Fic of the Month - August: Wind and Rain by SuperTrainStationH
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    Default Fic of the Month - August: Wind and Rain by SuperTrainStationH

    Hello Workshop Writers,

    In an effort to help some of our best fics gain more exposure and attract more readers, we are going to re-introduce the "Fic of the Month" event.

    Each month we will highlight a particularly well-written or underrated fic that we feel deserves the special recognition. This will be marked with an exclusive in-depth interview with the author about their story, their characters and their writing process so we can see how their work was created.

    Update: By popular demand, here is a handy index to every FOTM--just click the spoiler tag, and then click the story name you want to see:








    Our October Fic of the Month is "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova" by apenpaap.

    For those who have not read the fic yet, "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova" is a charming tale that masterfully blends two separate story lines simultaneously. The first is a flashback plot about a young Eevee named Boreas, who loses his family one dark day when predatory Pokémon attack them. Boreas is nearly killed in the attack as well, but is saved by the timely arrival of a trainer named Black and his smug, but witty and friendly Snivy named Octa.

    Originally, Black wants to take Boreas to the nearest Pokémon Center so someone can adopt the cub, but Boreas ends up becoming friends with both of him and Octa and decides to stay with Black, who is on a quest to become the Champion.

    But while Boreas learns to fight and discovers the value of a quick wit in a battle, a group named Team Plasma begins their plans to “liberate” all Pokémon from humans. While Plasma's grunts are weak and only a threat in large numbers, they are led by the Seven Sages, seven terrifyingly powerful Pokémon masters who are not afraid to kill anyone, human or Pokémon, who interferes with their plans.

    The second storyline stars an older Boreas, now evolved to a Glaceon, who meets a Vaporeon named Aqua one day while pursuing Team Plasma and falls hopelessly in love with her. However, unlike Boreas, Aqua doesn't like humans at all and agrees with Team Plasma. So Boreas tells her about all the things he and Black lived through together and all the horrible things Team Plasma did or tried to do, leading to flashbacks that tell the first story line. At the point where the story is right now, the first story line is rapidly catching up to the second, only a few chapters from the end of the flashback.


    Now, that we've heard a little about the story, let's hear from the author himself: apenpaap!


    Legacy: Thanks for agreeing to allow "TSAOGIU" to be the Fic of the Month. Where did you get the idea for the story, the characters, etc.? What inspired you to come up with the idea of the story?

    apenpaap: A short question, but it's going to have a long answer. Let me start with the story itself.

    It started out more or less completely different from how it ended up. I first had the idea for it when I was playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and began wondering what a crossover between AC and Pokémon would be like. At some point I had this idea of Johto and Kanto being ruled with iron fist by Lance and the Elite Four, with the Gym Leaders being their governors in charge of each city. But there is an organization (based on the assassins in AC) that tries to stop Lance's tyrannical rule (several characters, like Professors Oak and Elm, Kurt, the Violet City monks, and Green/Leaf would've been members of this organisation).

    However, after writing the first half of the story I began realising that while I liked this way to begin the story, I didn't really like the story itself. It would've been too long, too dark, too repetitive, etc.

    Around this time, I was also playing Pokémon Black, and liking it a lot, especially the story. So then I decided to throw almost all Assissin's Creed influence out, switch the games the story was based on from (Heart)Gold and (Soul)Silver to Black and White, and essentially tell my version of the games' story from the point of view of Boreas, who was now Black's Glaceon.

    As I began to think of how I wanted to adjust the story and what I wanted to do with it, I liked it more and more. There was a problem with beginning, though: since there was no sea to cross in Unova, I couldn't do the first chapter with Boreas seeing Aqua while crossing the sea and doing a flashback of the earlier parts of the story.

    I considered not doing the flashback and just starting in or around Nuvema Town, but then realised that I didn't need a sea to begin in the middle: it could be on a river instead. With only some minor adjustments, the half of chapter one I had already written could be used for this new story, and so I did so and wrote a second half that properly set up the plot and Aqua's character.

    Incidentally, all this happened in just three days, if you can believe that. I began writing an Assassin's Creed based Pokémon story one day, and 72 hours later I submitted the first chapter of The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova to Fanfiction.net, Deviantart, and of course Bulbagarden's Writer's Workshop.

    Well, that was the plot. Now for the characters:

    Boreas


    The reason I chose a Glaceon as the main character of the story is mainly that it's my favourite pokémon. When I began writing chapter two, I had to actually think of a new backstory for him. I had a backstory where Falkner killed his parents during an attack on New Bark Town originally, but as mentioned I completely changed the story around within three days and just hadn't thought about the fact that Boreas' backstory would have to be altered too.

    Another thing I realised as I began writing chapter two, that was even worse, was that he was essentially a blank slate. I had never even bothered thinking about what his character would be like.

    I was pretty ashamed of these rather bad mistakes, and so I went to think of a way to adjust the backstory so it would work in this new setting, and more importantly I gave Boreas a personality. Boreas' backstory is of course what chapter two is all about, and I think that if I could do it over again, I would've done it differently. As it is, his backstory is still heavily influenced by the Assassin's Creed based story I was originally going to write, and you could really sort of say that chapter three is the first chapter that is fully The Surprising Adventures of a Glaceon in Unova.

    Now, while I'm not a big fan of the way I handled Boreas' backstory, I do like the personality I thought of at this point. First I reread chapter one to see what kind of personality would work with it, and realised Boreas was acting pretty rash and impulsive in the chapter. I liked that, and decided to make him a very impulsive Glaceon. I also decided to make him curious, impatient, and intelligent. How important that last trait was, I didn't really realise until chapter seven, when they fight their first Gym battle. I realised at this point that Eevee's moveset is horribly boring and weak.

