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Archive for the ‘Random musings on Fanfic’ Category

Quistis

Now that I’ve finally completed Tales of the Surly Knight, and filed it away for good, I need to distance myself a bit from writing fanfic…at least for a while. If I don’t, whatever comes out of my ‘pen’ will sound too similar to the story I’ve just finished writing, and I definitely don’t want that to happen.

For example, the Seifer and Quistis I portray in Surly Knight share an unbroken history together. They grew up into antagonists for reasons I hope I explained in the story, but that’s easily resolved within the context of the rather simplistic storyline I chose to follow… Ah! The beauty of Alternate Universe! After all, Surly Knight is just another boy meets girl sort of story :-)!

However, the Seifer and Quistis in Advent of the Necromancer, are much more complex characters, separated by a whole series of issues I bring forth in the story itself. The challenge here, I think, is to be as consequent to the original storyline (presented in the game) as possible, but at the same time to take these characters beyond their original rôles. They were teens in the game. They are adults in this narrative who carry a certain amount of baggage.

The Quistis in Necromancer, carries inside her a lot of existential weight that she must come to grips with, as does Seifer. As we all do. In Quistis case, and because I can relate completely with it, her memory loss. It might seem trivial to some people, but amnesia (forced amnesia in Quistis’s case) is a terrible condition. Is like losing part of who you are, losing part of your identity… I explore this brieftly in the chapter titled Written in Blood, which is part of Quistis’s Journal.

For Seifer, the load he carries is the need to face and take responsability for past actions. The “he was possessed so it’s not his fault” theory is irrelevant to the way I conceive Seifer. I do not wish to make him into some sort of incredible super “hero” who will suddenly save the world… I find it more interesting to explore how someone like him, whom I perceive to be very charismatic (confident, assertive, certainly dominating and very focused in what he wants) allowed himself to be manipulated, and how he handles the aftermath. In fact, his past experience (whether wanted or imposed) as Sorceress Knight will condition Seifer’s worldview in this story. I’ve delved quite a bit into that in Megalopolis.

Hence the naming of Book II as Open Cities – Hidden Cities. It makes reference indeed to the physical ones: Esthar, Balamb, Dollet, Timber, Deling, but it alludes to the space we carry inside as well, which is as complex and as difficult as anything any city can ever be…

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Courtyard

I finished writing the epilogue! I only need to flesh out the rest of Surly Knight’s denoument to its convoluted plot so that at least the resolution sounds reasonable! Soon I shall be posting part II of Act IV… Although I’m not so sure about posting the Epilogue in fanfiction.net because it’s borderline ecchi (okay, maybe completely so !*.~! Nothing too kinky, just a mild romp on bed between Disdain and Surly. Oh well! That should teach me to use T to classify anything I write. I should just stick to the letter –M-!

I noticed that the ratings system to which Fanfiction.net makes a ‘reference’, includes a MA rating, but it’s not on the list of actual rating choices. Of course, they tell you that they do not accept explicit content, but they don’t explain the rationale behind that… However, they do feel that in general people using the site are adult enough to pursue a Master’s Degree (Why else would these people advertise in the site if they felt they had no customers?) But then, when does censorhip make any sense?

Anyway, before I went off in a tangent… At least I will be posting the epilogue in my own site! I need to get Surly Knight finished before I can get on with my other fic! Phew! I should have never started it in the first place…! On the other hand, this weekend I had a blast profiling the ‘villain’ in the piece! (It makes me wonder about myself sometimes ≈^.^≈) Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches in Seifer’s and Quistis’s fight… There are so many threads to wrap up here!

Word of Warning: Part II is sooo long that I’m glad I broke it into 2 parts. Once completed, ACT IV will be around 8 to 9 thousand words!… (That’s what I get for wanting to do everything in five acts!) Believe it or not I got rid of a lot of detail when I proofread through Act IV, but decided against simplifying my paragraphs… In my view, if the 13+ reader made it all the way to ACT IV, they can certainly take the convoluted narrative there! I’m not Marcel Proust after all!
Ultimately, people may take this as me being egocentric, not to mention downright selfish, but when I’m actually in the process of imagining, researching and writing, I don’t really think about pleasing anyone other than myself… Mostly I write, because it’s fun to do so! ^.^

I liked doing this so much that at one point, I devoted more time writing fanfic that to the stuff I have to write! There’s nothing worse than obligation to take away the ludic value out of everything!

