2012 The Slash Pile Q&A for ICoS

tumblr fucked up all my links on the masterlist and it’s been a pain trying to find some of them. For a question someone asked today I wanted to check the September 2012 Q&A we did at The Slash Pile but I had to search separately on livejournal. Just in case that page ever disappears, I decided to try to paste it here. The formatting may be all jacked but hopefully it will be readable.

SOME FOREWARNING FOR BELOW:

  1. I wasn’t able to easily remove anyone’s names/userpics because my computer would only let me select all for copy/paste. If you have an old lj represented on here and you want me to remove your name/userpic from this and replace it with something generic, I will absolutely do so. Please just let me know your preferences and your name/pic to look for.
  2. I didn’t reread any of this. If anything is problematic or different below from what we’ve said since, sorry. It’s from 2012 and some viewpoints may have changed since then, with more time and knowledge.
  3. My lj username is starlite_gone and Sonny’s was cancelsonny, just so you know who’s talking below.
  4. Thank you again to TSP for hosting this Q&A! It was really successful with the number of questions 🙂

zeffy_amethyst (zeffy_amethyst) wrote in the_slash_pile

Q&A with Sonny & Ais

Welcome to the Q&A with Sonny & Ais, the co-authors of In the Company of Shadows, a rockin’ series about love, life and violent espionage set post WWIII. They’re also very active members of this community, which is, y’know, pretty awesome.

Sonny & Ais will be answering questions throughout the weekend, so hit ’em up with as many as you got.

EDIT: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAND We’re done. At a nice, round 100 comment. Good job guys. And thanks Sonny&Ais for doing this Q&A. 🙂

TAGS: q&a
  • 107 comments

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This has happened many, many times over the course of writing which I’m sure is expected since we’ve been writing for 6+ years now together. I think our method of resolving this kind of thing has evolved a LOT over the past few years, especially recently.

In the past it would take a long time to decide if we were on totally separate ends of the spectrum about a plot point or something, but more recently we’ve been more like “does this advance the plot in any way?” “does this DETRACT from the plot points that are actually important?” “does this fit in with the character development/progress?” and spend some time working through it like that. I think it’s been easier recently when writing because we have less than 10 chapters left before the entire series is over, so it’s a lot easier to be like “do we really need this there?”

Also, building off Sonny’s — at first we were just doing this for the hell of it so it didn’t really matter, to be honest. One of us would be like “How about ___?” and the other would be like “Sure” and that’s how things happened. We each got excited about each other’s ideas.

As the story started progressing, and plots started becoming more intricate, and more characters were involved, and so on, we went from having no problems to sometimes having stupid arguments XD There are some plot points one person suggested that never made it in, and others that one suggested and the other eventually agreed with.

Then over time we got better at HOW we mentioned the plot idea — because the funny thing is, most of the time we’re actually in complete agreement. Even if one person thinks a plot might be good at first, after some discussion of pros/cons, the other sees the other side and agrees it’s not a good idea. Or one person thinks something could be fun and the other rolls with it.

I think for a little while we just sucked at pitching ideas at each other XD Because even if we got in some long discussion, in the end we’d realize we were on the same page and there was maybe just some dumb misinterpretation or wording that had been holding us up.

We all have our favorite scenes and such, but what was the most fun part to write/come up with the plot?

The funny thing is, the parts that were probably most fun for me to come up with, that I ended up most involved in researching and got most excited about writing, never really ended up in story or ended up in a different manner….

A lot of plot points got adjusted over the years, and I was kind of excited about what we were planning to have in the fourth book along with some major stuff that would have been happening in current chapters– but when we looked at everything again, we decided to merge the plot points from the fourth book with Fade and end the series at Fade. As a result, a lot of the stuff I had been imagining happening a certain way ended up happening a completely different way, or not at all.

But on the other hand, it’s fun to think about new ways to do something that had been planned for years, too. We’ve both run into times where we get excited about something far in the future and then by the time we get to it, the excitement has fled.

I also like when we do missions because it’s fun to think about a problem and how to solve it. Without going into spoilers, there’s a scene in early Fade that was partially inspired by the way Neal Caffrey does his thing in White Collar 🙂

So did the story turn out anything like you imagined? ^.^

And is it because you like to solve the mission-problems, that Boyd is Mr.Plan? 😉

So did the story turn out anything like you imagined? ^.^

That’s a good question. I don’t know, honestly…. I’m not sure if I had a specific thought in mind about how it would turn out. I think some things didn’t turn out the way I expected but in other ways it’s better than I might have thought. Mostly all I care about is the story making sense for the characters so as long as that happens, I think it turned out the best it could 🙂

And is it because you like to solve the mission-problems, that Boyd is Mr.Plan? 😉

lol it might be!

Actually when we were choosing a partner for Sin, we knew going into it that Sin is basically a power all on his own– perfect in a lot of ways, and intense, ridiculously strong, etc. Trying to create a character who could physically compare wouldn’t have worked and would have just made the story we were trying to tell be boring. So we specifically wanted someone who was more in his mind. And whoever that was, had to be some sort of strategic person because that was the role he had to fill as Sin’s partner.

It was originally between two RP characters I had.

The other one who I almost went with was less emo than Boyd is, but he also was tied in with another character who I would have wanted to bring over too. Also, I don’t think he would have been as interesting. That character was more like what we first assumed it would be with Sin/Boyd: just two dudes together doing their thing, with one of them psychotic and a danger to the other who had to use his wits to stay alive.

I suspect that character would have ended up killed one day the way Sin’s other partners were because he didn’t have the underlying aspects of personality that bizarrely enough ended up being what made the difference.

I still think it’s funny that we chose Boyd and Sin from completely separate worlds and paired them up mostly because we thought it would be funny — and then when we went to write them, we were both completely surprised to realize they had chemistry even though that wasn’t our intention from the start.

The plot turned out like I’d imagined as far as how things will end up (although originally we had a bunch different ending in mind for some characters), but the character development took a turn that I hadn’t expected and is a lot more realistic.

For example when we first started writing, I didn’t expect them to have what turned out to be this really unhealthy, co-dependent relationship at first, but I think it makes complete sense that it happened the way it did. It was one of those situations where the characters evolved in a way that I didn’t expect and it was this natural but surprising thing.

They went from being totally inclusive, cut off from the world except for with each other, to Boyd wanting to be more independent and find his own footing in the world, to alienating each other because they didn’t know how to treat each other once that happened, to finally evening out into something that makes sense as they both matured and figured out how relationships work. So some things ended up happening that were like whoa! and sometimes surprised or pissed off readers, but at the same time it still made sense for the characters to be realistic because they both had to grow up some and learn how to function.

Yeah there were entire plots we hadn’t initially planned until we realized we should introduce this or that seemingly small plot point, that ended up growing on each other into something big.

For example when we first started writing, I didn’t expect them to have what turned out to be this really unhealthy, co-dependent relationship at first, but I think it makes complete sense that it happened the way it did. It was one of those situations where the characters evolved in a way that I didn’t expect and it was this natural but surprising thing. 

I agree — I didn’t really think about/expect that initially either, but it made sense as we were writing.

Because, really, neither of them had a particularly good example of a relationship to use as a basis for what to do or what to expect. Neither of them had ever really been around healthy, balanced relationships.

Boyd was the closest since he’d had Lou and his father. But even then his family life wasn’t normal– if anything, for most of his life it was a bit poisonous and caused a lot of pain and stress. And everything with Lou was kind of unbalanced– based on fear, having no one else, and even, to an extent, Lou omitting the truth to Boyd. It wasn’t to say it was a bad relationship but it wasn’t ideal or particularly balanced.

And even when Lou was around, Boyd was more stable than he was when he later met Sin. So it does make sense how much they had to work through in the end for both of them– separate and together.

Honestly I have had the most fun plotting out Emilio’s story in the series. He’s just a fucking fun character to write, and his interactions with everyone has been a blast to write out because it’s always different. Trying to figure out where he would finally pop up, and how he would treat people, and how he would get along with different people or where he would stir up trouble has been really interesting, especially since he’s such a troublemaker.

A Sin/Boyd scene that was fun to plan was the beginning for me, honestly. When we re-wrote Evenfall, it was pretty fun figuring out all of the sarcasm, and tension, and fighting before it built up and exploded.

starlite_gone

September 8 2012, 16:02:39 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 17:07:00 UTC

Oh! Rewriting Evenfall. I didn’t think of that. Yeah, that was fun. My favorite scene from that is still chapter 14 with the whole shower scene, and then the scene on the bed where Sin was sewing Boyd up and chastised Boyd for acting like it hurt and Boyd replied that it didn’t feel good.

We had been trying to get a damn shower scene in for like 2 books by that point and that’s still the best we could do XD

[ETA] Side note — now that I think about it, that scene in Chapter 14 was basically a rewrite of a scene we’d written in the original we’re-just-fucking-around version that wasn’t planned to go anywhere… that was one of the scenes that made us realize that these characters had chemistry that couldn’t be ignored. Because it kept coming back to them kind of gravitating to each other. So we said, ok, let’s rewrite this with that in mind and just focus on their partnership — which later became a development of their relationship.

When you started writing ICoS, how far ahead had you planned? Had you outlined the whole thing or only Evenfall?
When we first started writing ICoS we were doing it RP style for fun, and never planned on turning it into an actual story/novel so we had a very very vague plan of what we wanted to do. After awhile, that vague plan kind of went out the window and we changed directions multiple times. It was like this:

First plan: The MCs were two entirely different characters. Civilians in ICoS who got involved with Janus and Sin/Boyd were just assassins sent to kill them
Second plan: Start with Sin/Boyd already partners and show their side of the story as well
Third plan: (after we realized that Sin/Boyd had chemistry) Show the beginning of their partnership

After we decided on the third one, we abandoned the original MCs, developed the Agency and kind of went from there. We planned through the first half of Evenfall when we first started writing, and then we planned the second half of Evenfall (Monterrey arc-the end) while we were writing the first half.

We were a lot better at planning in advance for the rest of the series around the time that we planned the end of Evenfall. We decided how we wanted the Janus plot point to be tied up at the end of the series, where we wanted things with the Journalist Guild to come up, Emilio, etc, and have been trying to put in foreshadowing and hints along the way.

