Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Decision Made: Peeping Tom Wins

OK. I think I have a decision made. I'm still way behind on my prep-work, and the concept is just growing larger and larger, but I think I'm going with the "Miraculous Ladybug" story "Peeping Tomcat." I even created the NaNo profile for the story officially. I guess it helped that I already had a title for it, and "Varekai: A Novelization" is kind of boring, title wise.

For anyone who wishes to, feel free to check out my profile and/or add me as a writing buddy. I'm LycoRogue over at NaNoWriMo as well.

As for how I came to this conclusion? Well, oddly enough it was because I realized I had nothing plotted. Last week I decided to try to figure out which story I was more set to use for NaNoWriMo, so I tried to plot each one out. This way I knew where my holes were, what I needed to focus on, and which story called more to me.

I didn't even bother trying to plot out the Varekai one. I started working on Peeping Tomcat, and I wanted to address two of the main issues I came across with my pantsing version of it. Mainly, if Cat Noir was spying on Marinette for a month, like I originally had, how the HECK did he not spot Tikki sooner, since she never hides while she and Marinette believe themselves alone, and how did Adrien not notice that Marinette has pictures of him basically wallpapering two walls of her bedroom!?

I couldn't really justify him being so laser focused on Marinette to miss those two huge secrets for a solid month. Even a week is hard, but I wanted him to get into the habit and showcase that it's becoming an addiction for him.

So I started plotting things out under the assumption that he was going to discover Tikki about a week after he started spying on Marinette, so I had to up my game of him realizing he might like his classmate.

It was when I had him spot the pictures of himself on day six that I realized my problem, but also realized that this was the story I was going to do next month.

He freaked out realizing that Marinette liked Adrien, and to a near-obsessive level. It's understandable. He's about 15, and even though he's a bit of a minor celebrity within Paris due to his modeling, it's still a bit overwhelming to realize one of your best friends is basically in love with you. Not that he can really judge.

I was originally going to run with it, thinking it would be fun to have him sort through the whole "Marinette likes me" thing as he also starts to realize he likes her back, and she's Ladybug. Then I thought of a scene I already have in the original PT story. Adrien is a bit slow on the uptake, so he hasn't quite grasped that Marinette is Ladybug, but he is starting to see the parallels. When Plagg teases Adrien that he needs to just admit that he likes Marinette, Adrien freaks out that he really doesn't, since he never thought of Marinette romantically until he started to see the LB parallels. Feeling guilty because he thinks he's just projecting his feelings for LB onto Mari, Adrien takes a sick day from school to try to take the time to sort things out. When he decides to talk to Marinette and confess that he was spying on her he's distracted by the fact that Mari, Nino, and Alya are all at his front gate trying to offer him soup that Marinette made. Adrien's father's assistant Natalie turns them away without accepting the gift, and Cat Noir follows the trio back to Marinette's. He overhears how the soup was Mari's idea and how she put a lot of effort into making it to try to make Adrien feel better. Alya convinces Marinette to try to give him the soup again the next day, which perks Mari up as she decides that's exactly what she'll do.

In this scene, Adrien gets another glimpse of Marinette, one of her in public without Adrien causing her to be nervous. It's a part of her that is distinctly not Ladybug-like, and yet it's another reason why Adrien starts to fall for her. He feels like a heel that he's spying on her to find out more about her, and yet she's able to know exactly what would make him feel better without stalking. Little does he know that she is probably way more of a stalker than Adrien could ever be.

Either way, it's a way for him to fall for Marinette that is absolutely not LB-related, helping him realize that he does indeed like her for her, not just because she's his superhero partner. It also makes him realize how sweet of a friend she is to put in that effort. If he knew that she liked him before this scene, then it taints it. She's no longer a friend dropping off soup to make him feel better. She's a girl trying to find an excuse to woo the guy she likes. She becomes kind of Chloe-like at that point.

So, I feel like I have to try to avoid Adrien realizing Marinette likes him until after that scene. Sure, it still sort of taints the effort once he puts two and two together, but it's more of an "ah, the soup makes so much more sense now" after he's already realized his feelings, instead of "well, she does like me, so trying to make me feel better seems natural" before he sorts his feelings out. If anything, finding out Marinette likes Adrien might push him more towards Ladybug again.

OK, but I'm back to the original problem of how does he not notice the pictures of himself!? How does he not spot Tikki?

I couldn't think of a plausible way to avoid those early reveals. Was there a way to have a soup-like scene where he realizes a non-Ladybug trait of Marinette's that makes him realize he likes her for her? Would the soup scene be that tainted? Can he work past it? What about if he discovers she's Ladybug first? How would that effect the other two reveals?

That's when I truly and honestly knew I had no clue what to do with this story. I had three major revelations that Adrien had to go through - he likes Marinette, Marinette likes Adrien, and Marinette is Ladybug - but I wasn't sure what order to reveal them to the little cinnamon roll.

I tried plotting them out with bulleted lists, but it got too complicated. So I went with Plan B: notecards.
This stack has 16 cards. Just ONE possible plot line!
Ten cards are JUST for the Adrienette plot line first.
I'm not even done yet. I still need him to realize Mari likes him.
Each card is roughly one scene within the story. Depending on how it is written, it may be one scene per chapter.... Anyway, the green cards are main plot points that won't change no matter what order the reveals are. These are scenes such as Adrien starting to spy on Marinette in the first place, and how he's grown addicted to doing so. The orange cards are Akuma attacks. I feel like I need to add one more to the stack to finish up the story.... The yellow card is a "special scene" where Plagg confesses his relationship with Tikki. It will be in every incarnation of this story, but the way it plays out might be different depending on the Mari is LB reveal. Finally, all those blue cards are for the scenes specific to "Adrien realizes he likes Marinette first" plot line. I have pink ones for the "Adrien discovers Mari is LB first" plot line alternative, and white ones for the "Adrien finds out Mari has a crush on him first" plot line option.

My fixation with figuring out the order of these reveals and how it would alter the rest of the story had me focused solely on PT for the past week, which made me realize that this HAS to be the story I go with for NaNoWriMo. I'm just too engrossed in figuring out the mystery of Adrien figuring out his mysteries to focus on Varekai.

Now, I have to admit, since the PT "prototype" story has the order as "Adrien suspects he likes Mari, he finds out she's LB, he knows he likes her, he finds out she likes Adrien," I'm partial to keep that order. It still leaves me with the same two questions:

How does he miss the pictures of himself?
How does he not spot Tikki?

I went back to the notebook for those questions.
I basically broke down where Cat Noir was in relation to Marinette each night he watched her. What was Mari doing? What window was CN at? How was the lighting? What angle was CN at compared to the pictures of Adrien? I plotted six of them out. That sixth one was tricky, though. I have him watching a quiet moment with her to showcase how drawn in he became that it wasn't boring to watch her.... read... or whatever. This also meant he had "downtime" to scan her room for more info about her, and thus finding the pictures, or even Tikki.

I then came up with an interesting question: would Adrien necessarily realize Marinette likes him if he saw the pictures?

He's not an idiot. He has proven that he's a great student; a potential valedictorian. He doesn't even need to really pay attention in class to still keep up with the lesson and know the correct answers. He's a smart man. He also is intelligent enough to follow Ladybug's lead without much communication, therefore keeping her plan secret from the Akuma Villain they are attacking at the time.

However, how does he NOT already know Marinette is fixated with him with all the rambling and tripping over her own tongue she does? She's a nervous wreck around him and talks like a bumbling fool, and yet he just shrugs it off as "Marinette being Marinette" - which is kind of the starting premise of my story. There's also the frustration of every fan that he can't figure out that Mari is LB just based on the fact that there aren't that many half-Asian teenage girls in pigtails just walking around Paris. How does he NOT put two and two together? He even feared that "his" Ladybug was actually Chloe, even though Chloe still had her blonde ponytail while she was cosplaying as LB. Does he NOT pay attention!?

