See, I just sort of sat down on Wednesday, wrote about six and half thousand words, and finished the chapter is one go. I know. It surprised me too.
I'll get back to work on Facing Fearful Odds now.
Taking Sights will end with Chapter 26, but a new story will continue it. The title of the sequel can't be shared yet, as it's something of a spoiler for the events of the final four chapters of Taking Sights. When I'm done with this block of ten chapters, I'll be posting them at a rate of one every week.
Once I finish with Book 1 of Facing Fearful Odds, it'll be time to sit down and finish Book 1 of Taking Sights. The speedy process of writing FFO has given me new insight into the problems I've had with the recent chapters of Taking Sights. As I'm sure you've noticed, the update rate for Takings Sights has slowed dramatically this year. Partly, this is due to the fact I can't write a chapter under 15000 words to save my life. It is also due in large part, however, because of the story problems I've discovered.
At it's core, Taking Sights is supposed to be the journey of Gendo Ikari and how he deals with trying to make amends with his life. These tasks range from saving the world from his own plots to convincing Rei of the value of her own life. The MOST important task is repairing his relationship with Shinji. The problem for me, the writer, is that that plot line resolved itself fairly early on. Gendo tried to manipulate Shinji, Shinji sniffed out his father's true intents, and any chance for future reconciliation went down the gutter. End of story.
The thing is, Shinji doesn't have a whole lot to do with the story now. That's why he's pretty much vanished into the background and why Asuka's taken Shinji's place as the lead pilot character. Because the reader feels a sense of danger for Asuka -- she's the one main cast member (in a general Evangelion sense) that Gendo's absolutely willing to sacrifice. He's counting on her dying, the only question is how to make the most use of her. And out of the main cast members, Asuka is the only one not directly connected to Gendo Ikari's bullshit. Shinji, Rei, Misato, Ritsuko, Fuyutsuki, Keel... their lives have all revolved around Gendo at some point. But not Asuka. She's the foreign element, and a symbol of how Gendo is still a selfish bastard willing to do horrible, immoral things to anyone he doesn't value.
Shinji and Rei are the offspring of his past life, but Asuka's ultimate fate will be the child post-time travel Gendo fathers. It's also why Asuka has become the second main character of Taking Sights. Unless Gendo can find some place in his heart for someone who has no value to him, there's no hope for the rest of the human race. Gendo Ikari is still the same man, just with different priorities, until he proves otherwise.
So how does this tie in with Facing Fearful Odds? Because while these problems will continue as we muddle through to the end of Book 1 of Taking Sights, I've been thinking long and hard about how Book 2 is going to play out. And now I have a plan to make Book 2 more character-driven and cohesive than Book 1 has been.
While Gendo will remain the main(est) character in Book 2, he'll be joined by a new co-main character -- and it isn't Asuka. The Second Child's current arc will climax with the explosive finale of Book 1, and Book 2 will carry all the cast members in a radically new direction. It'll be intense, I promise you.
Now I just need to write it.
Here are the revised chapter titles for the remaining installments of Taking Sights (Book 1) with accompanying spoiler-free descriptions.
( Chapters 16-26 )
( Teaser Poster ) Okay, so Taking Sights still isn't done yet. Remember when I said it was 80% done a few posts back? Well now it's over 10,000 words long and it's maybe 85% done. At the current rate this chapter will be the longest of them all -- and that's saying something.
I haven't been completely non-productive the last week, though. In addition to pecking away at Taking Sights and consolidating the outline for the rest of Book 1 (which will be 24 chapters total) I've been working on a new project. Shockingly, it is neither Evangelion nor Harry Potter nor Doctor Who related -- but rather a fusion of two wildly unlikely fandoms. Which ones, you ask?
Okay, so Taking Sights still isn't done yet. Remember when I said it was 80% done a few posts back? Well now it's over 10,000 words long and it's maybe 85% done. At the current rate this chapter will be the longest of them all -- and that's saying something.
( Taking Sights - Ch 14 preview ) I've finished Chapter 1 (of 5) and am currently editing it. I won't be posting anything of it until the whole story is done.
Also, to tide over the loyal readers who follow this blog, here's a excerpt from the forthcoming chapter of Taking Sights:
I've finished Chapter 1 (of 5) and am currently editing it. I won't be posting anything of it until the whole story is done.
