star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
And, once upon a time, Mondays were for conversation topics, fanfiction writing tips, and convention talk. Of course, naturally, everything started to fizzle because of the following:

1 - I haven't played First Departure, Second Story/Second Evolution, or Blue Sphere. I'd have a wealth of more ideas if I'd played those games already. Sadly, I do not have the following to make any of this happen:
a convertor for the SNES - I own the original Japanese version of Star Ocean, but the cartridge doesn't fit my console. I also don't speak or read Japanese just yet;
a copy of Second Story - you might think I need the PS1 or a PS3 (if the game can be downloaded from the Sony website) but I don't. I'm pretty sure I could play the game on my PS2 as long as I have a PS1 memory card (which I do have) so all I need is a copy;
a copy of Blue Sphere - I could play this on my sister's Nintendo 3DS. Alas, like with the original copy of Star Ocean, I do not speak or read Japanese;
a PSP - I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I own the PSP versions of the first two Star Ocean games. I just need a PSP to play, and I'm not required to speak or read Japanese to play.

2 - There are only so many fanfiction writing tips that I can write without me sounding like an overbearing, bossy brat on how to write an excellent fanfic. At some point, those who want to write fanfiction need to just start writing. Star Ocean fanfiction, as a whole, is only going to be moderately received, even with the release of a new game, if there is a release of a new game.

3 - There's only so much that can be written about conventions as well. I've not been an avid con-goer for the last several years so I'm pretty much new to the whole thing once again. I'll be learning as I go once more.

Now, with all of that said, time to resume everything once more.

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Fanfiction Writing Tip #6 - Trust Yourself and Your Instincts

Recently, through a different account, I had someone contact me about idea and character sharing (which I'm not necessarily interested in doing - I'll turn on my diva side here in a little bit). Some time passed, and the same person contacted me again about reading over the initial fanfiction idea to see if it passes whatever because I happened to be something of a Star Ocean something. (I forget the exact phrasing. It was a compliment, I'm sure, but I'm already wary of this person as it is.)

I am going to take this moment to reiterate another tip from last October: Do not compare yourself to someone who is already established as a fanfiction author, more than especially if you're going to run on the self-deprecating side instead of the more positive side of writing. I cannot press upon the importance of this enough. Yes, this author may have a great following of readers. Yes, that author may produce wonderfully written pieces that stir great emotion within your heart and inspire you to do the same thing. But this author and that author have done ONE thing that you, as a new writer, may not have done: they started to write. They trusted their abilities well enough to open that word document and start an outline, start the first chapter, or whatever approach s/he finds best. At some point, all of the best advice in the world is going to screw with your head, and you're going to doubt yourself and your abilities.

Just start writing.

If you're a review whore, here are some things to take note of: The Star Ocean fandom is small. You're not going to receive a crapload of reviews, no matter which fanfiction site you post your stories to, be it FFN, AO3, deviantArt, adultfanfiction, or your own website. There are also no guarantees that if you chose to write in a larger fandom - Hetalia, Final Fantasy VII, Inuyasha, Gundam Wing, etc . . . - that you will receive a crapload of reviews because of the volume of stories either being updated or added on a daily basis. You might get lucky and gain five reviews and two followers. You might not gain anything at all. That's just how fanfiction works.

That said, just keep writing. No one else is going to tell your story the way that you want it told.

Trust yourself and trust your instincts.

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The Diva In Me

Now for my diva side when it comes to fanfiction: Yes, I am something of a snob from time to time. I do not like being approached by others with things and characters they think will enhance my stories. I used to listen to others and politely reject their ideas because said ideas just didn't jive with what I was doing. Heck, I really don't even like people asking me to read their stuff because I often have a feeling I know what they're after from me: reviews of praise and glory and not necessarily the constructive criticism I tend to hand out if I review at all.

Read more... )
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Conversation Topic - Why Did It Take Symbological Genetics So Long to Become a Field of Study?

I'm not sure I've touched on this before (I really need to go through and compile a list of all the conversation topics I've done since 2012) so if I have, I apologize. But has anyone wondered why it took a little over seven hundred years for Symbological Genetics to become a field of study? Not just for humans but for the entire universe? Remember, Robert Leingod is the leading authority on the subject and the pioneer of the field. They establish as much in the game with the Vendeeni taking him (and Sophia) hostage and hunting Fayt from one end of the universe to another.

I bring this up (again, possibly) because symbology does appear in The Last Hope. The first human to (allegedly) use symbology is Edge. Now I understand why symbological genetics may not have taken off in the new calender year (by this, I mean the year ending in S.D. instead of A.D.) - with Edge as the only human capable of using symbology, he may not have told anyone about it. I don't think he'd relish the idea of being a guinea pig once more (though the injection of alien D.N.A. explains how he's able to use and learn Symbology). Not helping this is Lemuris being declared an underdeveloped planet along with Roak, the Eldarians forsaking their technology to live there, and the Morphus disappearing into space once more. It isn't for another three hundred years, when the stone sickness returns on Roak, that symbology even becomes an issue once more. (Ronyx apparently learned it when he's tossed back into the past to defeat Asmodeus - that's according to the Star Ocean wikia so if that's incorrect, someone please let me know.) The first three hundred years are covered, providing Edge and Reimi after their nuptials (yes - that's apparently canon if you get Reimi's ending) never have any children (and I have my doubts about her ability to conceive) and providing the human race doesn't encounter any more symbologically-inclined alien races.