I have some theories, as do many fans, but I won't get into that. I just wanted to paint the picture of who Adrien is, as presented in the show. Based on his level of observation thus far, I really don't think it's out of the realm of possibilities that he misreads why Marinette has pictures of him.

Most of the pictures are actually magazine ads ripped out and taped to her wall. Marinette doesn't keep it secret that she not only wants to be a fashion designer, but also that Adrien's dad Gabriel is Marinette's favorite designer. I don't think it's that far fetched to assume that, assuming Adrien only spots a few of the pictures by her sewing station, he justifies the pictures as Marinette studying Gabriel's designs. Especially since it seems Gabriel uses his son exclusively as a model for his teenage line, so there wouldn't be any non-Adrien pictures showcasing Gabriel's work. Adrien could even think of trying to gift Marinette some of his dad's old sketches, should he convince Gabriel to fork them over.

I still have to play with the idea a bit, and I have to figure out, canonically, what pictures Marinette has where to see if it's even plausible. However, I might have taken care of that first issue. Maybe after he started figuring out his feelings for Marinette does he finally spot how many photos Mari truly has of him, letting him know of her crush back. I'm still trying to figure that out too.

That leaves the Tikki issue. I haven't locked that down yet, but I have about 15 days to figure that out. In the meantime, I'm still working on those notecards.

I'm also still working on those Akuma Villains.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I still need to figure out the villains for this story, and I've been so preoccupied as to how Adrien figures out what and in what order that I haven't worked any further on the Akumas. The only thing I do know? I'm probably not going to be using Headline after all.

The more I worked on the story the more I realized that, regardless of revelation order, Adrien comes to the same conclusion: Marinette may like Adrien, but Ladybug doesn't like Cat Noir, at least, not romantically. How could he have a relationship with Marinette if his alter ego, and arguably his "true" self, Cat Noir was still left out in the rain? He also can't just reveal himself to Mari - maybe I WILL keep Headline so he comes to that conclusion? - because how will he know if she likes CN for who he truly is, or if she just likes CN now because she knows it's Adrien?

He took the time to decide if he likes Mari for Mari or if he only likes her because she's LB. He decided that he likes both sides of her. He decided that he likes Marinette, and it's because of who she truly is that he loves Ladybug. He needs to know that she came to the same conclusion. He needs to know that Marinette will like Cat Noir for Cat Noir, not just because he's actually Adrien.

All I can think of now is the movie "You've Got Mail." Specifically that movie, not the play/movie "The Shop Around the Corner" it was based off of, mainly because of a main twist the update made. I'm talking about how Tom Hank's character Joe Fox unofficially convinces Meg Ryan's character Kathleen Kelly to want her pen pal NY152 to be Joe.

A little info for any who haven't watched the rom-com, beware of spoilers.

Kathleen and Joe met in a chatroom, knowing only each other's online handles: Shopgirl and NY152. They start becoming email pen-pals while being careful to keep their anonymity. They also start to fall for each other despite both being in a relationship already. The problem is, Joe Fox is part-owner of a mega bookstore chain whereas Kathleen owns a tiny corner bookstore that used to be her mothers. Joe, walking his half-brother and "technically aunt" around the neighborhood where his latest store will be built, comes across Kathleen's store. The two hit it off, until she realizes he's the man running her out of business. They obviously come to verbal blows. Separate from their real world interactions, Shopgirl and NY152 decide it's finally time to meet up. Joe gets to the meet point late and discovers Shopgirl is none other than the "irritating" Kathleen. It takes him a bit to come to terms with this, but then wonders how NY152 could ever make things work with Shopgirl if Kathleen hates Joe for forcing her to close her shop. He decides to stand her up as NY152, and just "happen" upon her as Joe. He mocks NY152, but Kathleen defends her "missing" companion. Joe then purposely tries to "happen" upon Kathleen as much as possible. He slowly charms her into becoming his friend while also delaying a second potential meet-up as NY152. He stays charming as NY152 so that Kathleen still desperately wants to meet him, even if Joe tries to convince her that NY152 isn't worth her time. Over the course of about six months, Kathleen and her boyfriend break up, and Joe does the same with his girlfriend. Kathleen and Joe become even closer, and Kathleen is desperate to meet NY152 finally. Once Joe is certain that Kathleen is torn between her feelings for NY152 and her feelings for Joe, he has NY152 arrange a meet-up. When Joe finally reveals himself as NY152 Kathleen is elated that her two loves are one and the same, uttering the quote "I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly."

OK, so that's the movie. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to translate it into ML, but I like the idea of Cat Noir kind of nit-picking Adrien until Marinette falls for the goofy superhero as well. Once he knows she's torn between the two, he'll reveal himself to be Adrien, and she'll have the same iconic line; elated that her two loves are the same man.

Granted, I'm going to have to rewatch the movie to get a refresher on how exactly Joe woos Kathleen over, but I still think it's a fun idea. An appropriate one, too. It's a bit of a weird role reversal though.

In "You've Got Mail" the idea is Kathleen likes a man whose identity she doesn't know, meanwhile, a man she does know and can't stand becomes a friend and then a love interest. Meanwhile the man she knows is bashing his alter ego to try to get Kathleen to like him instead. In the end, she still wants to know who the man she originally liked was, and was happy it was the man she knew.

This formula would work better as a genderswap with CN and LB. Adrien likes a woman whose identity he doesn't know, meanwhile, a woman he does know becomes his friend and then love interest. The woman he knows is bashing her alter ego - LB - to try to get Adrien to fall for her instead. In the end, Adrien still wants to know who the woman he originally liked was, and is happy to find out it's the woman he knew personally, AKA Marinette.

However.... I am a stickler for the idea that Adrien, in his pursuit to find the woman he loves, discovers Marinette first. Besides, it's a lot easier to realize Ladybug is Marinette than it is to realize Cat Noir is Adrien.

So, we do a bit of a role reversal. Instead of Marinette being like Kathleen and liking a man she doesn't know the identity to - NY152 and Cat Noir - she instead likes the man she knows: Adrien. Instead of the man she knows - Joe and Adrien - being the annoyance who has to woo her, it's the man she doesn't know - Cat Noir - who has to win her over. The same tactics apply, though. This will bring about a lot of the Marichat shippers I think.

It's a bit too big for the existing story, though, and the mood of the story would be different. So, I'm playing with the idea that Peeping Tomcat ends with Adrien knowing all the facts: Marinette is Ladybug, she likes Adrien, and Adrien likes Marinette back regardless of if she's Ladybug. I need to make it a nice conclusion for that story, but leave the readers wanting the full-reveal.

That's where "One and the Same" will come into play. It won't be a Miraculous Ladybug/You've Got Mail crossover per se. Marinette won't be Kathleen, and Adrien won't be Joe. Still, it will be inspired by the movie and it will have Adrien's playful attempts as Cat Noir to woo Marinette until the final reveal of Adrien being Cat Noir, and the two finally being together. I think for THAT story I'll use Headline. She will start off the story to convince CN how dangerous it is that he knows who Ladybug is. It's also a nice way to let the readers know he has this information if they didn't read Peeping Tomcat. However, she could also be a great final villain of PT to convince Adrien to not reveal himself once he knows Mari is LB.

I'm still trying to figure it out. I also need a new copy of "You've Got Mail" so I can really get the feel of the plot. I have it on good old VHS, but that's not much help when I don't have a way to hook up my VCR.... assuming it still works after being in storage for six years.

However I handle the story and apparent follow-up that already sprang up, I at least know I'm doing this next month. I also know what things I really need to crack down on in the next two weeks: how to avoid Adrien discovering Tikki too early, and who the HECK are going to be my villains!?

