February Writing Update

Celestial Chronicle

Chapters 1-4, ~20k words. Started rewriting at the end of January, thought I would just be editing the original text, but then it rapidly became VERY DIFFERENT and required complete rewriting from scratch. So that’s pretty good progress tbh, especially since for the last week I’ve been dealing with high fatigue, and crawling along at a couple hundred words a day.

Goal for March: another four chapters seems good, let’s see if I can hit 40k. With the streamlining that’s going on in this rewrite, that might even take us up to the labyrinth, the kiss, and the whole “wtf is happening in Kyoto” question, but I shall not underestimate my ability to go off on an exciting diversion somewhere along the way…

The Other Side of Twilight (fanfic)

Story 8, “Blood and Promises”. First 4 chapters (18k or so) have been done for like three months and I’m just sloooooowly picking my way through chapter 5. It’s hard work because I’ve got to a point where I need to start explaining some of the core mysteries I’ve been throwing about. And I have the answers, neatly labelled and outlined, but the process of working them into the story without either overloading or going into extended flashbacks is… well, it requires some very careful footwork. Plus I’m feeling out the next bit of Hisoka’s character arc: I know where I want him to end up but he’s just surprised me by taking a slightly different route to get there. And then there’s Muraki being Muraki, and there are some days when I’m not quite up to writing that.

Goal for March: finish “Blood and Promises”, get far enough into “The Road to Hell” to feel confident I won’t need to change anything before I post it.

Tentative outline of remaining stories: Blood and Promises, The Road to Hell, Dead Man’s Gambit, Forever and a Day, Daylight. BUT DON’T HOLD ME TO THAT I MIGHT INSERT ANOTHER ONE SOMEWHERE.

Starborn & Kestrien

I’ve been letting them sit for the month, as I wanted to get CC rolling along well and TOSOT is taking up the rest of my time. Probably going to pick up worldbuilding on them both again. I want to ramble about Starborn in particular, and I’m hoping to get to a point soon where I can write some character one-shots without immediately contradicting myself because I changed my mind. I have private World Anvil sites for both, but so far they’re full of spoilers because I’ve been using them to work out some stuff I want to write. I’m considering making public versions.

The Secret Ingredient Is Angst

So far, the Celestial Chronicle rewrite seems to consist mostly of me making Shoichi sad, so, uh… yeah.

It’s partly because I realised that years of writing fanfic had taught me to keep a fairly flat character arc. When people are reading your stuff because they love the characters as they already are, you don’t want to change them too much. In original fiction, though, that translated into my characters entering the story in their Final Form, with all the confidence and determination they should by all rights be earning through the course of the narrative.

For Akemi, the rewrite has meant leaning harder into her impulsive side, and letting her be truly reckless before she learns to be a better leader. For Shoichi, it means a greater emphasis on his loneliness, sense of alienation, and anxiety. I had not quite anticipated how badly I was going to be giving myself feels with this.

And one thing leads to another: if I change the way he sees himself and the world, it changes his relationship with Satoru and his feelings on meeting him again, changes his reaction to becoming Luna, changes his friendship with Akemi. Not, I hope, to an unrecognisable degree. Shoichi is still Shoichi, and he still has some Thoughts on defying genre convention, and Akemi is Trying Really Hard, and Satoru is… probably off listening to Linkin Park somewhere, tbqh. But their edges are rougher. And Shoichi is sad, and I keep having to resist the urge to write the fluffy High School AU version of my own story.

“So I don’t have a choice?”
“You… always have a choice, Luna. You can reject the power of the Guard by returning the medallion to me.”
“And then someone else will take my place?”
“No. You are Guardian Luna; there cannot be another.”
“And if I don’t do it, this… Multitude will just keep taking people’s souls, and eventually destroy the world?”
“That is their goal.”
“Then I don’t have a choice. Not really. Do I?”

Why I’ve Taken Down ‘Celestial Chronicle’

Sol, Luna, and Kestrel do their best impression of a famous Sailor Moon colour illustration
Sol, Luna, and Kestrel do their best impression of a famous Sailor Moon colour illustration

Short Version:

I’m rewriting extensively and have realised that posting chapter-by-chapter doesn’t work for me. The plan is to turn the series into a trilogy of three novels, and I’m aiming to have the first book (Web of Shadows) done this year. Follow this blog for updates, and I’ll also be posting more on Twitter and Tumblr as I go.

Long Version:

Celestial Chronicle is my anime-esque magical girl series that I started writing in 2015 with the intention of publishing it serially on my website and on Archive of Our Own. It stalled when I ran into a combination of writer’s block and the first bout of what turned out to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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