luxken27: (Inuyasha - Equals)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2018-04-20 12:27 pm

Fleeting: The mega-meta resource post

First of all, a bit of necessary squeeage:

This is the first time I’ve ever broken 10,000 hits for a single story, on any archive I’ve ever posted on. Yes, it passed 10K hits on before Dokuga, the S/K-centric site – that might be more shocking to me than anything else.

On numbers alone, this fic, on this site, is far and away the most popular piece I’ve archived anywhere. Very exciting, considering I originally undertook this project as a rebellion from writing for contest prompts and to escape the pressures of following up Memento Mori.

Anyone who’s been reading this journal for some length of time will realize how much I <3 the metawriting. Author’s notes abound here – hell, that is the entire point of the exercise, to share the ideas behind the ideas, how I came to certain conclusions, what my motivations were for writing this character in that situation, and why I think it does (or doesn’t) work.

So you can imagine, in an undertaking so massive as this one – a simple thirty prompt challenge table that somehow morphed into an incredibly complex, multi-layered intrigue-laden serialized fic, that I’ve been absolutely dying, trying to keep all the meta inside. Just look at the lengths I go to for single drabbles, and you’ll have some understanding of my struggles, LOL.

But, it was a tradeoff – the suspense and drama that keep the readers coming back for more (more than one person has referred to this fic as their crack, LOL) would be completely and totally spoiled if I laid my thoughts bare after completing and posting each chapter. My favorite part of writing notes – dissecting the characters – would absolutely ruin the reading experience, as half the fun with this fic is trying to figure out who’s the most reliable narrator, what some of the characters’ motivations truly are, and if certain relationships can ever be repaired.

So, this won’t be one of my usual “here are my thoughts on yaoi” author’s notes posts. To do that would absolutely ruin both the readers’ enjoyment of the story, as well as my motivation for writing it. I truly enjoy the feedback I receive after posting each chapter, here and on the archives, as it really helps me see things through the eyes of my readers and helps shape the story in many sometimes surprising ways. You guys keep me on my toes, LOL, always trying to stay one step (or twist!) ahead.

But I’d still like the other part of writing author’s notes – keeping a log of references and personal motivations – for this piece. Thus, I’ve decided to compromise: have a little something for me, and let you guys in on some of the “inside stuff” of this story.

Most of the references I use are musical in nature. I almost always have some sort of music spinning in the background as I write, and sometimes I seek out certain songs for inspiration. However, I’ve also had to do a spot of research here and there for various scenes, and that’s the sort of thing I enjoy sharing with other potentially interested writers.

Right off the bat I have to admit, this is not a story I plotted out beforehand. Though it has since developed into a coherent and fully realized fic, when I started I was very much flying by the seat of my pants. I was initially attracted to the prompt table and the challenge – to not use the words “I love you” as a magical healing balm to cure all life’s woes – as a way of free expression and a way to experiment. I simultaneously claimed two different series – and two different alt pairings – at the community, and initially decided that my Sess/Kag claim would just be a collection of drabbles and oneshots revolving around the various themes, whereas my Ouran claim (for Kyouya/Haruhi) would take on the challenge of forming all these prompts into a single story.

I finished the first prompt for Fleeting and already had an inkling of an idea that at least part of the prompts would be serialized together.

I finally broke down and admitted the whole thing was going to be one fic by chapter four, LOL, as is evidenced by the header change.

The first “chapter” of this fic is actually a contest entry I wrote for [ profile] dokuga_contest, a one-off inspired by the song ‘Come’ by Namie Amuro:

Come My Way” was not only inspired by the sensuality of the song, but also by Namie’s outfit during this performance (look familiar?) [performance video sadly no longer available - 9/8/12]. A few people at the comm asked me if I was planning to follow up with this little storyline, so it was already bouncing around in my brain when I signed up for this challenge.

And thus, Fleeting was born.


1. “Valor

Prompt used: #12, “I’m drunk.”

Inspiration song: ‘Come’ by Namie Amuro (see above)

From Kagome’s point of view. Our first glimpse into Sesshoumaru’s character, and Kagome’s feelings for him.

2. “Longing

Prompt used: #09, “Always wondered what this would be like.”

Inspiration: A cold winter afternoon and a cup of peppermint tea

Again, from Kagome’s point of view, we see her feelings for her roommate begin to shift, away from more animalistic lust towards something resembling love. In this piece, I really gave in to my own tea obsession, the first of a few recurring themes. I wrote this right as the worst part of winter was descending, so the idea of being curled up on a sofa under a blanket, sipping tea and staring at a beautiful boy, was quite the appealing escape from exams, LOL.

This piece was nominated for “Best Oneshot” at the Dokuga Awards, which was a very pleasant surprise :)

3. “Protection

Prompt used: #08, “I’m cruel.”

