This half involves writing and...the Fandom.
How does a writer like me approach characters, especially when writing fan fiction?
Some will say things like: avoid self-inserts, use active voice--in short, they will sound like English schoolteachers. This is good. No one wants to read terrible fanfic that requires eye bleach to cleanse the soul.
But after over eleven years observing various fandoms, I've noticed as a reader that the bad still outnumbers the good.(As a writer: I knowingly(after the fact) inflicted at least two bad fics onto the Internet, and I'm sorry.)
Nonetheless, these experiments have allowed me to note a shortcut. I call this technique:
A BOX OF CRAYONS.
Give a kid, an ordinary kid of eight or nine a 64-count box of crayons and a stack of paper. In an hour, that kid will have crafted multiple narratives that make sense to her alone.
But let's have less crayons. An 8-count box of Crayola wax sticks instead.
= = = = =
Let's forward to high school somewhere. If someone's interested in art....
Oh, never mind. Let me try another tack.
= = = = =
A working definition for this blog post's purposes: a grand old mythos involving fan fiction, art, discussions, conventions or simple "remember when..." moments involving a work of fiction that ended years or decades prior.
I'm a low-level member of the oldest Fandom known to Americans: the Star Trek fandom. I came in through Star Trek: The Next Generation, and have watched every movie involving that series' characters except Insurrection.
Another Fandom I'm a small part of: the DCAU. You can search Wikipedia, but if you're a DCAU fan, I don't have to say anything else.
Between these two Fandoms is the most cherished of all my Fandoms: the TransFandom(the Transformers Fandom).
For most fans, that'd mean Transformers, the various comics and cartoons of the grand universe. For me, that means both planets of sentient transforming alien robots, no matter how lousy their show was. :D
In my mind, if you see Challenge of the Gobots as a seperate conflict within the main Transformers universe, then it doesn't matter if Hanna-Barbera botched the job of "reporting" it.
And now to tie in the CRAYON bit. Both of the narratives are pretty simple, and the characters on these two series are pretty simple. It's your basic good versus evil scenario, with the reps of each side being...people-who-happen-to-be-robots. Robots that transform into numerous vehicles, robotic animals, electronic devices and weapons. The idea behind such a story is that the robots themselves are the stars of this play, the agents, the free actors.
When I refer to these respective shows, I'm talking about the original series that ended around 1986 with their respective movies. For Transformers, that'd be Generation One; for the Gobots...they didn't get a Generation Two.
You have your bland(Leader One)/hammy(Optimus Prime) hero, and your delusional(Megatron)/melodramatic(Cy-Kill) villain*. The hero and the villain each has a team.
They fight. And the hero wins. The end; lather, rinse and OBEY!(er, repeat....)
With that simple box of crayons in hand, what do you come up with?