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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Elitist Earth Politician
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NSFW; but still summs up fanfiction in general :)

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:46 am 
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Cardboard Leo Ace
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Would it be alright to make a topic where people can ask for help about (un)finished work and how to write better?

It can be a topic to recruit beta-readers for their work, as well.

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:52 am 
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That would be this thread.


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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace
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Thanks.

Well... I've got this work done (part 1 is finished, thank goodness) that involves the crossing over of two (and maybe more) series.

One is your generic shonen action series, while the other is your generic magical girl ser- wait, her costume's color scheme is like a Gundam, and was that a gigantic pink beam of death?!

This is the link, and it's more focused on the generic shonen universe. Part 2 is where the second (and possibly third) series begins to make their influence known.

There are a lot of scenes that this work needs to put its setting into play correctly, but for the life of me, I can't plot them out nicely enough.

I also tried to make the generic shonen side a little more cynical, with the cloak-and-dagger machinations and behind-the-scenes things that come with a story like this.

And if anyone would beta-read "Arcane Heart" I would be eternally grateful.

If this post seems to veer from the rules and regulations of this forum, feel free to remove it.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:40 am 
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I've been thinking about the fanfic idea I posted a while ago, and realised two problems:

1. As it stands, the story would just be so damn long that I'd never finish it if I started.
2. One of the story elements is gnawing at me a lot more than the rest.

Regarding the second one... I've ranted a lot on these boards about the Soma subplot in 00, and I was also pretty unhappy with Cagalli's treatment (among other things) in Destiny. And I've come to the realisation that my frustration with the portrayal of female characters in recent Gundam shows isn't something that's going to go away on its own, but maybe I can finally get it out of my system by writing an explicitly feminist Gundam story.

(And before you say anything, no, that does not mean making all the male characters worthless or evil)

The Artificial Newtype or Supersoldier archetype fits in well with the themes I want to try and explore - the antagonists want to dominate and control her, and if they can't do that, then they'll try and destroy her. The challenge for the lead will be first to break out of her own conditioning, and then to try and rescue her "siblings" (both male and female) from the facility where they were developed.

However, if she starts out essentially a blank slate, I'm worried about how to make her interesting.

I'm having a bit of trouble deciding whether to set the story in an original or existing Gundam universe. If I go with an existing one, G and Turn A don't fit, and I don't want to do 00. UC, Seed, X, and even Wing could all work,though.

Any thoughts?

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:06 pm 
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uh

that would depend on what you think a feminist Gundam character would look like...keeping in mind that what goes on in Gundam is mostly the traditional province of men, and what male and female characters in Gundam usually wind up doing is largely a reflection of traditional gender roles anyway (i.e. most of the time, the males go do most of the fighting and be the heroes and stuff and push the plot along, the females provide some sort of support--be it bridge bunnies or piloting the support mecha or being The Girlfriend or what have you)


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:23 am 
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Cardboard Leo Ace
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You should also be careful not to step into the more rabid forms of feminist thinking and ideology when writing your fic...

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:32 am 
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Yeah, that's pretty obvious. I stated that I don't want to demonize men.

Actually, today's been a bit of an exercise in frustration, due to the fact that, despite having themes in mind, I don't have a starting point for the story yet. It's a pain knowing what you want to write about but not having the story coming.

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:44 am 
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Or maybe he should. Not with the main character, but perhaps one of the supporting or villainous characters. We've seen fascists, well-intentioned extremists, insane fundamentalists, royalists, zealots before in Gundam, why not an overly extreme feminist.

But there's also the thing to consider, how could you make a feminist Gundam series when the show itself has never shown gender to be a deciding role in who can or can't be a mecha pilot (yes, the female pilots are stuck into the big-sister/girlfriend/dead variety, but we've never seen 'You can't be a pilot, you're a girl') and the only thing you could do without turning it into a polemic is effectively give the main character XX chromosomes instead of XY and make Kamile a girl. You don't need to make into an ineffectual door-mat or into a hardened space bitch, she's just a woman in the middle of a space war. Any percieved sexism in the mecha genre is from the writers and creators and not the Universe itself.

