Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Time To Audit My Time

Happy Summer, everyone. Are you all melted to your couch too, or is that just me?

This week just kind of went by in a blur. I can still tell you two things though.
One: I did a fair amount of writing; only getting a "zero day" on the 5th. All that writing brought me up to 12,396 words, which is just shy of my quarter-way point. I'm also still shy of the 14,516 words I should have hit by yesterday's close, but all in all not a terrible start.
Look at all of those glorious smilies!
 I had actually spent a portion of that non-productive Thursday ironically driving about 40min in order to find this calendar. More on that later.

The second thing I could tell you about this blurry week is that not a single word I've written so far this month has gone towards "One and the Same."

Whoops.

The thing is... I STILL have to finish "Peeping Tomcat," and it doesn't look like that conclusion is happening any time soon. I made this story so involved that I can't tie everything up in a neat little bow like I thought I could.

Rewrites have been going slowly. I also had to finish the previous chapter. Thankfully, I was able to do that just before updating this blog last week, but that still meant 2+ days worth of writing was spent on that chapter instead of having it done on time.

And that created a slippery slope.

With everything else going on in my life right now, it is so great to have the push of "I NEED to finish this; I'm so close!" without the added stress of "OMG! I have HOW MANY hours left before it needs to publish!?"

I can take my time to make sure I do this right. My readers deserve that much.

At the same time, though, without a definitive publish date like I did have, I feel myself taking longer and longer and loooooonger to do anything productive. I was doing so well! Thirteen weeks of updates! It certainly was easier to just edit an existing chapter than it is to practically write a new one from scratch.

This is why I know I need to make sure to have a completed story before publishing even the first chapter. Otherwise my poor new readers will fall into the same waiting limbo my "Hey, Arnold!" readers suffered.

I did try to get the story done by Friday. This past Tuesday, after I posted both the previous chapter and blog update, I diligently wrote out rough outline notes so I knew I had all my ducks in a row before starting anything.

*WARNING* The below picture contains spoilers for the final chapter of PT
Please excuse the "I need to get this down
on paper STAT" hand scribblings.
And also the misspellings, I'm trash without
that red squiggly under my words. Q_Q
I even posted the above picture to Tumblr in hopes that doing so would hold me accountable enough to post on time. It didn't work, but not for lack of trying.

The strangest thing to me, however, is that while I appreciated the six likes about the notes, I am still curious as to why I also had one reblog. Why would that person think anyone else would care about me writing notes for my final chapter?
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by Birdman, Inc
Meh? I appreciate the thought and the promotion. Don't know who it brought to my story, but I like the effort.

I also got a chuckle out of Cyhyr's reaction to my post.

Cyhyr: AHHHH my notes for chapters are NEVER this detailed! Go Girl! GET THAT STORY DONE!!! SHOW THOSE PLOT BUNNIES WHO’S BOSS!!!

Haha, thanks for the encouragement, Cy.

OH! And speaking of "brought to my story" apparently "A Plan Forms" did just that! The overall reception of this PT side story isn't staggering, but it's still decent for what it is.
FFN: 355 views, 12 faves, 12 followers, and 2 reviews
AO3: 150 views, 13 kudos, 2 bookmarks, and 7 comments
DA: 5 views and 2 faves

Total Results: 510 views, 27 faves, 14 followers, and 9 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 3 likes

Reviews:
  1. Of Course I had to read this one too. I really enjoyed this short blip!
(From cassy1994)
  2. so I read this without realizing its part of a bigger story. so now I will go read the main story. lol
  3. Nice job on this! It ties in very well to the original story, which is amazing!
Not bad for a little over a week. I also don't get the 14 followers. It's marked as a complete story, and I mention what main story it connects to. Still, I appreciate the love.

As for the rest of the reviews.... well.... three of them were from BFG, who will come up again later. They are incredibly lengthy reviews mostly fan theorizing. I think the reviews combined are as long as the story itself! So if you want to check them out, you can head straight to the reviews section here. The other three reviews are actually another fantheory debate between two readers. I HAVE FANTHEORY DEBATES IN MY REVIEWS!!!! And it's not debates and theorizing over the canonical show, it's about my story and how it will end! This is flippin' nuts! Well, okay, it's not so much a DEBATE as it is a second reader asking the first to clarify their theory. Still. NUTS!

Also, I want to go back and focus on that second review. It was by marauderluverz, and "go read the main story" she did! She went through and reviewed every. Single. Chapter!
  1. omg! so I have no idea why I haven't read this fic before because that first chapter was amazing! now yo read the rest!
  2. loved the second Chapter!
  3. really loved chapter 3. excellent characterizations!
  4. Yay for chapter 4! yay for awkward adrinette! lol
  5. Yay! chapter 5 was awesome!
  6. loved this chapter too! I can't wait for Adrien to figure out shes ladybug!
  7. poor Adrien! seems like he nearly had a panic attack there. and now I'm gonna stay up half the night reading this fic. . .
  8. another perfect chapter and why do I sense an akuma coming... lol
  9. wow! that was a crazy intense akuma attack! I feel bad for Chat and poor ladybug is worried.
  10. this is getting so sad! but i need to read more.
  11. omg! he knows he knows!
  12. awww! I loved your interpretation of the kwami relationships. now onto the next Chapter!
  13. this was awesome! although I don't see how you could possibly wrap up such an amazing story with only 2 more chapters. let's see!
  14. awwww! this was an amazing Chapter! I loved her video. poor chat but at least now he knows.
Whoo! What a ride! Sorry, marauderluverz for keeping you up all night, but I do appreciate the love! I opened my email Saturday morning and saw 15 review notifications from her - 14 for PT and the 1 for "A Plan Forms" - and I was dumbfounded. Add in the review from cassy, which also included this review for "Peeping Tomcat" itself: "This was really good. I look forward to the next one hopefully soon."

Finally, how can I forget Jowy's Pixie's weekly reviews?
Jowy's Pixie: I hope that you're feeling better now. I can relate to the seven re-writes and writers block a lot. But you really wouldn't think you had it reading this chapter because it was amazing. Awww Adrien. His insecurities really seem to be giving him a good beating lately. Ladybug's message to Chat Noir was so sweet and it made me smile so much when I was reading it. It's so nice that she wants all of Paris to dedicate a day to him. I kinda feel sometimes that Chat Noir doesn't get enough appreciation. So this day is well deserved in my opinion.
          I really hope that Chat Noir can get this mess sorted. Hopefully once all that's over with, it might make him feel a bit better about himself - especially once everything is off his chest. I'm still curious as to how Marinette/Ladybug is going to react to all of this. About Chat Noir spying on her and him accidentally finding out her identity. There's so many possible ways this story can conclude and it has me super excited to see which direction you're going to take it.
          Another awesome chapter as always. I'm always amazing at how well you always manage to capture emotion and inner turmoil and at how well you always keep them in character. You really are a super talented writer. I'll have to check out this one-shot of yours at some point. It should be interesting to see things from Marinette's perspective. Keep up the great work and I can't wait to see what happens next! Good luck!
I really do love that I have faithful readers who make sure to review every chapter and check in every week. I think that was the main reason PT didn't do as well as expected when chapter 14 officially went live. People have gotten accustomed to the Friday morning updates, and since I replaced an Author's Note with the actual chapter no notifications went out to everyone following my story.

Regardless, I appreciate that apparently all of my faithful followers, notification or no, checked in after 8:30am on Friday. There was nothing new for them to read, unless they missed chapter 14 officially posting, but still they came. Gaaah! Love it!
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by Birdman, Inc
I also hit a couple more milestones with the story. Ignoring the one review that was accidentally posted in two parts, and the random biblical spam, I'm at 70 reviews over on FFN. I've also hit 200 kudos over on AO3, which means I now officially get more love over there, as compared to the 113 faves I got on FFN. On the flipside though, I have 187 people following the story over on FFN, and only 34 on AO3. Soooo, I take the love where I get it.

Anyway, all the love in the world isn't going to mean anything if I can't finish this darn chapter! The main snafu for me this week was that I just could not get away from having to write another flipping akuma attack! I tried. I really did. These things take forever to think up. They take even longer to write; which is why the previous two had their own chapters dedicated to them.

Despite my best efforts though, I just couldn't avoid needing another akuma. The last chapter covered four days, and I couldn't justify Hawk Moth not sending out at least one akuma that whole time. Especially when one of his enemies was being celebrated.
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by Birdman, inc
Another day was then spent on figuring out my akuma. I needed something simple that wouldn't warrant a full chapter like my other two did. Something like in the episode "Anti-bug" where Sabrina turning into Vanisher was used as a plot point instead of a full episode villain. My akuma needed to be like that. Something the duo could defeat easily and quickly so we could get back to the main plot.

