Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Making Progress (sorta)

Happy spring, everyone! I know, it's been spring, technically, for weeks now, but I think this is the first full week it's FELT like it. It's been warm and sunny and beckoning me to hang outside. It's also been very "April" and rainy quite a few days.

In fact, last Tuesday Hubby and I got caught in a massive downpour out of nowhere. It was nice out. It was sunny. Then there was a thunder clap. Then came the hail. Then, within five minutes, the hail storm became a flash flood of rain. And... well... we still needed to get to our car from the post office. We were able to wait out the worst of the rain, but even when it let up a little I still had to navigate a flash-flooded parking lot, wading through about a quarter-inch of water. Also, since it was so warm and gorgeous out just ten minutes prior, I had my car windows down. So.... the car was pretty wet. It only got worse when we popped by a drive-thru for lunch. Just within the time it kept for me to give my order at the speakerbox, I got DRENCHED.

Lunch was yummy though, and I was able to lower all the windows once I was in my garage, so the car could air-dry.

It was a warm rain, and I had nowhere else to really go, and it didn't seem to cause any lasting damage to my new car, so I actually had a lot of fun in the ridiculousness of the flash-flooding downpour.

In truth, I was just happy it wasn't snow finally!

This week was also beautiful for me because I'm pretty positive I FINALLY figured out which order I want for those two scenes that were driving me insane! So... YAY!


Okay, so that spoiler box got a lot larger than I originally intended! Long and short, I think I have the... er... middle of my middle? figured out.

I also finally surpassed 5000 words written this month for Camp NaNo. So there's that...

Now to come up with a transition from the first act of the story into Act II. Then a lead-in to the scenes I've been battling over all month. And then a transition again from Act II to Act II, as well as a proper lead-in to that Act III climax.

I would conservatively estimate that I have... about 80% of Act I figured out, maybe 50% of Act II, and... we'll go with 50% of Act III? That's about 60% of the entire story done...

So... yay for feeling like I have just shy of two-thirds of the story sorted out? I have less than that actually written, but at least I kinda-sorta know where I'm going with it?

And it only kept me about 9 months to do it.
NuaNia Facebook sticker
by PRANEAT
I may get this story done by August....
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
It might help if I get back into my time audits after slacking on them for the better part of a month. I never remember to take the planner out of my work bag when I'm home post-work or have a day off. Then, when I did remember to pull the planner, last week, I forgot to put it back IN the bag to bring with me to work again... it became a downward spiral from there.

Sure, I've been writing daily. And, yes, my word counts haven't been that great, but that's only because I've been mostly editing existing scenes. Still... my word count and progress on this project mostly suck because I slack off once I'm home.

So, time audits! I just need to do these forever, I guess. They're tedious, especially when I'm too busy to stop even for a couple seconds to write how long it kept me to do a certain task. But, I'm just not habitually structured enough without them. Too frequently I look back at my day and go "what did I even do?"

I have the start of my new calendar set. I just need to take the time to print off the pages I need. It will be a LOT of pages and a LOT of ink, and I'm not entirely sure the library printers can print double sided, so I may have to go to the local printer. Which means needing money as well.

I thought I could save time, energy, paper, and money by just buying a new planner from Walmart or something. While it was a headache to try to even FIND my planner last summer, I guess April is still early enough in the year that the hourly planners are still around. However, they have the same issue my current one has.

Namely, that it only covers about 10 or 12 hours of the day, rarely covers the evenings, which is when I most need to track my time, and Saturday and Sunday are combined into one column, which means I can't fully track even half my day when it's not a weekday.

Which means I'm still aiming to just print my own.

This is a reminder of what is out on the market: the hourly planner I currently own, and what the potential replacements all more-or-less look like. It's decent. It's done what I needed it to do, for the most part. It starts at 7am and goes until 9pm. It's a decent amount of day, stretching 14hrs, which is the most I've seen in any planner. It also covers 7am until 5:45pm on Saturday, which is again the most I've seen dedicated to a Saturday in these types of planners.

All-in-all, this was a lovely planner, and if I had to purchase a replacement, I'd go with this brand again.
Not only is the planner itself made from recycled paper,
but each page gives you a conservation tip.
It truly is a great product, and I strongly suggest anyone looking for an hourly day planner for any normal reason to pick this brand up.

For me, though? As I mentioned, I needed to go a different route.

These are my prototype pages, but I'm fairly happy with them. I don't have the space to have the hours numbered down each column like the At-A-Glance pages, and I may take away from the "Notes" section on the far end in order to put the hours on that side as well; bookending the week. However, I haven't quite decided yet if that's what I want to do.

The big thing for me, though, is how I adjusted the times. I'm a bum who rarely does anything significant prior to 8am, so I had my days start then, but I also wanted to leave that opening block for when I do get my butt out of bed at a decent hour. It's also a nice spot for me to mark birthdays, anniversaries, or national holidays. I'm also pretty active at least until 11pm, so I wanted to extend the hours in the day I can record. I figured anything I do post 11pm I can note in that block. With any luck, those adjustments will work well for me.

The only new snaffu is the size. Clearly I'm now using a full 11in sheet of paper per page, which is significantly larger than my current planner.

I needed to finish up 2019 since my current planner ends in June, and it actually amused me that I lucked into orange colored taps for both October 2019 and October 2020. I do still need to create the monthly calendar pages to start each month off. That way I can still record my smilies of writing days. I may even create a coding system to record my writing days, exercising ones, and even my cleaning days, because as of right now I only clean on my days off, and it's overwhelming to stockpile things like dishes, folding laundry, vacuuming, etc.

The larger pages actually allowed me to keep the individual log spots fairly similar in size, even with the extra hours that I'm trying to record. The only major issue was that I needed to thin out each column in order to fit everything properly. Otherwise I would need to either divide Thursday across both sides of the binder - which isn't helpful or practical at all - or I would have to again combine Saturday and Sunday in order to fit all 7 days across the two pages.

I think I can handle the slightly thinner columns. I'll just have to be more concise or write smaller.
In truth, once you take out the portion of each column where the hour is listed,
the columns aren't THAT different in size.
Although, I may try to number each line like At-A-Glance does.

The only other issue I might have with my version of the planner is that with a 3-ring binder, I won't be able to fold it onto itself like I can with the At-A-Glance planner. Unless I pay for it to be professionally printed and bound in a spiral cover like the purchasable planner, I won't be able to condense the planner to it's "closed" size while still working on it.

Oh well, I can survive without that feature, I'm sure. Worse comes to worst, I can pop the page I'm working on out of the binder, fill it in throughout the day, and then pop it back into the binder once I'm done with my recordings. The other hindrance is the larger size of the binder, especially since it's thicker and hardcover. It's not as bendable as my current planner, and so it won't fit quite the same in my work bag. The existing planner fits nicely inside a little side-pocket within my bag. A side-pocket that barely holds anything else. It's easy enough, though to shift my Miraculous Ladybug notebook to that pocket, and that should leave enough space in the main pocket for the planner binder to tuck behind my netbook.

This should work. Part of me wants to start using this new calendar now. However, that would mean I ended up wasting even MORE of my existing planner, which wasn't utilized nearly as much as I would have liked, AND I would waste more paper and ink printing off at least two more months of weekly calendar sheets.

So, I will have to patiently wait until July to start using this new planner I doctored. In the meantime, I'll keep on tweaking until I'm 100% satisfied with the layout and formatting. Maybe I'll also print off a few pages at a time to build up the planner before I need it. That way I don't need all of that money all at once. I could trickle it.

But back to my actual writing!
Biscuit Facebook sticker
by Ghostbot
As I mentioned at the top of the post, I'm pretty confident I FINALLY managed to figure out my scene order... for those two scenes. The rest of the story, though????

At least, now that I have those two scenes locked in with regards to their order, I am also able to figure out the surrounding scenes. So I now think I have a lead-in to the one scene, and I know I have a follow-up chapter for the second scene. The only snag there, though, is that my outline for that follow-up chapter is fairly similar to the third chapter of the story. So I need to figure out how the chapters are different, and if there's enough character growth for them to feel like foils of each other. Or... should I completely change one of the two chapters?

WHOO! ANOTHER DUAL SCENE DILEMMA!

Just what I needed....


