And so the (technically) last chapter of the Between the Conclaves series has come to an end. Next week the epilogue begins, heralding the end of the series. Today, though, we’ll have another look at the author’s notes I wrote for it, nearly ten years ago. Longer and more in-depth than the previous ones, this one was especially fun and interesting to read back as it gives a really good glimpse into my writing mind and process at the time. Now, since it is longer than usual, I won’t hold you any longer and let you get to reading. Please enjoy! ^_^
11-02-2008, 11:13 AM
What? Dead? Who said anything about them being dead? I don’t recall myself saying they were dead? Did I say they were dead? Bultar? Yeah, she’s dead. Dead as, something that is no longer alive. But the others? Nah! Perhaps you should read through the previous author’s notes again. I never said anything of them having died. Tsk, seriously… ^_~
Yup, it does look like Vhiran and Shamila are still alive and kicking. Some might be somewhat disappointed by this. Considering the end to the confrontation on Kessel, the sudden and dramatic death of the three protagonists, one might think the survival of two a bit of an anticlimax for the last chapter of the series. It is how it should be though. This is how I planned things out. Although some things may go a bit (or a lot) different when actually written down, the story itself has been planned out from when I first started thinking it up. Everything that happens happens for a reason, and that is that. You may like it or not. But, unless you were one of the select few (that being Nill and myself), you’re not honestly going to tell me you were expecting the other twist ‘Coruscant’ brought! Our heroes joining the Galactic Empire, their mortal enemy?! Come on! Who’d think a noble and sympathetic Jedi Master like Vhiran would join the ranks of one the biggest forces of evil in all of Star Wars (that didn’t turn out to be as evil as we thought! or did it? dun dun dun!)?! And then a sweet and innocent young Padawan following him?! Who’d think that’d happen after all they’ve been through? I didn’t! Wait… I did… But I bet you didn’t! Hah!
Yeah, it’s all planned out. Nothing in my stories, at least the ‘Between the Conclaves’ series, happens without reason. That doesn’t mean, as I said earlier, some things can’t change while realising the story itself. And boy did things change in this one, like, completely!
First of all, it was meant to be an interlude to a follow-up story for ‘Order 66’ (currently being written by Nill and me), before I had begun with Between the Conclaves. As I began the series, mainly as a bridge between ‘Order 66’ and its follow-up, I thought it would serve its purpose better in this series. Originally Shamila was to be found be Vader (a scene that was to be in ‘Kessel’, but was cut out altogether later on) and taken to Coruscant. She’d wake up in Palpatine’s office where she’d encounter Palpatine. She was frightened, but then he’d suddenly show remorse for his actions and then he’d try to convince her join the Empire. Then Vhiran would come along, having already joined the Empire, and explain everything to her, about how the Empire isn’t really that bad and convince her to join. Shamila’s decision would not be seen, but should have been pretty obvious at the end of the part. That’s the original ‘Coruscant’ in a nutshell, and as you can see: it didn’t make it to the final cut, though I still have the “draft script”. One of the first thoughts when I began on this part: What the heck would a ten-year old comatose girl be doing in an office chair?! It was rather odd, so I changed that to the more believable medbay. Also, Vhiran was to be the better a better welcome committee than Palpatine so he got the part, and the Emperor was eventually left out completely. *dodges Force lightning and continues typing in a safely hidden spot*
The nightmare sequence. Another thing that wasn’t at all in the original idea for ‘Coruscant’. Mainly it was meant to show Shamila’s feeling of powerlessness in the Kessel attack and the guilt about not being able to protect anyone. Personally I find this the better part of this chapter, and I enjoyed writing it the most. Probably has something to do with it being such a bizarre and freaky scene (I like those ^^). It’s a bit like when Nillanthir’s body spontaneously started levitating and combusted in the nightmare in ‘Dantooine: Reflections’, only creepier. It just smacks you in the face, leaving you with a “WTF?!” feeling (I hope ^^), and, if I’ve done the job as well as I hope I did, also with at least a slight gulp or chill. My fondness for dream/vision sequences also plays a role. And if you have a bit of knowledge on Japanese horror movies, the second part of the nightmare should have something familiar about it. I’ve taken some of the creepiest part from probably one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, ‘Ju-On – The Grudge’ (the Japanese original, not the American remake), and derived them to fit in here. How did I do?
