Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Tag Archives: The Last Yokai War of Edo

My board and a (quite late) mid-year update

There are a bunch of things on the board in front of my writing station, behind my computer screen. Some postcards, seals, visiting cards and the so-called Japan kit, which includes member and discount cards for several places in Tokyo, along with my passport and the commuter’s pass. There is my organ donor card, and the postcard I wrote to myself from Tokyo Tower.

There are also some notes to myself, my screen resolution for making walpapers, a fosilissed shark tooth, and a silly pictures with friends at a concert line. And things related to writing.

There is a rusty Welsh pound that I found on a dry streambed in Tokyo, and I’m waiting for it to tell me its story (not its history, which was probably a random British person throwing a coin into a body of water for luck, which they do sometimes). But there is a story there, and sometimes I look at the coin and wonder. It will come.

There is a Tengu ex machina note, just because. The term ocurred to me while working through The Last Yōkai War of Edo. It’s like the Deus ex machina, but… with tengu. I went back and corrected the whole thing, but I left the note, as a reminder.

There is also a reference to Setsubun, a Japanese festival for luck. It conjures luck and chases the oni away. But I don’t mind the oni. As a matter of fact, I like writing yōkai, so my note reads は外!も内、 福は内! Oni wa soto mo uchi! Fuku wa uchi! It means, let the oni in too, not only the good luck.

Finally there is a small note, right in my line of sight, that reminds me that in 2016 I have to focus on writing Shourai, the Hyakki Yagyō verse and the Shikigami verse. There is a tick mark next to the Hyakki Yagyō line. That is because I have worked a lot on that this year. The original idea was only writing these three verses, along with the blog articles and finishing Atlantis in January for the climate fiction contest (Atlantis did not get anywhere in there though, unfortunately). The note has little laughing signs around as I deviated from this plan…

A little over a fourth of what I’ve written this year till now has been Hyakki Yagyō. Not only the main work I had to do, also a few short stories that will need some revision to fit in to the main timeline. That makes about 66,700 words on this verse.

Shourai has taken almost 33,000 words, which does not feel that much, but it almost 13% of the written material this year and 10.5% of the written total. I’m nearly done with the arc, I’ve decided. I’ve chosen an ending point, and now I have to backtrack and fill in the gaps (and actually write the last chapter), break down chapters and so on. there is a lot of green in the planning now. But editing this is going to require a lot of effort. I’m kind of toying with the idea of finishing all the writing before the year is over… but we’ll get to how I can’t keep to decisions later…

There are around 24,000 new words on the final Shikigami book. All the main points are planned and addressed, but the small, driving story is what I’m lacking. Although the character is important and I like him bunches, it is difficult to factor his POV in to have him drive the story. I need around 25,000 words more on this book, and again, it’s difficult to juggle how, even if I do want this finished this year.

So this is what I was supposed to write this year, fiction wise. Blogging and articles are factored in, as I need to improve non-fiction writing skills. All in all, there is 61% of planned writing actually being done. The problem thus lies on the 39% that I was not supposed to have been writing, mainly Body and Soul, weird urban fantasy, The Studio, which tried to be a gothic ghost story, and One shot kill, a retake on the story my writer from Untitled was working on. These and a couple of short stories almost account for 100,000 words! And there is still NaNoWriMo to come, which probably will be something completely random decided on a whim in October anyway… At the moment I’m pushing to lock down One shot kill after it got slumped for two months and hope to be done within the month.

That’s it, I’m officially declaring 2017 an editing and rewriting year. I should have done it this year, but then on a whim I decided to go for 366,000 words in total I’m on track for that goal, too – generally with new material, except for the revision of The Last Yōkai War of Edo, which was quite a rewrite of most of it anyway.

Have some pretty graphs to look at:


aug162016_stats (1)

P.S.: I’ve taken down the Archives page, because I was not keeping up with it anyway. You may now search using tags and / or categories and I’ll make sure to keep a good tag system current.


