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  #1    
Old November 25th, 2017 (6:01 PM). Edited November 25th, 2017 by Junier.
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    How have you portrayed Pokemon in a "fanwork" of your design? (Could be for a roleplay, too, since I think some people frequent both here and the Theatre.) What, to you, are Pokemon to humans, and what are they as... themselves? Like, do you take a more grounded, biological approach -- could you answer whether all Pokemon are a species or not -- or do you chalk their existence up to something more vague, "magical"? Are your Pokemon self-aware, or simply highly comprehensive -- they're like elephants, doing amazing things and feeling a broad range of emotions, but not asking existential questions or anything. How well do they understand humans? Hell, in your story, can the lil' beasties talk?

    And then -- here's the big picture question -- what does your approach to writing Pokemon do for the narrative you're building? What themes and dynamics are you now allowed to explore when your interpretation of Pokemon is the way that it is?

    Hopefully this doesn't feel too out-of-place considering this board's been used for more general writing discussion, but this has been on my mind. Am curious on what responses this gets!
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    Old November 25th, 2017 (11:12 PM).
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    Usually my characters think of Pokemon as species similar to animals since a good chunk of them are based on animals. The Pokemon themselves depends on which species, but most of them are more on the highly comprehensive side (if a lot of S/M and US/UM entries have to say about that, lol).

    Foul Play I had Grimsley interact with various Pokemon, some his own and some belong to others, and I try to give them a personality by the way they behaved and their quirks.
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    Old November 26th, 2017 (12:41 AM).
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      I write them as sentient animals (or whatever the pokemon was based on) and take some liberties with science to explain their abilities and how they can be stored in pokeballs and healed etc. but for some things I throw in some of the mystical.
      Generally I have psychic types as the most intelligent and can communicate telepathically with humans.
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      Old November 26th, 2017 (12:26 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Cool_Porygon View Post
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        Yeah, I can see how each Pokemon could differ from one another pretty significantly. At the same time, I can see how Psychic-types can be generally seen as intelligent.

        Bay -- since you referenced a concrete work -- why not answer the "big picture" question I posed? Why go out of the way to give Pokemon individual personalities? How does it better serve your story?
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        Old November 26th, 2017 (11:13 PM).
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        To be honest, the simplest answer would be having the Pokemon not be emotionless robots. How it better serve my story is characterizing the Pokemon same way I would with regular humans and making the interactions between humans and Pokemon interesting.
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        Old November 27th, 2017 (3:33 AM).
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          In my work, and at a more headcanon level at all, I characterize Pokémon as having the three Ss (sentience, sapience, self-awareness) but operating at mostly different scales than humans' do.

          They have their own needs, wants and fears, but those are dictated mostly by the morphological "inertia" of their bod structure and evolutive factors and secondly by their individual experiences, in a way which makes so that social interaction with a Trainer (or with humanity in general) boosts self-uplifting at a polynomial or exponential level.

          While I do seek out to give something of a scientific explanation to their existence, I don't care to solve technical questions of, for example, if Pokémon are all a sole species or a class / family / clade (how do you clade a candle?) as that IMO lures into dead ends anyway (what sense does it have, if any, to clade together a candle with a physical manifestation of time in dinosaur form?). Instead I plant things in a perspective that there is a scientific explanation as it would be seen in their world, where science does include a factor of what we would consider magic, but that does not mean that this reason behind has to be either known or understood; it is better cast as a safety net that we are safe enough above of that we do not need to observe, but we know it is there.

          Of course, there is enough of a magical, or supernatural, element to Pokémon, as that in and of itself is one of the transversal aspects of the franchise (again: candle). But I treat it as being an aspect of their existence sitting together with, and in the same level as, whatever could be perceived as mundane or scientifically-explained about them. My most recent oneshot -Simpler than Magic- for example, makes a point to show that while the abilities we adscribe as "supernatural" for Ho-Oh are mundane to them, that doesn't mean that they can be explained to satisfaction without assuming -trusting- that there is something else going on.

