Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Progress, Presents, and Promotions

I've been slacking. I only opened my word document once this whole week. It's Christmas time, so focus shifted to getting cards and presents set. Plus, work has been... interesting.

But the gifts are just about all set, and the cards should be good to go within the week. Which means I should be able to get back to working on the story this week.

That being said, though, I did manage to work a bit on the story on Wednesday. I even finished off the first draft of chapter 1 for "One and the Same." It needs a bit of polishing. Of course it does, it's a first draft. However, it's done. I just need to transition into chapter 2. Then I have most of three figured out, and four is done.

I've also been thinking about the final chapter. Since I promised some of my readers, I'll hide spoilers regarding my thoughts on the final chapter.



Nothing is written down yet for that final chapter. So that might be my focus this week. That way I have a solid ending. I can then tweak later as I work back to the finale.

While you're waiting for me to get my butt in gear though, there is something else you can read.

Remember over the summer when I talked a bit about Ali Luke's latest novella? Well, it is finally live for mass consumption.
This cover is just so gorgeous. Bravo to Ali's artist Lorna Cowie.
You can check out Ali's book over on Amazon for just $0.99! Or, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. Just be sure to leave her a review once you're done!

Need a reminder of "Not So Imaginary"?
Your "imaginary friends" aren't imaginary at all.
And they're definitely not your friends.


When Ruth tracks her foster brother Jonathan to a flat in South London, she's hoping for a happy reunion.

But Jonathan tells her he can't talk to her and slams the door in her face.

They've been apart since they were children - but she's never stopped being his sister. And when she realizes he's in danger, she vows to protect him, no matter what.

***

Jonathan's website design business is thriving.

It came at a price.

Flint and Corwin, the two "imaginary friends" that have been with him since childhood take it in turns to tell him what to do. Corwin is calm, organised ... and ridiculously uptight. Flint is wildly carefree ... and savagely dangerous.

Jonathan's in too deep to escape. There's no-one he can turn to: he's forbidden to contact Ruth.

He's not even supposed to think about her.

Then she moves into the flat next door.

Clear your evening and sink into this pacy story of a brother and sister, and two not-so-imaginary "friends".
Yeah, go and read her novella. It's dark and intense without being overly so. It's a nice intro to the supernatural universe that the Lycopolis trilogy is set in.

* * * *

There is but one more thing to report this week.

I GOT ANOTHER EMAIL FROM EDENDAPHNE!!!!

She has the line-art done for Willow, and asked me if I had any tweaks. I'm still internally screaming! She looks so awesome.
Maki Natsuo from Love Lab
by Ruri Miyahara
I can't wait to show everyone the completed product!!!!

Sooooo, yeah, that was my week. I hope to have something a bit better to share with you guys next week. Sorry for being so lame the past couple of posts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thus Endith Another NaNoWriMo

Well, this year's NaNo attempt did not go as well as planned at all. In fact, I was lucky to write for half the month. In the end, though, I learned to come to peace with my writing pace, and I managed at least a quarter NaNo. It's better than I thought I'd be able to do when I first started slacking off.
Calendar made by David Seah.
Now, even though my "official" total for NaNo was the 12,865, I did wonder what it would have been if I listened to Cyhyr and ChibiSunnie.

I had totaled some of this up two weeks ago, and I still didn't include the emails or messages I wrote in November, aside from the anecdote I wrote to Chibi. However, for the full count of everything else....
  • Posts about "The Seven Deadly Sins": 695
  • Observation about "DuckTales": 34
  • Post about my WIP "When Love Matters": 563
  • Posts about my WIP "Glitches": 5067
  • Post promoting fanfics I'm reading: 344
  • Post promoting my progress on "One and the Same": 373
  • Facebook posts talking about what I'm thankful for: 717
  • Anecdote Chibi counted for me: 1494
  • Go Vote blog post: 2975
  • In-story Calendars are the Key blog post: 2839
  • All the Writing; None for OatS blog post: 3758
  • No Time for Writing blog post: 2138
That brings my non-OatS writing in November up to 20,997 words. Add in the 12,865 words I DID write for OatS, and my NaNo count - according to Chibi and Cy - would be 33,862 words. Still not enough to "win" NaNo, but enough to surpass a half-NaNo, and set a new record high for a non-winning NaNo story.

Yeah.... nearly 21,000 additional words NOT put towards my current WIP. Meanwhile, there wasn't even 13,000 words put TOWARDS the WIP. Clearly I was real focused this year.... go me.


To be fair, I do have most of Act I completed...
  • Chapter 1: I just need to figure out a transition between chapters 1 and 2, which needs a specific catalyst.
  • Chapter 2: mostly done before I even started NaNo; I just need to find that transition from chapter 1.
  • Chapter 3: majorly needs polishing, and I have a notation about a third of the way in to add more to transition from the start of the school day and the end of it. For the most part it's done though.
  • Chapter 4: I think it is the most ready-to-publish bit I have thus far.
  • Most of chapter.... we'll call it nine? I just need to work up to that part of the story.
Okay, so that was most of Act I, but what about everything else sitting in my WIP folder? Regardless of when I wrote it, how much of OatS DO I have done? Well, I was surprised to see that I have 27,637 words! I would have also hit half-NaNo status if I counted all the words in my WIP; not just the ones I wrote in November. Super neat, but still not winning.

What if I combine forces? Let's see... 20,997 words written outside my WIP, 12,865 words written for OatS within November, and an additional 14,772 words written before November started. That's right, folks, I wrote more for OatS BEFORE NaNo. Anyway, using all three stats, I could hit a grand total of 48,634words! STILL not a winning NaNo, but so much closer with all of my cheating.

Going back to how much I did write for OatS, regardless of when I wrote it, I was still curious as to the word distribution. I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent for this story than I was for PT. There's spoilers involved in my scene-by-scene breakdown of where the word-count is in OatS, but if you want to see that breakdown...


After writing an angsty story focusing on one POV, moving to a new genre - basically a romcom - and bouncing between two POVs has proven quite difficult. There seems to be mostly fluff. My chapters basically read as incomplete one-shots: no lead-in to explain why they're in the situation going on. The chapters are cute little self-contained stories, but figuring out how they all thread together has proven difficult. There is also little drama pushing the story forward. It's like this story is my excuse to write an anthology of warm and fuzzy MariChat scenes. 

So that's my latest roadblock: figuring out how to add drama to keep people "flipping the pages," as it were.

Granted, it's fanfiction. And it's one of the more popular corners of the love square. I'm sure people would read the next chapter for no other reason than to read more MariChat goodness, regardless of if there's any over-arcing plot or development.

That's not me though. I know this is fanfiction and I should be happy with just getting something on paper. Others would love to read what I get on paper. Still, this is supposed to be "practice" for me. This is my way of flexing my muscles and showcasing what I can do. Therefore, I try to write as professionally as I can. If I don't think a publisher would pick it up, then I'm hesitant to post it.

But then the devil on my shoulder whispers "It IS fanfiction.... just post the fluffiness; who cares if it's 'professional' quality? Fanfiction isn't supposed to be professional." And I'm tempted to listen.

Honestly, I probably would have listened already if OatS wasn't a follow-up story. If it was its own little thing, I'd say "Meh... it's fanfiction, let's have some fun!" Having it be in the same universe as “Peeping Tomcat” though? Having it be a direct sequel to it? I feel like there needs to be some sort of consistency between the two books. I already switched things up by adding Marinette's first-person view. I can't have another dramatic style change by dropping the aim for professional quality to "just having fun."

Do I sound snooty? I feel like I sound so elitist right there.