At least I'm learning about editing and story structure... right? Perhaps once I'm done with this problem child of a story I'll have enough skill growth to finally tackle "Please, Let Me Explain" again, and actually have it thinned out enough that Ronoxym won't feel overwhelmed anymore. Because I really do want to finish that story off properly. I also need to get back to editing the fight scene between Devon and Trish - as well as finally name that story - so I can post that one-shot I wrote a few summers ago.

My poor girls have been abandoned! Sorry, ladies!
Trish, Willow, and Lia
Designs doctored from ChaZie doll makers
Side note. I used to go to DollzMania.com to make these dolls of my characters, since I'm trash at drawing. However, the site has since closed down. I was able to find some of ChaZie's doll makers up on other sites, but barely even a third of the ones I know they made, and virtually none of the ones I had used to create those three above. If anyone knows where ChaZie is now, or where to find the full collection of doll makers, please let me know. Thanks.

As for the rest of today? Well, DFL from writing group invited me to go watch a short film entitled "10 Mistakes Writers Make", so perhaps I'll have some new advice for everyone next week. At the very least, maybe it will help me figure out this darn fanfic. Writing group is tonight as well, so I'm sure DFL and I will discuss what we learned with the group. I'll just have to figure out if I want to read more disconnected bits of "One and the Same" tonight, since that's what I'm actively working on, or if I want to continue reading "Prescription for Love" since that's the last continued work I read for them.

We'll see.

Until next week, enjoy the fine weather, my friends. Also... happy belated Earth Day, which was yesterday, and happy early Arbor Day, which is Friday.

It's a good week to be a tree.
Yes, I did indeed watch the 2012 "The Lorax" film yesterday...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Tale of Two Scenes (times 2)

This week has been frustratingly productive.... or.... productively frustrating???

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone on their insight on my "which comes first" dilemma for "One and the Same." You all gave me a lot to think about. The consensus seems to be

I keep following the logic presented by those suggestions, and the "ah-ha moment" I wrote ended up being so adorable! Chat Noir was just soooooo excited, and I love it! Plus, Marinette's panic was immensely fun to write.

So, thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. It gave me a lot to think about, and I'm still going back to those comments even today to help me ponder further.

HOWEVER.... I have to admit that I'm still torn.


Sorry, spoiler-free folks, but I'm diving a bit into spoiler territory again. I'll see you guys again in a bit...
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I have to say that I agree with you guys when it comes to "find out about the bracelet second", and I actually wrote it originally that way. Marinette flopped onto her chaise in embarrassment as she admitted Adrien had this important trinket from her past. Chat Noir teased that it was more than what someone would do for "just a friend" and that maybe Adrien was "more than a friend?" He had also implied that he had instructed Marinette to confess to Adrien, and after hearing about the bracelet, he now SUPER DUPER pushed to her admitting her feelings to Adrien.

I had that. I was all set to have the bracelet come second. For it to be the moment Adrien realized Marinette was in love with him.

But then two things happened.

1) When I wrote the "he discovers the pictures" scene, I had him have the "she loves me!" moment, and it was gorgeous. It was wonderful. I loved it so much. But... he can't have that moment if he's supposed to have it when he finds out about the bracelet later.

2) I realized the wrong person was telling the story when Adrien realizes Marinette's love.

The story of the bracelet is definitely a Marinette chapter. The bracelet had some emotional significance to Adrien, but it didn't have the emotional weight I headcanon it having for Marinette. The reason Chat Noir is told the story in the first place is because he asks about a drawing of the bracelet Marinette has in her sketchbook. The reason she drew it in the first place is because she missed having it.

I haven't figured out the reasoning yet - if I keep the bracelet as the second scene, it could be because she feels it would give her the courage she needs to confess to Adrien - but Marinette was feeling down. She was in the same mindset as her 5-year-old self; in need for some placebo luck. Either she isn't confident, or she needs that physical reminder of her father's love. I'm still working on the situation that put Marinette in that mental state, but the important thing is that she's there.

She's the one with the emotional weight in this scene. She's the one who goes from upset, to a nostalgic warmth, to a centered calm, to embarrassment, to flattered shock. MARINETTE is the one who goes through an emotional rollercoaster. Meanwhile, while Adrien also goes through a lot as well, his emotional shifts goes from casual meet-up, to curiosity, to overwhelming comfort, to mild guilt, to flood of appreciation, to overwhelming love that forces him to leave before he does something rash.

Yes, I know, it looks like he has a lot going on himself. It does appear that he too has a lot of emotional weight in this scene. The thing though, is that Marinette GIVES him the emotional weight. The scene wouldn't have any sort of true significance to him if Marinette didn't attach that extra sentiment and significance to the bracelet. Plus, a lot of Adrien's emotions can be conveyed to the reader via body language and speech patterns. Marinette waxing nostalgic? Her mental state when Chat Noir first arrives? It's hard to really show that.

The readers know what's going on in Adrien's head. We know that he has the bracelet. We know that he is in love with Marinette. We know that he has a tumultuous relationship with his father, and so we can imagine his reaction when he finds out about this bonding moment Marinette had with her own father, as well as his reaction when she confesses why she's fine with Adrien keeping the bracelet. We don't need to be in his head for any of that, because we already are, to some extent.

However, since the origins of the bracelet aren't canon, and they haven't been brought up before in my stories, unless the reader has also read "Build Your Own Luck," they don't have the same level of knowledge of what could be going through Marinette's head. They won't understand the parallels between how she felt when her father made the bracelet and how she felt when she started drawing her sketch of the bracelet. They won't understand that she had been holding a secret from even Tikki, and the significance of her confessing it for the first time, and to Chat Noir, of all people. They won't know how Marinette's heart is starting to race around Chat Noir, and how much his words impacted her.

If the reader knew any of that, while Adrien is the one in charge of retelling the scene, it would mean HE noticed that stuff. Then he either would figure out she was growing feelings for his superhero side way too early for the story - I mean, to realize she was in love with Adrien, and now has a crush for Chat Noir in the same scene!? Story done! - or he wouldn't put two and two together with regards to his Chat Noir half, which would make him WAY too dense. Especially if he JUST figured out her feelings for Adrien, and yet couldn't see the same thing going on with his Chat Noir side?

It just... It doesn't feel right to have Adrien be in charge of this chapter. It feels like Marinette HAS to be the one telling the reader about this scene.

And yet... Adrien finally realizing Marinette is in love with him HAS to be his chapter. There's just too much shooting through his mind for him to NOT be the one in charge. It would be weird for Chat Noir to properly express everything going through his head after finding out Marinette was in love with - as far as she's concerned - another man. Especially when he's trying to stress how much he loves Ladybug.

Now, I did write that scene. I refined my original bracelet scene so that it was definitely after Adrien found out about the pictures. I made sure that it was the "Adrien realizes Marinette is in love" scene that most seem to want to see. He is adorkable as he is clearly elated to discover this, but also trying to be sly and disconnected because he's Chat Noir at the time, and CN doesn't have any real connection to Adrien... as far as Marinette knows.

I have to admit that I love the micro-scene. But... it just feels wrong to not be in Adrien's head during that "ah-ha moment."

Plus, on top of everything else, while I like the idea of Adrien seeing an "evolution" of Marinette from "a dedicated fan" to "she's in love with me". While I like the idea of him going from assuming she just likes him for his looks, to realizing that she's actually in love with his personality. While I adore the blocking I did for Adrien realizing it's not just a celebrity crush, but Marinette is truly in love. While all of that is GREAT, at the same time, do I really want Adrien to picture that evolution?

I made a point in “Peeping Tomcat” to have Marinette stress that she isn't friends with Adrien simply to have an "in" with his father and the fashion industry. She would be friends with Adrien even if he was a "nobody." She genuinely does enjoy his company, and doesn't care about his famous father or celebrity status.

So, it feels like a step backwards, and a means of undermining Marinette's declaration, if Adrien again assumes she's a crazed fangirl. It may even affect how he interacts with her in school, either pulling away and re-thinking his strategy for having her fall in love with him out of fear that she just sees the handsome face, or he'd fully lean into the model persona... and... just... no.

If he found out about the bracelet first? It would solidify what she said in PT. She does see him as a legit friend; a valid and highly valued friend. She understands Gabriel is far from perfect, and Adrien needs comfort and compassion. He can see the evolution of "friend to lover" instead of "crazed fan to love interest." There is more solid ground this way. Instead of finding out about the bracelet and thinking back to the pictures and going "Oh, so it wasn't about fashion or her obsession with my looks," Adrien can think back to the bracelet and go "Oh, so she didn't just give me the bracelet out of friendship, she's in love with me! She let me have it because I mean so much to her." Plus, if he knew about the pictures first, it might taint the bracelet: "She gave it to me because she's obsessed with me"

On top of all that, having the bracelet first gives the right characters the correct scenes. Marinette can still tell the story of her bracelet. Adrien can still tell the story of his realization that Marinette loves him.

