springgreen: (saiyuki ikkou green)
[personal profile] springgreen
Oops, I meant to post about this after the reveal. Ah well.

Here's my story, if anyone's interested.

This was my first remix; I've written a POV switch of [livejournal.com profile] devikun's Senses Working Overtime that ended up playing a little with the themes of the story, but I wouldn't personally count it as a remix.

I was actually a little surprised to read the rules for Remix -- no changing plot? Eh? And then I read the clarification: someone remixing "The Little Mermaid" might think keeping the sea witch and the voice-losing and the need to win the prince's love was the story and disregard the whole dying bit at the end. So I shrugged and decided to do what I generally do when given instructions -- pretend that I actually understand the spirit of them, toss them out the window, and then proceed to make a general muck out of things (see: knitting, cooking, etc.).

I got [livejournal.com profile] tad_coast as my remixee. At a survey, she (? I assume default gender on LJ to be female, pls correct if wrong) has written a lot of Saiyuki and an FMA Roy/Hughes. The Saiyuki was mostly Hakkai/Gojyo and Nii/Kou, and I decided against Hakkai/Gojyo just because... well, I'd done a POV switch thing on a Hakkai/Gojyo NC-17 already. Also Nii hurts my brain, thanks to the truly disturbing Nii bunny picture going around last year. I was thinking about FMA because I thought I should try writing a fandom I haven't before, but it's been a while since I've seen the anime, and I couldn't quite think of what I wanted to do.

Also, apparently I like to write gen! Or mostly gen with hints of slash in the background. And I didn't want to convert someone's slash fic to gen (also, against Remix rules).

I ended up picking the bird drabble because it had images I liked -- the bird, Goku in the cave, Goku reaching toward the sun, the knowledge that the bird would eventually die tragically in front of Goku because Minekura is cruel like that. And I sideways stuck in the Sanzo-bird drabble because it also had images I liked (ok, bird! I liked the bird!). I also knew that I would be remixing based more on the imagery and the themes and less on the plot.

My initial notes are: "birds, airplanes, flight, sky, sun, Goku reaching for the sun. birds/flight/sky/sun associated with life and death? Eggs and birds falling out of nests, dead bird at the cave."

I knew I wanted to bring the paper airplanes in; I haven't seen them in fic as much, and I love that story of Koumyou and Kouryuu. Except, paper airplanes aren't exactly birds unless you are like me and completely randomly free associate. Then there was the whole life and death dichotomy that I wanted to put in -- Sanzo-as-bird dying in front of Goku (though I didn't use Sanzo as a bird incarnation), birds and living, birds and dying, paper airplanes and Koumyou dying, reaching for the sun/immortality/safety/hope and getting back the body of a bird you can't reach through your cage bars. And of course Saiyuki is all about living even through situations in which you expect to die.

I must also note that I had tons of trouble with this fic; not because of the original stories, but because I was trying to cram so much in and wasn't quite sure how to do it. I wanted the Sanzo = bird imagery from the second drabble, albeit metaphorically instead of literally. I wanted Gaiden and Goku learning to make paper airplanes because I thought it would be funny and because of Goku climbing trees with Nataku (birds! See!), and because Gaiden is all about life and death and how they're flip sides of the same coin and how without death, you can't have life, and ergo the sterility of Heaven.

Plus, I like Gaiden.

I am still somewhat amazed only [livejournal.com profile] ranalore guessed it was me; I felt so very obvious while writing this.

And I wanted to somehow stick in Sanzo's mortality; he's the bird who will die, unlike Hakkai, Goku and Gojyo, he's the mortal one (ok, youkai die too, but.. you know). And because it's Sanzo and Goku, there had to be the sun, and reaching toward the sun and the sky and freedom and love and hope and all those good things. I think I cut a little too much out of the Sanzo=sun and Sanzo=bird imagery while revising, alas.

It was a bit much for a story, and I couldn't figure out how the hell to make it work, so I just tried to write and see what happened. Eventually, I had something, some of which resembles the current incarnation and some (the ending!) which is drastically different. I sent it off to my betas, who liked it, except [livejournal.com profile] untrue_accounts very kindly noted that while the language and imagery of the ending was quite nice, it really didn't work for Goku.

I stared. And went, "Huh." And went, "Damnit, she's right!"

So you will all just have to believe me when I say the original ending was poignant and touching and lovely and introspective and full of wonderful imagery, but also completely wrong. To give you some idea, it was all about Goku quietly realizing that Sanzo was going to die some day (the sun doesn't last forever, you can reach for the sun but come back with a dying bird, Sanzo as the bird and not the sun) and being ok with that. And I do think Goku is ok with that (the end of Reload 6 demonstrates that, I think), but I don't think that's what Goku would choose to concentrate on, and I suspect that's precisely why he's ok with it.

Mely also noted that the non-cave sections were really about people trying to teach Goku things, but ending up being taught by Goku. "Huh," I thought. "Oh yeah. Maybe I should work that in consciously this time!"

So I rewrote the story about half a million times in two days and was revising basically up until the mods said, "Stop! Put your pencils down!"

But I think I did get the right ending, or at least I hope I did. I reread several million times and thought my favorite sections and the ones that most embodied the fic were the bits about making things fly (Kenren and Goku with the fan). So that became my ending. Because that's what Goku does, he makes things fly/want to live, even when it seems like they can't, even when everyone else has accepted that they can't.