The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: August 6, 1999

How to Create a Fan Senshi

By: Scarlett Duchess

Original senshi. Some of the most hated characters in Sailormoon (eh, all) fanfiction today.

Why is that? I run a otaku senshi site and so far the response has mainly positive. Sure I get the occasional "why is Lenny gay?" "Why is Jared so mean to Crimson?" "Because of you I'm never going to eat raisons again!"

But I digress.

What I wanted to share with you today is how to create an otaku senshi. These are the basic rules, according to me.

  • Do not set your story in Japan Japan has eleven senshi already. Whenever I see a fic that has an original senshi interacting with a Naoko senshi (hey, what else am I supposed to call them?) I just click back and try to forget about it. Tokyo does not need more senshi. Maybe the rest of the world needs a senshi. Set it wherever the hell you want. Germany, Canada, Antarctica... ("I am Sailor Penguin and in the name of these pathetic scientists who live out in this godforsaken freezing hell hole, I will punish you!") It doesn't even have to be on Earth. You can have a bunch of senshi floating around in a space ship fighting evils on other planets.

  • No more Sailor Suns or Sailor Earths! There are countless Sailor Suns and Earths. Try something original and fun. Like gods and goddesses, bugs, animals. Try looking at other otaku senshi sites. There's the Mana Senshi, the Flower Squad, the D. Soldiers (hey, had to sneak a plug for my page in here somewhere). All of them have interesting premises for the names.

  • Don't model your senshi after the ASMO. Everywhere I turn, I see a Terra Mackenzie rip off. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the ASMO isn't that great. The characters are rather, erm, dry. You don't even have to make you protagonists the good guys. Why not follow the bad guys and see why exactly they want to own the universe/destroy the universe/kill the "good" senshi. And on the note:

  • Give your bad guys feasible reasons to be "bad" Just because isn't an answer. I'm not about to run out and kill a bunch of people "just because." Make them psychopaths. Case in point, Orion (I'm most familiar with my bad guys, gimme a break) is crazy. He killed the Essophian royalty and took over the country because of that crappy shape it was in. His two best friends, who were his heads of state turned on him "like tawdry hookers on Jerry Springer." All his family, except for his younger sister, was beheaded. Naturally, as you can see, he is messed-up in the head. So is it such a stretch that someone like that would want the universe? No. So, when you make up your bad guys, make them emotionally damaged. Read a book like Catcher in the Rye or Bless the Beasts and Children and create a bad guy that, some way along the line, we may want to cheer for.

  • If the past isn't in the moon kingdom, don't make the new past 'planet' perfect. This is a common problem, as I have seen. The king/emperor/president/prime minister is this delightful man whom everyone loves and the country/planet is this great place where there is no war/famine/unhappiness. Hello, reality, where'd you go? Perfection doesn't exist (and I don't mean that in the bitter, Charles Manson worshipper way.) Screw the country up. Have the Negaverse/Dark Kingdom attack for a reason, not just "because" (see above.) Maybe the country refused to do trade with them. Maybe they patronize only the upper classes and leave the peasants in the dust. Maybe they kidnapped the son/daughter/wife/husband/significant other etc… of the enemy. People do this because they want their characters to appear to be perfect. And that brings us to…

  • Don't make your characters perfect This drives me crazy! Granted, it's a short drive… Anyway, these characters are boring, useless, pointless and damn annoying! I don't want a character as smart as Ami, beautiful as Minako, strong as Makoto, lovable as Usagi, and mysterious as Rei… I want a loser. I want a Ted. (Remember zipper boy from There's something About Mary?) That's one thing that pisses me off about SM. The characters are 'pure.' Maybe your character is a bank robber. A murderer. An IRS agent. Give them something that make me relate to them (no I don't rob banks, kill people, or audit them). Maybe they're like Michelle in American Pie, obsessed with one thing so that every time something happens the thing that will pop out of their mouth will be, "this one time, at a Weird Al concert" or "once, this happened on Star Trek" or "Homer Simpson once said" and my personal fave, "Dave Barry said…" It can and will get annoying but that way you have guaranteed character development.

  • Don't use 'the Force' I'm damn well sick of the good vs evil thing. I want evil to win! Let the villain win once in awhile. Kill off a major good character, have the villain find love, have the 'good guys' be evil for once. The day I see that will be, well, the day that I die of shock.

  • Rationalize I've never understood the fact that the characters in SM had no qualms about going out and killing people. Maybe have that struggle within you protagonist. "He's evil but he can be rehabilitated." No sane human being (an even most insane ones) would purposely go out and kill things. If someone walked up to me, handed me a henshin and said "hey you, go kill someone." I'd definitely have second thoughts. Plus, if you suddenly received powers wouldn't you want to know the extent of your powers? Anyhoo…

  • You don't need the original fuku So, you want to make a senshi, but you can't draw fuku. No prob. Who says you have to dress them in that skimpy little outfit anyway? I mean, if I was fighting in Antarctica, I'd want a snowmobile suit. Or perhaps a gas tank I can carry around and light up occasionally to keep from freezing my ass off. Uh… put them in whatever you want. Tuxedoes, ballroom dresses, tutus, jedi robes… Besides, the fuku really aren't that attractive, when I see something like that I just think, oh, ho hum, I wonder if the fanfic's as creative as this.

  • Don't edit existing images for your senshi If you can't draw, get someone else to draw them for you. That at least has some class. But I feel that editing images shows a lack of initiative and make you look lazy. I really don't care if it took you three hours to make. I don't want to see Ami with red hair or Usagi with black hair. Not only that, but most edited images look like shit. They are blotchy and mis-coloured and I have yet to see an edited image that I can't tell is edited.

  • Don't use cheesy, corny, overused story lines Hrmmm, Queen (insert name here) wants the Universe, so, of course she goes to what we all know is the focal point of the universe, Earth and tries to kill a bunch of people. Sailor (insert name here) gets a power up from a talking cat and kicks queen (insert name here)'s ass. Sound familiar. You bet it does.

  • No more guardian cats! Don't get me wrong, I love cats, I have a cat, but still, try a dog, a bird, a lizard. Anything but a cat. How cliché.

  • Parody, don't plagiarize So, your sitting in front of your computer thinking of what to write and you come up blank. So you watch, eh, Young Poisoner's Handbook and decide to write a story where queen (insert name here) goes around poisoning everyone with thallium. Wrong-o. That's direct plagiarism and Hugh O'Conor and co. can sue you for it. Parody. Maybe have queen (insert name here) distract them by pretending to do something like that. Or a mix up within the group of heroines cause one to suspect another of poisoning the others. I love reading and writing parodies. They are a fresh change from the "I'm a serious drama ala the City which is one of the most boring shows on television today" genre.
And, on that note, have fun writing your fanfic!

Comments on this article can be sent to: Scarlett Duchess.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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