Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Feel free to post any fan works in this forum.
Post Reply
Guest Poster
Posts: 1266
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:42 am

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Guest Poster » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:34 pm

I recall a fanfic that actually incorporated the survival theme, but instead of zombies, it featured a Battle Royale theme. It wasn't that bad, though I wasn't too fond of the sueish OC.

I kinda disagree about Kenji, due to the mixture of his mental instability and extremely low vision, but in order to avoid dragging this thread further off topic, I'll leave it at that.
Sisterhood: True Edition. Hanako epilogue I wrote. Now expanded with additional chapters.

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6059
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:46 pm

Surviving after an apocalypse would be an interesting one,
For anyone who's actually thinking about this: Please consider Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven (of Ringworld fame) to be required reading!
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

User avatar
Liminaut
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:52 pm
Location: Broca's Area

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Liminaut » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:24 am

Lydon wrote:Something that has bugged me with all the zombie fics out for a while now is I guess the elephant in the room. How do you realistically expect most of the Katawa cast to survive any "after the end" type of story, much less zombies?
That's kind of the point, actually. "Can you die well?" Characters get put in a horrific situation with no right choices. Do you risk your life fighting for someone who can't fight themselves? Or do you leave them to die and save the ones that can be saved?

With KS, there is another issue of how characters can use their own abilities to make up for each other's disabilities.

There is a bigger question: are zombies a good way of telling these stories?

Cons:
1) Zombies are kind of overdone, and have been for a long time.
2) Zombies allow the author to be lazy; no thinking hard the gnarly details, just *boom* *zombies!*

Pros:
1) Everybody knows what zombies are like, so they become a quick shorthand for the threat.
2) Zombies make a unique threat in that they present constant pressure on the characters, as opposed to a sudden natural disaster that makes a big hit then is done.
3) A widespread zombie outbreak makes sure government forces are too busy to rescue the characters. They have to rescue themselves.
4) They are manageably deadly. The characters can fight them at great risk. If the story was about crazies sweeping through with guns doing ethnic cleansing -- there is no fighting a group like that.

My current thinking is that they're great for light work, but zombies have some clear limitations. Putting zombies in a story is a big sign saying "don't take this too seriously".

User avatar
Oddball
Posts: 2917
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Oddball » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:33 am

So, any chance of talking about anything NOT Zombie related here?
Not Dead Yet

User avatar
Liminaut
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:52 pm
Location: Broca's Area

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Liminaut » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:47 am

Speaking of which (i.e.,"don't take this too seriously") how did this zombie stuff derail a really interesting thread about the uses and value of fanfic?

To try to put this back on the rails:

My current thinking is that in order to be worth doing, fan fiction has to say something interesting about the original work. KS has an amazing number of opportunities for this kind of thing. For instance, the whole falling-out between Lily and Shizune. We see the end result, but we know almost nothing about the actual event itself. That's a natural challenge for story-writing, as long as the work enhances KS itself; that is, gives the canon scenes more meaning.

My current thinking is also that fanfic is actually good way of exploring works in general. Some part of brain has started thinking about fanfic about Camus' "The Stranger". Of course, the rest of my brain is running screaming from that notion.

User avatar
Comrade
Posts: 1248
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:29 am
Location: Micheal Levi's lyre is real good yo

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Comrade » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:21 am

I think that a thread that tells people what they should or shouldn't write about, is a bad idea altogether (i haven't read the whole thread, but judging from the title and the comments i have read, that's what it is)
Founder and cheif librarian ofThe Yamaku Library, A Fan Fiction Archive
Vice president of the Yamaku Book Club
Sea wrote:Comrade, as Khan Bek has convinced me to give Democracy a try.
"French are just Spanish Germans, therefore Mexicans."
An American, 2014

User avatar
Leaty
Posts: 515
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 9:18 pm
Location: Exile

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Leaty » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:36 am

Comrade wrote:I think that a thread that tells people what they should or shouldn't write about, is a bad idea altogether (i haven't read the whole thread, but judging from the title and the comments i have read, that's what it is)
Nobody's telling anybody what to do in this thread. We're discussing the line between ideas best-suited for fanfic and ideas best-suited for original fiction.

I'm not going to pat anybody on the back just for filling a word file with nonsense. If I think somebody else's idea is moronic, I'm damn well going to say it.

User avatar
Comrade
Posts: 1248
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:29 am
Location: Micheal Levi's lyre is real good yo

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Comrade » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:53 am

Well, I'm just going to stay out of this thread, i can't contribute, and i don't wish to get involved in your arguments or whatever you're doing here.
Founder and cheif librarian ofThe Yamaku Library, A Fan Fiction Archive
Vice president of the Yamaku Book Club
Sea wrote:Comrade, as Khan Bek has convinced me to give Democracy a try.
"French are just Spanish Germans, therefore Mexicans."
An American, 2014

User avatar
forgetmenot
Posts: 375
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:33 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest.