There were also some things that had been decided from the start that we didn’t put in as foreshadowing initially because we thought there would be a better place later– and then when we got to that place, it no longer made sense there because now other things were happening.

A prime example is some back story with Vivienne/Boyd that wasn’t initially referenced but had always been part of their history. When we rewrote Evenfall, we were able to place those references in there from the start like we’d planned (and subsequently dismissed) from the beginning.

Very interesting evolution! It sounds like you made a bit of a return at the original idea with your sidestory After Midnight.
It’s true, that’s actually what originally gave me the idea. Originally the MCs were someone from Janus, and this guy named Nate who had the lung disease and who looked out for his little sister. I always liked the idea of civilians in the same dystopian world. And since everyone in the Agency is relatively protected from the reality of poverty and disease and struggle, I wanted to show what it was like for someone normal (although Gordon is still not as bad as it could be although he came from poverty)
I loved Gordon for his imperfections and failures. All agents are a bit superhuman, with their extraordinary skills, self-discipline and intelligence. And superhuman feels like less than human – even if you have awarded the main characters some weakness like alcohol or blond generals. I take that back, because Emilio is perfect. Anyway, what I wanted to say was that After Midnight brought more realism into the ICoS universe. Seeing a civilian being more than a pawn in a top game was a breath of fresh air somehow.
If it’s not too personal, how did you guys meet and what made you decide to write together? Have you had previous collaboration with other writers? And what spark lit up the idea for ICoS? I mean – is there an anecdote about how you came up with the idea?
It’s kind of a funny story how we met… we were both in the Gundam Wing fandom; I was writing terrible fanfics and Sonny occasionally wrote fanfics but mostly read/hosted fics. There was this awesome, huge recommendation site back in the day called gwyaoi.org which was run by Nitid. Someone on that site recommended one or two fics I’d written and somehow from there I became friends with Nitid. Meanwhile, Sonny had been helping out on the site.

One day on AIM Nitid said she was having dual conversations with us and couldn’t we just go into a chat together?, because she thought we’d get along. We ended up in a ridiculous conversation and when Nitid had to leave we just continued to hang out, and that’s how we became friends.

ICoS was the first time we wrote together, though, and that was years after we met. I used to log AIM chats so I actually still have the original conversationwhere we first talked about icos (scroll down to the second AIM convo). It basically went like this:

Sonny(2:45:01 PM): i want to start something newww
Sonny(2:45:04 PM): you have to help meee
Sonny(2:45:14 PM): you want to cowrite something?
Ais (2:45:34 PM): sure ^_^

And since this was just something we planned to write now and then when we were bored, we were trying to be as lazy as we could so we used previous rp characters we’d liked but hadn’t gotten to play around with, and chose a dystopian world in an original setting because neither of us had done that so it sounded interesting.

I don’t know if Sonny had collaborated on anything with other people for stories– I had on small stuff now and then. The only big collaboration I’d done was with a friend in the One Piece fandom on a fanfic. ICoS was the first fiction, original fiction, original slash, collaboration with Sonny, reuse of an original rp character, long story that actually was finished, etc, I’d ever done.

Although I guess roleplaying is technically collaboration and we did both roleplay before…

I’m glad you didn’t stop and settled for RP because now you guys are so compatible that your story is a well-fused unit.
Thank you! You’ve always been super nice!

You should thank Sonny for posting online XD I thought he was crazy when he wanted to post what we’d started writing on AFFN. It’s probably good we did post online because also if we hadn’t, I’m not sure if we would have continued it to the end. We might have lost our attention span for it over the years.

Then I’m surely thinking him. I have discovered ICoS on AFFN and got hooked right away. At the first glance I was impressed and intimidated by the sheer quantity of writing but then I went through it very fast, incapable to stop reading. To this day I confess I prefer to read it on AFFN because I got used to the format and I associate the story with that exact format. Silly, I know.
lol the series really is ridiculously long… I probably would have been intimidated to start it at first as well. Although sometimes I like long things because it means I have something to look forward to for awhile.

There’s nothing silly with preferring AFFN! If that’s the way you associate it, then it makes sense 🙂 Thank you for sticking with us all along!

we used to cyber

i think ais is answering this so i’m gonna wait to see what she says

I DID GODDDD. And then you had to dirty it up with your striked out comment!
i knew you would leave out that key part
hahaha – I love your interaction! It’s obvious how well you know each other and especially know what to expect from one another!
Now if only we could remember exactly how long we’ve known each other because we never can… I’m always like “I don’t know. 8-10 years or something…”

cancelsonny

September 8 2012, 17:45:45 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 17:47:24 UTC

About 10 years. You were just starting college I believe. But I remember most because my oldest son is 8, and I knew you way before I’d even been married/divorced. I know we started ICoS around when I moved in with my current roommate because it was that Thanksgiving when we did the France/Harry arc
Oh was I? That’s the part I never remember– whether I was just starting college or already into it a few years. If I was just starting college then we met around 2001-2002. So yeah it must be about 10 years. That’s crazy.

Also I think I always think your oldest son is younger because it keeps seeming like we couldn’t have known each other that long…

Wow. You’ve been rooming with Mike that long? :O
hi guys! I love you both!!! I’m wondering, since ICoS has been around for a looooong time, with a looooong line of readers/fans, what have been some of the coolest reader/fan moments for you guys? and, on the other hand, what’s been some of the worst?
Some of my coolest moments have been when I start talking to a reader or fan, or whatever we want to call it, and I become actual friends with that person. I’ve made some pretty awesome friends that way, and it’s always really cool how that relationship develops over time, whether that’s becoming really tight with someone to the extent that I chat with them frequently or even just interacting on GR and twitter.

Some other cool moments have been getting awesome fanart or fanfic because it’s always mind blowing that people like the story enough to do that. Some of the cover submissions we’ve gotten have been amazing.

There hasn’t been a lot of bad reader moments, but I can think of one specific thing that has happened and two more general scenarios. The specific thing is there has been times when people (I’m thinking of one guy in particular, but there’s been a couple of cases like this) have been really inappropriate with me right off the bat to the point where I didn’t know how to respond and I felt really awkward.

More general things have been cases where people have criticized the story based on something that they either missed or read wrong, because it was explained, but that happens a lot in all stories I’m sure. An example is why Sin speaks Mandarin when he was born in Hong Kong. I’m very aware of the language spoken in HK, we do tons of research for the story, like TONS of research, there is a specific reason why his mother was a native Mandarin speaker and it was explained, so it kind of bugs me when people publicly comment on something that they skipped over and misread because it makes it seem like we’re sloppy about something so obvious.

starlite_gone

September 8 2012, 16:46:41 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 16:47:15 UTC

The specific thing is there has been times when people (I’m thinking of one guy in particular, but there’s been a couple of cases like this) have been really inappropriate with me right off the bat to the point where I didn’t know how to respond and I felt really awkward. 

lol you joke with people all the time and they joke back, sometimes inappropriately. What was different for those?

im talking about people who have straight up propositioned me, wanted to hook up, wanted naked pictures, etc
😛
Must have been really awkward though xD
I LOVE YOU TOO!

I think we both probably have different moments so I’m going to give mine! And ramble like usual!

worst:
I’ll start with the worst because that’s less fun lol There was one time someone who disliked the story laid into it mocking it and discouraged people from reading based on the very beginning of the original version of Evenfall. They kind of did a chapter-by-chapter mocking of the series and had a bunch of people commenting on their post about how terrible and horrible the series was and mocking everything about it. And the thing is– people commenting hadn’t even read it.

To be honest, I didn’t really care about that other than it seemed like a lot of energy to put into something a person didn’t even like. But a number of the issues they had with the beginning were issues we had with it anyway, which was why we were already in the process of rewriting/editing Evenfall even though a lot of fans at the time said they didn’t think we needed to. So probably I would have forgotten about the whole thing, except for one thing:

They mocked the fans.

I didn’t mind mocking of the story, I wouldn’t have minded mocking of me, but I was upset with the way they so blatantly mocked the fans and even mocked fanart people had lovingly drawn. That seemed pretty unnecessary and not nice to me so that was the part that bothered me.

Although the funny thing is, I later heard through the grapevine that it’s possible that person might have become a fan in the end. Who knows. At least the mocking of the fans stopped.

best:
On a happier note– I used to keep especially nice, touching feedback in a separate file so that if I was ever feeling down I could reread it and remember that people are awesome. I never ended up needing to reread the files but I always felt happy knowing they were there.

The one that still sticks with me the most is one time, back in 2007 when we were only on AFFN and the site and ebooks weren’t as popular as now, a fan named RheaSilva left a review on AFFN. She said how much she liked the story, and how she used to come home from class on “update day” ecstatic to print out the latest chapters and read them.

And then she said:

“I went to Europe over the summer, and purposefully printed out chapters in advance that I wouldn’t let myself read, just to feel at home on the planes, trains, and in those terrifyingly unfamiliar cities. There is… So much I can’t express. Just know you’ve had an impact, an influence, on the days of my life. And I dunno, but if my writing changed someone’s world, for a moment, a fleeting *instant*… Well I’d think that was pretty… Damn… Fantastic.”

That always stuck with me– how much she cared about the story to print it out– and having been a fan myself of manga and stories in the past that have a weekly update schedule I remembered how excited I’d always been about that too… I even marked on my calendar for one story so I would always remember, and every Friday I did what she did– raced home from class, excited to read the next installment. Knowing I’d been part of that same excitement for someone else was really touching. Knowing that she printed those long ass chapters out to bring with her to Europe so she had something familiar with her in another country made me feel like I was helping contribute to a sense of home for someone.

I don’t know how to describe it but it was basically exactly as she said– knowing that I’d had ANY sort of impact on ANYONE’S life in any sort of positive manner really did feel pretty damn fantastic 🙂

Re: the worst

I remember that, and it wasn’t a chapter-by-chapter mocking of the series since they only read like the first 2-3 chapters of Evenfall, and that was it

How do you pronounce Hsin? I googled it but got two different answers. I’ve been trying to pronounce it in my head when i read it but im not sure I’m getting it. PS. I flove the series, and the maps, and the story world background info, and the side stories. I think it’s great that you’ve included so many extras. So Thanks.
Thank you! You are so awesome! Thank you for taking the time to read our story 🙂

It’s basically pronounced like “shin”. I tried finding a good pronunciation audio file for it online one time and wasn’t very successful… you might have run across the same files I did lol

Do you have any plans to continue on another thing after your wrap up the series? And speaking of, while there be more material (one-shots, etc) after Fade wraps up? I am agonizing that the series is going to end ;___;

cancelsonny

September 8 2012, 17:34:02 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 17:34:59 UTC

I’m not sure if you mean continue on something unrelated to ICoS, or something related to ICoS so I’ll answer (for me), for both.