I'm going to hate losing that adorable moment of Adrien having the epiphany after learning about the bracelet. If I follow my husband's suggestion of "bracelet first" I'm definitely releasing the alternate scenes as bonus content after OatS is done and posted. The scene is just too good to not let my readers see it.

Similarly, if I follow everyone else's suggestion and have "pictures first," I'm going to post THOSE alternate scenes as well. Having Chat Noir encourage Marinette without knowing the true significance of that act was equally sweet.

In other words, I'm in love with both versions of the Bracelet Scene I wrote, and my readers will eventually get to read both. I hope it doesn't sour the "official" versions though...

My point being, I have to see if I can rework my "pictures second" scene so Adrien's epiphany is just as adorable from his perspective as he was in my "bracelet second" scene....

This story is going to be my death. I'm telling you guys right now...
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OKAY! SPOILERS OVER NOW! YOU CAN START READING AGAIN IF YOU SKIPPED THE LAST PART!

For those who skipped, just know that I'm still torn on the order of my scenes, but I think I'm leaning more towards my husband's suggestion????? Maybe?????

Either way, the alternate versions of those scenes will be released after their "official" versions have been published. That way readers can get the goodness of both versions, since I love them equally. I just hope reading "what could have been" doesn't sour the versions I decide to go with....

I may change my mind on releasing the alternate versions once the story is ACTUALLY DONE, but, for now I want the world to see all four of my babies.


So, while I was battling that whole predicament, I DID manage to work on OatS nearly every day this week. Saturday was a bit hectic, so I wasn't able to touch my story then, but I DID go through every other day this past week.

Including Monday! Which is usually a trash-day for me and writing.

Granted, it was only a hundred words here, a couple hundred there, maybe 800 words at one point. The whole week, since I posted my last blog update, I've only added 1956 words to my overall project, bringing the total words written this month to 3642.

Most of this week has been me reworking those two scenes I wrote during NaNo. The one, should it be the first scene, needed a major overhaul. Most of my big numbers - my 780 word and 850 word days - were my reworking that scene. I then went back to the original version, grabbed what I liked about that reworked scene, found a way to fuse them together, and tweaked some more so it was definitely the second scene.  I started doing the same with my other main scene. I'm not as far along with that one, but it is again a lot of tweaking.

In other words, I did edits. Lots and lots of edits this past week. Those 100-word days were "a word here, a new sentence there" edits that just added up by the end of the day. Why does this story have to take so long to come together!?

At least I have a really encouraging group of "cabinmates" over on Camp NaNo.

I have also mentally worked out a bit more for an earlier scene in the story. Perhaps I should switch gears and work on that scene? Should I finish up with writing the two alternates of this second scene and get that over with? Either way, I'm sure I'll keep myself busy this week.

However, Hubby's aunt passed away, and we have her service tomorrow night. Then Easter is this Sunday, so I may not have the free time to write as I would like. We'll see how everything goes this week.

In other news, I want to let everyone know that my heart goes out to the people of Paris, and France as a whole.

The Notre Dame cathedral was a significant landmark in and of itself. The fact that I grew up with the Disney movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" made it even more significant to me. Lately though, having my current main fandom take place in Paris, with the Notre Dame appearing in nearly every shot of Marinette's balcony, it gave the cathedral a substantial amount of emotional weight.
Above shots from the episode Glaciator.
Above shots from episode Weredad.

So, as you can see, it's a prominent portion of the landscape around Marinette's balcony, which made the landmark cathedral all that more impactful in my own world view.

It saddened me greatly to find out yesterday that the roof caught fire. That iconic spire is now gone, as is at least one of those rose stain glass windows. Thankfully, the cathedral was in the middle of lengthy renovations anyway, so a lot of priceless pieces weren't there while it burned. Also, thankfully, the main structure is stone/brick, and so that is still mostly standing.

Still, it's a shocking loss, and I hope reconstruction can return it to its glory one day. It will be rough for citizens and tourists alike to see the cathedral in the meantime, though. It will be quite the trial for the parishioners of the cathedral as well.

My heart goes out to you, Paris. But you have rebuilt before, and you'll do it again.
"Miraculous Ladybug" episode Glaciator.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

*Sigh* Order is Important, Guys

Camp hasn't been going too well so far. As of last night, I'm up to 1,686 words out of my 50,000 word goal. Granted, if I go through everything I wrote during November's NaNo and since, I'm actually up to 34,385 words. Not all THAT bad, but still, this story is coming together SOOOOOOOO slowly compared to “Peeping Tomcat”.

Most of my progress this past week was re-reading chapter scenes I wrote months ago, in order to get re-acquainted with my story. I've been doing tweaks and edits, but mostly, I've been trying to structure everything as a whole. Trying to thread these scenes together, and wondering what other scenes need to go in between.

The next few paragraphs contain oh-so-minor spoilers for "One and the Same," but if you want to go into the story completely cold, you might want to scroll for a bit.
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The two main scenes I wrote for the middle of my story, the parts that are all MariChat goodness as Marinette and Chat Noir build up their own friendship, involves the bracelet Marinette gave Adrien in the episode "Gamer", and the fact that Marinette's room is coated in pictures of Adrien.

For those who don't know the show, Marinette's bedroom evolved thusly. In the beginning of the series, she had her screensaver and/or her computer desktop decorated with a collage she made of some of Adrien's fashion ads. A few episodes in, we see that she also has a copy of his schedule for the year, and a framed picture of him - again, from an ad - resting on her desk. By the episode "Gamer" we discover that she's basically wallpapering her bedroom with pictures of Adrien. These pictures are mostly from his ads, but there's also some candid shots from just hanging out with a friend. Still, they're taped up all over her walls. Late in season 1, in the episode "The Puppeteer", the pictures are still up on her walls, but Chat Noir has to enter Marinette's bedroom to stop an akumatized villain. Marinette, as Ladybug, gets very nervous about the possibility of Chat Noir seeing the pictures. Keep in mind that Chat Noir doesn't know who Ladybug is, and Marinette doesn't know that Chat Noir is Adrien. Still, she clearly doesn't want anyone aside from her family and her female friends knowing about her crush. Even if, as far as Ladybug knows, Chat Noir only knows Marinette in passing, she still doesn't want him to know of Marinette's crush. This is important for my story.

In the season 2 episode "Glaciator", we see that the pictures aren't covering her room as much, and she now has a corkboard by her bed, and THAT is where she has a whole collection of Adrien pictures. She even has a magazine cover he was on posted next to the board. About mid-season 2, in the episode "Troublemaker", we are shown a comedic explosion of Adrien pictures in Marinette's room as Ladybug and Chat Noir battle a supervillain in it. Nearly everywhere Chat Noir looks, he has pictures of his civilian form literally thrown in his face.

Now, in the season 3 episode "Silencer" that just aired, I noticed that Marinette didn't have her pictures of Adrien up as she normally did. I thought it was because her male friend Ivan, and her other crush Luka, were in her room, so she hid the pictures of Adrien. However, when I noted this on Tumblr, someone pointed out that the pictures went away after the embarrassment of "Troublemaker." I didn't notice that, and I haven't gone back to double check, but I know I'm probably going to take some time to do so this week.

Anyway, even if the person is right, and the photos are gone after "Troublemaker", my stories "Peeping Tomcat" and "One and the Same" are sort of an alternate telling of season 2. All the canon facts presented in season 1, and in the season 2 premiere "The Collector" - because it finishes off the plot of the season 1 finale "Volpina" - are the only things I follow to the letter. After "The Collector", I ignore seasons 2 or 3 exist. However, I do still use generic knowledge we gather from those episodes.

Information, such as Adrien always carrying around the bracelet Marinette gave him in his pocket, or Marinette having pictures of Adrien EVERYWHERE - at least, for a time, or that Marinette's paternal grandmother is Italian and a perpetual traveler, or that Juleka has an older brother named Luka, or that Chloe's mother is a fashion critic who lives in NYC so she can run a fashion magazine, etc. These elements would still be true, regardless of events that happen in the show, so I consider them fair game. Elements, like Marinette potentially taking down her photos out of embarrassment, or because she's getting close enough to Adrien that she doesn't need to obsess or idolize him anymore, or because she also has a crush on Luka and might not want to focus her room solely on Adrien anymore, won't show up in my story. They are reactions to events that happen within the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the show, and if those events don't happen in my universe, then the affects won't happen.

