Log in

No account? Create an account


I write for the ones without a voice.

Previous Entry share this Next Entry
The Scorpion's Empress notes
Title - The Scorpion's Empress
Pairing - Raj/Videl
Warnings - BDSM (mental/emotional/some physical), strong language, torture, [mild] blood and gore, explicit sex, power plays.
Rating - NC-17
Word Count - 60,900
Date Completed - October 10, 2015
Date Published - June 1, 2016
Summary -
After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled Empress of the city's oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city.

Amazon link - http://myBook.to/thescorpionsempress

This post contains spoilers for The Scorpion's Empress. I wrote these notes as I wrote the story. Ideally this is for my readers who have completed the story and would like to learn more about the behind the scenes efforts. If you have not read the book and do not want to be spoiled, don't click on the cut! If you have not read the book and want to get an opinion on if you should read it or not...this is not the way to go about it!

Click at your own risk.

1. the right of action (Spit It Out by IAMX // Animal Impulses by IAMX)
This chapter is shorter than I thought it would be. Considering I've been sitting on this story (or something like it) for two years, I figured the opening chapter would be longer. My biggest focus with this opener is seamless continuity. The threads and plots and characters are all deeply intertwined. Anything Raj does at this point will directly affect Videl or Luna in some way. This guarantees them plenty of reasons to interact and agree/disagree with one another. A little trivia: Videl's sword, the Mutsunokami, is a recurring sword in the Final Fantasy series. In the NA version of FFVII, this sword is instead called Yoshiyuki. The name basically means it's a protecting sword. It's also a way for me to reference my pen name without being obviously vain about it.

2. the right of assembly (Rival Churches by Drop Electric)
I don't know why I wrote this so slowly. Maybe I'm jaded. I think of these great scenes in my head. I write them, and the process doesn't do my imagination justice, at least not to me. Is the passion not translating into written word? I can't tell from my perspective. It bothers me that I can't. And so I require feedback. That's dangerous, because feedback is so subjective. So I improve, or at least attempt to, in order to get rid of this feeling of inadequacy. It's a vicious cycle.

3. black waltz (Humming by Portishead)
This chapter has been simmering for a few weeks now. I'm so glad I let it do that. Concepts are clearer. Story arcs have been fleshed out. Not once did I need to sit down and make an "outline" like normal writers probably do. I'll admit I wasn't sure how fast I wanted Raj and/or Videl to fall for the other. After nitpicking past stories, I feel like the initial tension in those takes too long to build. This is my response to that. I wanted their first meeting to be special.

I'm conscious of Videl appearing too perfect. I think plenty of people have idolized someone who's approached them and made them feel special. Raj does her best to remain realistic, in an emotional way. I'm tearing myself apart again--splitting my personality and placing it equally into the two leads. No one is perfect. I know I'm not. I want to show what I've learned lately: that it's possible to love someone with their imperfections, and still find them redeemable and beautiful.

4. nyctophobia (Mourning Air by Portishead)
I don't have much to say about the actual chapter. It speaks for itself. Something's taking over me. It sharpens my focus; helps me work at my very best. But this is a dangerous precipice to be on. Everything I want to pin down in writing has spilled from me. I know no one can see me here. I still feel exposed--to myself, to my work. I doubt anyone would be able to tell just from reading. If I made it apparent, I'd risk losing some integrity in the storytelling. This isn't a platform for my personal issues. This process only helps me work efficiently. There's always a price. Always...

5. are you afraid of the dark? (Overcome by Tricky)
The punny title is (mostly) from Final Fantasy XIV. It's the name of the achievements you get when you level dark knight up every ten levels. I wrote the majority of this with no song. Jay saved the day by linking me this one. It fits very well. I'm not a fan of drama in relationships. I don't think anyone is. It's a necessary evil, anyway. I was (too) aware that the drama couldn't really happen until the pair had some kind of moment. I had to write one on purpose, and so I played it up as much as I could. The genre is romance. I'm allowed to write things like this, right?

I really like Vespair.