But what about after those three hundred years? Yes, it is mentioned in Till the End of Time about books on symbology - if you talk with the flirt on the beach and either claim to not know Sophia or say she's like your little sister, you find out the title of at least one well renowned book because it's something Sophia is "lusting" after because Fayt offers to give his dad's copy to her - but still Robert Leingod (along with his wife) is the leading and only authority on symbological genetics.

Till the End of Time's in-game dictionary does give some insight as to why no one else has touched the subject of symbological genetics - religious and ethical groups. These are also the same people who are responsible for why Robert's experiments on Fayt, Maria, and Sophia are forbidden: They don't want "super" humans to be created and thus perhaps bring down the wrath of God/the Creator/what-have-you upon them. (The reason for their reasons, I'm inclined to believe, have nothing to do with the experiments done on Crowe, Edge, and Reimi as only a select few seemed to know about that. Those experiments were such closely guarded secrets, I'm surprised Reimi's parents had the courage to tell her when they did and under those circumstances.)

This isn't to say symbology wasn't studied over four centuries. The more space is explored, new races encountered, and new tech developed, the exposure symbology gets. All Robert really did was combine the study of symbology with genetic-engineering, which took a lot of years of studying, I'm sure. It just amazes me no one does it sooner.

Thoughts on how come this took so long?

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Convention Talk - Going it Alone

If you've never gone to a convention before but would like to, you may want to make your first venture to one a solo one. There are some good reasons behind this:

1 - You won't feel obligated to hang around the people you may end up carpooling with. This gives you the opportunity to explore the hotel/convention center where the event is being held without influence from others.

2 - You can talk to other people without feeling rushed.

3 - You can attend the panels you want.

4 - You get that newbie's first time experience without influene from others.

Now, this isn't to say you can't do that if you carpool with people you've known for a very long time or have just met over the internet. Because, really, you can. But traveling by yourself can free things up for you if you're unsure of what to do. Yes, there are risks to traveling alone, the least of which is incurring all of your travel and hotel costs. In this day and age, though, most people who are traveling tend to have cellphones.

Of course, how you travel to a convention is entirely up to you, the new con attendee. The size of the convention also makes a difference. Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll weigh the pros and cons of traveling with others for first time attendees as well as the larger vs. smaller conventions for first timers.

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The PS4 Release

One of the last times I mentioned a new release for Star Ocean, which is currently a mobile phone game for Japanese residents, I commented on how the release of the PS4 could mean a new Star Ocean game. This is something we've looking forward for since the last game's release. I know I am, but, at the same time, I'm experiencing some trepidation about the new system's release. Here's why:

According to what my brother has heard (and he's not heard any differently as of yet), it will cost players $5 a month to play the games for the new PS4 console. From the sounds of it, Sony is going to require all players to connect to their server in order to play any games, be they downloaded or an actual hard copy. This is in addition to paying for the console itself.

This isn't striking me as necessarily a good thing because gamers are already paying close to $400 for the console. This doesn't include the average price of $40-$60 of brand new games. (New consoles don't have used games out until a few months or so into sales.) If a player only earns X dollars per month, the cost of the console and the games are nothing to sneeze at. Add onto that another $60 per year just to play however many games a player decides to buy on top of the cost of the games? It does add up, and, for me, that $60 could go for something else - like a brand new game, the registration cost of a convention, etc . . . To me, it feels like gouging the customer, and no console is worth an additional $60 a year just for the privilege of playing.

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The Thirty-one Days of Halloween

This is very tentative on my part. As of right now, I would love to do something I'm calling the 31 Days of Halloween. What does this mean, you might ask? It means that, starting on October 1, I will post a Halloween-themed one-shot all the way through to the end of the month. I am not taking requests, and if I gift-fic a piece for someone, it will be posted as to who it's for in the author's notes. This is tentative and all dependent upon how much time I have to focus on writing as well as inspiration. Sometimes it's real easy to knock out a one-shot, sometimes it isn't. It really can be a hit or miss.

And that concludes today's entry! Have a wonderful Monday evening!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Fanfic Writing Tip #10 - Writing Effective Songfic and Using Lyrics in Your Stories

I want to start by saying that I am not against someone writing a songfic, a story with the same name and with the lyrics throughout the story, or using song lyrics in a story. One of my first stories is a songfic, and it's one that I consider to be among my best stories. I still like to write songfic and to use lyrics in my stories, all because it's an added effect to the story I'm writing. Get the right song for the right mood and the right theme for the story you're writing, and you will have a very powerful piece that will move the reader on levels they didn't even realize existed.

There is some etiquette involved with writing songfics and using song lyrics in a story, some dos and don'ts that can either make or break your story for the reader. Some can also get your account deleted.

In order to keep your account from being deleted on a particular website, read the site's Terms of Service very carefully. Some fanfiction sites do not allow song lyrics in stories, unless they are your own. Period. It doesn't stop people from posting their stories, however, so, if you choose to violate the site's ToS on song lyrics, do so at your own risk.

Some sites don't follow the "No Song Lyrics" allowed rule. They do, however, restrict the amount of lyrics used. There has to be a certain amount of story for each line of lyric in it. Because of this, I advise that the writer read the Terms of Service for each site s/he uses for posting fanfiction.

