These are the Editing Notes 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!
Dearest readers…I am woefully tired and drained. Social interaction does that to me, and I’ve been having far more of it than I can stand these past few days. Next weekend will not be much better as I have two Halloween parties to attend, arg…
I’m totally on board with you anti social interaction dalek, but I must blog; I must edit; and I must tell you about my latest dreams. The first one occurred two nights ago (I’m all wibley wobbly timey wimey up in here because the date says 10/12/14, but it’s really near the end of the month and that’s when I had the dreaming shenanigans. The date above it actually the date I originally wrote this (of course it’s more than a year in the future now), and it was something that should’ve had me crying my eyes out , but I was just kind of meh.
I was supposed to pick up my mother from work, and the way to go there was (and this is reality) this long stretch of tree covered road sort of like the Lincoln Parkway (if you live in or around Philly), but more shaded I guess? In the dream it was…darker? But not scarier, just darker in hue. Honestly, it reminded me of Moonside in Earthbound in more realistic rendering.
Now (and this part is important) my mother has been dead for nearly two decades, but this didn’t seem to faze me in the dream world. So I’m driving along this shadowy road in my black and silver Nissan Murano until I come to a wall/door. I get out of the car and walk through the door into high school, but not my high school even though I was not only accepted as a high schooler, but was also way better looking than I ever was in my true past’s reality. I still had the mission/goal in mind of picking up my mom from work, so I navigated the hallways until I got outside unfortunately sans car. I ended up on a long stretch of black road that I was jogging on for a little while (that again resembled the fore mentioned Moonside), and I remembered thinking or saying with determination, “I’m going to get or see my mother,” but it was more in the way Anna says “I’m going to see my sister” in Frozen and less in the way Sephiroth says, “I’m going to see my mother” in FFVII, which is pretty ironic when you think about it. By the way, by the way, you guys, that part of the game? Creepy as fuck. I can’t hear someone utter those words without hearing the music of evil in my head: drums, bells, and finally the drop where the organ music hits.
Eventually I decided to use modern technology and call her at work and I still remember the number to this day! I’m obviously not going to post it here, but I remember it #soproud I called and had a weird, random conversation with her old boss who may or may not still be alive, but when he (finally) went to put her on the phone I waited…and waited..and waited until I woke up. I guess this wasn’t one of those dreams where you talk to the dead, but then later the same day I took a nap (because naps are amazing) and had a dream that there was a gigantic hole in the ceiling right above my book case with cracks and whatnot leading to it. In the hole was only darkness as though there was no roof or sky beyond. My husband hadn’t called maintenance yet so I did. The phone rang until it didn’t, but then there was nothing. No one on the other side. This was the second dream to essentially end the same way, and I’m going to hazard a guess that maybe I feel like I can’t find anybody to talk to about what I really want? Although that’s not true, is it? I have you fine people, don’t I?
Hey it’s Narcissist current…this is very creepy because I was really feeling like this today almost to the point of nausea. I guess history does nothing but spiral and repeat
I really should show you a picture of my bookshelf. It’s pretty amazing.
Along with Doctor Whooves, a dalek, and an Elsa doll, I have three Sephiroth figurines (four now) of various size, a Cecil figurine paired with the smaller Sephiroth one, an Aeris figurine paired (of course) with the one Seph figurine, and the pièce de résistance is the top figurine of Sephiroth where he’s summoning meteor. Now THAT’S a story and a half to how I was finally able to obtain such finery. You wanna hear it? If you do keep reading. It’s an adventure I like to call…
200 Miles $300
I wish I hadn’t deleted the pictures of this epic journey from my phone for I would share them with all of you.
So one day I’m sitting at work and my friend and fellow fangirl (for Loki not Sephiroth. I’m one my lonesome there ;_;) (Not so much anymore :D) texts me something she and her boyfriend found at a store near them in north New Jersey with the question “Is this your guy?” It was a picture of this…
To say I lost my shit would be the understatement of the century. I flipped…the fuck…OUT. You have to understand; I’ve been looking for this figurine for years. I found it once on Amazon and it was around $450, and I almost bought it. I was so close, but then I realized I really didn’t have the money so I cried a river and resigned myself to be Sephiroth-less for all eternity (hallowed be his name). This…is not entirely true as I have the one figure that matches up with Aeris and the other mini figure that’s guarding my Tarot of the Sephiroth cards, because meta, but I required the tall, statuesque figurine of him summoning meteor, because I have aspirations in life, and some of those aspirations include destroying the world unless I get some goddamn ice cream. So when my BFF (well one of them) texted me this glory of glories, the machinations of possession were already moving in my mind. The figure was in a store near NY and it was only $300, which is unheard of. I considered calling the store to see if they would hold it for me, but I was advised against this by BFF and her BF. So…I took a leap of faith or rather a two hour car trip of faith. Yes, you heard me. I essentially drove all the way to New York for my Seph. I am dedicated and my efforts did not go unrewarded as you can see him proudly on the top of my bookshelf, which currently looks like this with even MORE fangirl treasures.