It was time to bring Sesshoumaru’s character more in line with his canon self, and that’s when/why this piece came about. This was inspired not only by a bit of the same exam stress mentioned above, but also by a few dealing with my inconsiderate flatmates (at the time). You know the type, loud and obnoxious and generally stomping around, who decide 3 am is the perfect time to have friends over and cook a gigantic meal, even though the rest of the apartment is trying to sleep…LOL.

I still had not yet decided upon a secondary storyline when writing this chapter; Koga was just a more natural foil, to me, than Inuyasha for Sesshoumaru. Plus I really wanted to avoid the whole fanon cliché of Inuyasha being a jerk and Sesshoumaru swooping in to save fair damsel Kagome from his attentions. Ugh, no thank you. At this point, I wasn’t even planning on introducing Inuyasha into the storyline, in any greater capacity than he’d already been written, at all. So, the use of Koga and his brash and hasty declarations of love also went towards defining Sesshoumaru’s character without being obvious or explicit about it.

4. “Regret

Prompt used: #27, Author’s Choice, “I miss you.”

I resign myself to my fate – I’m writing a serialized fic. This presents challenges in and of itself, as I was bound and determined to write a true serial, a collection of oneshots that could stand on their own as well as contribute to a larger, framed story.

Because I’m nothing if not ambitious, LOL.

So now I had to start coming up with fresh ways of incorporating the backstory into the piece, so that if someone just happened by at this point, they’d understand the larger implications of the actions in the piece. Doing this also helps keep the story fresh in my mind, so I can attempt to stay true to my characters and their situation.

Another thing I had to fight against was settling into a style. It’s inevitable; when you write a multi-chapter fic, your natural style starts to impose itself on your work. You are more inclined to write everything in the same way, but I didn’t want to be confined like that. I wanted to use this fic as a chance to experiment, to vary my word lengths and plot elements and style choices. This is the first chapter where I really did that, writing two separate scenes that mirror each other in a few ways. We start from the same point in time – “She ran.” – and follow each character separately from there as they diverge. By this point I was already working under the limitation of only writing from Sesshoumaru’s or Kagome’s point of view, and this is one of the few times we get to see their reaction to the same event in the same chapter.

More of Kagome’s background is revealed here, fleshing her out beyond “party girl”, a moniker she carried from the original drabble. This probably also houses the first ‘evil cliffhanger of doom’ for the story, as Kagome is confronted by a surprise guest while nursing her wounds at the ski lodge.

5. “Reminescent

Prompt used: #25, “You remind me of someone.”

Inspiration song: “Happy Christmas (The War is Over)” by John Lennon

The introduction of Inuyasha, and the first twinklings in the back of my mind of a secret brothers storyline. This chapter was very heavily influenced by the recently-completed Memento Mori, when I was on a heavy Inu/Kag kick. Even though I knew from the outset that this piece would be Sess/Kag, I couldn’t resist writing a little Inu/Kag scene here.

Again, the running theme of tea comes up here, something to connect Sesshoumaru to Kagome even though they are half an island away from each other. Sesshoumaru begins to realize, much to his consternation, that he has feelings for Kagome, especially after he starts seeing her visage everywhere :P

6. “Resolution

Prompt used: #19, “This isn’t about you at all.”

Inspiration: a conversation with my Japanese friend about travelling home for the holidays

In many ways, this was the big chapter. The secret brothers storyline tumbled through my brain all in a rush as I was writing out the second part of this piece – the whole thing, plot twists and all. I realized I’d have to be super-extra-careful writing both Kagome’s and Sesshoumaru’s interactions with Inuyasha, as it was important to show the reader how and why they both viewed his character so differently, and thus, I became even more sensitive to the POV I was writing from.

This was also the chapter where the main romance heats up, in the form of a searing New Year’s Eve kiss. I really liked the idea of a heated argument leading to a passionate kiss, so then it was just a matter of engineering said argument, LOL.

I referenced a few Japanese-related New Years’ items in this chapter as well, which I was able to link to from the LJ entries, but only mentioned everywhere else. The first was the nengajo, or New Years’ postcards, which families send out quite like Christmas cards in the West. My Japanese friend sent me one over the winter holidays, and it’s absolutely gorgeous – a foldout panorama scene of a traditional meal. These things can get very big and elaborate, and are traditionally sent out to friends and relatives. The next was kadomatsu, or mini New Years’ trees, another traditional ornament for the home. Of course, there’s also a special meal to be served, the osechi, but ultimately such a large and varied spread of food was too much work for Kagome and Sango to throw together in less than a week :P

7. “Discovery

Prompt used: #04, “I need to want you.”

Sesshoumaru’s reaction to the New Years’ kiss, and the introduction of his father as a main player in the story. Slowly but surely the romance is moving forward, but the secondary storyline also gains some steam here. My writing style is once again very loose and contemporary, almost stream-of-consciousness, as we again delve into Sesshoumaru’s part of the story, with him as he makes a most interesting discovery.

