FireHeart Progress Journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by BlitzGirl, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    6/13/2019 Update: Finally finished typing up Chapter 35, and I had completely rewritten the second half of it! There are more edits I would like to do, but for now I am happy with what I've done. Now to move on to typing Chapter 36, where Kaina decides to go to Erif to train, to control her power of fire.
     
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  2. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    3/3/2020 Update: Okay, it's been forever and a day since I was last here, and in that time I really had lost motivation to work on my story! However, recently I decided to read through what I have written in my typed draft, making small edits here and there as I went. I also picked up a fantasy novel that not only sounds interesting but is something I hope can give me proper inspiration. I am going to try to work on my rough draft since I know I'm sooooo close to the end (well, maybe a few chapters away, but still!). I still want to finish this!

    Like usual, even if the motivation to write hasn't been around, I still can't stop thinking of this story and its characters. It's how I've been with all of my unfinished stories. Never have I quit a story due to lack of interest - I just lose the motivation to actually write, and then as weeks turn to months I have moved on to something else. Well, in this case, I haven't been working on any other written project, just playing video games in my spare time.

    That's about all the updates I can give at this moment, but I'm glad I took the time to log back in here and post something.
     
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  3. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Phew, finally used my evening home from work finishing the typed version of Chapter 36! I did that instead of playing World of Warcraft. The next chapter I need to type up is when Kaina has Erif train her to control her power, but since she is afraid of fire, it is an arduous task.
     
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  4. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    3/5/2020 Update: I finished typing up the 2nd draft of Chapter 37 (when Kaina trains with Erif to control her power of fire) yesterday, but made a few more touch-ups this morning. I am now typing Chapter 38.
     
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  5. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    3/6/2020 Update: Now Chapter 38 is typed. I've been using the lulls at work to get a lot of my recent progress done, now that the writing itch has returned to me. I'm super excited to start typing the next chapter, which is when stuff once again escalates. Any scene involving Belan is super fun to write, even if he's a slimy asshole. Or...maybe that is WHY it's fun to write? As writers, surely we all get satisfaction from putting our heroes face to face with our villains...
     
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  6. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    "Fun to write" sounds good!
     
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  7. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    3/7/2020 Update: Hurray! Chapter 39 has been typed! I always loved this chapter, for it's when Kaina finally lets Belan know that she knew he was a part of the Sinati temple's destruction, and he more or less admits to it. *evil cackling ensues*
     
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  8. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    I got Chapter 40 typed up over the weekend, and, man, it got MORE intense than the rough draft was!
     
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  9. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Welp, I have been s l o w l y making my way through the typed draft of Chapter 41... The issue is that this is the point in my rough draft where I was throwing in filler scenes, trying to get the story from Point A to Point B without doing weird time skips. Basically, writing whatever came into my head and seeing if it worked (after all, that is what the rough draft is all about). Of course, many of the scenes I wrote during this little stretch weren't very good, so now that I'm working on the typed draft, I have to rewrite this section from scratch. So, Chapter 41 is new content, and that's why it's taking so long.

    In addition, with the COVID19 situation, I am being forced to work from home for the foreseeable future, and that means that I wake up, power up my computer, work from 8am to 5pm, and once work is over...I'm still at home. Yes, I am going out and at least getting walks in, but me and many others are having to spend as much time inside as possible to kick this virus in the butt. That means that my mental state is getting screwed with. Staying at home all day and working from home is distorting my sense of time as well as killing my motivation to feel creative. The most I've been doing is playing some video games here and there, maybe watching YouTube videos, but otherwise not feeling in the mood to write or draw. So that is another reason why I'm not getting very far in my project.
     
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  10. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Phew, finally, after months, I managed to get back to writing. All I did so far was finish typing up Chapter 41, where I had Kaina actually win her first practice fight with her combat/exercise instructor. Yet another new scene that's been added in this typed draft, and a much-needed character development moment. We shall see if I pick up any steam, now, and write more...
     
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  11. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Chapter 42 is now typed! Had a surprising spurt of productivity recently. This chapter followed the rough draft version pretty close, where I kept a lot of the same dialogue, but I reframed a conversation. The next chapter will be fun to type up, since it deals with Kaina speaking with the prisoner herself (the same prisoner she had seen be interrogated by Captain Belan). I do think that I'm reaching the part of the story where it begins to careen towards the final act, so there will be a lot of work to do. Things got a little rushed as I went on and I hope to fine-tune the pacing if I can. But, I'll worry about that once I get there. Not even the rough draft is finished, but typing up the hand-written chapters is a good way to get myself back into the headspace.
     