Once Fade is done, I will be working on some solo slash stories that are not in the ICoS universe. I already have one started and want to finish, and submit for publication. I also have pretty vague outlines for other slash stories that I will work on.

As far as more ICoS material, I plan to write a novel that takes place in the past and tells Emilio’s story of when he joined the Agency and on, but I also plan to write some shorter novellas relating to post-Fade stuff for a few different characters

Thank you for reading! Aww, sorry for the agony 😦 I’m really thrown off to think of the series ending, myself. It’s been 6 years… it seems weird to imagine that not being something in the back of my mind that could be worked on.

Also so you get both our answers to your question 🙂 My answer is actually pretty similar to Sonny’s — I have some solo stuff I was working on before ICoS that I’ll return to, and some other things I want to work on that are completely unrelated to anything else. The goal for two of those projects would hopefully be publication.

ICoS — I think Sonny has more plans than I do. I’d thought about doing a Vivienne-related story but don’t know if I will. There was another story related to some side characters who haven’t really shown up yet, and others who barely showed up, I might do too. It mostly depends on whatever seems interesting to write.

How did all the different characters pop up? For instance, where did Kassian come from or the idea of Ivan? How was the characterization of Vivienne decided on? Do you pull characteristics from actors/musicians/friends to base them on?

If you can go through every single character in the entire series in great detail, that would be amazeballs!!! Ok, jusssst kidding about the last part. 😛

starlite_gone

September 8 2012, 20:22:54 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 20:25:34 UTC

You know… that’s a good question. I was trying to think of the answer, at least for characters I created, and I don’t really know. (I’m sure Sonny will give a great answer for his characters)

But here are some thoughts I had in thinking about it. I’m really sorry this answer is a billion pages long >_<; Also it was apparently too long to post for lj’s cut off and I can’t be bothered to try to cut things down so I’m just giving you a two part reply. Sorry 😦

Viv, Ced, and Boyd
They were all roleplaying characters from Neulan and originally Viv and Ced were made partially based on traits I felt like writing and partially to make sense in context of Boyd, who was created mostly for the characteristics I felt like rping at that time (quiet, kind of emo, bit of a dark past, but ultimately just wants to belong to someone/thing).

The original Vivienne character is completely different from who she became in ICoS (almost absurdly so– can you believe the original Vivienne was a former model who had since been trying to make it in Broadway under the stage name Viv Merlot? This mental image makes me laugh in context of the Vivienne we know now.)

Cedrick, on the other hand, changed very little– but then, with Vivienne, it was always about Cedrick. The difference between the original RPG and ICoS is that Cedrick was alive in the RPG. His life or death makes a hugely dramatic difference for Vivienne. Even though she never would have been a model/Broadway star in ICoS and would have stayed as a business woman, if Cedrick had lived she would not be who we know in the series.

Vivienne and Boyd, in some ways, parallel each other. They are a reflection of what the other might have become: Boyd is Vivienne if Cedrick hadn’t died, and Vivienne is Boyd if he’d had Sin and lost him forever. Not exactly, because Vivienne was always a bit cold even with Cedrick around, and Boyd always had more compassion and cared more than Vivienne, but it still gives a little bit of an idea.

Side note: Cedrick has an odd spelling to his name because his mom, Amy, wanted to continue the tradition of Gaelic-like names with a twist for their kids (in part because her husband/Ced’s dad was named Braeden). His brothers were named Ryley and Aiden. But then Ryley’s spelling bugged me too much and Cedrick had already been referenced so many times it couldn’t be changed to Cedric. So the story is that although Amy planned to nickname him Rick, as he grew older it became clear he was Cedrick and, if anything, Ced, so the spelling became just a weird quirk of his parents’. I went back way too far on genealogy for Cedrick, Vivienne and Boyd so sometimes I like to go back and check the notes for fun like an utter dork.

Continuation of my stupid!long reply….

Trainees

Cade
Cade was created because I totally wanted to write an unrepentant asshole XD I had all the Nice And Thinks Too Much or Is Kind Of A Bitch But Calculates Everything characters and I was like “Fuck all y’all! I want someone who’s a dick and doesn’t care! Someone who doesn’t think ahead!”

What’s really sad is there were Plans for Cade that kind of fell by the wayside with all the other craziness that happened. I’m still a little emo about this. I miss Cade.

There’s another character I REALLY WANTED TO PUT IN but Sonny said he was too psychotic XD And probably he was. But I really wanted to write an evil, psychotic character too. Damn all these people for having to have REASONS for their actions, and the Agency for probably not hiring someone who’s too unhinged! (This character actually was in the lockdown chapters originally and has already been referenced in story but he probably won’t show except in side stories, and he’s since become a little less of a psychotic sociopath)

Emma
Emma was created basically so we had someone who was nice. We had so many cold/mean/calculating people and I wanted to write someone who was more genuine, and show a little how it could work against her in the context of the Agency. The story about her father is actually based in part (without the sad ending of his death) on someone I know IRL, and she had the mechanics aspect so she wasn’t too girly-girl.

I just remembered this — I don’t know if you ever watched the show Murphy Brown but there is one thing that, in the course of writing her, was a bit of an inspiration from my memories of Murphy Brown. I could be remembering everything WAY wrong, but there was a character named Corky who was perky and annoyed the crap out of people because of it. I remember a scene one time where she was crying alone in a dressing room and someone came in, wondering what was wrong. She told them how she’s nice to people because she never knows when people will die or something bad will happen– and she wants to leave them with a good memory of her. I thought that seemed appropriate for Emma and something she would believe as well.

Anyway I guess the general answer for me is sort of the way I think of new stories too — I imagine a scene or a glimpse of something (so for new characters, maybe a few personality traits or pieces of their history and it spreads to their looks, or sometimes I imagine their looks first and go to their personality/history) and from there it kind of builds and I just write whatever makes sense to me.

My answer really sucks, I’m sorry 😦 I can answer on other characters (if they’re mine) or go more in depth on people even mentioned here if you want if I didn’t answer something well enough or something I said made you think of another question.

I said he was too psychotic for THE AGENCY
I know but that’s where he would end up 😦 WHY CAN’T YOU LET ME HAVE MY PSYCHO? *cries*
Wow!!! You really went through things well. Thank you so much!!! I love this series. 🙂
Hmmm, I guess I’ll answer this for Sin, Emilio, Ivan, Kassian, Carhar the twins and Ryan. I can’t think of anyone else. If I’m missing someone you’re interested in, let me know!

Sin Sin was originally a character in an RP. He was a psychopathic killer who had to be kept in chains because he was prone to going on killing sprees, but this organization wanted him because he was a good fighter. He focused on killing women, and was very sadistic. In the original version of ICoS, he was the same but more functional. I realized that I couldn’t really write a long term story about a sadistic character, so I had to make very adjustments to his character to make him work for me in this universe, and after a lot of research and figuring out his background, and what his mental problems were and what triggered him, and if he COULD be functional, Hsin Liu Vega was created.

The orignal character design was spawned from this slash webcomic called Mission Trance. http://sonnycancel.tumblr.com/post/29463600884/art-from-the-old-comic-mission-trance-by-morbid Later on, I tried to think of how I wanted the Vegas to look in terms of real people and based the combination of black hair/hazel or green eyes/olive skin off of my cousin who looks similar.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about Emilio because he was always someone who existed in the background, although it wasn’t always planned from the beginning that he was still alive definitely, and I didn’t originally plan for him to play such a large part later on although I always knew his relationship with Carhart had been very important.

Kassian Kassian was originally WAY different in theory. He was just a guy who was the other level 10 who Sin described as this over moral annoying guy who wasn’t as good a fighter/assassin as Sin. When I actually had to write Kassian, I realized I didn’t want some typical one dimensional stick in the mud guy just so Sin could look cooler/more awesome and yet another Agency person was a “bad guy” except for this tiny inner circle. He wound up instead being one of my most favorite characters to write because I think he’s more dynamic and has so many different parts of himself that come out differently, and it’s not always like douchebag, or sarcastic, or super nice, or always responsible, and he’s a lot of different things.

Ivan Ivan was originally a person who was created for exactly what ended up happening: someone who Sin could relate to OTHER than Boyd and all of the people they already knew. I knew in advance that there was no way Sin was going to just mesh with someone just because they were nice to him. Sin is the ultimate misanthrope. He fucking hates people, he always will, and he barely tolerates the people that try to be nice to him because he’s not comfortable around them because of how he’s lived for the first 28 years of his life. Ivan is the same, but more capable of social interaction, and he’s a bit more aware of what he wants and doesn’t want in terms of being sexual and social. Him being an antisocial computer genius just kind of turned into me thinking, well what would a super hacker who hates people and is trapped in this political organization end up being like? What would his goals be? And he wound up with all of these ticks and quirks which were weird and not the typical Other Man or whatever, but I was pretty happy with because he was different

TBC

cancelsonny

September 8 2012, 21:02:13 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 21:19:13 UTC

Ryan Even though Ryan is my dude, I hated him for a long time. I didn’t like that in the original version of the story he was this genki anime fan with the big eyes and all idealistic and the cheerleader for the underdog and I wanted to kill him off. He originally existed so there could be someone in the Agency who wasn’t jaded and bitter and super full of themselves and throwing out $5 words just because they’re smart and bad ass. There needed to be someone who had imperfections and was different and because of that, they were able to see beyond what a lot of people at the Agency saw about people like Boyd and Sin who were outcasts. But I fucking hated his super happy, cheerful lameness. So in the rewrite I twinked him out, made him a bit more sarcastic, and took away some of that complete innocence and it was more bearable.

