Author has written 7 stories for Final Fantasy VIII, Resident Evil, inFAMOUS, Mass Effect, and Devil May Cry.
Authors Notes - Balamb Garden
Hello and welcome to the most aspiring fan fiction project I've picked up to date (I'm not a total n00b at this, in case you were wondering). In a nutshell, this is a book that starts 4 full years before the events of Squaresoft's (a.k.a. SquareEnix) masterpiece RPG Final Fantasy VIII.
Now rather than going for the standard “we're-a-bunch-of-young-people-set-off-to-save-the-world-from-peril” approach (since that's what they did in the game), I decided to stay home and focus on character development, relationships, exploration and overall plot. As a result of this approach, it's not very likely to see Squall & Co go out in the big wide world like they did in the game.
For the most part they'll all more or less stay at Balamb Garden and interact with one another along with a few sidekicks to help bring out sides of the characters that would otherwise prove difficult. So in a sense you might look at this as a high school/college drama.
I find elements such as soul searching, humour, action and philosophy crucial when building a story. Too much of either will make the story bad in one way or another, so I strive hard to make each element equally represented in each chapter. Some times I get it right, some times I don't.
I might as well point this out now and get it over with; English isn't my mother language. So despite that I keep it fresh by writing (and talking) a lot on my spare time, errors will pop up every now and then. For this I apologize, but I hope that you'll get the general idea despite whatever grammatical and typing errors you might stumble across as you read my stories.
Another thing I would like to stress out at an early stage is that I do not consider myself as a writer, at least not any professional level. Hence forth I don't make much of an attempt to write good literature, I just go with the flow sort of speak. It might not be the best piece of literature around, but as long as at least some people read it and like it, you won't hear much complaining from my corner.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm no n00b when it comes to writing fan fictions, especially FFVIII themed ones. The first serious attempt I made was a 6 parted series that (surprise, surprise) reflected over the past memories of the playable characters. Central to the whole story was Rinoa's unique power to temporarily restore a persons memories.
They weren't very well received on the forums, where they were first published. Still, I didn't let that break me, though I was slightly put back and let the project rest for a while.
I did some experimenting around with this and that, minor stuff really that seems to have been lost in various computer re-formatting and fallen victim to poor back-up habits. However, by chance I managed to stumble into and found a rather interesting story there. The story itself was quite average as I recall (I just quickly browsed through it), but there was this one thing that caught my eye.
Squall had a small dialogue with his little sweetheart Rinoa. Squall said that she taught him how to dance during the SeeD graduation ball. For some reason, that didn't sound right to me. True, Squall isn't really doing too well for starters, but he catches on and moves around like its second nature.
Okay, Squall isn't your average Joe, still I felt it was a wrong interpretation of the FMV (Full Motion Video). So I made my own version of how Squall picked up his dancing skills in a fan fiction titled: “Dance Mr Leonhart”. Much to my surprise, it was received with some positive reviews, whereas the main “problem” was that my paragraphs were too darn long for some readers comfort.
From there things caught a snowball effect and rolled downhill faster and faster. Quality and quantity doesn’t walk hand in hand, so although I did produce fan fictions rapidly, their overall quality could be questioned more then often.
One story followed the rise and fall of sorceress Adel, another failed miserably in portraying the relationship between Seifer and Squall, to mention a few. Still, one of the stories I was most pleased with was the story that took on Seifer meeting Rinoa for the very first time.
Entitled “Reaching Heaven Without Dying” and inspired by the lyrics of Kristian Valen's “Still Here” song, I dare say I managed to get close and personal on both the lead characters. Despite being posted on there have been no reviews to date.
Oh well, with a good 8000-9000 fan fictions based upon the same game, you need to really catch someone's eye if you want a review or seven for your story.
At any rate, it was after this fiction that I decided to stop coming up with stories more or less at random and start structuring them in chronological order. The result is right here in front of you (pretty neat, huh?).
