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July 9, 2018

Do it for Her, or Whatever -- ACT I

Alternate post title: Do it for Her, Even if it’s the Stupidest Thing Ever

Okay, before I get started, a few quick things.  First off: more Kingdom Hearts X A Goofy Movie headcanon incoming very soon -- ideally for this Thursday, but who knows what sort of technical mishaps I’ll run into next.  Well, I guess it’s not really fair to call it “headcanon”, but I like that term a lot.  It’s more appropriate to call it a “what-if story” or “alternate scenario”.  So if you ever wanted to know what could happen if Sora went to Spoonerville, I’ve got you covered.

Next?  I haven’t forgotten about Kingdom Hearts 3D.  I was going back and forth for a bit on what format I would put it in -- I.e. whether I’d revive the old, point-by-point analysis of each element of the game, or the modern, standard post style.  I think I’ll go with the modern, because A) it’ll let me focus on the stuff I really want to talk about, and B) I really want to talk about certain things above all else.  The timing here is going to be key, though, mostly because I kind of want the first KH3D post to mark Cross-Up’s 900th post.  

It’ll either be that, or something else KH related.  Because I guess this is a KH blog now.  Crap.

The more important factor here is that at long last, I may have made a major breakthrough on the creative front.  I mean, I’m not published yet or anything, so don’t gasp breathlessly just yet (although maybe I’ll hear good news from a willing agent one of these days).  The thing is, after a little over two years of trial and error, I may have finally, finally, finally, finally, finally pinned down what I want to do with a certain character and her story.

That’s…not exactly news, I know.  I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to close this page right now (Voltech’s not griping about JRPGs?  This is bullshit!).  But try to understand things from my point of view.  As much as I enjoy blogging about games and other nerd ephemera, it’s not something I want to do forever.  It’s not my dream to do this, even if I were getting paid handsomely for it.  I want to be a novelist -- a writing hero -- which means that instead of spending inordinate amounts of time complaining about the works of others, I want to push my original content out into the world.

Inevitably that means that, should I succeed, I’ll have phalanxes of bloggers griping out my works until they’re a fine powder vanishing on the wind.  That’s karma for you, I suppose.

But getting back on topic: to be clear, this character has been a part of my main stable since before I started this blog.  That’s true of all of my core heroes, admittedly.  But in the time since I started Cross-Up, everyone has seen massive revisions, so that no character is exactly the same as what he/she started out as.  Abilities, origins, personalities, races, and even genders have played hopscotch over the years.  And within the past couple of years -- certainly within the span of Cross-Up’s birth, but especially since 2016-ish -- the revision process has gone into overdrive.

But there was one character of the bunch who I struggled with.  Exactly one.  Everyone else?  Pretty painlessly, effortlessly revised.  He’s an android biker now!  She’s a cyber magician now!  He’s a kung fu dodgeball ace now!  She’s a…no wait, she’s a…well, on second thought, she should be a…okay, how about if she’s a…actually, I take that back, she’s a…now that I think about it she’s a…and so on, and so forth.  

I don’t want to brag -- especially since I’m about to reveal it’s something of a curse -- but I put an insane amount of thought into my characters, even if it’s for details and factors that won’t ever see the light of day/matter in the long run.  Even the most minute change is critical.  Crucial.  It’s the equivalent of making a bullet train going at full speed make a 315-degree turn.  And it’s a turn that gets made if something as simple as a snowflake drifts in the way.

To wit: I’ve got another guy in mind right now, and reworking him physically (via sketches) and mentally whenever I get the chance.  Incidentally, you can thank Pokken Tournament for a change I want to implement: while there’s a version of me from many years ago who made the most complex and ornate designs possible (stuff that would be excruciatingly hard to replicate on paper, let alone describe), thanks to that game’s custom avatars I realize that, damn, all I need to put that guy in is a tanktop and jeans, and slap a hat on him.  Well, give or take some flourishes given his worker/mechanic aesthetic, but you get the idea.  I just hope it doesn’t get an unexpected reaction out of me…

With this lady, though -- let’s call her 06 for now -- the number of details and variables just based on physical appearance could have kept me occupied for another year.  What’s her hair color?  What’s her hair length?  What’s her hair style?  Does she keep her hair in good condition?  What’s her eye color?  Skin tone?  Freckles or no?  What’s her color theme?  What’s her color palette?  What kind of clothes does she wear?  Does she even wear those clothes?  What condition are those clothes in?  What’s her height?  What’s her build?  What’s her figure?  What’s her fitness level?  What accessories does she have?  What unique characteristics does she have?