Make sense?

Anyway, back to my story, and this part gets a bit more spoiler-y, so I'm going to throw up another spoiler warning here.
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So, you're now caught up on the important elements of the show: Marinette basically wallpapers her bedroom with Adrien pictures, and she gets embarrassed when anyone outside a select few people sees this obsession. She even gets embarrassed when Chat Noir sees them, even though she doesn't know Chat Noir is Adrien. We also know, thanks to season 2, that Adrien carries around the bracelet Marinette gave him.

In the episode "Gamer", Adrien and Marinette were paired up to represent their school in a video gaming tournament. He went to her house in order to practice their team-up skills in the game, however, she was almost single-handedly beating each game boss. Adrien gets upset that he wasn't much help, which, honestly, I think had an extra level of sting because he saw a parallel with his partnership with Ladybug. Marinette cheered him up by offering a charm bracelet she just happened to have in her pocket. She claimed it gave her luck, which helped her win her matches, and told Adrien to see if it would work for him.

He never got the chance to give the bracelet back to her, and now carries it around with him wherever he goes. In the second season episode "Befana" he pretty much claims that the bracelet is his now, because he makes a replacement for Marinette as a birthday gift. This replacement bracelet won't show up in my story, because I don't want to officially put my version of the story after Marinette's birthday.

Anyway, months ago, in writing group, I read "Build Your Own Luck" which tells my headcanon of where the bracelet came from in the first place: Marinette's father made it to cheer her up when she was 5. Then, around November, I read snippets of OatS, which included Adrien and Plagg talking about the bracelet. Adrien wondered if Marinette could ever like him back, and Plagg asked about the bracelet, almost noting it as proof that she might like him already. That was when the other members of the writing group wondered if Adrien knew that Marinette's dad made the bracelet. Since that isn't canon, I told them that Adrien didn't.

But... why couldn't he?

So, one of my scenes is Adrien, as Chat Noir, finding out where the bracelet came from, and the significance of Marinette gifting it to Adrien.

In another scene, Marinette's klutziness causes her to cover Chat Noir in a sticky icing, so she hurriedly offers that he gets washed up in the sink she has in her bedroom vanity. She's not even thinking about the Adrien pictures throughout her room. At least, not until after he sees them.

Herein lies the problem that I've been trying to tackle throughout the week.

I want both scenes in the story. I think they both are great, and each have their own impact on Marinette's and Chat Noir's friendship, as well as introduce something different into the whole Adrien/Marinette dynamic. However, both scenes are also perfect times for Marinette to either confess to Chat Noir that she loves Adrien, or for Chat Noir/Adrien to figure it out himself.

I can't have that "ah-ha moment" in BOTH scenes, however. So I have to decide which one is the "gateway scene", as it were, to hint that there's more than just friendship there, and which one actually confirms the crush.

Now, in the show, Adrien does indeed see all the pictures in the episode "Troublemaker." Before the supervillain attacks, Marinette's bedroom - pictures of Adrien and all - accidentally gets aired on a live reality show, so Marinette knows ADRIEN specifically saw them. Adrien also saw them as Chat Noir, so I have that as a good base on what his reaction would be upon seeing them.

By the end of the episode, though, Marinette claims she just has the photos so she could study fashion. Adrien teases her a little about being an obsessive fan, but quickly counters with how glad he is that she's a fan, and offers for her to come to a photo shoot in order to help her study fashion more.

So... it's possible that the photos are the "gateway" scene.

Alternatively, Marinette could talk about the bracelet with Chat Noir while they are on her balcony, before he's granted access to her bedroom. As she tells the story of the bracelet, it could just be showcased how selfless Marinette was, but implied that maybe she wouldn't have been so kind as to give the bracelet away if it were anyone but Adrien.

So.... is THIS the "gateway" scene?

Which way would be more impactful? Adrien, as Chat Noir, seeing how selfless Marinette is by hearing about her bracelet, and then seeing the pictures, and putting two-and-two together so that he knows she loves Adrien? Or would it be better if he finds out about the pictures, and just thinks she's an obsessive fan, only to hear the true significance of the bracelet and have THAT be the point where he realizes she's not just a fan but in love with him?

I keep writing both scenes in both orders, and let me tell you.... it's hard to adjust them for the alternate orders. I have to re-write most of the scene depending on which order they're in. But in the end, I can only keep one set. And the other 10,000 words or so are trash....

Hubby votes for knowing about the bracelet first since it seems more "friendly" and easier to justify without romance attached to it. Also, if Adrien thinks of Marinette as an obsessive fan first, it might affect how he acts around her. But the more I write, the more I think the evolution of Adrien's realization that Marinette isn't a fan but in love might be the way to go?

Alternatively, what if Marinette's crush is revealed with the pictures, and the bracelet is still the second scene, but this time it shows Adrien that it's more than just a crush; she's actually in love with him... should I do that?

I DON'T KNOW! I CAN'T DECIDE!!!!!
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OKAY! SPOILERS OVER NOW! YOU CAN START READING AGAIN IF YOU SKIPPED THE LAST PART!

The long and short, for any who scrolled past what turned out to be the top half of my post, I have two scenes that I definitely want in the story. They are pretty much ALL I have for the middle of the story. The struggle, however, is that I can't decide which one I want to go first in the story, because the order impacts the significance of each scene, and I can't decide which impact I like better.

Trying to figure out which order I prefer, so I know how to write the scenes so they can coincide within the same story, I figured I'd attack the plot outline again.

I was able to tweak it a LIIIIIITTLE, but I still don't have the middle at all. This evolution of the MariChat relationship, and having Marinette fall for Chat Noir is not coming to me. Which is weird, considering how I seem to stumble into that kind of emotional character development.

"Woven Heartstrings" had a growing MariChat dynamic that I didn't intend to have at the level it ended up becoming by the end of the story. If I can "accidentally stumble" into a dynamic MariChat friendship/relationship in a story I was writing on the fly, why can't I do it for a story that has been brewing for nearly two years now?

I need to figure out another way to try to attack this story, because writing out an outline isn't working. Writing out of order isn't working. Just sitting and writing the thing, and letting it develop on its own isn't working.

Under normal circumstances, I'd say the story just isn't working and abandon it, but I WANT to tell this story. I know where I want to start. I know where I want to end. I have, what I believe to be, a compelling ending.

BUT HOW DO YOU MIDDLE!?!?!

Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I'm going to just cheer myself up by looking at pictures of Marinette's other love interest Luka. This boy makes me happy, and their dynamic isn't nearly as frustrating as Marinette and Adrien.
I'm so glad they finally added black outlines to the kid's eyes. He actually looks human now that he has eyelashes. Please compare the above image from the latest episode "Silencer" to the first appearance of Luka in the season 2 episode "Captain Hardrock."
Or, more accurately, how about the middle shot of Luka from "Captain Hardrock" verses the long shot of him in "Silencer"?
In that long shot his eyes are so well-defined compared to his first appearance on the show. Either the animators improved on their craft, or "Silencer" was given to the superior of the two studios the show uses for their episodes. I'm kinda thinking the latter happened since Luka's hair also changed from black with teal tips to dark blue with electric blue tips.

This kid makes me happy, and I'll probably fangirl about him for another week or so. While there were a few dud episodes this season - the season opener "Chameleon" and the episode "Chris Master" were kind of irritatingly meh for me - the majority of this season has been amazing! "Weredad" where Marinette tries to hide that she's Ladybug by distracting Chat Noir with a love confession? "Animaestro" where the show creator Thomas Astruc has a whole self-indulgent, self-insert episode where his original PV becomes canonically an in-universe movie about the superheroes? "Oblivio" where we get to see Marinette and Adrien's dynamic if they didn't get hung up on their own awkwardness around the other? "Silencer" where we have a wonderful Luka-centric episode? "Backwarder" where we find out more about Master Fu, and get a delightful Comedy of Errors and the most convoluted Lucky Charm solution to an akuma? Plus, "Backwarder" inspired me to write "Prescription for Love," so there's that.

