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GregF's Blog



Posted by GregF , Dec 08 2009 · 1,993 views

As promised, if slightly delayed, here is in the info on Psionics as an MU element:

Colors: Blue and gold
Gender: Female
Prefix: Ce - (pronounced "say")
Matoran Ability: Unable to be mind-controlled or read telepathically -- by studying them, Helryx learned how to shield the minds of the OOMN members from telepathy.
Powers: A Toa of Psionics has the following powers:
* Telepathy
* Telekinesis
* Ability to do a damage-dealing mind blast (mental damage only, not physical)
* Limited mind control (cannot make someone do something that is against their pre-existing moral code)
* Creation of illusions -- so lifelike they can be experienced by all five senses, but cannot fool techological systems
* Ability to mentally mask her presence from bio-mechanical or organic life, but not from technological systems


New And Notes

Posted by GregF , Dec 03 2009 · 1,482 views

-- Good news to start with -- I have gotten permission to get a whole new list of approved names done for 2010 and 2011, which means we will be able to have some new named characters in the story!

-- Plague tribe's element is ... iron. Yes, I know, that doesn't match their armor color, but there is a reason for that, which will get revealed in an upcoming mini-serial on BIONICLEstory.com called Sahmad's Tale.

-- Look for more info on the Psionics power on Monday, same place.



Thanksgiving Weekend

Posted by GregF , Nov 24 2009 · 379 views

I will be away from home for Thanksgiving weekend, and so not able to answer PMs. I will get to your questions next week when I am back.



Lego Kidsfest

Posted by GregF , Nov 09 2009 · 503 views

Just an FYI --

I will be appearing at LEGO KidsFest at the CT Convention Center in Hartford, CT on Sunday, November 22nd from 12-4. Current plan is that I will be signing copies of the BIONICLE: TLR Movie Magazine, along with whatever else people want me to sign.

On Saturday, November 21, from 12-5, Daniel Lipkowitz will be appearing. Daniel is the author of The LEGO Book as well as the LEGO Star Wars comics you have seen in print and online and is BZPower's own Swiftone.

For more info on the show, check out www.legokidsfest.com.



Fan Fiction

Posted by GregF , Nov 07 2009 · 793 views

Along the lines of the last post, I got another interesting PM the other day. The poster was concerned that the revelation of details about various aspects of BIONICLE, through my answers, was messing up his fan fiction in progress (which he was trying to keep as close to canon as possible).

Not going to debate the nature of fan fiction here, or get into the fact that a lot of the questions being asked are by other fan fiction writers who want the info for their stories ... but rather discuss the world of "licensed publishing."

So let's say that you now have my job -- you are the writer for the official comics and books for BIONICLE. And you have a great story idea and your book is humming right along.

And then you find out a set you thought was going to come out (say, shadow Toa Ahkmou) has been cancelled. But there are three new combiners you need to work into story, plus a new poster whose action has to be reflected in story. What do you do?

You rewrite, of course.

Why? Because that is the very nature of writing in a universe you do not own or fully control. In the end, I don't decide what sets come out or don't, or what kind of ad materials get done, or what the web game looks like ... I just have to incorporate all of that into what I am doing. It's the same for someone writing a Star Wars book, or a Star Trek comic, or anything where he/she did not create the universe and does not own it. Someone else can always change things and you have to be ready to turn on a dime and make changes to reflect that. You are playing with someone else's bat and someone else's ball and they make the rules you have to follow.

Not everyone likes that. Some writers only want to create their own universes so that they don't have anyone else making changes, and that's fine. And a lot of people write fan fiction that is THEIR BIONICLE universe and does not try to reflect the official one too much -- and that is great too! But if you are going to write for a property someone else owns -- or write "canon-close" fan fiction where you are trying to match it to my answers -- this is something you will have to deal with multiple times in your career. Nature of the beast.


Fan Contributions To The Universe

Posted by GregF , Nov 02 2009 · 1,166 views

I received this today from a BZPer (whose identity will remain confidential), and I thought it was worth sharing --


Hello, Mr. Farshtey. This is a rather long message, so if you're busy right now, I advise you to answer this later.
This is not a question-filled PM like the ones you get all the time. In fact this is a proposition.

I think you should either leave BZPower or stop answering all these PM's.

Let me just say that I have nothing personal against you. In fact I enjoy your comic writing and dialog immensely and I think you should finally actually get to write the script for one of the movies. But I propose you should quit it with all these PM's because they are hurting the story.

Getting bombed with thousands of PM's gives you extra work and it seems to me that the blue STARS Piraka is Nektann only because all the fans whined about it. And I have to say that listening to the hordes of fans in BZPower is not exactly good for the story. The fact that we get everything about the story on a silver platter every time we just ask is not good story development. It also pretty much kills the theories.
And yes, listening to fans is not really a good thing. Let me quote a really funny man:

QUOTE(Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw)
"Fans are clingy complaining *******s who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The moment you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices the happier you will be for it. (Incidentally, why not buy a Zero Punctuation t-shirt?)"

There will always be people who whine about some decisions you make in the story team, because you really can't please everyone. You shouldn't let the fans control the story. It will make everything better and way more unexpectable, if you listen to them a little less.

So, if you don't agree with this, just say so and I'll stay quiet. But I have three different solutions for this. The first is the most extreme, the third is a little easier.