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by forgetmenot » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:59 am

Oddball wrote:So, any chance of talking about anything NOT Zombie related here?
Well, zombies are a subset of plot devices, so I feel like any discussion revolving around them could be applied to other similar plot devices, such as a nuclear holocaust or a resurgence of the black plague. It's something to be discussed, considering post-apocalyptic scenarios are at very least a trope within fanfiction, if not a full-on subgenre. Granted, there are nuances, but that happens with any type of story centered around the end of the world as we know it.
Leaty wrote:I'm not going to pat anybody on the back just for filling a word file with nonsense. If I think somebody else's idea is moronic, I'm damn well going to say it.
And that's really the point of this thread, isn't it? The author needs to be able to sell his/her idea if their work is to be at all successful. This doesn't just apply to fanfic, either. There's a reason I will probably never read 50 Shades of Grey, and that's because the premise seems utterly idiotic to me.

In short, what constitutes a compelling narrative is entirely subjective. Stephen King's The Stand is an excellent example of compelling post-apocalyptic fiction with a rather trite premise. That being said, there are limits to what most discerning readers will find palatable. Fanfic has the especially tough job of hanging in the balance of what readers expect from the source material and whatever is new and fresh enough to not seem like a complete rehash.

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6059
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:48 am

Liminaut wrote:2) Zombies allow the author to be lazy; no thinking hard the gnarly details, just *boom* *zombies!*
No!
No story does allow the author to be lazy about basic stuff like that.
It's just that with zombie stories a surprising number of authors seem to think they can get away with it.
There's a reason I will probably never read 50 Shades of Grey, and that's because the premise seems utterly idiotic to me.
That one has a story and even a premise?
I thought it was just a H-novel...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

Lydon
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 10:16 pm

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Lydon » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:45 am

Well on the original topic. Fanfiction is an incredibly broad term. A fic taking place at Yamaku with all OCs, a Pseudo route with a new hero or heroine, a fic with Iwanko dealing with the fallout of what happens with Hisao long after he is gone to Yamaku, or even a fic where the KS cast pilots Evangelions. I think I saw that somewhere. All these ideas and a lot more are all considered fan fic about Katawa Shoujo.

Now that being said the further you get away from the cannon cast, events, and characters, the more work you are going to have to do as an author in both writing your story and selling it so to speak to readers. Not because one idea is "better" than another but rather some ideas need more research, thought and planning put into them. I agree we shouldn't tell people what to write or to set "rules" about what to do in fanfiction because if we do we miss out on some of the best stories people can come up with.

ProfAllister
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by ProfAllister » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:54 am

Okay, going to try to keep with the attempts to get back on topic.

Just to wrap up a couple loose ends, on the subject of contagion and the ability to spread beyond localised outbreaks and cross natural boundaries, there are all sorts of reasonable explanations for how a pandemic can overcome those (e.g., insider threats, binary compounds, secondary vectors, etc.).

More importantly, zombie outbreaks/apocalypses are a speculative fiction trope. Speculative fiction can be broken down into two categories: analogy and the "ideal gas."

Analogy is simple and straightforward - the zombies are a stand-in for something else, be that rampant consumerism, burgeoning immigration, creeping monoculture, socialistic undermining of the natural aristocracy, organised religion, bronies, or really whatever you wish to thematically explore.

The "ideal gas" is a reference to physics problems, in which the properties of the surrounding air are swept under the carpet, to make the problem simpler and help grasp the underlying principles. If that analogy isn't clear enough, this form of speculative fiction uses some fanciful mechanism to remove complicating factors, to better meditate on the human condition.

And here is the real reason why the zombie apocalypse doesn't make a big deal of the "how it got to this point." If the zombies are used analogically, the initial mechanism is somewhat irrelevant - the author is writing about a zombie apocalypse that's already happened because he's really talking about a different sort of "plague" that is equally pandemic. If used as an "ideal gas," they serve as a lens by which the author can look at humanity (and at specific characters) as they return to a philosophical "state of nature" (or some similar concept).

Needless to say, most concrete examples of speculative fiction pull from both analogy and "ideal gas."

And by this, we can segue back into the world of KS fan fiction. In general, splashing speculative fiction elements into KS is frowned upon. In light of the above, that's no surprise - few, if any, speculative fiction interweavings actually use any of the substance of speculative fiction; they only take the surface gloss. The ideal KS speculative fiction would directly address the most notable element of KS: the disabilities. The easiest example would be one often used as a joke in fan art: cybernetic/bionic augmentation. If there's a medical procedure that could eliminate the characters' disabilities, would they? Should they? And what sorts of social pressures might push them in either direction?

(As a caveat, I have no quarrel with "just for fun" stories. I also have no issue with people who just want to write characters they love doing cool things. But from a literary standpoint, they rarely have any lasting value, and often work better as original stories than as fan fiction.)