I hope I'm not making anyone feel bad. If you are a fanfic writer and you do write fluffy "for fun" stuff, that is totally fine! I'll probably be one of your first readers. I eat that stuff up. Me not wanting to write OatS that way - even though the story itself seems to have a different opinion - doesn't mean YOU writing that way is bad. Fanfiction IS for fun. Writing self-indulgent fluff for everyone's enjoyment is one of the main draws of fanfiction. I just tend to take this a bit more seriously than I probably should....

Anyway, to try to help me around my latest writing roadblock, I've been studying other people's MariChat scenes. Reading fanfic - mostly one-shots - and fancomics, and flipping through fanart and theories. Doing so sort of helped me out with what I'm currently calling "chapter 9." Some more "research" has also started the ball rolling with how I can handle a couple other scenes. I'm still rattling the possibilities around in my head, but I do have a starting point at least.

Speaking of researching via reading other people's work, I re-discovered a lovely one-shot. I had completely forgotten how much I enjoyed the story. It feels a touch out of character for me, but Adrien's inner workings are beautifully confused and I LOVE it. Apparently I am complete trash for Adrien Angst, especially if it's over his slow processing of his feelings for Marinette.

Anyway, the story is "Supercut" although I'm not entirely sure how the title relates?????
**UPDATE: LNC messaged me. Supercut refers to the Lorde song that set the tone for the story... neat**

It is a post-reveal, but pre-relationship transitional story as the two superheroes re-evaluate their civilian relationship. It's told through Adrien's POV, and it's glorious as he tries to figure out how he now feels about Marinette. Let alone trying to decipher how Marinette feels towards him. Because why would Marinette confess she's in love with Adrien now that she knows that he's been in love with Ladybug: aka her?

You can find Supercut by LNC over on AO3. If you prefer to use FFN, you can find the story under LNC2 here.

While you're off reading that adorable one-shot, I'll be over here trying to get some more work done on OatS, and possibly get a monthly one-shot done as well. We'll see.

Before I leave you, though, here's a quick shout out about my husband's birthday being this past Sunday.

Love you, Babe!
Fun factoid: both Aaron Rogers and Linda Sejic share my husband's EXACT birthday; as in all 3 were born on the same exact day in the same exact year. Neato.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

No Time For Writing

This has been my worst week yet. I'm not just talking about NaNo either. I'm pretty sure this is my worst writing week all year.

I didn't write for FIVE DAYS.

Yes, I did that just two weeks ago, but this week I only managed 1299 words, which is the fewest this month at the very least. I'm pretty sure it's the least I've written weekly all year.


But you know what? I'm actually surprisingly okay with this....

First of all, Thursday was Thanksgiving, Friday was Black Friday - which I had to work - leading into a long drive to my mom's, Saturday was my extended family's Thanksgiving celebration, Sunday was last-minute socializing with the family before another long drive home, and then yesterday I was just lazy....

So, really, my only lazy day was yesterday, although I guess there were some hours I probably could have snuck SOME writing in the rest of the week.... Meh. And I was only really lazy for the last 3hrs of the day last night, since I had work and then Zumba. And I was actually pretty busy at work, so I couldn't write anything during downtime there.

I dunno. I think I came to terms with taking a step back this month after all. Give the story some more time to brew. It sucks that I haven't been as motivated as I was to write “Peeping Tomcat” last year. "One and the Same" just isn't calling to me with the same energy.

This story is all "potential scenes" but no real drama that I've found. Nothing as gripping as PT. This has made me kind of lackadaisical while the story figures itself off in the back of my brain. More and more pieces seemed to fall into place while I was doing my long drives, but they're not fully-formed yet. Perhaps when I do my last word-sprints session at writing group tonight I'll manage to get them on paper.

Right now, I think I'm just happy with the knowledge that I FINALLY hit 10,000 words on Wednesday. Less than 2500 words away from a quarter-NaNo at least. It's kind of a pathetic showing, but it IS still better than some of my other past attempts. Plus, I am still determined to finish writing this story, whereas other NaNo projects lived and died within those 30 days. There's something soothing in that resolution.

My other resolutions - the ones I was able to keep up with up until last month - are falling to the wayside, but I'll hold onto this one. I'll just have to try yet again next year to post something new EVERY month, and write at least 4 days out of EVERY week.

I'm training for both of those writing goals by first trying to get my butt out of bed in the morning!

Sad to say, but since I don't have to be at work until 9:30, and Hubby tends to not need to be at work until 8am or so, I usually set the alarm for 7am, but not get out of bed until closer to 7:45. That's a lot of morning to sleep through - and cuddle through - which always leaves me with virtually no time outside of work to accomplish anything.

Let's take a trip down my normal daily break-down, based on the time-audits I've been doing since July.

I take Hubby into work at 8am, roughly, every morning. I then spend the next 90min or so getting myself ready for work. Sad thing is, I generally need about 95min to get ready, so I'm either bringing breakfast with me, grabbing something simple like ramen for lunch, and/or show up to work about 3min late. No time there to do much of anything.

After work I have Zumba two days a week, which has been bumped back to start at 6:30. Which means, between getting changed into workout gear and walking to the dance studio, I have about ten or fifteen minutes of awkward time. I have a hard time writing anything out on my phone - I'm not the greatest texter - and my netbook still takes a stupid-long amount of time to start up, let alone pack up. It doesn't seem worth it to try to start up a document to get some quick writing in during that short lull between activities.

Zumba ends at 7:30ish, usually a little later, and so by the time I get home it's nearing 7:45. My hair is insanely thick, and I keep it medium-long, so washing my hair alone takes me about 10min; not to mention scrubbing the rest of my body. So I'm usually hopping out of the shower a little past 8:10ish. It then takes me roughly 20min to at least DRY my hair, let alone style it... This tends to take me straight into the Monday night football games and dinner. If Hubby and I decide we're not really feeling football on Monday - or if it's Zumba on Wednesdays - the two of us tend to use this time to bond by watching one of our other shows while also catching up on the day.

It's now about 10pm, and I can either be a responsible adult and go to bed, or - the more likely answer - this is now when I scroll through Facebook, my email, DeviantArt, and Tumblr in order to catch up on all of my notifications. Congratulations, it's now somewhere between 11pm and 1am, and my eyes are so strained that I can barely keep them open. Time for bed.

Tuesdays consist of me starting my day writing this blog, and that's been averaging around 4hrs worth of work between writing, editing, and tracking down any graphics I want to include. Add in another half-hour or so for promoting on all of my social media sites. With my usual "up around 8am" schedule, this usually leaves me with nearly no time to get dressed for the day, and I usually shove a bagel or something quick down my throat while I'm editing. Then I go to pick Hubby up from work, and we do our weekly grocery shopping.

It's a WEEKLY trip. It's just the two of us. We really shouldn't need all that much, and yet we always seem to take at LEAST an hour to do our shopping. I'm not sure how.... Add in another half-hour or so to put the groceries away once home.

Next up is laundry. Between prepping the laundry, driving to the laundromat, starting the load, separating the hang-dry clothes from the rest of the wash, starting the dryer, packing up the now-clean clothes, driving home, and hanging up the remaining wet laundry.... that's another 2hrs or so gone, and I haven't even folded the rest of the laundry yet.

With lunch thrown in somewhere in there, it's probably about 4pm now. If I'm lucky, I can get an hour or so writing in before writing group starts at 6pm. Otherwise, we are now off to do other errands: cleaning the house, running to Walmart or something to pick up things we've been needing for at least a week, getting hair cut or working around doctor appointments, etc.

After writing group ends at 8pm, Hubby and I have TV shows we watch until 11pm. Then, once again, I can decide between being a responsible adult, or staying up later to go through all of my "online maintenance": Facebook and DeviantArt notifications, emails, and scrolling through any new content on my Tumblr dashboard.

