now has the knowledge of his new spells, friends and how things turns out. Some stories allow him to retain his power from the future, others don’t, depending on the method of time travel.

The problem is that they now turn Harry into a strange amalgamation of his canon personality and the ‘justice must prevail’ hero, and even acting totally contrary to his previous self. Once it strays into his personality jumping from his normal self to another extreme, the immersion in the story is lost.

Something that my reviewers have stated many times was that I managed to capture the characters perfectly. In one story I even brought out side characters who were only around for one movie and fleshed them out using what little I saw of them. Reading back over the story made me chuckle, since that was the first time I noticed what I was doing, my ‘secret’ as such to writing them perfectly.

I never write drafts as most people would think of them. When I write, it becomes the truth and it takes a lot for me to change it. I know in general how a chapter begins, ends and for some major events during the course of it. Everything else is open for creativity. However, there is something that helps me look into what I’ve written.

As I write, I think of the characters acting out the story on a stage reading over their lines and performing their actions. Technically for them though, they are not ‘acting’ as such, they are just doing what comes naturally to them. Even though they are fictional characters, their personalities are fixed already. I as the writer knows that, so I can only expect them to do what they are capable of doing.

Take the Ranma series, if I expect Ryoga to pick up a boulder, well, that’s normal. Ranma to punch faster than the eye can see, no problem. Now, if we then say Nabiki can roof hop (leaping walls and buildings to get around), then that’s a total lie, since she never displayed that kind of strength or ability before.

Likewise, if Ranma was to start acting sensitively, eloquently and not saying an occasional stupid comment, again likewise this would be jarring to see him speak like an English gentleman.

This mental image of the stage works well for this. Sometimes I write out entire chapters fast, then I have a readback with the characters on stage having more of an influence on me. They object, saying they’re too angry here, or that they would react in a different fashion. After looking at the scene analytically, I generally agree with them.

If they’re happy to continue participating in the play, then I’m happy to continue writing.

While it sounds slightly schizophrenic, it makes some sense. If your stage characters are happy, it means you are reflecting their true selves in your writing. If they object, the louder it is, the more you are pushing away from what their image is all about.

That’s not say you can never change a character’s reactions to specific events or people.

The key is to make it only slight changes at a time, even if it is a single sentence that they wouldn’t say unless they were in a good mood at that time, or choosing to walk instead of roof hopping to school.

Once you have established this change, you can make another, and another, until the canon is slowly being skewed to the route you want to go down. This way your stage characters won’t feel angry at this since they themselves agreed to the change.

In essence, make tiny changes to the characters each time, then you’ll have the perfect story.

Some people want to get to the action fast and skip over these small changes and make huge leaps, which is when the story falls over itself.

My old stories suffered from this. I had to stop writing my Love Hina rewrite (which I started in 2001) because I couldn’t believe how amateur it was, and I was retroactively trying assert the original personalities over the truly artificial ones I had created. Since that was too drastic, I had to give up.

Another interesting aspect about using the stage scenario in your head is that the characters may even create scenes for you. This is when your imagination is running wild, in a good way.

Many times, I was struggling to think on how to pad out a chapter when all my major events were there, when the stage characters would just start talking to one another naturally, or worse, pick a fight with each other. This would be all within the confines of the storyline and what was happening around them in the plot I was writing.

In a sense they were doing improvisation for me, I was observing them interact and simply writing it down. It all felt normal and free-flowing, as if no momentum was lost.

By using them as a muse, I was able to provide them with lines and actions, which they were happy to take on. Several thousand words later, the chapter would be complete.

We all have imagination, and we can easily see who characters are meant to be when you watch them. The key is allowing them to sometimes take control and say that what you’re writing isn’t good enough, or is too bizarre for them to accept.

The stage is of course, your own critical mind applying the facts to the fiction you are writing, and self-critiquing it. If you can accept this, then you’ll do just fine when writing.

And if you choose to ignore it, that also is up to you, but don’t be surprised when reviewers say everyone was OOC (out-of-character).

Bored, so I created something

December 24th, 2012

Probably does exist in Valve somewhere, this legendary gift in the inventory of all employees there…

valve employees steam gift inventory

Also known as ‘working in a successful multinational firm in a country that is falling apart at the seams’.

Ever since I’ve started my new job, I’ve noticed that I have lost touch with the daily struggle of day-to-day life in Greece. I laugh and joke and truly enjoy the work I do now. There are some days when customers may upset me with their words and frustration over not having resolved an issue which should have been normal, but generally, it is something I find comes with ease to me.

