Updates, and Daybreak Dev Diary #6: Plans

This is Aorii. It's been a while.

I have several updates to push out. I've actually been sitting on all of them for over a month now; but several of the beta-readers had been busy due to personal reasons and I haven't been able to meet my minimum 'beta-passes' quota until now. This seems to be a consistent trend every winter ^^;

A few of you may have read my Dev Diary last December on both Flowers and my plans for the future of Daybreak. The TL;DR version is that after some conversations (special thanks to the artist Hachi and beta-readers Jorge and Ahmsab), I finally came to the realization that the entire Flowers exposition was far from satisfactory and that I was rushing too fast into the story to do it justice. I was trying out a different storytelling style that I've seen in many other fictions -- where the main events are introduced first and the character details/reactions are filled in later from flashbacks to slowly piece together a full picture -- but eventually came to the realization that this did not work well with my writing and, if anything, it undermined some of my better qualities.

An ineffectual general edit finally helped me to pin down the flaws, and I decided to do a complete rewrite of Flowers from scratch. Hence after much rework, the prologue of Flowers is re-posted, as two separate chapters this time. Everything from this point is being rewritten as well.

That Dev Diary also finally discussed the main issues I have with Daybreak, especially ones pertaining to its casting. Because I originally wrote it as a fun joke, Daybreak never had the initial planning to be written as a long serialization, and the more I write the more I seem to hit my head against a wall that refuses to go away. The stress really became too much after vol3, and at this stage I'm growing weary of forcing it to stay as a series. Thus I decided that since my detailed planning for Daybreak only went as far as volume 4, I will be discontinuing its main story at the end of this volume.

For the time being I plan to divide my time between Daybreak and Flowers. But in the long run I plan to have Flowers take over my obsession with writing stories focused on more complicated societal issues. Thus, Flowers is meant to be Daybreak's successor in everything except the genderbender tag, and I intend to pour in every bit as much effort to make it as interesting. I hope Daybreak's readers will give it (another) chance and offer me feedback with their thoughts.

If nothing else, the rewritten prologue of Flowers delves very heavily into Samaran psychology and social views -- something I've never quite had a chance for Kaede to properly explore and will certainly answer questions about her behavior.

Best regards,

~ Aorii

P.S. I'm pretty busy this season due to taking a management course, but I'll try to make periodic chapter updates.

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16 thoughts on “Updates, and Daybreak Dev Diary #6: Plans

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  1. Zephyrusu

    Please, please, please don't.

    Daybreak is one of the greatest things I've ever read. This is not an exaggeration. It is excellent. The writing is very cinematic and well-paced without dragging on for too long, the characters are interesting and relatable, capable but realistic, their actions feel real and understandable, both in their successes and in their mistakes. The way it combines slice-of-life fun with serious developments is also very well-built, with neither dominating the other and both being great to read. The way you narrate battles is not simply "one of" but THE greatest I've ever read in any writings. No surrealistic stratagems that somehow work, and no magical oracle generals that can just predict everything their opponent has planned because "they just can". But what I adore most is the very purpose of this novel: The sociology, the way everything impacts society in a realistic manner, and the way cultural differences are presented. It is very unique and it actually helps the characters become characters; their differing cultures are not simply referred to ("He is a Lotharin", "She is a Weichsel"), but rather experienced, in a way that feels very real. From what you've written before, you explained that you also wanted Daybreak to be an educational work, teaching history and such? It has succeeded. I love history myself, and I've read much of it, but there were still things I had never heard of in your work. The genderbender part is also amazing, no joke. I have searched far and wide for a well-written story that touches on this subject from a mature and objective point of view, without being consumed by either obnoxious SJW behaviour or a shameless storm of fanservice that removes any semblance of interest you might've had for the story. This is the one and only one I ever found. Yes I understand it's kinda weird, yes I understand it's hard to recommend to people because of it, yes I am probably (definitely) just an ungrateful bitch of a fan that just wants you to slave away to create free entertainment for me. But I genuinely believe Daybreak has been something beautiful. As soon as I found it, I spent all of my free time reading it non-stop until I exhausted all content, including all author's notes, extra chapters, development notes and whatnot.