    So I figured that Boreas would use his brains to battle, using all kinds of cunning tricks. Not only did this make him actually useful in a battle, but it also meant battles would be much more fun as Boreas would win them creatively, using the environment to his advantage and tricking his opponents. Boreas is also a bit of a liar and occasionally untrustworthy.

    Several characters inspired me for Boreas, actually, there is not a single one that he is entirely based on. In Dungeons&Dragons terms, Boreas is Chaotic Good, and quite a lot of characters with that same, or a similar, alignment inspired me to him, like Sherlock Holmes, Golan Trevize, Jack Sparrow, The Doctor, Zorro, Guybrush Threepwood, Sirius Black, and others.

    Octa


    Octa, whose full name is Octavianus, is Boreas' best friend and Black's starter. Unlike Boreas, I can actually name a few very specific characters that I based him and his friendship with Boreas on. The main inspiration would be dr. Watson, next to Boreas' Sherlock Holmes. To be precise, the portrayal of these two characters from the 2009 movie with Robert Downey, jr and Jude Law.

    The characters and their friendship share quite a lot of similarities, as well as quite a lot of differences. While not as clever as their friend, Octa and Watson are both intelligent men, and quite a lot wiser and more mature than their more impulsive friend, and they both end up frequently having to save their friend from trouble he got himself into. Another inspiration was Janov Pelorat from Isaac Asimov's Foundation books. While the characters aren't that similar, the peculiar way Octa speaks was inspired by Pelorat.

    This is also where his habit of adressing Boreas as “my dear fellow” comes from. Octa's arrogance and his belief that he is better than others because his ancestors are the pokémon equivalent of nobility isn't based on any particular character. It is partially because of the smug looks the Snivy line always has on their official art, partially because I figured it would be pretty funny, partially because it offers character development options later in the story, and partially because this type of character is usually a villain and I liked the idea of having such a character be heroic instead.

    Aqua

    There is not really any specific character that inspired me to Aqua. What inspired me to her was this drawing on deviantart:

    When I saw that picture, I just sort of thought up a character that would fit with it, and decided she would be a fun character to write and made her Boreas' love interest. I think this was after I changed the story's main character to Boreas, but it could've been before it. When I completely threw the story around and changed it to the current story, Aqua, was the only character, aside from Boreas, that stayed in place.

    Her dislike of humans and agreement with Team Plasma came later, when I had changed the story to Unova. I figured it would be nice to have a non-evil character actually agree with Team Plasma, and it would make a good source of conflict between her and Boreas, which we will see later.

    Black and the rest of his team

    Black is, quite simply, based on my view of Black in-game. At first, I was going to write him as being able to usually understand more or less what his pokémon are saying, not to the point of actually being able to understand their speech, but usually getting the general idea. Then I realised it would be funnier to have him be really bad at that instead.

    I'm not really sure what inspired me to the rest of the team. Maybe something inspired me, but I forgot, maybe not. I do know what inspired me to the "Friend Versus Lover Conflict" between Boreas and Toxica over Octa: it was the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie again, in which Holmes acts very jealous and childish about Watson being engaged. I personally thought it was hilarious, and it seemed to fit with Boreas' slightly childish personality, so a few chapters after I introduced Toxica I decided to throw that in.

    Whew, that was ridiculously long answer.


    Legacy: Haha, no worries. Next question: What were some of the main challenges you faced when planning and writing this fic?

    apenpaap: Firstly, there was the stuff I talked about earlier, with the story very rapidly changing radically within days. This was a big problem in Chapter Two, because I hadn't realised Boreas' backstory would have to be heavily readjusted.

    Another challenge lay in how I would portray Team Plasma. The main problem was in making them credible threats. It's very hard to make nameless grunts into credible threats, especially if they kept being defeated. Then I realised there was a solution to this problem: the Seven Sages. We only battle Ghetsis in-game, but he's even more powerful than the Elite Four.

    So, I thought: what if we battled the other Sages too? And what if their power was comparable to Ghetsis'? In-game, that would of course just lead to endlessly losing those battles, but in a story it just means the heroes have to use very unconventional tactics to win.

    Another challenge is to get the story's pace right. I don't want to jump from battle to battle and not leave a single moment for characterisation, humour, and rest; but neither do I want things to get boring and drag out too long. I think I found a decent balance between the two.

    Lastly, the fact that my main characters can't talk to humans leads to some problems.


    Legacy: One of the unique things about your story, which I love, is that your main character is a Pokemon and not a human, and you handle that amazingly in my opinion. Do you think it is more or less challenging to write a story with a Pokemon main character as opposed to a human? Why?

    apenpaap: Well, yes and no. On the one hand, it is tricky because most of my characters can't directly interact with humans, which they have to leave to Black. That's a real shame, because it means little interaction between heroes and villains, and with the Gym Leaders and rivals and all. On the other hand, I find it makes it easier to make more distinctive characters by having them all be different species. I'm not sure if I could achieve the same kind of diverse cast with humans.


    Legacy: How would you describe your writing style?

    apenpaap: I'm not quite sure how I would describe it. I suppose I write somewhat humorously, as I often throw little jokes and amusing things in. I use a lot of metaphors and similes, and write actiony battles with lots of things happening.


    Legacy: As a writer, what would you say are some of your biggest strengths?

    apenpaap: I've been told I write very good battles and have some good characters.


    Legacy: What are your biggest weaknesses as a writer?

    apenpaap: I only rarely describe characters physically, which, I think, means that in people's minds they just look like generic members of their species. For that reason, I've lately been drawing quick portraits of them on dA, which has helped me get their looks more consistent. The exception to this is Aqua, who I've described quite a lot because the story is essentially told from Boreas' point of view and he's madly in love with her.