Tuesdays are easier on the writing group "off" weeks because that's an extra 2hrs of free time, but since Hubby and I don't really have evenings available, Tuesday tends to be "socializing" night most weeks.... so there goes those available hours again. My only other hope is to write during laundry while I'm waiting for the washer and dryer to finish. If we're tight for time though, Hubby and I will do our grocery shopping and have a lunch break while the laundry is doing its thing.

Thursday is another football night, but it's also one of my only catch-up day options since I have roughly an "extra" 2hrs after work since I'm not exercising. The productivity of the evening is largely dependent on if I'm interested in the football game.

Fridays are weird. Used to be that most Fridays Hubby was out of the house playing Magic: The Gathering at the local gaming store at the end of the street. On those nights I would generally do one of two things: play catch-up, or socialize. At one point, Fridays were the weekly get-together for me and Rozsavaria, but that didn't last long before one of us would be busy or "not feeling it" that week. Fridays then transitioned into Shadow's weekly visit, but that's been kind of sporadic as well lately. When Hubby wasn't interested in playing Magic, Fridays also turned into Gaslands Night - Gaslands being a tabletop game similar to Warhammer, but using Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars.

If Hubby was at Friday Night Magic, and no one was around to socialize - or I wasn't feeling up to peopling - I'd "catch up." Which could be a variety of things: cleaning, shows only I want to watch, reading fanfiction, emptying out my Tumblr drafts, and, of course, writing.

Lately, Friday has been used to drive down to my mom's house, and going to the movies for "date night"....

Saturday is probably one of my better bets when it comes to writing time. There's no football or primetime shows I like to watch. At most, while I'm having dinner after work, Hubby and I will catch up on two of our Disney shows: Andi Mack, and DuckTales. That's an hour; about hour-an-a-half if Hubby and I chat about our day right out of work.

Sunday tends to be Cleaning Day. I get out of work at 4pm, and watch football all day while folding laundry, dusting, vacuuming, picking up the living room, etc. Generally there's little to no writing done on Sundays.

So, yeah.... most of my writing has to be done at work, which has fewer and fewer downtime hours lately, or I have to learn how to give myself more free time outside of work.

Preferably free time where Hubby isn't active in the house. We tend to socialize then, which is fantastic for a marriage, but trash for writing. Getting up an hour or so before him seems to be my safest bet. It's just so hard to get out of bed when he's snuggling next to me; keeping me warm and cozy. Especially with winter kicking in so early this year!

Speaking of, one of the comic book creators I follow has a potential explanation as to why winters seem longer and longer lately.

Long and short? To help her become motivated in her main comic book series "Blood Stain," Linda Sejic has started this goofy side-project called "Punderworld." It's a re-imagining of Greek myths; mostly focusing on the ROMANTIC relationship between Hades and Persephone. In other words, in this version he didn't kidnap her and force her to become his wife, she legitimately loves him.

Anyway, my point being, Hubby's warm and snuggly and smells good, and the bed is so soft. I don't want to have to climb out from under the covers; especially in the winter.

But climb out I must. Most adults - excluding those who work second-shift and/or overnights - tend to be up by about 6am so they have time to do things before work. Mostly these morning hours are used for cleaning, ironing the day's clothes, prepping lunches, and/or exercising. Me? I can sit quietly in the dim sunlight of the living room and write for an hour or so before Hubby needs to go to work and/or I need to get ready for work myself.

I can do this. Once upon a time I was a morning person. I was actually that annoyingly awake and energized morning person.... getting old sucks.

I had to be up, and take Hubby into work by 7am today, which did give me a head start on my crazy-busy Tuesdays, as well as a taste of this new regimen. It will take me probably until the end of the year for it to become habit, but that gives me time to adjust.

If 2018 can be an amazing writing year for at least half of it, and a decent writing year for another quarter, then perhaps I can keep "training" myself in this less-than-stellar final quarter. That way 2019 can be amazing year-long!

And part of that "training" is to attempt to get some more words written this morning since my blog is done super early today.
Hacker Boy Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

All the Writing; None for OatS

Guys! I nearly doubled my word count this week!

I mean, granted, that's only a little over 4,000 words, and I STILL haven't hit the 10,000 word mark. Nevertheless, my pathetic show this week is still progress in the right direction. It's still me improving. So... I'll take it.
Vash the Stampede
from Trigun
I'm finally having some fun figuring out how to implode Marinette's brain. I have most of chapter three done for "One and the Same" as well. Granted, I still have to go back and write the second half of chapter one, and the first half of chapter two... but that's all an akuma attack.

And I don't wanna!!!!

I'm still missing the majority of the story, but hopping to the "fun bits" and then threading them together later seems to be the trail I'm following this go. What kills me the most about all of this was that I spent MONTHS trying to build an outline so I could just blast through this year's NaNo. What happened!?

Thankfully, I do have the weekly writing sprints to help me out. Having those two hours dedicated to just writing without any sort of other distraction is what I need. I really should have done these at home throughout the rest of the week too. Even if it's just one or two more days a week. However, with Zumba and football and date night... I don't really have other evenings to dedicate to writing.

Which, among the other reasons I noted thus far this month, is yet another reason why this year's NaNo is rough for me. I just can't re-organize my new life schedule to include writing. And that kills me.

I have always been amazed by authors who balance writing with parenting. However, with just the slightest add-on to my moderately few out-of-work hours, and how much that's kicking my butt, I have a new level of appreciation for the time management parents have to possess.

Part of the problem - as it almost always is - happens to be that Hubby and I really enjoy the same shows, and it kills him that he has to wait for me for most of the programming he wants to watch. For instance, the third season of "The Seven Deadly Sins" was released on Netflix a few weeks back. We got into the anime when it came out in 2014. When "season 2" came out later that year - although it felt like a year later - we were super excited, only to be bummed that it was just a 4-episode transition between season 1 and the actual season 2. We apparently had to then wait four years for the ACTUAL next season to come out. Although, I have to say I thought we watched this show in 2016, not 2014... but I know we watched it the year it came out.... I'm becoming so old that years blend together now...

My point being that it was either a two year, or a friggen FOUR YEAR, wait for us to get the next season of "The Seven Deadly Sins." We already delayed watching it because season 3 of "Daredevil" came out on the same day, and Hubby watched the dark re-imagining of Sabrina in "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" so I could at least pretend to write while he's watching that.

In truth, I kind of want to watch that series too, but I was on the fence enough to let Hubby watch it on his own while I was off doing other things.

But Hubby was getting antsy. He knew I'd be bummed if he watched SDS without me, but he didn't really want to wait much longer. Especially when he knew my sister watched it already and would probably want to talk about it during our Thanksgiving visit. So we watched the season. It kept a few days to do so, which is quite a few days to not be writing.

Panda also asked us to watch "Bohemian Rhapsody" with her on Friday. We were planning a date night to watch it anyway, so we happily accepted the offer. Another night knocked out.

Seriously, this week was probably one of the busiest after-work schedules I've had in a little while. Yet it was one of the slowest work weeks, so thankfully that's where I was able to make up ground. It does also explain why I wasn't able to break 2000 words any of the days I did write. Not having much writing time does that....

As I promised last week, I did manage to write at least enough to not be as embarrassed to share my NaNo calendar again. I just wish I could blot out Week 2...
Calendar designed by David Seah
Get yours at DavidSeah.com/Productivity-Tools
I had a couple of days where I didn't even hit the 250 word minimum to fill in at least one block. It was kind of pathetic to fill that day in on the calendar, but it was still SOMETHING. So I was happy to not put another zero on that calendar. Although, I did forget to put a zero in yesterday's slot... whoops...

Can I take some comfort knowing that I did a lot of writing outside of my NaNo work? Or should I be more irritated because it meant I COULD HAVE written my story?

To be fair, the writing I did outside of OatS this week was easy enough to do while watching the TV show or football games, because none of it was fiction narrative. I was mostly just chatting into the void that is Tumblr via posts. They didn't take a lot of extra thought or brainpower, so having a divided attention was fine. Writing narratives though? You need full concentration really.

