Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Echoes 18 - "Sons" - and author's notes

Chapter Eighteen, "Sons," on

Something I've realized while writing Echoes is that I've involved a lot of characters. Some might view that as detracting from the story--it takes away focus from the characters that are important. Something that comes to mind immediately is the two-part section of "Pilgrimage" where Laika and Pride go to Japan. In a chapter that's already 23k words, there might be good reason to cut it and tighten the plot somewhat. However, I also think that this story should be broad and scope. You see, those two acts showed us something besides getting the gang together to go fight Imi: they showed what happens to Japan when Netto isn't around to defend it. They showed the breakdown of society when a hero is called away, and I felt that was important. That might be an advantage of my writing structure--each chapter being, in essence, its own story as a part of a whole.

I think that was in the back of my mind as I wrote "Sons." In the end, I may have a lot of polishing to do. I've had to play kind of loosely with the passage of time to get Netto to Namaste and the safe house in an appropriate timeframe. Characters spend some time thinking by themselves, and not for only short passages either. Something that occurred to me while cruising the net was the word angst. In the context of my story, I hadn't thought about it much before. I try to write characters realistically, and sometimes to see a different side of them, you need to put them close to the edge--the limits of their sanity, the brink of emotional stability. In some definitions, that causes angst. Do I write angst? It's possible I do. It's possible the word has acquired a narrower meaning, specifically to mean emotions that might otherwise be considered overindulgent or trivial. There's a fine line between angst and drama. I don't know how well I walk it, straddle it, or stray from it.

I struggled a lot with the major conflicts. How do I get Meiru to switch Netto's Synchro Chip without it coming off as totally idiotic? How do I get Codey to stay behind (a) with a disease to infect Imi and (b) to stay without his father? How do I treat Rockman's whole reaction to these things? In the end, I toned them down a lot because the reactions I had originally imagined just got too far into the category of needlessly dumb or vindictive. Rockman doesn't attack anyone for taking away his chance at heroic sacrifice. Meiru's fear is largely based on what might happen with Netto and Rockman in Cross Fusion, and it's just unfortunate that Netto feels the same and wants to talk it out with Imi before going there. What was Hideki's idea now becomes Codey's, and he's the one who comes up with the gift, the one who volunteers to stay behind as a stopgap and make Imi come into line. How this affects the power of these decisions...I'll have to give some thought.

Echoes is almost over now. I actually can't wait for it to be done; I'd like to finish, and I'd like to get to work on something new. Identity, of course, or maybe Eclipse if that doesn't pan. It's strange; my whole fad of Rockman has come...and gone. I've been very much into Ranma of late, and I can't help but think that by the time I get to finishing another story all the way, I'll be on something else. Even still, I do feel the pulse of the story I'm telling (although I admit I may have had to search for it again), and I'm glad that "Sons" has turned out, on the whole, quite well. Maybe not what I expected coming into it, but quite well.

Chapter Nineteen is "Resurrection and Life." Considering the changes I made here in "Sons," I'll have to rework some of the reactions, but I have ideas on that. We're finally going to get to see the event that started this: Masuyo's death and Imi's abandonment. Netto and Rockman are going to be separated, too, which takes a real monkey off my back. Writing characters that are linked and broadcasting full time is tough, and it kind of puts a barrier to getting in their heads too far because, well, you have to consider the other's reactions. There are times when that simply isn't convenient or detracts, so sometimes I ignored it. Sometimes, I worked it in and the scene was the better for it, but other times, I played the middle between these two. At any rate, without talking too much about the next chapter, I get to work. I expect to finish 19 in about two weeks, like the others. I suspect it may be shorter, like "Savage Memory," but it might not. So might the last chapter, "The Prodigal Daughter." We'll see.

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