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GMJ Post-Script: About the story

RSanon Aug 23rd, 2014 1,633 Never
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  1. WARNING: This is pretty bloggy. If you want to know more about my plans and want to know more about GMJ, then you'll want to read this. If you're looking for another story or hate it when writers talk about their own stuff, you should probably just stop here.
  2.  
  3.  
  4. So ends Galen's journey, the great monster journey.
  5.  
  6. Whenever I finish something big, I like to sum it all up, write out some of the less-explicit things, explain some of my choices and the like. It helps me collect my thoughts, think about what went wrong and what went right, where I surprised myself and where I disappointed myself. So, if you are at all curious about any of the complexities of the world, of the story, or of my head, you might just enjoy this.
  7.  
  8.  
  9. **
  10.  
  11.  
  12. Before I really get into it, however, I'd like to answer one question I've gotten many times already:
  13.  
  14. What's next?
  15.  
  16. My intial reaction is, "I don't really know." I'll still be writing, of course, but exactly what I'll write is sort of up in the air. I do have one other longer story (though nowhere near the length of GMJ) I really should finish on Literotica. Yes, I do have an account there (rampantserenity - now you know what the R and the S stand for). I'm also leaning toward writing an actual ushi-oni story that goes beyond a one-shot. I like the idea of a ushi-oni close to the one described in her profile. I've already have my fun with the 'hand-holding' type, I'd kinda like to write the super-aggressive, fear-boner version.
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  18.  
  19. **
  20.  
  21.  
  22. Okay, now onto the meat of this. I haven't really interacted with my readers much at all, so I don't know what all everyone is thinking concerning the characters and events. This is both a good and bad thing: I can more accurately follow my intentions in the story, but if I'm way off base, I also don't know where or when I've gotten off track.
  23.  
  24. Also, please consider this: I believe author and reader have different roles when it comes to stories. What I am stating here are my intentions and what I kept in mind as I wrote. That doesn't make them absolute truths, and it's possible you could dig through the story and find spots where my writing conflicts with what I've said here. If you have an interpretation different then my own, and you have evidence to back it up, then please engage me about it! It's one of my favorite things about writing and a fantastic way for me to learn about my style.
  25.  
  26. I'll try breaking things down by character.
  27.  
  28. Galen:
  29. The ultra-simplified description of Galen I had in my head when I first started writing him was: Luka, but not quite so single-minded and ignorant by lack of information as opposed to indoctronation. In reference to that short description, I think I got pretty close to the mark (As far as whether I'm happy with that 'mark', I'll get to in a bit). He starts out very determined, cheery, quick to action, blunt, and confident in what he knew. The more he learned, the less confidence he had and the less you saw the cheery side of him.
  30.  
  31. As far as interactions with other characters went, he became a bit less trusting as time went on. Seira he was very open and blunt with and, conversely, she knew the most about him. Sybyll he met after encountering the lamia and Seira, so there was a bit more thinking involved with their first interaction. More questions, less hurry.
  32.  
  33. What I think is the most important thing to realize about Galen: he's not actually an idealist. When the story starts, he has many principles that align very closely with idealism, but because he isn't actually idealist, those principles bend and sway to become more aligned with reality. What I think Galen is INSTEAD of an idealist (at least, this is how I intended to write him) is someone who hates the idea of fate. He fightes with everything he has against the world when it tries to force him in one direction. He likes doing things his way to the point it cripples him.
  34.  
  35.  
  36. Seira:
  37. When the manticore profile came out, I loved it. Yes, that means this story started right around the time the manticore was introduced by KC. At this point, there was no 'thread headcanon' or anything like that about manticores, there was just the profile, so Seira is based mostly around that. In fact, Seira's character is meant to poke fun at the attitude toward manticores a bit.
  38.  
  39. There might be a difference in how I interpret the manticore profile and how others interpret it because I didn't follow the 'cruel' aspect very blatantly, and I don't think a manticore's supposed intelligence blends with a cruel disposition so well. If you're cruel to everyone you meet, you're not going to make it anywhere, and Seira wanted to become monster lord. There wasn't much room in her everyday actions for cruelty--though that doesn't mean she was without it! My intention was for Seira's malice to sort of sneak out at times, and while I don't think I did this as much as I wanted, I know of a few spots it did happen. Also, if you read the smut scenes, you know that she enjoys causing pain and fear just as much as pleasure.
  40.  
  41. I intended Seira's defining characteristic--her strength and weakness--to be her ambition. Her relentless determination both launched her toward her goal and scorched everything behind her. Had she not been with a certain character at the end, she may have become much worse than the monster lord she overthrew.
  42.  
  43. [Speaking of that monster lord... how bad was she, really?]
