Monday, March 25, 2013

Fanfiction and Epic Romances

My name is Nicole Ciacchella and I have a confession to make: I've written fanfiction.

I know, it's shocking, right? I've been writing ever since I was a kid, so it wasn't the fanfiction that made me want to be an author--that was a dream I'd had ever since I was pretty young. However, because I have always been a writer and because I absolutely love gaming, well, a marriage between the two seemed kind of inevitable. Story-based RPGs are my favorite types of games and, as wonderful as some of them are, the fact of the matter is that there are holes in the narrative, holes that my overactive author imagination tends to fill. While playing RPGs, I find myself thinking about things like how I'd love for my character to be able to tell his/her companions about her ulterior motives in choosing a quest, or I imagine filler conversations when my character hits a major plot point and her love interest or her best buddy don't say anything about it.

If you're a fellow story-based RPG enthusiast, you probably know what I mean. No matter how tight the writing in a game, there's no way for a company to put in every last little interaction you might like your character to have with his/her companions. In some ways, this is the beauty of story-based RPGs. They make the story personal, and they also leave plenty of room for you, the player, to imagine what goes on behind the scenes, when your character and your companions aren't busy running around righting wrongs or going rogue or however you choose to play.

The game that affected me the most in this way was the original Knights of the Old Republic. I was a fan of strategy games and RPGs before that game came out, but I'd never played a game like it. As a kid, I spent hours and hours playing the first Final Fantasy on my original Nintendo (old person alert!), and one of my favorite old games is Nobunaga's Ambition. I was the only girl in my family who played it, and I took great pleasure in schooling my male cousins at that game. But KotOR was the first story-based RPG I can recall playing, and I was hooked almost from the moment I started the game up.

The first time I played it, I was afraid to pick any of the snarky options because I didn't want to tick my companions off. Then I started hanging out on forums with other enthusiasts and I discovered that, not only were most of the companions okay with the snark, female Revan could also have a romantic relationship with Carth Onasi. A romantic relationship in a video game? I was over the moon. Romances in games aren't a requirement for me--I've spent many, many hours happily dungeon crawling in Morrowind and Skyrim, thanks--but a good, epic romance draws me even further into the story. Naturally, I rushed back to my original XBox to replay KotOR and see what the fuss was all about, and thus began my fangirling over a certain Republic starpilot who favored the color orange.

(Pssst: If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a HUGE geek. ;) )

KotOR claimed many of my hours. I loved it so much that I also bought the PC version, and I've played the game more times than I can count. It's an RPG that lets you play as a Jedi, and is there anyone who doesn't think Jedi are cool? I loved that my Revan was a powerful woman with a strong storyline about redemption (I only played dark side once and it made me squirm. Yes, yes, I'm a goody two shoes!). And, of course, I loved the romantic storyline with Carth. But there just wasn't enough of it, so I began filling in the blanks. Then I began writing about it. Then a bunch of people began reading and reviewing what I wrote, and I was overwhelmed by how many people enjoyed the story.

This was my first experience with letting people I didn't know read my writing. Up until that point, most of what I'd written had been read by maybe one or two friends or family members. It was exciting to think that the thing I'd always loved, the thing I wanted to do more than any other thing in the world, seemed to bring some enjoyment to others. It was an amazing feeling, one I've held onto for many years now.

After a lot of deliberation, I've decided to come out as the author of a KotOR fanfic that was fairly popular back in the day, and I've decided to start posting it here, on my blog. I've also authored a couple of short Mass Effect fanfics, and I just may post them here as well. Plus, I don't rule out the possibility of writing other fanfiction in the future, should the fancy strike me.

Oh, and I have an N7 Armour Stripe Hoody, because who doesn't like to imagine themselves as Commander Shepard? And, for the record, I'm still in love with Carth Onasi. That orange jacket. I can't even!