1. Leave BZPower completely, maybe visit every once in a while. (This will not work if you are here just because you like these forums)
2. Stay in BZPower, but stop answering the questions.
3. Stay in BZPower, but only answer questions concerning what has already happened in the storyline. Everything else you could ignore.

Sorry if this all seems a bit harsh. I genuinely respect you as the writer, but it just doesn't work when the creator of a story is too intertwined with the speculative community of the fans.


A few points I wanted to make:

1) While it is true that the character of Nektann exists thanks to a suggestion by a BZPer (Nuhrii the Metruan), the notion of the Piraka set BEING Nektann came about in 2008 and did not arise from conversations held here. Since that is the only example the poster gave me, I have no idea what other instances of fans somehow determining future storyline he/she had in mind. Future story, as you know, comes from the story team, and while fans have contributed a lot to the universe as a whole (see below), they rarely know the shape of future story early enough to have major, major impact on it, at least to the extent this person seems to think.

2) That said, I am personally proud of the fact that fans -- both on BZP and off it -- have been able to contribute to the story universe of BIONICLE the way that they have. The whole notion of interacting with the community is something LEGO is very much all about -- from me being here to Kids Inner Circle to the LEGO Ambassadors Program and the work of the entire Community division. We're not looking for one-way communication - we hand stuff to you and you just take it -- or for you to just be crying out in the wilderness with no one listening to you. The best of LEGO comes about when community and company can work together.

So I will never apologize to anyone for being open to a suggestion here when it's a good suggestion, or for adding to story to fix a possible contradiction a fan has pointed out, or for doing things like Rahi Guide or Dark Hunters guide that gave fans a chance to create an official piece of the universe. BIONICLE belongs to the fans as well as to the company, in that sense -- we all help to make it what it is. And I am honored that people of such obvious intelligence and imagination would want to contribute to this universe. I think just ignoring what people say they want in story would be to do a disservice to the fans and to the company I work for. Needless to say, I don't intend to take this poster's advice.

3) On the "ruining theories" thing -- yes, I have heard that before, but not sure what that means. If I come up with a theory -- say, that Captain America will come back from the dead as a 12-foot tall giant made of Play-Doh -- and I find out that is not the case, my theory is not "ruined" -- because it was never accurate in the first place. There's a difference between "ruined" and "wrong." A theory is a hypothesis based on evidence -- if the evidence is not there or it's being misinterpreted, then the person theorizing is going down a rabbit hole. To me, ruining a theory would be more like ... a BZPer guesses what is going to happen next, so I change it so he won't be right. And I don't do that sort of thing, it would be obnoxious and unfair.

Think of it like this -- you're driving along, and you're not sure you are on the right route. You stop and ask someone for directions. He can tell that you turned left three miles back when you should have turned right and you're going to wind up nowhere near where you want to be. Which should he do? Say nothing and let you waste hours being lost, or tell you, "You might want to look at the map again, I think you are off back here." (Now, it's possible you just were enjoying the drive, don't care whether you get where you are going anytime soon, and don't want to know if you made the wrong turn -- but I'd guess under those circumstances you wouldn't stop and ask directions.)

Anyway, that is what I think on this.



Quick Thing

Posted by GregF , Oct 27 2009 · 385 views

I'm getting a lot of people sending me Q's one day, then resending them the next. I try to get to all Q's as quickly as I can, but often it's not going to be in the same day you send them, so if you don't get answers that day, do not resend. I would say wait at least three or four days before resending if you feel that's necessary.



Bionicle 2010

Posted by GregF , Sep 21 2009 · 1,143 views

In the interests of saving time --

I cannot discuss ANYTHING relating to BIONICLE 2010. I'm not allowed. That includes sets, story, etc. The fact that this site or that site may post things early does not change the rules I have to work under when I am on here.



Bionicle: Tlr

Posted by GregF , Sep 05 2009 · 979 views

Lately, I am getting a lot of PMs from people saying they have seen the new BIONICLE movie (which, to the best of my knowledge, has only had two screenings so far, one of which was in Billund where I don't think too many of you live). A few people have admitted that they are watching pirated copies of the film.

So I am going to ask that you DO NOT send me questions based on watching illegal copies of the movie. You are putting me in a very uncomfortable position by doing so. As a colleague of Threshold and an employee of LEGO Company, I would be obligated to report you (and yes, I have no doubt BZP would hand your names over to the authorities if asked). I don't want to do that, so please stop putting me in a position of having to do so.

Watching a pirated version rather than renting or buying a copy makes it less likely there will be future movies. Upcoming projects get green-lit only if TLR sells enough copies. If it doesn't, you can pretty much forget new DVDs in future.



Couple Quick Things

Posted by GregF , Aug 30 2009 · 470 views

-- I have the dates and times for the appearances in Utah in October, and will send those along to BZP to post.

-- Your January issue of LEGO Club Magazine and LEGO BrickMaster Magazine, which will include a new BIONCLE comic, will be coming early. Instead of the usual in-home date of around January 7th, the first ones should be hitting home around December 21st, 2009.

-- Just a reminder -- I CANNOT discuss anything related to 2010 at this point. That includes confirming or denying info you are picking up from other sources. So please stop asking me to do so.