raegan_1: (my prince will come)
[personal profile] raegan_1
This will probably be a short addition to the journal, but after posting the Guy/Kakashi story last night and reading replies today, I found myself wanting to infodump on the rewiers. Better to do it here, where people might skip over it. *This post contains spoilers for the Naruto manga, circa chapter 420-450*.

If you haven't read the story, it's here: Talk of Life After (Guy/Kakashi, PG-13)

So, without further ado:
Beginning, middle, and end...
I started this story with a line stuck in my head. I had just read about Kakashi's 'death' on a journal, and I wasn't at that point in the manga, but I caught myself up. And then there was the scene with Kakashi and his dad and NOTHING for the longest time. I'm kind of grateful to that nothing, though, because at the time that I posted the story, it hadn't been made an extreme AU yet.

The line was, "I talked to my father. [...] It was strange. All my stories were about you or the kids." It's a central bit of information to the overall story, though when Kakashi first says the line, Guy just takes it as proof that his friend is still on a drug-induced trip.

In the early drafts of this story, I kept hitting the same writing wall. When Kakashi returns to the conversation he had with his father, he tells Guy about regret. Originally, I wanted very much for him to be able to say, "I didn't regret you." I wanted him to have been proud of their friendship for all of those years, but when I kept trying to make that happen, I couldn't get past it. The wall loomed continuously, uncowed and unbroken by the repeated smashings of my head against it. I talked it out, tried to explain it to my friends, and during the second or third such conversation, realized why I was having such a hard time. I was doing it wrong.

So I went back and started versionSomething and I changed the line to, "I regret you." And then I had to figure out why he had that regret. He doesn't spell it all out, but I think fans will know enough of Kakashi that they might see what I was thinking. I don't and didn't want it to be explicit, because goodness knows Kakashi would never spell it all out. After figuring that out and finally scaling the wall, the rest of the story came easier. I mixed in bits and pieces of the older versions, such as all actions involving the card game and part of the blocking of the kissing bit of the scene. Then I looked at what I had and... wasn't done.

Writing in Tsunade made sense. I had used her in the beginning, though I'd done it without showing her. Guy throughout the whole story wasn't very Guy-ish, buth when he was with Kakashi, that's easily reasoned by excusing it as him being what Kakashi needs... and perhaps being too tired himself to expend that much effort when it's not needed. But that's a personal writing choice and others are allowed to disagree.

The ending after that pretty much wrote itself. I was worried for quite a while that it was too fluffy, so I set the story aside and let it be for over a month. When I came back to it yesterday and read it, I made a few edits (missed words, word choices, and the like) and when I was done, I still felt very pleased with the tone of it, the feel of it as a whole and the ending in particular (because it still weighed on my mind.) I felt good posting it.

And so far, the reviews have been positive, so my esteem about this particular fic is pretty high.

Writing Style, Technique, and the Changes they Induce.
While writing this story, I was taking a writing class on Creative Writing: Fiction. Short fiction, to be exact. The longest story I wrote for it was some 8k words, the shortest started at 500 and ended up somewhere around 700. There are things I disagreed with about the class (it's a class, by some unwritten rule of the universe, there has to be something I don't like.) but overall, I learned a lot. And I think it helped make "Talk of Life After" into a much better story than it would have been.

Probably the most obvious change comes from the middle scene, where Kakashi is climbing into Guy's tent. Originally, that was a paragraph of telling, just a block of exposition that set up the scene with the two of them in the tent. In the writing class, we talked a lot about scenes (showing) and summaries (telling) and on one of the later revisions of this story (back around March) I realized that this story had the format of Scene / Summary / Scene and there was NO reason for that. So I rewrote the middle section. And it does add to the story. We learn the same amount of information, and there is a summary chunk right before it, but now it sets up part of the next scene. There's a repetition in the story of "Kakashi was waiting for... something." They're far enough apart to possibly be missed.

And this change allowed me to set up a piece of Guy's personality and his interactions with Kakashi that comes up later. Kakashi invades his tent and his bed. Guy doesn't fight with him, doesn't argue, he just makes space. It's the only option left to himself that he finds worth taking, and so he does. In my mind this goes to the change about to occur (the move from friends to lovers) and circles back to the early years of their acquaintance. In my head, Guy is in love with Kakashi and has been. He's always there to carry him (well, almost always) and he does it gladly. I'm very happy with that being due to their being the greatest BFF's ever, but in my head, for this story? It's love of a less familial sort.

Closing Comments
I really like this story. I've been writing for years, and there are stories from the 'early days' of fanficcing that I don't want to acknowledge. There are more recent stories, or 'middle years' stories that are rougly as bad. Even with experience and time and effort, I still churn out things I'd rather not know exist, but this story isn't one of them. Of the... tons of things I've posted fanfiction wise, this is probably in my top ten list... which totally sounds like a fun thing to create.

A sequel was mentioned, and this, my final thought for now, is what my writing brain is telling me: It won't happen. It probably CAN'T. There are some stories for which the tone is singular. During the writing, I am in that moment and the voice in my head is distinct, and when the story is done the voice is gone. This is one such story.

In years past, I have attempted to recapture voices for other stories; I've never succeeded. Perhaps I will change the bait I use, or the trap itself, but for now, I'm content to let this piece sit alone. I said what I wanted to say, I managed to fit in more than I originally hoped or planned, and I am pleased with the outcome. I hope the readers are as well.

on 2009-06-08 06:50 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_redux/
Thank you, it's always interesting to hear what others have learned during the writing process. That way I can learn with them. :)
I don't think Gai was OOC in any way. Being a big Gai fan, I've read quite a few interpretations of his character (even though I'm quite the n00b to the fandom) and I've seen many people claim that he's hard to write, but that may be because they get hung up in his exuberant, hyperactive side. He has layers, he's calm when the situation calls for it and this situation certainly does. Gai gives the writers leeway IMO - it's Kakashi and his inner conflicts that makes the pairing difficult to write. ;)
One thing I liked about your fic was that you took your time to get them where you wanted them, it doesn't feel rushed, and the way Gai *makes space* speaks volumes. There's a lot of backstory hinted at by this action alone.

Friended you BTW, hope you don't mind.

on 2009-06-09 05:47 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] raegan-1.livejournal.com
In reverse order: I friended you back. I'm an infrequent poster, though, so be warned.

Kakashi and Guy have been friends for a long time, or at least "rivals", but we don't really see enough of it in canon. Which leaves it opens for us writers/readers/fans to create it ourselves. I'm quite happy with this.

If I had to point at an inspiration for my sense of Guy in this story, it would have to be [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw and her story Break in the Routine (http://maldoror-gw.livejournal.com/31344.html). I don't think our interpretations are exactly the same, but I was thinking about voice and tone, and since BitR is the story that got me into GaiKaka, it's very likely the strongest influence in my writing of it.

I think the OnWriting thing may make appearances when I write and post. I always have so much I want to say in response to comments on my stories, but I tend to want to share for more than what most comments ask for. This is my compromise with myself. If you find it useful, that is awesome, and I always welcome feedback on anything (and everything) I post.

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