The Editing of Northern Lights – Chapter 6’s Beginning with Controversies and Rants to Behold

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!

<–Esoteric Etchings to Accompany Chapter 5’s Final Front     Six Short Edits and Chicken Scratch for Chapter 6–>

10/1/14
Chapter 6 – Urban Sprawl
Quote: “When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown.  Oh, who would inhabit this bleak world alone?” –Thomas Moore “The Last Rose of Summer”
Picture: Yes
Picture Source: No
Picture Satisfaction: Medium High

Another chapter title I so love…

Greetings and salutations gentle readers!  I hope all is going well with thee.  As currently, I have actually finished Chapter 6, but as mentioned before I’m a little behind with my blog updates, which is kind of funny to say as none of you will be seeing this for nigh on half a year.  I’m not putting these up until the story is fully posted, and since I plan on doing a chapter a week, and I’m only  a quarter of the way through editing, I’m looking at June before the tale is full told.

Future Narcissist.  No clue what the hell I was talking about above with being finished by June.  I suppose I thought I’d be done at a different time.  *shrug* Who knows?

I’ve been having a conundrum though because I’d like to get it to my betas sooner rather than later, but I suffer from massive self-doubt, and I’m currently terrified that the story is no good and that’s what I’m going to hear, and if I hear anything overly critical/derisive, I won’t be able to finish my edit.  It’s kind of a silly fear, but I’m a pessimist, and while I try to hope for the best, I always expect the worst.  Random note: the song the quote is from just came on my iPhone.  Will get into that momentarily.  Ah, what was I talking about?  Oh yes, my crippling self-doubt.  Yeah, well I decided I was going to finish the edit of the first part and then take the beta plunge.  That way I’ll be kind of removed from it enough to maybe be able to take the potentially harsh criticism that may not even occur.  This how you live your life when you’re a writer with tissue paper armor.

So I was talking about the title, “Urban Sprawl.”  I’m going to be honest with you all.  It is insanely hard for me not to throw more bad puns into this story.  I mean Northern Lights is a serious, sad, and often heartbreaking tale, and while some levity is certainly warranted, I need not go off the deep end.  I’ll try to mention some of the ones I really wanted to use when I get to the parts where I wanted to use them, but I thought “Urban Sprawl” was clever and fitting for a title since Midgar has one of the worst cases of it I’ve ever heard of.  This is way worse than strip malls, ya’ll.  They very earth is bleeding.

The OS throws quite a lot of environmental issues into the zeitgeist, essentially saying that not only are humans killing the planet and fucking themselves, but also that the planet is an autonomous super organism à la James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis, which purports that the earth is a self-regulating and complex system with checks and balances that essentially humanity is fucking up.

FFVII takes it one step further to say that the souls of everything on the Planet are actually its life blood, and by messing with this for power and greed, we’re signing our own death warrant, which is absolutely true in real life minus the whole souls things (not saying it isn’t true, but I’m going with what we can prove not religion/belief.  That is the one comforting thing about FFVII; at least you know what happens to you after you die…).  I looked at the OS as lending this environmental parable to the discourse, which of course most people miss.  Can I rant for a moment?  Fuck it; I’m going to rant.  Bear with me because it’s going to look like I’m changing subjects.

So the movie Titanic (which incidentally was also released in 1997 and was something else I initially had no interest in) is the epic romance disaster film (huh…never used those words together before) that you’ve heard of even if you abhor it, and you’ve probably at least seen clips of the scene where both Jack and Rose are in the ocean and Rose is on the door.  Well…like in video game/geek circles with Aeris and the missing Phoenix Down, supposed movie buffs are going on and on about Jack, Rose and the goddamn door.

Jack and Rose on the DoorThe argument is that both of them could’ve fit on it quite comfortably and Jack didn’t need to die and blah blah blah.  This is another situation where people miss the goddamn point.  Just like Phoenix Down and Aeris, a major point if not the entire point of the narrative would been lost had things gone that way.  Aeris needed to die for reasons I’ve discussed ad nauseum (purpose, power, Lifestream, dead mother, etc.), and Jack’s death was supposed to show that despite utter desolation, sorrow, loss, etc. memory and love can still prevail.  It’s another example of there being things that death can’t conquer.

FFVII makes these amazing points about environmental destruction for the sake of money, power, greed; bioethics, and social injustice among other things, but people are arguing about the use of Phoenix Down.  It irritates me to no end when we focus on minutiae and miss the major point that a story was driving for.  Also, jumping back to Titanic, Jack attempted to get onto the door, but it started to flip and almost dumped Rose into the ocean and he didn’t want to risk any harm coming to her. It doesn’t matter that they both could’ve fit on it.  What mattered is that he wasn’t willing to risk her to save himself, and that’s a far greater reason than the door dabblers could ever present.

Alright…I promised I’d talk about the quote so here is me talking about the quote.  I woke up one morning with Charlotte Church’s rendition “The Last Rose of Summer,” originally written by Thomas Moore.

It’s a beautiful poem/song, and the line that kept playing through my head was the quote you see above.  It just seemed so fitting for Aeris as she could be considered Midgar’s flower and her association with summer has already been well established.

