At long last, here is the interview for our latest Awards winner--Kyuuketsuki's "The Barefoot Fighting Genius"!
How were you inspired to write the story?
One of my inspirations was my love for Maylene, who was such a compelling character in my play-through of Platinum that I decided to write a story about her rise to become a Gym Leader; she’s a character that strives to be better, which resonated with my second inspiration.
I wanted to write the story to get over my fear of canon characters, and not being able to do them justice. I found that fear seeping into others of my own fan-fictions, when I was worried that I would somehow write my original characters wrong. I decided to take on a story that would include many canon characters, and Maylene’s potential caught my eye.
What were you considering early on that got taken out?
Very early on, I wanted Maylene to travel to Hoenn with Brawly, but I realised that there’s nothing that Maylene could learn there that she couldn’t in other regions. At that point, I had worked an integral part for Brawly in the story, so my sentiments prevented me from cutting him out completely, and I settled for having him as a supporting character. Bruno was also supposed to have a larger part in the story, but he got cut out when I realised that there was no way I could repair his relationship to Maylene. Moreover, I wanted to include Janine in the story, as I found her to be very similar to Maylene.
The original plan was for Maylene to realise that her friendship with Candice and Gardenia was very shallow, which is foreshadowed in the first arc, and to be close friends with Janine. I felt that that was not only unfair to Candice and Gardenia, but also to Maylene’s character; giving up that easily isn’t something I see Maylene doing, especially considering that at that point in the story, I had planned for Maylene to have suffered many shocks and obstacles, and for her to come close to giving up so many times, and doing it once more was going to be unreasonable.
Lastly, there was an arc of twenty chapters planned, all to fill the gap between facing her as a Gym Leader is Platinum, and battling her in the Battleground. The arc was also supposed to offer more character development for characters that already appeared, such as Roark. Ultimately, that arc got taken out because it would have detracted from the actual end of the story, which is to happen at §50, and only served as a very long epilogue.
Do you have a particular favorite character?
Other than the previously mentioned Maylene, I found myself strangely enamored with Crasher Wake and Pryce. Crasher Wake was a character I looked down on at the start, and only came to like him halfway through the story, when I realised that his loudness was the only thing I didn’t like about him. His role in the story remained the same, but I found myself enjoying it whenever I had to write him.
Pryce wasn’t a character I had given much thought before, but his appearances raised him to be one of my favorites, and the way he was so distant with the kids was a surprisingly nice change when all the other Gym Leaders welcomed them. He also served as great character development for Candice, and I feel it was enough to justify cutting away the 20-chaptered arc for her.
Were there any scenes you enjoyed writing? What was the most challenging scene to write?
The three chapters so far from Battle Arc were fun, and I am most proud of them in the story. All the scenes were very enjoyable to write, as I had been building up to them for two years, but the scene between Maylene and the old lady wasn’t something originally planned, and I added it into the chapter as I was writing it, and it quickly became my favourite scene of the arc so far. I feel that it neatly summarised many aspects of Maylene’s character development to that point, although it was passive. If that scene had happened at the start of the story, it would have played out very differently.
When I decided to cut Bruno from the story, I knew that there had to be a final scene with him in order to conclude his character, as his appearance before that built up to something that can’t be just waved away. Ultimately, his scenes in the Knot Arc became a task to complete, and a chore more than anything else. Considering that it was also Brawly’s final scene, I found it very hard to do both of the characters justice, and it ended being a lackluster goodbye that not only damaged their characters, but also Maylene’s.
If you had to write the story over again, what would you do differently?
I’d completely eliminate Bruno from the plan. His first encounter with Maylene and the effect he had on her could easily be replicated in her encounter with Riley; it would only be emotional, but ultimately, that is what became of Bruno’s effect of Maylene. His scene with Gardenia was unnecessary, and his final appearance was only there to tie off his first one, and by association, it would be unneeded.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
As always, keep writing and trying to improve yourself. It gets repeated a lot, and I didn't take that advice seriously at the start, but when I came to accept it, I had more fun writing with minimal reviews that I did at the early stage of the story. But still, appreciate all the comments you get, and read them over many times, because no matter how meaningless you may perceive it, you'll end up finding a gem in it that will immensely help you.