A/N: Useless and random rant coming up...

Dreaming of Akina

Making of

During the thirty five months it's taken me to finish Dreaming of Akina, I've sometimes been asked how I work on my stories and, taking this one as an example, I'll now try to explain where it all started and the 'tools' I used in order to create what is now the longest story I've ever written.

It all began while I was working on the final chapters of Programmed Lives – Final Stage. As it usually happens when I'm about to finish a story, I started thinking of what to write next, contemplating several topics which I knew had not been covered before by any of the existing Initial D fanfictions then, all of a sudden and without any previous warning, a question formed inside my head:

"How did Bunta Fujiwara become a racing legend, meet Takumi's mother and what happened to her?"

That single question made me start wondering about Bunta's highly mysterious past and, over the following days, I started gathering ideas using a simple txt file which sort of became the base for the storyline of the still untitled story. I then left that file so that I could focus on finishing Programmed Lives – Final Stage.

Only then, I did what I usually do before writing a fanfiction: I re-watched Initial D and re-read the manga, focusing on the too few parts where we got some insight on Bunta's life. Once I did that, I had a clear idea of where I wanted the story to go but, before I could start typing, there was something else I needed to do:

Research. Lots of it.

Seeing as the story had to be based in the seventies, there were a lot of historical facts I needed to check in order to make sure that I didn't write about something which didn't even exist back then. I also needed to see which cars were available throughout the 12 years I wanted to cover in the story and, together with this, I also needed to research on the different motorsports' disciplines of the period.

Being the history and car lover that I am, I absolutely loved that part of my "work" and for many days I delighted myself with reading stuff about great people like Akio Yoshida and Keiichi Tsuchiya. I also learned heaps of details about cars like the Toyota 2000GT and the different versions of the Nissan Fairlady and Skyline.

With a huge folder full of pictures of cars and files containing dates and facts about circuits, companies and other useful information, I finally had what I needed to start building up the List of Characters (which you can find at the bottom of this rant of mine) as well as the first draft of the main storyline.

Since I'm not good enough to do it otherwise, I can only write the chapters chronologically, which means that when I start writing the prologue, I need to have the summary for the following two or three chapters. This, not only helps me write faster but it also makes it possible to keep things under my control so that the characters don't take over and do their own thing. Any of you who has written a story knows what I'm talking about.

In addition to that, having a chapter-by-chapter summary allows me to have a definite time line with all the events and when they occur so that I can go back to it when needed. This helps me prevent continuity errors which is a personal pet-peeve of mine as well as having a clear picture of what's already happened.

With all the material gathered and the ideas more or less organised, I was finally ready to start writing but, I still didn't have a title. For this, I remembered something Bunta said about the fact that he drove on Akina even in his dreams and, putting one plus one together, Dreaming of Akina was born.

Now, I have a confession to make: the original storyline wasn't supposed to be longer than maybe twenty or thirty chapters. In fact, I didn't even think of making it half as long as it ended up being because I knew what would happen if I did. I would want to split the story in two or more parts and I really didn't want to do that.

Alas, for the story to cover all twelve years and the many, many events I had planned, I needed a lot of space and, for this, I needed a lot more than just twenty to thirty chapters which meant that I was writing chapter forty-something and I wasn't anywhere near the end of it. On top of it, I got quite sick.

It was time for me to take a break.

For several months, I didn't even go near the folder where I had all the material for the story and I hid my Initial D DVDs so that I would not feel tempted to watch it knowing well how addictive that series is and that it might even drive me to write another entirely different fanfiction leaving Dreaming of Akina unfinished.

Then, back in July 2009 I decided I was ready to start again and, re-reading what I had written of the story plus what I had in mind for the rest of it made me want to change a few things of the following chapters. I had to re-write some of the summaries I already had and refresh my memory on the historical facts.

And I also needed to get back into writing.

For this reason, I wrote Match Point, a Prince of Tennis fanfic, which was something short enough for me to finish it fast and which served me to get used to writing full length chapters once again. In a way, that story was some sort of test-drive to see if I was ready to re-start Dreaming of Akina as well as something I needed to get out of my system.

Thinking that the final story is over seven hundred pages long in a single Word document still scares me so much that I prefer not to think about it. My husband has suggested to me that I get it somehow printed and bound so that, one day, I can re-read it as if it were a proper book. I said that I'd consider it.

As for now, after I finish typing this, I'll take a short break while I decide what I do next.

Much love to you for reading this and thanks a lot for your support,

Sanae.

LIST OF CHARACTERS (in order of appearance):

Surname/Name

Role

First Appearance

Car

Current Status

Fujiwara Bunta

Main Character

Prologue

White 1968 Toyota 2000GT/Panda Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86

Takes over the Fujiwara Tofu Shop

Yoshida Noriko

Bunta's Neighbour in Tokyo

Prologue

n/a

Deceased

Akanishi Yoshiki

Old Harbour Team Leader

ch1

Yellow 1971 Mazda Cosmos

Deceased

Matsumoto Takao

Old Harbour Team Member

ch1

Dark Gold 1970 Mazda RX2

Retired - Proud Family Man

Fujiwara Eikichi

FTS Owner, Bunta's Uncle

ch2

White 1967 Isuzu Bellett 1600 GT

Deceased

Tachibana Yuuichi

Bunta's best friend

ch3

Dark Blue 1971 Mazda RX2/Dark Blue 1977 Mazda RX4

Takes over the Tachibana Petrol Station

Miyazaki Tatsuo

Yuuichi's schoolmate

ch4

n/a

Proud family man.

