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by Chad Harger
As stated by the title of this editorial, yes I have read Intrasonic's editorial. This one interested me because I also write fanfics. Some of the things I agreed with and others I did not. I will start with the things I disagreed with in the above mentioned editorial.
If there is two words I hate to see side by side in terms of a fanfic or any other piece of writing is this, 'crappy storyline'. Bullcrap! I don't believe in bad stories (or in this case story-line), just bad execution. What I mean by that is that all storylines are good, it is just the way they are written that needs work.
Then there is the line about Aeris/Sephiroth being brought back to life or the Magus looking for Schala over and over. I will admit that there are a lot of Aeris/Sephiroth resurrection stories floating around out there. I really do not have a problem with that though. As long as each story is unique on how Aeris and or Sephiroth comes back to life I have nothing against these stories. When people start using the same idea over and over again, or as I call it, stealing other peoples' story ideas, then Houston we do have a problem. As for Magus looking for Schala, I have not seen too many of those stories floating around personally.
A lot of these stories that are done over and over come about for many reasons. 1) People are just starting to write fanfics and decide to do something easy story wise. 2) They may feel that their Aeris/Sephiroth story maybe the 'first' one. 3) Maybe the writer knows that although their story idea has been done, he/she feels it will be original enough to stand out on its own. 4)A cliched storyline is the only idea they can come up with at the time.
Here is an example of number 3. Being original in a story, wether fanfic or original, is hard. When I wrote 'The Real Ricdeau'(You can find it in the RPGamer Fanfic Archives), I already knew of at least three or four fanfics that dealt with Citan's past. The problem was being original. That is why I did what I did in the story to give a look at Citan and to explain what kinds of things he did in his past.
I will agree with Intrasonic on character behavior and speech patterns. If a character does speak a certain way, then try to stick to it. Intrasonic's example of Frog is perfect. If a writer feels they should change a character's speech pattern, then they should explain why. Using 'The Real Ricdeau' as an example again, I had Citan use a swear word. In Xenogears, he never swore! Yet I at least explained why he would use a swear word in my story. A topic that is done over and over is not cliche, as long as each story is unique on the subject.
A good chunk of my stories really do not have nothing to do with the events that happened in a game either except for the characters and how their lives are effected by sudden tragedy or surprises. I have dealt with death on a personal level, I have dealt with personal responsibility, and I have dealt with change and wanting to either move forward or backwards in the characters' life. Other people have also written about these subjects in their own words. There is nothing wrong with that except with the execution of the story. When I wrote about death on a personal level, I could have copped out and used Aeris, Tellah, or any other character that had died in a RPG. Instead I took the hard road and chose the least likeliest person to die; Emeralda. (I was going to use Chu-Chu, but I could come up with was: "Chu-Chu died and nobody cared." The End ;)
There is only one problem with writing original characters is that they can be used in original stories. In an unpublished, unfinished story I used an original character. The character did work well within the story, BUT, I felt that if I was going to use this particular original character, I should get something for my efforts beside a story posted on RPGamer. IE, money. That sounds selfish and greedy of me, but that is how I feel about it. If someone who is reading this wants to use an original character than be careful. Granted you still have the copyright for that character, just be careful that no one can rip that character off if you intend to use that character for an original work that you hope to sell.
Intrasonic calling writers lazy really pisses me off. Nice way to encourage people you loser. Afraid these up and coming writers are going to put you to shame when they gain more experience in the area? I take my writing seriously and when I am able to help someone I can. . .except for proofreading. I can't do that worth beans. I have encouraged a few people to send their stories to RPGamer, (and even one person to submit a piece of fanart.) Part of our responsibility as either experienced fanfic writers or artists is to encourage those have the talent in either field (or in some cases both) even if they don't feel that they do. (Although please do not ask me about your comedy, cause I just. . .can't. . .do . . .comedy!) I believe in the fanfic section there is a link to a message board where people can ask question pertaining to their stories. I do honestly suggest that writers who are both starting out and those who are experienced to use it. (I would but I am too damn stubborn to take suggestions.)
Here are my suggestions for writing:
1)Be original: Exactly what it means. Anything is nearly possible with these characters. One of my secrets is that I always try to be original in my story ideas. Although, don't be afraid to look for the obvious stories either. When I did 'The Longest Interlude', I was surprised no one did a story based on those events considering how old the games are. What about an adventure with Squall and company when they were still living in the orphanage? Sort of a FFKids or something like that. A lot of story potential right in the game itself. (Go ahead and steal this story idea, it is highly doubtful I'll ever use it.)
2)There is no such thing as bad stories, just bad execution: I've said it before and I'll say it again; no matter how original your story idea is, if you cannot pull it off then it will not be a good story. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I had a good idea for a story, but could not just make it work. I ended up scrapping a six chapter story. . .yeah.
3)Final Fantasy is not the only RPG out there: I have done only one Final Fantasy fanfic as of writing this editorial (4/29/00) and that one was Final Fantasy IV. The rest have been either Xenogears or other games. Just because your story is not FF6, 7, or 8, does not mean it will be bad. I have written one Lunar: SCCC and one Lufia fanfic. It all comes down to suggestions 1&2.
4)I will admit there are some really bad crap out there. These are usually in the form of lemons. I noticed Intrasonic did not mention Lemons in his little rant. Unfortunately, lemons are still a part for the fanfiction world, just like hentai is part of the fanart world. If you are going to write a Lemon then please do me a favor. DO NOT WRITE ABOUT ILLEGAL STUFF! I have seen way too many lemons that had characters as pedophiles and full blown descriptions of what happened. If you are going to do a lemon, then please treat it seriously as you would a regular fanfic.
I have digressed I suppose on what I was talking about, but I feel that is alright. I decided that if I am going to rant, the least I could do is try to help also. Any story idea no matter often it is used can still be used over and over as long as the writer who writes it puts an original spin on it and also executes his/her story in a good way.
I'll shut up now.
[My Comments: With the exception of the ending sentence, this is a wonderful editorial. Once again, an ed that would normally be posted.]
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