I had a lot of fun writing his father, almost comically villainous at this point, but definitely a welcome relief from the angst that was brewing between the leads. This was also another chance to showcase Sesshoumaru’s honor, one of his core characteristics from the canon storyline that is explored with some depth in the later manga chapters.

8. “Fantasy

Prompt used: #02, “I was wrong about you.”

Inspiration song: “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado

Another challenge that was presenting itself to me was really dealing with Kagome’s character, as a sexually adventurous twenty-something given to ever-increasing lustful desires. Citrus is not one of my strong suits, but it seemed more explicit writing was becoming necessary to really get across how much she was into this guy. Plus, it proved an interesting counterpart that really brought out the awkwardness of the situation, to first write out her masturbatory fantasy and then show her actually facing him in real life. I think the effect was nice, reflecting the thread of awkwardness that’s tied the whole serial together. Plus, it was a chance to try my hand at shower sex, even if it was just an unfulfilled fantasy, LOL.

9. “Reality

Prompt used: #22, “I hate myself.”

The title was not coincidental; the Fantasy/Reality contradiction is one I wanted to reference for these chapters. We switch from Kagome’s to Sesshoumaru’s point of view (immediately, again, receiving a different opinion of Inuyasha and his motives) as he struggles to reconcile his feelings for Kagome, now that he knows the truth about her, and his plans for the future – which seem to be headed toward each other on a collision course. Again, the recurring theme of the tea comes up again, and more and more bits of Sesshoumaru’s and Kagome’s pasts are revealed, to justify their actions (and reactions). This is probably one of my favorite chapters of the fic thus far.

10. “Revelation

Prompt used: #16, “I want to break you.”

Inspiration song: “Going Mobile” by The Who

This was very much an impromptu interlude, an idea that came to me from a seemingly throwaway line in the previous chapter, but one that gave me a chance to again highlight the mysteriousness of Inuyasha’s motives. The emails at the beginning of the chapter are another stylistic experiment, inspired by the frantic pace of the inspiration song. It was important that they be coded, yet understandable.

This chapter did fail, in that it’s not a freestanding one so much as filler for the overarching story, but it went over fabulously with the readers and did further the plotline in several ways, so I didn’t regret posting it in its current form.

11. “Perception

Prompt used: #23, “You remind me of me.”

Inspiration song: “Best Imitation of Myself” by Ben Folds Five

This is, bar none, hands down, my favorite chapter of the fic. It came together absolutely beautifully, just as I wanted it to, really centering around the prompt nicely while dovetailing into the overall story and pushing the characterization of Sesshoumaru forward. I find the sexual talk a bit awkward (which I’m willing to put down to the fact that I haven’t written very much of it, and that I’m am not “with it” enough to know what all the current euphemisms are), but otherwise, it’s about as flawlessly executed, to my mind, as it could be.

I liked the inspiration song so much I even quoted the lyric I used to wrap up Sesshoumaru’s evolution of character as he finally admitted to himself that he’d fallen in love with Kagome.

I did have to do a bit of research for this chapter, and used a reference film for the massage scene. It was interesting to learn about all the different forms of massage, and I’m just glad that shiatsu fit the scenario I had in mind, so I didn’t have to change it around (read: make it more sexual).

12. “Doubt

Prompt: #07, “Prove it.”

MOAR SEX OMG. Not only another chance to work the citrus-writing muscles, but also a chance to show the meaning of the physical act of sex to these two characters. For Kagome, sex is how she expresses her interest in someone (and vice versa) – so by being constantly denied, she’s beginning to wonder how/if/why Sesshoumaru’s really interested in her, not realizing he doesn’t place the same value on it as she does. I did an informal research-gathering survey on LJ as to what would be an appropriate amount of time to go without, in an effort to make this bit believable, as it was crucial that the reader understand and maybe even sympathize with Kagome’s growing doubts about her relationship. It’s what makes Inuyasha’s accusations so powerful, as he senses her insecurity and plays upon it. However, at the same time, it was also crucial to keep Inuyasha’s motivations for doing so mystifying. He’s not supposed to come off as the bad guy, but a some of the feedback I received showed that, those readers inclined to enjoy S/K fanon, believed just that – whereas those readers from somewhat outside the S/K circle of fandom were more hesitant to make a judgment call. I took the hesitation and speculation as signs that I was (and am!) doing my job right, as I want to keep people guessing.

13. “Desperation

Prompt: #15, “This is my desperation in action.”

Inspiration song: “Diary of Jane” by Breaking Benjamin

This chapter was very heavily influenced by the inspiration song, especially these lyrics:

Something’s getting in the way / Something’s just about to break

There’s a fine line / between love and hate / and I don’t mind / just let me say / that I like that

Desperate I will crawl / waiting for so long

I tried to build the chapter around the increasing rise of the song, showing Kagome’s actions growing more desperate as time crawled on. There was a bit of unintentional humor at her presence of mind to own a lock-picking kit, but it was sort of the awkward laugh that doesn’t really diffuse the situation that I was going for there.

