The Editing of Northern Lights – The Nature of Lying and the True End to Chapter 4’s Reedit

Note: This is the Editing Blog for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link).  I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process.  You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking.  The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention.  Thanks for your interest and enjoy!

<–Interconnectivity, a Shot of Darkness, and the True Final First Edit of Chapter 4     Chapter 5 Frustrations–>

9/22/14
I try not to be a liar though that is my job as stories are just prettier lies.  The lie of which I speak is the title of my prior post.  I did not finish the reedit of Chapter 4 there, to much sadness and woe.  There was a group I was interested in a while back (when I was looking for an agent) called The Liar’s Club, and it was dedicated to writers new and established helping the former find their place.  If you’re a storyteller you’re a liar, but you’re a truth teller, too.  There’s a paradox to that designation.  While stories are not truth per se, they hold the truth of the ages.

Truth and lies are a deep foundation in the original story of FFVII.  It is this dichotomy that is the scope of the tale, what is real/what isn’t, what’s the truth/what’s a lie.  In order for a lie to be told both the following conditions must be met.  One, the speaker has to know the words passing their lips are a falsehood, and two, they must have the intention to deceive.  Therefore a speaker who was told a falsehood, but is unaware of it e.g. “My mother is Jenova” or “Ned Stark is my father,” is technically not a liar, because they believe this is the truth.  The person who gave them the information is the prevaricator not they.

The intent to deceive is a trickier beast because language is 10% word and 90% inflection (my stats are probably wrong, but a great deal of understanding is garnered more from how something is said rather than what words are used).  So if I say in a sarcastic tone, “That’s a lovely dress,” this is not a lie because my intent is not to deceive you into thinking your frumpy attire is attractive, but rather to point out in a cutting, catty way my disdain for your fashion sense.  Again this is tricky because what if the person this barb is directed towards is unaware of the subtleties of sarcasm?  I attempted a Google search to find entire languages where this is the case, but my search yielded scant evidence only.  I know they exist, but I don’t now want to be meta and mislead you, my good readers, but the non-sarcastic recipient could accuse the acerbic speaker of falsehood if sarcasm mode is missed, and of course the speaker could insist they were obviously being sarcastic and of course they shouldn’t have worn that hideous garment to their interview.  What were they thinking? So a lie and the truth are not always black and white, leaving room for debate on the meaning behind the words and the often cruel accusation of how the recipient took them.  We have a billion words in a myriad languages, and yet the distance between understanding can be so great.

It is NOT a good sign when you have to fix the very first sentence of the chapter *sigh*  Aaaaaand I’m still on the first paragraph.  Thank God I do reedits.

“’Also, it’s…refreshing to do something that doesn’t involve blood or death.’”  Little does Sephiroth know…this is a bit of foreshadowing.

Debating his usage of the term “child.”  He doesn’t stop saying it completely despite her insistence.  It’s really hard for him to let things go, and obviously her death is one of the heaviest things on his conscience.  I think I’m going to try to leave him calling her that or when he’s referring to the past as that’s the place that causes him the most pain.

“His high leather collar edged his neck so she slid her arms around that.  Though there was heat there, she felt him stiffen, and the pulse strong beneath caught speed.”  They are both stunningly beautiful and attracted to each other.  (I don’t…well, I don’t write about ugly people.  That should be a challenge for me.  Write an ugly character *shudders*) (FN – Omg…look guys I’m not really this shallow.  I mean I haven’t written a story with ugly or plain looking main characters to date, but…okay maybe I am this shallow…)  Oh, it’s in the preliminary stages now and he would never admit it or say anything.  He’s the atoner, and he has no right to look at Aeris in that way.  Now of course he can’t help it, because you can’t help your feelings.  They just are what they are, and Seph is stoic enough to not do anything about them, and by “do anything” I mean even tell her.  We’ll definitely cover stuff like that potential implication later.  She’s only his to protect for this “brief” time between him taking her out of Midgar and finding her a safe place to dwell.

Side note: I really want to write a blurb of sorts using tropes, but I want to do that with my novel, too.  Newsflash, I always seem to write about dark/fallen angel atoners who protect ingenues, but I believe I’ve written the same story for so long because Northern Lights was what I needed to write.  The Serpent’s Tale, while a story I dearly love, is a shadow of this fanfiction even though it was rendered first.  Now, it is a shadow with substance, but it was written with Northern Lights seething beneath the foundation (which is the kingdom btw…)

So…on the atoner page the quote is from Milton’s Paradise Lost so I’m, er, lost in thinking about that again.

