Well it's finished! That makes 11 completed seasons of OC Total Drama that I've managed to get through, which is still insane for me to even consider. I want to first off say thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, or commented on this story. I rarely reply to reviews anymore on this site, mainly just since chapters are updated so far apart now, usually by the time I see the review I feel awkward commenting just to say thanks, BUT I am saying it now. I really truly do appreciate every reader I get, and especially those that take the time to voice their thoughts. Every praise, critique, theory whatever you have to say, it means a lot to me because it means that someone cares about what I've put out, and that really is what this is all about. I don't know if I'd ever have the motivation to stick with these stories if it weren't for the thrill of getting to see the reactions to it. Whether you're someone who's left reviews, sent me messages listing your faves, or just plain discussed thoughts and theories, I love seeing all of it and knowing that there are people who are invested in the story I've created. Now for a few notes about the production of this seaon
Total Drama Resort
So yes, I started Total Drama Resort even though I already have a couple other projects on the go, which is a familiar pattern I've gotten into for a while now. I know it's a bad habit, I'm well aware that my issue is that I take on these big projects with a full plan and yet it takes a vast amount of time to write, and in that time my ADHD brain is scribbling away coming up with all sorts of other ideas that I want to see come to life on the paper rather than letting them rot in my brain. And the fact of the matter is that as I'm growing up I have less and less time and energy to commit to writing, so that means that I want to spend the time I do have focusing on something I can be motivated to see through. Otherwise I know I'll just get caught up in writer's block and let too many ideas pass me by.
With Total Drama Resort, I knew I wanted to do a smaller cast, I just couldn't take on a massive project like I'm used to. I started writing fanfic when I was around 19 in university and I could produce multiple chapters a week. More and more though it seems to take me longer to get something done. Just looking back, Total Drama Armageddon, my ninth completed season, I finished in about a year, while the following, Total Drama Legends vs Nobodies, took me over 3 years to finish. With that in mind it felt a bit daunting to look at some of the bigger works I had on the go. Total Drama Resort felt fairly daunting on its own of course, but I think once I made it to the merge I could picture a string of events I wanted to happen one after another and it rolled together a bit more productively.
The love child of Cory in the House and Mr. Eugene Krabs...with a little bit of Cee-Lo Green aesthetic thrown in there: Fabio was the intended winner from the moment of conception with this season. I did something a little different in picking out who would win this time though. Typically I think up a cast and then ask myself, okay who here feels like they would make sense as a winner. This time though I wanted to set myself up to write a series where someone deliberately gimmicky would be the winner, and give myself the task of making that work. With Fabio I gave him one single trait in my draft, the guy who loves money. Of course, that wouldn't be his only trait once I got to work on him, but the idea was that he would not be the typical complex winner. I wanted to keep his shtick front and center, and allow him to develop WITH that, rather than shed the gimmick in favor of deeper development.
Part of making Fabio work as a winner was determining who he was going to go up against. Since Fabio himself wasn't ever going to get notably complex, I wanted him to be up against similar characters who wouldn't necessarily come off as blatantly robbed if a rando like Fabio snatched the win from them. Let's talk a bit about those two next..
The Runner Ups:
Misty and Nora were the designated losers of this story, the two characters that I felt it would make sense for some little troll like Fabio to win against, without it seeming too egregious. They both had their own glaring flaws throughout the game. Misty carried herself with confidence, but proved to be a hypocrite who actually could not handle any adversary. As soon as things didn't go her way, she caved into becoming an absolute mess, the kind of person who of course would make it to the end because not a one would see them as a threat. On the flipside, while Nora learned to turn around her game, for the entire first half she played passively, allowing others to call the shots around her and nearly leading her to her own elimination. I did consider that her turnaround development arc could work for a winner's story too, but it didn't feel necessary to change up my intended plan. She'll get the non-canon international ending though! Compared to these two though, my hope was Fabio would make a bit of sense as a winner. He definitely wasn't perfect either, but at no point did he ever shut down on playing the game. From day one he was in it to win and rose to the occasion up against every obstacle he faced. I tried to demonstrate throughout that while Fabio maybe lacked some skills his opponents possessed, he was constantly resourceful and crafty in working with whatever he was given.
The Final Eliminated:
On the flipside of all that, Lex and Ander existed to appear as the much more expected threat winners. In fact I'd say that I've had very similar archetypes to both win some of my past seasons. Which make sense, I think the shy introvert who learns to break out and play the game, and the tough guy with a heart of gold, both are types of characters that people would naturally want to see win. Both of them could have very easily had winning stories, but that wasn't the narrative I was going for this time. Instead, the idea was that once the big threats had fallen, it was more of an 'anyone's game' sort of deal that would open the door for Fabio.
Antagonists in Total Drama are something I have definitely struggled with in the past. It's definitely tough to balance the light-hearted tone of the series while also wanting to make a designated villain to add some actual stakes. With Misty, I'm not sure I'd even call her an antagonist, since she was never even actively a threat to most of our heroes, but all the same she was someone who was meant to lose always. I do think it helps in a story to have at least one character who the audience is not meant to want to see win, to add some small twinge of fear of "but what if they did..." With Misty most of all I wanted to highlight her hypocrisy. She wanted to blame the world all around her for judging her, and yet she was so quick to judge everyone else with a single glance. She justified her actions with the way people made assumptions based on her looks, and yet when others weren't swept in by her looks it also upset her. She talked a big game, but in reality could not handle the slightest bit of adversary. She was someone who I felt had to make it to the end because she just had to hit a point of being such a non-factor where it simply would not make sense that anyone would even consider voting her out.