Yes, that is a banner to Despair. I bought it here and left a super stellar review.
Every time I look up at him I’m just so happy.
Future Narcissist again. I can’t believe I didn’t mention this. I actually bought two Sephiroth figurines because they were so (relatively) inexpensive. I sold the other one for around $600 on Amazon. You heard me correctly…I essentially got my Seph figurine for free (minus the cost of gas and tolls).
Editing? Editing. We’re still on Chapter 7. Gotta remember that because something just came together for Chapter 8, but we are NOT there yet, Narcissist. We are not there…
I love the picture I found. Love, love, love it. I can’t even explain how hard I love it. I love it THAT hard. In fact I’m going to post it again.
Future Narcissist here. Did I really making the cover a fucking meteor? A meteor for Chapter 7 for an FFVII fanfiction??!! Yeah…it took me this long to realize that. This is currently my background on my work computer. I have a rule that I can’t have the same background on different devices. It’s just a weird quirk; I don’t know why. My laptop has the same background as Chapter 25, and it has been since before I started writing Northern Lights. I told myself I’d keep it until I finished the story so I’d always have the end in sights in a way. I…really should change it because if I look at it for too long, I start to cry. The artist does a superb job capturing the poignancy of a moment that never happens, and it’s their skill in that act paired with that injustice and what tragedy it wrought that just brings the tears. While story characters are of course fictional, the feelings one has about them are real.
The background I have for my husband’s computer is the same picture for Chapter 4 so no need to post that here either #lazy, but my phone’s lock screen is this gorgeousness by Archaedia Studios whom I follow on Deviant Art, Tumblr, Instagram, and oh shit they have a Facebook, too?! *follows* AHHHH they have a Storenvy with this as a wallscroll *flails*
Alright…must wait until this Friday to pre-order.. Um., yeah so my home screen is the same as the cover for Northern Lights, the top picture used for the blurb macro used here.
So Sephiroth is casting meteor in that picture above, and I used a meteor (shooting star) as the cover picture for this chapter. That’s what I was trying to get to. I’m still dutifully plodding along with Paradise Lost, and my favorite ASOIAF theorists (whom I haven’t mentioned in a while!) James and his mom LaDonna put out a video not too long ago about the comet in Song. Unbeknownst to me it was mentioned in the video that there is a comet/meteor at the end of PL (!!!), but that’s honestly not awfully surprising considering the seven seals and seven signs of Revelation (more on my thought about that as it relates to VII here if you’re interested).
This is one of their shorter videos (40 minutes or so), but if you’re a Song fan I highly recommend you watch all of their stuff. One of the reasons I’ve stuck with Paradise Lost is definitely James and LaDonna. The main reason is I heard that one of God’s punishments for Satan is taking away one of his wings (…I shouldn’t even have to say why that’s of interest for me), but I want to verify it for myself, and the comet adds another reference used in VII; however, a close secondary reason is definitely Song.
James reads a poem in the Comet video and it reminds me of Majora’s Mask with the lovers who just accept that the world is ending, but at least they’ll be together. Apocalypse motifs run rampant today, don’t they?
“Aeris yawned and knuckled the sleep from her eyes as night air filled her lungs.” Love this image. Oh before I forget I found the perfect music for editing this chapter. The soundtrack to La Luna, the short before Pixar’s Brave. It’s on YouTube and it’s beyond beautiful (and it also just came on right now). So appropriate for a chapter where they look up at the stars, and it matches with that picture so well.
Whenever I see the shooting star background that I use for this chapter, the below song almost instantly pops into my head. I believe I mention and link this video in Chapter 7 itself to listen to while you read, but if you are so inclined and haven’t done so already , I would give it a try. I wrote and/or edited this chapter using it in hopes the melody would weave its beauty through the words.
“She lifted her head releasing the pillow to slip down the chair where she lay. It was a big, luxurious, red affair, more comfortable than most beds. Bemused but not frightened, the Cetra peered forward and out the window before her eyes.” I don’t know why the chair is red…I use red a lot in this chapter. Maybe for remembered blood? Maybe for growing passion? I don’t know, dear followers. I know far too many tropes and literary devices to be able to keep up with them all.