So what is it that I'm trying to achieve here anyway? For starters, not much. I'm just jotting down my interpretations of the various characters, background stories, relationships established (and broken) during the course of the game and the universe in general. Since I really don't have anything better to do, I might as well share the whole shebang with everyone willing to hear me out.
As you'll quickly notice, there are gaps in the game. Some areas are left open to interpretation since the game's overall storyline barely touches into that subject, if it does at all. I fill in these gaps to the best of my ability with things that I feel fits, things that I take from other sources such as movies, TV shows/series, music, video games and other works of art (a painting can say more than a thousand words and what not).
Being an relatively new anime fan, I draw heavily from that genre to fill in gaps that I stumble over as I write my stories. Why anime? Well for starters if you compare the game with most anime movies and/or series, you'll soon see that there’s lots of parallels that can be drawn between the two.
The whole Final Fantasy saga is Japanese, so I try to sneak in some cultural notes here and there. Not much mind you, just that little drop that for some reason seems to make all the difference.
As an example you have how people address one another. In Japan the use honorifics for just about any social occasion. In general western terms they're translated as your average Mr, Ms, Mrs, Sir, Ma'am etc. Though they use -san, -chan, -sama and -kun to mention a few.
For a period I figured “HEY! Why not use that in my fan fictions!” But I decided against it, since it's not used in the translated version of the game (they use Mr and Ms, rather than -san, -chan and what not).
However, I decided on a compromise: people that have known one another for a long time (e.g. Squall, Quistis and Seifer) address' to one another on a first name basis, while instructors, SeeD clients and similar stick to Mr Leonhart, Ms Trepe etc.
I might go for the -san and -chan at some point, simply to add or amplify cultural difference between the nations within the FFVIII world, for example Esthar. So don't freak out if it pops up further down the line, and don't panic either, since I'll give you an explanation of which honorific means what should it ever come to that.
Another issue to address is of course that some characters don't look or act like they do in the game. Examples of these deviations are Zell's missing facial tattoo and distinguishing hairstyle, Fujin's missing eye patch, hair length and speech, Quistis being “just” a SeeD candidate and Squall's missing his distinguishing casual outfit. This is of course due to that they'll evolve over time.
One of the main reasons why I write these stories is because I want to get in there, under their skin and find out WHY Zell has that tattoo on his face, HOW Fujin lost her eye and got her distinguishing speech, WHAT made Squall pick those special clothes as his casual outfit etc., etc., etc.
Authors Note - Devil May Cry Past Adventures
First things first: I have no legal rights whatsoever regarding the following:
- Devil May Cry
- Devil May Cry 2
- Devil May Cry 3
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3 Nemesis
- Grand Theft Auto III
All legal rights to the video games mentioned above belong to their respective owners/creators (Capcom & Rockstar). I merely use characters, music, items, weapons, settings, names, vehicles etc, etc, etc from these games as raw materials to write non-profitable fan fictions. Ergo, don't sue me!
Another important issue to address is typos & grammar. I'm NOT from a country that has English as the mother language (I'm from Norway if you MUST know...), so expect to find typos, weird choice of words and grammatical errors scattered about. I do my best in sorting them out, but as we all know, no one is picture perfect.
Phew! Now with all the legal issues out of the way (I hope), we can get down to business. By now there's probably/hopefully a bunch of questions going on in your head. And I will, to the best of my ability answer those questions here. This section will most likely see a good chunk of updates in the time to come, so check in on it every now and then, okay?
First question that might occur is this one: WTF is this? It's a fan fiction written by little me to kill some long hours on even longer days (call it productive boredom if you'd like). I'll admit that it isn't a 110 pure DMC fan fiction.
