Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Goal with Fanfiction

I don't often write fanfiction. Which is to say, I've only started four fanfiction stories (not counting Interactive Fiction on Starmen.Net back in the day), but most of them had a clear goal of exploring one odd aspect of a game, to make people consider the greater implications of the some passing reference that the game doesn't bother to explore further on its own.

Some people write fanfiction to rewrite the story to fix things that were broken in the original (usually relationships they don't agree with (Ron and Hermione)), and many others write fanfiction so that their author insert character can bang their favorite character. More power to those people, sure, but I'm more interested in fanfiction that adds to the existing world so seamlessly that it could be taken as canon.

No doubt anybody who has actually been following this blog has noticed the bits of fanfiction I've been posting. The first two chapters are kind of setting up the stakes of the setting: Porre is a malcontent state in the kingdom of Guardia, and meanwhile the Fiends are gathering strength to assault the kingdom. It seems simple enough, and congruent with what people know from the game. If I were to tell this story (in short, Glenn's origin story) with no surprises, though, then what would be the point in telling it?

My favorite thing, which is something I plan to do more and more with each chapter, is to upset an assumption a player might have made, adding depth to the world and its characters without actually "changing" anything. For that, I have to balance what the players know with what they assume, working with passing comments, undeveloped characters, and unexplored implications to breathe new life into a story some people may already be familiar with. That, while accomplishing my additional goal of making the story an enjoyable or, at least, understandable read for people unfamiliar with Chrono Trigger.

I won't go into detail with my plans for the story, but starting with Chapter 3 you'll start to understand how Cyrus is a bit different than Glenn perceives him.

And that's one of the most important tools in writing this sort of fanfiction: in a game, you're limited by the perception of the characters. You're blind to things they can't see or understand, and especially anything they weren't directly involved with over the course of the game. Sometimes the game uses this to play you: think of how many times your characters have accidentally helped the villain accomplish his goal just by doing what you thought you were supposed to be doing? There's a rich source of narratives available just for exploring the greater implications of your character's actions in any given game.

Taking a step outside of what the game explicitly tells you is an invitation for your imagination to fill in the rest, and that, for me, is where fanfiction comes from.


  1. So what you're essentially telling me is that you won't have a self-insert character that makes out with Flea? This is a sad day for Laura.