puss_nd_boots: (Subaru Antithesis)
[personal profile] puss_nd_boots
I am extremely late with this, I know - and this is usually my formal Year in Review Meme, but I decided this year not to do the formal meme and just kind of do a general roundup and reminiscence of my last year of writing. I made that decision because it hasn't exactly been a typical writing year. It might have started out that way, with the usual flood of Camera Eye stories (and the usual flood of new muses into the Camera Eye universe), but at the end of the year . . . something very unusual happened.
The something unusual was A Sort of Fairy Tale, which was a flat-out novel. In my year-end writer's meme last year, I was surprised that I'd written a novella. Little did I know at the time that there was a 69,542-word super-epic still to come. I certainly didn't think it was going to end up that big when I first developed the idea - which was based on the premise of taking The Bachelor - the bottom of the reality TV barrel, IMHO - and elevating it by making it about a prince's search for a mate. Things got really interesting when the prince suddenly developed a younger brother, and the two of them were both vying for my main character's heart. Well, really not vying - throughout most of the fic, Prince Toya and Subaru (my MC) were both blissfully aware of how deeply they were falling for each other. They figured they were just sharing a mutual interest and hanging out in sporting goods stores and izakaya. (The whole plotline about Subaru being a surfer and teaching his skills to Toya, by the way, was inspired by the fact that I go walking on the boardwalk a lot, and I'd always see surfers in the waves. It was actually interesting finding out about the history and mechanics of the sport through research).

The more I stared to write, though, the longer the story got. I figured every locale they went to needed some detailed description. Then the dates needed description. Then i wanted to develop Subaru's friendships with the other candidates a bit, because one thing I definitely wanted to avoid was the cattiness and sniping seen in The Bachelor. (And I had a surprise character show up among the group of friends - Ruiza of D. I've never even paid much attention to that band at all! But D needed to be represented because of their connections to both DIAURA and Gotcharocka, especially the latter.)

Pretty soon, I realized I couldn't post this thing as one fic. Or even one fic split into multiple parts. It had to be multi-chapter. Then I decided t just start posting chapters as I wrote them. The first was uploaded October 27, the last, December 14. Like I said - unlike anything I'd ever wrtten before.

Something else interesting about this story - up until now, my writing had been very heavily smut-oriented. This fic was all about the plot. In fact, there wasn't any smut until the very last chapter - and by the time I got there, I was wondering if the story really needed it. That particular aspect most definitely made it different from anything else I'd ever written - and in a way, it made me take a look at my own writing style in general. You may see more fics of mine with no NC-17 content going forward.

Other trends of the year:

Camera Eye: It's inevitable that Camera Eye will have an ever-expanding cast of characters, and this year was no exception. The most significant additions were Mahiro and Junji. When I first introduced them in this year's Trophy Boys, I had no intention of them turning the Subaru/Tomoya relationship into a foursome - they fooled around with each other, but let's face it - in Camera Eye, everyone fools around with everyone else. But pretty soon, my Mahiro muse started saying he wanted Subaru for keeps, and Junji started saying the same thing about Tomoya, and finally, they became an official foursome in an installment called Friendzoning. They've been a happy four-way ever since.

The other big addition was Codomo Dragon, particularly Hayato, who arrived in a big way with Japan's Got Talent. He is such an off-the-wall character that he's a lot of fun to write - he's a motormouth, he doesn't have very many conventional ideas and he can't make a love confession to his longtime friend Kana without spilling a drink all over him. He most definitely brought a much-needed spark of unpredicability with him!

More new muses arrived in Snow White and the Seven Porn Stars - the first time I've managed to do a Disney homage/spoof within an existing fic universe - in the forms of Fest Vainqueur and Gotcharocka. Two of those muses, however, found greener pastures in A Sort of Fairy Tale - Hiro of Fest was one of Subaru's friends and fellow Culling candidate, while Toya ended up as the leading man in that series. (Toya was sort of my obsessive-VK-crush-boy for the second half of the year. Seriously, he is absolutely darling - and his scenes with Jun in Gotcharocka's making-ofs are side-splittingly hilarious.)

The biggest surprise involving my existing muses? Koichi refusing to go through with an affair in the fic Change of Heart. Polyamory has been a huge theme throughout the series, with everyone getting together with everyone else willy-nilly - so imagine my shock when Koichi made every indication he was going to spend the night with meN-meN, and then backed out of it at the last minute and decided to stay with MiA instead. I'm actually glad it happened, though - it's more realistic than having every single character in the series being ready, willing and able to jump into bed with anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat. (Indeed, the actual adult film industry is like that - you have your people who are definitely sleeping with anyone and everyone and your people who are faithful to a lover when the cameras are turned off).

Other Fics: It seems that every year I have done a riff on a Disney film, and this one was no exception: Tale as Old as Time was my take on Beauty and the Beast, in which the Beast is a third-generation dictator of a small country rather than a literal beast. Believe it or not, the initial inspiration for the story came from probably the least romantic and sexy source possible: North Korea. I found myself wondering, during one of the country's bluster-fests over its nuclear weapons, whether Kim Jong Un is truly evil, or if he's evil becuse it's all he's ever known - he's a ruthless dictator because his father and grandfather were ruthless dictators. And somehow, that thought ended up grafted to Beauty and the Beast - mostly because, around the same time, the late and lamented Shoxx ran a "DIAURA vs. Mejibray" cover with Yo-ka in one of his usual dictator outfits and MiA in a princess dress.

The fic also feaured a nice bit of dovetailing between a scene in the original canon - the final confrontation between Gaston and the Beast - and the end of DIAURA's Blind Message PV, where the man in the gas mask corners Yo-ka with a gun. That image and the line "What's the matter, Beast? Too kind and gentle to fight back?" fit together like two stacked china plates. (My Gaston in that fic, by the way, has the names of both the Disney villain and the character that inspired him in Jean Cocteau's film La Belle et Le Bete - Avanant. He's also inspired as much by Donald Trump as Disney's Gaston - as witnessed by the "make our country great again" line when he's rallying people to kill the Beast.)

The other non-Camera Eye, non-Fairy Tale fic I did this year was Flames of Love, Flames of Hate, Flames of Sorrow, which was written for [livejournal.com profile] jrockyaoi 's music video contest. They asked everyone to write a fic based on a video they loved - and perversely, I did one based on a video that has always made me rather queasy, Kiryu's Aien Kien (the one involving Mahiro's head being sawed off slowly while he's still singing, a murder, multiple suicides and blood, blood, blood). I decided to take the approach that Mahiro in the fic is the reincarnation of the killer being executed in the video, and he's haunted by nightmares of his former self's crimes and death. A psychic allows him to literally speak to his previous incarnation face to face and find out the truth behild what happened. I wasn't entirely happy with the results of this fic - but it did earn one of my highest Kudos counts of the year (my highest for a non-GazettE, non-Mejibray fic), so I must have done something right!

So, overall? It was definitely a year of some new directions, and it might turn out to be a transitional one for me. And as for predicitons for the future? Really, the only thing one can predict is surprises, right? I will tell you one thing - you haven't seen the last of the Royal Family of Veekay. The Culling may be over, but they have more stories to tell. Here's to more writing in 2017!
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