I was also going to just vaguely mention that they fought an akuma or two, but Chat Noir and Ladybug really need a discussion after what happened with Terravenger. I couldn't breeze past it. I needed to SHOW the akuma.

I went to the drawing board and jotted down a bunch of notes again as I tried to build a simple and quick but still believable akuma supervillain.
And now we know why I don't draw....
It took a day away from my regularly scheduled writing, but I did what I had done with my other akumas: I wrote the story of them becoming akumatized so I better understood what their trigger was.

I know it wasn't the Friday update everyone was expecting, but I hoped it would appease the masses.
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Not only did I promote the story posting on Tumblr, but it was small enough that I went ahead and posted the story there too.

It was just this little rinky-dink story I used to work out my main one, but it still got a little bit of love.
FFN: 90 views, 4 faves, 2 followers, and 1 review
AO3: 57 views, 2 kudos, and 1 comment
DA: 15 views and 1 fave

Total Results: 162 views, 6 faves, 2 followers, and 2 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 1 like

Reviews:
  1. OMG YAHOOOOO YAY YAY YAY YAY
  2.
Review from AO3 follower BFG was a bit lengthy; see below
BFG: A plot twist! I thought ladybug was just going to have Alya put up a video but getting it to over the top Chloe and ending like this is interesting. and a little ironic. this day is supposed to be for chat noir but it most likely is only this big because LADYBUG asked and people are big fans of ladybug and want to please her. I also like how ladybug may have sped it up accidentally and didn't think about how much work it would be. suits their age group and since mari usually does things above and beyond by herself by choice it seems she didn't think about other people doing that. Poor Enzo. and the Mayor accidentally causing this by thoughtlessness rather than outright meanness like Chloe is a nice touch
Like I said, I wasn't expecting much, but I felt my readers deserved SOMETHING for their patience, and I wrote it out anyway to try to better understand what I was doing with the concept. Once I was done I got to work on the actual story. And whooo boy!

Once more this week I was irritated that I had days where I wasn't sure what I did. So I decided, especially with Camp NaNo going on, that I had to go back to auditing my time. See where I've been wasting it.

Thus started the hunt for the elusive daily planner. You just can't find these things anymore. People use their phones, or they don't organize their days by hour, or both, I don't know. The local Walmart and odds and ends store didn't have one. They had weekly and monthly planners, but no daily. I vaguely recalled having to buy my previous one from a Staples or OfficeMax or Office Depot; some office supply store like that. So I looked them up online to see where the closest was. Sadly, the options were all about a 40min drive from me, at least. Sometimes I hate living in a rural town.

I drove to the only one of the options I had already been to, which meant I knew exactly where it was. I had hoped to find something closer. I didn't want to waste the time and gas to drive all the way out there and back for just a $20 planner, but it didn't look like I had a choice unless I wanted to wait for a delivery from Amazon or something.

So, on the 5th I sucked it up and did the drive. The whole day was a bit of a shambles that I won't get into because it doesn't have to do with my writing, but it was why I didn't write anything that day.

At least, after literally a 35min long hunt through the aisles to find a friggen calendar that didn't start in 2019 already, I finally got the planner. It's good until June 2019, so I need to remember to buy a replacement before then. Should probably write a note about it in my calendar....

Anyway, I've been trying to be diligent with my time auditing, and I think I've become at least mildly more productive since. I feel accountable. I don't want to write "putz around online" large enough to cover an hour or two in my planner. We'll see if that means week 2 of Camp will have a higher turnout, of both words and an actual chapter done.
I had to do a lot of redacting to hide names and
activities of a personal nature, but you get the idea.
It's not just my poor time management that has bogged down this last chapter. There is a LOT to unpack and tie up with a bow before I conclude my story. I want to make sure I do it right. Having never finished a major project like this before, I'm having a bit of a rough go with the "conclude things" concept.

The chapter so far has spilled onto a 10th page, and is at 4616 words. I'm probably only a third, maybe two-fifths, of the way through the ending I want to tell.

I'm probably going to have to chop this chapter up in two; increase PT one more time and make it a 16-chapter story.

HOW DID IT GET SO MASSIVE!?

I did manage to check off a couple of things that I wanted to accomplish. I concluded the "soup story line" and put in the aftermath of the video Ladybug had Alya post on the Ladyblog. I also wanted to show a contrast of Opening Story Adrien with his father versus Story Ending Adrien with Gabriel. Considering the relationship those two had at the beginning of the story was the main catalyst to the whole thing, I felt I needed to show that the dynamic has changed, even slightly.

I'm still tweaking that bit, but I think I'm close to getting it to where I want.

I'll then breeze through the next day's events, since they aren't crucial to the story, and get the gang to the Chat Noir Appreciation Day festivities. There the akuma will attack, and I think that's where I'll have to end it.

I'll come back for one last chapter, for reals this time, in order to show the akuma attack, the discussion Chat Noir and Ladybug desperately need to tell, Adrien's official decision to woo Marinette as Chat Noir before confessing anything - leading up to the events in "One and the Same" - and finally have Adrien pick up Marinette's portfolio to show his father in order to wrap up that subplot. I'll find a cutesy way of ending the story there with Adrien telling Plagg something to the effect that he no longer needs to spy on Marinette in her room. Something to reassure the readers that it was a week long slip-up, but he's never doing it again.

I may be done by Camp's end....
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by Birdman, Inc
I'm good at this.

Probably doesn't help that I go off on writing side-tangents though. Along with writing that akuma side story, I also wrote up a Miraculous Ladybug essay I had been meaning to do for months now.

Before I even rejoined Tumblr I was finding different Miraculous Ladybug themed posts on it. One of the main reasons I decided to do the Tumblr thing again was because of how frequently I was on it anyway.

Well, after the episode "Glaciator" came out in January, I saw everyone going "poor Chat Noir"/"Poor Cat"/"Poor Adrien" and I was like, "yeah. Pretty much." Then I spent a great deal of time trying to find a post to see if anyone else noticed what I did about "Glaciator." In an earlier episode "Riposte" Marinette was crushed to find out that Adrien only thought of her as a "good friend," whereas in "Glaciator" Adrien was ecstatic that Ladybug thought of him as a friend.

This, plus all the time I've been in Adrien's head for PT, made me really think about the differences between how Adrien loves Ladybug vs how Marinette loves Adrien.

I saw a few posts on Tumblr asking why everyone seems to be sympathetic to Adrien when his feelings get hurt, but rarely does anyone show Marinette any pity. This made me think even more about the differences in how the two leads love each other.

Then, on Sunday, when I had over four hours to myself and was enjoying them on the front porch, when I should have been working on PT's last chapter, I found this image on Tumblr and went on a tangent instead.
As I went down this image and read each intersection, I realized "D'awww, I was right. Adrien IS truly in love with Ladybug." I also realized that I was right about Marinette as well... she's not in love, she's a young teenager obsessed with Adrien and mistaking it for love. No shame in that; I did the same thing with my elementary school and middle school crushes, and none of them were even famous. It's hard to know the difference between obsession and true love until you've experienced the later, or had the former pointed out to you.

Still, it solidified everything I had been thinking of since "Glaciator," and I was determined to write the essay I had been sitting on for six months.

You can find it, along with the above image, on Tumblr here. Since the essay is attached to an already existing Tumblr post, I have no clue if anyone will pay any attention to it.

I do know that it got two likes though. That's a start.

Anyway, writing the essay without first outlining it, doing everything on the fly, which also meant quick research to make sure I was quoting correctly, took me about an hour or two to write. I then caught up on Tumblr again, and stumbled onto a post comparing Felix Chat Noir to Yuri Plisetsky from "Yuri!!! on Ice." For those who don't know, in the original concept of "Miraculous Ladybug" the series was supposed to be an anime, and Chat Noir's civilian form was called Felix. He was the typical anime rich kid who is rude and snobby, but secretly and desperately wants friends. He was considered too cliche and eventually reworked into Adrien.

Anyway, it wasn't just his personality and character arc that was too cliche. Like I mentioned, I found a Tumblr post comparing Felix to Yuri, and yes, they do have a passing resemblance. I'm sure if I ever got around to watching the anime I'd notice personality similarities as well that would make them more similar.

On the other hand, about a month ago, while Omnibladestrike was over showing us the anime "Medaka Box" I noticed another anime character had an even more striking resemblance to Felix in his Chat Noir persona. One of the main supporting characters: Kouki Akune.

I mean, look at this craziness!

Naturally, because I don't trust my memory anymore, I'm afraid I can't re-find things on Tumblr, and I hate the "schedule for later" and queue mechanics of Tumblr, I had to use the Felix/Yuri comparison post as a springboard for my own comparison post. And I had to do it RIGHT THEN.