14. “Confrontation

Prompt: #20, “I hate you, you bitch.”

Inspiration song: “So Cold” by Breaking Benjamin

Again, another attempt to build a chapter along the rise of a song, one that really speared Sesshoumaru’s reaction to the whole thing. It was important to show what I think is a canonical reaction to confrontation on his part – if he is not in control of the situation, he will shut down. In order to keep the readers’ sympathy with him here, it was necessary to write the actual confrontation scene from his point of view. So, I didn’t break the chapters up to be mean – it was a necessary action :)

15. “Distress

Prompt: #14, “I’m awake and you’re breathing.”

Inspiration song: “Love in this Club” by Usher (feat. Young Jeezy)

There are a couple of references in this chapter that may enhance understanding. First of all, the inspiration song was very much Inuyasha’s theme, LOL. The ultra-cheesy video linked? Was purely for my benefit :P I needed something that over-the-top to really help set the mood in my mind, and again this was a bit of experimental imagery in preparation for later chapters. I put in a few other recurring themes – a stream-of-consciousness style recall for Kagome, and another veiled email, just like from “Revelation” (Chapter 10).

Also, the “imagined conversation” that Kagome thinks of as she does her walk of shame is an actual, direct quote from a website I’ve long since lost (ETA: found it!!), about the true-life “wow, you’re fucked” sorts of situations people find themselves in on a daily basis. Some poor girl actually heard that mother-daughter conversation early one morning as she trekked home, and I found it too amusing not to put in here.

I also linked the song Kagome karaoked at the bar from my LJ entry, but here it is again (with the second verse in actual Japanese, much to my amusement):

16. “Broken

Prompt: #10, “I’m broken.”

More information on the Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as "the five stages of grief": Link 1 | Link 2

Musical inspiration for this piece came in the form of two songs from The Who's Who's Next. Actually, the entire album was spinning in the background, but I felt these two songs captured the sense I was going after in the piece:

For Kagome, the song "I Don't Even Know Myself", with the following relevant lyrics:

There's nothing in the way I walk / That can tell you were I'm going
There's nothing in the words I speak / That can betray anything I'm knowing
Don't think that by the way I dress / You can put me on a labelled shelf
Don't pretend that you know me / Cause I don't even know myself

I don't mind if you try / Once in awhile
I don't mind if I cry / Once in awhile
The doors don't shut as tight as they might seem
I'm just trying to fight my way out of this dream

For Sesshoumaru, "Behind Blue Eyes". This is another one of those songs that I hear and immediately think of him...

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man / to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
No one knows what it's like
To be hated /to be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams, they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings / like I do
And I blame you
No one bites back as hard on their anger
None of my pain and woe / can show through

But my dreams, they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours only lonely
My love is vengeance, that's never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open / Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news / Before I laugh and act like a fool

And if I swallow anything evil / Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket / Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it's like to be the bad man
To be the sad man behind blue eyes

5/1/09: Fleeting breaks 10,000 hits on Dokuga:

17. “Contrition

Prompt: #28, Author’s Choice, “Stop playing games with me.”

Two songs were spinning, almost simultaneously, in the background as this chapter was mapped and written. If they would've sounded good in a mix, I probably would've made one, LOL.

There's not a lot of Sess/Kag interaction in this installment, but it was necessary for Kagome and Inuyasha to hash through their difficulties first. I promise, this will make more sense when the next installment is ready for public viewing.

Both of these songs ("Right Here Waiting," Staind & "Dead and Gone," TI feat. Justin Timberlake)could be construed as foreshadowing, if you squint just right :)

18. “Audacity

Prompt: #05, “You can be like me.”

I did quite a bit of financial institution/banking/law research for this chapter, as I had to decide what sort of company had caught InuPapa's interest so out-of-the-blue. I went through more trouble than just consulting Wikipedia, but here's the wikified intro:

investment company | ETF | mutual fund | holding company

The other fun part of the chapter was choosing names for the companies, LOL :P Also of dubious correctness, the internets told me that "Hideki" means "splendid opportunity" in Japanese. This is not the last we'll be seeing of Hideki Financial Group; in fact, this entry opens up the final story arc of the serial.

My musical inspiration was the song "It's War" by the Cardigans, which includes the lyrics:

You look so peaceful when you sleep / Beautiful creep
It's such an easy way to choose / you lose

19. “Decision

Prompt: #21, “You’ll do.”

The Japanese style of interviewing is very different than what Westerners are used to. There, is it perfectly acceptable to ask leading, personal questions, as part of the assessment is your family’s history and success. It’s that thought successful parents breed successful offspring, and in a culture where team play is valued above individuality, conforming like this is seen in a very positive light.

The interview questions came from this site [no longer available - 9/8/12] – and more resources are listed here: 1 | 2 | 3 [no longer available - 9/8/12]

The names are combinations of those from IY fanon and from the tennis world (my go-to place when looking for last names of any nationality).

