dmxrated: (Mai)
Got Yincira in on things in-between two parts of a convo I had with Jake yesterday. First, the convo I had with Jake:

Eric Ledger 11:46 am
Anyway...
I recall one of your complaints last night was that I didn't describe any part of the Original Ones' story apart from the ending.

videokillah 11:47 am
Yes.

Eric Ledger 11:48 am
Well, that's exactly what I needed help with in the first place. Deciding what goes on in each arc.

videokillah 11:49 am
Do you know how many arcs?

Eric Ledger 11:49 am
No, because I was hoping to play things by ear.

videokillah 11:50 am
Which you aren't doing enough of by not writing it.

Eric Ledger 11:53 am
I think I need to think this over.

-----

Eric Ledger 12:52 pm
I'm back.
Like, your complaint about having only an ending in mind... I just wrote about the issue at hand, and that's exactly why I commissioned you in the first place. Because ideas come a lot more naturally to you than they do to me.

videokillah 12:54 pm
I understand that. I just figure this one requires more tact than usual, so I really would rather have more stuff to work off of.

Eric Ledger 12:55 pm
And, that's what I was hoping to discuss today.
Help with coming up with stuff *to* work with.

Eric Ledger 12:56 pm
Like, is there anything in particular that needs to be established along the way, or just anything in general (like with Starbound)?

videokillah 12:57 pm
Well, lessee.
What we have: setting [not-Japan], protagonists, theoretical enemies [government in charge].

They're still 'evil', right?

Eric Ledger 12:58 pm
Right.

videokillah 12:58 pm
So we need heroes who oppose them.

Eric Ledger 1:01 pm
In general, those *could* mirror the enemies you fight in Earthbound. War machines operated by the military, civilians and various things trying to preserve their world, animals being made to attack them on sight, etc.

videokillah 1:02 pm
Fair. Still a main hero character.

Eric Ledger 1:03 pm
Will put some thought into that.
Definitely male, though.

videokillah 1:03 pm
Fitting.

videokillah 1:05 pm
What are the bad things about this world?

Eric Ledger 1:06 pm
To quote a comment by Yincira from before:
Poverty and discrimination don't necessarily need to go hand in hand, there's lots of other ways their life can be miserable that still allows them to look decent. Denial of choice, constant reminder of inferiority, exclusion, suppression of voice, poor food quality, denial of privacy, harassment, etc.

videokillah 1:07 pm
Pick some, then, that resonate with you.

Eric Ledger 1:07 pm
Denial of choice, reminder of inferiority, exclusion, suppression of voice, and harassment.
(Obviously, the humiliation they endure would fall under that last one.)

Eric Ledger 1:11 pm
As for the hero antagonist... You probably need to know what kind of person he is, right? Not just his role in society or what he looks like.

videokillah 1:12 pm
Not that far; that can be developed properly. A main emotion helps, at least.

Eric Ledger 1:12 pm
Main emotion?

videokillah 1:13 pm
Like, is he cold, or passionate, or filled with envy, or lustful, or...?

Eric Ledger 1:15 pm
Cold, I guess.
Anything else?

videokillah 1:17 pm
Not on this. Do you have more points to think of?

Eric Ledger 1:15 pm
For the story? Can't say I do.

videokillah 1:15 pm
Well, the source of the stones?

Eric Ledger 1:16 pm
I suppose they may have been crafted in ancient times, and given their properties through a form of magic that has long gone extinct.
videokillah 1:19 pm
It's a start. How do the girls get them?

Eric Ledger 1:19 pm
You mean, what are the criteria?
That, I hoped to leave up to anyone to guess.
Next question, or did I misinterpret?

videokillah 1:22 pm
No, you didn't.

Eric Ledger 1:22 pm
So, that's it for now until you determine what else needs to be established?

videokillah 1:23 pm
Possible.