Thing is, I didn't have any pictures of either character. So I spent time scoring the internet for anything that might be a good comparison shot. I then went nearly frame by frame through the Ladybug PV to find the above shots of Felix Chat Noir. I then spent more time editing the photos to be side-by-sides. By the time I was done and posted my response it was nearly another hour later.

My entire uninterrupted evening alone. Gone. Used up for tedious and unneeded things instead of working on my story. I even told Omni that I was going to be focused on my chapter, so we'll have to raincheck our weekly anime binge.

Part of me feels like a loser. Another part of me is glad the two things I've been really pondering about for weeks/months now are both out of my head. I can move on.

Side note, the original poster of the Felix vs Yuri comment came back to say "Wow, they really do look alike!! :O" So I may have converted at least one person.

Which is all grand and whatnot, but I need to focus.

*cracks knuckles*

Time to get at least this first half of a two-part conclusion done already! No more delays! No more distractions! No more procrastination!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Rolling With The Punches

I know, I'm a day early, but close enough. To all my fellow Americans, happy Independence Day. Also, happy belated Canada Day to my Canadian readers. For all other countries where I might have readers, I apologize. I'm uneducated swine, and I have no clue when your equivalent of Independence Day is. I also don't know what other countries I need to include, aside from England/UK.

I'm hoping everyone is finding ways to stay cool, because where I am I'm currently melting into my couch. God bless the person who invented air conditioners. I don't know how much worse it would be if I didn't have the A/C.

Which reminds me. If you ARE in a high heat index area, please be sure to check in on any elderly, ailing, or extremely young family members/friends/neighbors to make sure everyone is safe.

Okay, and now back to me....

In all actuality, the heat wave the past three days has only been a small reason why this week as a whole has been a bit trying when it comes to comfort. Last Wednesday I randomly got hit with a head cold. My throat was sore and scratchy. My nose was a faucet. I was light headed and fatigued. I also was set to drive down to visit my mom for her anniversary of beating her cancer.

I managed to drug myself up - Alka-seltzer coupled with Zicam is an amazing combo - enough to make the drive and actually socialize while visiting. However, said socializing, and then the need to rest up when I wasn't socializing, left me with no time to finish up my rewrites for the latest "Peeping Tomcat" chapter.

Come Friday morning, I was so stressed. I wasn't close to having the chapter where I wanted it to be. It was done. It was written. It just didn't feel like the right direction. I had already piece-mealed together the second and third drafts of the last two chapters. I then rewrote pieces, and shifted others, and added a few components. I STILL wasn't happy.

Then Hubby told me to take a breath, and just start over again. Actually, he told me to rest up and enjoy the visit with my family. He reassured me that my readers - who are amazing people, by the way - would understand, and actually appreciate me missing an update if it meant I was healthy and they would get a much better chapter for it.

Of course Hubby was right.

I didn't want to leave everyone hanging, so I went to the three sites and posted an explanation as to why my chapter wasn't ready and published:
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'd like to apologize to everyone for not updating today. I'm visiting my mother out of state AND I got hit with a nasty head cold. I am resting up right now and enjoying my visit. I'll try to get the next chapter up by Independence Day (July 4th) at the latest. Thank you for understanding.

Please note, I will replace this A/N with the actual chapter once I update. Thank you again. I love you all!
I actually received a few comments and DMs within just a few hours.
  • "we love u 2"
  • "Hope you'll get better soon! Also have a nice time at your mother's."
  • "Hope you feel better!"
  • "Take care and enjoy time with family."
  • "Hey, I just wanted to say I enjoy reading your story very much. Don't worry about not updating today or even tomorrow, I'd rather have the story become a small masterpiece instead."
Of course, as I was blushing about the kindness and understanding you guys have shown me, Hubby was smirking with his "Told ya" look.

Well, to all of you who support me, read my stuff, and/or have the patience of a saint as I fall off my regular publishing schedule - or, those who have been with me for YEARS and I stopped updating a work you enjoy - I want to give all of you a huge hug!
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by Birdman, Inc
I love you all, and thank you all, and appreciate you all. Not many writers/artists/musicians/creatives have the support I get, and I never want to take any of you for granted. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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by Birdman, Inc
As for my writing progress now that my cold has mostly gone away? It was rough. I just couldn't figure things out. Nothing seemed to fit. It felt rushed, like I was doing whatever I could to just end the story already. It felt too deus ex machina. People's reactions felt more reserved than they should have been, just so I wasn't adding more drama.

I did have two cute scenes though. In the first one Adrien kept trying to talk to Marinette as class is starting, but Miss Bustier kept interrupting him; demanding he stops interrupting the class and pay attention. Whoops. The other had Adrien asking Alya for Marinette's number, and of COURSE Alya had to tease him about his sudden desire for it. Poor kid can't catch a break.

I think I'm going to have to recycle that phone number scene for "One and the Same." And that, dear fans, is why you NEVER delete anything you write, even if it's trash. You never know if it's actually a gem for another story. Or a fertile seed for a fantastic story/scene idea.

Anyway, regardless of the two cute scenes, the chapter just was NOT working. Then I decided to come at it from another angle.

*Writing Tip: If you hit writers block, try writing the scene/chapter in another character's POV. You may not keep that POV switch, but it could clear up some things by having you look at the story from another perspective.

Naturally, I decided to flip over to Marinette. Both Adrien and Chat Noir have been acting weird around her in the last 24-hours or so. It was probably time to check in and see what was going on in her head.

It was an interesting experiment, and it did start the creativity flowing again. Feeling guilty that it has been over a week since I posted anything new, I figured I'd give my readers this little experiment.

If you'd like to read it too, I have it posted on all three sites.
FanFiction         ArchiveOfOurOwn         DeviantArt

I have to say I am amazed by this little story. Not even 12hrs later and I already have the following stats:
FFN: 167 views, 2 faves, and 4 followers
AO3: 74 views, 9 kudos, and 7 comments!
DA: 5 views and 1 fave

Total Results: 246 views, 12 faves, 4 followers, and 7 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 2 likes
I won't get into the AO3 comments here because they are all LONG! I mean, these are highly thought out fantheories on how the conclusion of PT is going to be based on this story. It's really cool to see. It's also neat to note what similar theories pop up, and how close they are to what I actually wrote for the next chapter.

I also got a random influx of new faves and follows for PT. Perhaps I drew new readers in after they read this side story. I know for a fact that at least one person hopped over from "A Plan Forms." They liked the companion short first, and then both liked and followed PT.

Neat!

Going back to "Peeping Tomcat" though. After I had my momentum back via "A Plan Forms" I was able to attack the latest chapter of PT. It kept me until a little after midnight this morning, but I have it written. I just needed it to sit before I go back to proofread.

It was hard to do, but I managed to finish edits just a little while ago, allowing me to post just before this blog went live! You can check out the chapter in the usual spots.
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Now comes the mad dash to try to get the final chapter written so it can go up on Friday. I don't think I'll make it, but I do have tomorrow and Thursday off, so.... maybe?

The thing is, with all of this writing to finish up PT, I have yet to even START on "One and the Same" for Camp NaNo. It hurts to have 6448 words written for the month, and know that none of them go towards your 50,000 word goal.

According to Cyhyr, it doesn't matter. It's fiction writing during July. It counts. If she says it counts, then I guess I'll allow it. I'll just have to think about surpassing my word goal by this extra amount later; make up for the "cheat."

Meh, at least I've got a good head start on that word count. I'm at about 13% done with my work count. Also, my 6448 words, plus Cy's 2050 words, and the 250 words of one of our random new cabinmates, all adds up to about 4% of our cabin's overall goal. Not too bad for the first two days of Camp.
Aaaaaand, speaking of stats, you know I have to give updates to "Peeping Tomcat."

The stats are a bit wonky now that I posted the last chapter late and missed the most recent one, but let's give it a whirl, huh?

Had I posted at 8:30am on Friday to get back onto my normal publishing schedule, these would have been my end-of-the-week stats for the 13th week:
FFN: 1449 views, 10 faves, 14 followers, and 3 reviews
AO3: 472 views, 18 kudos, 3 bookmarks, and 1 comment
DA: 15 views, 1 fave, and 1 comment

Total Results: 1936 views, 29 faves, 17 followers, and 5 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 2 likes
So, uh, yeah... apparently I lost a Tumblr like somewhere... Other than that, though, this was my most-read week! Second place goes to the previous week with 1791 overall views! It also brought in the third-most followers; second most if you ignore the 66 followers I got the first week PT went live. The only other chapter to beat this one was the 6th chapter - Parallels - which brought in 19 new followers.