Also I should add, another reason I made him so innocent and sheltered is because the Agency is kind of like a bubble. its self sustaining and theres no reason to leave unless theres a mission. and if you dont go on missions and youre not actually doing the killing or the fighting, and youre someone like Ryan who is small and kind so everyone treats you like this “good kid”, you can end up with this mindset that is totally ridiculous/almost unheard of for the world they live in

Even though Ryan is my dude, I hated him for a long time. I didn’t like that in the original version of the story he was this genki anime fan with the big eyes and all idealistic and the cheerleader for the underdog and I wanted to kill him off

It’s true. I remember many a time you wanted to kill him just to get rid of him because he annoyed you… like the times I wanted you to let me kill Boyd XD

So snarky Ryan from the recent chapters is the revised Ryan as well? I gotta say I might have been getting confused with how Ryan was acting while thinking back to how he was, but thought it was due to the attack on the compound and other stuff happening. I didn’t mind old Ryan, but new Ryan is cool as well xD
i made him more sarcastic in the rewrite of evenfall, and that trickled down to the newer chapters. but you’re right that the attack made him more cynical
Omg, irlbf, thank you for the detailed answer! Mucho appreciative. 🙂
Funny to know that – at some point I was expecting Ryan to die but he seemed to have gotten better. Of course, I was also expecting him to turn out to be the opposite of what he appeared to be – an evil genius who manipulated everything from behind the scene, while everybody considered him friendly and harmless.
You know, I just realized I didn’t mention Owen or Jeffrey the first time around.

Jeffrey
I didn’t have specific inspiration for Jeffrey except someone who was kind of uptight and didn’t like to bend the rules. He has some back story that never quite made its way into the series and probably isn’t important enough to do so, but what it comes down to is he’s a Type A personality who, like Kassian first thinks when he enters the fray of the Janus unit, thinks he’s surrounded by a bunch of people who aren’t taking things nearly as seriously as he is. He worked his ass off to get to where he is, so when he sees the way Ryan and Owen kind of goof off sometimes (largely because, in their own way, they’re geniuses who have always been able to rely on raw talent) it irritates him. That was also why he hated Boyd at first– he felt like Boyd was just handed this position based on nepotism when he had to work hard to attain it.

Something that isn’t often really overtly shown about Jeffrey because it doesn’t always fit into the main plot lines is that even though he feels a certain way about the work ethic of those around him, it doesn’t always mean he can keep feeling that way about the people themselves depending on how they interact.

Owen
Owen was first inspired as someone to be able to be goofy. At the time when we first started writing, Ryan was a genki otaku type, and Owen was more comedic effect. Someone who had vices like caffeine that he really shouldn’t indulge in because it made him even stranger than he was on his own. Someone who was always sloppy and half asleep, and saying completely random things that had no context to anyone else who wasn’t able to hear the strange thought processes in his mind.

But he grew over time and a lot of it happened in the background where it probably wasn’t noticed. It’s probably not evident until way later in the story (and with his side story) why he’s such a goof, and why he’s always so tired, and basically why he does anything.

When it comes down to it, Owen’s one of those people who feels responsibility for things and just tries to do what he thinks is best but the way he deals with stress is joking around. Humor is almost his defense mechanism. He chooses to see the world in terms of a joke and a punch line because if he didn’t, he would have to think even more about the things he’s seen, and the things he’s done. He’s always been brilliant with languages and cultures so he never had to work too hard at things. Now, his abilities and experience with languages and cultures also mean that he gets a lot of projects piled on him, and because he can finish things more efficiently than many others in his same field, he gets even more added to his plate because they know he can handle it.

Unless you know his back story, it probably isn’t evident that he grew up constantly being moved around, and basically in and out of war zones. He learned in those really serious, humbling settings that sometimes making someone smile is way more important than anything else.

arrrgh I think I accidentally deleted a reply….

Ok this is the last time (I hope) I add another comment on this question, but I’m in the process of skimming Evenfall and I suddenly remembered someone else I had an actual comment on for your question.

Archer

Archer is one of the few characters I’ve ever created who was not created based on anyone in particular (for some reason I pretty much never create someone based on someone I know– maybe I’m afraid they’ll find out and get mad at me lol)– but although it’s been years since Archer first appeared, I’m just now realizing he might have been subconsciously influenced by people I know. His mannerisms, in retrospect, remind me of a number of former Marines I know.

His professionalism reminds me of one person, the way he is all about hierarchy and staying within the lines and no man left behind.

But another former Marine I know really encompasses well his other mannerisms.

The way it always seems like he’s glaring or on the verge of a glare when his gaze sweeps the room, his blunt wording, the way he strides almost in a storm as if he always knows exactly where he’s going and it’s an important place to be, the way his back turns ever so slightly to always be facing a wall rather than a door or window, and his sometimes near-impatience with people’s general inefficiency or perceived incompetence.

This person I know is very by the book, to the point that it’s become almost a running joke about him. He scares the shit out of people who don’t know him well but anyone who does tends to like him– even knowing that if there were a rule his own mother broke, he would call her out on it XD

When I think about Archer, I think about those same mannerisms and personality traits. So I think the people I know, the one in particular, are a good representation of him and might be who I subconsciously imagine when I think about the actions Archer might take and the way Archer might hold himself.

Out of all your characters, which do you relate/identify most with?

cancelsonny

September 8 2012, 20:36:34 UTC Edited:  September 8 2012, 20:37:18 UTC

That’s an interesting question. I was trying to figure out how to reply because I guess I identify with different parts of a couple of them. Out of them all, I think probably Kassian would be the closest although unlike him, I don’t try to put on a good guy/nice guy front for people. But his problems getting close to people, and his tendency to fall back on something addictive when times are hard is something I can relate to. I think Sin and Emilio’s tendencies to be really blunt and forthright and super sarcastic is definitely something I identify with. Writing those comments and pieces of dialogue are always really fun and easy because of that

starlite_gone

September 8 2012, 20:45:59 UTC Edited:  September 10 2012, 07:31:40 UTC

I’ll answer for me 🙂 Sonny will answer for himself I’m sure! (Also, hi Bijou!)

Hmm…. I had to think about that. I don’t think I really identify with any of them mostly because they all have really different circumstances and would make different decisions than I would probably…

But as for my personality, the characters that best represent it are probably a combination of traits from Boyd, Cedrick and Emma. Boyd for over-thinking shit, Cedrick for asking a zillion questions and getting distracted by the idea of truth and justice, and Emma for never wanting to hurt anyone and feeling bad if I do. But if I had to choose only one character who is closest to me… it’s probably Emma even though she’s nicer/a much better person than I am lol

In thinking about this just now, I realized I would be a really shitty agent XD Good thing the Agency doesn’t exist and I don’t work there or I’d have been terminated long ago lol

[ETA] I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT OWEN! I have to take it back. The things I said about the parts I identify with for the others still work (over-thinking from Boyd, idealism from Cedrick, not wanting to hurt people like Emma) — but, really, Owen is probably who I would identify with most because he’s a pretty random person, he rambles like whoa, and humor is really important to him– and sometimes the humor is inappropriate but mostly it’s just ridiculous. He can be serious when he needs to be but a lot of times he chooses not to be.

I seriously was laying down for bed and all of a sudden thought, “OWEN!” And then had to get out of bed to go adjust this comment. I AM DEDICATED TO YOUR QUESTION. lol

Ok. Since I can’t think of any other question…I’ll go the relationship route.
Are Kassian and Ryan ever gonna find partners? And if so who/what type of person would they be?
Also poor Vivienne (based on the most recent chapter). Are Emilio/Carhart ever gonna work out (it’s hard to think it could. It’s too fucked up a relationship).
I gotta say, before you changed it, I started to really hate Vivienne at the end of the last book. Since you changed it, hate is not as bad since you retconned and it basically never happened. You also got me to slightly soften up to Vivienne recently, but man why is she such a bitch? Does she not care about Boyd? I mean its hard considering how she acted when Lou was killed and all. It’s like she either has no empathy, or is so stunted she doesn’t know how to interact with people. I read somewhere she used to want to be a ballerina (and was possibly different when she was a child, I dunno that’s the impression I got. Might be wrong), but really what is the cause of her personality? :/
I can answer the Vivienne part a little…

I probably won’t go into why she is the way she is because I still don’t know how much of it will end up being mentioned in story so I don’t want to spoil anything. Also, I’ve been considering writing a Vivienne back series of short oneshots sort of like Sonny’s Emilio back series to show how she became the way she is.

That part you’re referring to that was retconned — that bothered me too. Bothered both of us. It was never right even from the moment it was written but we were under a time crunch so we kind of went with it. I forgot about it for awhile and then realized people would still think that had happened so that’s why it got retconned. Anyway it’s interesting to hear that it being retconned made a difference for you!

As for her relationship with Boyd and what she thinks of him, it’s complicated and right now I’m planning on that coming up (hopefully) somewhere before Fade ends.

I don’t remember the ballerina part… that may be super old info that isn’t true anymore. (In the transition from Vivienne in the rpg to Vivienne in icos, some things were mentioned early on that didn’t make sense for her so were later discarded. The ballerina thing could be something like that.)

She did used to like horseback riding, though. When she was very little she was different, that’s also true, and over time things changed. One thing I’ll say is the woman she grew up with acted toward her a lot like the way she acts toward Boyd.

hey pit!

Kassian and Ryan will find partners eventually, but I don’t know if it will be in Fade. I think Kassian and Ryan are the type of people who need someone specific to make them feel complete or okay. Kassian needs someone who will be realistic but not judgmental, and Ryan needs someone who isn’t going to baby him or smother him because he’s sick.

The rest of it I can’t answer because it’s spoilers for the end! (about E/Z)

Is Fade really the end of ICOS? I feel there is too many unanswered questions! There must be another fourth book….!! Please!
It is… isn’t that crazy? At first we planned another book but then we changed our minds and have been combining the main plot points into the plot for Fade. Our plan is to wrap up all the main plots/important questions. There may be a few smaller questions left unanswered in the end– but those could also be addressed in side stories and novellas in the same world 🙂
For now it’s the end 🙂 We threw around a possible idea of a spinoff in the future with related issues and some of the characters, but I don’t know if or when it would happen
You guys write an amazing series! Sleep-deprivingly good even! And thanks for doing the q&a. It feels like a nifty convention fan panel. =)

Is there any chance of the series going into print? It’s nice reading it on the computer/ereader, but it’s hard to flip back and forth through those like you can in a print version. I usually read ebooks, but I’d buy a hardcopy of this in a heartbeat.

