|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2012-07-26 12:19 am UTC
|Entry tags:||blather, story: xyll saga|
Type: Shameless self-indulgence.
Table of Contents: The Xyll Saga
The very last of these posts! All the Xyll-related material is up now. If you've been holding off on browsing, now's the time to start. If you've just been waiting for it to be over, your flists are now clear again ^_^
This is the real-world history of the saga: how I started writing at 11, had a complete draft I was (mostly) satisfied with at 15, and ended up shepherding it mostly-unseen from hard drive to hard drive until age 24. Possibly there is nobody else in the world who will care about this, but since you could say the same about the fic and that didn't stop me, I may as well go all out.
If nothing else, it's a cute insight into the mind of a 10-year-old who sees the world through Sailor-Moon-colored glasses, and what came of it.
Once upon a time. Fifth-grade me is fiddling around with some fake plastic jewels, and creates a pretty design, heavy on the pink and purple. It looks perfect for a Sailor Moon-style brooch. Around it I build an otaku senshi (not my first; that was Sailor Comet): Sailor Flower.
Sailor Flower had a black fuku with pink bows, black platform shoes with flowers growing in them, and hair that was gathered into three ponytails on the same side. I know this because I typed it up and put it on the Xyll Tripod site; at this point I don't remember the drawings at all, and none of them had survived.
A team of seven senshi grew up around this sailor, including Sailor Bunny, Sailor Jewels, Sailor Shamrock, and one I can't remember who was the proto-Sailor Hestia. Sailor Shamrock was the self-insert of the group. (Erin = Ireland = isle of shamrocks...) The other two were written into other stories and abandoned, but these five stuck together.
At some point I decided they should have proper planet names, so I made up a bunch of words, all of which are lost to the mists of time except for the star's name: Xyll. Then, having been a mythology fangirl since the first grade, I caught myself and broke out the family World Book Encyclopedia. Sailors Dido, Rhea, Antigone, Ptah, and Hestia were still in a pre-first-generation stage, but they had the names that would stick.
And then I packed away all the notes and forgot about them for a year or so.
My first year at CTY. Three weeks of a writing class at summer camp for nerds. I'm a few months shy of 11.
I bring the notes along.
The story bounces around in my head, waiting for an opening. At last it appears: the destruction of Chronos, the dramatic entrance of Ryn. She wasn't called Ryn in the first-generation design. Also, she was 11, which seemed very grown-up, and instead of a spaceplane she had a space-traveling bicycle. I liked to ride bicycles, okay? Don't judge.
Point is, once I find the way in, I hit a groove. The story writes itself almost too quickly for me to keep up. (It's not for the class itself, mind you. It's on top of that.)
Still, I don't finish it that summer. The manuscript (handwritten, in a spiral-bound notebook) lies neglected for almost a year.
I finish it this summer.
Back at CTY. Another writing course. In my free time I finish writing the first draft. It has plot holes you could drive a truck through, but it's done. (This, again, is from my notes on the website. The manuscript itself is long gone.)
Time to type it up.
Fic in these days is shared in .txt documents on personal websites. It's all hand-coded HTML; there's no CSS, no PNG images, no journaling or social media sites, and no such thing as "archive software."
I start typing.
The .txt files are the second draft. There's better continuity, more explanation. I couldn't tell you any of the specifics now, though my notes on the Tripod site mention one: "Some characters were dropped (for example, a quartet of girls that Rose met on Rhea's moon; they were redundant and so much like Moonie that I didn't hold on to them) and some were added (those girls' replacement was Mamorinuku)."
I keep drawing, too. It involves a lot of pencil outlines, sometimes with colored-pencil shading, and early experiments with whatever the Corel-brand paint program was at the time. I take a few stabs at making edits of official artwork, although that doesn't become a habit, for obvious reasons.
Quality Freaking Editing, circa 2001.
Note that it'll be years before I have my own website. I'm too shy to email any of the Sailor Moon fic library sites to ask them to host, and wouldn't know how to find a mailing list even if I had realized they existed. So none of this is actually getting posted anywhere.
This totally does not faze me.
The year I graduate middle school, I start converting the text documents into HTML, and in the process do yet another revision. I have a Tripod website by now (several, in fact). The BSSM fic community is starting to move beyond .txt files. It's time for this to be posted, and I want it to look nice.
At some point I made graphics of all the characters with the Sailor Generator, the first dollmaker of its kind, at Sailor Orion's Refuge. These are (you guessed it) now lost. As are the .txt files. Sigh.
Along with this revision came the second-generation designs, including a fuku style noticably different from that of the Sol system senshi. There's more artwork, marginally better, especially when it comes to digital coloring skills. Also, this is the version where Ryn shifted from an outgoing, happy Sue to a stoic, hardboiled, taser-wielding Sue we know and love today.
By December, I've got a friend and fellow BSSM fic-writer looking over the story. She's the first person besides myself ever to set eyes on the thing. I also have a site up with a ton of profiles and worldbuilding information, although if Tripod had usage statistics I had no idea where to find them...which means that for all I know, she was the only person to set eyes on the thing.
She drew me a couple portraits of the characters, though, which was awesome. I'd post them, but I have no idea if she's as sanguine about showing around ten-year-old artwork as I am.
The whole story is finished, and posted online. I work on drawing more illustrations and profile images. On the back of my calculus notes I draw scenes from the sequel, which would have taken place in the Silver Millennium, and involved the now-adult refugee Xyll senshi training the young Sol senshi in the use of their powers.
The sequel never gets written. Never even started. I put together a handful of Sol senshi profile pages before drifting away.
Possibly as early as late 2003, but possibly later, I start working on a fourth draft.
It isn't chronological. I've mainlined a bunch of Vonnegut, and want to try that sort of storytelling, not at all linear time-wise but still able to reveal plot details in an engaging and interesting order. In my head, this was awesome. Maybe it would even have been awesome on-screen, since the linear version of the story was still fresh in my head, and I could jump around inside it with ease.
Not that we'll ever know, since I never finished it. Nor are the files anywhere to be found. Of all the lost data generated over the writing of the saga, these are the only ones I really actively wish I had back.
In 2005 I make a halfhearted attempt to rework the series so that it's totally based on consistent, Egyptian mythology. The star is Re; the planets, in order, are Nefertum, Isis, Sekhmet, Nephthys, and Osiris with its moon Ptah. This version gets as far as "doing enough research to choose those names" before the enthusiasm fades.
"I'm pondering," I say to my roommate, "posting this epic Sailor Moon fic I wrote in 2002."
"OMG," she says. "Do it."
"I don't know," I say, dithering. "There's a whole lot of stuff I would want to sort and make look nice...."
She considers. "If you're going to do it," she advises at last, "you have to do it right."