Feel free to drop me some suggestions below in the comments section. You can also tell me if you're planning on doing NaNo as well and what your concept is. It's fun to see what everyone is working on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Really Hating These Brick Walls

There are 21 more days until November, and I'm still not sure what the heck to do for my NaNo story. I wish I could decide! There were years where I couldn't think of anything, so I skipped NaNo. Now I have two that I can't choose between.

ChibiSunnie tried to help me out with some advice.

Chibi: Maybe do the Miraculous fic while you're so excited about it and so you can continue to gain more followers. Then when you see the Varekai show at the end of Nov, that can motivate you for working on that story in Dec so you avoid the "NaNo is over now what?" writers block and keep your writing momentum going. Plus you'll have more possible people to read that story since you will have the new followers from Miraculous, and, like you said, most people wouldn't be searching for Varekai stories.

It's really good advice. So good I was all set to follow it. Then the writers block decided to kick in.

I battled for two or three days to work on some of the key elements of the story, mainly what Adrien is going to do with the information that Marinette is Ladybug, as well as coming up with original Akumatized Villains while still holding true to the mechanic the show presents for them.

Namely, they can't just be superpowered baddies for Ladybug and Cat Noir to take down. Through my own observation I noted a few key things about Akumatized Villains that seem to be "rules" to their powers/creation. I want to stay true to them.

First of all, Hawkmoth can't just go around and turn everyone who is depressed into a villain. He seems to be able to only Akumatize one person at a time, and that person has to have a specific set of negative emotions. Namely, they must be wronged and want at least one of two things: the power to correct the wrong and/or simple revenge against the person who wronged them.

The Miraculous wiki states that Hawkmoth goes after people who are overwhelmed with negative emotion because, canonically, Hawkmoth's "victims" only become his supervillain minions after agreeing to a contract, and people are more likely to agree to his terms if they are upset. I have a personal theory that the moth miraculous holder actually seeks out "like minded" people, which is why he's specifically targeting people who want power and/or revenge. It's not just because they make great villains with drive and goals. I think it's also because Hawkmoth's main driving force is also to gain power to correct a wrong and/or seek revenge, at least I'm assuming as much based on Gabriel Agreste's mysteriously missing wife. I'm getting a bit off topic here, though.

My point is that I'm trying to come up with new villains who are generally good people who were wronged and wish to have the power to correct the wrong and/or seek revenge on the one who wronged them. I'm not sure why, but this is actually SUPER hard for me. I should be able to come up with a ton of ways a person can be wronged, but without bringing full-on prejudice into it - racism/sexism/ageism/religious prejudice/homophobia, etc - I'm hard pressed to think of a reason someone needs strength to correct a wronging against them. The show makes it seem so easy.

Oh, you're mad that all adults seem to keep kids from having fun. Man, it sucks that you lost that competition. Wow, kicked out of your first leading role? The school bully picked on you? Geez, that kid really disrespected your job. It's a shame no one gave you a true chance. Woah, she called you a liar in the harshest way possible, huh? So on and so forth. I know that the writers didn't hit every possible case of this kind of non-prejudicial wronging. They have a whole second season and a third one on order, so they clearly have more to work with. I just don't know why I can't think of anything new.

The only thing I have is one out of the two I showcased last week: Headline. Nadja is the reporter consistently depicted on the show. I came up with the idea that she was yelled at because "a simple high school student" seems to be out-scooping Nadja all the time in regards to Ladybug. The student in question being Marinette's best friend Alya who runs the Ladyblog: all things Ladybug all the time in the pursuit to figure out who Paris' masked superhero is. To a lesser extent Alya focuses on Cat Noir as well, but she's really driven by a strong and smart female superhero.

Anyway, Alya being Marinette's best friend is sort of coincidental. No one in Paris knows who Ladybug is, so Alya isn't getting any sort of inside info. If anything, because she's Marinette's friend, Ladybug tries to keep the action as far from Alya as possible to keep the teen out of danger. However, Marinette does know how important it is to Alya, so she does tend to give as many interviews exclusively to her friend as she can.

Also, Alya's sole purpose in life, outside of school work, is to get as much information about Ladybug as possible. Meanwhile, Nadja must report on ALL bits of the news: crimes, politics, natural disasters, community events, etc. She can't just focus on Ladybug, and so she tends to just report on the Akuma attacks themselves instead of doing any investigative reporting on the subject. She's just spread too thin to do that as well.

So, there is a lot of justification as to how Alya is able to get more information and out-scoop on all things Ladybug. There's also justification as to why Nadja isn't focusing more on the investigation of who Ladybug is. Yet, the news is the news, and the person/organization who has more information is top-dog when it comes to the news. So Nadja gets yelled at for something that isn't really her fault, and she falls into despair, wondering if she should remain a reporter.

In comes the Akuma to turn her into Headline, which brings me to the second half of the Akumatized Villains portion that I'm having trouble with.

I figured out what key factors I need to follow for creating a villain, but the second fold is figuring out their powers. All of the canonical villains have a small set of powers, or one multi-use power, that can be used offensively in their battle with Ladybug and Cat Noir, but, more importantly, the power(s) can be used to right the wrong against them and/or take out the revenge they crave.

Bubbler's bubble sword created bubbles that trapped the adults and sent them into the sky so the kids could be "free." Stormy Weather's parasol could create whatever weather she wanted as she battled the heroes and take revenge on Paris for not choosing her to be the winner of the young weather girl competition. Mime's ability to invisibly manifest whatever he pantomimed again largely allowed him to battle the heroes while also trying to destroy the acting troupe that fired him. Evillustrator's tablet pen created whatever he drew, which he used to attack the bully who picked on him, but also allowed him to set up a beautiful setting in his attempt to win Marinette's heart. So on and so forth.

Again, I think I have this for Headline. She's kind of an homage to Wonder Woman with a bit of a 1920's American reporter flare. Her weapon is her microphone. It can extend into a baton like Cat Noir's, but she can also extend a retractable mic-cord in order to use it as a whip like Ladybug's yo-yo. Most importantly, she can wrap people in the mic-cord and force them to confess secrets, much like Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth.

This power helps her overall goal by making sure she has all the information she can gather in order to not be out-scooped again. Obviously she's aiming to figure out who Ladybug is, but some other off-mark confessions will be amusing to come up with. Headline's main target is going to be Alya in order to see how the girl manages to find out as much as she does.

She's going to be a key villain in my story because she will show up after Cat Noir knows who Ladybug is. This forces him to realize how dangerous that information truly is, and that Marinette was right in having them hide their identities from even each other. Especially since Cat Noir has a history of being brainwashed or otherwise subdued by the Akuma Villains.

I'm loving what I'm doing with Headline, except for two things. The first is that I fear that she's too similar to the canonical villain Lady WiFi. When Alya herself was unjustly suspended from school she became Akumatized. She used her powers to seek revenge on Chloe for getting her suspended, and then used her powers to try to figure out who Ladybug truly was; a feat she nearly accomplished. So, is having another reporter's hunger to know who Ladybug is too similar? Does it feel like a rip-off?

The second issue I have with Headline is, while I like her to be a key villain for the overall Ladybug/Cat Noir love-square dynamic, the main story is too large for just one villain. I need at least three, possibly more, and I'm stalled.

Last week I introduced Vocalizer as my potential second villain. I had to shelf her. Mainly because I couldn't figure out what her goal was, and therefore I wasn't sure how her powers would be able to accomplish those goals. I came up with a vocal attack similar to Banshee and Siren from the X-Men universe. It was neat and all, but what good is it? In Guitar Villain the titular villain-of-the-week used his guitar for attacks. He had two. The first one forced all he hit with it to uncontrollably dance, which basically was him forcing people to "enjoy" his music after being knocked out of the #1 spot on the charts, and called a has-been. The second guitar attack was a simple force push that he used offensively to slam poor Cat Noir repetitively against a wall, and also to nearly push Guitar Villain's revenge victim off the top of the Eiffel Tower.