That all said, though, thanks to both my author's note "chapter" and "A Plan Forms," I now have even MORE views, faves, and follows.

As of 9:15 this morning, here are the stats for "Peeping Tomcat" since I posted my Author's Note about the chapter delay on Friday. Exactly 96hrs ago.
FFN: 1139 views, 6 faves, 3 followers, and 4 reviews
AO3: 321 views, 8 kudos, and 4 bookmarks
DA: 11 views and 1 fave

Total Results: 1471 views, 15 faves, 7 followers, and 4 reviews

The FFN reviews were the "feel better" comments posted towards the start of this update.
Not too bad for a non-update week. I'm now at over 20,000 total views across all three sites from day one of my posting PT up until now. My FFN view count is also over 15,000 hits! How awesome is that?

Another odd milestone: I got a religious-based spam review over on FFN. I think the bots only really find your work if you're fairly popular, so... yay?

Catch everyone next week, with hopefully the final chapter of this story! Super exciting!
Quick PSA: Please be sure to check in on your neighboring
veterans who might be experiencing PTSD during the
fireworks this year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Prepping for Camp

Happy summer, everyone! Sadly, for me, the summer thus far has consisted of oppressive heat with humidity bringing the heat index close to 110-degrees Fahrenheit. Either that, or torrential downpours. Not the best start for a “relax outside and write” type of summer, but it hasn't even been a week yet. Besides, the solstice itself was fantastic. Hubby and I celebrated at Shadow's place. He has a large man-made pond connecting his backyard to that of his 20-or-so neighbors' that he swims and canoes in. He also has a fairly decent-sized yard and a fire pit. So Hubby managed to build a tall and super-hot fire in the pit that we sat, ate, and later danced around. We attempted to roast marshmallows, but the flames were so hot you had to cover your face to get close enough to roast anything. We had a bunch of s'mores regardless. We just were crafty on how we got close to the flame. We even had a small, nothing-actually-shot-into-the-air, fireworks show on Shadow's pier. It was a good night.

Trish was thrilled.

It's been so long since I've written anything for either X-Future or Glitches. I do miss writing for My Girls. No one has seen nor heard from Lia in ages. Colette and Crystal are all but forgotten; hiding in the depths of my mind. Amara pokes her head out every once and a while. As per usual, Willow and Trish are the dominant two; begging for me to write about them again.

I may have to indulge them. I do still have a few WIPs about both of them that I need to finish up. Problem is that Ronoxym has been super busy lately, and hasn't really had any time to write. It's hard to co-write something when your co-author can't really find the spare time to help. I already feel like I'm taking over the stories; I don't want to completely “steal” them by finishing them off without his input at least.

On the other hand, Cyhyr and I have been doing more and more chatting about writing as she's starting to get back into the rhythm and habit of doing so. Perhaps she can poke her husband a bit to jump start his writing too.

Speaking of Cy, we're doing Camp NaNo together. I even set up a cabin for our online writing group. It seems like just the two of us are participating though, so, as per Cy's suggestion, I'm probably going to be opening up the cabin to “randos.” If you're planning on doing Camp in July and want to join our cabin, feel free to contact me over on the Camp NaNo site, and I'll send an invite. The morning of Thursday, June 28th I'll open up our cabin to the public and I won't be able to send invites anymore; it's just the luck of the draw at that point. So be sure to contact me quickly if you want in.

In regards to my Camp prep, well.... I have mixed feelings.

For a while now I have known the basic idea of what I wanted to do for “One and the Same.” I wanted it to be based on the movie “You've Got Mail” but, as I expressed in earlier blog entries, I can't get an exact parallel. For one, in YGM the protagonists are heated rivals in their everyday lives, and only deep companions in their secret online lives. Adrien and Marinette don't hate each other, nor are they rivals, so that alone makes things a bit odd to try to create a true crossover sort of thing. Secondly, Ladybug isn't in love with Chat Noir, so the dynamic with regards to the “secret lives” isn't the same either. I mean, I can easily tweak both to still get it to fit, but it's already starting off with challenges. The next challenge is that in YGM one person – Joe – knows that the rival and the online love interest are the same person and loves said person completely. Easy enough. I have that set up with Adrien in “Peeping Tomcat.” The snag is that the second person – Kathleen – doesn't know the love interest and rival are the same, and only romantically cares for the person they know nothing about – NY152. Which would mean that Marinette would have to be in love with Chat Noir, but have no romantic interest in Adrien; the exact opposite of what is actually going on.

Now, it would be easy to do a role-reversal and have Marinette be “Joe” and Adrien be “Kathleen,” resulting in Marinette playfully picking on Ladybug as she tries to woo Adrien, while also testing the waters to see why he loves Ladybug in the first place. Unfortunately, that's not possible as a sequel to PT. The other snafu is that a role-reversal would also flip the Joe/Kathleen dynamic. She's the daughter of a beloved little shop owner whose business is collapsing under the competition of a conglomerate run by her rival, the easy going son of an aggressive and distant business man.

Perhaps sometime down the road I'll do a true crossover, complete with an AU to create the rivalry/love dynamic better fitting the movie plot. It's easy enough to do. Despite Nino's suggestion that Adrien explain the misunderstanding about the gum on Marinette's seat, he never gets the courage to do so. Marinette continues to hold a grudge against Adrien, assuming he's just another shallow Trust Fund kid and super model. Meanwhile, she falls for her flirty, attractive partner who encouraged her when she thought she could never be the hero Paris needed. Since Gabriel's fashion business wouldn't really affect the Dupain-Cheng bakery the rivalry would probably just stay in school.

Might be a fun story/series to write. Another plot bunny to let grow on the farm.

I may never leave this fandom at this rate....

Getting back to “One and the Same” and my Camp prep. I realized that with so many obstacles preventing me to do an exact parallel for the movie “You've Got Mail,” I had to instead focus on STYLIZING the story off the movie.

Namely, how Joe, knowing Kathleen and Shopgirl are the same person, managed to figure out Kathleen's true feelings about NY152 while also wooing Kathleen as himself. That way he knew she would be so in love with both sides of him that she could forgive his company running hers out of business. She would be happy that her love NY152 is also the man she's grown to love: Joe.

THAT is what I want for OatS. Adrien has to figure out what Marinette's true feelings for him are while also winning her over as Chat Noir. That way, he hopes, she'll forgive him for spying on her for a week and finding out that she's Ladybug. She'll just be so happy that her love Adrien is also the man she's grown to love: Chat Noir.

That is the parallel I want to draw. I just need to figure out how to get there.

I created three plots/sub-plots in “Peeping Tomcat”: Adrien, as Chat Noir, needing to confess to Marinette that he spent a week spying on her; Adrien needing to figure out if he loves Marinette for who she is, or just because she's Ladybug; and Adrien needing to restore his confidence as a superhero and Ladybug's partner.

In the latest chapter I hope I managed to tie up the issue with Adrien's feelings for Marinette.
FanFiction         ArchiveOfOurOwn         DeviantArt

It was a tough go, which I'll get into later in this post. The point I want to make here is that I'm still left with two more plotline issues. I've decided to use Chat Noir's confession in “One and the Same,” but I have to tie it up enough in PT that readers don't feel cheated. Like I'm forcing them to read OatS in order to get the satisfaction they want in knowing that Chat did the right thing. I don't want people raging at the end of my story: “WTF!? Adrien STILL NEEDS TO TELL HER! You can't let him get away without doing so.”

I mean, I fear I'm going to get those reviews regardless, but I hope to present everything in just a way that people will understand and just kind of let it go??? I mean, anyone who is in the fandom knows that Marinette does just as creepy – maybe creepier – things.

She has her bedroom practically wallpapered with his pictures. She has a print-out of his personal schedule, which she memorizes to the best of her ability. She brings a kid she's babysitting to the park specifically to watch Adrien's photo shoot. Granted, for that one she ended up doing the right thing and interacting with her charge instead of ignoring the kid, but still.... She's also stolen his phone in an attempt to erase an embarrassing voicemail she left him. She conned a police officer into thinking a fake “no parking” sign she made was real, in order to force Adrien's bodyguard to abandon him in an attempt to find a different parking spot; all so she could attempt to coerce Adrien into going on a rickshaw ride with her and essentially kidnapping him for a date. She bumps Max from a competition he had been looking forward to all year – a competition she knew nothing about just five minutes before, mind you – in order to be teamed up with Adrien and force him into some alone time with her so they could train.

I mean, watching someone from outside their bedroom window is CREEPY. Buuuut, he didn't do it for any sort of dirty, kinky, sexual gratification or anything like that. He kept it innocent and informational, like Jane Goodall observing prime apes or something. So is he really that much worse than Marinette?

I hope not! I hope he feels at least on par with her....

