The journey is finally over! I'm freeee! It's been a hectic almost-two years... But we are not done yet, not until I am done thanking each and every one of you personally. You have all been excellent to me, and I sincerely hope that reading About a Heroine has provided you with as much joy that your patronage has granted me. I'm going to go up and over the top in a second.
You can just flick through the list or press ctrl plus f to find my specific dedication to you. After the list of people who've reviewed and stuff I've got a couple of things to say, too, so you can stay around for more of my babbling, if you wish.
Feel free to dump a review on this "chapter" if you want to place critique on the fic as a whole, reply to any of the statements I've made or requests you may want to ask of me.
Review Call! (No order): People who state that the Naruto fandom is an immature one and not one where you can find excellent, detailed reviews are so wrong. You guys are really awesome, and never, ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
...NO NO (anon), PeaceGirlForever, CloudGazer15, .Chan Lacrime Ascuitte, shugosailormewmewz21, Red ChopSticks, missy4eva, turazya, Ly, Kami-Sama334, The One Nobody Remembers, GoldenDragonClouds, QuietShadowz, Daisuke-fujisaki, blazinfire08, Black Heart Puppet, Wanna Sleep, Love Is Only a Word, Tenten-Kunai, anon, YouDon'tHave2Know, alfread, Animeteen221, Artemis Nox, someone, Rozy, XXOpheliacXX, Celadonya, and Eru no Tsubasa. You guys all came at some point or another and through your reviews have still injected me with a good dose of joy. I thank you all for taking the time to read the story and bother constructing a review. You have brought unimaginable amounts of happiness into my life. Thank you so much!
...SargentArgua and your insightful concrit and praise. They've helped me to improve throughout the course of the fic, and pointed me in the right direction whenever I did some good old reediting. Your praise on the other hand always gave me the ego-boost I needed to go on with the next chapter, kinda like a caffeine rush. I always love reading your reviews, as they're long and I do appreciate the time you put into them! Best wishes to you and your stories, doll!
...Wroathe, oh my god, I don't even know what to say. You write fricking essays for each chapter of mine that you read. They're longer than most oneshots on this website. You're damn awesome. I've said this before and I'll say it again, thank you so much for your camaraderie and your feedback. Work your butt out on Vesper, okay?
...SilverEyeShinobi for pimping me out over at your profile and supporting my cause. And not just for this story either, you've kept up with three of my fics so far! And I've enjoyed all our rather long winded conversations we have had in both reviews and PMs... Good luck to you and your half-completed behemoths! One of these days I really should hop over and read some. Seriously, I really appreciate it that you give so much of your time for the NejiTen fandom, and still have some left over to read, and then review my humble little fics. You're a champ and an amazing friend, and I bloody well hope that I'll continue to see you in the future.
...mizily for giving me confidence in my writing. Simply pointing out and commenting on what the highlights of a chapter were for you and why it did made me unimaginably happy! Your reviews are very concise, and very, very lovely. In whatever you do, you always make me squeal around for hours on end, so I'm also avidly waiting for you to continue on with your own fic, Of Wine and Weaponry!
...milk bones, oh thank you! Your reviews are so nice and delicious and supportive, and I love you to death for it. I snuck up on your profile and it seems we do have heaps in common, aside from the obvious NejiTen thing. (Heheh, would you mind if I added you over on LJ?)
...Nanoue-Chan: Your analogical praise of my writing was especially touching and squeal-worthy. I love it when you review, I think you're a wonderful person, and I hope you stick around enough so we can do some more fangirling together.
...LonelyAsura, you came along in the fic's riper age, but I am glad as hell that you did! I hope you're having a hell of a good time hanging around in your fandoms.
...hollysky, I love that you can feel such a spectrum of emotion from reading the story. Thank you so much for reviewing. I wish you happiness.
...DarkAnonymous324 for always popping out of nowhere, and often presenting me, and probably many others, with pleasant surprises.
...Cataclysmic. Motion thank you! Your reviews are so informative and kind and oh goodness thank you!
...TinaTenten, GejimayuGirl, eternalsmiles, you all supported me in my previous project, Once. You were all there last year, supported that fic, and appeared again to give this one a go. So I'd like to thank you again for stopping by and supporting me in both fanfictions.
... and finally glockieeeeee, Afictionado, Blood-Gaara-Blood, Alquawende, RUNOS SISTER, bright-rebellious and Under a Rain Cloud for being there at the very beginning. Most of you probably won't ever be here to ever read this, but, Under a Rain Cloud, you even stayed as a reader for quite a while after, too! Bright-rebellious, even you made an appearance later on. So thank you, thank you, thank you for that!
