Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

The Shikigami of Life: Back to the drawing board

When in November 2009 I finished The Shikigami of Life, I had absolutely zero clue what I had gotten myself into, and what was going to come from it. Maybe by April 2010 I was worrying by the sheer amount of characters popping up, and by that summer I knew I was doomed – Okonogi Kazuki had come into existence.

I had not expected under any circumstances to develop a series out of a not seed that was barely researched at all and built from movie and manga references, with just a tiny bit of Wikipedia reading. In summer 2012, almost a hundred of yakuza-related articles and a couple of books later, I tackled the task of rechecking the manuscript once again and go through an extensive editing (12 hours in a plane without much else to do helped the efficiency a lot, as I mentioned here [link]).

As I was editing, I became aware of more problems than I had thought in the beginning. Maybe not problems for a standalone, but as part of the series, The Shikigami of Life seriously lacks rounding. Characters that are key in later books are barely mentioned if they are lucky, and others plain did not even exist when the first version was finished. Furthermore, there is a POV problem – about one fourth of the book has a POV which is not Nao or Takuma’s; this presents a problem against the structure present in other books.

This was not too obvious on the part of the book that happens in Tokyo, except for one or two scenes, but is huge in the Osaka part. For now, thus, my strategy has been cutting out everything that is not Takuma and Nao’s bare story. Some scenes work for The Shikigami of Life changing the point of view, and others I am planning to rewrite completely. A few others will be rewritten and placed in The Shikigami of Blood.

For now I think I’ve pointed out every continuity error, and while a few have only been flagged and not corrected yet, and reworked most of the one-sentencers into coherent paragraphs, though a few stay. About… 1% of them, to be honest XD. I’ve also added a helload of verbs and reworked fragments into coherent sentences.

On the other hand, there are more than a few scenes to be added. At least two with Okonogi, one with Kyuuwa. I am not sure about how to add more references to the twins, but that should be in too. The introduction of Ima shall be moved from The Shikigami of Power into The Shikigami of Life, effectively adding a chapter and pushing the ending back. The epilogue will be completely changed and what is written integrated in The Shikigami of Blood eventually.

I think the result will be a significantly different book, even if the main story remains the same, and will fit in much better with the general universe – unfortunately, when the universe started growing the original timeline had to change for coherence’s sake, along with several planning errors (never mind the Korean In The Room [link]). Research has been and is being included – not an explanation but as background, or used to scratch a few impossible scenes out.

As you can see, I’ve been working out on a printed copy, and this has just been the first step: identifying the problems and fixing writing style. The next step is move this to the digital files and start solving the big continuity no-gos.

However, editing hurts my brain XD”. It really does, concentration is hard and I usually lack creative relief. Unfortunately, I need to focus on editing on non-writing periods, else I neglect the editing process in favour of the writing process. I am, nevertheless, satisfied with the work I’ve been doing on The Shikigami of Life and I will come back to working on it ‘soon’ in relative terms, probably this year after NaNo ^^

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6 responses to “The Shikigami of Life: Back to the drawing board

  1. Alexis August 25, 2012 at 14:16

    Wow, it is hard to imagine it has been that long already! I will always remember fondly reading about these boys for the first time! Good luck with the editing!

    Also, miss catching you around much! *many hugs*

    • Sakaki Delijah August 25, 2012 at 18:16

      Almost three years since you met them! But the main story will not change, just the background, to make it more consistent with Kazu, Riida and the rest of the bunch.

      *hugs* Missed catching you too D:!

  2. Denise August 25, 2012 at 16:45

    Wow that was a fast edit, despite the walls, ceilings and stairs. So what are you going to be doing before nano?