    Legacy: What aspects of "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova" are you most proud of?

    apenpaap: I'm rather proud of the battles with the Seven Sages so far. I think they really succeed in showing how incredibly powerful the enemy is, and that a single misstep during these battles could easily cost Boreas' life. I've also been complimented a lot on the romance between Boreas and Aqua, and I think I agree with those comments, I handled that pretty well so far.


    Legacy: Who is your favorite character from your story and why?

    apenpaap: Octa is my favourite character. He's a great deal of fun to write, and he allows me to get my tendency to use elaborate language out of my system. You see, like him I have a tendency to use obscure, archaic, and polysyllabic words a lot. I'm not sure why, mainly because I like how they sound, I think. Anyway, when I'm writing Octa's dialogue I can allow myself to fully use this tendency, and as a result I can keep others' dialogue more realistic and normal.

    Another thing I like about him is that he leads to a lot of funny situations. Not only does he talk funny, but his pride and snarkiness lead to more fun.


    Legacy: For new or less experienced writers out there, what sort of advice would you offer to someone who wants to improve as a writer?

    apenpaap: First of all, make sure your story is legible. Look into a real book, and take a look at how it's written. I'm talking about things like going to the next line during dialogue whenever the person speaking changes, proper use of quotation marks and commas, proper spelling and grammar, avoiding massive walls of text in descriptions by occasionally breaking the paragraph, that kind of thing. It's very basic, but it's surprising how often people do it wrong, and that really makes it much harder and more annoying to read.

    Another important thing is to proofread. When you've finished writing a chapter, don't just post it immediately. Proofread it, correcting errors, improving sentences, adding stuff you forgot, that sort of thing. Preferably you shouldn't do this immediately, but wait a day to do it so you can look at it as one of your readers instead of as the writer. You'll be surprised how much the quality improves if you proofread.


    Legacy: What would you say to people who haven't read your fic to try to convince them to read "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova?" In other words, why should people take a look at your fic?

    apenpaap: If you haven't read it, and the rest of this interview hasn't at least made you curious, let me tell you it's a fun story of adventure, humour, romance, friendship, action, excitement, and other things. Try reading the first four chapters and see what you think (The first four because, as I mentioned earlier, I'm not too crazy about the first two chapters, which I think are a bit rushed and shaky. I'm proud of chapters three and four, though, which I think I did very well). Or try reading all twenty-eight and see what you think, if you prefer.


    Legacy: Thanks so much, apenpaap! It was great to hear about all the insight and work behind your great story!.



    One of the great things about this story is that it features Boreas, a Glaceon, as the main character as opposed to a human. This was a delightful change to me as I read this because apenpaap handled it very well.

    The story is engaging and the characters are deep. All too often, stories that star Pokemon as main characters end up coming off childish and uninspiring. But apenpaap's skills as a writer made this story simply a joy to read.

    The way he intertwines the two very lively and genuine story lines is really cool to read, and I think everyone should give this fic a chance!

    So there you have it.

    The Writer's Workshop Fic of the Month for October: "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova" by apenpaap.

    Here is the link: http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/f227/surprising-adventures-glaceon-unova-chapter-30-a-108019/
    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 1st August 2014 at 07:21 PM.

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    Duke of Internet apenpaap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    Thanks so much for this feature, it's really quite awesome. There are three little goofs, though: firstly, the link to the image that helped inspire me to Aqua seems to have disappeared (it's .:VAPOREON:. by *PEQUEDARK-VELVET on deviantART ), second I also drew a portrait of her ( http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/266/f/b/aqua_by_apenpaap-d4aou5v.png ) that I thought I pm'ed to you, but probably forgot, and finally, I slightly altered the portrait of Boreas because I din't like the eyes. Though apparently, deviantArt still saves the old version at its old location. The new one is here: http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/270/4/9/boreas_by_apenpaap-d48gnkf.png

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    Wow, really cool art to accompany your story, apenpaap.

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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    I posted a review in the story of what I've read so far, but it's not clear to me whether the rest of the discussion is to be held in the story or in this thread. Could someone clarify that for me, please?

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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    *grits teeth* Nicely done man, you hit it big.

    I've admired (and been P.O.) at your story since the begining, and I'll continue to till the end!

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuujux View Post
    I posted a review in the story of what I've read so far, but it's not clear to me whether the rest of the discussion is to be held in the story or in this thread. Could someone clarify that for me, please?
    Discussion about the fics themselves should be posted in the fic's thread.

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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: October - "The Surprising Adventures of Glaceon in Unova"

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Discussion about the fics themselves should be posted in the fic's thread.
    Okay then. I was just confused since it was decided on in the Block thread, or at least, not from what I remember. Maybe there should be some rules posted in this thread and every Fic of the Month thread after it, if there are more threads, and not just one, such as:

    1. Discussions of stories should go in the stories themselves and not in this thread.
    2. As with the rest of the Workshop rules, bashing is not allowed.
    3. etc...

    Just a thought.

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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: November - Kingdom Hearts: Lost War

    November is upon us, and with it, we celebrate a new "Fic of the Month."

    This month, we feature a non-Pokemon fic, Johnny Gaddar's "Kingdom Hearts: Lost War."

    For those who are not familiar with the fic, Kingdom Hearts: Lost War is based on the Kingdom Hearts video game franchise. For a more detailed explanation about KH and his story itself, I'll let the author, Johnny Gaddar, explain:

    Johnny Gaddar: Explaining some of the Kingdom Hearts franchise is a daunting task for anyone, given that each game makes it more complex, almost to the level of the Metal Gear franchise.

    However, the setting of Kingdom Hearts is a sort of multiverse, in which countless self-contained worlds exist. While so far, the only known worlds have been exclusive to the series or Disney worlds, there are countless others out there, as numerous as there are stars in the sky.

