Writers’ Room #6

The time has come. We finally get to delve into the craziness of Burning Sky Prelude – Chapter 9.

Iri: A True Professional

EvilBob: If there’s one thing I love about Iri-

Voyager: Aside from everything?

EvilBob: …yes. If there’s one thing I love about her, it’s how ballsy she is. I mean, here she is, surrounded by pirates who mean to betray her, and she’s… mocking them.

Sharlenne: I mean… she did casually threaten one in the first chapter. Seems like she’s pretty confident she can take on any pirate.

Voyager: True! The biggest challenge with Iri is writing her so that she reveals juuust enough about herself, without showing her hand too much. Having her do things and react to things in a way that tells you more about her, but not more than we think is necessary. Actually, I think she’s simultaneously the character of the main bunch that we know the most and least about, all at once. There’s a lot to understand about her and a lot of restraint is needed to get her just right and handle a character like this.



Voyager: …what?

Sharlenne: You… wrote this chapter pretty much alone, right?

Voyager: More or less. Why?

EvilBob: *ahem* WHAT restraint?!

Voyager: Eh?

Iri’s House of Horrors

EvilBob: Dude…

Sharlenne: Yeah, man. The hell? It was like she was exterminating roaches. She didn’t even feel anything bad about it, she just… ended them all.

Voyager: “An ant has no quarrel with a boot,” or so I’ve heard.

EvilBob: Not helping.

Voyager: Ahaha! But it was fun! I actually liked veering away from the kinds of stuff I’d normally write to do a scene like this. As for the writing logic behind it… hm… I think the biggest thing was wanting to take sort of a “hard left.” The audience hadn’t really seen Iri in action, despite us implying a lot that she was pretty capable. The last chapters for Ike and Baldrik each had a lot of action. Didn’t feel right to leave Iri out of that, y’know? And I think it kinda shows you what to expect from Iri when she’s at the forefront of an action sequence!

EvilBob: Well… it was definitely different.

Sharlenne: It’s kind of interesting, though, because we see a really different dynamic with her. Ike really struggles in his action scene. And even Baldrik had a hard time with the Akuma in his first chapter.

EvilBob: I mean… to be fair… those were Akuma. Even Adeline looked pretty competent dealing with the scrublet bandits until she got to the last one… who cheated.

Sharlenne: Yeah, but there’s a difference, I think. Adeline took out most of those bandits pretty easy, but you still got the sense that there was a little danger involved. She had to dodge stuff and block and all that. They could’ve hurt her. Iri just looked totally dominant and in control of that whole situation. It was brutal.

Voyager: So true! I’m honestly looking forward to writing some action scenes where she has to be a bit more careful. Should be fun seeing what can actually push her limits. One thing I’ll definitely say is that the scene doesn’t really do a whole lot to show you the extent of what Iri can do. Her “best” would probably have made the scene a lot shorter and cleaner, yeah? Oh well. Always next time!

Silence Always Speaks the Truth

Sharlenne: So I think my favorite part was actually that question Kotori asks her. “Onee-chan? Are you a bad guy?” Ouch, man.

EvilBob: To be asked that by your kid sister – the person who means more to you than the world, itself – is just… oof.

Voyager: Ahaha! Yay! It worked!

EvilBob: …you going to… explain it?

Voyager: Eh? Oh. Sure! Well, it was basically just because that’s the biggest question about the character, right? The whole point of Burning Sky Heroes is to tell a story that gets at one root question – “What is a Hero?” It does that by following a handful of very different characters with largely different perspectives on what that term even means. For Iri, well… she’s Kotori’s hero, right? And now we’re being forced to figure out what that actually comes with.

Sharlenne: True. The question that comes to mind with Iri is this sort of “Is she a hero or a villain?” kind of thing. She operates in this really tricky grey area, a lot of the time. Is the motive, itself, good enough? Do the attitudes matter more or do they matter at all? And at what point does an action stop being heroism? It’s all really interesting.

Voyager: Exactly! In a way, Kotori is sorta like the audience surrogate of the chapter. She didn’t exactly hear or see everything that went on, but she picked up enough to draw some conclusions of her own. However, those conclusions are incomplete, so she has to ask the question. And for her, what better way to get the question than go right to the source?

EvilBob: So… why didn’t she answer?

Voyager: Hmmm? Why d’you think?

EvilBob: Me? Well, I think she doesn’t know the answer, personally. I mean, no one’s saying those guys didn’t have it coming. They threatened her sister. And they were basically slavers, so… yeah. Scum of the Earth, and all that. But we all saw what happened in that warehouse. She was enjoying herself.

Sharlenne: To put it lightly…

EvilBob: Yeeeah…

Voyager: Ahaha! Sadism is fun to write…

EvilBob: I shudder to think how far you’d have gone with that, had this book been aimed strictly at older audiences. But anyway, it wouldn’t surprise me if she just blanked on the question because she had no idea how to answer it.

Sharlenne: I think it’s kind of a combination of that and not caring. She’s a survivor, right? She does whatever she has to do – shy of selling herself – for her and Kotori’s survival. And that includes murder. For her it’s not really a question of wrong or right, is it?

Voyager: Ahaha! Interesting!

EvilBob: …so… what is it?

Voyager: No idea!



Voyager: Ooh. This silence speaks the truth too! And it’s super loud! Okay! Well, I have my own theories! But I don’t actually know the answer. You ever have a character just come to life on you, like that? It’s weird! Hm… well, if I had to say… I think it’s ’cause she’s afraid.

Sharlenne: Afraid?

EvilBob: Iri?

Voyager: Yeah! But I’ll leave the reasons up to the audience to figure out!

EvilBob: …Seriously. Can we get the old you back? I think this newer, troll version is defective.

Voyager: Ahaha! So mean!


Q: Do You Need a Hug?

A: Eh? What makes you say that? I suppose I wouldn’t mind one. They’re soft and warm. A good hug from the right person is really nice!

Q: What Inspired Iri’s Slaughter?

A: Hmmm… Nothing in particular. I just knew I had to write a scene that portrays Iri in a really dark way while still keeping it within the acceptable level of violence for the book’s age bracket. Also didn’t want to go too far since Iri’s still supposed to have this kind of classy and sophisticated vibe to her. So all the really graphic stuff happens off-screen, done by her Shades, rather than under her own power. I think it was actually a clever little work-around to imply a lot of waaaay grizzlier things that happened while never really specifying it all.

Q: Do pirates always take part in the shipping of slaves?

A: I’d imagine some do, right? In the world of Burning Sky, slaves are state property. Having private slaves is illegal. So transporting them to the land would have to be unlawful. And pirates aren’t really known for being upstanding citizens, y’know? In this particular case… eh. I don’t get the impression they did that kind of thing. Grey seemed pretty put off by getting duped into it, after all.

Q: If the pirates hadn’t threatened Kotori, would Iri still have killed them all?

A: Pro’lly not? At least… not the way she ultimately did. Had they left Kotori alone, well… it might’ve been quick and painless, at least.

Q: Are all Djinn Bulletproof?

A: Yep. Barring children who haven’t developed the harder skin yet. Generally happens around puberty. Even the best grade of ordinary bullets is only going to bruise them, at best. There are special bullets that can hurt them, but they’re not really worth it, considering what they’re made of.

Q: What, exactly, does Iri’s Blaze do?

A: Ehehe… you’ll, uh… you’ll learn more about that another time.

Q: Is Iri a bad guy?

A: I dunno. Is she?

All done! Just one more chapter to go! Next Time: Burning Sky Prelude – EPILOGUE. See ya then!

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