          The fact that Pokémon are self-aware but at a different scope than humans also plays an important factor in this. In stories where I focus on Pokémon perspective, the fact that they can feel and use a more "direct" connection to the world than us even if they can't always control it serves to not only place them as more "natural" creatures, but also serves at a meta level to place them as trustable narration tools so that a third party omniscient is properly filtered thanks to their eyes. In Silly human, romance is for Nidoran~ for example, the main characters both have well defined personal wants and they think and act individually, but they do so still at a level that is well integrated with their position as stand-ins for animals: they would find love, they would need to mate, and that means challenges and courtship. In Playfield, while one of the MCs is a wild Pokémon and the other is a trained one, both have shared and explored enough of their particular life experience (chasing after the Sun) that they can think ahead of their own actions in terms such as honor and legacy, not unlike humans aware of human history can.

          I think all this was built as an intrinsic property of my view of the Pokémon world and the franchise overall as a place that is intended to be, and defined to function as, a world better than our own, and a world where despite the dangers and the bad things going on, existence and purpose are tied to a sort of meta scale happy ending. Building characters that are their own and that can integrate well with their own world, in a world where this has been for well over millennia, means there is intrinsically no real need for tryhard, "grimdark", "lol realistic Pokémon world is a hellworld" kinds of Pokémon stories. It just doesn't sensibly fit the narrative of what I feel Pokémon as a franchise is about: a world better and more enjoyable than ours.

          In the end, it is as well the reason why this all is fanfiction.
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          Old November 27th, 2017 (4:25 PM).
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            To Bay -- that's a fair reason. I would assert, though, that not inherently personifying Pokemon renders them "emotionless." Then again, if your objective is to make your 'fics as digestible to the fandom at large as possible, it'd be easiest to have the Pokemon be as relatable as possible too, right?

            But you have an interesting perspective, Venia, especially with why you do things the way you do. I mulled over your point about the franchise's original intentions, and while it's personally easy for me to dismiss "grimdark" interpretations as edgy and arbitrary in concept, in practice I've fallen into the same trap lately, and I predict it's due to me becoming jaded towards Pokemon at large.

            I've spent some time in PC's roleplaying community with fluctuating periods of "dedication" (i.e. caring too much), and during one of those times, I felt super strongly against this sub-genre of sandbox RP called a "journey" where you literally just make a Pokemon Trainer OC and they take their "Pokemon journey" across a region. I thought they were inexcusably low-effort and didn't invite for any consistency, because every player would bring their own headcanons about the Pokemon world to the blank slate provided, meaning everyone was interpreting the situation differently -- this is still totally the case, I just don't have a reason to abhor them for it, because they're still fun; they oftentimes just don't feel collaborative, which I presume is the appeal of roleplaying for a lot of people.

            I bring up these kind of RPs because they introduced me to the idea that critical writers would be critical towards Pokemon as a whole. Contrarily, newer writers wouldn't interpret the world at all; they would just take it at face value, as they would when replaying Heartgold or something. And you can see this same divide between roleplayers with high post counts versus roleplayers without in the roleplay Past of the Past, where characters of the former spend more time mulling around in this tense, apprehensive version of the Johto region where side characters are impatient assholes or entirely alien; characters of the latter couldn't care less and are just going through the motions, immediately getting their starters and immediately setting out onto the next route.

            Lucky for me, I guess, I know a lot of the high-post-count players in Past of the Past, and they're all adults who have been playing Pokemon for a long-ass time. I know I've had many complaints with Pokemon's world-building lacking coherency myself. At least, like, two of those same people have agreed with me. Ultimately, I think this familiarity with the franchise and our own personal grievances with it has left us to think giving it proper justice through fanwork means being "smart" about it. And "smart, " to us, is "realistic," and "realistic," to us, is edgy. So that could be one reason there are so many interpretations of the Pokemon world as a darker place. The whole point of all that was to say I can relate to how that's appealing, lol.

            ANYWHO I also like your idea of introducing technicalities but not having to solve all of them, just having things "make sense" in their own fantastical context. That's really important for building a world, I'd figure. Going back to my example with the "newer writers" on the roleplaying side of the forum, I'd like to think they haven't fallen into that trap of overthinking where you want things to make sense too much, ending in you overlooking the magic of what's truly there. I'm interesting, now, in writing an interpretation of the Pokemon world rooted in the same feeling when you try to explain why your little sister's Typhlosion shouldn't know both Flamethrower and Ember, or why they should wait to evolve their Nidorina; I feel that'd be a more genuine sort of loving "logic."

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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