Mitsui Keitaro

Yuuichi's schoolmate

ch4

n/a

Proud family man.

Suzuki Masashi

Akina Firebolts Team Leader

ch4

Red 1970 Nissan 240Z

After Akina Firebolts dissolve, takes over Nitta-san.

Aihara Shinobu

Former Akina Firebolts Team Leader

ch5

White 1970 Toyota Celica

Retired - Proud family man.

Mizuno Seiko

Bunta's 1st Love Interest

ch5

n/a

Lives in New York City.

Kamenashi Fuka

Yuuichi's girlfriend/wife

ch5

n/a

Lives with husband Yuuichi.

Nitta Shinichiro

Junichi's Best Friend, Bunta's 1st boss

ch5

n/a

Gives up his Repairs Shop to Masashi Suzuki.

Watanabe Makoto

Akagi Racer

ch6

Black 1969 Mitsubishi Colt GTO

Retired - Proud family man.

Yoshimura Miyoko

Eikichi's Former Fiancée

ch7

n/a

Married.

Fujiwara Junichi

Bunta's Father

ch7

n/a

Deceased

Fujiwara Akemi

Bunta's Mother

ch7

n/a

Deceased

Minamoto Taki

Mechanic at Nitta's Repairs Shop

ch10

n/a

Continues to work under Masashi Suzuki.

Mizuno Kumiko

Seiko's Sister, Bunta's Wife

ch10

n/a

Deceased

Kogashiwa Ken

Bunta's arch-rival. Irohazaka Racer.

ch12

Midnight Blue 1972 Nissan KPGC10 2000GT

Retired - Proud Family Man

Mitsuri Shun

Myogi Racer

ch14

Red 1970 Subaru Leone

Retired - Proud Family Man

Nakajima Ryo

Seiko's Husband. Fan of Bunta.

ch17

n/a

Proud Family Man

Tsuchiya Keiichi

Usui Racer, Bunta's Friend/Rival

ch23

Honda S600, Nissan KPGC10 GT-R

Becomes Drift King

Izumi Kazuki

Akina Firebolts Team Member

ch25

Dark Green 1975 Honda Civic 1200

Retired - Proud Family Man

Takabe Masaki

Akina Firebolts Team Member

ch25

n/a

Retired - Proud Family Man

Yamada Yuri

Akina Firebolts Team Member

ch25

n/a

Retired - Proud Family Man

Iwase Satoshi

Tsuchizaka Racer. Kyoko's Father.

ch28

Black 1970 Mazda R100

Retired - Proud Family Man

Takasugi Reiji

Akina Firebolts Team Member

ch29

n/a

Retired - Proud Family Man

Nakashima Saburo

Wangan Racer

ch30

Black 1969 Toyota 2000GT

n/a

"Taka-san" Takayuki

Nitta's Shop Deputy Manager

ch33

n/a

Retired.

Itachi Midori

Bunta's 1st Wife

ch36

Light Blue Daihatsu Compagno

Lives in L.A.

Itachi Ichiro

Itachi Racing Team Owner

ch36

Silver 1972 Mercedes

Deceased

Itachi Takashi

Bunta's 1st Team-Mate

ch37

Black 1972 Porsche 911

Lives in L.A.

Uesugi Norihito

Itachi Racing Team Mechanic

ch37

n/a

n/a

Yoshida Akio

Toyota Design Dept.

ch44

n/a

Toyota Working at Toyota's Testing Dept.

Sato Hiroyuki

Tochigi Racer. Iwase's Friend

ch47

Dark Brown Honda S800

Retired - Proud Family Man

Katayama Nobuaki

Toyota Engineer

ch47

n/a

Toyota Projects AE86's Engine.

Omura Senkichi

Fuji Freshman Series Racer

ch48

Dark Red Mitsubishi GTO

Deceased

Ueda Hiroshi

Nissan's PD3 Engineer

ch54

Nissan Continues to be involved with Nissan.

Sakamoto Tatsuya

Sakamoto Racing Team Owner

ch56

Red Nissan JTCC Team Manager

Yamazaki Tetsu

JTCC Racer

ch57

Black/Orange Mazda RX3

Retired.

Yanagisawa Yuu

Doctor - Kumiko's Boss

ch59

n/a

Retired.

Shiraishi Satoshi

JTCC Racer

ch65

Blue Honda 1300 Coupe

Moves on to BTCC in the UK

Sanada Shin

Bunta's Rally Co-Pilot

ch69

Panda Celica GT

Retired - Proud Family Man

Sakurai Hidetoshi

Bunta's Rally Team Manager

ch69

n/a

Retires - Moves to Okinawa

Fujikawa Akira

Bunta's Rally Team Mechanic

ch70

n/a

Finds employment in Katayama's Dept.

Murakami Ryu

Subaru Rally Driver

ch70

Elecric Blue Subaru Leone

Winners of the 1978 Rally Champ

Nishimoto Tatsuya

Subaru Rally Co-Pilot

ch70

Elecric Blue Subaru Leone

Winners of the 1978 Rally Champ

Orioka Seiichi

Nissan Rally Driver

ch76

Datsun Violet

Winners of the 1977 Rally Champ

Kimura Satomi

Gynecologist

ch77

n/a Delivers Takumi

Tegoshi Yuta

Nissan Rally Co-Pilot

ch78

Datsun Violet

Winners of the 1977 Rally Champ

Fujiwara Takumi

Bunta's son

ch80

n/a

Will inherit the AE86