As a response to Leaty criticising my use of the term "cripple porn." I don't wish to make an ass of you or of Mptions, so I won't speculate on whether you're familiar with the general usage of that term within the KS community. For the benefit of those who are not, it comes from the initial reason many people get when hearing about KS: a visual novel with sex scenes (inevitably interpreted as "porn game") where all the love interests are afflicted with some sort of disability. The most visible internal use is probably one or more dev blog entries, where it's used as a sort of self-deprecation. That's the usage I have in mind when I use it - a reminder to not take myself too seriously, because I can't reasonably expect anything KS-related I do to have any lasting impact. Speaking so crassly could probably be considered juvenile, but the intent of the crass language is to draw the reader's attention, as such a term is obviously being used ironically. In effect, it's supposed to evoke the reaction of "why would you even say something like that?" Whether such use is ill-advised or not is certainly up for debate, though.

Now, so as to avoid this becoming "The Limits of SilentCook's patience," I'd recommend that further discussion on off-topic points be relegated to PM or a new thread.

So, to recap my opinion on the (on-topic) matter:

1: If a story has even the barest connection to the KS universe, the author is free to claim that it's KS fan fiction.

2: Whether or not it should be KS fan fiction (or exist at all) is a legitimate discussion. I generally ask the following questions:

A) Does it feature characters from the VN and/or supplementary features (like the dev blog and/or Mishimmie)? Is there significant character detail "built on" beyond what is contained in the VN? Does this character detail contradict anything in the VN? Would it be a better story if it did contradict? Does the story only work if they're KS characters rather than OCs?

B) Is the focal character from the VN and/or supplementary features? If not, is his inclusion in the story and interaction with canon characters reasonably justified? Really? Really? Seriously, OCs aren't inherently bad, but deeply integrating them in an established social structure with anything less than the most ironclad justification probably won't fly. And even the most airtight defense will probably exhaust any audience goodwill, meaning you need one hell of a damn good story to justify focusing on Mary Sue MacSelfinsert.

C) Does it take place in Yamaku? Is this Yamaku notably different from the VN Yamaku? Does your story need to take place in a specialised school for the disabled? Does it make sense for your characters to be attending a Japanese high school?

D) Is the story "just for fun," or do you have some sort of theme in mind? If you have a theme in mind, how well does it relate to the thematic elements of KS? Is any thematic contradiction/dissonance an attempt to "fix" thematic elements you found to be problematic?

E) Is there any other element that inextricably ties this story to KS? Is that element vital?

F) Does this story bring anything new to the table? Would it be a shame if this story were never written? Why/why not?

There's no "1-7 = not good enough; 8+ = go for it," but the answers to those questions tend to give a good idea both of whether it should be a KS fan fiction and whether it should exist at all.

And even then, if there's no inherent justification of its existence, external factors (such as the personal reason you're writing it) may serve just as well. External factors are much less likely to justify something being KS fan fiction, though. The best I'd be able to think of offhand would be some kind of joke/parody story, and that gets extremely borderline if it already diverges that much.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754
Discord server

User avatar
Oddball
Posts: 2917
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by Oddball » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:14 am

Does it make sense for your characters to be attending a Japanese high school?
Oh God yes. I can't remember the number of stories I've seen where some foreigner gets in an accident or has some newly discover condition, so they send them overseas to Yamaku. Seriously? Are there no other schools for the disabled anywhere else in the world?

Hell, even the game suggest there are other schools like Yamaku in Japan alone.
Not Dead Yet

ProfAllister
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:41 am

Oddball wrote:Oh God yes. I can't remember the number of stories I've seen where some foreigner gets in an accident or has some newly discover condition, so they send them overseas to Yamaku. Seriously? Are there no other schools for the disabled anywhere else in the world?

Hell, even the game suggest there are other schools like Yamaku in Japan alone.
It's more than just that. If you're really going to go that route, you should read up on special education (which includes physical disabilities) for the country in question.

Of particular note is the fact that most countries find the idea of a school for all different types of disabilities to be offensive and/or inefficient. Japan has a very idiosyncratic relationship toward people with disabilities, such that they're probably the only country where a school like Yamaku is feasible in a modern setting. You could get similar schools elsewhere (per wikipedia, Germany has schools for the blind, for visually impaired, for deaf, for hearing impaired, for physical disabilities, etc.), but other countries would likely have Emi in a normal school, Shizune and Lilly could fall either way (and would likely be in a school specifically for their disability rather than a general "cripple school"), Hanako would likely be in some sort of special Ed (but not because of the burns per se), and Rin could quite possibly make do in a normal school (though people are likely to assume she needs the physical accommodations of special Ed).

But that's more dealing with the less KS-specific questions of "does it make sense for this character to attend a special school?" And "is the proposed special school culturally accurate?"
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754
Discord server

User avatar
SpunkySix
Posts: 2858
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:03 pm
Location: Lost in thought... somewhere.

Re: Limits of Fanfiction - What is appropriate?

Post by SpunkySix » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:24 am

Without reading through all of this, I have to say, I'm not seeing why fanfic needs to have limits at all. I for one think seeing a hypothetical where Hisao never has a heart attack would be interesting, and as far as I know, I'm not out of my mind or anything.
"Spunky at his Spunkyest/Spunkiest"
"Tissues to the extreme!"

Post Reply