6. venus gospel (Coming Down by The Weeknd // Warship My Wreck by Marilyn Manson)
This one was supposed to be longer...sort of. A few scenes were improvised and got away from me, taking up room. Those planned scenes have been moved to the next chapter. I think they'll be better from Raj's point of view anyway. The scene in the tavern and, surprisingly, the masturbation scene were the main ones I'd planned for. The others snuck up on me. There were a lot of little details to remember throughout. A lot of burdens swept off of my back once I decided to move those other scenes to the next chapter. Would've been way too much to remember.

I'm not normally into mainstream music, but this Weeknd track is hardly popular like that. A few songs off of this album have trip-hop elements. That's the only reason I stumbled onto his work. I think it's funny that hip-hop and r&b are finally embracing trip-hop like it's this new, innovative sound. Anyway, this song has a lot of meaning for me in real life. That same meaning doesn't come across in this chapter.

Here, it's more of a sensual, sexual thing with Videl embracing that part of herself again (or for the first time, depending on how you want to look at it). In real life, the high I get isn't from drugs, but from writing.. This feeling of elation is unique and incomparable. I'm addicted to it, and so I do my best to write regularly. I always want you when I'm coming down. I hint at this when Raj mentions it in the chapter. That scene really caught me off guard. I doubt anyone's complaining.

As for the rest...it's too personal for me to get into.

7. fealty (Undenied by Portishead)
This chapter title is the same name of a song in FFXIV. It's the one that plays in Coerthas Central Highlands (the harpischord one in the field, not the organ one at the camps). The actual song that I did listen to while writing is the best. It's my favorite love song. Beth's singing voice is perfect for a song like this. Her vulnerability paired with this hard trip-hop beat is heaven to me. This song and Dragonsong are the "themes" for this book, in my eyes.

Once again, I have had to move a critical scene to the next chapter. This whole thing has just been one stubborn child that did not want to cooperate with me. Certain scenes didn't fit in the order I wrote them in. I actually had the sex happen after the thing with the bandits. Having it before would have taken away from the momentum of the sex scene. I didn't plan for Nyte to be at Vassago this soon, either. That was definitely for later. I feel like I'm letting the plot stay in the background for the most part, like that's bad. Because this is a romance story, I have to keep reminding myself that it's okay for the plot to linger in the background for a while. Or is it a mistake to do that? I have no idea. As long as it's not detracting from anything for you, that's what matters. Let me be weird.

8. clemency (Coma II by Eicca Toppinen)
Took me ages to get this done. Most of the time, whenever I'd start writing it, I'd get sleepy right away and stop to take a nap. More and more cohesive details and ideas came to me through my rest and dreams. I can't complain over that, but really. I'm used to everything coming to me as more of a one-time thing. Not a broken stream of clues that I have to put together like a jigsaw puzzle. YET AGAIN I've had to delegate a planned scene to the next chapter. Ugh. Anyway, despite my complaints, I'm very happy with this chapter. It flows well and I made sure to show a lot. I seriously had to lay the foundation for Videl's little fetish. Nothing major. It will come into its own in the next chapter. Hopefully it won't take me too long.

9. short skirts and perverts (Santo Domingo by Drop Electric)
This was originally going to be something else that fit more with the title of the chapter. I decided to focus on Raj's angst and give a transient sense of time passing. Did she act too boldly? Were her actions too extreme? Vespair claims to be a vanquisher of corruption, yet she won't raise her blade against Eden's corrupt nobility. She has a bias against Raj after "losing" Videl to her... I will admit, by this point, I lost most of my emotional investment in the story. I had moved on to other things. The change in tone reflects this, but I did my best to keep things cohesive.

10. performance of a lifetime (Dragonsong from Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward)
There was supposed to be a play in this chapter, hence the title. But I feel it was more appropriate to go with the metaphor of Videl's decision to side with Raj in the end. I haven't actually written a final chapter in a while. Did this end well? I hope so.

Comments Disabled:

Comments have been disabled for this post.