Now with the site restrictions out of the way, there are a few other things authors should keep in mind when using song lyrics in a story.

1 - Disclaimer and Credit!!! Not all songs are in the public domain, i.e., they can be posted anywhere at any given time (think of the many Christmas songs you used to sing in elementary school for Christmas programs). Most of the songs I've seen used (and have used myself) are copyrighted. If you've ever looked in a CD liner with lyrics, you might see "reprinted with permission" somewhere. Because of this, make sure your readers know that you don't own the song lyrics you're using and credit the band or singer, along with the album it can be found on, performed the song.

2 - There are a few different ways to utilize a song for a story, especially if the story is based around it. Watch how you use the song in question. Beginning authors might not realize it, but there is a correct and incorrect way to use a song.

For example, I love this song called "Invisible Boyfriend" by a band out of New Orleans called the Continental Drifters. It's a very sad and haunting song. To utilize the lyrics for the story, to title the story after the song itself, I would do this:

Line 1 of a verse
Line 2 of the same verse
Line 3 of the same verse
Line 4 of the same verse
--- Invisible Boyfriend, Continental Drifters, Continental Drifters (1995)

(Story section based on the verse)

That gets the song out there, gives the reader an idea of what the segment is about before I repeat the process for the next segment (or what would be a PoV change if you're using more than one PoV)

Now, if the character is listening to a song, and there's a current mood about that character in that tender, happy, or sad moment, a snippet of lyrics isn't a bad way to go. A line here, a line there are more than sufficient to add to the mood, to create the effect. To make sure people know who sang what, I write in an author's note, often at the end of the story (or at the beginning - depends on where I'm trying to convey mood or indicate what I'm listening to when I write a segment or a chapter) so the reader can then find the song. (When I started writing fanfiction in 2000, I uploaded CDs to my computer. This was before iTunes and youtube.)

The biggest mistake I've seen when people try to use song lyrics is that they overload the story with an entire song. This is a big no-no. One, it takes up more space than it needs to and that can be dedicated to story. Two, it overwhelms the reader who isn't reading the piece for the song but for the story itself. It's cool to share a song that you love. After all, there are plenty of good songs out there that deserve more love than what they may or may not receive. It isn't cool to overwhelm your readers with your favorite songs. As an author, your ultimate goal should be to tell a story effectively without taking up space for song lyrics. If someone points that out to you, it is for good reason. If you've ever felt cheated on a story because an author has done that, then please keep that in mind when writing songfic and using song lyrics yourself. Readers don't like to be cheated out of story.

Next week's writing tip: Asking for Critiques Before Posting - Writer to Writer Etiquette

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Conversation Topic - Power Hungry Characters of Till the End of Time

As with any game, there is always one or two characters that want more than what they already have. They're always grasping, reaching, and doing whatever they can to have more - more land, more money, more weapons, more power - and it's often without regard for who gets trampled along the way.

In Till the End of Time, there are three characters that I would classify as power hungry. No. Luther Lansfeld is not on this list. He probably should be on it, but he has his reasons for doing what he's done. I don't see him so much as power hungry as I do extreme OCD and control freak. He's already at the highest level of power in the game. He's the Creator. He's God.

First on this list, naturally, is Norton. Yes. Norton. Remember him? He was the first boss players fought on Vanguard III, the one who if you were leveled up high enough, didn't last five minutes. He didn't get much air time and you don't see him again until after you've defeated Luther and start wandering through the locked levels of Sphere 211.

Norton is definitely a power hungry character. He wants to turn his little area of Vanguard III into a kingdom. Anyone who stands up to him, who doesn't do as he wishes, dies. His mistreatment of the villages of Whipple leads them to mistrust Fayt when he first arrives.

Second on this list is Duke Vox, Captain of the Dragon Brigade. He, too, is a power hungry character who might not have stopped at his current rank if he had not died an untimely death. There isn't much of a backstory for his ascent to power unless the player recruits Albel before the fight with Crosell instead of the default of Nel. Upon recruiting Albel over Nel, taking him to the four dimensional realm opens up the ability to obtain a legendary sword called the Crimson Scourge.

Vox tried to wield the sword after he set up Albel for the Flame of Ascension when he was too young. Albel fans know that it was his father, Glou Nox, who saved him from certain death, but the right of passage left Albel physically and emotionally scarred. Vox himself is driven to the point of madness because he tried to claim the Crimson Scourge for himself.

He knew no bounds in his quest for power, either. Vox helped to start the war between Aquaria and Airyglyph by spreading the lie that the followers of Apris wanted to assassinate the king. Innocent people were tortured and killed because of that lie.

Finally, I come to the third person on this list, and that honor goes to Belzeber, of the four dimensional realm. Born into a powerful family and the son of the original owner of Sphere 211, Belzeber has a very strong sense of entitlement. He is not happy that, upon his father's retirement/handing over power of the company to Luther. While he doesn't care about the company itself or the gaming world of the Eternal Sphere, Belzeber thinks and feels that all of it should be his and his alone.

Belzeber is also the kind who doesn't care who he hurts along the way in order to get what he wants. He's willing to kill Blair, someone he's known for a very long time, because the Owner has decreed it. If he's willing to go that far on someone else's order, just how far would he go to try and usurp Luther from his position of power?

