Author has written 10 stories for Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.
As a prelude to the long extant short essay below, I am primarily a Metroid fanfiction author and fell in love with the series back in the mid-90s. I began writing fanfics prior to the release of Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime in 2002, and tend to view everything that didn't include Gunpei Yokoi as secondary canon. This is primarily an excuse to continue to play with the Metroid universe in a mythological way, where there is very little backstory or characterization so you can more or less go nuts as long as you stick to about five basic facts and are internally consistent.
I've been writing this stuff a while, and stories usually fit into the See You Next Mission 'expanded universe' of fiefdoms and Yire currency developed with Dan 'Kefka Floyd' Vincent, or my earlier The Best universe, described as 'grimdark' and space opera-y by a good critic.
For clarification sake, The Best and Progeny exist in the same universe and read more odd now than they did at the time due to subsequent Metroid-series fleshing out. They're also both fairly and unendingly depressing.
Fanart credits go to Adam Sidwell and his, to for his , and for the
"What is fanfiction?"
Main Entry: fan fiction
So says the dictionary. But that doesn’t really answer the question, does it? What is fanfiction? Allow me to give several examples.
by Virgil, a fanfiction of Homer’s The Iliad.
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. By being unrepresentative, I can create the illusion that fanfiction is something worthwhile when in reality, we all know in our heart of hearts that it is anything but.
“What is fanfiction?”
Simply put, it is a worthless medium, full of such total rubbish that it’s an insult to lump it in with any other literary genre. It is designed poorly, executed poorly, and serves to do little more than indulge and sate the masturbatory fantasies of socially ill-equipped adolescents with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their heads. It is a crutch for bad writers, but instead of leaning on it until they become healthy enough to walk on their own, this crutch shatters under the bloated collective weight thrown upon it, shoving splinters into the authors’ hands by making them fundamentally worse than they might have been when they started. That, my brothers and sisters, is what fanfiction is.
“Why is fanfiction?”
Though grown into something monstrous and perverse, it is born out of love. People like the things they are writing about and want to see certain things happen in certain ways. The original creator cannot or will not do so, thus the fanfiction author does. For good or ill, the fanfiction author does. Fanfiction is a labor of love, a sacrifice, and altogether an act of worship. The savages of old brought their gods fruits, gold, and human flesh. More civilized cultures erected temples, built statues, and cut open animals. And in our modern age we bring something far, far more terrible: words. Godawful words.
“Why is fanfiction so terrible?”
It’s terrible because most of the authors who choose to write it are inexperienced and have little or no devotion to the craft of writing. They blunder about with ill-conceived notions of how to design a plot or create dramatic tension or pace a story, treat characters as toys that fulfill unsatisfied whims, and usually have terrible grammar, dialogue, etc., etc. Brothers and sisters, you’ve all read enough to know what’s wrong with fanfiction. You know the authors are terrible, top to bottom. That the responsibility of the current state of fanfiction rests squarely on their shoulders cannot be denied or avoided. But why is that responsibility there? Oh my, that is another matter entirely.
Let me revisit my previous metaphor of fanfiction as a crutch. Because when I say it is a crutch, I do not mean to personify the actual words or original works as the crutch. Fling that idea out of your tender heads, brothers and sisters. The words are not good enough to provide any support for the authors, and original works can give birth to true, timeless greatness (like the Aeneid). No, when I speak of the crutch, I speak of the fanfiction audience. The readers, and even moreso the reviewers (I would like to say “critics”, but they are not in the least deserving of such a lofty term). The inherent crutch of fanfiction is the audience, an audience that is unable to discern quality for two reasons: first, because the audience already has an interest in the author’s material and second, because the audience has no idea of what is good and what isn’t.
Anyone reading about X-Men: Evolution in the cartoon section of this site has already watched at least some episodes of the series, and certainly is predisposed to the material/genre. The most important skill for a developing author is being able to generate interest in his or her work through the title, summary, and introduction. Here, there’s less need for a good hook to get people interested in a story because the hook is that this is a Lord of the Rings fic or this is an Animorphs story. People are already familiar with the source and want to see something about it, so proper elements of introducing a story are just assumed to be already known and left out. There’s no set up, someone just takes a well-known character and throws him or her into a “new”, “exciting” situation. This lack of development means that the fanfictions do not work as actual stories on any level. And because the reader already loves what the author is writing about, these important parts of actual writing and grammar are often overlooked. A story that gets Inuyasha and Kagome humping one another is one that a lot of people want to read, my dearest siblings, and they’ll forgive a lot of mistakes and flaws to see that happen.
The other thing is that unlike fanart or video game music remixes, fanfiction has much lower standards. Generally, people don’t think highly of squiggly drawings of Cloud (even if he happens to be having sex with Tifa) or disharmonious renditions of the Super Mario Bros. theme. So although built-in interest applies to the current situation of fanfiction, it’s not the only factor. Everyone with eyes has seen good, professional art. Everyone with ears has heard good, professional music. But everyone with a brain has not read good books. Many fanfiction readers are so unfamiliar with real literature that they may actually consider a story about Link’s journey to rescue Zelda for the umpteenth time to be (literally) the best story he’s ever read. I assure you, my brothers and sisters, if he has read anything of value ever, he could not truthfully make that claim. His opinion, however positive, is thus of little to no worth.
“Oh, but it’s a matter of taste!” you exclaim, brother.
“Oh, they have a right to enjoy whatever they want,” you cry, sister.
Ah, but my siblings, you miss the point entirely. Taste and enjoyment are one thing, but an objective study and feedback based on such is quite another. A review consisting of “I really like this story, however…” is perfectly fine. One can express in detail how much one is fond a particular thing and still be aware of its flaws, or even its virtues. What’s worth more, “I luv ur story, plz update” or “The exchange between XXX and XXXX was so natural and fluid, I felt like it was something that had been transcribed”? Every review should contain something of worth, worth reading, studying, and taking note of. Every review should be at least a developed paragraph long. If it isn’t, the author’s writing was extremely terrible, the reviewer’s reading was extremely terrible, or—as it is all too often—both.
Criticism is itself an art, and it is the only art that can directly improve the others. If there were true critical artists here, fanfiction might grow into its long lost potential. If, if, if.
“What should fanfiction be?”
Stories. Nothing more would be needed if only this requirement was met. Telling a good story that contributes positively to the universe it is based on, that fills in a painfully lacking hole, or expands upon what has already been built, at the same thing being its own creation– this should be fanfiction. Should it be well-written? Yes, of course. But that’s a matter of trial and error as much as anything. It’s the aim that must be changed, shooting not down into the clamoring masses but up! Up at the immense heights set by the original work. To go higher than it did, achieve more than it could, but contribute to what it is! Always, it should respectfully contribute to what is already there, nod at it, but not lean on it for support. It should stand upright on its own and say, “I am something worth reading, worth being considered as something truly good, not fluffy trash for teens and twenty-somethings with nothing better to do. I aspire and achieve.”
This, this should be fanfiction. In my dreams, brothers and sisters, and in your own, it is. I know it is.
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