Admittidly, I've had this sort of idea in my head for ages now (Gundam fic with female main character), so actually talking about is good because there's a sounding board and not a brick wall.


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:07 am 
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I don't think Vent Noir's idea is bad in itself, because as ShadowCell pointed out, Gundam is a fairly manly realm. So what you more likely will end up doing is a fairly touch (manly?) female lead. Is that feminism? Not necessarily, but it might be different. ShadowCell himself has Emily doing quite a bit in his fic, for example, and some pundits might argue that on a strictly ideological basis, making Emily a killing machine (albeit briefly) is somehow robbing her of her feminine side. Feminism as an ideology (I do hesitate to call it that) is wonderfully diverse, and you might end up gathering actually critics by stating that "this is a feminist take on Gundam" because you can't please everyone that subscribe to a meaning of that word.

An easier way out would be to set out to write a fic with a strong female lead and run with that. Don't trip yourself over by thinking if what you're writing fits into a specific ideological context. What actually tends to happen more often than not that without even trying to you will write out some personal ideology or other into the text. You can find examples of that on this forum too. :mrgreen:

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:28 am 
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Good point. Feminism has definately changed over the last hundred years from the suffragette movement to get women the vote to the woman's lib and sexual liberation and breaking out of the tradition gender roles of the houseFraw of the 60s. It isn't a 'quick fix' situation and with so many different venues.

Admittidly, with mine, I was going to have it play on the traditional 'falling into the cockpit' scenario except it's the character we assumed to be just the main character's girlfriend and then present her as the main character from there on in. Maybe being a combat pilot as well as being the 'coming of age' story also becomes the case of her discovering her own identity and ability to break free of the 'gender role' placed on her by her family and culture.

Who knows?


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:57 pm 
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It's also worth pointing out that there is a different variety and interpretation of feminism for just about every feminist you meet. If you try to play to one particular brand or interpretation of feminism, you run the risk of winding up with a story that's really forced and transparent. And writing a feminist Gundam story should not come before writing a good story.

It also depends, I suppose, on what all you mean by "femininity." If by "femininity" you mean the traditional nurturing and caring role of females and you mean to simply elevate that to the same social status as the traditional active and powerful role of males, then that may not work so well for a Gundam protagonist. In Gundam, the characters that drive the plot along the most are usually mobile suit pilots, the protagonist included, so your female character will probably be piloting a mecha--and that throws her into scenarios where being nurturing and caring will probably get you killed and she'll have to leave that all behind when she launches, for pragmatic reasons if nothing else. There's a reason why Frau Bow never actually did go pilot the Gundam, and why her threatening to do so is what finally got Amuro to get off his ass and go fight, and it has far more to do with Frau's likely lack of piloting skills.

I dunno what this is worth, but in my trying to write a fairly traditional Gundam story with a female lead, I've found that the sort of stuff a Gundam protagonist does really doesn't translate well into expressions of femininity, especially when your audience comes from a culture that subconsciously if not explicitly expects to see males doing all this stuff. What's worked for me, then, is to write my character not as an icon of female empowerment or something, but just as a character who happens to have two X chromosomes. Let her achievements and abilities speak for themselves. If at the story's end you can only sum up her character or role in the story in terms of, say, being another character's girlfriend, then you're probably doing it wrong.

Not even giving her a romantic partner necessarily changes that, incidentally. It's not as though independent, self-actualized, well-adjusted women don't seek romantic and sexual fulfillment. If, like Soma/Marie, she winds up just being defined as _____'s Girlfriend or something, then you probably missed the mark; but it's not as though that's necessarily how a romantic relationship must go.


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:41 pm 
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As I stated in my original post, the main feminist theme I want the story to be about is breaking free of control, which is why the artificial newtype/supersoldier idea fits so well - she and her "siblings" are people who have been basically created as tools to be used, and she will need to first break free of that control herself, and then save others.

