The Longing Of Shiina Ryo:Volume2 Afterword
Greetings, I am Ryuno.
It has been little more than a year since I wrote my first ‘Afterword’, hasn’t it? A lot changed since then, but one thing didn’t: writing this novel was absurdly exhausting too, and while the intensity of it might have changed (and it’s safe to say it escalated to levels I was not aware of) the essence of the exhaustion did not. That said, I take pride in saying I worked on some of the deficiencies of the first volume in this one.
I am really glad you stayed with me so far and thankful for the friends I made due to writing this. To meet such like-minded people and even be able to have some individuals fairly different from me relating to my story, these were things that filled me with joy. You all made a creature really happy just by saying “hey, I read your novel” and replying nicely to my common honest and self-depreciative answer, “sorry about that”.
As I am fairly sure I mentioned several times before, and pretty much everywhere, from the moment I decided to get serious about the story the first novel was established as build-up. Not just it, to be honest: even now that I merged the plot of two stories into “d.m.c.” the schedule remains for three novels that come before the story I actually want to write yet don’t find myself ready to as a writer. While I am adept of the philosophy of always aiming for a higher level than the one you usually can achieve and forcing yourself to become the worker to perform it properly rather than dumbing down the product so you can manufacture it with the means you have at the moment, I simply cannot release the story I actually want to finish because it is a good concept that deserves a better execution than I can provide now: if I let it out as it is, I’d be better off just releasing it as an outline and letting other people fill the blanks or write it for/along with me.
Which I have been tempted to many times in the past, to be frank.
I would not be entirely honest to anyone if I said this book took a year to write, and a better alternative would be to say it took a year to get done with. Were procrastination a magical skill I would be one amazing creature. My editor, Hegemon and close friend Zehava gave some amazing input in the matter, which I will transcribe here.
Get over the whole "if I'm not in the mood" thing on creativity. The reason I even have to hit you with deadlines is because you don't get work done for a dog's age unless you're being pressured. I understand that, and I know I can be like that too, but I cannot abide when other creative people claim lack of muse or whatever as their excuse not to get things done. If it's a weakness of yours, then just bite your arm and force your way over it. I'm aware of all the burdens you have now, but I've also seen you goof off when you could have been planning out your schedule and reducing it.
I know you made fun of me half a year ago when I told you about planning my days. Hell, I made fun of me too. But the thing is, even that rough outline has helped me get things done that I'd never have gotten done otherwise. So as a friend, as a client, as your editor and technical superior, I'm telling you this.
Force yourself to stick to your plan and get stercus done already.
It was very convincing to say the least. Sure I had a lot more on my mind and considerably less time than I had when I wrote the first volume because I have been working a day job with shifts that are, from most points of view, disproportional to their remuneration. Even after work, I do not have the time I used to have because my priorities have changed along with emotional needs. I am not complaining in any way, for there has not been a time in my life when I could say I was “genuinely happy despite unfavorable, not to say generally soul-crushing odds” without lying as much as Shin-tsu does.
During the course of this year I failed people and I am sorry they feel bad. Like Kouma, however, I have my reasons and will stand by them unless they are not enough to give me the results I require. What I am saying here is that the only situation in which I would have done things different would be if I could get equivalent or better results than now. Judging by the time travel/Butterfly Effect mechanics I not only believe in but know exist and function not only in the book, all of this is very likely and unlikely simultaneously, but either way absolutely unpredictable thus not worth pondering over.
Other than that, postulate on everything: such is the nature of Science: as long as there is a possibility, question. Sometimes we forget about that and it leads to bad, derivative work. While humans are a species that learns by imitation (much like monkeys) better than by, say, osmotic inspiration, the problem with having derivative scientists lies in the fact you don’t get, if we were to compare them to musician terms, the core of Progressive Metal.
You get Metalcore instead, a whole scene of.
At some point, though, it is bound to spawn higher quality products by mixing with other subgenres and experimenting, defying tropes and playing clichés straight when you expect them not to specifically because it is an author tract to avoid them. Even the worst specimen of anything has to have a quality or two in order to survive even if they seem to be nothing but flaws. Natural selection, albeit limited by the absolute randomness of Chaos, tends to be too harsh on the ones who try and escape the roulette of abilities, be them uncanny or not. I refer to both the escapees and the abilities.
What does this all have to do with the book?
I refuse to write the same book twice and am sorry if you felt bad by how your perceptions of the characters changed by the end of this one. If you stay tuned, it will happen again and again so you might enjoy it more next book. However, I do not apologize for writing them.
The first story established the setting: that is a given. The purpose of this one is to point flaws in it and raise questions; as a consequence, I understand how it could have been seen as a much darker tale, even though once you re-read the first book you will be able to see better how the darkness was always lingering and you just did not know about it much like fish probably don’t have a word for water, but would have if you made them aware of it. Alternatively, you would only feel that way because I told you of this possibility, the effect known as the “Historian's Fallacy”. After the author says a character is X, it’s easy to see traces of it even when they weren’t there.
Which is one of the reasons why I raised more questions than delivered answers this time; the other would be to make sure people would get the point of having a first- person perspective on a book nowadays, as in the postmodern world.
Maybe not all the time, maybe not about everything, but he clearly does and it’s time for everyone to consider questioning him at least once in a while: I had to go and establish it as a fact that he does, however, because the nuance just wasn’t reaching most and that was probably a direct result of me not being a good writer in the first place. Kouma’s chapter, more than give insight on the character, did not show this as much as shove it on the reader’s face.
What else is left to be asked, then? Well, several things. I will list some to entice speculation, so feel free to make threads about it or pass by the official blog to discuss these with me (although answering them directly would most likely count as spoiling the next book).
- How exactly did Kouma Yon know what Death Drive would say after the things went out of what was planned (pretty easy one if you were paying attention to how the story went, but I will state it on screen next time to make sure no one misses it)?
- Who is Koukishin Shinzou?
- On whose side is Kouma Yon?
- What happened to Morimoto Ayaka?
- From the point the festival happened to the final scene in the hospital, it is implied at least one week passed: how did the conflict between a Ryo on-the-run, a potentially dangerous Kouma and a paranoid-but-with-reasons-to-be Shin-tsu got “resolved” to a point where the three of them can be in the same room?
- Regarding the many magical and odd things one can only assume (based on the evidence presented so far) to be Mystery, was Shin-tsu lying about his past, telling the truth or being delusional?
- Where is Ryo’s mother?
- What the hell did Shin-tsu do to Lang Shou?
- Why is Rin so perfect (asked by my editor)?
- What exactly happened between Ryo, Death Drive and Shin-tsu (prequel, prequel!)?
- How will things progress now that the one person who knew what was actually
going on is in a coma? Will Shin-tsu keep his word and take Reikoku’s place?
- What was the teacher’s backup plan and why is Shin-tsu so afraid of it?
If you think of any more, contact me on http://thatguyfroma.wordpress.com . Next book is about acceptance and reconstruction and in order to close the cycle properly before starting the story-I-really-want-to-write I need to know what subplots I need to solve. I want to be sure I can give this story the “end” it deserves.
Thank you for your time, hope you enjoyed this and I can’t wait to meet you again.
January 29th, 2012.