Thanks to a breakthrough conversation with Zanaikin today, I was finally able to do what I haven’t been able to do on my own even after weeks of attempts. I now have a clear vision of how to progress through Canan’s and Exam’s route, with actual ideas about character roles, key scenes, and sources of conflict and drama being much more defined than the handful of themes I had been attempting to cobble together for so long.
What I’m listing below is the raw material that I want to use to create the final route. As usual, Imperium Project spoilers are beyond this point.
There are a few things I’d like to address right off the bat. First off, although this might disappoint Honya, I’ve decided not to give Exam his own route. There are various reasons for this, but it’s mostly because I want us all to keep our focus in one place. Second, while our new staff writer Sylon did send me some interesting ideas for a Canan route, most of them were unusable due to conflicts with pre-established canon. But on the other hand, I have no reason to doubt Sylon’s talent as a writer at this point.
Anyway, moving on to more directly relevant material…
Though Canan is now the sole heroine of this path, Exam retains a large role. What I’ve essentially decided to do is extend the basic idea of the first part of the original Canan/Exam route draft into a complete route, while incorporating a few key aspects.
The bulk of the route will consist of Exelar working with Canan to help Exam with some problems he experiences while living with the Imperium Heirs and their allies – starting with simple things like keeping Exam’s identities as a trap and a vampire secret, helping him make early friendships, and finding blood-based nourishment for him throughout the Astraea segment; and moving on to more complex things during the Penthiae segment, including dealing with Exam’s mixed feelings about the acceptance of the vampire race in Norinth and about his meetings with Miros, confronting his inability to hide aspects of his identity any longer, and ultimately, resolving an issue of social dependency.
All the while, of course, Canan will also get her own important scenes. What Zanaikin and I have realized is that of all the Imperium Heirs, Canan probably has the most ability to empathize with Exelar in terms of their respective roles – both of them were asked to take up responsibilities that neither of them really wanted. In addition, Canan will begin to develop a sense of guilt as she begins to feel strongly for Exelar, who’s working so hard to protect her friend. I would say that most of Canan’s alone time with Exelar will explore these subjects, in addition to Canan’s personal history.
What I’m aiming for is something vaguely inspired by the Fuuko route in Clannad, where Tomoya and Nagisa solve Fuuko’s problems together and emerge with a stronger relationship for it after Fuuko disappears.
Also, I’ll be bringing Lothair into this route to play a much larger supporting role than before. Lothair is an antagonist here, trying his best to come between Exelar and Canan and Exam for reasons specific to his character – I might write a Wiki piece to clarify thse reasons. At any rate, he’ll also factor into one of this route’s two main goals, which I’ll explain now.
First: Resolve Exam’s social dependency on Canan. With a strong enough route score, Exam will gain the confidence to make the kinds of lasting, intimate friendships he couldn’t make before. He’ll tell Canan that he realizes their relationship was more convenience than anything, and wasn’t really meant to be – and that Canan should really be with Exelar, who’s been by her side all this time.
Second: Convince Lothair, who has multiple problems with Exelar having a relationship with Canan, that this is okay, or at least get him to a point where he’ll tolerate it. This depends on another route score.
This also simplifies issues of route conclusion. Meeting one of these goals will get a normal end, meeting both will get a TRUE END, and meeting neither results in BAD END. It’s easy.
Anyway, I think I got most of the important information down, although I feel like it might be a bit scattered. However, everyone working on the Imperium Project should know at least one way to contact me by now, and I urge all of you to do so if anything doesn’t make sense. Meantime, I’m going to start focusing on major scenes and try to get some writing done when I have enough free time off of work.