Writing Insight II: The Keys that Unlock Doors

Original Post Date: February 16th, 2017

I often mention “I’m building towards something”, but some don’t know what I mean by that since this is a collection of one shots. Allow me to explain my building blocks techniques.

Building blocks are necessary for every story, but even more so for a series of loosely connected one shots. Since every piece is new, but can build off concepts introduced in a previous one, the greater the number of pieces I have to use is directly proportional to my freedom of creation.

The collection has long since grown a path, though each one shot remains a rough standalone. Reading them all connected is significantly more rewarding than just reading your favorite servant’s by itself. The reason for this is the world building I’ve developed over the first few fragments. The collection has started relatively slowly because of it, but they were necessary to make the later ones plausible. Though some have begun picking up on my intricacies, it is always advisable to scan a new (or old) fragment for building blocks that might be used later.

Some just wind up as noodle incidents just to keep some guessing though, but the real ones can be rather easily identified.

The best way to view these building blocks is like keys to doors. As an example, in Fragment 1, I introduced Jeanne, Marie, the Salon, and several other servants. I also introduced the design concepts for the Furniture Department, Clothing Department, Quantum Pieces, and more. Finally, there’s the servant developments like Mozart working as the pianist in the Salon or Jeanne being a very capable singer. All of these can be seen as keys I can now use to open a new door in a following fragment.

As an example, let’s take the Kiritsugu Fragment that comes much later. The end goal was to reunite the Emiya family by introducing Illya and Kuro to Chaldea, but that was not possible to do earlier. Based on what appeared in the fragment, the following keys needed to be introduced (But are not limited to these).

  • Irisviel
  • Kiritsugu
  • Irisviel / Kiritsugu
  • Memorial Essence
  • Shooting Range

These keys can all be established during the fragment itself, and some are. However, shoe-horning pieces into one fragment to make it work is shoddy writing when done often. Placing them in previous fragments that complement their host while teasing something else coming up is significantly more powerful. As such, I’m constantly building keys in preparation for later fragments. It makes the door swing open much easier.

These doors themselves can be as simple as a Servant’s Personal Fragment, or more direct like a concept. One concept example is OC/Servant, and something like the requires much stronger build up. Introducing it flat out would lead to a lot of tomatoes considering what it is, but it was a key I was very interested in unlocking early for potential use later. Thanks to Naomi and Tyler’s efforts in previous Fragments, it had already been heavily established servants and employees can get along. It was simply a matter of using the correct combination to open the door at this point, with that number combo being Anton’s design (Engineer Division OC Key) and Frankenstein (Servant who wishes to be seen, and loved, as a person).

Just like the rest that came before it, establishing that meant a new key I can use to talk about others things for potential use. A main example is the employee who tries to hit on Mordred (encouraged by Anton succeeding) and fails epically. This acts as the initial fuse for Beowulf to start a food fight, sending the potential chaos into another direction to save the employee from a beating and show Dantes ‘fun mischief’.

Now, how can this work to help you predict a possible appearance/concept coming up? 

The trick is to view little snippets that appear within recent fragments that may be alluding to something more later on. The frequency of which they appear is also a solid indicator. Whether or not you’re right or wrong is anyone’s guess since I do throw curve balls. But as not to discourage you, let me give a solid example:

When Ozymandias was walking around Chaldea trying to break his new groove in, he ran into the Hassans with their newest member, Serenity. The next time she was seen was in the medical wing for an appointment, being careful not to touch anything while being fairly nervous. The last time you saw her was Christmas Day, when it was revealed she mostly stayed within her room because she was overly worried something might happen to a Chaldean resident if she wandered too often. The small, personal party the masters threw just for her was hardly compensation for all of the trouble she had.

Does that mean Serenity’s fragment, and possible solution, may be approaching? They keys are all there for the door, so in this case, the answer is yes. Serenity’s Fragment will be number 32. There’s your free teaser for what’s coming up as a reward for reading this writing insight!

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