The Last Yōkai War of Edo – Final First Draft

Back in 2014 I gave in to the plotbunnies and started working on the wrapping of the Hyakki Yagyō universe, or what at that moment I thought it would be – the Last Yōkai War of Edo. Apparently, it is one of those things that runs out of control. At that point, the story added up to roughly 40,000 words. Looking at it, it was clear how I had barely written the skeleton of a story – character development was next to inexistent, the main character just switched from trainee to well-trained in a chapter, without any real progression. The antagonist / villain was bad just because and had no motivation whatsoever. I knew that such a thing needed to be worked on, and the story told in a coherent way.

I’ve been doing so for a few months now. And thus the 40,000 have turned into 100,000. Around 10,000 of those had been written in snippets throughout a year or so, things that I wanted in but I had not really woven in.

So I put all them in a file and started working. The first thing was finding a good timeline, one that worked according to the development of the main character’s power and reactions. Then I had to work through the story to get from A to B, to C and then towards the end as I had first imagined it.

I had really not thought that I would be doing so many changes. About 20,000 words were completely retold – not an edit, a complete rewrite of the same events. On top of that, about 10,000 words of the finale were scratched out and re-done. As in the finale now has the same players but the events unfold in a completely different way. It was strange, reworking some parts like that.

All in all, the first go gave me a story skeleton, and this second run a first draft that more or less makes sense. Now I will let it rest for a while before I tackle an actual edit – and not a re-writing!

As I like working with track changes, I can show you how most of the document looked towards the end of edit. I’m shaking just thinking about how it might end up as… So yes, I have a “final first draft”, a complete story that now requires polishing!


Tackling the “Edo” edit

Well, here we are again. I’ve been putting off a few things lately, and blogging about writing has been one of them. Shame on me, yes, I know. Editing has been another of those things. I have been working on the short one-shots in the Hyakki Yagyō universe because I was too afraid of working on Edo. Afraid, lazy, unmotivated, call it as you wish.

But editing the whole universe is this year goal, and it is not going to fulfil itself. Thus, I set myself to the task.

The first problem with Edo was deciding on the name. The last Edo yōkai war was the one I had at first thought, but I have decided to go with The Last Yōkai War of Edo, which I started using halfway through the first draft writing.

The second problem was the almost 10,000 words written outside the draft, which had to find a way in the complete story. I think those are placed by now – even if not waved in. Along those there are random notes like “living mummy”, “more Tomori” and “explain this character”, “Tsukioka??”.

And the final problem is that I intended a short wrap-up story, and ended up with a 40,000 words draft with quite a few plotholes and contradictions with the main story. Oh boy. So I pushed it back because it was a lot of work, but as I said before it has to be done.. remember when I spoke of universe weaving and that it was fun? Let’s all forget about that (in case you had not. I kind of had).

Oh well, let’s see how this pans out, I am not too sure myself.

The Last Yokai War of Edo: Writing Report

The Last Yokai War of Edo takes in the Hyakki Yagyō universe, twenty years after the first story, and three or four after The Yuki Onna’s Claim. It is not really ‘futuristic’, but I think that was the last thing I was aiming for, I was trying to focus on the emotions and the interpersonal interactions (well, human-yōkai-spirit ones at the very least).

The OABu is still running, and it has changed its policies to some extend. Some of the characters from both the previous stories show up, but the main focus is on Minamoto Shun, the OABu’s most recent incorporation. The kicker is that Shun is not a Shinto onmyōji, he’s a Christian with some powers that he can’t control, and who has… different values.
Shun is about to learn that his powers brush the unimaginable, and that everything he has lived is pointing him to the choice he has to make. When he meets the creature that dwells in Shibakoen, his perception of good, evil and yōkai switches, and he makes a decision. He is willing to tamper with ancient magic and forgotten spells in order to meet his goal, which might not be a totally sane one.

Cryptic? Yeah, I know. But the problem is that it is very hard to talk about Edo without spoiling anything previous. All in all, this story clocks in at roughly 40,000 words, which sets the universe in the 110,000-range after adding the two chapters to the original story.

The story flowed really well since the moment I realised where I was going with it, and it has made me feel like writing Abe no Seimei’s diary, which in-verse is referred to as ‘The Lost Book of Abe no Seimei’, and thus telling all his story but a) research and b) first person deter me…

All in all I had fun being back to this verse, but I fear I have a lot of editing to come in the future if I want it to make sense and not to find myself with too many Koreans in the bedroom.