When we’re done writing Fade, we’re going to work on editing/revamping and getting things together for self publishing. At first we’re going to focus on ebooks but we definitely plan to do print as well once we work out the details 🙂

starlite_gone

September 10 2012, 05:32:54 UTC Edited:  September 10 2012, 05:34:07 UTC

Thank you so much! You are awesome for reading our story 🙂 I wanted to add to Sonny’s comment that I’m sure we’ll post all over the place when we have things available in the published version.

But for now, we JUST finished preparing pdf, epub and mobi copies of the latest versions of Evenfall, Afterimage and Interludes… because any of those files out there already on the internet are NOT up to date and have old, outdated, retconned stuff.

You should be able to find them at Goodreads:

our series page

But here are direct links for where you can choose the file type for you:

Evenfall
Afterimage
Interludes

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: there is a LOT of editing Sonny and I will be doing to get this all ready for publication, so these are by no stretch of the means the final version. There are probably still a lot of places that need to be improved. But we wanted to make sure people had an option for the newest versions.

So if ANYONE reading this already had an ebook/digital version of the series, please delete it and replace it with these. Whatever you have is not the most updated only because we’d never actually created our own versions before. The versions floating around the internet were made by some very nice, very dedicated fans who didn’t have the most updated version at the time because we’re constantly updating things.

lol Hi Ais! xD

Is there any type of research you guys hate doing for ICoS? Is there any info you like looking up?

I don’t hate doing any research but I get really frustrated when I can’t find a simple answer XD It always seems like these things happen on the stupidest of questions I feel like should take me 2 seconds to Google, or somethings with languages. It’s happened a few times where it’s taken this ridiculous amount of time for something that’s just one line or a throwaway comment.

The info I like looking up is SO DORKY you guys are all going to laugh at me…. but I really like doing Google Street maps to find locations I can screenshot and take notes on– or checking future calendar years to get exact dates for chapters or scenes, and (very occasionally when I’m being especially anal) also checking THAT against future sunrise/sunset times or the cycles of the moon to get descriptions of the sky correct.

I kind of love future calendars, not gonna lie. There’s something that’s really satisfying about putting down a date so I can say to myself exactly how long between x and y that z takes place, etc. And I really love maps.

oh, speaking of maps– I have bought so many random street and country maps at used bookstores, it’s silly. I haven’t even used them that often but there’s something really fun and satisfying about unfolding a giant ass map to pinpoint a street, intersection, or city, for future research.

Hi Ais and Sonny. I love love love IcoS, I love the story but I love the characters the most. I think this in one of the stories with the best character development I’ve read. None of your main casts is one dimensional and they are all humans with awesomeness and flaws . I particularly like how you develop Kassian’s character, but my favorites are still Emilio and Sin (borrowing Ryan’s words if I remember it correctly, Sin is both gorgeous and tragic and I just can’t resist him). I have two questions:

1. Do you have plan in the beginning regarding the development of your characters and how much adjustment did you make as the story goes and how did you decide that adjustment is the best course to take?
2. What are the perks and downsides of writing together. Do you think it’s better to work together when you just started to write?

I can’t believe the story is nearing its end (T T) I’m going to miss it a lot, and please don’t kill Emilio ;p

starlite_gone

September 9 2012, 16:03:07 UTC Edited:  September 9 2012, 16:05:09 UTC

Hi! Sorry I couldn’t answer last night when you posted, I got really tired 😦 I wanted to be able to give your questions the proper thought needed. (Sorry that it ended up being such a long ass answer in the end. I had to split it into two comments…) Also, before I ramble and forget — Thank you so much for reading our story! You’re awesome! 😀

I’m not sure if Sonny will respond too but for now I’ll give my take 🙂

1) You know, honestly, we sort of did and didn’t have a plan for the development of the characters. At first it was basically just us screwing around so we didn’t plan far ahead, then as we wrote we started saying “Maybe this could come next” and so on. Kind of middle-to-end of Evenfall, when we’d posted online and people seemed to like it, we started plotting development a little better. Afterimage, for instance, wasn’t initially planned– the original (veeeery loosely developed) plot skipped straight to some parts in what became Interludes and Fade. But as we ended Evenfall and looked into the future we realized there were some things that needed to be addressed and some things the characters, for lack of a better description, really wanted/needed to do. From there, plots built on each other and from there came the character development.

We will be doing a more deliberate edit when we go into the process of trying to get things ready for eventual publication. I think that is where we’ll really have the opportunity to streamline the character development the way we wanted.

The series became so massive that over time a lot of plots interwove and shot off in different directions. And I see that as a really good thing. But when we look at how to really streamline the series it will let us be able to focus even more on what are the main, most important parts, of the story we’re trying to tell and how best can we get that across.

One thing about character development in general is that we tried to always change plot according to character growth, rather than adjust character growth to pre-existing plot. For the most part that’s what we did, and that’s how Afterimage happened, that’s how a lot of things happened. Well, honestly, that’s how the whole series happened. Sin and Boyd– we never expected them to have chemistry, but they did so we re-started the series to account for that. Kassian and Boyd– we had no idea they would get along so well.

Boyd and Emilio, even, is another example of character interaction I personally love because we had no plans going into it for those two. Honestly, I expected Boyd to hate Emilio forever based on Sin’s past XD But I wasn’t thinking about the way Boyd constantly adjusts his opinion based on the facts, so when he met Emilio he saw right through all the bullshit Emilio projected, and he saw who he really was, and he decided that this man was alright after all.

So I guess the long-story-short version of my answer is that some of the character development was stuff we did plan, but also some of it was a natural progression of the character him- or herself. For both of us, it’s always been really important to try to stay true to what makes sense for the characters or what makes sense for the story, even if it’s not something we initially planned.

Sonny said in a comment elsewhere about how going into the series he hadn’t thought about/planned for Boyd and Sin to have a sort of co-dependent/unhealthy relationship at first but it made sense that they did, and it made sense that they had a lot they needed to work through. In the very first imagining of this story it might have ended with a semi happily ever after at Evenfall, but in the end the characters couldn’t really develop as much as they needed to, the story couldn’t really be fully told, until we followed them for several more years to the place they will end up in the epilogue of Fade.

(Continuation and end of my ridiculously long answer)

2) It is SOOOO much better for icos that we’re working together! This series would not have been anything near what it is if we hadn’t been. There are two huge perks for collaborating: one, you have someone else holding you accountable so it means the series is a lot more likely to actually be finished, and two, you have someone to bounce ideas off as you go who is as immersed in the details of the plot as you are. The downsides to collaboration are mostly when there are different opinions about which way a plot should go. That’s sometimes a bit frustrating because there may be one person who’s really excited about something and the other person just can’t or won’t go along with the idea, but overall I think that’s still something good about working in collaborations. The few instances I can think back on where one of us pitched something the other didn’t go for are plots that I really don’t think worked for the overall point of the series anyway.

Actually, if we hadn’t been working together on icos, not only would it not have been written in the first place, or not only would Boyd and Sin not have been paired up, but it also would never have been put online because Sonny was the one who wanted to put it online and I thought he was insane. I didn’t think anyone would want to read it. So I basically told him, “Fine, but you can waste your time putting it up there.”

Amusingly enough, six years later I’m now the one who does most of the posting and updating just because we eventually hosted the story on my site and I know HTML, so it’s just as easy for me to do all the updating at once while Sonny gets to joke around with the readers, BEING LAZY. Sneaky Sonny! I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

I’ll answer the character development question in terms of Sin and Boyd.

For Sin, he started out as someone who was abused and treated basically as a subhuman person and because of that, he was hostile, he didn’t trust anyone, he expected the worse from everyone, and everything was a fight. He looked at everything through a lens of, well people expect me to be an animal so this is how I react and this is what I’ll give them because they can go fuck themselves anyway. When I started writing Sin, I knew he would be that way and I knew something would have to change in order for him to ever accept Boyd into his life because it was deeply ingrained in him that people were bad.

As the story went on, especially after the original version of Evenfall, it only made sense that for Sin to be able to accept Boyd or ANYONE, he had to A) realize that not everyone was bad but also that B) Sin himself pushed people away and alienated himself at times. I didn’t originally expect the second part to be as HUGE as it ended up being for him, but it was. I knew he would have to adjust how he treated Boyd and stop his automatic reaction of pushing Boyd away, but then I realized Sin’s automatic defense mechanisms push everyone away and actually played a large role in why he was originally alienated by everyone on the compound. He actually gave them ammunition. So that realization and the tiny ways he changed because of it were interesting to write, because it had to be subtle. Sin will never be a person who lets other people in easily, even the people who treat him with kindness.

Writing his mental breakdown and recovery was a whole other story…

Developing characters like Kassian and Carhart were actually more interesting for me. They start out with this Good Guy archetype, but I don’t like that archetype because they’re not real. And you can’t HAVE that archetype in a place like the Agency unless you’re someone who is in a civilian or sedentary role who isn’t out in the field or making decisions about other’s lives. So they’re these Good Guys but they’re still hard, and they still play god and decide who’s worth living and who’s not worth saving, so that has to come out. For Kassian, that comes out with his vices (alcohol, fucking), but with Carhart all of that negativity gets poured into his relationship with Emilio. I’d already known pretty much what Kassian would be like once I knew he would be in the story, I knew he would have two sides of his personality, but Carhart was trickier. I didn’t know how those dark parts would come out until I wrote him interacting with Emilio, and I saw how explosive and volatile they were together.

cancelsonny

September 9 2012, 16:44:00 UTC Edited:  September 9 2012, 16:59:14 UTC

I actually think Boyd’s character development was really interesting because of how it played out, and how readers respond to him.

He starts out as this kid who is really withdrawn, and really disconnected socially from the world and all he has is this antisocial guy for a partner and someone like Ryan who is so far on the other end of the spectrum that it’s impossible to relate to him at all.

So Boyd develops this strong relationship with Sin and they have this kind of sick neediness for each other where they would die if the other one was gone or completely shut down and it’s really unhealthy. Then in Afterimage Boyd is forced to be away from Sin for 3 months, and live with other field agents who are around his age and he realizes that if he HAS to, he can get along with others, and he can find things in common with others, and it doesn’t have to just be him and Sin against the world, and him always being defined by that relationship.