    Each world has its own heart, just as each person has their own. The two forces of Light and Darkness exist alongside each other ever since a war over the Light ended ages ago. Just as there is Light in a person's heart, there is Darkness as well. When a person succumbs to the Darkness in their heart, a creature known as a Heartless is born. These creatures seek the hearts of other beings, other worlds, and so on.

    They seek to return to the greatest heart of all, Kingdom Hearts. While its true purpose is unknown as of yet, it is called "The Heart of All Worlds".


    Legacy: Thanks for giving us a bit of backstory to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Now that we've cleared that out of the way, how would you describe your story to those who may not have seen it around the Writer's Workshop before?

    JG: For the unfamiliar, my story takes place twenty years before the first Kingdom Hearts game and ten years before the series' prequel, and it's self-contained. The setting is an Earth on its 50th year anniversary since a 2012 that never came. For reasons unknown, this failure triggered an uproar among countless religious communities and a global religious war followed soon after. Now, in the year 2062, an ex-assassin named Vikas has been tracked down by his former commanding officer, who heads a conspiracy to bring Earth to its knees, to do some dirty work for him, with his family's life at risk should he refuse.

    Legacy: Sounds like a very complex and interesting plot for sure. Next question: Where did you come up with the whole idea of your fic, the plot, the characters, etc.?

    JG: The idea of the fic's plot and characters, as hard as it might seem to believe, came from parts of my mind. I was raised as a Hindu in my home but I went to a Catholic elementary school and high school. I eventuallly got the inspiration for the religious war from this constant tension in my mind from there. However, this fic also has some meta symbolism, because it's the first part of a trilogy. Some of the things that will be revealed later on in the fic could be seen as allegories to certain trends and concepts in fanfiction. Also, a lot of my personal experiences with my school friends went into the relationships to be explored further on. Also, my lack of experience in certain areas, such as never having had a girlfriend, had some influence on what's to come.

    I also wanted to try and add a bit more of a dark twist to certain concepts in Kingdom Hearts. Of course, I may be wrong, but either way, that'll have to be hush-hush.

    Stylistically, though, I would say a lot of inspiration comes from the Assassin's Creed series, the Metal Gear series, and the Ninja Gaiden series with regard to the enemies and the action. Also, there will be quite a few hip hop references, so I suppose they also count as some inspiration.


    Legacy: I love Metal Gear! I'm sure a lot of people out there do. Anyways, what were some of the challenges you faced with writing this story?

    JG: Some of the main challenges I faced were being able to plan this while balancing my schoolwork. It took nearly six month before the first chapter was ready, and even now, I'm having some trouble writing, due to college pressures. Another thing I have challenging me is difficulty in figuring out whether or not I'm doing a good job. This is my first long-term fic in three years. It's also the first fic I've written in three years, and only my second one ever. But seeing as how the few readers I've gotten love what I've written, I must be doing a good job, right?

    Another challenge I have involve avoiding info-dumping. I get nervous about how to disseminate the information into my story, so I end up putting several paragraphs of information that won't be used for quite some time.


    Legacy: I know how that goes. Next question: While we are obviously a Pokemon-themed forum and the vast majority of the fics in the Writer's Workshop are about Pokemon, did you feel like that would detract away from your story when you decided to post it here? Do you think you are at a disadvantage in terms of getting people to read your story?

    JG: You know...I had never thought of that when I posted this fic here. The only thing running through my mind was that it was a non-Pokemon fic in a Pokemon forum. I guess the best I do is simply read other stories, and hope they'll come to read mine and like what they see.

    Legacy: Fair enough. In my opinion, it's great that we have some non-Pokemon fics around here to balance things out. And besides, we have a "non-Pokemon/crossover" category for the awards, so it's great to see great works like this from outside the PKMN World.

    Next question: For those who don't know you well, how would you describe your writing style?


    JG: I would describe my writing style as detail-oriented. This is my first fic in a long time, but I would also like to think I have a good balance of fancy words and the words that get the point across. However, sometimes I feel my style can be a bit condescending, since I use the phrase "Of course" often, in my opinion. I apologize if any readers feel the same way. *Nervous laughter*

    Legacy: I wouldn't worry. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Speaking of which, what would you say your biggest strengths as a writer are?

    JG: As a writer who hasn't written in a long time, I think my biggest strengths are the characters and efforts to make things realistic. The first thing I thought about before I had the main plot grounded out was the characters, so I put my most effort into them. Most of my readers have said they're well-defined from just the first chapter, so I guess I'm doing great on that. I also try to do as much research as possible. Especially for a fic that has a lot of religious and cultural tensions, I want to make sure I don't make any slip-ups.

    Legacy: Weaknesses?

    JG: My weaknesses...hmm...well, I think I already mentioned them. I have trouble with avoiding info-dumping and my writing style can feel a bit condescending. Another weakness I may have could possibly be a lack of foresight at times, but I'm not sure. Maybe it's being too earnest to post a chapter when I finish it.

    Legacy: What is it about Kingdom Hearts: Lost War that you are most proud of?

    JG: Aspects of the story I'm most proud of...the characters and their relationships are definitely one. I poured my heart and soul into them, because I want to do them justice. Then there's the world-building. I want to create a world where the readers can believe they're witnessing people with real problems.

    Legacy: I think you did well there. The characters seem very deep and rich in my opinion. Next, Who is your favorite character from your story? Who was the most fun to write?

    JG: My favorite character from the story...hmm...well, I think it's Vikas. Now I know that I might receive flak because I said in the fic's thread that he's sort of an avatar of me. However, the real reason he's probably my favorite character is due to a lot of things that I've yet to post that are in chapters to come. I feel he has perhaps the most depth, or at least as much as Hafez does. Those two are neck and neck when it comes to the complexity of their minds. Also, certain aspects about him, such as his powers, are part of the allegories or symbols of certain trends in fanfiction, and it will take some understanding of those trends to figure out what I'm talking about.