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  12. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    I still haven't been writing as often as I'd like, but I'm making some progress in Chapter 43. This is where Kaina visits the prison once more so that she can question the prisoner herself, without Belan's interference.

    In the hand-written draft, she spoke to a man in passing who had been arrested for spreading heresy, and this conversation led her to the conclusion that there must be a way for the heretics and the Remmusism faithful to live in peace. However, in THIS draft, I changed the identity of the random prisoner from one of the heretics to Loreno, the man who had tried to kidnap Kaina during her first day in Emalfir's streets (when she was searching for Aria, who had fallen behind/gotten lost). I felt so guilty about him simply disappearing, with no resolution, that I can't believe I never thought about this idea before! In this version, Loreno explains he was arrested because he happened to be among a crowd listening to a heretic, and by this point the city guard have been flat-out arresting anyone who happens to be near the heretics during one of their speeches. So...wrong place, wrong time for Loreno, though he deserved to be arrested anyway for his life of crime. The conversation leads Kaina to the same conclusion as in the rough draft, for Loreno talks about not caring what people believe, and how the hatred the two sides feel for each other lately is making life harder for everyone (himself included, obviously).

    So, two birds with one stone: I more or less keep this conversation, but I also get to resolve Loreno's story.
     
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  13. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Haven't had any progress to report since May, but the last few days I've been re-reading my typed draft from the beginning yet again in the hopes that it will get me back in the mood to write. There's also a lot that goes on in this story, so it's never a bad idea to refresh my memory on the details. No writing done yet, just a few minor edits here-and-there in the first 100 pages I've re-read.
     
  14. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Welp, it took a while, but I finally managed to push myself to re-read all the typed chapters from start to finish. I did this instead of reading through my 1st handwritten draft since the typed draft so far is a better, more consistent version of the story I've been writing, and since I had lost my will to write for a while, I felt that reading through what I had written would get me back in the mood to continue the story. So now all I have to do is see if I can continue typing up the latest chapter. I do realize that I still haven't completed the handwritten draft, meaning the story technically isn't finished yet, but that's okay. There is a lot of filler I want to clean up before I tackle the ending. Don't like extraneous stuff just hanging around. Fingers crossed that I can return to properly writing.
     
  15. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Finally! I picked up where I had last stopped in the typed draft and was able to finish writing the latest chapter. I made a good number of changes, too. In the first draft, Kaina is questioning a prisoner for information, takes a break, then returns to find the man dead in his cell. But in this version, I made it so the man was "somehow" freed from his shackles, provided a dagger, and had his cell door unlocked, so he attempts to escape when Kaina and the guard return...only to then be caught by other guards and killed on the spot. It makes his "execution" look more like an accident, and given a rational excuse by the guards who killed him. Basically, the scene still proves to Kaina that there are guards in the prison who are in on the conspiracy, proving that none of them can be trusted for now. Plus it silences the prisoner from potentially betraying any more of the cult's plans. And it's far more dramatic this way!

    It feels good to finally be able to write again. This is my birthday weekend, so I am taking Monday off, so I'm going to keep pushing myself to see how much progress I can make with these next few days.
     
  16. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Slowly working through typing the next chapter, and I have now reached the point in my handwritten rough draft where I will need to create new scenes in my typed draft. This is because, where I am right now, I wasn't sure how to fill up time between big, important events, so in the rough draft I wrote scenarios in order to test the waters, to see if these scenes I was making up on the spot would "stick". In hindsight, those scenes weren't my best ideas, so now that I am working on the typed draft I am going to completely ignore those scenes and make new ones. The scenes in the rough draft that won't be replaced may instead get rearranged a bit. Again, I realize that my rough draft still isn't finished, but I've made enough changes in the typed chapters that the rough draft has outdated/incorrect information. When I handwrite, my brain is focused on just getting the work done, but when I type I am more flexible and can consider all the character and plot developments to have come before. It's really interesting to see how differently my brain works when handwriting versus typing a piece of fiction.
     
