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13 February 2011 @ 01:20 pm
Taking the wind from my sails  
I've been scarce. Having tons of fun with Fallout: New Vegas, which I need to properly tl;dr all over when I get back to that gaming meme, but the Three Kingdoms end of my interests has been bumming me out as of late.

Dynasty Warriors 7 has gone from a treasure box schwag import + later repurchase in English to something that I can't justify buying new. I wanted the ancient Chinese setting immersion of the older games. KOEI gave me a Squeenix mall fashion parade. I wanted a more serious tone to add depth and weight to the narrative. KOEI added love interest characters, with a heavy emphasis on modernized visual sex appeal, over people with historical and legendary significance. I wanted my favorite characters to stay true to their roots. KOEI did well with some - then shat the bed with my #1. I wanted better voice acting. KOEI brought out the same old same old, ranging from reasonable to laughable even by their own standards - which are nothing compared to those of the better games I've been playing recently.

I miss the days of Dynasty Warriors 4, even though the battle engine drives me apeshit in a bad way. Its tone and style come off like an early draft with potential for a truly deep and engaging fantasy interpretation of Three Kingdoms history and legend. I wanted to see this resurrected in next-gen glory, not left to rot under the assumption that the established fan base will keep on opening their wallets. At this point, my main interest in Dynasty Warriors 7 is goofing around with the new weapon system and a snarky Let's Play to entertain my friends. And I can very well do that when it hits the used rack somewhere.

"So, G-funk!" you say. "What about your own Three Kingdoms fancrap you've been working on?"

I've been trying. For reals you guys.

My Lu Meng design has been proceeding in alternate fits of inspiration and frustration. I'm still awful at drawing hair, and I think in terms of component shapes rather than the detail required to distinguish the simpler construction of this particular costume. I have some motifs I'm happy with, but the rest is just sitting somewhere in my brain waiting to be dug up. Maybe I just need a break from visuals.

I finally got my story of Cao Ren's early career within farting distance of completion. Then I came across a translated biography of his twin brother, Cao Chun. Without anything informing me otherwise, I had guessed that the brothers had grown up together until Ren raised his army and Chun went off to eventually serve the emperor. It turns out that Chun left earlier than that to inherit a higher-up position from their deceased father. This may not sound like a big deal, and I doubt that most of my small audience will actually care. I just hate to be contradicted by the facts because I've done my best to stay true to the limited records we have. I would have also written quite differently with Chun's biography in mind. For both brothers, such circumstances of living apart would have their own way of building character - a unique cocktail of admiration, envy, and some combination of loneliness and Good Riddance.

"But G-funk!" says the voice of reason. "You don't speak classical Chinese! How can you be at fault for using the only reliable English sources you had?"

I can't, and I'm aware of this. But I had busted my ass to stick to every clear fact available, and to write with that plausible feel of authenticity. I believed in my narrative, believed that history could very well have followed the basic flow of the story. That belief in my work is what keeps me going, that confidence of doing the best I'm capable of with my current skill set. I had been excited about the final sections. Instead, I find myself mentally replanning the entire narrative. Which is silly, as there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the one I have. It may have inaccuracies, but it also has its own thematic upsides. And nobody except me is holding it to a probably unreasonable standard.

I may still do a rewrite eventually. I rewrote Resonance multiple times before creating a final draft I liked - and even then, it was horribly telly-not-showy in the early parts, and I had to edit those bits last year to regain my interest in the story. Hopefully I can switch my mental gears over to that tale for a while. I do want to see it done sooner rather than later.
 
 
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Dido - White Flag
 
 
 
Doness: Xiahou Dun stroking bearddonesschen on February 13th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
OMG Cao Ren had a twin brother?! That's so awesome :D. I do like that Scholars of Shenzhou forum a lot, I'm a member of it but I hardly read the stuff there despite loads of interesting stuff that people post. I should snoop around there more XD.
teh j00: Fantardsj00licious on February 15th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Oh man, G. I feel you. =\ You remember my fan fic... I made the mistake of planning and writing BEFORE the canon was finished. Then the canon got published and it was nooooooothing like what I had written/had planned. All I could do was say "Well, shit," since it was something I'd been doing for fun and I had "real" projects of my own to kick off... but still, it kind of sucked. And by "kind of" I mean I was bummed out for a week. =P

My advice (for what it's worth) is to finish Tempered Will, and go back later to "fix" it. A first draft is just that, after all. Plus, all your ideas will be written down.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Vault Boy Winkingrydain on February 15th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the much appreciated commiseration. ^_^ I enjoyed the fic excerpt that you sent me way back when, and I totally wouldn't call it a mistake. You had fun writing it, and it counts as practice.

I realized that I'm being overly harsh on myself, for which I blame general fandom-related malaise and residual st00pid feelings after a lousy week of work. Historical fiction commonly takes its liberties even when the facts are known, whether to engineer interesting conflicts and collaboration, make some thematic point, or turn Mel Gibson into a princess-humping Gary Stu. That biography is actually a silver lining, and its timeline is more ambiguous than it first appears. Cao Chun's hereditary title helps with the section I'm planning, and it can be plausibly worked into the story with minimal retcons. (The basic brotherly conflicts will remain the same, as will Ren's feelings of inadequacy.) I do want to edit the entire thing when I'm done with it - there's some assorted rough junk to fix - but its fundamental structure still works.