Anyway, my point is, I have to give “Peeping Tomcat” a satisfying ending without that confession, but I also have to figure out when I want the confession in “One and the Same.”

That's actually my biggest hurdle.

I was thinking that the reveal would be a sort of great “All is Lost” moment. Everything is going great. Adrien thinks Marinette could possibly love both sides of him equally. He tries to test the waters by asking one more time for Ladybug to let them reveal themselves to each other, and when she declines he yells that he already knows she's Marinette because he saw Tikki while spying on her for a week. Trust is destroyed. She is in shock. There is no way she could be with Chat Noir now. She still is going to go to her date with Adrien, but could he start a relationship with her knowing she'll never forgive his Chat Noir half?

I think it's a great climactic disaster. Everything will build up to that. No other tragedy throughout the story will be as bad as that.

Buuuuut, there's two issues with that.

The first issue is building the trust back up. That in and of itself could be a whole story. Can I really build it up again in just a chapter or two as I conclude after the climax? Could Marinette possibly be THAT forgiving? Maybe after considering how creepy SHE is?

The second issue is, if I have the confession as the climactic disaster, what am I going to use as the “Mid-Act II” disaster? There should be three throughout a story: an inciting incident, a larger incident for the middle of “act 2,” and a climactic issue, before hitting the conclusion.

If I decide to shift the confession to the middle disaster after all, there are some pros and cons there too. The pros are that it brings OatS closer to “You've Got Mail” since Marinette/Ladybug could be as distrusting of Chat Noir as Kathleen was of Joe. Chat trying to rebuild that trust could be similar to Joe building the awkward friendship with Kathleen. Having that parallel would be nice. And I'd have an interesting story where the trust must be returned to their relationship.The main con is that if the confession is the middle disaster something even WORSE has to be the climax. What could I do that would be worse?

So, for now, I have the confession as the climax, which means I have an opening – an akuma attack having Chat Noir nearly reveal that he knows who Ladybug is, to set up everything – and I have the ending.

The following is what I have for my ending if the confession is the climax. Obviously, spoilers ahead:
Marinette agrees to go on a date with Adrien, but her dream coming true doesn't feel as amazing as she thought it would because now she's torn between him and Chat Noir. As Ladybug, she meets up with Chat Noir, who tries to cash in on her confession that she's having romantic feelings for him. He asks once more to reveal themselves to each other, and Ladybug adamantly refuses. Frustrated with her, he confesses that he already knows that she's Marinette because he spent a week spying on her, and yet Hawk Moth is still no closer to figuring them out. He accuses her of being silly by thinking they can't reveal themselves to their partner. Ladybug points out that the akuma (at the start of the story) almost DID find out because of him knowing, and that is why she can't know who he is. She's also obviously pissed that he invaded her privacy, and ended up finding out who she was as a result. She storms off to her date.

Adrien doesn't know what to do, because he doesn't want to start up a relationship with Marinette as Adrien; it will be like building a relationship on a lie: not letting her know he's Chat Noir. Plagg reassures him that she'll trust him again after she blows off steam. He's told that he needs to trust in how much she cares about both halves of him, promise to NEVER break her trust in any way again, and apologize for what he did. He nervously goes to his date.

Meanwhile, Marinette is understandably upset as she waits for Adrien. Tikki is sympathetic, but also points out that what's done is done, and that Marinette has invaded Adrien's privacy as well. Marinette calms down as she realizes that Tikki is right, and that she should give Chat Noir a chance to make up for everything. She agrees that perhaps it's best to have Chat reveal himself to her since he already knows who she is anyway. Best that she knows who he is too so they can better protect each other.

Realizing that, once she knows who Chat Noir is, the two of them could actually start dating, she wonders if that's what she really wants. She compares Adrien to Chat and realizes that maybe she actually likes Chat more. She can't do the date with Adrien, as much as she had always wanted it. Just before she leaves, however, Adrien shows up.

Marinette awkwardly breaks it to Adrien that there is actually someone else she wants to give a chance to. She vaguely describes Chat Noir, and Adrien internally realizes that she picked his superhero half, and is elated by the prospect of her wanting their civilian forms to be together. Knowing she's ready to find out who he is, he introduces her to Plagg and transforms into Chat Noir. Marinette weeps with joy, confusion, anger that he had yet ANOTHER secret, fear that HE was the one in danger beside her all this time, and relief that she doesn't have to choose between her two loves.

The story concludes with her telling him how happy she is that he turned out to be Chat Noir, and they finally share their first kiss (well, their second if you count Ladybug breaking the love spell on Chat Noir in the episode "Dark Cupid").
So I think I have a fairly decent ending figured out. And I have the opening I mentioned before.

I DON'T HAVE A MIDDLE THOUGH!!!! Ya know, the MAJORITY OF THE STORY!?

I don't know how Adrien goes from “Shoot, the akuma nearly had me reveal both my own identity and Ladybug's. I guess she was right that it's too dangerous to know. Probably shouldn't reveal myself to her then...” to “Come on, Ladybug! What harm is there in knowing? Let's reveal ourselves so we can start dating.”

I don't know how Chat Noir and Marinette start hanging out and how he woos her in that persona. I don't even know if I want Chat Noir to woo Marinette at all. Maybe he's still focused on Ladybug, knowing winning LB over also wins over Marinette. So, instead of “THIS STORY WILL HAVE ALL THE MARICHAT GOODNESS” the story is now “Adrienette vs Ladynor: who wins?” That way it doesn't seem to Marinette that Chat Noir is trying to reveal himself to a random citizen, nor does he seem like a “player” when she – as Marinette – believes he loves HER but he's still trying to reveal himself to LB to open up the possibility of them dating.

It's... complicated....

I also don't know how Chat is going to know that she's falling for that part of him. Nor do I know how to have flirty Adrien prove to Marinette that he likes her, but still avoid actually asking her out and/or starting up a relationship.

So.... THE MAJORITY OF THE PLOT is still a giant question mark.

And Camp starts next month... Er... next WEEK.

Even if I use the month as my sort of “test kitchen” to pants my way through the story, the amount of edits and rewrites I'll probably have to do will majorly delay me.

I don't think I'm going to have this story up at the beginning of October like I originally thought. I was under the impression that in the 15 weeks it kept me to post “Peeping Tomcat” I would be working on OatS, and just have to remember to publish the next chapter of PT on Fridays.

Instead, I'm ripping my hair out trying to rewrite/rework/edit the chapters in just seven days. Heck, this past week I didn't post until 2:45pm instead of my normal 8:30am because I just couldn't get the chapter to work. I also “wasted” the Thursday evening before by partying with Shadow. Whoops....

I'm still working on the rework of the next chapter, and have to get a nice head start on the final chapter before visiting my mom for the weekend and starting up Camp on Sunday!

Which probably means the same thing will happen with OatS. I'll start posting in October – if I can – and edit/post as I go until the end of the year. Will I not be able to do NaNo in November because I'll be too busy trying to keep my posting schedule for OatS?
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
This is a much more aggressive schedule than I was prepared for...

I probably won't get as much accomplished this year as I had wanted. I still have the Trish/Devon WIP and Varekai WIP I wanted to finish. I thought I could do one per quarter of the year, but since I didn't start posting PT until after the first quarter of the year was over, I guess I should have known I was over my head.

I mean, I shouldn't be so hard on myself, I guess. I'm working on a story that is currently at 65,000+ words, and will probably finish with at least 70,000 words. OatS will probably be about the same size.

I may not be like other fanfiction writers who have seven stories going at once, or a new story published and completed each month, or a new short each day on Tumblr. Maybe it's because I'm not disciplined enough. Maybe it's because I don't type/write fast enough. Maybe it's because they have ADHD and NEED to have multiple projects going, and completed quickly, in order to produce anything. Maybe they have more time to write than I do. Maybe I overthink my plots. Maybe I edit more than they do. I could keep going.

Who knows what is different about me compared to them? I just know that I'll depress myself if I try to hold myself to their standards. So I'll try not to. I'll try to be alright with not producing as much as I wanted, because at least I'm still producing. At least I still have a lot of love.

Speaking of which, I haven't gotten to my 24hr or mid-week stats yet!