Raeynil Ashgnar, the enigmatic hooded Inquisitor, was not supposed to make an appearance in this series at all! But as with many things while writing ‘Coruscant’, at one point I just decided to use this character. Raeynil is more than a MacGuffin (character that is only there to get the plot along but does not play any significant part other than that) though, and will be playing an important part in the future.
And wow, seven pages! I thought this’d be about five pages or bordering six max! (Raeynil: You thought wrong…) No, definitely not expected this to be the longest part in the series! Sometimes I surprise even myself!
Now, there’s a particular little thing I wanted to talk about, namely naming (pun intended) my characters. I used to create most character names with either an online name generator (Vhiran’s an example of that) or just out of the blue. More lately I like to give meanings to the names I give my character, some deeper than others. Mumei was the first nameless in this part who received such a “name with a meaning”. It would be odd to have Raeynil speak of “Commander Aoshi and, uhm, that nameless Nar Shaddaa officer guy”. He had to have a name. Then it hit me! The guy’s nameless, so why not go with that? Zhang Yimou did it in “Hero”, right? So I took an online English-Japanese dictionary and looked up ‘nameless’. Result: Mumei! Mumei it was!
Raeynil Ashgnar’s name is a combination of the names of two minor characters in a story I had began writing on long before I even knew the people of the Earth Jedi Order, with whom I wrote ‘Order 66’; Raeynil and Ashgnar. I liked the names when I created the Inquisitor and decided to go for it. Only while writing ‘Coruscant’ did I see they can in fact have a meaning behind it. Raeynil and Ashgnar were a female and a male character respectively, and since even the Inquisitor’s sex is unknown, a name combining a female and a male name would be fitting. That’s how I see it anyway.
I am also very fond of puns and anagrams so I use them often to name characters (and also locations, ships, organisations, etc.). Finoru Asafia and Sinoa Huu-Fao (‘Kamino’) are anagrams of my own name and my sister’s name respectively. Nalar Namkic, the name of the senior officer from ‘Kessel’ is an anagram too. The author’s notes on that story give a hint on what it is a play, though by telling that it should be clear by now. And Vadi Cin, Tha’ci’s old Padawan from ‘Kamino’? Anagram! Think of a brilliant thinker whose ideas were often far ahead of his time and you’ll find out where her name comes from.
Then there are characters that are based on existing people or characters and their names are a play on the original names. Tha’ci is the best example. She was based on my favourite character from the Soul Calibur game series, the kunoichi and demon hunter Taki.
Lastly, some of the characters have just been assigned names that happened to fit them but don’t have any particular meaning. Shu Yi from ‘Kamino’ is one of them. I came up with her name after viewing some other Kaminoan names. It didn’t have any meaning (that I know of), but, it sounded Kaminoan to me and I liked the sound of it, so I stuck with it. And that, as they say, is that.
Thus concludes chapter 7, the last chapter of ‘Between the Conclaves’ (yes, I know it’s now technically beyond the conclaves. Shut up! :P). But that doesn’t mean the series is over yet. An epilogue will be written to conclude of the series. Some of the loose ends will be tied together, some will not, and yet other ends may be completely unravelled (as in, summoning even more questions! Ahahaha!) I hope you enjoyed this near last part of the series. I know there were a whole lot of chunks of long dialogue this time around, but they were necessary for the extensive explanation Shamila had to be given and I hope it didn’t turn out all too long-winded and/or repetitive as I thought it was at times.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me so far and see you in the epilogue!