    Legacy: What does the Writer's Workshop and the community we have here mean to you as a writer? What is your favorite part of the WW Forum?

    JG: Well, for me, the Writer's Workshop community is like a family. We're all working together to help each other succeed and improve our writing skills. I like to think of my fellow authors and readers as my brothers and sisters.

    I have plans, if I can become a successful voice actor, to host fanfiction panels at conventions and I can certainly say that I would never think so boldly if it wasn't for the help and support of my brothers and sisters.

    My favorite part of the forum, just above the main forum, would probably be the Writer's Block. Given that I think of us all as family, seeing people post concepts and asking for help, and seeing us give advice...it feels like gathering around a newborn baby and celebrating its birth. It brings a few tears to my eyes, to be honest.

    Legacy: Couldn't agree more. Aside from your own, which is your favorite fic in all of the Writer's Workshop?

    JG: My favorite fic in the Workshop besides my own, haha...well, I can't pick a particular one, so I will have to say it's all of the ones I've read. I'm just too altruistic-thinking to be able to pick one out.

    Legacy: A very diplomatic answer. I applaud you.

    Now, I ask everyone this: For the new or more inexperienced writers in the Workshop, what advice would you offer them?

    JG: For newer or less-experienced writers...hmm, it's a tough one, since I, in the technical sense, don't have much experience myself, but what I would advise is to understand how a story will flow. In order for it to flow, it mostly needs characters to drive the plot. In order to drive the plot in a satisfactory manner, you need to understand their psychology. Think about what they would do in their situation first. Often, it's tempting to just think of what you'd do in their shoes, and that causes out of character behavior. Remember, characters are one of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of your story, and you need them to be the best they can be for your story to be excellent.

    Legacy: Great advice. One last question: For those who are reading this interview, what would you say to them to try to convince them to read your story?

    JG: What I'd say? Well, it's a tough question, but what I'd say is this: Since I feel my fic has the potential to be the Berserk of fanfiction, if you can stomach all of the warnings, try to see past mere violence, gore, and sex and see the story through to the end, I am confident that you will feel that it was worth it.

    Legacy: Haha, yes some of the explicit nature of your story might be an issue with some readers, but overall, I think your story is well-thought-out and enjoyable to read for sure. Anything else you'd like to add?

    JG: One last thing...this goes to a particular type of author...

    Wish-fulfillment. I don't want you to run from it. There is a general majority who say that it is something to be frowned upon, that it throws away characterizatoin, plot, and other essential elements to satisfy your fantasies. I say to you, do not believe that. There is nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment. Do not let the constant rationalization of "People mostly read fanfics for the canon characters" deter you, because I'll let you in on a little secret. A lot of them are writing their wish-fulfillment fantasies by proxy, through canon characters they relate to. If they can keep the characters in-character and not receive criticism, then you shouldn't either, if you feel you can achieve the same feat with an avatar of you. Don't let them tell you "no". Remember, while no one seems to want to show you how to write your fantasies well, you generally need the conventions necessary for writing good fanfiction in the first place to do it right.

    I have plans to write a wish-fulfillment fic that will hopefully lead by example. It breaks my heart to see so many authors get trampled on for writing these fantasies instead of being advised, to the point where they give up after the first try. I don't want wish-fulfillment to die out, because it inspires a lot of the original fiction we see today. Why should fanfiction be treated any different?


    ------

    Great interview, Johnny Gaddar.

    Anyways, when I first started reading Kingdom Hearts: Lost War, I admit I was a little confused about the whole Kingdom Hearts storyline as someone who was not familiar with the franchise. But very quickly, JG does a good job establishing the world for the reader so that even KH noobs like me can understand.

    To me, this is a testament to his writing and skills as an author. Also, some of the graphic language, sexual content, and language can be a bit off-putting to some, but I don't think JG uses it recklessly. It normally serves a purpose through the story, and I applaud him for that as well.


    So now, (while we do have the obligatory content disclaimer) I invite those of you who have yet to see Johnny Gaddar's fic to go check it out.

    It is November's Fic of the Month!

    Link: http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/f227/kingdom-hearts-lost-war-104862/

  9. #9
    Yeezy taught me The Booty Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: November - "Kingdom Hearts: Lost War" by Johnny Gaddar

    Hee hee, well, there were things I do need to add that were missed, so let's do that, shall we?

    Corrections and additions will be bolded.

    Johnny Gaddar: Explaining some of the Kingdom Hearts franchise is a daunting task for anyone, given that each game makes it more complex, almost to the level of the Metal Gear franchise.

    However, the setting of Kingdom Hearts is a sort of multiverse, in which countless self-contained worlds exist. While so far, the only known worlds have been exclusive to the series or Disney worlds, there are countless others out there, as numerous as there are stars in the sky.

    Each world has its own heart, just as each person has their own. The two forces of Light and Darkness exist alongside each other ever since a war over the Light ended ages ago. Just as there is Light in a person's heart, there is Darkness as well. When a person succumbs to the Darkness in their heart, a creature known as a Heartless is born. These creatures seek the hearts of other beings, other worlds, and so on.

    They seek to return to the greatest heart of all, Kingdom Hearts. While its true purpose is unknown as of yet, it is called "The Heart of All Worlds".

    The only known weapon in the Kingdom Hearts universe that is capable of vanquishing these creatures permanently and freeing the hearts they have acquired is known as the Keyblade, a mysterious weapon of unknown origin that was used in the war over the Light.
    Legacy: Thanks for giving us a bit of backstory to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Now that we've cleared that out of the way, how would you describe your story to those who may not have seen it around the Writer's Workshop before?