I'm sure that there are other characters in Till the End of Time that others think are power hungry. I encourage everyone to give me their thoughts on them. (For this entry, please keep the power hungry character comments to Till the End of Time. I will write on the other games for power hungry characters so comments for them.)

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Convention/Cosplay Talk - To Go Alone or Join a Group?

When it comes to convention and cosplay, some people may find themselves asking whether or not if they should go alone, fly solo as it were, or if they should meet up with others for a cosplay group. This isn't exactly an easy question to answer when it comes to conventions and cosplay. Traveling in a group to the convention site is actually quite economical - the people in the car, truck, or van help pay for gas and thus save on gas - but it isn't always possible. If you can arrange a travel group, by all means, do it.

As for cosplay, this is where I say do both. Gather a group for one day, fly solo for another . . . have fun with it. If none of your friends are going to the conventions, find other people to hook up with for cosplay groups. There are many clubs on this site, deviantart, and, of course, one can always use facebook.

star_ocean_fan: (Default)

Fanfic Writing Tip #9 - Leaving Reviews and Letting Your Work Stand on Its Own

At some point, fanfiction writers read fanfiction. In fact, reading fanfiction inspires other fanfiction writers to actually write instead of dream/daydream the scenarios in our heads. I know that's how I finally got my start as a fanfiction author.

Now, there are many things I see when browsing sites like fanfiction.net, things I don't necessarily like or think an author should be doing when writing summaries and author's notes. Things in summaries like "plz read and review" are not appealing to me, and they don't draw me in to read the story. Reading in an author's note "I'll update after I receive X number of reviews for this chapter" or "What's your excuse for not reviewing?! Review, gosh darn it!" are the kinds of things that inspire me to either not pick the story up again or leave a very harsh criticism of the work and the writer's attitude. (What one may think of as being cute and funny doesn't necessarily come across that way in black and white.)

Yes. I will admit right here, right now that reviews are gravy. They're awesome, and they go a long way in boosting a writer's confidence and inspiration. Those seeking professional publication will ask established author's for a quote to garner more sales. Book reviews either boost sales or decimate them. However, in the online world of fanfiction publishing, writers aren't paid, except in reviews, and the only things reviews are good for are pointing out where we've made mistakes and ego-boosting. To me, it's in bad form to require a reader to review your work and to require reviews in order to update. That says, in my mind, "I'm a review whore. That's the only thing I care about so that's why I'm writing this story", when that may not even be true. (These are also the kinds of writers who annoy me because I will leave a review and it isn't what they want in a review. They're also the ones that tell me "it's just for fun. Don't like it, don't read it." To that, I say, "Don't want people leaving you their honest thoughts, don't ask for reviews". Yes. I have a slight mean streak.) Readers are in no way obligated to read a person's works. They're in no way obligated to leave a review.

Let your work stand on its own. Write the story. Let your skills at summarizing and writing a compelling tale lure the reader in. Pack it with emotion. Give the reader a reason to write that review to you based on the emotions you've drawn out of that person, not because you need your ego-stoked.

Addendum to last week's writing tip.

Last week I wrote about writing in a logical order and using logic to write your story. That is something that will only go so far, and I was reminded of that when I read last week's Daily Kick by David Farland. There are times when logic will need to be thrown out the window, and it's often based on the kinds of situations the protagonists and antagonists find themselves facing . . . Unexpected reactions to conflict are good. Writing a single parent leaving his two-year-old child sleeping at home alone is still bad, though, because then the reader is expecting something bad to happen while he's gone and then nothing happens and there's a feeling of being cheated out of something really good.

Also, please note, I'm coming across as harsh, and my intentions are to actually help people with their fanfiction writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds the behavior I've encountered in the last decade of fanfiction writing and reading to be annoying . . . I just happen to be quite outspoken on a lot of issues. So while I may sound harsh (it's the disadvantages of text-based forums and formats), it isn't my intention. Writing fanfiction may be for fun . . . but the reasons for reading don't ever change.

Next week's writing tip . . . Writing Songfic

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Halloween In the Four-Dimensional Realm

Given that the world of Star Ocean is nothing more than a fabrication, a multi-player game, the brilliant child of the brain trust at Sphere 211, it isn't too far of a stretch to think that Halloween exists in the four-dimensional realm. It isn't too hard to believe that the creators of the game implemented many holidays and traditions into the game they themselves celebrate. To do so gives the game a sense of familiarity for the players.

How do I see Halloween in the four-dimensional realm? Well, I don't see the likeliness of a real pumpkin being carved into a jack-o-lantern. Maybe there would be what we see in stores like Wal-Mart and KMart . . . ceramic, glass, plastic, plastic covered in glitter . . . If it's a "real" pumpkin, chances are it was fabricated from a replicator.

Ghosts would probably be no different than what we see . . . white sheets or ephemeral wisps depicted in paint . . . something fleeting.

Zombies, ghouls, and demons wouldn't change from what the players see in their gaming experiences. Witches would have gone from ugly old crone to cute and sexy little caster.

All of this would translate into what the worlds and cultures in the Eternal Sphere would see for their Halloween traditions.

Now, if you ask me who would celebrate Halloween out of the four-dimensional beings we encounter in Till the End of Time, I'll address that in the Halloween costumes sections.

