FFVII Internet Series Notes
By Frank Verderosa
THE FFVII WORLD VS THE INTERNET SERIES
THE NAME GAME
YOU IDIOT! HOW COULD YOU MAKE A MISTAKE LIKE THAT?
As you may have guessed from the title, this isn't really a part of the series. It's just some observations about it. I've tried to keep my own remarks to a minimum while writing the series, just a few notes at the end of each book. I know from personal experience that the worst thing you can do is ask a writer about his stories, because believe me, they'll go on and on ad nauseum once you get them started, and I'm no exception. And since I suspect it's unlikely that anyone else has any interest in what we have to say , I've always tried to control myself. But just this once I've decided to indulge myself. After all, it is my webpage and I can put up what I pretty well damn please. And besides, no one is forcing anyone to read this.
If you're still with me this is just a few personal notes and observations about the Internet Series. When I first wrote the Search for Aeris, I had no idea what it would turn into. I didn't have a website, I wasn't even thinking about posting it. I just did it for personal satisfaction. I've always liked to write, and the game just seemed to cry out for a sequel. In fact, I hadn't written anything at all in quite a while, so it felt good to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, after it was done I was looking at FFVII sites on the web and noticed some fan fics, so I said, hey, why don't I do that? It seemed to me that it would a great idea to share this story with others. So I emailed a bunch of websites that had fan fics on them asking if they would post the story. A few said no, most didn't reply at all, but some said yes. I'm indebted to Gary Lee for being the very first person to post the Search for Aeris on his website.
Anyway, the Search for Aeris was recieved so well that it motivated me to keep going. And you all know the result. Most of you have noticed that the stories tended to get longer as I went along, with me going totally nuts with the Mind Slayers. I kept the first one's short because I wasn't sure how they would be recieved. I know most of the people reading them were probably avid videogamers, a group not know for their long attention span, or their intereest in reading. I have to say I was pleasently surprised by how many people stuck with the stories.
I always tried to keep the stories as true to the original game as I could . But in some cases there are differences, sometimes for arbitrary reasons, other times for very good reasons. The nature and use of materia is one obvious example. In the game you fitted your materia into slots on your weapon and armor. In my stories, you hold it in your hand. This was one of those arbitrary things. For some reason, in the Search for Aeris, that's the way I did it. Don't ask me why, I just didn't even think about it. Afterwards, when I noticed, I decided to just keep it that way. It doesn't really make any significant difference in the stories, and I decided to keep the series consistant. More important differences occur with the actual use of materia, especially restore and life. Cure, Fullcure, and Life were great to have in the game, and were in fact, sometimes indespensible to cointinuing, but they post serious problems for a writer. In a nutshell, they make things too easy. There has to be a certain amount of excietment, of danger, to keep a story interesting. But where's the danger if after every battle you can just cast life and fullcure and everything is right wth the world again? To me, that doesn't make for a very captivating tale. So in my stories, fullcure and life materia do not exist, and cure is limited. Cure can sometimes turn a fatal wound into a severe one, a severe one into a light one, or cure a light one completely, but that's it. If you are hurt badly enough, even cure won't help you. I felt this had to be done in the interest of keeping the stories entertaining. And I think it worked out very well, because no one ever mentioned it.
Limit breaks are another thing I had trouble with. I seemed to me that the characters in the game could never really tell when they were going to occur, and they were set off by damage taken. In my stories they do seem to have some control over it. Aeris is able to cast her's pretty much at will. I never really say why, but if pressed I would explain it by saying her Cetra heritage gives her more control over it than most. Vincend is able to use his just by getting angry, as do the others, to some extent.. Also in my stories, I never actually call them limit breaks. They don't really have a name, they're just something that happens. Instead of saying Cloud used Omnislash, I would try to descibe it. In some cases this works out very well. When Aeris and Vincent use their limit breaks it's usually pretty clear cut (at least, in the case of healing wind for Aeris) Some others might have been difficult to spot, just because it's sometimes difficult to explain clearly in words what's happening. Aeris uses Fury Brand in the fight against the ice worm in the Red Fist, and Cloud uses Omnislash right after. Also, Red uses Cosmo Memory in Jenova Disciples. But you may have missed them because I'm not sure I dsscribed them well enough. Tifa uses Final Heaven in the Search for Aeris and the Dark Shore (and in the Dark Shore I mistakenly actually called it Final Heaven) and she did some of her combo's as well, though I don't think she ever actually went through the entire sequence. The only other limit break I actually name is Banish Evil. But that was a special case. As a new one, you wouldn't have know it was a limit break if I didn't call it SOMETHING.
One other difference is my sometime referals to earth and earthly events. In the game they never call the planet Earth. They just say 'the Planet'. And that was fine as long as they remained there. But when they shot into space a problem developed. When they are on another planet and they refer to the planet, the reader isn't going to know if they're talking about the planet they are on or the planet they came from. So I had to call it something. It was either call it Earth or make up a name. But there was no precedent in the game to call it anything besides Earth. either. One significant fact from the game made me decide to call it Earth. When Sephrioth casts supernova, other planets in our solar system are specifically named. If the other planets are the same, then why shouldn't the planet they are on be called Earth? So that's what I went with. I just assumed it was an alternate Earth. Some people were not happy with that decision. At other times I made reference to Earthly events or people, such as Einstein or the Wizard of Oz. Some people emailed me to say that the FFVII people would have no knowledge of that sort of thing. But hey, why couldn't an alternate Earth have an alternate Einstein, or an alternate Wizard of Ox? It could happen!