Ever since I started at Teleperformance and the iOS department, I’ve met a lot of new people, it really is remarkable to see just how many foreigners are here. In the English department alone, I think I’m pretty much the only person with a naturalised British accent having come from that country. We have Aussies, South Africans, New Zealanders, Americans, Greeks with flawless English, and loads of other nationalities I’ve yet to discover.

The other departments are also varied, Spanish, French, German, perhaps even more out there, I’ve not gone to check yet.

Working there is so different to other companies I’ve been in before. There is constant training and evaluation, keeping you on your toes, not to mention highly professional.

Through it all, I love my job, I love to educate people on using tech, since I’ve been doing it my entire life anyway.

The problem is where I’m based.

It’s easy to forget I’m in a country where things are going downhill faster than you can say recession. High unemployment, lowering salaries, and worst of all, the rise of the neo-Nazis.

You’ve probably heard about them in the news. There have been numerous articles about them in the press. How the police collude with them to help rid the streets of immigrants, how the coalition is losing support overall, and also the increase in attack on immigrants.

A part of me is so worried about this that I’m not even mentioning their name here, just in case. In the first article, they are considering taking out immigrant children from kindergartens, they disrupt theatre plays, what’s to say that these words aren’t inflammatory and I’m then ‘removed from play’?

Another fact which has yet to be reported in the press is how they are ‘buying votes’. It’s no lie that many people are without jobs, which has led to this new scenario unfolding.

A neighbour of mine is now working for them.

No, I’m not in any danger, he doesn’t believe in their methods or any of their rhetoric (at least, I hope so). However, he is (was) unemployed, so turned to them for a job. They employ people, give them a salary, and send them to protest.

It’s easy money, they don’t need to be violent, just shout slogans walk for a bit, get paid and go home, then repeat. This has been happening more and more, increasing their overall influence. Satire by two major TV series here doesn’t disguise their increase in ‘popularity’, with random celebrities jokily praising them and the average person wanting a change in politics to vote for anyone other than the big two parties.

This change is too radical. They simply don’t know what they are voting for, and in the end, Greece will suffer.

I live and work with people of many different backgrounds, surrounded by an era of fear and anger combined like a pressure cooker ready to explode. Two different worlds, one of security and peace, another, not so. If it continues like this Greece will be a completely hostile country within a year.

Today was a National Day for Greece, parades are made to walk by senior members of government, mayors and so on.

Personally, I don’t see anything to celebrate about.

A good idea for a plot, the mob from the future send back targets in time to be killed by assassins in the past who then dispose the bodies. Trouble is, the looper is when you have to kill your future self. Said looper is the main character, and his future self escapes.

I still can’t figure out exactly why, the first 15 or so minutes were great, setting it up to be a classic action movie, whereby the main character and his older self team up to fight off the bad guys.

Instead, they become enemies, Young trying to kill the Old. While not entirely a bad choice writing-wise, it then goes further into the bizarre. Old has a single clue about an evil man in his timeline, since his wife was killed just before he was taken by the mob leader, so he has to kill the man when he is but a child.

Meanwhile, Young meets a woman and child, who is obviously the evil guy. Problem is the action ends here more-or-less. Young’s genre is more psychological drama, with a hint of horror since the boy can do Omen-style telekinesis.

Old’s genre is the action, killing one boy, then kills Young’s fellow assassins is a great scene.

Then, they eventually meet up. Old wanting to kill the boy, Young trying to stop him. Young realises why the boy went bad, seeing his mother die, and thus kills himself, making the Old version vanish completely.

We then see the boy look a little happier, and that’s it…

Critics love it, I just don’t understand, it was a mish-mash of two opposite genres, and it just didn’t gel for me. The scene without Bruce Willis lost their steam entirely, and you were longing for some action instead of the irritatingly slow melodrama ‘why does he have to die?’ palaver.

12 Monkeys, again with Bruce Willis, was a much better version of this, and the ending was very similar, as he saw his own future self die.

What a waste of money…

Introducing, the Sadwich!

October 2nd, 2012

Yes, I made lunch today in a rush. The lunch for this time of crisis!

Ingredients:

4 slices of bread
2 slices of cheese (Gouda is my preference here, mild cheddar if in England)
Wafer thin turkey slices
Mayonnaise

Instructions:

1. Place two slices of bread on plate.
2. Put one slice of cheese on each bread.
3. Put a layer of turkey on top of the cheese.
4. Put mayo on the other two slices of bread.
5. Cover the turkey with the mayo side of the bread.