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Halloween Costumes, Part Four, Segment One

By now, we're seven hundred plus years into the future of the Star Ocean series. Customs have been traded and upgraded, new holidays added into schedules, and more than one culture celebrates All Hallow's Eve. For this part of the Halloween Costumes segment, I'll be focusing on the following characters: Maria Traydor, Peppita Rosetti, Sophia Esteed, Lieber, and Marietta. I'm also going to toss in Belzeber and Flad, from the 4-D realm.

First up is Maria.

Of this particular group for today, I actually find her the hardest to determine the kinds of costumes she'd wear to go trick-or-treating. Her personality is far different when we first encounter her than what it was as a child. Was she the princess/ballerina type? Personally, I think her parents might have raised to be a little of both the girly type and the boyish type. Her mother is a scientist, her father a soldier . . . heck, she could have dressed up as a soldier-scientist hybrid as an homage to her parents. I do think princess and ballerina, too . . . maybe even a Featherfolk or Lesser Fellpool, too. This would, of course, continue until the destruction of her home and the deaths of her parents. I do feel that Cliff and Mirage would try their best to get Maria to go trick-or-treating once she's in their care, because it would offer up a sense of normalcy after everything she's endured. I'm just not sure Maria would go for it because of everything she's endure. Losing your parents at a young age and in a violent manner like that tends to force a child to mature emotionally in many ways than it would others who haven't lived through such trauma.

Peppita is a little easier for me to decipher. She wants to be famous, and she's learned to dance. Princess or ballerina or even dressing up as a famous dancer/singer/actress would be her style.

Sophia is also very easy for me, and I can see her insisting upon themed costumes with Fayt, much in the same way Reimi would with Edge and Crowe. Fayt would have an easier time drawing the line on what he wouldn't want to hear for costumes with Sophia. It would simply depend on what she'd want to dress up as for Halloween, and I can see her wanting to be a princess. Almost every single year. It is a fascination with her, princesses. (This is based on the kinds of responses Fayt can give her when she's joined the party and in places like Aquios and Airyglyph.) And the dress would be pink or maybe pale blue or lavender . . . but mostly pink. I'm pretty sure that's her favorite color. (She wears a lot of it.)

Lieber . . . Oh, Lieber . . . yes . . . I believe Klausians, after years of dealing with Earthlings, would celebrate Halloween. Lieber, before meeting Cliff and Mirage and falling in love with Maria, would want to be something . . . dynamic . . . heroic . . . noteworthy. He's very  much a romantic at heart. Knights, poets . . . elves . . . those would be what he'd want to dress up as for Halloween.

Marietta is another one I'm finding a little difficulty in determining. In truth, interactions with her (and Lieber) are on the limited side. Still, I think Marietta is tough, despite some of her cringing in a crisis (but then who doesn't?) . . . a pixie or a fairy from Klausian folklore would be cool. She has the features for something so delicate (at least in modern day Disney portrayals) . . . I could also see her (or even Sophia) wanting to dress up as Raggedy Ann, if that somehow is revived after World War III . . . and I think a fighter pilot. She becomes a member of Quark and is the communications officer on The Diplo. A fighter pilot isn't too far-fetched.

Flad is still a kid so I'm sure he'd head out trick-or-treating to his neighbors' homes. He'd be dressed as either his character persona from the Eternal Sphere or some other kind of character, i.e. elf, menodix, etc . . .

Finally, the second add-in for this, Belzeber.

Out of the enemies I've encountered in Till the End of Time, Belzeber has to be one of two of the power-hungriest characters (the other being Duke Vox). I don't lump Luther, Azazer, or Berial in that category for other reasons, which will be discussed at a later date. As the child of a powerful information technology magnate, Belzeber would be the child of entitlement, and his costumes for Halloween would reflect that - corporate businessman every year. He might switch it up every now and then, depending on who his friends are (which I do see him having Blair, Luther, Azazer, and Berial for a group of friends . . . for a while) . . . he might dress up as the hero to Luther's villain . . . but I don't see him deviating away too much from what he truly wants to be in his life - a powerful businessman controlling the 4-D realm.

And thus concludes today's segment of Halloween Costumes, Part 4. Tomorrow will see Cliff, Mirage, Robert Leingod, Ryoko Leingod, Blair, Azazer, Nel Zelpher, Roger S. Huxley, Adray Lasbard, and Clair Lasbard.

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Halloween Fanfic Entries

This was written as a surprise giftfic for missnox!

Title: Halloween Culture Shock
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor, Sophia Esteed
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod
World: Till the End of Time
Rating: PG13
Warnings: male/male relationship, language, violent urges (It has Albel in it!)
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary: Albel receives a culture shock when Fayt invites him to celebrate Halloween on Earth.

Read more... )

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Rachel Snowden on deviantart.

Title: A Trick For a Treat
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Sophia Esteed, Maria Traydor, Lieber, Luther Lansfeld
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor x Lieber
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Language, male/male relationship, violent tendencies
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary:  Albel decides what he wants the most for the Hallowed Night’s festivities.
Author’s Note: The Hallowed Night is what I’m calling Elicoor II’s Halloween-type holiday.

