Friday, April 2, 2010

Before and After 01 - "After Leliel"

I tweaked the first chapter of "Before and After" and have published it on FFN here. I made most of my thoughts on the story in general known at the end of that chapter, so I will not duplicate those remarks here. Let me instead talk about the chapter itself, behind the link below.

When I first conceived of this story, the beginning was the main driving force. It was only after I gathered my thoughts enough to outline the rest that I felt comfortable actually writing it. For the most part, the chapter is almost exactly the way I envisioned it; it was very easy to write, which is either good...or bad. I did, in retrospect, add a few things that I didn't have in the first draft. The joke at the beginning with the janitor, I hoped, would more effectively ease people into Rei's perspective--I've always heard that one of the things that is most effective at drawing in a new reader is humor, and while I don't tend to write comedy, I think every author needs an understanding of humor, of when it is appropriate for pacing or other concerns. I've been told my sense of humor is unusual; admittedly, with the serious nature of most of my works, the characters themselves seldom get to laugh at their companions' antics. I think most of my humor is based on...what should I call it? The sheer ridiculousness of the situation? Perhaps that; the juxtaposition of the serious and absurd. Maya and Kaji getting it on and Fuyutsuki having the tape? Something along those lines. To tell the truth, I'm not really sure.

A big theme I want to emphasize in this piece (when I do get around to continuing it; I view it much as a side project that I will continue at my leisure) is how Rei perceives herself as having Yui's body and disliking it, disliking how it means she is not herself, her own person. That will extend to Lilith as well. I know there is a squicky component to the mother/son overtones between Rei and Shinji, and I wanted to keep that because while it's there, it's not because Rei sees herself as his mother (even though, in this chapter, she suspects she does). For Shinji (especially coming off episode 16, as he is in the first chapter here), it's natural for him to associate Rei with those things, but I think if you ask him point blank or analyze his behavior, he doesn't treat her like his mother. He treats her like a person, and that's an important point.

It's going to be interesting, I think, working so closely within the bounds of canon. It means there are a lot of things, little details, that one might get wrong. Watching Ep. 16 again, I noticed some things: Gendo isn't there when Shinji is absorbed into the angel (Misato complains that he isn't there), but he is by the time Unit-01 is being washed off. It's dusk by the time Rei and Asuka start getting each other's faces--remember Shinji had up to 16 hours to survive on internal life support. Timing and stuff like that is important to me; I feel even the tiniest detail can change the complexity and meaning of things. Writing to interleave events like this means a lot of attention must be paid, and while I'm willing to do it, I will always worry I'll make a mistake.

Finally, I'm excited to be writing this, even if it isn't my top priority. In the back of my mind, I have a longer Eva piece in mind taking place post-instrumentality, and this piece might be considered a prequal for that, at least in terms of how I interpret what happens during Instrumentality, but that isn't even outlined or well-formed. I may never write it. We'll see.

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