Though it did start out with a couple days of little or nothing but Skyrim, my week off did turn out to be incredibly productive. I am vastly pleased.
The first thing I’ll mention is that I worked well on TLY. As has happened a lot recently, I’ve got nothing to say about it other than that. It’s coming along!
Naked Rooftops — I hadn’t anticipated getting this finished quite so soon, but when I noticed that plaidshirtjimkirk was planning to celebrate 3/13 as Saitou/Sano day (something I’d literally never heard of before that, but have no objections to, though of course every day is Saitou/Sano day around here XD), I took a good look at the story and thought, I could probably get this finished in time to post on 3/13 and hopefully make psjk happy.
And I was right! I went into death-crunch mode and skipped showering (and just about everything else) on both Sunday and the first half of Monday, and got the remaining editing done to my satisfaction (I’d hit linear completion on Saturday). I did a pretty thorough recording-edit, but didn’t go on to finish the editing of those files because I was running out of time for this sudden 3/13 deadline XD I’ve mentioned how long that shit takes, right?
Like many just-finished projects, I don’t have a clear idea yet of how much I like this one. Unlike many just-finished projects, I didn’t have a chance to get tired of this one. So it’s hanging in an interesting opinion limbo at the moment, heh. In a few months we’ll see how I feel about it. For now, a few author’s notes that will be spoilery for anyone that hasn’t actually read the story.
I really like parallelism, especially when it applies to story segments or lines that also perform some other service. In this case, I took care to include moments of loneliness and longing for meaningful companionship for both Saitou and Sano (and then parallel recognition of how Tokio’s behavior really rubs in the fact that they’re so lonely, which I think is wonderfully ironic when she’s the one that sets them up)… but I’m not sure, yet, whether or not these segments are a little ham-fisted. I’ma have to wait those aforementioned months before I can reread and decide.
This type of story absolutely begs for a sequel. Of course a sequel would lead into very Aku Soku Zan(za)-esque territory, with Sano probably working for Saitou and eventually scoping out Kenshin’s abilities for him, so it’s unlikely it’s something I would ever write. But I have to admit, there are certain massive temptations in this case.
After Saitou’s jump across that alley that filled Sano with the certainty he could manage it too, Saitou not bothering to try to jump the gap in Shishio’s fortress would be particularly aggravating and painful to Sano. As a matter of fact, at that point I think Sano might actually assume Saitou was deliberately committing suicide or otherwise trying to abandon him, and that could be some reeaaalllyyy good drama.
But everybody knows how I am with sequels, and there’s still the ASZz-clone problem. So probably not.
A Productivity Log isn’t necessarily the best place to go on and on and on about Fanfiction As An Art Form, but since I never seem to get it all out in any other context, here’s as good a place as any (and better than none) for fragments of my thoughts on that matter.
There are a few aspects of fanfiction that I believe set it apart as a unique literary form, and one of those is the reusability of aspects of the canon in a variety of ways. In no other type of storytelling can you make, for example, a villain out of a character one week and a hero the next while the writer across the way is making that character tragic and confused that first week and over-the-top ridiculous the second — and every single new take is valid, and every single new take may come as a fascinating surprise to the reader. In no other type of storytelling can you write about the same character in a number of different, independent stories and never write them the same way twice.
Oh, sure, you could take historic figures or living people and write various standalone stories about them and characterize them differently in each different piece — but what, honestly, is that but fanfiction? And, yeah, technically you could invent a set of characters with some initial storytelling that sets up their basic characteristics, then write a bunch of independent stories about them that explore various “what if?” aspects of what you originally established… but, again, what is that but fanfiction? You could label it differently in each case, but I think it falls under the same definition, and therefore can be called the same thing.
Anyway, I’m specifically thinking of Saitou Tokio here, and anyone else that exists in a canon but has no traits whatsoever assigned to them — though this applies very well to characters that do appear but have only limited canon characterization (such as Chou and Kamatari), and even, to a certain extent, to main characters when so many interpretations of choices, motivations, and future paths are available.
