Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 14: Excursion (2001)

Title: Excursion / 「えんそく」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: Many fans of the Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) series like the games because of their writing, but obviously, plotting and writing a story is not a simple job. In the fourteenth column for the official website of the Game Boy Advance version of Gyakuten Saiban, Takumi explains about all the moods he goes through during the writing process. 

"How about it? Any confidence in your work?”

I was always asked this whenever I finished the scenario of an episode. The question is probably asked just to make for some harmless conversation. However, to me, it’s a harmful question. To be honest, I don’t know how to answer it.

As as I write this, some might think: “What, you have all these people read what you write even though you have no confidence in it?” Actually, that’s precisely it. The moment I finish writing a story, my confidence parameters are somewhere close to zero.

Whenever I work on a scenario, I first prepare a plot for the whole story. Especially for the trial parts, I have to be quite detailed in coming up with the flow of how the evidence is introduced and the contents of the cross examinations. The moment I finish this plot, I am confidence personified. Unmovable like a rock. If you’d ask me the question from the prologue, I’d just wave it away like it was nothing. “Don’t waste my time with such foolish questions.”

Why all this overflowing confidence has disappeared by the time I finish writing the scenario? The answer is simple. Writing a scenario, is a continuous cycle of never-ending choices and decicions.

…Isn’t the dialogue connecting the plot points too long?
…Will people laugh because of this joke I inserted in this slow part?
…Is the climax exciting?
…Do I convey in a clear way what makes this plot fun?
…Is this plot actually fun in the first place?

With every chapter, I feel like all my choices were mistakes. By the time I have survived the harsh battle and write the words “The End”, I’m only left with tremendous anxiety and fatigue. I even think I’d have been better if I hadn’t been born. …But! There is one moment when bright, vivid colors are brought in this grey world!

On the day of the test play, when the characters on the screen move around and they’re accompanied by sound effects and music. That moment when the team members say that it was fun. That one moment. All that anxiety and fatigue is washed away by a tsunami of tremendous joy and a sense of fulfillment. I even think I’m happy I was born (but I also become depressed by harsh criticism).

The final goal of a story isn’t the period placed by the writer. The real goal is when everyone experiences the story. “The excursion isn’t over until you’re home.” Those words of a school teacher: they are the truth.

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