Then there's the episode "Stormy Weather 2" which was equal parts "meh; clip show" and "this episode is amazing!" because it gave us more of the Nathalie/Gabriel dynamic, showed us more of Nooroo, had Marinette try to be less obsessive of Adrien, and had Adrien potentially show that he has feelings for Marinette as well.

Even the "meh" ones like "Chameleon" and "Chris Master" had good moments. "Chameleon" showed how much of an ally Adrien was to Marinette, and had the first true hints that he sees her as more than just a friend after she kissed his cheek in "Mayura." Then "Chris Master" FINALLY introduced us to ANYONE within Nino's family. He's one of the main support characters, and yet we knew nothing about his family: where he lives, how large his family is, who his parents are, does he live with both parents, etc. Meanwhile, we've been in Alya's home multiple times, and have met all six members of her family, Alya included. Juleka is a more minor character, but we've met her mother and brother - Luka - and have visited her home a few times. Mylene is another more minor character, but we have at least met her father. Same with Sabrina. Alix was one of the first side-characters, aside from Chloe, where we meet her father and older brother.

True, there are still tons of characters where we know nothing about their family and/or home-life: Max, Kim, Rose, Ivan, and especially the almost always forgotten Nathaniel. However, Nino is Marinette's friend, and Adrien's BEST friend, and it kept us until the 3rd season to find out he has a younger brother?

A lot of the fandom also loved "Chris Master" because it was just a silly episode where life-sized toys invade Paris in search for Santa Claus. Yeah, it was funny, but it was still "meh" over-all for me, except for meeting Nino's brother.

Anyway, I lost the point in there somewhere, which was that I'm LOVING this season of "Miraculous Ladybug." If only it could inspire me to get OatS written!

I need to shake off the rust, the cobwebs, and the self-doubt. I need to just sit down and write this week. Perhaps the rest of today can be spent really locking in that outline so I know where I'm going with this story. I have about 4 different outlines scattered throughout different methods: just straight up writing what I want to happen, writing out the plot points in a 3 Act outline, using the Snowflake Outline method created by Randy Ingermanson, and my notecards of plot points to organize. I feel like I actually have more outlines out in the ether somewhere, but those are the four I remember having....

Thankfully, I seem to have been matched up with some really cool people in my Camp NaNo cabin. I also have writing group tonight, so perhaps that can inspire me as well. With any luck and discipline, I should be back on track by next week. Here's hoping.
Vash the Stampede from Trigun
Manga created by Yasuhiro Nightow

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Welcome to Camp

Hey, guys. Are you wearing blue today?
In support of anyone on the spectrum, and to help bring about awareness of their need for inclusivity, as well as any attempt to try to start up conversations about the topic, I'm wearing blue today.
For any who didn't know before,
this is where the 'lyco' in LycoRogue comes from...
The shirt is sort of a Navy blue, which is a bit dark for the intended purposes of today, especially when the blue linked to Autism tends to be a more vibrant blue, but my other option wasn't very appropriate for today...
Very appropriate for me.
For Autism awareness? Definitely not.
There are more people on the spectrum than you might realize. They can be more independent than you might realize as well. Most want to be included members of their community and the work force. All of them wish to just be included as equals.

Want to help? Want to participate? Want to start up a conversation to help those with Autism find their greatest potential?
10 Reasons You Should Light It Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day.

You can also find out more information about World Autism Awareness Day and the Light It Up Blue movement here: World Autism Month

I know, the Autism Speaks organization is kind of a hot-button group for a lot of people. My husband and myself are not fans of part of their mission statement and goals, and we'll find alternative ways to donate towards Autism support. However, Autism Speaks is still one of the leading forces when it comes to Autism awareness, and the easiest way to find information on stuff like the Light It Up Blue movement.

If you know of any alternative organizations or sites, ones that specifically understand that Autism is just the brain being wired differently than what we consider normal, please let me know. I'd love to support other organizations for this cause.

Anyway, that's my PSA for the day. I hope this blue promotional font didn't strain too many people's eyes, and that any readers I have that might be color blind to blue were able to still read this intro somehow. Sorry for any distress. Moving on to my writing though!

And back to normal brown font color.

It's April, which means, once upon a time, that it was Script Frenzy month!
It was so much fun, and I'm bummed I found out about it at the tail end of it's short life. Sadly, The Office of Letters and Light - the people in charge of NaNo - weren't getting enough donations/participation to keep the program running. Quick side note, I know that OL&L officially changed their organization's name to NaNoWriMo to simplify things, but they'll always be OL&L to me.

Anyway!

Poor Script Frenzy was scrapped, but OL&L did give us script writers a bit of a consolation prize.

Now, I haven't written a script - aside from attempting a comic book script for "Glitches" - since Script Frenzy ended, but I still think of April as Writing Month. Oddly enough, though, I have never officially participated in the April Camp NaNo before. So here we go, down the rabbit hole, as I try to use Camp as motivation to FINALLY at least get the first draft of "One and the Same" done.

Last August, when I participated in Camp NaNo, I bought myself a camp shirt. This awesome looking piece of wardrobe:
Image from NaNoWriMo's e-shop.
You can still buy this shirt for only $18.
It's only one shirt, though, and it's specifically for 2018. I'd love one for this year, but they don't seem to have a 2019-specific one designed. Based on the shirt description, it seems they are going with a throw-back shirt without any year indicated on it. I like that I can wear it any year without it being dated - literally and fashion wise - but I also kind of like having the dates as a sort of time-stamp of when I participated. Either way, cool shirt with the original Camp NaNoWriMo logo. I'll have to squirrel away some cash so I can buy this before the end of the month....
Image from NaNoWriMo's e-shop.
You, too, can buy this shirt. It's currently selling for $20.
I've also been sorted into a cabin specifically for fantasy and Steampunk writers.

I'm not entirely sure OatS fits there, but I guess a fanfic about a superhero show kinda counts as fantasy??? But, hey, I found me some fantasy and Steampunk authors! I'll have to see if any of them publish their work online, and if so where. I'll then have to track said writing down and add it to my never-decreasing list of "to read" stories.

Speaking of, I read another short fanfic over the week, but forgot to log down how many words it was.

I really need to take the time to do that if I'm using over-all word-count for my reading challenge this year....

Anyway, everything is set for me to crack my knuckles and get started on my project.

I just need to remember to participate....


As I've mentioned in the past, Mondays are pretty much trash days for my writing. I don't know what it is about Mondays, but I never seem to find time to write during them. I was all set to work on my writing at work - as I do - except a semi-major project came down the pipeline for me. So most of my day was dealing with inventory and discontinued/clearanced out products, and prepping the store with the replacement line, as well as pricing everything up for it.... I'll be working on this, while assisting customers, tomorrow as well. Depending on the number of customers, this may be a week-long project.

So, since I'll actually be WORKING at my job - gasp, I know! - I guess I should focus on setting up writing sessions at home. Squirrel myself away in my bedroom. Or... if the weather finally decides that it is indeed spring, maybe I could start hanging out on the front porch again to avoid the dreaded siren's call of the TV.

The other snag with my writing - aside from being easily distracted - is the fact that I STILL don't have a solid plotline that I'm happy with.