Some people have asked me, 'How do you come up with all those weird names?' The easy answer is, I guess I just have a vivid imagination. Most of the names in my stories just popped right out of my head, and some of them took a long time to come up with. I was slowed down for hours trying to think of the names of the Cetra on Shinialyn (and the name of the planet itself, in fact, becuase I wanted them to be very different). But of course, there are a few exceptions. The original game had Biggs and Wedge. Keeping the Star Wars connection alive, Tarkin in the Search for Aeris was named after Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie. And in the Mind Slayers we come full circle as Jinn is named after Qui Qoug Jinn (Gak, yes I know I spelt that wrong) in the Phantom Menace. Just my little contribution to the Star Wars connection.
A few of the characters were actually named by someone else. In fact, a few of the characters themselves were actually suggested by someone else. At the end of the Red Fist, I asked for suggestions on what to name a female of Red's species. The winning reply (in fact, the only reply that came in time, to be honest) was of course, Nipala. I don't normally use characters submitted by other people for a number of reasons. I like to come up with my own, it's just part of a writers job, as far as I'm concerned. And unconciously or not, most submitted characters come wtih bagage attached. It's very unlikely that my idea of a character and the person who submitted it will coincide exactly. I don't want to have a fan emailing me saying 'What did you do to my character? He/she would NEVER do that!' Besides, I think most people read FFVII fan fics to read about the original characters (I know I do!), so I've always tried to keep any new characters to a minimum. But in the Mind Slayers I relaxed this rule a bit. Since it was possible it was the last of the series, I decided to go a little crazy. As a result there are three characters in the Mind Slayers that were submitted by other people. Roshnialu (Whose name I love, by the way, even though no one can spell it right!), Amanda, and Lai Li. But even then I wasn't arbitrary. Each added character had a very specific and useful role in the plot of the story. I threw Altim into the Mind Slayers too, and that was probably a mistake. I never really got to develop his character any. I originally planned to have him complicate the Aeris situation, but I never really got to use him that way. Looking back on it now, if I had written the entire thing and then posted it I probably would have left him out. But that's the chances you take when you post each chapter as it's written. You really have to plan ahead, and not everything works out.
Oh, and as long as we're talking about names, there's one other thing. Yuri Asoredrev, the name of Rude's chess grandmaster uncle in the Mind Slayers. I wonder if any of you noticed that his last name is my last name spelled backwards?
Posting each chapter as it is written has it's hazards. If you don't plan ahead it's rather easy to foul up the consistency of the story, and make other stupid mistakes as well. Yes, I made my share of errors, most of which you were all too happy to quickly point out to me. And I'm not talking just about my total lack of ability to spell. So now I'm going to play a little game of pick on Frank (don't get too excited now) and point out the more obvious ones.
In the Search for Aeris I had them hold all their materia in their hands, even though in the game they put it in weapons and armor. What was I thinking? Don't know, but this was a relatively minor mistake, and I decided to leave it that way in the later stories.
In the first chapter of Jenova's Disciples, Aeris, Zack and Reeve are attacked by assasins. After they are defeated Zack recognizes them from Gongaga, but Zack had lost his memory! Major blunder! I tried to gloss over it by hinting that he had a tentative link with Jenova that was projecting the knowlege to him. Pretty lame, huh?
Also in Jenova's Disciples I started out calling the City of the Ancients Inflania even though it was supposed to be Ifalnia. Oops. I corrected that in later chapters after it was pointed out to me.
In the Mind Slayers, Aeris and the others are captured by the Chadara. Everything they have is taken away. Yet when Aeris confronts Jinn at the end, she mysteriously has the Princess Guard. How'd that happen? Must be magic. I realized it after I had posted the chapter, but no one else seemed to notice. You people are falling down on the job!
I'm sure there are plenty of others, but those are the one's I noticed that were most glaring. I got a feeling I'll be getting some emails pointing out a few more in the days to come!
I have a feeling quite a number of you skipped right down to this section. And the quiestion you most want answered is, will there be a 7th book in the Internet Series. All I can say is, the answer is a resounding maybe. I'm going to take a little break, see what's what, think about new ideas, and we'll see. I'm not certain, it's just a feeling, but I think you may not have seen the last of this. After all, I did leave a number of possible directions to go in at the end of the Mind Slayers. But it depends on a lot of factors. Fresh ideas. motivation. FF8 is coming out pretty soon, I might start writing stories about that if it passes muster. There are also some other things that have been on the back burner for awhile while I concentrated on the series. Such as:
BALANCE OF POWER AND SECOND CHANCE
I really like the way Balance of Powers is shaping up. Now maybe I'll get to concentrate a little more on it. And Second Chance seems to be going very slowly, even though I'm not the one doing the writing for it yet (but don't worry, I will be getting a chapter) I'll have to see if I can breath some life into that.
Like I said, there are some things I've been thinking about doing for a long time and just haven't had the chance. I'm not going to quarentee all of these are going to show up, and the titles are subject to change, but it's quite possible you might see some of these appearing here in the near future:
INDIANA STRIFE AND THE TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENTS
A race against time in the Temple of the Ancients to recover the black materia. An interactive story where YOU get to decide what happens. Pick your adverntuer (Cloud or Tifa) and enter the Temple at your own risk!
TIFA THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Tifa and Vincent somehow end up in Sunnydale, the home of our favorite slayer
Revamp of old bios, correcting some mistakes, and adding new ones.
A story I've thought about for a long time, it covers Cloud's days in SOLDIER. How he met Sephiroth and how he ultimately washed out. Of course in this story, Sephiroth would be a good guy
BOOK SEVEN OF THE INTERNET SEREIES
Well, we'll see
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