Done!

Depending on time, you could even toast the bread, but who has the luxury for that? Technically, I didn’t have any mayo either, so it was rather dry…

So, here is the Sadwich, christened as such since when you have little left in the fridge, you have to make do until a time when you can cook something more substantial.

I’ve just finished another chapter in my story, at 7949 words, it’s a good length. After finishing the previous chapter my inspiration failed to die down as fast, so I went on and produced the above.

However, for the first time since beginning my writing in 2001, I wrote a scene which I have never done before, one involving themes of a sexual nature.

Truthfully, it was just a bit of heavy petting, and no actual sex, but it was tough writing it and keeping the people within character.

The two female characters that is.

ranma both male and femaleWell, one was Ranma, who as you know turns into a girl when doused with cold water which resulted in many hijinks ensuing, too many to list here, just read all 38 volumes of the manga online if you’re interested.

So, I had to upgrade my story rating from T to M, which according to ff.net is as follows:

T – Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, with some violence, minor coarse language, and minor suggestive adult themes.

M – Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16 with non-explicit suggestive adult themes, references to some violence, or coarse language.
Fiction M can contain adult language, themes and suggestions.

The following line under M was confusing me totally.

‘Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature is considered Fiction MA.’ This rating is not allowed on this site at all.

Now, is the vague suggestion of stimulating the breasts considered detailed enough, especially when I was being purposely discrete when writing about the movements?

I’ve written some truly horrific things, violent, gorey, mutilation and not all of them resulted in death, which would imply quite a bit of torture.

And I labelled them as T rated.

The reason why is simple, fanfiction.net automatically displays all rating up to and including T, meaning more visibility. To see the M category, you need to select all ratings, which the majority of people do not. Case in point, my previous M fic has a considerably lower number of viewers than others in the same section.

Laziness affects readers in many ways, so I choose the T for them to see such stories easier, and by getting a portion of these readers to leave me reviews, which are always appreciated.

Since the site is located in the USA, I erred on the side of caution and selected M. I’ve never been reported before for the vicious stuff I’ve written, but when it comes to anything vaguely alluring or sensual, I had to pause. Not because I didn’t know how to write it, this isn’t any Shades of Grey level here, but simply the thought that I was going too far. Could it be rated MA?

There has always been this strange aversion to sex there, whereas violence is much more accepted. People have said this may be due to the religious values of chastity and virginity, though I’m pretty certain the Bible doesn’t tolerate violence either. Some people have done studies, though not all are ‘official’. There are presumably many more links which may or may not be biased.

Somehow, displaying acts of violence is much more prevalent in media, Hollywood movies display it with ease, and we now imagine that a bullet wound to the shoulder is barely noticed.

A glass broke yesterday (thank you cat) and I stepped on a glass splinter, and that was a lot of hurt right there. Blood trailing down my foot too. I healed quickly, but it made me wonder if all these years of watching such movies and playing games have desensitised me (though obviously not physically) as to how much pain a single cut can cause, let alone a hail of bullets.

The things I have written, I hold no shame in them, but looking back at the scenes, I begin to wonder about my sanity. Examples include slicing limbs off, having said limb be devoured by a monster, incinerating people alive, slicing someone’s eyes out, decapitation, impaling through the heart, and cannibalism.

Worst of all these, having someone’s body disassembled totally, but leaving them alive to experience the pain of death, without being given that privilege.

And yet, this was considered fine to readers of a Teenage level.

In the end, it doesn’t really affect me, so long as I can continue to write without impunity, and anything sexy I put in that ‘forbidden’ category.

In other news, the Doctor Who season has ended until the Christmas special. This has to be the most emotional departure of the companions in any of the new series, even more than Rose or Donna.

This time, two people left in the most final way possible, flung back into a time period which the Doctor could not rescue them from. Amy and Rory first committed suicide first to avert a horrid future for Rory, stuck in a room for decades only to die, by jumping off that same building to their deaths.

Rewriting that future, they return to our time and we think everything is safe, until Rory notices a grave with his name of it. The last Weeping Angel sends him back to the same time period, and the Doctor notes he died alone at 82. Not wanting him to be alone, Amy walks to the Angel and says goodbye to the Doctor and her child, hoping she will join with Rory in the past.

After being taken away, the gravestone is updated with her name on there and age of 87.

Suffice it to say, this was heart breaking, and the music was probably the best Murray Gold has written for the emotional departures, so many strings, trumpets and a soothing voice.