 

Read more... )

 

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Charryblossom over at deviantart.com

Title: Lonely Hallow’s Night
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, Tynave, Farleen, Fayt Leingod
Pairing: Albel Nox x Nel Zelpher
Warnings: mild language, implied sexual situations
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own Till the End of Time or the characters of Fayt Leingod, Tynave, Farleen, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, or Albel Nox. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix. I don’t profit financially from writing this story. I do profit from surprising people with these stories. XD
Author’s Note: Canon pairing. Not much else to say about it except I could have used Charry’s character, Charry, but I never asked her for permission to do so . . . plus I know from her cosplay photos, she’s an Albel x Nel fan.
Summary:  Nel and Albel stare at the moon on the Hallowed Night.

 

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***

This was written as a surprise giftfic for Kojika on deviantart.

 

Title: Carving the Pumpkin (Part Two)
World: The Last Hope
Characters: Edge Maverick, Faize Sheifa Beleth
Pairing: Edge Maverick x Faize Sheifa Beleth
Warnings: Male/male relationship, implied sexual situations

Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of Edge Maverick and Faize Sheifa Beleth or Star Ocean: The Last Hope. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don’t profit financially from writing this story.
Summary: Faize and Edge share some time alone on The Calnus and discuss the ways to carve a pumpkin.
Author’s Notes: Yes, I know I have a story up called Carving the Pumpkin, featuring Luther Lansfeld and Fayt Leingod from Till the End of Time. The idea of carving a pumpkin with Faize was just as appealing to me, and I’m not above rehashing story titles where appropriate.


Read more... )

 

 

(more fanfic in another entry)

 

star_ocean_fan: (Star Ocean 3 game cover)
The Eternal Sphere - Game or Reality?

This is quite possibly going to be another briefly written topic. However, despite its potential brevity, I find the subject to be quite fascinating.

Of course, most players of the Star Ocean series don't know they're playing a video game set inside a video game until they're engrossed in Till the End of Time. It is the third game that lets everyone know, hey, the universe is created by these other entities who live on a higher plane of existence than in what the characters enduring their trials exist. The shocker for this information isn't that these four-dimensional beings created the universe, it's that the universe was created for the sole purpose of entertaining them. It's a simple program called the Eternal Sphere, and anyone in the four-dimensional realm can enter and play. It's a game, a toy, something to be discarded when the four-dimensional beings are bored and want something new.

But is that really the case? Is the Eternal Sphere a creation of Luther's brilliant mind or was it a happy accidental discovery on his part? This is something that's more fan speculation than in-game speculation, as a few of the key players - Robert Leingod, Blair Lansfeld, and Luther Lansfeld - seem convinced that Luther and his team programmers created the Eternal Sphere rather than discovered it. But if that's more the truth than what anyone realizes? That Luther discovered this alternate reality on accident and found a way to manipulate the lifeforms living in it? I don't think it's very likely . . . as much as the idea does intrigue me. While Luther is a manipulating control-freak, the last thing he is is dishonest. He has no reason to lie about anything.

So what does it mean then that the Eternal Sphere has taken on a life of its own? I personally believe that, while the Eternal Sphere started out as a program, it has somehow gained something, thanks to Luther. There's something within Luther to be able to create life. It doesn't make him God since there are other potential candidates in the four-dimensional realms who could contain the same symbological skills, but, in Luther, they're especially strong. Because of this, it means I believe that the Eternal Sphere is one of the greatest things Luther has created. He's done something no one else in the four-dimensional realm has ever done or could ever do after he's passed on.

* * * *

Fanfic Writing Tip #5 - Crossovers

Like most fanfiction authors, those who write for Star Ocean aren't just fans of this particular series of games. We're fans for other things: manga, cartoons, anime, books, movies, TV shows . . . other video games. One thing many fanfiction authors like to do is cross our favorite fandoms with each other.

There is a trick to writing crossovers, a trick that I've noticed some authors can't seem to pick up on is the ability to effectively explain how two or more particular fandoms can coalesce. Some fandoms don't need an explanation of how it is they're able to come together. For example, if I wanted to crossover Star Ocean with Final Fantasy, one of the best ways I can write that is to offer up the explanation of an alternate reality gaming program created by Sphere 211 that's as equally popular as the Eternal Sphere gaming system. Heck, giving that the entire concept of the Eternal Sphere is that of massive, multi-timeline MMORPG, any fandom can fit into the entire scenario.

However, for writing in other fandoms to cross them, finding the common thread to unite them can be quite difficult, and I know that there are some authors who simply won't care about taking the time to find that thread of believability. I've seen it when browsing for fanfiction to read, especially in fandoms that have nothing in common. Creating a common bond to cross the fandoms will actually go a long way and will help to bring about a creativity in the author that s/he might not have known existed.
 
* * * *

Convention Talk - Larger Conventions vs. Smaller Conventions

Now we've come to the point in our convention talk on how to decide which convention is the best one to attend. Naturally, this is up to the convention attendee and can often be determined by a number of factors, the biggest one of all being cost.

Factor #1 into Costs - Location

The location of the convention is perhaps one of the biggest things a person should take into consideration. How far is it from where you live? If you live in Northern Michigan, like I do, and the convention you wish to attend is in California, like Comic-Con or Anime Expo, you can expect to pay a good amount for pre-registration, hotel, travel, and food. When it comes to travel, how will you travel? Will you take the bus? Go by train? Fly? Drive with friends? Traveling a large distance will never be cheap, and it's often determined by how much time you're able to take from work. If you've earned vacation time, you won't be too hard-pressed to keep your finances in a relative  healthy situation.