The 24hr stats were a bit wonky this week. As I mentioned, I posted my story about 6hrs late on Friday. So my 24hr stats went from 2:45pm Friday to 2:45pm Saturday, instead of my normal 8:30am to 8:30am. I don't know if it is because I struggled with this chapter, and perhaps the quality noticeably dropped, or if I just missed my “window” by being late, but my stats were a bit “meh” this go.
FFN: 726 views, 4 faves, 4 followers, and 2 reviews
AO3: 287 hits and 8 kudos
DA: 6 views

Total Results: 1019 views, 12 faves, 4 followers, and 2 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 2 likes

FFN reviews:
  1. Great job, I think you really captured his convoluted and panicked thoughts!
  2.
Review by Jowy's Pixie; see below
 Jowy's Pixie: Awww, seeing Adrien interact with Marinette while knowing the truth was heartbreaking. The emotional turmoil was too much to bear. But still, grrrrrr Adrien "just friends" Agreste certainly has made a vengeful return. I really feel like I could bop that boy on the head sometimes. But I can imagine why he's feeling as confused and cornered as he is. He knows that they can't know each other's identities and he found out Ladybug's by accident which he knows she likely won't be very happy about. And of course there's the little detail of him admitting to practically spying on her as well.
          The soup scene between them was so adorable! I was squealing the entire time! Is his little plan to potentially woo her as Chat Noir going to work? I mean, Adrien's secrets have got to be found out at some point right? Stuff like that always catches up to people one way or another. Starting to feel like there's no hope for Adrien at this point ahahaha. Awww, only two chapters left? I'm going to be really sad to see it end, but I'm also excited at the same time to see how you do end this. Awesome chapter as always, keep up the great work! Good luck writing!
It was a relief to get those reviews. As I mentioned, this chapter was a struggle. It was a rough week. Each chapter; each week, I added a bit more drama. It's great for building up a story; to pile on the troubles so the readers don't know how the characters are going to get out. Problem is, even I don't know how they are going to get out. It's easy to set up the drama. It's darn hard to fix it.

I had multiple false starts. I wrote and re-wrote and re-re-wrote. Nothing was working. I couldn't figure out how to handle everything. Nothing seemed to happen in the chapter. It didn't advance anything. The story didn't move forward at all.

I had to stop and figure out what were the issues that needed to be solved and how I wanted to do so. I came up with the plot lines listed above: (1) confess to Marinette that he was spying and thus knows she's Ladybug, (2) get confidence in his skills as a superhero again, (3) figure out if he truly loves Marinette for Marinette.

I knew I wanted to conquer issue number 3 first, but I still had troubles. I couldn't get into the mindset. Then I remembered the scene where Marinette realizes she's in love with Adrien: "the umbrella scene" as the fandom calls it. Complete with the song unofficially titled "in the rain." The song wasn't officially released, but someone called DavidRussell323 recreated it.
I had the song on repeat for about three hours or so. Finally, FINALLY I was in the right headspace. In the end I still wasn't 100% solid with the chapter, but I was content, and I have to learn to let go. I kept reminding myself that, while I have to strive for quality I'm proud with, and quality my readers deserve, I also don't have a professional editor to help me. I'm doing this solo, and for free. I have to stop holding myself to such a high standard. As bad as it sounds, I have to remember to go for "good enough" otherwise I'll never let anything go. I'd probably STILL be working on that chapter. I'd probably never finish writing the one for this Friday.

I can't let it lock me down. When I'm nervous about releasing the "good enough" chapters it makes those kind reviews that much more emotional for me. Reminds me that I'm doing alright. That I can do this. That I made the right choice.

On top of those reviews, I also received a nice pick-me-up on Sunday. During my obsessive checks to see if I received any new reviews, I noticed I actually had more likes/faves/kudos. Adding them to my handy dandy spreadsheet, I discovered I had over 300 total likes/faves/kudos across all three sites since “Peeping Tomcat” first went live at the end of March.

Then, some time between when I checked Sunday night, and when I checked again Monday morning, I surpassed 200 followers between FFN and AO3!

I know, it seems like small peanuts in the grand scheme of things. Especially with over 18,000 views. I mean, that's barely 1% liking, and less than even that for followers. But screw that! I'm still excited about my milestones. Like I just said a few paragraphs up, I need to not compare myself to any other writers.

The only one I should compare myself to is my past self. Am I doing better than she did? Then I'm improving and I'll just keep improving until I'm where I want to be.

I did a whole mini-speech and thank you about the milestones on my Tumblr.

As for my Tuesday mid-week stats? Let's see how much I improved from “past self”:
FFN: 1274 views, 9 faves, 13 followers, 3 reviews, and I was added to another community. Neat
AO3: 407 views, 14 kudos, 3 bookmarks, and 1 review
DA: 10 views, 1 fave, and my first comment! Whoo!

Total Results: 1691 views, 24 faves, 16 followers, and 5 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 3 likes

New Reviews:
  1. I can feel him blushing off the words awww
  2. Hes turning into Marinette! Awww so cute!
(another cassy1994 review)
  3. This whole thing has been super adorable. I'm loving it. Love how now Adrien is doing the spastic freaking out and stammering and running away thing. Poor boy. Hopefully he can figure himself out. And figures out that Ladybug is only really pushing him away because she likes HIM so much. I plan to enjoy the next few chapters too! Can't wait for next Friday! Thanks for posting!
Does my heart good.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Another cool note? Along with the milestones of getting my first comment on DeviantArt, hitting 300 overall likes, and getting over 200 followers, I hit two milestones on FFN alone.

Namely, I have 100 faves and received 50 reviews! It is also now officially my longest story on FFN at 67,642 words, including Author's Notes, so take with a grain of salt. The previous holder of that title was my novelization of the X-Future roleplay board: X-Future: The Second Generation Begins at 67,600 words. Third place is now the first chaptered fanfic I attempted writing: What Is Truly Meant To Be at 61,765 words. The kicker there though is that while PT and TSGB both have 13 or 14 chapters for their word counts, WITMTB only has 8!

"Peeping Tomcat" also now has nearly twice as many views as the second place contender: WITMTB. The "Hey Arnold" fic has 7,369 views compared to PT's 13,761! Wow! "Peeping Tomcat" is also far superior with the 100 faves - second place is The Master of Breaking and Entering at 51. It is also kicking butt and taking names with the 177 follows, compared to second place WITMTB at 38 alerts. It probably had more but people dropped them when I stopped posting, but still....

Trying to ride the high of all these milestones, I tried to finish my prep work for Camp NaNoWriMo. I read through the workbook "Ready. Set. Novel!" Unfortunately, there's not much in there to help with fanfiction: setting and character builds are already figured out, and I already had the rough plot. I went back through the Snowflake Outline method created by Randy Ingermanson, which helped a little, but you saw above how far I was able to get with that.

I'm now behind in figuring out what to do for my next chapter, and I'm going to lose most of my Thursday. I'll be driving down to visit my mom once I get out of work, so whatever I can do while at work is more-or-less my last shot. I need to really crack down tonight and tomorrow!

This whole "get Adrien comfortable as Chat Noir" thing is going to be tough. I'd like for Marinette to be the one to comfort him about it, but I don't know how to have the subject come up. It's going to be tricky, and I feel a bunch more false starts are in my future....

Wish me luck! I got to get back to work!

Also, for the reason why I'm visiting Mom in the first place, let's all take a moment to celebrate her being 23rd year of being cancer free!

Fitting, considering

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fear of Commitment

Last week was kind of chaotic. One of my co-workers went on vacation, so I ended up working nine days straight. I also realized, as I mentioned last week, that the chapter for Friday needed an almost complete rewrite. Actually, all of the closing chapters do. There's a lot more depth and complexity that needed to be added into this conclusion. Part of me likes it, because it adds more to the story overall. Another part of me wishes it just remained a simple “Do I like Marinette for who she is, or just because she's Ladybug?”

The chapters would be all set if it stayed that simple.

I still have to find a way to work in Adrien's feeling of inadequecy as both a friend and as a superhero. I think I've sort of worked out the “Marinette deserves to know” bits, but I probably need to lay more foundation. I have the added layer now of Plagg and Tikki's relationship. AND I have the “Why do I like Marinette” question to solve.

In three more chapters.

THREE MORE!

Guys, that means July 6th should be my last update of “Peeping Tomcat”! That will be it! I will have finally completed one of my multi-chapter stories; excluding the two-part “I Caught You A Star.”

This is so big for me. I've written a couple of stories that have gone on for multiple chapters. One of my first fanfics, “What Is Truly Meant To Be,” has multiple chapters. I posted the first couple chapters of “Please, Let Me Explain” in an attempt to push the project forward. I shared some of my failed NaNo attempts. I tried to convert X-Future into the multi-chapter story “X-Future: The Second Generation Begins.”

Each project, while I still have vague illusions of completing them, have been otherwise abandoned. PT though? I actually completed the first draft for it. I'm most of my way through my manuscript. I just have 3 weeks to go, and all the encouragement to complete it.