I can't have her voice force people to "enjoy" her music, nor could I have it be a force to push against the heroes. It would be a vocal interpretation of Guitar Villain's powers. I also didn't want her voice to be siren-like and create brainwashed minions out of those she hit with it. There have already been far too many villains who had the "brainwashed minions" power. Darkblade could "knight" citizens to transform them into his faithful soldiers. Princess Fragrance could convert anyone she sprayed with her perfume into mindless servants. Pharaoh could use the power of Anubis to transform citizens into mindless mummy minions. Simon Says could "hypnotize" anyone he hit with his cards to do whatever he said, and they would keep doing that action until he told them otherwise. Guitar Villain had the dancing victims I already talked about. Kung Food transformed those who ate his soup into "loyal sous chefs" who followed his orders to attack the heroes. There are also four more minor cases of this "power of dominion" showing up.

I also couldn't figure out how that would help. I had her as a music teacher at Marinette and Adrien's school, but the music program had to be cut due to budget issues. This may be a purely American issue and not something that would ever happen in Paris, which is another issue I have with this character. Regardless, I have her program - and to a larger extent, her job - cut, and she wants the power to save it while also seeking revenge on both the superintendent for making the cut and the principal for following through with it instead of fighting to save the program.

Neat. I have all the preliminary stuff built. Still can't figure out what her powers should be and how they would help her with her goal. Going back to the similar villain Guitar Villain, as I mentioned, his offensive power was used to attack Ladybug and Cat Noir, but it was also used to threaten the man who called him a has-been; the focus of Guitar Villain's revenge. I can easily have the same thing for Vocalizer. Whatever I decide on for her offensive vocal power, it can be used both to stop Ladybug and Cat Noir and to enact revenge on the superintendent. Perhaps she truly is like banshee and has a deafening scream. It would be interesting to see Ladybug and Cat Noir try to battle when they can't hear each other. Not entirely sure how it's "revenge" for cutting the music program, though. Maybe a "you don't think music is important? Then you shouldn't mind never hearing it again?" sort of thing?

However, Guitar Villain's second power was to force people to dance. It was his way of saying "You are going to enjoy my music whether you like it or not!" which was helping his goal of proving that he's not a has-been; that people will still "enjoy" his music.

Aside from following suit and having her voice also somehow forcing people to "enjoy" the music program, I don't have anything for this bit.

I think I might have the makings of a good villain here, but I just can't quite break through to a legit Miraculous villain yet. So she's on the back burner. Probably shelved until another Miraculous fanfic.

Which brings me back to needing other villains. In the version of Peeping Tomcat I already have written, Adrien is even more hesitant than before to confess to Marinette that he's been spying on her after Ladybug basically had to deal with an Akuma Villain by herself. Cat Noir was distracted with his newly discovered feelings for Marinette, and either is little to no help against the villain, or he is again dominated by the villain; I haven't decided which. After failing to help stop an Akuma, he really doesn't want to fail further as a superhero by confessing that he's been abusing his powers. So I KNOW I need at least one more villain, and I know it needs to be someone other than Headline because Cat Noir won't know who Ladybug is yet.

I also feel like there will be more story to tell after Headline is defeated, so I'll need at least one more villain then too so the story isn't just "here, have some teenage angst over who loves whom for what reasons."

Gaaaaaaaah! Not figuring this out is frustrating. Being just as confused as Adrien as to what he'll do with the knowledge of Ladybug's identity is equally frustrating.
Tanuki Facebook Sticker
by Yanare Ku
Okay, so I'm clearly stuck on the Miraculous story. Maybe I shouldn't follow Chibi's advice. Perhaps my Varekai fanfic is the way to go afterall. I hit a wall with Miraculous, so obviously the muse isn't as with me as I originally thought. Seems like my mind inadvertently decided what story I should go with, right?


The trick with Varekai is that I need to come up with a plot. The "story" of the show is that Icarus falls into the mysterious forest of Varekai - Romani for "wherever" - and falls in love with La Promise, AKA The Betrothed. The other characters of Varekai are showcased in the many acts, La Promise is kidnapped, no one really does anything, La Promise undergoes metamorphosis thanks to her love for Icarus, she escapes and reunites with Icarus, they get married in a big celebration where other Varekai residents perform for the couple, and then the show ends.

It's a neat story concept, but it's not a novel. There's no plot. There's no true character development. Aside from La Promise being captured for some unknown reason, there really isn't much tension. Well, maybe Icarus trying to acclimate himself with the new environment of Varekai counts? But probably not, there isn't really much of a conflict aside from "this is strange; I have to wrap my mind around how things are here."

To start with my plotting and character development, I'm trying to think of why she's called La Promise because I need her to be more than simply Icarus' betrothed. I really need to think of a name for her and have La Promise be a title she gets. I also want her to be a promise for more than just Icarus. Is she royalty? Is she a "chosen one", a sort of messiah for Varekai, and only she can keep the forest thriving? Is she somehow the key to all the different races/species of Varekai inhabitants coming together as one community instead of conflicting tribes? Is she the last of her species and/or a sort of "queen bee" in which she's the only fertile one and the only way for the species to continue?

The problem I'm having with La Promise being so special and crucial to Varekai, which she's presented as being due to her being one of five named characters in the show, is the confusion as to why no one tried to go rescue her after being captured. She doesn't seem to have any sort of bodyguards either.

The problem with her only really being crucial to her own race also kind of falls flat because Icarus is still, presumably, human. Even if they could mate, La Promise's children would only be half of her species. It still sort of kills them off if she's the last reproducing female.

It could just be that she's like that one kid every neighborhood knows where everyone loves her and watches her grow. She's sort of the "child of the community" and everyone is protective of her. This brings us back to the "why doesn't anyone rescue her" question, though. I think I really need to figure that out.

I need to figure out why she's captured in the first place as well. Is she captured in order to stop her from the destiny the name/title La Promise saddles to her? Is she captured because the tribe that stole her thinks she could help them instead; keep the "messiah" to themselves? Is she simply captured because others want a crack at wooing Icarus so they need to get her out of the way first?

I can't figure it out! So now I'm staring at two brick walls and I'm no closer to being ready for NaNo.

This is going to be a frustrating October, isn't it?

On the plus side, even though I haven't added any narrative, I have done a lot more research for both stories, spending HOURS on each. I've also added three pages of notes to my Varekai notebook, and a bunch of additional "helpful observations" notes to my Miraculous one.

There are also worse ways to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather on my front porch. I'm hoping anyone affected by Hurricane Nate - now tropical depression Nate - is alright and not much damage was done. Me, on the other hand, I'm enjoying the warm weather it blew up my way.... If only my hair would enjoy the humidity.....
Basically me...
Merida from Disney's Brave
Here's hoping I can get this NaNo story thing figured out for next week. I'm going to try to come up with a rough outline/synopsis for both stories and see if that helps. Worse comes to worse, I did come up with a presumably neat side-story of Marinette "converting" Chloe, opening the way for Chloe to become the bee miraculous holder. I have a rough outline of one scene figured out. I doubt this story will be 50,000 words long, but I didn't think my Peeping Tomcat one would be so massive, so who knows? I may pull an audible and just go with the Chloe story instead.
Ya-Ya Facebook Sticker
by Birdman Inc

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

So In Love With Two (and, of course, Hubby)

From now until the fullness of time,
where we will meet, remember, and love again.
First and foremost, a happy belated anniversary to my amazing husband. We had a super chill day of just snuggling on the couch watching movies and playing board games and the like. It's great that we just need to be next to each other all day to celebrate our anniversary.

Love you always, Hubby!

The man is amazing, and he has been my number one sounding board pretty much since we met. And yet, even he can't help me out with the dilemma I found myself in this week.

