December 15th, 2011

Bobblehead Night

META December: Festivals/celebrations in canon and fanfiction

I was just handwaving a festival scene, but I suddenly asked myself, "Wait, why am I handwaving this?" Then I got to thinking.

It occurs to me that while many video games have festivals, weddings, concerts, celebrations, or the token End of Star Wars Parade scene (often deconstructed, as with the wedding at the beginning of FFXII), fanfiction seldom represents these kinds of scenes.

I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's better onscreen than in prose. Maybe it's because we tend to write what canon failed to treat adequately, rather than the things it covered in detail (hence the tendency to ship non-canon). Maybe it's because some of them are painfully cheesy. But I think there could be as many ways to use them as battle sequences or pub/inn scenes.

Or maybe I'm just blanking, and celebration/festival scenes are more common in fanfic than I'm remembering.

The things that stand out in these celebration scenes are: (a) the characters can behave in a public yet private context, because in large groups few people tend to notice you, (b) celebrations tend to involve lowering inhibitions, so characters show a different side of themselves (c) while most narrative tends to focus on personal interactions between individuals, big festival scenes embed the personal experiences of the characters within their community or culture and (d) festivals and celebrations often display elements of a culture including art, symbols, values, music, legends, myths, spiritual beliefs and practices, so they are an excellent set-piece for worldbuilding and context.

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