Your Pun Is BadYes, yes…but I most certainly need to get onto my reading of that since I can discuss Death of the Author vs Word of God and go into how right on the Paradise Lost page they talk about misaimed fandom, because that was most certainly NOT Milton’s intent to make Satan a sympathetic character, but it happened.  Sound familiar?  This of course makes authors/creators bang their heads against walls or roll around in their graves (if there’s a literal death of the author.  I must mention something I just discovered.

A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would not have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations.” –Umberto Eco

Oops.  I’m pretty sure I’m doing just that…right now.  Currently.  You are reading it.  I believe that an author should not be the only or highest authority on even his/her work, because authors are human and affected by all of the motifs that exist in the zeitgeist and public discourse.  It is possible for an author to use a paradigm without realizing where it originates.

(FN – hi me using ones from Paradise Lost knowing only basic knowledge of the story when I did, because PL is such a common and pervasive narrative in the zeitgeist.  It’s like using the monomyth.  It’s such a ubiquitous idea that one does not have to have read Joseph Cambell in order to utilize it nor does one even need to know the term “monomyth.”  So long as an author realizes that other interpretations can be introduced for their work, I think it’s safe and honestly healthy for them to offer one as a way to foster self-understanding and open up a discourse, but like anything presented, they must have support..  If someone else offers an alternative interpretation with better evidence, well the only thing the author/creator could do would be to change the canon to fit what he/she really meant to say.  If I make a character an asshole and there is very good and compelling evidence to support this in the story, I can’t just say “Well he’s not meant to be an asshole.”  This is akin to saying, “Well I didn’t mean to offend you,” when you clearly did offend.  In the former instance all the author can do to alleviate if the damning evidence is correct is to change what’s written.  This, dear friends, is a huge part of the editing process.)

Eco provided me with one of my favorite quote memes on this article I wrote about fanfiction stigma

Umberto Eco Quote

so I feel sort of bad for not heeding him in all things (FN here again, haha, not currently.  You don’t have to agree with everything someone says), but we must be able to think for ourselves and take what we want and leave the rest sometimes (see H P Lovecraft).

I truly believe this.   It’s where the foundation of my statement “everything is fanfiction” comes from.  Nothing is written in a vacuum, because there is a historical context for everything, because everything has an inspiration.  It could be argued that every story is merely a piece of a far greater narrative that we are probably being continuously told in the little pieces that we absorb.  This concept of course speaks to the Sephirotic Tree of Life (among other things like the fore mentioned monomyth), an idea I come back to again and again and again in cycles of meta I can barely keep up with.  I doubt we could understand the greater narrative without these small pieces, and who is to say that greater narrative isn’t itself merely a small piece of an even greater one on and on ad infinitum?  Midnight is far too late of an hour for these deep ponderings, so I shall move onto my little story, my little piece of the larger light.

“’If it’s reasonable I’m sure we can pay,’ he said, calm to the discord of snickers.”  Sephiroth has no gil on hand, soooo how does he suppose he’ll pay?  Did he know all along the blood dance would commence, and was he just playing with the mice like his kitty cat eyes proclaim?

Sephiroth's Cat EyesHe certainly would never ask Aeris to hand over any of her gil.

“‘It’s ‘’reasonable if you want to keep your life.  We’re many to your one.’ Sephiroth cast his gaze about, looking so bored he nearly yawned.”  The general is already bored by this exchange, and when cats grow bored, they tend to kill their prey.  He wants to “pay” the toll so they can go.  He’s thinking, “You’re not interesting.  You’re not a challenge.  You’re only a threat to my little charge.”

“…but his hands still were dirty fouled with the blood of the slain.”  Hopefully it’s known that this is metaphorical blood on his hands.  It’s the reason he put back on his gloves.  He didn’t want to get any blood on his hands, because while he doesn’t believe he deserves to touch Aeris, he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity because his hands are fouled.  It’s…a strange situation, because he hates himself for how much he enjoys physical contact with her, because he “knows” he’s not worthy of it, but he can’t help but enjoy it and enjoy the fact that she’s growing less fearful of him and making these motions to hold his hand.

“’Little flower…’ he whispered and Aeris looked up with a smile that lit all the slums.  Though the scratching still lingered as something low thrashed and they entered Sector 2.”  Not a huge cliffhanger.  More of a building up of the darkness.  What will they find in Sector 2?  I believe I asked this already in my last entry.

Tomorrow I start Chapter 5, and as mentioned prior I have neither quote nor picture.  We’ll discuss that more on the morrow when I begin.  I leave you dear readers with well wishes for this night and all nights there are to come.

<–Interconnectivity, a Shot of Darkness, and the True Final First Edit of Chapter 4     Chapter 5 Frustrations–>

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