    JG: For the unfamiliar, my story takes place twenty years before the first Kingdom Hearts game and ten years before the series' prequel, and it's self-contained. The setting is an Earth on its 50th year anniversary since a 2012 that never came. For reasons unknown, this failure triggered an uproar among countless religious communities and a global religious war followed soon after. Now, in the year 2062, an ex-assassin named Vikas has been tracked down by his former commanding officer, who heads a conspiracy to bring Earth to its knees, to do some dirty work for him, with his family's life at risk should he refuse.

    As Vikas proceeds with carrying out his strange orders, the complex relationship between him and Hafez slowly comes to light, along with the relationship they had with Vikas' friends. Much of his struggle involves not only finding a way to break free from Hafez's control, but also working up the courage to kill the man as well, despite having all the reasons necessary to do so, as well as preserving the memories of his dead friends and the lives of his remaining family members, the only living reminders of his former life.
    Legacy: Weaknesses?

    JG: My weaknesses...hmm...well, I think I already mentioned them. I have trouble with avoiding info-dumping and my writing style can feel a bit condescending. Another weakness I may have could possibly be a lack of foresight at times, but I'm not sure. Maybe it's being too earnest to post a chapter when I finish it.

    Also, I sometimes feel like I can add too much melodrama or certain other unnecessary aspects in my writing at times. I wouldn't know for sure on this, since I haven't really gotten too much feedback on the last two chapters. ^^
    Legacy: I think you did well there. The characters seem very deep and rich in my opinion. Next, Who is your favorite character from your story? Who was the most fun to write?

    JG: My favorite character from the story...hmm...well, I think it's Vikas. Now I know that I might receive flak because I said in the fic's thread that he's sort of an avatar of me. However, the real reason he's probably my favorite character is due to a lot of things that I've yet to post that are in chapters to come. I feel he has perhaps the most depth, or at least as much as Hafez does. Those two are neck and neck when it comes to the complexity of their minds. Also, certain aspects about him, such as his powers, are part of the allegories or symbols of certain trends in fanfiction, and it will take some understanding of those trends to figure out what I'm talking about.

    Another reason I like Vikas is because he cries a lot. For me, I find too many stoic badasses out there, and while it's a cool thing, I can't keep reading about those kinds of guys forever. Plus, whenever you see crying badasses in fiction, it's almost always the big, burly bruisers with the soft spots. I wanted to create a character who can easily express himself and cry about things you'd usually expect fictional characters like him to give only a light reaction to. That ability he has is something I envy, because I can't seem to be able to cry too often anymore.

    Plus, he's an Indian guy with N-World Privileges.
    Legacy: Great advice. One last question: For those who are reading this interview, what would you say to them to try to convince them to read your story?

    JG: What I'd say? Well, it's a tough question, but what I'd say is this: Since I feel my fic has the potential to be the Berserk of fanfiction, if you can stomach all of the warnings, try to see past mere violence, gore, sex and gangsta characters dropping the occasional N-bomb and see the story through to the end, I am confident that you will feel that it was worth it.
    Legacy: Haha, yes some of the explicit nature of your story might be an issue with some readers, but overall, I think your story is well-thought-out and enjoyable to read for sure. Anything else you'd like to add?

    JG: One last thing...this goes to a particular type of author...

    Wish-fulfillment. I don't want you to run from it. There is a general majority who say that it is something to be frowned upon, that it throws away characterizatoin, plot, and other essential elements to satisfy your fantasies. I say to you, do not believe that. There is nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment. Do not let the constant rationalization of "People mostly read fanfics for the canon characters" deter you, because I'll let you in on a little secret. A lot of them are probably writing their wish-fulfillment fantasies by proxy, through canon characters they relate to. If they can keep the characters in-character and not receive criticism, then you shouldn't either, if you feel you can achieve the same feat with an avatar of you. Don't let them tell you "no". Remember, while no one seems to want to show you how to write your fantasies well, you generally need the conventions necessary for writing good fanfiction in the first place to do it right.

    I have plans to write a wish-fulfillment fic that will hopefully lead by example. It breaks my heart to see so many authors get trampled on for writing these fantasies instead of being advised, to the point where they give up after the first try. I don't want wish-fulfillment to die out, because it inspires a lot of the original fiction we see today. Why should fanfiction be treated any different?
    Now, start praising me. :P
    Last edited by The Booty Warrior; 31st October 2011 at 10:31 PM.
    "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." - Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, N.Y. State of Mind

  10. #10
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: November - "Kingdom Hearts: Lost War" by Johnny Gaddar

    For December's Fic of the Month, I've chosen AceTrainer14's "How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps."

    The interview follows below:

    What made you decide to blend the blog entries with a traditional story instead of a straight up blog?
    I personally like being able to write interesting, funny dialogue and being able to describe the action as its happening. I always hated reading parts of a book that were diaries and the character was able to remember exactly what every single person said and described in great detail what was happening: it seemed unrealistic and impossible to be able to record what each person said and what actions they did exactly. I wanted to still be able to describe what was going on and have this dialogue, so I thought I would use the blogs rather to summarize what had happened at the end of each arc and to give Alaska’s witty summary and thoughts, and than have the chapters to flesh out the description and dialogue and action

    What were some of the main challenges you faced when planning and writing this fic?
    I had quite a few problems, mostly trying to think of how to advance the plot and how Alaska would leave Viridian eager for a journey and return more mature and ready to face the Elite Four. The biggest issues have been continuity with the rest of my world (the GalacticVerse) and trying to sort the plot out so it makes sense, is interesting and well balanced. I am constantly editing what happens in the future and fixing mistakes, but it is mostly sorted now!

    How would you describe your writing style?
    I like to focus on crafting interesting, unique characters, both human and Pokemon alike, describing my take on the world (in the most recent chapter I have reshaped Cerulean City and the surrounding lake) and make the world more realistic than it is in the games (seriously, what city only has ten houses?). I enjoy describing things without getting to OTT, and I love writing powerful exchanges between people or coming up with a brilliant insult.