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quistisreworked.jpgseifer2.jpg

This is not so much about what my fave couple is, but more about the fact that they are the only couple I find, personally, interesting to pursue. Don’t get me wrong. I like all the other FF8 characters, but they do get a certain degree of closure during the grand FMV finale once you beat the game.

  • Squall and Rinoa are together. (Their story is after all one of the central romantic plots of the game…)
  • Selphie and Irvine seem to be together (she’s wearing his hat, he’s “shooting” with what appears to be her camcorder, etc…)
  • Zell gets all the hot dogs he can eat from the pigtailed girl (although he doesn’t seem to be too interested in her…)

Everyone, in fact, is paired off with the blaring exception of Seifer and Quistis. They are the odd person out in a trio. Quistis is pictured in the end with Cid and Edea, Seifer with Fujin and Raijin… I suppose is only natural for me to pair up these two. Also given the amount of Seifer+Quistis fanfics out there floating on the net, I’m not alone in that sentiment…

How do these two come together? How does anyone orchestrate the coming together of two such different, not to mention divergent personalities?

Density

From what I’ve read so far…

  • Having Quistis teach Seifer how to become SeeD again seems to be the most popular scenario. Incumbent upon their success, she regains her precious teaching license, and he gets accepted back into the Garden organization. Of course, they are both reluctant participants in the endeavour, but the reward is something they seek. This sort of event is mostly gestated by either Cid, the Headmaster Cid or Squall (with various degress of reluctance or acceptance). Often the other characters are used to add extra spice to the conflict. In some cases, when the plot is so convoluted that there seems no way out of the conundrum, Hyne is always good last resort to resolve everything! :mrgreen:
  • Another scenario I’ve come across is the one in which Seifer is a “Wanted Man”, and Quistis sets out in her rôle as SeeD to get him. Now, this plot bunny varies in intensity on “Everyone hates Seifer, including Quistis” to “Quistis sets out to prove that her ex-student cannot possibly be so bad as people say he is…”
  • A third possibility is a combination or permutation of the two described above, placed in various settings…

Depending on the storytelling skills of the writer, the ensuing fics can either fly, float or just plain never take-off… Nevertheless, they all seem to be finding an audience, since readers of fanfic come in all shapes, sizes, interests and ages!

As to my own stuff? The story I’m in the process of writing had been taking shape in my mind for quite some time, as a matter of fact, ever since I finished playing the game more than two years ago… It just bothered me greatly that everyone could be given a happy ending with the noticeable exception of my favourite playing character, Quistis. Therefore, I set out -mentally- to imagine for her a feasible partner within the context of the game and its aftermath. I didn’t think Zone was up to par, Watt too uninteresting, Laguna and his two cohorts too old, and then of course it hit me like the proverbial hammer! Seifer!

In truth, Seifer is a perfect foil for Quistis! Even in the video game, Quistis is portrayed as being rather big-sister like! She’s usually the one instructing the others (plus us the gamers) on how to go about doing things… She could’ve probably taken over Squall’s responsabilities (in a way she did alongside Xu!), but instead she chose to support Squall. In my opinion, Quistis and Squall are very similar to each other. They like rules, and they like to obey rules. (Heh! heh! Squall only breaks rules when he’s given permission to do so! ;))

The big difference between these two (Squall and Quistis) is that he tends to internalize everything, while Quistis is more articulate about the way she feels. So it would make sense that she would watch over Squall the way a big sister would watch over her little brother. For me, Quistis is that kind of person. On the other hand, I can see why she and Seifer would have a conflictive relationship. She’s a stickler for rules. He is by nature a rebel rouser, and arrogant to boot! The kind of person who likes to question authority… hence the ‘problematic’ qualifier that Quistis herself gave him!

