When I sat down to write yesterday, I originally envisioned this chapter (73, opening of 24) as a sad but revelatory moment. I knew I had to write the scene where Chirikai lets go of his mother.
Frankly, I have spent a lot of time having characters suffer because of their loved ones' deaths. I had also already written the scene where Chirikai burns his mother's body. I didn't have a full chapter in me for him finally letting go.
For months now, I can say I've been writing towards a moment where Chirikai gazes at the Beat Gate by himself. I toyed with the idea of him reflecting on being there with Asuka... Maybe it'll be in the second draft, but really I wanted it to be about him and his mother before finally transitioning back to Asuka.
But how to move back to Asuka?
At the same time, I was stuck under the feeling that everything was just really depressing. I mean, I knew how the characters would behave in the sad circumstances. But I was so ready for some variety. I knew the time was right for a shift in tone.
It might sound calculating, but I think it's important for a story to have shifting tones, a wide spectrum of feelings. For me, I know when a story makes me laugh, it makes the crying hurt more and vice versa.
When I regularly did yoga, I felt best when I had been stretching and exercising all parts of my body. I love stories that stretch over the Spectrum of Emotion.
Enter Hankyō. Our old lady hermit has been sitting in my head and waiting to enter the narrative again. But when I got writing, I didn't want to write something comforting. I wanted to break the grief tension.
Basically, I came up with the idea of Hankyō slapping Chirikai, and then I went from there. Hankyō also ended up being a great way to shove Chirikai to go find Asuka. Also, got to plant some fun stuff for the coming chapters.
Originally Hankyō just said, "There," and Chirikai left, but I wanted to write the babies line. I deleted it and rewrote it three times.