ANBU Legacy is our third generation project, and by far the most well-written, tightly plotted of the three. We’ve mastered our craft and process through seventeen years of writing together, and I think it shows.
Ki and Nezu first wrote together in 2005. We were part of a now defunct and gone-from-the-internet RP called Scarlet Spiral, set during roughly the same time period as Legacy, and following many of the same canon characters, plus an assortment of different OCs. It was also an ANBU exploration, but with Naruto canon as established fact (dead Minato, Sandaime in charge, pariah Naruto, etc.) Ki wrote Raidou and Kurenai, among others, and Nezu wrote Genma and Ibiki. Saunter joined Scarlet Spiral in 2007, but later that year, with several key writer departures, Spiral came to an end. And then Greatest Journal, where it lived, also came to an end, and it was lost from the web.
Nezu and Saunter were not ready to just let things die, though, so they spent an October weekend or two brainstorming and creating the framework for a new site, and pitched it to the writers that remained, with Saunter, Nezu, and Ki as moderators. The new project would have the same premise and setting as Scarlet Spiral, but with a fresh start: rebooted characters, new backstories, new OCs, new structures, and a little more quality control on the writing.
Thus Fallen Leaves was born. (It was on Greatest Journal at first, too, but when it started looking like Greatest Journal was terminal, we moved it to Insane Journal after only a couple months.) It’s still up, and you can read it, but be aware this is old work for us. We were still learning to write well, and it was a much less tightly plotted, much more sprawling story with many tendrils and many more writers.
By 2012, Leaves was showing structural cracks big enough that we could see the inevitable end coming. And at that point we’d gotten as much out of it as we reasonably could. We’d written ourselves into some corners it was hard to get out of, and we were down to only four writers: Ki, Nezu, Saunter, and GM.
We wanted to keep writing together, though, and we were a lot better writers than we once were. So we decided to start over yet again. This time with a completely new premise (Minato alive! Hiruzen dead. Naruto loved!), and a new, more regimented, stable ANBU structure. This time with overarching plot, character development goals, and a renewed dedication to editorial quality. We decided to admit no other writers, (though we were briefly joined by Zuul, who wrote Asuma.) And start over we did. Some characters stayed similar to their Leaves counterparts, some had almost complete rewrites. In May 2013, after a month or so of planning, we pressed go!
In 2016 GM left the group to pursue other projects, and later that year Aubrey joined us, first as editor, and later as writer. (And much later as Ki’s wife <3.) In 2017 we left Insane Journal in favor of creating our own WordPress site, anbulegacy.com, where we had much more freedom to edit our writing and present related material and information, including our ebooks.
Prior to COVID we held LegacyCons at least once a year, where we’d all gather in one place for a long weekend or a week, and hang out and plot and play writing games, and eat good food, and plot more. At our last LegacyCon, in October 2019, we literally covered the walls with paper to capture all our plans and ideas.
ANBU Legacy is more than just a writing project. We’re each others’ best friends, and we have so much more story to tell; we don’t see an end coming any time soon. And while we have plot and plans, we don’t know 100% where the story is going. That’s the special joy of collaborative writing—we can still be surprised by each other, and still find unexpected ways for the story to go. So you should be able to look forward to many more chapters and volumes for the foreseeable future.