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  17. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Took a while, but I think that typed Chapter 44 is finished for now. Like all my other typed chapters, this won't be the final draft, but I feel I've done enough with it and can move on to the next chapter. This was a much slower chapter, a moment for Kaina and the reader to "breathe" a bit after the craziness that happened in chapter 43. It involved Kaina telling Mistress Saifiri what had happened and what she has learned so far, while being wary of how much she should tell everyone else (in case it causes a panic, or prompts individuals to get involved and potentially become targets by the villains). I also finally got Kaina to check in on her two friends who are still at the Temple of Remmus. She really had been too busy to set much time aside to talk to them, which is a feeling I definitely understand (I also have been on the receiving end, with people I know being super busy). Finally, Kaina learns from Teran that he's going to be leaving soon and return to the city. She's very concerned about this, to put it lightly. She is afraid he's going to get into danger again. I am very slowly and subtly building up the fact that Kaina and Teran have developed feelings for each other. It's quite a different romance than the one Kaina had with Sari.

    Anyway, I now need to figure out what should happen in the next typed chapter, because my rough draft was a bit of a mess at this point in the story and I'd hate to just jump ahead to the next big event. Pacing is always a struggle for me with stories that aren't all about action. I've really being going out of my comfort zone with this story, really, but it's been a fun challenge while also being a story involving characters I really care about. All my original characters from any story are my babies, actually!
     
  18. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Normally I make a post here once I've finished a chapter, but in this case I'm excited enough that I'm posting an update mid-chapter. During the last few days I've been working on typing the next chapter. This one was a bit slow to start out as I tried to decide what should happen next, but once I got past the beginning I then decided it was the right time to bring in a decisive scene from the rough draft: When Teran leaves the Temple, deciding he's done with his period of sanctuary. As I have mentioned earlier in this Progress Journal (when I was working on the rough draft), this event leads to Kaina bringing him to the Eyrie to meet the Phoenix, as a way of thanking him for everything he's done for her. Once they start flying on Erif's back, I basically kept the scene word-for-word from the rough draft, making minor changes. Once I got to that part, I easily typed up thousands of words by the end of the evening, which felt very good! It helped that I loved writing this scene in the rough draft. It's such a pivotal moment when Kaina and Teran confirm that they love each other, after having a very slow build up throughout the story. It's hard for me, as the writer, to NOT fan-girl a bit over the pairing, even though I equally enjoyed writing the Kaina/Sari relationship. Both are equally important to Kaina's development as a person, both Sari and Teran inspiring her to be more courageous. That's what makes these relationships important.

    I'm going to keep working on this chapter and will post another update once it's finished.
     
  19. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Aaaand...just like that, I finished typing up the chapter! Scenes I personally like, with characters I love, is always good inspiration to get work done on this project. That's not to say that I don't like any characters in my story, of course - I love them all, even minor, unnamed characters. And the villains, too.

    Now, I have begun to flip through the notebook that has the rest of the story written in it, and this was the part of my rough draft where I gave up trying to create "filler" scenes and jumped straight into drama. The story really picks up its pace after Kaina and Teran realize they love each other. I'm hoping I can reformat some of the following scenes, and add some better "connective tissue" so that the next series of events don't fly by as quickly. But regardless of what I may wish to change as I type up the next chapters, the fact of the matter is that this is the final act of the story. I don't want to change that, at least. I do realize that in this typed draft I got rid of an entire sub-plot where a Priestess tried to harm/kill Kaina. I'll need to find another way to tie up the loose thread involving some Priestesses outright hating Kaina, believing she isn't worthy of being Speaker. The Priestess that Kaina accidentally killed, the bully Kira, had friends, and they won't easily change their minds about her. But I can't have them completely drop out of the story.

    I'm letting these thoughts and ideas run through my head for now, and I'll look for ways to resolve them as I keep going. One thing's for sure: I always have an easier time making sweeping changes/alterations when I am typing these chapters up in a Word document. While typing, my brain seems to go into "editing mode", and I can more easily consider things I want to change and do so on the fly. With writing by hand with pencil in a physical notebook, it's more of a tunnel vision experience, though I always give careful thought to paragraph breaks, where I want italics, etc.

    For now, I do hope it's still "okay" to have this final act of the story move at a more brisk pace. I like to think of the pacing of the story overall as a graph that spikes up sharply, descends gently, then starts climbing again with build up. This "final act" is where the graph begins to peak once more.
     