Oh, yes, and I had fun looking for proper outfits for the interview process! My original inspiration was this piece of fanart by Eldanis, but according to the etiquette sites sourced above, black is not a suitable color to wear for business interviews (only for funerals), and grey is a more likely choice during springtime. So, here’s the visual of my final choice for Sesshoumaru’s suit ~ I have a weakness for pinstripes, LOL!!

My inspiration song was “Temperature” by Sean Paul – a very kicky piece of dance music with suggestive lyrics, which sets just the right sort of mood I’m trying to convey between the leads.

ETA 12/01/12: Sesshoumaru has a new model, and he truly is hotness personified. Amazing to find this 3 years after writing the chapter, but there you go - a wonderful shot of the outfit - and attitude - I was going for ♥

20. “Intervention

Prompt: #11, “Thought I needed this.”

It is fairly customary for the fashion-conscious Japanese woman to wear a very expensive outfit during her commute, even if she has to wear a uniform at her job. Yes, LOL, even on the metro - Kagome just would've chosen a slightly less brand new outfit if she knew she had to stuff herself on the metro to go to work.

Edamame first gained popularity in the US as a accompaniment to Japanese beers in sushi bars. Apparently the Japanese treat these much like Americans treat peanuts or pretzels, eating them, simply prepared, as an appetizer. (Source)

Here is the fun-loving song that inspired this chapter, which, while filler, also displays a bit of the light-hearted banter that works so well with these two. Considering the finale we're heading to in less than ten chapters, it's important that their relationship begin redeveloping pretty quickly, even if its not all on-screen:

21. “Temptation

Prompt: #06, “I want to need you.”

We're heading into the final stretch of the final story arc; this was a much-needed look at the current wave of events from Sesshoumaru's point of view.

Two songs helped me set the mood for this particular chapter, both lyric- and emotion-wise: "Aqueous Transmission," by Incubus, and "What's It Gonna Be?!" by Busta Rhymes & Janet Jackson.

Late-night porn really does come on that early, at least in Europe; considering the "un-cut" nature of Japanese television, I'm assuming its the same over there. That was actually a last-minute addition to the plan of the chapter, but I thought it reiterated nicely once again Sesshoumaru's thoughts/feelings when it comes to sex, and why he tends to not be so casual about it.

22. “Crisis

Prompt: #18, “I pity you.”

It's the Big Reveal chapter, as Inuyasha lays all his cards on the table. Now, the question becomes - will Sesshoumaru believe him, or see it as the trap he was warned about at the beginning of this particular installment?

Sends chills down your spine, no? :)

There were lots of musical inspirations for this particular chapter. First and foremost, for the aggressive opening, we have "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails.

This song also contains the tag line for this chapter, which I initially considered as a summary:

You make me hard, when I'm all soft inside / I see the truth, when I'm all stupid-eyed
You go straight through my heart / Without you, everything just falls apart

As I moved more into the Inuyasha Confession portion of the chapter, I considered the sort of pressure he's under, and why he abruptly spills his guts to Kagome ~ in perfect complement with Queen's "Under Pressure."

I also decided to allow him to slip a bit into his French for this chapter, especially when talking about his mother. For him to use the childhood endearment marks the depth of his love and respect for her - so when he also calls Kagome ma chérie, it signals the sincerity of his words there. I've always wanted Inuyasha to seem pure of heart when it came to Kagome - just that everything else about him was tinged with teh shady :P

And, well, I started singing this song, practically from memory (and this is what's embedded in the LJ entry):

12/5/09: In spite of a serious lack of updating....

23. “Covenant

Prompt: #13, “I want to hurt you.”

There is so much of myself in this chapter, it's almost painful to reread :-/ I've been going through a little crisis of confidence regarding my writing, my "larger place" in fandom, etc etc etc, so it was really cathartic to let some of that misery out in this first section. I've leave it up to you how much of me you see in my Sesshoumaru, but I generally feel more confident with chapters from his perspective than vice versa.

The song that ultimately served as inspiration for this chapter was "You're Going Down" by Sick Puppies. Awesome bassline, aweomse lyrics, and just an overall kickass song:

24. “Control

Prompt: #24, “I want you to hate me.”

First of all, so much of this chapter comes from the inspiration song: "Broken, Beaten, & Scarred" by Metallica.

I used this as an opportunity to channel some frustration at the IYFG Policy group as well - the mods over there provided perfect fodder for the obstinately stubborn Takeda, who gets in his own way by being so stubborn. Hmm - sound familiar?

In many ways, this is the home stretch of the fic, with the last few things falling into place before the big denouement. I had a brainwave for another twist, but it's a small one - I have a feeling if you've stuck with this fic long enough, you know what the outcome is going to be.

I'm about to hit 100 reviews at (and, maybe, 25K hits), which is a huge milestone for me...but it's like extra icing on the awesome cake. I write this fic for me, first and foremost, so everyone else's enjoyment of it is like a great big bonus...