The thing that was tricky is figuring out how to show that, and figuring out how to make Boyd deal with that as a kid who is just being thrown into these intense relationships. In a perfect world, Boyd would have just made friends and everyone would have gotten along. But for it to be realistic in that world and with those characters, Boyd kind of took that new independence and freedom and ran with it and developed tunnel vision because he felt like for the first time he was doing things for himself and having respect from his peers and people actually liked him for who he was. I mean he went from being the emo kid with the psycho boyfriend, to having people like Kassian and Jon and Emma really like him and value his opinion which is pretty big.

I think Ivan summed it up pretty good when he said Boyd went from being the loser kid in school to suddenly having this popularity and turning into a bit of an asshole because at first he didn’t know what to do WITH that popularity. So he made some mistakes, and then had to work hard to make up for them.

A lot of readers got mad at Boyd because of it but that’s the way it had to happen for him to grow up and mature. If it was always just Sin and Boyd and they knew nothing else and never experienced anything else, then they would never know whether they really loved each other or if they were just together because they never let anyone else in or tried anything new. And sometimes when stuff like that happens, people are assholes, and Sin and Boyd were both assholes to each other during that whole process.

Expressing that in writing is hard, and going back, we always realize hmm that could have been explained better if we changed this or deleted that, or redid this, so it will be a lot more streamlined in editing for publishing and hopefully people will understand why all of that had to happen the way it did

Also, perks about co-writing are definitely having someone to motivate me to keep writing, and the planning. ICoS takes a lot of planning and researching and having someone share those responsibilities is HUGE. I think some people think there are “Sonny” chapters and “Ais” chapters, and we don’t plan together or someone isn’t planning when the other person is writing a chapter that is written solely by the other, but we plan everything together and all plots are thought out jointly and that is very important to how everything stays together.

Some downsides are definitely in the past that we have had arguments over things and it caused tension, but I think that’s expected when anyone is working together for years

Hi Sonny and Ais 🙂 thank you for opening the floor to questions! It makes me sad that ICoS will be ending soon, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride so far, and I’m sure it will be a good conclusion!!!

1) Fashion: noticed that each character has their own style, can you comment on that (inspiration? reasoning?)
2) Traveling: I know Ais mentioned google-mapping above for research. Have either of you had to opportunity or desire to check out some of the mission locations in real life after writing about it? Which location would you like to visit?
3) Favourite pair: whether it is romantic/friendship/partnership/work/frenemies/rivals… etc
4) After ICoS, what will be next for sonnyais as a unit?
5) If you had to choose 1 agent to be your partner, who would it be and why?

😀 thank you in advance! Keep up the great work!

hey melanofly! Interesting/awesome questions.

1) This is an awesome question lol. My characters are all super different as far as the way they dress.

Sin is the easiest, he’s the master of IDGAF. He will wear the most broken down shit because he honestly doesn’t care about how he looks and what other people think of how he looks. It was like that in the beginning of the story, and it’s like that now. But he prefers plain, functional clothes. For example jeans, hoodies. He loves hoodies because even though he is confrontational, he actually hates being a spectacle so he hides under his hood a lot. He never wears anything that will make him stand out.

Emilio is POLAR opposite. Leather pants, knee high boots, really flashy, he’s the guy who would buy the $250 red Jordan sneakers, and everything bright and designer. He loves being the center of attention, and because he grew up so poor and everything was about money later on, he’s very materialistic and flashy. He’s also belligerent and that factors in. When he came to the Agency, everyone was conservative and wore suits and black, and he came in rocking torn jeans and big boots, and long grungy hair and was like fuck all of ya’ll, here let’s listen to some techno and smoke pot in the training room.

Ryan is weird because he has evolved differently than I expected. He’s way more confidant and sexual now, and went from little anime geeky kid to this kind of hot twink who wears skinny jeans and deliberately messes up his hair, and dresses like a hipster.

Carhart and Kassian are pretty similar, I think. When they’re at work, they’re very business casual, but at home they both are laid back and have this California beach dude style, like faded/torn jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes or flip flops. Kassian though has a lot of band t-shirts because he loves music

2) Out of all of the places we mentioned, I think I really want to go to China

3) THIS IS HARD. But my favorite relationship is Carhart/Emilio. They’re really interesting to write. Other than that I think Kassian and Sin’s evolution to enemies, to frenemies, to whatever they are now. Emilio and Boyd are also really interesting

4) After we finish Fade, we’re going to take the massive job on of cutting almost 2 million words down to something publishable. We talked about possibly co-writing a spinoff in the future, but I don’t know if it will happen. We both have solo projects in mind though

5) This is such a cool question. I honestly think I would choose Kassian. When I’m doing any kind of project, I appreciate someone who is decisive and professional, and is really point black about either Yes that’s a good idea, or No it’s not and I have a specific reason why I don’t think it works

5) This is such a cool question. I honestly think I would choose Kassian. When I’m doing any kind of project, I appreciate someone who is decisive and professional, and is really point black about either Yes that’s a good idea, or No it’s not and I have a specific reason why I don’t think it works

I have to admit that Kassian was the first person I really considered. I ended up choosing Harriet instead for my answer. But the way he’s forthright about not only yes/no but also his reason is why I first thought of him.

These are hard (and interesting) questions! lol I’m going to try to answer as succinctly as little miss rambling me can.

1) I think fashion is kind of a natural extension of personality. It’s fun to think about what people would choose and why. I’ve started to think of characters in terms of stores over time. I’ll give two examples below but if you wonder about someone else in particular let me know!

Boyd used to be head to toe black, which actually was a little bit related to his past (when his dad died, Vivienne was super stressed out when she couldn’t find black clothing for the vigil so as a kid he interpreted her approval of finally finding all black for him as the last time she approved of him as a person) and partially just because it was his personality at the time. Black was like the ultimate way of saying he just wanted to disappear and he didn’t care and he didn’t want to think. Initially when I knew the plot that was occurring at the end of Interludes/beginning of Fade for Boyd was coming up, I was a little excited because it finally meant I could dress him in normal clothing again XD When I’m trying to find clothing for him now I usually end up at a conglomeration of Express for Men mixed with sneakoutfitters.com. Kind of classic lines, form-flattering, usually mellow colors, but a little bit of personality infused in it to show the way he’s started to open up.

Vivienne was more interesting to me. I always saw her as perfectly fitted skirt suits with severe hair. She’s kind of Macy’s/Express for me with a bit of Athleta’s cuts– but also with her I usually just look in general for clothing and don’t always stick with one store. The thing that was most fun for her, though, was showing the other side of her– the way she dresses casually, never before seen except through Carhart’s eyes and, a little bit, when Aisha was around her in one side story. Vivienne is a pretty literal character when it comes to the phrase of “letting your hair down.” If you see her with her hair down, that means she’s lowered her defenses. So her hair also plays its own part in the visual expression of her as a character.

2) I SO WANT TO TRAVEL ALL THESE PLACES! You have no idea. If I won the lottery and could afford it, I would lol I haven’t had the opportunity though, sadly. If I could choose anywhere, it would be Monterrey. I really want to see that place in person, go down the streets I imagined certain things occurred, retrace steps of characters as they were plotted on Google maps — and see if I get even better ideas for locations of scenes. Sadly, I’ve had to make due with buying language dictionaries, maps, and random books about places if I know characters will end up there or think they might.

Oh, funny enough, at one point we’d planned on them ending up in Fiji. I doubt that will happen anymore. But if that had happened, I would have actually been able to put my experience to use lol Oh and technically I was in Spain in one of the places they were at one point but it was so long ago I don’t remember things well enough.

3) Favorite pair? UGH. That’s hard. If I spend too much time on that question I’ll talk myself into and out of a lot of them lol I have to say my favorite interactions might actually be Emilio and Boyd. Because they develop kind of interestingly over time, both individually but also together. Also I think it’s fun to see the way their mutual love of Sin plays out differently in them individually as characters and together, because they’re always ready to be partners in crime together when it comes to Sin.

4) We haven’t totally figured this out but there’s a possibility of another, shorter series that’s in the same world with some cameos of characters from this series.

5) lol that one was the hardest. I feel like once I say an answer I’ll think of someone else but right now I’m going to have to go with Harriet. Because she’s a good agent who gets her shit done, but her personality wouldn’t be overpowering for someone like me. Also, I feel more comfortable around women so if I could choose, I’d want a female partner anyway.

 

Hi guys… Ok this is going to be mildly weird but first off I just want to say I LOVE your work. when I originally stumbled across it I took two days and just burned through EVERYTHING much slower than I normally would have because I didn’t want to miss a single bit. even now when I read new chapters I end up sitting so close to my computer screen in anticipation it should probably be fogging up.
umm anyways…I’ve been sitting on this question for a while but Since this started out as an RP and developed into this amazing work when you write do you write separately and then send off ideas back and forth or are you in constant communication while writing simultaneously?
Haha that doesn’t sound weird at all. When I’m into books I do the same.

Basically what happens is, if a chapter is written from Sin’s perspective, I write it until the point where one of Ais’ characters has to come in for dialogue, but the narration and everything is written by me because its through Sin’s eyes. Ais will fill in what her characters are doing or saying and sometimes she describes them. So in the last several chapters of Fade, most of my characters were in them so there were long stretches where I was writing totally by myself.

Since we use gdocs, in those cases, I would share the document with her and she could see as I wrote or I’d email her for feedback or when I’m done, and then if I had any questions or wanted to know what she thought, she’d let me know or leave comments. Everything is plotted out in advance, so usually it’s a conversation about how something came out or specific bits of dialogue, etc. So for that we email back and forth but usually we chat on AIM most nights, and thats the best way to do it since its instant feedback

Sonny already answered the question but I wanted to say thank you for reading our story! And it doesn’t sound odd to me either 🙂 I do the same thing.
Is there any tension between you guys when there is tension between your characters? Especially when they are hurting each other as badly as they do in Afterimage?
Does the reader pressure (I’ve seen the emotional outbreaks all over goodreads) have an impact? Like the fact that so many more readers seem to side with Sin (who is, as the big sexy BAMF with the fucked up childhood, easy to like) than with Boyd (emo andogynous boys not being the object of lust for those same readers) during Afterimage? Do you ever ‘correct’ each other when it comes to how the other person’s character behaves?
Hey! Good questions, I’m going to answer each separately.