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I’m not a Shakespearean scholar nor anything like that, but I’ve read and seen on stage most of his plays! I’m not fond at all of the bard’s so-called historical dramas (but many people are –Big Time-). I’m more into his fluffier stuff: the comedies; although I admit that my all time favourite by this playwright is The Tempest… But I think doing a FF8 fanfic “à la Tempest” style would’ve been too much of a challenge for my poor brain! –However, You, the reader, are more than welcome to try it out …! ;)

After, The Tempest, my fave is Much Ado About Nothing… I was just re-reading that particular comedy on a nice sunny day when I thought that Seifer would make a very fun Benedick! Of course, once the ball started rolling downhill, nothing was able to stop it! It just got larger and messier! Nevertheless, to keep things nice and neat I’ve decided to follow these guidelines I’ve set out for myself:

  • Tell the story in five acts
  • Each act will consist of five various scenes (in this I’m not following Shakespeare, who does three scenes per act Oopsies! I guess this is neither true for the Bard, nor I’ve found out for myself!)
  • Try to blend as much as possible the FF8 character with their closest in affinity Much Ado counterpart ;)… so that Seifer is Benedick, Quistis/Beatrice, Squall/Claudio, Edea/part Leonato, part Don Pedro, etc…
  • To say more would be a spoiler….

How did Tolkien get into the mix? Well, I was bitching about how the movieLord of The Rings (my brother was watching it) was like a neverending videogame battle and thinking that the movie felt more like a fan-movie than an real adaptation of Tolkien’s work… and I thought… why not? If that dude Peter Jackson can do it, so can I! Just take some stuff out of Tolkien and change it around a bit, and voilá Tales of the Surly Knight was born!

I follow the plot of Much Ado very, very loosely. but at some point that will be changing. What did I borrow from Tolkien?

  • Goblins (but I made them white with blue smelly blood)
  • the idea of shieldmaidens,
  • I will also be writing in Balrog(the thing Gandalf battled in the dephts of Moria)
  • The bet Legolas had with Gimli during the battle of Helms Deep
  • And a host of other more obscure Tolkien-like things as the plot thickens

In the end, what I end up with is something that is neither Shakespearean in nature, nor Tolkien-like! but I hope you, the reader, have as much fun reading it as I do writing this stuff….!

surlycastle.jpg

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Nomura

I always felt Quistis was overshadowed in the video game by the cuteness of both Rinoa and Selphie. Nomura (the character designer for FFVIII) made Quistis into a bit of a loner. I find his approach to Quistis’s characterization very similar to the one he adopts for Aya Brea, the main character of Parasite Eve (Square Soft, 1998) … A very intelligent person who finds it difficult to relate to her own peer group outside the confines of work. Of course, Parasite Eve is based on a novel of the same name, and Aya’s age is around 25, so she’s older and certainly more self-assured than our Quistis. Nevertheless, it’s my opinion that in his conception of Quistis for Final Fantasy VIII, whether it was done consciously or unconsciously, Aya’s personality is somewhat continued in Quistis…

As for my own fic, having played both games, I decided to tinkle a bit with the notion of an Aya-Quistis hybrid. Let us recall that this girl made SeeD at 15, and got her instructor license at 17! Therefore, she is a child prodigy! Mature in many ways (combat & academics), and so very inmature in others (life and inter-personal relationships). She seems to have no problems dealing with a much older crowd (Dr. Kadowaki, Xu who’s not a lot older but is nevertheless Quistis’s senior), but when interacting with her own peer group, she projects herself as their older sister (she even convinced herself of that upon self-analysing her confused feelings for Squall), or becomes instructor-lke. All the others treat her with the utmost respect (well, except for Seifer…!), and they actually listen to what she has to say…

So that Quistis way (at least in my fanfic…) of dealing with her emotions for her own age group seems to be by either becoming their sister, their instructor, their leader or a mix of all three! That’s why for me a Seifer/Quistis pairing is so interesting! Firstly because it has not been established in the game as the Rinoa/Squall, or Selphie/Irvine scenario. Also, Seifer, being quite a maverick, doesn’t fit into any of Quistis’s pre-established schemes of dealing with people: He’s her same age. (In the fic, Seifer will be 20 soon, and Quistis just turned 20 “Density”) He’s not interested in a fraternal relationship, but he’s definitely not part of her fanclub either (Remember that the Trepies only worship from afar :) !) It’ll be very interesting for me to explore how the relationship between these two will evolve given the way I have chosen to characterize them! I’ve even thrown them together to live in the same apartment (!)