Then there's Omber, who I consider more of the standard antagonist. I felt like the best way to do a villain for this kind of story would be to avoid the 'pure evil' approach and simply lean more into someone who got a little too carried away with the nature of the game. I do think a big part of what defined a lot of the main characters in this series was the relationships they had with one another. Lex/Natalia, Ander/Corny, Nora/Kirby, and so the perfect kind of antagonist to that would be someone who felt threatened by others choosing friendship over logic, and bringing down a force of adversary on those stories. It's also why I felt Omber had to leave right after Natalia and Kirby did, in his mission to break up the key friendships, he ended up uniting all the people he had scorned in the process.
Post-Merge most of the story played out exactly as I had planned, but there were a few changes I made throughout the premerge. Originally Yuka was designed to be the first boot, but I found that I was having way too much fun with her shtick, and also could not see myself keeping Zenika fresh for more that one episode. So I switched them around, and also changed their starting teams so that I could still keep the challenge losses playing out in the way I had intended. I also moving Josiah back one episode, and pushing Yuka up as a result. The reason for this is because originally the plan was to have the vote tie 2-2 and Corny defeat Josiah in a tiebreaker duel. However, I had started to look ahead by then and realized that I was likely going to need to have Omber's elimination end in tiebreaker if I wanted to have it make sense, and I didn't love the thought of having two duels in the same season, so I moved things around a bit so that the vote could be 3-2 instead and cut out the need for a duel.
I have literal tonnes of ideas just taking up space in my head that I would love to have see the light of day. Not to mention a couple other ongoing stories that I really probably should go back and finish hehe. I can't promise any one thing that I'm going to be working on right away though. I absolutely want to get more going soon, and I'll try my best to suss out things that are likely to keep my interest before diving right in. Progress will likely still have to occur at a steady pace. As much as I love writing, it's time consuming as hell. Like I said, I was a young college kid when I started this hobby, now I'm almost 30 with a whole lot more on my plate. Still as long as there are people out there who are interested in reading what I write, then I don't see how I could ever walk away from doing what I love!
And now, for any Nora fans out there...
As they neared the edge, Fabio opened his fist. He revealed he had been holding onto a small tubular flashlight. With a flick of the switch, he illuminated a bright light in Nora's face. She winced and looked away. Fabio leaned forward, tackling Nora and the two collided along the floor.
"This prize is mine!" Fabio exclaimed as he tried to kick Nora towards the edge.
"No way, no how!" Nora protested.
Nora pulled herself back up, bouncing towards the edge and swaying from side to side in a smooth motion. She shot a glance back to Fabio who was also picking himself off the ground.
"Well, here I am, Dandy Doggy!" Nora taunted, as she continued to shake her body. "What are you waiting for?"
Fabio flashed the light a second time, but Nora was prepared now. She threw a hand over her eyes and continued to dance gracefully, tipping just on the verge of sliding over the edge. Fabio charged towards her, arms outstretched. Nora waited for the last micro-second, then gracefully flourished through the air. In a swift motion, she had cleared Fabio's path and he was left teetering over the edge. In one final notion, Nora stretched back her leg and tapped Fabio with her toe.
"Whoa ho ho...oh no," Fabio remarked before tumbling over the edge and plummeting straight down into the water.
"We have a winner!" Chris announced. "And her name is...NORA!"
"Zippity zappity wallawalla bingbing YAHOO!" Nora cheered, while trying to do several dance moves at once.
Confetti fired out of multiple cannons along the side of the tower, while disco music blared at max volume. Several pillars emerged, revealing all of the eliminated contestants clapping for Nora.
"My fine dancing sea lass!" Kirby exclaimed. "You truly are the finest treasure among all the sea!"
"Way to go, Nora!" Lex cheered. "This is a win for the weirdos and oddballs everywhere!"
"I can't say I'm surprised," Ander remarked, "but all the same, I am very impressed to see it."
A drenched Misty and Fabio were the last two to arrive.
"Fine, take the money," Misty scoffed. "I already have enough men trying to get their hands on me for my looks, it's not like I needed them after my money too."
"Girl, what exactly is it that you want people to appreciate for ya then?" Nora asked. "Your personality? Cause Imma be real with you, that's probably what you ought to be workin' on."
"I'll second that," Ander remarked.
"Wow, hateful!" Misty scoffed. "but I don't know what else I would expect from a jealous girl who will never know true beauty like me!"
"And that's just dandylicious for me, Swampy Snotts," Nora retorted.
"Big congratulations to Miss Big Money here," Fabio said. "This may not be my big break, but don't think that's gonna stop me. Now that I'm a media icon, I'll be charging top dollar for my appearance at conventions, birthday parties, maybe even some college speeches."
"Speeches on what? The art of losing gracefully?" Chris mocked. "Let's all give it up for the latest and greatest winner in our Total Drama family: Nora! "Thanks for watching, folks, hope you've enjoyed the show as much as I have! So long as there are fame-hungry desperate kids, the Total Drama will be back again with more of the madness. Until then though, this is Chris McClean signing off one last time…on Total…Drama…RESORT!"