It seems trivial, but it matters to me, damn it.  06 or otherwise, minute details inform a character in ways that an audience can appreciate, consciously or subconsciously.  A character color-coded pink (like 06) carries different connotations than a character color-coded red (like Mr. Tanktop above, AKA 01).  It’s especially true of 06, because her physical appearance is extremely critical given the nature of her story, I.e. where her differences from everyone else is as much a part of the plot as the plot.  Or, to put it simply, 06 IS the plot, and I've been going mad trying to figure everything out.


And getting past those superficial elements leads to the real meat and potatoes, even if they’re supported by said superficial elements.  What’s her backstory?  What’s her role?  What’s her motivation?  What’s her character arc?  What are her strengths and weaknesses?  What’s her personality?  What’s her living condition?  What’s her family like?  What are her friends like?  What’s her villain like?  What’s her rival like?  What’s her setting like?  What’s her home like?  Any of these details can change over the course of the brainstorming period.  ALL of these details HAVE changed over the course of the brainstorming period.

But don’t worry about it, or me.  Like I said, I figured it out.  I guess the key to cracking the code, and possibly to create a true narrative wonder, was to create a character with giant anime tiddies.

I’m joking, but only a little bit.  I mean, 06 was supposed to be busty from Day One, so this was no spur-of-the-moment change.  Also?  Of those qualifiers, I should put the emphasis in the right places.  “Anime” is a distant third.  “Tiddies” lags a good distance despite being in second, and despite 06 being more than capable of ripping through any mere D-cup bra with a breath.  So by the process of elimination, that means “giant” is the order of the day.  And I’m happy for it…though I imagine that if this project ever goes anywhere, enthusiasts of the improbably buxom will have a lot to be thankful for.

I’ve mentioned my drive to make a story about a kaiju-sized single mom off and on over the years -- including full posts on this very blog -- and I can report that 06 the embodiment of that drive.  Granted enough details have changed so that it’s not as simple as Momzilla bumping around, but as things stand?  06 is a big lady.  Big, and gets bigger as the story progresses.  That much has been a constant since about 2012, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.  (Her starting height certainly has, though -- only a paltry 12’6”.)

There are three reasons why I’m excited about 06’s latest incarnation, least of all because it feels like I’ve finally made some progress.  (I have dozens of sketches of her head alone.  That’s a small snapshot of the work I’ve put in.)  First: it feels as if I’m rising to the challenge posed by the world of fiction.  I’ve tried repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, to find a story similar to what I have in mind as a point of reference -- a way to get new ideas and zero in on what I can do.  Those reference points are, as far as I can tell, nonexistent.  Well, except for the obvious.

It’s like…this can’t be a foreign concept.  Someone has to have done it by now in a meaningful fashion, right?  A giant main character -- the main main character, not viewed from the perspective of a normal-sized character, because that might as well be cheating -- who actually does stuff, and whose circumstances are more than just a passing diversion.  Or spank material.  There’s some stuff out there, I know, but not enough.  It leads me to believe that, for the most part, it’s mostly-untouched territory.  A wild frontier that only a rare few have explored.

And on top of that?  Yeah.  This is me generalizing and making strawman arguments, but it kind of feels like I’m making 06 -- in her current form and as a whole -- out of spite.  Like, there are people out there who are saying, overtly or not, that “you can’t make a character like this” or “you can’t make a story like this” based on arbitrary, outdated criteria.  Certainly, there are challenges at play here; I’ve run into them on the planning stage, for sure.  But I look at the media that’s out there -- and the people that comment on them online, even more so -- and it’s like there’s an undercurrent of thought that shouts “you can’t have a character with this role” and “nobody will like a character who looks like this”.  

I don’t want to keep dwelling on breasts, but you could very nearly boil down my position to somebody saying “I can’t take this character seriously because her boobs are so big” and me claiming that that’s incorrect as long as the character is proactive, progresses over the course of a narrative, and generally has an interesting personality.  Or, more accurately, cut to me slamming a hand on my desk, rocketing out of my chair, and screaming “OH YEAH?  WELL CHECK THIS SHIT OUT!

Dr. Weird is basically my spirit animal.

In any case, there’s more that I can say on this subject.  And I will…some other time.  I hit one point, yeah, but there are still others I could make.  Also the post that was supposed to be simple and clean ended up becoming complex and dirty.  So excuse me while I go shower.

I deserve it for making a storytelling breakthrough.

And I deserve a shower (and worse) for refereincing a KH song, thereby guaranteeing the slow but certain slide into being a slave to Squeenix’s brainchild.  Again.

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