Note: This is the Editing Blog for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link). I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process. You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking. The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention. Thanks for your interest and enjoy!
Warning: Some discussions of (metaphorical) rape/sexual assault.
Fondest greetings to you all.
So I jumped the gun a bit in saying I’d be going forthwith onto Chapter 2. I need to reread Chapter 1 prior to that as I generally edit one part one day, then go over it the next day before proceeding. This is similar to my writing method. Oh, I didn’t explain that, did I? And not only that I wrote Northern Lights in an entirely different way to how I wrote The Serpent’s Tale. Let’s start with the latter story first as that is my normal and comfortable style.
TST is completely handwritten out in various notebooks and journals. I would write up to a certain point one day, and then when I went back to it the next round, reread what I’d written (crossing out and editing what I saw fit) before continuing the narrative. After a certain point (about halfway through the first half since The Serpent’s Tale is split into two distinctive parts), I would transpose my handwritten story into Word, enhancing and adding anything I deemed necessary in the process. The next day I’d reread what I’d written now on the computer, fixing and editing as I went before continuing the transposing process. Lather, rinse, repeat until the tale was finally told after two years. I then edited the entire thing like I’m doing now with Northern Lights but more ad nauseum. I still need to fix/edit quite a few things, which was a huge impetus for the writing of this. Seems ironic, but it does make sense. With NL I cut out the part where I handwrote it and nearly went insane. I absolutely abhor looking at a blank Word document when there’s writing that needs done, and I was also so terrified that something would happen to the computer and I would lose all my work. This was no random feat as it had happened before with a story entitled Heart of Fire that is, alas, lost forever 😦 I combated this by emailing Northern Lights to myself every day, and if I ever forgot, I’d be terrified and tortured that my computer would crash or what I’d written wouldn’t be saved (which did happen with TST at one point). So there you go. That is my insane writing process. With NL it was nice to know how many words I was writing per session without having to painstakingly count them on paper (not that I would anyway), but in all honesty it took me no less time to finish this current work then it would have TST, which is about twice as long in word count and took two years to NL’s one. I also read an article posted by the irrepressible and brilliant Anne Rice stating that handwriting novels first is actually the better way to go about them, and it doesn’t really starve you of time. While I’m happy for the experience of writing a story on the computer alone, I believe I will be going back to my old way for any future endeavors.
(Hi Future Narcissist here. Yeah…I didn’t do that. I’m working on another fanfiction as I type…well not right as I type, but it is open in Word, and I didn’t hand write that out. There are notes on OneNote, but I think I’ve grown used to forgoing the handwritten part and just sending myself an email every session. Okay, back to the past!)
I’ll try to just touch on just a few things before I reread The Flowers Blooming in the Shadows. The one is this line: “A hundred years have come and passed, my friends are dead and gone.” This line was entirely inspired by the song “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from la musicale magnifique Les Misérable (yes again. This work is quite influential).
Looking at the second part of the line “…my friends are dead and gone,” should show the homage paid to the source. I also need mention the meter of this line. I’m a huge fan of iambic heptameter or common time (four for the first and three for the second. I use it quite often), which of course adds up to seven feet. The number pops up quite often in the game; it only stands to reason that it will make an appearance in this fanfiction.
The Bard himself was a great fan and proponent of this particular time signature. He also wrote The Rape of Lucrece, which concerns the violation of Lucretia, but she as an individual doesn’t matter. All that matters is what was done to her and the subsequent action of her father and brother as they use her defilement as a reason to go to war. She is less of a person and more of an object, a fact that is not lost in FFVII with the character of the same name who is Sephiroth’s real mother. She is “raped” in a metaphorical sense insofar as her body is used to produce something (and her name does indeed mean profit), namely him, and afterwards, she flees and is forgotten by everyone, except Vincent who is locked away and also forgotten. Lucrecia’s own son neither remembers her nor even knows who she truly is. She is remembered only by the forgotten.