On this topic, let me establish that while there probably is criteria that the Magé Stones seek in a host (even if it does vary from time to time, hair length aside), I'd like said criteria not to ever be specified directly. (Kinda like what each aspect of any version of Magicant is supposed to represent.) To the Original Ones, like with most of the mains in Starbound, I want the stones to have found them, seemingly randomly to them, instead of the other way around.

And, here is what the girls' hair would have looked like prior to being chosen:

Yuka: twin tails similar to Hatsune Miku, Lovrina from Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, or Michiru from Air.
Chiharu: unbound
Misao: braid
Nanako: narrow ponytail
Izumi: ponytail fanning out in spikes

Moving on, here is the email exchange I've had with Yincira now:

Me:

Okay. So, I know you said that I don't need the Original Ones' entire stories laid out for just the first trip through Magicant. My concern is mainly with all the subsequent visits. (Even though you already suggested some scenery and stuff for this first visit, any ideas for actual events would help as well.)

So anyway, while I still haven't gotten around to fleshing Yuka in particular out, I did ask Jake if he'd agree to write their story for me, since his sense of creativity is much more active than mine, and also because he wants me to commission him for stuff that isn't directly LS-related.

I just brought the prospect up with him again yesterday and today, and his main complaint is that I never even planned anything out other than the ending. That, of course, is exactly why I commissioned him in the first place. If I had the creativity to come up with it all myself, I'd be almost halfway through with Starbound, and Cult might have just been completed ages ago. You even said similarly yourself, in response to that Cracked article, that if your mother had the kind of talent required, she'd be a skilled pianist already.

What I need mainly, is the gist of what goes on in each arc in that story. Really, though, that's also gonna be true with Starbound itself, but we can talk about that later. If you're interested in discussing it, I'll be sure to enclose all convos in which the story was brought up.


Yincira:

It won't hurt sending me the convo's in any case, and I guess I can give it a try. Not sure how useful I'd be, though.

if your mother had the kind of talent required, she'd be a skilled pianist already.

Can you quote me that? I recall you linking me an article that claimed that if we really wanted something, we'd be doing that with our lives, which I refuted with an example of my mom. If that somehow came across as me saying that she lacked talent, I have worded that wrong. She already is a skilled pianist, but she is held back not by lack of talent, but by motor control, sensory and concentration issues related to autism, not to mention that being a musician is a people oriented job. The article had a kind of ableist tone that acted as if the only think holding people back is motivation. For example, it cited the desire to lose weight (if you really wanted that, you'd be out jogging) which ignores the fact that weight gain is metabolism speed related or that people might have physical conditions preventing them from doing it.


Me:

Actually, I had some further chat with Jake, and he said he'll do it as soon as we have more stuff to work with than just the ending. Managed to discuss stuff like who the main antagonist is, but here are the convos anyway. (You can also check related entries in my blog, under the tag "beehive brigade".)

Here is also what Jake suggested to start with in one of the convos:


Jake's words:

Okay... basically, in their world, there was a serious crisis that led to the oppression of a social class, which all of them belong to. Right?

I don't remember all I suggested, but one of them finally gets sick of all she's had to go through, and tries to create a rebellion. It goes badly and the quintet barely survives even after the empowering, which leads to them finding a secret government lab that was working on a final solution. They manage to kill off everyone in the lab and steal the technology to empower themselves, their powers growing faster than normal. When the government tries to take over the lab again, they basically declare war and manage to destroy the nation from the inside, and with this much power, they decide to go for broke anyway.


Me, continued

Regarding that second paragraph, I don't have the email anymore, but yes, that's exactly what I was referring to.

Yincira:

What kind of crisis affects that? Oppression usually starts with an exploited power imbalance and prejudice, rather than an actual crisis. In fact, claiming the oppression is a necessary consequence of a crisis is what oppressors tend to do. For example, there was the crisis of the Black Death, which led to the already marginalized Jews being made scapegoats and their murderers saying "we need to murder these people cause they poison our wells" as an excuse to persecute them. The crisis was a tool the oppressors chose to use, not the cause of the oppression.

