This time we interview Ookami-chan, author of the almost classic piece of Inuyasha fanfiction called Turnabout is Fair Play. Read further to discover how she chooses what concepts to pursue, her fondness for the classics, and how dubbing and translation to English can sometimes lead to amusing errors, but can also hide the true depths of characters.
I've actually been writing since I was a little kid. Waaaay back upon a time. Hopefully it's gotten better since then. XD
Well, I'd been reading manga and watching anime since my family lived near the Japanese community in Puyallup. Ahh, back in 87, I think it was when my brothers started bringing it home. Then in 96, Junya and his friends (I had met through their exchange study) sent me a Shounen Sunday with a bookmark in a new series called Inuyasha, and I started following it. (Yeah, back when Inuyasha wore pink and Sesshoumaru was baby-faced like mad wild woe.)
In 2002, I was fighting some boredom while taking care of my grandmother after her stroke, and I decided to look around online to see what was up about it. I found the relatively new-ish site for fanfic called Fanfiction.net. That got me curious because I hadn't realized people were so into writing fanwork like that, so I started reading the stories that were posted.
After a while, I wondered why the authors weren't playing with I thought was a pretty obvious path. I mentioned it to my sister, and she said if it wasn't there that I should write it. *shrugs* So I wrote the start of Turnabout is Fair Play... then she put it up, people started asking for more, and so I kept going.
*thinking* There are authors I enjoy reading, but my ideas usually crop up from what I don't find, so I'm not sure if that counts as being influenced. Other times the ideas come from sheer aggravation at what I AM finding. Published work AND fanfic both. Sooo... I guess I get inspired by a lot of things I think are missing or unexplored in other writing.
On the other side of that, I'm still close friends with some of the fanfic writers I met through my work. People like Saro, Somnambulicious, Volpa, Devin, Everstar and Niamh... all my Kenshin girls... they've all stayed in touch, and a few of them have come out to conventions they know I'll be attending to visit and catch up. They've all helped me get inspiration and listened as I bounced ideas off them.
Not to mention, my best friends, Saya and Leidy, I wouldn't have met if I hadn't been writing fanfic. *laughing* When I first met Saya, I was still writing on a bitsy little word-processor using Notepad. She was UTTERLY horrified and sent me Microsoft Office which made things considerably easier. There was only so much I was actually catching on my own when it came down to it, but it served for the time. XD Now Saya and Leidy edit almost everything I put out and have helped me develop and polish by leaps and bounds through the time we've known each other. So all of them have had profound influence over what I do.
I pretty much have only ever written for Inuyasha, and technically Naruto and Fruits Basket if you count parody work. But I've also helped friends who've written for Furuba, Naruto, and Inuyasha crossovers with Yuu Yuu Hakusho. Oh, and more recently some friends who write for Rurouni Kenshin. They're doing it more seriously than me, because the only times I integrate other shows in my own work is really just when I'm doing a humor piece. But I don't mind trying to help them through a difficult scene or paragraph if I'm not doing anything else at the time.
As for what it is that really set apart Inuyasha... I always felt that Inuyasha had a lot of room for interpretation in that it's just lousy with Japanese mythology, and there are lots of untraveled roads in the storyline. Even so, I can't say I'm happy with where the actual story has gone and how long it's taken to get there, but then again, that's where fanfic comes in.
Ahh, Grey Eyes and Golden Nightmares has been my favorite pretty much since I wrote it, although Cabrit Sans Cor is a close second.
I like them best because they're my works that explore a little more of when things don't go the way they're "supposed to." What motivates a character to do what they do, how they would react in a situation where good doesn't triumph over evil, the kinds of sacrifices that have to be made, and how diverse "love" actually can be. I like when I succeed in writing a story that makes a reader FEEL something, one way or another.
For Grey Eyes and Golden Nightmares, the abruptness of the "end battle" was my way of trying to portray that sometimes there isn't a chance to tie up all the loose ends in that kind of story, and the open ending leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the final end is happy or tragic.
As for Cabrit Sans Cor, that's been turning out better than I hoped. I wanted so badly to show that the ultimate evil isn't always cut and dry. And the most effective evil is the one that creates torment and suffering through being brilliant and cunning and very charismatic. It takes a while to get each bit just right, but so far I've been extremely happy with the finished product. I'm just hoping that the final chapter for that piece turns out how I want it to as well.
Probably a toss up between Sesshoumaru and Naraku. Both characters have been more or less butchered in the English dub and the VIZ translations, not to mention over-simplified in a large portion of fanfic.
