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Addition to Usagi Vindaloo's rebuttal

by The Steel Gunner

First off, I'd like to stress that this is entirely my own (Alan Knight / The Steel Gunner) thoughts and opinions, and not those of either the RPG Vortex or RPGamer. To put my viewpoint in perspective, I run the Fanfiction section of the RPG Vortex (www.rpg-vortex.com), currently offline for a server change. Please note that this is not a rebuttal nor a straight 'I agree!' editorial. I'm just picking out points where I wish to make my own additional ones.

Quoted text has > at the start of the line.

The editorial contains a couple of minor FF7 and FF8 spoilers, and a couple of minimal Grandia spoilers which are plain to see in the course of the game.

-------------------------------

> First of all, I would like to concede that Intrasonic has some really
> good points. I found particular truth to his/her comment that much
> fanfiction is born from a dissatisfaction from the end of a game. I,
> like so many people, found the endings of FF6 and FF7 to be lacking.

I must admit that I found FF6's ending to be very conclusive. You learn what the characters gained from the experience and you learn, or at least get very strong allusions to what they will do afterwards. Celes and Locke are quite obviously set up, Gogo disappeared as fast as he/she/it came, presumably because Square couldn't think of an ending, and Terra is alive and has the kids to look after.

Of course, FF7 is a rather different kettle of fish, true. I can't help but feel that was left deliberately open - whether the humans lived or died, just why Marlene had such a lego-head at the end, and so on.

> The second, however, is more complex. More and more, it seems, RPGs end
> with a large amount of mystery, inconclusiveness, and even confusion
> (the "huh?" factor, as I call it).

Not particularly. There's been a largish comeback in complete endings. See FF8, for instance, where we know Squall ends up with Rinoa, Zell ends up with Sophie, Selphie ends up with those really, really HUGE pockets on her dress, and Irvine ends up with red hand-marks across his cheeks. Or Grandia, which while it doesn't wrap up all the characters directly in the ending, does rather allude to the fact that Justin and Feena get together, Mullen and Leen get together, and everyone lives Happily Ever After (tm).

> Romances are a really good example of this; sure, FF4 had a great
> romantic end, but what about Celes/Locke or Clod...I mean, Cloud/whoever
> he chose?

I'm rather certain that there's enough evidence to point to Celes and Locke getting together, even if the bandanna is somewhat circumstantial evidence. As for Cloud, I'd rather hope he chooses Tifa, both from the airship scene and the fact that choosing Aeris in her state would be a little illegal.

> For example, can you imagine how totally boring a parody FF7 fic would
> be if all of the characters were COMPLETELY IC? Yawn. Much better to
> have Cid a Dukes of Hazzard fan, Aeris and Tifa engaging in catfights,
> and Sephiroth wanting milk and cookies. Sounds dumb and OOC? Of course.
> That's the POINT.

Slight interjection here:- Fanfic writers, these are all helpful examples of fun OOCness but they've also happened far, FAR too much. They're no longer original, and seeing such things as Cid screaming for the Dukes or a fanfic writer holding down shift and strumming his/her fingers across the number line of his keyboard isn't funny any more.

> In other cases, an author may be exploring what seems to them to be
> another aspect of the characters persona. For example, if you read a
> fanfic where Aeris is evil or a bitch or whatever, you immediately write
> her off as OOC and leave the fic in disgust. Well, perhaps the author
> felt that, underneath all that sweetness in thegame, there must be
> something darker, and he's playing that up (although perhaps not very
> well). So perhaps consider the fic before considering the degree of
> OOCness.

Wonderfully made point. One of the best fics I ever read was an 'evil Cloud' one, where he was still under the influence of Jenova and wished to take over the world, knowing that the best way to do such a thing would be to become it's hero first and foremost by killing Sephiroth and Meteor.

> (Note: this is not an excuse for all fanfics. There are some that I just
> read and go, "...the hell?")

Yes, this also happens. A lot.

> clichés aren't ALL bad.

Quite right, they're not. Cliches are in fact necessary for a lot of fanfics and stories. After all, if the hero wanders in and forgets to have the close-pitched final battle with the bad boss and instead just decapitates him in one blow while whistling, it's rather a loss of impact. Think about any adventure fanfic. Now remove all cliches, and read it again. No cheesy romance scenes, no close-fought battles, no moments of suspense, no point where the good guys are down and seemingly out for the point. Seems a bit pointless, really.

> In my humble opinion, the successfulness of a topic depends more on the
> delivery and aesthetics than it does on originality.

Somewhat true, but originality is still a much needed thing. Two words: Aeris Ressurrection. ::runs from flames::

> So, Sephiroth's rebirth is a cliché, right? It sure seems that way. And
> yet, there are still brilliant and fresh fanfics that deal with this
> topic. Sure, there are some that are absolute piles of poop, but I'm
> sure that anyone who reads FF7 fics on a regular basis can name AT LEAST
> one Sephiroth fic that stood out in their heads.

Indeed I can. (the Mirrors Trilogy from T'Shael, somewhat against my previous point in that it's also an Aeris ressurrection fic.) It's not what's done but how you do it, but even though I've said that every fic does need a little spin of originality in it somewhere, else you'll be forever reading the same fic.

> Of course, there's still the syntax and semantics of the language that
> affects our judgment.

I find it doesn't just affect the judgement of the fic but the author too. It is stunningly easy to spell check a document nowadays, you just click the little button. Grammar's even becoming easy to check, even if the best ones can still produce lines that look like the subtitles in those wacky Hong Kong action movies. If an author can't even be bothered to check his own work... you have to wonder.

[SNIPPITY story examples]

> 1) Cliches don't make a fanfic bad; bad spelling, grammar, and writing
> make it bad.

Check. Lack of cliches is often the worst thing that can happen to a fic.

> 2) There's nothing wrong with being dissatisfied with the end of a game.

Check again. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. Note, fellow editorialists, that this also means you can't really say a game is good or bad without adding three little magical words - In My Opinion. Saying "Final Fantasy XVII ROCKS, D3\/\/d!!" is all well and good, but there'll always be someone else with a different point of view.

> 3) There's nothing wrong with DOING something about being dissatisfied
> with the end of a game.

Check again. But don't try to picket your local EB to get them to change the ending. Not much'll happen.

To close, I'd like to hark back to point 1 just up there. In my opinion, if a fic is well written with good grammar and spelling, then it's good. No matter what. Because someone has put an EFFORT into producing that text on your monitor. Someone has sat down and poured (hopefully) their heart into telling a story they want to tell you for free. And they even trust you enough to comment on it so they can get better still.

The least you can do is repay them buy clicking their email and telling them how good it is.

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