Last Tuesday I commented on how I had a week to rush through as much of my Peeping Tomcat fanfic as I could before the end of the month. That was because after September ended I was going to shelf the project for a few months. That way I could work on NaNo prep as well as try to FINALLY finish my "Hey, Arnold!" fan-script before the official The Jungle Movie airs on Nickelodeon in November. I was then going to work on my Varekai fan-novelization during NaNo itself. Spend December fixing the fight scene for the Devon/Trish story, as well as GIVE IT A FLIPPIN' TITLE, and then back to Peeping Tomcat.

That was the plan. I even updated my FanFiction profile page for the first time in like five years in order to reflect my writing schedule.

Then I saw this in my email:
Commit to your superheroic creativity
Friggen NaNoWriMo is superhero themed this year! I missed the first year they used this theme, so I'm super excited about it. However, now I'm super torn! How great would it be to write my "Miraculous Ladybug" fanfiction - ya know, a story about TWO SUPERHEROES - during a NaNo dedicated to superheroing? It would certainly be easy to remember the theme for the NaNo I wrote it. I mean, it's only a year out and I already don't 100% remember the theme from last year's NaNo. Shooting for the stars, or something like that? There was a rocket and a flag on the moon. Space themed?

The temptation to work on a story that fits the NaNo theme is so great! It's to the point where I feel like this might be kismet. Forget Varekai. Ride the momentum of this fanfic that started off simply as a random writing practice whose sole purpose was to add words to a total count. This story has obviously gripped me.

Also, there's another drive for me to want to stick with PT. Namely, I'm writing for an ACTIVE fandom for once. I'm writing for a series that hasn't been concluded yet. There are still so many questions that people want answered, and fanfiction is a great way to fill that void until the canonical answers are given.

Which is why, for the first time, I have a moderately popular story. I mean, it's VASTLY popular for me, but for the grand scheme of things, it's only so-so. Still. Check this out!
Ignore the bottom one. It's just me getting the email announcement that my story went live.
This is from last Tuesday! The first story follow was only 34minutes after I published the story on Fanfiction.net!

A little over 12hrs after the teaser went live I received 287 views, 8 faves, and 3 reviews. I ended the first 24hrs of publication with 360 views and 9 faves on top of those 3 reviews. A week later, and I'm now up to 525 views, and 13 faves!

To put this into perspective, out of my 18 stories published on Fanfiction.net, only six other stories had 13 or more faves, and they were all in the HA! fandom. One of those six other stories STILL hasn't hit even 400 views even though it was posted in 2012. All of the other stories I have with more views, more faves, and/or more reviews are all from around 2012 when I updated a lot more frequently, and the story has more than one chapter. I couldn't tell you anymore how quickly my work was found, read, reviewed, and/or faved, but I'm fairly positive it wasn't comparable to the numbers I saw with the Miraculous Ladybug story numbers.

On top of all of that, the reviews for Peeping Tomcat are asking for more, so yay! Maybe I shouldn't make them wait until next year like I originally planned? Maybe go for it and write the story in November after taking this month to write up an actual outline so I'm ready to go? Then the first month or two of 2018 can be used for editing. That way these readers can get the full story a couple months sooner than anticipated?

On the flipside, I have been wanting to do the Varekai story for a couple months now. The only thing stopping me from working on it more was that I wanted to use it for NaNo, and so I was trying not to have too much written before the start of the challenge. I did start working on world building, as it were, to try to explain the dynamic between the different "races" presented via the costumes in the show, as well as trying to explain why The Betrothed has her transformation. I've dug deep to write this story. I WILL write this story. The question now though is, do I still do it in November?

I have tickets to watch the show in November. I am beyond hyped to go see it with my one friend. It's supposed to be my driving push to keep going for the last week or so of the challenge. I KNOW that while driving home from the show my friend and I will talk about the performance, and inspiration will strike, and I will want to write for this story. I don't want to derail myself from the ML story once I get that jolt from FINALLY getting to watch Varekai in person.

True, especially compared to my ML teaser, the teaser I posted for my Varekai story back in August hasn't really gotten much love. It's only been seen 21 times, and it has no faves. It does have one review though, and that review is also asking for more.

It's a much smaller fandom. Who thinks to WRITE a fanfiction based on a circus act? Let alone who thinks to look for them to read? On Fanfiction.net, mine is but one of EIGHTY-EIGHT stories written for Cirque du Soleil. Out of the 78 stories written in English, mine is one of 64 that has been reviewed. The fandom of Cirque du Soleil is also predominately written by 7 authors, making up 62 of the English-written 78 stories! One person wrote 18 and another wrote 14 stories. That is a lot of love from so few writers! Also, my numbers may be off, but just based on the summaries coupled with the stories, almost half of the Cirque du Soleil stories are written about the 2007 show Kooza: forty stories, and possibly more! Meanwhile, I seem to be the only English-written story about Varekai.

So, yeah, a lot less love, but also, who is reading this story? Some might take this as me stating that I should shy away and go back to the popular ML story. However, I think of it more of "those who DO want a story about these shows has virtually nothing to read. I could fix that!" Plus, considering how small the fandom is, the fact that there is nothing else written for Varekai, and the fact that I'm an "outside writer" for a fandom that seems to be mostly written by the same seven people, the fact that I had 21 views and one review at all is kind of amazing to me! Plus, now I REALLY feel obligated to post my story for the reviewer looking for more because they don't seem to have any other options on FF.net.


While going through an old playlist of mine, I came across the song "So In Love With Two" by Mikaila. I am still planning on using it as a chapter for What Is Truly Meant To Be, once I EVENTUALLY return to it....

In the meantime, though, I think it would be a very amusing AMV for Miraculous Ladybug. Poor Marinette is torn because she can't decide between her love for Adrien and her crush on Chat Noir, completely unaware that she's actually just crushing on the same guy. There is in fact at least one AMV of this song using the show, but it's Marinette trying to choose between Adrien/Chat Noir and Nathanael/Evillustrator. A fun dynamic, for sure, but not the same.

Anyway, going back to the song itself. Coincidentally, with this pull between Varekai and ML, the song works really well for me! I am torn between two that I seem to love equally.
I tried to "listen to my heart" to see which story pulls me more, but one doesn't seem to need to be written more than the other. I tried to "trick" myself into making a decision by deciding "OK. I'm just going to go with the Varekai story since that's what I decided on months ago" to see if I felt a pang of sadness for not writing the ML story more. I did, so I happily went "OK. Peeping Tomcat it is!" only to get the same pang of sadness that I wasn't working on the Varekai fan-novelization. NOT. HELPFUL.

Since I couldn't make the decision myself, I decided to go to Facebook for some help. I commented about my dilemma on my personal page, as well as on a fanfiction group I recently joined. I asked for people to vote on what they thought I should write.

I even shared the links to the two "teaser" stories to see which people preferred reading and would want more of first. In case you want to weigh in, here they are again:

"Icarus' Descent"
On DeviantArt            On FanFiction

"Peeping Tomcat - Teaser"
On DeviantArt            On FanFiction

I have one vote for ML. I have one vote for Varekai. I have two votes to do both. I have one vote to "do what works for you." I have one vote for "Start with one story, but use the second one as a back-up for when you need a break and switch gears to recharge."

Not helpful, guys! *chuckle*

So, I'm still in limbo. Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is asking me if I want to promote my novel for next month. Problem is, I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT TO PUT IN FOR MY NOVEL! Oh, the melodramatic pressure!

In the meantime, I guess I just start building more information for each story so that I'm prepped for NaNo regardless which one I decide on. Or... in case I go with the majority vote and try tackling both at the same time.

