[Editor's note: Ali D gives us an interesting take to the Expanded Universes theme from last month's Monthly Musing topic. -- CTZ]
If you have a casual look at the sci-fi section of your bookstore, chances are you'll probably see a few licensed videogame novels. There's not many when you consider how many fan-fiction stories there are online. Warcraft, Halo and Final Fantasy are all titles that have a big cult following and there are hundreds of people writing fan-fic for them. Even games like Super Smash Brothers and Tetris have fan-fic written for them.My wife Anna has written fan-fic for 10 years now (some of which you can read here), for a number of different games, so I sat down to ask her a few questions about how and why she writes fan-fic.
How did you get into writing fan-fic?
It all started for me when I was playing Ultima Online. You used to get a "newbie" book as part of your starting kit. One day I was really bored, so I wrote this silly little adventure story in the book, then scribed a bunch of copies and left them lying around the place. I wrote a couple of other books in game as well but didn't take it very seriously. Then they implemented a small character profile for your paperdoll. So I started creating this story for my main character. I had never really RPed in UO, so I hadn't ever thought about who this character was before. So I started writing this biography and pretty soon I had more info than I could fit on the little profile. The bio quickly extended into an epic saga and that was when I realized that I was writing fan-fic. I still have not finished that particular series, because eventually along came Deus Ex and that well and truly got me hooked on writing fan-fic.
Generally it's because if I have really enjoyed a game I don't want the experience to end. So I can kind of extend my immersion in that game by writing fan-fic. What I discovered from my UO experience was that I also simply enjoy writing and the great thing about games is someone else has created a universe for me to write about. I don't have to worry about all the nitty gritty details and can generally just write about the aspects that interest me. Call it 'Shake and Bake' stories, if you will.
For instance, I wrote what I call a DOOM 3 inspired fic. When I was playing it, I thought to myself, what would I actually do if I were in this situation? Because we wouldn't all grab a gun and fight these hellish creatures. I imagine that the terror and confusion would be so overwhelming, a lot of us would just become quivering wrecks, lambs to the slaughter. So that was one thought I had and I started writing along that theme and that's how 'Eye of the Beholder' came about.
With Thief it was both the character of Garrett and that brilliant Steam Punk world. All the Fic for Bioware games that I'm currently working on or planning in future are very character oriented. Probably because Bioware games have such character driven stories. So again it depends in the game itself. I don't really write character specific stories if I feel like a character has already been really fleshed out. If I can't think of anything new to do with them, then they don't really interest me from a writing perspective.
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