Quistis in CGI

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Seifer Almasy by Nomura

A badass is someone who is ready and willing to cause or get into trouble… And of course, Seifer Almasy, fits that description to a “T”! When I decided to write a fic with Seifer as a main character, words such as cocky, arrogant and self-assured came to mind… Not to mention impatient and impulsive! I think this particular facet of his personality is what led to his downfall… This ‘act before you think’ approach to life can sort of land anyone into a lot of trouble, like it did for him… and with anything, once you embark on a course of action, stopping is easier said than done.

There are many fanfic characterizations of Seifer out there. I’m afraid that in many of them he gets punished (a lot) before he can have fun… In some cases, I find all this punishment to atone for your sins business quite tedious. The one I enjoyed the most (and stays away from all that) is called Second Chance written by Sickness in Salvation (this person must be a KoRn fan too ;)! I think anyone who liked my fic, will definitely enjoy this one since this is the fic that inspired me to write mine… It’s a fun read of how Quistis and Seifer became a couple! I found it nice and fluffy, very funny indeed!

As for my own fic, I decided to write characters that I could relate with more, so I made everyone a bit older. Quistis is 20, and Seifer likewise… in other words, they are of legal age in most countries. I refrain from saying ‘adults’, because some people might lack years, but they are, and act mature… (unfortunately some have many years but act the other way! :/ )

People might (or not) have noticed that smoking does not figure at all in my fic. Is not that I envision the world as a smokeless environment, but I decided that my Seifer doesn’t need to smoke, or shoot drugs to show he’s a badass; instead, how he goes about doing things, and how other people perceive those actions will do… However, I do have him go into bars, and have the occasional drink, and since I was in the mood to change things around, I also made the decision to phase out his ubiquitous grey trench coat…but kept Hyperion, his gunblade. I also gave Seifer a GF of his own!

As for the new look and the bike in ‘Megalopolis’… I was inspired by FFVII: Advent Children! Likewise, the fighting sequence in ‘Density’ was a compilation of the anime Tsubasa Chronicles and Advent Children! And if anyone is watching or reading Tsubasa you will definitely notice certain similarities between the ninja Kurogane (another badass) and my depiction of Seifer! ( I do love Kuropon!)

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I discovered the existence of this strange realm a few years ago, while desperately searching the internet for a walkthrough that would help me out of a particular Final Fantasy dungeon… I must admit that at the time, I was already drowning in the sea of reading assignments (ie. Stuff-I-Must-Read-Else-Flunk-Out) so didn’t pay much attention to it… Heh, heh…yeah, I know, all those books on my reading list were not able to separate me from my beloved Playstation!

It didn’t help that the two or so fanfics I actually read were at best described as fledging efforts… (And yet I’ve read worse written walkthroughs with avid rapacity!) Anyway, I re-entered this realm half a year ago, and instead of being a sort of an on-transit passenger, I decided to stay and explore the land…

How can I describe my great delight when I discovered that the pairing of Seifer Almasy and Quistis Trepe I had envisioned after having played the game, also formed part of other people’s imaginary!

I think I’ve read every single one of those fanfics! The good, the bad and the ugly! Holding none in disdain, finding something or everything to like in all!… to quote that great master of narrative, J.L.Borges:

“There is no poet, however mediocre, who has not written the best line in literature, but also the most miserable ones. Beauty in not a privilege of a few illustrious names.”

I wonder what he would have thought about Fanfic… He probably would’ve been greatly intrigued by it!

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