Oh yes! And a big thank you to everyone who favourited and alerted, too! You know who you are. You're all gorgeous. You make me so happy that there's an absence of logical or coherent thought right now.
Thanks everyone, really, from the bottom of my heart. I each and every one of love you all in a way that can't possibly be healthy, and I will stab a Hyuuga in the foot every time I miss out on anyone here. So keep the shinobi world safe and let me know if I missed out on you and the list will promptly be updated!
Some parting words from the authoress:
It's been a frustrating but ultimately rewarding experience after countless late nights and groggy mornings and unmet deadlines, but it's all's said and done now. THIS MONSTER IS FINALLY COMPLETE.
Man, it's the hardest thing I've ever completed so far in reference to the size and content—it's novel length and I never thought I could come up with so many words for one story. I've even tried to incorporate some themes here, and though they probably appear superficial and conspicuous, they're still supposed to be there. See, it's got stuff! Music! Dinamikku Action! Humour! Unfunny humour! Drama! Melodrama! Mystery! Suspense! IN MEDIA RES! Romance! Camaraderie! Feminism! Nekkid Hyuuga!
I do have gripes with Heroine. It didn't turn out how I planned at all; I hoped that the scope of the story was longer than it was by the end. Tenten needed more badass moments. The NejiTen also was also quite uneven. In the earlier chapters their relationship moves along slow, and well, suddenly it didn't. So sorry if anyone puckered up their noses for that. I was going for pivotal when it came to the lovey-dovey chapters, but probably came off more random than not. Yeah, this fic sucked in a lot of places.
But I'd like to think the fic evolves from a wartime road adventure into an angsty wonderland, and then drowned in a deluge of SAPPPPP(y) romance in the final chapters.
Regarding the period setting, Heroine is a blend of WWI and WWII. In terms of decade I would say it would be reminiscent of the mid-30s, and a WW1.5 if there ever was one. I had WWII Shanghai in mind when conducting the bar scenes but thought WWI during the arc in the trenches. The soldiers are more based on British troops than any other country, but since I've drawn from a lot of sources (see below) even the US Marines show a little (or a lot) in the character's military behaviours and practices.
I don't think I will write a sequel for this anytime soon (it would be huge, my eyes would be sore, no one would read it, and I want the open-endedness of the ending to stay that way) but for a while now I have a wisp of an idea for a companion read. "Lost chapters," if you will, in the form of epistolary pieces that fill in the letters Tenten receives up till she reunites with Neji. But since I'm busier now, it will probably be left on the shelves to collect dust.
Then there's the fact that I'm sort of working on a collection of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic NejiTen oneshots (Apocalypse Please) that I am rather fond of (have a look?). I also have to write an original novel at least 50K by the next Chinese New Year. Those are my latest and pretty much only projects, though I'm hoping on starting a shortish ShikaTema steampunk sometime in the future. ALSO, WHO WANTS COWBOY/GUNSLINGER NEJITEN? Anyone? Anyone?
I know most of you guys hate writing reviews and reading author's notes. It's a chore and I'm a ceaseless rambler and you're probably screaming at the screen, wanting to reach in and tear my hair out for annoying you yet again with these huge author's notes for all these months. But I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to anyonewho's reading this message right now for tolerating me for such a long time.
Hope to see you all around soon!
Okay, now's probably a good time to close the browser, unless you've got some serious time to kill.
The Soldiering Life – the Decemberists
Lonely Soldier – Damien Rice
The two songs above have possibly my initial inspiration to write this whole fic, for reasons that cannot be quite put into words. Or not. It's just as likely I had a random plotbunny pop into my head during 2007/8. While I was holidaying in China.
I've listened to my iTunes library while writing and a lot when not writing to draw inspiration and most of the music I've written to is instrumental and has a great influence on the "feel" of certain chapters.
During the periods I had a bad case of mental constipation, I would just put on a particularly stimulating piece and BOOM (after a few dozen listens). If I was lucky enough, a scene would pop up into my head! Without it, and the eternally sexy Tchaikovsky, I might not have pulled through!
I doubt that any of you lovelies actually care, but it's just there if you want to, y'know. Know.
Valkyria Chronicles: Without this game I wouldn't have known the difference between a machine gun and a standard scout rifle. And really, I wouldn't have cared. With this I understood a bit more about tanks and mortars, and overall playing this game has probably lead to a greater realism in the fic, however slight.