I did initially had Seph removing her coat while she slept, but that seems pretty…obtrusive, don’t you think? I was going to put it to my betas, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a total no-no.
Wow. Much correct. So editing.
“’I know it was coffee you wanted,’ Sephiroth told her, ‘but I figured tea would be more apt.'” I’m in love with the idea of tea. Always have been. Always will be. It’s probably because I’m an anglophile.
“She swallowed and set the teacup down looking up at her protector. It should be odd to think of him in that way, but somehow it’s really not.” Aeris thinks of him like this first. Sephiroth would never make that leap in thought process because he’s still stuck in the past. He might perform the task, but thinking of himself as a protector is far too generous. Because he can’t let go of what he did, he’s constantly surprised by her ability to do so and offer forgiveness.
“’’Where are we?’
‘The hotel in Kalm and the nicest of rooms. I thought you deserved that, little one.’ The breeze stirred the silver to stream past his face and he shook his head to tame it once more.
‘How?’ she spluttered suddenly cold, desperate now for her journey bag. Sephiroth saw and the pain on his face made the flower girl ashamed.” Implications obvious and understandable, and all of the questions Aeris asks in the afterward are perfectly logical. “How did you know I was awake?” “How are you paying for this?” All stuff I, too, would want to know. “’You went to the bank?’” This particular query is also partially due to him doing something so normal.
“’Yes, but people see what I want them to see when I want them to see it.’
’Except for me.’
’Except for you. You’re special, my little flower…’ He looked at her in shock as the words slipped past, the possessive and sweet in one breath.” This is the first time he’s referred to her with the possessive “my.” It shocks him that he would let this slip and shows the incongruence of how he’s been thinking about her as compared to what he believes is true i.e. Aeris can never be for him, but she isn’t horrified by it at, rather remarking on the sweet epithet.
“’You keep calling me that…’ Aeris breathed so softly only he’d be able to hear. ’It’s such a sweet name.’
’I’m only calling you what you are.’ If he looked at her now, the child would be frightened by what now churned in his eyes.” I was thinking of changing “child” to “maid,” but I think in this instance “child” would be appropriate. If he’s thinking of her as a child to be protected (which is a bit patronizing, I know argh…) he’ll theoretically be able quell his other thoughts. Okay…now that I’m writing this out I don’t like it. It…bothers me for some reason. I’m changing it back to maid.
“’…wouldn’t the accounts be frozen by now? How did you manage all that?’” Not gonna lie, guys, I was totally thinking of that episode of Futurama where Fry finds out he’s accrued all of this interest from the thousand years (A Fishful of Dollars).
I had to google it (the whole idea behind frozen accounts), and it seems unlikely an account would be around after a hundred years (let alone a thousand), but eh? Plausible deniability. You know if time travel becomes a thing, they’ll have to figure out a way to keep people from doing that because if everyone does the value of a dollar won’t mean anything.
“’Well, I…’ He picked up his teacup, but it was empty and the dregs were grim.
Aeris inhaled sharply. ’Sephiroth! Don’t tell me you used manipulation against those poor people there!’
Running long fingers through his silver locks, the former general stared over her head.
’…maybe a little.’” Super soldier is super awkward. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he doesn’t want to admit what he did. I do like Aeris’s reaction. She’s upset, but then realizes that it wasn’t really malicious, and this is a bit of “ends justify means” thinking. Seph totally uses manipulation to get what he wants, but because what he wants is really his anyway (instead of him just believing its his because he was mind fucked by an eldritch abomination but I digress), Aeris kind of lets it slide. though she does admonish him a little bit, which is absolutely adorable to picture, but then…his guilty reactions make the flower girl feel guilty, as well. This…could be considered a sort of manipulation, too, in being done for intentional malice…which it isn’t.
“’You’re right, little one,’ Sephiroth insisted. ’But I did so because you needed to rest, and I’d be less than the filth I am right now if I dared take more from you. Even asking you to pay would’ve been abominable. I bear some semblance of a man though a monster lives within.’
’You’re not a monster,’ she said right away.
’And you’re far too kind to me.’” I am a believer in intention. I know the road to hell is paved with good ones, but I think they matter. I think intention matters regardless if the end result is the same, though you still can’t discount impact, and if we consider that latter force here, it just strengthens the benevolence of his actions
In that vein, I leave you with this question. Is it better to do something bad for a good reason or something good for a bad reason?
Let me know what you think in the comments.