Anyway, my mom's situation doesn't relate to this (it's actually the reverse). All those times I asked you why you want to write those fics do, though.


Regarding the crisis, I've derived this possibility from two related LS fics. But, let's suppose that it all started with a school shootout, which inspired various random acts of violence throughout the country. Eventually, this culminated in the group that Yuka and her future friends belong to being segregated from the rest of society, which in turn led to some kind of war between the two groups.

Not my own ideas, but I do have to find inspiration somewhere. The fact that I don't remember all the details from the two fics should give us room for adjustment as necessary.
dmxrated: (Mai)
From this point forward, Cries Unheard and author bloodscorpion4ever are no longer relevant. I posted the one-shot yesterday, under the title Stage One: Thwarted, and for once, actually got two reviews within the same day. Even Simply Hiiragi agrees that Blood has become a shadow of his former self ever since he returned.

In general, I can't read any Lucky Star fanfics these days without my mind shifting to Rokuna, Mondo, and all my OCs who have yet to appear in Starbound. Halfway through the next chapter is where the party will enter Magicant for the very first time, and I managed to get some help from Yincira with coming up with what this version would be like.

Things got complicated from there when I asked Jake to help me come up with some kind of plot for what would have happened with the Original Ones (i.e. this fic's version of the Beehive Brigade). While we discussed that, Jake asked me to link to the original image, and then asked if Yuka is still a flat character. I asked him if there were any ways I could flesh characters out in general, and his only real suggestion was to role-play. I gave that a try, but also sent an email asking Yincira what kinds of techniques she uses to flesh characters out a convo or so later, attaching a copy of the convo with it, since RP'ing obviously isn't something she'd be good at. (She did say on her blog that she did receive it, but has not been able to answer coherently enough.)

During said convo, I asked Jake how he was able to characterize Drake Bolak of Cult/MCC so elegantly. He told me that while there were a few sources of inspiration for him, most of his personality came from ideas that bombard him 24 hours a day, something which I don't have and Yincira probably doesn't either, but also that it's easier for him to pull off once he actually starts caring about the character in question, which currently isn't true with Yuka. I remember Yincira pointing out to me before, that I tend to focus on the gimmicky side of things, instead of the stuff that really matters. For me, most characters are placeholders for a certain element or position first, before I come up with (read: find) actual personalities for them. I would definitely say that the kinds of games I play have a big part to do with that, but other than that, I think that's just how my brain works.

While I should be able to pull off the first half of Starbound's sixth chapter, the second half is gonna be somewhat problematic. To sum up everything above, I have yet to figure out what exactly went on with the Original Ones (not just the big picture, but chapter by chapter), but before Jake and I can even look at that, I have yet to flesh Yuka in particular out, and I have yet to hear from Yincira what techniques she uses for actual characterization, in case there are any alternative methods that I'd like better.

Jake did ask me to create tags linking to anything I said about the Beehive Brigade, as well as Ellen's fic that we used to discuss. While I'm at it, I decided that I might as well create tags for all my planned or once-planned stories as long as I'm looking through everything since this blog's beginning (currently at September 2009). Will see where things go once I'm done with that.

Cornered...

Jan. 4th, 2014 04:45 pm
dmxrated: (Kagami)
So, me and Jake were discussing the circumstances of each main character in the possible Beehive Brigade game.

The gist is that they are all victims of persecution by the world they live in, and are chosen to destroy said world in order to become goddesses of a new world. Frankly, that's the only way I see them, other than as outright villains. The whole thing would be like if Izumi Wakase were the protagonist, rather than the antagonist, of Bonds, and you're supposed to root for her as she shoots up her school and eventually blows it up altogether as revenge for all the torment that the Hunt Club had put her through.