7/18/10: Fleeting soundtrack! This will be updated with each new entry to the serial.

9/8/12: The story banner has been updated, to reflect the refreshing of the story, and to help motivate me to finally finish it, after all these years :P

25. “Betrayal

Prompt: #29, Author’s Choice, “If you don’t have to go, don’t.”

Okay, so it only took me 37 months, but a promise is a promise! ;) I definitely haven't forgotten about this fic ♥ and I'm excited to finally move forward with the plot here. During the hiatus, I did a light edit of the entire story - no changes to the plot, but an update to the grammar, flow, etc. I like to think I've improved over the last (gulp) five years since I started this story o.O

I've slipped in another potentially-strange visual here - Sesshoumaru's impromptu hairstyle. My inspiration was former Argentinian tennis professional Gastion Gaudio, who turned wearing long hair into something of an artform in his day :P Here's an example, to give you some idea of what I was going for - granted, Gaudio's hair was not as long as Sesshoumaru's, but I think the same idea could work.

This chapter's prompt was one of the author's choice prompts, and it was actually rather difficult to figure out a phrase that would match the contents of the plot as well as the style of the original table. It came down to a choice between two lyrics in the inspiration song:

"If you don't have to go, don't"


"What goes on between us, no one has to know"

Recognize it? It's "Don't Stop the Music" from Rihanna:

This song has been sitting on the back burner for a long time - I'd originally intended for the scene at the club to be much longer/more detailed, but when it came to the actual writing...well, the important bits won out :)

This chapter's title can refer to any of the betrayal bombshells the dropped: Takeda's betrayal of Sesshoumaru, InuPapa's perceived betrayal, Sesshoumaru's betrayal of Kagome, or her betrayal of him, right at the end. This might seem like an also-ran twist of plot, but I promise I'm going somewhere with this, so stick with me if you're still reading!

And, because it *has* been so long since I've updated the stats count...

26. “Clarity (Interlude)

Prompt: #17 – “Wish I didn’t love you.”

This chapter is one of my favorites, and definitely one of the strongest of the entire story. I don't know why, but I just find writing from Sesshoumaru's POV infinitely easier than writing from Kagome's - and it was definitely time to check in and figure out WTF he's thinking, LOL. I've had that first scene (where he catches Inuyasha & Kagome on their doorstep) in my head for years, yet once again, my muse manages to surprise me - I never thought I'd write about anybody actually puking, in any sort of detail. Thanks, muse! :P

This chapter had a lot of musical inspiration. Originally, it was going to be a songfic-ish chapter, inspired by Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" - a song that I think personifies Sesshoumaru to a crazy degree:

A chance trawl through my backlist brought the song that was actually spinning in the background while writing the majority of this chapter - Peter Gabriel's hauntingly beautiful "In Your Eyes":

It's one of those songs that I never remember how much I love until I stumble upon it again :P The lyrics were especially poignant for the first scene:

Love, I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are well as the overall feel I was trying to capture, with Sesshoumaru struggling with the idea of having to apologize:

All my instincts, they return
The grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

I was all set with this chapter - or so I thought, until I chanced upon this lovely song, which Martin Solveig played during his set at the Ultra Miami festival:

Which quite literally clarified a lot of things - most especially, the name of this chapter.

27. “Culmination

Prompt: #01 – “You were right about me.”

This chapter is pretty much the beginning of the end, as very nearly all of the storylines are culminating in their apex: Sesshoumaru and Kagome make up, Takeda explodes (and Kagome explodes back at him), the Hidecki side plot comes to its peak, and even the little Mir/San sideplot that snuck in on me is moving forward. This chapter is also the one that officially put me over the 100K+ words mark, which is pretty spectacular =)

Quite a bit of research went into the events of this installment. First and foremost, the whole business angle, which required me to delve into Japanese law. Luckily, there is a very nice FAQ available on the web for foreign investors. Here are a few of my other references: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

In all of this - and for the first time in this story, believe it or not - I had to take a bit of artistic license with the truth. Companies usually *do* notify those bidding on them of their position when they file their Position Statement with the Japanese government. There are some exceptions for hostile negotiations, which is basically the loophole I ran with here. Target companies have several lines of defense in fending off bidders, and at least in my world, that means holding their cards very close to their vests.

You'll understand my need for this artistic license in the next chapter - which was supposed to be a continuation of this one, believe it or not! :P I thought 5K words was a big enough chunk, though, and decided to release this series of events on its own, and allow the consequences to reverberate in the next installment.

The other major bit of research conducted for this chapter was actually the idea/angle of engagement rings. Weddings tend to be so closely tied to cultures that it can be hard to look outside of one's box when describing a seemingly universal practice. Of course, this being modern Japan, much of the tradition that we think of when we think "Shinto wedding ceremony" also doesn't exactly apply. It was fascinating to read into this a bit, and I could've seriously fallen off the wagon if I'd let myself, LOL. Here were some of my resources for the ring conundrum: 1 | 2 | 3

28. “Proclamation

Prompt: #03 – “This cancels out the hurt.”