So far, this is my story... skip ahead a bit if you don't want spoilers.
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Anyway, here's my very vague plot thus far:
  • Akuma attack to establish the world
  • Chat Noir/Adrien, post-attack and while alone in his room, laments his predicament with regards to his relationship with Ladybug/Marinette.
  • Marinette becomes quite confused when Adrien starts acting like Chat Noir in school.
  • Adrien becomes depressed when he doesn't think Marinette will ever fall for Chat Noir. Meanwhile, Marinette becomes stressed out about her potential meeting with Gabriel Agreste about her fashion designs.
  • Chat Noir helps Marinette destress and become more confident in her clothing design, starting a friendship between the two. Yes, they were already friends, but Marinette doesn't realize she's already friends with him as Adrien, and also doesn't realize that Chat Noir knows he's friends with Marinette already.
  • Start of Act II: where there are a bunch of cute scenes as they build up their friendship and Adrien finds out that Marinette is in love with him. I don't really have a cohesive time-line though to thread the scenes together, nor do I have much drama; just a bunch of fluff....
  • Act II midpoint (Main Culmination?): Marinette realizes that she has fallen in love with Chat Noir as well, and is torn between the "two men"
  • Act III: Marinette struggles with the realization that her heart is now torn in two - much like how Adrien was in "Peeping Tomcat." 
  • Adrien suspects that he succeeded in making Mari fall for both sides of him, and tries to convince her that it's fine for Ladybug and Chat Noir to reveal themselves to each other; as a means to bond and a way for them to finally be together.
  • Third Act Twist: Frustrated that Ladybug STILL won't let them reveal who they are, Chat Noir accidentally lets it slip that he already knows she's Marinette. This leads to him finally confessing to his spying on her for a week, and spotting Tikki. 
  • Ladybug is furious and sprints off to get ready for her date with Adrien, not realizing she just stormed off on him.
  • While waiting for Adrien, Marinette continues to fume about Chat Noir's betrayal. In doing so, she realizes that part of CN's "deception" was pushing her to confess her feelings to Adrien. If Chat Noir knew she was Ladybug the whole time, why would he not only want her to confess her feelings to another boy, but also actually cheer her on and root for her to be with her crush?
  • Marinette realizes EXACTLY why Chat Noir would do such a thing, and has a bit of a break down as her brain resets.
  • Marinette storms up on Adrien, but he manages to temporarily calm her by reminding her they don't want a scene. But once he can get them somewhere private, she goes OFF on him.
  • Calmed down, they talk more about their respective feelings, and why they love the other. They both realize it's not some superficial thing, and they actually do have something real.
  • Marinette confesses that Adrien has to work to build up trust between them again, but they're at least back to the level of trust they had when they first became partners.
  • They start dating. YAY!
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OKAY! SPOILERS OVER NOW! YOU CAN START READING AGAIN IF YOU SKIPPED THE LAST PART!

For those who did read, I know it actually seems like a lot. However, for those who did read, and for those who skipped over, there is one main take-away you should focus on. Yes, I have the first act more-or-less figured out. I also have the final act sorted out aside from possible tweaks the closer to it I get. The MIDDLE, however? How do I middle!?

I have scenes. I have snippets. I know what KIND of character growth I want to have, but I don't know really HOW to get there. This story is going to be so much fluff, and barely any drama. And then BAM! Drama smacks you upside the head during the final act.

Like... what!?


I have to remember to not focus on that. I have to remember to write fearlessly this month. Write that self-indulgent fluff. Enjoy it. Remember that it's fanfiction, and it's kind of SUPPOSED to be self-indulgent. If I don't believe it's the same caliber as “Peeping Tomcat” then that's fine. I can do better next time.

I can then remember that this is still the first draft. Perhaps I'll figure out the drama as I revise. Perhaps this story will become darker than I realized. That always seems to happen to me. Not that the story becomes "dark", per se, but it becomes more emotional than I thought.

I'm empathic by nature. This is probably why so many of my reviews comment on how well I write the characters - even ones like Kagami who doesn't have much screen time - and why so many readers praise my ability to write a story that feels like an episode. I'm just... generally good at getting into someone's head.

By no means am I perfect at it. I still screw up. I still get confused as to why certain people react a certain way. I'm empathic, but I'm not a mind reader. Nor am I that person. If I haven't experienced what they have there is NO WAY I can truly know what's going on with them. And, honestly, everyone experiences everything differently, so even if I have gone through the same thing, I STILL can't fully understand their experience.

Anyway, my point is, when I write, I tend to delve a bit into the heads of the characters, and scramble things up a little while in there. When I come out, I end up bringing drama with me. This is why "Prescription for Love" went from a 1000-word one-shot to a nearly 20,000-word multi-chapter story. Same deal with "Build Your Own Luck", which was also supposed to be a simple little drabble. And "Woven Heartstrings" was a Christmas gift that ended up taking the entirety of January to tell.

Heck, when I took PT from a writing practice one-shot to a novel-length fanfic, I never expected it to become so angsty or surpass 80,000 words.

It just... happens.

So I need to stop being so fearful and trust that it will happen again in OatS. I just need to WRITE it for that to happen.

I did mentally work on the next chapter - linearly speaking - as I struggled to fall asleep last night.

I also figured out

So... there's that. I just need to get those thoughts down on paper.

I also need to figure out the oh-so-dreaded akumas for this story. As well as the lucky charms and how they can be used to stop the villains. Mainly how to stop my opening akuma attack.

I hate akumas so much. How is the show's writing team so good at them!?

Also, the fanfic writer Nkemmer777 is pretty good at them as well. Check out this passage from her story "Joke's On You."
Marinette

I called upon my Lucky Charm. A pair of polka dotted scissors fell into my hands.

“Can we please cut this battle short, I kinda have a test to finish.” [Chat Noir said]

I rolled my eyes, searching for clues. Not surprisingly, the scissors had nothing to do with the net.

“I need your belt, and Fisherman in the park.” Without a word, Chat handed me his belt while I broke the scissors in half.

“That plan seems kinda fishy if you ask me.” I groaned, knowing our time was running out. “If you have any better puns let minnow.” In response, I wrapped my yo-yo around his foot, launching him at Fisherman.

“Chat, use your Cataclysm!”


Adrien

Of course, she just has to throw me, I thought sarcastically to myself while shouting out my power. My hand met the lamppost next to the Akuma. It fell, blocking his path. I ran to the other side of him, making sure that he followed me to the park near our school.

“Up here!” Ladybug called out from the top of a nearby building. I pushed the button on my baton, sending myself up next to her.

As Fisherman entered the park, he stepped on the screw from the scissors, hopping on one foot until he tripped over my belt that had been wrapped around both handles of the scissors, which were stabbed into the ground.
Yes, there still needs to be a little bit of polishing with her story, but she's working on that. The story as a whole is really interesting, and what she has up right now hooked me. My point, though, was the creativity she had with Ladybug's Lucky Charm. She got scissors, which seemed simple enough: cut the net. However, the opening of the battle made it obvious that the superheroes couldn't get close enough to the net for them to cut it with the scissors. They couldn't even get close enough for Chat Noir to use his Cataclysm on the net itself.

Instead, Ladybug dismantles the scissors in order to create a trip-wire. This tackled the villain, and managed to drop his guard enough for Ladybug to get to the net and break it. Releasing the akuma, purifying both the magical butterfly and the person it corrupted, and then returning Paris to normal.

This is a VERY Ladybug way of thinking outside the box. I think I'm too... logical? I wouldn't have thought "dismantle the scissors in order to use the screw to throw the villain off balance, and then trip him the rest of the way with Chat Noir's belt tail wrapped around the scissor handles shoved into the ground by their points."

Like.... HOW!? HOW DO PEOPLE THINK LIKE THAT!? IT'S AMAZING!

This is why, as much as I love watching them, I will never build my own Rube Goldberg machine. Oddly enough, I'm not that creative... Go figure, right?

Weeeeell.... I DID figure out the "Matchbox to stop Mimicker," and "Chopsticks to stop Terravenger" Lucky Charm solutions for PT. I guess I just need to have faith in my brain.

Now off to write fearlessly!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Conclusion of PfL and My Reading of Armada

Happy Spring, everyone!

Although... it still feels like winter here. There's bursts of nice, warm-ish weather, but it gets cut through by wicked-cold winds. As I'm writing this post, I'm huddled under a fleece blanket, a thick flannel one, and my.... well, I don't know if it's an official Snuggie, but it's a blanket with sleeves....

It would be reeeeeeaaaaaally nice if spring legit showed up sometime soon. I hate being cold all the time.

A comic book artist I follow - Linda Luksic Sejic - started up a side-project-that-is-soon-becoming-an-actual-comic-series called Punderworld a few months back. It's her take on the Greek myths centered around Hades and Persephone. With that mindset, she thinks she figured out why it's still cold all over the world, even though the northern hemisphere is SUPPOSED to be warming up.
I love that smug look on Hades' face. These two are adorable
when interpreted as actually having a mutual love between them.
Okay, so I tried to behave and not repost the picture, but Tumblr decided it wanted to be difficult and not let me share it properly. I tried embedding it, but then I lost the next few paragraphs of my blog post.... so I have to do it this way.

Anyway, Linda is awesome, and you should both support her and check out her work. So, here are her links: Sigeel's Tumblr and her DeviantArt account. She's working on creating a Patreon to fund turning Punderworld into a legit comic book series, so feel free to take a peek at that as well.

I need to check my own finances, but I'm hoping to at least become a $1 tier backer, or something along those lines. It may not be much, but at least I know I'm supporting an artist I enjoy for a work I LOVE.

Anyway, back to me!