Still... it WAS quite a bit of writing.

Most of said writing was because of a Tumblr game I was tagged in by Hari-Writes. It's a simple game. You just list the titles of all of your Works-In-Progress - WIPs - without any sort of context. You then tag other writers you know on Tumblr so they can play the game as well. And then you wait. While part of the fun is to see which of your friends will join in and share their list of WIPs, the main fun of the game is that you also request your followers to ask you about the title(s) that intrigue them.

I got an ask from both Cyhyr and ChibiSunnie; always my faithful cheerleaders. I'll get to those asks in a moment, but first, if you also want to know about my current WIPs, you can check out my updated Tumblr post here: WIP tag game. I had to update since I forgot some WIPs my original go...

I knew I had quite the stack, but since I only ever really focus on one at a time - and the rest are plot bunnies I haven't gotten to yet, or side projects I drift from - I forgot how many I truly had. I'm sure I've forgotten some more, but my list of WIPs for the Tumblr post was 22 long! Granted, about five of those are probably now dead projects, but you never know...

Alright, so back to Cy. She must have only just started reading my blog recently, because her ask was "What's 'Glitches'? How did I miss this?"

How indeed? As of this writing, I have 17 posts with the Glitches tag, prior to coming up with the name "Glitches" I had posts talking about this project tagged with X-Future Reboot, and there's 21 of those, although 2 of them overlap when I first started referring to the reboot as "Glitches."

I really don't know how she did miss that.... Unless it was all a rouse, and she wanted me to promote my most well-developed original story???

Either way.... I went down the rabbit hole, and brought my followers with.

I answered that ask by stating the broad strokes of the project: it's a re-working of the X-Men universe into an original setting so I could utilize the OCs from X-Future. I then went into the world history I had figured out thus far. If you want to read my full 2156-word response to Cyhyr, you can check it out here: ASK: What is Glitches?

The real trouble of Cy asking about my original story is that I wasn't satisfied just talking about the history of the world I was developing. I didn't even touch upon the characters I'd be playing with. So I briefly did so in the next two posts. And by briefly, I mean "I talked about their powers."

You may remember that in the past I've talked here about the categorizing I did of the Glitches' powers. I figured it would be natural for the governments within that world to want to pigeonhole the Glitches, and it had the added bonus of me - as the author - also having a way to categorize them, and try to keep a bit of a world consistency. I called the location of this international listing of powers the GRID - Glitches Identification and Registration Database.

Well, after introducing the GRID briefly in my response to Cy's ask, I felt I'd demonstrate it a bit. I did two different posts on the subject: one for the adult Glitches that I had adapted from X-Men canon characters, and then one for my teenage Glitches; the OCs from X-Future.

If you want a refresher on everyone's powers and how they'd be placed on The GRID, you can check out the posts here:
The GRID (part 1) - Adult Characters
The GRID (part 2) - Teen Characters

I pretty much spent FIVE HOURS on Thursday finding my research and writing all of that up! Almost my entire day off - with Hubby out of the house working an 8hr shift, so I had no distractions from cleaning or writing - was spent answering an Ask that Cy couldn't possibly know would send me over the edge.



Whoops....

Poor Chibi was nervous that she'd do the same - send me on a tangent that kept me from working on OatS - but she wanted to also ask me about one of the titles she saw on my list. To be fair, this one I haven't really talked about anywhere. It was sort of just brewing under the surface for about a month now.

The story is going to be titled "When Love Matters," and it's going to be a bit more of an experimental fanfiction project. Since I haven't started this project yet, and there really isn't much involved in it, I haven't bothered to talk about it on here... yet. I'm sure that will change once I have the first chapter of it written.

In the meantime, you can find out about "When Love Matters" the same way Chibi did: via my answer to her ask.
ASK: What is When Love Matters?

The answer to Chibi was significantly shorter, but it's still words I spent talking about a project instead of actually working on one.

I've also done a lot of observation and promotion this week. Again, because doing so is a lot easier to do with a split focus than writing narratives.

Watching "The Seven Deadly Sins" again for the first time since I introduced myself to "Miraculous Ladybug," I had a few amusing observations about the fact that there are a lot of shared voice actors. In fact, three of the main cast from ML are main cast members of SDS as well: Bryce Papenbrook, Cristina Vee, and Max Mittelman. In the season Netflix just added - Revival of The Commandments - two more main cast members joined the SDS team: Keith Silverstein and Mela Lee.
  • Papenbrook plays Adrien/Cat Noir in ML, and the main character Meliodas in SDS.
  • Mittelman plays Plagg in ML, and King in SDS - one of Meliodas' squad known as the Seven Deadly Sins; hence the show name.
  • Vee plays Marinette/Ladybug in ML, and Hawk the pig in SDS; one of Meliodas' companions who is always by his side. Doesn't hurt that Hawk's mom is a giant pig who wears Meliodas' inn - The Boar's Hat - on her head/back.
  • Silverstein plays Gabriel/Hawk Moth in ML, and is Monspeet, one of the villainous Ten Commandments in the latest season of SDS
  • Lee plays Tikki in ML, and in the latest season of SDS she is another Ten Commandment: Melascula
So, that makes the core cast of ML - Marinette, Tikki, Adrien, Plagg, and Hawk Moth - also key characters in Seven Deadly Sins. I had fun posting musings about these facts on Tumblr. One such musing was how similar Cat Noir and Meliodas are to each other both in character design and rough character build/personality.

I mean....
Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins (top)
Cat Noir from Miraculous Ladybug (bottom)
With a similar character design and attitude, coupled with the same voice actor, I was afraid that I was going to watch Meliodas thinking "this is just older Adrien LARPing." Essentially "ruining" the show for me.

Instead, while Cristina Vee used a COMPLETELY different voice for Hawk, I had to chuckle whenever the pig tried to prove himself the bravest and strongest out of all the knights. Because all I thought of was Hawk strutting around as Ladybug.
Don't focus too much on this.
I spent like 10min on it...
The mental image must have amused a few people because it has 61 notes on Tumblr....

Another amusing observation that seems to have gotten a little bit of love on Tumblr was for the DuckTales reboot. The latest episode has Louie try to get his company off the ground. The problem being that he has no clue what his company should actually DO to make money, and he has no employees to run it. So he recruits Huey and Webby, and they brainstorm what they could do as a service. Webby starts blurting out random items they could sell. Meanwhile, Huey, already 100% done with Louie's nonsense, suggests Louie just sells lemonade like a normal kid.
Huey: “Why don’t you just sell lemonade?”
Louie: “Eh, lemonade is small potatoes.”
Webby: “Oh! POTATO-ADE!”

Me to Hubby: “Isn’t potato-ade just… vodka?”
I have 22 notes on that post from Saturday... so I guess I have my shining moments of humor every once in a while...

The post that probably has the highest and fastest reblog count however must be from Friday. As I've mentioned periodically throughout this blog, over the course of this year I've followed multiple different on-going fanfics. Well, this month two of them posted their final chapter:
I had been following "Mr. Lucky and the Cat" since the day it first went up, back in March. As for "Under Lock and Key," I discovered that via EdenDaphne promoting her artwork for the story. ULAK itself started May of 2017, and I jumped on board mid-December. Either way, I had been reading both of these stories on and off for a large portion of 2018. So much so that I figured they should just go on my reading challenge list.

Yes, both are both less than 50,000 words each, but I think they can also represent the words I've read, but not putting on this list. All the still-in-progress fanfics, as well as all the one-shots, should more than make up the "small" word count each of these completed works have.
Thus completes my challenge; a month early I might add
Now, Hubby let me know my Christmas gift from him is a book, so I might slide one more story in before 2018 ends... or I'll hold it until January to kick off my 2019 reading.