I even started up already. I have a notebook for each fandom.
The red one is for my Miraculous Ladybug notes.
The orange one is for Varekai.
I must admit that I actually didn't continue with any narrative writing this week even though it was, supposedly, my last chance to advance PT for a few months. Instead, I started making notes on what I needed to fix in the story to better get it to work. The reason I stopped when I did was because I wasn't much of a fan of Chat Noir's confession speech. I honestly don't know if I want him to confess the way he did and when he did. I think I need to save that for the "All is lost" moment of the story. I needed to figure out what was next though, after Adrien figured out who Marinette was.
My on-going notes for the Peeping Tomcat
So, I wrote down things I needed to fix. I wrote down things I wanted to make sure I included. I wrote down things I wanted to avoid. I even started coming up with my own Akumatized Villains for the duo to go up against. Because, frankly, just a story of those two sorting out their teenage confusion is nice and all, but it also is too focused on that fluffy angsty stuff. There needs to be more to build up the story. There has to be a plot beyond Adrien and Marinette finally coming together after a LOT of confusion. There needs to be exterior conflict.

I'm terrible at costume design, but I did make up visuals for two villains thus far:
 The first one is the main reporter on the show Nadja Chamack akumatized into the villain Headline. She was supposed to be part Wonder-Woman-Homage with part 1920s reporter with the trench coat and a small off-center "press fedora." But, with the limited selection available in the doll maker I used, she looks like a female Gambit. Whoops.

The other Akuma victim I came up with is Vocalizer. She's an original character named Annette Moreau. I literally just started throwing things together to make up a costume I liked, and then colored it blue and purple because those colors haven't really been used in the show yet.

I need at least one more to start the story off with I think. Beyond that, I think I still want to come up with one or two more Akumas, but we'll see how many the outline needs me to have.

If that's not enough - which it may or may not seem like a lot, depending on your perspective - I also started up a bunch of notes containing my own observations and fan-theories on elements of the show. I then made even MORE notes of my fan-theories based on other fan-theories and confirmed information via the Miraculous Wiki.
I wrote on the back cover and the blank page between the
cover and the last notebook page. So. Many. Notes!
Yeah. This is where the majority of my week went. These fan-theory notes. I wanted to make sure I really got the feel of the world and the rules that control it so that I don't break any of them when I write my story. This is the first fanfiction where I had to worry about stuff like that. It's a LOT to take on, but I hope I do it justice.

Maybe waiting until next year for more PT is a good idea so I have more time for these builds. Then again, I'm kind of doing the same thing with Varekai! Gaaah!

I have to figure this out. Any advice or requests you'd like to throw at me, feel free to do so in the comments section.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Incoming: Full-Blown Miraculous Nerd

My mother has completed her task to get my apartment organized!

I still have some "homework" to do; mostly boxes of odds-and-ends that I need to sift through, re-organizing my bathroom now that I have a new storage location, getting decent bookshelves for all of our books, and a few storage totes that are temporarily in my library.

So, I'm not 100% done, but, with her help, I'm up to about 90% done, maybe even 95% done.

The place looks amazing! Check it out! Excuse the "grossness" of the "before" photos. I'm sure now you'll understand why I was so stressed and constantly complaining about having to clean instead of write:


Main Living Area: After
And now time for the shameless plug for her business. If you are even close to my "before" pictures, and are in the continental US, please check her business out for some help. She's also good at generic "downsizing" or packing for moving.

OK, well, now that I flooded this post with pictures and free advertising.....

I spent the whole week writing! Can you believe it!? The beauty of not having to clean every minute I'm home! Also the beauty of finding some "just us" nights at home. I love my friends, and I get depressed when I can't socialize, but I need some "me time" too, ya know?

Anyway, I didn't do as well as I did the last leg of the summer challenge; I only wrote 4300-some words this past week. However, I did write every day. Well, technically, I didn't write any narrative on Tuesday, but I wrote the blog post, so I still had "writing time" every day the past week. SEVEN DAYS IN A ROW! WHAT!?

Monday went back to an "I'm not writing anything" day, but I did punch out a couple more pages for the work orientation handbook, so... that still counts, right?

I'm still grinding away at my first-ever "Miraculous Ladybug" fanfic, and boy do I need to scrap about half of it!

I know, I know. It sounds discouraging, and it sounds like I'm discouraged. Neither are true, though. I'm excited that I'm writing so frequently. I'm excited that even with a few stall days, I've been able to more-or-less stick with this story for a solid month. I'm excited that I've evolved enough as a writer that I'm actually WILLING to scrap bits to try to improve my work.

Even earlier this year, I don't know if I could do that. Which is the main issue with Please, Let Me Explain. I just didn't know how to kill my little darlings. In this case, I don't mean harming - or literally killing - my characters. I mean looking over a paragraph, or two, or a whole page, and go "this is crap; let's try that again." I just couldn't slim it down to make it work better.

This fanfic, though? I have no problem dumping every last word I did the day before and trying again. I've done it about four times now. To prove my point, I had started this month with about 6300 words already written for this story. This month I have written exclusively for this fanfic, and I have written over 10,000 words as of Sunday night. Therefore, the grand total written thus far for my Miraculous story is 16,630 words. Yet, when I do a word count for the actual story - with all the "crap" bits removed and rewritten - my grand total is 13,891. That's 2700 words that I've written since I started this fanfic, and decided not to keep. I have NEVER done anything like that before!

Fear not, fellow writers who know better, for I did not just delete and re-wrote. I know that "crap" written still holds golden nuggets somewhere. You just have to go back and look it over again with a new perspective. Or, maybe I had a beautiful metaphor or turn of phrase that didn't work then, but will work in a future story. There's even the more painful idea of the writing actually being beautiful and some of the best work I've written, but it doesn't work a lick with the rest of the story.

No, dear reader, I know better as well. I've cut out the parts that just didn't work for me, and pasted them into their own individual word docs to maybe peruse later. I now have my first ever "scraps" folder to sift through should I ever need them.

I also started up a notebook for me to keep separate thoughts in: what I want to make sure is included in the final story, what needs to be added, what needs to be removed, plot holes I need to plug, bits I need to shorten, scenes I need to slow-down and expand upon. It even has notes from the show itself to make sure the continuity is accurate. The most fun bits, though, is that I've started notes for fan-theories as well that I might want to expand upon either in this story, or as plot bunnies for future stories.

I'm actually having fun with this editing process. Something I never thought I'd ever mutter. I mean, who ENJOYS editing their work!?

Even with all this heavy editing that I've already started, I know even more must be done. I have the makings of a good story, I know I do. I just don't think I came at it the right way. That's where the notebook comes in, to help me find the right angle. I'm still going to push through to the end of the existing story, to see what else shakes loose. However, I feel it will be a complete rewrite when I go back through and make it into a chaptered story.

The rough part is that I want to stop work on this fanfic by the end of the week in order to spend next month working on the Jungle Movie fanscript again. I also need to get started on my notes for the Varekai fan-novelization I want to do for NaNo. So, I might not even finish the current incarnation of this story until the end of the year. I may even have to wait until January to get back into writing more Miraculous, because I was supposed to have a cleaned up Devon/Trish battle for you folks that I completely forgot about with this current obsession! So I REALLY need to finish that up and post it before the year is out! Especially since I promised it would be done last month, and again for this month.

Bad, LycoRogue! Bad, bad Lyco!

Even when I do finish the Miraculous fanfic - be it in December or January - I then have to sift through to find the true story, and the right POV to tell it in. Clean it up. I'm probably looking at March, maybe even April, by the time I'm done, if I really kick my butt in gear. I just couldn't wait that long before posting ANYTHING about this story.

Since the finished product may only barely resemble the one I'm currently writing, and since it will take me about six months before it is ready for the light of day, I decided to just take the plunge, and share a teaser.

I know, it's mean, and leaves people wondering for quite some time, but maybe it will also get people as excited about this as I am. I hope I don't get in trouble for posting a teaser on FanFiction.....

"Peeping Tomcat - Teaser"
On DeviantArt            On FanFiction

Want to know the best part? I blame being in Chat Noir's head for this, but the pun naturally showed up in his inner monologue, and I loved it enough to make it the title.

GUYS! I DID IT! I CAME UP WITH A TITLE! It was fairly easy, too! Wha!?

