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14 November 2010 @ 02:27 pm
"I hope it's just lost in translation", or, how Kyuu compiled "speaking a dead language"  
Hey guys! So, I wasn't planning to compile meta on this fic, but after everything that happened, I felt like y'all deserve an explanation, at least about what happened after part two. I'm not trying to justify anything - the fic, of course, should stand on its own - but for those of you who are curious about how I go about planning stories, here it is.

(1) an expalanation

For everyone who I freaked out when I temporarily deleted my journal, I'm really sorry! I wasn't trying to be melodramatic (except about my grades... you'll see), and there was never any intention not to finish this fic.

There is actually a very good explanation for it: the week of October 18-22, I had three exams. In the same 24 hour period. Also, homework that took me six hours to do, and a paper.

Basically, I pretty much didn't sleep that entire week, almost cried, and was a huge trainwreck. I am notorious for sabotaging myself (I watched five seasons of Bones during exam week last semester, in five days, in a year where there was no reading period. I got a C+ in orgo *SOB*) and LJ/my f!list plays a lot into that. It was an attempt to stop myself more than anything else.

I actually had plans of doing this before I even published the second chapter. An excerpt of a conversation with lark (after I was returned a bunch of tests from the first set of midterms):
chrysa: I'm going to delete my journal for two weeks
chrysa: I can't be on lj
lark: don't delete your LJ!
lark: that's dumb don't do that
chrysa: I can come back
chrysa: I need to stay off lj

This was October 12. I didn't even publish part 2 until the 16th~

It's just unfortunate that what happened happened when it did and made the situation appear even more melodramatic than it was. It was only real life getting in my way... And then when I finally finished, lark held my story hostage because I had to take even more exams. Y_Y

I wasn't even planning to say anything until I saw all the lovely comments, and I felt like you guys deserved to know what went on. I do love all of your - but school comes first! I'm not really that upset about the comments or critique - I hope the last chapter was stronger because of it.

Sorry for this long no1curr speech about my life - but this is the long, short, and only explanation of it! Haha. Sorry if it freaked you out.

(2) a timeline

Some people had mentioned the continuity of the story was hard to follow. After I finished the last chapter, I went back and relabeled all the scenes so that they can be read in an "order" if you want. But I'm also providing this timeline, for those of you who don't want to do that.

Ultimately, I still feel like the story should be read in the order it was told in, which is also the order I'd written it. I hope this makes the order of events a little clearer, though.

(3) a compilation/meta

I've written and rewritten this so many times that I don't even know what I want to say anymore. I'm not sure this means anything or if anyone cares, but if you do: here ya go.

  • When I started writing dead language in July, there were three lingering influences on this story, all of which share a common feature: denial as a mechanism of coping with grief. This was started directly after I'd finished winds that chase sails, so the idea of Green's denial/faulty memory was still fresh in my mind, and an I'd decided to recycle it in this fic. It eventually became the driving force of the plot.

    The other two were Qmi fics, meiface's this night is a perfect shade of dark blue and aronnax's world enough. (This how the authors stylize their titles - just another fandom habit I just happened to pick up. XD) dark blue was actually what started my desire to write a ghost story - or a love story that transcended death. world enough I didn't read it until after outlined/started writing, but I ended up pulling the idea of manipulating the past, even in your own mind, to change the present from this story.

    (Additionally, I'd just like to say: all the fic ideas I had this summer? Came from reading awesome Qmi fics. Just sayin'.)

    For ghost!Red to be a success, I needed to create a plausible scenario for Green's denial of his death. But how Green could maintain such a lengthy denial then became its own problem, which is how the secondary storylines started to unfold.

  • Originally there were three running plots: how Red died in the past, and Ethan's attempts to beat Red and Red's ghost in the present.

    At this point, I realized I needed to explain why no one wanted to talk to Green about Red.

    I actually went and surveyed a handful of people about the plausibility of homophobia in a Pokemon world when I started writing, and no one seemed to think it was something that wouldn't work.

    Another thing that influenced me to make this decision was that n July, I had also been slowly compiling articles and essays on the culture (or perhaps, cultural acceptance) and homophobia in East Asia (here are some interesting articles!) I guess I somewhat problematically assumed too much about the assumptions my readers would make - that is, that they would also assume that the world of Kanto/Johto was equivalent to East Asia in the real world.

    I had intended for the homophobia to be background - like it often is in real life - and for it to add tension to the story, but like many background things that influence the tones of stories, it also proliferated into every single aspect of the story and became a conflict that I couldn't not address.

  • The Ethan/Silver relationship wasn't in my original outline of the story, but as I wrote more, I started realize that it was necessary. I actually don't have many opinions about the pairing one way or another, but its existence was meant to be a more successful mirror of Red and Green's.

    I mean this in the least preachy way possible, but I introduced it simply because it allowed a way to alleviate the tension that homophobia brought to the story by showing that sometimes, just through the passage of time, culture changes and society slowly becomes more accepting. I mean, the Oak storyline (next point) also illustrates this point, but it's kind of another reaffirmation.

  • The Oak plotline had a similar course, but, I think, was more essential to the success of the main story as well.

    Even in the draft of the outline, the story started out with Ethan stumbling back to Viridian Gym after climbing Mt. Silver and telling Green about the trainer he met on Mt. Silver, which Green, who is then oblivious/in denial, would have some reason to believe it was Red.

    It's a canonical point that Oak is the one who tells the player character about Red in the games, so I needed to explain why Green would suspect Oak of keeping things about Red from him. Perhaps Oak as a traditional stuck-in-his-way sort of old man would've been an adequate enough of an explanation, but I chose to go with lark's interpretation of the Oak-Green relationship this time, if only to add an extra layer to the story.

    Ultimately, this is an interpretation people are going to have to agree to disagree on, considering the amount of heated debated it had caused. I also wavered the level of tension in Oak and Green's relationship, but this dialogue from FRLG kind of sold it to me:
    GREEN: "Gramps, what's with favoring Red over me all the time? I went and collected more Pokemon, and faster, too. You should just let me handle everything."
    OAK: "I know, I know. Of course I need your help too."

    The thing is, Green may be a dick, but Oak is his grandfather, and familial love should be unconditional, yet there's plenty of evidence that in Oak's relationship with Green, it was not. Regardless of how you interpret it, it became another resolution, possibly one even more effective and powerful than the Ethan/Silver storyline.

  • I'd started this fic with the intention of writing a ghost story. It's kind of a fail ghost story now that I look back but like many stories that pass their way through my hands, what my intentions were and what it ended up are not necessarily the same thing.

    Unforutnately, the story also spiraled into something something large and monstrous, and what I started with got a bit lost in the shuffle. As the story developed, it became apparent to me that "Red is a ghost" was perhaps not even the "most obvious" explanation for all the events anymore.

    So is Red a ghost? Is this a ghost story? Or is he a figment of Green's imagination and dreams? I can't say one way or another anymore, though I do have my own opinions about it. But ultimately, that's no longer for me to decide.

I just hope that the last chapter managed to successfully address all open plots that people found "problematic" in the first and second parts. Sometimes a little patience is all you need!

I want to say thank you to everyone who stayed with me and enjoyed the story, even if you thought I was being a melodramatic brat. *laughs* And for those of you who didn't, I hope that your expectations and my storytelling may better coincide next time.
Current Mood: contemplative