I will start this piece off with a confession: I am a
late-comer to the Way of the Odango in more ways that one.
I am older than the average SM fan, being the ripe old age
of 41. I cut my anime teeth on Astro Boy and Speed Racer
over 30 years ago, when Japanese anime was regarded as
little more than cheap import cartoons to fill in air-time.
I discovered Sailor Moon partway through her ill-fated run
on the USA Network and somehow managed to tape all 65 of
the available episodes before the show was cancelled as a
Dark Kingdom-style present to her fans in Christmas 1997.
Like many of us I rejoiced when the Senshi found new
employers at Turner and Time-Warner on the Cartoon network
and once again copied all 65 episodes. I got to see all
the stuff USA cut out to make room for more 'USA High'
ads got the 17 episodes from a young lady in Canada then
taped the same episodes off Cartoon Network even got the
end of R and the last three seasons in subtitles.
Why mention all of this? In large part because I have read
recent Lemure files bemoaning the demise if not the
slowdown of SM sites all over the Web, including some of
the larger and better known ones. While it is indeed true
that there has been no new manga or anime on our favorite
Senshi and her friends in over two years, the spirit of
Sailor Moon will not die as long as several things take
First, while many fans move on to other anime stories,
there are new fans coming in, exposed to SM through Cartoon
Network or sites they find on the net. They may be
inspired enough to build their own shrines to the
Senshi maybe not in as great numbers as we have been used
to, but they will still be there for several years to come.
And there are hints of a renewal of interest, triggered by
the release of the three movies in the US commercially.
This will certainly result in more new Web Sites and new
Second is one other topic that has been a hot-button on
this forum, fan-fics. As the author of a series of fan-fics
based upon Sailor Moon, but with different characters, I
feel that our fics also keep the Sailor Moon spirit alive.
Whether the fic uses the established Senshi we all love so
much in new adventures, a mix of new and old or all new
Senshi, the spirit of Usagi, and her friends live on.
Obviously, it helps to be able to do different things with
the characters. The one big weakness to doing an SM-based
fic is that if you use the Senshi, you HAVE to stay within
the characters' personalities. Sometimes, this CAN limit
your story-telling. As has been noted in other Lemure
files, new characters allow you to explore the Realm of the
Senshi a bit more.
For instance, one lesson we all have drawn from Sailor Moon
is 'Courage of the heart is often the greatest courage of
them all' and this theme shows up in many SM-based fics.
While it is true that many fics follow the SM formula to a
degree (and in truth, mine does to a great extent), the
formula has obviously worked if so much was inspired by a
manga that grew into a world-wide phenomenon. To use my
fic for an example, the Dishwashers started off as a loose
group of friends connected by an Internet Chat room. After
their early battles, they are sent to Tokyo to fight
alongside Eternal Sailor Moon and the Senshi (the fic is
set AFTER the defeat of Galaxia). First, they have to
tussle with the Senshi themselves. In their second set of
adventures, they have gone off on their own again fighting
a new enemy, and having one new Dishwasher Senshi join the
team. While the stories are based upon the citizens of
Sailor Moon Universe Chat and Forum, as well as some real
life situations, the stories have gone on for almost two
years now, and a third book is being planned out.
This new Senshi appears to be something of a pioneer. I
have checked and while superheroes with disabilities are
nothing new (Batman was a pioneer, obsessive-compulsive,
remember, or Charles Xavier of the X-men) there are hardly
any who are mentally retarded. And this young Senshi is a
embodiment of the Senshi spirit in real life.(I work in
the group home the real life young lady who inspired the
character resides in).
My work and her character has allowed me to mix in
real-life situations, like what might happen if a Senshi
was forced to transform in front of parents or even
employers. The Moral: Real-life super-heroing isn't all
its cracked up to be, especially if you have to try to
sneak out of work during a meeting or school to answer call
to meet the new crisis!! Thus is one way to approach the
challenge of fan-fic writing.
Concluding, I was asked to help write a Fan-Fic Author's
Guide for the Unauthorized SMCD Site. The words I wrote
I guess the first important consideration when writing a
fan fic is to answer the question: "Who will read my fic?"
Several fics have died partway through because the author
either did not have a target audience in mind....of were
discouraged enough by the seeming lack of response to stop
writing. If you know who will read your work to start
with, it is easier to craft your efforts toward the
audience you are expecting to read your work.
To help this along, it is ideal to have a story already in
mind....BUT, I have seen several good fics that could have
been GREAT fics but the authors did not fully develop the
story before writing it and posting it. Things like
character development, a believable ending, and
plausibility of the plot are critical but often overlooked
factors here. I will be the
first to admit looking at my earlier efforts in the
Dishwasher stories that I was short on some of those
areas....as the story has moved along, the plots and
subplots have gotten more intricate so I have to be careful
not to leave too many dangling plotlines for the next
BUT whether your story is simple or complex, you MUST have
a good tale to start with. The most appealing characters
mean nothing if they have to play roles in a poorly
conceived and written tale. And that is an approach you
must take: "Will the character be believable in this
situation?" If Mercury was to say "I won't study today...I
am so far ahead I can relax." would that be plausible to
the reader? Usagi/Serena on the other hand WOULD be
believable if she said "Big test tomorrow afternoon...I'll
play Sailor V today and study tomorrow morning" If you are
writing a SM-based fic you MUST know your characters to
make them believable. Unless it is part of a plotline,
nobody would believe a cowardly Jupiter....
The characters have to be in some way appealing to your
readers. Here I will take some slings and arrows for this
next statement, but if you are portraying the main
character in your fic, sometimes it is NOT always the best
idea to have the story revolve around you. Some authors
can do so as their stories are written in such a fashion
that while their characters are the main ones in the story,
it seems like a story told by an eyewitness. I have seen
others, though, that read like monuments to the ego of the
author...where everything surrounds the author/main
character. I have tried to avoid doing that in the
Dishwasher series as I always saw Tuxedo D as a support
character, not the 'star' of the fic...and in fact had
considered killing him off partway through...(as shown in
but readers insisted he live, so I had to rewrite part of
the story. As an addendum.. a good author should listen to
the readers...they can tell you if you are going well, or
getting off-track with the story...especially in a
Don't be afraid to rewrite what your story as you go
along...I have rewritten stories several times to correct
plotlines, or introduce new plotlines, or even to
incorporate a new idea (mine or suggested).
The last word of advice I can give is 'Have Fun!!!' This
is not brain surgery, so enjoy your labor, have fun with it.
If you truly enjoy what you are doing, it will show in
your writing and make your readers more anxious to read the
I apologize for what seems like an advertisement for my
fic. I merely wished to use it as an example to those who
may wish to try their hand in writing. And many thanks to
Naoko-sama, for without her creativity and dreams, a lot of
us may not have tried our hands at writing,
Thank you for your time
Comments on this article can be sent to: Xqmrp.