Ah, yes... the 3rd L5R Ficathon. Whatever happened to that, anyway?
L5R Ficathon III entry, first draft
Conversation Overheard on the Deck of the Weeping Tiger (Final entry)
The production process this time was a lot shorter than my experience with the last Ficathon, mostly due to the fact that nothing good came to mind until the last two or three days. The final entry is totally different from the first draft, and it's based on a new idea that arrived at midnight on the evening of my deadline.
Again, my two seeds were:
1) A day after a kobune voyage begins, two passengers who have shared intense emotion (good or bad) discover that the other is on board.
2) A monk spends weeks meditating on the nature of Rokugan whilst travelling in the Burning Sands and is dying of hunger and thirst. Does he accept the aid of a strange traveller?
I started writing with a plot idea that was borne from the second seed, but after a couple of pages, I hit a point where the story was starting to drag. I gave myself around one or two days to come up with a better story idea; Otherwise I planned to head back to the draft and do a complete rewrite.
I toyed around with the first story seed in front of the computer for a while, wondering how best to approach it. The most obvious emotion for the two characters to share was Love, although I did consider Fear, Hate and Regret at times. Eventually I decided that romantic relationships weren't stereotypical of L5R fan fiction, and moved in that direction.
The problem, of course, is that I'm not very good at love stories, much less love-and-regret stories. So I figured that the only way I could get to the bottom of the deal was to have the two characters talk to each other, and then take it from there. (I first tried this approach for "Untitled", and it worked fine then.)
The result was surprisingly minimalist, and is currently up at the Rokugan Fan Fiction Resource Forum. I'm not sure how I was able to flesh out both Saeko and Minoru with mere dialogue, though, so I'll have to chalk it up to the possibility that literary characters have a mind of their own sometimes.
If there was anything that frustrated me about this work, though, it was the lack of proper treatment for dialogue silence. I mean, if you're writing a short story that's made out of pure dialogue, how do you express a moment of silence to the reader?
Maybe I'll write an article on that sometime. I use silence a lot in my works; it would be interesting to analyze the proper use, timing and syntax for such a device.