Lucrecia is one of two characters metaphorically raped, the second being Aeris when she is murdered on the altar in the Forgotten City while praying for Holy to save them all. The connection between Aeris and Sephiroth’s true mother is both uncanny and disturbing. They not only have similar tragedies, but also look very much alike. While I believe Lucrecia actually has brown eyes, the shape of her face, color of her hair, and high bangs are enough to be convincing.
I feel that this was not done by happenstance. There’s supposed to be a parallel between the true mother and true daughter of the Planet. In killing her, he similarly kills an image of the only real part of himself, the piece that makes him human and tethers him to the mundane world. Truly the tragedy of VII knows no bounds…
Finally, this line has been meandering around my mind for the past week…
“You will hold the hand(s) of death and let him speak your name.” I feel this is a prophecy from the Planet to Aeris, but it must be put either into Chapter 1 or at the beginning of Chapter 2. She will take it metaphorically as that she will have to sacrifice her life again, but it’s actually quite literal. Sephiroth is a sort of the Angel of Death or Angel of Darkness. He even calls himself the former later in the story. At the end of Chapter 3 Aeris is literally holding his hand while she tells him to call her by her name, and he does. She is holding “death’s” hand, literally her death’s hand and she has him speak her name.
I shall now reread/reedit Chapter 1 and see where this line falls. I feel like it would be better suited for the beginning of Chapter 2 when she wakes up in Sephiroth’s arms, but we shall see what we shall see. I’m going to have to figure out how I’m going to search for and/or include the unused lines from my chapter notes or how I want to handle that. The search feature may become my new friend once I finish up rereading the chapter. Onward…
“Of the other the Cetra only remembered a hazy shade of green and a whispered plea on dying lips.” I can’t help but think of Lyanna Stark’s, “Promise me, Ned” plea to her brother before death. I’ve been watching a lot of ASOIAF theory videos lately (as mentioned in prior posts), and the symbolic similarities between the two narratives is hard to deny. Prophecy, what is true/what is false, Norse Mythology, the end of the world, portents from the sky, martyrs, et al. Ifalna’s plea was far more straightforward and yet similar to Lyanna’s. Something along the lines of , “Please take care of my child,” although whether or not she begged Elmyra to conceal her true nature is up for speculation.
Wow, this is…depressing. Aeris is ruminating on Elmyra and her unfulfilled hopes of seeing her daughter again. She believed that she would return until she was told otherwise by Reeve. I could see the potential of her not necessarily believing such horror and continuing to set aside gil for her. What a terrible parallel…Elmyra was always waiting. Waiting for a dead husband. Waiting for a dead daughter. She spent most of the narrative waiting for the dead. The more I delve into FFVII the darker and sadder it becomes.
“The city was always dark.” It reminds me of my poem “Dark in the City” from my short story The Threads of Sorrow published in Separate Worlds. The poem was inspired by an AMV of (you guessed it!) FFVII with Smashing Pumpkins’ “The Beginning is the End Is the Beginning” as the song. Sadly, the AMV has been removed from YouTube (or the one I originally saw has been), but during the line ““Is it bright where you are…” (link goes to the trailer from Watchmen, which made me fall in love with the song. Awesome movie if you haven’t seen it btw) Aeris is shown praying, and all I could think was, “It is dark in the city…” and that turned into this:
”It is dark in the city where the shadows full prowl,
It is dark as the black wings of night,
It is dark in my heart where the threads are full torn,
But I know where you are, it is bright…”
It incorporates the “Is it bright where you are,” in the last line, and, well, in the story it’s spoken by a dark angel. Yeah…dark/fallen angels are kind of my modus operandi.
I’m just going to come out and say it. Seph looks like a Targaryen just without the purple/violet eyes. Let’s see…we have two narratives where the super Aryan looking character(s) are (overly) concerned with dispossession and taking back what’s deemed rightfully theirs by any means necessary (fire and blood).
The link goes to the left picture’s source. One of my favorite Deviant Artists RobasArel. The right picture’s source is here.
Tomorrow we officially go onto Chapter 2, which needs both quote and a picture. As arduous of a task as that can be, I’m actually looking forward to figuring it out.
Until then I bid you all adieu and may you be #blessed.