Re tension: There have definitely been times when we got into heated debates about what a character should do, or what an appropriate response is to something, and how something should be portrayed. A lot of that happened in Afterimage since there was so much tension between the characters, and so much backlash from readers about what was going on in the story. That doesn’t really happen anymore and it’s been years since that has been an issue.

Re reader pressure: This is actually a really good question because it’s something that was happening several years ago when we first posted, and still comes up a lot on like the GR boards. It doesn’t cause any tension between us, although when we first started posting it was kind of awkward especially because we were still in the process of writing, but it does make things uncomfortable sometimes for two main reasons.

The first reason is that we know a lot of people took issue with Boyd because of his reaction to things post-Kassian, and some of that has been edited because we realized his narration and thought process wasn’t streamlined or edited enough (or that his narration was so long that sometimes his reasoning got lost). We were posting as we wrote so we didn’t have time to step back and look at it for a long time to figure out how it should look. However, we know that a lot of people don’t have the more recent edits when they read so that’s kind of frustrating since we wonder if people are basing their reactions on stuff that might be changed but when it comes down to it, we know that things happened for a reason and we hope that readers at least understand WHY they happened even if they don’t agree with it.

The second reason things get uncomfortable is because well obviously in a perfect world readers would appreciate all of the characters and their flaws because NONE of our characters are perfect and they’re all ridiculously movie-star good looks, but when people do the Sin vs. Boyd thing, we hope there doesn’t become an undertone of Sonny vs. Ais. I don’t know if this happens, I’ve never seen it happen, but we get kind of worried that that’s where conversations will go when debates get heated, which is not okay and would just cause drama and add to one of us possibly feeling defensive or slighted.

When it comes down to it, we both plan the story together, each chapter we decide on as a team, and the only thing that changes is who happens to be writing narration at what point. There’s no “Ais” chapters or “Sonny” chapters, since we make an entire chapter-by-chapter outline in advance of starting each book. In Afterimage and Evenfall it was a little more fly by the seat of our pants, and still a little more RP style and we didn’t know what to expect from the other’s responses but even then, we plotted out the whole story and adjusted the story as needed. So we’re both responsible for the good and the bad, and we hope there never comes a point when the debates become about the writers instead of the characters since that is the stuff of bad feels and drama.

Re character correction: Yes! We do this all the time, especially in Fade. After all of these years it’s easier to be like uhhh I don’t know if that’s kosher. In Afterimage it wasn’t so much that way and things were still “newer”, so we didn’t correct each other that much about what a character should be doing to remain IC and that is probably why things weren’t as streamlined, but now I have no problem going “that seems weird that Boyd is saying that” and Ais has told me “Sin’s POV is reading a little differently than it used to, maybe you should change this or that”. So essentially, if I drop dead tomorrow, Ais should be able to finish the story hopefully. I’m holding her to that

When it comes down to it, we both plan the story together, each chapter we decide on as a team, and the only thing that changes is who happens to be writing narration at what point

Also, no matter who is writing we both reread the chapters and edit together. We might realize in context of a chapter that our own or another character’s comment or narration, etc, could be improved in xyz manner so we leave comments about this and discuss any major changes.

The other thing is, while we’re writing and no matter the pov, we might realize that the scene just isn’t working out right. So we have been known to scrap everything and start over.

We also kind of back each other up in other ways. For instance in the chunk of recent chapters Sonny mentioned, he started getting burned out at one point so I wrote the scene setting and even some interaction with characters up until a certain point where he could jump back in and keep going. He’s done the same for chapters that have been mainly pov of my characters.

When it comes to other scenes, like sex scene for instance, for those it may not matter whose pov it is and may instead be based on which of us has a clearer visual image of the scene as to who writes the majority of it. There are times neither of us has a really strong mental image so we each write a chunk until we lose inspiration, let the other take over for whatever amount of paragraphs or pages, and then hand it back — in a cycle until eventually the scene is finished. In those cases we would both be writing both characters involved regardless of whether it was “our” character or not.

Since no matter what we do, we both have a final say on what is planned and what is posted, it works out really well because if there’s something that’s bugging one of us about a scene we can ask the other if they can identify what it is– and since we’ve both been around these characters for years now, it’s started to afford us, as Sonny said, a good idea of what motivates characters even if they aren’t a character we normally write.

So essentially, if I drop dead tomorrow, Ais should be able to finish the story hopefully. I’m holding her to that

I refuse.

oh and btw, i didnt mean that its the readers fault for having old files. its awesome that people compiled and made them and spent so much time on it since this story is ridiculously long. it’s annoying because before we were too lazy to make updated PDF and mobi files, which is why it has never been accessible. we are in the process of making those now
Gah! I’m sad to hear that there won’t be a fourth book, but I guess I can’t really complain because I absolutely love what you guys have done with this story so far and if you two think this is best, then I have full faith in your decision. Quick question I’ve always wanted to ask, but never got around to: what’s the story behind Boyd’s middle name? I remember in Evenfall there was this moment when Boyd was like, lol Kadin is my real middle name, but I never found out what the rest of the story was behind it.
Oh yeah the middle name! lol it makes it seem SO MYSTERIOUS now since the story was never told — but actually we just never had a good place to put it in there. It’s not that great of a story, sadly, so feel free to stop reading if you had an awesome back story in mind. Boyd actually doesn’t know the real story anyway so I’ll tell you what really happened 🙂

It started out where Cedrick liked the alliteration of B. Beaulieu, after his father Braeden Beaulieu. He got gung ho on the idea of B names whether it was a boy or girl and had a whole list. He talked about it so constantly that Vivienne finally got super annoyed and snapped, “Why not Bastard Beaulieu? That would meet your requirements.”

Cedrick it laughed off but laid off her after that. He later saw a journalist named Boyd and came to like the name. Vivienne went in waves of not caring what the kid was named and Having Opinions, but said Boyd was decent.

When discussing the middle name, Cedrick joked about naming him after his dad (Boyd Braeden Beaulieu) which disgusted Vivienne, who refused to have a child with the initials of the Better Business Bureau. (If you can’t tell, Cedrick didn’t always catch on right away (or ignored) that his sense of humor sometimes only pissed Vivienne off more XD)

At one point Vivienne said she wanted a French middle name if Cedrick was getting Boyd. They went through some options and one they both liked was Camille– she liked the sound of it and that it was an old name, and Cedrick liked that Boyd could be named after the journalist Camille Desmoulins, who played an important role in the French Revolution.

When Boyd was born, Cedrick’s parents Braeden and Amy, and his brother Riley, were there. Somehow in the confusion of everything, Braeden was the one who filled out the birth certificate. He’d been told it was supposed to be Camille but what he wrote down was Kadin. Vivienne and Cedrick didn’t realize this initially.

Then the bombs hit and everything went insane, Braeden, Amy and Riley were killed, and they never knew the real story behind the name.

Braeden had a sense of humor like Cedrick. It was possible he did it as a prank to mess with Vivienne, who he thought was too serious.

It was also possible he’d purposely “accidentally” written it, to carry on another tradition– initials of BKB– after his father Bevan Kerwin Beaulieu and himself, Braeden Kiley Beaulieu, because when he’d named his kids, Amy hadn’t let him continue that tradition.

When they later found out what he’d been officially named, Cedrick didn’t have the heart to change it. He liked to think of it as the last prank his father pulled. Vivienne still called Boyd by the full name Boyd Camille Beaulieu when he was in trouble, though, which was confusing to Boyd as a kid when he was told by Cedrick his name was Boyd Kadin Beaulieu.

So when he was old enough to later sort of remember the story and sort of mangle it, Cedrick told him a huge involved, joking story, about it being some hilarious misunderstanding between Braeden with his Quebecois pronunciation of French warring with Vivienne’s Parisian accent. He made the story sound like a duel– full of excitement and grandiose gestures and ridiculous accents in silly voices– all to make Boyd laugh.

When Boyd grew up, he later mangled the story even more in his memory because he’d been so young when he was told it. All he knew was that there had been a huge misunderstanding at the hospital, and his middle name was a joke. The story he would have told Sin would have been based on the story Cedrick told him.

When you go back and do the rewrites, I saw that you said things would be deleted etc. Does this mean that some things will be so greatly changed that it will have a trickle effect down to the other books? Say for instance, the Kassian/Boyd start up? or how Ryan has evolved? or maybe the Valentine mission in Fade?

Also, someone asked this elsewhere: How many chapters do you expect to post in the next batch and when do you think you *might* post them?

Do you ever imagine scenes or situations between some of your favorite characters that don’t fit within the series but you are desperate to write? Like sayyyy, a scene where E strips and teases sexually Z until both are happy and can only say, “oysters”. 😛

Jenn, Mrs. Chef Hat Ramen Awesomeness

Hello again lady chef hat 🙂

We will never change a plot point to the extent that the rest of the books have to be changed. All of the things in the books happened for a reason, and it’s all woven together for a reason. I changed how Ryan evolved because I’d already kind of started writing him with a subtle edge, and I just changed the start so that it reflected how he ended up (the original version of Ryan was REALLY annoying.) Kassian and Boyd won’t disappear, but some narration and some of the arguments around that time may be edited and tweaked so that thought processes and narration is more streamlined and clear. We haven’t talked about what else we’re going to edit or remove though, except for “filler chapters”.

We plan to update 3 chapters a month and hopefully finish posting in December. If it ends up longer, our very last post will just be longer, but we should be able to adhere to 3 a month. Take this with a grain of salt because I just went back to work and I have barely had time to write ALL WEEK.

I imagine scenes allllll the time that can never be canon. For example I think Sin and Kassian have chemistry and would love to get them in a room together but Sin would never fuck Kassian for real, and is more likely to cut him, but I can write AU fics to amuse myself (which I totally plan to do).

starlite_gone

September 10 2012, 05:22:23 UTC Edited:  September 10 2012, 05:24:03 UTC

lol I have wanted to write Vega sandwich since that damn phrase first popped up in the story… I’ve thought about how it would go now and then over the years since. It’s kind of funny because I always knew there was no way it would ever actually happen in the story but I still couldn’t help thinking about how it would occur.

(Also, this is the 100th comment on this post. Banzai!)

PS for anyone who is reading this and hasn’t heard yet! Speaking of AU PWP — we have a poll you can vote in for AU sex scenes/pairings you would like to see. We’ll write PWP of the top choices.

