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?”