Cresting Broken Plains: The V6 CBP Self-Indulgent Postmortem-y Thing
A Long Time Ago... wrote:
CrossBowPig - 07/25/2017
Right now I'm concerned with something a little more immediate:
Cicada - 07/25/2017
u coming in for the kill
CrossBowPig - 07/25/2017
I'm gonna do a long-ass "What Could Have Been" post
Cicada - 07/25/2017
oh huh this'll be cool
CrossBowPig - 07/25/2017
I've been feeling kind of navel-gazey recently. A good wallow in your own feelings can't really hurt you, as long as it isn't what you spend most of your time doing, but lately a lot of this introspection has been directed towards several of my missed opportunities during my first version on SOTF Main. A lot of these won't exactly be plans that fell through entirely, but missed opportunities, or points where my experience could have really, truly, changed, for better or for worse. Some of these will be reaches, and others will be what I hope are interesting insights into my process writing Arthur Bernstein and Lili Williams. I'll start with the most speculative and work my way up to an actual error I made that I'm pretty sure not many people (if any) have spotted on their own. Let's begin, shall we?
Arthur Could Have Gone With Henry Spencer And/Or Jasper Bustamante:
Writing the dynamic between Arthur and Coleen Reagan with Kilmarnock was one of my favorite parts of V6. Without that dynamic, I don't know if I would have been able to shape Arthur's narrative into the focused, pointed work that it turned out to be otherwise. However, the impact of this decision on the rest of both his and Henry and/or Jasper's stories would have butterfly-affected so many that I feel that, despite the reach-y nature of this hypothetical, it's worth including here. Speaking of Arthur, something else I lose sleep over is his death.
Lili Could Have Died Earlier If I Didn't Swap In Arthur:
Arthur's death was, admittedly, pretty damn well timed. Building the trust between Coleen and Arthur, from stressful situation to stressful situation, went on long enough for the absence of Arthur from Coleen's life to be emphasized in her behavior, and yet didn't drag so long that Arthur's dying first became a foregone conclusion. At the same time, Lili was in-between story threads at this point in time, having just decided she was completely done with Darius Van Dyke's escape plan. I don't know exactly how
I would have killed her off at this point (I had vague visions at some point of a harrowing encounter between Lili and the Isabel Ramirez/Lily Caldwell duo). At the very least, it would have prevented one of her more egregious errors from spreading too badly later on, but we'll get to that later on. On Arthur's side, this could have squeezed a few more drops of real tension out of him and Coleen's strange friendship. I'm happy that things turned out the way they did, though.
Lili Could Have Not Left Benjamin Lichter and Maxim Kehlenbrink:
This one ultimately came out of my own impatience. This early on in my SOTF career, I still had not learned how to wait patiently for others to post. So, when I thought that Ben and Maxim were taking too long to wake up, I had Lili go and throw her shoes into the ocean. I probably intended for her to go back to Ben and Maxim, but eventually decided that if they did wind up meeting again Lili would have wanted to leave for real and that would just wind up being redundant. We're getting close to the big, big redundancy now, but I think there's just one thing I want to touch on before I get to that career-ruining revelation.
Lili's Death Could Have Been Planned Better:
I won't say much here, because a lot of this isn't mine to say. I primarily want to apologize for how much of a dick I was when it finally came time to kill of Lili and I still hadn't learned how to be patient yet. Her actual suicide was fine, but the thread prior had a lot of stress going on behind the scenes, and I'll leave it at that.
Which, finally, brings me to-
The Sports Strap:
Here we go.
Let's set the scene a little before I jump into the big fuck-up. In the thread My Human Gets Me Blues, Lili takes off her glasses and puts them in her pocket. She does this because, over the past few days, they've become so scratched up and smudgy that she's been unable to clean them in any meaningful capacity. Darius enters the room, and asks Lili if she's willing to help him carry the body of Jasmine King, which was lying in the middle of the room, for his escape plan attempt. She agrees, and the two carry the body out onto the bridge. While on the bridge in God In Three Persons, the subsequent thread, the glasses fall out of her pocket and are never seen again. Lili's sight problems get a little worse over the next few days, and factor into quite a few of her more hasty decisions, including, in some part, her catastrophic inability to sympathize with Asuka Takahara in Ship's A Goin' Down, the blurriness of Asuka's face matching the blurry line in Lili's mind between friend and foe.
There's one problem with all of this, though.
Lili should have never lost the glasses.
Take a look at these few sentences from Lili's profile.
Appearance Section wrote:On the day of the kidnapping, Lili was wearing a blue sweater and black jeans. Underneath her sweater she wears a red Frank Zappa T-Shirt. For footwear, she wears blue Chuck Taylor sneakers that she bought the previous summer. Her glasses are attached to her head with a sports strap, a precaution she has taken since her early schooling.
Did you catch that? Let's zoom in a little closer. Good, good, now, enhance!
ENHANCE! wrote:Her glasses are attached to her head with a sports strap, a precaution she has taken since her early schooling.
If you don't know what a sports-strap is, it looks like this:
- [+] Spoiler
I'm unsure if you can tell exactly from the photo, but having worn one of these myself, they're affixed pretty tightly to your head when you wear them. So tightly, in fact, that you'd want to let your glasses droop around your neck instead of take them off if you were being annoyed by just how smudgy they had started to get. If you had been wearing them since grade school, like Lili, you probably would have been used to doing this instead of leaving them in your pocket, and if you had been wearing the strap to avoid losing the glasses specifically because you're a massive ditz, then you'd definitely
not just put your glasses in your pocket.
So, what happens when Lili doesn't lose her glasses? A whole lot of stuff, really. She probably wouldn't have spent so much time running in circles and getting drenched in the rain - in fact, she might have even fought Leslie Price if, I dunno, she could have seen her
- she wouldn't have relied so heavily on others during the second half of her run, and she most definitely would have had a harder time shooting Asuka. Some of these changes would have played out for worse, and others for better, but the one thing tying them all together is the disappearance of Lili's Sports Strap - a glaring omission, by any measure.
It took me a good five months after she died for me to realize that I had even given her a Sports Strap. Why did I do it? Was it specifically so that I could avoid the overplayed Scooby-Doo "Oh no, my glasses!" trope? Was it so that I could give Lili something visually remarkable, something that would make her generally safe and reasonable appearance a little more notable? Or was it specifically so I forget, like a paper town on the map I had charted out in my own head, forgotten in the mess of my own amateur cartography, a repressed reminder of my own vapid meandering so well hidden that even I, its creator, would eventually pack a bunch of food and clothes into the back of a green 1982 Ford Escort and set my GPS to the city of Sports Strap, Arizona, hoping to find a place to start a new life?
More importantly, why didn't anyone else point it out to me? Was it really so forgettable of a character detail that it escaped the minds of two different artists, a good 15+ thread partners, and anyone else who happened to read her along the way?
I loved my time writing in V6. I have no idea how most of these changes, if they were what took place, would affect how Lili Williams and Arthur Bernstein's stories played out. The one thing I know for sure, though, is that the choices I did make - consciously or by mistake - led to some of the most fun I've had as a writer, both in the SOTF universe and as a writer in general. I highlight these not out of regret - well, mostly - but because they were good food for thought.
I hope you had as much fun reading my kids as I did writing them.
No you can't have Lili for SC3 I have unfinished business on this bitch of an Earth.