And, yes, you CAN choose Vega sandwich ^_~

http://poll.fm/3vt7t

Hi Sonny & Ais!! Thank you so much for sharing your guys’ incredible story and journey with us! Actually what stood out for me was the world building of ICOS!! It was way more intricate than other slash fiction I read. Now that I know you guys do crazy amounts of research, this makes sense! Also, I like how you guys subtlety incorporated different ethnicities without that being the focus of the story.

Lastly, I’m excited and sad that this story is coming to an end. I have been following it for a few years now. If anything, I am definitely looking forward to your guys’ future projects! Thanks again 🙂

A few questions:

1. What were your inspirations for ICOS?
2. Where did the title names (s) come from? And if you don’t mind, where did your pen names come from unless they are your real names?
3. WHY IS EVERYONE SO GOOD LOOKING?!

Aww thank you! (Now where’s our art?? lol just kidding)

1. I think initially we were just inspired by the idea of writing something dystopian. I don’t know what Sonny might be inspired by over time but for me, if I put aside all inspiration for future plot stemming from current plot, I find inspiration for things in the weirdest places.

Watching tv shows especially. I have a whole notebook of illegibly scrawled notes of ideas when I’m falling asleep. Stories from history or I hear about. For some of the stuff in early Fade for instance, I found a forum for meth addicts who talked about things they’d done under the influence and how it felt. I’ve also found bomb stuff online. I swear, there’s probably some government agency out there tracking my shit thinking I’m a terrorist based on my searches XD Oh also! Mythbusters. I love that show. I keep wanting to integrate random stuff from it like what is and isn’t bullet proof, but there isn’t a good way to get those things in there without it being super weird lol

2.
Title names!
Good question! Man I swear I tracked all this information down one time because it was really annoying finding the old conversations to remember how we had chosen things…. aha! I found it! If you want a longer answer you can check here!; but the tl;dr answer is below, in the order of how we chose them:

In the Company of Shadows: comes from the title of a really emo poem I wrote in ’03 about someone killing themselves XD (The poem is at that link if you want to wish you hadn’t read a terrible emo poem)
Afterimage: This was the first book title we created (at first icos was the name of Evenfall before we had a series). It was chosen for the meaning of a ghost image/optical illusion that remains even after the original image is gone. It seemed appropriate for what Sin was dealing with in the book, as well as, in a way, Boyd and Sin’s relationship.
Fade: I can’t find the convo for this but we wanted something that continued the imagery– not only a natural progression from Afterimage but also kept in line with the idea of shadows in the series name, and was appropriate for the book. The book deals with faded memories, old lives, relationships… But fade also implies transition in general, for better or worse.
Evenfall: This was the hardest– same reasons of progression/shadows/being appropriate like Fade but it also had to lead off the list of titles. We considered and dismissed a lot of titles. Evenfall was eventually chosen because, as early evening/dusk, it’s the time when everything is starting to get dark but some light can still be seen. It seemed appropriate for Boyd and Sin both, who weren’t in a good place and then met each other– kind of like they were the light for each other.

Our names! (the exclamation points make it more exciting, right? lol)

I’m answering for Sonny on this one too because it’s easier 🙂 For Sonny, that’s a nickname he goes by sometimes. For me, Ais is kind of a weird transition over the years lol It started out back in my high school days with my Wiccan name Aislin Nymph, which I chose because Aislin = ‘dream’ in Gaelic, and nymph at the time seemed like the best way to represent my element of Water (the other option was naiad but for some reason I didn’t go for it). Then when I went into the wide interwebs world of Gundam Wing fanfiction, I needed a pen name. I had recently been roleplaying with friends too and had a character named Mika who I liked, so I ended up doing MikAAislin Nymph as my name. One time for some reason I needed a nickname for myself– I used Mika but for some reason someone on a mailing list shortened it to ‘Ais’ (I have no idea why but it was probably because ‘mika’ wasn’t as unique so it was probably easier to differentiate me from someone else). I liked it well enough so it stuck in my mind. Over time I used Ais whenever I needed a shortened version of that long ass name, and when ICoS came around it was the easiest name for me to use. It amuses me now because if you google search Ais you get things like AI and all sorts of random abbreviations.

3. BECAUSE WE WROTE IT AND WE’RE GOOD LOOKING SO HOW COULD THEY NOT BE?! ;P

Oh! This reminds me! (And it wouldn’t let me edit this into the initial comment because apparently this explanation makes things TOO LONG. The story of my life lol)

So I apparently had pronounced Aislin wrong back in the day (I was misled by the internet, I tell you!). I’ve learned that a lot of people pronounce Ais like ice. I actually say it like ace. But you (being the general ‘you’) can say it however you wish 🙂

I thought I’d throw that tidbit in there in case anyone was curious about pronunciation.

I’m totally lurking/stalking because I know that dee posted some questions hahahha

I’ve been pronouncing your name as “ice” this whole time HAHA. ALSO, I really love the title ‘In the Company of Shadows’ for the whole series, it’s just so mysterious and i loveee the shadow imagery.

lol you’re in good company. I think Sonny pronounces it ice too. It had never occurred to me that anyone would pronounce it differently because I always think of it as a nickname of Aislin, but when a person doesn’t know that and sees it completely on its own, it actually makes sense to read it as ‘ice’. Anyway that was why I mentioned that, because I realized most people don’t say it the way I say it lol

You guys amuse me because your usernames are JUST similar enough to the forum that I’m like HEY I KNOW YOU!, and it makes me want to friend-stalk your ljs XD

Haha feel free to! I haven’t really updated mine though, mostly just for fandom and the-slash-pile posts XD. haha I’m probably one of the few people using this number as part of my username so its pretty easy to guess who I am LOL
I never thought about 52 = weeks for the reason for the number (unless it’s not?) until I saw this username though SO YOU COULD HAVE FOOLED ME
OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT ABOUT THIS!!! WTF IS WRONG WITH ME!!!!!!!………anyway, since i missed it i will say that i love this to pieces and i’ve been reading it for nearly as long as you’ve been writing it. well, i haven’t actually read any of the newer parts for a long time because something or another broke my little fangirl heart and i decided to wait until everything was done and edited so i could just start from the beginning and read it all again. i’ve kept up with the progress of the story though and i have to say i’m both thrilled and devastated to hear it will be coming to an end soon. this has been a part of my life for such a long time and i can honestly say it’s been all the better for it. i read voraciously and of all the countless books i’ve read there are only so many that can completely capture my heart and mind the way this one does. it’s a story i know that i will remember always and probably come back to again and again just for the sheer pleasure of finding myself in this world that you’ve created. and that was probably the cheesiest thing i’ve said to anyone ever but it’s true. i wish you both luck in everything you do after this because in a fair and just world, writing such a fantastic story would mean you were set for life. sorry for the ridiculously long and most likely rambling comment. i tend to go on and on about the things i adore ❤
Aww thank you so much! I’m sorry you missed it but thank you for stopping by! You are so awesome for reading our story and all of that is so kind of you to say! I really appreciate it and I know Sonny does too when we hear things like this ❤ I don’t think that’s a cheesy thing to say at all– that’s how I feel about things I really like too so it’s so awesome to hear that for something I helped create! 🙂

That’s a good idea to wait for editing; there are a lot of parts that need some significant work. Now you have me curious what broke your little fangirl heart, though! Just out of curiosity, what was the last book you read? (You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, of course! I’m just one of those insanely curious people who always has to ask a zillion questions. People make fun of me for it all the time, especially at restaurants when the poor waiter or waitress hands over the menus and utters the infamous words, “Any questions?” lol)

Also, the TSP overlords haven’t frozen this entry yet so if you did have a question you didn’t get to ask, you can still ask here and I won’t tell them *sneaky look around* Or else if this gets frozen before you can, you can also hit me up on any entry over at my lj with any questions too, now or in the future 🙂 Or PM me if you prefer that instead. What I’m basically saying here is I’m accessible! lol (Sonny is too but I’m on lj way more than he is so I’ll see messages before he will)

If you don’t have any questions, though, don’t worry about it– I just didn’t want you to feel like you couldn’t ask if you did 🙂

(PS: haha no worries, your comment is not rambling or ridiculously long! It’s pretty short compared to when I ramble ^_~)

thanks so much for responding! i knew that somewhere along the line this story would really get me but the part that i found myself not being able to read past was when sin and boyd were fighting and sin went to visit the guy that looked like boyd (i can’t think of his name) and there was a fair amount of flirting that happened in the cafeteria. i knew that it was a temporary thing (well i really hoped so anyway) but it just hit me harder than i expected. and by the time i probably could have finished it, it was just easier to wait.

as for questions, i didn’t have any specifically, but seeing you mention you started out writing in the gw fandom, do you think your choice of fandom affected this story? i don’t know what other fandoms, if any, that you frequent, but do you think think story would be the same or even exist if you had been in different fandoms? i usually end up in fandoms that are more fantasy than sci-fi. like harry potter and naruto. the first fanfiction i ever read was for inuyasha. i might not have even read this except that i have an intense love of dystopian future settings.

Ohh that makes sense 🙂 Thank you for satisfying my burning curiosity on the matter! haha

do you think your choice of fandom affected this story? […] do you think think story would be the same or even exist if you had been in different fandoms?

You know, that’s a really good question. I never really thought about it before. Sonny and I both came from GW which definitely is more action-oriented, includes missions, etc, and has a sci-fi overtone. I think it’s possibly less that had we been in a different fandom we would have written a different type of story, and more that we might have gravitated to a different type of theme or fandom if we’d had different interests. But interestingly, I never read fiction stories, never read original slash, before we started ICoS and I still kind of suck about staying involved in original slash as a fandom. My attention span wanders all over the place so somehow I just haven’t been able to focus well enough yet. I always used to gravitate toward fantasy as the primary genre I read and the primary genre I wrote. I think the dystopian world was attractive to me at the time because it wasn’t typical for me so it seemed like a nice departure from the norm.

But as for whether or not the story would exist… if Sonny and I had been in different fandoms entirely, like separate fandoms from each other, I highly doubt we ever would have met. So for sure the story wouldn’t have existed then. Actually, even though we were in the same fandom for years, if it hadn’t been for a mutual friend we still probably wouldn’t have interacted or met each other. It’s kind of strange to think back on things and realize how incidental so many things are.

END OF THE Q&A

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