They tend to get assigned to flat extremes, and I don't know if that's because of VIZ's translation because I swore off the manga after the printed all the panels backwards and didn't expect people to notice Sesshoumaru was missing the wrong arm or that Miroku's Kazaana was in the wrong hand. And I swore off the dub after hearing the horrid pronunciation of the names and how much they'd changed everything from names of attacks to names of characters (*eyes roll away* Kilala... honestly...) and absolutely destroyed all the subtleties in characterization and relationships. Seriously, if all you've ever experienced is the dub, you're doing yourself a HUGE disservice. Even the Japanese anime did the usual "artistic license" in adding things that weren't in the manga (hence creating manga-canon and anime-canon in every series), but it's still WORLDS better than the dub.
In the original manga, they're both very dynamic, complex characters. (Although they're both suffering at the moment from Extended Series Syndrome... i.e. forced repetition of past behaviors or actions which tends to eventually wear down the allure of a character due to their involvement in increasingly stale plotlines.) It's a challenge to do characterization for those kinds of character's justice while maintaining the original personality or adequately showing progression behind any changes in their behavior to make it believable. So a lot more thought and calculation goes into whatever I write for them. Nothing about them is ever plain black and white, and I don't think the average portrayal of them captures that about their characters effectively.
*LAUGHING* This might not be the best question to ask me. I get a kick out of reading books that try to take themselves completely seriously, but fail so spectacularly that they're utterly ridiculous. Because of that, I read a lot of Romance novels. Like Christine Feehan with her repeated insistence that she knows "Korean Karate" and that her American graphic novel counts as "manga" because she says so.
When I was younger though, I read a lot of classics like Shakespeare and Poe, a lot of Agatha Christie... my oldest brother's Anne McCaffrey books and my older brother's Dragonlance books. *thinks* I read Dune and The Last Unicorn when I was still pretty young. Oh, and my dad's medical journals, a lot of horror stories... Jaws, Alien, that sort of thing. And pretty much any mythology books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries I got my hands on.
Anymore, I get my GOOD story fix from reading more manga and manhwa. Nitta Youka, Kazuhiko Mishima, Shin Mizukami, Sugiura Shiho, Matsunaga Kuuya, Naono Bohra, ichtys, Peach-Pit, Yamagishi Hokuto, Takagi Ryou, Lee So-Young, Mi-Kyung Yun, Lee Young Yu... those are- ah, quite a few of the mangaka who write stories so well that I follow their work. There are a lot more though. I'm pretty indiscriminate about genre and art and such so long as the story and characters really grab me.
I actually have written a couple of things, and I'm currently trying to take it a little more seriously and give it precedence. My best friends think it would be a better idea to step back and focus on getting a full original written, and try to publish it so that maybe I can start making a living that way. Especially since after four years of trying, it's likely my back won't get well enough for me to go back to a REAL job.
So for now, I'm trying to focus on original stories and in between that I'm working on archiving (and unable to stop myself from editing in the process) all my current fanfiction to have them all up in one place at lemon_grove.
I haven't decided if I'll post any of them online, actually. I've run into a lot of problems with other people taking my work and trying to pass it off as their own on other sites they don't think I would ever see and things like that. It considerably added to my choice to remove myself from online circles and become a hermit, and it's made me slightly paranoid about putting up anything original until I have it safely under copyright. If that happens and people want to use it for inspiration in fanfic then, that's absolutely fine because I can prove it's originally out of my head if I have to. Until then, I unfortunately feel like I have to be a bit more careful.
Writer's Block will conquer itself when it's ready to be done and most of the time, not a second before. I've found out that the more I try to force it, the more tripe seems to come out. Nothing flows, nothing blends... none of my descriptions come to life, the characters wind up stale... *shrugs* I take a walk or go to this little dive restaurant with Leigh and try to talk through it. Bless the mighty inspirational powers of Hamburger Haven. XD
Less is more. No matter how many obscure, archaic, multi-syllabic words you might have in your repertoire, if you can say the same thing with something simple, it's usually better to do it that way. And speak any dialogue you've written out loud. You can catch all kinds of errors just by hearing your own words being spoken.
I'd actually like to be able to go to every single time and person responsible for creating an organized religion that focused on the intolerance of other religions and beliefs outside their own. So I can stab them in the head before they unleash the massive destruction of human respect and acceptance that is that unimaginable nonsense.
I'm all for people wanting something to believe in beyond the bounds of mortality and wanting to live those beliefs. But religious fanaticism is right up there as one of the biggest cause for irrational hate, fear, and violence throughout all of time. Humanity has enough problems without adding those kinds of people to encourage mass proliferation of ridiculous close-mindedness.
The Robert Goulet Ninja. At 3pm when your energy is low. ^__^V