June 8, 2011

It's Got Concepts and Shit

Everything about my Tangled fanfiction project is built around my initial interpretation of Eugene; that he is full of regret for his life prior to the campfire scene. I understand why it's not a popular interpretation of the character, I don't have any evidence save for his half of the campfire scene. (54:36 for those of you playing along at home.) Specifically, the way he is down when talking about, "poor orphan Eugene Fitzherbert,"  up for Flynnigan Rider, and back down again for, "I don't know, it just seemed like the better option." Why would he use that phrasing and say it in a regretful tone if it was as simple as easy robbery, swashbuckling, freedom, and unlimited sex? It's unlikely that he chooses this moment to begin having moral issues with his life. I think that the thieving was incredibly difficult, the swashbuckling was very dangerous, freedom meant always being alone, and the sex was beyond bad and right into unpleasant. In effect, his life was no better than Rapunzel's.

To my knowledge, no one else is writing this. So it's a unique idea. The problem is that I have to make freedom and sex sound terrible without it becoming absurd. Wish me luck.

The following is a list of ideas and general notes. (< > denote notes added for general consumption on Paul Presents:):
  • There is a frame story told in present third person subjective from Rapunzel's perspective. Eugene is reading The Tales of Flynnigan Rider to her. <This provides a logical reason for Eugene to talk about his past and is a halfway decent excuse for me to write Rapunzel.>
  • Three or four years have passed. Their marriage status is ambiguous. Rapunzel is no longer naive, but still completely sincere and highly inquisitive. She's adjusted well enough. Her classes have concluded, but she still regularly visits tutors of her choosing. (Carefully avoid  territory covered by Ned, Fabulist, et al. They did it better than you could ever dream of.) <These details won't really be seen in the story, but they're things I need to know before I can have her say or do anything.>
  • Nothing is expected of Eugene by the royalty or kingdom except that he stay out of trouble and one day impregnate Rapunzel. This is very grating to him, so he sets out on his own business ventures. He has a big hit and is made independently with Flynnigan Rider's Brewery and Roasted Meats. His relationships with the King and Queen are excellent. He doesn't know anything about his biological parents and doesn't care to. A few imposters have tried to claim him as their son. He's now 25~26.(In this story, he never would have made it to 26 in Flynn mode.) <Again, these are only details for the frame and probably won't appear in story.>
  • The actual story is Eugene speaking in first person past tense. (Rapunzel doesn't interrupt.) <Mostly because I haven't read a Tangled fanfic written in first person. It's an easy way to do something a little different.>
  • The first story details life in the weeks following his running away from the orphanage. He is about 15.
Please feel free to make suggestions or tell me why an idea is terrible or wrong. I'd much rather be forced to ask why, defend something, or revise now than later.


    1. 1) I LOVE THE BAD SEX IDEA. So much room for emotional tension. Doooo iiiiit.

      2) I love the frame, 'cause it means between depressing pops you can have a little comfort lovin'. I am always in favor of comfort lovin'.

      3) Flynnigan Rider's Roasted Meats made me guffaw. You should work this in.

      4) I agree that he'd be grated by being a good boy who knocks up the princess. I work with this theme too, maybe we can swap notes!

      5) I would worry a LOT less about being unique and doing something new. This is/will be inevitably not true in fandom and will drive you batshit if you cling to it. You should write what you're driven to write and what is fun for you to write. For example, Recalibration is in first person. But your story is BEGGING to be written in first person, and it gives so much room for character development. Thus you should write it that way because it's awesome not because it's unique, you know?

      Go forth and write!


    2. I'm still in Trust Me mode, so if my questions sound crazy, you should just ignore me.
      Is it framed as Eugene finally coming clean and getting it all off his chest, or is Eugene an unreliable narrator and "nooooo, my life sucked before I met you. Reeeeeaaally." I think you're going for the former, but I would assume the later unless you made it clear. Or maybe you want it to be ambiguous.

      Yeah, this is something Fabulist and I have learned (read: bitched about). There's only so much you can pull out of a half hour Disney movie without making them out of character or setting it in space or something. Don't worry about the uniqueness of the situation, but rather the uniqueness of presentation. They were pretty bad for a while, but the fandom has kind of chilled out about it a bit in the last couple months.

      I say this knowing that you will still worry about it. But your story sounds awesome, and your writing style is different from everyone else's. I'm glad you're going to do it.

    3. Thank you both for your feedback. It means a lot and makes me ask questions of myself.

      @Fabulist 1. The bad sex has to work. If I can't write some icky, hot, but mostly icky Eugene whoring for food erotica, the whole thing falls apart.

      2. Nothing intimidates me more than writing Rapunzel and Eugene having sex, but it's important so I need to figure out how to do it.

      3. You like it, so I'll try. I don't want to be too heavy handed with juxtaposition, but it would probably make for a good lighthearted break in the action.

      4. Nothing would give me more joy than to dialogue with you and share notes on Eugene. Though you already have pretty much all of my general thoughts on him.

      5. Thanks you so much for the encouragement. It really does mean a lot to me.

      @Airplane There's nothing crazy about this question at all. To answer it in the most basic way, it's supposed to be fairly ambiguous. There isn't any collaborating evidence and we don't know any of the people he will be talking about. He's talking about it because Rapunzel is asking specific questions.(Why he's answering the questions now is something that I'm still struggling over.) He's not confessing his sins or delivering it in a melodramatic, "my life was a black abyss," way. Eugene is simply telling Rapunzel stories of his life as Flynn as best as he remembers them. The first person past part of the story is intended to be told extremely dry, almost devoid of emotion. I say it was a constant struggle that sucked, but for him it was just the way his life was. The in-story emotion comes from Rapunzel's reaction to the stories he is relating. The trap I fear most is having the whole thing degrade into pity. Eugene doesn't want your pity and the whole character breaks down if that's all we feel for him.(Sincerely, Emo Toph in fanfiction.)

      Thanks for the kind words. As I told Fabulist, they mean a lot.