    What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
    My stories seem to drag on longer than they probably need to. I also imagine some of my series as being TV shows, but this ends up meddling with my writing as I imagine grand montages and scenes set entirely to music, but I can’t exactly write “… fights with …, Queen plays in the background” and expect my readers to understand what I’m saying. I don’t have this problem with 8ES, though sometimes I imagine her blog being read aloud over shots of her on her travels.

    What aspect of your story are you most proud of?
    I am very happy with most of 8ES. I think Alaska and her Pokemon have unique and interesting personalities that the audience likes, that the villains are well defined and are captivating, the blogs are funny, the supporters fill their roles and I do enjoy the plot and the things I have in store. I worry that I don’t use Pokemon enough, as it is a Pokemon story (I really hate Pokemon stories where the Pokemon are just shoved in there to replace weapons or could simply be a pet) and I do getting them involved, and I think that I haven’t set the reality stars up enough in their previous roles for their future roles.

    Any advice for new/upcoming writers?
    Write what you want and don’t care if anyone is going to read it or review it or give you nice praise – if you have an idea and you like it, than write it and just enjoy writing and cross your fingers that other people like it as well. And don’t force yourself to be original or try and make your story unique. I have seen a lot of people who try to hard to make their stories have a ‘twist’ or something that makes it seem to forced.
    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 1st December 2011 at 04:14 PM.
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  11. #11
    ◓Gypsy Vanner Horse Kyuuketsuki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: December - How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps by AceTrain

    Why wasn't there a Fic of the Month for January?

  12. #12
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: December - How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps by AceTrain

    Oh, we need to pick one--I'll notify the rest of the crew.
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  13. #13
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: December - How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps by AceTrain

    We have decided to skip January's FOTM since the Winter Awards Season will undoubtedly dominate people's attention. We felt bad about Johnny Gaddar (Booty Warrior) being overshadowed by the Xmas Contests in December and didn't want that to happen again.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fic of the Month: December - How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps by AceTrain

    Okay then, that explains it. I look forwards to February.

  15. #15
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Fic of the Month - February-Striking Back: Memoirs of a Clone by Dai

    At long last, here is the interview from Dai, the author of February's Fic of the Month!

    How did you get the inspiration for your story?

    It's a bit of a complicated tale, because there were a number of different inspirations that went into it over time, before eventually, I figured out the best way to understand this story. I think my very first inkling that I might write something like this was a few years after seeing Mewtwo Strikes Back, when I found out that someone had been hired to do novelizations of the first few Pokemon movies. You might have seen that sort of quickly-produced, movie tie-in novelization before. Anyway, at age seven they might have been tolerable, but as I grew older I realized that they were rather shoddy. And they certainly didn't spend much time on what I found to be the most fascinating part of the movie: this character Mewtwo and his emotional journey. For some reason they thought it was far more important to dwell on our boring hero Ash. The thought came into my head: I could write something like this. And I could write it better. But that initial inspiration stayed dormant for years.

    Then, much later, I had the idea of a story, or a series of stories, detailing the events of Mewtwo Strikes Back from Mewtwo's point of view. That was the way to go about it, I realized. I wanted to tap into the delight I'd felt watching Mewtwo Strikes Back for the first time: how I'd felt watching that character undergo this huge emotional journey. I wanted to say something about the power of that story, about its meaning and strength even outside of a Pokemon context. I took a few stabs at it, but I was dissatisfied with the result. Something wasn't working. At any rate, I was busy with a lot of other writing projects at the time, particularly a long, philosophical sprite comic. So it was put aside once again.

    Flash forward to about a year ago. I brought the sprite comic to an end, having decided to put its ideas on the back burner for the time being. But I wanted to write, and the first thing I thought of was my old idea about Mewtwo. And I realized what hadn't been working before: I hadn't taken Mewtwo seriously enough as a person, as an individual. I had basically been transcribing the movie in first person: now my goal was to make something new from a well-worn tale.

    By this time, I'd explored other reinterpretive works like Wicked, or The Grass-Cutting Sword, which take on well-known stories or mythology and give them a darker, more adult twist. I'd also finally gotten my hands on a translation of the Japanese script for Mewtwo Strikes Back, so I could see what all the contention was about the changes made by translators.

    So, all that came together into what I'm doing now. My chief inspiration, I would say, is the idea of looking deeply at the story we all know and examining its implications. For instance, isn't Mewtwo's attempt at genocide a terrifying thought? What is it like, really, to be created for no reason and told so, explicitly? How did Giovanni command such loyalty over a creature which could crush him with a thought? Those sorts of questions. Additionally, one of my goals has been to take inspiration equally from the English and Japanese versions of the script. Both have a lot to offer: the Japanese version includes interesting themes such as a discussion of religion, but the English has a more coherent focus in the narrative of a moral crusade. Finally, I'm very interested in the relationship between Mewtwo and Mew: how do each think of the other? How do their fates intertwine?

    My hope is to create an intelligent, literary, philosophical work which explores these questions.

    What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

    Good question! For my strengths, I would say that I bring a lot of different resources and inspirations to what I write. I'm fairly skilled in grammar and able to spin a compelling, interesting sentence. I also take inspiration from my own experiences, my favorite works, and my explorations of philosophy: I always try to incorporate complex ideas into whatever I write.

    As for weaknesses: well, you may have noticed a certain long-windedness on my part. I'll admit it up front. It's my tendency, I've noticed, to go on and on and discuss things in complex detail, often where it isn't strictly necessary. This, I would say, is the flip side of the ability to write in a complex way. If I just write straight out of my brain, it tends to be meandering and tedious, and bore people to death. It's the thing I worry about most in my writing. I have to constantly be on guard about falling into that trap, often editing my sentences down so they're shorter and more effective.

