Welcome to Part 2 of my story. In case you missed it, last week I shared the introduction to a series of posts I’ll be writing about the learning experience behind a “novel” I recently published online: a fanfiction titled Chaos and Control. If you haven’t yet, I suggest you go back and read that post first. Otherwise, have fun reading the next part of the story!
Last week, I started off by briefly telling about the idea for my fanfiction: how I came up with it, why I decided to turn it into a story, etc. Today, I’m going to share the beginning of the creative process, namely the planning that was done before the writing began. Enjoy!
Part II: The Planning
As I mentioned in the previous post, Chaos and Control is a story based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. While thinking about my original characters during one of my romance phases, I started to realize how well I could fit them into roles parallel to Shakespeare’s tragedy: Miles and Maria, the heroic couple from Generation Beta, as Romeo and Juliet; Miles’s smart and loyal twin sister Lily in the combined roles of Friar Laurence and Benvolio; the siblings’ playful tomboyish cousin Sonia as Mercutio; their noble yet stubborn friend Rex as Tybalt and his bubbly girlfriend Angelica as the Nurse, etc. Not only did their individual personalities fit into the story, but their relationships also seemed to match those of the original characters. They fit so well, in fact, that the more I thought about the story, the more I wanted to write it. The idea wasn’t just floating on my imagination; it was consuming me completely.
So now would probably be a good point to start talking about the writing process from the beginning, right? Here goes…
Building the Skeleton
Every story needs the skeleton of a basic plot to support it. If I was going to write this story, I knew I needed at least a fundamental idea of how I wanted it to play out. How much should I base on the original play and how much should be my own ideas? How would I incorporate enough elements of the Sonic fandom to justify writing fanfiction instead of an original work? Could I pull off the unique storyline I wanted, especially the ending, the way I planned? All of these were questions I felt I needed to answer before I even typed out the first sentence.
I decided I wanted to create a more innocent version of Romeo & Juliet by combining my original ideas with elements from Shakespeare’s play, plus a few of my favorite adaptations of it (mostly West Side Story and the Romeo x Juliet anime). The feud would be due to a series of political disagreements rooted in the special abilities that all animal characters in the Sonic universe possess. The story would follow the classic theme of two teenagers whose love for each other is hindered by the hatred between their families and friends, and who are willing to do whatever it takes to end the war so they can be together. And I strongly felt my characters could play that role perfectly.
Creating a modern Romeo and Juliet
First of all, why use originals as the leads instead of canon characters? Simple: so I could have complete creative control over character development without worrying too much about making those from Sega out-of-character. True, most of them are anyway, but at least they’re only in secondary roles, so it doesn’t detract too much from the fanfiction.
Now for the real question: with so many adaptations of this classic tale already out there, how was I going to make my story truly original and, more importantly, believable? To accomplish that, I opted to update the details from the play with which I didn’t completely agree, or that at least wouldn’t work for my characters:
- The heroes’ story would take place over the course of six months instead of four days, so their affection could have more time to blossom into “real love”.
- Their attraction would be based on much more than physical appearance. The night they meet, they spend almost an hour talking before they kiss. On top of that, they spend much of their private time together immersed in conversation, as if they’ve been best friends their whole lives.
- Supporting characters would also get a fair share of character development. I feel it adds color to the story when Friar Laurence, Mercutio, Tybalt, the Nurse and even Balthasar are given depth as well.
- Aside from the chance to openly be together, the lead couple would hope to achieve peace in their town for the sake of all its citizens, especially their loved ones. They care about their families and friends so much that eloping becomes an absolute last resort to be happy.
- The parents would find out about their children’s relationship before the end of the story, so as to set up the plot for some unusual twists.
- If my “Romeo” was going to die, it had to be as a consequence of saving his “Juliet’s” life. Suicide is inconsistent with my characters.
With all these ideas and more, I felt confident I could turn out a new take on Romeo & Juliet that readers would enjoy. All I needed to do now was flesh out the basic plot that was already forming in my mind. And that phase would begin upon writing the first sentence… which I’ll get into in more detail next week.
This concludes the second part of the story behind my fanfiction. Next week, I’ll focus on the actual writing of the “novel”: the first drafts that brought the initial layers of color to my idea. Thanks for reading!
Note: If you’re interested, you’re more than welcome to read my story and even leave some reviews. I promise you don’t need to know too much about the Sonic universe to appreciate it. Reviews are positive, but contain spoilers! Thank you!