Reminder: Don’t read the Notes before reading the actual fic chapter.
*Please comment only on this and previous chapters to avoid spoiling.
A sincere thanks to those people who stuck with me through the dry spell, cheered on the silly process, and helped me with research. I’ll allot extra fermenting time since this is a bit of a mess and I’m posting right now without an edit. Warning: Ridiculous note length ahead.
In my attempt to write a garden onion, I hope I don’t end up with just a clove of garlic.
Well. I expect maybe only three-ish people to become aware of this teeheehee update, and I don’t intend on advertising (since I’ve forgotten where one normally would anyway and still don’t intend on joining FF.net). ^_^; If those of you who find this think others would be interested, feel free to advertise with a link to this journal. I still appreciate detailed critical reviews, so do pick things apart, especially plot inconsistencies, questions on psychology, and language issues. I’ll love you lots. My style has changed a bit since the beginning, I’m sure. Also, I didn’t double-check the references to KYA, so there may be inconsistencies at this point; I’ll let it ferment for a bit so I can figure that out. *Someone sent me my original Shoujoai forum link, so I guess I’ll just bump that once after all…
Here’s a long chapter, mostly thanks to Natsuki and Nao, since I wanted to give them a good shove in the development department. I’m not entirely sure that everything is convincing, but we’ll see. I ended up moving a substantial chunk to 1.12 due to arbitrary space (although it turns out I’m nowhere near hitting the character limit in a Livejournal post). The most difficult part of writing this chapter was … (wait for it) … talky bits! No, it never gets old. I’d be more worried if the talky bits come too easily, honestly. Pronoun variety still annoys me. Eh, it was okay.
I might have mentioned this before, but motorcycle helmets are absolutely required by law in Japan (last I checked). According to the Japan Guide, the direct nozomi trains take about 140 minutes from Tokyo to Kyoto while the slower hikari trains take an additional 20 minutes. I’m just randomly making up a time there, of course.
Serious Shizuru fans should recognize (somewhat) the Shin Kokinshu poem by Shikishi; I studied two very different translations that give an obvious sense of how there are two ways to translate poetry: literal or intended meaning. Having written poetry myself, I understand how the former could lead to serious deficiency of interpretation and how the latter essentially removes the subtle art (which I felt was the biggest problem with the translation on the Sunrise character page–it was too direct and unpretty). So I ended up creating a third version of the poem between the translations by Geoffrey Bownas and Thomas McAuley. Obviously, I took liberties with my Syncope version, but, well, there you have it. Here’s the original Japanese version (I hope it shows up):
OH, SNAP! That’s right. Shizuru has a big brother (in my world, anyway).
I was hung up on the Nao/Natsuki scene for a long time mainly because I couldn’t visualize the setting. Since I couldn’t figure out where to put Natsuki and Nao, I couldn’t imagine their body language and what sorts of things they would do and say in that setting, even if I don’t end up writing out every detail. This private outdoor scenario, for example, is quite different from a public park or a café. Muse-chan finally hit me on the head, though, and I hope their conversation turned out believable since it could have gone any number of ways. Creative freedom can sure be intimidating. Yes, I arbitrarily named Nao’s mom Yuuki Kumiko. Let’s hope I remember that!
Now, I was originally planning on replacing the entire Nao/Shizuru flashback with straight narration due to length and complexity, but I don’t have anywhere else to put it, really, and I feel it’s very important to the plot and backstory so I didn’t want to make it an omake chapter. And of course, straight “tell” narration over a “show” flashback generally sucks. So I tried to break it up and weave it through present interaction between Nao/Natsuki; I did something new with the first two parts of the Nao/Shizuru flashback. Did it work? I hope so. You’ll let me know, right? I feel like I’m forgetting something regarding “lunch,” though.
Oh look, a sentence fragment! Or three. On another random research note, I don’t know if Japanese students can/do take multiple college entrance exams for different colleges/universities; the last research I found was supposedly outdated, but I don’t know how so (if students still take two exams for a given national university).
There are only two planned chapters left for Part 1 (1.11-12) and maaaybe an omake chapter. In any case, I’ll be picking through previous chapters and applying some minor fixes at the completion of Part 1 before uploading a “final” version of the entire Part 1 somewhere (I’m even toying with the idea of getting illustrations in there, haha?). And onto Part 2 eventually. I don’t plan on starting 1.11 until around Christmas-New Year’s, though. It really shouldn’t take another two-odd years to finish this time. Reeeaaaaally.
I’ve decided at this point that I don’t like the online version of paragraph breaking, which is just applying an extra line space after each paragraph. I much prefer the book-style paragraphs with NO line spaces and only indents for each paragraph/line of dialogue, especially because multiple lines of dialogue end up looking super spread out up there. Waste of space. For the final PDF/online version of Part 1, I’ll have to figure out how to properly apply paragraph indents in HTML.
Since I haven’t leisurely written in a while, I feel even more inclined to babble incoherently in the notes. [cough] Anyway, getting obsessed over statistics is a bad thing, but this chapter officially pushes Syncope over the lowest-end word count minimum for an American “novel,” at least from what I can remember on some sites, which is supposedly 40,000 words. Granted, I’m going by Microsoft Word’s suspicious methodology, but… “Hey, ma, I wrote a (creppy) book!” It feels like a nice little personal milestone–though I’m fully aware that it’s easy to add fluffy, pointless words for a count (students do it all the time especially). I wouldn’t know how to separate the grain from the chaff in my own writing at this point, but I had been underestimating (rounding down) MS Word’s calculations every chapter for this reason. Regardless, I feel pretty relieved that I managed to finish this one and am back in the game, even if I’m rusty and sore. Muse-chan is a sadistic mistress.
Time for bed. My eyes are actually quite red and itchy at the moment so I won’t be making fixes until at least a day later.