    I'm sure there's someone out there willing to tell me that I could still cut it down further, given that Striking Back is already approaching 100,000 words! But I truly believe that almost all of those words are necessary, because this is a complex story with many different themes running through it. My goal is to create something complex that doesn't fall into tediousness. You decide if I've succeeded!

    Which scene was the most challenging to write? The most fun?

    Any scene which directly intersects with the anime is always something of a challenge, I think, because we all know those scenes very well, and would hate to see them misconstrued! So I try to combine something of the phrasing of the Japanese scripts, the English scripts, and the philosophical themes I’m exploring, and I study the exact details of the scenery to make sure I understand everything correctly. It’s a tricky thing to rewrite the script of Mewtwo Strikes Back, but such scenes often end up being my favorite parts, too.

    The same goes for Mew’s poetic scenes, which are a challenge of an entirely different nature.

    My favorite moments tend to be the aforementioned Mew scenes, the moments of interaction with the anime, and any scene where Mewtwo takes something we all know well, and interprets it differently. Mewtwo’s philosophical asides always set things in a new light, and I’ve tried to give the clone a wry sense of humor in those passages, too. I find Mewtwo’s amusement and skepticism rather charming.

    Which character in your story is your favorite?

    Well, you must admit my choices are a bit limited! ;D Honestly, I’d have to go with Mewtwo, wouldn’t I? The reason I began this story is because I wanted to find that voice, the voice of a lonely clone, and explore what it’s like to be that individual. And I’ve loved the journey of discovery, and I’ve basically fallen even more in love with the character.

    Looking at my other options, though, Mew and Giovanni have both been very fun to write for—Giovanni in particular has been more interesting to develop than I ever expected! As for original characters, Michael Fitzpatrick has been a fun little experiment with a moderately significant role, and I think he came off well.

    But, ultimately, it’s gotta be Mewtwo.

    Any advice for new writers?

    Definitely! The first thing I would say is this:

    Don’t be afraid to write. It’s easy to be intimidated—often your own faults as a writer seem to glower at you from the page, while everyone else’s work seems brilliant. But you can’t let that keep you from writing. If you’ve got an idea in your head, you should write it. (Given that you have the time. But it’s a very good thing to make time for. ) The only thing that will allow you to develop as a writer is to keep writing, day after day. Engaging with words, over and over again, is the secret to becoming an awesome storyteller. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb with a strange, weird idea, either—if you follow your instincts and try some strange things, you’re likely to create something very unique, which will draw people to you as a writer.

    That said, always be open to change. Listen to what people say about your writing—both the good and the bad—and try to learn from it. You don’t have to agree with everything they tell you—but you owe it to yourself to give everything you hear some thought. This, too, is essential to becoming the best writer you can be.

    On more specific matters:

    Always pay attention to grammar and spelling. Raw mechanics are the first thing people examine when they try to decide if you’re a good writer. It pays to make sure your work is polished. Having a work riddled with errors is like showing up to a fancy party in stained overalls and a tee shirt with holes in it. Check your work over before you submit it—get a proofreader if you need to. If someone catches you in an error, I’d recommend you go back and change it. It’s an easy thing to attend to, and it’ll do wonders to make your writing more enjoyable.

    Watch your sentence structure as well, and try to develop a writing style that brings your ideas across without taxing the reader. Look for smooth, elegant phrasings. Try to read the works of other writers with a critical eye: see what phrases work most effectively, and which fail. Omit needless words: don’t put anything in just for the sake of having a longer sentence. Always consider how a sentence sounds, and how many twists and turns your reader will have to follow to get to the end of it.

    Finally, the absolute core of storytelling, beyond simple structural mechanics, lies in finding what I would call the human element. We all experience the same emotions, and go through the same situations: birth, life, love, loss, fear, desire, and death. What writing is about, really—what telling stories is about—is connecting a reader to an experience they’ve never had, and making it possible for them to resonate with it because they recognize their self. They do this because of the human element.

    Which, basically, is paying attention to these things. Observing people, and trying to understand how they work. Letting go of the clichés that others use, and trying to get to the root of what it’s like to be in a given situation. What is it like to fall in love, for instance? Is it what Hallmark and popular culture tell you it’s supposed to be? Or is it a unique experience, colored by the lives and minds of the two participants, full of strangeness and awkwardness, but also surprises and realizations and delight in ways you might never have predicted?

    This doesn’t apply only to human beings, really. In fantasy stories, the same principle applies even more so, to seeing fantasy creatures not as stereotyped images, but as individuals with similar experiences and concerns to ours. Just a slightly different context.

    I think this is a huge thing for people who are writing about Pokémon to keep in mind. We think of Pokémon as collectible keychains, basically, but the games and show tell us is that Pokémon are individuals, with as much intelligence and curiosity as any human being. Writing about the Pokémon is an amazing, unique opportunity to explore a world in which two intelligent species coexist, both equally sapient, but with very different ways of viewing and living in the world. We shouldn’t squander that.

    I think it’s very important to find the human element within an individual Pokémon’s life, to ask what their fears, what their desires and concerns are. To find out what it’s like to journey with a trainer. Even if a Pokémon isn’t the main character, your human beings will still be engaging with their Pokémon in the context of intelligence, desire, friendship. Treating them as another kind of people. Or perhaps failing to, which is equally interesting.

    In short, look for what resonates with you in your own experience, what helps you explore the beauty, terror, and mystery of being alive. Then extend that same privilege to your own characters. This is the trick that truly great writers all master. Even a beginner can benefit from it. In fact, I’d say that if you can learn it, everything else will fall into place.
    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 9th February 2012 at 10:18 AM.
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