  20. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Still working on typing the next chapter, where Kaina begins to put her power to heal to good use in the Temple, and...I'm already starting to think of things I may want to add/change when I get to later chapters. The problem is, I'm worried that one idea I have may be too bold, too intense, even though it would be in keeping with the mindset of the villains. Basically, in the rough draft there is a scene where Kaina visits the royal palace one last time, overhears Belan speaking with the Queen's attendant, Saira, about how they are the ones behind the Queen's illness, and while at the palace Kaina is confronted by Belan for trying to see the King and Queen. That's more or less what happens, and it will stay the same in the typed draft with some fine-tuning. BUT...what I am considering is, when Kaina is confronted and threatened by Belan, that he has some of his men who are acting as palace guards take in one of Kaina's bodyguards, Bahrem, and has them beat/torture him in front of Kaina as punishment. This would hammer home the fact that Belan is not bluffing when he constantly warns Kaina that there will be consequences if she keeps trying to uncover their plot. There's nothing worse than a villain who doesn't keep their promises, right? And what better threat could there be than to have someone Kaina personally knows be hurt? The issue is that I worry this could get too intense. If I put in this addition, Bahrem of course wouldn't be killed, but they realistically could do many horrible things to him, and even though I know that my story is YA (for older young adults, not pre-teens), I know what Belan and his men are capable of. I can get into the villains' heads as easily as I can with the protagonists of the story.

    Pros of this idea:
    1.) It proves Belan is not just talk, backing up his threats from earlier.
    2.) It hurts someone Kaina has grown emotionally attached to, making the consequence more personal.
    3.) Some language the other men would use against Bahrem would highlight how, in Ralosian society, eunuchs are not appreciated, even when they are acting in service to the Temple.
    4.) When he recovers, or starts to, Bahrem will prove his determination and resilience, and will push on despite what was done to him. I keep emphasizing throughout the story how he has been through some pretty bad shit in his life and always stays strong in the face of adversity. That's one of his defining character traits.

    Cons:
    1.) It could get VERY bad. I'm not sure how much I'd want to injure/traumatize Bahrem.
    2.) I worry the trauma could be seen by readers as unnecessary, just for shock value even though it's in line with what Belan has constantly warned Kaina about.
    3.) The story might slow down a bit too much afterwards as Bahrem is forced to recover. In my rough draft, he is a key figure in the later defense of the Temple of Remmus when Belan and his men attack it. He then is one of several people who journey with Kaina across the desert to try to save the Phoenix.

    I feel that this idea/concern should be reformatted to be posted in one of the forums on this site so I can actually get feedback, but I'd be more than content with anyone who's been following my progress here to feel free to comment and engage with me, give feedback/thoughts. I've seen other progress journals here where people talked with the OP, and I kinda wish there was more of that so I'm not just talking into a void.
     
  21. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Another chapter is typed! This one involves Kaina using her powers to heal within the Temple's healing hall, then having to help save a Priestess who got attacked in the city by a drunk guard who was in fact an undercover member of the heretical organization. As with the rough draft, the Priestess dies, but this time I made the severity of her injuries a bit more justified to die by - she got an arm chopped off at the elbow and lost too much blood by the time she was brought to the Temple. The rest of the chapter takes out some extraneous stuff from the rough draft but still focuses on Kaina's emotional trauma from the event, as well as her trying to convince herself she should keep pursuing the truth.

    As I recall from my rough draft...the next chapter to be typed is none other than the chapter where Kaina goes to the royal palace and gets confronted by Belan. I can't think of any reason why I should try to delay that event. Even Kaina knows she shouldn't waste anymore time, so I should keep thinking like the character does.
     
  22. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    The chapter where Kaina goes to the palace and tries to tell the King the truth about what's happening is now finished! But the whole thing took almost 5k words, so the new scene where Bahrem is hurt as punishment is going to have to be in the next chapter. Which is just as well, I guess: It would distract too much from the big important things that just happened. I'm the kind of person who likes to keep my chapters within a certain page/word count so they aren't too long or too short. I know that's a personal preference thing, but it does help me try to narrow down each chapter into a specific theme or series of events. I'm okay with this chapter being entirely about trying to uncover the truth, and the next one being the consequences of Kaina trying to interfere. Based on the pacing of the rest of my rough draft, there could easily be up to 10 more chapters remaining. I never did finish the handwritten draft, and there already are more chapters in the typed draft.