    I read that you were disappointed with Volume 3? You shouldn't be. It was by far the best volume, the other two were masterpieces of their own right but the third one transgressed even that. I ADORED the chapter with Pascal and Sylviane's argument. Every action and behaviour the two of them make and show are things I have experiences (As first, second and third party) in real-life arguments, except refined and manufactured to the core into something far more beautiful through writing skills. Sylviane's psychological disorder was also something I loved seeing her experience, her bipolarity and her efforts to counter it are very endearing and make me love the character, even making her my second-favourite, taking Pascal's place right behind Kaede. I actually disliked Sylviane in Volume 2, but those feelings were wiped away by the new volume, in a very refreshing way. There are characters in fiction you love to love, there are characters you love to hate, there are (rarely) characters you hate to love, and finally there are characters you hate to hate. Sylviane never belonged to the latter two. She is magnificently-crafted, just like the rest of them. Finally, the enemies of volume 3 felt much more threatening. Because let's face it: Nobody expected Skagen to win, because it couldn't win, it shouldn't win, and thus won't win. The battles against them were still very interesting, to see how fast Weichsel could crush them so that they can move on to help Rhin-Lothrangie, and the tactics were still very interesting to see. But then come the battles with the Caliphate: The Lotharins are almost routed in the first battle, bombarded to a pulp in the artillery exchange, driven out of the field in the third, and endure a bloody thermonuclear explosion in the fourth. It shows that they're a glorious force to be reckoned with, a true menace to Rhin-Lothrangie that would've flooded into the empire's heartland had the combined efforts of Sylviane, Pascal, Kaede, Edith, Vivienne and all other characters not stopped them, and even then only barely.

    I understand that your new story, Flowers, will have much of the same. I've only read the teaser, but I can already tell it'll be a great novel, probably as good as this one, objectively speaking. But please tell me this: Say you are reading a great story yourself. Then, suddenly, midway, somebody just grabs it off your hand and throws it away, and just gives you a new story, which, sure, is just as good. How would you feel? You can't just flush the characters the audience has been familiarised with, as well as the story itself, down the toilet on the promise that you'll get new, "equally good" ones. I also understand you want to turn it into a slice-of-life light-hearted thing, but that's like taking a doughnut and then removing all the stuffing as well as the topping and then serving them to someone while throwing the dough away. Sure, it'll taste good... but it'll feel weird, and it's most definitely not the original doughnut, or a doughnut at all for that matter. Besides, let's be honest here: Can you really keep it going with being tempted into adding politics and battles in it midway? :P

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  2. Ebisu

    I'm saddened to hear that Daybreak will be discontinued after volume 4. While it continuing like a slice of life may work, I love the action and epic parts of Daybreak. I like Daybreak's characters, but I don't like seeing their exploits sidelined in favor of Flowers', which I always thought would be a one or two volume prequel, perhaps sort of a spinoff... Shaky foundations or not, the lighter comedic tone of Daybreak at the beginning worked very well to introduce the characters and make the readers interested. Without the genderbender Flowers drops in appeal for me too. The Samarans reincarnation system sets them perfectly to remember lives as a different gender, so It's weird hearing that Flowers will have none too...
    Honestly, I'd rather you didn't skip any fights and battles in Daybreak after volume 4 with the slice of life parts, so that if you feel like returning because you manage to find ideas or your motivation to give Daybreak the continuation it deserves, you can. You could totally make arc 4 last a hundred chapters too (worse is I may not be kidding).
    As for recommending it, you should be more proud of it and give people a chance to surprise you. If Daybreak ends up being your best work, wouldn't it be strange to never recommend it? I'm glad Daybreak is too complicated and big for you to rewrite at this stage too, he he.

    TLDR: It's Daybreak that I (we?) love.

    On a comment, perhaps the problem with Flowers is that while Lydia has a proper prologue, a story that allows the reader to know her, Subutai was lacking one. So Lydia is presented in a way that anyone would think she is the main character of the story, but the moment it starts, she suddenly becomes a secondary character losing all the protagonism to this Subutai who appears and is introduced out of nowhere to solve a situation that reeks of incompetence from the present leading figures (Lydia included, which undermines her and makes her look suddenly as just another incompetent officer). Perhaps if Subutai got a proper prologue before appearing at Polynesian headquarters and then Lydia is kept more in the spotlight, everything would work and flow better. Alternating more the characters povs perhaps. It's the dynamics and relationship between these two that was lacking in the previous version, thing that Kaede and Pascal had since the very beginning.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      I'm sure there are plenty of people whose interest in Daybreak lies purely because it's a genderbender, especially considering the contents of this site. But (shrug) not everything necessarily works out. If I choose to write volume 5, its issues would require such a ridiculous amount of research (due to something at ch4's ending) that it just isn't worth my time anymore; not after how much volume 3 has wounded me. I really appreciated the support I received. However, a lot of the negative feedback really depressed and stressed me out, and left me very thankful that I have no intention to go professional because worrying over such things would tear my life apart. Flowers will actually have genderbender elements due to the Samarans' nature (since it tackles gender issues, having some helps a lot), but it won't leave as much of a footprint.

      Of course I'm rewriting Subutai's introduction too, and I recognize some of the issues there as well. But he has the same role as Pascal, and Lydia is the heart and voice of the story. There'll be a lot more content prior to his intro this time (it's been pushed back to ch5-6). It's a "rewrite" because I noticed too many things needed changing. Whole deal is partially because I was trying out a particular storytelling style -- where you set the main events up first and explain all the character details later in flashbacks -- that clearly does not work for me.