I've long wanted to write a DMC fan fiction and given it several attempts to (all that failed miserably). This time around I think I've got it all nailed down however. Well, enough nailed down to dare to go public with it at any rate :P
As stated before, this isn't a 110 pure DMC fan fiction. Why is that? Seems to be a logical next question to ask (or is my logic totally screwed?). If you look at the DMC series, there isn't all that much there. There are hints and indications of this and that here and there, but as a whole each game is just one loud, long and damn stylish BOOM.
My point is that there is little space left for character development, plot twists, background story, answers to the various big “why's” that tend to pop up every 3rd level and what not. In order to fill in the gaps, I needed a firm setting and a cast of secondary characters for the main characters to evolve.
So why merge with the RE series! Two reasons for this: 1. The two series fit to one another rather nicely (granted DMC is a LOT “faster” than any RE game to date, but you're still fighting freaks and trying to save the world in both series). 2. Originally DMC was meant to be RE4, but somewhere along the line there was a change of heart (this reinforce reason #1).
Okay, they're both Capcom games, so you're forgiven (but not forgotten, so watch it buster!), however where does GTA III fit in? Well it's quite simple. I didn't want to have Dante run around at Mallet Island, or on that island in DMC2 (I keep forgetting that darn name), let alone some big ass tower that got summoned from the ground by a cranky baby brother named Vergil.
What I wanted was a city, kinda like Batman's Gotham City, know what I mean? Screw New York. Teenage Mutant Turtles and Ghostbusters had plenty of fun in that town. Recently every guy who wants to be somebody has to save the day in L.A., being it devils, volcano's, crime wave, aliens or whatever.
I did land on Raccoon City, but... it felt so little urban. I wanted skyscrapers, a city where you could get lost, where it was possible to have deep dark secrets from the majority of the city and you could disappear in the crowd. So I took GTA III's Liberty City, relabeled it Raccoon City and felt very pleased about myself.
True I could come up with a city of my own, just cough up some names, street addresses and what not, but... that's really not my kind of game. Besides this way I (and potential readers familiar with the game) find it easier to visualize how the scenery looks like. Am I bad?
I did mentioned that I needed a secondary cast of characters to help me explore various sides of the main characters, didn't I? I mean Trish and Lucia are all good (and gorgeous drools), but I wanted more than that. I wanted a world that had more to it than “slash & fire” devil killing from nine to five.
As you'll soon noticed I've tapped deeply into all the three different game worlds, from weapons and characters from the RE games, to locations, vehicles and “employers” from GTA III. Of course I also take A LOT from the various DMC games. After all, that is the main focus of these stories, there rest is merely there to fill in the gaps.
So how have I approached this daunting task? Actually it took some thinking and planning ahead, but I dare say that I've managed to get this pretty neatly organized. The whole shebang was originally to be divided across 5 stories (see them as season of a TV series). Each having a beginning, middle and climatic end.
However... I've decided to ditch that idea and just merge all stories into one massive epic. Like the Resident Evil movies, see this (and the following) book/season as an alternative way of telling the same story, rather than a retelling of the games stories.
After the final showdown, I sure hope I manage to bring a certain closure to this “saga” that this thing just might turn out to be. Time will tell, no? Just as long as I manage to finish it, I don't think I should be complaining too much.
By now you're either very bored from reading my gibberish, impressed and excited or convinced that I'm quite the nut-case, which has little (if any) chance off pulling this off. Heck, you might be a mix of all of them for all I know, right?
At any rate, I'm done for now. Read and enjoy (feedback is always welcome hint, hint, hint). Oh and one last thing, before I forget:
Dedicated to anyone with the wit and taste to be reading my stories.
Authors Notes - All For One, One For All
Hello, I figured that due to the rather unexpected success of this story, I'd put in some authors notes on it, to give the fans of it a peek behind the scenes sort of speak. Well, the original idea can be seen in detail here. I kept some of it, other things were left out and/or changed as I went along with it. It didn't take me long to realize that coming up with new, interesting and well balanced Conduits for Cole and Kuo to fight was something I was not cut for, so it was dropped. Another idea I toyed with was to go with an X-men like approach, that is Cole, Kuo and a bunch of other Conduits learning about their powers in an academy or a government agency (special branch of the NSA perhaps?), with Moya as the headmaster/director. It would be more character driven, pull and tug between Cole and Moya, but it was dropped. I found it too close to X-men and I still ran into the problem of creating original Conduits.