But back to Tokio. I love her. And by that I mean I love that I have this perfectly blank slate to work with in Saitou’s wife. The possibilities for situation and characterization are endless, so I get to invent a new character and set of circumstances every single time I write her. It is so much fun.
And the reason I bring her up at this point is, of course, that she’s the villain of Naked Rooftops, and I enjoyed the hell out of assigning her a personality and character that led her to do what she did in this story. I don’t know that she necessarily steals the show (naked Saitou and Sano are around), but she may come pretty close; and in any case, I think that, the way I wrote her here, she adds a richness and flavor to the story that wouldn’t otherwise be present.
It also tickles me to compare her to the other Tokios I’ve come up with in the past — the pragmatic but secretly romantic feminist of Aku Soku Zan(za); the scathing, possibly transmasculine quick-talker of He Can Be Taught; the incisive, manipulative spaceball of Pillow Talk; the blunt, observant cat of His Own Humanity; the bitter, determined religious warrior that hasn’t actually appeared by name in Heretic’s Reward — and consider where else I may go with this character in future. As I said, there are endless possibilities, and as long as I write about Saitou (which should be essentially forever), she’s always going to be around.
So now I move on to a different Saitou/Sano one-shot! I know exactly which one it will be, too, but it sadly has not even a working title at this point. How should I refer to it on my checklist? “Untitled Saitou/Sano fic” it is, then.
Heretic’s Reward chapter 24 — I got so caught up in Naked Rooftops that I almost forgot I posted a chapter the day before that too. Wow! What a SaitouSanotastic week off work I’ve had!!
Poor Sano, though. To reunite with your best friend and almost immediately start wondering whether you can trust him or if he’s going to betray you and the man you’re secretly madly in love with? Why do I do this to my peoples?? He’s not going to ease off on the mistrust in the next chapter, either, since he’s got those meetings to go to. But then after that he can head back to Hajime.
I’ve got a glorious picture in mind to showcase Sano’s new outfit, but, though I dug up reference poses, I haven’t felt like drawing. It happens a lot in my life that I have an idea and references that just sit untouched for years and years and eventually fade into nothingness. If I were better at drawing, that probably wouldn’t happen quite so much! (I like to think that, once I get my planned draft table that will allow me to draw more comfortably, it won’t happen quite so much either.)
Nine Decades — The 90’s story has reached linear completion (and even been edited a few times), and I’ve been wracking my brains for a title. The other two stories sitting at linear completion have awesome titles that I love, and I don’t want to break the trend by choosing something mediocre for this one. But nothing has come to me yet.
I think I’ll be working on the 30’s story next, since it’s the one with the most detailed summary at this point. We’ll see, though; I may detail something else up and start on it instead.
Other HoH stuff — Zombie Girl has long been my sounding board for fiction ideas in general, but for His Own Humanity in particular, and when I talked to her the other day, I solidified an idea (specifically, its general feasibility and its place in the timeline) that I’ve had for quite a while. I haven’t actually decided for sure exactly when it’s going to take place, but it may be right around Communication Skill time. In any case, I’m now eyeing that part of the timeline pretty hard and contemplating.
We also discussed the as-yet-untitled Aoshi/Soujirou story that I think is going to be hella interesting, and I now have a proper summary for that one after having been juggling concepts that weren’t quite coming together coherently for years. It’s possible I’ll start writing that one before CS, even. CS has been building up steam again lately, though, so you never know.
Archive stuff — I’m almost done with these author ratings, and I have to say with all due modesty (that is to say, none)… I’ve got some pretty amazing stories around this place. I haven’t felt the need to tear anything down yet, and that’s astonishing. Like Saitou in Naked Rooftops, I’ve had an unnecessary but not unwelcome ego-boost… but this one has come entirely from myself XD
Of course I haven’t yet reached things like Condition of Learned Helplessness, which I was already eyeing warily even before I started rating things. Saitou as outright rapist is something I may not be able to stomach these days. And then there’s my scant collection of original stuff and miscellaneous fanfiction… it’s high time I went through that and made sure it’s all up to scratch.
Also I’m going to have to make a special zero-star image just for Pride of her Parents XD XD XD