In hindsight, I had made one big mistake during these past two years when Daybreak was on hiatus: I had never gone back and read the original volume that started the whole story.
I had built up this image in my head that it wasn’t what I wanted moving forward. That it was a piece of work from my past, when my tastes were different. That I was no longer interested in such an opening format.
It’s not true.
I’m still just as attached.
It took me a long time to be able to read it without feeling pain. The last chapter I wrote (v4ch2) was just before a row between me and Hachi (the artist) ended all contact between us. For me at least, the episode was heartbreaking. I thought we were friends who could discuss all kinds of things. It turned out to be my delusions. I regret my mistakes in not being careful enough with words, but… (sigh) anyways…
For a long time I couldn’t even open the Daybreak folder without feeling pain. Even as I wrote other fiction in the Hyperion setting, I would go into the folder, grab whatever I need, and then rushed to close it.
But this year, I’ve finally recovered enough, put enough distance between me and what had happened. I could read what I’ve written years ago, embrace it, feel it.
I realized that I still don’t want to give it up.
I missed working with the fun characters I’ve built up — Kaede, Pascal, and Sylviane.
I still have a host of structural issues with Daybreak‘s story (as written when I dropped it). It’s still poorly planned at the start. It still gives me a ton of headaches in moving forward. The genre expectations weren’t laid down properly. The shift in focus was too sudden after the 1st volume. The war came too swift and absorbed too much focus. Et cetera. Et cetera.
But I should never have written it off as unsalvageable. I should have examined all the other options, not merely take a polar “[continus] vs [drop]” stance.
And just the other day, five months after I officially dropped the project, I had a moment of revelation while talking to a friend.
What if: instead of starting the story in Pascal’s home country of Weichsel, I started it in Sylviane’s country of Rhin-Lotharingie instead? The 1st volume would still play out in almost exactly the same manner. However, I would be able to start my focus on Rhin-Lotharingie far earlier — start introducing the country, its people, the major characters, et cetera.
I would be able to build it brick by brick, instead of feeling like I had to construct a new house every volume.
Meanwhile the characters of the 1st volume wouldn’t just be junior officers in Weichsel’s army, whom I struggle to drag along the story to stay relevant. Instead, they could be tied directly to the tale of how Sylviane ascends in the Empire. Giving them roles to fill also means I don’t need to introduce as many new characters in every volume, which was one of my biggest headaches.
I can’t believe it took me so long to see this option.
I could have, should have done this two years ago.
Thus, I am official undropping Daybreak. I will return to working on this story.
This is the Daybreak Redux project : Daybreak(re)
P.S. Work on Eve of Rebirth will continue until end of Volume 1, then I’ll see if it met my expectations before deciding its future. The events of Eve will also play a bigger role in Daybreak.
Since this is a rather ambitious project, I’m tapping some of my professional skills to manage goals and timelines. If you’re interested in my the details and dates involved feel free. May involve minor spoilers.
- Resurrect Daybreak on Hyperion.
- Rewrite the beginning so that while the story of 1st Volume is not noticeably changed, the setting changes to Rhin-Lotharingie and the characters carry over to subsequent volumes better.
- Fix major expectation issues by beginning discussions of political, military, and worldbuilding matters early in 1st Volume, without altering the fundamental balance of pacing — the humor and slapstick wills stay, but increasingly more detailed discussions will be injected in bite-sized chunks, culminating in Kaede’s discussion with Cecylia.
- On the plus side, Kaede actually feels properly intellectual from the very beginning.
- Hyperion should also shed its “generic fantasy world” feel earlier.
- Start discussing Kaede’s past in the real world earlier. This was delayed too long in the original.
- Fix the skewed plot balance towards big battles. Too many battles were taking significant screentime without offering enough character development benefits. (i.e. 5 chapters were combat-focused in vol2, way too much).
- Increase focus on administrative and diplomatic affairs, which can stay more character-interaction-driven.
- Fix long-time inconsistencies (i.e. mana/ether) and many of my old awkward writing tendencies (i.e. grammar).
Volume 1 Plans:
- Keep most characters and events as is.
- Begins in Rhin-Lotharingie’s Alisia Academy, instead of Weichsel’s Konigsfeld Military Academy.
- Extend conversations with earlier/more focus on worldbuilding by placing greater emphasis on Kaede’s scholarly views.
- Inject more comparisons from Kaede between the new world and her personal background.
- Major characters given more experience at start, not merely students but grad and interns.
- Pascal, Ariadne, and Professor Albert begins in Alisia, in a program to exchange culture/military expertise.
- Reynald > Renaud Moreau, armiger cadet
- Parzifal > Perceval de La Tours de… intern healer
- Gerd > Gerard Fournier, civil engineer
- Cecylia > Weichsel military attache & analyst, works in the embassy at Alis Avern
- Fix language (god my grammar is awful back then!)
Milestone 1: complete rewrite by 7/1/2020. Beta may take longer as needed. Hold back on publishing.
Volume 2 Plans:
- Largely rewritten (especially early on), but maintain major events
- Keep: Manteuffel plot
- Keep: Admiral Winter’s campaign, however the Air Battle of Nordkreuz will not be given as much focus
- Keep: Geoffroi and Gabriel
- Remove: campaign into Skagen.
- Remove: Sylv going too far with Kaede > this created a lot of backlash for no good purpose
- First half focused on the Royal Summit in Rhin-Lotharingie, where the major players in the Empire get together to discuss the invasion. Provides early introduction to major characters and overall situation. Less of problem in vol3+
- Introduce Viviene, Alistair, et cetera.
- Cecylia will play a role at conference. Ariadne returns to Weichsel early.
- Second half focused on trip to Nordkreuz, where Pascal/Sylv is tasked with getting support from Weichsel. Original meeting with King Leopold will be used as basis.
- Reynaud/Perceval/Gerard won’t appear again until they meet Elspeth.
- Main focus will be for Pascal and Kaede to find their respective roles (old vol2 lacked a central focus).
- Major battles near the end only. Pascal plans for the Air Battle (per original) but won’t partake in it. He is then charged with the Land Defense of Nordkreuz, after the air raid (per original). Kaede will have a role in the battle.
Milestone 2: first half drafted before 9/30/2020, ending with Gabriel’s interlude.
Milestone 3: second half drafted by 10/30/2020, expected to progress faster as there’s many more shared scenes.
Publication: I will begin publishing the chapters for public view after the 1st half of vol2 is fully beta-read and 2nd half is mostly finished. Volume 1 will be made available at once. Volume 2 at a pace. Preferably to start no later than October.
Volume 3 Plans:
- Keep most characters and events as is.
- Begin in Nordkreuz, start expedition into Rhin-Lotharingie from there, as is.
- Start trip earlier as there is less introductions needed.
- Reynaud becomes one of Sylv’s armigers at some point.
- Rhin-Lotharingie characters should have been introduced earlier. Fix some issues, especially with Vivi’s surprise entry.
- See if we can fix mid-volume pacing issues that used to plague us.
- See if we can remove or reduce one of the battles.
Milestone 4: draft completed before 12/31/2020.
Final Goal: restart work on Volume 4 by beginning of 2021.Author's Comment
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