      Thanks for the feedback ^^

      Reply
      1. Kelossalas

        Maybe people could help you do research, but thank you for the lovely story. The genderbender tag was actually what had me find the story! I hope that your passion stays lit though, even if it is not with Daybreak. Just remember that all those readers tuned into Daybreak for a reason! You're a good writer, so try not to be very hard on yourself and show your work to anyone you'd think would like the story, regardless of the genderbender tag.

        Reply
      2. HextecNeko

        Sry i cant find my comment to post on there but i think my comment may have cone off as one of those who are only interested in this for the gender bend aspect i just wanted to say no im not ... :P in that comment i wanted to express that i was initially drawn to ur work because of the tag but realized that it was much more in some ways i consider this series better than oso it manages to keep its light harted nature (not sure if u were going for that ) while discussing tactics and issues in a serious way although both series will always have a place among my favourites i like both series in their own ways and my reference to oso in said comment was only to showcase how highiy i think of this sry if i came off as rude <3 also sry for the lack of punctuation i got lazy :P

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  3. Thanatoss

    Ok.

    Still Daybreak is our live....
    You know what will happen if it is gone? OUR LIVES will be GONE!
    But it will be continued as short stories.... at least we will have something to live for...
    Ok jokes aside I think that ending story short but great is good idea. I hope for some big ending... pls don't kill then and make some kind of super sad ending.... do you know how many suicides that would couse...
    Ekhem jokes aside*
    Short stories will focus more on relationship of main characters? Ok but don't forget about the rest of the world. I haven't read Flowers yet but I hope Pascal, Kaede and at leat few other characters will be mentioned there. I can asume that worldwalkers plot line "100% not M**** the gathering rip off" will be continued I like it the most after Pascal Kaede's.
    Thx for updatw I will be waiting for nore Flowers and end of chapter IV of Daybreak.
    ~whispers: I hope I won't have to wait too many years.... i might die and not read it till end....

    Great job and I hope you keep it up like this! :)

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Sorry, Daybreak characters do not appear in Flowers, considering that Flowers take place many centuries before the events of Daybreak

      Reply
  4. Varevas

    I can definitely understand why the genderbend elements of this story makes it difficult to recommend to some, hell I've had the same problem myself. It's a real shame too. I greatly enjoy reading them and thinking how the physiology of sexes affects peoples mind and personality, the cultural and societal factors as well as the difficulties brought by the change.
    I greatly look forward to your work in Flowers but I do hope you'll still do the occasional short story for daybreak, the slice-of-life idea sounds good too.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      As mentioned, I don't plan to just 'drop' Daybreak, even after vol4 =P
      Gender roles/issues will be a major theme in Flowers. Just without the genderbender. I came to realize that a lot of people just can't seem to screw their head on straight when dealing with a genderbender, due to preconceived notions about gendered behavior. Real shame, since a genderbender allows more seamless transition between light-hearted and heavy conversations.

      Reply
      1. HextecNeko

        Honestly even if people have bad attitudes about the story because of its tags i think u should continue writing it in my opinion its a masterpiece. If u dont mind i would like to repost it on wattpad i think daybreak would do well there of course i will not take any credit but i enjoy it and i think others there will too

        also if u do end daybreak please give kaede a chapter filled with cute stuff like oso level cute i beg ^0^

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  5. xrick

    It's quite saddening that Daybreak isn't working out the way you probably wished it to be.
    It's a matter of fact that, when starting a story, planning and structuring may help a lot. That is, if you know beforehand you want it to last long.

    I, for a matter of fact, have been trying, for a few years, to have my story be a long-running one, but now the content has been reduced to half of what I originally intended. Revisions, restructuring and getting to know that certain ideas weren't working out as intended led to such a situation.
    Of course, the way I'm trying to get my story to go leaves room for additional material to flow in, down the line, it'll just depend on my creativity and ability to keep it all cohesive and appealing.

    Keep it up, don't give up, you may find a new solution to your dilemmas anytime soon.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Pre-planned long stories have its own challenges as well. Flowers was overplanned, if anything, as I kept thinking to myself "well these details would be better left till later than now". Nope. Sometimes the 'now' needs to take priority over everything.
      Thanks for the support ^^

      Reply
      1. xrick

        When I first started writing, around 10 years ago, I'd simply go with whatever would come to mind.
        Obviously, such a thing would spell disaster...
        At a certain point, I'd write ideas I'd have to this or that, since my memory isn't that much friendly to me.
        When a friend of mine started analysing my scripts, and deem them crap (and nowadays I can say they really were), I finally started structuring and outlining stuff for the story. Events, characters, concepts, elements, locations, etc.
        Nowadays, I can't simply write without having a guideline of sorts sorted out beforehand. And that's my life xD

        Reply