But what I was really going to talk about was pastiche. When I write from a text-based source like the Onmyouji novels, naturally I write pastiche. Never thought twice about it. You want something that recalls the original, yes? Then you must write pastiche, because how else can a purely word-based source be referenced except by authorial voice?
It occurs to me that this automatic assumption may not be true. The reason it occurs to me is that, in writing 100 Ghosts fic, I felt I must of course tell a 100 Ghosts story, and then I wondered why I had to be constrained by Ima's narrative in the first place. I've used different styles for other manga: have done reflective soliloquies and humour fics and whatever that weren't at all the style of the original shounen. (Indeed, if you don't depart from the givens of the original, it's almost impossible to write shounen-based stories at all, I'd say.)
So I needn't tell a ghost story to do 100 Ghosts fics. Just, if I don't... will I believe it's a 100 Ghosts story? Or will I find myself playing paper dolls, making Ritsu an angsty and introvertive and soliloquy-given shoujo hero? Will I be arbitrarily putting the characters in dress-up costumes from the Yaoi Wardrobe, as yaoi writers regularly do, regardless of whether the clothes fit them or not? 'Ritsu'd make a good sulky uke, yes, and Aoarashi would make a nice evil seme', and the fact that Aoarashi is a comic character most of the time and Ritsu has no sexuality to speak of be damned. Or that youkai with the peach-flower eyes who wants to marry Ritsu, believing him to be a girl, or rather wants to marry Tsukasa, believing her to be the little girl Ritsu he met years ago-- why shouldn't I give him Ritsu after all in some peculiar youkai marriage? The guy was cool, and came from a cool family- the better class of youkai, you know. It's not Ima Ichiko at all, but should I care?
Only I do.
mvrdrk is reading Phantom Moon Tower in Chinese. Yes, the interlude with his senpai is probably Yosaburou's first time, which is one of many reasons it took him so long to recover from it. Now here, you see, I can see writing an expand-and-explain story to explore in extreme erotic detail what exactly went on in that unnatural encounter. There's a hole in the Phantom Moon text that Ima does not fill for us, leaving it very satisfyingly to our imaginations. One might want a hard copy of one's imaginings, hence the need to write a story. There are no such holes in 100 Ghosts, or none that I can see; and that's probably why writing anything in the series but pastiche (ie more of same) strikes me as arbitrary and authorially intrusive.
But where the line exists between filling holes in the series (or writing onstage those things which are done off, or which are not done at all, off *or* on, but should be) and playing paper dolls with the characters ('Now *you'll* be the uke and *he'll* be the seme'), I really don't know. Or don't know until long after I've written it.