The first of these to go up on my personal blog! Time to talk about Burning Sky Prelude.
First up, I want to just clarify what’s happening. From here on out, all behind-the-scenes style content is going to go here on my own blog, detailing the status of our writing projects and whatnot. The main Burning Sky Prelude book is available on our main site HERE. Give it a read when you can! We put a lot of work into it and while it’s still a somewhat unfinished draft, this pretty much what the final product will look like, feedback pending. Also, the final product will obviously include artwork. Exciting! But, for now, let’s get into the reason for this post and talk about the Epilogue chapter of Burning Sky Prelude and the process of writing the book, overall!
Voyager: If there’s one thing I really like about this world, it’s that everyone can agree on one universal truth.
EvilBob: That pineapple on pizza is god’s gift to mankind?
Voyager: Did the words “gift” and “abomination” get swapped without my knowing about it? But no. That the Akuma are a friggin’ nightmare.
EvilBob: Yeeeah. I like that they’re there and everyone knows they’re bad news. But they’re not treated like the “One true evil” or anything. They’re just another thing that makes this world more dangerous. And when even Iri is afraid, you know it’s gotta be bad news. I mean… we just saw her slaughter an entire warehouse of pirates and Templars, one chapter ago. While barely lifting a finger, herself, by the way.
Voyager: I like what it says about her, more than about the Akuma, themselves. Iri isn’t completely fearless. She’s as afraid of the Akuma as everyone else is. And it’s because of her nature. She’s a manipulator. A negotiator. But the Akuma? They can’t be reasoned with. Won’t be bargained with. They-
EvilBob: Are basically demon terminators. Yes. We get the idea.
Voyager: Ahaha… how rude. But yeah. Her go-to method of dealing with most situations won’t work on them. In any situation where the Akuma are around, Iri has no control. And that’s the most terrifying thing of all to someone like her.
EvilBob: One thing is definitely apparent. Baldrik loves his fans. I mean, just look. The first thing he does when he gets there is reveal his identity to the town guard, knowing full well that they’d recognize him.
Voyager: Yeah. I think that’s one of the little details I like about Baldrik. It’s not like he’s going around moping that he’s famous. He absolutely revels in it. He certainly has issues with his fame, but let’s be honest. Once a showboat, always a showboat. The dude’s been theatrical since he was a recruit and nothing’s ever gonna kill that.
EvilBob: But I think what I like most is that he’s not stupid. It could be pretty easy to look at this and think he’s just a big meathead, but he’s not. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And he’s using that fame of his to help people. Taking advantage of that clout he’s gained over the years to make things better for the people he cares about and those he swore to look out for.
Voyager: Character development is such a nice thing to be able to spot.
EvilBob: Yeah. I know one thing we really wanted was to show that Ike is… flawed, but still entirely willing to learn and grow. The tricky part was figuring out how to do that without having all of his character development take place here… in a glorified prologue.
Voyager: The workaround we came up with was nice, though. It isn’t like Ike was ever going to learn every important lesson he needed from this one event. So we worked on figuring out some sort of lesson he could learn in this particular story while still leaving him some room to keep on growing.
EvilBob: The compromise of learning to actually value his position as a guard was a nice one, I think.
A: Nothing as big as one might expect. It largely came down to wanting Ike’s big scene with Baldrik to be the last thing to happen. Conversely, Iri being first made sense because her portion of the epilogue was the most unconnected of the three. So we basically just shifted the priority based on relevance. Nothing more.
A: …Did she begin to have second thoughts about freeing a criminal accused of murdering one of the most powerful political figures on the planet? …What do you think?
A: I dunno. Did we? Show me the body.
A: Of course not. He’s mother-****in’ BALDRIK.
A: Ike is a wide-eyed shounen protagonist… and you’re asking… if he’s going to make any more rash decisions.
A: Well… technically the scene does end right there, so…
A: We needed to get all the important characters to “Starting Positions.” It wouldn’t really have made much sense if they were to just all conveniently be in the same place. There’d have been a lot of exposition later in regards to why any of them were there… or… we could just write a book that moves them all to where they needed to be, explaining the whole setup and removing the need to retroactively explain it all later.
A: Not as challenging as you might think, and still probably more challenging than I would’ve liked. But that’s what happens. This was really our first major project in a prose format. So it was always gonna be difficult. Giving ourselves such an extreme buffer of time helped a lot, though. It allowed us to work on catching and fixing a lot of things, making necessary tweaks, all that. Ultimately I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out, in the end.
A: Sure. Making sure Ike was an engaging character was tough. He’s pretty “vanilla,” all things considered. So making sure he’s engaging, rather than boring, was a challenge. But I think we managed, well enough. Is it perfect? Nah. But he’ll be getting better. I’m excited to start really delving into the actual nuances of that character. Baldrik was pretty easy to pin down, but Chapter 8 was a bloody nightmare. Figuring out how to handle that sort of “passing-the-torch” chapter in the first book of the series was rough. And that’s on top of having to basically set up the entire character of Seamus in a single scene. But nothing – and I mean nothing – was as grueling a task as the balancing act of writing for Iri. It’s so incredibly difficult writing a character like that. Not because of how nuanced she is, but because of how much restraint has to be used with her. It’s a matter of constantly juggling how much to reveal about her in any given scene and how much to hold back. She’s a really mysterious character and her being a member of the main cast makes maintaining that quality extremely tough.
A: …I guess you’ll have to read the next book, won’tcha?
And we’re done! That’s it for Writers’ Rooms on Burning Sky Prelude! But stay tuned for updates on when the series proper will launch! Thanks for reading!
Keep up the Awesome!