This blog post contains the extensive evaluation of my Final Major Project. I evaluate based on planning, research, pre-production and production.
The purpose of this project, as seen in my proposal, was to experiment and see if I could answer this question.
‘Can online stories (‘fanfiction’) be just as valid and engaging as traditionally published stories?’
Based on my results and the extent of my project, I can answer with confidence that this is correct. There is very little difference between the story written by a fan, and the story written by an author. This is what I had hoped to learn – to be able to remove the invisible line that people put between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’. In the end, we are all writers, and that is what I learned.
On top of that, I had hoped to start a project that was on my mind for three years. I’m extremely relieved to know that, as well as fulfilling a wish of mine, it was very well received by my peers. It’s breathtaking.
When I first started out on my planning, I had very high expectations. I said to myself that I would write the prologue and a full chapter. Given my time frame and hindsight, I should’ve known that was impossible to achieve in 10 weeks. It was a huge project – bigger than any other project I saw my classmates working on. I pushed myself to my limits, and it was very rewarding. The amount of planning, documents, spreadsheets, drafts and character betas was astounding.
In fact, the research and planning took at least 4 weeks to finish, if not 5 or 6. I had to come up with 16 fleshed out characters, a setting, a mascot character, research both Danganronpa 1 and 2, look into other similar Visual Novels, I got inspired by a song, I set up a questionnaire and even then there was more. But, for the project, I felt as if I had enough research. I could’ve done more, and I would’ve done more, but I knew that I had to draw the line if I were to have enough time to actually write the story. I could have interviewed more of my community members, I could have examined more of my influences, I could have dabbled in the talents and hobbies myself for personal experience. However, that is all stuff that can be achieved in the future!
The important thing to know is that this project is ongoing. It is developing as I get artwork, write more of the story and get inspired by more soundtracks. The story will end when I reach the end.
There were a few flaws in my design. One is that there was a minor lack of audio material. If I had the skills to make my own music, I would have. If I had the money to commission a musician, I would have! However, I was perfectly fine settling with existing music from Danganronpa and the Zero Escape Trilogy. My product wasn’t being sold, so I did not need to worry about copyright.
Another weakness was outsourcing to unreliable artists. One artist in particular, I commissioned for 4 pieces of artwork, totalling up to $60. I received 2 on time, 1 at the very last minute and the last is yet to be finished. The character introductions were handled by a different artist, and a third artist did the pixel icons – both of these were done considerably quicker and did not stress me out as much. For the future, I will consider these two artists more! They are friends of mine too, meaning I do not need to worry about feeling awkward around them. They know me, and I know them.
As for the research itself? There may have been one too many secondary sources. This is not a great flaw, actually. The work and the research involved was largely secondary. I am happy that my primary research came from my community! Interviewing people I was familiar with may seem like a negative to some, but I found it much easier to ask questions and there was no pressure on me – it did not add onto the stress I already felt.
When I place my work next to dreadnought-despair? Their work is far more novel-esque, with everything being written in past tense and using face icons for everyone that contains different expressions. This made things flow better, in my opinion. However, I am happy with my work. Comparing it to another person’s work is silly. It will only pressure me, and make me think ‘oh, I should do it their way’. I despise the idea of trying to compare good points and bad points. My work and their work are separate, they are both good, and I simply used it as a jumping off point in order to not make mistakes.
Finally, I believe that the project went well. It went great! The artwork is splendid, I found fitting music for each situation, all of the planning and research went to good use. There were stressful situations, there was a lot of panic, and I might not have done it without the feedback from my peers to encourage me. I have them to thank for reassuring me. It actually went better than I expected, because of this! I’m thankful and happy beyond words.
If I were to start from scratch, I would have cleaned up the research and planning process. I would have written more extensive samples of each character before the introductions, I would have ensured that I had more time to write the project so that I wasn’t as stressed and so that nothing was done at the last minute. There needed to be a smoother start and less unrealistic expectations, but I was able to make the lemonade out of lemons and continue regardless. The beginning was rough, the middle was fine, the ending was satisfying. If I could level that out, I would’ve been happier.