Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Hyakki Yagyō Writing Report

I don’t think I told you, but I stopped the 500-word-a-day experiment back on June 30th (*makes post it note to write a post about it*) for the Japan trip. Over there I wrote a short one-shot, but nothing too spectacular. I spent most of my time doing geeky things, having a blast and visiting cool places.

Surprisingly, instead of making the whole yakuza gang in my head go nuts with new plotbunnies it sort of defined them further, without further advances in the stories but with a lot of character and scenery insight.

It did, however, reawaken an old plotbunny that I have been revisting at times, a story about a Japanese Mystic detective called Fujimoto Satoshi. Something with a aesthetics inherited from CLAMP’s onmyōji and paranormal manga (Tokyo Babylon [link], X [link], XXX Holic [link]). A good number of temple and shrine visits and Gackt’s [link] Moon Saga stage play [link].

Originally the story was called Youkai, in a very unoriginal twist. It was conceived as a tear-jerking argument for a dorama (Japanese TV series) with the sole intention of having a character tied up on-screen and mess up with his mind from that (with the help of some drugs and some serious mindfuck). I enjoyed the snippets I wrote for it, and eventually it went onto the “one day I would write this” list. However I was set back by the huge amount of research it would require.

Thus I had the plotbunny and I had the irk to write it, so when Denise [link] found the Wikipedia List of legendary creatures from Japan [link], I ran out of excuses. You can see some of the resources I used in the Research Post [link] and the list was a huge lifesaver, allowing me to check the ‘facts’ of the yōkai and other beings as I went along.

One of the parts I enjoyed the most was building the History of the OABu (The Onmyōdō Affairs Bureau) [link], mixing reality and fiction as it needed be XD.

The whole first draft was written in 24 days, with an average of about 2,000 words a day until I finished yesterday just short of 51,000 words. The structure is a bit different from my usual scheme – nine long chapters (with an average of 5550 words) and one short epilogue. Each chapter is an independent “case”, so what would be the main continuity storyline is in the background, and each chapter has its own independent focus.

Wordcount Ratio
Chapter 1: Komainu 5430 0.978
Chapter 2: Mizuko 5270 0.949
Chapter 3: Amanojaku 5519 0.994
Chapter 4: Kiyohime 5511 0.992
Chapter 5: Inugami 5854 1.054
Chapter 6: Onryō 5392 0.971
Chapter 7: Umibōzu 5815 1.047
Chapter 8: Nue 5150 0.928
Chapter 9: Jubokko 6025 1.085
Epilogue: Human 742 N/A

I tried to leave Satoshi, the main character and director of the OABu in a bit of a grey zone. He is generally a good guy, but sometimes he can be mean, judgemental or cruel. And then he feels remorseful about it. Well, that was the intention, I am not sure whether I managed. I think, however, that he is a bit out of my character norm, so I am happy about that.

There are two secondary characters, Kikuchi Hiroki, Satoshi’s sort-of apprentice, a blatant green horn, and Ko, a yōkai that was captured by the OABu long ago and who is used as weapon. Most of the remaining characters are chapter-specific, as the plot lines are not continuous.

I might feel to come back to this universe eventually, maybe to write an extra chapter (I still have the Yukionna on that list…) or to set something after the ending – like I did with Undeliverable, the unofficial sequel for Retriever (Another mental note… write about how Retriever became a verse).

That’s all for now, wondering whether to focus on editing or pulling something new out of the hat. We’ll see ^^

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3 responses to “Hyakki Yagyō Writing Report

  1. Denise August 21, 2012 at 14:44

    I am the grand enabler of quick research =D
    Now if that only worked for my own writing…