Oh, boy, this chapter. I know its the one everyone has been waiting for, so I certainly hope it doesn't disappoint! :P I've had this chapter in the back of my head for about four years now, ever since I first put together a sketchy outline for how I wanted to use the [ profile] un_love_you prompts. This was always going to be the prompt, and the sex scene that ends the chapter is largely in its original draft form. It was a rare moment; I woke up from a dead sleep with that scene in my head and I immediately went to my desk and wrote it out, long-hand, in my writing notebook. I typed up a draft of that scene shortly thereafter, and have carried it from notebook to notebook - and computer to computer - ever since.

This is also a chapter I largely agonized over. I don't think writing explicit material has ever been my strong suit, and a three-year hiatus from IY fandom certainly did not help matters o.O I finally gathered my courage and wrote out the first draft of this chapter back in February - and then spent the next four months or so hating it, so much I couldn't even look at it *cringe* I don't know what happened to unblock my brain, but I was finally able to come back to it a couple of days ago, and I took my time, refining the scenes, the dialogue, every action and reaction. I studied lots of kissing references (like this one), and had my sexytimez soundtrack going full-blast. This is the best its ever going to get, and I was finally happy enough with it myself to release it into the world.

One of the hardest decisions to make about this chapter, vis a vis the sex, was actually deciding what the characters would be wearing. My favorite part of foreplay is the shirking of clothing, so I definitely gave some attention to this matter :P This is Sesshoumaru's waistcoat. I did a ridiculous amount of research into men's clothing to find it (suits --> linen suits --> components of linen suits --> images), and hung onto that catalog picture for inspiration.

Believe it or not, this is only *part* of the original chapter/response to this plot. Considering they suffered through 100K+ words of angst to get to this point, no way was I going to give them one awkward little sex scene. Oh, no - the next chapter is very much second verse, same as the first (and probably just as long, no lie). So basically, these characters are going to have a lot of sex on screen before the final loose ends are tied up. And I'm definitely going to be stepping out of my comfort zone on this, so stay tuned o.O

The musical inspiration for this chapter (the 2013 version, at least) is Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Ray Dalton) - "Can't Hold Us":

We came here to live life like nobody was watching
I got my city right behind me - if I fall, they got me
Learn from that failure, gain humility, and then we keep marching

ETA: I've noticed quite a few reviewers commenting on the protection angle of the last half of the chapter. This being a realistic modern-day AU, there really isn't much excuse to have unsafe sex, but I knew that the pace of the scene - at least, that first frantic sex scene - would be hampered if I went with the most common/realistic route of using a condom. So, I decided that, since Kagome has been so free with her sexuality, she's also been responsible for it, and uses birth control in the form of an IUD. I struggled with finding a way to slip this into the previous scene on the metro, and I guess my reference to it in the dialogue was too oblique, but it's there.

29. “Passion

Prompt #30, Author’s Choice, “I’ll take your invitation, if you’ll take all of me.”

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of this fic, I suppose it's only fitting that this is The Sex Chapter, as I was calling my rough draft :P It takes a lot to get me to write citrus these days; I believe this is my first substantial, explicit scene written in about three years. Hmm...

As such, there was a TON of inspiration that worked its magic on me. First and foremost, the song from which I derived the prompt:

I LOVE this version of this song - all raw vocals over acoustic guitar ♥ I've written several stories in several fandoms based on this song, so its another one of those rare songs I can use over and over again and still find some magic =)

There was another trio of songs that also played a big part in pumping me up, so to speak - buying a Four Tops compilation CD is the best $5 I've spent in years, LOL. Have a listen: Reach Out (I'll Be There) | Standing in the Shadows of Love | Bernadette

I must send a major shoutout to [personal profile] starzki & [personal profile] replicantangel, who did me a solid when I whined on Twitter about being fresh out of smut-spiration. They directed me to this fic, which worked like a charm - I was able to break through on the second, longer/slower sex scene that had been eluding me for about four months :P I know absolutely nothing about the movie/story/characters/fandom, but I took a chance - and boy, am I glad I did! I wholeheartedly recommend it! :D

I also pieced together a lovely collage of Technoelfie's Etchings artworks that I used as general inspiration, but also as a kissing reference. She truly is amazingly talented, and we are lucky to have her walking among us!

And since this is a milestone update, here are some stats that I captured just after I'd posted this chapter. I will interested to see how much things change between this chapter and the next one...

As the story progresses, I’ll be adding more bits and pieces to this post.

Updated 11/05/13: Chapter 29 notes added

[identity profile] 2009-04-19 10:48 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't stand you! (Just kidding) You are so doggone organized and right now I'm fighting to put two coherent sentences together. I like the idea of forming a reference post for your use and for the rest of us to peek at from time to time. It's like getting insight into the mechanics of your head!