As per usual for me lately, "life got in the way," and my chapters for "Prescription for Love" were delayed. Instead of an "every three days" schedule, I was on more of an "every four, five, maybe six days" schedule.

At least I still updated once - usually twice - a week.

Anyway, last Tuesday, I went to go see "Captain Marvel" with Skarabrae-stone, which meant I wasn't home to finish the 8th chapter of PfL. Why didn't I finish it between publishing last week's blog post and going to the movie?

Honestly? I don't remember. I have no clue what I did with my day, and I again slacked off with my time audits. Do we now know WHY I have to do them? If I keep wasting my days and forgetting what it is I even did? I need the calendar as much for accountability as I do for my pathetic memory.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Wednesday was generally a wash since I had work, then zumba, and then Hubby and I have TV shows we watch. I did get the chapter up just before midnight on Wednesday though. Close enough, right?

"Prescription for Love: Chapter 8"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

The story was technically up on the 20th, and so I was aiming to have the 9th and final chapter up 3 days later: on Saturday the 23rd. That didn't happen either.

I was distracted at work on Thursday, and after was the first official "Omnibladestrike Thursday Visits" meet-up. He has a new job, and it means he's not really available on weekends anymore. Over the past couple years, we've tried to have a weekly meet-up with him where we could watch some bizarre anime or play games together. It was originally on Sundays since I get out of work at 4, and it would give us the most time to hang out. Then football started up, so we shifted to post-6pm on Saturdays.

But Omni doesn't have weekends any longer, and we don't want to lose our weekly meet-ups, so we're trying for Thursday Evenings now. He really wants to get back into little "writing meet-ups" were we can pow-wow and discuss our WIPs; really help him brainstorm so he stays excited about his project. We also don't want to give up on our anime-watching since we have about four different series going. Omni has a character attached to our Switch version of Diablo III, so we HAVE to find time to still run around and kill demons... Plus, there's tons of board games Hubby wants to try out with Omni, and more games where Omni is part of a Legacy campaign.

So my Thursday nights are pretty booked up, and we'll probably cram as much in as possible until Omni feels like he has to drive home before he passes out.

Needless to say, I didn't do any writing on Thursday. Did a bunch of reading though. I'll get to that later.

Friday I had off, and could have easily worked on my chapter. However, it was a rare Friday that Hubby was also off, so it turned into Clean The Apartment day. I would rotate between cleaning for an hour or two and relaxing for an hour, that way I wouldn't feel overwhelmed.

One hour was for food and hanging out with Hubby, but most of those "relaxation" hours were used sprawled out on my bed reading. My lower back was really cramping up, and it helped to just sprawl.

Wolfhearted showed up that evening, and we watched the latest episode of ML. I loved it. Wolf was "meh" about it. Mainly because it was a good old "mind wipe" episode.



For those of you who didn't click, just know that I loved the episode, so after Wolfhearted left, I spent the next FOUR HOURS flipping through Tumblr for posts on this episode. Now, keep in mind that the episode came out on Monday, the 18th. I had waited five days to watch it. So that was roughly a week's worth of posts I've been avoiding so I wouldn't see spoilers. I didn't even go into the episode tag. I just scrolled through the people I follow.

There were about 12 or 13 people who had posted ML content in reference to the episode. Most were quick gif sets, short reactions, or fanart. Simple to see the post and move on.

IT.  STILL.  KEPT.  ME.  FOUR.  HOURS!!!!

A lot of people also enjoyed the episode it seems. From a fanfic writer's perspective, I loved it because it showed me so many new facets of Adrien's and Marinette's personalities, along with Tikki and Plagg. I found out more about the world ML takes place in. It showed me possibilities. It will be a great episode to go back to for reference material.

Anyway, that was my Friday night.... so no working on PfL. That is, until I went to bed. To try to calm my mind and lull myself to sleep, I mentally tell myself a story. It helps my mind focus on one insignificant thing until it can turn off.

To make up for my slacking, and knowing that I wanted to post the next chapter by Saturday, I started mentally working out how to conclude my story... and then I drifted off to sleep.

Saturday I figuratively cracked my knuckles and focused on the story. I was doing fairly decently. I had the chapter written by about 10pm that day. I just couldn't stay focused enough to edit. Especially since Disney channel was airing "Moana." I really enjoy this movie, and that climactic scene between Moana and Te Kā? Gives me chills EVERY time I see it.

If you haven't watched Moana, I advise that you don't watch the below clip until you do, because you don't want to ruin the impact of the ending. However, if you HAVE watched it before, just re-watch the song "Know Who You Are" and tell me you don't get chills!


I just wish I could have found a clip that started a weeeee bit sooner so you also had that single flute intro and walk down to the ocean. That's the part that really gives me chills. And the line "they have stolen the heart from inside you" is so powerful I'm tearing up again just writing it out.

UGH! I just wish Frozen hadn't overpowered this movie. Moana is so underrated. The music is fantastic, the visuals are stunning, the comedy is great, and there is NO romantic love interest in the whole movie, for anyone.

Anyway, I'm going on a tangent here. My point is that Moana is amazing, and even the less-than-amazing scenes, like with Tamatoa, still give us fantastic cover songs....


I really enjoy this man's covers, and, honestly, I think this version sounds more on-brand with Lin-Manuel Miranda than the actual movie version. He also did this nice cover of "How Far I'll Go."
Yeah, just... go check out more from Jonathan Young. He has something for just about everyone. Have fun.


Sooooo, yeah, that was Saturday. I knew I should have focused. I knew I wanted to post that day. I knew I COULD post that day if I focused. I watched a movie and snuggled a husband instead....

Whoops....

SUNDAY! Sunday at work I could just do the edits. That's it. Easy. I could post the chapter around 4pm after I got home. I'd still be late, but it wouldn't be all that bad. I mean, I was almost two days late for the previous chapter. I had this!

Until I didn't.

I'm not sure why, but as I was unpacking my netbook at work so I could work on those edits, I also pulled out my red notebook I keep my Miraculous Ladybug notes in. I decided to update my notes in the back of the book. I keep a running list of akumatized supervillains and their motivation while akumatized. Things like Zombizou wanted to spread "love" like a zombie virus, or Dark Owl wanted to get rid of LB and CN so he was the only superhero for Paris, or Simon Says wanted to hypnotize Gabriel in order to humiliate him, or Despair Bear wanted to prove that he could control Chloe afterall. Stuff like that.

It kept me like five minutes to write down the seven akumatized supervillains shown thus far in season 3. However, when I got to Backwarder - the episode that spawned PfL - I had a lightning flash of inspiration. I'll talk a bit more about that later. The point now is that I worked on that side project - to my already side project of PfL instead of working on "One and the Same" - instead of editing my final chapter.

Whoops again.

So I tried to hide myself away when I got home, that way I could FINALLY get the story done and posted. Well, between grocery shopping, eating dinner, and realizing the chapter I had written Saturday needed more help than I originally thought.... I didn't post chapter 9 until nearly 11pm!

Oh well, at least it DID get posted. I also received reviews pretty much within the hour, so YAY for fans having my story on an alert of some sort.

If you haven't had a moment to finish off my story, you can get to the final chapter below.

"Prescription for Love: Chapter 9"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

Just a reminder that you can also use the above links to get to the story, and then use the chapter select, or "More From Lycorogue" to the right of the chapter on DA, in order to get to the first chapter if you've missed this story up until now.

Gladly, not many seemed to have missed this "little" story, at least, when looking at the grand scheme of my readership. As of this posting, here are my stats for this story as a whole.
FFN: 3,860 views, 20 faves, 30 followers, and 22 reviews
AO3: 1,742 hits, 97 kudos, 9 bookmarks, and 22 comments
DA: 78 views, 5 faves, but no comments on any chapter

Total Results: 5,680 views, 122 faves, 39 followers, and 44 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 86 total; 83 likes and 3 re-blogs
This is my 5th-most reviewed story on FFN, which has a total of 29 works posted there, starting as far back as Aug 2010. Comparatively, I have posted 21 stories over on AO3 since I started that up last year, and PfL is the second-most commented on story. “Peeping Tomcat” still has top billing. "Woven Heartstrings" is a close third: 47 comments on PfL and 46 on WH.

So, basically, my multi-chaptered Miraculous Ladybug stories are my main draw.