Stay tuned for further updates.
The chapter grew in the telling, so I've split it into two sections. Chapter 13 will be the lead up to the fight against the 8th Angel. Chapter 14 will detail the brawl itself.
Deleted Scenes: This was how chapter 13 was originally supposed to kick off. Instead of diving into Asuka's mental problems and the volcano the chapter was going to be a funny aside into the Maya/Ritsuko and Gendo/Fuyutsuki relationships. Long story short, all four of them were going to take the day off and, through a torturous series of events, end up drunk together at a high end strip club. So... Yeah.
I vetoed all this stuff I'd written for two reasons. The first was that I'm already planning a light-hearted chapter with "Apple Peel-Off". The second was that I had trouble coming up with enough material to make a chapter out of the premise.
So consider this a glimpse into what would have been Chapter 13 of Taking Sights.
Warning: It's un-beta'ed and unfinished.
( Read more... )
I usually like to keep Taking Sights on a one-a-month (or thereabouts) update rate but since I'm scrapping what I've done so far don't expect the next chapter until Thanksgiving-ish. Sorry.
As I've been writing Taking Sights, I've discovered that Shinji doesn't have a lot to say. It's odd, but whenever I try to write a Shinji scene the story just stops dead. It's the reason why I scrapped the Shinji POV mini-chapter in Chapter 11. There just wasn't meat on the bone.
At first I thought the problem was that Shinji was too introverted as a character, but Rei is even MORE introverted yet she's had (arguably) more screen time. Asuka, who I didn't plan at all to have major screen time in Taking Sights has ended up becoming second to Gendo in terms of plot importance. In fact, Asuka has really replaced Shinji as the protagonist in the non-Gendo plotlines.
I think the reason for Asuka's messing up my outline is that she's the only outsider POV in the whole situation. Gendo sucks in Shinji, Rei, Kozo, Ritsuko, Kaji, and, intentionally in the story, Misato into his maelstrom of Plot. Sure, Shinji has Hikari, but the Shinji/Hikari non-relationship is only a tangent off the greater Shinji/Gendo (non-)relationship. Asuka, though, has her own issues entirely seperate from Gendo's Drama.
To Gendo, in Taking Sights, Asuka's a meat bag. She's the one pilot that's expendable to him. Gendo's protective of Rei, and holds regard for Shinji simply for Yui's sake, but the Second Child holds no innate value for him. Everything from the Mk. II Dummy Plug to his plans (now possibly defunct) to deal with the 15th and 16th Angels relied on using, abusing, and then, if necessary, sacrificing Asuka on the alter of necessity.
Yet even Asuka has developed, entirely without my intention, her own character arc. The destruction of the Over the Rainbow in TS was, at first, pretty much just an attempt to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING new with that damned 6th Angel fight. As time's gone on, it's become impossible to just slip past how badly that incident messed up Asuka and, in turn, messed up Gendo's plans for Asuka. In a way, Asuka's breakdown from canon has been pushed up the timeline, with the cracks starting to show in her ego around the 8th Angel instead of the 14th.
Heh. I started out talking about Shinji's lack of screen time and then I end gabbing on and on about Asuka.
But anyways, Shinji's a problem to write in Taking Sights because 1) he's anti-social to begin with, 2) he has no real positive relationship with any of the characters aside from maybe Misato, and 3) he and Gendo have decided to mutually estrange themselves. So Shinji is really a lot worse off in TS than in canon, where at least he had friends.
I'm not really sure where Shinji's going in Taking Sights. The characters have begun to mutate the outline. Will he reconcile with his father? Will he snap and throw Rei off the balcony? Will he and Hikari ever hook up? I have no idea, not until I write it.
Chapter 13 is something of a practice run for me. TS tends to skip over battle sequences because I'm loathe to do fights that have been re-written thousands of times already in other fanfics. However, I do need practice at writing fight scenes if the Penultimate Chapter to Book 1 of TS is to turn out like I want.
Ch. 12 is also available on Darkscribes.
From this point forward I'll no longer be updating the Evafic.org copy of TS, nor will I be posting any more fanfics there. I've also taken the step of deleting my account from Evafics.org. So long and good riddance.
