patamon, digimon

rad140


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Food for thought:
patamon, digimon
rad140

So I was reading Pat R (aka Pitchfork)'s Article on HardcoreGaming101 about Final Fantasy and was interested enough to read the full feature (which is very long, and very excellent, covering every game in the series, and you should go read it) on Socksmakepeoplesexy
(By this point, I'm really sick of putting in HTML links, so I'm just to get to it; this was found on his entry on Final Fantasy X-2 regarding the game as a sequel, and sequels in general.  I have never played any Final Fantasy game past VI, so I can't comment on the game itself, but I found the comment interesting.  Yes, I will stop writing and get to it.)


"One of the reasons snobs like me (re: overeducated and underemployed) despise sequels in books and film is because they're just too easy. It takes a considerable amount of time and sweat to create, out of nothing, a fully-formed cast of characters, a world for them to inhabit, and the complete story of the crisis that will define their lives. Most people can't do it, or can't do it well. But it takes a whole lot less work to take an old story, wind up the crank, and get it moving again (which is incidentally why fanfiction and doujin have so many practitioners)."

Time to break this down bit by bit.  If you don't care about my opinion, you can stop reading.

"One of the reasons snobs like me (re: overeducated and underemployed) despise sequels in books and film is because they're just too easy.
I agree.  The rule that "sequels are never as good as the original" also works here.  All sequels have to do are take the setting and characters of the first work and add in some new conflict.  We already know about the world they live in and the characters themselves, so much of the wonder of learning about a new place from the first work is lost.  Character development is also glossed over sometimes for the same reason.  We already know who the characters are, so why bother explaining them to us again?

It takes a considerable amount of time and sweat to create, out of nothing, a fully-formed cast of characters, a world for them to inhabit, and the complete story of the crisis that will define their lives.
Yes, yes it does.  If you have ever looked at a commentary or making-of for a movie (or similar) you'll see how much, blood, sweat and tears went into the work.  It can be even more obvious when you try to make something of your own.  I often have crazy ideas and plots pop into my head, write them down just to get rid of them, and then disregard them.  When I look back at some of them, I realize how hard it would be to take a simple concept or idea of just a few sentences and create it into a full-fledged piece of work.  Same thing holds true for when I had to make a computer game for a programming class.  Granted, it was in Turing (which is next to useless for anything), but the amount of code and time I had to put into the most simplistic of games gave me a whole new appreciation for the work that teams of people do on the games we see on store shelves every day.

Most people can't do it, or can't do it well.
This is why you see so many flops in movies, books, games, you name it.  Or one of the reasons.  It’s hard enough to make an interesting cast of characters, but then to create the world they live in from the ground up, and some kind of conflict?  You’re screwed.  Few can succeed in creating all three and then putting it together, which makes them artistic geniuses.  You may walk out of a movie and think: “I could have done better”, but try to sit down and write your own characters, world and crisis from scratch (and then get a budget, hire actors, find filming locations, secure rights, film, edit, etc etc).   It’s not so easy, especially in this day and age of world communication where everything and anything seems to have been done already and people aren’t afraid to tell you so, even if they are on the other side of the planet.

But it takes a whole lot less work to take an old story, wind up the crank, and get it moving again (which is incidentally why fanfiction and doujin have so many practitioners)."

This is the part I find the most interesting that I want to discuss.  Now there are a lot of reasons why there are so many fanfiction authors (if they could even be called that) and doujin practitioners (artists? I dunno), and why some fandoms have more than others.  Some could say it’s from diehard fans who love the characters and don’t want to let them go (I’m looking at you, Adventure/02 fans), a large fanbase, or those who take pleasure from writing (and I mean this entirely towards hentai writers/artists).  Others may look at it from a technology perspective- the Internet and global communication have made these things easy to create, share and proliferate online…
(And this is none too obvious than with FanFiction.net, which I swear needs a better quality rating system than just written reviews from people, who are most often 1) diehard insane shippers who the fic appeals to and are just spewing out crazed nonsense, often using “cute”, “kawaii”, “<3”, and “!!!!!1!11!11”, or any combination inbetween, or 2) people who are desperately writing reviews because an emotionally needy author refuses to write any more until they get some positive reviews. /rant)

Yet he takes a completely different route and says it’s because these people are lazy.  He doesn’t say it like that, and I’m sure that isn’t what he intends the meaning to come across as- but that is essentially what he’s saying.  I’m sure the guy has nothing against fanfiction or doujinshi (or maybe he does), but he does make a good point, and one that isn’t brought up as often as it should be.  He’s saying that there are so many fanfiction authors because it is easy to do.

Let’s face it, a lot of fanfiction (I’m mostly talking about Digimon in particular here, and excluding hentai, which mostly follows the plot of doing whatever necessary for the characters to have sex) is often the same rehashed themes, settings or plots recycled over and over again.  There’s there cute, fuzzy romantic one-shot between two characters for a particular ship; there’s the character who has suddenly become angsty (ANGST!) for whatever reason; there’s the retelling of the ending of Digimon Adventure 02, with or without the epilogue changed; there’s the what-if scenario if one little thing had changed in a battle or conversation; there’s the chosen kids gain partners and go on a grand adventure as the forces of good to protect the world from the forces of evil (much like Digimon Adventure);  and finally, there is the alternate universe version, where the author just throws caution to the wind and writes whatever the hell he/she wants.

But by far one of the biggest draws of fanfiction is how easy it can be to wind up that crank.  So many people are already doing it, which can make it easy to join in.  You don’t have to think up your own characters, setting, plot or even scenario: most (or even all, depending on your lack of originality and laziness) are done for you.  You can be as original or as rehashing of the series as you want, within the contexts of the work. 
 I’ve heard people say that trying to write something with someone else’s characters and trying to stay in-character can be just as hard as, if not harder, than using your own characters.  That may be true, but in fanfiction you don’t have to worry about creating new characters, their features or personalities from scratch; they’re already created and cemented in canon for you to work with.   Unless you are writing out of character, in an alternate universe, or using made-up characters of your own (original characters), then your work is already done for you.  This is just my opinion, but it seems to me much easier to write with pre-made characters than to try and create your own.   
The point is that writing fanfiction is easy.  Like Pat says, there is a lot less effort and time required to write something that’s already written for you than creating something from scratch.  You can write a fanfic in a day, or less, but try writing a short story in that amount of time.  Unlikely.
Think of it this way:  In one you are given a blank piece of paper, free to design, draw and create however you want.  In the other, you are given a given a piece of paper with an outline of a shape on it, much like a colouring book.  You can colour and decorate that shape and stencil a billion different ways, but it’s still going to be the same basic shape no matter what.  Writing fanfiction is much like a playground sandbox- there’s plenty of space to create what you want, but there’s a finite area, amount of sand, and set boundaries in which to do so.  It may seem endless and completely open, but there is only so much sand and only so much space to work in. 

Okay, so this turned out to be much longer than I thought it would be.  Maybe I went a bit overboard in some parts, I don’t care.  I thought it was an interesting statement, and for the sake of constant overanalyzing, decided to stick it in here.

Also, be sure to follow this when visiting Japan.



 



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