However, if you don't have a lot of time to take off from work and you can't travel too far, a smaller, local convention will be more suited to your convention needs. You won't have to travel too far or take too much time off from work.

Also, if you don't like the larger cities such as Los Angeles or New York City, the conventions in smaller cities, like Traverse City or wherever you happen to live, will be your best bet.

Factor #2 into Costs - Travel

Getting to the convention location, as has been mentioned in the previous Convention Talk, is perhaps one of the biggest costs when it comes to attending. How you get there is just as important as getting there. Traveling to the larger conventions will not only require a healthy amount of cash but advanced planning on the part of the attendee. If you have vacation time, get it in early. Summertime is a popular time for conventions. It's also a popular time for family vacations, and many parents will be planning ahead. Be sure you do the same, especially if you're driving or taking the bus to your destination.

Of course, there's always flying, which also requires some advanced planning. I have friends who will fly to the convention location, and I'm sure that they buy their tickets as soon as they're able. The further out you book your flight, the cheaper you can fly.

If you're not fond of overly long road trips or flying or even taking the bus,  then the smaller, local conventions are just for you. They're within a reasonable driving distance and will definitely be cheaper overall  when it comes to pre-registration, food and lodging, and fuel costs.

Factor #3 into Costs - Hotels/Lodging

Naturally, if you're considering traveling to the larger conventions,  you're going to need a place to sleep. Hotels are often the most popular place for staying when traveling abroad. Booking a room in the convention center hotel in advanced will save you money because they are offering a specific rate for that particular event. BE SURE TO MENTION YOU'RE ATTENDING THAT CONVENTION WHEN BOOKING YOUR ROOM(S). Otherwise, you will be charged the normal rates, which are at least $20 or more per night. Also, be sure to book in advance, the way you would for a bus or plane ticket. The hotels for the larger, more popular conventions fill up fast. Also, check the convention's website for other hotels participating and how far they are from the convention site.

There are two ways to save when it comes to traveling to a larger convention. One is to use social media networks like facebook and myspace to help you find a friend who lives in the city and will allow you to stay with them for the duration of the weekend.  A word of caution for this: Be sure you're staying with someone at a legitimate address and have a phone number available just in case, and leave those pieces of information with family members. Find a way to save money but be smart about your own safety as well. The second way to save on hotel costs is travel to the site by RV. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it's how one friend of mine saved some money when attending BotCon in 2004. We rode with him to Pasadena, in his grandparents' RV, and he stayed in the RV while the rest of us stayed in the hotel. Just be sure to compensate for fuel because most RVs, to my knowledge, aren't necessarily fuel-efficient.

Smaller, local conventions won't necessarily run up a high lodging bill. If you live within a certain distance away from where the convention is being held, paying for a hotel actually wouldn't be very cost effective whereas driving every day to the convention would be more economical. For example, I live in a rural part of northern Michigan. Conventions like Cherry Capital Comic-Con and the Northern Michigan Anime Convention are both located in Traverse City, which is about fifty miles to the north of where I live. To stay in a hotel would run me about $100-$150 for the weekend. To drive from my house each day would cost me around $60 for the whole weekend. For a convention that's sixty miles or less away, I'd say simply drive and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Factor #4 into Costs - Food

No matter what, a person is always going to need to eat. The type of restaurant you want to eat will either increase how much you spend on food. Despite how much you might love McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, or Subway, a steady diet of them will become quite boring, especially if you're traveling a great distance. Local, sit-down restaurants won't always be as cheap as a major fast food chain, but it will offer an insight to the local cuisine. Even what's offered at the convention - if they have a concessions stand - will be on the costly side and they don't offer, generally speaking, a large variety.

Factor # 5 - Crowds and the Dealer Rooms

The upside and downside to the larger conventions is how crowded places like the Dealer's Room/s can become as well as the guest panels, cosplay events, and Artists' Alleys. You get to see more people in costume, but you also may feel like you're suffocating. Not everyone can handle the large crowds. Smaller conventions don't bring in nearly as many people. Personally, I recommend a convention attendee to go to both kinds of conventions. The popular conventions, like Otakon, Anime Expo, and Comic-Con, while they can be quite costly and quite crowded, as has been mentioned repeatedly, have larger, sometimes multiple dealer rooms and artists' alleys. They simply have more and are often able to get guests the smaller ones simply can't afford because they are small and often times low budget. The smaller conventions happen to be more on the local level, and, while they're not exactly the biggest show around, they can sometimes do things that the larger ones often can't due to time constraints - fan panels. I won't say that the larger conventions aren't run by fans . . . because they do start out as small conventions at some point. Each convention is for the fans. While there may be some big names from the industries at the conventions, know that the organizers are trying to find what they think the fans want to see, and they do this based on feedback.

And there is one more reason to support both the large and smaller conventions: the economy. Whether you're traveling a great distance or just fifty miles, many local businesses will benefit from convention attendance.

There's always a reason to attend. :)

star_ocean_fan: (Star Ocean 3 game cover)
The Language of Elicoor II - Is it the same as the English language of Earth?

As mentioned in yesterday's post, throughout most of last week, I returned to the very first game that hooked me into the Star Ocean fandom - Till the End of Time - and played for hours at a time, progressing the story and creating items (always fun). In playing the game (and visualizing potential story ideas), I got to thinking about language.

