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Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005, 07:30 pm
catiana_albatou:

I don't have anything written out for this yet, but I wanted some advice before starting, please.

Title: The Omue Chronicles (Blade of the Moon, Fist of Vengeance, The Last Great Legion [possibly working title])

Fandom (If appropriate): Original fic (slightly steampunkish anime-inspired fantasy with a setting loosely based on the golden age of piracy, which I swear actually makes more sense than you’d think. O.0;; )

Link: None... none of the stories are finished. (That'll teach me to work on all three parts of a trilogy at once.) If you need any extracts I may be able to upload relevant bits to my LJ, but like I said, I need guidance with this bit before I write anything more. Also, since this only concerns two characters, rather than the entire story...

Age Rating: I'm not 100% familiar with the American rating system, but for violence, I'd probably give the fic itself R. Since I’m not posting the fic at this stage, though… probably PG-13.

Explanation: I don't know if either the character or the scenario are badly clichéd or 'Sueish in any way, and since I've been striving to avoid 'Sueishness if at all possible, I wanted to find out at this stage.

I’m skipping over quite a lot of the story, because it doesn’t concern the character I’m asking about. You’ll have to let me know if I’ve skipped too much and it no longer makes sense, though!)

A rather naïve 16-year-old girl called Lorena Firenzé leaves home to go on an adventure. What she hasn’t bargained on is the fact that people no longer go on adventures (quite probably due, in part, to the war that’s been going on for the last several hundred years*).

* Lorena comes from a small outlying province that’s been pretty much left alone by the war, hence her almost complete lack of knowledge of the ‘big wide world’.

She’s soon conscripted into the army by a new friend (the army are really desperate for troops, so nobody asks any questions), where it soon becomes apparent that she has no talent whatsoever. Luckily she’s not alone; the army’s rabid recruitment drive means that the once-elite Aquila Division is now home to such pillars of society as a weapons-obsessed barmaid (Lorena’s newfound friend), a pair of itinerant necromancers, and a former samurai with a fear of puddings. (Don’t ask. Really.) And understandably, their commanding officer is not best pleased. Worst of all, there doesn’t seem to be any way of getting rid of them: the army’s too desperate for troops to discharge them, and having them executed would attract unnecessary attention. However, a rather unconventional solution presents itself: put all the ‘unwanted elements’ together in a unit of their own, give them the most incompetent leader possible, send them off to some obscure part of the front line, and wait for their inevitable deaths. And the perfect choice of leader would be... Lorena Firenzé.

When they resolutely fail to get themselves killed, their rather corrupt (like you hadn’t guessed) commander hires an assassin, who happens to come from the country they’re fighting against, to get rid of Lorena. And this is the part I need ‘Sue-checking. (Not Lorena, but the assassin.)

It’s to be assumed from the start that the assassin (a woman called Cassandra Marconia) is a bit mentally unstable, but she is still a professional. Well, initially. When Lorena (who doesn’t have a clue that someone’s trying to kill her) accidentally wounds her in self-defense, it suddenly becomes personal between them.

Cassandra declares herself Lorena’s ‘personal nemesis’, and follows her across the world, coming up with increasingly elaborate and sadistic plans for revenge, eventually killing Lorena’s best friend. (It’s not all bad though... remember the necromancers? Yes, I have a shameless loophole.) She also develops an unnerving semi-sexual obsession with Lorena...

And then... the war ends. Well, there’s more to it than that, but it’s not important to the Cassandra sub-plot. However, Lorena and her soldiers can’t keep out of trouble for long, and they soon find themselves at war with another country. (They have an alliance by this time, in case you were wondering how a little group of renegade soldiers could fight a war by themselves.) And, because- let’s face it- they’re still not very good at their job, Lorena manages to get captured after the first couple of days. To everyone’s surprise, before the rest of her soldiers can mount a rescue attempt, Cassandra turns up and saves her.