Perhaps it was the simple fact that the music was so powerful which enhanced the acting to levels above that of a normal show. Moffat wrote a beautiful script, and evoked so much sadness and loss, something that I’m not certain I have reached the levels of, despite what some reviewers have said.

There is still much more to learn in this world.

Ever since I started my new job, I get home and have inspiration again, and I write each evening. It’s quite a change to what happened previously, trying to ignore the world around me.

This chapter was 7,316 words long, above average for me lately. ‘In my arms, In my heart’ is a sequel to my popular story (Out of Sight, Out of Mind) where Nabiki searches Japan for Ranma. Seems to have a garnered a good following from the original story, so it’ll be good to see how this one progresses, though of course, I have a stupidly epic storyline in store. I just hope I get the time to write the whole damn thing.

I think I have around 5 stories in total that need to be finished. The Doctor Who one is ending in around 4-5 chapters, though the ending is going to be unexpected, and tragic too.

Oh, and setting itself up for a mega-crossover sequel.

*sighs*

Sometimes, it’s hard to write a one-shot story, or one that only has at most 4 chapters. Admittedly, I have written some, but my mind insists on fleshing out the story to such a ridiculous length that I will never end it conclusively. TDoHS is one of them, a fully sealed story, yet I made a rarely updated sequel for it, likewise with OoSOoM. I should have learned my lesson after my classic ‘Book’ series, where 2 were written fully, and the third only half done.

Some things will never change, readers will be disappointed that a series will never be completed, the storyline hanging off the edge of a cliff, knowing that they will forever be denied the ending.

In the meantime, Fanfiction.net allowed you to upload book covers a while ago, so I took some time to create three, and I think they are rather nifty.

mysticeyesofharrypotter

The Mystic Eyes of Harry Potter, combining the Nanatsu Yoru (the weapon of choice for cutting the Lines of Death), the Crimson Moon, and naturally Harry, with his special eyes if you look carefully

outofsightoutofmind

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, both manga images of Nabiki and Ranma, with her usual calculating expression.

inmyarmsinmyheart

And its sequel, In my arms, In my heart. Taken from the artbook since it was a nice picture of the two, and how the tables have turned in the future. Incidentally, the picture behind is an actual photo of Lake Ogawara, just to give an impression of where they moved to.

Also, thanks to Flagfic, I’ve been reading a ton of fanfics lately, now working on an epic i read a few years back. At 1,313,240 words long, it will take some time to read, but I’m not worried! I’m having the time of my life.

And that’s it for today, I’ll talk about my new job at a later date, but suffice it to say, I absolutely love it. I won’t say any more because I’ll be gushing like a madman.

Slight update to the site

August 28th, 2012

Changed a few internal things like stats etc.

Also, edited my previous header above now to a new nifty version, which now looks a lot better than the previous one.

Makes it more striking to me, and also a tad more professional / cooler.

Not bad, 7,155 words in total, up to chapter 6 now (Harry Potter / Tsukihime crossover)

My muse had a huge burst of inspiration, just one of those days when characters already with their own personalities, albeit slightly tweaked by myself (or totally fabricated to the extreme when it comes to Petunia), come into contact with each other, resulting in lots of sparks flying, and delicious dialogue with fight scenes.

Basic summary, having the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception (MEoDP as it is abbreviated sometimes) gives the user a great blessing with the ability to end any existence by slicing the ‘lines’ in objects, whether inanimate or not, but it is also a curse since using it more and more will eventually destroy the user’s mind.

Ryougi Lines of Death

Harry obtains this power inadvertently, could he have changed things? So far i have changed the first book by [spoilers] and killing [spoilers] before [spoilers].

Also, in a world with vampires, True Ancestors, Church assassins, and even more, it will only get more fun to mix up TYPE MOON (the company who created it, with the ‘world’ affectionately called the Nasuverse) with Harry Potter even more.

Arcueid True Ancestor Angry

I’ll try to continue with my other stories, that Doctor Who crossover needs an update soon, it has been a few months…

Finally, the tool I’ve been dreaming about, someone has created it…

http://www.flagfic.com/

A simple idea, convert fanfics from a lot of famous sites into ebook format, for you to download. Sounds good? It gets better.

Not only can you download it straight to your computer, but they give you the option to email it too.

It even suggests the option itself… Put your kindle address there to email the ebooks to go direct without the extra work of saving it to your computer. Took all of ten seconds to do.

2012-08-11 22.19.00

Already read one story over 300,000 words long. Finally, I can read tonnes of things now to my heart’s content.

Buses will never be boring again!