EDIT: Of course, the first part isn't going to happen on its own (ref: Anthy from Revolutionary Girl Utena)

(Regarding story vs theme, I know that some people have clear ideas of what themes they want to express from the outset, while others discover the themes trough writing. I guess which approach works depends on the individual)

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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:26 am 
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I've used both male and female protagonists in my writing, and what shadowcell said is mostly true. Gender has little to do with how one faces actual combat. What would matter more with regards to gender would be out of combat. Every person deals with stresses differently, what changes with gender is more how other characters might interact with them. Supporting characters with ideals that conflict with a female combat pilot, would react to that protagonist in different ways. It could range from trying to be gentle and using the “Kid Gloves” when dealing with that protagonist because they feel that a woman is too soft for combat and thus coming off as patronizing. The other side of it could be that a character could place ever increasing physical demands on a female protagonist because they think that a woman is not strong enough and are out to prove it. There's a whole spectrum that you could play with in that regard. You could also have a female protagonist who thinks that being a girl means she gets special treatment, and then a commanding officer who thinks otherwise.

Blarg, now you've got me thinking about how I would write this for an original AU, and I sure as hell don't have the time to write it right now.

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:07 pm 
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Some halpz for villain development?

If you click the gundam fic in my sig, you will find my most recent development on a real douche bag in my fic...whatever.

Evil isn't without cause. If I wanted a seriously deranged character, would revenge be a far too common theme?

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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:14 am 
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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Actually, I object to the belief that evil has to have a cause, at least in fiction. It's entirely possible to write a character that's plain evil, just cuz. It works best if you write the character such that the reader goes "holy crap, this guy is just bat**** insane, but... functional, too. He gets away with it, and it's all believable." Maybe the character's brain is just all jumbled up, and he gets pleasure from all the wrong things, but somewhere along the way he's learned to control his urges just enough to avoid societal repercussions. Keep in mind, though, that such a character almost certainly wouldn't be able to (or allow himself to) hold a position of traditional power, such as high government.

Now yeah, it's true that pretty much all evil has a cause, but you don't always have to hold the readers hand through figuring out that cause. As a popular point of reference, take the Joker from The Dark Knight and his conflicting stories about how he got his scars. Obviously, both stories can't be true, but that doesn't mean they're both false, either. Maybe your character did have something like that happen to them, but that doesn't mean you have to walk the reader through it. I would recommend, though, that you, as a writer, operate with the knowledge of that background, as a reference point when writing the character. Just don't feel obligated to share with the reader; leave them to use their own twisted imagination to fill in the blanks. It's fine to drop hints about background, or at least a possible background (in fact, hints and allusions are probably required to pull it off); just don't explain everything. Human nature to be most afraid of/intrigued by the unknown, and all that.

Now, I'm not saying that you have to write a character this way if you want them to be evil, but I am going to caution you against what it sounds like you're trying to do; don't be like "Uh, I need an evil character. A real jerk, a psychopath. But wait, people aren't psychopaths just because, they have to have a reason. Hmm... Maybe revenge? Yeah, that's it, revenge!" I'm not going to say this can't be done well, but it sounds like you might just be using vengeance as a shallow excuse to have a psychopath, when all you're really interested in is having a psychopath (or maybe a sociopath, if you're of that inclination). If your heart isn't really into the revenge aspect, it probably will just come off as a shallow justification. It's your character; don't compromise them right off the bat just because you're worried about pleasing a random picky reader.

Hope that helps!


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:49 pm 
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What the consensus on design borrowing here? I've got a Gundam SEED fic that uses copies of the RX-79GP01-Fb Full Vernian Zephranthes and the XXXG-01W Wing Gundams.

Do people here care about that sort of thing?

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:53 pm 
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I hate it when people do that. I find it very distracting and lazy.

y'know, for my part.


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

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Noted. I wouldn't do it if I actually had some money to commission some drawings of the mecha I've designed. Sadly, I'm jobless and artistically talentless.

I'll keep it off of here then. Thanks for quick answer.

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