Friday, October 16, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

There is a website that touts November as National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write one 50,000-word novel within a month's time. I am contemplating an attempt to do this. I have stated a desire to write many times, even wrote a bit, but I always ended up dropping the projects I take up. The reasons I drop them are multifarious; but ultimately comes down to me being unsatisfied with my own writing.

I know for a fact I can write 50,000 words since this blog has significantly more than 50,000 words. Last month I wrote around 10,000 words on this blog. Writing in a story format, within the set duration, and only on one topic not so sure. Even if I do, I'm not sure that I'd want people to read it, which I realize is idiosyncratic since I am, and have been for a while now, writing this blog in which anyone with access to the internet can read.

The subject matter, not surprisingly, I am considering writing is Ranma ½ fan fiction. While I have had several ideas in the past for fics, I have yet to decide what I would write if I were to take up this endeavor. There is a multitude of things to take into account.

Should it be a crossover or not? At the moment I am considering a crossover with the cartoon version of Teen Titans; since I have been reading a considerable amount of Teen Titans fan fiction lately. That is not the only series that I have ideas for though.

What should the primary genre be? Action, horror, romance, drama, etc. the only one I have really ruled out is comedy. I would still try to have some comedic moments, since a story that blends genres is generally superior, but I am not a very funny person and, as I had pointed out in an earlier post, the type of comedy in Ranma ½ is primarily graphical in nature which does not transfer well to the written word.

Where should the story split from the original work? The point of time would influence the story and there are plenty of places in which to do so. Currently, mostly for convenience sake, I am ruminating upon using a couple months after the manga (ignoring the anime entirely). Were I to decide to crossover with Teen Titans, it would probably be prior to the battle with Trigon (including some influences from the comic book incarnation).

The idea for a crossover between Teen Titans and Ranma ½, that I am pondering at this moment, is probably not that good; which in and of itself does not matter as much as many people think, implementation is often more important than the idea itself (crappy cliched ideas have turned into good stories). Here is the idea: Ranma has become betrothed to Raven though not by his or her choice, or his father, and unlike the other engagements it is magically binding. As you can probably tell I have not put much thought into it.

Here are a few other thoughts I have had that could be incorporated into the story:

The battle with Saffron freaked Ranma out, big time, not that he almost died, but because he thought Akane died several times in a very short period of time. There is a very sad thing in which people who are abused, scared, or otherwise traumatized take drastic, irrational methods to protect themselves. Ranma has been and now would be scared that someone he cares about maybe killed/die, this causes some changes in Ranma. The first and most important to the story change would be that Ranma is more proactive rather than reactive. This can be demonstrated by having him attempting to create more powerful and deadly techniques while making a concentrated effort to learn magic. He would first attempt to learn that which is most familiar, build upon existing techniques and seek out a Shinto priest willing to train him in spirit wards.

Later, as in at the very beginning of the fic, he would come into contact with someone using magic for not benign reasons. Possibly have run ins with a group similar to the Hand of the Marvel comics (a ninja order that serves a demon referred to by members as the Beast that often seeks out and steals magic items in an attempt to bring the Beast to Earth). This could be used to create a convoluted means by which Ranma and Raven become magically betrothed. Of course, if I went with a Teen Titans crossover the group Ranma would have a run in with would probably worship Trigon (Church of Blood in the comics) or another similar, possibly rival group. It might be interesting to have Ranma messing with forces he does not understand and drawing attention from beings he's better off had they never noticed him (plus it is not really that out of character for him).

A secondary change to Ranma, if I went with this type of fic, would be in how he fights. For the majority of battles he would fight as portrayed in the manga (see block quote at bottom of post). Though there would be some variation since I view combat tactics differently than Takahashi did/does. In some circumstances Ranma would take more drastic action (very simple be brutally efficient -speed blitz, over power, break enemies legs or arms, hit pain points, make the immediate use of underhanded tactics, use techniques he would not normally use like those created by Genma, etc.). The specific circumstances that would trigger the change in his fighting style are: if his opponent(s) has killed/tortured/raped someone willfully, kidnaps someone close to him and he doesn't know that the kidnapped person is being treated well, or threatens to kill him/someone (threats of this nature will be taken at face value unless he is absolutely certain it is just trash talk). While seemingly a good tactic to take, this is not a good thing. It signifies a fear and a lack of confidence in his abilities, which is his primary source of confidence. A novice has to retaliate against lethal force with lethal force, a median skilled level martial artist can afford to use techniques that are not outright lethal against lethal techniques but will still need to use potentially lethal techniques and maiming techniques, only a very skilled martial artist can afford to use non lethal and non maiming techniques.
Ranma's standard methods of fighting include:
-While in competition:
*limit himself to his opponents style (beat them at their own game is something he does a lot)
*obey the rules set forth for the competition
*use minimum amount of force needed (tries to not hurt opponent)
--This can be seen in the rhythmic gymnastic match, cheer-leading match, martial arts dining match, ice skating match, take out race, etc.

-Anything goes battle, not competition
*has somewhat of a level of escalation; changes depending on circumstance and goals
1. Attempt to talk to opponent into ending battle while primarily dodging. Examples: offering Ryoga bread to stop Ryoga's feud against him or trying to convince Ukyo that she has no reason to fight him.
2.Majority of battles do not proceed beyond second stage.
-inflict minimum damage to opponents as possible. Generally attempts to restrain opponent.
-plays with his opponent (like taking the time to write out an insult in bruises on Kuno).
-attempt to defeat opponents techniques/style and not the opponent (for example Miss Hinako whom he did not just knock out instead tried to nullify her technique or Akane wearing the dogi trying to take it out without hitting Akane)
-fight at around his perceived view of his opponents level (meaning he generally won't speed blitz/over power his opponents even though he easily could - example battle with Kuno once he decided to get serious defeated Kuno faster than Kuno or Nabiki could see).
3. At this stage Ranma has stopped playing around and takes the battle seriously.
- attempt to take out opponent fast. For example, kicking Tatewaki's pressure points to defeat him fast or kicking Ryoga fast and hard enough to knock him back and into a cliff-side with enough force to collapse the cliff-side.
- use of underhanded tactics. This could probably be placed in an earlier stage as well because he uses underhanded tactics in non combat situations more than he does in combat situations (such as his attempts to drug Kuno to steal from him, use alcohol or chloroform to get Happosai out of the way, his attempt to blackmail Nabiki, etc.).
3a. this is part of both 3rd and 4th stage
- use of ki techniques like the Hiryu Shoten Ha and the Mokotakabisha
4. Very few battles have progressed to this stage.
- At this stage, he doesn't have the option to take out his opponent without seriously hurting them. At this point he will risk maiming his opponent.
5. Only one battle really reached this point.
- This is the point Ranma has run out of other options and has become desperate. If you haven't figured it out this is the point in which he actively tries to kill his opponent.

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