My point is that I loved "Mr. Lucky and the Cat" as well as "Under Lock and Key," so after I was done finishing both stories - on the same day no less - I needed to promote these now completed works. I felt like I owed it to the authors to gush about these stories. I also felt like it helped me a little to express the bittersweet feeling I had having read the last chapters of two stories I enjoyed.

Naturally, I tagged both HariWrites and EdenDaphne as I promoted their stories. Well, Eden apparently couldn't resist gushing back. She reblogged my shout out for her story, with an added "Thank you so much 😭😭😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️"

One can only guess how large her fanbase is, but, thanks to Eden's reblog, my shout out post - as of this writing - has 323 notes. Luckily, I saw that one reblog did note "As for the other story mentioned, that’s one I haven’t read yet but now I have a new story to look forward to reading! Thank you for the recommendation." So, yay! Getting readers for HariWrites! I was kind of hoping something like that would happen: Eden's fans would discover Hari, and if there were any of Hari's fans who didn't know who Eden was; now they do.

I've even picked up 3 new followers this week, bringing me up to 61 people. Not massive, but not too shabby either. I think I'm slowly weaseling my way into the fandom's notice. Which might mean more readers once "One and the Same" is posted.

But first, I should probably WRITE THE DARN STORY, and worry about readership later....

Which brings me full circle to NaNo again.

Naturally I'm a bit bummed with my performance this year for NaNo, and I frequently state so both here on my blog and on my Facebook page. Seeing how down I am about my slacking, both Chibi and Cy have pointed out the amount of non-fictional writing I've been doing this month. You can see above how much I've done in just this week alone. Noting specifically my blog posts and the three-part info-dump for "Glitches" on Tumblr, both women said I should count those words as well. Chibi went so far as to include my analyzing Tumblr posts, and an anecdote I sent her the other night.

I explained to both of them that I want to stick with the original spirit of NaNo, and only count the words I add to my fictional writing. Mainly because that's the hard part. Just chatting with you guys here in my blog? Info-dumping about a world I've been building for years? That's easy. I could do that in my sleep. That's just me being my long-winded self; a bit of an inheritance from my maternal grandfather.

Still, the more the two of them pointed out "every word counts" the more I wondered. Especially when Chibi told me the anecdote I sent her was 1494 words long. Knowing I'm not going to change my official NaNo word count to include anything not written for "One and the Same," I was still curious about how much I really HAVE written...

  • Posts about "The Seven Deadly Sins": 695 words
  • Observation about "DuckTales": 34 words
  • Post about my WIP "When Love Matters": 563 words
  • Posts about my WIP "Glitches": 5067 words!!!
  • Post promoting fanfics I'm reading: 344 words
  • Post promoting my progress on "One and the Same": 373 words
  • Facebook posts talking about what I'm thankful for
    (I'm way behind; stopping on day 7): 717 words, but this will be lengthened soon
  • And like I said, the anecdote Chibi counted for me: 1494 words!!!
That's already 9,287 words I wrote in November, but not for OatS. Now for my blog...

Another 5573 words!

So, not including the lengthy conversations I've had with Chibi, Jowy's Pixie, and TLOS21, and also not including this week's blog, I have 14,860 words that the ladies think I should add to my overall total. Like I said above, I'm not going to, but it's fun to know that they'd have my NaNo total be 23,640 words. A touch more than the 8700 I'm actually counting...

Now I'm curious how much I'd add if I included what I wrote for OatS prior to November, but I've lost track of what I have and have not written this month. I do know that, just counting the scenes I haven't touched yet this month, I'd be adding another 11,103 words!!!



If I posted to NaNo all the words I have for OatS thus far, whether or not I wrote them in November, I'd be up to 19,883 words! There's a lot of completed fanfics that aren't that wordy, and I'm not even half-way done with my first draft! OatS will probably be another 80,000 word beast.

So, I HAVE been writing. Just not the "right" things at the "right" time. I guess I can feel a bit better knowing that. I mean, I've already come to terms with the fact that I'm not "winning" this year's NaNo. Although, I am a bit more determined to get my butt in gear now that I have some swag....

As a thank you for donating to NaNoWriMo, the Office of Letters and Light - the name of the non-profit that runs the NaNo organization - sends out some gifts. You can opt out of receiving the gifts so more money is spent on the program. I was tempted to go this route, but I really liked what they were offering.
The bracelet says: "The sword with
which I slay the beast called doubt."
Cute little pin
This book shaped sticker says:
"Optimist. Explorer. NaNoWriMo Writer"
One side of the bookmark from OL&L says
"Thank You" across a background of books on a shelf
The flipside of the bookmark with
an encouraging "Thank You" message.
And yes, I am wearing the bracelet right now. How did you know?

With all of this encouragement around me, how could I fail? I may not be able to finish writing "One and the Same" before November 30th. I may not hit 50,000 words, or even 25,000 words. Although, quick shout out to Cyhyr who surpassed 20,000 words last night...

No. I will most definitely "fail" NaNo this year, but I won't let it defeat me like it did in the past. My newest goal is to just have the first draft of OatS done before the close of 2018. That way I can still start the editing in January, and have it polished enough to start posting in March.

That, and to enjoy my time with my loved ones.

So, to all of my American readers...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In-story Calendars are the Key

It's only been a week since the US mid-term elections? Wow. While this year has been flying by - wasn't it JUST summer!? - this week just craaaaaawled.

Makes you think I had time to write then, doesn't it?

HA!

ha....
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
I'm not even going to post my word-count NaNo calendar this week. Yes, I ended up writing about 900+ words during last Tuesday's writer group word-sprints, but since that night I only added 200 words.... yesterday....

We're nearly at the half-way mark, and I'm not even at 5000 words.

To be fair, my third-ever NaNo in 2014 just barely had over 3000 words written, so I've at least surpassed that. I don't know if I'm going to hit half-NaNo stats like I did with my other two non-wins, but I'm trying.

I'm still struggling to find my groove with this story. When I'm in my flow I can crank out words pretty quickly. I can tear through my daily word-count goal in an hour or two; three tops. I mean, Build Your Own Luck started off as a simple headcanon thought that Tom made The Bracelet to try to cheer up Marinette, and as I was writing up my fan theory about it the one-shot birthed from my head like a 2800-word Athena. Same with my "ah-ha moment" when it came to the characterization of Gabriel Agreste, and that "simple" headcanon turned into a three-part character study on Tumblr; the three parts combined being like 11pgs long or something....

When I'm not in the groove though? It takes me two hours to write 211 words.

In an attempt to become re-inspired, I spent the week doing something you're "not supposed" to do during NaNo; during any first draft, really: edit. Too many writers get stuck trying to make their first draft the FINAL draft that they never actually complete it.

There is a writer in my local group who has read us the FIRST CHAPTER of her story about half-a-dozen times. Keep in mind that we only meet every other week, and there were some sessions where she didn't read. She FINALLY moved onto the second chapter, barely, only a week or two ago. That's about six months just on the FIRST CHAPTER.

She wanted it perfect. She needed it to be perfect. She just couldn't move on until she got the exact word she needed in this sentence, or until that sentence had the perfect structure. Omnibladestrike is very much the same way. He wants his first draft to be perfection, so he edits and edits and edits before ever moving past the first chapter. It's a dangerous trap, because struggling to hit perfection in that first chapter, while you're still learning about your characters and world, tends to kill an author's inspiration and motivation. You don't see progress, so you feel that lack of development, and the story tends to die. Or at least goes into hibernation.

This is why, NaNo participant or no, you really shouldn't edit the first draft. Just get the crap on paper; polish later.

That all being said, sometimes editing what you have thus far is helpful. As you edit you discover things that helps you push forward in the story. As you figure out what you don't like about the chapter and why, you also see character or world development you didn't know before, and it helps you create more of your tale.