  44.  
  45.  
  46. Sybyll:
  47. In the very, very early stages of thinking up GMJ, my core idea was a magic sword which was inhabited by a lizardgirl who was bound to it and trained whoever picked up the sword to use it. Her character was always to be literal, somewhat monotone and a critical thinker. In GMJ, she ended up not doing too much as far as training went, but I decided I didn't want the story to be about the sword. It already sounds too much like your generic shonen (young guy, hot girl, magic sword, save the world) and I wanted to avoid those tropes as much as possible.
  48.  
  49. I think Sybyll was a character I fell in love with the more I wrote her. No, she's not my waifu or anything like that, I just really enjoyed writing her. There was always more to elaborate on, more to dig into and slowly uncover as the story went on. Her past I formed in a general sense early on, but getting the specifics done later on because fairly difficult. Just like Seira and Galen, I wanted her defining characteristic to be her great weakness. She became so obsessed with her duty, with who she was supposed to be, she started to lose who she was and the things that mattered.
  50.  
  51. As far as her past goes, this is an exerpt from my notes (a text document I dabbled in to keep my thoughts straight):
  52. "It's her greatest contradiction because she is a logical thinker, and logically her actions were correct and applaudable, but she feels as though accepting such a loss is cruel and wrong."
  53. More on this shortly.
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  55.  
  56. Mino:
  57. Ah, Mino. I added her to the story with a touch of hesitation and uncertainty because she wasn't as well thought-out as the other two characters. Galen was still sort of limping along as a character and I needed something to bring out what I wanted in him, so I thought someone like Mino would help. Also, I like slime girls.
  58.  
  59. At first, I wanted her to be a motherly figure--or, more precisely, a figure who thought of herself as motherly and knowledgeable, but actually short-sighted and full of ridiculous advice. In the end, I made her something of a brutally curious character. Unlike Galen, she wasn't really concerned with the world around her but to learn from it. She was still learning how to respect boundaries and beliefs and such.
  60.  
  61. Mino, as peppy as she was, became not so helpful in emotional moments, when the solution wasn't as simple as putting a smile on someone's face. She also tried to shy away from these situations a bit, as shown when she figures out how much Seira hates her guts.
  62.  
  63.  
  64. Galen's Father (Hoem):
  65. I needed a way to show the reader who Galen was and how he'd grown to the man he'd become. Hence, his father entered the story. His father was also a major motivation for Galen to start his journey. I wanted for Hoem to be much more stringent and accepting of the way of things than Galen. Galen's desire to fight fate came from how much his father accepted it.
  66.  
  67.  
  68. **
  69.  
  70. I ended up making a very rough map of the world of GMJ:
  71. http://imgur.com/8hGhDYP
  72. The dots are the major locations. Down at the bottom is where the journey starts. The larger island with the dot is Nox. Silere is the dot on the mainland a bit north and west of Nox. Further west is Fullsburg. The giant circle is the boundaries of the Scorched Lands. The coastal city east of Mallus is Poseidon's realm. North of that is Uuluth, and the dot just off the coast to the west of Uuluth is  the Scar of the World.
  73.  
  74. **
  75.  
  76.  
  77. Alright, so maybe some of you are into this stuff, maybe not, but I did include some symbolism, motifs and other things I thought would be cool.
  78.  
  79. The first, and probably my favorite, concerns Toneruth. All the 'the blade is on one side' comments are significant beyond stating the obvious. The blunt side of the blade is supposed to represent the third option, the willingness to sacrifice in order to find another way to fix a problem. Many people comment on how the blade is only on one side. Some say it in a demeaning manner, some don't mention it at all. At the end, Galen uses it as motivation to strike with Toneruth. You probably already figured it out, but that little flick of his wrist just before Toneruth connected with Medusuub was him turning the blade so the flat side hit.
  80.  
  81. Seira, Sybyll, and Mino are supposed to represent the three primary views in Galen's internal debates. Seira is the rash, "whatever is necessary" side (something like Galen's father), Sybyll is the extremely calculated, logical side, and Mino is Galen's more tender, childish side. You know how she shows up last? It's only around the time Galen is really starting to calm down and realize there's a LOT more to the world than he thought when she shows up because she didn't need a physical manifestation to be represented before. I think this ended up working out pretty well... but not as well as I wanted.
  82.  
  83. Remember this quote from my notes?
  84. "It's her greatest contradiction because she is a logical thinker, and logically her actions were correct and applaudable, but she feels as though accepting such a loss is cruel and wrong."
  85. Now, remember what Galen thought her greatest contradiction was? Yeah, he didn't hit the mark... but was he wrong? He saw things differently and had evidence to back it up. I see this as something of an ode to the reader/writer relationship.
