As a foreword, all blog posts for the FMP will be no more than 1000 words. This is to conserve space.
During the first three weeks of my FMP, the idea had already been set in stone. Through this project, I was finally able to do something that I’ve wanted to do for three years. The story I wished to create was an exploration into a type of creating writing, on top of an analysis of the human psyche and how it reacts to a life-or-death situation.
This type of writing is commonly called ‘fanfiction’. A story set in an established universe from an already existing product. For this particular piece, it was an alternate timeline in the world of Danganronpa, a visual novel / murder mystery franchise with elements of psychological horror.
ME, MYSELF & I
During our first week, we were tasked with ‘finding ourselves’. For me, this was easier to accomplish. A writer of at least 8 years, I already had some kind of grasp on my style, my tastes and my methods. However, there were 3 skills I was able to pick up from this course.
- Research – Primary & Secondary research has helped me distinguish and better balance my research. Qualitative and quantitative has also supported this. By learning this, my research stages are better.
- Visual/Interactivity – I am more confident in outsourcing parts of my work (regardless if I get these pieces on time or not). I can do this while not relying on this to complete the piece, and make these outsourced elements secondary.
- Questioning – The distinction between open, closed and leading questions. By learning this, I can tailor my interviews and – in some ways – creative dialogue to match my (or that character’s) intent.
Three other skills I knew beforehand but have improved upon are tone, word choice and editing. I knew how to go beyond a first draft and ensure that I could carry the tone through strong word choice. There are other skills (characterization, setting, genre conventions, word economy, theme, etc) that I have also improved upon.
So, going into my project ahead of time, I was already laying out characters and the setting for this story. I was quick to make a SWOT analysis, so that I knew exactly what hurdles I might be facing.
Strengths – The ability to create a captivating story, word choice, the actual writing itself. Bolstered by strong research sources and interactive elements. For production and research, I am able to succeed and have become confident in sharing my work with those I know and am comfortable with.
Weaknesses – Time management. Some issues regarding mental health and my unhealthy perfectionism can create problems. I strive to have art everywhere, music, interactive elements and an audience to read the work as it’s being developed. If one of these aspects falters, I begin to panic.
Opportunities – Conversing with the community that I am a part of, gleaning information from them as well as having the opportunity for many interviews. Through this work, I may be able to introduce people to the franchise that I am very fond of.
Threats – Personal commitments, having to commission artists which takes up money and time. The latter being from setting up commission guidelines and descriptions. I am part of several collaborative writing groups, I manage a tabletop RPG group and I do proofreading work for my parents. Of course, this takes precedence.
From there on we made a research plan to ensure that, going forward, we’d have a smooth journey. Research, pre-production, production, evaluation. My research plan was straightforward.
- Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, a video game developed by Spike. This is the franchise that my project is based off.
- Virtue’s Last Reward, regarded as the best video game of the Zero Escape Trilogy developed by Chunsoft. This emphasizes character relationships and psychological debates, which I really wanted to immerse myself into for the story.
- Battle Royale, a key influence for Danganronpa and a film based off a Japanese novel.
- Ace Attorney Series, developed by Capcom. Danganronpa is described as a mix of Battle Royale and Ace Attorney, the latter due to their elaborate murder cases.
- The Man Who Sold The World, a song written by David Bowie and covered by several other artists. The cover by Midge Ure inspired one of my characters.
In addition, much of my primary research will be covered by interviewing members of the Danganronpa fan community. As of this time, the questions have not been sorted. However, that is a top priority. I need to make sure to ask the right questions, in order to understand my target audience.
To finish my primary research, I will be learning about botany, fishing & psychology from my parents, who are well-versed in these subjects and are well-educated people. I can trust them to provide me with useful info.
All of the research will be compiled into a single post, expanding on my original research plan. This also allows my to show any sources that I did not expect to use, and shows development!
How do I feel about this? I’m excited! This is a chance to scratch the itch that has been burning for three years. I never got around to it for a multitude of reasons – not feeling ready, personal issues, etc. Many of my character’s profiles have been laid out, and I am confident that I will be able to assemble a varied & colorful cast!
I just know that some people might get the wrong idea about my research plan. Video games are at the forefront, but that is speaking technically. Visual Novels are a game genre, but they are closer to audiobooks or Choose Your Own Adventure books than traditional video games. I’m also just worried. I’m scared of setting my expectations too high, or trying to do too much, or worrying about the smallest detail. That’s who I am as a person, and I know that will get in the way.