OK, I've become a MAJOR Miraculous nerd over the past two months, but if it's helping me improve THIS MUCH in my writing, I'll go with it.

"Hey, Arnold!" did the same thing for my writing. It brought me out of a six-year slump and got me excited to routinely write fiction again. THIS is what's so amazing about fan fiction! Shows, movies, games, and books with such rich characters and worlds that the audience just CRAVES more than can be presented, these are perfect springs for Muses to drink upon. Writing blossoms, as does artwork, and even acting.

I've been a bit obsessed with listening to dubs of fancomics the past week or two. Seeing the other stories and the beautiful artwork Miraculous has inspired floors me. And, while I'm loving the vast majority of the voice actors practicing their craft with these dubs, there is a couple in particular that kills me. Nearly every night Hubby looks at me weird as I'm laughing hard enough to cry at their bloopers.

Give them some love: Princess Sakura Serenity and her fiance Isamu Mamoru.
Love should also go to their main partner in crime RileyChase Fox.

Enough gushing about them, though. I have someone else to gush over: Omnibladestrike!

Yup! You read right! I actually flaked and forgot to share his second chapter a week or so ago, but he's up to chapter 3 of his new story! He's afraid that he hit a wall on where to go for chapter 4, but maybe some love will inspire him. Go! Check it out!

Ok, well, if I'm going to take a huge chunk out of this story before I have to shelve it, I should get started on that! Catch you guys next week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

All the Reveal Stories!

It's.... been a trying week. I only managed 1800 words last week; only two writing days. I squeezed in a short burst before writing group, although I didn't end up reading anything. I then finished put-off errands on Wednesday, followed by a mad-dash on Thursday to try to clean my apartment at least a LITTLE before my mother's arrival.

She came up Friday, and we spent it going over her business. Saturday was a long, and I mean LONG, day organizing my dining room/secondary room. We have a few more last-minute things to do to finish, but it's mostly dropping off trash and donations. I should have it done by the end of today, so I'll be sure to post pictures next week. Anyway, after putting in my eight-plus hours of near-straight work, I finished the night trying to get more than 600 words in for the week.

Where I'm at, Adrien is wrestling with his feelings: does he love Marinette for Marinette, or does he only have feelings for Ladybug that spills over to Marinette? If he only has feelings for Marinette because she's Ladybug, does that mean he doesn't truly have feelings for Ladybug after all? The poor kid is so confused, but I couldn't get into the right mindset. Thankfully, a song that played at work gave me the spark of inspiration I needed.
Because of "Crush" by David Archuleta, I was able to knock out almost 1200 words before I had to call it quits Saturday night. It was a nice mini-spurt of writing, but I wasn't able to get any more in on Sunday.

While I was at work yesterday I did take some downtime to write some more, just to avoid all of these zero days piling up on me. I didn't continue telling the story, and I didn't really add all that much to the parts that I already wrote. All-in-all, my writing at work wasn't even 400 words, but it still was something. It wasn't a zero.

What I did accomplish was the start of editing the first half of the story. I decided that will be my goal while at work. It takes a little less effort, so it's easier to jump in and out of the process, depending on when I'm needed. It also really helps, as editing tends to be, because it allots me time to clean up some of the paragraphs that were clunky when I originally wrote them during the summer challenge; leaving my out-of-work writing time available for continuing the story. I'm also adding a bit more depth with these edits, now that I know this story needs it. I'm probably going to go over the story yet again to slow the pace further in order to add even more meat to the tale, and then break it into chapters.

For now, though, I'm just working on getting the main body of the story fleshed out. I'll chapter it later, once I have the first draft fully written.

While at work, I'm also cleaning up characterization. There have already been a few paragraphs scrapped and rewritten so Adrien and Marinette stay more in-character. I'll have to find time for another rewatch to solidify that I have them written right. That's the main issue of watching all these fancomic dubs: I'm being flooded by how others interpret the characters and the character's voices; which is overshadowing the canonical portrayals.

On the plus side, though, I'm really picking up on a lot of patterns that the fandom has thought of in regards to the Big Reveal of Chat Noir and Ladybug's true identities. There are some that I love and want to try to include - such as Adrien's confusion about his feelings, since us fans believes he has started to have a crush on Marinette anyway - as well as some I know I want to avoid - such as Marinette freaking out that Chat Noir is disappointed that she's Ladybug because she feels that she's a loser.

I kind of want to do something similar to "You've Got Mail" I think. Adrien will use Marinette's crush on him to convince her how great Chat Noir is so that she falls for the "true" version of him. I'm not 100% sold on this idea, and I still have to get past Adrien's shock over who Ladybug is, but it could be fun.

On the flipside, while messing with Adrien's head over his crush for Marinette is fun, the "You've Got Mail" thing works better if Marinette knew first. Mainly because Marinette already likes the civilian form, so him showing her he's Chat Noir by powering up, and her giving the iconic "I hoped it was you" line just seems odd and reversed. Meanwhile, since Adrien has been actively looking for Ladybug, having her de-power to her civilian form is a lot more analogous of the anonymity of a pen pal being revealed when meeting in person for the first time. "I hoped it was you" works so much better when the mask is REMOVED instead of added.

On the other hand, I also really liked the reveal in "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." Spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched the series, but wants to: skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid them. Anyway, Lois volunteers to let Superman flash-freeze her so she appears dead, under the assumption that Superman could then use his heat vision to revive her once the villain is thwarted. Lois is dating Clark at this point, so when Superman lovingly brushes her cheek before freezing her Lois recognizes it as the same move Clark does all the time. Then, when Superman revives her Lois hears his voice and recognizes it as Clark before she opens her eyes and realizes it's Superman.

I kind of want to do something like that. Marinette and Ladybug are so similar to each other that the personality Marinette showcases as Ladybug seems to be the main thing throwing the world off; kind of like original Superman with his glasses. Clark is too meek to possibly be Superman, which, along with something "covering his eyes," is his only real "mask" to hide who he really is. This is nearly an exact parallel for Marinette and Ladybug. Therefore, I kind of like the idea of something traumatic triggering Adrien "hearing" Marinette when Ladybug talks, and then realizing who she is.

On the flipside, Adrien changes up his personality, his hair shags into a mildly different style, and he does change up his vocal inflections a touch as well - a trick both superheros do unintentionally, I'm sure, but it CAN be enough to also fool people. Between the two of them, Adrien to Chat Noir is a much more drastic change, and so I could see how it would be harder for Marinette to figure out who he is. Plus, it's a lot easier to believe there are multiple teen males with shaggy blonde hair, since Adrien's eyes are also changed completely green to match the cat-look. It's a lot harder to rationalize that in Paris there are tons of teen girls wearing their black-hair in pigtails, while also having blue eyes. So, this might get us back to the original "You've Got Mail" situation of Chat Noir using his Adrien half to convince Marinette to love both sides of him.

I might have to write multiple Reveal fanfics and see which one the fans prefer.

Thanks to a college friend, I'm now part of a fanfiction group on Facebook, so I might have to see if any of them are into Miraculous. It is an 18+ group, but who knows? Maybe some wholesome child's cartoon fanfiction is just the palate cleanser they need.

Either way, with the second season coming out in November, I might have the readers regardless. I just hope they don't actually do a Big Reveal scene this upcoming season, because there's no way I'll have any of these stories done before November, and it's more fun to write these fanfics when it's still a mystery as to how the show will do it.

I mean, after how "Lois and Clark" did their reveal, it just seemed too perfect to mess with it. It wouldn't be fun to rewrite that story. It's much like the "Hey, Arnold!" fanscript I want to try to finish before November; it's a race to get my own vision out before the canonical version is revealed.

Who knows, though? I might win the race!

Thanks to the massive hard work my mother put in over the weekend, I now have my library back, so I have my writing hide-away again. I also have much easier access to my journals for all my notes. On top of that, I can now get to the binders I have set up for Gyateara's world creation, and the outline for What Is Truly Meant To Be. So I might be able to get back to working on each of those starting in January, after the projects I already have planned are completed.