Now, sadly, I can't filter my works through any other categories on FFN, and I don't want to take the time to go through each story to manually calculate the order. Especially since this update is already half-a-day late. However, I CAN filter through other categories over on AO3....
  • KUDOS: PfL is in third, behind PT and WH, in that order, for most kudos on a story. 
  • BOOKMARKS: PT and WH are still the top two, but my "Hey, Arnold!" one-shot "I Thought You Liked Redheads" squeaks in at 3rd with 11 bookmarks, leaving PfL in 4th with 9.
  • HITS: Once again, PT is number 1 with 8826 hits. WH comes in 2nd with 3219. PfL falls into the number 3 slot again with 1739 hits.
Not too shabby for a plot bunny that was originally going to be a 1000-word one-shot exclusively posted to Tumblr a day after the episode aired, and grew into a nearly 20,000-word multi-chapter story on AO3, FFN, and DA.

You never know where inspiration comes from.

Speaking of! As I mentioned above, on Sunday I tackled a plot-bunny that was brewing in my mind for a month now. It all actually started thanks to Taurus Pixie and her blog. About a month ago, Pixie posted her review of Backwarder, and within that review, Pixie had this paragraph.
However, this scene raised a lot more questions than it answered. When did Master Fu come to Paris? How did he meet Marianne? How did she come to know about the miraculous? She obviously isn't a guardian as it has been stated a few times that Master Fu is the only remaining one alive. So what made Master Fu trust Marianne with such an important secret? More importantly...just who was after the miraculous back then? We heard someone shout that they had to seize the miraculous. Who was it? Gaaah, so many new questions and possibilities have been opened up for us. I do love a good mystery. I always think the show does a really good job at teasing us and letting us catch glimpses of information to help solve everything that's going on. The lore of this show is always super exciting!
The Plot Bunny Alert went off in my head, and I instantly took a screen cap of that paragraph so I could look back at it and contemplate; brew the idea in my head.

What ARE the answers to those questions? I could have fun trying to figure them out. Then, on Sunday, instead of working on editing my final chapter of PfL, I started working on that plot bunny.

BEHOLD! My version of a (Conspiracy) Yard Board.... Just wait until I can find an empty wall somewhere...
Charlie Kelly from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The man, the meme, the legend...
As I was working on my notes for this Master Fu and Marianne Lenoir spin-off fanfic idea, I realized how much story needed to be unpacked. Marianne was a love interest for Fu, and she knew about the Miraculouses. There had to have been a build-up of trust there. It couldn't be a simple "love at first sight" sort of thing. And I wanted to take the time to explore how that trust and love grew.

There were also the questions of why Fu was in Paris just before the Nazi invasion in the first place, why Marianne wanted to stay and fight, why Fu returned to Paris but didn't seek her out right away, and when did Master Fu start wearing the Turtle Miraculous, along with other such questions.

That's when it hit me. This "story" could actually be a legit spin-off. It would be more dark and mature, given that the main characters - Fu and Marianne - were adults, and were dealing with the rise of the Nazi party and start of WWII. It could be part superhero story, part spy story, part romance, part mystery/suspense, the list goes on.

And as I cracked my tired knuckles about three hours into all of my writing and research and math - to figure out why Fu and Marianne didn't seem to age as fast as normal - I realized something about my idea. Well, I realized two things.
  1. It was way too much for me to do as a side project. I had already delayed OatS by two months because of "side projects" like WH and PfL. I would have to wait until OatS was done.
  2. I needed help for this massive undertaking, and who better than the woman who inspired me in the first place? A woman who is a wiz when it comes to historical knowledge, and is almost freakishly fast at writing, when she's at a good mental-health spot. 
So I messaged Pixie. She seems to love the concept, but has questions of her own. This is what I love about collabs; this back-and-forth. I come up with questions and some answers, my answers spark more questions from her, and she answers some of my questions. Her answers - and her questions - makes me wonder more about our world build, and it just keeps going. Eventually, we have a finely woven net, and we're good to go with our story, with little to no chance of someone catching a plot hole we didn't see.
NuaNia FB sticker
by PRANEAT
I just hope this collab goes better than my past ones... Life got in the way of the Jungle Movie script ChibiSunnie and I attempted to write for Script Frenzy once upon a time, and we only got through maybe half of it before our project died.... Then, when Ronoxym and I attempted our Devon/Willow collab, I sort of hijacked the project, and bloated it to the point where it was overwhelming to Ron, and that story also died.... Although, I'm still determined to edit it down again to a point where Ron and I could go back to working on it.

As much fun as building this concept will be with Pixie, I hope we can keep our steam and balance going long enough to actually complete it; even if it takes a year or so.

Regardless, I still need to finish OatS first, and Pixie needs a vacation from writing until she gets her affairs in better order, and her mind can properly and fully re-charge. We probably won't start it until May at the earliest. Maybe closer to June or July.

We'll probably casually throw What Ifs to each other in the meantime though.


But first! OatS while participating in Camp NaNo!

I had also said above that I had been doing some reading. Yes. It is true. Lots of reading, actually. I managed to read the last third or so of "Armada" by Ernest Cline over the past week. I had meant to read it January. I didn't start reading it until about half-way through February. I didn't finish it until the end of March.

I'm doing real well with this year's reading schedule....

I still haven't even really come up with a To Read list, even though I have a ROOM full of books waiting for me to crack them open. Instead, I've been reading fanfics, fanfics, more fanfics, and... oh hey! Fanfics!

So, new goal. No actual list of completed works. No count of 12 stories. Instead, I'm going for word-count, that way 2000-word fanfics also count, because it's still time spent reading.

Here are my rules:
  • I wrote an 80,000+ word novel, and most of the ones I read tend to range between 80,000 and 120,000 words. So I'm going to split the difference and round a novel to about 100,000 words.
  • I still want to read the equivalent of 12 novels by the end of the year.
  • That means I need to read 1,200,000 words of fiction by 11:59pm on December 31st.
I need to go back through the fanfics I've read the first 3 months, so my overall word count might actually err towards a low estimate, just to be safe and fair.

In the meantime, though, I checked on "Armada." It's harder for professionally published works, because they generally don't come with a word count like fanfics do. However, assuming the website ReadingLength.com is accurate, there are 102,950 words in "Armada." What's actually really cool about that site is that it can help you estimate how long it will take to read something. Neat bit of knowledge if you are trying to figure out if it's worth reading, or if you have the time to cram a book into your schedule. Or even if you want to make sure you're packing enough to read for a trip....

I also now know that I average at about 160 words per minute - I am quite the slow reader - and so my next tackling of "Atlas Shrugged" - a book that ReadingLength has listed at 455,300 words - should take me nearly 48hours to conquer. Once you add in that I'll be stopping to take notes so the story is a bit easier for me to sift out, it will probably be about double that length.... And I tend to only manage about 2hrs tops per day for reading, if I read at all.

Anyway, without adding in fanfic word counts, I'm nearly at 103,000 words. It's a start.

Also, while I was kinda close on what the "big twist" for the conclusion of "Armada" was, I was also wrong, and there were a couple other surprises I hadn't predicted. So, Cline did pull off a few "Oh. Neat!" moments within the story.

I don't know what it was, though. Aside from Lex, and another character I won't mention here due to spoilers, I didn't really connect with any of the characters. By the end of the book, the Two Mikes that were the main character's best friends were still indistinguishable for me. There were some moments where you were SUPPOSED to feel for the support characters, but was just kind of "oh. That sucks." I just couldn't empathize with anyone in this novel for whatever reason.

There were also some elements of the story - much like with "Ready Player One" - where you could tell that Cline doesn't quite understand the difference between telling a story via visual media vs. through print media. In other words, it's obvious, for me, at least, that Cline started off as a script writer. The main character Zack didn't have as much Plot Armor on him this go, but there was still a fair amount of Deus ex Machina. At least, what I would consider "well, THAT was convenient" moments. I mean, to be fair, some of it was done on purpose for the mystery of the story, but there are times where the "that was convenient" extended past where it should be; once I thought back on the story as a whole.

All-in-all? The story wasn't for me. I'll stick with "Ready Player One," and perhaps give "Armada" another read when the movie adaptation comes out.

Yup. Another movie adaptation. Like I said, the guy is a script writer by default, so his stories seem to always have a twin movie.

Okay, well, enough bellyaching about Cline's novels, and going on forever about why I don't have progress on my own. This blog post is now 5hrs late, I still have to eat, and I have writing group in less than an hour.

So, I'm waving the white flag here. I'll catch you guys next week. You'll probably just be finishing reading this post by then.