Now, in all of the Star Ocean games (as I am surmising, since I've only played Till the End of Time and The Last Hope), communications between the hero and his party is . . . shall we say, simple, even when the party members aren't human and don't speak the Terran language. This is accomplished because translators are built into the communicators carried by the hero and his party, and it also holds true for those they encounter on the planets they're exploring (like Roak, Expel, Vanguard III, and Elicoor II).

It is my understanding that the translator also works when it comes to reading the foreign language of the planet. In The Last Hope, Faize, Bacchus, Myuria, and Arumat (for sure) have no problems reading the computer monitors in their respective stations or the readouts from The Calnus, which is in (for most of us) the English language. This also holds true for Fayt and his party when they're on Styx and in the four-dimensional realm.

There is one thing, however, that would possibly indicate otherwise, and that's the moment when Fayt is talking with Dion about Aquaria's Thunder Arrow. In those scenes, before he, Cliff, and Nel dash off for the Bequerel Copper Mines, he's examined the blueprints, written down a few suggestions to improve the Thunder Arrow and handed them back to Dion. Fayt then tells Dion he's written down some suggestions to improve the Thunder Arrow, and the other man reads over them, seeing exactly everything working the way Fayt has suggested. This has me wondering just how different the Aquarian/Glyphian languages are from the English language of Earth, unless, of course, Fayt wrote his suggestions somehow in the Aquarian language thanks to the translating device in his communicator. I realize that this, too, is equally possible, but the only time anyone mentions the translator in the communicator is on Vanguard III, after Fayt's destroyed  his to free Niklas.

In wondering about the language of Elicoor II, or at least the one spoken by Glyphians and Aquarians, I wonder how it is they look so human. Are they the descendants of settlers from Earth? Seven hundred, sixty years have passed since the UP3 was drafted and enacted upon. It's possible, especially if they're believers that technology could bring ruin to the human race. It isn't too far of a stretch. The Eldarians gave up their technology when they emigrated to Lemuris.

Truthfully, I don't believe humans emigrated to underdeveloped planets, but I also won't rule out that possibility. The games are spaced so far apart in terms of time, anything really is possible. There are so many areas to write into the timeline for fanfiction, it's anyone's guess. Since there's nothing official, it is up to the fans.

I now present the questions to my fellow Star Ocean fans - What do you think?

* * * *

Fanfiction Writing Tip #1 - Writing Powerful, Believable Original Characters


As with any fandom, Star Ocean has become inspiring to many people. Depending on the talent of the person, the love comes out in the form of art, cosplay, fiction, and creations such as plushies, t-shirts, and coffee mugs, to name a few of the ways that love shows.

When it comes to writing fiction, one thing I've noticed that people like to do is inject him/herself into the story s/he is writing. Personally, I feel that there's nothing wrong with that. It's a way to live an adventure, to relieve the stress of every day life, and just to have fun. I've written original characters into many of my stories as a way of character development for original stories.

What bothers me about original characters, in any fandom, is how said original character becomes stronger, faster, smarter, and more devious than the established powerhouse character, be it the villain, the hero, or both. In the case of Star Ocean, the resident, overall powerhouse character is Luther Lansfeld, whose creations rise against him in an effort to save their world. (Which, they are both victorious yet defeated.) Naturally, his counterpart, Fayt Leingod would be equal to him in both strength and intelligence. Still, even though they are the resident powerhouse characters, both Luther and Fayt have flaws. Luther's biggest flaw is his inability to comprehend that he actually has created life, much like the title of Creator he possesses. Fayt, well, depending on the view you want to take, his biggest flaw is the ability to pile as much guilt onto his shoulders for the actions of others onto his shoulders.

Those flaws, when writing fanfiction, are fun for someone like me to exploit. The one thing I never do, though, is write any original characters as being more powerful than either Fayt Leingod or Luther Lansfeld. I may write Luther agreeing to something my OCs want (like in The Power of Fayt), but they can't outstrip him when it comes to intelligence and power. I don't allow them to do that. It's easy to ruin a story when a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is written in and can outdo the hero/villain without repercussions. Nothing brings the Mary Sue/Gary Stu down. The character is always happy, always perfect.

Characters are not meant to be perfect. I realize that, because we as humans aren't perfect, we want our original creations to be perfect in every way, to be what we can't be in our real lives, but, as a reader, I don't want to read how Susannah Jane of the Kenny bloodline can be the perfect soldier, perfect Symbologist, and perfect scientist so she  therefore knows everything about everything, including Professor Leingod's top secret research. I don't buy it. I wouldn't ever buy into that premise.

Now, that isn't to say I won't buy into powerful characters. After all, I love the likes of Luther Lansfeld and Fayt Leingod, and they are considerably powerful characters. They're also flawed characters. They've endured events that have changed their lives. They can either grow from those experiences or regress backwards, and that's what I love about them.

So write your OCs. In truth, no one can really stop a fanfic writer from adding them into the story. Just remember believability is more palpable than the super character who doesn't have a weakness.

* * * *

Title: The Dark Sorcerer
World: Till the End of Time
Rating: PG
Characters: Luther Lansfeld, Fayt Leingod
Warnings: N/A
Summary: All he had time to do was think.
Disclaimer: I do not own Till the End of Time and I do not profit from writing this story.

 

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