Now for the picture.  *sigh* So I googled “Sephiroth and Aeris” in hopes it would come up and I could find the source.  One of those things happened: the picture did come up.  I clicked the link and it led me to…my own Pinterest page.  Pinception is real people!  So I have the problem of having this adorable picture…

Chapter 6 - Urban Sprawl…but no source.  Seriously, how sweet is this picture?  I’ve also had “Amazing Grace” stuck in my head for the past couple of days.

I blame Titanic for this as I believe it was one of the songs the quartet played, or maybe that was Nearer My God to Thee.

Yup enjoy those tears.  I know I am…you know you’re going to die, and you play the most beautiful and poignant song.  I just can’t…

I’ve been inundated with beautiful music lately.  My work playlist has consisted of this…

It’s 45 minutes long and worth every second, and also this…

It’s over two hours long, and when I found it my joys then outnumbered my sorrows.  You’ll hear more about that later.

I believe that’s a sufficient intro to this next installment.  So Aeris and Sephiroth leave the den of the Followers, make it out of Sector 2 only to find a hundred foot fence at the perimeter.

The Wall
The Wall

Not…quite that high, but still pretty insurmountable for a little flower maid.  I kind of recall seeing a fence in the OS, but the one in Northern Lights seems more interior so I hopefully won’t piss off the purists, though honestly, I’m probably the biggest FFVII fan out there and it’s a fanfiction so speculation is pretty mandatory unless you’re just rewriting the original story and even then there’s some interpretation wiggle room involved (a lot actually with this story tbh).

I’ve actually considered novelizing FFVII (I saw a series of tweets a while ago that someone had actually done it), and of course I’d put my own skew toward it (Sephiroth being implied to be a pawn of course because that’s what I think he is, and Cloud is a pawn of a pawn: meta-pawn), but now is not the time for that.  I did actually start novelizing FFVI when that was my main Final Fantasy obsession.  I wrote the beginning, wrote the scene where Celes is declared traitor, and wrote the start of the second half.  I’m sure I’d find the writing abysmal now because this was years ago, like over a decade.  It’s amazing how writing evolves.

At the time I probably thought it was quite good like my first FFVII fanfic “Forgiveness and Redemption,” which was about Aeris and Sephiroth (of course).  I even received gracious praise for that work, but rereading it, I want to cringe.  The paragraphs were pages and the run on sentences, people, the run on sentences!  I suppose because it was a fanfiction and I was able to string two words together and no one was being violated by a five foot dildo it was put on a pedestal.

Um, yeah, the fence.  Seph quite literally carries Aeris over it.  Then out of Midgar (at last) he again carries her across the wasteland.  She falls asleep in his arms much to the fallen angel’s shock.

Did I just do a summary without saying I was doing a summary?  Yeah I did.  So Aeris spends the majority of this chapter in Sephiroth’s arms, which I find super sweet and adorable.  It’s odd to them both, because by all rights the flower maid should be terrified to even be in his presence let alone in his clutch, but Aeris is a very “the moment is now” type of person, whereas Sephiroth dwells in the past.  The flower girl has assessed the situation and no longer sees him as a murderous threat, but he’s weighed down by guilt and obligations.  And I just thought of this amazing picture…it gives me what I can only describe as that feeling.

Come with us...
Come with us…

The true title of the piece is “The Future Is Now.”

It’s…inexplicable in simple terms.  I feel as though it’s someplace I’ve seen or something I’ve done before.  More than nostalgia closer to sehnsucht.  When I found that definition my heart skipped a beat.  I’ve had this feeling my entire life.  That strange sensation that there’s something beyond I can’t quite touch, but know enough to know it exists.  There are songs that do this to me, too, but this picture…I don’t know what it is.  It’s like they’re saying “Come with us.  Adventure beyond what you can ever imagine or dream awaits.  It doesn’t matter the danger or the inevitable demise, it’ll be worth it for what you’ll see.  Come with us…” And then there’s this picture entitled “The Nightmare Returns.” That feeling centers around his boots, but bleeds into the background.  Maybe it’s the blue light…

"Lost in darkness where are you now. In my darkness where are you now..."
“Lost in darkness where are you now. In my darkness where are you now…”

Don’t know why those song lyrics came to my head when looking at this picture, but those lines from the song “Paolo” (if you didn’t click the link) always put me in the mind of dark/fallen angels, and Mary Fah’s voice is nothing less than aetherial.

That’s as far as I got?  Really?  Huh, that was short.  I mean, it wasn’t short in terms of how much I wrote, but it was short in terms of how much I edited.  Well until next time good readers.  Do I have anything to leave you with?  Ah yes, an argument I had with my friend now also co-worker Andrew about whether or not Suzanne Collins, the celebrated author of The Hunger Games, stole the idea from Battle Royale, which is being purported in geek circles.  I start with controversy and I end with controversy.  I have very strong opinions on this matter, but I’ll leave some time for you (if there are any of “you” out there) to quibble before I post my next blog post with my take on it.

Narcissist of the Future again.  Um…so it appears I didn’t do any editing in this entry.  I see no quoted lines; I don’t really discuss specific aspects of the story.  What the hell was I doing in this entry?  I was having fun espousing on music and art.  There are you no.  No examination of those two institutions will ever be considered useless.

Light and #blessings, “Deo, non fortuna,” and I’ll explain that one for you later.

<–Esoteric Etchings to Accompany Chapter 5’s Final Front     Six Short Edits and Chicken Scratch for Chapter 6–>

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