Call of Duty: World at War: Year or two ago, my cousin came along for a visit. He's never owned a console so dad rented COD for him. We spent a couple of hours playing the thing, but never progressed really far. Though those few hours have heavily integrated into the visual representation of the World Wars—I forgot whether this game portrayed the first or second, most probably the second—in my head.
As music is the petrol to my writing, movies act as the coat that gives the car its iridescent colour. Here's a few movies I've taken inspiration from:
Atonement: a lot of the ambience and nurse sequences in the film have inspired me greatly in this fic. And let's not forget the quixotic, airy romance of our leads. I first watched Atonement one or two years go without fantastic impressions of it, but as I was writing this fic, I had a sudden whim to watch it again. In that week that I rented this movie, I think I would've watched it at least four to five times because by some random cosmic chance, the film captured me in ways it did not when I first watched it.
Disney's Mulan: Explanation is really not needed here. I've watched this a heck of a lot since I own a DVD copy, mostly to remind me along the way why I was even bothering to continue with the fic to start with. Because Mulan just owns that way. I don't think there's a single ethnic-Chinese girl who doesn't include her in their grand list of fantastic heroines. Even the most hardcore feminist's gotta love her. Also drew some influence from the live action Hua Mulan.
Full Metal Jacket: "I'VE GOT YOUR NAME, I'VE GOT YOUR ASS! YOU WILL NOT LAUGH, YOU WILL NOT CRY!" And... "THIS IS MY RIFLE, THIS IS MY GUN; THIS IS FOR FIGHTING AND THIS IS FOR FUN" is all I have to say.
Saving Private Ryan: The opening scenes, oh my. They were extremely graphic, but really opened my eyes a bit with how stimulating it all was. Sure it got a bit too guy-cry and soppy existential towards its conclusion, but it was a very informative, thoroughly enjoyable movie.
The Patriot: Old-fashioned Mel Gibson blockbuster at its best. AND HEATH LEDGER. D':
The Last of the Mohicans: I hated this film. But that didn't stop me from ogling at open-shirted Daniel Day Lewis and drawing inspiration from everything I could.
Porco Rosso: I adore Ghibli films. This placed influence on the bar located near the end of the fic, and perhaps subliminally Neji's eventual shift to piloting.
Waltzing With Bashir: Naruto's crazy solo act was soley inspired by a scene in this movie.
Lust, Caution: Especially comes to mind when I think of any espionage in the fic. I didn't like the film itself, but the aesthetic was nice.
The English Patient: This is one of my new favourite films. It's wildly romantic and full of that winsome filmmaking epic charm.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979): Oh, how I wish I had viewed this film when I first began writing the fic. Unfortunately, I only watched it as the story came to a close. But it's a great film in which camaraderie and the wastage and starkness of war is brought forward, and it's full of poignancy and a handful of amazing scenes. If you ever have the spare time, I would recommend you watch this.
Additional mentions: Braveheart, Glory, Forrest Gump, Jarhead, Chronicles of Narnia (to a certain extent), Yossi & Jagger, Windtalkers, Gallipoli, Enemy at the Gates, King's Speech, Good Morning Vietnam, Winter in Wartime, The Man Who Cried etc, etc. There are thousands of movies that are set in wartime.
There are actually plenty more sources that I have drawn inspiration from but these are all I can think of on the fly. I've scattered a lot of references and allusions to said sources. Good on you if you can find them! I try to make use of any sources I come across (including a war memorial Canberra trip and so on) so it is impossible to chronicle every single item. If you're into war film, I strongly recommend to you any of the movies above (not that my opinion really counts but go figure). None of the above are listed in chronological order of time watched.
BOOKS & ARTICLES:
My history textbook: no kidding, Dispatches from the Heart: a really touching collection of letters written from soldiers to loved ones, Good Housekeeping Wartime Scrapbook: really informative homefront compilation, Battles that Changed History, From the Corner of a Foreign Field: you get beautiful poignant prose from tough, emotional soldiers to hopeful verses by war brides. There's a lot of variety here (and very informative pictures that helped a lot!), and reading through some, if not all, acquired in this book is truly quite moving. Aaannd my trusty Oxford Paperback Dictionary/Thesaurus and Wordpower Guide, AKA a writer's best friend. :D
Well, I guess that's about it. Sorry for the overextended notes. When I start talking I just go on and on and... yeah, lemme just finish with:
And have a nice day! I hope to see ya all real soon!