About the girls' individual situations, Nanako is the studious type, so she'd be hiding in a library to learn about stuff, since outcasts like her aren't likely allowed much of an education. Izumi was a gladiator forced to fight other people in deathmatches, nearly kills someone higher than her in a match she was supposed to lose, and has been imprisoned until gaining powers and using them to escape. Chiharu knows how to fix things, but mainly so that no one finds out if she broke anything lest they do anything to her. Misao is the only one whose parents were actually able to raise her, is currently being raised by an uncle who takes advantage of her kind personality and abuses her, and wishes to find out what happened to her parents. And Yuka... well, we toyed with several different situations, but didn't really pin anything down. (Jake has asked me to add something to her personality, and I should also note that hers is the only one not based off of anything from .hack New World.)

Between two halves of the convo, during which Jake had to have lunch, I came to realize that, in a world like what I described, such people as those girls would be all dirty and their clothes would be in tatters. Honestly, I hate to throw away the ideas that Jake took the time to think up, and did promise to apply them to at least some extent. However, a good part of what appeals to me about the five girls is the different outfits that Yincira had once suggested for each of them, reflecting on their personalities. In a state of poverty, some of them (and particularly Misao) wouldn't be able to afford the clothes specified for them.

Yuka
Misao
Izumi
Nanako
Chiharu

I did bring up later, that they don't have to live in total poverty and discrimination. They might have something of a foothold in life, such as being able to shop for stuff or spend nights at a hotel. I also mentioned that I'd especially like them to look presentable when they each first appear. Not sure how compatible that would be with at least having to contend with a world that would've been subjecting them to things ranging from various forms of humiliation to outright attempts to kill them even before they gain their powers.

Another problem that arose is the question of why they in particular were chosen in the first place. This, I found myself trying to rationalize for a bit, until I admitted unable to come up with a solid reason as to why they'd be chosen not to defend the world from any given force, but to destroy it and create a new one for themselves to govern.

Like with the Nowhere Islands in Mother 3, though, we could at least say that the circumstances that be are just way beyond their influence, and to hit the reset button is the only real option they have.
dmxrated: (Mai)
Had a live chat with Jake about the possible Beehive Brigade game. Here it is, in case Yincira would also like to participate.

Eric Ledger:
Hi.
videokillah:
Hi.
Eric Ledger:
Just replied to your comment.
videokillah:
I saw.
Eric Ledger:
So, wanna discuss anything about the game?
videokillah:
Discuss what?
Eric Ledger:
Well, do we have their roles settled yet?
videokillah:
You're the one who has to tell me.
You were going on and on about their personalities and doing nothing on their actual roles.
Eric Ledger:
Guess I’ll have another look over them later so I know who’s who in the party.
Anyway, I understand that the first thing that needs to be established in a story, after the protagonists, is the antagonists, what they do, and what their motivation is. Or at least the conflict at hand.
Am I right?
videokillah:
Not necessarily 'first thing' but it's major.
Eric Ledger:
I see.
Well, when I said the other day that they were going to be up against the world as villain protagonists driven by lack of control over their lives... Along with their roots in Cult as a villain group, that was partly inspired from that image I have, of all five of them, naked and embarrassed. I was hoping to incorporate that somewhere in the story, which would probably be the result of someone rendering them nude in an attempt to embarrass them.
From there, I thought that this could be the kind of thing that they suffer almost every day at the hands of other people.
Which is why they’re out for power for themselves.
videokillah:
Getting naked?
Eric Ledger:
Not always being denuded, but being bullied and humiliated in general as outcasts of society. The gemstones possessing their hair would be their ticket towards finally coming out on top.
videokillah:
I see.
Sure, that works.
Society was originally setup in a manner that would've benefitted them centuries ago, but as time passed, now they're the 'slaves'.
Eric Ledger:
They’ve probably *been* on the low rungs of society their whole lives, long before their hair was done up. And with their hair up and their potential to gain power, society still wants to humiliate them at every opportunity, but many also want them outright dead. (The whole thing would be similar to your story, where Captares want people like Ernest dead due to their magical potential.)
videokillah:
It's more complicated than that but yes you have the right idea.
Of course, they're young ladies, so... how did they keep their purity?
Eric Ledger:
Purity?
I’m guessing you mean purity as the reason they were selected by the gemstones now in their hair?
’m guessing you mean purity as the reason they were selected by the gemstones now in their hair?
Sorry. Still there?
Hello?
Did you get my response?
videokillah:
I'm having internet issues.
No.
Eric Ledger:
So am I, actually.
I’m guessing you mean purity as the reason they were selected by the gemstones now in their hair?
videokillah:
I already answered that...
Not just.
Just that unless said so, it's normally expected of them to be virgins, so...
Eric Ledger:
In this setting, not necessarily, though that could be the case.
videokillah:
So what are they? Which ones? And what are their original situations?
Eric Ledger:
Individually, you mean? Will have to think about that.
videokillah:
Also, is this world set in any specific style?
Or is it modern-day?
Eric Ledger:
Modern-day Japanese style.
videokillah:
All over the world?
Eric Ledger:

videokillah:
They're going to change the entire universe, so...
Eric Ledger:
Not necessarily; just to rule the world they live in.*
They will meet people who treat them right, so there is that.
videokillah:
Alright.
Well, I meant their actual duties in society, which ones are virgins, and what their original situations are.
Eric Ledger:
With that last one, I take it you mean similar to how Paula is chosen as a result of her kidnapping, Jeff is chosen as the one who can save her and Ness, and Poo is the one whose been training as royalty to join the party. Right?
videokillah:
Not just.
I mean like how Ness is a normal kid, Paula is a school assistant, Jeff is an internship student, and Poo is royalty.
Eric Ledger:
Oh, so before they’re chosen, then.
Will put some thought into that.
videokillah:
Crashed.
Last messages?
Eric Ledger:
Oh, so before they’re chosen, then? Will put some thought into that.
videokillah:
Alright, nothing new.
Eric Ledger:
All of them would be college-age. Individually, Yuka would be a normal girl, Izumi would be a rebel, Nanako would be a studious girl, Misao would be an upscale girl, and Chiharu would be either a scientist or a musician.
Chiharu is said to like both science and ocarinas.
That work?
videokillah:
Yes.
(Dinner now.)
Eric Ledger:
See ya.
Hi. Back?
Hi. Back yet?
Guess I’ll post our exchange on LiveJournal, in case Yincira would like to participate as well.

(*Actually, it is possible that they will reset the universe after all, but only if there is no way in-universe to leave/keep the current one intact while overthrowing the regime they've lived under. Such would register them as still villainous, keeping with their original conception as lesser villains created for Cult, albeit still sympathetic. Those who treated them well might be allowed to at least continue their existence in the new reality.)
dmxrated: (Mai)
Me:

Yuka: The leader of the team, mainly by being the first to begin her quest. Not really any more of an appropriate leader than Usagi Tsukino, though.
Chiharu: Easily scared, but nonetheless manages to be an active fighter, since she wants to reach her full potential in her new powers.
Misao: Charismatic, likes to be useful to the team, but often feels that she hasn't been much.
Izumi: Enjoys fighting, and especially killing, but remains loyal to the team and places their interests above her own.
Nanako: Pretty much the brains behind the team, but doesn't always get along well with everyone. Specializes in planning things out, and tends to get impatient when others disagree with her.

Should I expand upon these more? Some tips might help if you think I should.

Jake:

Yes, you really should. (Especially when you say the leader is as bad as Usagi...)

Me:

I'll try to put some more thought into these, but I might need some help if I still can't think of anything before our next AIM convo.

Jake:

Out of those roles I listed... Nanako is more like the Second, Chiharu is more like the Mother, Misao is like the Obstacle (the one who is useless...), and Izumi is more like the Fool. See if that helps.