It transpires that Cassandra has started taking the ‘personal nemesis’ thing even more seriously than before, and is more unhinged than ever. Because now, not only is she planning to kill Lorena, but she won’t allow anyone else to try...

That’s about the point I’ve got up to with the Cassandra sub-plot. I’d also be grateful if you could tell me if this next bit is unredeemably bad/’Sueish/clichéd/whatever:
After saving Lorena, Cassandra sticks around. She never officially joins Lorena’s squad, but killing her gradually becomes less and less important in the face of staying alive herself, and she gradually develops a grudging respect for her former target/enemy.
In some bizarre way, she’s going to end up as a sort of Vegeta character- not a ‘good guy’ per se, and in it purely for themselves, but definitely no longer siding with the ‘villains’.

So… yes. Sorry this was so long. If you’d like part of the story/ies in question, I can upload them to my LJ or something, but right now they’re sitting on my hard-drive in lots of little pieces...

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
b2wm

The ragtag military squad reminds me of Phule's Company - very good stuff. As to Cassandra, I'm not quite sure where the whole sexual subplot comes in. I can understand a desire to dominate her enemy, but that would be more of a rape fantasy. Right now, that bit reminds me of nothing more than the works of Flamette. The girl has scarred me so that I cannot read any "love thine enemy" fic without a large grain of salt. Other than that, I believe I could accept her, given that her maverick characterization is written well.

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
catiana_albatou

I can write the sexual subplot out easily enough... the way it was originally planned, it was just another aspect of her complete obsession with Lorena, but in retrospect it's not actually that important...

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
b2wm

I'd hate to see a decent character spoiled by one illogical subplot. Other than that, it looks quite interesting.

Tue, Apr. 19th, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC)
catiana_albatou

*grins* In that case, the subplot can go. That's one advantage of checking this kind of thing before I start writing...

(Oh yeah, since you're a member of oc_analysis as well, do you think it's worth me filling in a form for Cassandra there, or is she sufficiently 'Sue-free?)

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 12:10 am (UTC)
b2wm

Never hurts to get a second opinion, but without an example snippet, that's all the advice that I could give you, anyway.

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 01:01 am (UTC)
catiana_albatou

I'll try and write something up (or at least get some of my fragmented bits into a coherent form of order) and post it on oc_analysis sometime in the near future, then.

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC)
sabonasi

Make sure the "assassin fails to kill his or her target" doesn't happen too quickly. When it does, you get a huge 'sue trait. The audience should see and understand every decision Cassandra makes, and it should be believable. I like the part about Cassandra wanting to be the only one to kill her.

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
catiana_albatou

Make sure the "assassin fails to kill his or her target" doesn't happen too quickly.

You'll have to forgive me sounding stupid here, but what would you suggest was the best way of getting around this?

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 01:06 am (UTC)
sabonasi

Take your time with it. ;-)

So often, 'sue stories have the assassin meet his or her target and immediately fall madly in love.

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
catiana_albatou

*grins* That's definitely not going to happen here, don't worry. (The semi-sexual obsession thing I mentioned is much more a rape fantasy than anything romantic, and since it's not important to the plot, and Lorena has enough problems with her love life as it is, it's going anyway.)

Besides, by all technical definitions of the word, Cassandra hates Lorena...

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
sabonasi

In that case, good luck.

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)
catiana_albatou

Thanks!

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
widowblade

The assassin that forms a bond with their target will forever be ingrained in my mind as Suzuka from Outlaw Star XD /anime-brain

Anyway, On-topic >_>

I can only really reiterate at this point :x it seems rather interesting, and like it will turn out to be a lovely story. I can only recommend making sure to keep Cassandra's power balanced ^^; as overpowering seems to be a pitfall perfectly good characters and authors sometimes fall into unintentionally. It doesn't seem like it will be much of a problem though, as Cassandra seems to be a pretty balanced (and interesting) character from what I can tell through the snippets.

As the others said, just take your time and let things flow to the fullest and it should turn out fine ^^