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 12:15 am (UTC)(link)
Now you know I totally understand what you are going through. un_love has turned into more than I thought it would be. We all have to do something to keep our sanity. I don't know if non-writers really understand how much of your own personality is in these stories.
psyco_chick32: (Conscience - Boo Is Love)

[personal profile] psyco_chick32 2009-04-19 11:05 pm (UTC)(link)
It's only half the meta-writing (one day I will learn to read your MIND) and I can't wait until we get the whole thing... but this is incredibly intriguing.
(You're going to kill me with the InuYasha speculation!!! Or at least break my tailbone with the cliffhangers of evil doom)
psyco_chick32: (Default)

[personal profile] psyco_chick32 2009-04-19 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Are you sure you want to do that, LOL? It's a scary place sometimes!

*giggles* It can't be any worse than mine!

I understand your pain, but hope that its the *good* sort of frustration as opposed to the "throwing yer hands up in defeat" [bad] sort

Oh, I promise to tell you if it ever gets to the point of taking my toys and going home ;) I don't expect it will, though!

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 12:49 am (UTC)(link)
Congrats on reaching 10,000 hits on ffnet and Dokuga. It was interesting to read all of the background behind the chapters of Fleeting. Keep up the good work.

I posted Child Birth Complications on 3 different sites and got the following results: ffnet (2/19/09 7917 hits 8 reviews 4 favorites 6 alerts)
MM (2/23/09 4049 hits 13 reviews) Dokuga ( 4/11/09 3416 hits O reviews)

After reading a couple of the reviews I wonder if I really want them. My first review on MM was someone scolding me for writing SK. A last review on ffnet was from a diehard SK who told me that Kagome and Ouji should not be with Inuyasha because he is a terrible person and terrible parent. She repeated the standard SK line. God save us from true believers.

May all of your reviews be good and all of your fanpoodles be well behaved.

[identity profile] 2009-04-21 02:45 am (UTC)(link)
Every good fanfiction writer needs a fanpoodle or two.

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
"Right off the bat I have to admit, this is not a story I plotted out beforehand." - THIS is where some of the best fics come from. When the muse is left to create something new in and of itself it sometimes surprises you with something fantastic. That's what Fleeting sounds like to me. I thoroughly look forward to reading it once it's complete :) Your dedication to it that I've followed through your LJ has definitely been an inspiration to me as I'm getting started on my own serial. Maybe someday in the far and distant future I'll be able to put together a post like this too hahaha Very very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing. I always love hearing about a writer's inspiration. It adds a whole new dimension to the piece. Have a fantastic Sunday!

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 07:15 am (UTC)(link)

You are scary, woman *shudders* I can only dream of such uncluttered and organized fanfiction-writing.

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
So interesting! I love to see what other people are thinking or what motivates them while writing.

When I started writing, music didn't play a role in it. But, for the last year, I have found myself searching for particular songs to set particular moods. Sometimes, I can waste quite a bit of time trying to find exactly the right song. LOL!

I am so impressed by the way you have forged such a wonderfully cohesive and compelling story out of a set of prompts. (BTW, I was extremely intrigued with those prompts--would you mind sharing the rest of them? I am so curious! What community are they from?) I am always so in awe of writers with the talent (and courage) to go with an idea when they are inspired. I tend to tiptoe around them until I've picked them to death and planned them to death. (This is why I only have 2 multi-chaptered stories out so far. *sigh*) I really want to get to a place where I feel like I can step out on that limb without expecting to fall flat on my face. ^_^ You go, girl!

Thank you for sharing with us!

[identity profile] 2009-04-20 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)
"Just curious; have you read it? Because I'm nosy like that, LOL, and I don't think I've seen you comment on it anywhere (not that you should feel obligated to!)."

Actually, I read one of the more recent chapters first(I think 12?) when you put it up here, not realizing it was part of a longer story. When I DID realize that, I didn't comment at that moment because I intended to go back and read the whole thing in order. I did the same thing with the chapter where Kag breaks into Sess' room. *sigh* I realized then it was "Fleeting," which I had been meaning to check out. Then, I guess I was browsing journals or something because I came across and read the FIRST chapter, again not realizing it was "Fleeting." I DID comment on that one, and two others I had read in that same sitting, and you wrote me back and told me that was the one you had expanded into "Fleeting." So, I know where you started from and what it has evolved into to some extent, and I have read some of your thoughts on it. And you WILL be getting my feedback when I sit down and start going through it in order. LOL!

[identity profile] 2009-09-02 02:56 am (UTC)(link)
Hot damn, Lux. That is one very fine looking suit. He'd I cannot even think of the proper descriptive word. While your word usage for creating mental pictures if amazing, a nice pic always helps. :) Okay, I'm going to catch up on the mega-meta-thread reading now. Just had to comment on the suit. *shudder* Wow.