Me:

I suppose it would. Have also asked Yincira to see if she could help me expand them more creatively, rather than doing it by-the-numbers (i.e. straight from that book you read). Will let you know when she gets back to me, and we can discuss things from there. Okay?

Yincira:

Which context is this in, the original setting or their roles in Cult?

Also, you mention roles, but the stuff you list is characterization. Which do you want?

Me:

Here are the examples that Jake gave, according to a book he read:

The Leader: even if not the wisest or most experienced, he takes the lead in most situations, tells the others what to do, delegates tasks. May ask for counsel depending on what to do, but always has the final word (even if that one is to follow someone else).

The Rock: stays strong and optimistic even in the worst situations. Turns away from shining so that others may have the glory. May look faded or unimportant, but his lack makes the group be destabilized. Takes over the most mundane duties, for the others to reveal their extraordinary talents.
The Second: takes the role of 'best friend' or 'partner' of the leader. Has some quirk or power that'd be too exotic on the leader. Quite often is the one with the most shine, great glory without as many responsibilities. Doesn't care about obeying, staying in the background or helping the leader in his own objectives, and must remain confident when the leader doubts himself.

The Mother: no matter the age, behaves like he were older than the others. Ignores glory, honor and fun in the name of practicality. May use harmless lies to his allies, so they'll remain innocent, without facing some hard truths. Capable of anything to defend those he considers his protectees; no act is too violent or drastic when his 'family' is in danger. When the others leave to conquer the world, he's the one who reminds them to bring a coat, because it may be cold.

The Foreigner: coming from far away or just having different habits or customs from the norm, is isolated quite often, to show how the group's bonds are strong and how the world out there is strange. Gets in conflicts with other teammates for questions the others accept without thinking twice.

The Conscience: responsible for pointing out the failures of the others, show how everyone could be better in one aspect or another. Needs no glory for himself, but tends to demand plenty from his companions. Usually has a very rigid posture, and doesn't allow his own behavior to slip.

The Victim: among the heroes, he's the non-heroic one. Has some grave flaw or weakness, which may bring pity or spite. It's not necessary of him to be as strong or mighty as the others - but faces jokes, acid comments and small humiliations in exchange for that. When shining alone, may face his companions' wrath.

The Fool: doesn't fit the group's methods, fulfilling his tasks in ways the others wouldn't. Doesn't take things seriously, at least at first. Doesn't try to be funny, *is* funny - whether aware of it or not. Always knows the time to mess around and to be serious.

The Sacrifice: someone beloved by the group, with plenty of shine and potential. May be considered 'too good for this world' or so noble and special that he's seen as superior. At some point, dies, suffers a terrible loss or ends up hated. His function is to be raised high and then destroyed.

Out of those roles I listed... Nanako is more like the Second, Chiharu is more like the Mother, Misao is like the Obstacle (the one who is useless...), and Izumi is more like the Fool. See if that helps.


Yincira:

Ah, that's their roles in the group dynamic. That's something you can apply to both settings, with some minor changes depending on how their stories go.

I agree with most of those matches, except Misao being the Obstacle. Her characterization describes her as feeling like she's the obstacle, not as actually being this. If she's so eager to serve the team, she may have some Mother qualities too.

They don't necessarily need to be perfect embodiments of those roles. If you put a bloodthirsty character like Izumi in the role of the naturally funny one, be careful it doesn't go overboard in a way that jars with the tone of the story too much (black humor when the rest of the characters and the story aren't could come cause dissonance).

Some friction might happen if you apply "Doesn't care about obeying, staying in the background or helping the leader in his own objectives, and must remain confident when the leader doubts himself" on Nanako while Yuka is only the leader because she came first. Nanako expects to be agreed with and Yuka's likely to be wrong. There might be a point where this puts Yuka's leadership position in jeopardy (and thus lead to character development where Yuka learns something to be a better leader).

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