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Moe Check! ยป Original Character Altitis

From that Nanoha StrikerS Lucky Star parody.

It requires a bit of discipline, or at least a healthy amount of guilt, in order to stick to even the vaguest schedule for blogging. Best-laid plans and all that, however, expecially when one is laid low by Real Life and illness, thus reducing the available time for Deep Thoughts about anime. I could regurgitate yet another Nanoha GamerS comic, or a quick one-liner with regards to some new facet of the Summer Season in the 2008th Year of our Lord and Saviour Sephiroth the Pretty, but that feels a bit like cheating. So I'll shift one square to something in the general proximity of anime in general, even if it is not exactly blogging about anime as much as blogging about stuff related to anime.

In this case, anime fanfiction. Yes, again.

I'm still working on several pieces of fanfiction at the same time, in an astonishing display of multitasking that probably would be more impressive if it weren't about sock-puppeting fictional characters owned by other people into some semblance of plot and drama. One of these stories is, as has been mentioned before (and which I am too lazy to link to), something set in the universe, nay, multiverse of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, post-season three. I have a large and unfeasibly detailed timeline of events which spans one thousand and five hundred years, albeit clustered with specific dates in the periods where the stories actually take place. The cast stretches to, if not thousands, then at least Far Too Many to be comfortably introduced without the reader feeling like they've stumbled onto a Baby Picture conversation. (You know the type.)

This is considered par for the ficwriting course for me. What struck me hard enough to trigger a seed of blog post inspiration, and this is not very hard at all, was the assertion that since I have so many original characters, this was no longer a work of fanfiction, but original fiction instead.

I can, with some effort, understand the claim: after all, for the most part, fanfic readers wish to read about the canon characters, rather than the diseased creations of an amateur author's fevered imagination. What they want the canon characters to do is best left for another discussion, especially since I'm trying to keep this blog at least somewhat family-friendly. The gist is that since the canon characters take something of a backseat to the action in the fanfic, it is no longer worthy of that "fanfic" label. What it is to be called now is anyone's guess.

And yet, I cannot quite tell the story I wish to tell without both using the world of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, as well as relegating the canon characters to the sidelines, at the same time. This is not for lack of trying, but just that the story requires several character types who do not appear in a major capacity in the canon. In fact, the only one who qualifies is Yuuno, who was carefully set aside to the relegation bench from a large part of StrikerS, possibly due to possession of a Y chromosome.

The Nanoha-verse is large, varied, intriguing, and almost criminally unexplored. There is a great deal of background information in the setting that we simply Do Not Know, a limitation which apparently Seven Arcs share as well, considering how bizarre some of their explanations have been. (How many moons are there over Midchilda?) And the large majority of the canon character show absolutely no sign of interest in exploring these mysteries, preferring instead to blow things up. I have created my original characters almost by necessity, for lack of anyone else to act as the Watson to Yuuno's Sherlock.

If anyone else has any better idea on how to proceed, I'm certainly open to suggestions. Or, to be honest, I will be once I get over this accursed virus.

One Response to “Original Character Altitis”
  1. Balorn says:

    Nothing wrong with original characters, as long as a good job is done of introducing them and they're not blatant mary sues. Heck, a few of my favorite fanfics have a pretty big focus on original characters.

    The trick, I think, is to introduce them slowly, one or two at a time, letting the reader get a feel for them before introducing another, and not, say, bringing in a dozen new characters all at once with minimal descriptions, with the expectation the reader can remember them all (yes, I've read… and stopped reading… fanfics that did this).

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