I'M GOING TO DO IT! I'm going to actually complete a multi-chapter project! Are you excited? Because I'm about to burst over here. I don't even know what will be going on that first week of July. It's going to be nuts!
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc
I'm going to have to work on edits for MY LAST CHAPTER that first week. I'll also have to start working on my Camp NaNo project of writing the first draft of “One and the Same.” AND there's Independence Day on the 4th, so I'll probably be doing some sort of hang-out. Then on July 6th there will be the bitter-sweetness of completing my first novel.

It will be weird to not have anything new to post – presumably – on July 13th. I might have to do another Cat Noir-centric one-shot for Friday the Thirteenth.

I dunno. I'm thinking way ahead of the game. I need to focus on the task at hand: editing THIS WEEK'S update. Go from there.

In the meantime, don't forget to read this past Friday's update for “Peeping Tomcat.”
FanFiction         ArchiveOfOurOwn         DeviantArt

I was still kind of nervous about the chapter. I had so many loose ends to start tying up, and while I knew that, it didn't quite register until I saw the reviewers commenting about them. I had to make sure those loose ends were in neat little bows by the end of this thing, or I fear my readers will feel cheated.

I also wasn't sure if I should have kept in Plagg's kitchen destruction. It felt like it derailed the chapter, but at the same time, I felt it showed a lot of character. There was a great deal of back and forth before I decided to keep it in, but even when I pushed “submit” on the websites I was nervous that I didn't make the right move. As I discussed with Jowy's Pixie this past week, there are so many directions this story could still go, and I'm trying my hardest to find the most satisfying path.

It's mildly terrifying. Especially with how much love I've been getting thus far. The last thing I'd want to do is disappoint my readers. I don't want to be one of those authors who had a fantastic first two acts, but trip during the third act; ruining the experience of the whole thing.

Kind of like one of Hubby's friends from high school. He was OBSESSED with the Matrix movies, but was so disappointed in the third installment he didn't even want to watch the first two anymore. When I was in middle school I was one of the few kids I knew who actually HATED the Goosebumps stories by R.L. Stein. For me, most of them seemed to have that World Reset button at the end. That “it was all just a dream” mentality where nothing that happens in the book ever has lasting significance. Everything goes back to the status quo. I felt so cheated after reading about five of those books and having them end like that.

Oddly enough, maybe because they were geared towards a more mature audience that could handle a more permanent world change, R.L. Stein's Fear Street series was my go-to. Much more Junior Stephen King feel.

While I know I'm not going to have that “World Reset”/Status Quo Remains Unchanged ending, I still don't want that kind of disappoint from my readers. I want them satisfied with how I conclude everything.

Maybe that's why I have never completed a story before. It's easy for me to come up with the inciting incident as my spark of inspiration, and from there I can throw tons of curveballs at a character to add drama. But cleaning up the mess? And trusting that I did it well enough to satisfy my readers? Meeeh?
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman, Inc
Maybe that's why I'm such trash at writing sex scenes. Same deal: I can write the inciting incident – where the characters connect physically – and I can write all the build-up and foreplay. Writing the “conclusion” however? Meeeeh?

Goes hand-in-hand with my inability to write in my dozens of fancier notebooks. They remain blank on my bookshelf; waiting for that story that NEEDS to be put in that specific notebook. I never seem to find THAT story though. It's a fear of commitment. Of permanence. Once I start writing in that notebook, that's it. No going back. I can't change my mind without crossing things out, or tearing pages out, or having two different stories in the same notebook. If I screw it up, I would have ruined the notebook. So nothing is written in them.

Ending my stories? Going “this is it; all other possibilities are now closed” is just as nerve wrecking to me.

Ironically, while this fear of commitment crosses over into just about all of my creatives - drawings, world building, scrapbooking, crochet projects, painting minis, even coloring in coloring books instead of photocopied pages, etc - I have absolutely no fear of it when it comes to relationships.... So, yay? Hence having the husband....

Luckily, I have been getting excellent encouragement throughout this story, and it really helps me stick to my guns on how I did conclude it, and how I want to tweak it for the official publication.
FFN: 780 views, 2 faves, 1 follower, and 4* reviews
AO3: 188 views, 4 kudos, 1 bookmark, and 3 reviews
DA: 14 views, 1 fave, but still not a single comment

Total Results: 982 views, 7 faves, 2 followers, and 7* reviews

(*There are 5 reviews listed on FFN, but one is actually a two-part by a guest reviewer who hit "submit" too soon)

Tumblr Notes: 5 likes

FFN reviews:
  1. Good read on Plagg's attitude towards reveals there. While Plagg did give the 'don't tell anyone' speech, he did seem almost encouraging of Chat sneaking a peek of detransforming Ladybug. So it does seem that he makes an exception for other Miraculous wielders - that, or he's sick of the love square and at least part of him wants a reveal so it's over and done with.
 (Bits about the Plagg/Tikki relationship cut for space.)
  2. Awwww plagg!!!!
  3. Plagg seemed to help a little, but Adrien does seem stubborn about himself. I wonder if Mari is going to confess being a stalker as well. Will hearing Chat Noir confess about how guilty he feels guilt her into feeling guilty about stalking Adrien, and that will help calm him down? Adrien feels he's the only creeper in the relationship, and maybe finding out Mari does it too will help. Or maybe Mari's romantic logic will kick in, and she'll feel flattered her crush fell for her twice...Mari can be unpredictable. (Abridged Version)
  4. "Why would she keep on a peeping tomcat as a partner?" whoo title drop :D
  5. I absolutely love the idea of Plagg and Tikki being siblings! And I feel so bad for Adrien's predicament. I can feel the anxiety that boy seems to radiate. I love it!
(another of my periodic repeat reviewers: comics-give-me-life)
  6. Looking forward to the next chapter. Though I honestly think a part of Marinette has known about Chat Noir spying on her for a while... (Bits about the Plagg/Tikki relationship cut for space.)
  7. Long guest review (the one that was accidentally split in 2) listed below.
Look at that 24hr turn out! I'm now getting close to 1000 views within the first 24hrs after posting! It's going to be a shame that I'll have to disappear for a couple of months to write my next story, and possibly start from scratch, reader wise, once I do. I'd much rather ride the coattails of this story and have that high view count from the get-go, but I'll have to have faith that I'll get there again. That I'm now more well known in the fandom, and at least a large portion of them will come back once I post OatS.

Also, I'm not sure how to feel about the reviews. This is probably one of the largest 24hr responses I've received. The trick here, though, is that at the end of the chapter, in my Author's Notes, I asked my readers what they thought about my interpretation of Plagg and Tikki's relationship. Most of the “reviews” were readers answering my question. All of them agreed with how I set the kwamis' relationship up, so... yay.

As for that two-part review on FFN?
GUEST: I find it odd that a romantic relationship between the two kwami is assumed when it is always bought up that the wielders of those two miraculous aren't always lovers whenever this lore is used.
        It's the having it both ways situation. Like how Adrien loves Ladybug. He knows he loves her meaning he knows what those feelings are, can identity them, yet is constantly written not realizing he feels that way for Marinette. And while he technically does feel that way about her, it's only because he doesn't know she is Ladybug that he doesn't know he has feelings for her, not because he was homeschooled. No, really, **** off with that presumption about those who were homeschooled, guys. I'm offended for them with the characterization often given from these fics. To him, they are two different people so think of it as Marinette isn't Ladybug, and you will see how ridiculous it is. If he knows he loves one girl, that he knows if he has feelings for another girl as well. Making it otherwise is trying to have it both ways. Schrödinger's self awareness.
        For me, I don't think of it as the miraculous influencing any romantic feelings. I see it more as the two of them being chosen based on compatibility, and not compatibility being influenced by the miraculous. I doubt that in all of Paris, that only two children offered an old man help. I would say aura came into play and that they were the best fit that Master Fu found.
        Now, back to Schrödinger's awareness. I am aware you have Adrien "not aware of feelings" for Marinette to an extent, but from what I got in your story, they really only developed over that week he was watching her, and realized them almost immediately, so you're good. [sic]
I'll be honest. I wasn't really sure how to respond to this review, so I was a bit glad that it was a guest poster, which means I literally could not respond to it. I think I get what the poster was trying to say, in which I will like to give this rebuttal:

It is possible that his feelings for Marinette aren't the same as they are for Ladybug. Love does feel different depending on how deep into it you are and/or what you are in love with. Prior to my husband, I had three boyfriends, four crushes, three flirt-buddies, and went on a few dates with one guy. My feelings for each of these men were different. If I was with my husband at the same time as any of the above, the feelings I have/had for him would feel similar in some aspects, but also vastly different in others. If I knew I was in love with Hubby, and felt something intense but still "less" for one of those crushes, I might not have realized it was "love" as well. I might have read it the way Adrien does in the show - and therefore in most fanfics - as an intense friendship.