Omni did it with his one original story. He was stuck in the first chapter, and with all of his re-works he realized what wasn't working for him was the history and basic build of the culture he created. Since they are the backbone of his story, finally figuring out that's what he needed to fix - and figuring out what works better for him - rejuvenated his writing spirit. At least, for a little bit.

For my fellow writer at group, each edit brought out a bit more character development. Each pass made the characters more real to her, which made her more invested in her work, which helped her move past that intro. The environment became more solid to her as well.

And now with me? Well, as I went back and re-read the scenes I excitedly wrote in September, I felt the energy I once had for "One and the Same." I remembered why I want to write this story. I think I was too much in my head. I think I worried too much about "what if it's a flop? What if people don't think it's a decent sequel to PT? What if it ends up being self-indulgent crap?"

First of all, fanfiction readers LOVE self-indulgent crap because more often than not they want the same self-indulgence.

Story all about fluff with little plot to it? Just the couple having a pillow fight while watching a movie together? That's some of the most popular stuff on FFN and AO3!

Secondly, as ChibiSunnie, Ali Luke, Cyhyr, and Jowy's Pixie all pointed out to me: don't write for the audience; write for me. The audience will find it. If I enjoy it; they will.

I keep telling DFL this whenever she's concerned that her Babylonian-era story isn't as "flashy" as some of our other stories. How is it that I can hand out writing advice, but never seem to hear it myself?

I needed to re-find my story, and my love for it. My NEED to tell it, the same way I NEEDED to tell “Peeping Tomcat”. I'm still not sure the story grabs me the same way; pushing me to tell it. I am getting more excited though.

I went back through bits of PT to get some of my in-universe canonical timeline figured out - pre-established events such as the launch of Gabriel's newest fashion line, for instance - and then continued working on it for OatS. Getting a better feel for what's happening when in the world around Adrien and Marinette helps me figure out what they're doing. Despite the fact that they're characters and I can totally have everything revolve around their story, I like making the world feel more real by NOT having it revolve around them. I like having things happen in the world and having my characters react or have to organize their lives around it. So knowing dates to important things helps me plot overall.

The next bits are going to have minor spoilers, so just scroll pass quick if you want to avoid them.
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Okay, for those of you who don't care about spoilers.... here's a "for instance" of that world-events-help-me-plot concept, using the aforementioned Gabriel line launch as an example. Gabe has decided that he likes Marinette's portfolio and wants to meet with her, but he is too busy with his launch - and.... other... priorities - to be able to meet with her until the new line is on the market. I now know that this leaves Marinette in a sort of limbo for a week, which gives her more than enough time to overthink things. Which also means it is the perfect time for some MariChat goodness as Chat Noir tries to calm her down, and remind her that she's a fantastic designer.

And that's just one example.

I have two full notebook pages working out the timeframe of OatS, and I'm not even to the midpoint of my story yet.
Obviously don't read if you don't want spoilers, but this should
give you a rough idea of what my week looked like.
I also jotted down more on my PT and OatS calendar-stylized timeline. Problem is, the days in OatS are going to be a bit more eventful, and I'm having a hard time scribbling everything into the little squares I made for PT....
OatS events aren't in stone quite yet,
so they're written in pencil...
 Now that I have a more solidified timeline - or at least the makings of one - I'm starting to slot in those pre-written scenes. So while I was re-reading them to try to re-find my story I also tried to polish them so they had better continuity between them.

As of right now I have two tweaked scenes: the MariChat ones. I'm still not entirely sure the lead-in to them, but I'm loving the interactions between Marinette and Chat Noir, especially since one is told through Adrien's POV and the other is told through Marinette's. Watching Adrien's reaction to Marinette through his eyes, and then later through hers, was so much fun to play with. Trying to show Marinette's confusion while in Adrien's POV, and then trying to show Adrien's angst through Marinette's POV was also so much fun. These poor dense little beans have no clue what is going on with the other, and it's beautiful.

So I think I need to just stay here for a week or so. I need to focus on the MariChat goodness, and sprinkle in some Marinette confusion with Adrien acting more like Chat Noir. I actually thought of the opening to one of those scenes this morning. It's not terribly much, but it's something:
"Marinette! Hey, Marinette, wait up!" Adrien waved down to me from outside Miss Bustier's classroom on the second floor. He jogged to the top of the stairs, but about half way down he was blocked by the crowd of students descending to the school's courtyard.

While we were waiting for Adrien to catch up with us, Alya playfully elbowed me and stifled a chuckle.

"Whatever he wants seems pretty urgent," she teased.

I blushed. It sounded like she was implying that there was something romantic there, but I knew that couldn't be true. Adrien only saw me as a friend. He only ever saw me as a friend, and that's all he'll ever see me as.

The crowd was heading down the stairs too slow for Adrien apparently, because with about a quarter of the way to go he just hurdled the banister. With his legs dangling along the outside, he slid the rest of the way down, pushing off about a meter from the bottom. Landing gracefully on his feet, he jogged over to us.

"Did- did he just-" Alya wagged her head between me and Adrien.

It was fine that she couldn't finish her question, because I wouldn't have been able to register it anyway. Adrien. Adrien Agreste. The reserved and refined love of my life. He just slid down the stair's banister. At school. Who else have I seen do something like that? My mind was short circuiting.
It needs some polishing, but, hey, that's another 241 words I didn't have yesterday! And now I'm just 99 words shy of 5,000.

More importantly, though, is that it's the start - or rather middle - of another scene! This would be the chapter when we first see Adrien trying to act more like his Chat Noir half while he's in civilian form, and particularly around Marinette. A way of maybe getting a bead of how she feels about his more goofy and carefree self when Paris isn't in danger.

Writing Adrien with his Chat Noir personality is going to be so much fun. Having Marinette's brain implode as she's trying to connect the dots will be equally fun.

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OKAY! PEEPS WHO WANTED TO AVOID SPOILERS! IT'S SAFE TO READ AGAIN!

I think I need fun again. I'll go back to angst and akuma attacks later.

I also need to figure out a soundtrack for my story. That stuff really does help me. It drowns out the rest of the world - which has been majorly distracting me this past week - and gets me into the proper mindset. While I was working on the PT edits the first half of the year I frequently listened to songs on repeat to get me in the proper mood. I even stated which ones I was using here in my blog, if you wanted to go back and check that out.

I don't really have anything set up for OatS though, which could be a small part of the problem.

The writing sprints last week were the largest chunk of my writing thus far. In part that could be because I was in a distraction-free room for two hours with the sole purpose of writing. In part, it could be because I finally fell into a flow towards the end of the session. After threading together disjointed scenes from my "follow your muse" hopping the first few days, I was able to write a pretty steady stream of words; doubling the amount I had written thus far that day.

I know part of that final word dump was because I built off the energy of the music I was listening to. In particular, I absorbed a whole bunch of energy bouncing back and forth between two songs:
POP/STAR by K/DA
(sung by Miyeon and Soyeon from the Korean band (G)I-dle,
and American singers Madison Beer, and Jaira Burns)

I've been pretty much full-on obsessed with this video. This K-pop skin set for the League of Legends champions Ahri, Akali, Kai'Sa, and Evelynn has an amazing promotional video. The music has energy, great vocals, and is catchy as hell. But the skin designs are beautiful; my personal favorite is Akali, the one with the glow-in-the-dark spray paint who raps. And the animation is so gorgeously smooth with awesome choreography, intriguing visuals, and the exact feel of an actual K-Pop video. It's just such a high-energy piece that gets me pumped up every time.