    Anyway, rambling again about nonsensical stuff! I'm going to immediately jump into the next chapter!
     
  23. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Looks like chapter 48 is all typed up and I'm ready to move on to the next chapter! Had a few days where I wasn't doing any typing, which is why it took a while. I had asked about the use of the torture scene in this site's forums, and one user had suggested having Belan cut off one of Bahrem's fingers - something that would send a message, maybe impact his ability to properly hold a sword, but not be anything extremely devastating. And, suffice to say, I took that suggestion to heart. It was one of those writing moments where I just was drawing a blank on good ideas, and when I read this suggestion my brain went: "DUH! Why didn't you think of something like that? It's perfect!" So...yep, a fellow member of these forums actually helped make the scene better. :) And, honestly, me choosing to change the order of events at the palace the way I did in this typed draft makes more sense, so overall I'm happier with this version.

    Also in this chapter I squeezed in a scene from the rough draft at the end where Kaina visits Teran and asks him to help with what he can in the city. Even in the rough draft, this was at the end of the chapter, but I can't imagine putting it at the beginning of the next chapter because it's the last thing Kaina does that day, and I usually prefer a new chapter to start at the beginning of a new day (or at least with a change of events). This scene is almost entirely the same except only Resan takes Kaina there, since Bahrem is back at the Temple recovering. Kaina did use her healing power on him, so his recovery will go faster than if she didn't help at all.

    Now, looking at the rough draft, the next chapter is entirely about Kaina, High Headmistress Korlaia, and others preparing for the inevitable attack on the Temple, with the attack happening in the chapter after that. I'm still unsure if I want to alter any of the pacing going forward, for I don't want to stretch out the events for too long, after going through an already long story that takes a leisurely pace at times. The main thing is that Belan threatened Kaina at the palace, giving her his final warning, but not being clear on what will happen. So, it really is Kaina who is forced to jump to conclusions and try to prepare so they are safe rather than sorry. I like to think that it means that Kaina, after all she's seen of Belan, has a decent grasp on what he might do, or at least fears the worst after the ominous visions she's had. It's one of those things I really don't want to "overthink", just like how Belan's motivations to essentially end the world don't need a clear answer. There are plenty of people in our own world who just want to watch the world burn, or have such a deep-seated hatred for people who think differently than them that apocalypse is seen as justifiable. Their ideologies don't make rational sense to someone outside their sphere of influence, so isn't it fair that there are people in fictional stories who also don't appear to be acting on logic? What matters in the end is that Belan is a cold, calculated villain who manages to get inside Kaina's head and threatens everything she holds dear, and that's good enough. Next to Belan, the biggest antagonist of the story has been Kaina's own insecurities about herself and her fear of fire, but once she gets through those struggles it's the more tangible, real threat that needs to be focused on.

    Anyway, this post is going a bit long, and I'm rambling, so I'll leave it there!
     
  24. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Got about 2k words written of chapter 49 today! This is when everyone starts to prepare. Main difference so far between the rough draft and this typed draft is I have Kaina tell not only High Headmistress Korlaia but also the High Mistresses about what's to come, and together they decide how to prepare. That's kind of the only update I have right now. :write:
     
  25. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Was thinking about it last night (while trying to sleep - like always!), and I keep going back and forth between keeping or removing Kaina's vision of Saifiri's death. On the one hand, keeping it in makes Kaina even more terrified of the future, acting as more of an introspective thing for her. There also is the fact that visions of possible futures has precedence in this world, for the Speaker has that gift even though they have no control over it, and not everything they see is necessarily true. I'm a sucker for visions and prophecies, so whenever I use them in stories I try to give them a logical reason that makes sense for that world.

    But if I took it out of the story, then Saifiri's death would be more of a surprise/shock. It would by no means change Kaina's fears for her safety, and it wouldn't alter how devastated she reacts when the death actually happens (as written in the rough draft). I would hope that if I took the vision out of the story that the sense of impending doom wouldn't be impacted. The worst that happens is...there is a bit less drama, which this story is chock full of.

    I suppose I could just keep two versions of the story saved - one where I keep the vision in, and another where I take it out. But as of this moment, I really can't decide which path I ultimately want to take. It would depend on how the vision-less version reads and feels, and it should be noted that the inclusion or exclusion of the vision foretelling Saifiri's death only really impacts a small number of chapters.
     

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