One of the operating assumptions of Taking Sights is that, in canon, Gendo and Yui started out with good intentions, that they planned to screw over SEELE and stop Third Impact. But... there's no proof of that in canon.
Consider our three sources of information on the activities of Second Impact (SI) era Gendo and Yui.
1. In "Death & Rebirth" we overhear (to a video of the fabled Contact Experiment at the Katsuragi Expedition base camp) Gendo and Keel waxing philosophical about the arrogance of science. While this bit gives us insight into Keel, it's questionable what it tells us about Gendo. He could be playing along, he could agree, or he could agree with what Keel's saying but still think he's wrong wrong wrong about Instrumentality.
2. During Fuyutsuki's interrogation, we learn about Yui, Gendo, and Naoko running the Artificial Evolution Lab in what will soon become Tokyo-3 and the Geo-Front. Gendo talks about "Mankind's New Genesis" to Fuyutsuki. This information, too, is suspect. Why? Because Fuyutsuki isn't a reliable narrator. Remember, he's supposedly relating all this to SEELE (who are demanding to know if Gendo has a secret agenda). It's not like he's going to tell them (and, by association, us) that Gendo & company are planning to mess up their masterplan!
3. The Yui/Fuyutsuki flashback conversation shown in the epilogue of EoE. This scene can be read as going either way as far as Yui's ultimate intent regarding Instrumentality (or some form of it). She and Fuyutsuki are mainly talking about her ending up inside Unit-01 for all eternity as a symbol of mankind's existence. Otherwise we don't learn much about her or Gendo's plan.
So, really, Gendo and Yui Ikari cannot be seen from canon evidence as either fighting for or against some form of Third Impact. We know Gendo is opposed to SEELE in 2016 with his "Death Creates Nothing" line, but he says that while he himself is planning his own Third Impact which, aside from his intention on getting back with Yui, we don't know what he was ultimately planning to do with. Or even if he had any other plan aside from "be with Yui".
So why, in Taking Sights, did I take the tact that Gendo and Yui were opposed to any sort of Third Impact? Well... because otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story.
If Gendo decided upon Peggy Sueing himself that he needed to work towards a constructive Third Impact then he'd still be something of a villain. And while it'd be interesting from a storytellers viewpoint to write about a villain like that there'd be two problems. First, Gendo wouldn't be changing nearly as much (changing himself and the world around him). Second, there'd be an assumption (and expectation, really) on the part of the audience that at some point in the fanfic Gendo would doubt, question, and then change his mind about Third Impact as his relationship with Shinji evolves (which sounds boring and predictable to me, but I'll admit I can see some potential in the idea).
There's also another big reason I made Gendo anti-TI. Taking Sights is a Peggy Sue story. More specifically, it's my attempt at a subversion of the conventions of the Peggy Sue trope (as well as several other standard NGE fanfic tropes).
At its heart, a Peggy Sue requires that the time traveler try to change the future for the better. If Gendo has to be convinced that Third Impact isn't really a good idea, then we'd have spent 75% of the fanfic getting to the starting point of the Peggy Sue trope -- the hero deciding to make the future better, no matter the cost to themselves. And if I'd, say, made it that Gendo (and Yui by extension) think causing a constructive Third Impact IS a better future then he'd have no real reason to interact with Shinji and muck around with the timeline. Taking Sights would be a lot shorter then. Instead, to do all the subverting and deconstructing I wanted to do about Peggy Sues (a common fanfic trope) I had to make Gendo "hero-ish" from Day 1. That way I could have him try to be a better person and then (instead of like the Peggy Sue protagonists in "Once More with Feeling" or "The Second Try") have him totally fuck things up.
Plus, what sounds more interesting in your "hero":
1. Him and his dead wife being a different sort of fanatic than the other villains (SEELE) but still dedicated to what amounts to the death of the human race.
2. Him and his dead wife plotting for 17 years to stop & kill fanatics that want to destroy the human race. Only... in order to save the human race... they have to play along with the crazy fanatics for years, even actively help those fanatics kill half the human race... just so that, in the end, they can save the survivors from a Fate Worse Than Death at the hands of the fanatics?
This may just be me, but #2 sounds much more interesting as a character motivation for Gendo Ikari (at least before the whole dead wife business kicked in).
So now you know why I made Gendo (and Yui Ikari) originally intend to stop the Third Impact.