The other video I had on loop?
Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling, feat Lzzy Hale

Lindsey Stirling? Lzzy Hale from Halestorm? Tons of energy with an electric violin? I mean, yes!? It has a melancholy to it, and a push pass defeat. It is just the perfect "fighting an akuma" song for me. There's angst there, but there's also determination. Just like Ladybug and Chat Noir trying to win the day, just like the victimized villain being brainwashed by Hawk Moth's akuma, and just like me ignoring how few words I have written and instead focusing on how many I CAN write before the month is out. We all need that push.

Also... Lzzy Hale's voice has always been inspiring to me. I mean, there's also this song for one of My Girls...
I Get Off by Halestorm

Willow anyone? The girl's teenage hormones made her come up with some.... interesting illusions. I think in a much more literal sense the song also very much fits Jolene.

Both a bit of a far cry from what I'm doing right now with sweet and innocent Marinette and Adrien!

Oh, and who could forget this other Halestorm song... a bit of a dedication from Willow to Devon... whoops. Sorry, son.
It's Not You by Halestorm

Now part of me wants to make an AMV of this song using Ladybug to Chat Noir. The song is a bit mature and a bit more aggressive than the actual characterizations of these two, but it would be fun to go a little hard with their characters.

Especially with lines like "someone who has raise the bar" and "you've probably never been shot down before" both hinting at Chat Noir's Adrien side in opposing and ironic ways.

After a quick search on YouTube I did find one AMV done to this song, but it's just a bunch of quick shots of Marinette, Adrien, and Chloe... but done in such a way that I have no clue what's going on. Is Adrien singing the song to Chloe about Marinette? Is it to Marinette about Chloe? Is it Chloe to Adrien, suggesting a love for Marinette? Or vice versa? I mean with the shippers in this fandom any of the above could be accurate.... And to make things more confusing, Lila is randomly thrown in at the end???

Nope. I need to find an editing program and make one myself.

Buuut, that's for Future Me. Present Me has to stop being distracted by side projects, and answering emails, and trying to play catch-up on Tumblr.... which is a bit of a Sisyphean task since my drafts - i.e. read in more depth and/or reblog later - are now way over 700 posts deep, and I seem to add more than I empty out....

I need to lock myself down and just WRITE, DANG-IT!

So that's my goal this week. Not to catch up to the 21,666 words I should have by the close of the day today. Although, if I literally did nothing but sit and write all day today I could totally hit 16000+ words. My goal isn't even to write the 1667 words that make up the daily NaNo word goal. My goal isn't going to be to write the 11,669 words this week that is the standard weekly NaNo word goal.

Nope. None of that. My goal this week is to write SOMETHING. Something this week that makes me not embarrassed about my progress. My goal is to write enough that I'll proudly put that NaNo calendar up on this blog again.

I can't do that until I stop writing here though. Until next week then!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

GO VOTE


Before doing anything else, I want to remind my fellow Americans that today - assuming you're reading this when it came out on Tuesday - is Election Day. If you haven't voted yet, go out and do that now. Seriously. Stop reading. Go! This blog will still be here when you're done.

Heck, depending on how long the polling lines are, bring me with you and read while you're queuing. Actually, no. Don't do that. Instead, brush up on your ballot if you haven't done so yet. Again, there are tons of resources online, but the one I've seen most frequently is vote411.org.

Also remember that your employer is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to give you adequate time to vote, so be sure to check in to double check on your rights. Don't delay though... if you're home in your PJs until your shift starts at 5pm you've had more than adequate time to vote. So... again... GO! NOW! Don't wait!

Also also... Uber and Lyft are joining forces to help get people to and from polling locations. Check to see if these services are in your area, and if they are, check to see if you qualify for a discounted or even FREE ride to the polls!

Today is not just "Thank god, now the political ads, phone calls, and mailers will stop" day. Today is your chance to affect this country. Today is your chance to make sure your voice is heard. And for the jaded and disenfranchised Millennials and Gen Zers - assuming you're 18+, are there 18+ Gen Zers? I don't know where the generation cut-off is - THIS IS OUR YEAR! If we go out and vote we are the MAJORITY of the population right now. We CAN affect change if we want it. We CAN form the country we want, not just one we inherit from previous generations.

Finally, just a friendly reminder to DOUBLE CHECK your ballot before you officially cast it. You may have slipped up and colored in/pressed/punched out the wrong candidate. You could have that glorious "hanging chad" situation. There could have been a glitch in the system which voted for out-of-party candidates even if you voted Straight Ticket. I've seen reports of that happening before, and apparently it's a known glitch that no one is bothering to fix???? So, yes. No matter how you vote, double check that you ARE voting for who you think you are.


Okay, I'll pack up my soap box now...

Instead, I.... guess.... I'll talk about NaNo? I kind of don't want to though.

I was all geared up for it for the past few months. I even had notes upon notes upon notes to try to help me get organized for this month.

Then November hits and....
My current total is 3504
I don't know why, but I just keep either avoiding writing when I have down time at work - instead obsessively playing one of my mobile games - or I run out of time to write outside of work. Sunday was my day off. Hubby was at work for about 8hrs. I had the whole day to write and catch up. I had every intention of doing that. Heck, the NY Giants had a bye-week, so it's not like I really had any of the football games to watch.

Instead, I did just that: watch football. Specifically the Miami Dolphins game. Mostly because that's Hubby's team and that way I could let him know how it was going; assuming it was going well.

I also cleaned. The apartment needed that badly. I scrubbed down the bathroom, and tried desperately to vacuum every inch of carpet I could. Mostly because Hubby had a neat idea for a Halloween pumpkin this year after seeing a kit for it: a unicorn.

I even painted the horn with glow-in-the-dark paint.

The problem though... well... take a look.

Yup. Hubby thought "wouldn't it be awesome if the unicorn sparkled with glitter!?"

Hubby really likes glitter.

He also got glitter all over our front porch as he tried to apply it to the pumpkin...
So sparkly!
Of course, we had to bring the pumpkin inside to let everything finish drying since it was raining all week.... which meant carrying said pumpkin - and the subsequent tracking from the front porch inside by more than just Hubby and I - brought these Crafting Herpes inside. I am fighting the best I can, but all I can hope for is that our apartment goes into remission. Lord knows we'll have another outbreak though. I mean, I'm STILL finding needles from our fake Christmas tree.... soooooo....

Anyway, my point being, I spent Sunday cleaning instead of catching up on my writing. By about 9pm I just waved the white flag and called it my one allotted "day off." Ignoring that I really shouldn't have taken it if I was so far behind my goal....

For those who might not be able to see since the font in that NaNo calendar is so small in the above image, I should have been at 6668 words on the 4th. Actually, using the 5-days-a-week goal, I should have been at 9088 words. Both should have been easy. I've written spur-of-the-moment one-shot stories longer!

Instead, I sat at 2650 words. Ooof. And I didn't even add another 900 yesterday. Just barely over 3500 words after five days!? Such a rough, ROUGH, slow start.

My only real consolations are:
  1. At least I AM writing. That's something, I guess. And I still have the rest of the month to catch up. I mean, I lost my work TWICE last year and STILL managed to win. I have time. I'm not out yet.
  2. Ali Luke, for various reasons, was only able to write about 30 words that first week, and then another 1700+ yesterday, so she was only at about 1800 when she called it a night on Monday. She's written novels before. She's PUBLISHED novels before. She's a PROFESSIONAL WRITER. If she can have a slow-start as well, then maybe it's not so bad. Life gets in the way, you just need to know how to overcome it and persevere.
You want to know who's kicking butt with NaNo though? Cyhyr. She has CLASSES and a child and she wasn't in the proper mindset for writing for a long time. Yet she fell in love with her story and her characters and she is killing it!

She blew past 2,000 words on the FIRST DAY. She has slowed down a bit since, and had to skip writing on Saturday for various reasons, but she's still at 5948 words. Sure, that's still technically behind where one should be to hit 50,000 words in 30 days, but she's not aiming for word count. She's aiming for x-hours of writing, and she's hitting that goal pretty well based on her posts.