  86.  
  87.  
  88. **
  89.  
  90.  
  91. Names. I like messing around with language and making names more meaningful then they might first seem. The majority of my names were just made up on the spot or taken from The Everchanging Book of Names, but some I put some thought in to.
  92.  
  93. Nox is latin for 'night' and 'ignorance'.
  94. Seira means nothing special, but Khertaleon is 'heart of lion' or Lionheart. 'Herta' is from the Germanic root of 'heart'. The K on the front is just to make it roll of the tongue more nicely. Or you can interpret it as a nod to the Proto-Indo-European root, 'kerd' which started with 'k'.
  95. Toneruth is a mixutre of Latin 'tonare' (to thunder) and 'eruth', from Germanic 'eruthos' meaning 'red'. I cut off the 'os' because language.
  96. Cea's true name, Sag-Sceaduwe, is taken from Old english Sceaduwe for 'shadow'. A shadow of Sybyll's past. Sag is in there because I thought it sounded cool with it.
  97. Silere is latin for 'quiet'.
  98. You may already know this from 12Beast (I sweat crabman stole it from me!) but it's from Latin (I think?) meaning 'small' or 'mini'. The minotaur's name in 12Beast is meant to be a joke.
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  100.  
  101. **
  102.  
  103.  
  104. Points of criticism:
  105. Safe to say, there are plenty of things that I either missed the mark on, or didn't implement how I wanted to, or failed outright. The one that stands out the most to me is Mino. She never got the development the other characters had and was practically invisible in many scenes. I found myself too often going, "How am I going to involve Mino in this?" Plus, I had the unfortunate error of having her tell her past to Sybyll... not Galen. This meant she could never discuss it with Galen since he never heard about it. Granted, I could've thrown in a weak explanation like 'oh she told him all about it this one time', but that would've been worse, I think.
  106.  
  107. Galen. I should've had a better idea of who he was when I started, because he's kinda whiny and annoying. Granted, some of that is necessary because he's young, and he's SUPPOSED to annoy you with his ignorant, squeaky-clean principles just like he annoyed Seira. I think I went and overdid it, though. He doesn't have a clear, directed development early on.
  108.  
  109. The story is too long. Way too long. I wanted something in the area of 120,000 words, but the finished product is 200,000. That's... pretty terrible. Now, keeping a word count target is FAR less important than telling the story properly, but still, 200,000 is simply not what I intended with this. I've been toying with the idea of editing it down to something more like 120k, which would probably involve removing Mino and the entire Fullsburg arc, but that wouldn't be enough and I'd have to repair the gaping hole removing those two things would leave. I'll think about it more.
  110.  
  111. I could go on and on about all the things I'm not happy with, but I'll stop it here at three. I'm already writing plenty in this post and I don't need to be yapping your eyes out.
  112.  
  113.  
  114. Points of satisfaction:
  115. I realized Galen was getting pretty annoying and not so relatable before getting too deep into the story, and I think I turned his character around well. His journey ended up being about learning what he really wanted instead of being about 'saving the world' with his 'superior ideals', which is right where things were headed.
  116.  
  117. Ahdria. I was in some serious trouble when her part in the story came up. I hadn't decided if I wanted her to join the group or not. There were plenty of cool things I had planned if she did join, but I was also thinking, "What does she add?" and "This is kinda turning into a harem." I made the right choice by keeping her out of the group, yet she still added a wealth of knowledge and emotion to the story which were necessary for context, and she did it in a way that made it so she didn't feel 'tacked on' or just an exposition dump. At least, I feel that way.
  118.  
  119. I mentioned this before, but I really liked how Sybyll turned out. She started out as a challenge, but ended up being one of the strong points of the story (at least, that's what I think). Her story was drawn out slowly and gradually as things progressed, she was likable, and her plight was something both the characters and the reader could understand.
  120.  
  121. Minor note here: I think Kraken and Posiedon are pretty fuckin' awesome. They don't have much in the story, so I can't say I succeeded or failed with them, but at least how they exist as characters in my head makes me happy. Part of the reason why I wrote the Posiedon sub-chapter.
  122.  
  123.  
  124. **
  125.  
  126.  
  127. That's about all I have to say about GMJ. It's got it's flaws, it's got it's strengths, but it's finished and I think I learned a lot from it. Might go back and do some heavy editing, might not. Can't say for sure. This whole thing is probably going up on Literotica too, at some point.
  128.  
  129. Please, please: if you liked the story, if you found anything in it or in this little rant interesting... talk about it! Ask me about it! If you think I'm stupid or clever for x, y, or z, confront me about it! I like talking about this stuff and I am almost always lurking.
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