Now, enough about the story itself. Let's move on to the main cast.
Cole MacGrath - Not much to say here really, I took the original Cole (canon good ending version) and just went deeper. I strive to remain as true to the original universe as possible, since I personally feel you get the best stories that way. What I like about Cole is his believability; much thanks to the karma system in both games. I feel that a good hero isn't one that is overpowered, neither in terms of raw power nor state of mind. As a result, I tear down the heroes in my stories, so that they can struggle back to their feet, standing taller and prouder than before. Reading about someone that goes through any problem without even blinking gets dull in the long run. An Achilles’ heel, preferably multiple, is an important element in any given hero.
Lucy Kuo - The heroine, which was given so little time in the spotlight in the game, despite the massive potential she had. What a waste! Again I go with the original character, then dive in deep. She was established as a brittle character in the game, so as a result, Kuo goes a lot up and down. I'm not sure if I got it right, if she falls too low and recovers to quickly, or if the rises and falls are too close to one another. At least I hope I got across her growth, both in terms of powers and as a character.
Zeke Jedediah Dunbar - He doesn't have much of a role here when I think about it. Zeke is largely absent from the early chapters because he's deadly sick, though he becomes the reason why the gang set out on their grand adventure. When the adventure does start, his role is more that of someone Cole can talk to about whatever Cole can't/won't talk to about with Kuo. Then he's completely absent for several chapters before he makes a comeback. Zeke is my plan B, so whenever Cole gets into a pinch that he can't wiggle himself out of without making it look stupid, Zeke comes to save the day.
Moya Jones - I liked her manipulative nature from the first game, I didn't really care for her all too straight forward approach in the comics (there are limits what an FBI agent can get away with, assuming she's with the FBI and not some higher branch of the government) and settled with somewhere in between. I brought her back from the dead, since I didn't want to make another Kessler/Beast. The fact that she's right there and is rather helpless, but at the same time completely out of reach and very powerful makes her a well balanced enemy for Cole. She's someone you can love to hate.
Sonya Croft - I included her because I felt that the story needed to address the heritage left behind by the Beast. Unfortunately she didn't turn out as I planned and she was dropped. There was potential there; what would happen when she learned about details about the Beast? As she was introduced here, I could have used her to get Cole/Kuo/Zeke to reflect, process and digest what they'd been through in the earlier games. In the end however, I didn't "feel" neither her powers nor her character. Cole and Kuo was doing a great job at covering a lot of character growth together, with Zeke filling in any remaining blanks.
Bloody Mary - I wrote myself into a corner and had to find a plausible way to get out of my own mess without rewriting previous chapters. Thankfully Festival of Blood came out and I could use the character of Bloody Mary in my story. Greatly altered I agree, but I made an exception. Cole & Co needed allies, strong allies on the outside that could get them out of the mess and still remain true to the rules of the world that Sucker Punch created. I am tempted to write a spin-off story about how my version of Bloody Mary came to be, since the original character is quite interesting and very different from my interpretation. The large difference opens up for some interesting character growth.
I've been receiving e-mails that people still read this story and apparently like it, since it keeps ending up on their favorites list. I've even received some encouraging reviews, so in response I'll tell you that I'm working on completing the story. Currently, I'm going all of the chapters, adjusting the formatting to address the main complains I got in the reviews. I'll also try and flesh out each chapter a little, what the characters look like, their surroundings etc. Nothing major mind you, but I felt that it was needed since when rereading it, the story was very much dialogue and character thoughts, not so much about the scenery. Characters are still the main focus, so rest assured, that haven't changed.