We also have a NaNo game going where we post the last line we wrote for that day, without any context. Hers have been a lot more interesting than mine:
Day 1: "I just want to go home."
Day 2: "We fight together or not at all."
Day 4: "The daemons can be understood."
Comparatively, here's mine:
Day 1: It was the same thing since the day I became Chat Noir: mine and Ladybug's Miraculous jewels.
Day 2: I didn't wait for Chat Noir to react, I was out the door, on the patio, and throwing my yo-yo at the terrace house across the street.
Day 3: "They probably saw the video and are going to come rescue me soon.”
We're both slackers and haven't yet posted what our final line yesterday was.

We did also get ChibiSunnie unofficially involved as well. She's too busy to actually participate in NaNoWriMo, but she did have a plot bunny that wouldn't leave her alone, and so she decided to share her last line of the day with us as well: "We might be getting older in different stages, but we can still figure out getting old together."

Not quite content with just this little game, Cy decided she was going to go an extra mile on her Tumblr. A way to get us excited for her writing, and a way for her to stay excited as she picked out bits of her writing she loved. Each day that she writes, she posts her top three parts; mostly just a line or two. She also shares something she particularly loved about that day's writing. Something like working with a character she particularly loves or getting to learn more about an OC she created.

You can check out her NaNo posts on her Tumblr. She really does have some particularly intriguing lines. I'm not even in the Final Fantasy fandom, let alone FF XV specifically, and yet I can't wait for her to have the story polished enough that she's cool with me reading it.

Now to just get MYSELF that excited about my writing.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I really don't know what it is with this story. I have wanted to write it for over a year, and yet I'm completely stalling now. I just don't know what I want to do with it, really. I think. I'm not sure, really.

I've been sort of all over the place with it. Prior to NaNo starting I wrote three or four scenes that I really liked and was really driven to write. I'll be splicing them into the full story once I catch up with where I think they'd fit. Then, November 1st I just couldn't figure out how to start this darn story, so I just kind of jumped in half way through what I pictured as the first chapter. I still wasn't really feeling it - hence the small word count - so I jumped again to chapter two. I then thought I knew how I wanted to start the story, so November 2nd I backtracked and wrote until I caught up to the main drama of that first chapter. Yesterday I finally caught up to the part of chapter 1 I started on the 1st, and moved a touch past it. I know we're "not supposed" to edit, but I did slightly. I grabbed this paragraph and that sentence and the phrase over there that I wanted to shift as I wrote. Then I interjected some narration now that I knew more about the scene, and I deleted sentences that no longer made sense. It was quick edits, and I MOSTLY kept it the same - I think I deleted maybe 50 words? - so I'll call it fair game....

I just keep trying to follow what I'm inspired to write... I just... haven't been though.

I think I miiiiiight have figured out this morning why that is.

Before I get to that, I want to share something else real quick. I swear it's relevant.

At about 10pm last night, while I was scrolling through Tumblr, I saw an amusing ask:
A little context: Buggachat has, on occasion, been asked if she knew of a particular fanfic, or where to find it. Generally it's something like "I've been trying to find a fic where Marinette is a kleptomaniac. I know it was on AO3 somewhere, but I can't seem to find it again. Q^Q You wouldn't happen to know the name of it, would you?"

Bug would then either be like "Oh yeah! I know that story!" and drop a link - both answering the ask and promoting the story to everyone who follows her blog - or she'd pitch the question to her followers: "No, sorry, I've never heard of it, but it sounds amazing! If anyone knows the story Anon is asking about please drop a link." This way the word is again out there, and she's sort of crowd sourcing the question to try to find the story for the asker.

For whatever reason, most of the asks Bug has been posting lately seem to be these "please help me find this story" asks. Which is where the above Ask comes from. It's probably a joke, but that would be fantastic if Anon accidentally called someone out.

Anyway, thinking that would have indeed been a brilliant marketing strategy, I decided to reblog Buggachat's ask with a bit added to the bottom:
I still feel like it was a bit of a ballsy move on my part, hence "shameless plug" being my last hashtag. However, it seemed to have gotten some attention. Before working on this blog - so, about 8:30am - I checked in on Tumblr and saw this:
Otakuprincess15 is obviously talking about me since I'm tagged in their comment. And what a comment as well! I gushed. I thanked them. Amazing in all caps!?
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc
However, I'd also like to point out Didntwantanaccount right below Otakuprincess15. As far as I could tell, I'm the only one who commented about my story in an attempt to promote it. The original ask and answer said nothing about a particular story, and the previous comments didn't have anything to do with promoting their stories either. So, I think it's reasonable to assume “Peeping Tomcat” is the only story referenced in this post. So I'm pretty positive Didntwantanaccount was also complimenting my story!!!! EEEE. It's awesome to see people talk about it and compliment it.

And I think that's the source of my mental block.

I'm in this weird writing limbo where I worry my stuff isn't good enough because it's not very popular, but then I read my reviews and see people both promoting my work and commenting about how great it is. And both halves of this limbo keeps me stuck.

If I'm on that low swing of "what's the point? I'm not writing anything people want to read anyway" then I have no motivation to write. However, if I'm on the upswing of "It looks like everyone who's read my story loves it! This is amazing!" then I become terrified that lightning won't strike twice.

I might be there right now. That may be why nothing seems nearly as exciting with "One and the Same" as it was with "Peeping Tomcat." I'm frozen in the worry that OatS won't be as good. That people who enjoyed PT will be disappointed in OatS; that they'll see me as a sort of one-hit-wonder; that PT was a fluke.

A discussion with a friend pretty much solidified this fear. Hubby and I both LOVE reading Rick Riordan, if you couldn't tell before simply by following this blog. Now, I get that not everyone is going to like his writing. I don't like the writing of a lot of authors my friends love. It's just personal taste, so we weren't offended when the friend told us he wasn't a fan. He really enjoyed "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief," but he felt like "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" was just a rehash of the first book. When he saw a similar formula used yet again in "Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse" he gave up before he hit the half-way point. He then decided to read the Kane Chronicles to see if a different series from the same author would be better.

All three of us agreed that the Kane Chronicles stories are the worst of Riordan's works. We're sorry for any who love these the most, but all three of us found the main characters bland and the "transcription of an audio recording" narration concept a bit jarring.

But that's the thing. Our friend enjoyed the first book he read from the author, but felt the others in the series were too similar and didn't enjoy them as much. He then chose a different narration styling by the author and HATED it to the point that he gave up completely on Riordan.

What if that happens to me? I already have so few readers, what if OatS feels too much like a rehashing of PT? What if the bounce back and forth between first-person Marinette and first-person Adrien is too much of a narration shift and also turns people away?

I feel like all of these fears are completely unwarranted, but it's still lingering there. And I think that's the block I have to work through. I just.... I don't know what I need to do, but I need to find a way to fall in love with this story again.

I need to get as excited by what I discover while writing as Cyhyr does.

You'd think watching the Miraculous season 2 finale would help with that. It just got me more excited about the show, but not exactly my story.

Add in the fact that I failed for the first time with my resolution to write something new every month. I couldn't figure out the time to write last week - obviously; check out my November count again.

So, here's that swing back into my writing funk. I was doing so well too! I don't know what it is about being 34, but I've noticed a distinct drop in my reading and writing since my birthday. I just got so overwhelmed with everything that week, and I don't think I've ever had the mental vacation to catch up. I really REALLY need to just take a week in December to be at home and let my mind recharge; get my home cleaned up again. I was going to take a week in November, but my manager put the schedule together faster than I could decide which week to take.

Here's to this week going better. I do have writing sprints tonight at my writing group anyway. Maybe it will be just what I need.

In the meantime, here's one last reminder to my American readers....