Heck, Hubby even informed me, when we first started dating, that I didn't realize that I was flirting with guys and/or they were flirting back with me. I come from a very physical family, so I hug everyone. I give cheek kisses to everyone. I hold everyone's hand. I play with everyone's hair. I lean in close. I snuggle next to people when we're in confined spaces. I give massages, scratch backs, keep steady eye contact while conversing, and steal food or sips of drinks.

Basically, I had to learn about personal bubbles once I became an adult....

So, in truth, for guys I had crushes on - including my now-husband - it kept me a while to realize I wasn't just being my normal intrusive extroverted self. I was flirting. And there were times where I only stopped to evaluate and realize my crush once someone pointed it out:
 - "Were you flirting with him?"
 - "Pffft. No. We're just really... good... fri- WOAH!"

I mean, that's how I figured out I liked my first boyfriend... when I was also about 14....

My point being, that I TOTALLY understand Adrien's stupid, infuriating denseness when it comes to his own crush. How he feels about Marinette is probably worlds different to how he feels about Ladybug. If he knows that intense feeling is "love" then he might think the more subtle crush isn't love; just intense friendship.

But anyway, that reviewer - who may or may not have been critiquing me? - aside, I also got much more love throughout the week.
FFN: 1157 views, 4 faves, 5 followers, and 7* reviews!
AO3: 299 views, 6 kudos, 1 bookmark, and 3 reviews
DA: 18 views, 2 faves, but still not a single comment

Total Results: 1474 views, 12 faves, 6 followers, and 10* reviews

(*There are 5 reviews listed on FFN, but one is actually a two-part by a guest reviewer who hit "submit" too soon; see above)

Tumblr Notes: 11 total; 9 likes and 2 reblogs

FFN reviews:
  1. I really liked this chapter. Also I can't believe its already been 12 chapters.
(Cassy1994's review)
  2. I just want to point out that fashion design is kind of like game design. If you’re a novice you wouldn’t just show someone your designs right off unless you’re being serious about this and could be up for an interview. Any artist would have 3 types of portfolios and maybe a website with her designs water marked so no one could steal them. I’m only aware of this because my husband is a game designer.
(review for chapter 7?)
  3. See below for another Jowy's Pixie review
One of the Tumblr reblogs was Skyeribbon again, but the second reblog was someone who had found the announcement via Skye's blog. So, thank you, Skyeribbon for the share to help promote my story! It worked! This is the first time my promotion was reblogged from someone else's Tumblr. I'm super excited by this milestone!
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc
I still don't know what I magically did last week to get 52 notes in one week; less than. I'm pretty sure I had 52 notes by the time I updated this blog last week. While it's not nearly as exciting to be back to less than even 15 notes, having a reblog off of someone else's Tumblr is nice compensation.

This week is also the leader with the most reviews/comments in one week. Granted, that could be because of the question I posed at the end of my Author's Notes, but still....

There was also the first new Miraculous Ladybug episode in a month this weekend. That may have helped spike my view-count. Week 6 still holds the record though, with 1666 views between the three sites.

But speaking of the reviews, this was Jowy's this week:
Jowy's Pixie: Oh poor Adrien. The boy can't seem to catch a break from an onslaught of emotions. You really perfectly captured his inner turmoil in this chapter and it was such a pleasure to read. I can see this being a legitimate reaction Adrien might have in the actual show if he was to accidentally find out Ladybug's true identity. I'm so excited to see what Adrien is going to do next. Is he going to admit to Marinette that he knows? Is Marinette somehow going to find out? There's so many possibilities with this plot line you've created. That's what makes me love this story so much. Normally, I'm pretty good at figuring out where things are going to go, but with this story, there's so many possibilities that I can't decide. And that's good. I always end up spoiling stories for myself because I can guess where things are going so there's usually no exciting surprises for me. But with this story, I'm in the dark and I love it!
        Plagg's moments were hilarious to read in this chapter. You managed to capture his personality spot on which is awesome because Plagg is one of my favourite characters. I completely agree with your little analysis of the relationship between Tikki and Plagg. It makes total sense that you would make them have a more sibling like bond. That's usually what I imagine for them as well. Especially after seeing their interaction in Dark Owl. There didn't seem to be any romantic insinuations there. Though I do completely understand why people would ship them. Them being a couple would make sense, but obviously that's not the direction the show seems to be taking.
        This chapter was a pleasure to read, but then again, so are all your chapters. I always look forward to your updates to see what's going to happen to poor Adrien next. I must say, something I forgot to previously mention, it's nice to see a story from solely Adrien's point of view. That's quite rare from what I've seen. Usually it's either just Marinette or a mix of both. I like that you've decided to go with just Adrien though. It shakes things up a bit and makes things interesting. Congratulations on another well written chapter. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Good luck writing!
It is rare to find a story solely through Adrien's POV. Too many people are tempted to include Marinette's in some manner. But I just couldn't tell this story any other way, as I discussed last week. I just hope OatS will prove to be as refreshing to read with its dual POV between Adrien and Marinette.

First priority: Finish "Peeping Tomcat" and THEN worry about the POV in OatS.

Switching gears here, I managed to finish up “The Burning Maze” this week. Which leaves me with about half a month to get a head start on my next book.
I have to admit that with each book humbling Apollo a little more and more, I'm starting to actually like the guy. I guess that's the point, but it also shouldn't take three books to win sympathy for your protagonist and narrator. I mean, I like the Arrow of Dodona more than Apollo most of the time. Anyway, the book was intense, and I'm curious as to how much more it's going to get in the last two books. There's also a couple of "grab your tissues" moments that left me dumbfounded. So that's good. I still think I'm going to miss getting another Magnus Chase book in October when we get a second Trials of Apollo novel instead. That series was too good to only be three books long.

As for my 50,000+ word fanfic category? You can find "Won't Tell a Soul" on AO3. It's a Miraculous Ladybug fanfic focusing mostly on the supporting character Nino. The POV does jump to Adrien or Marinette on occasion, but it's mostly a Nino-centric story. It's pretty cool and had a lot of great moments. I just feel like it needed one more proofread to polish it up. Getting through grammar mistakes took some getting used to. It's not TERRIBLE, but it's enough to want that one last proofread.

Anyway, the story is intriguing and just keeps piling it on, which is great. I even used some of the story to help inspire me for Adrien's reactions to things in "Peeping Tomcat." It's great where inspiration comes from.

I'm now at seven out of twelve books read. However, aside from the next Trial of Apollo book coming out in October, the only planned book I have left to read is “Atlas Shrugged.” I don't know if I should attempt tackling that book again while also doing Camp NaNo, and all the social get-togethers I have planned in July. And I certainly won't be able to finish it in 11 days!

So I'm debating between three options. First is to just take a break from reading. Spend that time writing instead; reading my first draft and fixing it. Second option is to go through my at-home library or hit up the public library and snag a quick-read book. Something I can read in the next 11 days or so. Final option is finding another lengthy fanfic to read. Should be easy, my “to read” list is fairly lengthy on just AO3 alone. I mean, I have already been reading a bunch of short fics, one-shots, and lengthy projects one chapter update at a time, so maybe I could keep doing that?

I've started reading the following fics this year; a small chapter at a time while they slowly update:
  • 101 Things To Do With Your Son; a collaborative story edited and thought of by Anne Camp aka Obi-quiet; currently up to 23,750 words
  • Under Lock and Key; a collaborative between co-author/illustrator Eden Daphne and main fic author Maerynn, who sadly passed away in a car crash earlier this year; currently up to 23,646 words; Eden is editing Mae's last draft in order to make sure the story gets completed
  • When Duty and Desire Meet; a collaborative between MidnightStarlightWrites and co-author/illustrator Eden Daphne; currently up to 39,185 words
  • Mr. Lucky and the Cat by HariWrites; currently up to 38,126 words
  • And the Name for Your Order is? by Baneismydragon; currently up to 7894 words
Add in the assortment of 4000-words-or-fewer short fics and one-shots that I've also read, and I think I'm getting a healthy amount of reading in. Not in a more conventional sense, but it's still a lot more reading than the average American adult gets in.

OH! And speaking of reading fanfics, Cyhyr posted something recently. It's a bit racy and definitely contains mature content, but it's short at only about 4000 words.

Yes. For me 4000 words is short. Leave me alone.

It's in the Final Fantasy XV fandom, so I was a bit lost as to who the characters are and how they SHOULD act. It probably would have been more enjoyable if I did know that, but that's the pitfall of all fanfic: it's more entertaining for those who know the source material. Even so, it was an enjoyable read if you are alright with the mature scenarios she wrote about; namely, prostitution.

So, if you have about 15minutes, and want to give her stuff a try, please do:

Alright, this blog is a beast and I need to use my free time to work on my PT chapters. Until next week!