It is WORLDS easier to find what I need, and know where everything should go, after my mother re-arranged and re-organized this place, which also means I SHOULD need to dedicate less time in cleaning every week. Want to guess what I might do with that new free time? Anyone guess more writing? Okay, maybe some video game playing again.... but mainly MORE WRITING AVAILABILITY!

2017 may have been a slow-start/sucky year, but 2018 already is shaping up to be promising. It's always the even years....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Get Even the Trash on Paper

We all know what this means for my writing, right?

It will go straight into the toilet....
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman Inc
It already started this week. Sorta. Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays are all going to be trash writing days, because I'm going to more-or-less go straight from work to watching a football game. I thought that maybe I'd put in my headphones and write while the game is on in the background; peeking every once in a while to keep on top of what's going on, but who am I kidding?

My writing and any nutritional eating just fall off a cliff the first week of football season, and it takes me a little while for them to heal and return strong.

I did try my darnedest to push myself to write the rest of the week, though. Didn't always work, and I didn't write nearly as much on the days I did write, but it's better than no writing.
My mantra this week.
You can always edit later. You don't have a story if it stays in your head, though. I mean, you DO, but what if you lose it? What if you wait to find the perfect words the first go and never find them? What if you need the whole story first before you can find the perfect words?

Just write. Get that story out of your head. Go from there. It may be a painful read through when you're done, but no one but you has to do that read. Then you polish until you're excited to share it.

Anyway, back to this week. I was coming off an awesome high. I had plowed through nearly 7000 words in one week, I wrote six out of the seven days of the week, and I wrote over 1000 words nearly every writing session.

Without the added drive of the challenges, though, I kind of went back into "research mode"... kinda.

OK, I spent the week more-or-less watching dubs of Miraculous fancomics on YouTube. I wanted to see how others dealt with the "big reveal" vs "one knows about the other, but both don't" and other such tricky plots. Mainly because I was stuck as to what everyone's reaction would be.

The last 1284 words I wrote in a desperate sprint to finish the Summer Challenge weren't terrible, but they weren't exactly good either. I saved them all in a separate document in case I want to revisit the feelings there, but then started over with that whole scene. It went in a semi-different direction that stayed more with Adrien than my original version did. I'm still not 100% happy with it, but it's better. It still needs more tweaking, but I think I just really need to lengthen this whole story into chapters. I feel like the story is getting way long, but moving at a breakneck pace at the same time.

Well, as I tripped my way through this scene in an attempt to move back into the ones that more-or-less wrote themselves, I managed a whopping 1347 words for the week. Whooo.....

I feel like I wrote more. I feel like I did something aside from this blog last Tuesday, but I forgot to log the words, and with all the editing I've been doing with my story, I couldn't confirm nor deny that I had advanced it at all on Tuesday.

I know for a fact that I wrote on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday... so there's that at least. Each session was under 1000 words, and nearly all three were less than 800 words. Still, I hid myself away, determined to write, and I did, at least for a little bit. I may not be excited by the scene I'm writing - which doesn't bode well for people reading it - but I'm at least getting it on paper. I'm pushing through.

I'm pretty positive that this month will just be a bunch of bouncing back and forth between working my way through this fanfic and redoing the fight scene for the STILL untitled Trish/Devon showdown story.

To help me out with the latter, I actually ordered a couple of things. Meet Body Kun and Body Chan.

They're flimsier plastic than I expected; aren't as easy to pose as I'd like; the stands fall apart easily, so you have to have a gentle touch; switching out the multiple different hands is harder than depicted due to the wrist joint moving abruptly while trying to snap on the hand you want; I had to pop Body Chan's shoulder back into socket when I first opened her up from the packaging; I couldn't find a proper hand to keep the pencil accessory from slipping to the table as soon as I let go; and I can't seem to get them to stand on their own like the pictures on the website suggests. All that being said, they are well articulated, have multiple hands to choose from, and you can do a fair amount with those stands, which double as storage for the accessories.

All-in-all, I'd give these guys a 7 out of 10. Not worth the $89.99 they are originally listed as, and may not even be worth the $39.99 they're currently on sale for as of this writing. However, they are worth the $45 package deal I got for them, I think. For nothing else, they're probably worth that much due to the accessories included. Whatever their value, I don't know how good they'll be for actual posing references for artists, but they should be posable enough for my purposes: visually "watching" fight scenes play out so they seem more realistic. We'll see if it helps.

Sadly, the one member of my local writing group who really pointed out my flaws is now studying abroad, so I probably won't see her again for a year or more. Maybe I can still convince her to give it a read-over via Google Docs or something.

On top of the new narrative projects I've got going on this month, I'm now on week three or four - I think - of a major work project. I'm apparently in charge of writing an orientation handbook for my job.

Technically, it wasn't an official order. It was more of the owner of the company asking my manager if I would mind writing one in between the other projects I have to take care of at work. I feel so over my head, and yet again I'm following the mantra of
I'm up to something like 40pgs - including the cover page, index, and about 10 pgs of appendices - and I'm just now getting to the meat of the handbook. I have everything else related to the job described and explained, but now I have to figure out what bits of sales itself I need to include.
Bun Facebook Sticker
by David Lanham
As of right now I'm dumping everything I can think of onto the page so I make sure I don't forget anything. I'll condense later. Might even gain some faith in potential future co-workers and assume they have some common sense. We'll see.

Either way, it's a tedious job that I kind of dread doing. I don't write non-fiction. I'm terrible at knowing what people need to know and what is overkill. I mean, even without the appendices and intro pages, it's still something like 25pgs of information, and I'm not done yet! Help!

At least I have my fiction writing to escape to over lunch breaks. As well as the book I picked for September's Book of the Month for the 2017 Reading Books Like A Boss challenge. Years ago for a birthday gift, my one friend got me the book "The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am" edited by Luke Cuddy. I haven't made it to the meat 'n' potatoes of the book, so I can't really say one way or the other what my thoughts are, but it's at least interesting thus far. I did get pulled out at one point because the author of a particular segment wrongly, and repetitively, called Link's home island in "The Wind Waker" Outcast Island instead of Outset Island. It made me wonder how much they really played the game before trying to philosophize, but aside from that....

I'm going to use it for the "outside comfort zone" category because I almost exclusively read fiction. The last time I read non-fiction that isn't a writing related was in college. Plus, I'm not enough of a "thinker" to really get into philosophy, but it's about Zelda, and I do have an open mind, or at least try to, so I'm intrigued. I'll keep you posted, and I hope this also gets me back on track for finishing up the year with all 12 books for the challenge read. I already know I have more than that read as well, between the mangas, fanfictions, and novels that don't fall into any of the categories.

Oh, and I might be going back to "Ready, Set, Novel!" soon to try to figure out my Varekai fannovelization. I even have a fancy new orange notebook to jot my thoughts down in. I blame my first job out of college, but I equate blue, orange, and white to Icarus: blue for the sky, orange for the sun, and white for the wings. But also because of our mascot: a blue-skinned ginger Icarus with attached angel-like wings so he wouldn't fall.
Logo designed by our then art director Julie Fox Moyer
Icarus design and commercial animation by Thomas Pollock
So I have three projects! Four if you count the work one.... Five if I find the time to finish the "Hey, Arnold!" fanscript of "The Jungle Movie" with ChibiSunnie before the official movie airs in November!

Um... I might be overdoing it with the WIPs....
Tanuki Facebook Sticker
by Yanare Ku
Mom is also coming back up at the end of this week to tackle two more of my chaotic rooms. I may have an organized apartment yet! It will also mean I might not get much writing done this weekend, or the start of next week. We'll see.

I did just state last week that I seem to do well with my writing when my time is limited. We'll see if I strike oil again.