Reminder: Don’t read the Notes before reading the actual fic chapter.
*Please comment only on this and previous chapters to avoid spoiling.
This was rough. This is rough. (Get it?)
In writing chapter 1.11, I had to make content edits to chapters 1.3, 1.4 and 1.10, so feel free to, uh, skim those again. Editing all the HTML tags into this chapter was a pain in the arse, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are formatting errors. Maybe I’ll find them later. Yes, the opening section here was a bit weak, but I hope things got more interesting. I seriously considered just posting up to the end of Nari’s visit but decided to plug through the rest of my chapter outline anyway regardless of target length. I didn’t really want to get into a chapter 1.13 at this point. The weird patchwork effect due to length doesn’t help the inherent problems in this chapter along with the fact that it took me a long time to write it out in portions, so this will need a pretty good fermenting period.
It’s a matter of maintaining a consistent if generalized timeline of sorts, and hopefully I fixed that horrible, awkward, eye-rending, narrated 1.4 non-flashback once and for all, but this leads to creating a flawed chapter 1.11. That is, I realize that in trying to make “Syncope” feel less shoehorned into its current timeline, I’m using some “awfully convenient” plot devices like the flashback. Hopefully I split them up okay and they’re interesting enough, but the ones in this chapter are definitely way too long, though, so I really don’t recommend trying this at home! Overall, this writing is even harder for Nari (man, I feel sorry for her). Makes me sad. I considered moving much of the flashback material into an omake, but like I mentioned elsewhere, this particular content isn’t “optional.” Just as in 1.10, which was abnormally long by my standards, 1.11 is also an extended length to fit all this crep in. Seriously, 1.10 took place on “Thursday morning” according to my outline, and 1.11 is happening “lunchtime through afternoon” that same Thursday. Crazy, huh?
The Haruka/Yukino/Natsuki/Shizuru dialogues plus split flashbacks were difficult to manage. I don’t know if I made Haruka believable or not, but I think she’s easier to stuff into believable scenarios than Yukino, whom I wanted to develop more for a couple of reasons. Yes, she does kind of take Mai’s symbolic place as a psychologist in places, but she also has a unique understanding of the situation compared to Mai. Is Yukino a believable extension of her anime self here? Well, she is a bit pushier here and almost conniving, so I don’t know if I managed to pull that off “realistically.” I think I did mention somewhere that I prefer the Mai-Otome version anyway, so I might try to shift her development in that general direction (i.e. more self esteem, assertiveness, etc.). Also, I was having trouble maintaining consistency in the honorifics, so I’ll have to double-check that later.
One thing’s for sure: I never want to do this again, especially with the four of them in one room. Feck. All that opposing character psychology AND trying to write Haruka’s malapropisms made for hell. In the end, I decided not to try to force too many malapropisms in there at all, especially where the dialogue is supposed to be climactic. And it’s not like the malapropisms were actually “accurate” since we’re talking about English limitations instead of Japanese. Anyway, I’d like to say this was the most difficult chapter to write, but that was true for each chapter preceding and… Yeah, you get the point. ^_^ What’s sad is that I had to scrap a decent one-on-one dialogue between Haruka and Shizuru because there was no logical place to put it. Maybe in Part 2…
On the plus side, this particular chapter didn’t require much research at all besides checking my own writings for consistency. Well, I did look up statistical information on ice cream consumption in Japan, but I’m too tired to find the relevant links again to post here. I decided not to add any KYA, since that would just confuse things. I expect readers to point out any obvious inconsistencies, of course, so let me know if anything is confusing or illogical or something. Please give detailed feedback and reasoning for suggestions whenever possible. ^_^
Edit: Something I forgot to mention because I already knew it (experience, not research). Carrying a small hand towel or handkerchief in Japan along with your own tissue packets is pretty necessary; not only are there bathrooms that don’t supply toilet paper, but certainly most places don’t supply paper towels and the hand blowers are only just getting somewhat popular now. I imagine this saves a ton of paper waste. (You don’t actually use a handkerchief to blow your nose!)
Man, this was tiring.